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GameStop Easter Weekend sale offers 'Buy 2, Get 1 Free' on used games under $20

GameStop is celebrating spring with an Easter Weekend event, offering a "buy 2 get 1" on a select stock of used games. The promotion begins today at all GameStop retail locations across the United States and online. The deal comes with certain stipulations, however: only games priced under $20 are eligible, with the free title coming at equal or lesser value.

Though the promotion undoubtedly means PS4 and Xbox One titles are off the table, previous generation software is up for grabs. According to GameStop, the company "has recently reduced a large percentage of games from the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 libraries to $20 or less."

The promotion ends on Sunday, April 20.
[Image: GameStop]

Portabliss: Trials Frontier

Hi, my name is Earnest and I have a motorcycle problem. It started small, a few races here and there, a couple minor upgrades, but before I knew it, I was standing on a street corner, panhandling for enough cash to make it through just one more run. Don't pity me though. It's too late for that. Instead, take a lesson from my struggle. Remind yourself each morning that no matter how much the withdrawals hurt, no matter how hard it is to cope with your demons, spending $5 on virtual gas for your fake motorcycle is an awful investment.

That fanciful scenario was brought to you by developer RedLynx and its new iOS (and eventually Android) entry in the Trials series, Trials Frontier. If you've played any of the prior Trials games, you can likely commiserate with my addiction, but, unfortunately, the microtransactions present in the mobile game are a glaring dark spot on an otherwise glowing pedigree.

Don't let that ominous introduction scare you, though. From a design perspective, Trials Frontier is one of the most engaging iOS games available. It offers a short race structure – almost every event can be completed in under a minute – which is perfect for portable play, but more critically, RedLynx made some very intelligent choices when designing Frontier's controls.

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Sony details video editing suite included with PS4 1.70 update



A post on the PlayStation Blog has detailed the updated suite of editing tools coming to PlayStation 4 in the 1.70 hardware firmware. With the new SHAREfactory, budding video editors can splice together multiple clips and personalize them with special filters, transitions, and themes. PS4 users can also use their PlayStation Camera for picture-in-picture video commentary and import original music to give videos a custom soundtrack; though there's no word how that feature will work considering the PS4 still cannot read audio CDs or MP3s.

When you're finished Spielberging your favorite gaming moments, the latest update allows players to save their creations to a USB key for easier sharing or online uploading.

Also coming in the update is the option to disable HDCP; allowing for direct feed video capture as well as the ability to auto-download and pre-load games that have been pre-ordered; reducing the wait for downloaded games on release day.

Although there's no official date for the firmware update's release, the blog post (and comments) promise it will be soon.
[Image: Sony]

Sci-fi RTS Salvaged takes two screens to play on PC, tablet


Opposable Games recently showed off Salvaged, a real-time strategy game that requires a bit of multitasking from its players. The tactical sci-fi game is played using two screens, one on any iOS or Android tablet or smartphone (as the controller) and the other being a monitor via PC, Mac or Linux.

In Salvaged, players act as one of many operators for a Remote Interstellar Salvage Crew (RISC), boarding wrecked ships to locate loot and retrieve each ship's black box recorders. The touchscreen in players' hands offers a top-down view of the frantic, squad-based action, allowing players to issue commands to their team and assess alien threats as well as interact with the wrecked ships themselves by hacking terminals, downloading data and restoring power and lighting. The second screen on players' PCs shows the operation in real-time through the squad's shoulder-mounted cameras.

The UK developer cited classic games like Captive and the 1993 version of Space Hulk as well both the original XCOM and XCOM: Enemy Unkown as inspirations for the game, though players may recall FTL: Faster Than Light and Spelunky when it comes to the game's replayability. Salvaged's crew, environments, enemies and spoils are all procedurally generated, and like the aforementioned roguelikes, once a crewmember dies, they will be gone forever.

