Censorship and suppression of public speech and expression has been a big problem for many decades now. From films to magazines, music lyrics to TV shows and video games, there have been many cases where the authorities have gone to great lengths to ban or control into whose hands these products have ended up. Here is a list of 25 video games that got banned for insanely absurd reasons.

25. Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3 is by far the best game of the series (I am only being fair here), but if you live in Indonesia, please don’t go looking for it because you won’t find it. According to the authorities the game portrays life in Indonesia as similar to living in hell and, yes, it can be viewed as such since things like disease, starvation, and plague are some of the game’smain themes.

24. Postal 2

Postal 2 was banned in both Brazil and New Zealand for gross, abhorrent content such as urination, animal cruelty, homophobia, racism, and ethnic stereotyping among other little things. However, the game’s developers took the whole thing lightheartedly and assured that a “careful” gamer (whatever that means) could play the game without conforming to any of its sick content. Who’s kidding whom here? We will probably never know.

23. KZ Manager

KZ Manager was banned in Germany and won the award for the “Most Unnecessary Game of the Year” at the 2001 IGN Awards. To be honest, we can understand the reasoning behind the ban; see, to play this game you have to become a Nazi concentration camp manager where the “resources” to be managed include prisoners who are either Jews or Gypsies. What the hell was the developer thinking?

22. Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow

This game was banned in Indonesia because it includes a fictional terrorist group named Darah dan Doa, which translates to “Blood and Prayer” in English. Oddly enough, the country’s president considered the whole thing a direct threat to him and his people so the game was banned immediately.

21. Homefront

In Homefront the gamer has to fight against a fictional North Korean military occupation of the US. The reason this game was banned in South Korea might sound crazy to most of us in the West, but we all have to admit that living below North Korea is no joke and allowing such a game on the market might upset Kim Jong-un who loves his nuclear weapons a little too much.

20. Saints Row 4

What we’ve learned with Saints Row 4 is how incredibly conservative Australia can be, at least when it comes to video games. Apparently, the game features a weapon with the bizarre name “alien anal probe” and this is the reason the game was banned, because it “obviously” promotes sexual violence.

19. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Ironically, the fact that this game is filled with graphic violence, drugs, and guns didn’t bother the Indonesian authorities at all, but the protagonist CJ’s “no pants” dance with his girlfriend did and is why the game was banned there, while in the “progressive” United States the game received an “Adults Only” rating. Funny people!

18. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Well this game wasn’t technically banned, but it was edited to the point that the original doesn’t look much like the Russian version. See, the Russian mission that one could play in the original was removed and everyone’s happy now in Russia. Putin doesn’t want Russian gamers shooting other Russians, even in a fictional, digital “reality.”

17. Football Manager 2005

You’re probably wondering how football (soccer), in videogame form no less, could ever be banned in somewhere and for what reason. Well, in China recognizing Tibet as an independent nation, even in a sporting event, is a very bad thing so the game was banned as soon as the Chinese authorities found out about it. An edited version was later released worldwide where Tibet wasn’t included as an independent nation and China reconsidered in good faith.

16. Manhunt 2

Both IGN and UGO Entertainment included this game in their top 10 lists of “The Most Controversial Video Games Ever,” while it was ranked first in Gameranx’s list of the “Top 25 Goriest Games of all Time.” However, the uncut version became the first and only game to be refused classification by the British Board of Film Classification(therefore banned), due to excessive violence, a decision that shocked and disappointed the vast majority of British gamers.

15. The Darkness

The Xbox 360 version of this game was originally banned in Singapore because it was thought to be excessively violent and truthfully, there’s nothing wrong with that. Where things get a little cheeky is that shortly after, the ban was lifted for the PlayStation 3 version for some mysterious reason. Let’s be honest here—Sony just paid better, didn’t they?

14. Command & Conquer: Generals

This is one of the weirdest cases and we still can’t understand why China banned this game. The official excuse was that Command & Conquer: Generals portrayed the country in a “negative light” which, to be honest, confused us even more since anyone who has played the game knows that China is portrayed as the good guys and one of the world’s superpowers. Maybe the Chinese interpreter sucked at the game and lied to the Chinese government on purpose? We can’t think of any other logical explanation.

13. Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 picked the Pakistani army as the bad guys at some stage of the game and as expected under such circumstances, the game was banned there. However, the surprise here wasn’t that the game was banned, but that the consequences for selling or playing the game include jail time and community service. Relax guys… it’s onlya game!

12. The Guy Game

The Guy Game made history when it became one of the very few games in American history to get banned. The reason? Much of the game involves watching live-action video footage of sexy women in bikinis, and as the player succeeds in the game the women eventually expose their breasts, which is strangely against the existing pornography laws in the US, where ironically you can get very easy access to boobies in pretty much every hip-hop video and blockbuster film.

11. BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

Let’s get things straight here, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift is just another fighting game a la Street Fighter and Mortal Combat but its copies were violently pulled off store shelves in the United Arab Emirates and several other countries in the Middle East because the local authorities felt that the game’s characters were too raunchy and that their costumes revealed too much flesh. Oh yes!

10. Every Shooting Video Game In Venezuela

In November 2009, the government of Venezuela announced that it would ban all video games in which the objective was to shoot people, and they made sure to keep their promise a few months later. The ban was due to widespread violence in the country. That made Venezuela the first country to ban all violent video games thus making their manufacturing, distribution, selling, rental, exhibition, and use illegal there. Hugo Chávez didn’t play around!

9. Pokemon Trading Card Game

The Pokemon Trading Card Game was banned in Saudi Arabia because the cards supposedly promoted and supported Zionism. According to the mufti, the highest religious authority in the state, the cards have symbols that include the Star of David, which according to the mufti, is connected to international Zionism and is Israel’s national emblem. Nothing can shock us much more after this.

8. Three Sisters’ Story

This Japanese visual novel for your PC, which looks more like digital manga art than a traditional video game, was banned in New Zealand because it supposedly promoted and supported the use of violence to compel a person to submit to sexual conduct, and the exploitation of young persons for sexual purposes. An incomprehensibly harsh decision, not to say comical, especially when you take into account the kind of sexual content you can be exposed watching a blockbuster film in the theater or on TV.

7. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2

It seems like this Tom Clancy series know how to get attention and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 got in hot water and eventually banned in Mexico for the offensive, stereotypical portrayal of Mexican rebels who are depicted as the antagonists. Furthermore, the game negatively stereotyped the city of Chihuahua, which was what led to the ban in the first place. However, the game can be found in the stores of other Mexican states, which means that the ban was only local.

6. Counter-Strike

In 2008 the Brazilian federal court ordered the prohibition of all sales of the game because, in their opinion, the game “brings imminent stimulus to the subversion of the social order, attempting against the democratic and rightful state and against the public safety.” To sum it up, the local Brazilian authorities reacted to a character in the game who uses a map that simulates a favela, aka a Brazilian ghetto.

5. RapeLay

First off, let’s make it clear that RapeLay was appropriately banned in several countries worldwide since it’s one of the sickest video games in history. To get an idea how disturbing this game is, the gamer’s mission is to stalk and rape a mother and her two daughters. However, what shocked us even more is the reason it was banned for good in Argentina: apparently the main issue according to the Argentinian authorities was that one of the two daughters appeared to be underage. So the question is: If all the women in the game were over eighteen then it would be legit to sell it on the open market?

4. Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City

This game was banned in Brazil because it apparently uses music by a Brazilian composer, Hamilton da Silva Lourenço, without permission. Not sure if that benefited Lourenço’s album sales in any way, but we are pretty sure that the man gained many haters in Brazil who are diehard video gamers.

3. Mass Effect

When you first hear that a blatantly disturbing scene of a lesbian encounter between an alien and a human is included in this game, you fully realize why this game was banned in Singapore. Oddly, the fact that an alien was having sex with a human wasn’t the reason for the ban but rather the lesbian action. Homophobic much in Singapore?

2. God of War

Saudi Arabian theocracy is above everything and anything of lesser substance in life, such as video games that include the name “God” in the title, which is considered an extreme blasphemy in the country, and thus an excellent reason for any game with the word in it to be banned there. Additionally, the game’s developers are permanently prohibited from ever entering the country or there will be blood. You get the point, right?

1. EA Sports MMA

Scandinavian countries are known for being really progressive and socially open-minded but they showed no tolerance for this game and banned it for the most ridiculous reason you could imagine. And no, the game wasn’t banned for excessive bloody violence as one might suspect but for marketing specific energy drinks, which is surprisingly against Danish law.

