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Sunday, January 1st, 2012

3 Pulses

Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck

<p><a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/7b9e7df4ea5061c20313f4be28256aa1.png"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/medium_7b9e7df4ea5061c20313f4be28256aa1.png" class="image_0 v10_medium" alt="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" title="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" /></a>The gentleman who dressed up as the box of <em>Call of Duty: Black Ops</em> at this year's Fan Expo in Toronto was one of our favorite cosplayers of 2011. He starred in one of <em>Kotaku</em>'s <a href="http://kotaku.com/5841408/boxplay-winners/gallery/1?tag=kotakushopcontest">best 'Shop Contests</a> and is currently featured in <a href="http://kotaku.com/5841408/boxplay-winners/gallery/1?tag=kotakushopcontest">the all-star revue going on now.</a></p> <p>He sends everyone here best wishes for 2012 with that picture of him and Katee Sackhoff, better known as Starbuck from <em>Battlestar Galactica</em>. "I can't tell if she liked my costume or not," Black Ops Guy said.</p> <p>The full-size version is at the end of the gallery, in which Black Ops Guy shows us how he built his costume. Enjoy, and Happy New Year, everyone.</p> <p><a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/9f2f6d22ea9b64806c229885a5b6e468.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/medium_9f2f6d22ea9b64806c229885a5b6e468.jpg" class="image_1 v10_medium" alt="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" title="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/37b743227203265361988dcd7c6a2032.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/medium_37b743227203265361988dcd7c6a2032.jpg" class="image_2 v10_medium" alt="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" title="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/5f6459e150afc4b207a6832d2b522baf.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/medium_5f6459e150afc4b207a6832d2b522baf.jpg" class="image_3 v10_medium" alt="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" title="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/4180833c91e0cf56091ad601295255b4.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/medium_4180833c91e0cf56091ad601295255b4.jpg" class="image_4 v10_medium" alt="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" title="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/f5770aafd8816c437e52253f1e0df7e6.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/medium_f5770aafd8816c437e52253f1e0df7e6.jpg" class="image_5 v10_medium" alt="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" title="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/d65a3ae7f7ca3a01363e5e6a56a967b2.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/medium_d65a3ae7f7ca3a01363e5e6a56a967b2.jpg" class="image_6 v10_medium" alt="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" title="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/688e5e57b2525f2495f00f0fa5a94234.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2012/01/medium_688e5e57b2525f2495f00f0fa5a94234.jpg" class="image_7 v10_medium" alt="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" title="Happy New Year, from 'Black Ops Guy' and Starbuck" /></a></p>
2 minutes and 59 seconds

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – PC Gamer’s game of the year

<br /> <br /> <br /> We didn’t see this coming. Stupid, I know. But when we got our hands on an early build of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I was certain it would be the game of 2011. Skyrim would be great, but it would just be Oblivion with a bit more snow. So now that it’s here, why does it feel like so much more than that?<br /> <br /> For so many reasons – but I’ll pick four. The first is that character progression is so much more exciting, an element we’ve talked more about in our selection for RPG of the year.<br /> <br /> That’s a fundamental change, but in other places, differences of degree are just as important. The biggest of those is just how much stuff they’ve packed into this world. A ten minute stroll in Oblivion might pass one cave and an Elven ruin – both uncannily similar to the last ones you raided. The same journey in Skyrim can lead you up a rocky mountain path, past the door to a dripping abandoned mine, under a spectacular waterfall, past rebel guards escorting an imperial prisoner, through an icecrusted underground pass, into a steampunk Dwarven ruin, through a battle between an Elder Dragon and the guards of a local village, and ultimately to an ancient Nordic dungeon that ends in a wall of Dragontongue glyphs that grant you the power to breathe jets of ice.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> It doesn’t feel like a grudging reaction to a few fan complaints about monotonous dungeons, it feels like Bethesda genuinely understood how to make a richer environment. They went so many extra miles in fleshing this world out with substantial and interesting adventures that Skyrim feels like a different kind of place to Cyrodiil.<br /> <br /> Then there’s the landscape. Mountains have a natural drama to them that gently rolling hills never did. Skyrim is the spectacular skyline other games paint on their backgrounds to suggest a wilder, bigger world than they can really give you. This time it’s really there: you can scramble up its twisting paths, tumble down its icy slopes, explore every frosted forest.<br /> <br /> It’s so much more than just a fantasy postcard generator: this crinkled country is always hiding the next adventure behind a cloudsmudged summit or a heart-stopping drop. Not being able to see what’s over the next ridge – or where the game world ends – gives Skyrim a sense of limitless promise.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Lastly, it’s just one leap closer to the perfect open world game that the Elder Scrolls series keeps shooting for. When I first heard about Morrowind, I kept thinking there must be something wrong with it. It’s third person, right? Or the combat’s turn based? Or I’m really controlling a party? Or I can’t actually go anywhere? It can’t actually be like an FPS in a gorgeous fantasy world, utterly unrestricted and rich with story. That’s just ridiculous.<br /> <br /> But it was, and every time Bethesda jump a bit closer to achieving that dream game, that incredible feeling of freedom hits me again. Every time they give us a new world to explore that way, my brain buzzes at the possibilities. Skyrim makes such huge improvements to the magic, the stealth, the characters and the landscape that they all feel real again, and the immersion is complete.<br /> <br /> It won’t stay fresh forever. But when Bethesda release a game that makes Skyrim feel clunky and barren, we’re all in quite a lot of trouble.<br /> <br /> Check out our Skyrim review for more.<br /> <br /> Highly recommended: Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Total War: Shogun 2, League of Legends, Minecraft, Limbo.
3 minutes and 11 seconds

Happy new year!

Happy new year everyone! An exciting year for all fans of MoW is ahead of us!
5 seconds

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Saturday, December 31st, 2011

