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kotaku shop contest

Kotaku 'Shop Contest: Midnight Mario, Winners!

We started this contest with a much darker vision of life in New Donk City for Mario, but thanks to this week’s winner, we can end it on a much brighter one. Advertisement The winner for this week is Ihsus who somehow managed the unthinkable, taking a beautiful meme and making it even better, somehow, by the addition of Mario. It’s hard enough moving to a new place, especially when you’re barely more than two fee tall, apparently. That’s why it’s important to make friends quickly, and who better to show Mario the ropes of New Donk City than Mr. John Wick himself. The rest of you did a pretty great job too! barhat518 with an amazing runner-up. sciteach with an homage to one of my all-time favorite movies. Curryrider dreams up a movie I would totally never watch. toolsoldier lays on the filters. PunditGuy keeps Mario woke. Vinyourg has the call back. Tamales y Atole with a glimpse into our READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

blizzard

Bunny Symbol For Overwatch's D.Va Shows Up At Women's March In Seoul

Women marching earlier today in Seoul with a flag or D.Va’s bunny symbol, via @marchseoul. Unless you’re living under a rock, you probably noticed the Women’s Marches going on all over the world this weekend. The political protest is home to all sorts of people, messages, and signage, including from Blizzard’s Overwatch. Advertisement The above image, which came by way of the Twitter account for the Women’s March in Seoul, shows someone brandishing a flag adorned with mech pilot D.Va’s bunny symbol. It makes sense since the character’s real name is Hana Song and hails from South Korea. Known for shredding enemies from inside her two-legged tank, the bunny face from the flag above is the same one D.Va spray paints around the in-game battlefield. The symbol also showed up on some stickers beside the slogan, “The Rise Of The Woman = The Rise Of The Nation.” As a character, D.Va is more or less a collage of different mecha anime archetypes, with clear links to series like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Appleseed. But long before her bunny face became associated with the global women-led marches against READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

The Weekend In Esports: League of Legends and Genesis 4 Return

Coming off of last weekend’s excess in China with the WESG 2016, it’s back down to business with the start of some cutthroat action in both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Smash Bros. Oh, and competitive League of Legends finally returns this weekend! Advertisement Below you’ll find where and when you can catch all the weekends biggest events in competitive gaming. Let me know what you’ll be watching in the comments and if you think there’s something I missed. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive The ELEAGUE Major 2017 begins tomorrow in Atlanta, Georgia, where sixteen teams will face one another for a piece of the $1,000,000 prize pool, half of which will go to the fist-place winners alone. The tournament will wrap up next weekend, with the top eight from the group stage advancing to a best-of-three, single elimination play-off format. Advertisement Play begins Sunday at approximately 10:30AM EST between Gambit Gaming.CS and North. Matches will go all day, concluding around 6:00PM EST with a big showdown between Flipsid3 Tactics and FaZe Clan. You can watch all of the matches here. Smash Bros. Genesis 4 is here! The first big Smash event of the year, Genesis 4 will feature tournaments in both Smash…

business

This Week In The Business: A Tough Year For Hardware

QUOTE | “I’m tired of shooting people for no reason other than not getting killed.” – Martin Greip, art director of Eat, Create, Sleep, talking about games that lack meaning and how big budget games are “estranged from the real world.” Advertisement QUOTE | “I’d puke if I had to work on an empire-building game or another infinite runner.” – Oskar Burman, veteran of AAA, PC F2P and mobile, is moving to VR and talks about the lack of innovation in the industry over the last few years. QUOTE | “The Switch is a compelling piece of hardware that could potentially reach a much larger addressable market.” – DFC Intelligence analyst David Cole commenting on the opportunity in front of Nintendo with the Switch, which he predicts will sell 40 million units by 2020. Advertisement QUOTE | “2016 was a tough year for hardware spending.” – NPD analyst Sam Naji on the US games business seeing a 24% sales dip for hardware in 2016 as consumer spending on consoles softened. QUOTE | “Nintendo’s biggest missed opportunity around Super Mario Run is not taking advantage READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

