Top Video Game Character Halloween Costumes

Friday, October 21, 2011 at 11:00 am
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Trick or treat!
Halloween is just around the corner, which means it is officially time for those of us who have yet to pick out a costume to start panicking. We need some inspiration.

Here at Joystick Division, we're mighty partial to costumes with a distinct video game slant. As such, we've decided to grab some of our favorite examples from around the internet and pile them all into a single post, like an overflowing pumpkin-shaped bucket full of treats.

Keep in mind that we did our best to avoid the professional cosplay crowd with these selections. We like our Halloween costumes to have a certain home grown flair.

And, thanks to the following jump link, we can guarantee that this Halloween post has not yet been opened. So you can go right on ahead and enjoy it without fear of poison, razorblades or broken bits of glass. (And be sure to share your own favorite game costumes in the comments.)

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Ten Classics That Could Use A First-Person Remake

Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 11:00 am
It's the fad now. Classic video game franchises -- those long thought to be dead -- are being rebooted and redesigned to become first-person shooters for our modern era. We saw the Fallout series jump to first-person a few years back. Recently, XCOM was announced as a first-person strategy game. Even more recently, the legendary strategy franchise Syndicate was shown off as a first-person steampunk shooter.

And while it can be debated whether or not the "first-person" perspective of storytelling is right for these games, the cold truth is that we're seeing the beginning of a trend. Like Hollywood, the video game industry is turning nostalgia into a source of income -- culling cult hits from the 1980s and 1990s to mutate into the new age. So, we're taking this idea and running with it. We know it'll probably be controversial. But we're going to do it anyway. These are ten games that would be awesome reboots for the seventh generation. Enjoy!

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Five Things We Learned From Secret of Evermore

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 1:00 pm


Secret of Evermore -- not just a cheap attempt to ride the coattails of success.

Everyone who played the SNES game Secret of Mana was taken in by its epic tone, whimsical scope, and addictive gameplay. It rightfully achieved a place as one of the best games of the 16-bit era, and fans eagerly awaited some form of follow-up.

Secret of Evermore was not that follow-up. It incorporates the same general gameplay style and was titled similarly to cash in off of Mana's success -- but that's all.  It doesn't deal with the Mana Tree at all. None of the characters are back. The tone is seven to eight times more whimsical. And the sword you get in Secret of Mana is a sacred weapon to be used against the grandest form of tyranny; the game is called Seiken Densetsu 2 in Japan, which means "Holy Sword Legend 2." Secret of Evermore could hardly be called a "Holy Sword Legend," and as such, many fans who bought it expecting a direct sequel were disappointed.

But if you can get past the longing and nostalgia-ridden fury that the sight of those beautiful Mana-like ring menus fills you with, Secret of Evermore is a good game in its own right. Maybe even a great game. And it taught us entirely distinct things from its distant cousin Mana.

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Top 5 Video Game Characters to Have on Your Side During the Zombie Apocalypse

Friday, October 14, 2011 at 11:00 am
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Partner up. It's gonna get rough.
We're all pretty much over zombies at this point, but that doesn't take away from the fact that the undead apocalypse absolutely will happen at some point, likely in the near future and due to a weaponized virus or rage-infested primates.

As a result, we still need to keep our minds focused on preparation and survival. With so many zombies popping up in video games these days, that got us thinking about which characters might be the best partners to have watching our backs when the flesh eating begins.

Obviously, such a list wouldn't be much fun if any of those characters were the heroes of actual zombie games, so don't expect to see an appearance from Chris Redfield after the break.

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The Top Ten Best Voice-Acted Video Games

Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 11:00 am
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Over the past decade, video games have reached a point where they are capacious enough, and well-funded enough, that their lines of dialogue can be read to us. For many years, we were relegated to reading large portions of our games -- an admittedly wonderful aspect of the history -- but now, whole casts, sometimes star-studded, are employed to portray characterizations and emotions for us.

In that span of time, we've encountered a handful of games that stand head and shoulders above the rest. These are games that feature more than brilliant writing. They have charismatic, talented voice actors to deliver all those lines to us and to bring to life the characters inside the games. We've decided to take these standouts and make a top ten list out of them. And to qualify, they have to have excellent acting across the board. Please enjoy.

