Tagged With guest editorial

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In video game years, Mario Kart 8 is already middle-aged yet remains virile. It maintains a healthy population of online racers over fourteen months past its May 2014 launch. By most accounts, the Wii U version of the seminal kart racer is the series' high watermark, resplendent in its HD gloss and detail-rich course design, and already rejuvenated twice with a generous double-helping of extra tracks, characters, and cars. Listen to the masses, though, and there is a lone flaw just waiting to be nipped-and-tucked: Battle Mode.

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We met on Tuesdays and Thursdays on the muddy shores of Lakeshire. There were 40 of us, alternatives in tow, laughing, buffing, flaunting. We exorcised our pre-raid jitters as best we could. North of Lakeshire lay the sinister Burning Steppes, home of Blackrock Mountain and home of our hopes and dreams. Blackwing Lair lingered at the top of the spire, promising extraordinary treasure and server-first accolades. On our leader's mark, we rode together. It was dangerous to go alone.

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When it comes to Pokémon, I am a scrub. My familiarity with the series amounts to little more than "I think Digimon has the better cartoon and monster designs", and a few hours with Fire Red half a dozen years ago. But when I recently acquired a New 3DS XL, my first Nintendo handheld, I decided to try last year's Pokémon: Alpha Sapphire. Here's what I learned.

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Hadouken, Shoryuken, Sonic Boom... Street Fighter's moves are as iconic as the characters that wield them, but one move in particular has had a greater impact on both the Street Fighter series and its competitive gaming history than any of those — the parry.

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64 hours. 23 hours. 42 hours. 28 hours. Somewhere on a grassy plain trying to figure out if I should spend my days hunting down one of many pending side quests. Somewhere deep in the ocean chasing mermaids. Somewhere making preparations for my next strategic battle. These are all the places I'm willing to leave behind — unexplored and unresolved — because I'm wondering if I give a damn about JRPGs anymore.

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The Grand Theft Auto series is the ultimate commentary on modern America. Greed, lust, money and crime are wrapped together into a Las Vegas buffet of a game that is entertaining, insightful and overwhelming in its sheer variety.

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It used to be that a player's 'extra lives' were an immediate, ever-present concern. It's a staple from the arcade era; there had to be a "Game Over" so that someone else could play, and also so people could keep sticking quarters into the machines. And so, when video games made their way over to the home consoles, the lives system followed with it.

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Super Mario World, Sonic The Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, Banjo Kazooie — the number of platforming series and characters that rose to stardom in the '90s was notably the highest in gaming history. Truly a golden age. But for every new Mario game there was always a few lesser-known titles waiting in the wings. Those titles deserve some recognition.

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February will bring the remake of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask where Link must save the world over a three day cycle that loops in a terrifying fashion, each cycle bringing life in the hopes of changing a doomed, stagnant world.

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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves was an immediate game-changer when Naughty Dog released it in 2009. As a high octane love letter to Indiana Jones and the 1950s adventure serials that inspired it, it set an ideal expectation for the adventure genre — never give the player an opportunity to breathe. Every objective must serve the plot, every visual must impress. Every gunfight must be organic and unique to its setting, and spring from the context of the narrative, rather than simply exist for its own sake.

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Video games often employ lots of cruel tricks in which gamers find themselves in precarious pickles — the gigantic and seemingly impossible bosses, timers, that last collectable that requires precision to attain. But the most cruel trick of all? Taking away our weapons.

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The future is scary and, according to these 15 dystopias in video games, it's going to get a lot stranger before things get better.

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"I refuse to buy microtransactions in any game. They're trashy, greedy, and their existence shows nothing but disrespect for players. No matter how they're implemented they cause me nothing but unbridled hatred toward whatever marketing department decided to infect an otherwise decent game with the hyper-capitalist video game equivalent of herpes."