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Joystiq's favorite new characters of 2014

It takes all sorts to make up the video game worlds we explore, and sometimes a few characters stand out as our favorites. From the buffoonery of Ratbag to the big splash made by the Troupple King, this year featured a host of unique new faces.

As we close out another year of gaming, we look back at some of our favorites. Of course we couldn't highlight them all, so we ask: What are your favorite characters of 2014?

Console Madness: Free Sunset Overdrive Xbox One and much more

Joystiq will never stop giving away consoles! NEVER! Until we run out of consoles to give away, of course. That ain't happening yet. Following up our Nintendo 3DS XL giveaway comes yet another Xbox One giveaway. This one, however, is the possibly the best of them all. We're giving away an ultra rare Sunset Overdrive Xbox One, with its fancy white case and a copy of Insomniac's game. While we only have one of these beauties to hand out, at least one runner up will receive a box of swag culled from the Joystiq offices. What's inside? You'll have to win to find out.

Here's how to get the prizes: Just use the Rafflecopter widget below between December 26 and January 2. Winners will be selected at random and contacted via email. Full rules and details after the break.

Sunset Overdrive Xbox One giveaway
[Images: Microsoft/Insomniac Games]

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Roleplaying classic Akalabeth now free on

In 1979, Richard Garriott launched Akalabeth: World of Doom, arguably the first computer roleplaying game and the predecessor to his seminal Ultima series. Now, thanks to, you can own this piece of gaming history at no charge.

With this offer, Akalabeth joins three other games designed by Garriott - Worlds of Ultima: The Savage Empire, Ultima Worlds of Adventure: Martian Dreams and Ultima 4: Quest of the Avatar – on's list of free games. If that's not enough retro roleplaying game action for your tastes, also offers the fan-favorite Ultima 7 Complete Edition at $6, or you could just grab the entire Ultima series en masse for just under $30.

Purists be warned: The version of Akalabeth available on is not the original game, but is instead a 1998 remake, created because software from 1979 just doesn't play well with modern hardware. The latter-day game hews very closely to its predecessor and for most people is a flawless translation, but devotees will be able to spot minor changes.
[Image: Richard Garriott]

Joystiq Deals: Free anime for 30 days from Crunchyroll

If you love anime, Joystiq Deals has an offer you won't want to miss. This week, we're giving our members a 30-day Crunchyroll membership, free of charge.

Crunchyroll offers over 10,000 hours of content across hundreds of available anime titles streamed via your Internet browser, mobile device, or game console. Sign up now and you'll have 30 days to catch up on all your favorite shows, for free. Check it out!

Joystiq Deals is a partnership between AOL and StackSocial. A portion of sales goes to funding this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial independently of the Joystiq editorial team.

Super Joystiq Podcast 127: Notable games of 2014 and GotY discussion

This week's Super Joystiq Podcast believes Destiny is Richard Hatch.

As another year of gaming comes to a close, we convene to go over some of the standout titles of 2014, a few overlooked gems, and clunkers that hit over the past 365 days. Join Alexander, Susan, Mike, and Danny for a smorgasbord of game talk covering Far Cry 4, Desert Golfing, Hearthstone, Sunset Overdrive, Persona Q, Shovel Knight, Destiny, Never Alone, and so, so many more.

Let us know your picks for 2014 in comments!

Listen to the Super Joystiq Podcast: Podcast timestamps and relevant links are available after the break.

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Barely Related: A nerdy year in review

Merrily Related to you all! This is a special edition of Barely Related, covering the stand-out stories of 2014, from May 2 onward (because that's when this whole column got started). This isn't all-encompassing, but it's a nice snapshot of our year in nerdery and geekdom – if you have a beloved bit of news not covered here, leave it in the comments with your commentary!

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Xbox Live, PSN suffer outages in apparent denial of service attack [Update]

Update: In a tweet early this morning, PlayStation support wrote: "PS4, PS3, and Vita network services are gradually coming back online – thanks for your patience." Save for some apps experiencing issues, Xbox Live appears to have been cleared of connectivity problems.

Original Post: The Grinch stole online connectivity this year, it would seem. Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network have been hit with online issues, with each service taken offline in an apparent DDoS attack (distributed denial of service). The targeted attack began late in the evening on December 24 and continues today.

PlayStation Network services, including the Sony Network Entertainment website, are currently offline. Xbox Live services appear to be functioning in part on Xbox One and Xbox 360; however, some users are still reporting issues connecting to Xbox Live, playing games online and accessing cloud content – including any pinned games and apps. Sony and Microsoft have acknowledged the outages via their respective Twitter accounts.

"We are aware that some users are experiencing difficulty logging into the PSN. We will update this article with any changes that occur in regards to this issue. Thank you for your patience," the PlayStation Network status page added. Sony's service has been taken offline for maintenance. The Xbox Support Page notes a select number of apps are currently experiencing issues.

