StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm screenshots emerge

A Dutch website, www.insidegamer.nl has posted a big batch of screenshots for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, which is part 2 of 3 of the StarCraft 2 story arc. All of the screens come from the single player portion of the game and they contain heavy spoilers in them for the Wings of Liberty campaign. If you haven’t finished Wings of Liberty, it would be a good idea to hold off checking out these screens. If you have finished the Wings of Liberty campaign, the spoilers in the screens are very minor. Check ’em out in the gallery below. (Click on individual images to enlarge.)

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The original image post on Inside Gamer is found here: http://www.insidegamer.nl/pc/starcraftiiheartoftheswarm/screenshots

Best Game Ever: Star Wars: TIE Fighter

Note: Best Game Ever is a series of posts I’ll be doing dedicated to the best games ever made. Each game I profile will be a game I’d accept as someone’s answer to the question, “what do you think the best game ever is?” So please, do not email me and tell me I’m stupid for posting about game X when game Y is clearly superior. And you never know, game Y might be the next game profiled. For more in the series, check out the “best game ever” category in the side bar.

The Force is strong with this one.

There used to be a time when having a PC for games meant that you played with more than just a mouse/keyboard or joystick. Back in the ’90s, it was almost a necessity to own some sort of flight stick. While it didn’t require a flight stick, Star Wars: TIE Fighter was easily the best reason to own one. I personally had the Flightstick Pro, and I probably logged enough hours on TIE Fighter to become a certified pilot.

Released in the summer of 1994, Star Wars: TIE Fighter was the much anticipated sequel to Star Wars: X-Wing. Bringing to the table a better flight engine, improved graphics, and better effects, TIE Fighter provided the ultimate flight combat experience in its time. The missions were laid out with both primary and secondary objectives, the story was interesting, and the game really forced you to use strategy and well timed attack runs in order to be successful.

Star Wars: TIE Fighter and its expansion Defender of the Empire are easily one of the best PC gaming experiences ever created. For all the Star Wars games that have been released, none have done so great of a job of bringing such a strong sense of immersion. If you’ve never played TIE Fighter and you can drum up the means to do so, definitely get right on it ASAP. Also make sure to check out Star Wars: X-Wing (and its expansions) and X-Wing vs TIE Fighter as well.

For these reasons and more not stated, Star Wars: TIE Fighter is the best game ever.

AMD retires the ATI brand name

In a decision based on market research and in an effort to strengthen the overall AMD brand, AMD has decided to do away with the ATi branding. The branding shift doesn’t just affect the ATi name, it’s a sweeping change across AMD’s products, but gamers are really only going to notice the ATi decision. AMD purchased ATi four years ago and has struggled to justify the cost of the investment ever since. AMD claims that their own brand is a more healthy and recognizable name than the ATi brand, so they hope that consolidating the names under a single umbrella will help grow the ATi technology going forward. The new logos that will be found on computer cases, laptops, and other packaging will look like this:

I don’t think that ATi has struggled against the competition due to branding. If anything AMD failed to properly use the ATi brand after acquiring it. Compare the marketing and partnership efforts of NVIDIA with ATi and immediately it becomes apparent that AMD was simply not aggressive enough in securing partnerships or creating a proper buzz within their target demographic’s community. AMD did a great job of making their CPUs “cool” in comparison to Intel, but it seems that they always struggled to do the same with ATi against NVIDIA.

I still run an ATi card and I love it. I don’t think this spells doom for the ATi tech or anything, it simply just feels like the end of an era seeing such a household name in PC gaming fade away.