Follow us on:

10 Years Gone: Today is Joystiq's most decadent birthday

Shunted out of the Los Angeles sunshine and E3's all-encompassing embrace, the Joystiq crew returned to their respective homelands over the weekend, finding solace on both sides of the Atlantic. They returned to loved ones, frequently photographed pets, and much-needed rest. Today, the crew celebrates completing not just another E3 but an altogether more momentous occasion: JOYSTIQ IS TEN YEARS OLD, Y'ALL!

It was on June 16, 2004 that the little ol' website known as Joystiq was born. Appropriately, it was E3 2004 that demonstrated a need for Joystiq in the first place. Our sibling site Engadget, overwhelmed by covering the show that year, realized that maybe there was something to these video game things and so Joystiq was created to cover that wide realm. We've expanded and contracted over the years, ballooning out into blogs like Xbox 360 Fanboy and others, with myriad podcasts and shows created along the way. Ten years on, we're at our most focused, entertaining and potent, with the Super Joystiq Podcast, Joystiq Streams, and the kind of daily writing that makes grown men and women weep with joy.

We're going to be celebrating our Tin Anniversary with all kinds of special stories, including a massive look back at our favorite games of the past decade. Stay tuned for those over the next few weeks, and stick around for the next ten years.

Failure is a great option

Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments is, in many ways, a typical detective game. You look for clues, you interrogate witnesses, investigate suspects, and ultimately decide whodunnit. One feature separates it from much of the mystery pack, however: You can get things wrong. The game will let you make incorrect deductions, draw wrong conclusions and even send the wrong person to prison. The ability to fail is probably the game's best feature, and it's one I wish more detective games would embrace.

It's easy to see why mystery games would be reluctant to let the player completely blow a case. For starters, there isn't much replay value in that type of gameplay, and slogging through a case all over again, hearing the same testimony or performing the same experiments, would lack a certain vivacity. People also process information differently, so what might be a stonkingly obvious connection to one person would be utterly baffling to the next; add differences in cultural references or knowledge into the mix, and the problems inherent in crafting a tightly-constructed detective narrative become obvious. Plus, people just plain don't like feeling dumb, and getting a big fat "WRONG, BUCKO!" after noodling your way through a case would understandably be off-putting for some players. It should be there anyway, though, because otherwise there's no real incentive to put your brain through its paces.

Continue Reading

Take a nap, knock stuff over in the full Catlateral Damage

Anyone who has a cat knows the feeling – you get home from a long day of work and look at your feline laying blissfully in a patch of sunlight, waiting for catnip or belly rubs, and you think, "I wish I were a cat." This is the audience for Catlateral Damage.

Catlateral Damage is a first-person kitty simulator, where you (as a cat) attempt to knock over as many of your owner's things as possible, within a certain time. It started as a game jam idea and morphed into a full project – it won the People's Choice and Indie Prototype awards at the 2014 MassDigi Game Challenge, became the first participant in Fire Hose Games' indie accelerator program, and soared through the Steam Greenlight process.

Now, developer Chris Chung is looking to raise $40,000 by July 11 to help him finish the full version of Catlateral Damage, and add features such as chasing mice, hacking up a hairball, hiding under the bed, eating catnip and laying in the sun. The final game will have procedurally generated gameplay and multiple playable cats, plus a larger storyline:

"Your goal is to reach the fancy mansion down the street and destroy the super secret, super valuable object hidden within its locked safe. You start in your home apartment, traversing and trashing various houses on the street until your reach the mansion. In each house, you start in a locked room and make messes in rooms to unlock adjacent ones. Once all rooms are sufficiently sloppy, you nap in a box (yes, really) before moving on to the next house."
[Image: Chris Chung]

Persona's demon designer wants your opinion

Shigenori Soejima is the man behind the distinctive look behind super stylish games like Persona 4, Persona 5 and Catherine. Yes, he's the man you thank for the nightmare-inducing Immoral Beast, but he's also the one who gave us Chie, Teddie, Kanji, Koromaru as well as the bevvy of fascinating demons that populate the games of the Persona universe.

