Rolling Stone

Pokemon Go: Inside the Intense World of Hardcore Players

It was a little after 2 a.m. on a cool May night. Up until that point, it was just like any other night. I did what I always do before I hit the sack: I opened Pokemon Go on my phone and checked the gyms surrounding my house. I'm a member of Team Mystic – the blue team – and since I'd moved to Highland Park a year ago, a quiet neighborhood in Northeast Los Angeles, Mystic has consistently dominated the area. The gyms we captured went uncontested for weeks at a time, and I expected to see that reassuring sea of blue when I opened the app before shutting my eyes. But that night, all I saw was yellow. Team Instinct had come to town, and they had utterly destroyed us.

A Day With Grammy Nominated Video Game Composer Austin Wintory

Composer Austin Wintory is an unusually humble guy despite his enormous success. His work is extensive and varied, from the ragtime piano of indie hit Monaco to the waltzes of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate and the sweeping orchestral scores of The Banner Saga, Abzu and Journey. That last one earned him a Grammy nomination in 2013, famously the first (and still the only) nomination for a video game score.

Sci-Fi Epic 'Horizon: Zero Dawn' Channels 'The Witcher 3' and 'Far Cry Primal'

Guerrilla Games was already set on the big-picture concept for Horizon: Zero Dawn – due exclusively for PlayStation 4 on February 28 – by the time the game's current narrative director John Gonzalez joined the studio over three years ago. The intriguing contrast of a primitive, tribal people whose natural world comprises impossibly advanced technology – robots as intelligent and complex as any organic wildlife. What they didn't know was how these disparate ideas could possibly coexist in the same game.

Inside the Making of 'Steep' – Ubisoft's Ambitious Snow Sports Sim

The main character in Ubisoft's recently released extreme mountain sports game Steep isn't some long-haired snowboard rebel with a novelty balaclava, or a clumsy digital simulacrum of whichever Shaun White successor the kids are looking up to these days. Speaking with Igor Manceau, creative director of Ubisoft's studio in Annecy, France, it's clear that to the developers, Steep's narrative and emotional center is none other than a semi-mystical, whimsically idolatrized vision of "the mountain."

Inside Geoff Keighley's Game Awards Empire

Anyone who's followed video games for a while has probably developed an opinion on Geoff Keighley. To most, he's simply the guy who used to host the Spike TV Video Game Awards, a show whose pandering, tone-deaf production alienated its audience as often as not. To others, he's the dude from that Doritos meme, the "sell-out" who represents everything wrong with enthusiast journalism. Longtime gamers might even remember Keighley from his stint as a host on the now-defunct cable channel G4, or from his extensive work in print and online games journalism over the years, or from one of his many, many other hosting gigs. But Keighley himself wants to be remembered for one thing: The Game Awards.


Why video game cameras seem to always suck

Final Fantasy XV was in development for 10 years. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people across six different game development studios helped created it. Yet its camera — a fundamental part of the way players interact with the game’s world — is severely flawed. The weight on the game’s metaphorical shoulders was enormous — not just for the future of Final Fantasy as a game series, but possibly for the entire future of game consoles in Japan, according to game director Hajime Tabata. And it delivered on its enormous promise in many ways. How is it possible that a game into which so much was invested can have such a seemingly simplistic flaw?

The painstaking process behind making strategy guides, from the guy who’s spent his life doing it

Ancient map-making required mastery over the disciplines of mathematics and astronomy, the means and courage to venture into dangerous uncharted territories, inhuman patience, artistry and attention to detail, and the ability to perch on the cutting edge of every new technological advancement your culture’s most talented minds could muster. David Hodgson’s job is arguably more difficult — and certainly more tedious.

'Absolver' shakes up everything you know about fighting games

There are two main things to know about Absolver: it's visually gorgeous, and its combat will ask more of you than most other games would dare. It’s not just a brutally specific set of controls like the Dark Souls series, or an impressive array of stance-specific combos like in Ubisoft’s upcoming For Honor (with which Absolver shares a small amount of spiritual DNA, as members of developer Sloclap work previously at Ubisoft); it’s that Absolver lets players customize their fighting styles to a degree of detail rarely, if ever, seen in video games.

