Researchers Use Kinect, Doppler Radar to Help Elderly

September 7, 2011 -

Researchers at the University of Missouri and independent living community TigerPlace have been using motion-sensing technology to monitor test and monitor changes in elderly residents’ health for several years. Now, researchers have turned to video game technology combined with security systems as an effective way to detect the early onset of illness and to watch for fall risk in seniors.

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UFC Personal Trainer and Blurring the Lines on Violent Video Games

August 4, 2011 -

Is using a Kinect martial-arts simulator like UFC Personal Trainer like practicing martial arts or like playing a videogame? The answer is neither, according to a guest editorial on Wired's Game|Life written by Paul Ballas, a Philadelphia-area child psychiatrist. Ballas's editorial, "UFC Trainer Is Helpfully Violent," comes to the conclusion that, while UFC Personal Trainer is based on a violent fighting franchise, it could also have positive effects on kids' health.

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Microsoft Shows Off Family Friendly Kinect Gaming to Lawmakers

June 24, 2011 -

Last night Microsoft hosted the second annual Capitol Hill Family Game Night, bringing its games and technology to the nation's capital where policymakers and their families learned more about Kinect, Xbox 360 and various games. The event was presented in cooperation with congressional hosts Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.), Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.).

The event, which took place in the Rayburn House Office Building, and featured the controller-free Kinect for Xbox 360 and such games as the upcoming games Kinect: Disneyland Adventures and Dance Central 2. Picturing lawmakers shaking their stuff in front of a camera or flying through the sky like Peter Pan is kind of scary, but apparently all involved had fun.

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Kinect Fun Labs Goes Live on Xbox Live

June 6, 2011 -

During its E3 press conference in Los Angeles today, Microsoft announced Kinect Fun Labs, a place for indie and professional developers to create and share Kinect-related innovations and games. Serving as an incubator for developing new and exciting applications and games for the Kinect device, the general public can check out some of the things that have already been created on Xbox Live via the Kinect fun Labs channel.

Microsoft showed off several interesting applications, including an application to scan yourself into the system and create a more realistic avatar, a screen drawing program that creates drawings in a 3D space and an object capture app that brings to life inanimate objects. While these things are mere experiments, such baubles could easily be implemented into games or into the Xbox Dashboard.

You can check it out now simply by logging on to Xbox Live.


How Kinect is Helping Parkinson's Patients

May 18, 2011 -

Serious games developer Red Hill Studios has developed a series of games designed specifically to help Parkinson's patients using physical therapy. Red Hill is working with the UCSF School of Nursing on the software, which uses Microsoft's Kinect. The software offers users specific motions and gestures that have been proven effective in improving the gait and balance of those suffering from the disease.

"These games demonstrate the value of combining innovative health game designers with a top flight clinical team," said Bob Hone, creative director of Red Hill Studios. "Creating games that are both fun to play and provide concrete medical benefits takes a special kind of team. We are much more than the sum of our parts."

From Red Hill's web site:

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Killzone 3 Controlled by Kinect

March 21, 2011 -

Nothing is impossible with a little ingenuity, some software and some technical wizardry - as evidenced in the following video. While it is a messy implementation, the demonstration in the video shows Microsoft's Kinect being used with the PlayStation 3 game Killzone 3. Hacker Shantanu Goel created a PC program to make it work on the PS3, and as the video shows, the implementation can safely be called "alpha." Even though this Kinect hack has its share of issues, it is nonetheless an interesting and unorthodox way of controlling a game that is already designed to work with move.

3 comments

Playing Street Fighter 4 Using Kinect

January 20, 2011 -

Modder "demize2010" has created a Kinect hack that allows players to control Street Fighter IV using gesture controls. Using a Kinect and the FAAST SDK software, demize2010 managed to map Ryu and Ken's moves to specific gestures. When the user punches, throws a fireball, or kicks, the character does the moves on screen.

You can find out more about it at Kinect Hacks. Check out the video to the left to see it in action.

Source: Joystiq

1 comment

Kinect Makers Raise $50 Million in Funding

January 13, 2011 -

The creators of the Kinect motion sensing technology for Xbox 360 are raking in the investment cash. According to Globes, Israel-based company PrimeSense has raised $50 million in funding. The cash comes from existing investment firms including Silver Lake, Gemini, Genesis, and Caanan Partners. With the additional $50 million, PrimeSense has a total investment of $79 million.

