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It’s here! Warlords of Draenor is here!

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft on and off since Cataclysm (earlier if you count the characters I managed to level all the way to 60 on my friend’s account), but not so much over the last year and a half. This is partly due to a lack of time – a new job and a boyfriend who doesn’t play WoW (previously I was working from home and either single or dating a dedicated raider) left me with much less WoW time than I had become accustomed to – and partly because most of the friends I had been playing the game with stopped. It’s also partly because I just lost interest.

Of course, with a new expansion it’s almost impossible to not be interested, and in October I became one of WoW‘s 600,000 new subscribers flooding the servers in anticipation for new content that promises to deliver some of the most fun we’ve had in years.

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Rage 2014 has long since come and gone, but for the writers at NAG we’re still sifting through all of the great items seen at the show. One of the best was the home_coded stand, dedicated to the works of local game development talent, and what a mix of titles there was on offer! Point-and-click adventures, music/rhythm, espionage, alien lobotomies – it ran the gamut. It was a vibrant gaming menagerie, and the developers are every bit as interesting as their games.

We’ll be publishing a series of articles focusing on some of these local devs and their upcoming games; if you’re joining us late and want to catch up on the entire series, simply click the following link: home_coded 2014.

At its core, Alien Lobotomy is about maths. Placing you in the role of an alien taking the subtle approach to world domination, players infiltrate the minds of persons of power, rewiring neurons in order to take control. The objective is simple – each neuron has a value, and connecting the various neurons results in their values being added together. Once you’ve made all your connections, the total needs to fall into a certain range defined for each stage. Simple, right?

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homecoded_2014_header

Rage 2014 has long since come and gone, but for the writers at NAG we’re still sifting through all of the great items seen at the show. One of the best was the home_coded stand, dedicated to the works of local game development talent, and what a mix of titles there was on offer! Point-and-click adventures, music/rhythm, espionage, alien lobotomies – it ran the gamut. It was a vibrant gaming menagerie, and the developers are every bit as interesting as their games.

We’ll be publishing a series of articles focusing on some of these local devs and their upcoming games; if you’re joining us late and want to catch up on the entire series, simply click the following link: home_coded 2014.

“I had quit my then job, out of sheer frustration, two years ago,” says Steven Tu, head of Twoplus Games, when I asked how he got into game development. “I took a break, because I had no idea what to do. And I attended A MAZE, where I just happened to attend a Make Games SA constitution meeting. There was this association, and all these people, and this event where people were showing games — so I just joined. I became the go-to graphic design guy, I helped design their logo, but that’s all peanuts. Because through knowing the association and people, I learnt tons about game development. Game Maker, rapid prototyping, learning about the real value of ideas.”

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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is newcomer Sledgehammer Game’s first stab at arguably the industry’s biggest IP. While the development team did help Infinity Ward develop 2011’s Modern Warfare 3, Advanced Warfare is the first Call of Duty that Sledgehammer can call their own.

They’ve done a stellar job in injecting new life into the annualised series. What’s even more admirable is that they’ve made it their own, adding fundamental changes to tried and tested CoD formulae resulting in one of the more memorable Call of Duty titles since 2007’s original Modern Warfare.

While Sledgehammer has indeed set the bar high for 2015’s version, Advanced Warfare is not without some oddities and irritations, especially on the PC version we used for this review.

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When we think of “local games development”, board games might not immediately come to mind. However, a number of talented designers are creating projects that are imaginative and have great potential. In After Robot’s case, it’s something that is truly South African. The November issue of NAG gave some specifics of the game, but hit the jump to read my tasty impressions of the game.

After Robot 1

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Excuses, excuses, excuses…

We’ve all used them, we all know them and we all a palette of them for any situation. So what’s the best excuse to give for not playing a video-game? I gave this some thought while failing my recent Podcast challenge, so hit the jump for my tale of procrastination and distractions.

Sonic: After the Sequel

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Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor one was probably an easy sell for some people. An open-ended action game set in Tolkien’s Middle-earth in which you play a revenge-driven ranger imbued with dark powers – my debit card practically swiped itself and the game jumped unbidden into my pants… pocket. My pants pocket.

But many things sound good on paper, or on the Internet, and I’m re-learning quite quickly not to get dangerously excited about upcoming games anymore. So now that it’s finally here, let’s take a look at it. The paragraph above roughly sums up my total knowledge of the game before I popped it into my PS4. I think I also knew it had something to do with assassinating Uruk-hai generals, but that’s it.

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super smash bros wii u

Super Smash Bros. is the number one reason I would actually buy a Wii U; I just can’t get enough of beating down family and friends alike before sending them flying off the side of the map.

So you can imagine my excitement at rAge this year when I managed to pick up the controls long enough to go head to head with my archnemesis, Matthew Fick.

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MortalKombatX_Scorpion

In a recent column, I listed Mortal Kombat as a franchise that had lost my interest somewhere along the line. However, I did also mention that I’ve always loved the series and that they could definitely get me back.

So, did Mortal Kombat X manage to reel me back in?

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Wits must he have who wanders wide,
For all is easy at home.
At the witless man the wise shall wink,
When among such men he sits.

So ends Munin after thirteen hours of tricks and tenacity, and I’m all the better for it. Munin is a puzzle game in which you play the titular character Munin — one of Odin’s crows — who, according to Nordic myth, travels the globe each day with his brother Hugin to report all that they have seen and heard.

In a cruel trick by Loki, you’ve been cast into the body of a rather dour-looking human and your memory scattered throughout Yggdrasil in feather fragments. Munin sees you bedeviled throughout nine realms, each with a number of stages inspired by locations within Nordic legend, in search of your memory.

Munin is quite minimal in its presentation. Opening with a short poem (based on the poetic Edda, a collection of heroic ballads that serve as the primary source of Scandinavian mythology), each area is presented in a semi-animated watercolour style that provides a certain ambiance to the stage without being too distracting. Whether traversing the spiritscape of Hel or the frozen wastes of Niflheim, each area captures an austere mood very much in tone of the epics on which they’re based.

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