Ben Silverman

  • Review: Energized ‘Madden NFL 16’ airs it out, hauls it in

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    When they aren’t busy   building a football rocket launcher for Rob Gronkowski, the developers at EA Sports presumably sit around thinking about what in the world to do with   Madden .

    Not that they have to do much.   Some years are better than others, but even when   Madden   slips a little, it sells in the millions (technically, over 100 million since the franchise’s 1988 debut). That’s partly because it has lots of fans, but it’s also because it’s the only football game in town; thanks to a vise-like grip on the NFL license,   Madden   hasn’t had any real competition for over a decade (R.I.P., beloved   NFL 2K   series).

    So each year EA has to find a way to sell you a football game that is pretty similar to, but just different enough from, the one you bought last year. Periodically, that means adding a new feature or two that fundamentally alters the way the game is played.

    What’s Hot: Great new passing controls; Draft Champions is a blast; Looks amazing What’s Not: When it isn’t loading; Performance issues; Other modes are mostly unchanged

  • T-Rex, Rex Ryan, and McLovin' star in this ludicrous 'Madden 16' trailer

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    That was just the warm-up.

    To promote Madden NFL 16 ( due out August 25), the game maker brought back Franco, traded Hart for Christopher Mintz-Plasse, strapped Rob Gronkowski into a two-armed football cannon, blinded Colin Kaepernick, gave Julio Jones a broken flat-top and an old-school karate chop, snuck onto a Bollywood film set, and apparently hired Danny McBride’s character from Tropic Thunder to handle the pyrotechnics.

    Also, there’s a T-Rex. And Rex Ryan.

    The result is “Madden: The Movie,” a five-minute trailer for an action film that doesn’t exist, but absolutely should. Because it would be incredible (and probably terrible).

    EA’s desperately trying to go viral here — that overlong Julio Jones karate chop scene is undoubtedly being turned into a thousand gifs right now — and it has next to nothing to do with Madden NFL 16 . But hey, last year's video did over 15 million views, and if EA’s determined to waste some money, it might as well be entertaining. Now excuse me while I watch Julio Jones karate chop that guy for the rest of the day.

  • Iron Maiden’s new video is an insane trip through video games

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    Yep, that’s Iron Maiden mascot Eddie (aka Eddie the Head) puling a Tron by getting digitized and sent into a variety of video games. He dodges flaming TVs in an homage to Donkey Kong , blasts killer robots in a Terminator -esque side-scroller, battles The Beast in a Mortal Kombat nod, and vaporizes a skeletal T-Rex in a first-person shooter. He collects hearts. His high score is 666,666. I love this video.

    This isn’t Maiden’s first time dabbling in video games. In 1999, the band released a game called Ed Hunter to support a tour and ‘Greatest Hits’ album. The objective? Guide Eddie through a collection of the group’s iconic album covers while listening to Iron Maiden songs. The game kind of sucked, but the concept was awesome.

    Also (probably) awesome is Iron Maiden’s 16 th studio album, The Book of Souls, which arrives on September 4.

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  • Chicago Blackhawks player Patrick Kane yanked from cover of 'NHL 16'

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 1 mth ago

    EA Sports has announced that Patrick Kane, the All-Star forward from the Chicago Blackhawks, will be removed from the cover of their upcoming hockey game, NHL 16 . Kane is currently under investigation over sexual assault allegations.

    Official statement regarding Patrick Kane.

    The game, which launches on September 15 for the Xbox One and PS4, initially featured both Kane and teammate Jonathan Toews on the cover. Kane’s removal has led to a totally new picture of Toews holding aloft the Stanley Cup.

    This was to be Kane’s second stint on an EA Sports NHL cover, having first appeared on the box for NHL 10 . Toews graced the cover of NHL 11 .

    According to The Buffalo News, a woman in Hamburg, New York has accused Kane of overpowering and raping her in his home. Charges have yet to be filed against Kane as police continue their investigation.

  • This amazing pixel art was made with over one million ‘Minecraft’ blocks

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 3 mths ago

    You can build incredible things in Minecraft , from a space shuttle to Minas Tirith to a working computer. But even the coolest architectural wonder pales next to this ridiculous piece created by a pixel art master known as Thorlar Thorlarian.

    That’s right. The picture at the top of this story is actually a top-down snapshot of a vast Minecraft world.

    How vast? Thorlar used 1,128,960 Minecraft blocks to recreate the official wallpaper from the 2010 BlizzCon fan event. He did the entire thing by hand, dropping one block at a time. It took him nearly six months to complete it.

    Don’t believe it? Here's the video:

    Thorlar’s insane work wasn’t just for the sake of art — it was also for charity. He livestreamed his work via Twitch, earning $3,500 for the Make-A-Wish foundation in the process. He’s raised over $11,000 since joining Twitch in 2014.

  • Review: Explosive 'Batman: Arkham Knight' is the hero gamers need right now

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 3 mths ago

    He hangs out in caves. He’s haunted by the past and obsessed with the future. He probably has rabies.

