The Community Spotlight - 01/31/2014

Special Thanks to Spacedongle for this Work of Art!

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight! I have a bit of good news for all of you that did not get a chance to buy a poster from the store. Due to a glitch that said we were sold out of the signed posters the posters have been temporarily pulled from the store. However, they will be back this Monday so keep on the watch for that! If you haven't done so already wish @alexisg a happy birthday! Artist @aurahack just wants to die.

Clip of the Week

@turboman deserves a round of applause for reaching his fiftieth episode for his Best of Giant Bomb video series! This one features a lot of Patrick screaming and "Bat-Tech!"

Community Activities

  • New Giant Bomb Community Rust Server - Join the Now Official U.S. Server Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

Old school PC game aficionado took the time to put in a bunch of good work into the Might & Magic X Legacy wiki page. Also, our tradition of having huge wiki pages for Touhou Project games continues.

Best of Blogs

Fobwashed is the man of the hour this week with his own custom Spelunky skin that allows you to play as Patrick! Download it and see if you too can beat Chris Remo!

You Can Do It!

Former site engineer ltsquigs may have moved on, but he still would like for you to know why he really likes Final Fantasy XIII-2. Mento wades in the interesting waters of indie Metroidvania games, whereas Video_Game_King got killed by a slew of video game zombies this week. D_W ended up making a game during the Candy Game Jam, and wants you to test out and play what he made. Stubbleman is back with the fourth edition of his career retrospective of Liam O'Brien, and similarly lordgodalming is back to share a handful of games that he enjoys, but thinks cheat in order to create difficulty. Tarfuin finally experienced the insanity of Saints Row IV and talks about why he enjoyed it more than the third game in the series. Jim_Efantis details why he thinks Battlefield 4 is perpetually making two steps forward but always is taking one step back. EXTomar provides a break down of the New Bloom event in Dota 2, whereas GunstarRed shares his first experiences with his Playstation 4. The_Nubster rounded up January with metal Gear Rising, and similarly dankempster also provides a summary of his gaming this month. Humanity explains why he made the questionable decision of playing Assassin's Creed II after Black Flag. MooseyMcMan shares his hatred for Brothers and enjoyment of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. MMMman theorizes why he spent so much time wasting away on Cookie Clicker, and ildon takes the position of defending Conan O'Brien being paid to play games on his show. Finally sammo21 shares his foray into Pathfinder, and BlazeHedgehog finally has his 2013 GOTY blog, but also has an amazing video to accompany it.

Fantastic Forums

If the banner isn't a dead giveaway it was all about the art this week! Spacedongle did a great Persona 5 banner, saik0u envisioned Brad as a wizard in Demon's Souls, and 1Gorebash remade the music video for "Money For Nothing" with the Bomb Squad! After checking all of those out feel free to join any of the many discussion threads we have on the site that range from playing EVE Online to predicting how bad the Sly Cooper movie will be.

Useful User Reviews

Portent Podcasts

Special Thanks to Saik0u for This Work of Art!

18 Comments

The Community Spotlight - 01/24/2014

Special Thanks to @chronicthehedgehog For This Amazing Work of Art!

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight! I am your host as always and everyone should rejoice! The reason is simple, the new 2014 subscriber t-shirts and posters are coming soon! Not to go from that to a low note this week marked a couple of anniversaries to denote how old we are. Not only did the first Super Smash Bros. game turn fifteen this week, but the original Brad Shoemaker photobomb that we all know and love turned four. As many of you might have noticed the staff and moderation team has been taking a tougher stance on inappropriate and rule breaking comments on the Live Chat. These words from Mr.@rorie have been true, and will always be true about those that think they have a "right" to say whatever they want. With that let's get on with the Community Spotlight!

Clips of the Week

We have THREE great clips this week! The first comes from @clintlandon who has created another Animated Bombcast clip which imagines Jeff as an Xbox One. Next, @turboman has created the final montage of the best moments of Vinny playing Dark Souls, including one more musical clipshow of Vinny's many deaths during his "Load our Last Souls" feature. Speaking of montages of our staff dying horribly our final video comes from Ian Minor who has a video of every single one of Brad's deaths while playing Volgarr the Viking.

Community Activities

  • Giant Bomb iRacing League: Season Two Preview - Learn About What the Race Club Has Set Up for Season Two Over Here!
  • Giant Bomb Community Rust Server - Join the Community Server Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

As already mentioned the original Super Smash Bros. game turned fifteen this week, and you can read more about the game that started it all on our wiki page for the game. That said, please stop trying to add Project M to the database, you are all crazy people when calling that a "game."

