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Jack Gardner
A few months ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing installation artist-turned-indie developer Willy Chyr about his upcoming game Relativity. It's a really fascinating puzzle game that asks players to really engage and struggle with the concept of infinity and impossible geometry. After three years of development under the name Relativity, Chyr has decided to rename his puzzle-art game Manifold Garden. 
In our interview, Chyr talked a little about some problems he'd been having with trademarking Relativity, as the trademark was owned at the time by the now bankrupt Relativity Media (who had never made a game before, but owned the rights to a name in the game space somehow). While Chyr decided to go ahead and use the name anyway, differentiating it with the addition of "Willy Chyr's." While this eventually worked out, it made him really start thinking about the name and if it really fit what he wanted the final game to be: 
In the video below you can see the entire development process of the game to see the different ideas Chyr worked with over the last few years all compressed into fifteen minutes.
Chyr concluded that the name was not very easily searched in relation to his game online or on social media. It was constantly thought to have something to do with Einstein's Theory of Relativity or perhaps having something to do with Relativity Media. On top of those reasons, he wanted to find a title that could stand on its own as an expression of the game itself. In a post on his development forums, Chyr goes into greater detail on the meaning behind his name change:
Several new gameplay features have also been added to since I had the opportunity to play Manifold Garden. Water has been introduced in a way that emphasizes the unique physics of each infinitely looping space. Whereas cubes in the older version of the game were only used to activate switches, they can now be used to redirect water or even grow new trees that produce new cubes. Another really neat feature is the addition of a photography mode. When players finish all the puzzles in an area, they will be able to take pictures of that area using a slew of different cameras and effects. 
Chyr has also released a collection of 100 high-resolution wallpapers taken from Manifold Garden, which should anyone be interested in mind-bending backgrounds for their PC.
Manifold Garden is on track to release next year for PS4, PC, Mac, and Linux.

The Extra Life community is honored to be powered by Twitch for 2015 in our mission to save the lives of sick and injured local kids being treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals throughout North America. 
Twitch and Extra Life are nearly the same age with Twitch officially born in 2011, just a year after Extra Life became an international program.  Throughout our lives, together, the women and men at Twitch have been some of the most ardent supporters of our program. From making last year’s Extra Life United possible, to introducing our cause to some of their most prolific partners, Twitch’s generosity has helped us write so much of our story.
To celebrate our 4th Extra Life working together, Twitch is offering a 30-Day Subscription of Twitch Turbo to every Extra Lifer that raises just $5 for their local hospital! Redemption emails will be sent out starting this week.
Twitch Turbo will give you an ad-free experience on everything you watch, a custom set of chat emoticons, expanded chat color options, an exclusive Turbo badge and increased video storage for your past Twitch broadcasts.
Redemption codes for your Twitch Turbo subscription are automatically delivered to the email address in your Extra Life profile within a few short hours of raising your first $5. It should be noted that these codes are for new subscribers only, so if you’ve already hopped on the Twitch Turbo train, feel free to leverage your code for a donation to your fundraising page. 
For example: “I’ve got a code for a free month of Twitch Turbo for the next person to donate $X to my Extra Life page!”
On behalf of millions of kids and a grateful Extra Life Community, THANK YOU to our friends at Twitch for once again stepping up big For The Kids.
To see all of the Extra Life 2015 Fundraising Power Ups, visit

Over the weekend, your Extra Life 2015 fundraising efforts passed a huge milestone in record time with our $2-Millionth dollar raised for sick and injured local kids. At this time last year, we had raised just over $1M For The Kids.
It makes me so proud to be a part of this growing community of do-good-gamers.  I know that we won't let our early success put us into cruise control as we head into these last few weeks leading up to Game Day.  Let's keep up the pressure, let's keep bringing new friends and family members into the community, and let's turn in a miraculous total for the deserving families that benefit from our good work.
Thank you to everyone that's put it all on the line this year.  Welcome to anyone that's just discovering that, as a gamer, you can have a huge impact for kids in your community.
Last year this community went on to crack the $6M mark.  It seems even greater things are on the horizon.
Incredible, generous work, team.

Jack Gardner

Review: Euclidean

By Jack Gardner, in Features,

There are places in the twisted windings of the world where what we take for reality breaks down and allows a malicious madness from beyond our comprehension to seep through the cracks. Euclidean rips us through one such warped fissure into a realm of impossible creatures and huge, gloating malevolence. Whatever intellect built and encompasses the crumbling structures of that beyond-ancient place never meant for humans to trespass. Those who find themselves in that drowning, suffocating space soon find themselves obliterated to less than dust. However, this time is different. We are to descend into the depths of Euclidean.
Developer Alpha Wave describes their first project as an adventure of “geometric horror” which is an apt description for a game that brings writhing geometric patterns to life with a strange wickedness. A deep, cruel voice soon informs you that everything here will kill you as you begin sinking into the darkness that awaits. In the blackness below, it waits and mocks, taking a subtle pleasure in degrading what it believes to be your final moments.  