Read more: http://list25.com/25-video-games-that-got-banned-for-insanely-absurd-reasons/

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Ed Sheeran and Macklemore perform at the iHeartRadio Music Festival on Sept. 20 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Image: Ethan Miller/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

LAS VEGAS — What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.

Videocameras descended upon Sin City for the iHeartRadio Music Festival, which was pre-taped over the weekend for its Sept. 29 and 30 broadcast on The CW.

Once televised, the festival will treat viewers with exhilarating performances from radio stalwarts like One Direction, Lorde, Ariana Grande, Calvin Harris and Usher.

Among the most memorable moments: Ed Sheeran teamed up with Macklemore on LGBT anthem “Same Love;” Taylor Swift teased her upcoming album with “Shake It Off;” Nicki Minaj and Iggy Azalea brought rap flavor to the otherwise pop- and rock-heavy event; and Coldplay and Train reminded us why we’re Generation Selfie.

Mashable attended the festival to bring you a sneak peek at what you’ll see. So set your calendars because these are 15 moments you won’t want to miss on TV.

1. Ed Sheeran Duets With Macklemore on ‘Same Love’

Ed Sheeran kept his set simple filling the stage with just himself and his guitar to show off songs from his recent chart-topping sophomore album, X. But unexpectedly, the British crooner brought out Macklemore to tag-team on “Same Love,” the “Thrift Shop” rapper’s LGBT anthem that’s typically performed by Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert.

2. Coldplay and Train Infuse Their Sets With Seflies

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Image: iHeartRadio

What do you do when your audience begs you for a selfie while you’re performing onstage? Well, if you’re Chris Martin of Coldplay or Pat Monahan of Train you grab their phones, grant their wishes and show them how a celebrity selfie is really done.

3. Paramore Lets Young Fan Sing ‘Misery Business’

Hayley Williams of Paramore invited a fan to belt “Misery Business” (see 4:00 mark in the video, above) She gave the fan, Mariah, some solo time to shine before joining her for the head-banging chorus.

4. Taylor Swift Reminds All of Us About ‘1989’

Can you guess what year Taylor Swift was born by just watching that Instagram? Ding, ding, ding. 1989 is correct and it’s also the title of her upcoming pop album. Swift, who opened the entire festival with an impressive medley of hits as “1989” flashed in the background, closed her set with the album’s lead single, “Shake It Off.” Swift also performed a slowed-down, dramatic remix of “Love Story.”

5. Pete Wentz ‘Crowd Surfs’ on Inflatable Raft

Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy surfed amid the crowd inside an inflatable boat, high-fiving fans on his way back to the stage during Steve Aoki’s set.

6. Usher Lights Shoes on Fire With Chris Brown

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Image: iHeartRadio

One way to heat up a dance-off against surprise guest Chris Brown is to light your shoes on fire. That’s what Usher did during their duet of “New Flame.”

7. Nicki Minaj: ‘They Deserve to Be Shitted On’

“Anaconda” rapper Nicki Minaj paused her booty-shaking routing to deliver some words of wisdom: “If you’ve got somebody in your life that don’t want to see you shine, put your number twos in the air ’cause they deserve to be shitted on.”

8. Zac Brown Band Covers ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

The Zac Brown Band incited one of the biggest sing-a-longs of the weekend with an intriguing cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

9. Steve Aoki Throws Bakery Cake at Fans

Like clockwork, electronic house musician Steve Aoki once again hurled a bakery-style cake at some rowdy fans. No champagne showers this time, though.

10. Alicia Keys Puts Baby Bump on Display

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Usher plays with Alicia Keys’ baby bump at the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

When he wasn’t lighting his shoes on fire, Usher was spotted backstage playing with 8-months pregnant Alicia Keys’ baby bump, which graced the stage during her inspiring performance of “We Are Here.”

11. Ariana Grande and Childish Gambino Join Forces

Childish Gambino hopped onstage during Ariana Grande’s set to perform “Break Your Heart Right Back,” their duet that samples Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems” and Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out.”

12. Weezer Jams Out With 4-Man Drum Segment

Representing the alternative rock genre, Weezer closed their set with the 1994 classic “Buddy Holly” and a 4-person drum session.

