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  A Gathering of Charity Gamers, For The Kids *  
Gamers from all over have taken the world by storm in giving back to those who need it most. Through Extra Life, tens of thousands of gamers have raised over $40 million for sick & injured kids treated at Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Gamers are saving lives!

Join us at Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World along with other charity gamers like you for Extra Life United!    ACTIVITIES SCHEDULE TRAVEL INFO FAQs  
 *The first 150 attendees who register get 1 FREE Disney World 
1-day Park Hopper pass ($160 value)!*
 

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It might seem an obvious choice to write a blog with the intent of “giving thanks” as we wrap up the Thanksgiving holiday here in the States last week, but when you're fortunate enough to have a community like the Extra Life community, we feel it’s an honor and privilege to do so.
 
You see, a couple weeks ago, we witnessed something happen in the Extra Life community that we had a hard time even imagining. We watched a single Extra Life team raise over $1 million #ForTheKids… in 24-hours. In fact, we watched them raise over $1.2 million! Team Rooster Teeth, led by the fearless Jack Pattillo and Caiti Ward, hosted their 7th Extra Life marathon over the years, full of antics and crazy shenanigans, to raise money for children and their families who desperately need your support.
 
To simply state that we’re thankful for Jack Pattillo, Caiti Ward and everyone over at Rooster Teeth team would be grossly understating who they are and the role they’ve played in growing the Extra Life community to become a force for good for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Since 2010, Rooster Teeth has enlisted nearly 11,000 of their fans into the Extra Life community and together, have raised an astonishing $3.5+ million dollars for 155 different Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (that’s just over 90% of our member hospitals) across the US and Canada. You can understand that when we see someone use #RTEXTRALIFE, we know they’re serious about playing games and healing kids.
 
We know that the Rooster Teeth gang does some pretty, well, unorthodox things for donations. But this year we wanted to be sure note this ultimate “awwww cute” highlight.
 
 
 
The Rooster Teeth community is in it for the long haul as the company has pledged to raise $3 million for Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin, TX to help pay for a new mental health wing so kids with mental illnesses will have a special place to be treated. The new mental health wing at Dell Children’s will have a healing garden that provides a place for the kids to play, relax and recharge during their stay and treatment in the hospital and will be properly named the “Rooster Teeth Healing Garden”!
 
 
 
As we recall the time spent with family and friends last week we are reminded of the love and enthusiasm that powers Extra Life. We are grateful for Rooster Teeth, Jack, Caiti and the thousands of people who’ve watched, shared, participated and donated to Extra Life, supporting and improving the lives of families in their own and other’s communities. This love and enthusiasm that powers Extra Life continues to amaze all of us here at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
 
On behalf of our hospitals and kids receiving treatment and care, thank you.
 
Mike, Liz, Lou & Jeromy
Team Extra Life
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

LeaveIt2Beaver
Hey Extra Life Community -
 
We have some exciting news to share! In an effort to help make fundraising more fun, more accessible and ultimately easier, we’ve added two new applications to the Extra Life experience. Now you can fundraise through Facebook or on the go from your phone!
 

Extra Life Facebook App
Fundraising has never been quicker or easier than with the new Extra Life Facebook App. It installs in just a few seconds and allows you to opt-in to automatic status updates, upload Extra Life profile and cover pictures and ask your entire Facebook network for donations in just a few clicks. To start fundraising through the Extra Life Facebook App, login to to your Extra Life account, and click "Fundraise with Facebook" in the participant dashboard.
 

 
Extra Life Mobile App
Manage and share your Extra Life experience on the go with our new Extra Life mobile app. This free app lets you fundraise and connect with others through SMS, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Email. You can update your Extra Life page and check your fundraising progress all from the palm of your hand.

Download the app here: iPhone | Android
 
We’ve also spent the last couple of months improving the mobile experience on the Extra Life website so give the new apps a try. We want to hear what you think so send any feedback and ideas to community@extra-life.org or comment below and let us know!
For The Kids,

Mike Kinney
Team Extra Life
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Jack Gardner

 
Time moves slowly and inexorably forward. The world changes, and we grow old telling stories together. Those stories, the ones that stick with us, communicated something important to us. As a medium, game creators have spent decades learning how to put together ever more effective stories that can offer that thing of precious importance, that moment of beauty, clarity, success, failure. In a sea of stories, Shadow of the Colossus stands out as a fairy tale in the classic sense, and the remake by Bluepoint Games serves to enhance what was already a foundational piece of video game history. 
 
