Jim French, Left 4 Dead’s Bill, dies at 89

about X hours ago from
Jim French, Left 4 Dead’s Bill, dies at 89

Jim French, a Seattle radio host and voice actor who later supplied the voice of Bill Overbeck in 2008’s Left 4 Dead, has died. He was 89. A veteran of World War II, French was one of the last full-time voice actors producing radio theater on commercial stations in the United States.

French produced Imagination Theater, a radio drama program syndicated to more than 100 FM and AM radio stations over North America, as well as on SiriusXM satellite radio. French’s program grew out of radio dramas he produced for KING-AM and KING-TV in Seattle going back to 1952. In 1980, his show was renamed by its syndicating company to Imagination Theater.

Kickstarter crowdfunding for games rose sharply in 2017

about X hours ago from
Kickstarter crowdfunding for games rose sharply in 2017

After a challenging year in 2016, crowdfunding for games rose sharply on Kickstarter this year. That’s according to a tweet from Luke Crane, head of games at the leading crowdfunding platform. He said that the amount of money pledged to successful projects was up 29 percent year over year.

In 2016, Kickstarter crowdfunding as a whole was down significantly with 5.8 percent less in backer revenue than the year before. It was the first time it had seen a decline since its founding in 2009. Video games in particular were hit hard, with a nearly 60 percent decline.

Call of Duty argument may have led to fatal swatting incident

about X hours ago from
Call of Duty argument may have led to fatal swatting incident

Police in Wichita, Kansas shot and killed a man after responding to an emergency call, according to a report from The Wichita Eagle. Follow-up reports from players and viewers familiar with the individuals involved say death may be a result of swatting.

The Wichita Eagle reported that police were called to a home on the evening of Dec. 28 to investigate, following a phone call about a possible homicide and hostage incident. When a 28-year-old man opened the door, an officer fired his weapon. The man, whom police have not officially identified, was pronounced dead at the hospital. Family members later identified the victim as Andrew Finch.

Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us explains how Star Wars changed toys forever

about X hours ago from
Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us explains how Star Wars changed toys forever

If you’ve run out of holiday classics to snuggle up with during holiday vacation, allow me to recommend The Toys That Made Us, a new documentary series on Netflix. Don’t let the first episode’s opening scene of a low-budget historical recreation put you off. This is a serious documentary about iconic American toy lines, including Star Wars, Barbie, He-Man and G.I. Joe, and it is absolutely worth your time.

The first four episodes are up on Netflix right now, with the promise of four more to come in 2018. Each nearly hour-long program is crammed full of on-camera interviews with the principal designers of these major toy lines. Their commentary lifts the veil on how characters like Snake Eyes and Skeletor became household names. The level of access that the research team was able to get is astounding. Subjects include former CEOs of major toy companies and even members of the legal teams that negotiated historic licensing agreements.

Pokémon Go’s most exotic regional exclusive won’t be easy to find

about X hours ago from
Pokémon Go’s most exotic regional exclusive won’t be easy to find

To find one of Pokémon Go’s new region-exclusive Pokémon, you may have to take a vacation. Members of The Silph Road subreddit have found substantial evidence that Relicanth, one of the rarest Pokémon introduced in the game’s third-generation update, can only be found around a handful of countries in the Pacific Islands.

Players have reported finding Relicanth in just a few areas: Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanatu, as well as New Zealand, the most populous of the four. With just around six million people living in these countries combined, not many Pokémon Go trainers have seen the coveted water- and rock-type.

The 50 most anticipated games of 2018

about X hours ago from
The 50 most anticipated games of 2018

When it comes to games, this past year is going to be a hard act to follow. But 2018 is skipping onto the stage with a flourish of promising titles.

Massive sequels like The Last of Us Part 2 and Red Dead Redemption 2 are likely to appear. Highly creative oddities like Where the Water Tastes Like Wine and Wattam are moving up for release. Multiplayer games like Anthem, Crackdown 3 and Sea of Thieves are looking to change the way we play collectively.

Nintendo Switch overtakes PS2’s first-year sales record in Japan

about X hours ago from
Nintendo Switch overtakes PS2’s first-year sales record in Japan

Nintendo Switch has had a huge December over in Japan, with nearly 900,000 systems sold by Dec. 24. Based on the most recent cumulative sales data from Famitsu, the country’s biggest gaming publication, Nintendo has now sold just under 3.3 million Switch consoles in its homeland — both edging out PlayStation 2’s first-year sales numbers and matching Wii U’s lifetime sales to date.

Comparing PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Switch’s first 12 months on the market paint an interesting picture, as helpfully shown by a table from fan site Nintendo Soup. Both consoles launched in early March, not typically a crowded time for new releases. But while the Switch sold an impressive 520,000 units in its first month, the PS2 blasted it away: Sony sold almost 900,000 consoles in March 2000 alone, according to Famitsu data.

One of 2018’s most exciting indie games looks deceptively simple

about X hours ago from
One of 2018’s most exciting indie games looks deceptively simple

Modest art, minimal animation, few colors: Baba Is You looks like a bare-bones MS-DOS game, a dusty relic from the early ’80s. But it’s one of the most inventive games I played in 2017, and one of my most anticipated releases of 2018.

I won’t spoil its many surprises. Instead, I’ll try to concisely explain the way it operates. Baba Is You is a puzzle game, and like a good joke, it loses something when explained. Stick with me.