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Get a closer look at final retail Amiibos

Image The taxidermy of fictional characters is big business, especially if you have a cast as colorful and as prone to pugilism as Nintendo's bunch. We've toyed with the retail versions of Nintendo's starting Amiibo lineup for our Smash Bros. review (now updated with a score) and took some shots for your... Continue Reading

Thomas Was Alone on Xbox One, then he wasn't

Thomas Was Alone, Mike Bithell's geometric platformer full of personality, is out on Xbox One today, courtesy of ID@Xbox and port developer Curve Studios. The folks at Xbox call Thomas Was Alone an "indie classic," and after winning a BAFTA and launching on PC, iOS, Android, PS3, Vita, and now Xbox One – with a PS4 launch incoming – that seems accurate. Or, as Curve Studios puts it:

Also on Xbox One this week via ID@Xbox is The Jackbox Party Pack, Never Alone, Pier Solar and the Great Architects, and Pinball Arcade.
[Image: Mike Bithell]

Real Racing creator developing Need for Speed: No Limits for mobile


Electronic Arts has tapped Melbourne-based developer Firemonkeys for its upcoming mobile-exclusive Need for Speed sequel Need for Speed: No Limits, the publisher announced this week.

FIremonkeys (formerly Firemint) established itself in the mobile marketplace with its sim-styled Real Racing series, later producing iOS and Android ports of Need for Speed: Most Wanted. Electronic Arts acquired the studio in 2011, acting as publisher for the 2013 free-to-play sequel Real Racing 3.

Need for Speed: No Limits is due to launch next year for iOS and Android devices.

[Video: EA]

Nintendo delists homebrew-enabling 3DS game in Japan

Nintendo has removed AQ Interactive's Nintendo 3DS puzzler Cubic Ninja from Japan's eShop (the only region in which it saw a digital release) after details regarding an in-game exploit were revealed earlier this week.

The exploit, which requires a modified save file and a copy of Cubic Ninja, reportedly enables the use of homebrew games and applications on Nintendo's handheld. It does not currently enable piracy of commercial games -- a widespread issue that plagued the Nintendo DS throughout its lifespan.

After the exploit was announced, used copies of Cubic Ninja shot up in price on eBay, Amazon, and through other third-party sellers. The North American version of the game currently fetches prices in excess of $40 on Amazon, while several recent eBay auctions have ended at over $30. A similar phenomenon spiked Lumines prices when a homebrew-enabling buffer overflow exploit was discovered for Sony's PSP in 2007.

[Image: AQ Interactive]

Undead cyborg Raidou joins Dead or Alive 5: Last Round

Apparently not even death can keep fighters from joining Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, as the chrome-plated corpse of resurrected final boss Raidou will appear in the upcoming fighting game.

For those unfamiliar, Raidou is the uncle of series' stars Hayate and Kasumi, only he's been exiled from the family's ninja clan for being a bit too deadly. The ninjas approved of the killing itself, but the ensuing maniacal laughter and aura of darkness worried them. Kasumi killed Raidou at the end of the original Dead or Alive, but according to Team Ninja, Raidou's body has been recovered by evil industrialist Victor Donovan and repurposed into a cyborg for Dead or Alive 5: Last Round. Unfortunately, the procedure left Raidou with not only a patchy memory, but also an enhanced bloodlust.

Dead or Alive 5: Last Round launches on February 17, 2015. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game will be priced at $40, while the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 releases will feature $30 price tags.
[Image: Koei Tecmo]

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Barely Related: Star-Lord's dance-off, comet sounds

We'd like to take this moment to clearly and firmly state our collective opinion of actor Chris Pratt: He's adorable.

Welcome to Barely Related, a conversational Friday column that presents the non-gaming news stories that we, the Joystiq staff, have been talking about over the past week. And no, we're not stopping our focus on industry and gaming news. Think of this as your casual weekly recap of interesting (and mostly geeky) news, presented just in time to fill your brain with things to discuss at all of those weekend shindigs.

Grab a fresh drink, lean back in your armchair, and get ready to talk nerdy with us.

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WRUP: Reviews

OK, we're pretty much at the end of the road for reviews in 2014. There's more than enough to play at this point. Like, way more than enough. Now we get down to the game of the year conversations.

What's everyone playing this weekend?

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When AI goes mad: A Grand Theft Auto 5 traffic jam

Image Honestly? It's still not as bad as the traffic in LA. [Image: Rockstar Games] ... Continue Reading

Meet Killer Instinct's next fighter, the sorceror Kan-Ra

After weeks of teasing fans, developer Double Helix has unveiled the next fighter to join Season 2 of Killer Instinct, an ancient sorcerer named Kan-Ra.

"Didn't Double Helix claim Kan-Ra would not be a mummy? Wasn't there even a #notamummy hashtag in use for a while?" you wonder. Yes, the developer repeatedly said that Kan-Ra is not a mummy, and he isn't (technically, sort of). In lieu of revived Egyptian royalty, Kan-Ra is a 2,534-year-old sorcerer from Ancient Babylon who betrayed his king and was exiled for an assassination attempt. Instead of aging gracefully, Kan-Ra used dark magics to slow the decomposition of his body. Double Helix offers no explanation for the decidedly mummy-style bandages, so we're just chalking that up to a universal undead fashion sense.

