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Humble Weekly Simulators 2: Universe Sandbox, Tropico 4

Simulator games aren’t ways to escape reality – they exist to make real life better. Did you always want to be a train conductor, only to find that plan derailed by the demands of money and opportunity? Simulators have you covered. Do you wish you…
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Learning about our own universe by modeling it in Elite: Dangerous

The New Yorker investigates how the virtual universe generated in Elite: Dangerous based on actual astronomical data is helping us better understand our own place in the galaxy. …


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Sega’s 8-bit universe beats itself up in Master System Brawl

If the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS has you jonesing for a similar arena fighter featuring Sega’s classic characters, you’ll want to check out Sega Master System Brawl (direct download link), a recently updated homebrew…
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DC Universe Online Brings the Fury

They say Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, imagine a tribe of scorned super powered Amazons rampaging through Gotham City. This is the setting for the new DC Universe Online DLC Amazon Fury Part 1.

Amazon Fury takes place in an alternate Gotham City called Gotham Under Siege, where the queen of the Amazons has attacked Gotham City because of Brainac’s attack on the Amazon home Paradise Island. The Amazon queen Hippolyta blames humans for Braniac’s attack and creates an alliance with Cerce to get her revenge, while Wonder Woman goes against her mother with an army of Amazons to help defend Gotham City and mankind.

The DLC will feature the new open area Gotham Under Siege, a four-player alert adventure and two new duos. Players will also be able to play as either Wonder Woman or Circe in new solo iconic visions, which will allow players to take part in events which have led up to the Amazon civil war.

The DLC is the first part of the Amazon Fury trilogy and is available today on PC, PS3, and PS4. For more, check out the DC Universe website here.


That VideoGame Blog

Star Wars Expanded Universe (including games) no longer canon

Many bothans died to bring us this information: The Star Wars Expanded Universe – or EU for short – is getting cut from Star Wars canon like hands get cut from the Skywalker family. In a news post on the official Star Wars site, Lucasfilm announced…
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Transformers Universe Is A MOBA In Disguise

Jagex might be calling Transformers Universe a “MOTA” (that’s multiplayer tactical action game), but it looks an awful lot like a MOBA. A new gameplay trailer gives us a look at Hasbro’s ever-popular robots in disguise duking it out.

The Runescape developer has shifted the title from a traditional MMO that put players in control of a single Autobot or Decepticon to something more akin to toy collection. Commanders will assemble teams of transformers to do battle with other players.

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There is still an MMO undercurrent, but Jagex says the game isn’t an MMORPG or MOBA. It will feature both PvE and PvP gameplay. Transformers Universe is in beta now, and you can sign up for access on the official site.

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Entropia Universe couple gets married both in game and real life

Love is in the air here at That VideoGame Blog. In fact, I know of two TVGB authors and one Editor-in-Chief who are getting married this year! But I’m here to tell you about a couple that defied all odds, fell in love and got married through a video game.

Karen Oderkirk and Jetze Koole first met online back in 2011, thus beginning their online gaming career (and relationship) together. They eventually starting playing Entropia Universe, the largest Massively Multiplayer Online Real Cash Economy game (or MMORCE).

I could tell you more about their love story myself but the press release discussing their marriage says it best.

“Not long afterwards they bought a two-person spaceship, and using their interceptor they toured the other planets eventually settling on Planet Cyrene.  During their time online together they got to know each other by talking in-game over Skype and developing a large group of mutual friends.  In 2012 they got married online in a ceremony officiated by a friendly starship captain.

“Real life took a little more time to get to the same stage as they were living in different countries.  Jetze lives in the Netherlands and Karen lived in the USA in California.  Karen decided to make the big move to be closer to Jetze and started on the long process of paperwork needed to get a permit to stay in the country.  In August of 2013 Karen finally got her permit, and a request for marriage approval was submitted to the town hall.  While it took a long time, the two are now a recently-married happy couple and continue to both play in Entropia Universe and in real life.”

Check out these amazing, love-filled photos of Karen’s and Jetze’s wedding (both virtual and real life) below.

On behalf of TVGB, I would just like to say that we love of all our readers, fans and advertisers. Thank you for being a part of our great community and remember, you never know where love will find you.

All images are courtesy of Game Press.


That VideoGame Blog

Jagex Delivers A Flashy Transformers Universe Trailer, But Not Many Details

Transformers Universe has been in development for some time, and we had a chance to interview members of the Jagex team almost a year ago. Since then, the title has shifted focus enough that Jagex is describing it not in traditional MMO terminology, but as a “MOTA.”

Transformers Universe will be a massively online tactical action game that runs in your browser and is free-to-play. Players will have control of a squad of Autobots or Decepticons. Beyond that though, we don’t know exactly how the game will shake out, as details are fairly thin right now.

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Thankfully, Jagex is getting ready to let players into a closed beta in advance of the summer 2014 launch. You can sign up for that here.

