eSports Weekend Calendar: January 30 – February 1, 2015

For the first time since December, we’re back with another edition of the eSports Weekend Calendar. I think I picked a good weekend to get back into the swing of watching eSports. IEM is back for the first time since San Jose with a trip to the other side of the world for IEM Taipei. Assembly Winter 2015 has SC2, Hearthstone and ASUS ROG CS:GO action. The various League of Legends pro leagues are up and running. DOTA 2 fans aren’t left out in the cold either with the Asia Championships and MLG Pro League underway. There actually is something for everyone this weekend.

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Green Man Gaming Gets Into Publishing with Idol Hands

green-man-loaded-logoIf you’re willing to go beyond Steam when doing your game shopping, chances are you know about Green Man Gaming. Sure, they may not have as extensive a catalogue as Steam but they are generally just as good and many an occasion better with their discounts as Valve’s big behemoth.

But GMG isn’t content to just be my favourite digital store alternative to Steam. They’re expanding their product offering to become an indie game publisher as well. Their first published game is Idol Hands.

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Joystiq Rumoured to be Shut Down

joystiq-logoWe’re about a month removed from the original game magazine, CVG, being shut down but that isn’t stopping the games journalism industry from downsizing some more. Re/code is reporting that Joystiq, a gaming blog that’s been around for over 10 years, is on the chopping block.

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Comic Book Pull List for January 28, 2015

effigy-1Things might be quiet on the blog for the next little bit until I get a bit more free time to do some actual blogging. That doesn’t mean that the usual features are going quiet. For example, just because I haven’t found too much business of gaming to write about or time to review games doesn’t mean that comic publishers are slowing down as evidenced by this week’s pull list.

The comic that interests me the most this week is DC’s Effigy #1. It’s an occult murder mystery comic about a former child star who returns home to find a crazy cult who worship celebrities as gods is murdering people. I was sold just on the description. Meanwhile, Boom is starting a new series based on the card game you love to hate (or is that my friends I love to hate while playing it) with Munchkin #1. And to give equal opportunity, Marvel has the Uncanny Avengers #1 coming out this week to confuse me about what’s going on in the Marvel-verse even more.

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Game Trailers Roundup: January 26, 2015

I hadn’t heard of PAX South until this week but I suppose that if you were a gamer in Texas, having a popular convention in the neighbourhood would be a pretty cool thing. The nearest gaming convention to me is probably PAX East in Boston. Sure, I could do Fan Expo again but gaming is an afterthought there. Well, unless you want to watch vertical slices from Xbox and Ubi.

But thanks to PAX South, we have five trailers for you this week. For the most part, it’s DLC/expansion trailers but we have an announcement trailer for Milestone’s upcoming motorcycle racing game Ride. As a big fan of Tourist Trophy, I’m looking forward to that one.

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Comic Book Pull List for January 21, 2015

galaxy-quest-the-journey-continues-1We’ve got a few random-ish picks for the pull list recommendations because who doesn’t like when I go off the board in these posts?

Marvel is bringing the Power graphic novel series to comics. It’s not because of the graphic novel series, though. It’s because of the TV series airing on Sony’s PlayStation Network. Go figure. Anyway, it starts with Powers #1. Just for fun, I’ll be on the look out for a copy of Antarctic Press’ Steampunk Goldilocks one-shot. And Galaxy Quest is back. It’s Galaxy Quest: The Journey Continues #1 which may be the closest we ever get to a Galaxy Quest sequel, even if I say that I’m not interested in a Galaxy Quest sequel.

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Monument Valley Review: Uncanny Valley

monument-valley-headerI’ve never been much of a mobile gamer but that’s probably prejudices getting in the way. When I hear about a mobile game, I immediately think of a free-to-play game of fairly low quality and nearly impossible to play without dumping a pile of money into microtransactions.

Monument Valley isn’t one of those games. You have to pay up-front but you also don’t have to pay microtransactions and the gameplay is quite good. Unlike the stereotypical mobile fare, you could actually call Monument Valley a real video game.

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Game Trailers Roundup: January 19, 2015

There might not be much in the way of big releases this week but that doesn’t mean that we have a shortage of trailers for you to look at this week. Between triple-As, indies, mobile, MMOs and MOBAs, this week’s roundup has ten trailers for you to watch. And who said that this was a quiet time of year for games. Okay, news and actual games, yes. Trailers? Definitely looks like a busy time.

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The Dollars and Cents of Monument Valley

You might not have heard Monument Valley but the Escher-inspired mobile puzzle game was one of the smash hit mobile games of 2014. It was one of the best rated mobile games of 2014 (that isn’t Hearthstone, anyway) and was the only mobile game to pick up a Game Awards nomination for Best Indie Game.

While they’re becoming more frequent, paid mobile games are more the exception than the rule. Despite costing over $1.4 million to make (including the Forgotten Shores DLC), ustwo Games sold enough copies and made enough money to more than cover the costs and get them on their way to the next game.

The lesson that ustwo Games teaches us with their breakdown of the dollars and cents of Monument Valley is that you don’t have to have a terrible free-to-play play-to-win monetization model on top of a non-existent game to make money in the mobile space. If you build a great game, people will buy.

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PC Gamer Editor Writes About Ubisoft While in a Relationship with Ubi Employee

pc-gamer-ubisoft-headerSometimes it pays to avoid controversial topics because people will dissect you if you poke the bear. PC Gamer executive editor Tyler Wilde just learned this one the hard way.

Wilde posted a column on PC Gamer advocating for the end of the term “PC Master Race” (while making some comparisons of the term to the Nazis) but I don’t think he expected what the fallout would be. While he had to weather the unfortunately expected personal attacks, he also had his personal life dragged into the matter. That’s because Wilde is dating a communications specialist for Ubisoft while still writing about Ubisoft for PC Gamer without disclosing his relationship.

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