Beyond the break you'll find footage of Kan-Ra in action. Be sure to stay to the end. There's a tease that should excite old-school Killer Instinct fans.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition Easter egg is The Lord of the Pies

A Dragon Age: Inquisition Easter egg that a BioWare artist is dubbing "The Lord of the Pies" surfaced this week, and occurs when players manage to fall through the floor of the Skyhold area of the game. Shown in a video courtesy of YouTube user LeeCsM after the break, the secret, cavernous room with creepy music discovered under Skyhold houses what LeeCsM calls a "Nug with a top hat."

BioWare designers jumped into YouTube's comments to confirm that the Easter egg was placed in the game intentionally, with artist Graham Kelly noting that he "hid it under the level" and that players "weren't meant to fall through it." Kelly added that the hidden figure is "not a bunny either," but rather The Lord of the Pies. "I may or may not have hidden some of his smaller flock around the rest of Skyhold," he wrote. While we didn't find any pie, we enjoyed our time with Dragon Age: Inquisition in our review.
[Image: EA, LeeCsM (YouTube)]

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Everyone can hang out with The Crew in next week's open beta

Well, not quite everyone; PS4 and Xbox One owners can test-drive The Crew's open beta between Tuesday, November 25 and Thursday, November 27. Then, five days later on December 2, Ubisoft Reflections' and Ivory Tower's persistent-world racer launches worldwide for PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC - perhaps with its own live updates blog.

Beta players can roam free across the entire open world of Americana, condensed into the five major regions of the Midwest, East Coast, South, Mountain States and West Coast. In the beta, challenges and player vs. player lobbies are limited to the first two of those regions, and Ubisoft notes "some online features" - i.e. multiplayer - require a Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus membership.

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Watch the Atari: Game Over documentary for free on Xbox

Yes, there are a lot of big new games out this week, but if you need a break from the rush you don't have to move from your Xbox. Instead, you can dig into the past by watching Xbox Live's Atari: Game Over documentary for free.

The hour-long feature explores the video game crash of 1983, a seismic event that resulted in reports of Atari dumping thousands of unsold copies of the E.T. video game, infamously regarded by many to be the absolute worst ever, to grace our screens. An excavation team headed out to New Mexico to unearth the truth about the reports, and sure enough they dug up shrink-wrapped copies of the game along with other Atari bits and bobs. And now all that garbage is starting to make crazy money on eBay. Weird world, huh?
[Image: Microsoft]

World of Warcraft once again tops 10 million subscribers

The last time we checked in on Blizzard's wildly successful online roleplaying game World of Warcraft, the MMO was bleeding players and subscriber numbers had fallen to 7.7 million. Thanks to the newly-launched Warlords of Draenor expansion, however, the game's fortunes have turned around.

According to an Activision Blizzard press release, Warlords of Draenor sold through more than 3.3 million copies in its first 24 hours of availability. Additionally, the publisher reports subscriber growth "across all major regions" has once again boosted the now decade-old online game's total subscriber tally above the 10 million mark.

"We're thrilled that so many players jumped in to play Warlords of Draenor on day one and are having a great time with the new content," said Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. "We poured a lot of hard work and passion into this expansion, and we appreciate all the kind words from players and the overwhelming support they continue to show for World of Warcraft."
[Image: Activision Blizzard]

Joystiq Deals: Touchscreen gloves, Bluetooth beanie

Looking for some warm and tech-friendly apparel this holiday season? Joystiq Deals has the stylish solutions you need. First up is a pair of TRNDlabs' knitted touchscreen gloves, which will keep your fingers warm and nimble while you use your smartphone in wintry weather. Normally priced at $49, these special mitts are available through Joystiq Deals for $19 this weekend only.

You may also want to check out our Bluetooth Audio Beanie, a unique piece of headwear fitted with a fully functional Bluetooth receiver and speaker that allows you to listen to music and make phone calls while keeping your noggin toasty. The beanie is available this weekend for only $24.99, so grab one while you can.
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.

Amazon's pre-Black Friday deals discount InFamous, Wolfenstein

Amazon has revealed its initial selection of holiday price drops, discounting several games and accessories ahead of the Black Friday sales rush.

Amazon's current pre-Black Friday deals include Wolfenstein: The New Order for $29.99, Infamous: Second Son for $32.94, Madden NFL 25 for $14.99, and The Wonderful 101 for $25.34.

Publisher NIS America also shares the spotlight with offerings like Danganronpa for $28.49, The Witch and the Hundred Knight for $19.99, Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited for $29.99, and Natural Doctrine for $46.99. Featured accessory deals include a Turtle Beach Ear Force Z22 headset for $59.99 and discounts offering up to 30 percent off Logitech PC gaming mice, keyboards, and controllers.

Other limited-time price drops will enter rotation throughout the week. Amazon will also offer PlayStation 4 hardware bundles for $399.99 apiece on Black Friday -- one featuring digital copies of Grand Theft Auto 5 and The Last of Us Remastered, and the other offering Lego Batman 3 and LittleBigPlanet 3. Neither deal is currently live.

[Video: Koei Tecmo]

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