'The Last Guardian' creator Fumito Ueda is very happy to be finished

The Last Guardian is among those rarest of games — the ones that are in development for years and years (a decade in this case) and still actually come out. Now the long-awaited third title from game design auteur Fumito Ueda is scheduled to arrive Dec. 6, with no further delays. Speaking in a hotel meeting room in Santa Monica, Calif., Ueda seemed simultaneously reserved and excited to get the game out there.


Keeping Up with Japan's Premiere Mobile-Game Publisher, from Convention to Hostess Club

I’ve noticed something funny on my two trips to Japan: It’s hard to find accessorries for my big-screened gadgets. I tend to lumber around with a pluz-sized iPhone and an XL Nintendo 3DS in tow, but any cases, skins, decals or screen protectors on sale in Tokyo retailers like the 10-story mega-store Don Quijote are for the smaller versions of these devices only. As a culture Japan values efficient use of space, with dense but smart design infiltrating every corner of life, from Don Quijote’s packed, labyrinthine shelves to the sink in my hotel bathroom that doubles as the showerhead. That efficiency extends to the country’s vast gaming culture.

'I Am Setsuna' is a New Game for Old-School Final Fantasy Fans

I Am Setsuna begins with its hero, a mercenary named Endir, on an unassuming mission to rescue a girl. You slay the monster and the girl asks why you did it. Of the two dialogue options you can choose from, “This is our job” seems appropriate for this stoic warrior-for-hire. As the victim runs to safety, a man emerges from the shadows of the forest. If he was going to attack you, he’d have done it from behind, but you keep your guard up.

'No Man's Sky' Creator Sean Murray Talks Setbacks, Subreddits and Success

There’s never been a game like No Man’s Sky. It’s not just the vast, practically endless universe, full of rich colors and promising mysteries, or the bootstraps story of four guys who left their jobs making blockbuster games to forge their own path and craft a true work of art. More than anything, what makes No Man’s Sky amazing is the feverish crescendo of hype it built over the last three years since its announcement—and the fact that developer Hello Games was able to actually complete it with a small team of 15 people.

'Pokémon Go' is Making Me (and Everyone Else) Act Really Weird

When I lived in Boston I walked everywhere. Now I live in Los Angeles, and I walk almost nowhere. The farthest is to the bar down the street, less than half a mile away, and I’ve been tempted to uber there or back more than once. Blame the drink. Because of Pokémon Go I just walked more than a mile. I’m not saying that’s a good thing—it was midnight in LA and my girlfriend and I went the whole way face-deep in our phones. I’m just saying it’s weird.

There's a Lot Riding on 'Final Fantasy XV'

There’s a lot riding on Final Fantasy XV. The last few games in the series, though they have their sets of fans, haven’t had the same impact as the ones that made “Final Fantasy” a household name—entries like Final Fantasy VII and FF X. Number 13, in fact, wasn’t well received at all, and the fourteenth was a massive multiplayer online game—the same genre as World of Warcraft—whose original 2010 launch was so thoroughly botched that Square Enix had to totally redesign and re-release the game as something different three years later. So what’s riding on FFXV? The fate of the entire series, it seems—and maybe more.

Don't Let Life Pass You By Without a 'Hitman' Murder Drinking Party

The best part of Hitman is playing each new level until you’ve completed every challenge, killed your targets in dozens of different ways, and memorized the movements of every character and the contours of every hallway, ballroom and plaza. You can spend hours and hours replaying the same mission until everything is perfect—killing your targets without getting spotted, hiding their bodies, preventing any other casualties, and doing it all without wearing a disguise is the ultimate victory. And if I hadn’t achieved all that, I would have had a much tougher time killing Hitman’s first elusive target—especially inebriated as I was.

I Have No Defense For Enjoying 'Dead or Alive Xtreme 3'

Nostalgia isn’t a thing we only feel when remembering something that was great or perfect. I used to play the Dead or Alive Xtreme games, and I still do, and when I play them now I feel nostalgic for junior high, even though these games are pretty much terrible. I didn’t realize it at the time, but they are. Back then it seemed defensible—what could be the harm of ogling huge-breasted anime babes as they prance and frolic on beaches and volleyball courts?
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When Video Game Trolling Is A Good Thing

The timer ticks down toward zero. We tear across the Boneyard, one of Halo: Reach’s best multiplayer maps, my good friend Rus driving with me sitting shotgun. I’m clutching the blue flag in hands that would be sweating if they were real. We shed our red teammates like skin; they race past us going the other direction on foot and in alien vehicles, crashing to pieces against the blue players that pursue us. They fall, re-spawn, hurtle past, and fall again. All the while the timer ticks down.

