Posts by Ben Silverman

  • Activision unveils ‘Guitar Hero Live’, due out this year

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 3 days ago

    The 2015 battle of the video game bands is booked.

    On Tuesday, Activision pulled back the curtain on the worst-kept secret in gaming: After a five-year hiatus,   Guitar Hero   is staging a comeback. The new effort is called   Guitar Hero Live , and it’s due out this fall.

    The announcement effectively revives the music game rivalry that once dominated consoles, as developer Harmonix   recently revealed   that   Rock Band 4   is also coming before the year is up.

    But while we know only a few tidbits about the new   Rock Band , Activision and new developer FreeStyleGames (they made the   DJ Hero   games) have already given press hands-on time with   Guitar Hero Live . In general, it’s the same sort of game that it’s always been — you bang away on a plastic guitar to notes flying down the screen — but it’s got a few new tricks up its sleeve. Here’s what we know so far:

    Hope you have room in the house for another plastic instrument.

    More jarring than the new guitar is the game’s new look.

  • Teaser trailer reveals ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops III’

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 8 days ago

    In news that should shock roughly .5% of the population, Activision has unwrapped the next Call of Duty game.

    Sort of.

    What they’ve actually done is release a teaser trailer of Call of Duty: Black Ops III, but it’s heavy on the tease and light on the trailer. Forget extensive breakdowns of new gear and potential hints at a plot, because this is really, seriously a tease. I’ll stop teasing it:

    Okay, so what was that? It’s hard to say. Intimidating voices mention a guy named Mason (that would be Alex Mason, the star of Black Ops II ) and yammer on about doubt and fear and war and weapons. Swirling lights and binary code coalesce into pistols and exosuits. There are undoubtedly hints scattered throughout (are those coordinates?), but this really is Teaser Town.

    It isn’t until the very end when we get something concrete: a date, April 26, for the game’s formal “world reveal.” Which means this teaser isn’t technically a reveal, even though it totally revealed that the new game is Call of Duty: Black Ops III . Marketing!

    But clearly Call of Duty fatigue has set in. We'll see what Black Ops III developer Treyarch intends to do to keep things fresh. Other than tease us.

  • A ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ film is in the works

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 9 days ago

    Your darkest animatronic nightmares are headed to the silver screen.

    According to   the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. has picked up the rights to the wildly popular frightfest   Five Nights at Freddy’s . No writer or director has been attached to it yet, though producers Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg of KatzSmith Productions are on the prowl.

    The work of independent game maker Scott Cawthon,   Five Nights   drops players into the security booth of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, a Chuck E. Cheese knockoff featuring a delightful band of animatronic animals. Delightful during the day, that is. At night, the robots roam the restaurant looking for something to kill. Your job? Survive five nights by using security cameras to keep an eye on the furry evildoers, which, thanks to a shaky electrical grid, is harder than it sounds.

    So what’s the movie about, other than lots of jump scares? No one’s quite sure yet.

    “We’re looking forward to working with Scott to make an insane, terrifying and weirdly adorable movie,” Grahame-Smith told the Reporter.

  • This 'Mortal Kombat X' selfie Fatality is picture perfect

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 9 days ago

    Millenials get a lot of grief from grumpier generations who can't stand their Snapchats and emojis and surprisingly responsible fiscal planning. But you have to hand it to the kids: they've certainly got style.

    Take this impressive kill from Cassie Cage, the badass offspring of Mortal Kombat icons Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. Cassie is a playable character in the upcoming Mortal Kombat X, and just like dear old dad, she's got some serious swag. Not only does she lop off an opponent’s jaw, she has the presence of mind to share it online (Warning: NSFW. It’s really gross. After all, it’s Mortal Kombat ):

     The best part might be the fact that the fake social network is called “Friendships,” a reference to a kindhearted version of a Fatality first introduced in Mortal Kombat II . That may well be the only Friendship we’ll see in Mortal Kombat X , however, if you believe the cryptic tweets of series overlord Ed Boon.

    Mortal Kombat X i s due out April 14 for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

  • Meet, the self-styled Instagram for gamers

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 17 days ago

    You can play games alone, of course, but after every feat, you’re encouraged to share your exploits, post them to Facebook, embed them in a tweet, or live-stream them for the world to see. If you aren’t sharing, you aren’t caring.

    But lots of gamers — myself included — are a little reticent about flooding their social networks with League of Legends clips. I like to keep my social networks separate; Facebook is for friends and family, and Twitter is for commentary and terrible jokes (and fighting with trolls). Dumping videos to YouTube works fine, but there are billions of others doing the same thing. No one will ever see it.

    According to the game optimization gurus at Raptr, this is why we need a site and service like, which the company formally unveiled on Tuesday. The idea is to give PC gamers an easy way to record gameplay video and a new place to share that content.

    “Our goal is to be the Instagram for gamers,” Raptr CEO Dennis “Thresh” Fong told me.

    That’s a fine target, but just as Instagram has to contend with competitors like Twitter and Facebook, so too does have to sway gamers away from the likes of YouTube and Twitch.