4 Pulses

The Elder Strolls, Part 4: Nordrick the Envious

<a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/12/31/the-elder-strolls-part-4-nordrick-the-envious/" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to The Elder Strolls, Part 4: Nordrick the Envious"><img width="590" height="232" src="http://media.pcgamer.com/files/2011/12/tespo4header-590x232.jpg" class="attachment-590x500 wp-post-image" alt="Skyrim: Nordrick in Windhelm" title="Skyrim: Nordrick in Windhelm" /></a> <br /> As the new guy in Windhelm, I'm doing my best to fit in with the local NPCs. I walk around the city, wearing regular clothing instead of armor. I hang around in the tavern, eating and drinking. I sleep in a rented bed every night. I make small-talk, or at least listen to the small-talk of others. Overall, I feel like I'm blending in well: if a real adventurer arrived in Windhelm, I'm confident he or she would be convinced I was just another local living a routine life. Nordrick the Bland, they'd call me.<br /> <br /> And yet, a very un-NPC-like emotion has reared its ugly head inside Nordrick's even uglier head. I may walk, sleep, eat, and drink like an NPC, but when it comes to my professional life, I'm definitely falling short. While spending time with the locals, and seeing what they do for a living, I've come to an unexpected conclusion: I'm insanely jealous.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> For example, there's an NPC in Windhelm who runs a museum out of his house. For two gold pieces, I get a quick tour of his collection of mundane junk, which includes some bones, an empty book, and a spoon. It's a boring collection of cruft, but he invents wild stories that make his assortment of crap seem interesting. Why can't that be my job? I collect plenty of junk, so why can't I put it on shelves, make up ridiculous stories about it, and charge people to look at it? Nordrick the Curator, they'd call me.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> I also meet a fiction writer who lives at the inn. A writer! Now, that's a job I'm jealous of. I'd love to write a book, perhaps about a hero named Nordrick The Bold who single-highhandedly slays the dreaded Frost Troll of Dawnstar. Or I could pen a tome about Nordrick the Fair, who recovers stolen magic weapons and returns them to their rightful owners. I could sell them to stores in Skyrim and collect the royalties.<br /> <br /> (I actually read one of the writer's books, which is pretty awful. He uses phrases like "I leave you now, good reader, with this gentle reminder..." Blech! I hate when authors address their audience. You know what I mean, gentle blog viewer?)<br /> <br /> Even the beggars seem to have good jobs. I meet one who asks me for a gold coin and offers to train me in the art of pick-pocketing, which seems a bit dubious. If she's so good at picking pockets, why is she begging for gold? On the other hand, I did give her a piece of gold, and as I walk away I realize that she's so skilled that she tricked me into picking my own pocket for her. Now, that's talent.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> I think all of this occupation envy I'm feeling is due to the fact that my chosen profession, smithing, isn't really working out so well. Sure, there's a nice smithing area I can use in Windhelm that has all the tools I need: forge and anvil, ore smelter, tanning rack, grindstone, and workbench, all within a few feet of each other. With the right materials I can fashion armor, weapons, and even jewelry. The problem is, it's not making me any money. In fact, it's losing me a ton of cash. Ideally, I'd be able to buy raw materials, fashion them into things, and sell them back for a profit. As it stands, however, the materials I buy cost more than the finished product, so I'm operating at a steep loss.<br /> <br /> The only way to buy for less and sell for more is to boost my Speech skill, and the only way to boost my Speech skill is buy doing a lot of buying and selling, and since my Speech skill is currently pretty low, that means I'm losing gobs of money there, too. So, Nordrick the Silver-Tongued Blacksmith, at the moment, is a complete bust.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Luckily, there are several other ways to make money. Alchemy is one, and I've got plenty of ingredients after my long trip to Windhelm. I mix up all the potions I can, selling them to the local alchemist for a nice profit. I also spend a day visiting several nearby farms and gathering crops for the farmers, who had the time and energy to plant, cultivate, and grow the crops, but are suddenly are too lazy to spend thirty seconds picking them. I chop firewood as well, for people who have gone out and cut down trees, dragged them back to their farms, and cut them into small pieces, but lacked the follow-through for the final step: splitting the small pieces in half.<br /> <br /> In fact, I do such a good job, the local farmers get together to hold a special election and vote me in as the new Jarl of Windhelm! And here this blog ends, as Nordrick The Helpful rules wisely over Windhelm for the rest of his days.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Okay, I actually just had a quick sit on the throne while no one was watching. An NPC can dream, can't he?<br /> <br /> Funneling my earned wages into my smithing and vendor-grinding, it's not long before I'm basically broke again, so there's not much else to do but head back into the wild to do some hunting and mining. I blow the dust off my armor, strap it on, and head south. I come upon a small mining town called Kynesgrove, where I chip some minerals out of the caverns. They also have some spare bedrolls outside, so I spend a rent-free night and continue roaming the following day.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> The morning passes as some wolves attack me and I attack some goats, both serving to fill my pelt quota. While wandering alongside a river in the afternoon, I spot what looks like a small wooden shack. As I approach, I spy a tiny flicker of motion through the broken boards on the side of the shack. Someone's inside. I drop into a crouch. Is it a bandit, wanting to kill me for gold? A necromancer, wanting to experiment on my corpse?<br /> <br /> Unfortunately, it's neither. The flicker of motion in the shack suddenly becomes a flash. It's not a person. It's something big, it's something fast, and it's coming right at me. Sabercat. Sabercat! Oh flip, it's a mother-flippin' Sabercat!<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> A sabercat. I would honestly prefer to fight a dragon than a sabercat. Dragons are deadly, sure, but they lazily circle, then land, then take off and circle some more. Sabercats are all business. They're lightning quick and deadly: I've run into them with the other characters I play in Skyrim, characters with skill points in something other than Speech and Smithing, and the outcome has almost always been a quick death and a largely unscathed sabercat. Now I'm facing one with Nordrick, who can't even buy an apple from a friendly merchant without losing a few hit points.<br /> <br /> I'm both crouching and creeping, the slowest possible combination of movement apart from sitting in a chair, and I frantically hammer at my keyboard, trying to get upright and running. I manage to get upright and walking, then crouching and scooting. Great. Trying to quickly draw my sword and shield results in me first readying my healing spell, and then my bow, neither of which are going to slow down this rampaging prehistoric cat. My Battle Cry power! Of course! That will save me, or it would, if I hadn't used it already earlier today to scare off some attacking wolves.<br /> <br /> This is the end. This is the end of Nordrick. I won't be known as Nordrick the Blacksmith or Nordrick the Woodcutter, but as Nordrick the Cat Toy. Then I remember the river. The river! If not for the river, this blog would end, right now, with a brief description what it's like to pass through the sabercat's digestive system.<br /> <br /> With the beast lunging and slashing and my vision filled with its fur and my blood, I somehow remember how to stand upright and run. I splash into the river and begin swimming, managing to reach the opposite bank. I turn and am mortified to see the cat paddling after me. As soon as it reaches my side of the river, I run back into the water and swim to the other side. The cat begins crossing after me, and I cross back. Okay. Good. If I can just keep this river between us for the rest of our lives, I'll be fine.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> About three river-crossings later, the cat seems to come up with a fresh idea: to run up the side of a mountain and get stuck behind a rock. Hey, I didn't say it was a good idea. But if the Gods of Poor Pathfinding love anyone, it's Nordrick, and I find that by standing near the shack I can loose arrows into the cat from a safe distance. It just stands there angrily and takes the abuse until it dies, destined to become the next pair of boots I craft.<br /> <br /> With that unpleasantness done, I heal up and check out the shack the cat was prowling around in. It's pretty gross in here: the cat was munching on the previous tenant when I arrived, and there's a bloody skull and ribcage and gore splashed all over the floor. There's a bed, though, unowned, which means I can sleep here, which kind of, sort of, means I can live here. Which kind of, sort of, means I have a home! Kind of sort of!<br /> <br /> A home with giant holes in the walls and ceiling, and no door, but there's a wardrobe, a table with some books on it, and even a fireplace and a tanning rack. This might not be so bad. I can't pick up the skull and ribcage, but with some strategic walking I mange to kick the disgusting bones out the doorway and into the river, where they float away. As far as all the blood on the floor, I lay out some goat pelts over it as sort of a makeshift throw rug. So now instead of it looking like someone died in here, it just looks like a couple goats exploded. It's a conversation starter!<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Not bad. I've got a lovely, gore-splatted home with no door and some dead fish hanging from the roof. It's definitely no Proudspire Manor. Hell, it's not even Oblivion's Imperial City shack. Still, finally, I have my own place. Nordrick the Homeowner. That's what they'll call me.
9 minutes and 42 seconds

Eurogamey Writey: Saints Row The Third

<p><img src="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/11/nov/row/row9.jpg" alt="I moved house this year, away from a similar neighbourhood to this." /></p> <p>I&#8217;m just pulling together some rambly thoughts about my year in games for the site. Which reminds me that <a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-12-24-games-of-2011-saints-row-the-third-article">I wrote about one of my faves</a> for Tom &#8220;Tom Bramwell&#8221; Bramwell over at EG towers, and makes me think I could link to it as an aperitif or something. <a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-12-24-games-of-2011-saints-row-the-third-article">And I totally can.</a> Lots on Saints Row: The Third and yours truly. I didn&#8217;t even get into my apostrophe confusion, which could be another couple of thousand words, <a href="http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-12-24-games-of-2011-saints-row-the-third-article">but would be less sex obsessed</a>.</p>
48 seconds