Taking The Minecraft Vegetarian Challenge

Minecraft is a lot of different things to a lot of different people; a place to build a word processor, recreate Westeros or trap incredible monsters. For many players it's simply about survival, which means making sure you have shelter at night, forging armor and weapons with which you can fend off attackers, and somehow finding food to keep your hunger meter full. It's that last one that presented a problem for me when I picked the game up again recently.

​How Destiny Players Fixed One Of The Game's Biggest Problems

As much as I love it, Destiny is riddled with flaws, many of which Bungie doesn't seem all that interested in addressing. Most of them—like how you still lose ammo when you die—are things players can't do anything about. But the game's lack of matchmaking for its most challenging missions—one of its most glaring problems, depending who you ask—has proved to be something players can address and, by working together, fix.

Most Players Will Never Know About The Best Change In Pokémon X And Y

Pokémon X and Pokémon Y are the friendliest Pokémon games ever, both to new players and to jaded old-guard types like myself. The series has never been easier, and at the same there are more options than ever before. But there's one tiny change in the new Pokémon games that has the hardcore competitive community of players dancing for joy—and it's something average players may never know or care about.

The Only Reason I Still Own An Original Xbox

Every girl I date seriously must eventually pass a trial. It happens at a certain point in every relationship I have; by then she basically knows what she's getting with me, including my tendency to get weirdly obsessed with things. The bands Titus Andronicus and Belle & Sebastian, for one thing, or Game of Thrones. I'm tattooed with 16-bit Mario, a Dark Souls bonfire, and my dog Ricky. Etc. But if she hasn't picked up on that part of my personality, she'll see me in full when I show her my stronghold in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.

'The Tyranny of King Washington' Developers Enjoyed Going 'Crazy' With The Assassin's Creed DLC

The developers behind the Assassin's Creed series have always been proud of how much effort they put into maintaining a thin veil of historical accuracy. That's most evident in the settings, from Revolution-era Boston to the Holy Land during the Crusades, where that veneer of accuracy goes much deeper. But it's there in the plot, as well, despite the presence of deific holograms and a secret order of superhero Assassins.



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Destiny 2 Power Leveling Guide: How To Pass Level 900 And Getting Raid Ready

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep brings new content to Bungie's sci-fi loot shooter MMO, transitioning the game into a whole new season and adding on to its story. Plus, there's a ridiculous amount of new gear to chase. With the new changes come adjustments to level balancing and the in-game economy, though, completely revamping the armor system and approach to weapon mods--making them both more customizable.

Destiny 2's Annoying Phalanx Enemies Have An Awesome New Weakness

One of Destiny 2's most common and annoying foes is an upgraded version of an old enemy: the Cabal Phalanx. These heavily armored brutes hold a gigantic shield in their off-hand, shooting at you with impunity from the other side. On top of that, in Destiny 2 they've gained the ability to massively increase the size of that shield, extending it on both sides to provide cover for their idiot Cabal friends. Thankfully, there's something else new about Phalanxes in Destiny 2: their weakness.

New Live-Action Destiny 2 Trailer Was Made By Metal Gear Solid Movie's Director

Destiny 2's new live action trailer has quite the director behind it: Jordan Vogt-Roberts, director of this year's Kong: Skull Island, not to mention the upcoming Metal Gear Solid movie. For him, he told GameSpot, anything related to video games is a labor of love. "It really did have to do with my love of video games, and sci-fi, and Destiny," he said. "It was just impossible for me to turn down. It had too many things that I love in it."

Directing Final Fantasy 7 Remake And Kingdom Hearts 3 Together Made Life Easier For Nomura

Kingdom Hearts 3 and the Final Fantasy 7 remake are two of the mostly eagerly anticipated games in development right now, and they’re being directed by the same man: Square Enix's Tetsuya Nomura, who has previously worked extensively on both franchises. During a group interview at Disney's D23 expo, he explained how the two new games have proved the perfect complements to one another for him as director.

