It’s the end of an era for videogame magazines. Electronic Gaming Monthly, Ziff Davis’ flagship multiplatform gaming magazine that began publication in 1989, is no more. Today, Ziff Davis announced the sale of its Game Group to Hearst Corporation, owner of the UGO network of websites. EGM, sadly, won’t be making the jump -- nor will the fan-favorite 1UP Show or any of the network's podcasts.
"We are extremely excited to join the UGO team," said Sam Kennedy, editorial director and creator of 1UP. "Relying on UGO's publishing platform will allow us to focus on what we do best -- creating great content and 'owning the conversation' among gamers through our unique, authentic and definitive voice and community."
Many of 1UP/EGM’s former employees, on the other hand, don’t share Kennedy’s excitement. Joystiq has the full list of lay-offs and departures – which they’ve aptly titled “Assessing the damage” – should you wish to get an up-close look at 1UP’s shattered remains.
Our best wishes go out to the many affected by this unexpected turn of events. Your smiling faces' monthly presence in our mailbox will be sorely missed. Even so, whatever you do next, we’re sure it’ll be amazing.
After a two-month brush with death (which may or may not have involved dueling a Balrog), Tribes 2 once again walks among us. However, the jetpack-heavy multiplayer shooter has cast aside its old, Sierra-shuttered servers in favor of a new robo-brain provided by an enigmatic group known as “TribesNext”.
Fortunately, TribesNext’s rule is a benevolent one, and Tribes 2 remains completely free – as it has been since 2004.
Whether you’re a death-frisbee spewing Tribes vet or simply think Left 4 Dead should fling you six feet into the air instead of six feet under, Tribes 2 is definitely a great game. Give the TribesNext beta a download here.
We've already spent some hands-on time with the G13 gamepad announced last month, but now Logitech has finally unveiled its full CES peripheral lineup with the rest of the new G-series family members. The popular G15 gaming keyboard has been completely revamped in a new G19 model, not only boasting more macro keys (the count is now up to 12 physical keys with 3 modes each) and customization options, but also a full color 320x240 GamePanel LCD display. Logitech also announced a brand new USB gaming headset, the G35. Dolby 7.1 surround-sound technology, noise-cancelling mic, convenient button locations, and voice-morphing software make this the first Logitech headset that we’re actually excited about. The $200 keyboard and $130 headset will be available in March, but we have some hands-on impressions and photos for you right now!
BFG Technologies, most known for its Nvidia-based videocards and, more recently, a power supply lineup and a short stint with 650i/680i-based motherboards, is jumping into the system building scene with a line of gaming and multimedia PCs called Phobos.
"Phobos was designed for gamers and media enthusiasts who demand top of the line performance, but may not have the time, desire, or expertise to build or maintain a high end system,” said John Malley, senior director of marketing for BFG Technologies.
BFG's banking on its reputation as a player in the enthusiast market to be successful in a sector which has seen consolidation in recent years, such as Dell acquiring Alienware and HP picking up Voodoo PC, two boutique vendors who helped define the niche market. BFG also looks to set its Phobos line apart with a combination of high end parts, "refined aesthetics," and a touch panel LCD.
Hit the jump to find out what BFG's new rigs will be packing underneath the hood.
Research group The Nielsen Company recently released a list of 2008’s 10 most played PC games, but seeing as how you’re probably still scraping bolded numbers off your monitor after you last careened into our listsanctum, we nearly skipped it. However, as it turns out, Nielsen’s runway strut contained a pretty interesting anomaly, so we want you to look at it.
Top 10 PC Game Titles in the U.S.
World of Warcraft (2004) / Blizzard Entertainment 671 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.723% AU*
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007) / Infinity Ward 403 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.163% AU*
Halo: Combat Evolved (2003) / Gearbox, Bungie 295 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.092% AU*
The Sims (2000) / EA Maxis 213 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.09% AU*
The Sims 2 (2004) / EA Maxis 291 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.086% AU*
RuneScape (2001) / Jagex Ltd. 451 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.084% AU*
Diablo II (2000) / Blizzard Entertainment 313 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.065% AU*
Team Fortress 2 (2007) / Valve 371 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.063% AU*
Counter-Strike (2000) / Valve 282 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.062% AU*
Counter-Strike: Source (2004) / Valve 426 Avg Minutes Played Per Week / 0.061% AU*
*AU is the percent of PC Gamers playing title in the average minute. Data from Jan - Oct 2008.
