- Chris Morris at Plugged In3 days ago
If you're shopping for gamers this holiday, there's no better time to buy than Black Friday. Or Thanksgiving evening. Or Cyber Monday. Black Friday’s more like a timeframe now, isn’t it?
At any rate, the wealth of retailers trying to lure you into a store can make it hard to find the best deals on games and game hardware. And hesitation in the Black Friday window generally means you lose out on the bargain, so it helps to have a guide.
With that in mind, here are some of the best gaming deals we've seen so far this year.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In4 days ago
The year Lucas Etter was born, the world record for solving a Rubik’s Cube stood at 17.02 seconds.
Fourteen years later, Etter is the proud owner of the new mark — and it’s a doozie.
Etter solved a 3x3 Rubik’s Cube (that’s the classic, traditional Cube) in an astounding 4.904 seconds at the River Hill Fall competition in Clarksville, Maryland. That’s a full three-tenths of a second better than the previous mark of 5.25 seconds set earlier this year, and the first time a human has broken the five-second barrier.
Before you cry foul, this was a formally sanctioned “speedcuber” event, and indeed Etter followed proper competitive Rubik's Cube protocol. That means he was able to look over the Cube before attempting to solve it, but the moment his blazing fast fingers started twirling blocks, the clock started. His mark has since been verified by the World Cube Association.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In6 days ago
Microsoft’s most successful home console just turned 10.
Launched on November 22, 2005, the Xbox 360 had a busy decade. The system brought multiplayer gaming to the forefront of the console world, demonstrated that game systems could do a lot more than play games, sucked us in with its addictive Achievements, and hosted some of the biggest games in the industry's history.
But it didn't get off to a great start.
Rather than unveiling the system at a game industry trade show or news conference, Microsoft opted to debut the Xbox 360 on MTV in a show hosted by Elijah Wood. Even by 2005 standards, it was a painful thing to watch. It featured odd cameos from The Killers, the Pimp My Ride crew, and Lil' Jon. A model strutted through the crowd with a courier bag before plopping the system on a pedestal. Wood uttered the phrase "uber-gamers" and made shadow puppets in front of Xbox 360 artwork.
- Gordon Cameron at Plugged In8 days ago
Since the dawn of time, or at least since the 1970s, gamers have sought dank dungeons to explore. And for just as long, game developers have sought to cater to that need.
One developer indulging this admittedly peculiar fixation is New Zealand-based Grinding Gear Games, whose Path of Exile has quietly established itself alongside Blizzard’s Diablo III in the front rank of modern action-RPGs.
Path ’s latest expansion, the upcoming Ascendancy , will feature not one, not two, but infinite dungeons to explore, in the form of the Lord’s Labyrinth, which gets a new procedurally-generated layout each day. That’s a lotta dungeon.
Of course, procedural content is nothing new. But Grinding Gear is confident that the Labyrinth’s content-generation will keep dungeon delvers intrigued. The shifting layouts will feature numerous complex boss battles interspersed with difficult timing-based traps, from lava-filled floors to roving, bladed Roombas of death. Particularly masochistic players can activate ‘darkshrines’ that add random effects, potentially increasing the dungeon’s difficulty as well as the rewards it yields.
- Steve Tilley at Plugged In10 days ago
Many years ago, I interviewed Friends star Matthew Perry for some forgettable romantic comedy movie. I asked about his well-known love of video games, explaining that I cover games as part of my job.
Perry, a top-ranked junior tennis player in his teens, wondered if I might be able to get him some free games, particularly tennis games. Half-thinking he was joking, I stammered that there was a Mario Tennis game floating around, and perhaps I could look into having Nintendo send him a copy. When we parted ways, Perry — who had just started making $1 million per episode of Friends — wrote his manager’s phone number on a piece of hotel stationery and handed it to me.
