Test Chamber – Everybody's Gone To The Rapture

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The Chinese Room is known for creating atmospheric first-person adventure games with a focus on abstract, ambiguous narratives. Those types of games can be tricky to show off in a show as concise as Test Chamber, but we're paying a visit to the game's sleepy English town anyway to show you what the early sections of the game have in store.

Join Andrew Reiner, Jeff Cork, and me as we search for the illuminated echoes of the past and get a glimpse of what might have happened to all the missing people of the valley. I also dive into some of the aspects of the game I wasn't a huge fan of in my review.

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What Do NASCAR, The PGA, And Dota 2 Have In Common?

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This year, Valve’s The International 2015 Dota 2 tournament commanded an unprecedented prize pool of $18 million, the largest purse in eSports history. Split five ways amongst the winning team, Evil Geniuses, the first-place payout of $6.6 million is around $1.3 million per competitor, not counting any other factors like taxes or team cuts – we’re only looking at raw figures for the purposes of this feature. 

Possibly even more interesting than the astronomical sum is the way this towering prize pool came to be – Valve only ponied up $1.6 million of the total. The Dota 2 community provided the rest of the huge award via Compendium transactions – an optional item that players can pick up every year during the event that provides a sort of player “fantasy eSports” interaction, where players predict winners and popular heroes. The Compendium also provides a smattering of bonuses that do not have any effect on gameplay to those that purchase them. 

Players get incentives to “level up” the Compendium through additional cash or gameplay to unlock even more perks, such as cosmetic hero costumes, loading screens, taunts and alternate visuals, and collectible cursor icons. Valve’s “Hat” game is at its strongest ever.

What If Amiibos Worked With All Your Favorite Nintendo Consoles?

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Aside from being adorable and addicting collectables, Nintendo's Amiibo figures are also able to interact with certain Wii U and 3DS titles. We've already made some predictions about what Amiibo we'd like to see in the future, but what if Amiibo had been around in gaming's good ol' days? Here are a bunch of classic Nintendo games that, with a little imagination and suspended disbelief, would have been able to unlock the full potential of Amiibos.

Super Mario Bros 2 – NES The ability to play as different characters was the second most memorable part of Super Mario Bros 2, right after the nightmare-inducing Phanto. While Amiibos will never be able to protect us from that terrifying flying mask, they could change up the character-swapping mechanic. By tapping an Amiibo, players would be able to jump between the four playable characters on the fly, where previously players were only able to switch between levels. Amiibo integration could have taken it one step further and equated characters to lives, similar to how things work in Skylanders. Instead of getting a game over when Toad dies, players would be forced to rely on the other three characters to beat the level. Run out of characters and it's curtains for the Mario crew.  

A Growing Guide Of Easy Achievements For Xbox One

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I thought I was done with Microsoft's achievements. I no longer hunted down games with easily obtainable points. No longer stuck with bad games just to get the big 50- or 10-point achievements upon completing them. No longer felt the desire to stay a good 100,000 points ahead of my friends, who clearly didn't take achievements seriously enough. And then those sneaky bastards at Microsoft decided to implement an achievement leaderboard onto Xbox One's dashboard.

I'm now back into achievements just as much as I was when Gearbox's Randy Pitchford threw down the gamerscore gauntlet in 2008. I haven't quite sunk to the level of playing bad games yet (as I have plenty of good ones to get to first), but I am no longer retiring games as soon as they are completed. I first dive into the achievement list to see if if any points are there for the taking, or what kind of effort is required to land the triple-digit lunkers.

The leaderboard is a stroke of genius on Microsoft's part. A feeling of satisfaction washes over me when I look at the rankings and see my name in the number one slot. Conversely, I start pulling out my hair when I fall out of the top slot, or, as I witnessed two weeks ago, fall to eleventh place. IN NO UNIVERSE SHOULD I EVER BE IN ELEVENTH PLACE FOR ACHIEVEMENTS!