astroneer

I Love Astroneer For Its Optimism

Yesterday I was feeling pretty down because, well, I knew tomorrow would be today. On a lark, I decided to try out Astroneer, because it’s managed to remain among Steam’s top sellers for a month, which is no small feat. Turns out, it’s just the game I needed. Advertisement Astroneer is the most fundamentally optimistic survival game I’ve ever played. It helped me feel good about humanity and the future despite everything going on right now, if only briefly. It’s a game about constant awe and wonderment. From the get-go, it makes you feel like a flea lost in the overgrown, matted hair of a giant. I mean, this is the game’s opening: The start screen is you, sealed like a pea in a tiny, helpless pod, overlooking a randomly generated behemoth. And then you launch. It’s immense. When you land, you’re greeted by patchwork plains of color and majestic twinkling in the distance. It’s like somebody dropped a planet into a pool of Elmer’s glue, construction paper, and glitter. You just want to look around and breathe the whole place in. Except you can’t, because there’s no air. Astroneer READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

kotakucore

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Pretty much says it all. How about those video games, though? Advertisement I’m sure you won’t be shocked to hear I’ll be playing more The Witcher 3. I’ll also be taking a break to play some of the games at one of my local Global Game Jam spots. Good luck if you’re making a game this weekend! What about you? What are you playing? READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

Study Shows Which Video Game Genres Women Play Most

Samus I’ve often told people that about half of gamers are women, citing an Entertainment Software Association report that puts the number  at 41%. The invariable response: “But what games are they playing?” Advertisement Yesterday, Nick Yee, the co-founder of game analytics company Quantic Foundry, published a report that spells out which game genres are dominated by women. He surveyed 270,000 gamers about their favorite game titles. According to his study, women make up about 70% of match 3 and family/farm simulation games’ audiences. About half of casual puzzle and atmospheric exploration games are played by women, too. The gender ratio plummets when we get to first-person shooters, tactical shooters and racing games. At the bottom of the chart, a mere 2% of sports game-players are women. This is nothing ground-breaking, but the study has some interesting surprises. “There’s a lot of variation not only between genres but within genres,” Yee told me. Thirty-six percent of fantasy MMORPG players are women, but only 26% of World of Warcraft players are women. On the other hand, Star Wars: The Old Republic has two times the average ratio of female gamers. Yee added in an e-mail that “[role-playing game] Dragon Age: Inquisition…

before you start

Tips For Playing Gravity Rush 2

Gravity Rush 2 is out today on PS4. I had mixed feelings about the game in general, but I do like a lot of things about it and it’s definitely more fun once you get the hang of it. To that end: some tips! Let’s do this. Watch the anime first. Sony released a short two-part animated “overture” that doesn’t exactly make Gravity Rush 2‘s story EASY to follow, but it does fill in a few blanks from the time between the first game and the second one. It’s also fun to watch, and not very long. Give it a whirl while you’re waiting for the game to download. Take your time and explore. And get gems. The most fun thing you can do in Gravity Rush 2 is simply leap around and explore the game’s many floating cities and towns. There are upgrade gems hidden in the darndest places, and it’s always worth dropping over the edge and seeing what’s underneath a given district. Relatedly… Don’t rush through the story. It’s tempting to hurry through Gravity Rush 2’s main story missions, but I found READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

kotakucore

How Virtual Console Could Make The Switch A Must-Own

Nintendo has yet to say anything about how the Switch will approach classic games, which means there’s still hope that they won’t screw it up. Very slight hope. But we’ll take what we can get. Advertisement Historically, Nintendo’s Virtual Console—a service for buying and playing games from older platforms—has been disappointing. On Wii, 3DS, and Wii U, the games were expensive, the selection was erratic, and worst of all, there was no way to tie your purchases to a single account: If you wanted Earthbound on both your 3DS and your Wii U, you’d have to buy it twice. Based on this pattern, it’s easy to be pessimistic about Switch. But given the popularity of the NES Classic, which Nintendo apparently didn’t expect (Reggie Fils-Aime: “We thought that the consumer that already had a Wii or a Wii U and had purchased those games once or twice already, we didn’t think that they’d buy the NES Classic.”), one might think that the company now sees the value in classic games. As they should. Advertisement A great Virtual Console could turn the Nintendo Switch from “wait and READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

