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    Steam Expanding to Other Things, Domination to Follow

    Steam must play third base, because their corner of the industry is just about the hottest lately. Today, Valve has announced that the upcoming World power will expand beyond games, releasing "Software" titles on the platform as well. Oh snap.

    The mysterious "Software" will begin to trickle onto Steam beginning September 5 and will include noted Steamworks features such as easy installation, automatic updating, and the ability to save your work to the Steam cloud.

    The base set of Software will range from creativity to productivity applications, with future titles to release via Greenlight, Steam's community powered spam filter, assuring only quality makes it to the store, and subsequently to your library during one of the service's generous sales. 

    This is a bold move, but the right one for the bull market minded Valve. I can see drawing and editing programs being a huge success, especially if they are priced right. The market for word processing and data entry is probably a bit (a huge bit) less, but who knows, maybe pricing and features will bring some new customers to the service. With the high-profile troubles of torrent sites in both the near and distant past and future, an aggresively priced, quality crafted application could be the most painless get for bro who was just invited to Demonoid two days before ship sank. Talk about timing, right?

    No word on whether or not the Software will support chat and achievements, but I'm you'll know when you get that messge "Your friend is playing Photoshop".


    OK Let's GO: Pre-Purchase the Latest Counter-Strike on Steam

    I feel like I've already used that "OK Let's GO" bit in a prior article but I don't care - it's a good line. 

    Valve has announced today that Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is available for pre-purchase on Steam; and doing just that will net you some benefits. For those of you with a weak grip on your grip, CS:GO can be had for 10% less than its normal price: $13.49 as opposed to $14.99. That's $1.50 that you could use on a bag of chips or something. Go on, indulge yourself. 

    The additional benefit is early access to the beta on August 14, a full week before the title's proper release, and plenty of time to get your DEagle shined, primed, and aligned for the couple hundred thousand you should expect to face off against in the following months.

    As alluded, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive releases on August 21. Good times to follow. 


    Deadlight: Wake Up Dead

    I am no longer a fan of the zombies, and very rarely do I find myself wanting to play a game that uses the mindless undead as its dominant trait. In an odd turn of events, I felt compelled by new jack developer Tequila Works' initial release, Deadlight. Maybe it's because I've been dying to play a fresh new 2D action platformer for months? Maybe the bits of jumping and climbing punctuated by motion comic interludes worthy of a graphic novel was too much to turn down? Maybe she's born with it? Maybe it's Maybelline. Whatever it could have possibly been, I jumped into the deep, dark, zombie abyss with a 360 controller and high hopes.

    Click to read more ...


    Brilliance in Design: ASCIIvania

    Who says the most beautiful graphics, a Trent Reznor scored soundtrack, and gratuitous sex & violence is what makes games what they are? Me, sometimes. I call it like I see 'em! Here in one fine ass example of the latter, however. ASCIIvania is sorta like classic Castlevania, except the crumbling floors, Medusa heads, and whips have been replaced with letters, numbers, and symbols. As you explore the winding map, you find power-ups in the form of usable letters, which you can then change into to create words with the environment, which in turn opens up more of the map. You can also find symbols which allow you to double jump, reverse gravity, et al. Seriously, this description does no justice to the game itself. Please kill some time with ASCIIvania, you owe it to the classic gamer within that dies a little each time you pay $60 for a game. 

    I never quite expected MS-DOS to so closely resemble the pride of my childhood, however this does the deed. Brilliant.

    ASCIIvania via Rock, Paper, Shotgun 


    Game of Souls: The Game of Thrones Fighting Game

    Click to expand for a better view, guess them all for serious props!

    Some time early this year, I came to the shocking realization that I'm a senseless addict to the crack which is Game of Thrones. It started as a simple gravitation toward Sean Bean, blossomed into snapping at my roommate and girlfriend for chatting during an episode, and continues to manifest itself as fervent book reading during the lull between seasons two and three of HBO's adaptation of George R. R. Martin's epic. It only make sense that I find a way to bring together two things which I love: A Song of Ice and Fire's beautifully depressing universe and video games.

    Using the gratuitous character creation tools of Soul Calibur V, I created a real (fake) Game of Thrones fighting game, the likes of which has been dreamt up by numerous geeks, I'm sure. The result is Game of Souls, 40 custom characters which span all of HBO's season one and two arcs, which cover ASOIAF's A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, respectively. Some characters unfortunately didn't make the cut (Jory, Rodrik, etc) and not all of the characters logically belong, but it sure is fun to extract Stark vengeance from some Lannister ass with Hodor!

    Unfortunately, while capturing glorious hi-def battle footage, my hard drive crapped out, leaving me with insufficient space to capture all the goods. So until I can come upon a new hard drive, enjoy this teaser image of all created characters and a shitty clip of Arya Stark squaring off against Tywin Lannister (some of the best exchanges in season 2, as a matter of fact.) 


    Cult Classic JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Gets HD Treatment

    Ora vs. Muda: the eternal struggle

    What kind of bizarre (nyo ho!) world am I living in that I get to blabber about JoJo's Bizarre Adventure twice in the span of a week? Last week's announcement of All-Star Battle made my pants slightly tighter, and a few days later the deal has been sealed with the announcement of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Ver. 