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Five Things I Personally Learned From Pictures of Old LCD Games

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 11:00 am

Handheld LCD Games -- where the artful rendering of the game's title on the front of the machine is more entertaining than the actual game.
So the title of this post doesn't exactly have the "reach-through-your-monitor-and-slap-you-in-the-face" zing that comes with describing a universal experience.  We did learn things collectively from video games, and it's always a nostalgic and almost uplifting experience to explore the impression that gaming has left on all of us over the years.  You may mention the noise that occurs in The Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past when a guard notices you (something like a fat coin purse being thrown into a shrub), and someone's face will light up.  Or you'll speak with disgust about that one Goldeneye multiplayer match when you were killed by a crouching Oddjob slapping you, and someone will groan in sympathy.  It's a wonderful affirmation: we are not alone.  The awe of being young and discovering gaming lives on in us as a community.

This article, however, is not about that sharing of a beautiful communal memory. This article is about my personal reactions to goofy LCD handheld games that I found images of on Google.

To be clear -- I have not played these games. I believe that from cursorily looking at these games I have learned much of what they can impart. And there are certainly things to be learned (and, indeed, fondly remembered) concerning this oft-overlooked form of video game.

Will you follow me down this road, oh reader?

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10 Unofficial Batman-Inspired Video Games

Monday, October 10, 2011 at 1:00 pm
Batman Beyond is a Street Fightin' man.
Batman: Arkham City's gates open next week to the masses, offering what could be the coolest Bat-video game yet. We say "could" because, of course, we don't know how much you enjoyed Batman: Arkham Asylum. Plus, in the underground scene of mods and hacks, some interesting Bat-games are appearing. Have you ever dreamed of M. Bison owning Batman Beyond, or Batman soldiering through a post-nuclear Washington D.C.?

We have some Bat-answers after the jump.

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Top 5 Games for the Nook Color

Friday, October 7, 2011 at 11:00 am
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You can read on it, too?
I picked up a Nook Color a couple months back and proceeded to go on a rant about how, along with being an e-reader, the device was actually a competent gaming machine as well.

With more than 700 apps available on the Nook's marketplace today, it's getting harder and harder to figure out which gaming apps are actually worth my time.

Eventually, my quest for fun Nook games led me to a couple of conclusions. First, practically nobody in the press is reviewing these things. Secondly, the peer reviews are useless. I found out the hard way that the Nook's five-star rating system can't be trusted. It's way too common to see the majority of a game's reviews be "Five stars: This game look like fun, I wish I could get it," or "One star: Does anybody else like Harry Potter?" I'm not even kidding.

My goal here is to provide a jumping off point for fellow Nook Colorites who want a few entertaining games on their e-reader. Following are the five best titles I've played so far.

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The Top Ten Water Levels In Video Game History

Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 11:00 am
Ah yes, the infamous underwater levels. For decades, video game developers have been dedicating sections of their titles to exploring the underwater portions of the worlds they've created. And fans have long been divided about these levels -- about 90% of gamers rest on the "hate them" side, while the other 10% "only really play Madden." The sentiment: underwater levels are confusing, boring, and oftentimes too difficult, compared with the rest of the levels that make up the particular experience.

However there are some underwater levels that rise high above the rest. In some cases, developers utilize the physics, expanse, and milky translucence within vast bodies of water to produce memorable, intriguing, sometimes downright fun, levels for us to work through. We've picked through the pile and found the ten we think best represent the concept. And we've got them detailed here for you.

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Five Things We Learned From Mario is Missing!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 11:00 am


Mario is Missing! -- Note: the cover art here is 200 to 500 percent more exciting than anything that occurs in-game.

Every so often Mario, like a nervous, sweaty, uncomfortable dad sitting his kids down to give them "the talk," tries to teach us something. He doesn't like this, and neither do we. He feels that it's his obligation. And it's not that he teaches us about jump stamina or koopa murder. He does that all the time, and we all love it. No, no, no. Sometimes he tries to teach us other stuff. Like, real stuff.

There are several self-consciously educational entries in the long list of Mario games. Mario desperately tries to get your WPM count up so you can land some kind of halfway respectable job in Mario Teaches Typing. In Mario's Time Machine, instead of going back in the titular machine and killing Hitler (or at least Mussolini) like anybody with a soul and a time machine would do, Mario just goes on a painfully informative scavenger hunt.

Perhaps there will be a time when we discuss more in depth those two attempts to educate gamers using Mario lore as a cover. But right now, we're going to focus on the SNES version of Mario is Missing!

Mario is Missing! is essentially an hours-long lecture about geography and world history given by Luigi. If you completed this game as a child, you either had an immense yearning to become an anthropologist at an early age or you had a gun to your head. You do have to hand it to Mario is Missing!, though -- it did teach us a lot. Sometimes it taught us things it wasn't even trying to teach us.


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