Best of Blogs

DonChipotle is back to discuss the legacy, and future of the Lightning Saga and Final Fantasy XIII. Mento uses a collection of recent games to discuss creating the illusion of player choice, and he also has another edition of his always entertaining Commic Commish MS Paint webcomic. Shivoa discusses a recent topic from this week's "Worth Reading" about difficulty in games and debates if difficulty is helping further game design or not. SirOptimusPrime continues his attempt to finish System Shock 2, but has the new Shadow Warrior to boot in his latest blog. Chemystery continues his playthrough of old school JRPGs Final Fantasy VI and .hack Infection. Continuing the trend of users exploring oldish RPGs amlabella has started his own "Amateur Endurance Run," featuring Dragon Quest VIII, whereas demoskinos has started his own video Let's Play of the Hitman franchise and both blogs have the first parts to those follies. Speaking of user created videos EpicSteve has been hitting it out of the park with his "Amateur..." videos! He not only did he create an Amateur Quick Look for The Banner Saga, but he also has a Spookin' video for Babysitter Bloodbath as well as an interview of the developer of the game. Jim_Efantis has started a creative writing activity where users join him in writing letters on the status of Nintendo to Nintendo. Peezmachine is back with another update on his Giant Bomb x Windjammers game, SummerJammers. Video_Game_King is starting to kick his demons crutch with Gears of War 3 and Burai Fighter. Pezen contemplates on the good and bad of the Steam Greenlight system, whereas Sir_WilliamIII shares thoughts on Rust after playing the Alpha for three days. Wess continues his effort to catch every single Pokemon in Pokemon Y. Hailinel extrapolates on why he has burned out on Spelunky, and GrantHeaslip shares his exasperation and tiredness in regards to Super Mario 3D Land and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. MikeLemmer implores you to experience Ash Lake even if Patrick did not. Dankempster breaks down the thematic and gameplay differences between 2D and 3D Legend of Zelda games, and expresses his preference for one over the other. Finally DocHaus has the animeezy for sheezy that the Giant Bomb community voted for as the best anime of 2013...which you are all wrong for voting for Kill la Kill BECAUSE THAT SHOW IS MEDIOCRE AS HELL!

Fantastic Forums

ChrisHarris deserves an award for creating a new notification system to keep you updated on when Giant Bomb starts a new live stream. As seen above clintlandon made a new Giant Bomb Animated clip, and likewise ChronicTheHedgehog is the user to thank for the Spring Bomber fan art. We have a discussion thread for OlliOlli for all of you radical duders, and LiquidPrice wants you to join him in discussing the visual glitches you cannot stand. Finally dwigtk has a detailed post on his efforts to create his own arcade cabinet.

Lovable Lists

Pyromagnestir has created a list of games that he think have some novel ideas that other developers could borrow. List master Mento has annotated the biggest and most notable steel cities in video games. Finally Dimsey shares his excitement for the games coming out in 2014 on his latest list.

Useful User Reviews

Potent Podcasts

19 Comments

The Community Spotlight - 01/17/2014

Special Thanks to Fobwashed for this Simple Yet Great Banner!

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Community Spotlight! I am your host as always, and we have some big announcements to get through! @mento and @rmanthorp are your two new moderators on Giant Bomb! Join the rest of the community in welcoming them both to the fold over here. Another piece of news comes from Mr. Rorie. Sometime next week you can expect new posters, and the 2014 subscriber t-shirt to go on sale! If you haven't used your subscriber coupon get excited! @fobwashed has been on an awesome art making grinder. He even made a great Banner Saga inspired version of Will Smith. People have even gotten creative enough to include Giant Bomb in their webcomics.

Clip of the Week

So StarForge...that's a video game. Oh and if you haven't been watching patrick's attempt at Dark Souls...just know that he now understand why people hate hate Anor Londo.

Community Activities

  • Giant Bomb Community Pokemon League Season 4 - Join the Community League Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

Join me in giving @billymaysrip a round of applause for doing a bang up job on the game page for Darius. He didn't even let a wiki glitch that resulted in him being awarded just 3 points for all of his work to discourage him in continuing to edit the database.

Best of Blogs

As mentioned in the introductions Fobwashed has been killing it with his art this week. Check out and comment on his creative treatments of the Giant Bomb logo. A Link Between Worlds inspired Hailinel to give Hyrule Historia a shot and you can read about what he thought on the book. Gamer_152 tackles the fallacy that many gamers have committed when dismissing something as "not being a game." ArbitraryWater started 2014 on a mediocre note thanks to XCOM Declassified. Instead of playing a point and click adventure game SirOptimusPrime made a pilgrimage that every classic PC gamer makes...that pilgrimage being playing System Shock 2. Speaking of horrifying experiences Halomaste19 shares why he was utterly terrified when playing Gone Home. Video_Game_King is still dealing with demons of all sorts with Darwinia and Koudelka as his games of choice this week. MooseyMcMan got some gaming done this week and discusses why he really enjoyed DmC Devil may Cry. GunstarRed bought a Sega Saturn and wants to explain why that wasn't THAT crazy of a decision. GERALTITUDE played a lot recently, but really wants you to know that Super Mario Galaxy is a masterpiece worth experiencing. Cathryn has decided to finally put down Skyrim...after perpetually playing it for two years straight, and shares her final impressions of it. MachoFantastico discusses how he's used games to recuperate from a burst appendix. Marino breaks down his conflicted thoughts about the Pantheon Kickstarter as a big fan of EverQuest. Given the increase in interest over the Souls franchise MikeLemmer has blogged about how being different in your design and control scheme doesn't always make a game harder. EpicSteve returns to making Amateur Bombastica, and this time did something about Dragon Ball. Speaking of old ass Japanese games Chemystery decided to go back and try to finish some of the old PS2 era .hack games. Tarfuin pontificated upon Papers, Please and its ability to convey morality. PeezMachine has another update on his Giant Bomb x Widjammers game, whereas Finstern shares the open source Windjammers clone he made as part of a Game Jam he participated in. MisterBananFoam returns to his blog series related to beating the first Jak and Daxter game, and librariangmr discusses why he returned to The Old Republic. Finally dankempster shares how his most recent attempt to tackle his Steam backlog went.