    Let's be honest here, the "HD" is just a smoothing filter processed over the original pixels, but ask me if I give a fuck. Go ahead, ask. NOPE. I don't, I'm just ecstatic to be able to play this brilliant fighting game again with a slew of new features including:

    • "HD" graphics with the option of playing in the original SD glory
    • Online matchmaking: choose opponents based on location, skill, connection speed, etc.
    • Battle Point and Player Point fueled leaderboards
    • Eight player online lobby, spectator mode included
    • Save and share match replays

    If that's not enough to get you excited, then you clearly never played the game the first go 'round, which was way ahead of its time in just about all respects. And if you haven't, this is a great time to play a ground breaking classic. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure HD Ver. releases for XBLA and PSN on August 21 at the very Capcom price of $20. 



    JoJo's Bizarre Adventure WRYYYYYYYs to PS3 in 2013

    JoJo's Bizarre Adventure followed the manga very closely, and All-Star Battle looks to do the same

    Back in the day, I used to stay up all night beating on my friends in the bounteous fighting games Sega's Dreamcast provided. Gods, those were good times. Amongst the fighters, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure stood out for its quirkiness and interesting take on the genre. Much like the 'toon (which was one of the last anime I really enjoyed,) the game was about humans with psychic familiars called Stands, who were at their owner's whim. You could summon them for spot attacks to spruce up combos or fully project them to lash out against your adversary from full-screen length. These mechanics, along with the style, humor, and dope art, made JoJo a winner.

    Those years are long past, and I thought I'd never be hyped for another game set in the JoJoverse. Though the manga continued on, game offerings were sparse and did nothing for me when compared to the brilliance of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Imagine my - and the entire industry's - shock when Namco Bandai announced JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle as a PlayStation 3 exclusive. Not much has been explained as of yet, but the included trailer speaks volumes, kinda. Gyro Zeppeli rocking the etched grill, gangsta certified.

    JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle is being developed by CyberConnect2 (Asura's Wrath, Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series) and is due out in 2013 for Japanese PS3s. Namco Bandai, do me this one favor and bring this game over to the States, I will be forever indebted.


    Dishonored: Six Million Ways to Die, or Not

    News, screens, and footage of Dishonored never fail to disappoint. I haven't seen any other game that looks like it might come close to Arkane's first person stealth action affair except for maybe Halo 4, and I only say that as an extremely biased champion of the Halo series. Last week, Bethesda offered us two sizeable clips of how metal-faced terrorist Corvo Atano gets down, so I wanted to make sure you are all on alert for this wild ride of teleportation, possession, and stabbiness.

    Dishonored allows the player to act as they see fit and solve problems with a soft step or the sharp end of a sword, with various means to each end. Feeling stealthy? Teleport up a building and mosey through an open window. Or, possess a freakin' fish and swim in through the sewage system. If living the piscine life doesn't sound appealing, stop time and put a crossbow bolt through 3 simultaneous faces. Or, stick a grenade on a poor sap and gust him out a closed window, showering the world below in shattered glass and flaming limbs. Or just summon a pack of rats to do your bidding. Either way, options are good, and you will have plenty of them come October 9. 

    Pre-order Dishonored from Amazon


    Just Another Gear in Valve's World Domination Machine

    The other day I watched the latest of Valve's shorts, called 'Meet the Pyro'. You see, Team Fortress 2, like many of Valve's other games, has a huge following of die-hard fans who do everything from watching at its very basic, to modding the living shit out of anything and everything related to the game. So they release these short films that explain the cast of very literal characters that star in this blockbuster. Each and every of these shorts are incredibly well done in every way, so much that at times I'm forced to step back, scratch my head, and say "Hot damn, how the fuck do they work this magic?" Well, here are answers. 

    Valve has a little something called the Source Filmmaker, which takes footage from any Source game (Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Half Life 2, etc) and allows you to edit it in just about any cinematic way you can dream up. It's quite incredible what the tool allows you to do in real time; change animations, change lighting, you name it and I'm pretty sure it can be done. The Source Filmmaker is currently in beta, but you can get in on the fun - as well as learn more about what you can do with the tool - by signing up at the Source Filmmaker homepage.

    Valve just knocks everything out of the park. Everything they do turns to gold. Except for the that collaboration with Adult Swim. Seriously guys? Two of the most ass-kicking entities in media and all you could come up with was a fucking Robot Chicken hat? Xaro Xhoan Weaksauce. 


    Punch Things in the Face in Punch Quest

    Here is a trailer for a simple little iOS game called Punch Quest which looks like Jetpack Joyride meets Fists of Fury. Not a bad thing. From the look of things you'll have access to a load of power-ups such as exploding punches, long range punches, blue punches, projectile spitting mounts, and things of that sort. 

    Punching monsters in the face so hard that they explode is an idea I can get behind. The two button control scheme (left tap and right tap) is so simple that it can't possibly go wrong. This is 99 cents (two bucks, tops!) that I will would gladly throw at the app store. 

    Update: Expect Punch Quest to launch in Fall at a freeish pricepoint, having opted for the coin in-app purchase model that seems to be all the rage these days. Works for me. If you're dead set on spending though, I will gladly take your 99c and give you a face punch in return. Warming up for the game, ya know? Hooray for journalism!

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