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Extra Credits: Starting Off Right

Extra Credits talks about hooking the player within the first five minutes. Honestly, this sounds like something all developers would understand to be necessary in capturing the attention of the average person. Television, movies, music, texting, the Internet and other games are all waiting to steal a consumer's attention (and dollars) should a game fail to immediately hook a gamer. But it's hard to argue that this isn't the case. Why else would we still hold up older games like God of War, BioShock and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare as examples of doing it right? Why else would so many great games languish on "To be Played Later" shelf and sit there long after the hardware they were made for has been discontinued?

Extra Credits: Mailbag #5

A rare mailbag episode has appeared. This brief video has Extra Credits answering fan questions like what they think of Nintendo's Wii U, the Ouya, the Oculus Rift and Electronic Arts advertising guns to Medal of Honor players.

Consoleation: Difficult decision

Rodin's The Thinker Image

As we turn the calendar to 2013, I'm faced with a rather significant decision to think on over the next couple of weeks.

Extra Credits: Digital Rentals and the Online Arcade

Coincidentally, I'm posting Extra Credits video the same week that it was leaked that Sony filed a patent for technology that would ban used or second hand games on its hardware. If true it is evidence of how tightly game companies are still holding onto the old ways of doing things oblivious to newer options. This Extra Credits presentation doesn't criticize such a practice, but it does talk about monetization of games and stress how the industry has moved beyond static price structures. Companies like a Sony (and by extension a Microsoft, a Nintendo and countless third party publishers) would best take notice and evolve with the times.

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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