Having a Portal gun would make everything easier...
Okay GameSpotters, here's the deal.
I rock a beard all year round. While previously I have shaved it off, only to grow it back in support of the excellent cause that is Movember, this year we're going to do things a little differently. YOU'RE going to decide how the beard comes off!
Over the next four weeks I will wear four distinctively different beard and/or moustache combinations of your choosing. All you need to do is express your thoughts on what you want to see, and I'll go with the majority vote. My dignity and the comfort of the wider public is on the line, but all I ask in return for making me a facial hair monstrosity is a donation towards our GameSpot AU team total (as much as you can comfortably give to charity) which you can do by clicking here.
I know it's going to be tempting to throw me straight into a crazy looking design in week one, but think long-term. I won't be re-growing anything that gets shaved off, only re-styling what remains. Since this is Movember, I'd also strongly suggest the inclusion of a moustache as part of the ensemble.
Looking for inspiration? Check out Jon Dyer's Quest For Every Beard Type blog.
I'll do my first shave at the end of this week and update with photos. Which look do you want to see me wearing first?
WEEK 2: The Hollywoodian
WEEK 3: The Lemmy
WEEK 4: The Handlebar
Super Street Fighter IV | Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/Arcade 2010 | Akuma
Super Street Fighter IV divided the fighter crowd. Plenty of casual pugilists thumbed their noses at the idea of having to stump up for a tweaked expansion of the game they had bought the year before. But, while it would be easy to get indignant about Capcom's perceived money-grab, players with an affinity for the series know this isn't exactly new for the franchise, and SSFIV certainly doesn't represent dud value.
This discount-priced franchise compendium threw classic series characters back into the Streeties mix alongside new faces, and provided the opportunity to fall in love all over again. After briefly flirting with casual use of Cody, Juri, and Gouken (the latter's frequent punish on missed hurricane kicks was the deal breaker) I settled back into old grooves with Akuma. His comparatively weak frame makes him brittle against the harder hitters, but his teleport and keep-away air fireballs mean you can control the pace of the match. His Raging Demon ultra continues to eat opponent's health bars.
Mortal Kombat | Super Nintendo 1993 | Scorpion
Undoubtedly one of my most memorable arcade experiences, growing up in my area you were either a Mortal Kombat supporter, or a Street Fighter guy. Both offered very different experiences, and I could never understand the line in the sand. While I'd be lying if I said I spent equal amounts of time and money with the two (there was a Street Fighter II Champion Edition machine right near my house), the two were both contenders in my mind. After pumping God-only-knows how many coins into an original MK cabinet at my local pool hall I yearned for the same bloodletting fisticuffs at home. Picking up a copy for my Super Nintendo gave me the chance to really explore the intricacies of each character without having to dig into my pocket each time. While the game's character roster is light by today's standards, it offered seemingly endless fun at the time.
I was immediately drawn to Raiden and Sub-Zero's aptitudes to harness the raw powers of the elements, but over time I realised I had a soft spot for Scorpion's ability to stab a man in the throat from across the screen before snapping their head back with a brutal uppercut. My interest in the game only began to wane once I had literally shredded the skin off my fingers performing the Test Your Might button mashing minigames by rocking my knuckles across the controller.
Marvel vs Capcom 2 | Dreamcast 2000 | Ryu, Iron Man, and Cable
There were (and still are) a lot of good reasons to own a Dreamcast... just look at the excellent fishing simulation experience of Sega Bass Fishing! Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was about as good as it got for fighter fans on the device and moved the goal posts away from mano-e-mano battles towards providing a crossover of two amazing universes primed for punching. No longer was it simply about picking a single character who resonated with you and your play style and sticking with them. Instead it provided a complex and enjoyable evaluation of each character's strengths and weaknesses, how they performed out of combat becoming just as important as their role in the fray, and the need to build strategies around countering your opponent.
My teams regularly comprised Ryu, Iron Man and Cable and their ranged attack approach. Juggernaut's rush knockdown, B.B. Hood's mine dropping play, and Jill's zombie summoning powers were never far away. Let's not forget the whacky looks and abilities of Amingo. Marvel vs. Capcom 2 was a favourite in my circle of friends and after spending some time with Marvel vs. Capcom 3, while the roster is certainly smaller, it absolutely retains the sense of exploration and evaluation I loved so much about the first two games.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe | Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 2008 | The Joker
It's hard to know where to start with Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. It really ended up feeling like a stripped down version of the game I grew up playing. Where was the gore? What was the deal with the exploitable characters? And who thought it was a good idea to throw a falling/rushing button pressing pseudo quicktime event into a (mostly) 2D brawler?
The game's roster was an odd mish-mash of DC and MK – and while they hit a lot of the classic character notes, it's always fun to play the new faces. For this reason after a few laps of experimentation with the DC crew I immediately gravitated towards The Joker as my main. I use the term main here loosely since you could count on one hand the number of hours I put into the game, but his appeal was a mixture of ranged and melee attacks, spring-loaded punching gloves, deadly throwing cards, and a disappearing act that kept your adversary guessing whether you were going to unleash a sliding move, gift them a bomb, or jump on their face. Batman not wanting to get lethal on Joker? Expected. Joker and Scorpion not being able to rip off Superman's head? LAME.
This blog is a part of the scavenger hunt.
Share a couple of items on your Christmas wishlist this year.
There's only one thing I want this year, and this is it - A GIANT WORKING NES CONTROLLER COFFEE TABLE!
