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The 404 1,329: Where we're black and red all over (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Thousands sign petition to remove Ben Affleck as Batman.

- Hackers crack the surprise ending of Grand Theft Auto V.

- JustDelete.me may be the Internet escape hatch you're looking for.… Read more

Portable gaming revisited: The 3DS and Vita matter, but for different reasons

The 3DS hits its stride We have a rule: if a game platform has 10 good games, it's worth getting if it's affordable. That "rule of 10" means the Nintendo 3DS is finally worth investing in, if you care about great portable Nintendo games. The game library's filled out at last, and it's now, without a doubt, the best Nintendo platform of the moment. Game for game, it might even be the most impressive platform so far in 2013.… Read more

The 404 1,295: Where we telegraph it in (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Ants aren't the only ones destroying electronics: Bored pets are, too.

- Snapcat: A photo app for cat selfies.

- Stop the presses: Today is the last day to send a telegram in India.

- RIP Google Reader: Today it is kaput.

- What happens when a guy logs in under his wife's gamer tag? Understanding sexism in gaming.

- Computer and printer prices to rise in EU because you can print copywritten stuff.… Read more

Four simple ways to overcome the PS4's challenges

It's been weeks since the PlayStation 4 event underwhelmed many people. Myself included. But as time has passed, my mind's become clearer as to why, exactly, I was so disappointed. It's a challenge for the PlayStation 4 to overcome, but it's also a challenge of all "next-gen" consoles.

I hate the term "next-gen" as much as anyone else, but that's what happens when you have one piece of hardware sit out on the market for six or seven years while you anticipate what the Next Big Thing will be. "Next-gen&… Read more

The 404 1,212: Where there's a PS4...in the controller? (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Sony PS4 is official: Coming in 2013, but design and price remain a mystery.

- Five unanswered questions about PlayStation 4.

- Sony: Fear not, the PlayStation 4 will play used games.

- Making sense of the PS4 game lineup.

- Sony plans second-screen app for PlayStation 4.

- Sony mum on PlayStation Vita price drops for U.S., Europe.

- Microsoft spokesman takes potshot at PS4 event.

- Sony PS4 event skewered in animated parody.… Read more

Sony chats up future of Music Unlimited, PlayStation Store

LAS VEGAS--Nearly three years after the formation of Sony Network Entertainment, the company still struggles to capture consumer attention with its Music Unlimited media-streaming service, but things look better than ever for the PlayStation Store.

Sony Network Entertainment COO Shawn Layden remains upbeat despite his company living in the shadow of Pandora, Xbox Live, and other competitors. In a conversation with CNET, Layden relayed the primary goals for Sony's entertainment services: bring content to more regions, expand the number of compatible devices, and design a common user interface across device categories.… Read more

PlayStation Mobile still aims to take on iOS, Android games

Despite Sony's focus on mobile games via the PlayStation Vita, there's been a second, parallel path in the mobile game front taken via PlayStation Suite. That initiative, now called PlayStation Mobile, was detailed with additional hardware partners and promises of indie-friendly openness at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany.

PlayStation Mobile aims to take small-scale gaming to a wider variety of devices: Sony Xperia phones and tablets, select Android devices, and the PlayStation Vita. These games will download on all formats and be cross-compatible, in an attempt to build an ecosystem that can extend beyond traditional handheld game systems like … Read more

There's a DJ in my Vita and its name is Sound Shapes

Since its relatively impressive launch last February, there's been a disconcerting lack of quality software titles available for Sony's powerful portable. Sure, there's a few notable games on the horizon including LittleBigPlanet, Call of Duty, and Assassin's Creed, but it's the downloadable efforts that really hold the true potential of the system.

Sound Shapes first debuted at E3 2011, where it headlined Sony's debut of the Vita. Since then it has slipped under the radar, quietly being developed by Queasy Games and Santa Monica Studio.

Now with the game ready to go, we're wondering if Sound Shapes is the shot in the arm that the Vita needs or if it's a disappointing casualty of its own hype machine.… Read more

The Walking Dead game is not what you think, and that's a good thing

Image Comic's "The Walking Dead" series has seen explosive success over the past few years even though the monthly comic book has been in production for nearly nine years with its 97th issue due out mid-May. It's been licensed out in almost every way imaginable, highlighted by an adapted television drama that just concluded its second season on AMC.

As a longtime fan and reader of "The Walking Dead," I've realized that what makes the franchise so good is that it focuses more on the human reaction to a worldwide outbreak rather than the carnage an apocalyptic zombie narrative could more easily weave. It's not without a fair share of gore, but its black-and-white pages force you to consider emotions first and bloodlust second.

So while it's no surprise then that "The Walking Dead" has now found its way into a video game, I was curious to see how developer Telltale Games would convert the character-driven series into a game, especially since Telltale's story focuses on a main character not yet discovered in the comic or TV show.… Read more

Indie games steal the spotlight this spring

Sure, the future of gaming may see the end of used games, but it's also ushering in a wave of independent and download-only titles that may not have otherwise seen the light of day.

Current-generation consoles have provided independent studios with accessible platforms like Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) and the PlayStation Network (PSN) that exposes their work to millions of gamers, similar to what the App Store has done for iOS developers.

Microsoft has even taken it a step further with its XNA initiative, ensuring that literally anyone can create a game.

The widespread embrace of these titles has encouraged others to follow suit and has paved the way for indie classics like Braid, LIMBO, Bastion, Minecraft, and most recently, Journey.… Read more