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Weekly Webcomic Wrapup fears Black Friday

There's a famous quote I often find myself referencing when the holiday shopping season starts, as it is about to do this week. Here, I'll share it with you now. Ahem:

"You are not prepared!" - Illidan Stormrage, World of Warcraft.

Yes, Black Friday (or "Black Thriday" as I've heard it called, since many stores are now opening their doors on Thanksgiving) is nearly here, and not all the raids and dungeons in the world can prepare you for the madness. In fact, while things are relatively calm and pleasant in my neck of the woods, there will no doubt be many shoppers who are injured or come into serious conflict this week. Since we check in with our webcomics every weekend, this is my chance to make sure I remind you to be cautious and take care of yourself in the midst of the shopping crazes.

For the veteran shoppers, why not leave your tips and tales in the comments below, after you've voted for your favorite webcomic after the break? This week's selection includes:

Penny Arcade (Helm's Deep)
Hejibits (Financial Fondness)
ReadySoup (It Had To Be Turtles)
ActionTrip (Bizarre Creed)
Nerd Rage (One Forward, One Back)
Awkward Zombie (Aggressor Layton)

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Report: Steam Fall Sale begins November 26

The Steam Fall Sale will commence on November 26, the day before Thanksgiving, and run until December 1, according to VG247. The site reports that an email sent by PayPal, encouraging account holders to stock up on Steam Wallet codes, has beaten Valve to the punch and revealed dates for the annual spree of wallet genocide savings before an official announcement.

Of course, by listing the dates before Valve has confirmed them, PayPal runs the risk of being incorrect. We doubt that's the case, seeing as PayPal works closely with Valve to act as one of Steam's methods of payment, but we'll keep an eye out and let you know when things become official.
[Image: Valve]

Meta Knight Amiibo exclusive to Best Buy, Lucario to Toys R Us

Where's the fun in collecting something if you can just place a one-and-done order for the entire set with an online retailer? Amiibo fans are in for some legwork (or a few extra clicks), as two more retailer-exclusive deals have been announced concerning February's batch of Amiibos: Meta Knight will reside exclusively at Best Buy, whereas Lucario can only be found between the tall shelves of Toys R Us.

This pair of exclusives follows news of Xenoblade Chronicles' Shulk continuing his series' GameStop-exclusive legacy when he arrives in the same set of Amiibos as Lucario and Meta Knight. At least existing partnerships are with mostly-easy-to-locate retailer chains – things will get a little more interesting with the announcement of an Ice Climbers Amiibo, which we assume will only be sold at a rickety shack atop Mount Everest.
[Image: Nintendo]

Amazon tells Tales From Deep Space on Fire tablets

Tales From Deep Space, from Amazon Game Studios and co-partner Frontier Developments, has achieved lift-off and can now enter the orbit of 2013 Kindle Fire and later tablets, according to a press release from Amazon.

The game shoots a spacefaring salesman named E into the depths of space with a helpful robot named CASI. Together, the pair must escape the space station known as "Big Moon." If you and a friend both have a Kindle Fire HDX and/or a Fire 2014 model tablet, one player can control E while the other controls CASI.

Tales From Deep Space is one of Amazon's earliest forays into gaming; Amazon Game Studios was founded just two years ago. Since then, they've acquired Killer Instinct developer Double Helix, as well as Portal co-creator Kim Swift and Far Cry 2 lead designer Clint Hocking.
[Image: Amazon]

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Far Cry 4 Arcade Poker, Arena Master apps now in the wild


Far Cry 4 has a pair of companion apps awaiting iOS and Android users, provided they're up for a round of poker or controlling deadly arenas on the go. A press release from developer Ubisoft notes that both the Far Cry 4 Arcade Poker and Far Cry 4 Arena Master apps launched this week to complement Far Cry 4's high-elevation adventure.

In Arcade Poker, players make hands out of a set number of cards that gradually fall to the bottom of the screen. Each card can be repeatedly flipped into a new suit and value, but if they reach the bottom before the desired card is found, they'll slide into a playing hand as-is. Hands must meet demands tied to objectives, such as making a two-pair or a flush in one hand. Victories are rewarded with in-app currency, with progress eventually leading to cash-outs for money to use in FC4.

