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Controller Freak

Chad Sapieha leads you deep into the world of games, covering gaming trends

Entry archive:

'Trials Evolution' a motorcycle game even a wife can love

Chad Sapieha

Imagine my surprise when my wife, who tolerates my vigorous gaming habit mostly because it helps pay the bills, asked if she could have a turn at – of all things – Trials Evolution. A motorcycle racing game.

Actually, calling it a motorcycle racer isn’t entirely accurate. Like its predecessor, Trials HD, it has players driving motorbikes through courses as quickly as possible. But the experience is nothing like, say, a MotoGP game. The Trials games are better described as what Nintendo’s classic Excitebike might have become had it spent the last 25 years wolfing down steroids.

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Review: Phil Fish's 'Fez' is an indie passion project worth playing

Chad Sapieha

Phil Fish could become Canada's Shigeru Miyamoto.

I’ve never made such a comparison in the 15 years I’ve been writing about games, but as I played the just-released Xbox Live Arcade game Fez this weekend it became clear that this young and gifted game maker from Montreal has a preternatural knack for platform game design that outpaces his contemporaries, and by some distance.

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GameStop ordered to reimburse customers for used games sold without online passes

Chad Sapieha

Most of us have begrudgingly accepted that if we buy our games used, we now have to cough up an extra $10 or $15 for a code that will let us play online, since the one in the box will likely have been redeemed by the game’s original owner.

Californian gamers are a little more feisty.

U.S. law firm Baron and Budd has filed and won a lawsuit against GameStop in the District Court for Northern California that requires the world’s largest game retailer to post visible signs explaining that consumers will need to pay extra to play some used games online. The suit also includes a class action settlement that offers reimbursement to people who have already bought these games. They're eligible to receive a total of $15 in a mixture of cheques and coupons for each game purchased.

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Xbox puzzler 'The Splatters' makes physics fun

Chad Sapieha

Spend five minutes with Spiky Snail’s The Splatters, which hits Xbox Live Arcade April 11th, and you’ll likely be left with a furrowed brow.

Its objectives aren’t immediately evident and its controls aren’t instantly intuitive. You’ll have a notion that you’re supposed to fling colourful, googly-eyed blobs around, making them splat into walls and coat sticky jelly things lying around the play area, but the details regarding exactly how to do this won’t come into focus. There’s a good chance you’ll cue to its presentation, which carries an agreeable LittleBigPlanet aroma thanks to a delightfully lighthearted score, playful menu design, and quirky levels built around oversized everyday objects, but that probably won't be enough to make you keep playing.

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Review: Kinect Star Wars is a game only a kid could love

Chad Sapieha

I review games from the perspective of an adult. I mention this because my daughter just informed me that if she were the one writing a review of Kinect Star Wars, she’d give it “100 out of 10” and tell readers that any parents who don't purchase it for their children are bound to have a “rebel alliance of kids” on their hands. (I know. She's awesome.)

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Ngmoco exec says free-to-play Skyrim equivalent just years away

Chad Sapieha

Here’s something to noodle over: One day not too long from now we may not pay up front for any of the games we play. Instead, we’ll play for free for a while, and, if we like it, we’ll begin shelling out for extra features and modules to augment the experience. If we really enjoy the game and keep playing, we’ll eventually spend about what we pay right now for a typical boxed console or PC game.

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Gamer entitlement on the rise: Call of Duty fans call for 24-hour blackout

Chad Sapieha

A group of angry Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 fans is trying to round up support for a 24-hour multiplayer blackout in an attempt to make the hit military shooter’s developer alter certain aspects of the game.

A video uploaded to YouTube on March 26th lists about a dozen gripes that range from the specific – like lag compensation and the need for an "Akimbo machine pistol nerf" – to the vague, including demands for “more hardcore game modes” and “better elite playlist options.”

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Cruddy controls force Kid Icarus into a crash landing

Chad Sapieha

It’s clear that Nintendo poured plenty of resources into Kid Icarus: Uprising, the much anticipated 3DS revival of a series that’s been collecting dust for more than 20 years.

The Japanese game giant handed the reins to Masahiro Sakurai, the same fellow who looks after the publisher’s popular Super Smash Bros. games, and he’s done a bang up job of bringing the classic series into the modern age of splashy visual design. The game very nearly sparkles as our angelic protagonist Pit takes to both sky and ground to once again battle Medusa’s bizarre-looking forces. It's especially pretty during aerial missions, where we streak through the clouds and zoom low over cities and canyons at what I imagine are mach speeds. Nintendo hasn’t made many finer looking handheld games.

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Is Kickstarter a new way to cut game publishers out of the picture? [Updated

Chad Sapieha

Middle men. Who needs them?

Not Brian Fargo, founder of inXile Entertainment. His studio has raised $1.5-million and counting from nearly 30,000 people on popular crowd-funding site Kickstarter to create a sequel to quarter-century-old post-apocalypse role-playing game Wasteland. He requested only $900,000 to start, and still has three weeks left in his five-week campaign.

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Are games art? 'Journey' moves debate to new ground

Chad Sapieha

Journey is less a video game and more a work of interactive poetry.

Made by ThatGameCompany – the same people who brought us Flower , a game that’s become synonymous with the concept of games-as-art – it is a meditative and reflective work the value of which stems from the player's ability to find personal meaning in what he or she experiences.

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Authors

Chad Sapieha

Chad Sapieha has been covering the video game industry in print and broadcast since 1997. He began writing about games for The Globe and Mail in 2004.

Follow Chad on Twitter @chadsapieha