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Sneaky Zebra Teams With The Witcher For The Sorceress Of Vengerberg Video

Sneaky Zebra, a YouTube channel devoted to the showcase of cosplay, has teamed up with The Witcher developer CD Projekt RED for its latest video, The Sorceress of Vengerberg.

The video also serves to announce a Witcher costume contest taking place on July 24, presumably at Comic-Con. The website for the cosplay contest, thewitcher.com/cosplay, actually offers very few details on what the contest is, how to enter, or what is in store for the winner. CD Projekt RED's community manager Marcin Momot confirmed the contest's existence linking to the video you see below on a thread discussing it on the developer's message boards, but offered no additional details.

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For more on The Witcher III, which releases February 24, click the banner below.

[Source: Sneaky Zebra on YouTube, Contest]

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First Image From Adam Sandler Video Game Comedy PIxels Is Online

Pixels, an upcoming comedy starring Adam Sandler about classic video games attacking Earth, has its first cast image.

The image, which shows most of the films major cast including Adam Sandler, Josh Gad, Peter Dinklage (with an impressive mullet), and Michelle Monaghan, can be found on Entertainment Weekly's website. Kevin James also stars in the film as the president of the United States. Unfortunately, the aspect of the film we're most interested in seeing – the special effects of classic video games attacking a city – do not feature.

The film, which is based on the short seen below (the image above is pulled from that short) is also inspired by science fiction comedy films like Ghostbusters, according to director Chris Colombus. Columbus is known for directing Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, and the first two Harry Potter films. He also helped write and produce films like The Goonies and Gremlins.

The film is expected to release May 15, 2015.

[Source: Entertainment Weekly]

 

Our Take
I like Chris Columbus, and I also really like the short that inspired the film. I'm definitely curious to get a better look at the movie, because it sounds like a bizarre, but very interesting premise.


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Video: Rebuilding Crimewatch, EVE Online’s player policing system

In this GDC 2014 talk, CCP Games’ Matt Woodward explores how “Crimewatch,” EVE Online’s policing and aggression management system, got into such a bad state — and how his team went about redesigning it. …


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Video: Understanding the successful relaunch of Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn director Naoki Yoshida speaks candidly at GDC 2014 about how Square Enix stumbled when launching their second big MMORPG — and how it found its footing. …


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Video Games: The Movie Review

As the title suggests, Video
Games: The Movie
aims to tell the entire history of the industry in a
little over an hour and a half. Whether it's due to having too wide a focus or
just poor craftsmanship, the film is unsatisfying, shallow, and oddly
structured.

As a longtime game journalist, I'm glad to see that
documentarians are turning their eye toward video games; the industry is full
of stories that deserve to be told. Unlike recent films like
Indie Game: The Movie or Free To Play, which were structured
around a handful of individual people,
Video
Games: The Movie
aims higher. It's intended to be a comprehensive history
of video games, from its humble mid-century beginnings to the commercial
dominance of today.

It is a noble idea. Director Jeremy Snead reached out to fans
on Kickstarter in 2013 and raised $ 107,235 – well over his goal of $ 60,000. I
assume much more was contributed by executive producers actor Zach Braff (
Garden State), game designer Cliff
Bleszinski (Gears of War), and Sony executive David Perry (PlayStation Now).
The film has top-notch production values, including a plethora of animated
infographics and an effective opening-credits sequence that details the
evolution of games over time.

Sadly, production values mean little when the film itself is
so muddled. It's one of the most strangely structure documentaries I've ever
seen. Instead of progressing in chronological order, Video Games: The Movie
speeds through its entire timeline in the first half hour, then bounces back in
time spotlighting aspects of the industry's history seemingly at random. One
minute someone is extolling the popularity of League of Legends competitions,
the next we're back in the mid-'90s discussing the controversy over video game
violence.

The film clearly struggles to cover the breadth of history
that would have easily filled a multi-part, Ken Burns-style documentary series.
It also violates a fundamental rule of storytelling: show, don't tell. Video
Games: The Movie
is larded with soundbites from talking heads, as important as
Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell and superfluous as ex-
Scrubs actor Donald Faison. The insights provided can be
insightful, but are too often glib and come at the expense of the film
relaying the events at hand to the viewer. For example, you could come away
from the section on game violence with no knowledge that the fight made it all
the way to the U.S. Supreme Court a few years ago, in favor of outspoken game
composer Tommy Tallarico saying "Hitler didn't play Crash Bandicoot."


The director also leans too heavily on montages set to various
strains of chipper indie music - to the point where the entire early
history of PC games is reduced to a minute or so of footage ending with
EverQuest. Much of the film also seems to be reduced to mere cheerleading for
the industry. In an opening set of infographics, narrator Sean Astin spends the
viewer's valuable time extolling the virtues and effectiveness of the
industry's ESRB ratings. Executive producer David Perry of Sony and Phil
Spencer of Microsoft are allowed to drone on about the (highly debatable at the
time of this writing) achievements of "cloud gaming." This overly credulous
tone, coupled with the musical montages, makes the movie feel more like a
promotional video to be shown at an E3 press conference than a proper film. If
you are a fan of Wil Wheaton, this is the history of video games for you. The
former Star Trek actor's thoughts and opinions are widely featured in the
movie, much more so than legendary developers like Peter Molyneux and Hideo
Kojima.

As the film flailed around, I wondered who the intended
audience is. Most gamers with a cursory knowledge of the game industry won't
learn much of substance. At the same time, it's not well organized or
compelling enough to sustain the interest of a general moviegoer.