13. Lorde’s Hair Flips Out

Are you OK, Lorde? Just kidding. We know you give it your all with your vocals and free-spirited, manic moves — but apparently your hair has a life of its own, too.

14. Jennifer Lawrence Supports Chris Martin

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Jennifer Lawrence walks backstage at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.

Image: Mark Davis/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

With dating rumors between Coldplay’s Chris Martin and actress Jennifer Lawrence already aflame, J-Law added some gasoline to the fiery rumors by being spotted backstage the same night night Coldplay performed. Consciously coupled. That’s still unofficial.

15. Ed Sheeran Takes Us Back With ‘No Diggity’

In a soulful mashup, Ed Sheeran smoothly blended his new single “Don’t” with Blackstreet’s “No Diggity” and Chris Brown’s “Loyal.”

BONUS: 24 Musical Tattoos That Strike the Right Chord

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Like Logan Walker in Call of Duty: Ghosts, Sony’s eighth-generation console, the PlayStation 4, has come out of the gates swinging to accomplish a mission. That mission? Getting into as many gamers’ hands as possible — and as quickly as possible.

In the first 24 hours since the $400 PS4 was released on Friday, Sony sold 1 million consoles in the United States and Canada, the company announced Sunday.

“PS4 was designed with an unwavering commitment to gamers, and we are thrilled that consumer reaction has been so phenomenal,” Andrew House, president of Sony Computer Entertainment, said in a statement. “Sales remain very strong in North America, and we expect continued enthusiasm as we launch the PlayStation 4 in Europe and Latin America on Nov. 29.”

Thousands of gamers waited in line to purchase the PS4 at various midnight launch events across North America on Friday, including at the The Standard in New York City, where Sony unveiled game teaser trailers for Uncharted and Destiny.

Despite favorable sales figures and positive reviews, however, some PS4 buyers are reporting that their consoles are defective.

There’s nothing more petty than losing friends over video games — but that doesn’t mean we haven’t all done it.

When you’re really into gameplay, it’s easy to let your emotions take hold of you. You may forget the times you’ve shared together IRL and instead focus on that extremely unfortunate blue shell hit in Mario Kart or how bad your friend is at drumming on Rock Band. And when that happens, you’re tempted to scream and shout and shut them out of both your Facebook and your real life. In a green shell: you hate the player and the game.

These games are probably the biggest catalysts of the sometimes-not-so-friendly fights you have at LAN parties — you’ve been warned.

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This year’s E3 showed off a myriad of new technology intended to enhance our gaming experiences. The impending release of two powerful next generation gaming consoles this holiday season means games are going to become more advanced.

These advancements will not only improve the quality of the games’ looks onscreen, but also allow them to interact with the players unlike ever before. From motion controls to second-screen gaming, E3 offered a glimpse of the bright, innovative future to come in gaming.

Of all the technology on display, we’ve highlighted the five trends we expect to change gaming in the next few years or so. See something we missed? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

1. Motion Controls Get Smarter

While Nintendo’s Wii pioneered motion controls for gaming and Microsoft’s Kinect brought a whole body sensor to the Xbox 360, the current offerings on the market are far from perfect. Motion controls are often gimmicky or added in unnecessarily. Additionally, Kinect’s camera often requires exaggerated movements to follow the player’s action.

Microsoft’s new Kinect for the Xbox One is much more precise than the demos shown at E3. Microsoft’s tech demo showed how it could detect more precise movements. In order to raise your shields and deflect bullets during a first-person shooter style match, you would simply tilt the controller upward. To activate your night vision goggles, you would tap the side of your head, and simply tilt your body left or right to literally lean around corners.

“We tried to make the motions more natural to what a gamer would do,” Yusef Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of marketing and strategy for Interactive Entertainment Business branch, told Mashable.

This may include any natural moves by intense gamers. For example, in a racing game, a player might lean his body into the turns, which this upgraded Kinect would detect.

Harmonix, a company adept at working with the Kinect for its Dance Central games, showed how motion controls could operate in a more abstract way during the demonstration of its upcoming title Fantasia: Music Evolved. In the game, players conduct music with motions, enhancing the world around them. It’s a unique game, and we haven’t seen a control scheme quite like it before.