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – PC Gamer UK’s RPG of the year

<br /> <br /> <br /> The Elder Scrolls games have been brilliant for long time: huge open worlds that let you go wherever you fancy, get wrapped up in hundreds of different stories, and make a life for yourself. But until Skyrim, they weren’t particularly good at one of the most exciting things about other RPGs: levelling up.<br /> <br /> You levelled up, of course, but you didn’t get to spend any terribly valuable points on any terribly exciting skills. In Skyrim, you do. It’s the perfect compromise between a traditional RPG and the organic practice-based system of previous Elder Scrolls games. You still get incrementally better at whatever you do, but each level gets you a perk point, and the perks on offer are absurdly tempting.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> So your character adapts both to how you end up playing, and the grand ideas you have for them. I started out as an archer, but all the sneaking around made me stealthy enough to pull off backstabs. That was more satisfying than I realised, so I shifted towards it and improved it dramatically with perks. <br /> <br /> The organic progression influenced my conscious progression, and resulted in a character build I hadn't set out to create but which suited my play style perfectly. I became an assassin who can hide in plain sight, vanish mid-combat, and kill almost anything in a single strike. I'd tailored my own custom stealth god, through 84 hours of practice and 41 perk choices.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Now I’m working on a tank: an unstoppable orc clad in hand-crafted brass, with a shield the size of a small country and an axe I’ve sharpened beyond anything money can buy. I already have a perk that lets me bash people away with my shield, and next, I want the one that lets me knock everyone flying when I sprint at them. Then I'm making an illusionist.<br /> <br /> It's a sense of excitement I never had with Oblivion. When I started again in that game, it was usually because I’d messed up my character. I start again in Skyrim because there are so many possible characters to try, lives to lead, possibilities to explore that it would be rude to the developers not to seek them out. That, to me, is the definition of a great RPG.<br /> <br /> Read our Skyrim review for more.<br /> <br /> Highly recommended: The Witcher 2, Dawn of War 2: Retribution.
2 minutes and 7 seconds

