“South Park: Stick of Truth” Gets Approved in Australia Thanks to Some Creative Censoring

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We may never know what exactly is up the collective butts of Australian video game censors, but that hilariously misinformed and outdated group of do gooders is at it again.

The target this time is “South Park: Stick of Truth.” Specifically the censors rejected the game on the basis of a scene involving penis shaped anal probes, and an abortion scene involving vacuums and a wire.

On a side note, isn’t it nice when game adaptations stay so true to the source material?

Anyway developer Obsidian tried re-submitting the game under some slightly toned down conditions, but were rejected at each turn. Finally they submitted an impressively sarcastic version of the probing scene where the image of the scene is replaced with a crying koala while on screen text informs you as to what is actually happening in the original scene.

Unsurprisingly, considering the board’s traditionally misinformed interpretation of comedy, this version was accepted.

So it looks like the fair Australian gamers of the world will get to play “Stick of Truth,” albeit with more static images of Koalas in place than were originally intended, as well as some minor mini-games axed entirely, thanks to some creative skirting of the censors.

Seriously though, what is the logic behind the extreme censorship of gaming in Australia? Considering it’s the year 2013 and I can probably pull up a YouTube video of mass genocides set to a dubstep soundtrack and intercut with images of “My Little Pony” fan porn on my phone, does a cartoon video game character’s anal probe encounter really constitute the ultimate line of morality?

The Popular (and Absolutely Insane) Just Cause 2 Multiplayer Mod is About to Get a Steam Release

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While I have no problem calling “Just Cause 2” a good game, I’m hesitant when it comes to giving it praise beyond that.

See if you attend the open world game design school, there’s really only two classes you can go to. One preaches using the large in-game world to provide a more intensely cinematic experience, while the other teaches the idea of using that same space to let players just go nuts with few (if any) design boundaries to limit or guide them.

While neither is inherently a wrong pursuit, “Just Cause 2′s” firm attendance and devotion to the latter design philosophy meant that while the game was insanely large and incredibly fun to just mess around in, elements like mission quality and story structure were either limited or non-existent.

Some time ago, however, a dedicated group of modders found a way to capitalize off of the built-in strengths of the game and give it a longevity that even a more cohesive and engaging storyline structure couldn’t do by simply adding a true online multiplayer mode to the game.

It’s not an unprecedented occurrence for a single player only game to get a modded multiplayer component, but when you consider that this particular mod allows for up to 600 players at once within the absolutely gigantic world of “Just Cause 2,” and factor in the game’s already zany and ridiculously fast paced nature, perhaps you can see why this drew so much attention from users who would have otherwise most likely stopped regularly playing the game some time ago.

Now it turns out it was not only individual users whose attention was caught by the mod, but the folks at Valve as well as it was recently announced that Steam will soon be making the popular multiplayer mod available for download as an official Steam release. This not only makes the mod much more accessible to the average person, but rightfully legitimizes it as an essential component of the “Just Cause 2” experience.

While the only available release date is still 2013, regardless of whenever this does actually hit Steam it’s already a big win for everyone involved. This is especially true for us, the players, who will now get an even easier chance to experience a sandbox action multiplayer game that is without chaotic equal. Expect to see a popular new wave of insane YouTube videos and jaws on floors when “Just Cause 2′s” multiplayer mode is released by the end of the month

Huge Sales Are Coming to the Xbox 360 Just in Time for the Holidays

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Not able to get in early on the next generation by purchasing an Xbox One, Wii U, or PS4? Don’t worry because with the holidays approaching, you happen to be in luck.

No I don’t mean insane deals are coming on one of those systems (though that certainly is possible), but rather that the previous gen console you own is about to see some serious drops in game prices, allowing you to go back and play some of those great games you may have missed the first time around.

While PC holiday deals started on Amazon and other outlets some time ago, it looks like the Xbox 360 is the first console to throw its hat into the holiday sale madness ring by offering up a host of hugely discounted titles starting today through Xbox Live.

What’s available? Well for now you can get a host of Arcade greats such as “Mark of the Ninja,” “Dust,” and “The Cave,” while some AAA greats like “Fallout 3” (and all the available DLC’s), “Tomb Raider,” “Sleeping Dogs,” and “Skyrim” for 50% – 75% off.

However, it appears that the real deals are coming later in the week, as one day only sales are available on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This is particularly true of the Cyber Monday collection which features some best of generation titles like “Red Dead Redemption,” “Dark Souls,” “The Witcher 2,” “L.A. Noire,” and “Far Cry: Blood Dragon,” all for 75% off.

The full list of games can be found here and, while this is quite honestly nothing in comparison to the PC sales available this time of year, for 360 owners who aren’t ready to make the next gen jump and need some truly great games to play around with during the holidays, this is a sale you absolutely have to take advantage of.

Blood Bowl 2 Could Be A Much Needed Break From The Same Old, Same Old Sports Themed Game

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One of my favorite game growing up was “Mutant League Football” for the Sega Genesis. A parody of the NFL that read like it might have been proofread by the Cryptkeeper (Bones Jackson instead of Bo Jackson, Killer Konvicts instead of Dallas Cowboys, etc.) the game was far from perfect, but it’s complete devotion to making an over the top, often childishly disturbing version of football as we know it was admirable and almost always entertaining.