Soejima was on hand at E3 for a rare autograph signing, and fans lined up for hours to meet him and thank him for his work on the art of the Persona games. I asked him, through a translator, how he felt about the outpouring of appreciation, and his answer was both humbling and surprising:

"He was very happy to be able to come into contact with such fans but to be honest, he wanted to talk to them more. Because he's Japanese and he can speak to the Japanese fans, he knows what kinds of things that they think about his artwork, versus, he's not sure what foreign audiences think, because he can't speak with them. He wishes he had a little bit more one-on-one time and could ask each of the people what do you like about it, what is it that draws you to my artwork? So because he wants to know that, he says for your readers to actually write to him, he would love to hear from your fans."

We confirmed with Atlus that this offer is completely legit, so if you've ever wanted to let Mr. Soejima know what you thought about his work - or to ask what the real deal is with Teddie - now's your chance. We'll collect the comments below and send them off to Atlus for translation so that they can be passed along to Soejima himself.

First question: Mr. Soejima, have you ever considered a micropig sidekick for Persona 5? Just something to think about.
[Image: Atlus]

PSA: Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition, Charlie Murder free for Gold members now

Xbox Live Gold members with Xbox 360s can now grab Charlie Murder and Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition at no additional cost until August. For those who get lost in the various iterations of Street Fighter 4, Super Arcade would be the edition before this year's Ultra, which is available now as DLC and next month at retail.

Probably worth mentioning in the same breath is that Xbox One owners with Gold can also pick up Max: Curse of the Brotherhood and twin-stick shooter Halo: Spartan Assault right now too.

Video compares Grand Theft Auto 5's PS3 and PS4 trailers

Sony introduced Grand Theft Auto 5 for PS4 with a brief trailer during its E3 2014 press conference last week, and now Digital Foundry created a video to compare it with similar footage from the game's PS3 version. Some of the side-by-side trailer's more stark contrasts include crashing waves, more animals moseying about and some instances of enhanced lighting and details on items like factories and vehicles in the PS4 version.

GTA 5 may have been part of Sony's press event, but it will also launch on Xbox One and PC this fall after first arriving on PS3 and Xbox 360 in September 2013. Take-Two shipped 33 million copies of the game on the previous-generation systems as of mid-May. Aside from updated visuals, it will receive a video editing feature designed for "advanced movie-making" on PC.
[Image: Rockstar Games]

Cartoonish Cuphead fills up on new trailer, has hopes for Master System port

Cuphead, the first game from StudioMDHR, received a stylish new trailer and screens last week that puts its 1930's-inspired design on display. The "run and gun action game" was pushed back to 2015 thanks in part to the developer's decision to switch from the XNA framework to Unity. It also "totally scrapped the original world map in its rough state" and began re-envisioning a more minimal GUI to focus on Cuphead's classic cartoon feel.

When the game was announced in January, it was originally planned for PC. That's since changed, as the developer now expects to launch Cuphead on Xbox One as well as Steam. StudioMDHR also mentioned a "dream idea" in its latest press update: The developer hopes "we can at least be successful enough to port it to Sega Master System with cartridge, instructions and box" one day.
[Image: StudioMDHR]

Continue Reading

Fruit Ninja developer goes into publishing with Birzzle Fever

Halfbrick, developer of Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, enters the worldwide mobile publishing arena with Birzzle Fever. All you really need to know about the game is it's a colorful chibi bird matching explosion simulator. The free to play game will be available this Thursday on the App Store for iDevices.

As for Halfbrick's expansion into publishing, the developer explains it was a "natural move." The company states, "A special team will be dedicated to working with developers who are interested in having their games published, providing analysis and recommendations during all stages of development."

Up next from Halfbrick's publishing arm is Yes Chef, which looks like Candy Crush, except with nutritional value and French flourishes.

Watch Dogs still top dog in UK, despite the World Cup

The UK is still barking mad for Watch Dogs, even at the start of the World Cup. The footie tourney helped 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil surge to second in the charts, but it couldn't stop Ubisoft's big dog from notching its third No. 1 in a row.

No surprises it's otherwise a quiet week for the UK charts, since few are brave/foolhardy enough to release a game during E3 week. Enemy Front is the only new release at 19th, Mario Kart 8 hangs tough in fourth, and Murdered: Soul Suspect drops from third to ninth.