Fantastic Forums

The great art continues with Saik0u's Windjammers x Vinny fanart. MB is working on creating stats for every episode of the Demon's Souls Breaking Brad, and TruthTellah has taken the time to create convenient links to every AGDQ stream. FInally join the community in discussing Broken Age, Zelda II and if the way you play games reflects your personality.

Lovable Lists

DevourerOfTime has finally published his top ten list...for the ten games that bummed him out in 2013. Also, help _K1_ create a comprehensive list of the last games of big development studios.

Useful User Reviews

Potent Podcasts

21 Comments

The Community Spotlight - 01/10/2014

Special Thanks to Fobwashed for the Banner This Week!

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight! Well there's no going about it, we are in the Winter game drought! With Vinny defeating Dark Souls, and Brad "completing" Volgarr two main stays for premium content have met their end. However, don't worry as the staff are all committed to satiating your desire for more video content, free and premium! For those wondering about new merchandise Rorie would like for you to know that the 2014 premium members only t-shirt will release sometime this month. Also worth noting that a "potential" discount for Giant Bomb subscriptions could happen near the end of this month. Another piece of housekeeping for all of you ne'er-do-wells, if you see a giant notification pop up during a live stream, you've said something inappropriate on the chat. Those one-on-one notifications are your first warning to chill before you get into real trouble. Please, don't be a jerk. With that let's get on with the Community Spotlight!

Clip(s) of the Week

As Vinny put it on Twitter when he saw this video "All I ever wanted out of Dark Souls, really...THANKS:"

Community Activities

  • Giant Bomb Marvel Heroes Guild - Join the Community Guild Over Here!
  • Awesome Games Done Quick 2014 - You Still have Time to Donate Money and Discuss the Streams Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

The newly re-titled "Mid-development IP Split" concept page has seen some awesome TLC. Also, do you like micro-transactions? Well you can read more about how to be a sucker on....

Best of the Blog

As seen above and below, we have two pieces of AMAZING Patrick x Spelunky fanart from DorkyMohr and Fobwashed! Comment on their works of art on their respective blogs. Rays_Gaming_Rants recently played through Bravely Default's demo and has written about how it does what all demos should do, similarly Chemystery gave the Bravely Default demo and shares his thoughts about that and Papers, Please. Video_Game_King is slowly becoming John Carmack with his most recent blog all about demons and devils, whereas Sparky_Buzzsaw blogged about spewing fire after trying Hoy Fong hot sauce and playing through AC IV. Mento shares an assortment of games that subvert the co-op experience and challenge the term "co-op altogether. BlueFish finally saw Indie Game: The Movie, whereas JayEH joined Vinny in defeating Dark Souls this week. TheMasterDS tried out Chrstina Love's "It Just Ain't Your Story," and extrapolates on why he absolutely hated it. VILLHAVER also shares his rage this week and has a case study of his terrible experience with Chrono Trigger for Android. After taking a medical leave of absence MooseyMcMan has his much belated GOTY Awards, The Moosies. Hailinel details how A Link Between Two World has helped him rediscover the Zelda franchise. Check out dankempster's gaming resolutions for 2014 and join him in creating easy and hard resolutions. Finally MajorMitch shares a monthly update on the games he has played, and KnifeySpoony has his late, but great, 2013 GOTY blog.

Fantastic Forums

Have you ever bought a game based solely on its box art? Or, which game that you have played do you think has the best A.I.? How about the potential direction of Resident Evil 7? All of these are topics where you can share your constructive and civil opinions about! We have many more discussion thread worth partaking in! The Giant Bomb Final Fantasy XIV community Guild wants you to see what they have been doing in the game

Lovable Lists

Here we have a return to normalcy. PoisonJam7 has created a list where he explains why his 2013 Game of the Year is for a JRPG from 2007.

Useful User Reviews

Here's Some More Awesome Fanart, This Time By DorkyMohr!

21 Comments

The Community Spotlight - 01/03/2014 (Inaugural 2014 Edition)

Special Thanks to metalliccookies for This Work of Art!

Hello and welcome to the first edition of the Community Spotlight for the year 2014! With the end of the Game of the Year content you can expect the staff to be back in action on Monday. Until then read site engineer Danny Chi's (aka @mrpibb) end of the year review of the site redesigns for Giant bomb, Comic Vine, and GameSpot. Speaking of end of the year stuff let's give @thatfrood a round of applause for hosting the 2013 Giant Bomb Community Game of the Year List project! Beyond that I have a ton of user created art work. @fobwashed created a Giant Bomb themed version of the Papers, Please startup screen. Someone else on Tumblr took the anime K-On! and replaced the characters with the Giant Bomb staff. Finally we have WiFi_Pirate's AMAZING "correction" of Life Magazine's Farewell issue:

Stand-up Work Duder!

Clip of the Week

For the first clip we have the Giant Bomb Warfarme guild, Heavy Industries, showing off the recent community event they had. For the second video someone on YouTube decided to take the intro of Giant Bomb's Day Two 2013 GotY video and put in a twenty minute loop, because hey why not?