The top 10 free PC games of 2011

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Friday, December 30th, 2011

7 Pulses

The Best Game Music of 2011: Readers' Choice

<p><a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/b6a9c40dde0809a2f5ee886685efe23b.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_b6a9c40dde0809a2f5ee886685efe23b.jpg" width="300" class="image_0 v10_medium" alt="The Best Game Music of 2011: Readers' Choice" title="The Best Game Music of 2011: Readers' Choice" /></a>We've already recognized a whole bunch of the <a href="http://kotaku.com/gamemusic2011">best game soundtracks of 2011</a>. But of course, there are only so many hours in the day&mdash;only so much time to play games, and one can only write about so many game soundtracks.</p> <p>Fortunately, you guys were up to the task of nominating outstanding soundtracks that didn't make our official round-up. On Thursday, you put forth a ton of worthy original soundtracks from the year. I gathered 'em all together and listed them here.<!-- %JUMP:More &raquo;% --></p> <p>As an unscientific aside, if I had to gauge the general tenor, enthusiasm, and number of nominations, <strong><em>Kotaku</em>'s "Readers' Choice" Award for Best 2011 Video Game Soundtrack</strong> would go to <a href="http://kotaku.com/5869537/the-best-game-music-of-2011-deus-ex-human-revolution?tag=gamemusic2011"><em>Deus Ex: Human Revolution</em></a>, with <a href="http://kotaku.com/5871695/the-best-game-music-of-2011-bastion?tag=gamemusic2011"><em>Bastion</em></a> and <em>Xenoblade Chronicles</em> as runners-up. Y'all have good taste.</p> <p>Each of these entries has been written by a <em>Kotaku</em> commenter, sometimes more than one.</p> <p>Let's get down to it, shall we?</p> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: p45gdP2OKmU --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/p45gdP2OKmU"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/p45gdP2OKmU" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: p45gdP2OKmU --></p> <h2><em>Xenoblade Chronicles</em></h2> <p>There are two games that make my short list: Xenoblade Chronicles and Radiant Historia. If we are only counting US releases, then I will default to Radiant Historia. I place the Xenoblade OST above Radiant Historia's though. It is not because of the established talent behind it, but rather because of the surprising great work of ACE+. Each piece really brings you into your new environments, and the new battle theme that kicks in some time into the game is just fantastic. This is one song and environment I particularly enjoyed (and it is different from the other tracks usually posted by others and myself). &mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/Dodgerwd/">Dodgewd</a></p> <p><!-- videoId: kgtfgFG1ANw --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/kgtfgFG1ANw"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/kgtfgFG1ANw" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: kgtfgFG1ANw --> At least for being released this year in the UK, Xenoblade deserves a call out for contributions from heavyweights like Yasunori Mitsuda and Yoko Shimomura.&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/Tye-The-Czar/">Tye The Czar</a></p> <p>True dat. Some great tracks throughout. This track plays in the first open area you get to explore. It conveys a great sense of freedom, one of the best aspects of Xenoblade from both a gameplay and a JRPG context. The first time I accidentally jumped off a bridge and plummeted hundreds of feet down into the water below, only to find that I could swim around and explore was something special. Even after spending hour 7 in Colony working on sidequest <a href="http://kotaku.com/4563/">#4563</a>, this track is fresh.&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/bobtheblob916/">bobtheblob916</a></p> <p>"Xenoblade Chronicles". I have played many videogames, among them many JRPGs and as a music hobbyist, if there something that I really appreciate is a soundtrack that helps you immerse in it's game world. "Xenoblade Chronicles" boasts a 4 audio CD soundtrack that manages to mimic the exact feelings of the what's happening on the screen. Beautiful, stunning compositions and I hope this wins next year when the game hits America and you will all see why I am nominating it right here.&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/Shiryu/">Shiryu</a></p> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: 9QfPDmzpC2Q --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/9QfPDmzpC2Q"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/9QfPDmzpC2Q" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: 9QfPDmzpC2Q --></p> <h2><em>To The Moon</em></h2> <p>There's a place deep inside me that rarely gets touched, moved. Too much of life is filled with the ordinary and mundane, we are surrounded by it, we choke on it. The moment I heard those first few simple notes I was swept to that place. The music has the ability to make the world stop for that brief moment when you listen to it. The soundtrack is all inclusive, all immersive and utterly captivating. It demands all of your attention, it gently compels you to feel, to share at that moment in the game the feelings that the characters go through... it is truly magical.&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/hancilliers/">Han Cillers</a></p> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: 1zhUSNUS4GY --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/1zhUSNUS4GY"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/1zhUSNUS4GY" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: 1zhUSNUS4GY --></p> <h2><em>Shadows of the Damned</em></h2> <p>There was a lot of great game music this year, I agree with most if not all of the previous posts. Though there's one game in particular that I feel bears mentioning: Shadows of the Damned. It has a really fantastic sound design, and I think this track is a descent, if not perfect, representation of the kind of atmospheric music you can find in it. That's not to say this is a great representation of the style of music you'll find in the game, though. That would be quite a feat, for the soundtrack shifts wildly from heavy metal, to old fashioned ragtime, to mariachi rock expertly from scene to scene. It would be impossible for me to disregard it as a heavy contender for my game music of the year.&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/VonAbsynt/">VonAbsynt</a></p> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: IQ3khsva6E8 --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/IQ3khsva6E8"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/IQ3khsva6E8" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: IQ3khsva6E8 --></p> <h2><em>Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective</em></h2> <p>I gotta say, Ghost Trick's music really gave the game's more intense moments the dramatic edge they needed. It's a bit like the music that plays when you make a successful objection in Phoenix Wright, it just gives you that "Oh man, shit just got real" feeling. My personal game of the year, for sure!&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/iron_spy/">Diamond Sea</a></p> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: SXKrsJZWqK0 --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/SXKrsJZWqK0"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/SXKrsJZWqK0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: SXKrsJZWqK0 --></p> <h2><em>Batman: Arkham City</em></h2> <p>Bastion, Deus Ex: HR and The Witcher 2 are all highlights but I was most surprised by Batman: Arkham City. Perhaps because I could barely recall anything from Asylum, or because I was playing Arkham City so damn much. The theme is wonderful, and I love the build-up from about 1:17, that increase in tension that releases into a bold heroic yet tragic theme at around 1:56. 'This Court Is Now In Session' is also great music by which to punch people. In the game.&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/hot_heart/">hot_heart</a></p> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: _z-sa3Tc2MU --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/_z-sa3Tc2MU"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/_z-sa3Tc2MU" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: _z-sa3Tc2MU --></p> <h2><em>Sonic Generations</em></h2> <p>I am surprised not a single person has mentioned Sonic Generations and its incredible soundtrack! While I certainly wouldn't nominate it for any game of the year awards, its soundtrack is probably the best of any Sonic game. Rather than go straight-up rock, the composers instead went with a very violin-heavy sound that actually fits Sonic perfectly. Granted, almost every single song is a remix of a previous game, but it's impossible to deny that this is an incredible piece. The piano backing the violin is beautiful, and the drums really give the entire thing a sense of speed that just makes you want to move.&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/Goopygoo/">Goopygoo</a></p> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: 3zUvBlgoqlc --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/3zUvBlgoqlc"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/3zUvBlgoqlc" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: 3zUvBlgoqlc --></p> <h2><em>Child of Eden</em></h2> <p>How could everyone forget Child of Eden's OST? The entire game is based on music, beats, and rhythm. This style of Tech-House is easy to listen to. Very catchy and with a soulful singer behind it too. Genki Rockets FTW!&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/tehjonel/">tehjonel</a></p> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: BDI2zpRBkUw --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/BDI2zpRBkUw"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/BDI2zpRBkUw" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: BDI2zpRBkUw --></p> <h2><em>Catherine</em></h2> <p>The soundtrack to Catherine is an incredibly strange mix of classical music and, I guess, rock? Either way, it's tremendously unique and the perfect music for a frenetic puzzle game.&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/PsychoDantis/">PsychoDantis</a></p> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: 8XG4jY9MCYk --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/8XG4jY9MCYk"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/8XG4jY9MCYk" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: 8XG4jY9MCYk --></p> <h2><em>Battlefield 3</em></h2> <p>I can't BELIEVE that no one has posted anything about Battlefield 3 yet!</p> <p>The strange, electronic soundtrack goes perfectly with the atmosphere of the game, both in the singleplayer and multiplayer. For instance, when a multiplayer battle is reaching its conclusion, a track starts playing in the background, and the fight seems more and more intense until you see "Your team lost." or "Your team won!"</p> <p>For me the music is a tribute to the intensity of battle that the game is trying to convey. That syncopated 6-feel rhythm sounds spastic yet oddly ordered, sort of like a series of autocannon shots or mortar shells going off. That little synth line that comes in on top is just so wonderfully placed, and carries the song, which starts out rhythmically, harmonically. All the little beeps and sounds are very similar to a lot of the noises that you hear in the game, like the target lock sound on your Javelin or a bullet whizzing by, or bits of dirt hitting the ground after an explosion.</p> <p>Something about this music just really gets me into the game... makes me want to sprint around and vault over things before snapping my sight onto that Russian that's about to cap a flag.&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/llama.fragments/">llama.fragments</a></p> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: JhkHqTTYUVM --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/JhkHqTTYUVM"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/JhkHqTTYUVM" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: JhkHqTTYUVM --></p> <h2><em>Radiant Historia</em></h2> <p>Yoko Shimomura just nailed it with Radiant Historia's OST, in my humble opinion. It's a game that goes without complex graphics and voiced dialogue, but it doesn't really need either because every track does such a wonderful job of setting the mood of a scene, conveying a particular emotion. This is the stuff classics are made of, both the game itself and the soundtrack.&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/Hey_guy/">Paradox Me</a></p> <p>Someone already mentioned it but my vote goes to Radiant Historia too. Even though the soundtrack hasn't that many tracks it's still fantastic. Then again I shouldn't be surprised since the soundtrack was composed by Yoko Shimomura. And the game is amazing as well so if you haven't played it yet, go play it.&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/Klezdoom/">klezdoom</a></p> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: IMWTyxrBgRU --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/IMWTyxrBgRU"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/IMWTyxrBgRU" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: IMWTyxrBgRU --></p> <h2><em>Dark Souls</em></h2> <p>Dark Souls for certain. Some of those boss themes are outright intense, but I fell in love with the game as soon as I heard the menu music. It's just so calm yet haunting as well, as if it were trying to comfort you before your hardship comes about each time. It almost reminds me of the Resident Evil save room themes.&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/GanymedeJupiter/">GanymedeJupiter</a></p> <p>Rarely does a game's negative use of music affect how powerful the musical parts actually are.&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/snakelinksonic/">snakelinksonic</a></p> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: cp9sXVIYNjc --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/cp9sXVIYNjc"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/cp9sXVIYNjc" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: cp9sXVIYNjc --></p> <h2><em>Tactics Ogre</em></h2> <p>Blasphemous Experiment (Nybbeth's theme) is probably the best example I can think of [of why this soundtrack needs more attention]. That song is just plain chilling, especially considering it's a battle theme. The original SNES version is okay, but the PSP arrangement is just ridiculously good. Such a good damn song. Whenever you hear it, it's also a good sign that you're probably about to get your ass kicked!&mdash;<a href="http://kotaku.com/people/Archaotic/">Archaotic</a></p> <hr> <p><em>And there you have 'em, our readers' picks for the best soundtracks of 2011. Thanks to all who contributed!</em></p>
13 minutes and 41 seconds

This Man Will Soothe You with Skyrim Strings

<p><!-- videoId: IL5K09mqwZc --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/IL5K09mqwZc"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/IL5K09mqwZc" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: IL5K09mqwZc --> YouTube user Jason Yang cloned himself for one very special reason: to play beautiful <em>Skyrim</em> music to you. That's so nice!</p> <p>And the Jason Yang clone orchestra doesn't only play the violin. There's some drumming, too. <em>Clone</em> drumming.</p> <p class="arrow"><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IL5K09mqwZc">Skyrim Violin Cover</a> [YouTube]</p>
41 seconds