The developer is seeking $125,000 by Thursday, May 15 to fund the game, of which it is just scratching the $10,000 mark as of this writing.
[Image: Opposable Games]

Pinball Arcade Season 3 tables coming to PS4 April 22

FarSight Studios will launch a pair of new tables for the PlayStation 4 version of Pinball Arcade next week, bringing it up to speed with recent PlayStation 3 and PS Vita table releases.

Williams' Fish Tales and Bally's Black Rose are next in line to join Pinball Arcade's PlayStation 4 lineup on April 22. Both games were previously released for mobile platforms, arriving as the inaugural tables in Pinball Arcade's third season of content.

The upcoming release skips over Pinball Arcade's second season of content, which isn't yet available on the PlayStation 4. A release date for Pinball Arcade's missing tables on the PlayStation 4 has not been announced.

[Image: FarSight / Williams]

Game Atelier apps go free to promote Flying Hamster 2

French developer The Game Atelier has discounted its digital games catalog to spur backer support for Flying Hamster 2, releasing many of its previous games for free via iTunes.

Through the end of the month, the iOS versions of The Game Atelier's cute-'em-up Flying Hamster, arcade-style gardening sim SunFlowers, and grocery-scanning action game Crazy Market are free to download from the App Store. The PlayStation Vita versions of all three games also get a round of steep discounts, dropping SunFlowers, Flying Hamster HD, and Crazy Market's DLC packs to 49 cents each in North America.

Flying Hamster 2's Kickstarter has earned nearly $30,000 toward a funding goal of $150,000, with 16 days remaining in the campaign.

[Image: The Game Atelier]

Dynasty Warriors 8 bug reports requested for PS4, Vita versions

Tecmo Koei has issued a public request for feedback from players experiencing bugs within the newly launched PlayStation 4 and PS Vita versions of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition in an effort to fix widely reported issues.

The publisher is specifically targeting online connection issues in the PlayStation 4 version of Dynasty Warriors 8 and framerate drops on the PS Vita. Tecmo Koei asks affected players to report "where, [with] which characters, [in] which stages and when" the bugs occur, along with regional details via its Facebook page.

Tecmo Koei additionally revealed that a Steam version of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition is due to launch in May.

[Image: Tecmo Koei]

Gold Rush-era empire builder 1849 strikes paydirt on May 8

While normally you'd need a mule and scraggly beard to properly reenact the California Gold Rush, developer SomaSim's upcoming 1849 will allow players to build a mining empire from the comforts of their own home.

Slated to debut on PC, Mac, iPad and Android tablets on May 8, the simulation drops players into one of 20 virtual cities, each based on a real Gold Rush-era boomtown. SomaSim cites SimCity as a direct influence on 1849 and claims that players will need to build mines, attract workers, find ways to keep said workers fed and entertained, and establish trade networks to ship ore out of the wilderness. SomaSim promises a campaign consisting of 20 distinct scenarios designed to test different aspects of a player's mining talents, alongside an endless sandbox mode.

If you'd rather not wait until May 8 to kick off your mining career, 1849 is currently available in Early Access form from Indie Game Stand and the Mac Game Store. The former offers both PC and Mac versions of 1849, while the latter strictly features OS X software. Both sites are offering 1849 for $10, and each will be updated with new content as the game nears its official launch.
[Image: SomaSim]

Gnah's monster-poking puzzles head to Steam

Gnah, the head-turning puzzler from Montreal gaming collective KO-OP Mode, is coming to Steam for PC, Mac and Linux, complete with Steam Play, cloud saves and "maybe even controller support," the developer says. KO-OP Mode hasn't set a launch date, though Gnah has a release window of 2014.

In Gnah, players poke around the heads of giant monsters, interacting with their faces and then turning them around to mess about inside of their craniums, hoping to eventually find the exit. Playing with the inside of a monster head affects the outside, and playing with the outside changes the inside. All giant monsters are beautiful on the inside, of course.