Late to the Party Community GOTY Stuff

You are all a bunch of procrastinators! Jesus I think I actually have more blogs this week than last week! Anyways I have so many blogs this week I'm not going to take the time to create headers for every single blog on here. So just like last week here's the GotY blogs and lists and the non-GotY stuff is below.

Blogs

Lists

Community Activities

  • Awesome Games Done Quick 2014 January 5th -11th! - Help Raise Money for Charity By Heading Over Here!
  • New (Active) Giant Bomb Guild for Marvel Heroes - Learn How to Join the Guild Over Here!
  • Unofficial Giantbomb DayZ (Standalone) Steam Group - Learn How to Join the Group Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

Other than World of Warcraft being weird someone recently submitted a +600 point submission to the Tetris: The Grandmaster ACE wiki page that should be seen.

Best of Blogs

There were a lot of blogs this week. My brain is so fried right now. There were so many blogs this week....

Fantastic Forums

As seen on the banner above metalliccookies has soem very notable progress related to his Giant Bomb themed Windjammers game, "Bombjammers." ZanzibarBreeze has a nine hour audio clip of the best moments of the Giant Bombcast. Finally Cincaid has his updated stats for Giant Bomb's Quick Looks.

Lovable Lists

Useful User Reviews

Potent Podcasts

17 Comments

The Community Spotlight - 12/27/2013 (GOTY 2013: Part Two)

Special Thanks to JokerSmilez's Wife for This Amazing Work of Art!

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Community Spotlight! Alright I'm not going to lie this edition was kind of a nightmare to make. You all wrote a ton of stuff for Game of the Year! That aside let's get on with the site housekeeping. If you downloaded the GOTY Bombcasts and noticed that Toto's "Africa" is inexplicably in the podcast description...yeah I have no idea why that's there. While @ltsquigs has left the building you can keep track of what he's doing on his recently created Tumblr account. Also as seen on the banner for this week @jokersmilez's wife is making embroideries in dedication of Ryan Davis and is donating the proceeds to the National Sleep Institute for Sleep Apnea Research. While her first has been sold she has room to make five more if you contact her Etsy or Twitter. With that let's get on with this content filled edition of the Community Spotlight!

Clip of the Week

So Andrew Allen made the GOTY theme that all of you have been enjoying on the Bombcast. He has posted the jazzy theme on YouTube for you to put on infinite loop if you so desire. TheBurlapLemur is back this week with another edition of the BiteSize Bomb which continues to highlight the best moments of every single Quick Giant Bomb has ever made. Finally @clintlandon made an animated Bombcast using only his iPad that adds a little 1920s charm to the GB staff.

Community GOTY Lists

Okay...let's get this straight/ I'm not going to write bios or headers for anything this week. Everyone has their own list filled with different groupings of games. Thank you to everyone who took the time to make a list on the site!

Community GOTY Blogs

As with before thank you to everyone who made a blog this year. Please continue to make blogs on the site throughout the next year.

Community Activities

  • Holiday Gift Thread - Give Free Games on Your Own Terms to Other Users Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

We have a list of great wiki pages for game all of you nominated or selected as your Game of the Year list.

Best of Blogs

These are teh great blogs that have nothing to do with GOTY stuff. Plenty of people discussed their favorite albums of 2013, @aurahack was able to even convince Jeff to re-explore K-pop. Unlike that camp granderojo has his favorite five books of the year. dankempster has finally completed Final Fantasy, and Gamer_152 tackles the thorny issue of digital rights on YouTube. benspyda decided to take the time to explain why he doesn't like Zelda games. Tireyo has started a blog series reviewing fan made video game movies, and SirOptimusPrime got nostalgic over one of his favorite old school adventure games, Gabriel Knight. Finally if you can make sense of Video_Game_King's new blog series...call me.

Fantastic Forums

Hopefully your Christmas was fun if you celebrate! Anyways we have a discussion thread related to the new season of The WalkinG Dead game and plenty of GOTY discussions worth partaking in. Do you buy into Paul Barnett's "Golden Age" theory? If so what do you think is your "Golden Age?" Finally clintlandon created the 1920s animated Bombcast clip seen in the Clips of the Week.

Lovable Lists

Useful User Reviews

23 Comments

My 2013 Special Distinction Awards For Video Games and Other "Stuff"

Author's Note: Look I don't think that I played enough games released during 2013 to make a traditional "Game of the Year" list or blog. In fact as you will quickly see many of my awards went to non-video game stuff. Sacrilege? Maybe, but I will make amends with the Great Spaghetti Monster before the year is done to make up for that. So instead here are my Special Distinction Awards for stuff from 2013! I hope you enjoy them as much as I spent making and writing them.

Best Game Gimmick of the Year – Hunting (Again!)

This is still cool and will always be cool!

Man was it another great year for killing virtual fauna or what? Between Assassin’s Creed, Tomb Raider and small indie titles like Don’t Starve hunting became a surprise hit this gaming year, albeit again. That said while killing any random antelope by shooting an arrow through its nostril is fun the first couple of times it lacks drive unless you are able to make something from your prey…oh wait that’s not new either.