Closure Colonization

<p><img src="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/march08/colonize/royal.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p><em>In 2008, I took it upon myself to return to and finally finish a game that had hung over me for 14 years &#8211; the original Civilization sequel, Sid Meier&#8217;s Colonization (the old one, not the underwhelming Civ 4-based remake from a couple of years back). Here&#8217;s what happened.</em></p> <p>This one’s about closure. Despite playing it zealously for weeks on end back in 1994, I didn’t ever complete a game of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sid_Meier%27s_Colonization">Sid Meier&#8217;s Colonization</a>, a sequel of sorts to the first Civilization. Powered by Brian Reynolds as much as it was Meier, it&#8217;s a turn-based strategy tale of establishing colonies in the New World or Americas, and eventually winning independence from their avaricious motherland. My copy silently, immediately and cruelly crashed to a DOS prompt whenever I finally bested my imperial oppressors, denying me the ending sequence and sense of victory I so richly deserved. Disheartened, I duly forgot about the game for a decade and a half, but lately it flitted across my brain by chance, and a curious longing awoke within me. I need to win my colonies their independence at last. I need to know what happens. I don’t care how brief or stupid or hilariously low-tech it is. I need to know.<br /> <a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/30/closure-colonization-an-after-action-report/#more-87254" class="more-link">(more&#8230;)</a></p>
1 minutes and 21 seconds

Moby Games Classic: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II

Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II finally gave Star Wars fans the power that they've always wanted: the ability to use a lightsaber. Released as a follow-up to...

These Are the Best Indie Games of 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – PC Gamer UK’s action game of the year




Deus Ex: a game so good it gave us actual neuroses about its sequels. Invisible War, a shonky but interesting and sometimes hilarious shooter, became reviled as a crime against gaming for declaring itself to be Deus Ex 2. And...

Grand Theft Auto III mobile supports PC mods

Both the Android and iOS editions of Grand Theft Auto III support user mods originally made for PC, cunning players have discovered. It's a bit wonky, but people have had luck...

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Thursday, December 29th, 2011

13 Pulses

Ancient TF2: The Complete Go Team!

<p><img src="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/sept07/scout1.jpg" alt="We once had so very many screenshots of TF2. Where did they go, those screenshots? Are they alright? Do they have someone who loves them?" /><br /> Back, back, back, back even further, back a bit more, keep going, yes, not much further now and&#8230; there we go. You are now back in the most dim and distant past of the then tiny baby website Rock, Paper, Shotgun, a mere three months into our making-it-up-as-we-went-along existence. You will see ancient typos. You will see only glimmerings of understanding of how the internet works. You will see Kieron Gillen. And you will see The Go Team!, a multi-part mega-feature in which the four RPS founders present their assorted thoughts on Team Fortress 2&#8242;s classes, based on our delightfully haphazard experiences in the original beta back in September 2007.<br /> <a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/29/ancient-tf2-the-complete-go-team/#more-87189" class="more-link">(more&#8230;)</a></p>
56 seconds

Space Pirates and Zombies Update Released

SPAZ v1.015<br>- Fixed crash when viewing catalog preview in star and system map<br>- Fixed AI dropping of Rez at deployable turrets<br>- Fixed minor spelling issue
10 seconds

Fallout: New Vegas Developer Releases a Personal Mod

<p><a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/27f1fb6bbf93d940c86cf4435b9d8f3e.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_27f1fb6bbf93d940c86cf4435b9d8f3e.jpg" width="300" class="image_0 v10_medium" alt="Fallout: New Vegas Developer Releases a Personal Mod" title="Fallout: New Vegas Developer Releases a Personal Mod" /></a>Sometimes games aren't to your exact liking. If you have computer skills, maybe you can create a mod. If you have computer skills and developed the game, well, you can do that, too.</p> <p>J.E. Sawyer, who worked as project director on <em>Fallout: New Vegas</em> and the game's DLC, created a mod for his own playthroughs. As <em>Shacknews</em> (via website <em>No Mutants Allowed</em>) pointed out, the mod increases the number of weapons and armor and cuts the level cap, XP gain, health, and healing.</p> <p>The mod is available via <a href="http://diogenes-lamp.info/jsawyer_fnv_mod.zip">Sawyer</a>. You will need all <em>Fallout: New Vegas</em> DLC installed as well as the pre-order bonus packs and Fallout Mod Manager.</p> <p>So why did Sawyer release a mod instead of a patch? "The game's over," he wrote. "The ship has sailed. No one is working on it anymore. No testers, nothing. This mod is just me working in my free time. If I horribly botch something, you can just un-check the mod and go on your way." Sounds good to me.</p> <p><em>Fallout: New Vegas</em> was originally released in Oct. 2010.</p> <p class="arrow"><a href="http://www.nma-fallout.com/article.php?id=60505">J.E. Sawyer releases his own Fallout: New Vegas mod</a> [No Mutants Allowed via <a href="http://www.shacknews.com/article/71768/fallout-new-vegas-lead-designer-releases-own-mod">Shacknews</a>]</p>
1 minutes and 34 seconds

2011: The Year in Pleasant Surprises

75% off!

Men of War: Assault Squad is 75% off and all DLC, and 25% on the latest Skirmish DLC! Grab it for yourself and/or for friends now!

Fallout: New Vegas lead designer releases own balance mod

Fallout: New Vegas lead designer J.E. Sawyer has reworked the balance of Obsidian's post-apocalyptic RPG, amping up the difficulty and tinkering to his own preference. Intriguingly,...

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Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

4 Pulses

Valve on Half-Life 3 Rumors: 'This is the Community Trolling the Community'

<p><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_8fb9ed7b9135aa28d943d190b6eb0f3e.jpg" width="300" class="image_0 v10_medium" alt="Valve on Half-Life 3 Rumors: 'This is the Community Trolling the Community'" title="Valve on Half-Life 3 Rumors: 'This is the Community Trolling the Community'" />Every popular video game has its following of wishful thinkers, wannabe designers, and straight-up trolls. None has more hard at work on the next title than <em>Half Life 3</em>. And they've been very busy lately.</p> <p>There is, of course, this <a href="http://kotaku.com/5870308/heres-your-weekly-instalment-of-half+life-3-trolling">total fakey-fake-mcfakerson website</a>, a goldmine of cognitive dissonance that's not even registered to Valve. Then there was this <a href="http://lambdageneration.com/posts/informant-close-to-valve-tells-valve-arg-network-admin-and-steamcast-co-host-gabe-has-given-the-go-ahead-for-half-life-hints/">brilliantly unconfirmable pile of horse dung</a>, later debunked and then disavowed by the friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who heard from a friend at Valve that Gabe Newell had "authorized" certain people to start leaking about <em>Half Life 3</em>.</p> <p>That hasn't stopped the I-Want-to-Believe Crowd, so late last night, Valve's Chet Faliszek, co-writer on the last two <em>Half-Life</em>s (and of <em>Portal 2</em>) did the humane thing and <a href="http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showpost.php?p=27654778&postcount=30">took everyone's hope out behind the woodpile and shot it.</a></p> <p>"You are being trolled. There is no ARG," Faliszek wrote. "There has been no directive from Gabe to leak anything. That is all false."</p> <p>Faliszek also specifically debunked the idea that <a href="http://kotaku.com/5867182/if-valve-was-hinting-about-half+life-3-on-saturday-they-were-being-very-vague?tag=halflife">this speech by Wheatley</a>, the <em>Portal 2</em> AI, in the Spike Video Game Awards a couple weeks ago, contained all sorts of hints and clues and teasers that <em>Half-Life 3</em> was coming in 2012. "Wheatley's speech was set in Portal 2 fiction&mdash;that is all." he said.</p> <p>Yeah, well, maybe Gabe authorized him to say that, right? Right? Well, Gaming Bolt pinged Gabe about it. (You can too, I guess; he answers his own email). <a href="http://gamingbolt.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/gaben.jpg">Answer: No.</a></p> <p>People have got to realize how far they've sunk to self-parody here&mdash;and I'm not talking about the trolls, I'm talking about the believers. Every year, it seems, we have some crackpot troll tell us he's parsed some new sample of numerology and derived the date of the end of the world; and every year it never fucking happens. Not that I want it to, unlike <em>Half-Life 3</em>. But this process has an analogue in <em>Half-Life 3</em>. Every year people create bullshit websites and issue phony proclamations that the day is coming. And it never does.</p> <p>"I just want to say this so there is no confusion," Faliszek wrote. "This is the community trolling the community nothing more. While it is nice to see people excited about anything HL, I hate seeing people be trolled like this."</p> <p class="arrow"><a href="http://gamingbolt.com/chet-faliszek-from-valve-puts-an-end-to-all-half-life-3-rumours">Chet Faliszek from Valve puts an end to all Half-Life 3 Rumours</a> [Gaming Bolt]</p>
2 minutes and 48 seconds