WRUP: A cup of cocoa

boston terrier in reindeer...
It's time to slow things down.

What's everyone playing?

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Joystiq Deals: The Great Charger and Battery Roundup

Christmas is here, and it won't be long before you're rushing to find a charging cable or batteries for your newly delivered gadgets and goodies. Don't worry - Joystiq Deals has you covered.

If you're looking for a USB charge, you can pick up the four-outlet and dual-USB PowerCube Outlet Expander for $17.95, a 10 Ft. MFi-Certified iOS Lightning Cable for $18.99, and a 20,000mAh Dual USB Battery Pack for $34.99.

Need batteries? You can pick up 100 Duracell-branded AA batteries and 52 AAAs for $59.99. And if your iPhone needs a burst of style and battery power, we've got the Afterburner iPhone 6 Battery Case for $40. Happy holiday from Joystiq Deals!

Joystiq Deals is a partnership between AOL and StackSocial. A portion of sales goes to funding this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial independently of the Joystiq editorial team.

The five worst console games of 2014

2014 may have been the worst year yet for bad console games -- they're practically extinct at this point. Sure, many of this year's games were divisive, or flawed, or buggy, but few were outright terrible. Ballooning budgets force AAA games to maintain some degree of quality control (well, mostly), and even the indies have gotten their act together, producing modestly scoped, reasonably priced games that aren't all that upsetting even when they disappoint.

As a lover of trash, I'm troubled.

Fortunately, a few truly awful games rose to the top of the garbage heap to sparkle as gleaming, irredeemable turds. I'm glad to have played these games, but I think we, as an industry, can do better. Let's vow to release more bad games in 2015. And not just bad games for Duck Dynasty fans, either - let's make bad games that all of us can enjoy.

Latest EVE dev blog charts module rebalancing

EVE's forthcoming Proteus release will feature the second round of rebalancing work that CCP has termed Module Tiericide. Today's dev blog explains some of the changes courtesy of a sizable chart that shows stats like CPU usage, optimal range, powergrid usage, and more.

There are a lot of numbers to parse, but if you're into that sort of thing, CCP says that it will be collecting player feedback and acting on it prior to Proteus' January 13th launch date.

Chaos Reborn summons single-player mode

Chaos Reborn, the latest turn-based strategy game from original X-COM creator Julian Gollop, now has a single-player mode. The new mode allows human players to take on AI wizards, or to play "hotseat" with other players, or a combination of both humans and AI. The update also includes a number of balance tweaks, a new spell that let's you "summon a pack of mutant, giant rats" and, in the spirit of the season, special Christmas themed graphics. If you're in the festive mood, keep in mind that the Christmas graphics will only be available for a limited time.

On a recent live stream of Chaos Reborn with Joystiq, Gollop discussed plans for other single-player content as well, specifically what sounds like a fairly complex campaign. You can hear him discuss it, and watch him beat the tar out of Joystiq's Alexander Sliwinski, right here. Chaos Reborn is available via Steam Early Access now.

Gaming off the grid: Video game-inspired board games

If you're looking for family fun but don't want to stray too far from the video game franchises you know and love, tabletop gaming may be the perfect alternative for you this holiday season.

While there are countless (and not very entertaining) licensed board games available at big box retailers – like Mario-themed Monopoly or Halo-themed Risk – there are far better options available for those looking to further explore their favorite video game worlds.

Here is a collection of some of our favorite board and card games based on video game franchises. If you're looking for a fun activity for family and friends this holiday, you can't go wrong with these fantastic board and card games.

Elder Scrolls Online definitely coming to consoles in 2015

ZeniMax has posted a holiday greeting to Elder Scrolls Online fans that also promises a console launch for the fantasy MMO in 2015. "We've released five major updates and tons of improvements and fixes," the blurb reads. "Next year promises to be just as exciting as we introduce the Champion and Justice systems, launch on the PS4 and Xbox One, and continue to release new adventures for you to experience."

Joystiq Deals: Limited Edition Code Black Drone

Got some cash left over from your holiday shopping? Check out Joystiq Deals and you can be one of the first to own the Limited Edition Code Black Drone, an advanced craft capable of capturing HD video while airborne.

The Code Black Drone is small enough to fit in your palm, and its 6-axis flight control system ensures a smooth, stable flight for you and your family to enjoy. Retailing for $99, the Code Black Drone can be yours if you place an $89 pre-order through Joystiq Deals today.

Joystiq Deals is a partnership between AOL and StackSocial. A portion of sales goes to funding this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial independently of the Joystiq editorial team.


The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 127: Notable games of 2014 and GotY discussion

Latest episode: Friday, December 26th, 2014

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