Some interesting footage surfaces of the industry's early
"Wild West" days during the reign of Atari and some priceless video of old
game commercials. The director also does a great job of conveying the passion
of the fans and game designers he interviewed. For many games are much more
than just a hobby, and that love and enthusiasm shows through.

Enthusiasm is one thing; craftsmanship is another. Video
Games: The Movie
has the former in abundance, but its lack of the latter prevents it from telling a compelling tale. As a gamer, I'm glad I watched it,
if only for the segments with some of my favorite creators and the wealth of
vintage footage and photos. As a fan of film, I'm still waiting for the
comprehensive documentary that video games deserve.

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Art of Bioshock Video Splices Concept Art And Gameplay

Coming in at number two on our End of an Era series' top 25 Xbox 360 games, BioShock still stands as a benchmark for compelling setting design in video games seven years later. To highlight the underwater utopia-turned-dystopia of Rapture and some of its inhabitants, Youtuber Olivier Leclair brings us his latest video, "The Art of Bioshock," interspersing concept art and game footage for locales and characters.

The video takes us through areas such as Neptune's Bounty and Fort Frolic, showing us some concept designs for thespian Sander Cohen. We also get a glimpse of scrapped character designs, too, including a big daddy with squid tentacles on his back and balding little sisters, likely a symptom of exposure to plasmids.

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For more of Leclair's video series, check out his videos on Journey and Pokémon.

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Five Video Game Song Re-Imaginings Better Than The Originals

Classic video game soundtracks are dangerous to play with. It's easy to change them considering the limited palette of sounds they were originally created with, but change them too much and they lose what made them special. Sometimes though, modernizing a soundtrack works, and hearing a classic video game song cane become an exciting new and somehow still familiar experience all at the same time.

The selection below are a few re-imagined songs that appeared in official entries in the franchises they represent. I think they surpass their inspirations using the modern tools available to the composers, while still doing an exceptional job recalling the original songs.

Donkey Kong Country
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Like all the songs on this list, the original music stands on its own as being great. This particular remade track stands out to me though thanks to the plethora of different instruments used to recreate the theme. It's just much more diverse than the original with an awesome collection of new sounds to make everything feel larger.
You can check out the original version here.

Cave Story
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Danny Baranowsky, probably best known for his work on the Super Meat Boy soundtrack, remade the entire Cave Story soundtrack for the 3DS remake of Cave Story. It was a quality game, but somewhat unnecessary. Baranowsky's soundtrack is definitely one the experience's highlights. The remake of the main theme stands out. In Baranowsky's hands, the whole song sounds like an awesome, elongated keyboard solo.
You can check out the original version here.

Tetris
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The Tetris theme has been reworked and remade hundreds of time, but this version of it has always been my favorite. I have soft spot for complicated jazzy drums and ride cymbals, and this version of the theme is full of both. I remember downloading the demo for Tetris Splash just to get a quick Tetris fix, but I immediately bought the game just so I could listen to this theme to my heart's content.
You can check out the original version here.

Mega Man X
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Mega Man X is one of my personal favorite soundtracks, and while I adore the 16-bit version of the music, I can't deny the intensity of the PSP remake's Storm Eagle theme. The real guitar at the beginning setting up the whole theme lets you know you're about to go fight a robot eagle, and it's going to be awesome.
You can check out the original verison here.

Earthworm Jim
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Earthworm Jim's soundtrack is a diverse collection of classical music, ragtime tunes, and music like this – the funky opening from the game's first level, New Junk City. The version put together for the game's HD remake is a little more subtle, and sometimes creepier version of the original 16-bit version, which gave equal value to each layer of music.
You can check out the original version here.

What do you think? Are there any modern video game soundtracks that you feel outdo the originals?

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Video postmortem: Deconstructing the success of Puzzle & Dragons

GungHo Online CEO Kazuki Morishita took the stage at GDC 2014 to give a polite, measured look back at how the game was designed to entice players while generating sustainable profit. …


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ShapeIt Is Kickstarting Transformation Of Video Game Characters Into Figurines

The folks over at Shapeit managed to acquire a 3D printer and are looking to share what they can do to the public through Kickstarter. The project aims to allow anyone to send them a screenshot of a video game character and receive a high-quality figurine based on that character.

The figurines come in three sizes – small, medium,
and large – and are colored differently. The large size figurines come in
full-color while the medium and small sizes come in one solid color of your
choosing.

The cheapest model you can buy is a small figurine
from a 2D game (3D games cost more as they are more complicated to create) painted
pure white for $ 39 USD. For $ 154 USD, you can get a large full-color model from
a 3D game. For $ 199 USD at the highest tier, you can get a small, medium, and
large model from a 3D game.

As part of its process, ShapeIt will be checking against established trademarks and intellectual property (which will likely eliminate some possibilities, though may leave things open for MMO avatars if publishers play ball). The Kickstarter also seems like more of a storefront than a traditional project, though a portion of funds will go toward process refinement and software development to further streamline the conversion from image to figure.

ShapeIt is seeking $ 50,000 in Canadian dollars
(about $ 46,600 USD) and ends on August 14. As of right now, the project is
sitting at around $ 1,500 CAD (about $ 1,400 USD). For more gaming related Kickstarter projects, be
sure to follow our regularly updated compendium.

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Video: Vlambeer’s experience developing Nuclear Throne in public

Vlambeer cofounders Jan Willem Nijman and Rami Ismail took the stage during the GDC 2014 Independent Games Summit to talk about what they’d learned from livestreaming development of Nuclear Throne. …


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