The Best Game Music of 2011: Bastion

<p><a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/47e012263aa81a8881dd497d01e0cee7.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_47e012263aa81a8881dd497d01e0cee7.jpg" width="300" class="image_0 v10_medium" alt="The Best Game Music of 2011: Bastion" title="The Best Game Music of 2011: Bastion" /></a><em>Bastion</em> snuck up on me&mdash;I had heard a lot of friends and fellow critics hyping it after seeing it at PAX East and GDC, but I didn't actually play it until it was released. For the first hour or so, I wasn't sold, but as the story snowballed and the levels stretched out, I fell increasingly under its spell.</p> <p>It was a remarkably holistic game, especially in its presentation. Everything was of a piece: Jen Zee's breathtaking painterly artwork, Greg Kasavin's mysterious, ever-unfolding story, Logan Cunningham's throaty, Tom Waits-y narration. And tying it all together, <a href="http://www.darrenkorb.com/">Darren Korb</a>'s wonderfully trippy, six-string-fueled musical score. <em>Bastion</em> had one of my very favorite video game soundtracks of the year.<!-- %JUMP:More &raquo;% --></p> <p>Here are five of my favorite tracks from the soundtrack, along with some backstory and technical details from Korb himself.</p> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: 9Wh2HgBRRPs --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/9Wh2HgBRRPs"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/9Wh2HgBRRPs" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: 9Wh2HgBRRPs --></p> <h2>"Bynn the Breaker"</h2> <p><em>Bastion</em> is a slow burn, a gradually building game that begins with a mystery and layers information and narration until it reverse-engineers a remarkable narrative tapestry. Each level is possessed of a steady, heavy momentum&mdash;the game <em>marches</em> forward, an inexorable drive towards an unknowable future.</p> <p>This track is one of the first (maybe the actual first?) to play in-game, and it matches that sense of inexorable drive. The descending string line is probably my favorite part, recalling nothing so much as the hook from The Verve's "<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lyu1KKwC74">Bittersweet Symphony</a>." (No, seriously! Listen and tell me I'm wrong.)</p> <p>Here's Korb on crafting this recording, which, like all of the tracks from the soundtrack, he did largely using sampled music within <a href="http://www.apple.com/logicpro/">Logic Pro</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>This is one of the more sample/MIDI heavy tracks on the soundtrack with almost no live instruments (that aren't samples). I use some Harp, some Oud, and some Electric guitar for the melodic instruments. This was one of the earlier tunes I wrote for the game while I was still experimenting with getting the right mix of live instruments, samples, and MIDI. I think this piece was helpful in defining the boundaries of what kind of music I wanted to make for the game.</p> </blockquote> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: hy75WHOBh8s --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/hy75WHOBh8s"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/hy75WHOBh8s" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: hy75WHOBh8s --></p> <h2>"Slinger's Song"</h2> <p>I dig "Slinger's Song," because it captures the gut-blues open-string thing that much of Korb's music does so well. It calls to mind other soundtracks like <em>Firefly</em> and <em>Deadwood</em> by conjuring a sound that captures the iconic nature of the west without necessarily kowtowing to the time period's instrumental traditions. I was joking with Korb that I wanted to guess the primary instrument, but that I was going to guess "Dobro," which was my default guess when I hear a non-guitar guitar. I'm usually wrong. But this time, it actually was a dobro!</p> <p>He elaborates:</p> <blockquote> <p>I played some bluesy electric stuff [on Dobro] over the top of this one, along with some heavily reverbed harmonica samples. I was looking to make something more frontiersy for this piece, as it occurs in our "wilds" portion of the game. Oddly enough, I hadn't really watched any Firefly or Deadwood when I was working on Bastion, but a lot of people have mentioned the similarities. My main influence for the more bluesy stuff in Bastion was mostly Led Zeppelin, actually! In each song I tried to include something that made it feel a little "nasty," whether it's contrasting rhythmic parts, or 3 over 4 bass, or distorted ukulele!</p> </blockquote> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: Jz8c17upEwM --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Jz8c17upEwM"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Jz8c17upEwM" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: Jz8c17upEwM --></p> <h2>"Build That Wall (Zia's Theme)"</h2> <p>Awww, yeah. This song was the moment the game won me over; it was a bit of a "<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EM62huzAdew">Far Away</a>" moment a la <em>Red Dead Redemptin</em>. One minute you're playing, the next minute, someone is singing! And yet, it was far more organic than in Rockstar's game, mainly because in <em>Bastion</em>, you were rescuing Zia, the singer who performs the song. (The actual singer is Korb's friend Ashley Barrett.)</p> <p>This was very much <em>Bastion</em>'s "Get on board or GTFO" moment, and I personally got right the hell on board. I also loved the bit later on when narrator Logan Cunningham gives a rough, half-remembered a cappella rendition of the same tune.</p> <p>Here's Korb on the story of the song, and how it tied in with the world of the game:</p> <blockquote> <p>We had planned to include some sort of vocal piece in the moment when you meet Zia for a while, so I knew basically how the piece would be used while I was writing it. I wanted to make it mournful and lonely to reinforce the tone of that moment. The singer is my friend Ashley Barrett and we recorded it like I recorded all the sounds, music and narration for Bastion: in my closet. For this piece in particular I looked at a lot of old Southern spirituals and proto-blues stuff. Generally, Jeff Buckley and Radiohead are big influences on my songwriting as well. The lyrics of the song are all based on the deep backstory provided by the game's writer, Greg Kasavin. It's written as a wartime song from the point of view of the Ura. For the level with Logan humming it, we wanted to have a place in the game where he didn't have anything to say, and we thought that players would get a kick out of the narrator humming this. So for the melody on that, I wanted him to do it sort of like Tom Waits, who approximates most melodies. We figured that's how Rucks would sing.</p> </blockquote> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: YlfUcnSbKDA --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/YlfUcnSbKDA"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/YlfUcnSbKDA" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: YlfUcnSbKDA --></p> <h2>"Mother, I'm Here (Zulf's Theme)"</h2> <p>Not too much to say about this one, really, particularly since I'd rather not spoil the bit it plays during for those who haven't played the game. But here's where we get to hear Korb do some singing, a soft, mournful tune that stands in sharp contrast to the segment it accompanies. The second fully voiced song on the soundtrack, it is as effective as "Build That Wall" if not more so, and provides a degree of emotional catharsis that almost outdoes the entire narrative setup leading up to it.</p> <blockquote> <p>My approach for this one was to write a song that might be sung at funerals in the world of the game. Again, the goal here was just to reinforce the emotion of the in-game moment. This is the only version (aside from the mash-up version in <a href="http://supergiantgames.bandcamp.com/track/setting-sail-coming-home-end-theme">Setting Sail, Coming Home</a>).</p> </blockquote> <hr> <p><!-- videoId: 1rEY-Bh6900 --><object width="425" height="349"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/1rEY-Bh6900"></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param> <embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/1rEY-Bh6900" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="333" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"> </embed> </object><!-- /videoId: 1rEY-Bh6900 --></p> <h2>"In Case of Trouble"</h2> <p>Perhaps the most iconic of Korb's pieces for the game. That's partly because it plays during the opening menu and while in the Bastion itself, but also because it contains all of the various aspects that make this game's soundtrack so good. The dramatic western tinge of open-tuned guitars, pulsing electronic beats, all set off by dramatic, melodic strings. It's funny that Korb mentions Jeff Buckley as one of his influences, since the harmonic minor string line he uses here very much reminds me of the incredible string arrangements (that final melodic line!) on Buckley's <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3adFWKE9JE">"Grace."</a></p> <p>Here's Korb talking about his guitar tunings and general process writing this song (guitarists, I recommend that "Dad-Gad" tuning, it's way fun):</p> <blockquote> <p>I played all the live instruments on this track (and all the tracks in the game). For this song I used a DADGAD tuning (but for most of the rest of the game I dropped it down another step to CGCFGC). This is a very early piece (probably the 2nd one I wrote for Bastion), and the piece that eventually lead me to the term "Acoustic Frontier Trip-hop," which I used to thematically connect all the music in the game. Rather than having musical themes that I returned to over and over, I decided to make it like an album, where all the pieces are connected by genre and arrangement.</p> </blockquote> <hr> <p><em>Bastion</em>'s soundtrack kicks all kinds of ass; you can <a href="http://supergiantgames.bandcamp.com/">download it at bandcamp</a> for $10, and get the CD for $15 at <a href="http://store.supergiantgames.com/collections/frontpage/products/official-bastion-soundtrack">the Supergiant Games Store</a>. Thanks, Darren, for taking the time to chat with me.</p> <p>We'll be back tomorrow with the final post in this series. It's been a lot of fun! If you haven't, be sure to submit your own nominations <a href="http://kotaku.com/5871648/the-best-game-music-of-2011-make-your-readers-choice-nominations">for our Readers' Choice collection</a>, which will run on Friday.</p> <div style="font-size: 0.675em; color: grey); font-family: Verdana;">(Top image credit | <a href="http://jenzee.deviantart.com/">Jen Zee</a>)</div> <div style="padding:6px;" class="modfont"><em>"<a href="http://kotaku.com/gamemusic2011">The Best Game Music of 2011</a>" is a multi-part series highlighting the best video game soundtracks of the year.</em></div>
9 minutes and 54 seconds

