A Long Spoon December 18, 2014 A Long Spoon Jonathan L. Howard A Johannes Cabal story. Burnt Sugar December 10, 2014 Burnt Sugar Lish McBride Everyone knows about gingerbread houses. Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North December 9, 2014 Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North Charles Vess Happy Holidays from Tor.com Skin in the Game December 3, 2014 Skin in the Game Sabrina Vourvoulias Some monsters learn how to pass.
From The Blog
December 9, 2014
The Eleventh Doctor’s Legacy Was Loss and Failure
Emily Asher-Perrin
December 9, 2014
Tor.com Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2014
Tor.com
December 8, 2014
How Fast is the Millennium Falcon? A Thought Experiment.
Chris Lough
December 8, 2014
Tiamat’s Terrain: Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange
Alex Mangles
December 4, 2014
Potential Spoiler Leak for Star Wars: The Force Awakens Reveals Awesome Details
Emily Asher-Perrin
Showing posts by: Theresa DeLucci click to see Theresa DeLucci's profile
Fri
Dec 19 2014 12:00pm

Gaming Roundup: The Best (And Worst) of 2014

shadow of mordor

2014 was an eventful year in gaming. The Xbox One and PS4 both hit their one year anniversaries in strikingly different market positions, but a late surge by Microsoft helped bridge the gap. We’re still waiting for a game to take full advantage of current-gen capabilities, but 2015 looks extremely promising. Oh, right—and there was that little thing where we saw the worst of a large section of the gaming community for far too long a period of time. Let’s get right to our list of the best and worst of gaming in 2014.

[The year at a glance, a click away…]

Thu
Dec 11 2014 11:00am

Gaming Roundup: Uncharted 4 Makes the Leap to PS4

gaming roundup uncharted 4

Sony’s PlayStation Experience rolled through Las Vegas this past weekend, bringing with it a number of exciting tidbits on several hotly-anticipated titles set to release in 2015—including the company’s first potential console-defining game, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. When last we left Nate Drake, he was wandering Colombia, France, Syria, and Yemen in search of yet another of Sir Francis Drake’s treasures, before getting hitched (again) to his wife, Elena. While anyone familiar with the previous 3 games of the series will have a fairly accurate sense of the game’s atmosphere and action, Uncharted 4 will still have its fair share of surprises on the PS4—including a new member of the Drake family.

[“It’s good to see you’re alive, little brother.”]

Fri
Dec 5 2014 4:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Is Telltale’s Game of Thrones As Good As The Walking Dead?

Tyrion Game of Thrones

In recent years, developer Telltale Games has positioned itself at the forefront of AAA dilemma-based, narrative-driven video games. After taking their medicine via the less-than-successful Back to the Future and Jurassic Park episodic features, the studio learned from its mistakes and hit one out of the park with their Walking Dead series—a critical and commercial smash hit that focused on engaging characters, tough decisions, and a relentless story en route to becoming a critical and commercial smash hit.

With success came opportunity, and Telltale was given the reins to one of the hottest IPs in the market today—Game of Thrones. Prior gaming ventures into Westeros have generally been about as successful as Viserys Targaryen’s quest to reclaim the Iron Throne, but Telltale’s Walking Dead story-heavy formula seemed to be a tailor-made fit for ASOIAF. Does Game of Thrones finally have a worthy entry in the gaming-verse?

WARNING: here there be spoilers for those new to the show or books.

[“What you do will have repercussions.”]

Thu
Nov 20 2014 2:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Dragon Age: Inquisition Takes Flight This Week

Gaming Roundup Dragon Age: Inqusition

With Dragon Age: Inquisition, industry heavyweight BioWare is diving back into the gaming waters with their first full-fledged RPG since 2012’s fantastic Mass Effect 3.

Dragon Age: Origins was a revelation to gamers in 2009 (two years after the launch of the first Mass Effect), helping to firmly establish its developer as a founding father of the modern RPG—as though the creators of Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights really needed any further cred. While Dragon Age II was widely viewed as a step backward for the franchise, BioWare promised to take the criticism (most commonly, repetitive gameplay and a distinct lack of environmental variety) to heart and put to rest any outstanding concerns in Inquisition. Did they succeed?

[Lead them or fall.]

Fri
Nov 14 2014 10:30am

Gaming Roundup: Blizzard Rebounds with Overwatch

A couple of months ago, the gaming universe mourned the demise of Blizzard Entertainment’s Titan—an ambitious new MMO shooter eight years in the making. The game’s cancellation raised a number of questions—most notably, how it would impact Blizzard’s bottom line and whether the all-star developer had any other strategies by which to foster and develop a new IP.

As it turned out, Blizzard had a plan all along. Meet Overwatch.

[“Don’t worry, loves. Cavalry’s here.”]