2. The Evolved Second Screen

At this year’s E3, we saw more second-screen integration from not only console makers, but also from game publishers.

Microsoft revealed much more information on the interaction between tablets running SmartGlass and Xbox One games. In Roman action-adventure game Ryse, for example, players can use tablets to watch friends’ concurrent progress through different levels, along with videos of their conquests. In Xbox One’s Project Spark, a game-creation game, players can use tablets in concert with the controller to create your game world.

Publisher Ubisoft released two titles with their own apps designed for tablets, both which added value for players. In Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, an Android and iOS app functions like a GPS device, allowing players to use it as a map in-game for their quests. When the game isn’t running, the app allows players to send their fleet to quests while they’re not playing.

Tom Clancy’s The Division is a multiplayer, third-person action game that challenges players to control a pandemic in New York. The drop-in/drop-out co-op allows for players to quickly join one another’s games, and also allows for players to join via tablet. That tablet player operates a drone in the game, which can aid its team by marking enemies for takedown, healing allies and surveying the area well. It’s impressive because the player on the tablet is actually taking part in a real-time game session.

Of course, the Wii U tried to bring this idea to fruition last year with its touchscreen GamePad controller. While third-party games take full advantage of the screen’s ability to convey extra information to the player, the screen hasn’t been very widely adopted. Some of Nintendo’s newer first-party titles use the feature frequently, such as in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker Wii U remake, which uses the GamePad screen to swap items rather than forcing the user to pause the game to access a menu.

3. Virtual Reality

Developers have only been working on Oculus Rift for a few months, but already the virtual reality headset shows promise in creativity. Virtual reality often feeks like a gaming pipe dream hallmarked by goofy accessories and poorly functioning technology — but that’s about to change.

Oculus Rift creator Palmer Lucky said his company has come a long way since last year’s E3, when the headset was only being shown off by former id Software co-founder John Carmack. With 10,000 developer kits in the wild (and more shipping), creators from all backgrounds have been working on virtual reality games, and now, Oculus Rift is working with some of the most commonly used engines such as Unreal 4 and Unity.

We played five or six Oculus Rift games at E3. The biggest of note was EVR, created by CCP Games, the makers of EVE Online. This space fighting game was only a tech demo, according to CCP developers, but it still demonstrated the awesome, immersive power of virtual reality.

Other indie titles featuring the Oculus Rift were playable at the IndieCade booth, and each provided a different take on the benefits of virtual reality. Soundself, a game created by Robin Arnott, focused on meditative chanting; the player’s tonal hums made the dizzying spirals in front of his eyes spin and pulse along with the sounds he made.

Oculus Rift continues to expand. The company announced Monday that it received $16 million in venture funding to continue hardware development, and OculusVR showed off its new HD Rift at E3 — a first for the platform.

4. Game DVR and Streaming

It’s hard to ignore the growing trend of gaming as a spectator sport, with the rise of Major League Gaming and Twitch as places for fans to watch live streams of games.

Both Sony and Microsoft have recognized that gamers want to share their content, so they integrated methods in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One to simplify a previously complicated process. Both consoles feature the ability to broadcast gameplay live with minimal work; the Xbox One streams to Twitch, while the PS4 sends live video to Ustream. Both consoles also capture gameplay continuously via game DVR, and both allow players to edit and share key moments with friends.

5. Cloud Computing

Console makers have turned to cloud computing as a way to extend the life of gaming consoles and ensure players get more out of the hardware in their living rooms. Instead of the console acting as the entire workhorse for processing, some will be handled by remote servers.

This isn’t a new idea to gaming. The now-defunct OnLive started a few years ago on the premise that players could harness server power to play a wide variety of games that weren’t on their home computers — and it wasn’t the only company working on that idea. In 2010, Sony purchased streaming company GaiKai, and its technology is now helping power the PlayStation 4’s cloud services.

Sony detailed streaming in its February press conference, sharing that it would be used to eventually bring older PlayStation games to the next-generation console (which are currently incompatible due to radical architecture changes from previous generations). Sony also plans to use cloud computing to allow PlayStation 4 games to stream on the handheld PlayStation Vita.

