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You ever buy someone a gift for Christmas and while they are mercilessly ravaging the gift wrap you see a feigned sense of appreciation?  They stare blankly at what lies beneath and in the same breath they turn to you and say “Thanks (insert whoever you are to that person), I love it”, but you know that’s not the case.  You ask yourself why this person could be so callous in receiving a gift—well — it’s because you bought them a shitty gift.  Everyone says it’s the thought that counts, but not if you didn’t put any thought into it.  Most sites will tell you what to buy someone, but will seldom tell you what to avoid.  So let this list be your warning for what you should be averse to this year when you are doing your holiday shopping.  You’ll be a better person for it, trust me.

Ride To Hell: Retribution (Xbox 360, PS3)

ride-to-hell-retribution-ps3Why you shouldn’t buy it: Unsuspecting shoppers might stroll by this game and think it might be good time because it looks like the popular TV show Sons of Anarchy, but trust me when I tell you that Charlie Hunnam wouldn’t even wipe his ass with this game.  Messy controls, horrible story and abysmal voice acting firmly cement this as one of 2013’s worst titles.

Knack (PS4)

Knack-boxartWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Knack isn’t necessarily a bad game, but sporting a $60 price tag poses an issue.  It has the flair and charm reminiscent of older Sony platformers like Ratchet and Clank and Jak and Daxter, but this game is only next-gen in the graphics department and even saying that is a stretch.  With a multitude of other next-gen games that will actually make you think you own a next-gen system you’d do best to avoid Knack—at least for the time being.

NBA Live 14 (Xbox One, PS4)

nba live 14 box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  NBA 2K14.

OUYA (Android game console)

ouyaWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Alright I know the list says games, but the OUYA is a device that plays games so hear me out.  The OUYA had everyone’s attention when it was first announced because it was supposed to change the landscape of living room gaming, well it didn’t.  What we have now is a device that is poorly supported and to my standards is overpriced.  This device is primarily for the gamer that needs to have every device no matter what it does making it a very niche collective of people.  If you are really clamoring to buy someone an android device get them a tablet or MADCATZ’s MOJO that supports stock android, already making it a better alternative.

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (Xbox 360, PS3)

walking dead box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  It’s no secret that The Walking Dead has transcended its cult comic book status and became an entertainment phenomenon, but with that distinction comes the poor use of creative licenses like this game.  The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is no more than a cash grab and if you had the displeasure of playing this game you’d probably feel robbed as well.  This is a Walking Dead property in namesake alone and if you care about the future of this franchise you won’t buy this game.

Aliens: Colonial Marines (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

aliens box art

Why you shouldn’t buy it:  Aliens is no doubt one of the largest and most beloved science fiction properties out there and Colonial Marines was on pace to propel it to greater heights.  After numerous delays and studio swaps what was left was a soiled shell of a game equipped with poor controls and horrifyingly inconsistent AI.  If you want to make that Aliens’ fan in your life happy, start by not buying them this.

Fighter Within

fighter within box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Kinect 2.0 promised a lot of things for the Xbox One, one of them being a viable option for gaming.  Unfortunately for early adopters they are stuck with what is another haphazardly designed and aimless motion game—Fighter Within.  Combining awful gesture recognition with a completely pointless story you have Ubisoft’s sophomore effort missing the mark.  Kinect 2.0 is an impressive piece of tech—don’t sully your view of it or your living room for that matter with this garbage.

Star Trek (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

star trek box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Remember when I was talking about the poor use creative licenses?  The Star Trek game that came out a month prior to Into Darkness was a disastrous lead up to the summer blockbuster.  The game was ridden with a myriad of tech issues on top of an incoherent narrative.  This is one trip on the Enterprise you should overlook.

Fast and Furious: Showdown (Xbox 360, PS3, WiiU, 3DS, PC)

fast and furious showdown box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  The Fast and Furious movies are the mainstream representation of the tuning sub-culture.  They have ridiculous over-the-top stories, but at each film’s core it’s about racing cars dangerously.  Showdown fails at that in every conceivable category, making it possibly of the worst racing games ever made and something that you shouldn’t even entertain as a Christmas gift, unless you are a terrible person.

Dark (Xbox 360, PC)

dark box artWhy you shouldn’t buy it:  Vampires are still kind of the rage these days, but like the deluge of TV shows and Movies based on Vampires—most—not all video games don’t do them right and Dark is no exception.  Poor controls, inconsistent AI and just bland gameplay make this game garlic to the Vampire genre.   Do yourself a favor and don’t let this game suck a dime out of your wallet.