It was a game where fireballs and landmines were in play, and you could bribe the referee or even murder him if a call didn’t go your way. It’s carefree over the top nature is an even greater breath of fresh air than it was upon the games initial release, especially when weighed against the increasingly stale entrants in the “Madden” series.

Of course since it was an EA title and that company would go on to make all the money in the world from that “Madden” series, “Mutant League” got the axe before it became a full fledged franchise, and theoretical PR nightmare.

This disheartened me for years as I longed for a football game that actually took a fun and creative approach to the subject matter, without sucking too bad (looking at you “Blitz: The League”). It turns out though, that the “Mutant League” games were actually based on an old tabletop strategy game called “Blood Bowl” which has actually been a tabletop tournament staple for years. Unfortunately I’ve never really been able to get into the tabletop gaming scene, and the video game adaptations of the series have been a real mixed bag.

Even still, it’s getting hard to suppress my excitement for the forthcoming “Blood Bowl 2.” In development by Cyanide Studios (developer of the most faithful adaptation of the game to date), little is unfortunately known about the game outside of its usual promise to be the biggest and best digital version of the game to date, with claims of better graphics and animations as well as new modes to back them up.

It’s the usual sequel rhetoric to be sure, but I’ve got to say that the screen shots of “Blood Bowl 2” provided by the game’s publishers are fairly encouraging, and show off a game aesthetically closer to the “Mutant League Football” proper sequel I’ve always wanted.

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Of course, “Blood Bowl” isn’t meant to mimic the real time mayhem of “Mutant League,” but its still going to be interesting to see if Cyanide can do justice to the popular strategy game, and make it accessible enough so that those of us longing for a football inspired game that doesn’t take itself so damn seriously can get on board and find a new addiction when “Blood Bowl 2” is released sometime in 2014.

The Odds On Which Game Sony Will Reveal in Their Upcoming Announcement

To the surprise of many, Sony recently announced they will be hosting an event in NYC tonight which will air on Spike TV and supposedly reveal a major new game for the PS4. Coming on the eve of the PS4 launch, this is certainly odd timing on the company’s part for such an event, and naturally has curiosities peaked.

While those in the know regarding the event are understandably tight lipped, thanks to a few hints and leaks we do know that the game represents the return of a major exclusive Sony franchise and takes place in space. Based on a tweet from Hideo Kojima regarding the event, it’s also safe to assume that he has some involvement with it as well.

Naturally theories are running wild all over the internet as to what this could be, and while there are some franchises that I’d personally love to believe the announcement pertains to (“Front Mission” and “Legend of the Dragoon” jump to mind), looking at the situation realistically based on the information at hand there are some candidates which seem more viable than others. These are the odds for those candidates.

Blasto

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An early 3D action hit for the PlayStation, “Blasto” was definitely a product of its time and as such is more than a little rough around the technological edges. Still though, there is quite the cult fan base for the title and it definitely meets the return of an exclusive franchise and takes place in space requirements.

However, “Blasto” 2 was scrapped due in large part to the death of Phil Hartman, who voiced the titular character, and since that situation obviously hasn’t changed,  it’s hard to imagine the series getting a reboot now. Also, while popular, “Blasto” is not exactly the kind of game that would generate this kind of hype.

Odds – 100:1

Crash Bandicoot/Jak and Daxter

Naughtydog

If you’re trying to focus on returning exclusive franchises that can be worthy of an event, these are the two names that probably jump to mind first. Developer Naughty Dog is Sony’s greatest exclusive asset, and these two long dormant franchises still have lots of mainstream appeal and potential for follow ups.

However, Naughty Dog has already shot down the idea that their next game will take place in space. While it’s hard to believe anything you hear out of the game industry until it definitely comes to pass, the fact the company directly addressed this already does make it quite the longshot.

Odds – 75:1

Syphon Filter

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Released shortly after “Metal Gear Solid,” “Syphon Filter” provided a more action based approach on the stealth genre and did it quite well. Much like “Blasto,” the original games are hindered by the technology of the time, but the franchise overall remained quite strong through out its run.

I suppose the biggest leap of faith here is the “takes place in space” element, which would be quite a venue shift for the series. It’s hard to imagine the game going in that direction, but all things considered, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see this as the reveal.

Odds – 50:1

Colony Wars

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A well crafted and highly innovative space shooter from the PS1, the disappearance of “Colony Wars” from the gaming scene has always been a little bewildering, considering how critically well received the series is and that it sold pretty well.

Buying into the idea “Colony Wars” is the announcement requires you to believe that Sony is willing to reveal a game that doesn’t initially pack a punch, but can impress based on next gen space shooter footage. A “Colony Wars” reveal would send everyone home happy, but it seems slightly unlikely it is worthy of the up-front hype the announcement has generated.

Odds – 25:1

Zone of the Enders

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An exclusive, high-profile, space franchise that hasn’t seen a major new release in a long time but did get a, somewhat, successful HD collection recently and Hideo Kojima is involved in it? I think we have a winner.

“Zone of the Enders 3” was quietly cancelled earlier this year, but the attitude behind the announcement gave off the distinct impression that it was more of a delay than anything. The only real problem with “ZOE” being the reveal is that it fits the criteria so well it’s almost boring. However, much like “Colony Wars,” impressive next gen footage of a major mech battle in space would probably be the real selling point.

Odds – Even

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