  • Review: Diabolically difficult ‘Bloodborne’ is among the PS4's best

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 23 days ago

    Bloodborne   is a game about hope.

    It’s also a game about death. It’s about vile monsters smashing, slicing, clawing, and chewing you to bits. It’s about horror, frustration, salty language, and broken controllers.

    What keeps you playing   Bloodborne , the incredibly challenging PS4-only role-playing game crafted by demented developer From Software, is a spark. It’s hard to see, a flicker in the darkness often obscured by the rage of yet another failed attempt to kill a thing you are clearly in no shape to kill. But it’s there, a glimmering beacon, a calm voice telling you that despite a learning curve shaped like a wall and hours spent futilely jabbing at creatures so hellish that you vaguely worry about the mental health of the people who created them, you are going to be OK.

    You are going to win. And it’s going to feel great.

    Suffice it to say, Bloodborne isn’t for everyone. It’s unforgiving, repetitive, and bad for your blood pressure. But it’s also mysterious, powerful, and good for your soul -- the best PS4 exclusive yet. What more could you have hoped for?

    What's Not: Debilitating feeling of despair; unclear systems and mechanics; PTSD treatment costs extra.

  • Nintendo paints outside the lines with inky shooter 'Splatoon'

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 25 days ago

    It’s okay if you have no idea what to make of Splatoon .

    It’s a Nintendo game lacking any recognizable Nintendo characters. It’s a shooter, but the goal isn’t to shoot people. It’s about online team play, but the Wii U isn’t exactly an online powerhouse. Splatoon doesn’t make a great deal of sense on paper.

    But Nintendo doesn’t stare at spreadsheets when they create games, and after spending a few hours shooting through Splatoon at Nintendo’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, I’m sold. Splatoon ’s clever, quirky design is classic Nintendo: confident, smooth, and more than anything, just plain fun.

    What is it, exactly?

    Splatoon might be a shooter at heart, but it isn’t so much about shooting other players as about shooting the level itself.

    You’re an Inkling, a bizarre human/squid hybrid armed with a gun that shoots colored ink. Your goal is to douse the level in your team’s color while preventing your opponent from doing the same. Yes, you’ll ‘kill’ other players by pelting them with paint, but that’s only a means to an end. If your team is out-inked, you lose, and all those kills were for naught.

    Do you have to be awesome at shooters to enjoy it?


    But is it deep?

  • Joe Montana is working on a new football video game

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    They don’t call him The Comeback Kid for nothing.

    Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana is trying to revive his long dormant video game franchise, Joe Montana Football . And according to a Twitter post, he’s charging downfield.

    “It just got Unreal,” Montana tweeted on Monday, along with a screenshot bearing the Unreal Engine 4 logo and the hashtag #joemontanafootball16 .

    Montana’s been hinting at work on a new game for a while now. Back in October he tweeted a gif of himself doing a little motion capture – the 58-year old looked pretty nimble – though the Unreal post is the first to include an actual in-game image.

    The screenshot indicates that the new game has yet to get approval from the NFL, and since EA and Madden have that license wrapped up for a few more years, it's unlikely that Joe's new game will feature real teams and players. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem – a new arcade football game might be just what football fans are looking for. Here's hoping Joe Cool can keep it together for the final drive.

  • Rory McIlroy replaces Tiger Woods as PGA video game frontman

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    Just a few years after backing away from the train wreck that is Tiger Woods, EA Sports has found their next golf video game cover athlete: Tiger nemesis and current world number 1, Rory McIlroy.

    “This is a great honor, and something I couldn’t even dream of growing up playing the sport,” McIlroy said in a statement. “I really hope people enjoy the game and I’m very glad I can be a part of it.”

    Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is due out in June for the Xbox One and PS4. It’s EA’s first golf game since Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 came out in 2013, but more importantly, it’s the first EA golf game to bail on the ‘Tiger Woods’ branding since 1998.

    It’s not exactly a shocker. EA announced the end of the Tiger partnership in October of 2013, and McIlroy is the current young gun.

    Little is known about the game, however. A brief clip shown during EA’s press conference at last year’s E3 trade show showed off a combination of real-world and ‘extreme fantasy’ courses.

  • Horrible people can now play ‘Cards Against Humanity’ online

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    You waited all game for the perfect time to play “A Super Soaker filled with cat pee,” only to watch your sister’s jerky boyfriend steal the show with an unbelievable use of “Home video of Oprah sobbing into a Lean Cuisine.” Who knows when you’ll have another chance to shine in Cards Against Humanity?

    Good news! You no longer need to throw a party to play the world’s filthiest party game. You just need to be online.

    The immensely popular and delightfully raunchy card game has been transformed into an online game called   Cards Against Originality. The free Web app is playable on computers, smartphones, and tablets.

    Featuring all the original cards along with the five expansion sets, Cards Against Originality does a pretty good job of emulating the real deal. Each round, one player draws a black card and acts as the judge. The other players anonymously play white cards in an effort to win the judge’s favor and/or gross everyone out to the point of uncontrollable laughter. Whoever the judge picks wins that round, and on it goes.