Euclidean plays a bit like a slow-paced endless runner, but with sinking through an ocean of monsters instead of running from imminent danger. You use the WASD to avoid obstacles and beasts and have the ability to become insubstantial for a couple seconds in order to pass through the creatures that wish you ill. Touching anything beside the strange glowing orbs on the floor of every level results in death. It never evolves past those concepts and feels more contemplative and puzzle-like than a more action-packed endless runner. This design choice really allows the atmosphere and creepiness to seep into the action.
For its benefits, the slow pace cuts both ways for Euclidean. The leisurely sinking speed leads to controls that feel sluggish as moving out of the way of mad horrors and floating ruins seems just as unhurried. That can be pretty frustrating when an instant death means you restart the stage over from the beginning, which can mean another several minutes slowly floating down through the detritus of madness. A visually dark aesthetic, while effectively reinforcing the title’s murky themes, compounds the irritation by obscuring obstacles. Just seeing enemies becomes a struggle. Your gaze in this first-person game naturally gravitates down, the only direction in which you move, making it hard to see the geometric monstrosities coming from the sides or above.  

Euclidean boasts virtual reality integration, which might have been able to alleviate my frustrations with perceiving the dangers in the depths. Unfortunately, I did not play Euclidean on Oculus Rift. I get the distinct impression that it was designed specifically with virtual reality in mind. It is almost impossible to get a good feel for the environment without leaving yourself open to immediate and unexpected death. Being able to look around by turning your own head probably both fixes that problem and provides a larger sense of scope by allowing you to really soak in all angles of the game world.
I keep talking about the environment and atmosphere. Imagine being in the middle of an ocean that teems with the indistinct shapes of squids and sharks and whales on a colossal scale and knowing that they all would like nothing better than to rip you apart and savor your landling flesh. That unnerving sensation encapsulates what Euclidean feels like. The environments give the impression of gigantic, watery graves filled with pulsing, alien lights and occasional bits of living anatomy that should not be.
This is all supported by amazingly solid art design that creates menacing and frightening enemies out of geometric shapes. It manages to be wordlessly eloquent, eerie, and eldritch all at the same time. The environments and concepts are all very influenced by Lovecraft, but I think it is underselling the talents of the people who worked on Euclidean to leave it at that. Each enemy type has its own personality that comes out through their movements and overall design. The structures in the water give the world a very lived-in quality that speaks to a history we will never know. That scope, that understated bigness, takes a lot of effort and skill to pay off and I thought it worked swimmingly.

Euclidean feels like a fully realized idea. Its nine stages are interesting and fascinating. Despite three other difficulties and a mode with permadeath, I don’t know if I will ever go back to it. However, I am definitely glad that I had the chance to spend time in its otherworldly space. It speaks to an inevitability that we can all relate to; an existential truth that none of us asked for, but with which we have to live. At two hours, it isn’t a long game, but it felt worth the $3.99 price of admission. If that sounds like a bit much for a solid and memorable two hour experience, pick it up for a couple bucks when a price drop hits. My biggest takeaway from this, though, is an anticipation for Alpha Wave’s next project. Euclidean tested the waters, but I can’t wait to see Alpha Wave dive in with heedless abandon. 
Euclidean is available now for PC.

Jack Gardner
The final episode of Tales from the Borderlands hits in less than two weeks. In honor of the finale, Telltale Games is releasing the first episode of the series for free across all platforms starting today. Anyone who hasn't checked out the series yet should really take the opportunity to see what it's all about, especially as it comes highly recommended. The trailer announcing Episode One releasing for free includes a small teaser for the finale.
Titled The Vault of the Traveler, the final Telltale adventure set on Pandora concludes on October 20 for PC, PS4, and PS3. Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners will have to wait until October 21, while October 22 will see the episode coming to iOS and Android. 

Jack Gardner
Far Cry aims to bring players in touch with their prehistoric roots by setting the latest incarnation of the franchise during the Stone Age. Players take on the role of Takkar, a moderately skilled hunter whose tribe is wiped out in the early portion of the game. Alone and hunted by the giant animals and enemy tribes, Takkar must survive at all costs.
This emphasis on survival is a core part of what Ubisoft envisions for Primal. There are no stores, players must craft the tools they need to survive. Beginning weapons will make use of wood and stone, but will become more and more elaborate and effective as Takkar gains access to more resources. Beyond tools, players will have to master the many uses of fire. Weapons can be lit on fire for more damage, while torches can be lit to scare off the beasts that stalk the forest at night. 
Far Cry Primal is a world in which mammoths and saber-tooth tigers stalk the land and the humans who are trying to get by. There is a large, living ecosystem. Players who hunt a mammoth across the plains might find that they aren't the only predators around when they finally manage to bring the beast down. 
As Takkar, players begin the game arriving in the land of Oros as a solitary man. However, as he continues to survive, players will be able to recruit new tribe members to coordinate hunts and secure more power. Ubisoft seems to be pitching the tale of Takkar as a prehistoric rise to power, moving from simply surviving to conquering both nature and the tribes of Oros. 
Far Cry Primal releases February 23, 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.


