Game of Thrones – Episode Three Review: Words are Wind

game-of-thrones-episode-three-headerOne criticism that Telltale has faced since their renaissance with The Walking Dead is that their games have become quite formulaic. There’s a lot of talking, some needless quick-time events and a helix story structure that only diverges based on your choices for a short period before following the intended plot. But even with those complaints, Telltale is very good at telling their story.

The problem is that when you release games episodically, there’s an expectation for the climax inside the episode and to build the “season”-long story at the same time. The first two episodes of Telltale’s Game of Thrones have been serviceable as their own episodes but they haven’t rushed to build a story going forward. With Episode Three: The Sword in the Darkness, Game of Thrones properly drives us forward in the season-long narrative.

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Game of Thrones: The Gift Review

game-of-thrones-the-gift-headerAccording to Rotten Tomatoes, last week’s episode of Game of Thrones was the lowest rated among critics in the show’s history. The final scene was that controversial, apparently. I guess people who watched all 46 episodes of the show are few and far between. Actually, that makes sense given viewership has grown with each season.

This week’s episode was a lot less controversial but did nothing less to move the plot forward. As the show moves toward this season’s conclusion, The Gift certainly gave us a sharp push towards a thrilling conclusion to stories in King’s Landing and Winterfell.

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Game of Thrones: The Musical

In an effort to boost sagging ratings, NBC borrowed the British charity fundraiser Red Nose Day to bring together some much needed star power to get people to watch the network. One of the skits for Red Nose Day was combining the forces of Coldplay and Game of Thrones to create Game of Thrones: The Musical.

Whether you like Coldplay or not, it’s a pretty good skit. A bunch of cast members show up and are pretty hard to recognize out of costume, including Mark Addy and Alfie Allen. It also has some random cameos including Addy (who is awesome in this), Charlotte Hope and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. And that doesn’t even mention narration by Liam Neeson. Sadly, no Team Dragonstone.

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Game of Thrones: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken Review

game-of-thrones-unbowed-unbent-unbroken-headerAfter a fairly underwhelming episode last week, this week, Game of Thrones is right back on course and I don’t think that anyone of note died this week. See? We don’t need bloodshed (okay, there was a little non-death bloodshed) or titillation to have a great episode of Game of Thrones. This, by the way, was a great episode of Game of Thrones. Sure, it might have been controversial and angered a number of people but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.

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Game of Thrones: Kill the Boy Review

game-of-thrones-kill-the-boy-headerSo everyone who pirated the first four episodes of the season had to wait a month for this. I bet they were disappointed. After being left with a massive cliffhanger at the end of Sons of the Harpy, there wasn’t a whole lot of action or adventure in this week’s episode of Game of Thrones. If anything, it’s almost as if this was an episode ten to last week’s episode nine. Not that such a comparison would make most people happy.

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Game of Thrones: Sons of the Harpy Review

game-of-thrones-the-sons-of-the-harpy-headerWhile the first three episodes were pretty good, if a bit slow, Game of Thrones needed to pull the trigger on something big to keep most people engaged in the show. Last week, I called it “the fireworks factory.” This week, Game of Thrones went bang. If you were waiting for something big to happen, you were certainly taken care of this week.

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Game Trailers Roundup for May 4, 2015

Another week, another roundup of the biggest and best trailers in the world of video games. This week, we have nine trailers for you to watch. For the most part, we have launch trailers for Broken Age, Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown, Project CARS, State of Decay: Year-One Survival Edition and WWE 2K15 on PC. And if those don’t float your boat, you can always check out the latest for Batman: Arkham Knight and Just Cause 3.

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Geek Links of the Week

Good news! NASA’s Electromagnetic Drive might actually work which means that we could travel to Alpha Centauri in 92 years! Sign someone else up! [io9]

The cost of dial-up internet is going up. An elderly Californian man got a dial-up bill from AT&T for $24,000. [LA Times]

Remember ESPN’s cell phone and network venture? They’d rather you didn’t but it did help them become a big player in the mobile sports space. [Vice Sports]

GrooveShark is dead. Long live GrooveShark. [Reuters]

I can’t get it to work for me but apparently you can play old DOS games from the Internet Archive in tweets. [Daily Dot]

Heroes of the Storm Closed Beta Impressions: Enter the Storm

heroes-of-the-storm-beta-headerApart from free-to-play mobile tower defence games, I’m not sure there’s a more crowded genre in gaming than MOBA. At the top of the pile, you have League of Legends and Dota 2. Smite is probably the #3 MOBA though Heroes of Newerth would probably give it a run for its money. You’ve also got the like of Strife and Infinite Crisis too. There are probably plenty of other that I can throw in there but I don’t want a 1,000 word intro.

The problem is that while each game has its little intricacies, they all feel fairly similar at the end of the day. You play one member of a five-player team on a three-lane map with towers that you must power through in order to destroy the central structure of the enemy base.

Heroes of the Storm doesn’t completely revolutionize the basics of a MOBA. It’s still a five-on-five match to destroy the enemy team’s core. However, Blizzard has taken the standard Point A to Point B approach to MOBAs and turned it on its head. What results is the most unique MOBA on the market right now.

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eSports Weekend Calendar: May 1 – 3, 2015

I don’t know about you but I was glued to Heroes of the Dorm last weekend. While I’m a fan of the shorter (15 to 25 minute) matches, it would seem that they work for TV even better. Unless broadcasters and publishers would compromise on split-screen ads or live reads or big ad banners during matches, HOTS may dominate the TV eSports scene in North America just through sheer sponsor-friendliness. That and because the matches were awesome.

I think I’ve mentioned it before but I had a provisional offer to be a League of Legends caster for a friend of a friend but that fell through when the organizers weren’t actually willing to put any money into their league (no money for prize pool, graphics, music or casters made it a failed venture before it launched). I think it worked out for the best because I’d much rather get in on the ground floor with HOTS eSports than League even if it’s at its peak. How does one become a MOBA caster anyway?

Anyway, there isn’t much HOTS this weekend. League has the LCK Spring Grand Final. Elsewhere, CS:GO and Hearthstone have some big championships being decided this weekend. More Dota 2 leagues work through the group stages. And Gfinity has some big names competing for a $10,000 prize pool and 1,800 WCS points at their Spring Masters II.

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