    But we admire Batman. We identify with him. He’s human, and broken. Like us, he’s just trying to make sense of things. Where other heroes rely on super powers to succeed, Batman gives us hope that, with a little ingenuity, a lot of exercise, and a few billion dollars, any one of us could don the cowl and become the Bat.

    For years, Rocksteady’s Arkham games have been the best way to do this. They didn’t put the Dark Knight on the video game map so much as tear up the map and draw a new one. 2009’s Arkham Asylum was a taut, brilliant action game; Arkham City blew it up into a dense, open-world playground. Each was, at the time, considered the best superhero game ever made.

    That’s a lot to live up to, but for the most part, Rocksteady has found a way to match its past work. Despite a few missteps, Batman: Arkham Knight ($59.99 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC) is the biggest, boldest, baddest Batman game yet, a feature-rich showstopper that proves a satisfying end to a terrific trilogy.

    What’s Not: The Batmobile; excessive vehicular madness; feature creep

  • Star Fox, Super Mario headline Nintendo's lukewarm E3 2015

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 3 mths ago

    Nintendo is pinning its year on a pilot and a plumber.

    During the company’s quirky Nintendo Direct digital event at the annual E3 video game trade show in Los Angeles, Nintendo laid out its plans for 2015 and beyond. And while a few notable new announcements will make die-hard fans happy, it’s clear that the company is biding its time for its next system, codenamed NX.

    That particular device was only mentioned in passing, leaving the bulk of the event to focus on several titles key to 2015.

    Featured game Star Fox: Zero , the latest in the colorful space dogfighting series, lets players fly a ship from a third-person perspective on the TV and in a first-person cockpit view using the Wii U Gamepad. The ship also transforms into a mech-like Walker at the touch of a button. It’s due out this holiday.

    The company’s other big Wii U holiday release, Super Mario Maker , will let gamers celebrate the 30 th anniversary of the iconic mascot by building, sharing, and playing platforming levels based on several popular Mario games. It’s set for release on September 11.

    Good lineup for the 3DS, though.

  • Donkey Kong and Bowser are the first ever Skylanders-amiibo hybrid toys

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 3 mths ago

    Cats and dogs, living together!

    Or in this case, it’s Nintendo’s amiibo figures and Activision’s Skylanders — in the same toy.

    What?! Indeed, the two companies have joined forces to create the world’s first toys-to-life hybrid. Two of them, actually. Say hello to Hammer Slam Bowser and Turbo Charge Donkey Kong.


    Revealed during Nintendo’s E3 2015 digital event, these upcoming Donkey Kong and Bowser figures will guest star in the Wii U, 3DS, and Wii versions of the upcoming Skylanders: SuperChargers . They even come with vehicles: Bowser’s flying Clown Cruiser, and Donkey Kong’s land-based Barrel Blaster.

    As with any standard Skylanders character, you can stick them on the game’s portal of power and warp them into the game world. You can also upgrade their move sets and abilities — Donkey Kong’s barrel toss will grow in power the more you play as the great ape, for instance.

    But here’s where it gets crazy. Twist the little base at the bottom of the figure, and it’s now in amiibo mode.

    How exactly did this happen?

    “This needed to fit within that Skylanders storyline. When you look at the execution in the game, it just looks right,” he said.

  • Watch all the E3 2015 press conferences right here

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 3 mths ago

    E3 2015 is here! Er, almost. The show technically starts at noon on Tuesday, June 16, but most of the big news breaks well before that during the half-dozen press conferences that take place the day(s) prior.

    This year, usual suspects Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, EA and Ubisoft are joined by Bethesda and Square-Enix. Expect tons of huge announcements, crazy trailers, and probably a few embarassing moments like this and this.

    You can watch it all go down right here (if you don't see a video, just click the link):

    Watch live video from Nintendo on

    The press conferences kick off Sunday night and run through Tuesday morning. Here's the schedule:

    7:00 pm (PT) - Bethesda The company's first ever E3 press conference should be a doozie, featuring new info about games like Fallout 4 , DOOM , The Elder Scrolls Online , and the just-leaked Dishonored 2 .

  • What to expect from E3 2015

    Ben Silverman at Plugged In 3 mths ago

    The 2015 version of E3 — short for the Electronic Entertainment Expo — descends upon downtown Los Angeles next week, bringing with it a good 50,000 journalists, analysts, game makers, and retailers. For the first time in years, the industry event will invite 5,000 lucky fans to attend the three-day conference, a golden ticket to a Los Angeles Convention Center crammed to the gills with the latest and greatest in interactive entertainment. From blockbuster console games to low-key PC indies to barfy VR experiments, E3’s got it all.

    So what should gamers expect from this year’s show?

    That would be Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, who have annually treated the show as a console war battleground. The cheap shots have softened a bit over the years, but in general, this is where you’ll hear some of the biggest announcements from the console manufacturers.

    While Sony and Microsoft swat at each other, Nintendo does its own thing these days at E3. The company has opted out of the big press conference war and instead will broadcast an informative video on Tuesday morning. They know their fans and prefer to speak to them directly.