UPDATED:  10.7..2015 (NOW OPEN)

Extra Life United is an annual gathering of committed Extra Lifers.  Our 2016 event, announced a couple of weeks ago, will be held at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, FL on Feb 23-26.  Participants will experience the mission of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, meet fellow Extra Lifers from all over the world, and will compete in gaming events to win a ton of money for their local CMN Hospital.  For a better feel for what Extra Life United is all about, check out the video at the bottom of this post.
Registration for Extra Life United 2016 IS NOW OPEN to the Extra Life community. YOU CAN REGISTER AT THIS LINK
Exactly 500 tickets to this event will be available on a first-come first served basis.  You must be a registered Extra Lifer to attend ELU.
The registration fee of $199 for ELU 2016 includes select meals during the tournament, entry fee, event shirt, and many Momentum events. During registration, participants may also add spectator passes for $49 each.  Spectator passes are not currently available as a standalone purchase
The registration site will also provide you with some suggestions and information on lodging and airfare selection, as well as providing answers to what we believe will be frequently asked questions.
As a reminder, there will be three tracks to choose from during the registration process.  You may pick one track during registration.  Those tracks are:
Board/Tabletop Gaming Video Games (PC) Video Games (Console)  
The exact lineup of games we'll be playing at ELU is still being put together, but please don't let that hold you back from registration.  While very much a tournament, any previous ELU attendee will tell you there is much much more to the experience.
Remember, we have only a limited number of tickets available, and when they're gone, they're gone.
For a preview of what's in store for you at ELU 2016, check out this awesome recap video from our event last year, made by all-star Extra Lifer Steve Mathis.

Jack Gardner
The orchestral performance of classic Legend of Zelda tunes has toured around the world for the last few years now and has continued to gain popularity and recognition for its fantastic performances. Now, the musical dive into the world of Hyrule and beyond is poised to hit the mainstream consciousness. Nintendo has announced that The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses will be the musical guest on talk show host Stephen Colbert's Late Show next week, alongside guests Sarah Silverman and Elijah Wood. You can tune in on October 13th to catch the production. The performance will also include some highlights from The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes which launches October 23. 
For those of you who haven't heard of Symphony of the Goddesses or had an opportunity to listen to some of their music for yourself, check out this excerpt from one of the show's many concerts.

Jack Gardner
Rock Band 4 releases tomorrow for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and will be coming with a colossal library of songs to lure you back into the world of plastic rock and roll. Individual tracks will run about $1.99 and any previous purchases on older systems will be freely transferred to Rock Band 4 (though this only applies if your older systems are the same brand as your current Xbox One or PlayStation 4).
The tracks available at launch tomorrow include the following:
All That Remains – "Divide"
All That Remains – "What If I Was Nothing"
BABYMETAL – "Gimme Chocolate!!"
Blitz Kids – "Run For Cover"
Bring Me The Horizon – "Throne"
Dead Sara – "Mona Lisa"
Duran Duran – "The Reflex"
Earth, Wind & Fire – "September"
Interpol – "All The Rage Back Home"
Janis Joplin – "Move Over"
Jefferson Starship – "Jane"
Linkin Park ft. Daron Malakian – "Rebellion"
Marilyn Manson – "The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles"
Mastodon – "High Road"
My Morning Jacket – "One Big Holiday"
Of Mice & Men – "Would You Still Be There"
Oh Honey – "Sugar, You"
Pantera – "Cowboys From Hell (Live From Monsters In Moscow Festival)"
Pierce The Veil ft. Kellin Quinn – "King for a Day"
Seasick Steve – "Summertime Boy"
“Weird Al” Yankovic – "My Own Eyes"
The Wild Feathers – "Backwoods Company" 
Several different bundles will launch tomorrow in addition to the base game. Rock Band 4 Band-in-a-Box comes with the complete suite of accessories for a full band while the Wireless Fender bundle comes with a- well, that last one is pretty self-explanatory. 

Jack Gardner
In a blog post earlier today, novelist Patrick Rothfuss revealed that he has been courted by a wide number of movie studios after the rights to the property reverted back to him just before this year's San Diego Comic-Con. His ongoing fantasy series The Kingkiller Chronicles has been a pretty significant success in the literary world and Hollywood thinks Rothfuss might hold the key to the next big thing in movies. However, the author apparently was hesitant to accept any of the deals until he talked with Lionsgate. Lionsgate offered him a deal for not only movies based on his books, but also a television series and a game. 
What exactly does Lionsgate have to do with video game development? Not much, though they did invest in Telltale Games earlier this year. Nothing official has been announced other than the studio and Rothfuss are working together to get some projects off the ground, but it is highly likely that we could be seeing an adaptation of Name of the Wind or a different story set in the Kingkiller universe coming out of Telltale sometime down the road, which is a highly exciting prospect to anyone who has read Rothfuss' work. 

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