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Sony denies hacker group's infiltration into PSN

There has been no intrusion into the PlayStation Network, Sony has told Joystiq in the wake of a hacker group reportedly leaking 2,131 PSN logins.

"We have investigated the claims that our network was breached and have found no evidence that there was any intrusion into our network," a Sony rep wrote to Joystiq. "Unfortunately, Internet fraud including phishing and password matching are realities that consumers and online networks face on a regular basis. We take these reports very seriously and will continue to monitor our network closely."

According to Cnet, the group leaked these logins in a public Pastebin document. However, both the group's Twitter account linking to the document and the document itself have since been taken down. Cnet reports that the group also revealed 1,473 Windows Live logins, and 2,000 2K Games logins. We've reached out to Microsoft and 2K to confirm network intrusion and will update if we hear back.
[Image: Sony]

Trials Fusion online multiplayer planned for 2015, PC beta live

Trials Fusion's support for head-to-head online multiplayer is running a little behind its end-of-the-year schedule, according to a press release from Ubisoft. The launch window has shifted to early 2015, though PC players can rev up in a beta that's available now.

Fusion's online components include Online X-Supercross, a randomly-selected three-course score battle for up to eight players, Private Game, which lets up to eight compete in individual, modifier-friendly matches, and Private Game with Spectator, a mode similar to Private Game that lets its hosts watch the matches they create instead of partaking.

Fusion had online functionality closer to its launch in the form of tournaments, but they were ran off of leaderboards rather than direct competition. Teams were also implemented in this week's update, which allows up to 50 players to band together under a name and emblem to conquer leaderboards dedicated to tracking teams. The eventual-arrival of parallel multiplayer will address one of the criticisms within Editor-in-Chief Ludwig Kietzmann's review, but even with that absence and a nagging need to unlock content, Ludwig remarked that Fusion "nails its balance between purity and cruelty."
[Image: Ubisoft]

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Three years later, Calendar Man reveals Arkham City easter egg



Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham City has an easter egg that even "The World's Greatest Detective" (AKA: Batman) might have struggled to find, players have discovered. A recent YouTube video from the channel "Batman Arkham Videos" (embedded above) has revealed a secret message in Arkham City that not only went undiscovered for three years, but required developer intervention to discover.

Turns out, if you set your Xbox 360, PS3 or PC's clock to December 13, 2004 - the day Sefton Hill and Jamie Walker founded Rocksteady - you'll trigger a unique monologue from Calendar Man. After talking about how he's been there "from the beginning," the date-obsessed villain warns that "the end of days is coming."

If you think this story sounds familiar, that's because it also took a nudge from Rocksteady to reveal an easter egg hidden in Batman: Arkham Asylum. In that case, the secret was a room stuffed full of references and teases to Arkham City. The uploader of this new video likewise theorizes that Calendar Man's cryptic message is a reference to the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight.

You know, if a development team can slip these hidden bits of information past the Dark Knight and his followers so routinely, we have to wonder if Rocksteady might secretly be run by supervillains.
[Image: Warner Bros. Interactive]

Microsoft celebrates Xbox One's first year with gifts to lucky fans

Early Xbox One purchasers: Today might be your lucky day. A post on Major Nelson's blog explains that in celebration of the Xbox One's first year on the market, console owners will be "selected at random to receive a special gift from us." The blog post offers a full list of potential prizes, but highlights include the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Sunset Overdrive console bundles and a one-year subscription to Xbox Live Gold. Free copies of Limbo, as seen in the above image tweeted by Xbox's Jeff Rubenstein, are also planned as a thank-you to Day One console adopters.

Luck won't be the driving factor for everything related to the anniversary, however. Fans 17 or older that have used their console for more than 10 hours, reside in one of the original 13 markets for Xbox One and made their purchase between November 22, 2013 - November 11, 2014 will receive The Year One Celebration box. The bundle contains a Year One-themed gamer picture, dashboard background, desktop image and free rentals of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods. Those living in the US and Canada will also get a sampler pack of Dragon Ball Z episodes.