Company president Aviad Maziels says that PrimeSense has had many acquisition offers, but wants to remain independent and remain part of the business community in Israel.

"We constantly get acquisition offers, but we want to be part of an industry in Israel and we don't intend to be easily sold," he said.

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Microsoft Claims It 'Ran Out' of Xbox 360's in December

January 13, 2011 -

According to a couple of short tweets from Microsoft's Larry Hryb, Microsoft ran out of Xbox 360's in December. That shortage may extend to January and February, according to Hryb, who added that the Xbox 360 will see amazing year-over-year growth.

"NPD tomorrow. I found out we ran out of consoles at end of the month so don't expect to win Dec," said Hryb over Twitter.

"Jan/Feb supply is tight as well. Likely amazing YOY growth numbers for Xbox," he added.

Analyst firm Wedbush Morgan predicts that Microsoft sold 2.5 million Xbox 360 units during December, up an incredible 92 percent year-over-year, but did not beat Nintendo, who managed to move 2.6 million Wii's. Sony moved 1.2 million PlayStation 3 units during December, according to Wedbush Morgan.

NPD numbers for December are to be released later today.

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Ballmer: Kinect Support Coming to PC

January 7, 2011 -

For those who may have been wondering if Microsoft would "officially" support Kinect on the PC, wonder no more. During CES this week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed that its camera-based motion sensing controller.

"We’ll support that in a formal way, in the right time," Ballmer told the BBC. "When we have an announcement to make, we’ll make it."

Of course, hackers and programmers have been making interesting hacks to the peripheral that do everything from controlling robots to making games like Ubisoft's RUSE playable using the device.

"We certainly started out with Xbox, very focused on gaming," Ballmer told the BBC. "We’re trying to do two major things. We’re trying to move beyond gaming and include the world of socialization, TV, movies, music. And we’re trying to make the whole experience accessible to everybody in the family, not just the traditional gamer."

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Microsoft Rolls out the Big Numbers in CES Keynote

January 6, 2011 -

Microsoft announced during its Consumer Electronics Expo keynote that it managed to sell 8 million Kinect units in the last 60 days. This was well below what the company projected back in November - 5 million units. Microsoft did not details how these units were sold - bundles, single SKU's or packed in with systems.

Most analyst were conservative in their estimates of Kinect sales by the end of January: most predicted 4.5 million sold by the end of January. It turns out they were way off the mark on that one.

Microsoft also announced that 30 million people have accounts on Xbox Live, though how many are gold and silver level subscriptions were not disclosed. This number is up five million from November 2010.

Finally, Microsoft said that 50 million Xbox 360 units have been sold worldwide to date. Again, no details on how many of those units sold in the last 60 days were bundled with Kinect.

3 comments

GameStop Enjoys Record Holiday Season

January 6, 2011 -

Video game retailer GameStop reported record sales of $3.02 billion for the nine-week holiday season that ended on January 1. This marked a 5.4 percent increase over the same period last year, driven by Kinect sales, and "strong sell through" of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 titles such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. The company also reported 32 percent growth in gift card sales during the month of December.

New hardware sales improved 7.4 percent based mostly on the successful debut of Microsoft's Kinect. New video game software sales increased 3.3 percent.

Microsoft Denies Kinect Red Ring Connection

January 6, 2011 -

Is Microsoft's Kinect peripheral causing Xbox 360's everywhere to fail? That's the question a BBC report asks. Microsoft says that all of this talk of "Red Rings and Kinect" is coincidental.

Admittedly, BBC Radio 4's You and Yours program doesn't gather much evidence on the matter. The program talks to a ten-year named old Adam Winnifrith, whose console "red-ringed" after connecting the Kinect to it. The next morning, his Xbox 360 continued to show the dreaded international distress signal for "Xbox 360 down."  

"We plugged it in the day we got it but only played it a few times before we got the red lights," said Adam. "The next day when we tried it again we still had the red rings of death and haven't been able to use it since."

Microsoft says that this is all mere coincidence.

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RUSE using Kinect on PC

January 3, 2011 -

German multi-touch display manufacturer Evolouce has been mucking about with Kinect and has managed to create a hack that allows PC gamers to play Ubisoft's RUSE the way it was meant to be played.

Using this hack, the user's right hand controls cursor movement, while the left hand acts as the left mouse button command for unit selection, giving orders, and more.

