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TouchTalk, Volume Five

Nano Ninjas Screenshot

Welcome back to a semi-regular feature here at GameCritics.com: TouchTalk. While this series was inspired by one of my old features, the Bargain Basement, I've got an all-new focus for an all-new phase in gaming. Rather than highlighting discounted gems in the used section of a retail shop, I'll be reviewing downloadable mobile games and apps that you might want to check out… and maybe some that you'll want to avoid.

Extra Credits: Energy Systems

This is another interesting episode from the guys and gals at Extra Credits. This time they cover "limitation systems" or "energy systems," systems used to actually extend playtime or the life of a game. Things like this sadden me only because it makes me more aware of how games (and their creator's) these days are trying to manipulate you into spending more money without realizing it.

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 84: Fifth Annual Holiday Awards Spectacular

Awards, contest winners, and Dan Weissenberger? This can only be our Fifth Annual Holiday Awards Spectacular! We dish on the best and worst of 2012, Brad's son drops in to share his best and worst of the year, and we give out some fabulous prizes based on a really cool random number generator. Featuring Dylan Collins, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Dan Weissenberger, Richard "It's not really a spoiler" Naik, and Tim "The Brett Farve thing is getting old" Spaeth.

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Holiday Leftovers: The listener comments

The Walking Dead: Episode One—A New Day Screenshot

This year we asked our readers and listeners for their top three favorite games of 2012. We also asked them for the single worst. Our intention was to tally the results and have a "popular vote" alongside that of our staff critics, but we got so many well-written rationales that it seemed like a shame to let them go to waste. As such, we've assembled these write-ups as a companion piece to our year-end podcast.

However, since we did not originally plan to publish these, we've removed the names from each piece to protect the privacy of the authors. We've also rearranged the order of the comments to make them a little more readable. (We may have done a little spell-checking as well, but we won't talk about that right now.)

In any event, we here at Gamecritics think that there's always value in hearing someone else's opinion. To that end, here are some of the reader and listener testimonials for The Best of 2012.

2012: The Year of the Games

Journey (PSN) Screenshot

2012 has been an amazing year for games. I had meant to put together a post extolling the virtues of the top candidates for game of the year, but the list kept getting longer and longer, with more and more games that would have been obvious choices for a top-five list in any other year. The task was clearly beyond me. So, I enlisted the talents of Michael Abbott, Brandon Bales, Mattie Brice, Kate Cox, Denis Farr, Brad Gallaway, Brendan Keogh, Justin Keverne, Cameron Kunzelman, Kris Ligman, Eric Swain, and Dan Weissenberger. With my superteam thus assembled, let's look at some of the year's super games.

Gamecritics.com Podcast Episode 83: The Walking Dead

We discuss The Walking Dead: Episode Five—No Time Left and the series as a whole. But BEFORE that, we have thumbs up and thumbs down and an announcement about our big end of the year show! With Chi Kong Lui, Brad "Nine-Dollar Coconut Drink" Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Richard Naik, and Dylan Collins.

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

Extra Credits: On Game Schools

One thing that the video game industry needs to be more proactive in is the education of the general public with regards to video game schools or game design programs. When people think of gaming schools, they might think of the ones that get the most coverage like a DigiPen Institute of Technology or Art Institute of Vancouver. However, not everyone gets to attend these shining examples. Some aspiring Shigeru Miyamoto's and Ken Levine's might wind up wasting four years and tens of thousands of dollars at a less than reputable institution. That's where Extra Credits comes in to give some advice for anyone thinking about attending a school to actually become a game creator.

Lost in translation—Japanese PSN imports!

Vehicle Cavalier Screenshot

The good people at GungHo recently released six "classic" Japanese PS1 games on PSN. They are currently available in the "Imports" section for $5.99 each, and they're in their "original, unaltered" Japanese state, meaning that no localization work has been done on any of these. In the interest of disclosure, it should be known that GungHo PR sent me a code for all six games for the purposes of evaluation. It should also be known that I had never heard of any of these titles, so I was walking into all six with a totally clean slate.

The son, Tom Clancy and big freaking rabbits

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U) Screenshot

I'm quite happy to say that my oldest son, age 11, will be flying in this weekend to spend Christmas with us. We plan on chopping down a Christmas tree and catching a showing of The Hobbit, but other than that, I think we are going to lay low and just hang out as a family… we may play a few video games as well. Maybe.

Gamecritics After Dark Episode 4: The Borderlands Show

At long last, the in-depth Borderlands/Borderlands 2 discussion that has for too long been stricken from our main show. For a grueling six hours we tear into every possible facet of the Borderlands franchise, from secret relationships of the NPCs to Randy Pitchford's favorite breakfast cereal. Featuring Richard "Sniper" Naik and Tim "Going in Guns Blazing is Always an Appropriate Course of Action" Spaeth.

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

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