Month: April 2015

New PlayStation Store Releases: Broken Age

This week, the PlayStation Store sees the arrival of Tim Schafer's big Kickstarter project, Broken Age (available as a PS4/Vita Cross Buy). Also new this week, banana republic sim, Tropico 5, a Japanese rpg/idol managing sim called Omega Quintet, and a handful of Star Wars PS2 classics. Go ahead and jump past the broken page (sorry, couldn't resist) to see the complete list of new releases.
PlayStation 4

  • Broken Age (PlayStation Vita Cross Buy) (Double Fine Productions, 2.1 GB, $24.99)
  • Tropico 5 (Kalypso, 2.4 GB, $59.99)
  • Omega Quintet (Idea Factory, 12.6 GB, $59.99)
  • Project Root (PlayStation Vita Cross Buy) (Reverb, 328 MB, $9.99)

PlayStation 3

[Image: Double Fine Productions]

Xbox Deals With Gold: 28th April – 4th May 2015

This week's Xbox Deals With Gold features a scary good Capcom sale. It includes several games in the Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Lost Planet and Dead Rising series and covers both consoles. Also, Mega Man 9, the new Strider, DuckTales, and maybe one or two non-Capcom games. Head past the break to see some of the standouts. (I'm not going to list them all because there's just too damn many!) Go have a look, fire up your Xbox of choice, and get to downloading!
Xbox One & 360

Xbox 360

[Image: Capcom]

Andrew J Amideo
[Source: Major Nelson]

PSA: Golden Week Sale on PSN

Because a lot of national holidays fall on the week at the end of April and beginning of May in Japan, many workers get about a week off. To celebrate, Sony is lowering the price of 122 games on the PlayStation Store right now, and luckily westerners can get in on the discounts!
There are way too many games on sale to list, but I'll put up some discount highlights.

  • Resident Evil Remake ($16, $15 Plus)
  • RE: Revelations 2 Episode 1 ($3.59, $3 Plus)
  • MGSV: Ground Zeroes ($10, $8 Plus)
  • Catherine ($6.80, $5 Plus)
  • SkullGirls Encore ($6, $5 Plus)
  • Mega Man 9 & 10 ($9, $7.50 Plus)
  • Suikoden II ($5, $4 Plus)
  • Pier Solar ($7.50, $6 Plus)
  • Metal Gear Rising Revengeance ($10, $8 Plus)
  • Zone of the Enders HD Collection ($17.50, $14 Plus)
  • One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 ($15, $12 Plus)

Post-Mortem: Steam Paid Mods, The Interview

4 days ago: “Paid mods on Steam are such a great topic to talk about, let’s do some interviews with the modders who made the first batch.”
2 days ago: “Ok, let’s write a short introduction to the interview” (7 hours pass) “Shit, this is already too long for most people. Guess I make the interview a separate thing once I’ve gotten some sleep”
1 day ago: “Ok, let’s do the podcast.” (3 hours later) “Time for a break. GTA with Trisha sounds good.” (couple more hours later) “oh, right…made a promise to someone. I’ll do it once I’m back.”
Today: Puh, finally home. Let’s see what happened in the world of gam…..fuck”

But I won’t keep them from you, so here they are.
The first one is with Corvalho, who worked on the Gifts of Akatosh mod. Interview numero dos: Sebastian, who was part of the team that was working on “Shadow Scale set”

Dr. Strangethumb: What was the feedback you got from the modding community so far? We know that there are some very vocal people who aren't happy, but any positives? And what do your fellow modders think about this step?

Corvalho: There were very few people who understand the side of the modders, such as the amount of effort and time we put into every piece. By what I could talk with other modders, they're mostly undecided whether it's worth to go through this kind of hate.  I wonder if the community will ever get used to this kind of practice and support modders in this sense.

Dr. S: It is a big change and things are still very uncertain. I think that many people fear that mods will now become the next evolution of the "horse armor". Do you personally have any concerns about this step from Valve?

Corvalho: Not really concerns, but there's something I consider kind of a "low blow" form Valve: taking 75% of the revenue of the submitted mods, leaving 25% to be split amongst the contributors, which usually are more than one person. The price is likely lower than average DLC's on steam, 3-5 bucks depending on the mod, so this whole system seems to benefit Valve way more than any other part involved. To the point it's unfair to the modders themselves.