Aside from free stuff, Xbox crunched a few community-wide statistics to see what Xbox One owners accomplished in their first year. The communal Gamerscore total earned on Xbox One has surpassed 11 billion, which was earned throughout two billion hours of play. The year's four most-earned achievements include Forza Motorsport 5's "Welcome to Forza Motorsport," Titanfall's "Build Yourself," Destiny's "Ship Rite" and Call of Duty: Ghosts' "Spatial Awareness."

Happy birthday, Xbox One.
[Image: Microsoft]

Assassin's Creed: Unity title screen crash workaround: remove your friends

Assassin's Creed: Unity has been plagued with bugs and glitches since launch, and developer/publisher Ubisoft has already issued several patches to combat the game's problems. Still, not all the kinks have been ironed out. For example, if you're experiencing crashes at the main menu, according to a recent posting to the game's live updates blog - which details fixes and workarounds as Ubisoft discovers and releases them - you can blame your friends.

"We have discovered one of the issues that may cause the game to crash at the main menu after pressing the CONTINUE button. This issue affects all platforms," Ubisoft wrote on its Unity update blog. "For players who haven't experienced this issue, we highly recommend you take the following steps to prevent a crash: Do not add any IN-GAME RECENT PLAYER as a GAME CONTACT. If you already have GAME CONTACTS ... remove them."

Ubisoft writes that a fix is in the works. In the meantime, in the city of Paris, we are all strangers.
[Image: Ubisoft]

Buy Evolve, scare up game on its DLC maps for free

Evolve's initial monster hunts will be followed by extra safaris on DLC maps, but all players will be able to explore the game's additional hunting grounds for free. Developer Turtle Rock Studios' Creative Director Phil Robb shared the good news with IGN, explaining that the team wanted to avoid making players sit matches out just because they haven't bought the right DLC.

Furthermore, those who decline to buy extra hunters or monsters will still be able to partake in matches where other players are using them. Robb explained that beyond Evolve's base purchase, the team wanted to avoid making the community "feel like they have to buy anything in order to enjoy the game."

Robb reminded us that in addition to the Savage Goliath skin for one of Evolve's launching beasts, pre-orders will result in capturing Evolve's first DLC monster for free. If you're the two-with-one-stone efficiency type, GameStop will also have exclusive pre-order bonuses in the form of weapon skins for the Exterminator class.
[Image: 2K Games]

Unannounced Double Fine game canceled, 12 staff let go

Double Fine, the development studio behind games like Broken Age and Costume Quest 2, has been hit with a wave of layoffs. Gamasutra reports that 12 staff were let go after an unannounced project fell through with a publisher, though the studio will continue its work on other games unimpeded.

"Our remaining projects - Broken Age, Massive Chalice, and Grim Fandango Remastered, were unaffected," studio founder Tim Schafer told Gamasutra. Neither the publisher in question nor the reason for the unannounced game's cancellation were disclosed.
[Image: Double Fine]

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U video review: Fight club


We concluded our written examination of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U last evening, but with a discerning absence of gifs within our review, we had to find another way to heed our fondness for moving pictures. The above video review offers a visually-oriented breakdown of Smash for Wii U's leading features, including eight-player battles, the Smash Tour board game and customizable special moves, but a general breakdown is also included for anyone just tuning in to Nintendo's hectic mascot fighter.
[Image: Nintendo]

Mini DayZ is what DayZ would have been like in 1994

You can now play DayZ for free using a web browser ... kind of. Mini DayZ, a fan-made tribute to Bohemia Interactive's zombie apocalypse survival game, has been posted to the publisher's website and is now free to play via Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Opera. It's missing a few features - namely 3D graphics and multiplayer - but if you ever wondered to yourself, 'What if we gave DayZ a top-down camera and retro graphics," now is your chance to find out.

Mini DayZ is the work of CannedBits, a Russian player of Dean "Rocket" Hall's DayZ (which, in case you need a history primer, is a standalone game that began life as a mod for Arma 2 and arguably boosted the multiplayer survival genre into prominence). In posting the news about the game's availability via Bohemia to Reddit, CannedBits even caught the attention of Hall himself:

"I have to say, I absolutely love Mini DayZ," Hall wrote. "I think it's awesome, amazing, addictive, and brings something really new to the experience. I'm so glad you've been able to make it even better! Ignore the haters, the vast majority of people think it's fantastic and I am one of those people."
[Image: Bohemia Interactive/CannedBits]

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

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