This is but a small taste of things you should avoid when doing your holiday shopping.  Be wary of bargain bins and flash deals because more often than not—it’s something shitty.  Share the list with grandma and grandpa, hell your whole family for that matter.  I’ve given you the means to at least prevent one terrible gift, but only you can prevent the rest.

Sound off in the comments with your advice to uninformed holiday shoppers or even tell me if you disagree with a selection on this list by telling me why someone should buy it.



Irrational Games announced today that their highly anticipated title, Bioshock Infinite, was being delayed yet again, but not by much.  The game is now scheduled to release on March 26th, exactly one month after the game’s previous release date of February 26th.  According to a report on IGN, Creative Director Ken Levine said the game required some additional polishing and bug fixing to deliver an experience worthy of our hard earned money (thanks Ken).  This delay is the second one to beset Bioshock Infinite as I am sure most of you remember its original release date of October 2012.

I don’t believe this delay will diminish anyone’s excitement for the upcoming game, but Bioshock Infinite has now entered a fairly crowded month for games including Tomb Raider, Gears of War Judgment, God of War Ascension and a little game called Grand Theft Auto V amongst many other high profile titles.  So while excitement may not be in jeopardy, time and money may become an issue for gamers deciding which titles to commit to come March.

What say you reader?  Will this delay affect your gaming in the month of March or will you not skip a beat?  Let us know in the comments and for everything Bioshock Infinite and gaming keep it tuned to The Gamer’s Abstract.

In June of 2000, gamers the world over were introduced to something, that at the time was just a Dreamcast game, but would later be revered as a transition for the medium.  Gravitating away from just being simply entertainment, but being appreciated as an art form; Jet Set Radio was that turning point and to this day remains one of the most important games released on any platform–and also the main reason why you should play it.


May 15th and Threes

Posted: March 19, 2012 by Tim Utley in News and Updates
Tags: , , , ,

If you haven’t heard already, May 15th is shaping up to be a pretty happening day for video games, but in particular third entries.  Max Payne 3 was pushed back from its original release date of March 6th to May 15th and some semi popular Blizzard PC game called Diablo 3 was announced to be released the same day.  Both games are very different, but lets hope one doesn’t derail the other.

Don't do me dirty Diablo 3

While both games are sure to crush it at retail I can only hope that because of Diablo 3’s newly announced release date Max Payne 3 does not get pushed back again.  I know Rockstar pushed back Max Payne 3 to polish it further, but its previous release date coincided with the release of Mass Effect 3, which wasn’t an opponent you wanted to battle at the checkout counter.  Mass Effect 3 is an RPG by genre, but I think its action mechanics made it too close of a contender with Max Payne 3 for Rockstar to roll the dice.  Diablo 3 however is a RPG with action elements, but I think there is ample separation between the two titles to make them both appealing day one purchases.

Fingers have been crossed, deep breath has been taken

Diablo 3 is only being released on PC currently so I don’t think it will affect the console sales of Max Payne 3, but let’s hope Rockstar feels the same way or we might not see Max Payne 3 for another couple of months.  For those who have been waiting for this game as long as I have would be devastated by another delay so I hope Rockstar remains confident in their product and gets it on store shelves May 15th.  Stay tuned for any changes to these release schedules and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

I want to start by asking a question to all of you and think about it because it is important.  Should a game developer receive a bonus for how well a game performs commercially or how well it performed critically or maybe even both?  Both are important, but to different degrees.  My personal belief is that performance based incentives need to be based purely on sales and not how a game scores on Metacritic.

I guess one point makes all the difference

The staff of Obsidian Entertainment is being denied a bonus because Fallout: New Vegas missed the Metacritic target set forth by Bethesda by one point.  The lead creative designer of Fallout: New Vegas Chris Avellone, tweeted about this on his account.

Fallout: New Vegas was a straight payment, no royalties, only a bonus if we got an 85+ on Metacritic, which we didn’t.”

Fallout: New Vegas has an 84 on Metacritic and the goal was an 85.  One measly point of a score derived from people who had zero involvement in the creative process of this game decided the fate of many peoples’ paychecks.  A contract is a contract, but a stipulation like a Metacritic score target is for lack of a better term, unfair.

According to the same report on Gamasutra, Fallout: New Vegas sold 5 Million units and generated $300 million in revenue for Bethesda and even with such huge retail success Bethesda is denying the staff of Obsidian the benefits of a bonus.  This has been done before by publishers and is labeled as “quality ratings” during contract negotiations.  This is a huge issue for game developers, but the problem also disseminates down to an editorial level.