Shadow of the Colossus tells the tale of a young man named Wander who travels to the Forbidden Land, a landmass sealed off from the rest of the world. Using an enchanted sword, he strikes a deal with an enigmatic entity named Dormin who agrees to bring the woman he has brought with him back from the dead if he can complete an impossible task: Defeat 16 colossal incarnations of the towering stone statues that line the temple. Armed only with his magic sword, a bow with unlimited arrows, and his trusty horse Agro, Wander sets forth into a long-abandoned world of ruins and natural wonders to battle towering behemoths the size of skyscrapers. 
 

 
The simple, powerful set up allows the visuals, music, and gameplay tell the vast majority of the narrative. That open approach to storytelling led a lot of people, even the marketing team for Shadow of the Colossus, to interpret the adventure as one about true, undying love. Wander, after all, goes to incredible lengths for a woman with whom he has a close connection. However, playing through the remake, a version remade after over a decade, I realized that my perception of the game has shifted to seeing it more as a tale about loss and the inability to let go being an ultimately destructive force.
 
That flexibility and changing interpretation feels interesting. It's a reminder of how much time has passed since I played Shadow of the Colossus in 2005. Back then, the question of whether video games were capable of being art was a hotly debated topic. The internet was on fire with hot takes about what it meant to be art and whether interactivity itself negated art. Now that the question has largely been settled, it feels liberating to be able to think, "okay, it's art, so what does that mean? What does all of this, as a piece of art, mean?" 
 
Everyone will have to struggle with loss at some point in their lives. It's not pleasant. It hurts. There's the impulse to yell and scream and gnash your teeth because you would do anything to have that person back in your life. And Shadow of the Colossus asks the seductive question: What if you could throw everything to the wind and bring that person back? What price would you pay? And at first, the answer seems obvious, heroic even. But as the game progresses and one by one the beautiful, deadly colossi, who were all minding their own business before Wander showed up, begin to take their toll. The feeling of triumph and accomplishment gives way to self-doubt. Is this the right thing? 
 

 
That question of meaning scratches at the fundamentals of what I believe make myths and fairy tales resonate across time. Because Shadow of the Colossus is art. To some it could be a tale of love, to others it could represent a cautionary tale about obsession, and playing the remake it brought to mind loss. Shadow of the Colossus manages to have the narrative flexibility to accommodate multiple interpretations, and that's a quality that can bestow a great deal of longevity to a piece of art. I'd argue that's at least partly why we are getting a remake of a game that's two-and-a-half generations of technology behind the current PlayStation console. 
 
It's a testament to the artistry of the original PlayStation 2 release of Shadow of the Colossus that the visuals largely hold up due to its adherence to a strong minimalist aesthetic that focuses on natural beauty. The entire production possesses a washed out quality that cleverly hides some of the deficient parts of the world as Wander and Agro make their way across the quiet plains and subdued forests. With the remake, none of the world needs to be hidden by visual tricks; flowing water glitters in the sunlight, grass sways with the wind, dust motes flit through the air. The effect of the increased focus on detail afforded by the technological leap and the original style is jaw-dropping.

To put it bluntly, this remake of Shadow of the Colossus stands as one of the most beautiful games I have ever played. I found myself slowing to a walk to soak in the moments of natural beauty that made yet another outing in the Forbidden Land unforgettable. With the share function on the PlayStation 4, I constantly paused the action to fiddle with the newly added photo mode in pursuit of that perfect angle to show off Bluepoint's gorgeously rendered take on Team Ico's classic. It was a compulsion to ogle the work put into everything on screen and then share that with the world.
 


If I had to nitpick the presentation, there were a few elements that felt a bit off. The biggest would be Wander's strange lack of facial animations. The update gave him somewhat of a baby face; not a huge problem, but slightly different from the original character model. His face seems to lack some degree of animation for reacting to events, something more noticeable with a built-in photo mode. Outside of cutscenes, Wander is content to stare passively into the distance, regardless of the circumstances. Wobbling on the ledge of a colossus-sized fall? Not even the faintest recognition of his own mortality.
 
Lastly, and this might be one of the most nitpicky things of all, one of the subtle elements of the original release of Shadow of the Colossus was the slow shift that visualized Wander's fall from grace. As each colossi met its death, he became less human. Players saw that change happen bit by bit, witnessing horns sprout from his head and his skin turn pale and black veins appear on his body. The remake seems to only gradually make his skin paler until the very end when he suddenly has horns and horrific cracked skin. It would have been nice to have a subtler touch applied to his transformation to give it more of a build-up.
 
