What we’re playing: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. E.D.I.T.I.O.N.

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It seems the devs at our office can’t get enough post-apocalyptic action. When I asked what game should be highlighed for this week’s blog post, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat beat out the likes of Heavy Rain and the Starcraft 2 Beta. Impressive…most i.m.p.r.e.s.s.i.v.e.

Check out the full list below…

Matt Weil: Killing Floor, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, and Crysis.

Jay Woodward, Deep C++ Diver: BioShock 2.

Dennis Mejilones: Assassins Creed 2 and Heavy Rain.

Sam Bernstein: I was told I needed to play Shadow of The Colossus so I am doing that, and loving it. This is what I get for not having a PS2.

Dave Ratti: Starcraft 2 Beta.

Dane Olds: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, Mass Effect 2, and Doom II RPG.

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What we’re playing: Best Games of the Last 10 Years Edition

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This edition of ‘What We’re Playing’ comes a little late, as I posed a trickier question: name your favorite games of the decade, while keeping the list to five games. Not an easy feat (Nick tried and claimed it was too challenging), but the majority of folks were able to whittle it down to exactly five games.

Aside from getting some pretty great lists, there was also some debate on how what constitutes a decade. Like other sites, my definition of the decade was 2000-2009. For others, it appears the decade is 2001-2010 or even 2000-2010. To make everyone happy, we’ll just call this list our Favorite Games of the Last 10 Years (2000-2009).

With folks working on games like Morrowind, DOOM 3, Oblivion, and Fallout 3, it’s no surprise that these games came up on several lists — but in the end, Half-Life 2 and Shadow of the Colossus were the most popular picks. Other favorites included World of Warcraft, Rock Band, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and the Grand Theft Auto games.

Read the full list below, and then let us know your favorites. And let us know what decade we’re in.

Ryan Ashford: You do know that 2010 is still part of the current decade right (2001-2010)? Anyway, here’s my submission (not counting 2000 releases): Team Fortress 2 (with Half-Life 2 trailing close behind), Demon’s Souls, Shadow Of The Colossus, Katamari Damacy, and Morrowind.

Jennifer Noland: Okami, Bioshock, World of Goo, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

Sam Bernstein: Listed by release date; Halo, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Dead Space, and Fallout 3.

Brent Krische: Some of these games are obvious choices, others not so much, but I feel that all of them have become synonymous with their respective platform. flower (PS3), Gears of War (Xbox 360), Jet Set Radio Future/Phantom Dust (Xbox), Kingdom Hearts (PS2), and Conker’s Bad Fur Day (N64). And on the subject of platforms, the original Xbox console is my choice for platform of the decade (2000 – 2010).

Andrew Chang: Jet Set Radio, World of Warcraft, Katamari Damacy, Guitar Hero, and Metal Gear Solid 4.

Pete Hines: In no particular order, and I’m doing seven since two are Bethesda titles: World of Warcraft, Oblivion, Uncharted 2, Fallout 3, Half-Life 2, Company of Heroes, Modern Warfare 1/2 (1 for single, 2 for multiplayer).

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Meet the Brink team: Jose ‘mojo’ Esteve

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Tools Programmer Jose ‘mojo’ Esteve is the latest Brink developer to be profiled on Splash Damage’s website. Since I get many emails each week asking about how to get a job in the game industry, I thought I’d share his answer…

Do you have any tips for people wanting to break in?

I strongly believe that you have to be passionate and love what you do, because in the end that shows and helps you to keep focused — and be stubborn — enough to achieve what you want.

Instead of relying on predefined “musts” for your career, talent and skills are probably the most valuable features you need to develop. A good education is crucial to get solid grounds, but I think that in the end rather than being queried about your titles during an interview you’ll likely be asked about “What can you do?” – and in that case it’s better to let your work speak for you. It doesn’t need to be professional work: spend time on personal projects, which will serve to honestly prove your skills. And if you don’t have enough time for them (hey, sleeping is overrated :) ) you can try focusing your education towards something you can use in a portfolio.

Thanks for the answer, Jose! To learn more about him and his role at Splash Damage, head here.

Inside the Vault: Andrew Scharf

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Today, we highlight one of our QA leads, Andrew Scharf. Why Andrew? Because he’s the QA Lead on Fallout: New Vegas!

What’s your job at Bethesda?
I’m a QA Project Lead. My responsibilities include scheduling testing throughout the various stages of the game’s lifecycle, managing the day-to-day tasks of my testing team, and maintaining the bug database to make sure that the issues we find are clearly communicated to the development team, management, and production.

Part of my job also involves the creation of test documents, including a high-level test plan that covers the “big picture” of how all the pieces fit together to make the game — and how our testing will thoroughly cover each of those pieces.

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Meet the Brink Team: Angelo Dal Pra

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Splash Damage has a new developer profile up at their site — this week you can get to know environment artist Angelo ‘clasact’ Dal Pra. I’d try to explain what he does for a living, but he does such a good job answering that himself, I’ll leave you with this excerpt…

What do you do at Splash Damage?

I’m an Environment Artist here at Splash Damage. I create assets, props, textures and sometimes assemble them in a nice way. I also work closely with our level designers and fellow artists trying to make our levels as beautiful and interesting as possible.

Find out more on Angelo at Splash Damage’s website.

New Splash Damage Developer Profile: John “Nifty” Molloy

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Splash Damage is hosting a new developer profile on Brink designer John Molloy, or “Nifty” as he’s been called since childhood. According to Splash: “Procedurally generated by the great Meme-Mills of Tartary, John is one if not all of the Lagrangian points of the Design team, remaining motionless against the gravitational tug of our Enthusiasms and Fears.”

