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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 84: Fifth Annual Holiday Awards Spectacular

Awards, contest winners, and Dan Weissenberger? This can only be our Fifth Annual Holiday Awards Spectacular! We dish on the best and worst of 2012, Brad's son drops in to share his best and worst of the year, and we give out some fabulous prizes based on a really cool random number generator. Featuring Dylan Collins, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Dan Weissenberger, Richard "It's not really a spoiler" Naik, and Tim "The Brett Farve thing is getting old" Spaeth.

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2012: The Year of the Games

Journey (PSN) Screenshot

2012 has been an amazing year for games. I had meant to put together a post extolling the virtues of the top candidates for game of the year, but the list kept getting longer and longer, with more and more games that would have been obvious choices for a top-five list in any other year. The task was clearly beyond me. So, I enlisted the talents of Michael Abbott, Brandon Bales, Mattie Brice, Kate Cox, Denis Farr, Brad Gallaway, Brendan Keogh, Justin Keverne, Cameron Kunzelman, Kris Ligman, Eric Swain, and Dan Weissenberger. With my superteam thus assembled, let's look at some of the year's super games.

Defender Chronicles II: Heroes of Athelia Review

As Addicting as Halflings' Leaf–or Pie

Defender Chronicles II: Heroes of Athelia Screenshot

HIGH Addicting tower defense gameplay to while away the hours.

LOW Trial and error scenarios and bland high fantasy package.

WTF Does every fantasy character have to sound like Sean Connery?

Extra Credits: On Game Schools

One thing that the video game industry needs to be more proactive in is the education of the general public with regards to video game schools or game design programs. When people think of gaming schools, they might think of the ones that get the most coverage like a DigiPen Institute of Technology or Art Institute of Vancouver. However, not everyone gets to attend these shining examples. Some aspiring Shigeru Miyamoto's and Ken Levine's might wind up wasting four years and tens of thousands of dollars at a less than reputable institution. That's where Extra Credits comes in to give some advice for anyone thinking about attending a school to actually become a game creator.

My wife, my life... and games

Emergency Room Sign

If you follow me on Twitter, then you're probably aware that my wife became very ill Sunday and had to be taken to the ER. I know that it's difficult to follow any given story from beginning to end in tweet format, so I just wanted to give a quick update on the whole thing for anyone who was wondering.

Extra Credits: Mechanics as Metaphor, Parts 1 & 2

The guys at Extra Credits discuss mechanics as a metaphor or "mechanics with meaning" and for a visual aid, they use an interesting game or non-game called Loneliness. A description wouldn't really do the game justice, but it is well worth your time to try it for yourself considering the game is free.

One of the more interesting things brought up in this two-part series though is the lack of trust game creators show the player. Modern game creators simply do not trust the player to fail, experiment or uncover any meaning (assuming the creators intend for there to be any) while playing. After playing Loneliness you might understand why. It is a pretty gutsy thing to attempt in a free game, imagine how it would be received should you require payment for a similar experience.

Infinity Blade: Awakening Book Review

Infinity Blade II Screenshot

In general, I'm not a big fan of video game novelizations. Most titles I play through satisfy my curiosity about their stories and characters via the normal cut-scenes and dialogue, but once in a while I want to know more. With its unorthodox mixture of high-tech, magic, and a fetish for impossible armor, the Infinity Blade series produced by Epic Games and ChAIR is one such property.

The Walking Dead: Episode Five—No Time Left Review

The End

The Walking Dead: Episode Five—No Time Left Screenshot

HIGH The walkie-talkie resolution wasn't a total disaster.

LOW The conflict in the final scene felt too staged.

WTF Where's the obvious dialogue option in the alley?

Your choices don't matter

The Walking Dead: Episode Five—No Time Left Screenshot

World War Z and The Walking Dead take a similar conceptual approach to the zombie apocalypse, but have fundamentally different views on human society. The basically optimistic World War Z suggests that social problems are a surface malady that the zombie apocalypse would strip away, letting the moral strength of mankind ultimately show through triumphantly. The Walking Dead, on the other hand, sees social order and altruism as artifice, a contortion of natural human behavior that falls apart once the zombies consume the social mass that held it in place.

Gamecritics.com Podcast Episode 82: Thanksgiving Giving and Wreck-It Ralph

It's a special 1/5 British edition of the Gamecritics.com podcast. This week we tackle Wreck-It Ralph, Thanksgiving shout outs, and what we've been playing during our long hibernation. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, Richard Naik, and special guest host Sinan "Redcoat" Kubba.

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