All of that being said, the small issues present in the Shadow of the Colossus remake are an exceedingly small price to pay for an update that's otherwise a fan or newcomer's dream come true. An updated control scheme provides people frustrated with the PS2 controls a new way to play, while also retaining the retro layout available for those who have grown used to how the original played. Small additions to the game like a series of hidden coins that can be collected for a secret reward that have been scattered across the world to reward players who poke into every nook and cranny. Additional clarification has been added to some of the colossi themselves to show what can and cannot be climbed and grabbed. The same with some parts of the environment that now have grabbable surfaces to avoid frustrating falls.  
 

 
The gameplay remains as harrowing, exciting, and frustrating as ever. Players who found the camera a problem in the original will find similar issues here. Agro's AI enhanced controls will prove just as frustrating (or appropriate) as it was in 2005. Running up gigantic swords, struggling to maintain a grip on a gliding stone eagle high in the sky, or outsmarting walking artillery batteries all remain exhilarating, rendered more breath-taking by Bluepoint. 
 
Kow Otani's soaring track still sends chills up the spine, playing with the player's emotions, masterfully directing the the reaction players have at any given moment. As far as I could tell, the soundtrack remained unchanged, but I might have missed a few subtle alterations. The soundscape of Shadow of the Colossus remains one of the most cohesive pieces of the whole package, bringing all of the elements together with a neat bow. 
 

 
Conclusion:
 
Shadow of the Colossus was already a phenomenal game that shaped an entire generation of people and helped solidify the acceptance of video games as an art form. The remake provides a face lift from the ground up that brings forth a whole new world of beauty that enhances a timeless story. If you missed out on the original on PS2 or the HD remaster on PS3, this is the definitive edition that you owe it to yourself to play. 
 
 
Shadow of the Colossus is available now for PlayStation 4.

Jack Gardner

 
Monster Prom is coming up, and it's time to convene your friends to decide which inhuman creatures will be your dates! On April 27, players will be thrust into the world of Monster Prom where twisted monsters attend high school and vie for social dominance.
 
Players will have to choose a love interest to pursue with prom on the horizon. With the option of multiplayer, friends might have to compete against one another to woo the monster of their dreams. Each player chooses a monster persona and then one of six love interests. A world of scintillating, dangerous, and gorgeously drawn monsters (art by web comic artist Arthur Tien) awaits those brave enough to risk friendship in a battle for the digital love of their lives.
 

 
The wacky dating sim has been written by Cory O'Brien (author of Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes and George Washington Is Cash Money), Maggie Herskowitz (actress and prolific writer of musicals, stage plays and films such as Loch Lomond, Fitzwilliam Loves Lizzie, and The Un-Eff-Able Sam Bistritzky), and creative director Julián Quijano. Players will be able to uncover secret endings and scenarios in the twisting, ridiculous adventure crafted by Beautiful Glitch. 
 
Monster Prom has come a long way from its humble Kickstarter origins when it managed to raise €32,000, over four times its initial goal. It will be really interesting to see how well it can deliver on its humorous premise. The developer touts its structure supporting hundreds of events with four outcomes for each event and all of those outcomes creating thousands of diverse scenarios. 
 
 
Make way for monsters when Monster Prom releases on April 27 for PC and Mac. 

Jack Gardner

 
Kickstarter is a wonderful thing for niche projects and it doesn't get more niche in video games than bringing a cancelled N64 game back from the dead for a fresh release. Piko Interactive is a small company that focuses on bringing obscure homebrew titles to retro consoles and resurrecting cancelled games. They've set their sights on bringing the action-adventure game 40 Winks to the Nintendo 64, a goal which would make it the first game released for the console since it was discontinued in 2003! If you've been hungry for a new N64 adventure for the past 15 years, then this one goes out to you.
 
If the name 40 Winks sounds familiar to you, that's because the title actually did see a release on the original PlayStation. A port to the N64 had been planned, but was ultimately scrapped due to financial problems that plagued its development. The game is about a cranky old man named Nitecap who curses the magical winks, making them into hoodwinks. Two kids, Ruff and Tumble, embark on a quest to rescue the winks and free themselves of the horrible nightmares that have plagued them since Nitecap's curse. 
 
Ruff and Tumble have to journey through several different worlds made up of fantastic dreamscapes inhabited by various monsters and peppered with dangers. Luckily, they have the help of a wide array of transformations that give them various abilities. They can become monsters, superheroes, ninjas, among other forms. 
 
Unique to the N64 version will be a two player co-op mode that never materialized on the original PlayStation version.  
 

 
The Kickstarter set out with a goal of $20,000 and has currently amassed over $40,000 with almost a month left for the campaign to continue raising funds. If they manage to reach $60,000, a distinct possibility, Piko Interactive will put together a 40 Winks controller that backers of the special edition tier or above will receive for free. Two additional stretch goals remain a mystery.
 