6 Reasons Why You Should Look Forward to Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

A discernible pattern has emerged in developer Game Freak's Pokémon releases. With every new generation of games, they remake and re-release a pair of older games as well. On Game Boy Advance came Fire Red and Leaf Green (remakes of the original Game Boy releases). Then, on DS, they made Heart Gold and Soul Silver. Predictably, 2003's Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire are next on the remake list, with Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire set to drop in November, more than a decade after the originals launched.


Full Throttle Remastered Review

There’s plenty to appreciate in Full Throttle Remastered even if you didn’t play the original back when it was released by LucasArts in 1995. It’s a darkly humorous adventure set in a Wild West-like near future, where the last cowboys (biker gangs) are struggling to stay saddled before the march of encroaching technology (hover cars). A clean new art style and remixed sound make this old hog feel refreshed, although with its questionable puzzle logic and technical issues Full Throttle definitely still feels like a 22-year-old adventure game.

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove Review

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove is a comprehensive Shovel Knight collection that does a good job of showing off what’s great about the Nintendo Switch, while the new Specter of Torment expansion unearths new depth. These exceptional retro-looking (and sounding!) platformers have previously been released on so many platforms that you’ve probably played Shovel Knight already in one form or another (and if you haven’t, you should – see our original Shovel Knight review), but Specter of Torment, in particular, is well worth returning for.

Men's Fitness


Digital Trends

'Skull and Bones' pillages the best part of 'Assassin's Creed' for intense pirate battles

When Assassin’s Creed 3 introduced shipbound naval combat to the series in 2012, some said it was the best part of an otherwise somewhat lackluster game. When Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag cast a pirate as its protagonist and made seafaring gameplay its focus, few were surprised. And when Ubisoft unveiled Skull and Bones during its E3 2017 presentation, it made perfect sense.
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The Industry


The "Need for Speed" Movie is Probably the Best Video Game Adaptation Ever

When EA announced its Need for Speed movie, it seemed like Aaron Paul had made a poor choice for his first post-Breaking Bad role. Video game adaptations rarely attain even passing mediocrity, and the Need for Speed driving game series doesn't even have a plot to begin with. But it may have been that very deficit of story that allows the Need for Speed film to not only be good, but to verge on greatness.

Interview: Will Arnett Professes His Love For "Titanfall", Manages to Seem Even Cooler Than Previously Suspected

We've been to our fair share of cheesy celebrity endorsement events, but Microsoft's recent Titanfall play session with "Will Arnett and friends" was not that. The difference is simple: Will Arnett is actually a gamer, and Xbox is his console of choice. You could tell he was enjoying himself by the way he rushed back to his controller the second our interview was over.

If You Played "Donkey Kong Country" as a Kid You Just Might Love the New "Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze"

Donkey Kong Country is one of those retro video game series that's still just as fun when you play it today. Even the graphics have aged well—of course, it helps that back then they were mind-blowing good. Regardless, these games never get old, no matter how many times you play them. But when Nintendo revived the classic franchise with Donkey Kong Country Returns fans were worried.
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The Miracle Mile Paradox -- Exploring A New Reality In Gaming

Gamers are no strangers to unusual passions, and in reality, April Arrglington's isn't all that weird. In fact, "transmedia" entertainment simply describes what everyone is already doing anyway - things like tweeting while they watch TV, or making up fan fiction on message boards. But for Arrglington, a Panama native who moved to Los Angeles in 2003, it's the embodiment of her passion for storytelling, and according to her, proof that she can see the future.

The Art Of Journey -- Behind The Pixels With Thatgamecompany Developers

One of the biggest games this year turned out to be a downloadable game that you could beat in only a couple of hours. No guns, no bosses, and no equipment to speak of; Journey offers far more than your typical game as you explored the endless rolling sand dunes or the crumbling ruins of a dying civilization with a complete stranger. It’s a game that invites the player to discover a world unlike any other both in gameplay and visuals.

