- Daniel Howley at Plugged In12 hrs ago
Roughly 15 minutes have passed since I touched down near a remote Soviet outpost in the wilds of Afghanistan. In that time, I’ve cultivated herbs, stolen a Russian transport truck, shot a half-dozen soldiers with tranquilizer darts, ridden a horse, fired an antiaircraft gun, and stuffed an unconscious man into a porta-potty. That last part was just for fun.
This is Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain in all its wonderfully over-the-top glory. The Phantom Pain is the latest and, according to series creator Hideo Kojima, the last in the long-running Metal Gear Solid franchise. Kojima has made similar claims following the release of previous Metal Gear games, but considering the epic falling out between the legendary designer and series publisher Konami, he might be right.
And that’s just fine, because out of the many excellent games in the Metal Gear series, The Phantom Pain is perhaps the finest.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In1 day ago
It begins at, well, the beginning.
Turn on Super Mario Maker (releasing September 11 for the Wii U), and you’re greeted with the ubiquitous World 1-1 from the 1985 NES classic, Super Mario Bros. The music kicks in. You stomp the first Goomba, bump the Question Block with the mushroom in it, and sidle up to the warp pipe. This is mother’s milk. You are home.
And then, without warning, Mario is staring at a massive chasm. It shouldn’t be there. Three decades of innate video game know-how vanish. You can’t make this jump.
But you can fix it. One tutorial later, and you’ve learned how to build the Super Mario level of your dreams. Or at least to fix a gaping hole in the floor.
This is a big deal. Nintendo traditionally guards its secret sauce like Willy Wonka, but here in Super Mario Maker , the company has unlocked the DNA powering the most influential video game of all time. This is the formula for Coca-Cola, just sitting there on a shelf. At once nostalgic and new, Super Mario Maker hands you the keys to the Mushroom Kingdom and lets you go nuts.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In2 days ago
You’re gonna need some bigger quarters.
Though, technically, you don’t actually have to pay to play this insane Franken-machine built by Jason Camberis, a network engineer from Chicago. You just need to wait your turn, because we’re guessing the line to play what is now officially the World’s Largest Arcade Machine is going to grow. Guinness World Records has verified that the rig is indeed a record setter.
It took Camberis, 44, two years to build this beast of an arcade cabinet. Standing 14 feet, 5 inches tall and over 6 feet wide, the supersized machine is, as Guinness points out in in classic Guinness fashion, "taller than a fully grown African elephant." Baby African elephants? It's WAY taller than them.
More importantly, it boasts enormous joysticks and buttons that all work as they should. Camberis further commissioned a glass company to create an epic, 16-inch light-up trackball. Over 250 playable classic games are available, including Pac-Man, Rampage, and Robotron , Camberis’s favorite.
"Everything is getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller," Camberis says. "I'm bringing big back."
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In3 days ago
It is impossible to experience the new Mad Max video game without constantly thinking about George Miller’s spectacular Mad Max: Fury Road .
The game is not specifically based on the movie — it’s more of a canonical homage — but it’s clear that the developers were anxious to duplicate the wild, chaotic blend of gutsy realism and cartoonish excess that made Fury Road the best action film in recent memory.
They only partially succeed. An open-world romp through the blasted, post-apocalyptic wastelands popularized in Miller’s big-screen quartet, Mad Max is filled with unflinching violence, high-speed high jinks, and enough gas fires to give Al Gore a coronary. But it also falls in lockstep with fellow open-world games, eschewing a coherent plot for a sprawling map littered with repetitive, grinding quests. At times it shines bright as chrome, but it also flirts dangerously with a word you won’t find in Max’s limited vocabulary: boredom.
- Chris Morris at Plugged In4 days ago
One town's trash is another man's treasure.
Given, calling the stash of old video games found in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico “trash” isn’t entirely fair. The Atari 2600 cartridges, which were buried after the video game crash of 1983, quickly became an urban legend. The town decided to solve the mystery last April by digging up the landfill, resulting in a hoard of old, busted games.
So are they worth anything? It turns out that yes, they most certainly are. The city has wrapped up its sale of 881 cartridges found in the landfill, earning $107,930 through a series of eBay auctions. (To save you the math, that works out to $122.50 per cartridge.)
Showcasing the fanatical interest in the long-buried cartridges, officials say they found buyers from across the world, including Australia, France, Brazil and Singapore. Shipping costs alone for the games topped $26,000.
- Matt Cabral at Plugged In7 days ago
A few hours into Disney Infinity 3.0 's Twilight of the Republic play set, I found myself escorting none other than Jar Jar Binks to Coruscant's Jedi Temple. Despite accompanying the galaxy's most despised character on a mission type most gamers would consider one of the medium's most tedious, I was having an absolute blast...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Disney Interactive's first crack at the toys-to-life category differentiated itself from genre pioneer Skylanders by offering standalone, story-driven campaigns as well as creation tools that allowed players to craft their own adventures. Complemented by a cast of fan-favorite Disney and Pixar characters, the formula yielded a good first effort and plenty of promise for future iterations.
- John Gaudiosi at Plugged In7 days ago
The man who helped mold Gears of War into a blockbuster franchise is finally ready to show off his latest game.
- Matt Cabral at Plugged In8 days ago
Games that try to scare the pants off players generally take the slow burn, psychological horror route, or the gory, zombie-slaughtering path. While Until Dawn borrows liberally from both those styles — and even tosses in some Saw -inspired torture-porn for good measure — the PS4-exclusive refreshingly cribs more from campy teen slasher films than any existing game genre.
From Ouija boards and tribal curses to clown-masked madmen and a literal cabin the woods, Until Dawn i s brimming with familiar tropes . And while it will feel as cozy as a Freddy Krueger sweater to horror movie buffs, it’s also a significant step forward in interactive storytelling.
Unfolding like a TV drama — complete with “previously on” clips preceding each chapter — Until Dawn puts players in the quaking boots of eight friends who've reunited at a mountain retreat a year after tragedy struck one of the character's twin sisters. You play as all eight in an effort to keep as many alive as possible.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In10 days ago
When they aren’t busy building a football rocket launcher for Rob Gronkowski, the developers at EA Sports presumably sit around thinking about what in the world to do with Madden .
Not that they have to do much. Some years are better than others, but even when Madden slips a little, it sells in the millions (technically, over 100 million since the franchise’s 1988 debut). That’s partly because it has lots of fans, but it’s also because it’s the only football game in town; thanks to a vise-like grip on the NFL license, Madden hasn’t had any real competition for over a decade (R.I.P., beloved NFL 2K series).
So each year EA has to find a way to sell you a football game that is pretty similar to, but just different enough from, the one you bought last year. Periodically, that means adding a new feature or two that fundamentally alters the way the game is played.
- Ben Silverman at Plugged In14 days ago
Last year, EA Sports blew its Madden NFL 15 marketing budget on a ridiculous commercial featuring Kevin Hart, Dave Franco, dolphins, and a teddy bear DJ.
That was just the warm-up.
To promote Madden NFL 16 ( due out August 25), the game maker brought back Franco, traded Hart for Christopher Mintz-Plasse, strapped Rob Gronkowski into a two-armed football cannon, blinded Colin Kaepernick, gave Julio Jones a broken flat-top and an old-school karate chop, snuck onto a Bollywood film set, and apparently hired Danny McBride’s character from Tropic Thunder to handle the pyrotechnics.
Also, there’s a T-Rex. And Rex Ryan.
The result is “Madden: The Movie,” a five-minute trailer for an action film that doesn’t exist, but absolutely should. Because it would be incredible (and probably terrible).