eSports Weekend Calendar: September 19 – 21, 2014

After a week away from League of Legends, it comes back in full force in this week’s eSports Weekend Calendar. It’s the start of the group stages for the 2014 World Championship. The sixteen top teams are playing down for the $1,000,000 championship grand prize. This week is the group stages with the playoff stages next week.

Elsewhere, StarCraft II features the Red Bull Battle Grounds grand final with Red Bull Battle Grounds: Washington tournament. Over in the Dota 2 space, Sina Cup 5 wraps up this weekend with the upper and lower bracket finals on Friday and the Grand Final on Sunday. And ESL One continues its qualifiers for the big New York event at Madison Square Garden.

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The ESRB Turns 20 (Infographic)

Did you know that the Entertainment Software Ratings Board issued its first video game ratings twenty years ago Tuesday? On September 16th, 1994, the ESRB’s first set of ratings included such games as Doom (for Sega 32X), Pitfall (for SNES) and Sonic Triple Trouble (for Sega Game Gear).

Over the last twenty years, the ESRB has rated tens of thousands of games, tweaked the ratings system a couple of times (they replaced Kids to Adults with Everyone and later added an E10+ category), changed the look of the ratings a couple of times and recently introduced content warnings for “interactive elements” of games.

For a look back at the history of the ESRB, they’ve released a handy infographic looking at 20 years of the ESRB and game ratings.

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The Walking Dead: Season Two Review: Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

the-walking-dead-season-two-bannerTelltale Games had a bit of an up-and-down reputation prior to the release of The Walking Dead. That game completely changed the way that most thought of Telltale and many critics felt that they set the bar for storytelling in games. After the numerous game of the year awards for TWD and a critically acclaimed launch for The Wolf Among Us, Telltale’s second comic book adaptation, The Walking Dead: Season Two was one of the most hotly anticipated games of 2014.

The problem with a game with all that hype is that it occasionally bogs down under the weight. The problem with a sequel is that they struggle to balance the needs of new gamers to the franchise with the desires of people continuing the story. There were times when TWD:S2 caved to these pressures as Telltale tried very hard to copy what made Season One so loved but missing the emotional mark that Season One hit. However, once Season Two came into its own, Telltale had put out another stellar experience.

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Formula E Beijing ePrix: Debuting with a Bang

formula-e-2014-beijing-di-grassi-victoryThe following post was originally written for The Lowdown Blog and was geared towards a motorsport audience. Most of the analysis is gear toward that audience rather than a tech crowd. However, I felt the first race of an all-electric motorsport series was worth posting about here.

The first ever race for the first ever international all-electric motorsports series got off with a bang. I mean that in both a literal and metaphorical sense too. For all the worries about the potential issues with Formula E, they put on a pretty good show despite the pit stop and car change nonsense. However, the race started and ended with literal bangs thanks to a Turn 2 incident on Lap 1 and a final turn incident on the final lap.

The result was that 24 laps and 19 corners of a race lead for Nicolas Prost was thrown away with one dangerous move that took him out of the lead and nearly injured Nick Heidfeld. That let Lucas di Grassi through to ink his name in the record books as the first ever Formula E race winner.

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Poor Destiny Reviews May Have Cost Bungie a $2.5 Million Bonus

destiny-headerIt’s been reported in the past that developers have big bonuses tied to slightly arbitrary metrics like aggregated review scores. Fallout: New Vegas was infamous for Obsidian falling 1% short of its bonus goal on Metacritic.

Now, one of 2014’s most anticipated games and the new record holder for number of pre-orders for a new IP will fall afoul of its own review score goal. Destiny might have made a reported $500 million for Activision but Bungie won’t be picking up a reported $2.5 million bonus for scoring a 90% aggregated review score.

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Comic Book Pull List for September 17, 2014

thor-god-of-thunder-25When I do pull list recommendations, I try to look for new or interesting comics that might be worth a read. This week seems a little harder than usual to pick out recommendations. I suppose a good place to start would be the series finale of Thor: God of Thunder. Issue #25 will be the final Thor comic before we get the debut of the new female Thor in a series to start in October.

And DC continues their Future’s End series of comics with this week’s offerings including Justice League, Batman/Superman, Superman/Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman.

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Microsoft Buys Mojang for $2.5 Billion

minecraft-xbox-one-edition-headerThe rumours are true. The biggest little indie studio in the world is being bought by the biggest evil empire in gaming (except for maybe EA… and Ubisoft). The earlier reports about Microsoft buying Minecraft developer Mojang was just a little off the mark. The US tech giant bought the Swedish indie studio for a whopping $2.5 billion.

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Haven: See No Evil Review

haven-title-card-bannerWhen we last left Haven’s version of the Scooby Gang, everybody was in rough shape. Dave shot himself thanks to Dwight’s trouble. Duke was bleeding from the eyes after all the Crocker family absorbed troubles came back on him and started tearing him apart from the inside. Jennifer keeled over dead because of evil supernatural door reasons. Oh, and Audrey’s body is now hosting her original incarnation, Mara. Just another day in the life of Haven.

So with all those plot threads left dangling at the end, there’s a lot that needs to be taken care of in the fifth season premiere.

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Game Trailers Roundup for September 15, 2014

It’s been far, far too long since I’ve done a roundup of recently released game trailers. When they come out, I add them to my watch later list on YouTube and that list has gotten embarrassingly long. Between triple-As, double-As and indie titles, there are scads of trailers that we need to catch you up on.

This week, we’ve got some upcoming releases including Forza Horizon 2 and Crimes and Punishments to help you put together an end of the month shopping list. If Pokemon is more your speed, we have a couple of trailers for that too. Maybe you’re a horror fan? There are trailers for Alien: Isolation and Resident Evil: Revelations 2. And that’s just some of the trailers we have for you.

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YouTuber Recreates Guardians of the Galaxy Opening in Destiny

It took me until Labour Day weekend but I finally saw Guardians of the Galaxy. There really isn’t a whole lot else to do when you’re a tourist in Sudbury once you get Science North out of the way. I don’t really do movie reviews but I think I can sum it up as being absolutely awesome.

One thing that I really loved was the soundtrack of oldies hits. I wasn’t expecting it when Redbone’s Come And Get Your Love came on at the start of the movie but it made for a great opener. And one thing that everyone seems to like about Bungie’s Destiny is the ability to bust a move on a whim. Naturally, that leads to the epic mashup of epic mashups as Guardians of the Galaxy meets Destiny in this video by Somewhat Awesome Games.

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