Yes while there were plenty of games in 2012 that had hunting as a mechanic, 2013 proves that this isn’t a gimmick that isn’t going to disappear any time soon, especially for open world games. Hey maybe there’s something to those Cabela’s games that we are all unwilling to admit. Maybe there’s an inner hunting enthusiast in all of us. Though I don’t think the NRA hosts lessons on how to kill a shark by harpooning it to death.

Most Visually Broken Game – X Rebirth

Oh...GOD!

Boy where do I even start with X Rebirth? Maybe the clichéd sound bite of “I am a longtime fan of the series and was bitterly disappointed by this recent reboot” works. Either way X Rebirth is an unmitigated disaster. It’s boring, there are no redeeming characters, but more importantly it’s a visual nightmare.

The developers of X Rebirth for some reason decided to take note from JJ Abrams and his recent helming of the Star Trek franchise, most notably his sometimes egregious and other times cinematic use of light bloom; except X Rebirth takes it to eleven. The neon drenched nebulas, and “authentic” cockpit end up becoming major hindrances when you are actually playing the game. The neon coated and bright space-scapes make piloting space ships in X Rebirth an assault on your occipital lobe. It’s impossible to even distinguish what is happening on your cramped screen. That’s why X Rebirth is just visually BROKEN. Every design decision related to the way the game looks not only hurts the game, but makes it impossible to play. I mean can any of you honestly tell me what’s going on this screenshot?

Worst Thing Sold as “Entertainment” – The Final Episode of Dexter

How does this even happen?

I was pretty close to going with Spike’s VGX Awards earlier, but by pure chance YouTube recommended Monty Python’s “I’m a Lumberjack” skit…and then I was instantly reminded of the last episode of Dexter, AND BOY HOWDY WAS THAT A SHITSHOW!

Did you play a disappointing or terrible game this year? Well how would you feel if a game you had been playing for eight years decided to shit its pants and completely forego all the good will you had for it in less than two years? It’s not just that the final episode of Dexter was bad…it was the just the worst storytelling and entertainment experience I had all year. What about resolving the Masuka stuff with his daughter? Or giving Angie Miller an actual character arc? No? Well…shit.

Best One Week Obsession – Salty Bet

Is it sad if I already know who is going to win this match?

I, like many people really enjoyed Salty Bet albeit my obsession over it only last about a week. Though that amount of time doesn’t seem that significant I think it’s important to provide some context.

I use Steam chat a lot, just ask @gamer_152 or @chaser324. However, it’s important to note that I use Steam chat to almost exclusively harass and harangue my fellow moderators. When Salty Bet first rolled out, I didn’t just enjoy it by myself. I spread that craziness to as many people as I knew…that wouldn’t ask me to stop messaging them. Not just that but I would not let up if some of my “peers” didn’t at least watch one full match.

Alas this relationship was not to last and after getting burned when Dragon Ball Z characters miraculously got good, and an incessant number of repeats it just kind of ended for me. That and the Salty Bet community…I mean Jaysus! All that aside I can say that I have no regrets, but I can’t recommend that anyone try the Schedule One Substance known as Salty Bet.

Door Opener of the Year – Candy Box

Candy Box deserves some sort of special distinction award for opening me up to this new generation of browser/url based games that have been coming out. I completely skipped on Frog Fractions last year, but decided to finally go back to it after getting engrossed with Candy Box. I felt triumphant when I finally defeated that goddamned dragon, but not only thatI spent a good deal of time trying to develop new potions and testing strategies.

CLICK THAT LOLLIPOP!

Candy Box gets my “Door Opener Award” not just because it resulted in me going back to games like Frog Fractions or Don’t Shit Your Pants, but also for changing my mindset. Jokes like Soda Drinker Pro or Bubsy 3D would have otherwise been given a prejudiced scoff by myself. Cookie Clicker or Clicking Bad wouldn’t have been given a chance. So for that Candy Box, you have my thanks.

That said…man was Candy Box 2 kind of a bummer.

Ostrich Moment of the Year – Dota 2

One of you “gifted” me Dota 2 when it was still in beta. Then I downloaded it when it went “live” this year. Then before actually playing it, I removed it from my computer.

Look I can’t be entirely open minded. As good as I may have been in giving browser games a shot this year I draw the line at Dota 2; although I have no idea why exactly I am drawing this line. During the summer I watched a TON of The International. Part of it had to do with me being the unofficial chat moderator for the stream, and from what I saw Dota 2 kind of looks awesome. Yet I want to have nothing to do with Dota 2. The time and patience you have to have in order to get even marginally good at Dota 2 is just not the commitment I ever want to make.

Do I have my head in the sand in regards to Dota 2? Absolutely, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Best Story – Breaking Bad Ozymandias

Do you want a better story than The Last of Us or BioShock? Here you go.

On a positive television note thank God for AMC! Though more thanks should be given to Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, and everyone involved with Breaking Bad for making a masterpiece. My only complaint about how things concluded for Breaking Bad is that the best episode of the last season, and in my opinion of the entire show, was the third to last episode.