Continue Reading

Angry Birds Transformers announced, less than meets the eye

Angry Birds studio Rovio announced more Angry Birds this morning with Angry Birds Transformers. No Angry Birds information was provided about this latest installment in the Angry Birds franchise, but it is sure to Angry Birds and roll out more details soon.

Brain Age now training European Wii U owners too

Brain Age, the first DS game on Wii U Virtual Console, traveled to the eShop in Europe over the weekend. As per Japan the brain-teaser is a free download, with the European promo ending on July 10. There's no word yet, but it's now likely North America will eventually also get reacquainted with the detached cranium of Dr Kawashima.

Last month saw Nintendo re-release the 2005 game in Japan, following through on plans to add the DS to the Wii U Virtual Console. The brain-trainer is one of the handheld's all-time best sellers, shifting an impressive total of 19 million units worldwide.

Nintendo's yet to discuss any other DS games on Wii U, so we'll just have to unravel this rather long wish list. Let's see here... The World Ends with You, Elite Beat Agents, Rhythm Heaven, all the Professor Layton games, Trauma Center: Under the Knife, Advance W-okay this could take some time. So, what DS games do you want to see on the Virtual Console?

Destiny's alpha is a survivor, still playable for now

The Destiny alpha is ongoing past its scheduled close time, and Bungie seems prepared to run the first-look program a little longer. The alpha was due to end at 12AM PT/3AM ET this morning, but at the time of writing we confirmed it remains playable and active.

Earlier today, Bungie tweeted, "There's a rumor that the Destiny alpha might be extended to allow dangerous experiments. Play beyond the official close at your own risk!"

Continue Reading

Stiq Figures, June 2 - 8: Up all night edition

Welcome to Stiq Figures, where the sales data is after the break and the posts don't matter.

Things are nearly back to normal after E3 2014, including our sleep schedules. It's been a while since we've endured the 3:30 a.m. haze, teetering from side to side, keeping our brains awake with cold drinks and sheer willpower. Late nights aren't always about being productive though – some games sap hours from the clock without us noticing, but they're usually so good at their craft that we hardly mind.

Persona 3 is king of claiming dozens of hours I initially intended for sleep. I'd bike home from double shifts of cooking and waiting tables and head straight for the PS2, eager to clear a few more floors of the towering, Shadow-filled Tartarus. Fusing Personas and studying for virtual grades led to plenty of sluggish real-world lunch shifts, but every journey home ended the same way.

I spend free time more conservatively now that my schedule's filled with shifts and errands, but I'm wary of the same scenario happening when I start The Witcher 2 tonight. Are there any games that have conquered your latest hours? Maybe you have weekly shootouts with friends online or get regularly lost in a compelling MMO? Tell us about the games that steal away your nights after checking this week's Japanese hardware sales past the break!

Continue Reading

Creepy, armed adversaries lurk in Lords of the Fallen

Image Survival's a good incentive to fight Lord of the Fallen's opposition, but ridding the world of half-decayed, axe-wielding monsters? Yeah, you don't have to beg us to help out with that. Get a glimpse of what you'll slay in City Interactive's upcoming RPG on PS4, Xbox One and PC. [Image:... Continue Reading

Final Fantasy Explorers to cast a spell on 3DS

Final Fantasy Explorers will chart a course to the Nintendo 3DS, Siliconera reports. Citing this week's Jump magazine, it appears that the game will be a multiplayer RPG which uses the classic Final Fantasy Job system for its playable classes.

Knights will act as the party's tank, drawing enemy fire and blocking damage with his shield, while the Monk will get in close to pummel his opponents. The Black Mage casts damaging spells from afar, while the White Mage tends to her friends' wounds.

The intrepid explorers will set out to collect the world's crystals while battling Summons - AKA giant monsters from other Final Fantasy games. An image in Jump shows series mainstay Ifrit, appearing similar to - if not the same as - his form in Final Fantasy 10. This would make sense, given that Siliconera reports that monsters in the game span the Final Fantasy series' multiple generations.

Final Fantasy Explorers does not have a release date at this time, nor do we know if it's even coming stateside. So for now, let's all just set up a Tent and get a nice resting bonus, ok?
[Image: Square Enix]

The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Show - 029: Ken Levine and Tim Schafer

Latest episode: Friday, March 30th, 2012

Featured Stories