In an Xbox One demo, Microsoft software engineers harnessed the console’s internal processor to render 40,000 of the asteroids in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, displaying their movement in real time. Then, they showed that with help from Microsoft’s 300,000 servers, the Xbox One could render 330,000 asteroids in that same belt. The engineer explained that this technology could make games look better, increase the map size and decrease load times.

These technologies are the biggest examples of trends found at this year’s E3, but they aren’t the only ones. Gaming is evolving rapidly with the launch of new consoles, new players getting involved in the field and the rise of mobile gaming. I’m sure we’ll see great things in the future, even as soon as next year’s conference.

Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/06/19/gaming-tech-trends/

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If you’re a fan of high-level strategy games and want to kick alien butt Will Smith-style, you’ll be excited to play XCOM: Enemy Unknown. The game, out in two weeks for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, is a reboot of X-COM: UFO Defense, a 1994 strategy classic gamers still reminisce about. The new game, like the original, is made by Firaxis, and will be published by 2K Games.

Aliens have invaded Earth, and a shadowy council has organized the world’s major powers into XCOM (Extraterrestrial Combat Unit) to fight the global siege. If you fail, the planet is toast, so you’d better put your strategizing hat on.

Mashable spent some quality time with Enemy Unknown on the Xbox 360, and it has high potential to satisfy fans of the series and those entirely new to the franchise.

Good for Strategy Newbies

If you aren’t very familiar with turn-based strategy games, Enemy Unknown is ready for you. You’re quickly dropped into the action with a small squad, and the game takes you step-by-step through setting up your troops, finding cover, and shooting a variety of weapons all without dragging you through a burdensome tutorial.

The game absolutely rewards strategic decisions, and doesn’t allow you to run headlong into a fight without really feeling the repercussions. Each soldier’s route is clearly laid as you move them, so you can see if you are running them past danger or if your cover is protective enough. You can gauge almost every decision on statistics, and decide what weapons to use from there.

The fighting is really satisfying and flows well. You are given so many ways to use your squad, especially given the variety of terrain you’ll fight on. Soldiers can run in and out of buildings, and use the roof to take down aliens with a sniper or a rocket launcher. Your squad can also play more defensively thanks to a function called “overwatch,” which allows you to spend turn actions waiting for an enemy to come in range or out of cover so you can fire on it.

The most important thing the game drills into your head early is that the soldiers you send out for missions aren’t a nameless, expendable force. You’ll need to keep them alive so you can promote them, and train them with new skills. It’s all part of the broad asset management system that takes the game to the next strategic level.

More Than One Game

XCOM: Enemy Unknown doesn’t stop at the battlefield, though. Your base can also provide hours of potential gameplay. Once you arrive, you’re greeted with a view referred to as “the ant farm” — a bisected version of your base where you can voyeuristically watch your staff doing their jobs.

You’ll use your base to level up almost everything. You can promote and train soldiers in the barracks, research the alien technologies you’ve collected in the lab, and build new equipment in the engineering room. The number of staff you allocate to those posts determines how quickly you can accomplish objectives, because new equipment is vital to winning battles on the ground.

You’re also given a screen showing the levels of distress of XCOM member nations as they are attacked by aliens. If you let any of those countries boil over, they’ll leave the alliance, and you need their resources. But you also have to weigh that against what countries are offering the best rewards for your help. As you can see, every action has a consequence, and you can take wildly different paths during each playthrough.

The game content doesn’t stop there, because Enemy Unknown also offers a multiplayer mode for a 1-versus-1 battle. Players can pick human or alien soldiers to fill out their squads, then outfit them with weapons based on a certain point buy. Players can even save dream teams for future matches. Playing versus another person wasn’t something available in the original titles, but it allows players to really experiment with unique play styles against their friends.

Reliving Nostalgia

For fans of the series, the refresh should be welcome, and all the improvements made to the game seem to add to its depth. After playing on a console controller, I think I would probably prefer the accuracy of a mouse and keyboard for this game, which makes sense for a strategy title. Some of the console controls seemed a little loose or non-intuitive, but that can also be attributed to only playing for an hour and a half.

The free demo of XCOM: Enemy Unknown is available on Steam, and a console version will follow. If you want to relive your nostalgia, or compare the gameplay of the two, X-COM: UFO Defense is also available on Steam for $4.99. The full version of the game is out Oct. 9.