Ozymandias was an emotionally gripping and exhausting experience. To be perfectly honest it was the single greatest self-contained story that I saw this entire year across all mediums, and I include video games in that mix of film, books, and television as well. The phone conversation between Walt and Skylar at the end of the episode…Jesus that was some great and powerful stuff. This cast of characters was more than a collection of television actors saying lines. Their actions were sometimes excruciating and I felt the horror that other characters conveyed as Walter White began his climatic downfall. As George R.R. Martin put it "Walter White is a bigger monster than anyone in Westeros."

Now if only I knew what to watch on Sundays that didn’t involve glorified head and brain trauma.

Least Surprisingly Good, Good Game – Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

Alright I’m not going to joke around here. Assassin’s Creed IV is not my most surprisingly good game, nor is it my “turnaround game of the year,” because I have no qualms with Assassin’s Creed III. Not only that but for the most part I found Assassin’s Creed III to be a fine and great game. Were there a couple of missions that came across as unfair or poorly designed? Sure, but most of the objectives that were “unfair” were completely optional and for crazy people. I also had no issues with the gritty re-imagining of the American Revolution, but I will not make apologies for how the Desmond stuff concluded. Then again Desmond was always the weakest part of the Assassin’s Creed franchise excluding the couple of “Oh Shit!” moments at the end of II and Brotherhood.

The Assassin’s Creed franchise has, to me at least, been a case example of how it’s okay to let developers re-iterate their games using the same technology. I mean just look at the improvement from II to Brotherhood. So to me it didn’t come as a surprise that Assassin’s Creed IV is better than III. The entire history of this franchise has been improvement over time and eventually adding in too many mechanics that result in a loss of cohesiveness (i.e. Revelations).

Black Flag is still a great game, and if I am so daring, would most likely take my “Game of the Year” award if I was giving one out this year. The ship battles were joyous, and the Caribbean came across as a living world. However, I never lacked the confidence that Ubisoft didn’t have it “in them,” to make this all happen.

Revelatory Food Experience of the Year – Eating Hi-Chews for the First Time

If something almost ruins your life...that's worth something, right?

Every year brings a new food experience to me. Two years ago I tried Code Red Mountain Dew for the first time in my life, and last year I ate my first Little Caesar’s pizza. This year I ate Hi-Chews for the first time. Just like the previous two items the experience was revelatory until I “gluttoned” myself out of a potentially dangerous relationship, but my overall love for the candy has gone unabated.

During the height of this obsession I was going through one 100+ piece bag in a week. It got so bad that I was special ordering fruit flavors not available at my local grocery store from Japan at a premium. It got so bad that an online wholesale candy distributor thought I was a small business.

But damn was it worth it. I’d do anything to get some more of this superior Starburst alternative especially if it’s a flavor not available in the United States.

Patriot Act Approved Game of the Year – Splinter Cell Blacklist

I want to start this off by saying I actually really liked Splinter Cell Blacklist. It was a great co-op experience and was a blast to play. That said, boy can you tell this game is grounded in “re-enacting” the fears and drama of modern day society, and U.S. society at that. Maybe it was the nonchalance of being able to torture as well as execute characters that warranted me developing this award just for Blacklist. Now this isn’t political, but I have to believe that there’s a better way to do these sorts of games without them devolving into jingoism. Then again even Tim Clancy himself was quiet able to figure that one out himself.

All that aside, if the spectacle of said jingoism is as slick and fun as Blacklist, I can deal with that.

My Platform of the Year, for a Platform I Don’t Own – 3DS

I haven’t owned a handheld since the GameBoy Advance SP. At some point the appeal of being able to play video games during lunch or long commutes just didn’t have the same draw that it once did. Well…actually Steam happened and I got back into PC gaming. I also have continued to be obsessive over smart phones and money that would have gone into handhelds has gone into buying new phones. However, in the last two years my regret of leaving handheld gaming simply is becoming unbearable as the library for the 3DS continues to impress even myself.

I still think this looks stupid!

Great Mario and Legend of Zelda games? Then you throw in a desire to check out the new Pokemon and Animal Crossing and I’m starting to look at my new android phone with greater skepticism. Then you all sure don’t make my handheld free lifestyle any better. You kids have been talking about Fire Emblem being a great mix of all the best parts of the franchise forever! Yeah I know that Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds has the proper mix between nostalgia and newness. SOMEHOW Nintendo made a good Mario Bros. game? Yeah that’s news to me, and what nerve you have telling me this! FINE! I’ll name the 3DS my “Platform of the Year,” now stop making me feel bad about my purchasing decisions.

As the days tick by and I read more and more from users on the site about all of these great 3DS games the more I want to kick myself in the pants for not just taking the plunge.

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The Community Spotlight - 12/20/2013 (GOTY 2013: Part One)

Hilariously Unintentional!

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight! Yup it's that time of the year again...as Christmas draws near so does Giant Bomb's Game of the Year content. This Spotlight merely the tip of the iceberg as the staff and community really start to crank out the Game of the Year lists and blogs. For those wondering Paul Barnett will have his own GotY podcast. However, on a sadder note designer Ian Kelly of "Big Knob" fame will be leaving CBSi to join Dave Snider in his new venture. If you haven't done so already wish Ia the best on this thread here. If you had issues with embedding videos on the site that bug should be fixed, and you can embed as much as you want as long as it is not spam. Finally, it appears that Jeff's Gaming Minute is still playing during Rush Limbaugh.

