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peggle

A couple of weeks ago on the NAG Online podcast, Matthew Fick embarrassed himself by telling everybody that he’d been playing Peggle. And, for some reason, he wanted to talk about it. Naturally I humiliated him for his decision, but then he issued a challenge. Play the game for seven days, and write about it.

Challenge accepted, Fick Junior. (An aside, I have no idea which Fick is actually older, but Wesley is the podcast Dad so Matt is forever Junior).

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barbie dreamhouse party

I’m writing this column on my birthday. That means, when you’re reading this, my birthday would have been yesterday. So you’ve already missed it. Nice job. Assholes. Anyway, luckily for me I had the day off, which means I spent most of my day playing video games (with four or five minutes carved out for this column).

All that gaming got me thinking on my previous birthdays – what was I playing then? Gaming has been a huge part of my life for the past 20+ years (I turned 27 yesterday, I’m basically Gandalf at this point), and there are very specific years that are partly defined by whatever game I was obsessed with that year.

So then, this list looks at 9 of those years from the past 20, and the gaming memory that I associate with that time in my life. Why 9, you may ask? Because I was too lazy to do 10, and I was worried Dane wouldn’t pay me if I only did 5. You can find my narcissistic indulgence after the jump.

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co-optional cast

As you may have seen around these parts, Wesley Fick, Delano, Rick de Klerk and myself have been hosting the NAG Online podcast, with special guests as well as our “team on the ground” reminding us when we screw up or whispering insightful things to us.

We’ve been having a blast with it, and if you haven’t checked them out yet we’d be much appreciative if you did.

I’ve been a podcast nut for a while now, particularly since it makes my long commute something to look forward to every day rather than dread. There’s a podcast out there for almost any interest, and if you haven’t already you absolutely should start listening to them – it’s a great way to pass time when doing other things. To help you get started, I’ve compiled a list of six gaming podcasts I think you’d enjoy. Check it out, then give me your favourites/suggestions in the comments.

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No, this isn't really happening. Yet somehow what is happening is worse.

No, this isn’t really happening. Yet somehow what is happening is worse.

I have rewritten this article a number of times in an attempt to make it more rational and fair, but it is difficult to contain the anger I am feeling towards ZeniMax Media, Bethesda Softworks, and id Software’s latest attempt to ruin Quake Live. In what can only be described as a pathetic attempt to commercialise the game ahead of its upcoming release on Steam, numerous fundamental changes to gameplay are being introduced as a default rule set for all public servers and “classic” Quake (i.e. the current, time-honed rule set) is being locked behind a pay wall.

As if ZeniMax preventing John Carmack from delivering his traditional keynote address at QuakeCon this year (a result of the company’s ongoing lawsuit filed against Oculus VR) wasn’t bad enough, they have now decided to sully the image of the father of eSports and one of the most iconic franchises in all of gaming.

Sure, I can pay $35.99 per year to continue playing conventional Quake Live (or simply play Quake III which I already own and don’t need to subscribe to), but the way in which the brand of Quake is being treated with absolutely ridiculous modifications that fundamentally undermine the core deathmatch experience that Quake embodies is simply unacceptable. While the proposed changes have not yet come into force and remain a leaked “rumour”, they have all but been confirmed by the developers and are clearly a desperate attempt to emulate some of the success that shooters such as Call of Duty and Counter-Strike enjoy by mimicking elements of their gameplay. Yes, you read that correctly: fast-paced arena shooter Quake Live is trying to copy slower, team-based tactical shooters by introducing things like selecting loadouts before the start of games. And all of this simply to capitalise on what they believe “new” players on Steam will want. LoadoutsLOADOUTS. Wow, id Software… what has happened to you? [Is anybody else terrified of what lies beyond the jump? – Ed.]

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The-Last-of-Us-Remastered-25

So when the hell did this happen? I feel like I turned my back for one moment and thirteen publishers tried to put lipstick on one of their big 2013 titles and tell me it’s a new release.

They can’t think we’re all quite that moronic, which leads me to an inexorable conclusion – they actually believe it IS a new release. Or, at the very least, they believe that we believe it is.

So then I have to ask, is it?

No. No it’s not.

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AMD 2013 header

Discussing the future of AMD has almost become a global sport, with everyone chiming in with their ideas of how things will play out or how they should be run. I’m guilty of that at times as much as anyone else – ideally I’d like to see AMD succeed and return to the days when the Phenom II and K10 and K10.5 architectures were still competitive with the Core 2 and Core families from Intel, but it isn’t a realistic possibility. The landscape has changed so drastically that those golden years of the late 90′s and 2006 specifically (when Intel couldn’t make enough Core 2 Duo processors to satisfy demand) are long gone. Intel had their struggling time with the Pentium 4 and they walked out of that one relatively intact.

It’s AMD’s turn now to close the book on Bulldozer and all its derivatives and look to the future, to a fresh start.

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sinistryofgames

Footsteps resounded in the halls and recesses of the Sinistry of Games as Oo_HPxHG4life_oO hurried along the corridor, the flickering images of pre-rendered “in-game” trailers playing on the surrounding screens dancing on his face. Clutched in his hands was a tome, the result of a long study by videomancers in the field.

His hands trembled, and for good reason: this tome would shake the very foundations of game development going forward. It would prove even more impactful than It’s DLC All the Way Down: Methods for Content Compartmentalisation, greater even than The Real Winner is Guns: Lessons for Makers of Cute Indie Platformers from E3.

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sims 4

Every week here on NAG Online I write a This Week In Gaming round-up of news from throughout the week.

Every week I have to sift through a crapton of news that I couldn’t care less about. Sometimes, I have to report on news that I don’t really care about either – because apparently a lot of other people do.

So then, to blow off some of this pent-up frustration, this week I’m going to tell you about all the things that happened that I couldn’t give a toss about.

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super mario underwater

Last week I went over the five features that I think every game should have. You can see it over there, at the top of the Most Popular bar (take that, Miklos) *brushes shoulders off*.

This week I’m doing the Ying to that Yang with five “features” that every developer needs to cast aside immediately, locked away in the Jumanji box forever. With that obscure reference out of the way, let’s get to the list.

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Google Chromebook header

Google Chrome is known for being one of the faster and more fluid browsers out there, regularly showing up the more established competition like Microsoft and Mozilla. However this speed comes at a price and it’s been known for a while that Chrome is a system resource hog – it regularly chews up gigabytes of RAM on my system and it uses the GPU as much as possible to accelerate the UI and certain content shown in the web page. But according to Forbes, Chrome has long been a hog for a different reason altogether – they pin is as the source of a lot of unnecessary battery drain. Hit the jump to find out more.

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