Illustration by Sam Woolley GameStop’s controversial Circle of Life program is changing next week, according to several store managers. Though the retail chain will continue to use and monitor Circle of Life scores, GameStop plans to enact several changes that will make the program more amenable to their employees. Advertisement The “Circle of Life” score, as Kotaku has reported, is a metric that GameStop uses to measure the performance of their employees. The Circle of Life refers to a driving GameStop philosophy: that customers should buy games, trade them into GameStop, and use the proceeds to buy more pre-owned games (which they then trade in to GameStop). Starting next week, according to managers who spoke with Kotaku tonight, GameStop will no longer monitor individual employees’ Circle of Life scores. Each GameStop store will now simply have a single COL number, for their entire store, which will help reduce pressure on individual employees to hit their quotas. Advertisement GameStop is also changing the way they calculate Circle of Life scores, managers say. Until now, a COL score had been based on four metrics: 1) pre-owned sales, READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
In these turbulent times, it can be hard to focus on making video games. The world is on fire! Tightening up the graphics on level three probably won’t do much to put it out. Ramsey Nasser was feeling that way, so he decided to make games about punching nazis. Advertisement “It’s something that has come up with me and my friends,” Nasser, who’s created two games about the subject, Handväska and Dialogue 3D, told me over the phone. “It’s like, ‘What the fuck are we doing with our lives? This country’s democratic institutions are openly under attack, and we’re tuning a jump mechanic on our latest game.’ Even outside of games, in software engineering and computer science, the research I do is pretty esoteric. I do compiler theory stuff and programming languages. Even that is far out there. But if we can’t be frivolous, if we can’t be esoteric, if we can’t be ourselves anymore because we’re so worried about the situation, that is its own defeat and oppression.” “What the fuck are we doing with our lives? This country’s democratic institutions are openly under attack, and we’re tuning a READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Players of The Elder Scrolls Online have found a cheap way to level up their characters, and they don’t even have to be at the keyboard to do it. Advertisement In the image above we see a group of The Elder Scrolls Online characters whose players are away from the keyboard, doing battle with absolutely nothing. Eventually enemies will spawn, and these players will get credit for killing them. That’s a problem. The characters in the GIF atop the article each wield a staff. Holding down the button assigned to ‘heavy attack’ causes an equipped staff to send forth an endless stream of magical bolts. So these players find a safe spot where monsters spawn regularly, like the Lluvamir Dolmen in Auridon, and then either set up a macro or use a rubber band to keep their controller button held down. Advertisement Since Dolmens, areas with regular special creature attacks, are popular places for players to grind, the staff-wielders generally don’t have to worry about getting hit. And since experience points are shared by everyone in an encounter, they can set their characters READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Depending who you are, you’ll either want to hang out with Night in the Woods’ characters all the time or tell them to get off your lawn. The game is small enough to feel intimate and spacious enough to cater to different kinds of curious people. It may feel different for everyone who plays it. Advertisement Night in the Woods is a sidescrolling narrative game developed by the small team Infinite Fall. The main character, Mae Borowski, is a cat. All the characters are animals, though there are also animals in the game who are just regular animals, so have fun with that. Mae has just returned to her tiny hometown of Possum Springs after dropping out of college for mysterious reasons at age 19. At the start of the game, her parents neglect to pick her up from the bus station, so she has to wander home through town. There’s a minor puzzle about platforming over an obstacle, a lot of reminiscing aloud, and some running into family. Later, some supernatural elements get thrown into the mix, but in the first ten minutes you’ll see most of the game’s mechanics. By the time the first of its four parts…
You’re heading to the store to get an Xbox One right now, and need to know which games to get. Or you’re at work or in school, daydreaming about what you want to play next. Or maybe you’re suiting up for a battle in the console war, cinching on your armor and trying to remember which games will best help you make the argument for Microsoft’s new console. We are here to help. Advertisement These days there are more good Xbox One games than ever, with new contenders arriving all the time. In the list below, we’ve listed the games we recommend for Microsoft’s machine. We will, of course, continue to update the list regularly as more games are released for the Xbox One. We’ve capped the list at 12, and in the months and years to come will remove old games to make way for new, better entries. Here goes… Rise of the Tomb Raider does much of what its predecessor did: It gives us a relatable, less superhuman Lara Croft and sets her loose in a hostile environment with only her wits and a pickaxe to stay alive. While the story may not be ultimately as gripping or…