Clip of the Week

@flavbot decided to cross Giant Bomb with Zelda and dubstep. The results are...baffling but also amazing. @turboman has another video of the best moments of Vinny being Vinny while playing Dark Souls.

Community Activities

  • Giantbomb Community Forum GOTY 2013 List Aggregation!! - Join the Effort to Crown the Community 2013 Game of the Year Over Here!
  • Bravely Default Friend Code Trading Thread - Enjoy the Multiplayer Features with Other Users By Posting your Codes Here!
  • VinnCo. Phantasy Star Online 2 Ship #02 Recruitment Thread - Join VinnCo NOW Over Here!
  • Christmas Hatify Your Giant Bomb Avatar - If You Feel Inclined Feel Free to Have Someone Put a Christmas Hat on Your Giant Bomb Avatar Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

Where do you stand in the great "Is Ryu a wizard," debate? Well read over our wiki page for Ryu to help you decide for yourself! Also, "Take a Break" is your awesome concept page of the week.

Best of Blogs

Jesus...that's million blogs. Luckily everyone is a little bit different and they are all worth reading over. Marino for example has the stats of every single site review with fanciful pie charts to boot! That said we have plenty of notable non-GotY related blogs this week. tamrillin has written a massive and impassioned plea in support of Final Fantasy XIII. MMMman pontificates upon the potential impact user input may have on the next Assassin's Creed game. Video_Game_King continues to examine the oddities of Japan with Pandora's Tower and Dynamite Dux as his victims this week. Mento on the other hand continues to look at the generation that was with a Comic Commish about the notable events and games of the first half of 2008. Winternet isn't just making a "Game of the Generation," blog. Instead he breaks down his entire thought process in creating his shortlist. Machofantastico and TandyQ both played the first episode of the second season of The Walking Dead and share their impressions of it. PerfidiousSinn is still working on being good at fighting games online and shares his efforts to learn Soul Calibur II HD Online. Chavtheworld participated in this year's Ludum Dare and you can watch the archive to his livestream as well as play the game he made! JClane explains how a mod for Warhammer 40K helped him warm up to the entire RTS genre. Vinny Carravella inspired MikeLemmer to give Dark Souls a shot and Jeff Green inspired him to detail why playing the game was an incredibly humbling experience for him. Finally MajorMitch has a blog with clips of his favorite video game themes of the year, and we have SO MANY Game of the Year blogs!

Fantastic Forums

Superkenon has compiled every single piece of Giant Bomb Game of the Year content on one convenient forum post. Also, when the 2013 GotY starts hitting the site feel free to join the discussion thread. Feel free to also join our discussion threads for the Winter Steam Sale, your Christmas Jams, and Hyrule Warriors. Core647 beat Jeff to it! He went to Japan and filled two duffle bags full of Japanese video games. Finally as mentioned before comment on flavbot's insane Giant Bomb x A Link Between Worlds video and wish Ian the best in his future ventures.

Lovable Lists

Boy...you all made a lot of Game of the Year lists this week. As exhausted as this may make me, I couldn't be happier. Honestly, keep up the good work Giant Bomb. Just remember that if you make a Game of the Year list to drop me a link to it and add it to @thatfrood's community list aggregation Google Doc.

Useful User Reviews

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The Community Spotlight - 12/13/2013

Special Thanks to Teddie for this AMAZING Work of Art!

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight! Giant Bomb's 2013 Game of the Year video content has been recorded, the fight to decide the winners of the categories mostly complete, and Patrick and Alex have both left the building. That said the community is starting to get the "Game of the Year" buzz this week. As a new year draws nearer I would like to inform everyone that Brad is done with the "...but is it better than Brothers" jokes. So stop it. Rorie took the time to write a puppy filled blog about his scattered impressions of Dragon's Dogma. Also the VGX happened last weekend...and something really weird about "Hardcore" Dave happened.

Clip of the Week

TurboMan has another episode of his Best of Giant Bomb video series and this episode has even MORE examples of Vinny being Vinny while playing Dark Souls. Also, mod mracoon shares a video fo the title screens of the big games of 2013.

Community Activities

  • GTA V Custom Job Exchange - Link Users to Your Custom Missions Over Here!
  • Giant Bomb Community Cards Against Humanity Holiday BS Puzzle Solution Thread - Join the Effort to Figure Out the Bullshit Over Here!
  • Hearthstone Arena Practice Thread - Practice your Hearthstone Game and Get Critiques About Your Play Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

So yeah remember the Spike Video Game Awards? Well give our wiki page for the award show a look to jolt your memory if not. Also, check out our wiki page for Geoff Keighley, he's actually a really interesting person. Finally out recent release with a good wiki page is Tales of Maj'Eyal.