The video to the left shows it all off. Xbox 360 developers may want to pay close attention to how these developers use Kinect to make a real-time strategy game work with a special input device.. Perhaps this new application of the technology can be ported back to the 360 to make strategy games suck less on consoles?

Source: VG247 by way of RPS


Play World of Warcraft Using Kinect

December 28, 2010 -

Researchers at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies have software that enables PC games to work with Microsoft's Kinect sensor. The software is called Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST). It apparently emulates custom configured keyboard controls that are activated by body movements.

The most interesting part about this software can be seen in the video embedded in this story - it shows researchers playing World of Warcraft using the Kinect and the toolkit.

While the software is interesting for games, it may have other more practical uses such as "active gaming" to fight childhood obesity or "motor rehabilitation" for stoke victims.

Check out the video. For a technical overview of the software, check out ict.usc.edu.

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Kinect, Sex Games, and Your Local News

December 27, 2010 -

What is the best way to handle a news story about an adult-themed Kinect game you might have seen on YouTube? Create a report about it where parents are concerned about their kids playing it. Forget for a minute that it's not actually available on a regular retail Xbox 360 with a Kinect, or that it is basically just a video floating around YouTube..

That is exactly what Martina Valverde, Morning News Reporter at KFox TV in El Paso, Texas did in a report called Adult Video Game In The Works For Kinect System Has Parents Concerned. In the report, she apparently brings the video of an adult groping game to the attention of parents who have a five-year-old son. The son got the game system for Christmas.

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Report: Microsoft Supporting Kinect Use on PC

December 22, 2010 -

Korean developer GamePix has decided that it will use Microsoft's Kinect motion sensing device for an upcoming massively multiplayer online game. Speaking to Inc. Gamers, GamePix's Jason Lim, "The game's support of gaming pads make it resemble console games even more, and is scheduled to support Kinect."

The game, Divine Soul, features combat similar to a beat 'em up like Tekken, which may use Kinect or a Gamepad.

While it is unclear how this game might use Kinect, the story on Inc. Gamers indicates that Microsoft plans to support the device on the Pc - or at least look the other way when developers hack the device for legitimate purposes that don't involve groping women with on screen hands.

We also do not know if Microsoft will only allow this is Asia, or if this is something that will be allowed in the west.

We will have to wait and see.


Microsoft Says 'No Thank You' to Kinect Groping Game Idea

December 20, 2010 -

Microsoft is not having any part of what Australian adult entertainment company ThriXXX plans for Kinect. Last week the company posted a video of a groping application that used the Kinect camera to touch the naughty bits of women. This week Microsoft has publicly offered a "no thank you" to the company, telling the Los Angeles Times that a sex game is not a great fit for a device that is designed to be family friendly.

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Rule 34 Fulfilled: The Kinect Groping Sim

December 16, 2010 -

Update: As one commenter points out, this hack "fulfills" Rule 34, it doesn't "break" it. I've updated the headline and the text below to reflect that.

Original Story:

Kinect hackers have done some interesting things with Microsoft's motion-sensing camera device like making it control RC vehicles, created a "Minority Report" style control scheme, and a hack to track a body while not using an Xbox 360. The latest hack finally fulfills Rule 34. It was inevitable, of course.

The Urban Dictionary defines Rule 34 in the following manner:

"Generally accepted internet rule that states that pornography or sexually related material exists for any conceivable subject."

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Wake Forest Professor Offers Holiday Advice For Parents

December 14, 2010 -

Marina Krcmar, associate professor of communication at Wake Forest (Winston-Salem, NC), thinks that most parents just do not have a clue about the affects video games can have on children. Krcmar studies the impact of video games and other media on children and teens. She doles out free advice in a press release urging parents to pick games that are age appropriate and to get educated about the video games kids should be playing.

"Greater realism leads to greater immersion; greater immersion leads to greater effects. One of those effects can be increased aggression."

"The T-rating and M-rating for video games are not very consistent and not very informative for parents, so parents need more information," Krcmar says.

"The quality of the graphics and the sound in this year's new video games is amazing," she says, "It's getting closer and closer to virtual reality."

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Kinect Open-Source Drivers Released

December 11, 2010 -

The hacking community has been unraveling the complexities of the Kinect Motion sensor since its release, but the company that created the technology in Microsoft's motion sensing device are taking it a step further. These releases allow homebrew enthusiasts to make Microsoft's motion sensing device do things besides work with Xbox Live menus and with games.