The Complete Fool In Morrowind

<p><img src="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/images/09/mw/magichat.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>The RPS Hivemind is still recharging, the major nodes soldered directly into the towering soul-capacitors necessary to sustain their thin simulacrum of consciousness for another 12 months. Fortunately, an errant pustule has attained basic mobility, and opted to present you with artifacts from the Shotgun archives to help see you through until our resurrection. First up, a return to the Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, with a haphazard diary series written by Alec back in Summer 2009 during a obsessive revisit of the game that many still feel is Bethesda&#8217;s finest hour. It&#8217;s a tale of hats, spider-dwarves, assassin-besieged home ownership, grand burglary, poorly-designed forts and existential crisis, in a land far, far stranger than Skyrim.<br /> <a href="http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12/28/the-complete-fool-in-morrowind/#more-87169" class="more-link">(more&#8230;)</a></p>
50 seconds

Futurama's Dr. Zoidberg Versus Spider Spider-Man in a Skyrim Battle Royale

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Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

6 Pulses

Braid Creator's The Witness Gets an Intriguing Architectural Update

<p><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_34b6fd0763e6e2249c4e9102332ef3ac.jpg" width="300" class="image_0 v10_medium" alt="Braid Creator's The Witness Gets an Intriguing Architectural Update" title="Braid Creator's The Witness Gets an Intriguing Architectural Update" />When we last saw the upcoming game from Jonathan Blow this summer, <a href="http://kotaku.com/5828705/two-hours-with-jonathan-blows-the-witness-an-abbreviated-wonder"><em>The Witness</em> already looked like an intriguing experience</a>. The way that Blow's game design interwove puzzles and environmental cues created a hypnotic level of immersion where you had to pay attention to a gameworld like never before.</p> <p>As a result of updated designs from a partnership with architecture firms FOURM Design and David Fletcher Studio, the look of <em>The Witness</em>' world and the resultant immersion will get even deeper. In a new post on the game's Witness website, Blow talks about updating the aesthetics of <em>The Witness</em> from the blocky placeholder structures previously seen to newer models with real-world architectural details:</p> <blockquote> <p>If you see the different civilizations that came to this island as embodying different philosophies; and you see the structures they built as representative of the way these philosophies led them to interact with the world; and you see further that when they replaced a site, it represents the rejection of some older worldview that they consider no longer useful, then perhaps you start to get some idea of the amount of backstory that can be encoded into the world, nonverbally.</p> </blockquote> <p>Further down, Blow explains even more what's driving the re-envisioning of his project's look:</p> <blockquote> <p>Having smart architecture, it seems, really helps this process work, brings it alive. If you build a game where people are supposed to pay attention to details, but the details are wrong or naive or just don't have much thought put into them, then at some level the game just won't work. Even if you don't know the first thing about architecture, you have been in enough buildings in your life that the deeper parts of your brain have distilled plenty of patterns about those buildings. Your brain knows the difference between a real building and a nonsense building that wouldn't occur in the real world. It can feel the difference in veracity between carefully-thought-out structural details - on the one hand - versus stuff that was just placed by a level designer to look cool.</p> </blockquote> <p>When I got my <a href="http://techland.time.com/2011/08/11/playing-the-witness-hands-on-with-the-next-game-from-the-creator-of-braid/">hands on</a> <em>The Witness</em> <a href="http://www.ifc.com/fix/tag/jonathanblow">this summer</a>, the incongruity of the game's landscapes struck me as being on purpose. Were these structures from different dimensions? Were they meant to symbolize different states of consciousness in Blow's mysterious new adventure game? Now that Blow's offered some insight as to how interconnected the whole design of <em>The Witness</em> is going to be, it sounds even like it'll be a singular experience when it comes out… whenever that is.</p> <p class="arrow"><a href="http://the-witness.net/news/2011/12/architecture-in-the-witness/">Architecture in The Witness</a> [The Witness]</p> <p><a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/54ee9bb4ca89fb479feeffe9359305a6.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_54ee9bb4ca89fb479feeffe9359305a6.jpg" width="300" class="image_1 v10_medium" alt="Braid Creator's The Witness Gets an Intriguing Architectural Update" title="Braid Creator's The Witness Gets an Intriguing Architectural Update" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/252ee0da95e8be4a5281f2dfb2fe63ed.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_252ee0da95e8be4a5281f2dfb2fe63ed.jpg" width="300" class="image_2 v10_medium" alt="Braid Creator's The Witness Gets an Intriguing Architectural Update" title="Braid Creator's The Witness Gets an Intriguing Architectural Update" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/ba77e05b58a938cbf76c61b15814061f.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_ba77e05b58a938cbf76c61b15814061f.jpg" width="300" class="image_3 v10_medium" alt="Braid Creator's The Witness Gets an Intriguing Architectural Update" title="Braid Creator's The Witness Gets an Intriguing Architectural Update" /></a></p>
3 minutes and 40 seconds