Thu
Nov 6 2014 2:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Grim Fandango Returns From the Land of the Dead

Last week, the internet’s finest purveyor of classic gaming, GOG.com, announced an agreement with LucasArts that brought a veritable treasure trove of 90s PC classics back to computers, including the much-acclaimed X-Wing and Tie Fighter games. However, even amidst this bounty, a sour note sounded. Where was Grim Fandango? LucasArts’ heralded comedy noir offering, headed by the legendary Tim Schafer, blended Aztec mythology and film noir into a colorful, stylish, and beautifully written game that left a lasting impression upon all who played it. It’s been one of GOG.com’s most-requested games of the past decade. What reason could there be to hold back one of the most beloved games of the 90s?

Well, for one, it’s coming back next year.

[“Guess they couldn’t save me, eh?”]

Thu
Oct 30 2014 1:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Kick Into Sunset Overdrive This Halloween

Sunset Overdrive isn’t exactly your classic Halloween video game, but hey—there are mutant zombies, so... close, right? Insomniac Games’ fast-paced rail-based shooter took E3 by unexpected storm earlier this year, going from virtual unknown to being touted as a franchise-defining title for a console sorely in need of one at the time—the Xbox One. The much anticipated game launched this week, just in time for October 31st. Is it worth your time?

[“My life didn’t start until the world came to an end.”]

Fri
Oct 24 2014 9:30am

Gaming Roundup: Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth Blasts Off This Week

Somewhere along the line, someone decided that Sid Meier’s Civilization—in space—would be a fantastic idea, and... well, they were right. It was an excellent pitch, ripe with possibility if pulled off successfully and billed as a spiritual successor to 1999’s excellent Alpha Centauri. So how did Firaxis Games fare with the much-anticipated Civilization: Beyond Earth?

[“A new beginning for mankind...”]

Thu
Oct 16 2014 1:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Dare to Survive The Evil Within

Legendary survival horror developer and creator Shinji Mikami made his return to the gaming world as his latest endeavor, The Evil Within, launched worldwide this week. Mikami, best known for his creation of the Resident Evil franchise and his work on Dino Crisis, was last heard from in 2011 when the underrated Shadows of the Damned released. Since then, he has been hard at work on returning to the roots of survival horror, the genre that made him a legend. How did he fare with The Evil Within?

[“What do you fear, little one?”]

Thu
Oct 9 2014 1:30pm

We Are All Freaks: American Horror Story: Freak Show

We are all freaks.

Except for Jessica Lange. She is a fearsome, scenery-chewing superbeast whose line delivery on FX’s pandering, gratuitous, and way self-aware drama American Horror Story has launched GIFS galore, introduced “The Name Game” to a new generation, and makes me crack up every time I hear someone mention the words “knotty pine.” She’s been a faded Southern belle, a naughty nun, and a supreme witch. In AHS: Freak Show, Lange is back playing Elsa Mars, a German sideshow ringleader with delusions of stardom and a big secret.

This isn’t the highbrow supernatural pedigree of HBO’s sideshow drama Carnivale, but it’s probably the sideshow drama we deserve. Those phobic of clowns and spoilers should exit the tent immediately.

[“Life on Mars?” is a cabaret, my friends...]

Thu
Oct 9 2014 1:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Become the Hunted in Alien: Isolation

Alien: Isolation has been on the radar of the gamingverse for quite some time. Long since pegged as the game to make things right after the debacle that was Gearbox’s Aliens: Colonial Marines, Isolation did nothing to curb anticipation in its previews, which made it out to be everything franchise fans wanted in an Alien game — claustrophobia, extreme vulnerability, space stations, flamethrowers, and one deadly, badass alien.

Well, the game’s been out for a couple of days now, so what better way to usher in October than with a closer look at one of the premiere horror offerings of the season?

[“Some things are better left lost...”]

Tue
Oct 7 2014 3:00pm

A Hint of the Alien: The Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Volume One

Year's Best Weird FictionIt seems strange that there’s been no official Year’s Best Weird Fiction anthology before this inaugural, crowdfunded volume, co-edited by series editor Michael Kelly and special guest editor Laird Barron and published by Undertow/ChiZine Publications. Reading through this finely-curated collection of short stories and novelettes, it’s clear that the Weird is all around us. And it’s really, literally, quite awesome. But it’s not new.

The popularity of this subgenre, if you can call it that, waxes and wanes every decade or so and has for a long time, from early masters like Algernon Blackwood and H.P. Lovecraft to contemporary authors whose names are often associated with the New Weird—think China Miéville and Caitlín R. Kiernan. But the weird never really goes away; it just travels through fiction wearing other genres as a disguise. Call it horror, dark fantasy, slipstream, or just plain ponderous.

In his introduction, Kelly says he read upwards of 3,000 stories. In his introduction, Laird Barron, himself a enjoying a great deal of acclaim for his own collection The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, offers a guiding principle that helped whittle that giant pool down to the very best: “My sense of a weird tale is that it contravenes reality in some essential manner; that it possesses at least a hint of the alien; and that it emanates disquiet or disorientation.”