Yuko “Chocoblanka” Momochi and her husband, Yusuke Momochi When I called Street Fighter pro Yuko “Chocoblanka” Momochi at 11 a.m. Japan time, her husband, the legendary Street Fighter champion Yusuke Momochi, was asleep. The husband-wife team, both Street Fighter athletes, had recently launched a school to train promising Japanese competitors. They’ve rented out a studio to use as a DIY classroom. They’re running streams to rekindle interest among Japanese competitors. Yuko handles the logistics and business strategy, explaining that Momochi’s schedule was now a cycle of sleep and Street Fighter. Right then, he was in the former portion of his day. Advertisement “He just wakes up and plays Street Fighter,” she told me. “When the students come, of course, he wakes up and teaches them.” The task of executing the husband-wife team’s vision for Japan’s next generation of Street Fighter champions is on Yuko’s shoulders. Their enterprise is called Shinobism. It is Yuko and Momochi’s attempt to breath life into Japan’s deteriorating Street Fighter scene. Although the prowess of Daigo Umehara, Ai Keita, Tatsuya Haitani and Hajime Taniguchi has brought international renown to Japan’s Street Fighter community, Street Fighter V’s future READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Overwatch Overwatch took home peer-based voting panel DICE’s “Game of the Year” award in a move that was never going to go any other way. Also the Game Awards’ Game of the Year, Overwatch made a clean sweep of 2016 awards cycle. Advertisement In DICE’s 20th year, only three games won multiple categories: Overwatch, Inside and Uncharted 4. Overwatch Advertisement Game of the Year Outstanding Achievement in Game Design Outstanding Achievement in Online Gameplay Action Game of the Year Inside Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction Outstanding Achievement in Art Direction DICE Sprite Award Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Adventure Game of the Year Outstanding Technical Achievement Outstanding Achievement in Animation Several games nabbed single awards, indicating 2016 was a strong year across all awards categories. New achievements this year nodded to virtual reality and augmented reality games’ rising prominence. Curiously, The Last Guardian’s cat-bird earned this year’s “Outstanding Achievement in Character” award. Take a look: Advertisement Advertisement Eagle Flight Immersive Reality Technical Achievement Superhot Vr Immersive Reality Game of the Year Pokémon READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Today on Highlight Reel we have Pharah from downtown, powerful sniper rifle shots, Cronenberg Hannah Montana, and more! Watch the video then talk about your favorite highlight in the comments below. Be sure to check out, like, and share the original videos via the links below. Subscribe to Kotaku on YouTube for more! Advertisement Highlight Reel is Kotaku’s regular roundup of great plays, stunts, records and other great moments from around the gaming world. If you record an amazing feat while playing a game (here’s how to record a clip), send it to us with a message confirming that the clip is yours at email@example.com. Or, if you see a great clip around that isn’t yours, encourage that person to send it in! READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Do you like loot? Do you enjoy having so much loot that you don’t know what to do with it? Does the thought of drowning in a sea of loot, images of loved ones scrolling like a credits sequence as a space laser digs deep into your esophagus, appeal to you? Then yeah, you should probably check out Pixel Privateers. Advertisement I’ve seen a lot of people comparing Pixel Privateers to games like Borderlands and Diablo, and it’s not hard to see why. The game, which has been hanging out in Steam’s top ten for the past couple days, describes itself as a “squad-based tactical loot-‘em-up.” Basically, you travel through space, jumping between planets and sending squads down to explore, run missions, and beat the stuffing out of a variety of exotic loot pinatas. Then you return to your ship, dress your vicious pixel people in the entrails of your enemies (which happen to be full suits of armor, generally), and jump back into the fray. Here’s a video of all that in action: Combat, you might have noticed, can be pretty easy. On normal, I found the first couple READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Last week, I reported on Byuu, an emulator developer and game archivist who was trying to preserve every single SNES game ever made. He declared his plan “dead,” however, after $10,000 worth of rare games went missing in the mail. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. Advertisement Today, Byuu finally received his package. A European collector who goes by the handle Smarthuman sent it to him at the start of January as part of a plan to archive every game from the PAL (Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, and Oceania) region, but then it went missing. Byuu thought it might have been stolen, and he claimed that USPS wasn’t exactly helpful in tracking it down. He ended up trying to raise money to pay back Smarthuman, something he said was his idea, not a demand from Smarthuman. What a difference a week (and a fuck-ton of media coverage) can make. Advertisement “Finally, today, February 23rd, the ordeal is finally over!” Byuu wrote. “The package arrived safely, with all games in-tact.” So, what happened? Well, after Byuu made the news, USPS apparently bumped him up the priority list. “On February 16th, finally a manager at the USPS Consumer Affairs department…