I never did follow up on getting free games for the kazillionaire sitcom star, but this week I find myself wondering how ol’ cheapskate Chandler Bing would feel about Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash for the Wii U. Because if he wasn’t willing to splash out his own cash for previous iterations of Mario Tennis , I’m not sure he’d open his wallet for this one.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In10 days ago
Idris Elba just can't resist a set where bullets are flying.
The man behind legendary tough guys like drug kingpin Stringer Bell from The Wire and the titular obsessive detective in Luther is lending his gravitas and overall bad-assery to Ubisoft's Rainbow Six: Siege in an action-packed commercial and series of strategy videos.
But instead of simply being a celebrity gun for hire, Elba says he took the gig for one reason: He's a gamer.
"I play driving games and combat games, but I really like soccer/football games," the British actor told Yahoo in an interview.
He's an especially big fan of FIFA, though like a lot of gamers in their 40s, he says, he largely plays solo. He just doesn't have time or interest in dealing with the superior reflexes and incessant taunting of 13 year-olds. Celebrities: they're just like us!
"If I play online, I don't have the headphones on or anything like that," he says. "I don't want to listen to all of that."
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In11 days ago
Star Wars Battlefront is the Star Wars game you are looking for. But it’s not necessarily the Star Wars game you want it to be.
It’s in a tricky spot. Released just one month before the much-hyped debut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens , the rebooted Battlefront is destined to cash in on rabid interest in the franchise. Fans of the films who might not otherwise care about video games have undoubtedly heard of it or seen it in action, while fans of the prior Battlefront games — and shooters in general —have been anticipating its return for years. So how exactly do you make an online shooter that will appeal to both casual and hardcore players?
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In12 days ago
NFL players can breathe a sigh of relief, because it looks like the has moved on to another sport: MMA.
Days after being announced as the cover athlete for the next UFC game by game publisher EA, the seemingly unbeatable Ronda Rousey lost her belt — and nearly her head — to striking ace Holly Holm at UFC 193. It was a stunning upset, one of the biggest in UFC history, but it’s a little less shocking when you take a look at the spotty recent history of UFC video game cover stars.
Cover stars: Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson Release date: June 2014
The best case for a curse can be found in the most recent UFC game, which put a pretty big dent in the careers of two of the sport’s most dominant fighters.
- Steve Tilley at Plugged In18 days ago
You know, this Lara Croft lady just might have a future in video games.
Like the cinematic reinventions of James Bond, Batman and Captain Kirk before her, the video game icon received a full-scale origin reboot in 2013’s Tomb Raider . The new Lara was meant to feel more real and grounded, as well as having a bra size in line with actual human females. It turned out to be a damn fine game.
Rise of the Tomb Raider proves Lara’s successful do-over was no fluke. It’s a bigger, broader, meatier adventure that’s more confident and capable, kind of like its heroine. Unlike Lara, though, it’s a game that doesn’t take many risks, preferring the if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it route to sequel success.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is set a year after Lara’s life-changing experience in Tomb Raider , when we saw her shipwrecked on a mysterious island and forced to adapt to survive. Having witnessed supernatural phenomena she can’t quite wrap her head around, Lara is obsessed with tracking down the Divine Source, an immortality-granting artifact her late father spent years trying to find.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In19 days ago
If Fallout has taught us anything, it’s that time is fleeting. Life is precious. The good times can vanish in one mushroom-shaped flash.
So let’s cut right to the chase: Fallout 4 is an exceptional video game, a sprawling, well-nigh endless jaunt through a dangerous wasteland packed with valuable bottlecaps, mutated beasts, and people needing a helping — or harming — hand. It’s big and busy and everything you’d expect from the sequel to 2008’s revered Fallout 3 .
And, chances are, your expectations are sky-high. Seven years in the making, the first Fallout on the new consoles has been the lead car on the video game hype train for half a year; with visions of Fallout 3 ’s amazing world scavenging around in our brains, gamers have eagerly anticipated what, exactly, this irradiated beast of a role-playing game would do to our lives.