Jack Gardner

 
The film, titled KAZ: Pushing The Virtual Divide, centers around the 15 year evolution of Gran Turismo and Kazunori's development team.
 
Basically, the documentary explores how Kaz has attempted to capture as much of the essence of racing as possible within Gran Turismo. As the film unfolds, it becomes clear that who Kazunori Yamauchi is as a person drove his dedication and commitment to realism and ultimately spread that quality to the rest of the development team.
 
The documentary itself is beautifully shot, with more scenic locations than you might expect from a retrospective look at video game development. People involved in nearly every area of development make an appearance, as well as some professions that draw interesting parallels to Gran Turismo; unexpected guests appear from origami artists and race car drivers to sculptors and surfboard shapers.
 
 
Though available on Hulu since January 22, the documentary is now being made freely available across various streaming sites including: YouTube, Vimeo, and Reel House. The Vimeo version of KAZ will have English subtitles right off the bat, with Japanese, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, and Canadian French added over the next few weeks. The Reel House site will be receiving extra content including downloads for a few of the original songs found in the documentary.
Jack Gardner

 
Sometimes it can be hard for the average video game enthusiast to find interesting video game art to adorn the walls of their abode. Luckily, there are skilled artists in various corners of the internet willing to sell their work for a fair price. Etsy is one such corner.
 
For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Etsy is basically the arts and crafts hub of the internet. People make clothes, furniture, jewelry, art, etc. and put it up for sale on the site, usually at quite a reasonable price. Given the popularity of video games, it isn't at all surprising that a significant portion of the Etsy artists and craftspeople decide to put out products inspired by some of their favorite video game titles. As you scroll through these awesome artistic renderings, bear in mind that these represent a small fraction of the work available on the main site.
Click on the images for a better look at the artwork, or visit the linked Etsy pages for more details.
 
BioShock - Minimalist by CaptainsPrintShop - $20
 

 
BioShock - Watercolor by CaptainsPrintShop - $20
 

 
BioShock Infinite Poster from WestGraphics - $18
 

BioShock Infinite Elizabeth by WilliamHenryDesign - $20
 

 
Doom II Poster from Kitschaus - $30
 

 
Fallout - Minimalist by CaptainsPrintShop - $20
 

 
Final Fantasy Tactics Poster from Kitschaus - $30
 

 
Ico Poster from Kitschaus - $20
 

Journey Poster from Geeky Prints - Price ranges from $4.99 to $51.99 depending on print size
 

Mass Effect Series by WilliamHenryDesign - $25
 

Mega Man Screen Printed Poster by InspirationxCreation - $19
 

Mega Man Buster Cannon by AndrewHeath - $10
 

 
Metal Gear Solid V - Snake by 2ToastDesign - $19.95 or $39.95 depending on size
 

Minecraft - Life Goals by MrSuspenders - $39.95
 

PITFALL Atari 2600 Retro Vintage Classic by RobOsborne - $20
 

Pong-inspired 8-bit Poster by minimalpixels - $16.77
 

 
Portal - Hello by DirtyGreatPixelsUK - $16.77 or $33.54 depending on size
 

 
Portal - The Cake Is A Lie by WestGraphics - Price ranges from $18 to $50
 

Secret of Mana Poster from Kitschaus - $20
 

Shadow of the Colossus by bigbadrobot - Price ranges from $17 to $38 depending on size
 

Shadow of the Colossus from Kitschaus - $25
 

Smash Bros. Link vs. Mario by NukaColaFan - $11.99
 

Sonic the Hedgehog by VICTORYDELUXE - $6.99
 

Star Fox by NukaColaFan - $14.99
 

Street Fighter Character Sakura Alpha In Cubes by BITxBITxBIT - $30
 

 
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time from Kitschaus - $20
 

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker from Kitschaus - $35
 

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker by PoppyseedHeroes - Currently unavailable, but it still looks incredibly awesome!
 

TRON poster from adamrabalais - $20 Yeah, I know this isn't a video game per say, but it's close enough in my book.
 