Dr. S: Yeah, I was wondering about that. From what I understand, Valve invited some people to produce the first batch of „premium mods“. You were even able to use some of their IPs.
Is there any other support you get from Valve and/or Bethesda? Will modders who now intend on making premium mods get the same love?
Also, do you know how much Bethesda is getting out of those 75% Valve keeps?

Corvalho: No, not really support. There were discussions during the dev process on what features should be implemented in the workshop in order to make the experience of selling mods easier. By what I understand, this first batch was rather an experiment (for both Valve and modders imo), but they do intend to keep approving mods to be sold.  As for how they split the income, no I don't have a clue. What I do know is that there's also a split that goes to service providers such as modding communities and framework creators.

Dr. S: Was there any resistance voiced against the 75% cut? If so, how did Valve respond?

Corvalho: None that I have seen (although I got to admit I was not the most participative member in the group of discussion), tbh I was unaware of their cut until I finished my mod and proceeded to re-read the agreement.

Dr. S: ouch, that must have sucked. Did they hide it, or were you just not that concerned about it?

Corvalho: No the agreement is available to be read. It seems to be the way they split their income by default in the workshop. I worked with the TF2 workshop for a while and that's the same cut they take.

Dr. S: Mods sometimes break, be it an incompatibility with another mod, or an official patch. Valve only guarantees a 24h refund. I’m expecting quite a few angry customers in the future. You only get ¼ of the income, yet you have to do all the work AND support it for the months/years to come. Does this put you under a lot of pressure?

Corvalho: As Skyrim hasn't been patched in years now, that's not really something I worry about, but in the case of other games, yeah that's something to be considered.

Dr. S: Back to the downsides for the consumer. Do you fear the possibility that some companies now start relying more on the work of modders, releasing games that are unfinished/missing features? Modders would now get an extra incentive to work on them and the publishers would still make a profit from it.

Corvalho: Hm. I don't think any decent studio would ever consider relying on modders for that.

Although having a game to be mod friendly is already a feature most games lack, so perhaps it could be the other way around.

Dr. S: Good point. Maybe we see a mod renaissance in AAA game. Anything else you would like to share on this topic?

Corvalho: Hmm... Not really. There's not much more I could say other than that I would like to see the community working along with Valve to make this whole new feature better for all.

Dr. S: Fair enough. I personally hope that this will lead to some great mods and if the first batch is any indication, it's looking good. So tell us a bit about your contribution to it, Gifts of Akatosh.

Corvalho: It's basically a full set of one handed weapons, a shield and an armor, including also custom crafting materials for all of the pieces.

Dr. S: you need to work on your salesmanship :D

Corvalho: heh, yeah I'm not good at it

Dr. S: Ok. A big thank you from me! Enjoy your day ;)

Corvalho: Take care mate

Dr. Gabe told on Reddit that the mods made $10.000 so far. Are you happy with the money yours made until now? And if you can and want to share it: How many copies did you sell until now?

Sebastian: The number of sales - the number of subscribers to the mod is 1749

Sebastian: My mod is worth $1.49 I do not think it has a lot to offer.  I was invited to create a pay-mod because of my work on the Dota 2 workshop

Sebastian: And Dota 2 items bring a lot more.

Dr. S: Ok, so that’s somewhere around 600€. Happy with that number? Sounds pretty good already, but I don't know how much work went into it

Sebastian: I'm not the only one doing this mod, and we share their 25% for three.

Sebastian: About 25 days

Sebastian: And we are still finalizing it. There will soon be a major update that fixes a lot of bugs.

Dr. S: Thanks for the info! Anything special you would like to share with our readers on the topic of paid mods?

Sebastian: Yes, I think paid mods - is a severe but logical step of game development.

Sebastian: I know that many modders have long been waiting for this, it will attract a lot of professionals in this work

Sebastian: That will improve the quality of mods in general, and possibly have a major impact on the process of game development in general. Look at UE4 for example.