Are you excited to play XCOM: Enemy Unknown? Let us know in the comments.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/25/xcom-enemy-unknown/

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If you’ve wanted every single member of the Justice League to help you solve a puzzle, or have Superman give you a lift to the top of a building, you’ll be excited about the announcement of Scribblenauts Unmasked.

Scribblenauts, developed by 5th Cell and published by Warner Bros. Interactive, is a franchise that gives the player power to create any object of their imagination by typing it into the game. The open-puzzle game allows players to come at problems with many different solutions.

Now the Scribblenauts world is crashlanding into the DC Comics universe. Players will tour through multiple popular locations in DC lore, including Superman’s Metropolis, Batman’s Gotham City and Aquaman’s underwater home of Atlantis.

To help the game’s hero, Maxwell, solve the puzzles in front of him, he’ll be able to type out any DC character’s name in his magic notebook to summon them. According to an interview in Polygon, every character is included, like all 33 versions of Batman that exist in different chapters of DC’s history. Villains aren’t left out either, and all are rendered in Scribblenaut‘s cute, distinctive art style.

If that sounds a little overwhelming, players will be able to check the character’s information and powers to see how they can best utilize them.

“Challenges in the game encourage broader player choices all set in well-known locations of the DC Comics universe, interacting in new and inventive ways with a wide range of popular DC Comics characters,” said Samantha Ryan, Warner Bros. Interactive’s SVP of production and development.

Scribblenauts Unmasked will also feature a hero editor, where players can mix and match pieces of popular characters to create their own Franken-hero. Want to make a Wonder Joker? No sweat.

Scribblenauts Unmasked will be out this fall for Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Wii U and PC.

Images courtesy Warner Bros. Interactive

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/05/15/scribblenauts-unmasked/

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Universal Music wants you to know that not all kitties are zombies. Keep that in mind when you head over to FindThe13.com, a website set up to give Rob Zombie fans a fun way to earn a free download.

People must hunt for 13 zombie cats amid regular cats, Rob Zombie faces and scantily clad women.

FindThe13.com also promote’s Rob Zombie’s “Thunder Kiss ’65” single, which be on his forthcoming remix album — Mondo Sex Head — that drops Aug. 7.

BONUS: 15 Best Cat Memes Ever [MEOW]

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NBC is offering full-length pilot episodes of Revolution and The New Normal for free online via NBC.com, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon and Xbox.

While the shows’ television premieres are still a little less than two weeks away, their online debuts are part of NBC’s effort to drum up new fans and pique interest prior to their primetime launch.

The network pulled a similar move this January when it offered the pilot episode of its musical drama Smash for free on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and other online video services. And that heavy promotion proved to be a smart investment — Smash‘s Feb. 6 television debut garnered 11.44 million viewers. NBC renewed it for a second season.

“We’re taking the proven success of sampling to the next level, expanding its reach with a comprehensive strategy that makes our entire freshman line-up widely available across multiple digital platforms,” Robert Hayes, executive vice president of NBC Entertainment Digital, said in a July statement.

NBC isn’t the only network to release fall’s most buzzworthy shows online prior to their television debuts. Last week, FOX released the pilot episodes of its upcoming comedies The Mindy Project and Ben and Kate online via Hulu, Facebook and other websites.

The New Normal Pilot

This new comedy is NBC’s answer to ABC’s smash hit Modern Family. The New Normal follows Bryan (Andrew Rannells, Girls, The Book of Mormon) and David (Justin Bartha, The Hangover) in their quest for a baby via their surrogate, Goldie (Georgia King, One Day), who is an extraordinary young woman with a checkered past.

Other notable stars include Ellen Barkin and NeNe Leakes.

The New Normal nestles into its 9:30 p.m. spot on Tuesdays, starting Sept. 11.

Revolution Pilot

J.J. Abrams is famous for his twisting, mysterious plots, and we expect nothing less from his upcoming drama Revolution. The show centers on one family’s struggle to reunite after a massive power outage blacks out every single piece of technology.

Set in a post-apocalypic America, Revolution follows Charlie Matheson (Tracy Spiridakos, Being Human) as she looks for her brother Danny (Graham Rogers, Memphis Beat), who is kidnapped by militia leaders for a darker purpose.

Revolution will slide into Monday’s 10 p.m. time-slot on Sept. 17.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/05/nbc-online-pilot/