Awesome Games Done Quick Has Already Raised $250K for PCF

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Awesome Games Done Quick 2013 is a week-long marathon of video game speedrunners raising money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation. This is the third annual marathon and already easily the most successful. The first AGDQ in 2011 raised $53,000 for PCF, the second raised $149,000, and the current marathon which began on Jan. 6th and runs until tomorrow night has already reached its second goal of $250,000 after reaching their initial goal of $100,000 in two days. A packed schedule of games played by runners from around the world have collected thousands of donations from viewers who have had the opportunity to donate towards incentives and challenges and to win donated prizes. In a time when video games and the people who played them are actively vilified and scapegoated by the media and political figures, events like this and organizations like Child's Play help prove the naysayers wrong. Check out the marathon stream and read more about their efforts to raise money for charity through marathons.
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First Thoughts on Halo 4 Multiplayer

The most notable change to Halo's multiplayer is the addition of loadouts with unlockable weapons and boosts. While I guess it was only a matter of time before Halo joined the COD-ification that has been emulated by nearly every FPS from the last few years, it does change the feel of Halo quite a bit. First and foremost, Pre-Halo 4 multiplayer was predominately about map/weapon control. It was more a descendant of Quake than Call of Duty. While Halo 4 strikes a balance between weapon location pickups and starting loadouts, once you unlock the DMR you are no longer in dire need of finding a new weapon. I found myself sticking to the DMR unless I happened upon something powerful, but it wasn't necessary since I could drop enemy Spartans at range quite effectively. Another change is the highlighting of weapon locations on your HUD, which I actually don't mind since it does make multiplayer a bit more accessible to those players who don't have hundreds of hours memorizing all of the weapon locations on all of the maps.

Returning to the COD-ification of multiplayer, there were a few times early on that I was frustrated by a higher level player putting up a light shield that I could not use, effectively turning the tide of the duel and resulting in their surviving and winning where in previous Halos I would have had the kill. It takes a few hours of play to unlock the base level of all your loadout spots, so in the long term it isn't such a big deal, but it is a source of early frustration.

Lone wolves/FFA mode as it were no longer exists. It has been replaced by Regicide, where the leader had a giant target on them and killing them awards up to 3.5X the points of a kill of anyone else. It's an interesting mode, and it certainly allows new players a chance to be competitive, but it seems counterintuitive to have a game mode where being in the lead for most of a match makes it more likely you will not finish on top. I will admit being frustrated when I had the most kills, best K/D ratio, and most time as King, and still lost the match. It would be fine to have this game mode--it can be quite enjoyable--but it would be nice to also have the option to play a pure FFA deathmatch mode.

I'm also constantly baffled by competitive shooters' inability to learn from Halo 3's ranked multiplayer matchmaking. In my first match as SR1 I was put in a Regicide game with SR43 players. For some reason games have been unable to effectively match people based on skill level and experience ever since Halo 3 did it so well.

Another note is that 343's file share system is still broken and not expected to be working until mid-January.

While my first impressions are a little nitpicky, as a whole it felt good to be back in a new Halo multiplayer experience. The game looks great, controls quite well, though the new grenade physics take some practice and adjustment, and I plan on playing quite a bit more of it.

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VVVVV Has Been Beaten

Finally went back to VVVVV after having it sit in my games library unplayed for too long thinking I would knock out a little bit of progress. Next thing I know I have saved the last 3 crew members and finished the game. I'll probably go back in the next week and get the remaining few trinkets I missed on the playthrough and finally put the game to rest.

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