Previous iterations of Gnah featured a tiny boy inside of the monsters' heads, but after playtesting, KO-OP Mode has decided to ditch the character in favor of liberated gameplay:

"When you were on the outside, you could manipulate any part of the monster, and when you'd flip to the inside, you could play as the kid and interact with objects within the kid's reach. Unfortunately this turned out to be not very fun – the more free-form play of the outside of the head was much more enjoyable and it was frustrating to switch to the kid and be limited to only what they could reach."

Gnah had a spot in the GDC Indie Megabooth, and responses to the gameplay tweaks were "awesome," KO-OP Mode says.
[Image: KO-OP Mode]

Kalypso unveils Tropico 5 Limited Special Edition, pre-orders now available


As if ruling your own banana republic with an iron fist wasn't tempting enough, publisher Kalypso has announced a swag-packed special edition of its upcoming island nation simulator Tropico 5.

Alongside the core game, Tropico 5 Limited Special Edition includes an additional map for Sandbox mode, an "authentic" Tropico passport, a postcard from the faux island and an El Presidente avatar costume. Best of all, you won't have to shell out extra cash for these items. According to Kalypso, the Tropico 5 Limited Special Edition will be available at no additional charge to anyone who pre-orders the game or purchases a boxed copy at launch.

If you'd prefer a digital copy, you can now pre-order Tropico from Steam or the Kalypso launcher. While this version will lack the items included in the Limited Special Edition of the game, the digital release comes with its own bonuses including a separate, exclusive map for Sandbox mode and a "Businessman" avatar costume. To further sweeten the pot, those who pre-order Tropico 5 before May 23 will receive a 10 percent discount, though that price break jumps to 15 percent if you order the game directly through Kalypso.

Tropico 5 is slated to make its PC debut on May 23, with Xbox 360 and Mac incarnations following at some point this Summer. A PlayStation 4 version of Tropico 5 is also in the works, and barring catastrophe should be available this Fall.
[Image: Kalypso Media]

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New Nintendo eShop releases: Super Mario 3, Golden Sun, F-Zero: Maximum Velocity

Virtual Console games are out in full force this week, with heavy hitters landing on both Wii U and 3DS. The biggest of the bunch is Super Mario Bros. 3, available on 3DS and Wii U. Meanwhile, the Wii U picks up even more Game Boy Advance games with Golden Sun and F-Zero: Maximum Velocity. Starting April 22, LEGO The Hobbit makes the long journey to Wii U as well.

A pair of Ubisoft Wii U titles are also getting a permanent discount on Wii U, namely Assassin's Creed 4: Blag Flag and the excellent ZombiU. Starting April 21, Black Flag drops to $39.99, and ZombiU's price is gnawed down to $29.99.
[Image: Nintendo]

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Frozen Synapse iOS shrinks in price, expands in content

Developer Mode 7 Games comes bearing a double shot of good news for fans of its day-glo iPad strategy hit Frozen Synapse. Not only has the game received an expansion, it's also been reduced in price.

Like its PC incarnation before it, the mobile version of Frozen Synapse can now be enhanced by the "Red" expansion. For a price of $2, players will receive a new, 15-mission campaign, co-op support for the original Frozen Synapse campaign, a new multiplayer mode, new unit type, 10 singleplayer challenge missions, additional mutators and the titular "Red Mode" which, you guessed it, turns the game red.

To celebrate the debut of Red, Mode 7 has temporarily reduced the price of Frozen Synapse to $1. The studio does not specify when the strategy game might return to its original price, instead saying that the discount is applicable "for the time being."
[Image: Mode 7 Games]

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March NPD: PS4 leads hardware sales, Titanfall rules software

PlayStation 4 console
The PS4 sold more than the Xbox One or any other console in March – making it the hardware leader for the third consecutive month – market research group NPD reports. The Xbox One and PS4 pushed US hardware sales in March up 78 percent from 2013, from $222 million to $395 million. Overall game sales in March were up 3 percent year-over-year.

