Game Informer’s Holiday Buying Guide 2017

about X hours ago from
Game Informer’s Holiday Buying Guide 2017

It always feels good to give and to receive, but nothing feels worse than giving or receiving the wrong gift. To help you out this year, we compiled a roundup of the best geek-related toys and tech this holiday season. Get out your pens; you’re going to want to circle some stuff.

[Full Disclosure: GameStop is the parent company of both Game Informer and ThinkGeek]

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Champion ­Amiibos | $15.99 (Each)

Opinion – Give Me More Weird Masterpieces Like Nier: Automata

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Opinion – Give Me More Weird Masterpieces Like Nier: Automata

2017 has been absolutely mad in terms of quality game releases. The Legend of Zelda; Breath Of The Wild, Resident Evil 7, Super Mario Odyssey, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Yakuza 0, Horizon Zero Dawn, and so on. However, the game my mind has been jumping back to the most this year is Nier: Automata, a game about androids waging a proxy war with robots on a devastated Earth. In the absence of humans, these androids have no guidance for their emotions, nothing to help them understand sexual longing, despair, and the trials of friendship. Also, it's a game where you get to run around and slice through robots with a giant katana, so that's nice.

Video Tour Of Monster Hunter: World's Ambitious Training Area

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Video Tour Of Monster Hunter: World's Ambitious Training Area

With Monster Hunter: World, Capcom is attempting to walk the fine line of satisfying fans while also roping in a whole new audience for the series' grand return to consoles. In our cover story on the game, we walk through a lot of the little details and tweaks that make this the most accessible entry yet. One of the major additions for newcomers is a thorough training area that lets players try out any weapon they want while not under attack from giant monsters.

Watch the video below as Jeff Cork and I show off everything you can do in the new training area.

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Why You Get Stuck In Games, And What You Can Do About It

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Why You Get Stuck In Games, And What You Can Do About It

This article originally appeared in issue 294 of Game Informer magazine.

Anyone who plays video games has at least one “duh” moment to their name. We beat our heads against bosses for half an hour before realizing we’re supposed to lose the fight. We search every nook and cranny of a dungeon for a key to an unlocked door. Because of their interactive nature, even the most linear games are prone to grinding halts whenever a player misses a crucial cue, a developer sends conflicting signals about what to do, or both.

This common problem highlights how closely game design intersects with psychology. Psychologists have been studying games, problem-solving, and cognition for years to more firmly grasp what’s going on in our brains when we get stuck.

Six Cool Games For Holiday Travel 2017

about X hours ago from
Six Cool Games For Holiday Travel 2017

If you're already a Switch owner, you're probably basking in some Zelda or Mario goodness as you travel around the country (or the world!) to snack on turkey, ham, or cheeseballs with your family, friends, or dog. Or maybe you're just staying in and kicking back with some games and pizza. I'm not going to judge. If you don't have a Switch, you're probably furtively trying to find a sold game to play before you board that flight, pile in for the road trip, or listen to Grandma Gwindleshins drone on and on about the good old days in front of the fire. Here are some great picks you can enjoy on the phone or your tablet as you traverse the holiday season.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

Nintendo's mobile take on Animal Crossing lets players build up a camp. Sure, there are mobile timers and cooldowns that give pause, but you can feed a dog apples and he'll give you gifts. If that's not enough, you can also feed them oranges, pears, and fish. Maybe even have a cookout. So even with the "use this currency to speed up your timer" nonsense and few environments to explore, you can scratch that simmy-crafty-friendmaking-camp creation itch.

Opinion – Super Mario Odyssey Should Be 2017’s Game Of The Year

about X hours ago from
Opinion – Super Mario Odyssey Should Be 2017’s Game Of The Year

Super Mario Odyssey is a happiness pill, and a celebration of gaming in its purest incarnation. While it would be impossible to find any escape or panacea that wipes away every frustration the world throws at a person, Mario’s latest adventure does an admirable job of trying.