XCOM Classic Ironman by MrSuspenders - $39.95
 

 
Let us know which ones were your favorites!
Jack Gardner

 
Despite the fishy locale, don't expect the continuation of the Burial at Sea downloadable content to be watered-down. Episode Two will put players in the role of Elizabeth, the heroine/sidekick from BioShock Infinite and Burial at Sea: Episode One. Developer Irrational has also promised an appearance from pretty much every major player from both BioShock and BioShock Infinite.
 
One of the complaints leveled against Episode One was that its short length left some gamers wanting more content. Ken Levine tweeted that Episode Two will take five or six hours for completionists and hardcore fans to finish.
 
 
Burial at Sea: Episode Two hits March 25 and will retail at $15 for people without the Season Pass.
Jack Gardner

 
The motion picture studio Lionsgate will be working with Twitch and MLG to put on a month long tournament February 5-22, culminating in a championship showdown with $10,000 on the line.
 
While this represents the first time a major Hollywood studio has partnered with eSports and streaming organizations, it isn't entirely without motivation. Lionsgate is sponsoring the tournament in an effort to market the Blu-ray release of Ender's Game on February 11th. Ender's Game, both a novel and a film, is about a boy named Ender Wiggin who is sent to a remote space station for special leadership and combat training. The tactical tutelage that Ender endures is roughly analogous to the strategies professional StarCraft II players display on their own sci-fi battlefields.
 
“Lionsgate understands that gamers are more than a niche, they are everyone,” said Ben Goldhaber, the director of content marketing at Twitch. “By leveraging Twitch’s community of 45 million gamers, many of whom spend hours playing and watching sci-fi inspired games, creating an eSport event around Ender’s Game on our platform makes perfect sense.”
 
MLG, in partnership with GameOn, will run the Ender’s Game on Blu-ray Tournament. MLG will directly invite 12 players, and fans have the opportunity to vote on the remaining four players. Voting will take place from now until February 5th at http://gameon.gg. In total, over $20,000 in prizes are being awarded to skilled players.
 
 
What kind of play can we expect out of this tournament? Check out one of the games from MLG's 2013 Grand Finals.
Jack Gardner

 
Between now and February 2nd, 3DS and 2DS owners can visit the Nintendo eShop and download the classic adventure (with a few new features) for free. 
 
The original 2003 Game Boy Advanced version of Four Swords came packaged with A Link to the Past, but could only be played with other people who also had the game and with the appropriate connection cables. In the 3DS/2DS update, the multiplayer options are still intact, each player will need a copy of the game and their own handheld, but gamers now have the option to play solo, switching between two different Links in order to solve puzzles. 
 
Additionally, a new area called the Realm of Memories has been added after players conquer Four Swords. The Realm of Memories will give gamers the opportunity to revisit parts of older titles. 
 
Now watch this trailer from Four Swords Anniversary's 2011 release with Robin Williams and his daughter, Zelda.
 
 
Jack Gardner


Project Aces has announced how and when Ace Combat fans can get access to the PlayStation 3 beta. February 4-11, gamers can download the PlayStation 3-exclusive Ace Combat Infinity open beta client from the PlayStation Store. Access to the beta is free and participants will receive a unique, in-game emblem. Players will be able to give feedback on the beta by filling out this survey. 
 
 
The beta will have two modes, one for single player and another for co-op. The solo campaign will feature ridiculous super weapons, over-the-top aerial dogfights, and other staples of the Ace Combat franchise. Co-op will have players teaming up in up to two groups of four, pitting themselves against hordes of NPC aircraft.
 
As a long-time Ace Combat enthusiast, I am very eager to get some hands-on time with Infinity. Hopefully it will have a relatively long life cycle, despite being a PS3-exclusive.
Jack Gardner

 
Fans of good (old) games, rejoice! GOG.com is offering deals on games chronologically from 1983-2013. The sale began yesterday with Zork and continues strong today with the likes of Deus Ex.
 
Interest in the games featured in the sale dictate how long the deals last. Purchasing the current title on sale extends the time that deal is available by three seconds for everyone else. Already own the discounted game, but still want to show your support? You can vote an additional second onto its sale time. Alternatively, if you dislike the title in question, you can take a second away from the sale timer to hurry along the next bargain.
 