Destiny: The Taken King's New Approach To Storytelling

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Destiny: The Taken King's New Approach To Storytelling

You know all of those things that annoyed you about Destiny? Bungie's aware of them. In addition to revamping the game's leveling system for The Taken King and a host of other changes, the developers are "pivoting" from how they've conveyed Destiny's story in the past. With a reinvigorated focus on quest givers and cutscenes sprinkled throughout the experience, The Taken King is hoping to tell a focused and direct story for fans of Bungie's universe. We spoke to The Taken King's creative director Luke Smith and executive producer Mark Noseworthy about lessons from Destiny's past, the importance of Cayde-6, and the changes to Ghost. Remember that you can always learn more about the changes in The Taken King by reading our full cover story.

Watch the video interview with Smith and Noseworthy below to learn more about the "100 little things" that Bungie is doing to change Destiny's storytelling strategy.

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Ten Japanese Games We Can’t Wait To Play

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Conventional wisdom suggests that Japanese development has been losing steam in recent years. And while we don’t see the same number of titles emerging from across the Pacific as we once did, some amazing titles are making their way stateside. With the big release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on the horizon, we pick ten titles that have us especially stoked.

Only a few characters have been announced for the latest iteration of this classic fighting game, but early glimpses show off a continued evolution of Capcom’s beautiful painterly style for the series, exhibiting familiar characters like Chun-Li and newcomers like Necalli. The new V-System promises to add a new layer of strategy to combat, letting players pull off new character-specific moves, or even counter certain attacks while blocking. We’re also happy to see that the game is doing more to distinguish its long-time characters from one another; in particular, Ken will now feel even more distinct from Ryu.

The Giant List Of Games Our Readers Must Defend

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Yesterday I posed a question to readers: What generally disliked games do you defend? The responses from readers were wide and varied, covering games I didn't even realize needed defending. I've gathered the results here.

Click for a larger chart

First up, in the chart above, you will find all the games that multiple readers stood up to defend. Listed in order of the how often a game was mentioned by readers, Batman: Arkham Origins and Assassin's Creed III were the big winners. Readers wrote that they find themselves standing up for these games the most. Destiny was also brought up often with defenders as well as people proclaiming their distaste for the game. I was also surprised to see a lot of folks mention Silent Hill: Homecoming. It's a game I never finished, and am now wondering if maybe I should have.

Sex Sells: 10 Embarrassing Video Game Ads Of The Mid-2000s

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Sex Sells: 10 Embarrassing Video Game Ads Of The Mid-2000s

The video game industry has a long and rich history. Sometimes, revisiting the past can be enlightening, entertaining, and even frustrating. Other times, these trips down memory lane only remind you how much things can change. If you think the sexuality in game advertising today is over-the-top (like Kate Upton promoting Game of War), check out how it looked 10 years ago.

Of course, using sex to sell things is about as old as advertising itself. However, you may be surprised how far game ads in the mid-2000s went. They were neither clever nor subtle. Don’t take our word for it – just look at the examples.

All of these scanned ads appeared in issues of Game Informer from ’04 to ’06 (well, all except one, but we’ll get to that). Read on, and get ready to cringe.

Five Insane Shootout Films That Deserve Video Game Adaptions

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Recently, Starbreeze announced plans to help develop a VR game based in the universe established by the 2014 film, John Wick. This is a fantastic idea as the film is full of exciting action and gunfights as well as a surprisingly strange universe that I would love to know more about. John Wick isn’t the only action movie like this. There are plenty of other similar films that deserve of a video games adaption.

Many great candidates have been covered in games to varying levels of success. Stranglehold, released in 2007, served as a sequel to the 1992 action classic, Hard Boiled. The Matrix has had multiple video game adaptations. The film Wanted received a video game accompaniment when it released in 2008. There are also plenty of Terminator and Die Hard games. The films below, however, are full of great gun-focused action that have the potential to become a compelling video game, but haven’t had the opportunity yet.

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