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Extra Credits: Differences in Scale vs Differences in Kind

Extra Credits looks at employing scale (i.e. more enemies) and tone to break up gameplay and maintain a player's interest level. Extra Credits' example of a game that got this right was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare—who knew that Call of Duty could be the game to actually teach us something?

Consoleation: Addressing Bobby Kotick's comments from Activision's Q1 2013 Earnings

Call of Duty: Ghosts Screenshot

I'm not going to completely break down Activision Blizzard's results or get into the publisher's specific future as I see it. I will quickly say that I believe Call of Duty: Ghosts will be the best-selling console video game of 2013, although Grand Theft Auto V will push Ghosts for dominance. I also believe that Skylanders: Swap Force will have strong competition from Disney Infinity this year.

Black Rock Shooter, Hellraid and No Mo' Comix

Black Rock Shooter: The Game Screenshot

I've heard absolutely no one talking about Black Rock Shooter: The Game, but it was just released by NIS America and it's currently available on the PSN store for $20. (Designed for PSP, but compatible with Vita.) I just completed it yesterday, and I have to say, I had an absolute blast with it. It's a very small, focused game that feels perfect for playing on the go, and there are a lot of very smart design decisions on display.

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 90: The Raiding of (non-existent) Tombs

It's a Tomb Raider extravaganza! We dish on the latest incarnation of Lara Croft, female protagonists in general, and the state of the "Cinematic Action" genre, a term which I claim full credit for coining. With Richard Naik, Brad Gallaway, Ashley King, Sara Rich, and (later on) Tim "Skype Connection Dropped" Spaeth.

Also, check out this article by our good friend Rhea Monique if you have time. Well worth a read.

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Please send feedback and mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

Consoleation: Nintendo vs. the (third-party) world

Madden NFL 25 Screenshot

Let's get the hyperbole out of the way first. Not having a Madden game in 2013 will not kill the Wii U. It's instinctive to think that a lack of EA presence on the platform could be akin to a kiss of death, similar to what we saw with EA spurning SEGA and the Dreamcast. This is a different animal, I think.

Extra Credits: Why Console Specs Don't Matter

Extra Credits asks what we are all asking. What can the new hardware do that isn't already being done on today's hardware?

Nobody at the tower

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

One of the things I found most striking about BioShock Infinite is how sloppy it was. The ending, as I already discussed, is a self-contradicting mess held together only by sharply-timed revelations and plonky piano music. The quantum morass of its final moments is only one of the game's problems, though.

Riptide, Soul Sacrifice and Mars War Logs

Dead Island: Riptide Screenshot

Readers will know that I am a huge fan of the first game, and even though it had some rough edges, it was a pretty brilliant experience. Unfortunately, Riptide isn't able to match up to that first title. The new character who uses hand-to-hand combat is lots of laughs, but the game itself feels like it was slapped together with very little care and isn't nearly as immersive or as atmospheric as the original.

Interview with Craig Kaufman, of AbleGamers

Interview with Craig Kaufman, of AbleGamers

Above the spectacle of PAX East's show floor, in the lobby of the convention center, gaming charity AbleGamers set up their own mini pachinko parlor. With its vertically-mounted machines, loud noises and flashing lights, the Japanese devices were quite a spectacle. Curious to learn more about the sort of group that would bring them to PAX, I managed to grab Craig Kaufman, a member of the AbleGamers team, to learn more about what the charity does and how he got involved.

State of Decay Hands-on Preview

State of Decay Screenshot

Several sites including GameCritics.com were invited to a preview event for the upcoming Xbox Live Arcade title State of Decay. The gathering took place at Undead Labs, located in Seattle Washington. I attended, and was able to spend about four hours with a near-final build of the game. In addition, several of the developers were nearby throughout the day to answer questions.

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