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State Of The Game: The International

7 Jun

DOTA International

Its come down to this: Two powerhouse organisations. Both the top contenders for the title. The final is going the distance in more ways than one. The crowd on the verge of cardiac arrest and yet, simply cannot look away. It’s the final push. One last stand. The players leave nothing left in the tank. Desperation on a level that dwarfs anything that has come before it. The commentators scream the victor’s name. One team rejoices in the arms of each other. The other is consoled by their captain. And so begins, the long road to The International 4.

After 5 gruelling days and nights (many of them without sleep) as a spectator, feeling drained is probably understating it. I can only imagine what the players would feel when the stakes are so high. Even the captain of Na`Vi, Clement “Puppey” Ivanov requested his interview after the finals to be done sitting down, thanks largely to what I would attribute to a roller-coaster of emotions.

The International just may well be the crown jewel of esports. Assembling the 16 best DOTA 2 teams and pitting them against each other for a grand prize pool that exceeds over 2.8 million dollars. Add to that, the hundreds of thousands of spectators watching across the world with a multitude of commentators, streaming in four different languages; and you could say you have the recipe for a great tournament. But The International goes well beyond the numbers; its not simply a tournament, it’s an event by the fans for the fans.

The interactive compendium

The interactive compendium

It may seem hard to fathom a prize pool of 2.8 million dollars. But what’s more is that close to 1.3 million dollars was crowd funded through the purchase of an interactive compendium. Over 500,000 compendiums were sold, helping to drive the prize pool to the highest ever seen in esports. Through it, fans were able to participate in a fantasy league, make tournament predictions, collect and stamp trading cards, vote on the players they wanted to see in a 1v1 tournament as well as decide the participants of the all-star match.

For those who were lucky enough to attend the event, they were able to interact with many well known members of the community including content creators, casters and even players. Every activity at the event netted attendees in game items; from autograph sessions with players and voice actors to buying merchandise from the shop or simply watching the games. With so many things in play, it simply ensured the link between the fans and game never stopped.

Conversely, for many around the world who watched via the streams; they were treated with nothing short of an impeccable broadcast. The four man panel which included both a current and former professional player were more than qualified at previewing and dissecting the matchups. But what made them enjoyable as a team, was the organised chaos that they produced. From their insistence that they had been testing Half Life 3 in the back rooms, to the flamboyant nature of one Statsman Bruno and his outlandish wardrobe; they allowed not only a professional presentation but one that included plenty of quirks and personality to shine.

Statsman Bruno summons the spirits for help in the next matchup

Statsman Bruno summons the spirits for help in the next matchup

Valve, who are innately aware of the complexities behind the game brought in Kaci Aitchison, a news anchor from a local television station. While she admitted not knowing anything about the game, her knowledge came a long in 5 days. As a reporter she got the most out of the players and fans, many of whom you could tell weren’t quite comfortable with the cameras. She brought a refreshing air of professionalism that I believe has never been seen in esports. Her presence was a reminder for those who were afraid at taking steps into such a confronting game, that it need not be all that daunting at all. She embraced the community and in turn, the community welcomed her with open arms.

Kaci Aitchison interviews a Team Liquid fan

Kaci Aitchison interviews a Team Liquid fan

It’s obvious that beyond showcasing the best teams in the world, it is a place where the community unites, whether they be at the event or watching through the stream. There is almost something strangely poetic about the game of DOTA. Starting as a mod and then subsequently taken by Valve; the game belong to no one, but has rather been given back to the community, for them to drive how they see fit. The game and its community has come full circle, and at the head of it all lies The International.

The post State Of The Game: The International appeared first on WhatCulture!.

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10 Video Games That Nobody Bothers To 100%

25 Jan

Connor Kenway Assassin's Creed

In the age of achievements and trophies, many games encourage you to aim for that 100%, no matter how difficult it may be. Reaching 100% is considered to be, funnily enough, an achievement. You need more encouragement than that. Gamers need to be given a reason to keep on playing past the end of the story, or in some cases, play the entire game again. Some just don’t deliver on that front.

