Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (March 10, 2016)

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Blog Herding – The Best Blogs Of The Community (March 10, 2016)

This week was another exceptional one for Blog Herding, with posts running the gamut of super serious and personal to funny and witty. Dive in!

Community Blogs For March 3 – March 10:

To My Grandmother  Craigaleg gets personal on us, writing about his grandmother, Pokémon, and death. Our family members shape us in so many ways that even years later we can feel the ramifications of such choices. If it wasn't for my mother, I never would have even played a Game Boy. Or felt what it's like to get crushed in Kirby's Avalanche, relentlessly and with glee. Thanks, Mom.   

Making Mario: A Look Back At The First 30 Years

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Making Mario: A Look Back At The First 30 Years

Thirty years ago, a small team based in Kyoto, Japan, came together to create a new kind of action game. Drawing inspiration from prior projects, that team released Super Mario Bros. in 1985 – a title that would go on to help console gaming step back from the brink of ruin. Since then, Mario’s influence has spread far beyond the games in which he appears. He helped turn Nintendo into an industry leader, and became a cultural icon. Super Mario Bros. started a revolution, and in the process, became one of the most recognizable franchises in the world.

We originally published this article in issue 271 of Game Informer magazine and posted online on October 18, 2015. We're re-sharing this story today as a part of Nintendo's push for "MAR10 Day."

Our Favorite Character Builds In The Division

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We’ve spent much of this week diving into Ubisoft’s take on a post-apocalyptic New York City, where a devastating illness has left civil order in ruins. If you’re getting started in exploring the city and leveling up, you’ve probably already noticed that Ubisoft has avoided traditional classes for its characters, and instead is allowing players to freely establish their own character build. The freedom is a lot of fun, but along with several weapon varieties, it can be confusing to know how and where to focus. We’ve experimented and chosen five of our favorite builds to let you customize your Division agent in awesome ways.

In order to work toward the builds described below, a little planning is in order. Take the time to look at your Abilities screen in the menu, so you understand how skills (active abilities), talents (modifiers on your actions), and perks (passive abilities) come together. Note that unlike in many progression-based games, these abilities do not unlock along a linear tree. Instead, the upgrades you purchase back at base determine which ability you get next. 

We Discuss The Division's Contagious Gameplay And Open-World Depth

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Executive editor Andrew Reiner and I spent much of yesterday playing The Division on our live stream. During that time, we got our bearings on the game's various systems, leveling mechanics, and multiplayer. Today, we've regrouped and are sharing our initial thoughts on the game, now that we've had some time for our opinions to solidify. Read on for our take on the setting, gunplay, and, of course, how it compares to Destiny.

Reiner: One of the questions we saw the most during our day-long live stream of The Division was “How does it compare to Destiny?” On the surface, both games are cooperative shooters at heart with elements from MMOs and open-world RPGs. In the 10-plus hours I’ve invested in The Division, it’s clear that Ubisoft’s development team studied Destiny – aping some of the content that works, and going in different directions for other things. What is your initial take on how the two games stack up?

105 Questions And Answers About Gears Of War 4

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With Microsoft's purchase, development of the Gears of War series has shifted from Epic Games to The Coalition. With a new developer and a fresh start to the series, fans are bound to have a lot of questions about Gears of War 4. We hope that our 14-page cover story in the latest issue of the magazine has cleared some things up, but we wanted to make sure we covered as much ground as possible by filming this jam-packed video interview. While visiting The Coalition in Vancouver, we sat down with studio head Rod Fergusson and asked him 105 questions about Gears of War's past, present, and future.

Watch the video below to learn more about Gears of War 4's gameplay, lore, and dozens of other details you didn't know.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

How Modern-Day Difficulty Masters Create Challenging Games That Are Still Fun To Play

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How Modern-Day Difficulty Masters Create Challenging Games That Are Still Fun To Play

For most game designers, homing in on the right degree of difficulty is akin to discovering the Holy Grail. Make a game too easy, and players breeze through its forgettable challenges with little sense of accomplishment. Make it too difficult, and players may quit out of frustration or feel too intimidated to pick up the controller in the first place. Finding the right balance is an art form in its own right, and for most modern games, the perfect difficulty setting blends seamlessly into the background as players steadily and successfully fight their way to victory. Not every designer follows this playbook, however.

Over the years, a growing number of games have opted for the punishing difficulty old-school games used to dole out with impunity, and a particular segment of players have embraced these demanding titles with open arms. From the tortuous locales and towering bosses of the Dark Souls series to the deadly labyrinths of Super Meat Boy, we spoke with a number of modern-day difficulty masters to find out how they maintain the player's enjoyment while still plying them with sinister challenges.

This feature originally appeared in Game Informer issue #274, under the title "The Difficulty Of Difficulty."

Our Picks For Best Female Characters From The Past Year

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We've encountered plenty of admirable female protagonists recently, which is refreshing considering a large amount of women as main characters has not alway been the case. In contrast, last year's E3 promises many more to come with upcoming titles such as Horizon: Zero Dawn and Dishonored 2. In light of International Women's Day, check out our top picks of this past year's most memorable and prominent female characters.

 

Evie Frye (Assassin’s Creed Syndicate)

Eight Tips From The Division Devs To Help You Get Some Sweet Loot

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Eight Tips From The Division Devs To Help You Get Some Sweet Loot

Yesterday, I ventured into New York City (the real one, not the plague-ridden version in The Division) to catch up with two members of The Division team. Producer Tony Sturtzel and game director Terry Spier from Red Storm shared some tips to get the most out of your early hours.

We also pried out a secret waiting for intrepid agents. They wouldn’t get too specific, but the hints have us excited for what might be waiting on the streets of New York.

Get Hard!You can play The Division alone, taking on missions to restore New York City to its former glory. However, Ubisoft Massive and its cohort studios (Red Storm, Reflections, and Annecy) built The Division for cooperative play.

Our Full Day Stream Of The Division Is Live Right Now!

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Our Full Day Stream Of The Division Is Live Right Now!

Update: We are currently live and will be playing for the next seven hours!

Original story:

Starting tomorrow at 11 a.m. CT and running through 6 p.m CT, Jeff Cork is joining me for a full day of cooperative play in The Division on Game Informer's Twitch and YouTube channels. The show will air on both Twitch and YouTube, and we'll try to answer as many questions as we can from both feeds. We also want to play the game with you, if possible. Throughout the day we'll be lining up opportunities for the GI community to get in on the action.

April Cover Revealed – Gears Of War 4

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In Early 2014, Microsoft acquired the rights to the Gears of War franchise from creator Epic Games and gave the property to a relatively untested studio now called The Coalition. Thankfully, The Coalition is being guided by the capable hands of veteran Gears developer Rod Fergusson, who was a driving force on the first three Gears of War games. Aside from a tease at last year’s E3, we know relatively little about this new Gears of War, so we traveled to The Coalition’s office in Vancouver, British Columbia to learn more about the history of the studio, to discover what happened to the world of Sera after Gears of War 3, and to go hands-on with a few new weapons and cover mechanics.