Notice anything? Yep. Not a single game on the list was released in 2008 – except for maybe WoW: WotLK, but even then, this is telling sign of where PC gaming now needs to park its tuckus. Bottom line: Subscriptions and microtransactions. You’re welcome, industry. Our bill’s in the mail.
As you may or may not have heard, CES is coming up, and there will be plenty of big name vendors there. That includes MSI, who has recently announced their full 2009 lineup, which is chock-full of new goodies!
First up, their netbook announcements! Thanks to the success of the Wind U100, MSI is planning to release a U115 and U120 to compliment the previous model. The U115 sports the option of being the first netbook capable of simultaneously running an SSD and an HDD. The U120 will be the power user’s option, designed for being portable without sacrificing performance.
They’ll also be offering 16”, 19” and 22” versions of their new All-In-One Wind at CES. It’ll feature an Intel Atom processor, which will allow it to consume a fraction of the power that a 250W PC does. The All-In-One will also feature a nice 16:9 display.
Finally, the gaming notebooks will be expanded to include the (deep breath) GT725, GT727, GT627 and the GX420. Reportedly, the GT725 and GT727 are capable of breaking 10,000 3D Marks.
While unfortunately most of this information is pretty broad (thank you, press releases!) CES will provide us a great opportunity to check out these new toys and find out more about them. Who knows, with any luck we’ll be able to figure out exactly what’s under the hood and how much they’ll cost!
Fifty square kilometers of African terrain. That’s how much open space you have to accomplish Far Cry 2’s primary objective: Kill the weapons dealer known as the Jackal, who has been supplying both sides of a bloody civil war in the game’s fictional setting. If the sheer size of the game world sounds daunting, just consider the fact that it’s densely occupied with dozens of towns, numerous encampments, and a whole population of NPC characters (potential allies and enemies alike). Far Cry 2’s expansive environment is undoubtedly its most notable asset, but what’s really impressive is that the game is filled with enough compelling action to actually make use of it.
Spore lets you take an extremely high-concept journey from a single-cell life form swimming through the seas to a continent-spanning superpower to the overlord of a galactic empire. Over the course of about five hours, you shepherd your critter through four introductory stages; then you leave for space.
If you’re reading this right now, it means that 2008 just settled into its final resting place inscribed across its own grave stone, and that you’re reading this right now. I think we both have reason to celebrate. How to celebrate, though? Well, that’s your call. If you want to know which game – of the thousands released this year – is quantifiably GAME OF THE YEAR, then go here, here, or here (then everywhere else) and have a few repair hammers standing by for your reading glasses. However, if your 2008 -- like mine -- was defined by a number of exemplary moments in your favorite games, then why not get your gears turning with my favorite gaming moments of 2008? Enjoy!
Left 4 Dead’s Opening Cinematic – Sure, L4D is a meticulously sown-together Frankenstein monster of moments that both bring players together and blow them apart, but snuffing out Smokers and playing whipping boy while my buddies tangoed with Tanks wasn’t what impressed me most about the game. Instead, it was L4D’s subtle, yet utterly potent opening cinematic that really snuck its hand into my cranium-shaped cookie jar. As pointed out by the always fantastic Offworld blog:
“It wasn't until I actually started playing Left 4 Dead about a week ago that it all clicked for me. I popped the disc into my 360, decided to watch the opening cinematic again, and found myself just as unimpressed as I had been the first time. But when I actually started to play the game, I discovered that I somehow already knew how to play the game. I knew what abilities the zombies I had. I knew what strategies were effective. I knew that a pipe bomb was good for getting the horde away from your group; I knew that when I heard crying, I should shut off my flashlight; I knew that I had to help up fallen team mates, and that I wasn't surprised that I could should my guns when disabled.”
“Without once having booted up the game, I knew how to play it. “
We’ve played plenty of World War II shooters but have yet to find one that makes us care for its characters like we did for Tom Hanks and Vin Diesel in Saving Private Ryan. Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway comes close and rekindles our love of gritty 1940s warfare with its perfect combination of nail-biting tactical shoot-outs and a gripping character-driven story—an admirable feat in modern first-person shooters.