Now obviously, someone would have completed at least one of these games 100%, it’s naive to think otherwise. I’m looking at reasons as to why perhaps the more casual gamer would be put off striving for that coveted 100%. Some games have so many hidden secrets that it’s unrealistic to even think you could complete it fully; others are just pathetically dull. Speaking of which…

10. WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2011

Wwe Smackdown Vs Raw 2011

It’s not the most popular yearly release on the calendar, but the WWE games are consistent sellers with a dedicated fanbase. As the years have gone on, the franchise has tried its best to increase its authenticity and replay value, largely to great effect.

However, Smackdown Vs. Raw 2011 was a snorefest. The gameplay was mundane and repetitive, thus ensuring that the makeshift campaign modes suffered also. The Road To Wrestlemania mode that had been introduced two years prior was a nice, refreshing instalment to an otherwise one dimensional game. However, it began to show its age quickly, as it placed an emphasis on no risk, no reward matches that failed to impact the story whatsoever. What’s worse is, you have to complete this style of play five times in order to reap the rewards: a couple of characters and outfits you’ll never play as. 100% on this game wasn’t the hardest thing to attain, but it sure felt like it.

Thankfully, they had done away with the tiresome formula by WWE ’13 (WWE ’12 reduced the number of paths from five to three, but the less said about that game the better) and replaced it with a much fresher Attitude Era mode, allowing players to relieve the nostalgia of arguably the finest years in wrestling.

The post 10 Video Games That Nobody Bothers To 100% appeared first on WhatCulture!.

GTA V: 10 Incredible Random Events You Won’t Believe

11 Dec

Gta V Random

We all play not just GTA V, but any open world Rockstar game at our own pace. There are some people like myself that find themselves so captivated in the main story arc that they just put pedal to the metal and zoom through every mission. Others might get caught up in side content or roaming around doing the most ridiculous things you can possibly think of, like skydiving into buildings.

The freedom to play GTA V however you choose is one of the largest selling points of the game but regardless of how you spend your stay in San Andreas, you will encounter Random Events. These Random Events are plentiful and entertaining, sometimes even downright disturbing as my #1 selection will prove. It’s only natural that for this piece, I have handpicked to be what I find the most insane of them all.

Note: A Random Event is denoted by a blue blip popping up on your radar whilst cruising throughout San Andreas, we are not discussing Strangers and Freaks or something else possibly mistaken for Random Events.

The post GTA V: 10 Incredible Random Events You Won’t Believe appeared first on WhatCulture!.

10 Poorly Dressed Characters No One Should Ever Cosplay

12 Oct

Lily Resized

One of the beautiful things about video game development is the imagination and the creativity that is open to developers. Video game characters can be, do, or wear anything that their creator can come up with, however, sometimes these artistic visions don’t pan out as well as they may have in a writer’s head and it results in ridiculous looking characters that become running jokes and discussions of “what were they thinking?”

While some characters are visual badasses, others are the fashion embarrassments. Luckily, for the most part these gaffes don’t affect video game quality, as I love most of the games on this list.

Some of the choices on this list were made with a reason in mind and they executed their purpose, but that doesn’t mean it looked good. Before I present this list, let me first say that yes, all of these characters have likely been cosplayed at some point, but they shouldn’t have been.

10. Gym Leader Clay (Pokemon Black/White)

Gym Leader Clay

“Hey, how can we make a character that correlates with literally nothing else in the world we’ve created?”

The answer to that question is Gym Leader Clay, Pokemon Black/White’s 5th gym leader. Much of Black & White deals with the futuristic Unova region, so it’s a surprise when the player reaches straight-from-the-ranch Clay. There are signs that developers attempted to keep Clay within the setting and dynamics of the game (cell phone, watch, briefcase), but I’m not buying it.

In a world of avant-garde fashion and characters, Clay stands out like a sore thumb. From the chaps, oversized cowboy hat, and the mutton chops, it’s clear that Clay found his way into the wrong game.

The post 10 Poorly Dressed Characters No One Should Ever Cosplay appeared first on WhatCulture!.