Sebastian: All these movements in one direction

Dr. S: There are many positives this could bring to everyone in the chain (Developers, Modders, Gamers), but is there anything you fear? Any negative developments this could provoke? (Besides the outrage)

Sebastian: I think the worst thing would be attempts to steal someone else's content. And it’s a bad idea to do a paid mod that used to be free before. I think such a situation will occur.

Sebastian: But free mods for fun still remain

Dr. S: I know that the owner of Nexus Mods voiced some concern about the possibility that publishers could prevent free mods. Do you think publishers would actually do that?

Sebastian: Mods maintain playability of a game, paid or free. I do not see any reason to prevent their appearance. It would be stupid of publisher to do this.

Sebastian: But publishers destroy entire games and franchises for the money all the time.

Dr. S: Thanks  for the answers! Should i ever get back into skyrim, i will surely look at your mod! Want to advertise it to our readers?

Sebastian: Thank you for your support :) I advise readers to look at the store page in a few days when we added all that is planned.

Just Cause 3 Gameplay Trailer Revealed

Everyone's favorite Micheal Bay Simulator is back with a new trailer showing off some gameplay highlights for the next installment in the series. We see explosions, fast planes, grappling hooks, missiles, explosions, guns, plane surfing, explosions, buildings being reduced to ruble, skydiving, boats with guns, and of course, explosions.

The game is due to release sometime during the holidays of this year, and be sure to check out more coverage and news right here on Twinstiq. 

Opinion:  Where Did All The Social Gaming Go?

Words By Greywolfe

When I was a far younger wolfe, gaming was quite different.  You could buy magazines where you’d have to type in the code for one of the games offered in the magazine by hand [and no, we aren't talking about a 10 character download code, so God help you if your significant other accidentally tripped over the computer power cable], games boasted sales of “50,000 units!” like those were big numbers and everything was in monochrome.

One of the side effects of the gaming industry being so small was that people who were gamers clung to each other.  They really didn’t have anyone else.  If you started up a game and your friends happened to have it, too, then that would fuel endless hours of debate about the best party, or things you’d seen in the game, or heck – even just debating what game to buy next, because you couldn’t always trust magazines to be honest.

But that, alas, is all gone now.
Before the internet, my friends and I used to get together on a regular basis to discuss gaming.  Now, we hope that everyone's on the same messageboard at the same time.

Remember the console/computer wars? Alas. We still have those ;)

The Internet Stole My Playground

One part of the problem – with regards to gamers being social – is that the internet stepped in.  Naturally, the internet has lots of venues for people to talk about various topics, and so, of course, most of those conversations started to migrate online.  But the bigger problem here is that some of those conversations didn’t exactly migrate.

One thing that I used to enjoy doing was poring through magazines, looking at screenshots of upcoming releases.  It was especially awesome to do this with a friend and then to imagine, perhaps, what might happen in that game.  Or to imagine what mechanics we might experience
.  Naturally, some things in all the screenshots stayed mostly the same.  You could almost always point out if something was a life bar.  But what was this funny face symbol?  Was that how melodramatic you were?

The other problem with the internet is that sheer immediacy.  If you’re sitting with a friend and you’re both playing a co-op game and you happen to accidentally fall into a pit while she makes it all the way to the end of the level, well...she can taunt you about it right there.  Certainly, things like internet telephony and the like have made this a little more tangible, but it’s not exactly the same as having that friend in the same room at the same time.

Finally, the internet has always had the problem of inflection.  If I’m sitting with my friend right now and I say something as a joke, she can hear it in my voice and tone and she can laugh along with me, whereas, the joke might fall completely flat on the internet because there is no [or very little] clue as to my tone, as I’m typing the words.
Gaming used to be very social:  lan parties, imposed challenges played together and stories swapped over what we did in the game, but it seems like the more social the internet becomes, the less truly social we are.  Almost as if we're all on our little islands doing our own little things.

Sometimes, it feels like I'm gaming on a desert island. I know my friends are out there, but...we pass like ships in the night.

Gaming Has Become A Very Solitary Hobby

At face value, that heading sounds a little strange.  How is gaming solitary when I have all my friends on Steam?