This week on Kotaku Splitscreen we’re talking about robot velociraptors, bows and arrows, and a bunch of other things related to the upcoming PS4 game Horizon: Zero Dawn. Advertisement First Jason and I discuss the news of the week, then we’re joined by our colleague Patricia Hernandez to talk about Horizon, which she reviewed and all three of us like. (No story spoilers, don’t worry.) We also talk about the deceitful card game Secret Hitler, Roombas, and just a bit about the Nintendo Switch. You can listen to this week’s episode on iTunes or Google Play, or directly here. (MP3 download here.) As always, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Advertisement Programming note: Next week Jason and I will be doing a series of special episodes from the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. We’ll be joined by a killer lineup of special guests from the world of game development. It’s gonna be a good time, so stay tuned. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
Illustrations by Kevin Whipple Video games are a lot of fun, but they can also be frustrating. From time to time, you may even get frustrated enough that you want to throw something. Good news! Your controller is right there in your hand. Advertisement I’ve often heard people refer to a game as “controller-throwingly difficult.” This is an evocative description, but it only tells part of the story. Video games are not defined according to a throw/no-throw binary. They exist along a spectrum of frustration. Likewise, there are many degrees of video game controller-throw. With help from illustrator Kevin Whipple, I have outlined a collection of the most common techniques. They are arranged in order of escalation. 1. The Shake Shake the controller forcefully but keep it safely in hand. Carefully set it down and take a break. Alternately, mash all the buttons for about one second instead of shaking. 2. The Almost Slam Raise the controller up in anger. Start to bring it down on a surface in front of you, then catch yourself short and firmly set it down instead. 3. The Slam This time, do not catch yourself. Slam the controller onto your desk or coffee table,…
For Honor For Honor players claim they’re getting banned from the online fighting game because of a haywire, or over-sensitive, anti-cheat program. Advertisement Players are getting kicked from matches after receiving the EasyAntiCheat 0006000043 error code, which means Ubisoft’s software detected “an authorized hacking program.” It’s a problem players have encountered since For Honor’s beta. Following its February 14th launch, For Honor’s development team has continued to tweak EasyAntiCheat’s ban criteria and, on Ubisoft’s forums, community developer Eric Pope laid out a thorough troubleshooting processed for innocent banned players. On Tuesday, Ubisoft announced a “hotfix” had come. Despite this, players say they’re still getting kicked for reasons beyond their comprehension. Advertisement GamerRevolution noticed a commonality between banned users: the Xpadder controller, which may violate Ubisoft’s mandate against ‘macro’ computer programs.” With it, users could feasibly map quick strings of attacks onto one gamepad motion. The speed gives them an unfair advantage. To be fair, banned For Honor Xpadder users aren’t necessarily programming macros, but it’s possible that the controller itself checks some boxes on their EasyAntiCheat software’s ban criteria. From HideoshiKaze On READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!
February 27 is Pokémon Day, commemorating the 1996 release date of the first two Pokémon games in Japan. The Pokémon Company is marking the occasion with the release of the first four entries in its premium Gallery Figures line, showing off fan-favorite pocket monsters performing their signature moves. Obviously crafted for collectors, the Gallery Figures come in lovely window boxes, perfect for people who would prefer to let their toys slowly suffocate to death than ever feel the warmth of human contact. And while they look great in their boxes, they look even better in the open. Eevee rides it’s signature “The More You Know” meme stars into battle, teaching us an important lesson about friendship. Magikarp just does the best it can. Look at that lil guy. He tries so hard. Mew brings those pink squigglies. And I am not sure Pikachu has ever looked quite so badass in toy form. Advertisement Advertisement While Tomy handles a lot of Pokémon toys in North America, READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!