WWE 2K14: 10 Wrestlers Who Should Be DLC

10 Oct

wwe 2k14

Easily the most important WWE video game in quite some time, a lot is riding on 2K Games’ production of WWE 2K14, the first since THQ went bankrupt earlier in the year. Though 2K have roped series veterans Yukes back into the fray, there was still a reasonable expectation that we might be seeing something a little different this time around.

As it stands, play-tests from those who’ve got their hands on it suggest that this is a very seamless transition from WWE 13, and hasn’t shaken a whole lot up in terms of gameplay or style (not that this is particularly a bad thing).

To date, the roster has been only partially announced, mostly devoted to the 30 Years of WrestleMania mode, while the contemporary roster remains largely a mystery. As a result, we’ve selected 10 wrestlers we want to see as DLC – 5 from the current roster, and 5 legends – assuming that they aren’t announced for the game itself in due course…

10. Bray Wyatt

Wwe 13 Bray Wyatt

Though it would be cool to see the entire Wyatt Family show up, it’s perhaps more reasonable to expect Yukes to deliver the most developed and characteristic of the stable, Bray, who has recently been involved in a feud with Kane, which led to their infamously awful Ring of Fire match at this year’s Summerslam.

Easily one of the most mysterious and interesting characters in recent WWE memory, it’d be a blast to play as the grizzled psychopath, though given his recent appearance on the scene – and these games’ rather early production deadlines – he would have to appear as DLC rather than a playable character right off the bat.

Disappointingly, this has already been shot down on Twitter by the developers, who simply noted that “debut too late into production. Next year.” Though production has to be run tightly, isn’t the whole point of DLC not to include those wrestlers who couldn’t make the cut-off?

If the DLC wrestlers were agreed upon long ago, doesn’t that seem like something of a waste? Nevertheless, I hope the devs can change their tune and realise how these staggered releases really need to operate.

The post WWE 2K14: 10 Wrestlers Who Should Be DLC appeared first on WhatCulture!.

5 Recent Instant Classic PC Games You Probably Missed

23 Sep

Kyle Katarn 4

There are some games out there that everyone and their mother knows about, the games like GTA V that you can’t stop hearing about no matter how much time you spend using the internet only for porn. Those aren’t the games I’m here to talk to you about.

The point is that a good number of games slip under the radar. Now, I’m not talking indie games, which are good in their own right. I mean to say that a good number of pretty well funded games go unnoticed because they come out at times when bigger games are launching or maybe they just don’t strike a chord with the media (meaning they didn’t pay or bully websites to give good reviewse, e.g. like EA does).

You’ve probably actually heard of a good number of these games. I should hope so, as several of them were featured on Steam. What makes them “missed” is that the sales on these games were/are much less than was predicted, because they live in the shadow of Call of Duty and GTA V. And, when you are trying to compete with giants like that, it’s pretty hard to steal away the few dollars players might have to spend.

This list isn’t comprehensive at all, but I can only hope that taking note of these games might bring the joy I had in playing them to at least a few other people.

The post 5 Recent Instant Classic PC Games You Probably Missed appeared first on WhatCulture!.

5 Things We’re Looking Forward To In The New Amnesia Game

11 Aug

Amnesia-A-Machine-For-Pigs-Logo

Ah Amnesia. Was there ever a scarier game? By now approximately 49 trillion of you have played through this terrifying indie title until you could no longer afford the laundry bill for your underwear. Released in 2010, Amnesia: The Dark Descent has given other horror games a run for their Andrex and it has remained a staple in petrifying interactive fiction ever since.

Other indie titles have come close to it. Slender has certainly enjoyed some time in the flickering and foreboding limelight. But first person horror titles will forever be held up to Amnesia as a benchmark for games that make our skeletal structures wilt.

So with thechinesroom’s much anticipated sequel – Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs – just around the corner burrowed in the deepest recesses of our mind where abject fear is manufactured (goodnight kids!) what can we expect from the British developer’s instalment in the series?

Are you sitting comfortably? Good, because I stole all the chairs…

The post 5 Things We’re Looking Forward To In The New Amnesia Game appeared first on WhatCulture!.

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