Some of my very fondest gaming memories involve me, some friends, a bunch of notepads and a game.  We would sit in a group and try to piece together things that we needed to do to win.  Oh, there’s an amulet we need to re-assemble?  Someone will sit with the map and try to figure out where the two pieces are. 

Our other favourite past-time was to create self-imposed challenges.  Many a long night was had, huddled around the character creation screen for Master of Magic, with someone laying out how many white picks we were allowed or whether we should all play diplomacy.

But that style of interaction has vanished as well.  Very often, people get gaming challenges from places like Gamefaqs – or see things online that they’d like to try – [like Final Fantasy V’s Four Job Fiesta or the Nuzlocke Pokémon challenge.]
Right now, if you want to play something, you sit alone at your computer, start the game up and away you go.  There’s very little sharing going on – even if you happen to be on Steam and your friend sees you playing, nine times out of ten, they’re not going to bother you and ask you what you’re actually doing – gaming doesn’t work that way anymore.

Older games played with various mechanics that forced you to explore.  Lots of different character creation choices so the game would play differently, many different side missions so that you could get different gear.  Irrevocable choices, even.  Modern gaming seems to frown on that.

Modern gaming feels like a "maze." It looks like there are many paths, but there's really only one "true path."

Linearity Ate My Conversations

Another big part of the problem – and I’ve lamented about this before – is that games don’t often create true worlds, or thought provoking situations.  They create linear, corridor-like experiences that take the player from Point A to Point B with very little world building happening in-between.  Think about the last time you got sucked into a game for its universe.  Now, think about all the games you’ve played subsequent to that.  Chances are, you can only think of a few recent games that built a fully functioning world for you to explore.

Naturally, this leaves people very little to talk about.  If everyone’s departing from Point A to get to Point B and they’re all going to see the same stuff in-between, then the only thing that [vaguely] matters that can come up in conversation is the different skill-sets you and your friend might use.

Linearity can be a wonderful thing, and sometimes, games like To The Moon make us consider the deep, meaningful ramifications of the story being told, but for all its amazing penmanship, everyone is always going to play exactly the same game with exactly the same outcome.

That leaves very little room for conversation.  Part of what makes a Skyrim so great is the stories you stumble upon – those moments you share with your friends where they haven’t even found that secret area yet, or where they may have done the quest in a completely different way to the way you did it.


All of this – this lack of conversation – is a little sad.  That is, in some part, why I like the idea of the Twinstiq Game Club – it allows all of us to share an experience, together.  Bringing us together as a community to discuss the game – to share little stories about how we might have approached things differently.  To that end, I certainly suggest you take part in the Game Club,   Who knows?  You might find some interesting topics to talk about.

Images Courtesy of Pixabay

Back to the RetroStop

Well, I will admit I'm a bit surprised.

Since I wrote the article about GameStop buying older generation consoles, I've both found and received  a ton of negative feedback from the community about the project.

Heck, even some of us at Twinstiq feel the same way. In Twinstiq's Podcast Episode IV: A new Drama we sat down and talked about how we felt about the subject as well as different possibilities as to why GameStop was suddenly so interested in buying back consoles.
While going through most of the web-pages that had mentioned the subject I saw hundreds to thousands of comments stretching across from gamers being completely against the idea. Of course most of these comments seem to be just a lot of slander by people jumping on the bandwagon of something to hate. Once in awhile you do get to a rant or review from someone who is older and has seen the start and finish of companies like Blockbuster who give a true opinion on the matter.

Reading through pages and pages of comments, I started seeing trends and eventually started noting the major claims against GameStop. The top claim is, "you can buy a brand new game for $60 USD from GameStop, play it and sell it back later the next day and only get offered $7 USD." Others claim that GameStop employees intentionally scratch disks after buying them back so no one can play them.

Armies of people are boycotting this old console buyback by claiming it's just easier to buy from E-bay, Amazon, or private game trade in shops because they'll get a better deal. Which in all honesty, may be the easiest and friendlier way to go about buying an older console.


Now don't get me wrong, for the past 10 years GameStop seems to have become the laughing stock of the gaming community. People would rather go to individually owned sell-back stores to make their purchases then even set foot inside GameStop.