One point > $300 million in sales

With information like this readily available to the general public and video game pundits alike we need to think how this can potentially affect things.  The opinions of reputable (and smaller) video game sites can either create a great demand for a title or adversely affect the sales based on their reviews.  Each site out there has a particular brand of subjectivity and that is what makes each site’s editors unique.  People search the internet for that information to make purchase decisions based on those unique perspectives and if we know that our decisions are going affect not only the sales of a game, but the people making it, it makes writing negative reviews more difficult.  I am not saying that negative criticism should not exist because it needs to exist, it just shouldn’t alter a person’s paycheck.  If a publisher like Bethesda would implement such puerile stipulation into a contract I think developers working under that umbrella should find different shade.

What will they do moving forward?

You need not worry because TGA is not recognized on Metacritic yet, but if we were we would not let this troublesome ordeal affect our opinions.  We have a duty to you the reader/consumer to deliver honest content devoid of extreme personal bias and how it could affect others.  Negative criticism to a game should be used in a constructive manner by publishers to improve on further projects and not deprive or punish those who made said title.  Moving forward it will be interesting to see how things of this nature are handled and how we can keep developers accountable and also employed.

This is an important topic in both the industry and the outlets that cover the industry so please sound off in the comments about how you feel about this.  Do you think what Bethesda did was fair or justified?  Or do you fall into the second camp that believes bonuses of any kind should be based on sales not scores?  Let us know and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

Halo 4 Trailer

Posted: March 16, 2012 by Tim Utley in Game Trailer
Tags: , , , ,

This trailer isn’t brand new, but it is something I have been meaning to get up on TGA for a little while now.  It is a good mix of developer commentary and gameplay footage and it looks like it is shaping up really well.  So without further adieu here is the official Halo 4 trailer.  As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

Ridge Racer Unbounded is approaching its March 30th release date and Namco has released a new trailer showcasing the game’s environmental effects including destruction.  Bugbear Entertainment of Flatout fame is at the helm of this latest Ridge game and their flair for destruction is clearly portrayed throughout the trailer.  Unbounded is shaping up to look more like a Burnout and Split/Second hybrid rather than a Ridge Racer title, but both of those games are really good so this new direction doesn’t really bother me that much.  Enjoy the trailer and be sure to let us know what you think of this new move for Ridge Racer in the comments section.  As always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content. [thanks to VISO Games for the trailer]

Do you have extra Gamecube games, systems or accessories laying around that you want to get rid of?  Well if you do you might want to boogie on down to your local GameStop and dispose of them sooner than later.  Starting April 2nd GameStop will be adding the Nintendo Gamecube to the long list of systems they will not be accepting trades for.  Just like other systems before the Gamecube this is done to free up inventory space for newer merchandise which is understandable.  Also when a system is proverbially black listed GameStop has been known to run a sale on the platform’s games, accessories and hardware.  So there might be some good to come of this, but until then I can only speculate.  So like I said earlier, sell them while you can and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

The IGN START channel has been in swing for almost two months now.  One of the shows that debuted was The Next Game Boss, hosted by Daemon Hatfield and Naomi Kyle.  It is a competition show that introduced six indie gaming developers battling for indie gaming supremacy with the winner receiving a myriad of prizes.  It was one of my favorite programs and I wanted to share it all with you.  I am a huge indie game supporter and if you are (or not) this show offers great perspective on the process involved even though it is slightly expedited.  I have posted the entire season and I hope you enjoy it.  If you do like it subscribe to START and reach out to the great folks over at IGN.

I hope you have enjoyed the show and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.

There has been a huge buzz surrounding Quantic Dream’s latest tech demo entitled KARA.  The video which is posted in this article is a true sight to behold.  Quantic Dream once again proves what can be done with graphics in a video game and more importantly shows that the Playstation 3 still has some serious potential in that department.  Graphics aside Quantic Dream also manages to pull some emotional heart strings in the 7 something minute video (like the original Heavy Rain demo).  I applaud Quantic Dream for their achievement with KARA and also congratulate them on the immense reception it is receiving, but the minute I saw this video I immediately thought of a super obscure Japanese Xbox game called N.U.D.E. @ (Natural Ultimate Digital Experiment).  I have never played N.U.D.E.@ because it was a japan-only Xbox title, but it looks like KARA and this share some similar attributes from the outside looking in.


Meet whatever her name is

I am unsure if Quantic Dream drew inspiration from N.U.D.E.@, but the similarities in the character design are far too coincidental to be ignored.  This similarity does not discount what KARA is or could be, but I do think this comparison is worth noting and is why I am doing it.  Watch the KARA tech demo and I am going to keep my eyes peeled for this comparison to surface somewhere else.  Let us know what you think about the video by sounding off in the comments section and as always you can follow us on Twitter @GamersAbstract and like us on Facebook for more content.