Arcadia Updated

Fixed an issue with the file attributes causing the settings config to override itself.<br><br><a href="http://store.steampowered.com/app/72500/"><img src="http://storefront.steampowered.com/v/gfx/apps/72500/capsule_231x87.jpg" style=" float: left; margin-right: 12px; height: 87px; width: 231px;"></a>
15 seconds

These Are the Best PC Game Mods of 2011

<p><a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/af131c131154623b4e02ba76ea9f57a5.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_af131c131154623b4e02ba76ea9f57a5.jpg" width="300" class="image_0 v10_medium" alt="These Are the Best PC Game Mods of 2011" title="These Are the Best PC Game Mods of 2011" /></a>Every year thousands of PC gamers around the world sacrifice some of their play time in order to make the games they play even better that the original developers, and every year the community at modding hot spot <em><a href="http://www.moddb.com/">ModDB</a></em> choose the very best. Who made the grade this year?</p> <p>This is the joy of PC gaming right here. Long after console gamers have shelved their old favorites for the next big thing, PC game modders are doing things like adding online multiplayer to <em>Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas</em>, creating new levels for <em>Company of Heroes</em>, or crafting an entirely new game from the code of another.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.moddb.com/media/iframe/555668" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen=""></iframe><br> <a href="http://www.moddb.com/videos/moty-players-choice-mod-of-the-year">MOTY Players Choice - Mod of the Year - Mod DB</a></p> <p>Hit up <em>ModDB</em> for the full list of this year's deserving nominees, and then dig out those scratched and dusty discs and have some fun.</p> <p class="arrow"><a href="http://www.moddb.com/events/2011-mod-of-the-year-awards/features/moty-players-choice-mod-of-the-year">Mod of the Year Players' Choice Awards</a> [ModDB]</p>
1 minutes and 24 seconds

The Best Game Music of 2011: Rayman: Origins

The Best Game Music of 2011: Rayman: Origins...

Happy Holidays!

What a year this has been. It started with the madness of development, and the culmination of three years of work. Nuclear Dawn's release, the patches and fixes, and finally the free weekend on Steam last week. Bells are jingling, and reindeer are...

Portal 2 – PC Gamer UK’s co-op game of the year




In most co-operative games, players don’t work together so much as work beside one another. The closest you’ll get to real teamwork is pulling the trigger at the same time. Portal 2 doesn’t work that way. Its co-op problems...

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Monday, December 26th, 2011

2 Pulses

VVVVVV landing on 3DS eShop December 29

<p>The charming indie platformer <a href="http://www.shacknews.com/game/vvvvvv">VVVVVV</a> will make it to the 3DS just in time for your New Year's Eve party. You can distract yourself from Ryan Seacrest and the Black Eyed Peas with some gravity-swapping puzzles. The game is scheduled for release on the eShop this Thursday, December 29, at a price of $7.99.</p><p><shack:readmore caption="Read more: New features for the 3DS version »" /></p><p><a href="http://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/pbYF4tOod03oE7GLsEsXMnr5k0nFg-_3" target="_blank">Nintendo</a> (via <a href="http://www.joystiq.com/2011/12/24/vvvvvv-arrives-on-the-3ds-eshop-on-december-29/" target="_blank">Joystiq</a>) gave word of the release. The game has already been around for a while in PC and Mac for $4.99 and a <a href="http://thelettervsixtim.es/" target="_blank">free Flash</a> incarnation, but the 3DS version adds a few features to warrant the new price tag. You'll get new featured levels, a real-time map on the second screen, and "surprisingly nice" 3D support according to fellow indie dev Robert Meyer.</p><p>Here's what it looked like at IndieCade:</p><p><iframe width="620" height="345" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/uGco-OcGqhU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p>
1 minutes and 3 seconds

The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show

<p><a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/8f056dcf629940d203527072764e4a1c.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_8f056dcf629940d203527072764e4a1c.jpg" width="300" class="image_0 v10_medium" alt="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" title="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" /></a>From Dec. 23 to Dec. 26, the Asia Game Show rolled through Hong Kong. The show is in its tenth year, and this year, it featured the PS Vita in full force, cosplayers, booth companions, and a "Female Entertainment Area". <!-- %JUMP:More &raquo;% --></p> <p>With it now Dec. 27 in Asia, <em>Kotaku</em> looks back, with photos courtesy of reader Stu. Thanks, Stu!</p> <p>Some notable cosplays include <em>Assassin's Creed</em>, <em>Sengoku Basara</em>, and <em>Iron Man</em>. With a suitcase.</p> <p><strong>To see the larger pics in all their glory, click on the "expand" icon on the main image above.</strong></p> <p><a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/98f5c6c7cb44d126bd12b7b31568b667.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_98f5c6c7cb44d126bd12b7b31568b667.jpg" width="300" class="image_1 v10_medium" alt="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" title="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/5a1a04b23f928de406d852fabc7c1e71.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_5a1a04b23f928de406d852fabc7c1e71.jpg" width="300" class="image_2 v10_medium" alt="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" title="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/32a6b3ad2315463eb7b25836a504ff22.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_32a6b3ad2315463eb7b25836a504ff22.jpg" width="300" class="image_3 v10_medium" alt="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" title="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/20af5be4abc11c05eb6a1b11e4f8a31c.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_20af5be4abc11c05eb6a1b11e4f8a31c.jpg" width="300" class="image_4 v10_medium" alt="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" title="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/c1430402abee88eb7433494f65236882.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_c1430402abee88eb7433494f65236882.jpg" width="300" class="image_5 v10_medium" alt="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" title="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/e6ee03dd2e7011dbcb52406e3a071771.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_e6ee03dd2e7011dbcb52406e3a071771.jpg" width="300" class="image_6 v10_medium" alt="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" title="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/1ce57d8ccaac989078fbeb7ea10aa6c9.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_1ce57d8ccaac989078fbeb7ea10aa6c9.jpg" width="300" class="image_7 v10_medium" alt="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" title="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/c1ba5266a10e0e3e461ff9ff8d53bffe.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_c1ba5266a10e0e3e461ff9ff8d53bffe.jpg" width="300" class="image_8 v10_medium" alt="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" title="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/34bc07130ea8c5fa2dbbff7b3626f5a1.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_34bc07130ea8c5fa2dbbff7b3626f5a1.jpg" width="300" class="image_9 v10_medium" alt="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" title="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/3cd312faa345066ed866a4c822c82c34.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_3cd312faa345066ed866a4c822c82c34.jpg" width="300" class="image_10 v10_medium" alt="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" title="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/4b37421e23eb8a1ad020bc03a11daef6.jpg"><img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/medium_4b37421e23eb8a1ad020bc03a11daef6.jpg" width="300" class="image_11 v10_medium" alt="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" title="The Cosplayers and Booth Companions of the 2011 Asia Game Show" /></a><br> <a rel="lytebox" href="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/9/2011/12/a3fc20534f254544c7ecc9270af36270.jpg"><img 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9 minutes and 28 seconds

2012 so far..

10,128 Pulses