Five months in, the PS4 and Xbox One are out-performing initial sales of the PS3 and Xbox 360, NPD Group's Liam Callahan says: "When comparing the first five months of sales for the Xbox One and PS4 to their predecessor's first five months, total Xbox One and PS4 sales are up close to 60 percent."

Xbox One has shipped 5 million Xbox One consoles, with 311,000 sales in the US in March alone, Microsoft announced today: "Of course, we're just getting started with this generation and the months ahead will bring several announcements we think you'll love. The team will continue to deliver regular improvements and new features based on your feedback through frequent system updates .... We can't wait to share more games with you in June at E3."

On April 16, Sony announced that PS4 sales had passed 7 million.

Titanfall was the top-selling game for the month, launching for Xbox One and PC on March 11. It is the second-highest selling game for Xbox One after just one month on the market. It was followed by Infamous: Second Son, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Dark Souls 2. See the complete game sales list below. On PC, Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls sold the most on a unit and dollar-amount basis.

Software sales declined 27 percent overall. "Year-over-year sales of every platform declined from March 2013, with the exception of the PS Vita, which saw sales grow due to the release of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster," Callahan said.

Sales of video game accessories in March rose 4 percent, led by sales of controllers for Xbox One and PS4, NPD says. Other notable accessories included Turtle Beach headphones and headsets for next-gen consoles. Turtle Beach sales grew 50 percent year-over-year.
[Image: Sony]

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Season 2 of The Walking Dead haunts Vita next week

While the Vita still lags behind its console and computer counterparts, fans of Telltale's critically beloved The Walking Dead won't have to wait much longer for the second season of the emotionally charged zombie adventure.

Barring any unforeseen catastrophe, The Walking Dead: Season 2 will make its Vita debut on April 22. To make up for the delayed release, Telltale has opted to launch both Episode 1 and Episode 2 of the new season simultaneously. Come April 22, both episodes will be available from the PlayStation Network Store at a price of $5, though if you plan to eventually play through all five planned episodes of Season 2, you'll find that the $15 Season Pass offers a 20 percent discount over purchasing each episode individually.

Additionally, Telltale has announced that The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season is now available on Android devices including the Nvidia Shield, Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Kindle HDX.

Don't just Watch Dogs, read about them in an upcoming eBook


When Ubisoft's highly-anticipated hacker adventure Watch Dogs debuts on May 27, it will be accompanied by a newly-announced eBook dubbed "Watch Dogs //n/Dark Clouds."

As that grammatically baffling title suggests, the book centers on the sort of near-future cyberpunk intrigue that fuels the plot in Watch Dogs. Storyline details are scant, but we do know that the novel follows ex-military operative Mick Wolfe as he becomes embroiled in the dangerous world of Chicago's underground hacker elite. It's currently unknown if Aiden Pierce, protagonist of the Watch Dogs video game, will feature in the novel, but given the promotional aims of this eBook, it seems likely that Mr. Pierce will show up somewhere in the text.

Sci-fi and fantasy author John Shirley has been tapped to pen the eBook. No stranger to genre adaptations, Shirley's previous efforts include novels based on Borderlands 2, BioShock and id Software's DOOM.

"Working on Watch Dogs was enormously interesting to me because its world offers the convergence of cyberpunk and the edgy tech reality of our times; it all plays out with action and energy against the inner city backdrop that I thrive in," Shirley said. "Working with Thomas Geffroyd and Kevin Shortt at Ubisoft to develop the book was a rocking experience - Ubisoft is right out there on the frontier of videogame development. I couldn't ask for more inspiration."
[Image: Ubisoft]

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Gran Turismo 6 GT Academy competition begins next week

Sony will launch its sixth annual GT Academy event next week, giving superior Gran Turismo 6 players the chance to put their skills to the test on a real-world racetrack.