 
Jack Gardner

 
Earth Defense Force 2025, the latest installment in a series that has accumulated somewhat of a cult following after the 2007 release of Earth Defense Force 2017, received an amazing trailer today along with an official release date.
 
The teaser shows off footage from 2017, before giving a run down of the features and weapons being added to the roster. In short, it is a lot. 2025 will include 4 player co-op, the class-based gameplay from Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon returns (albeit with more style), more weapons including melee options for the Fencer class, more vehicles, and new enemy types such as the flying dragons featured in the trailer. The trailer even implies that there might be some degree of characterization for the four main protagonists, a first for the series.
 
 
Earth Defense Force 2025 will be available on February 18 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. If you are wondering what the game is like, why not read our hands-on coverage of the game from E3?
Jack Gardner

 
Announced via the PlayStation Blog, Naughty Dog has released the opening cinematic for the first and only bit of DLC for The Last of Us featuring the core game's protagonist Ellie and her childhood friend Riley.
 
 
The DLC, titled Left Behind, is written by returning The Last of Us scribe Neil Druckmann and will star voice actress Ashley Johnson once again as Ellie and newcomer Yaani King as Riley. Left Behind will feature new ways to fight off and deal with enemies, most notably the ability to manipulate opposing factions into fighting each other, like unleashing infected clickers on unsuspecting enemy soldiers. Of course, the main highlight of the DLC will be the relationship between Ellie and Riley and how that transforms Ellie into the character players see in The Last of Us.
 
 
Left Behind is expected to hit the PlayStation Store on February 14.
Jack Gardner

 
Hey there, space cowboys! A new trailer has decloaked for the space exploration and ship building game, Wayward Terran Frontier.
 
Wayward Terran Frontier launched its Kickstarter campaign on the 16th and has raised about $7,000 of the $50,000 they're looking for. The finished game looks to support online multiplayer, co-op ship design, fleets, random deep space encounters, trading missions, and a dynamic storytelling system, just to name a few of the ambitious goals Frontier has made for itself.
 
 
You can check out the Kickstarter page, or download a free Alpha build of the game if any of this piques your interest.
Jack Gardner

 
Developer Klei has a knack for creating games with distinct visual flair, like Mark of the Ninja and Don't Starve (which is free this month for PS+ members). The title they are currently working on, Invisible, Inc. (formerly known as Incognita), follows in those games' footsteps, with a striking, shadowed art style that captures the feeling of covert actions.
 
The new trailer released today shows off Klei's first attempt at turn-based gameplay and it looks pretty solid, which is a good sign in an Alpha build. Players control a team of special agents as they infiltrate facilities and carry out mission as sneakily as possible.
 
 
If this looks interesting to you, you can purchase early access to Invisible, Inc. on the Klei website. 
 
(Note: while the early access will be through Steam, you cannot purchase access to the Alpha through Steam. It must be bought on the Klei website.)
Jack Gardner

 
SimCity had one of the most disastrous launches in the gaming industry when it released last March. Server stability was awful, people were shut out of the game with hour long log-in queues, and who could forget the debacle of EA and Maxis claiming the game had to be always online?
 
Turns out, that SimCity is getting an offline, single player mode with the upcoming update 10.
 
In a recent blog posting on the SimCity website, Patrick Buechner, the general manager of the Maxis Emeryville studio proudly announced the upcoming development for the city-building title. As for when the update is coming, Buechner was a bit vague, referring to the undefined testing period the update would go through with their volunteer DevTester group.
 
But when the update launches, what will that mean for the current game?
 
"All of the benefits of being connected will remain including access to Multiplayer, the Global Market and Leaderboards. And all of your pre-existing saved cities and regions will still be accessible should you log-in to the Online game," said Buechner.
 
This will also open up new opportunities for the modding community to create new content for SimCity, though that content will have to be within certain guidelines provided by EA.
 
Is this enough to get you into SimCity for the first time or give it a second chance?