Enjoy Your Platinum – The Evolution of Trophies in the inFamous Series

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You can tell a lot about a game from how rare its platinum trophy is.

It can tell you if the game was easy or hard, critically panned or universally beloved. You can tell if the multiplayer was tacked on or well integrated, if the player base is still active or if the servers are on life support. You can tell if the developers have certain things in mind for the player or if they were typing up the list while the delivery boy waited for the gold master.

In the case of inFamous: Second Son, you can tell that Sucker Punch is damn proud of their game and wants everybody else to love it as much as they do.

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Stay A While And Listen

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Ladies? People of color? Everybody else who exists outside the socially prescribed norms? This article isn’t for you. You can stop reading after the first paragraph and I won’t get upset. This article is really for the straight, middle class, by-the-books, white men in your lives. Go get them and sit them down in front of the computer. Put a beer in their hand, maybe a nice cup of tea if they don’t drink, and leave the room. I’ll wait.

Okay, have they left yet? Good. Here we go.

It’s hard being a straight white guy these days, I know.

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Freezing to Death in Eorza

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It’s said that you don’t need to start really worrying about the cold until you begin to feel warm; that death from hypothermia doesn’t come in the bitter guise of Old Man Winter, but instead as the tender embrace of a toasty quilt on your shoulders, beckoning you to sleep. You stop worrying about your impending demise, all the worldly concerns slipping away with your consciousness into never-ending darkness.

I’ve written in the past about my problems with MMORPGs and how I seem incapable of playing them responsibly. It might have something to do with a genetic predisposition towards addiction that hasn’t found purchase in drugs or alcohol, snagging instead on leveling curves and vertical progression. Whatever the cause, it’s how I cope with things, the rug I’ve chosen to sweep my far-too-big-to-deal-with problems under. No matter how dismissive people may be (Oh, it’s just a game or whatever just stop playing god) it’s the cross I’ve been burdened with and I’ve come to terms with that.

So when I re-subscribed to Final Fantasy XIV a few weeks ago, I knew what I was getting into.

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And So The Sun Sets on the Penny Arcade Empire

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Back in 2001, I was a huge Penny Arcade fan. I’d print out strips and paste them to my dorm room door, exhorting the few nerdy guys in my hall to read them whenever they’d walk by, even if they had no idea what Red Faction was and why jokes about lepers were so funny. For the first time outside of my small social circle, there seemed to be people who were making jokes just for me.

It was Penny Arcade that first made me feel like being a videogame nerd was something normal. I’m sure it did the same for a lot of people, either through the strip itself or via regular pilgrimages to whichever PAX happened to be closest. I know people who found family in the Knights of Arcadia World of Warcraft guild, who lost themselves in the volunteer spirit for the first time with Child’s Play, and who could probably indirectly credit Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins with saving their lives. It’s intense. It was important stuff. Was.

But today, I’m done. The Penny Arcade I fell in love with over a decade ago finally died today and I’m not waiting around to mourn.

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Knack Platinum Trophy Guide

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So you want to earn the Platinum trophy in Knack. I understand. It seems like it should be a pretty easy trophy to score. I mean, it’s a character action brawler aimed at kids with an aesthetic that’s two parts Pixar and one part box-of-Legos-emptied-on-the-floor. How hard can it be?

Ha.

Knack is a surprisingly brutal and unforgiving game that’s reminiscent of throwback platformers like Maximo. It doesn’t hold your hand, even on Easy and it hands out trophies like a stingy grandmother dolling out fivers in birthday cards, unwilling to give many up but recognizing the fact that it has to. While most games give a bronze out at the end of every level, Knack waits until you beat a boss…after every fourth or so level.

In short, Knack is a mean as hell about formally recognizing your achievements.

But that’s okay, because I’m here to help point you in the right direction. Welcome to the Knack Platinum Trophy Guide.

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Rapturous Return: Some Thoughts on Burial at Sea Episode 1

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Burial at Sea is the game Bioshock Infinite needed to be.

When I think back on my time in Columbia I find myself frowning. Not because of the elaborately constructed world (complete with gaping plot holes summoned by Elizabeth herself) or because of the insensitive way race and class are approached, but because of the simple act of playing the game.

It just wasn’t very original or fun.

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At The Corner of Risk and Reward…

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During a recent trip to New York City I attended a showing of the quite-frankly-amazing Sleep No More, which is an experiment in immersion theatre. It was one of the most fascinating experiences I’ve had in the last decade and it felt more like a videogame than most videogames these days.

So on this, the day where we get DLC for Bioshock Infinite and on the not-quite-eve of the next generation of drab shooters, I decided to compare my two hours in a dark warehouse in Chelsea to both The Stanley Parable and The Walking Dead.

Fortune Favors the Bold in Sleep No More and The Stanley Parable (Pixels or Death)

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