The following are personal views of the subject:

One: GameStop is pulling out one or two major tries to gain back some of its community. What we're seeing now is a company trying to bring up their declining consumer base. Back in the 90's when we first saw GameStop hit it big with the teen crowd, they seemed almost unstoppable. There were no real trade-in places, or major game shops like there are now. This may be one of the last ditch efforts to try and gain profits back and come up to where they used to be.

Two: Another big reason behind this idea is that some parents who find these systems won't take the effort to actually look up and research pricing on something that their child has had sitting in the basement for 10 years or more. To them, they can sell it back, make a few bucks and never have to worry about it again. Not to say that GameStop isn't banking on something like this happening, but it can happen and probably already has happened at some point.

Three: Some cities do not have individually owned game shops, nor do they have repair shops, so there really is no alternative option if people do not want to keep their old systems anymore. It's either garbage it, or sell it to GameStop. Or this is a great opportunity to sell back a none working system that you've had lying around so it can get repaired and sold to someone who wants it. The nostalgia factor alone allows a generation like yourself to enjoy the classics. Also as Cody from Twinstiq mentions in the Podcast, " This is a Global business." It's true, how many people can say they visited a GameStop in America as well as Europe versus a buyback shop run by a local college student with a dream.

Four : The pricing is a huge factor. It will always be a factor. When GameStop realizes that people won't pay the top end price for the systems we'll see a change. There's no doubt in my mind about it. No one is going to pay 40-50$ USD on a system they can buy from Ebay and Amazon for about 20-30. Games on the other hand, might be a bit more difficult to come by, but there is a niche market that pertain to these needs. Swap meets are another good idea and Reddit I know for sure has boards of people looking for certain games or locations to purchase items. Most of the collector community helps one another find items, and it's easier to talk to a stranger on the internet than to a person face to face sometimes.

Overall, it seems like there's just too much push and pull to subjects like this. I know the idea behind any big company is, " Make Profit." In the end that's what makes the world go round. If you can make a profit on something that seems to be an open market why wouldn't you. I wouldn't go hating on GameStop just yet, they have a creative idea that needs a few bugs worked out.

As always.


(Images Courtesy of Joystiq (Engadget))

Paid Mods in Skyrim Take an Arrow to the Knee

After an onslaught of community outrage, Valve has decided to remove paid mod support from Skyrim.  Thanks to the valuable, levelheaded feedback from the community (how does sarcasm work on the internet again?), Valve concluded it was a bad idea to roll out this program with Skyrim.  "We understand our own game's communities pretty well, but stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating".


Keep in mind that Valve did not say they think the program itself is bad, only that introducing the program within a four year old modding community was a bad idea.  I'd bet that a similar program will roll out with another game at launch in the near future.

In the meantime, we can mourn for the poor Valve employees: "Now that you've backed a dump truck of feedback onto our inboxes, we'll be chewing through that, but if you have any further thoughts let us know".  I'm sure the mail they received is the epitome of constructive feedback.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Source:  Steam Community

Rachel Bryk, Frequent Dolphin Contributor, Dead at 23


Rachel Bryk first contributed to the GameCube and Wii emulator Dolphin two years ago, unsure about her contributions due to lack of experience. Since then, she has become the tenth most active developer on the project, and was instrumental in Tool Assisted Speedrun support for the Wiimote, and responsible for many improvements in savestates and netplay among other things.
Following a bout of online harassment, Rachel Bryk has ended her life at age 23. This is a video that was put together by her peers. Bryk plays her favorite game, Pucca's Kisses, and this is followed by words from fellow Dolphin developers.
Her friends constantly refer to her helpful nature and willingness to focus on niche aspects of the emulator to build an overall robust product.

"No matter what, she was always willing to help anyone. Of all the devs she was the most helpful on the forums, always pitching in. Dolphin is a smaller place without her..." says MaJoR.

It's unfortunate when harassment of any kind pushes someone to such an extreme. Clearly, to many, Rachel Bryk was a wonderful person and will be missed very much. Sadly, the overwhelming pressure she felt from being bullied was too much to bear. We hope that her family and friends will find support to help them through this hard time.