TabTimes Games

EA responds to fevered 'Dungeon Keeper' paywall criticism

Earlier this week, Electronic Arts released Dungeon Keeper, an iOS and Android version of the classic PC strategy series (read the TabTimes Games review here). Many were excited for this tablet and smartphone remake, but when they finally played it they were instead disappointed, even angered, by the game’s rather aggressive microtransactions. We reached out to EA Mythic’s Jeff Skalski, the game’s senior producer, who was eager to respond to the criticisms.

SteelSeries Stratus review: this iOS 7 controller is a victim of its environment

Gaming accessory maker SteelSeries takes pride in the fact that its Stratus controller sits on the shelves of Apple Stores and on When I spoke with the company's publicists back at CES in the beginning of January they stressed this fact; Apple's own engineers put the controller through its paces during development, and the end product is good enough to be featured officially by the company that makes iPhones and iPads.

'Detective Grimoire' review: so good you'll hope for more murders soon (iOS/Android)

It's really rare for me these days to complete a game and immediately starting wishing for a sequel. Maybe I'm jaded, though at 25 I doubt it. I think it's just that there are so many great games out there to play, and there's always something next up in my queue. Nevertheless, that very thing occurred the second I finished Detective Grimoire, and I already can't wait for the seemingly inevitable follow-up.

Porting adventure games to tablets: is it worth it? And what's next for Wadjet Eye?

As Brooklyn-based Wadjet Eye Games, the husband-wife duo of Dave and Janet Gilbert specializes in niche adventure games that they've been porting to iOS and Android. Games like The Shivah, Gemini Rue, the Blackwell series, and Resonance have enthralled fans of the classic genre on PC, and now that they're being ported to tablets a whole new audience is gaining access to them.
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Diablo 3 Review

Reviewing Diablo 3 is a daunting task. How can I sort through the results of over a decade of anticipation, much less shed my own personal biases regarding Blizzard and the Diablo series? I'm not even sure what's important to me anymore. Do I care whether the classes are balanced? There's plenty of time to tweak things still before PVP is unleashed. What about the story? Does it matter whether it makes a lick of sense? Or am I happy simply because there's always more loot to find, another skill to unlock, another thing to click?

Cheat Code Central

Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor Review for Xbox 360

The Steel Battalion series has something of a history when it comes to unusual input methods - the original shipped with a $200 controller peripheral designed to imitate the cockpit of a mech - so in some ways it seems totally natural that a modern-day version would utilize what in many ways is the most advanced control method ever created: Kinect. But then again, "advanced" might not exactly be the correct word to describe Kinect.

Aliens of Mass Effect

In the world of Mass Effect, the Milky Way can seem downright crowded. The game's galaxy is filled with creatures of all sizes and demeanors, from the hotheaded Krogans and humble Keepers to the rare Collectors and reclusive Yahg. It can be hard to keep track of the series' myriad and varied races, whether your Commander Shepard is a seasoned soldier or a relatively fresh recruit who's yet to even don a pair of official Spectre Shades.

How The Vita Can Avoid The PSP's Fate In The US - Cheat Code Central

There's a lot hinging on the Vita's success. We gamers may have short memories, but most of us will recall that Sony's initial foray into the handheld space--the PSP--was the first system in more than a decade to challenge Nintendo's absolute portable dominance. And make no mistake: Nintendo is still dominating that space, especially in the U.S., where it holds 86% of the mobile gaming market, excluding iOS and Android.



Hands-on with Halo: Reach- Multiplayer

For some, few things elicit more excitement and sweet remembrance than the sizzle of a crackling blue plasma grenade or the distinctive, smoky trail of a sniper round betraying the location of a distant fellow player. Plenty of gamers made the jump to the Xbox generation of consoles without many expectations, having only recently begun to grow tired of shooting the crap out of one another in Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark on the N64.

Hands-on with Halo: Reach- Firefight

Three comrades and I are holed up at the top of a heavily fortified slope, brows dripping sweat and hands white ­knuckled, clutching our weapons (controllers) as if they were our frantically beating hearts themselves. I hear the beat of Covenant war drums in the distance, and several Phantom drop ships enter my field of vision. They spread out in front of me, coming to a hovering stop high off the ground at strategic points throughout the battlefield. From the insectile hulls pour dozens of majestically bestial Elite, their mandibles snapping wildly in anticipation.