PrimeSense, the company that created the motion-sensing technology that powers Kinect, has created OpenNI, a not-for-profit organization formed with two other companies to "promote the compatibility and interoperability of Natural Interaction (NI) devices, applications and middleware." The drivers, the NITE motion tracking middleware, and OpenNI binaries are available for both Windows and Ubuntu at www.openni.org.

Source: Joystiq


Pachter: Kinect Outsells Move 5 to 1

December 11, 2010 -

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter points out that Microsoft's Kinect outsold Sony's Move by 5 to 1 at retail in the month of November. In his latest report, Pachter said that "about half" of Xbox 360s sold during the month (Microsoft reported 1.37 million Xbox 360s) were part of Kinect bundles, while PlayStation Move bundle sales were "about one fifth" of total PS3 sales for the month.

Sony has said that it has shipped 4.1 million Move units worldwide, but did not disclose how many have sold. While it may have been a record month for the game industry and - in particular - Microsoft, Sony has seen better times.

Source: Joystiq

2 comments

UFC Sues Ubisoft Over Kinect Fighting Game Catchphrase

December 10, 2010 -

The Ultimate Fighting Championship filed a lawsuit on Thursday against publisher Ubisoft, claiming that the packaging for its new Kinect fighting game, Fighters Uncaged, infringes on the trademarks of the UFC. Attorneys (Lewis and Roca LLP) for UFC parent company Zuffa LLC charged that the phrase on the back-cover of the new Ubisoft game for the Xbox 360 is an infringement of its trademark.

The offending phrase is "Become the ULTIMATE FIGHTING weapon!"

Zuffa's lawyers claim that the phrase is nearly identical to the UFC’s trademarked Ultimate Fighting name. It may also confuse consumers who are looking for the company's games like the "Undisputed" series published by THQ and the "Sudden Impact" game.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction blocking the sale of the game, removal of the infringing phrase from the game's packaging, unspecified damages, and court costs.

2 comments

Acting, Kinect and Protected Speech

December 10, 2010 -

Is acting protected speech, and if so, is acting in a video game - especially in the age of motion sensing console devices - protected speech as well? This is the theory thrown out in a thought provoking post called "Is Playing a Video Game Conduct or Speech? Lessons from Microsoft Kinect" over at Law Law Land Blog.

Steven Smith kicks that idea around a bit, comparing the acting kids do in video games to the actions in a school play. The idea begins at GameStop, where Smith is buying a game for his daughter:

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Video Game Industry Has Best November Ever

December 9, 2010 -

Sales of video games rose 8 percent in November to $2.99 billion, according to data from research firm NPD Group. November's numbers were driven by Kinect, and sales from Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops. Year-to-date sales were still down 5 percent to $14.06 billion, despite a good November.

Accessory sales were up 69 percent to $413 million thanks to Kinect - and Sony's Move to some degree, while hardware sales rose 2 percent to $1.08 billion, and software rose 4 percent to $1.46 billion.

Call of Duty: Black Ops was the top-selling game in November, with 8.4 million units sold.

The Nintendo DS remained the top-selling gaming device (over 1.5 million sold in November), but the Xbox 360 saw a 68 percent sales increase of 1.37 million consoles. Some of that came from bundles that included the Kinect and games.

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America's Wish List: Everyone Wants a Kinect

December 7, 2010 -

What does everyone want for [insert your holiday of choice here] ? According to TimetoPlayMag.com's annual "America’s Wish List: The Must-Have Toys, Games, and Video Games," everyone wants an Xbox Kinect. At least in the videogame category..

In October and November, TimetoPlay.com readers were asked to vote for their favorite items in 17 categories to create America’s Wish List. After the data was sifted through, the site picked the top choices, which are listed below by category, product, and manufacturer. For more information check out www.PeoplesPlayAwards.

 

 

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Report: Move, Kinect, May be in Short Supply for Holiday Shoppers

November 24, 2010 -

If you (or someone you can stand to be around during the holidays) is looking to get Kinect for Xbox 360 or Move for PlayStation 3, you all might be out of luck. Microsoft this week said that it is already seeing its motion sensing technology in short supply at some retail stores, and out of stock in others. Kinect launched on November 4 and has already managed to move 1 million units in various SKU's including standalone, with game bundles, and bundled with new Xbox 360 systems. Last week, Microsoft's Don Mattrick told consumers that getting a Kinect by Thanksgiving would be a wise idea because supplies were limited. He also predicted that Microsoft expects to sell more than 5 million units by year's end.