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Watch an hour of Nosgoth, the multiplayer game set in the Legacy of Kain universe

Psyonix Studios dished out three videos for Nosgoth, the team-based human vs. vampire multiplayer PC game set in the same world as the Legacy of Kain series. Published by Square Enix, the free-to-play action game was first announced in September…
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Doki-Doki Universe Review – HumaNature’s Whimsical Adventure Is Far From Robotic

I land my winged hamburger onto the planet’s surface, and my robot lumberjack dismounts. After a quick scan, I see that one of the insectoid inhabitants is carrying a present. I try to get on its good side, summoning what I think is an object that the creature will appreciate: a stack of pancakes. This angers Big Bug, as he wants nothing to do with breakfast. I also learn that he hates birds (for more obvious reasons, perhaps). Eventually, he gives me the present in hopes that I’ll go away. I still have much to learn.

Doki-Doki Universe is all about these types of little interactions. Over the course of your adventure, you and the robot, QT3, learn more about what makes insects, animals, and people tick. Most interestingly, you might actually learn a few things about yourself – or have your suspicions confirmed.

The setup is simple: Your bot is abandoned on a tiny spherical asteroid. A little green alien in a UFO swings by and says that your model has been rendered obsolete and is destined to be turned to scrap. The alien says that QT3 lacks humanity (unlike other models), making him ill-suited to work with people. There is hope, however. The alien is willing to guide QT3 and the player across the universe, stopping at a variety of planets to learn important lessons on subjects including devotion, jealousy, and prejudice. 

QT3 is a helpful little fellow, which means he’s already one step ahead of a toaster oven. He walks through brightly colored 2D worlds, meeting new characters along the way. Most of them have problems. Humanity or not, it’s a wonder that QT3 is in danger of being destroyed. He can summon objects just by thinking about them, which is the primary way that he and the player work things out on each planet. 

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For example, characters may feel that they’re in danger of being eaten by a sea monster. After talking to the sea monster on an underwater planet, I learned that his name is Michael (being called “sea monster” hurts his feelings), and that the only reason he kept chasing everyone’s pets was because he wanted to pet them. Armed with that information, I went back to the group and we decided that if Michael had a pet of his own, things would be better. From there, I was tasked with summoning up something that was large and lived in the sea.

Summoning is similar to how it works in Scribblenauts, though it’s different enough to seem fresh. In Scribblenauts, players write down words to bring them into the world. In Doki-Doki Universe, objects are represented by little pictograms in bubbles. Select the one you want, and QT3 pulls it into existence. The interesting bit is that only 20 objects appear in your inventory at a given time, from a total of 330. When I tried to pull up a whale for Michael, none of those 20 bubbles included a whale. There was a snail, however, and I clicked a button to bring up 20 bubbles that were similar to the snail. Alongside various bugs and creatures was the whale. It’s a clever system, since objects are classified by multiple fields that are invisible to the player. Hitting “try similar” on a yellow chick will not only bring up other birds, but the sun, a yellow dog, and a robot egg. If you hit a dead end, you can also just tap a button for a completely randomized selection.

Solving problems earns you presents, which can include new summons or objects to customize your home planet. You can also get presents by either getting on people’s good or bad sides, depending on the individual. To do that, you pull up objects that they like or admire, in the case of Big Bug and breakfast, abhor. You can brute force your way to those extremes by pulling up objects at random, but it’s far more efficient to speak with other characters to learn more about their idiosyncrasies. Some of those preferences are amusing, like a talking flower’s admission that poop is a guilty pleasure, or Dr. Therapist’s equal dislike of boys and girls.

Dr. Therapist is a bit of a crank, but he provides some of the most interesting material in the game. In addition to landing on planets, you can land on tiny asteroids and take personality quizzes. These are short – usually three or four questions at most – and they aim to show what kind of person you are, in broad strokes. As you complete more of these quizzes, however, Dr. Therapist invites you home, where he provides a more intricate look at you as a person. I doubt the results would hold up in court, but I found them to be an accurate glimpse of who I am.

I had a good time interacting with the various characters I met, thanks in large part to the sharp writing and unusual presentation. Everything is rendered in doodles with charming animations. I’ve never seen such a cute depiction of vomit, for instance. Some might look at the game and dismiss it as something for kids. On that front, they’re right. This is a great game for younger players.

It isn’t often that we get to play games that reward traits like compassion and empathy, and I found Doki-Doki Universe’s cheerful optimism refreshing. I played a bit of it with my son, and he enjoyed the silly scenarios (what six-year-old wouldn’t love a planet made of poo?). I appreciated that it gave us some natural starting points for conversations about bullying and pride. We played it in a few smaller sessions, which is probably the best way to play the game.

The pattern is monotonous in larger doses, since you’re essentially repeating the same object-fetching tasks over and over again. As you proceed, your inventory gets larger, which makes managing it a more time-consuming task. In an aggravating spin, QT3’s summons occasionally backfire, bringing up a completely unrelated object. It’s not the end of the world, but I thought it was annoying to sort through several layers of summons only to have my efforts wasted at random.

HumaNature Studios has created something genuinely good-natured and charming with Doki-Doki Universe. Even though elements get tedious, it was overall a welcome change of pace from the ordinary.

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