[Read More]

Thu
Oct 2 2014 1:30pm

Gaming Roundup: One Does Not Simply Overlook Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of Mordor

The first wave of reviews are in for Warner Bros.’ Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and it would appear that developer Monolith Productions has a surprise hit on their hands. Sure, LOTR-meets-Assassin’s Creed-style-world-meets-Arkham-style-combat with a new grimdark story sounds like a pretty solid concept, but knowing that it’s actually really fun and frustrating and beautiful? We finally might have a media tie-in game worthy of its franchise. (That doesn’t star Vin Diesel.)

[“You are banished from death. A curse binds us together.”]

Thu
Sep 25 2014 3:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Death of a Titan

Titan gaming roundup

Blizzard Entertainment finally pulled the plug on their not-so-secret secret MMO this week. News of their venture, codenamed Titan for the last several years, first leaked as far back as 2007, sending the gaming world into a frenzy as players salivated over the possibility of a new IP from the masters of modern MMO. Sadly, it was not to be, as Blizzard officially cancelled the game after seven long years of development, citing a lack of passion and drive for the project.

[Where does Blizzard go from here?]

Thu
Sep 18 2014 1:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Visit Hyrule as You’ve Never Seen it Before in Hyrule Warriors

At first glance, one might be forgiven for mistaking Hyrule Warriors for another entry in Nintendo’s iconic Zelda series. The game is set in Hyrule. Zelda’s in it. Link’s in it. Everyone from Ganondorf to Princess Ruto to the Great Deku Tree is present and accounted for. But this isn’t your father’s Zelda, oh no. While Hyrule Warriors adds what Nintendo hopes will become another A-List title to the Wii U’s arsenal, those expecting anything akin to a classic Zelda experience will be in for a surprise.

[Prepare to save Hyrule... again.]

Fri
Sep 12 2014 12:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Next-Gen Gaming Meets its Destiny

There was plenty going on this week in gaming—from the Xbox’s abject failure in Japan to the 15th anniversary of the Dreamcast—but one story pretty clearly stood out from all the rest. Destiny, Bungie’s much-anticipated post-Halo IP, launched, finally giving both next-gen (or is it current-gen? I feel like we can call them current-gen now) consoles their first true killer app (with apologies to the Xbox-exclusive Titanfall).

[“It doesn’t matter who you are. Only what you will become.”]

Thu
Sep 4 2014 2:30pm

Gaming Roundup: The Resident Evil Remake Gets a Remake

Resident Evil remake

Give Capcom credit—they know which side their bread is buttered on. When Shinji Makami’s classic survival horror franchise, Resident Evil, first launched all the way back in 1996, it met with substantial critical and financial success that spawned a trail of sequels and tie-ins 23 games deep, with the original game warranting a 2002 remake exclusively for the GameCube (which, predictably enough, also met with substantial critical and financial success). Is it, then, really any surprise that 2002’s Resident Evil REmake is receiving an HD remastering for current and next-gen consoles next year, over a decade after its initial launch?

[There’s a party in Raccoon City and everyone’s invited...]

Thu
Aug 28 2014 1:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Grab a Friend or Four to Play Dragon Age: Inquisition

BioWare’s upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition is looking better and better as its launch date nears. With each passing month the developer has teased a little more of the game, and this last week brought us news of a particularly tantalizing nature: the latest entry in the Dragon Age franchise will feature a four-player online cooperative play mode.

[“Lead them or fall...”]

Mon
Aug 25 2014 9:00am

Not with a Bang: True Blood’s Powerfully Unsexy Series Finale

True Blood Thank You

Leave it to True Blood to figure out one last stake to twist into the hearts of its diminished audience. Will Sookie and Bill be together forever? Will Eric get naked one last time? Will we see some characters get a little closure? Will the show go completely off the rails and end up with Sookie becoming president of a new, vampiric, world order?

Nope!

I mean, this was once an Alan Ball show and he was responsible for the best series finale ever—Six Feet Under. But Ball is long gone. And while we didn’t go into full-on Dexter levels of lunacy or TV-punching rage like Lost or Battlestar Galactica, True Blood’s finale was definitely the most flaccid sixty-five minutes of TV in some time. Because, you know, if an excellent series finale is supposed to contain the show’s mini-thesis, True Blood’s running theme was most certainly ham-fisted meditations on conventional morality by fully-clothed people, right?

[Put a stake in it, it’s done...]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 10:30am

Gaming Roundup: Gamescom 2014 Edition

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Gaming Roundup

Gamescom—Europe’s largest annual gaming convention and the second largest in the world—came and went last week in Cologne, Germany, and left in its wake a plethora of previews and trailers for excited gamers to sift through. Most of the industry’s major players were present, and the focus was very much on the continued development and maturation of next-gen consoles in the marketplace—a circumstance balancing the most viewed and approachable games of next year.

[So many games, so little space...]