It's always really amazing to see so many people get passionate about old and forgotten games. Are there any cancelled games you'd like to see come out on their original console?  

Jack Gardner

 
As many suspected after the massive success of the Crash Bandicoot remaster, Spyro the Dragon, everyone's favorite purple winged wonder, will be coming to stores near you in the form of remastered collection for the PlayStation 4 that includes all three main Spyro games. According to Kotaku, the collection has been worked on in secret by Activision and will be officially announced sometime in March and released during the third quarter of 2018. 
 
The Spyro the Dragon Trilogy will include Spyro the Dragon, Ripto's Rage!, and Year of the Dragon. Like the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, the Spyro the Dragon Trilogy will have completely rebuilt character models, animations, environments, enemies, lighting, and a re-recorded soundtrack.  
 
To be more specific about a possible release window, Kotaku's source indicated September, which would be around the time of Spyro's 20th anniversary. If you're sad that the trilogy will be coming to PlayStation 4 - don't worry too much. Both Crash and Spyro are supposedly only timed exclusives for PS4 owners - a year after their respective releases we could be seeing the two trilogies on Xbox One, PC, and Switch.  

Jack Gardner

 
The 2012 release of Dragon's Dogma seemed to hit at a time during which people were hungry for rich open-worlds with unique combat systems, difficult encounters, and that touch of artistic strangeness. It scratched an itch that the gaming community was having at the time and earned itself a cult following that persists to this day, spurring the game, along with its expansions, seeing a PC release and even a port last year to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
 
The grapple/grab mechanic brought on a lot of comparisons to Shadow of the Colossus, and seeing as the Shadow of the Colossus remake recently released, what better time to talk a little bit about Dragon's Dogma?
 
With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode.
 

 
Outro music: Sonic the Hedgehog 'The Ultimate Ab Solution' by Ivan Hakštok and finbeard (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03685)
 
If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod 
 
New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday

Marcus Stewart

 
After a flat third entry, What Ails You ratchets up the excitement and, more importantly, the variety. The fog surrounding The Pact’s scheme finally dissipates and John Doe’s personal journey hits a major climax. 
 
What Ails You focuses on paying off choices. Primarily, the consequences of the player’s interactions with John Doe culminate in an intense and well-executed confrontation. Many of the conversations player had with John resurface in surprising, mostly logical ways, making his turn feel developed and nuanced. An element of inconsistency remains; John still admired Batman despite choosing to totally shun him in the previous episode. Overall, though, Telltale does a good job of making you feel greatly responsible for whichever man John chooses to be. During the episode’s explosive climax I found myself thinking “What have I done?”
 
Everything hits the fan as the scope of The Pact’s goals, along with grander schemes involving the Agency, begin to crystallize. A good thing too, as the overall plot suffered from a lack of direction in the last episode. Their surprisingly personal motivations add a layer of humanity to the cast of rogues (save for Mr. Freeze who’s always had that) even if the more villainous aspect of the plan remains somewhat nebulous. Subplots like Alfred’s mental anguish and the Tiffany Fox saga receive some screen time but still don’t contribute much to the big picture as of yet. 
 

 
Decisions weave several divergent paths. The exciting opening chapter plays out in two very different ways depending on how players chose to conclude Fractured Mask. Seeing my actions result in such substantial differences excited and relieved me after the second episode’s final choice went nowhere. The same applies to the final chapter, with two equally exciting outcomes that I can’t wait to follow up on.  
 
Unfortunately, the prolonged delay between episodes has made it tough to remember the finer points of the story. Though a problem with this season as a whole, that came to a head here where players receive answers to questions I’d forgotten were asked. I also have a particular bone to pick with the story: what’s up with so many people learning Batman’s identity? If this keeps up, Bruce may as well out himself like Tony Stark did. We thankfully learn how Amanda Waller became privy to that knowledge, though Bruce still refuses to logically delve deeper into the matter.
 
A couple of new wrinkles to gameplay offer welcomed freshness, like pouncing atop Bane and using the shoulder buttons to pummel him in first-person. Ultimately, the amount of interactivity remains the same: the occasional light puzzle and timed-button action sequence without any standouts. 
 
Conclusion: 
 
What Ails You serves as a good penultimate episode and probably the most memorable installment since Episode 1. The episode flies by thanks to eye-widening surprises, some much-needed clarity, and high-stakes drama. John Doe undoubtedly steals the show and his transformation looks to set up a thrilling season finale. If only we didn’t have to wait so long to play it. 
 