Says John of his favorite game:

Must have co-op, must be action orientated, and must have a strong story. I’m going to go with The Secret of Mana on the Super Nintendo, a 3 player co-op RPG.

The profile even includes a cameo by John’s mum, who details the ins and outs of British video game systems circa 1983. Give it a read on the Splash Damage site.

What we want for the holidays

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If you’ve been checking the blog this month, you’ll know we’ve been recapping our favorites of 2009. We’ve already covered TV and Music, but I thought I’d give everyone a chance to see Avatar, The Lovely Bones, etc. and play through Dragon Age, Borderlands, and more before asking them to share their favorite movies and games.

So before getting to that, last week I asked folks to share what they’re hoping to get for the holidays (as Pete and Todd already did at Kotaku). Let us know what you’re hoping is under your tree.

Ryan Salvatore: Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes, and enough free time to play my huge backlog of games.

Sean Palamino: Batman Arkham Asylum (how did I miss this one?), District 9 on Blu Ray, or maybe an HD camcorder — but I hear Santa is being cheap this year.

Natalie Gausden: In dream land: a Puppy. In reality: a new pair of boots!

Ashley Cheng: What I want for the holidays: new comfy pants, a new coach, general manager (check!) and owner for the Washington Redskins

Jennifer Tonon: iTunes and WoW gift cards (seriously.. I spend too much money on these things), some sanity, every edition of Zombies! The board game I can get my hands on, sleep, a new mattress, and Brutal Legend (I’m behind the times.. shut up).

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What we’re watching: Best of TV 2009

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As 2009 winds down, we’re asking folks at the office to share their favorites of the year — in television, music, movies, games, and anything else we think of. We’ll kick it off with television. Among the favorites this year were Battlestar Galactica, 30 Rock, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Mad Men, and Dexter.

Here’s the rundown. Share with us your favorite shows of the year — whether you’re watching them on broadcast TV, DVR, DVD, Blu Ray or Betamax.

Kurt Kuhlmann: How I Met Your Mother, The Wire, Friday Night Lights, Lost, BSG (lamented), 30 Rock, The Office, and Entourage.

Regi Jacob: It’s been a challenging year for TV in my house since we don’t get cable and my kid recently broke our HD antenna. Thank the gods for Netflix. Lost, Dexter, and BSG all the way.

Brent Krische: Dexter, Dirty Jobs, Get Smart, Mythbusters, So You Think You Can Dance, Venture Brothers, and Weeds

Gary Powell: Sons Of Anarchy, Dexter, and Deadliest Warrior.

Matt Killmon: Mad Men and The IT Crowd.

Ryan Lea: Pushing Daisies, The Office, Burn Notice, and Psych. Oh and usually things that are on History, Animal Planet, and Discovery. Though they haven’t been as good lately.

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Giving Thanks

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Today our office is closed as we take time to celebrate Thanksgiving with our friends and family. Over the past week, I asked folks at the office to share what they’re thankful for this year. Check out the list below.

From everyone at Bethesda Softworks, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving….and Go Lions!!

Ashley Cheng: As you read this, I will be in Taiwan, the country where I was born, visiting friends and relatives I haven’t seen in over 20 years. I am very grateful for my family, friends, co-workers and colleagues, and mostly for my beautiful wife, Megen. I’d also like to thank everyone who has ever purchased a game I’ve worked on, thank you so much for your support.

Todd Howard: My family, friends, coworkers and everyone out there who supports our games. And for all the dreamers; the ones who make the games, and the ones who play them. What’s on the screen is never as good as the story you’re telling in your head.

Emil Pagliarulo: As always, I’m thankful for my four great kids, and my wonderful wife who someone manages to take care of us all, before she even thinks about taking care of herself; I’m thankful that I have the best job in the world; I’m especially thankful this year that I’m finally healthy, and really looking forward to what the future may bring; and, last but not least, I’m thankful for my car, the Cherry Bomb 3000 — a red 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T. My God, I love my car.

Pete Hines:I’m thankful that for 10 years I’ve been able to go to work at a place I love, doing something I love, with people I truly enjoy working with and being around. I’m thankful for my great friends and family, two terrific kids, sweet tea, Bojangles’ biscuits, the very existence of Chick Fil A, serious thunderstorms, Wake Forest sports, Caps playoff hockey games, the US Nat’l soccer team, a World Cup to look forward to, being able to still get it done on the soccer field at age 40, that at home I have a stack of good video games to play, entertaining books to read, and a list of movies I can’t wait to see, and I’m thankful for the promise that 2010 holds.

Kevin Kauffman: Thanks to everyone responsible for paying me to do a job that I love and would probably do for free. Also to the best family and friends money can buy… you guys were worth every penny.

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What we’re playing

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Just as Bioware has guys admitting to being fans of our games, we’ve got plenty of folks here that giddy when a new Bioware game is released. This was definitely the case this past week with the release of Dragon Age Origins.  As I write this on a Sunday night, I see at least six developers playing it on Xbox LIVE (with probably more playing on PC and PS3).

Outside of Dragon Age, it seems that Borderlands, Brutal Legend, and Torchlight are among the most popular games currently being played by our team.

Below is the list for this week. Let us know what you’re playing.

Ashley Cheng: Dragon Age, Madden 10, and Bookworm on iPhone.

Jon Paul Duvall: Borderlands and Dragon Age.

Tony “MMO money MMO problems” Greco: Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, and a great game called twiddling my thumbs while I wait for MW2 to come out.

Gary Powell: Dragon Age Origins, Borderlands, and Demon’s Souls.

Orin Tresnjak: Finally getting around to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare before the sequel comes out. Also, Mirror’s Edge on PC to check out the improved visuals.

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