Anime

What Made Toonami So Good

Sailor Moon An entire generation’s fondness for anime can be traced back to one programming block on Cartoon Network called Toonami. Toonami is a well of nostalgia for millennials whose introduction to anime included Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing, Sailor Moon and other classics. Advertisement I’d never really thought about what made Toonami so special until yesterday, when Kaptain Kristian posted a video about the history of broadcast anime, describing Toonami’s birth, death and resuscitation. In the video, he explains how Toonami in ‘97 was “designed to bring an awareness and a respectability to an art form somewhat overlooked by American audiences,” citing its curation and TOM, Toonami’s robot host (who, I just learned, was originally voiced by Dragon Ball Z’s Krillin!). Advertisement Check the video below: Toonami’s respect for anime was always clear—on it, anime was never described as a “genre.” If a viewer wasn’t into Sailor Moon, Kaptain Kristian says, that wasn’t representative of the whole Toonami block. Also, Toonami showed anime like Gundam Wing that was long-form and serialized, so viewers could really engage with some nuanced story lines and characters. After READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

DC Comics

The Injustice 2 Prequel Comic Launches April 11, And It's Gonna Be Great

One of the best evil Superman stories ever told continues on April 11, when DC Comics reunites writer Tom Taylor and lead artist Bruno Redondo to explore what happened between Injustice: Gods Among Us and Injustice 2. Advertisement Normally a prequel comic book wouldn’t be big news, but the three-year run of DC’s original Injustice comic was just so good. Writer Taylor and later Brian Buccellato were given their own DC Universe to play in, one where Superman, driven mad by the murder of Lois Lane and his unborn child, punches a hole through The Joker. Superman decides the best way to protect humanity is by forming his own tyrannical regime, Batman leads the more sensible heroes (and villains) against them. The first Injustice game takes place five years after the Lois Lane incident in this alternate universe, allowing the comic book to fill in the gap. Injustice 2 takes place five years after Superman’s fall in the first game, so we’ve got a lot of ground to cover in the comics, and some amazing talent to cover it. Advertisement Redondo is lead artist READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

kotakucore

Nintendo Answers (And Avoids) Our Switch Questions

The Switch won’t have Netflix or any other video apps at launch, but it will have a Mii Maker app. No video capture, sad to say. Advertisement Last week, just after the Switch event, we sent Nintendo a bunch of questions about their new hardware, which launches on March 3. Today, Nintendo sent back responses. Here’s the full list, complete with Nintendo’s answers (and non-answers): Is Switch backwards compatible in any way? Will you be able to download or play Wii, Wii U, or 3DS games? Advertisement The Nintendo Switch system is not backward compatible with games designed for other systems, and is not currently compatible with controllers designed for other systems. Support for certain controllers may be considered for a future update. We have nothing to announce regarding Virtual Console or other types of digital purchases at this time. How if at all does the Switch connect to Wii U and 3DS owners’ existing accounts? We have nothing to announce at this time. Will the Switch be compatible with existing Virtual Console purchases? We have nothing to announce at this time. READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

kotakucore

Long War 2 Completely Changes XCOM 2

Long War was one of the first XCOM reboot’s most popular and beloved mods, so much so that XCOM 2 ended up liberally cribbing notes from its playbook. Now there’s a Long War for XCOM 2, and it’s a doozy. Advertisement The goal of the mod is to make players feel like they’re waging a real fictional guerrilla war against aliens. Long War 2 plays up the infiltrator angle. Your max squad size is ten (versus vanilla XCOM 2‘s six), but smaller squads infiltrate areas more quickly, and an effective infiltration means weaker enemies once you’re on the ground. It’s a cool dynamic that means big squads of scrubs and small squads of commando killing machines are both viable, depending on the situation. That’s hardly all the mod adds. In some ways, it really is a whole new game built inside XCOM 2. Here’s the feature list: Advertisement Features include: 1) A much longer campaign, running for 100 to 120 missions on average 2) Infiltration mechanics that require you to send out multiple squads at once 3) Manage resistance Havens and have resistance READ FULL STORY AT KOTAKU!

Battlefield 1

Ice Cold Battlefield Medic Doesn’t Even Care

Today on Highlight Reel we have enthusiastic FIFA celebrations, Roadhog hooks, Widowmaker shutdowns and much 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 highlightreel@kotaku.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!