Jack Gardner

 
Crash might be back for another fully fledged video game entry. With the surprise success of the Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy, Activision has reportedly set its sights on fully resurrecting the platforming franchise after sensing the pitter-patter of a bandicoot heartbeat. The N. Sane Trilogy could also also be coming to the Switch and PC.
 
Some eagle eyes have spotted the first hints of the new Crash Bandicoot in the Spring 2018 issue of Licensing Source Book Europe. In it, a manager at GB eye named Max Arguile gave a brief statement about the N. Sane Trilogy's surprise success combined with its lack of marketing. He also talked about projects going forward into 2018 - which may or may not have anything to do with Crash Bandicoot. 
 
There's also a widely quoted statement from Arguile attributed to the Licensing Source Book Europe piece, however I couldn't verify the quotation as it has either been pulled from the LSBE or was never there in the first place. In that quote, Arguile allegedly says, "Next year it will be going broader (Switch and PC) and there will be another game in 2019. Activision have a five year plan for this and GB Eye is delighted to be fully on board with all products." Though multiple outlets have reported this quote as being in the LSBE Spring 2018 edition, it does not appear in the currently available online version of the publication.  
 
Undeterred, the internet has been set ablaze with speculation of a new Crash Bandicoot project, something that was alluded to by the remaster's creative director, Dan Tanguay, last year. Tanguay gave an understandably elusive response when asked about a possible future for the series. He said that if the N. Sane Trilogy sold enough that new installments or remasters could be coming.
 
Now that the remaster has sold exceedingly well and someone in a position to know has seemingly verified that Crash is coming back again, people seem pretty excited. Let's see if the rumors turn out to be true!

Jack Gardner

 
When the roguelike trend crested several years ago, FTL stood high among its brethren. There wasn't really much like it at the time (and to be honest, there still isn't much like it). Fleeing from an oncoming force of Rebels, a lone ship must make its way across the stars to alert the Federation of the oncoming danger - and perhaps equip itself well enough along the way to defeat the Rebel flagship. It's hard, tactical, and completely different every time you boot up a new game. The team at Subset Games should be very proud of what they achieved. 
 
So why are we talking about FTL now? A. Jack has been itching to talk about it for a while, but couldn't nail down a full episode  co-hosts B. Subset Games' next title, Into the Breach, will be launching sometime soon and sometimes it's nice for this show to be somewhat topical.  
 
With schedules being what they are, sometimes coordinating a full episode of The Best Games Period can be difficult. When we can't have a proper discussion, we will be breaking off to do these shorter mini-casts, Honorable Mentions, to talk about fringe games that we might not otherwise be able to talk about on a full episode.
 

 
Outro music: Line Defense 'Reversing the Alien Attack' by Stam (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03678)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well.
 
If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod 
 
New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday

Jack Gardner

 
The studio behind the Blood Bowl franchise, Cyanide Studio, has announced that they will be making a turn-based tactical game out of the classic Warhammer 40K board game.
 
So, what's a space hulk? These behemoths are essentially giant lumps of stuff that have mashed together after travelling through Warhammer 40K's version of faster-than-light travel. They can be a single, massive ship or dozens of ships and asteroids all stuck together for untold millennia. They're typically twisted by the experience, leading many who enter space hulks to either never return or emerge changed for the worse. In particular, there are a race of being found in space hulks known as Genestealers who can pose an existential threat to any being they encounter. 
 
Space Hulk was first adapted to video games back in 1993, received another game in 1995, and then sat dormant for over a decade until the release of the tactical indie game Space Hulk in 2013. Since that initial heart beat, we received Space Hulk: Deathwing in 2016 which abandoned tactics to focus on frantic FPS gameplay. Now it seems that Cyanide Studio wants to bring the series back to its tactical roots.
 
Space Hulk: Tactics will house two campaigns from opposing sides. Players can choose between playing as the Terminator Space Marines tasked with exploring and cleansing an enigmatic space hulk or as the Genestealers attempting to wipe out the intruders into their domain. Cyanide Studio has said that both campaigns will have a heavy focus on narrative; I'm not sure how that will work on the Genestealer side, but I'm interested in finding out.  
 

 
The big addition to Space Hulk: Tactics is adapting the board game with the addition of cards that help to customize and upgrade your soldiers prior to each mission or match. They'll help players survive and possibly turn the tide of battle in a moment of desperation. 
 
There will also be an online competitive multiplayer mode, a map creation tool, and the ability to share maps online. 
 
Space Hulk: Tactics will release sometime in 2018 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.  For those of you itching for more info, publisher Focus Home Interactive will be holding a press conference later this month to discuss the title at length.