With its colorful and playful art, whimsical tone, and boundless sense of joyful discovery, it’s a game that transports me back to why I fell in love with games in the first place. Is it perfect? No. It’s not even my personal favorite game of recent months. But it is the game that most captured what I needed in 2017 – a spirit of delight and simple, earnest heroism – and stood apart from so many of its competitors that offered a bleak or gritty reality. In a moment when the cultural conversation so often pulls us underwater, and even the discussions about gaming and its business practices can be toxic, Super Mario serves up a breath of relief when we need it the most. In so doing, it deserves to be celebrated as 2017’s game of the year. 

Opinion – Photo Mode Makes A Difference In Modern Gaming

about X hours ago from
Opinion – Photo Mode Makes A Difference In Modern Gaming

Photo: Aaron Rossen

Aloy rushes between trees and through bushes, the massive jaws of a robot dinosaur snapping just a few inches from her back. Just as its teeth are about to rip into her flesh, she turns around, pulls out her bow, takes aim, and snaps a photo. Hey, it’s all worth it for the perfect shot.

Anyone who uses photo mode is probably familiar with a scenario like this. A feature that allows players to pause the game, take control of the camera, and capture their own beautiful in-game photographs, in-game photo modes have become more popular with developers over the past few years. Developers have learned that players want to express themselves in-game as well as in the real world. Photo mode bridges that gap. It might seem like an inconsequential feature, but for both developers and players it’s an important part of the modern gaming landscape. 

New Gameplay Today – Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

about X hours ago from
New Gameplay Today – Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

If you need to know anything about Kyle Hilliard, it's that he's the biggest Animal Crossing fan in our office. When Animal Crossing Pocket Camp was released this morning, he was the first one to download the app. How could we resist tapping into that enthusiasm? Well, we couldn't. Leo and I roped Kyle into taking us on a virtual tour of his campsite, and it went really, really well.

Don't let the fact that we called it everything but Animal Crossing Pocket Camp fool you – Kyle absolutely lives and breathes this franchise! Watch our latest episode of New Gameplay Today to see Kyle and I guide Leo through the character-creator before skipping to Kyle's personal campsite. He builds a fence! He picks pears! He accidentally incurs a massive debt (not real money, don't worry)! It's all here for your viewing pleasure.

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The Behind-The-Scenes Story Of How Sonic 2 Became Sega’s Ace In The Hole

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The Behind-The-Scenes Story Of How Sonic 2 Became Sega’s Ace In The Hole

Despite an avalanche of entries since its original release in 1991, many still consider Sonic the Hedgehog 2 the pinnacle of the series. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was showered with praise upon release in 1992 and surprisingly, that sterling reputation hasn't faded 25 years later. We asked the people behind the game's success to share how Sonic's second outing became one of Sega's driving forces in its fight against Nintendo.

Coming off of the massive success of the Japan-developed Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega relocated development efforts for the sequel to the newly founded Sega Technical Institute in the U.S. Sega tapped Mark Cerny to lead the STI, who has since gone on to help create other mascots like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon. Key members of the original development team, such as series creator Yuji Naka, moved stateside to work on the sequel to Genesis' flagship title.

"The development team moved to San Francisco when developing Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and we were able to recognize the great [power] of our title in the U.S. and hear opinions from children," Naka says. "I think it was good influence for the development team."

Science-Fiction Weekly – Star Wars Battlefront II, Solo, Justice League, Superman

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Science-Fiction Weekly – Star Wars Battlefront II, Solo, Justice League, Superman

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller apparently hold no grudges against Disney and Lucasfilm for being jettisoned as directors of Solo: A Star Wars Story. According to Vulture, Miller and Lord discussed leaving the Star Wars universe behind during a panel for their Clone High animated series. They seem completely comfortable with what happened.
“The experience of shooting the movie was wonderful,” Lord said. “We had the most incredible cast and crew and collaborators. I think in terms of us leaving the project, I think everybody went in with really good intentions and our approach to making the movie was different than theirs. That was a really big gap to bridge, and it proved to be too big. Sometimes people break up, and it’s really sad, and it’s really disappointing, but it happens and we learned a lot from our collaborators and we’re better filmmakers for it. We’re really proud of the work we did on the movie and we wish everybody the best.”