As in previous years, GT Academy players compete to enroll in a three-month driver development program, with global champions earning a spot on Nissan's NISMO race team. Judges in Europe, North America, and Germany will each pick a single winning driver to enter the program, and this year marks the first time GT Academy qualifying events are available to players in Canada.

GT Academy online qualifying events will begin in-game on April 21.

[Image: Sony]

PSA: Terraria upgraded to version 1.2 on Xbox 360, PS3, Vita

As expected, the console versions of Re-Logic's 2D sandbox platformer Terraria have been updated to version 1.2 today. The update brings a large list of bug fixes as well as improved gameplay mechanics and graphical changes to the PS3, Xbox 360 and Vita versions, such as a brighter sun and darker midnight portions of the game. Version 1.2's change log is a "direct copy from the PC change log with console exclusive changes added to them," putting the console versions more on par with the PC game.

The game has found massive success for Re-Logic on all platforms, topping 1.3 million downloads on iOS and Android and one million downloads across Xbox 360, PS3 and PS Vita as of late March. It first launched on PC in May 2011 and just hit Vita in December. The game's creator, Andrew Spinks, discussed plans for a sequel to Terraria in October, noting that it wasn't in development at the time.
[Image: 505 Games]

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Secrets of Raetikon review: Learning to fly

In Secrets of Raetikon, from developer Broken Rules, you play as a bird. Really, that about sums up most of the experience. You soar through the air, riding the wind like a bird. You swoop and dive, snatching up teeny bunnies and fallen tree fruit like a bird. You collect shiny slivers, using them to activate ancient ruins and power up a massive, ominous device like a bird.

Okay, so maybe that last one is a bit of a stretch. Indiana Jones-esque tomb raiding aside, Secrets of Raetikon is a simple game with a simple premise: You are a bird. Go forth and do bird stuff. Just, you know, don't forget to dig up a long-lost civilization while you're at it.

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Joystiq Streams: Mercenary Kings reign on PS4 with Tribute Games [Update: It's over!]


The all-encompassing brolation that was the Broforce Joystiq Streams on Tuesday did not satisfy our hunger for sweet two-dimensional action. Indeed it only made the crew more ravenous for big cartoon sprites and twitchy gunplay in the grand tradition of Contra and Metal Slug. Feeding the beast within means that we must move onward to new shooter-y, platformer-y delights. Mercenary Kings on PlayStation 4 is our next destination and Tribute Games is coming along for the ride.

Joystiq Streams takes to the Mercenary Kings jungle on PS4 at 4PM EST on the Joystiq Twitch channel today. Jean-Francois Major, Tribute Games co-founder and one of the mad minds behind Mercenary Kings, joins Alexander Sliwinski, Anthony John Agnello, and Mike Suszek from the Joystiq posse for some loot stockpiling and CLAW blasting.

Joystiq Streams airs every Tuesday and Thursday at 4PM EST.
[Images: Tribute Games]

Hands-on with Hearthstone for iPad

Hearthstone
While I was part of the early beta crowd for Hearthstone last year, I haven't played it in quite some time. It wasn't because I became disenfranchised with the game but rather because I felt it truly belonged on a tablet -- and playing it on a PC just felt wrong somehow. So I've been waiting for Hearthstone to finally make the leap to the iPad, and when that happened yesterday, I was all over it like a murloc swarm on a noobie.

In many ways, Hearthstone is absolutely tailor-fit for mobile gaming. It requires minimal manipulation; poking, holding, and the occasional swipe is about as complex as the physical mechanics get. It's a turn-based thinker's game that gives you ample time to plot your strategy and get a few other things done between moves. On an iPad, that's pretty easy; I would read a book while my opponent took his/her/its turn.

The game actually kept me up past my bedtime because of the "just one more match" temptation, which tells me that the magic that fueled my interest in this game in beta is roaring more now than ever. But how does it actually handle on Apple's devices?

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What's In A Name

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast Special: PAX East 2014 with Capy and Wadjet Eye

Latest episode: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

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