CYBERSPACE, JANUARY 12, 2012 (SYN.BLOG.COM) By Marc Saltzman. AUTHOR'S BLOGGER PROFILE: Marc Saltzman, as a prolific freelance journalist, author, radio and TV host, is one of North America’s most recognized and trusted experts in the ever-changing world of high-tech. Marc can be reached at marc@sync.ca.

1. Grand Theft Auto V

Rockstar's next chapter in the best-selling, open-world criminal adventure series will take place in the fictional city of Los Santos -- the Los Angeles-like urban playground first introduced in 2004's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – as well as surrounding suburbs, beaches and the countryside. The game will offer non-linear, mission-based "sandbox" play, memorable characters, online multiplayer and great music. No launch date has been announced for this multi-platform title.

2. Mass Effect 3

Continuing the award-winning space saga, Mass Effect 3 from Edmonton's BioWare looks to be the biggest and most ambitious action role-playing game (RPG) in the trilogy. Featuring intense tactical action, three distinct game modes and stunning set pieces (including locations on Earth and Mars), you'll climb into the boots of Commander Shepard, determined to protect civilizations from the deadly Reapers.

3. BioShock Infinite

This time around, you're not trapped in the underwater city of Rapture – instead, 2K Games' BioShock Infinite (slated for June) takes place on a floating air city in an alternate 1912, as you attempt to rescue a mysterious young woman with uncontrollable powers. The surreal first-person shooter lets you engage in heated firefights and hop on a rollercoaster-like rail system to get around.

4. Diablo III

Due out by the spring, Blizzard Entertainment's much-hyped sequel is an action-heavy fantasy RPG. Similar to its best-selling predecessors, this computer game will be played from an angled top-down ("isometric") perspective, in the dark world of Sanctuary, as you flex your mouse-clicking finger to hack, slash and wield magic against a number of dungeon-crawling foes. The game will offer an expansive single-player campaign as well as deep multiplayer support.

5. Halo 4

Due out by the end of 2012 for Xbox 360, Halo 4 from 343 Industries and Microsoft Game Studios marks the return of John-117 ("Master Chief") – a protagonist not playable since 2007's Halo 3. This first-person sci-fi shooter -- with a greater emphasis on mystery and exploration -- offers multiple weapons, items and vehicles and varied multiplayer maps and modes. While the game will see the return of familiar areas and characters (such as Cortana), it will also introduce new worlds, plotlines and foes.

6. SSX

One of the most beloved winter sports games is getting a much-need reboot: Electronic Arts Canada is putting the finishing touches on a new SSX snowboarding game for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Due out by February, this game will feature downhill mountain racing, mid-air stunts and colourful characters – plus EA is adding all-new features, high-definition graphics and online play for the first time.

7. Tomb Raider

Speaking of rebooting a once-popular franchise, a brand-new Tomb Raider adventure will debut in late 2012, to be published by Square Enix and developed by Crystal Dynamics. A young, 21 year-old Lara Croft is shipwrecked on a mysterious island off the coast of Japan and must stay alive by warding off threats, solving puzzles, navigating the dangerous environments and unraveling an epic mystery.

8. Max Payne 3

Max Payne 3, from Rockstar Games and Remedy Entertainment, follows the former NYC detective, who is still haunted by demons from his past. Now working in private security in San Paulo, Payne must protect his client from a relentless threat, clear his tainted name and seek closure on his disturbing past. Due out in March, this third-person action game delivers cinematic effects (including improved Bullet Time), multiple weapons and for the first time, multiplayer modes.

9. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Capcom did zombies when it wasn't cool to do so. But they're back again with Operation Raccoon City, the latest in the Resident evil franchise. Due out this spring for multiple platforms, this third-person zombie shooter takes place between the events of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The high-definition game offers six playable characters, each with their own abilities, plus multiplayer support.

10. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

The next iteration of Ubisoft's coveted tactical combat game is getting some serious Kinect support: In this teamwork-focused military shooter, you can outstretch your hands in the air to manipulate, mix and match various weapon parts to create something special (yielding more than 20 million variations). Once inside the game, you can take advantage of Kinect's body tracking and voice recognition to stealthily work your way through futuristic hotspots alongside your squad.

11. Overstrike

Insomniac Games is working on Overstrike, a co-op action game that follows a team of four elite agents determined to obliterate enemy strongholds using high-tech weapons and gadgets. These skilled members of Overstrike 9 -- comprised of an ex-mercenary, thief, scientist and detective – must work together to take down a shadowy organization in the near future. Insomniac's hallmarks are all here, including wild weapons, good storytelling and humour.


A video game is an electronic game that involves human interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device.

The word video in video game traditionally referred to a raster display device, but following popularization of the term "video game", it now implies any type of display device.

The electronic systems used to play video games are known as platforms; examples of these are personal computers and video game consoles. These platforms range from large mainframe computers to small handheld devices. Specialized video games such as arcade games, while previously common, have gradually declined in use. Video games have gone on to become an art form and industry.

The input device used to manipulate video games is called a game controller, and varies across platforms.

For example, a controller might consist of only a button and a joystick, while another may feature a dozen buttons and one or more joysticks. Early personal computer games often needed a keyboard for gameplay, or more commonly, required the user to buy a separate joystick with at least one button.

Many modern computer games allow or require the player to use a keyboard and a mouse simultaneously. A few of the most common game controllers are gamepads, mice, keyboards, and joysticks.

Video games typically use additional means of providing interactivity and information to the player. Audio is almost universal, using sound reproduction devices, such as speakers and headphones. Other feedback may come via haptic peripherals, such as vibration or force feedback, with vibration sometimes used to simulate force feedback.

In the early days of cartridge consoles, they were sometimes called TV games, a term now often used for handheld TV games.

Video game genres

A video game, like most other forms of media, may be categorized into genres based on many factors such as method of game play, types of goals, art style and more.

Because genres are dependent on content for definition, genres have changed and evolved as newer styles of video games have come into existence.

Ever advancing technology and production values related to video game development have fostered more life-like and complex games which have in turn introduced or enhanced genre possibilities (e.g., virtual pets), pushed the boundaries of existing video gaming or in some cases add new possibilities in play (such as that seen with titles specifically designed for devices like Sony's EyeToy).

Some genres represent combinations of others, such as massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or, more commonly, MMORPGs.

It is also common to see higher level genre terms that are collective in nature across all other genres such as with action, music/rhythm or horror-themed video games.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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