Happy to supply my postal address for delivery.
What games will you play during the holidays?
Rock Band 3 (still learning pro guitar), WoW: Cataclysm, CoD: Black Ops multiplayer, the almost endless backlog of great games still waiting to be played from 2010.
What are the kinds of food or drinks you must have during the holidays?
Since our Christmas break is in the middle of summer, something nice and refreshing. Juicy, ripe fruit, cold beers, and fresh seafood are a must.
ORNAMENT HUNT ANSWER - CLUE 28
Regardless of whether you've actually read Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy at the centre of EA's video game adaptation, you're probably at least familiar with the poem's central themes of deadly sins like lust, pride and greed.
EA caused a stir at E3 last year when it hired actors to play aggrieved Christians displeased with the game's purported religious themes. And while gamers and commentators have questioned the tastefulness of the pranks, other stunts for the game have included offering dates with booth babes and sending members of the US games media cheques to test the pull of greed.
Yesterday the company's latest exploit turned up at GameSpot AU headquarters in the form of a giant cardboard box with the word GLUTTONY emblazoned on its side. Inside were 55 McDonalds cheeseburgers. Why 55? EA said they didn't think 50 would be enough, but that 60 might be too many--Go figure.
Confusion set in. Even in your wildest dreams as a child you probably didn't ever think you'd have to deal with a predicament like finding a home for a box filled with junk food, let alone needing to do so in a professional capacity while maintaining the integrity of your soul. The questions and salivating began as shifty eyes scanned the room. Should we share them with the other people of the office? Should we donate them to charity? We opted to follow the suggestion of the sin and begin the gorging. An innocent question of "I wonder who can eat the most cheeseburgers?" quickly escalated into a competitive feeding frenzy of pickles and crimson sauce as other staff looked on in horror and disgust.
The first burger went down with little resistance, but while numbers two and three helped establish a rhythm, the competitors thinned as the paper wrappers began to pile up. Only Dan and Koz wanted to continue, and on they trudged, shovelling handfuls of meat and cheese into their gaping maws. Burgers five and six were tougher to swallow and the pace began to slow. By numbers seven and eight belts groaned under the strain of expanding waistlines as two men battled for the fate of the foodiverse. Double burger concoctions were created with hopes of ploughing more food into a rapidly shrinking space, but to little avail. Neck-and-neck and heading towards the tenth burger things slowed to a crawl, each mouthful a raging battle to fight back the impending violent food rejection.
A peaceful truce was negotiated and the final scores stood at nine to nine and a half burgers. The war was over, and while nearly 20 cheeseburgers had given their lives valiantly, neither of the contenders could bask in the spoils of victory, or stand under their own power. Gluttony had claimed two more sinners.
The assiduous censorship of Australia's interactive entertainment industry continued last week when another high profile game title was turned back at the border. The denial of being granted the maximum videogame MA15+ rating due to its violence means Konami's Silent Hill: Homecoming is now illegal to sell, rent, or advertise in Australia. It also marks the fourth game to be refused classification this year by the Classification Board (formerly the OFLC) alongside Dark Sector, Shellshock 2: Blood Trails, and Fallout 3. While many gamers will bay for blood and shout cries extolling the impingement of civil liberties and our perceived steady decline into a nanny state, it's worth reminding the vocal (but uninformed) masses not to aim their hatred towards the Classification Board. Yes, they are the public face of classification, but ultimately they're as hamstrung as the average Aussie gamer in the face of antiquated policy set out by a myopic government.
Australia is now marred with quite a reputation on the international stage when it comes time to decide if products are fit for sale in our country, and it's an issue being picked up on foreign shores. GU Comics has put together a great strip (I guess it's still a strip if there's only one cell?) with their take on how backwards our current system is.
I'm sorry. This post is not politically charged in any way, shape, or form, but I simply couldn't go past this photo without making a small change...
When pondering the mind doesn't keep me up at night and I'm left to my own devices, I've been known to play games. My arguable World of Warcraft addiction, in addition to eating several hundred of hours of my time, has actually opened my eyes to some of the more subtle game mechanics which keep people coming back for more. Every player has their own reason for questing that one bubble closer to the constantly moving player level cap, completing their tier six armour set, or grinding Enraged Earth Spirits until they have enough primal earth to finish whatever the hell it is they're crafting. Thottbot, Allakhazam and other sites have become bibles to players trying to calculate exactly how many of monster X they're going to have to kill, and by association the amount of time they'll have to invest to get that all-important payoff.
There's an interesting read over at Eurekalert at the moment looking at men and women and their brain functions while gaming, particularly the direct correlation between territoriality and reward/addiction portions of the brain. No surprise then that guys got a little more into it than the ladies, and it goes a long way to explaining why men love the King of the Hill game types so much.
The highly-anticipated action title Heavenly Sword, which is exclusive to the PlayStation 3 platform, is out on shelves and receiving plenty of well-earned praise. So what's next for developer Ninja Theory? We caught up with studio co-founder Nina Kristensen to ask her a few questions about women in games development, female protagonists, and the future of the Heavenly Sword brand.
Looks like plenty of hardcore Halo fans opted to stay home and pick their copies up on launch day this time around with small crowds at the major Sydney stores. We staked out EB Bondi Junction and attacked people waiting in line with our video camera to find out what made them come out and pick up their copies rather than wait 9 hours and get it the following day.