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Consumer Reports: Kinect Works Fine, Requires Adequate Lighting

November 5, 2010 -

Responding to a story from GameSpot which claimed that Microsoft’s Kinect had trouble recognizing the facial features of dark-skinned users; Consumer Reports refuted the problem, stating that the reported flaw was most likely due to low lighting.

Consumer Reports found that “The log-in problem is related to low-level lighting and not directly to players' skin color,” adding that the Kinect camera needs a certain amount of light and contrast in order to determine a user’s facial features.

In testing Kinect, the organization “did not experience any instance where one player was recognized and the other wasn't under the same lighting conditions.”

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GameSpot: Problems with Kinect and Dark-Skinned Users

November 4, 2010 -

A story on GameSpot details the problems two dark-skinned site employees had with Microsoft’s Kinect, the just-released, controller-free add-on for the Xbox 360.

According to the site, the two employees in question had problems with Kinect’s facial recognition abilities. One GameSpoter’s face was recognized “inconsistently,” while when it came to the face of the other staffer, Kinect was “never able to properly identify the other despite repeated calibration attempts.”

To make it even more confounding, Kinect had “no problems” recognizing the face of a third dark-skinned employee. No hurdles were reported with Kinect’s skeletal tracking system for any of the employees, which is good, as it is the primary means of controlling on-screen action.

The problem may or may not be that big of a deal however, as GameSpot wrote:

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MS Exec: Kinect Could Help 360 Get to Market in China

September 1, 2010 -

As Microsoft continues to try and get its Xbox 360 to market in China, an executive for the company outlined why Kinect may be a valuable asset in its push and how MS plans to combat piracy in the Asian country.

Simon Leung (pictured), Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Chairman and CEO for the Greater China region, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, first noted why China is such an attractive region, if it wasn’t already apparent, stating that China would soon be the world’s largest PC market, while it's already tops in the mobile phone and broadband categories.

Leung indicated that China is becoming a growing adopter of cloud computing, which could help protect Microsoft, as Leung stated, “… you cannot pirate a cloud application.”

Asked about selling consoles in China, Leung responded:

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Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenI love RPGs but I didn't much care for Tales of Symphonia. I didn't bother with its sequel.04/23/2014 - 11:21am
InfophileIt had great RPGs because MS wanted to use them to break into Japan. (Which had the side-effect of screwing NA PS3 owners out of Tales of Vesperia. No, I'm not bitter, why do you ask?)04/23/2014 - 10:52am
RedMageI'm still disappointed the 360 never broke into Japan either. It had a bevy of great RPGs in the late 2000s.04/23/2014 - 9:48am
TheSmokeyhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/22/call-of-duty-swatting-hoax_n_5195659.html?utm_hp_ref=canada&ir=Canada CoD loser calls SWAT on person who beat him04/23/2014 - 7:13am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/xbox-one-reaches-japan-on-september-4/ Just give it up, Microsoft. You're NEVER going to be big in Japan, especially now that the notoriously clunky in Japan Kinect is MANDATORY.04/23/2014 - 7:10am
Cheater87Has this been posted yet? http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Lord+Spencer/ssv-saudi-arabia-bans-bravely-default-because-it-promotes-pedophilia--272016.phtml04/22/2014 - 9:31pm
ZippyDSMleehttp://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/133898-Fatal-Frame-V-Coming-Exclusively-to-Wii-U04/22/2014 - 8:50pm
Matthew Wilsonit is a game worth playing if you have a pc/360/ps304/20/2014 - 9:34pm
MaskedPixelantehttps://twitter.com/IGLevine/status/457552538343325696 The Lutece Twins show up in some of the most unlikely of places.04/20/2014 - 2:44pm
Andrew EisenAs it happens, Chinatown Wars is the only GTA game I've played.04/19/2014 - 10:43am
Papa MidnightWith GTA5 (to date) failing to even provide indication of a PC release, I'm realising that this might be the first GTA game that I have not played (outside of Chinatown Wars) since the series inception.04/19/2014 - 8:14am
 

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