From The Fire Panda Research Department

Scribblenauts Unlimited Fire Panda
It was pointed out to me earlier today that despite talking quite a bit about fire pandas in my review of Scribblenauts Unlimited, that I failed to show a single screenshot of my extensive research into the subject.

Rather than simply capture some screenshots, the following video will give you an opening tutorial into how to set your own pandas on fire, as well as a means of allowing them to live longer and more productive lives by spewing fire instead of simply burning from it.

As always, you can catch said knowledge bomb below.

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Mushroom Hunting – Wii U SugarCast

Wii U Mushroom Hunting
Hey Sugarfiends!

In my continuing attempt to digest the weekend launch of Nintendo’s Wii U, I’ve once again patched together a rough audio session with returning champion Shaun Hatton. We’re fumbling through Nintendo’s new online landscape, the Wii U gamepad, and which launch titles are stealing our attention this week.

So give it a listen below and hit us up in the comments with any questions you have that we didn’t manage to cover.

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Hands On with Primordia

Primordia Preview
While cockroaches and Twinkies are generally considered the most likely to survive the inevitable apocalypse ahead of us, Wadjet Eye’s next entry in the point-and-click genre of gaming suggests that religion has an equally disturbing shelf life. Across a wasteland of broken machines and desolated structures, wanderers are not long for encountering the preachy tongue of holy-minded robots.

Hands-on time with a preview build of Wormdwood Studios’ Primordia also offers a few pages of the holy scripture carried by the game’s protagonist, Horatio, left to wander the wasteland with his partner Crispin after a strange robot steals the power core of the derelict ship they call home.

Horatio is a humanist, built in the image of the creator and compelled to build in turn, which quickly explains the origins of his small floating companion Crispin. Knowing oneself in relation to a creator seems rather important in this strange world, seemingly populated entirely by machines, and learning Horatio’s true name serves as the short focus of the demo I recently spent time with.

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They Bleed Pixels on the Dance Floor

They Bleed Pixels on the Dance Floor
Hey Sugarfiends! It’s been a bit quiet around here while I finished up some work elsewhere, so it seemed fitting to break the silence with a dose of audio sugar. This week I caught up with long-time Sugarfriend Shaun Hatton, occassional contributor to Gamesugar, reporter for EP Daily, and the musician responsible for the soundtrack to one of the best indie games of 2012, They Bleed Pixels.

Shaun took time out to talk about the soundtrack, They Bleed Pixels on the Dance Floor, which you can catch up with via Bandcamp with this handy link here.

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The View from FanExpo

FanExpo Canada 2012
FanExpo descended upon the Toronto Metro Convention Centre once again this weekend, and I was fortunate enough to attend the event along with legions of costumed fans, which ran from Thursday until today.

While gaming coverage fed my initial interest, my perspective has been greatly colored by a well worn quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson of all things, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Perhaps this is why, of all that panels offering fans a chance to meet and hear from professionals and celebrities this weekend, the panel that left the deepest impression on me was given by Ubisoft Canada’s PR Manager Jeyson Acevedo, who talked about his transition from gaming journalist to handling PR for the third party developer.

Jeyson discussed the years he spent writing reviews and covering gaming events for free, simply for the opportunity to report on a medium he was passionate about. It was easy to relate to his story given my own experiences on that front, particularly as he mentioned the need to follow your passion even when family and friends might question the countless hours being invested. His talk certainly gave me a renewed burst of energy during a weekend that reminded me of the importance in following one’s passion regardless of where that road might lead and how bumpy it may sometimes feel along the way. Where we might usually talk shop about upcoming titles, Jeyson took the time to tell me about his first year managing PR for Ubisoft, including hand-written letters from young fans which he keeps in view of his desk.

Passion wasn’t just the keyword for Jeyson’s panel, but for the entire event. Where some might question why people lined up in the heat this weekend, many risking dehydration while doing so in elaborately designed costumes, passion isn’t simply the easiest answer, but also the truest one.

Whether I was walking through the Artist Alley and seeing the phenomenal creations of local artists, watching fans excited for an opportunity to try upcoming videogames hands-on for the first time, or absorbing the artistry of countless costumes created by fans, FanExpo was an opportunity to be surrounded by people of immense passion connecting and sharing that energy and creative drive with a community of likeminded souls.

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Upsizing – Hands On with The 3DS XL

3DS XL
Hardware revisions don’t typically excite me, insofar as I could care less about what a console looks like whilst collecting dust beneath my television.

The intimate nature of handheld devices makes changes to design more interesting however, after all, this is something you’re going to carry around and clutch in your hands, giving a bit more to chew on in the balance of features and aesthetics.

For what it’s worth, spending the last week with the 3DS XL has left me resolute that if anyone wants this one, they’ll have to claw it from my cold dead hands.

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Extra Credit – Cutting to the Heart of Lollipop Chainsaw

Pop Lollipop (by Shaun Hatton)
I tend to love and gravitate toward games that are divisive amongst the gaming community rather than those that garner more universal critical acclaim, and the most recent example of this is Suda51’s latest masterpiece, Lollipop Chainsaw, earning plenty of my love while also cutting some sharply divided opinions from the community.

But any art that sparks such differing viewpoints will forever be more interesting than art that everyone can agree upon, and thus has the potential to live longer through discussion and debate. When it comes to art that exists in part as a reflection of a variety of past works, enjoyment can come not only from the piece itself, but also from appreciating its references and inspirations.

Grasshopper Manufacture, Kadokawa Games, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have pooled their creative efforts to bring the world one of the most thoroughly enjoyable pieces of entertainment I’ve experienced this year and, if talking exclusively about games, even this console generation. But appreciation of a game in a vacuum is one thing – appreciation of a game in context of existing pop culture is something completely different, and quite frankly, is where this game shines.

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