Best of Blogs

AlisterCat has written the blog of the week with a write up about playing To the Moon while dealing with some big personal stuff. Taku128 pleads the case for Project M even if you hate Super Smash Bros. Jeust has an incredibly detailed blog extrapolating upon his theories about the Dementium franchise. As a Wii U owner YukoAsho pontificates upon the current state of Nintendo. Gamer_152 blogs about why he was incredibly impressed with Bioshock Infinite from a story and narrative perspective. machofantastico has blogged about Actual Sunlight and extrapolates upon how it deals with depression. SexyToad shares his experiences in re-selling stuff on Steam and how much he has made thus far. Video_Game_King does a retread of games he has already played and explains how his thoughts have and haven't changed about them. ShaggE has cracked the first three games of one of those terrible "250 Games on One Discs!" PC games. IrrelevantJohn breaks down his recent attempt to make a custom fighting game stick, and Hailinel details an anime crossover fighting game you most likely have never heard about. TruthTella does his damnedest to make sense of the VGX with a heap of irony. PufferFiz shares a recent conference he saw related to "freemium model" for video games. MooseyMcMan and dankempster both detail what they have been doing recently, and Mento finishes his blog series about his Desura backlog. sinusoidal is giving game development a shot and he has started with an indie adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Then we have a BUNCH of Game of the Year stuff...which I am grateful for and keep it coming!

Fantastic Forums

Teddie has created the Wind Wkaer x Giant Bomb fanart seen as the banner this week and he has more worth checking out! Brackynews wants you to join him in talking about your favorite Mass Effect 2 moments. Have you seen anything in Starbound that was really cool? Well talk about with the rest of the community playing the game. Then we have a poll for the best "Drake of the Generation," and which statement in Dark Souls is better. Finally join the official discussions about the NBA season and Gran Turismo 6.

Lovable Lists

Oh no...I take it back I'm not ready for Game of the Year....Winter AND GotY is coming, and I am shaking in my boots if you must know.

Useful User Reviews

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The Community Spotlight - 12/06/2013

Ryan Davis's Legacy Continues Strong!

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Giant Bomb Community Spotlight! For any of you that have watched any of the premium live stream may have noticed that the engineers have been experimenting with an alternative to Twitch. Currently all signs point to a reformed version of GameSpot's video player being the new live stream player for premium streams, and if it works well for everyone involved a possible replacement to twitch entirely. Rorie is pinging the engineers to fix your wiki issues, but also wants you to help us fix the insane shipping costs for anyone who lives outside of the United States. Finally Hotline Miami has won the Giant Bomb community Soundtrack of the Generation contest.

Clip of the Week

@turboman has another Best of Giant Bomb video for you to enjoy this week, and this video compiles the best moments of Vinny playing Dark Souls for your entertainment. The second video comes from TheBurlapLemur who has now made FIFTY versions of his Bitesize Bomb video series which compiles the best moments of every single Quick Look on Giant Bomb.

Community Activities

  • Giant Bomb Community Starbound Server - Get the Details on How to Join the Server Here!
  • Assassin's Creed IV Uplay and Social Benefits Community Hookup Thread - Have Other Users Help you Get Uplay Points Over Here!
  • Pokémon X/Y Safari Friend Code Exchange Thread for Latecomers - Feel Free to Trade your Codes Even if you are Late Over Here!
  • Official PS4 Screenshot/Share Thread - Share your Screenshots to Other Users Over Here!

Wonderful Wikis

Gran Turismo 6 and Starbound are the recent releases this week worth checking out on the wiki. Finally, as Patrick has clearly established as fact, Final fantasy VIII is the best Final Fantasy game.

Best of Blogs

Mento starts the month of December with a new blog series, this one is all about his Desura backlog and his efforts to tackle said backlog. dankempster has also joined the December blog series movement with his "Dan's Blogvent Calendar" feature. Video_Game_King is kicking it Japanese this week with Metal Gear Solid 2 and some obscure JRPG bullshit once again. FLStyle has the itinerary and event list for the 2013 Capcom Cup for any fighting game enthusiasts. MMMman has a confession, he use to rent video games via snail mail using lovefilm, and he explains why he started doing that as well as why he quit on his latest blog. SgtSphynx has thrown his hat into the fray and has used Pokemon Y and his re-introduction to the franchise after being Pokemon abstinent for fourteen years. ArbitraryWater played moderns games this week ranging from XCOM to The Legend of Zelda, and MajorMitch joins him in providing you a monthly roundup of the games he has played. Daneian also got around to A Link Between Worlds and explains why he thinks the game hits all of the good nostalgic notes. CharlesAlanRatliff gives you a video and blog breakdown on how long it took him to set up his Xbox One, and finally BlackLagoon annotates all of the great Playstation Vita games you might want to consider buying this month.

Fantastic Forums

I don't even think I can in good faith recommend it...but Hamst3r has opened a portal directly to Hell with his glitter .gif thread combining pure .gif madness with pictures of the Giant Bomb staff. Beyond that feel free to discuss your underrated games of the generation as well as the games that surprised you and unexpectedly drew you in. Are any of you excited for the VGX tomorrow? Whether you are anticipating trailers or want to share your predictions for the awards ceremony. We have plenty of debate threads ranging from discussing high light contrast in next gen games to Doom vs. Doom II. Finally join the Frozen Endzone beta discussion if you got in the beta and check out PilotXian's Giant Bomb decal for Forza 5.

Lovable Lists

Doppelgamer plans on using the power of video games to help him learn Japanese! Check out the games he plans on playing to improve his literacy skills. shenstra plans on playing every single Final Fantasy game and shares his progress thus far on his list. DevourerofTime shares a list of games he plans on playing before making his Game of the Year List, whereas damswedon completes his.

Useful User Reviews

Potent Podcasts

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