Civ VI's Gathering Storm expansion is now available on iOS

I already purchased Civilization VI's The Gathering Storm expansion for my Mac, becasue of course I did. There's not a lot of games that my 2015 13" MacBook Pro Retina can play that I enjoy—Civ is one of them. I've been farting around with Sid Meir's games since the mid-1990s and my enthusiasm for his titles has only been crushed once. Sid, if for some reason you're reading this, Beyond Earth should have been an add-on for Civilization V. All on its lonesome, it was kind of a lame duck.

Anyway, The Gathering Storm.

In this, the second add-on to Civilization VI, players are introduced to the misery of natural disasters. Build on a flood plain, sooner or later, you're going to have a bad day. Set up shop in the tundra and you may be visited by a winter storm. Drought is a distinct possibility and don't get me started on volcanoes. The upside of all of this potential carnage is that, in the wake of some of the disasters, new opportunities to improve the lot of your cities becomes possible. Flooding leads to rich farmland, for example (but, unless you research and invest in technology to stop future flooding your peasants are going to be pissed when everything gets washed out again.) These problems add a welcome layer of strategy to a game that I've shamefully invested close to 100 hours in when I should have been writing my damn book. Now, it's not enough now that you have to worry about being influenced by other civilizations. Read the rest

Logos of videogame consoles from then and now

Graphic designer Reagan Ray compiled more than 100 logos of videogame consoles from 1976 to 2017. (Just a handful seen above.) Oh how I miss the days of the, um, Fairchild Channel F and the Bandai Playdia. Ray writes:

This list covers the second (1976) through eighth (present) generation consoles. According to Wikipedia, there were 687 first-generation consoles produced, so I decided that was a rabbit hole I didn't want to enter. I had fun designing the page to look like an old video game ad or one of those posters that came in Nintendo Power. The TV screen borders even made me nostalgic for playing games on an old crappy 19-inch TV.

Video Game Console Logos (ReaganRay.com) Read the rest

Cosplay of Greatness: 'Isaac Clarke'

Stupendous dedication and execution on this cosplay masterpiece. Read the rest

Visualizing the evolution of the Nvidia GPU (VIDEO)

This is a simple but wonderful little original video that shows each incarnation of the Nvidia GPU, from 1995 to 2019. Read the rest

Bethesda is launching a subscription service for the glitch-fest that is Fallout 76

Fallout 76 has been... not so great. Plagued with problems, bugs and angry players, it was a highly anticipated game that shit the bed almost immediately after its release. Instead of changing the sheets, Bethesda has seen fit to longe in the bed it pooped in. Certainly, they've made efforts to sort the multiplayer survival game out into something playable, but It's fair to say that the damage to the title's reputation has been done.

So, it's surprising to hear that Bethesda thinks that charging players a monthly premium to mess about with private servers and a few additional perks would be a great idea.

From The Verge:

...a $12.99 monthly subscription it’s calling Fallout 1st, which will grant access to premium features. In particular, the membership — Bethesda is calling it a membership and not a subscription — “offers something players have been asking for since before launch: private worlds for you and select friends.”

You’ll get some other perks, too. There’s a “scrapbox” storage container for holding unlimited materials, a monthly deposit of in-game Atoms currency for you to spend, exclusive outfits and other cosmetics, and a new fast-travel option called survival tent. Overall, these appear to be a mix of items you might normally spend real money on in any given month in Fallout 76, and the private world feature, which arguably is the only real benefit here.

I can see how being able to build and play on a server without being attacked every five minutes by other players would be appealing. Read the rest

Review: Untitled Goose Game is a difficult delight

I downloaded Untitled Goose Game to my Nintendo Switch a few days ago. It's the most self-abusive fun that I've had (with a video game, I mean we're all friends here) since I owned an NES back in the day. If you're not familiar with the game's premise and don't care to watch the video, here's the short of it: You are a goose. You're kind of a dick (becasue goose). You fuck people's shit up. Constantly.

Or if you're me, you try to.

The controls of this game are simple. The laundry list of objectives the goose must fulfill before moving on to each new area are simple too. Completing said list to-do list? That's often more difficult. Some tasks are a breeze: scaring a kid so badly that he locks himself into a phone booth to get away from you was a piece of cake. Attempting to steal multiple items from the same person, collecting them at a single drop point? Kind of a pain. If the person you're stealing from sees you take their stuff, they'll give chase. The best policy is to drop whatever you had in your bill as soon as you're noticed: run too far towards your stash of swag and your hard-won loot will be found and returned from whence it came, forcing you to start all over again, often with your loot stashed in slightly more difficult locales than where you first snagged them from. I didn't expect a goose-related game to take careful planning or involve stealth. Read the rest

World of Warcraft publisher suspends pro player for supporting Hong Kong

Blizzard Entertainment, best known for publishing World of Warcraft, suspended a pro Hearthstone player and pulled his prize money because he said, “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!” during a livestream.

Blizzard, which has a huge and lucrative market in China, determined that Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai's utterance was in violation of a competition rule:

2019 HEARTHSTONE GRANDMASTERS OFFICIAL COMPETITION RULES v1.4 p.12, Section 6.1 (o)

Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms.

According to Kotaku: "Blitzchung’s punishment is an immediate removal from Grandmasters, a withholding of prize money for his participation and a ban from taking part in Hearthstone esports 'for 12 months beginning from Oct. 5th, 2019 and extending to Oct. 5th, 2020.'"

Image: Twitter Read the rest

Burning Cat, a new IRL gaming event by the creators of Exploding Kittens

The creators of the Exploding Kittens game wanted to make an event to "fix the things that were wrong with traditional conventions," that was "actually fun," and had a "giant cat that explodes."

Enter Burning Cat. A two-day event at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland that will feature guest speakers, a giant "ring," an enormous cat statue that will eventually burn, and, of course, lots of games.

About it, in their words:

We’ve attended a lot of gaming conventions. A lot of them. There are things we like. We like the fans. We like the games. We like the creativity. But there are many things that we don’t like. We don’t like that most conventions are basically glorified shopping malls. We don’t like that despite being a gaming convention, very few people play actual games or have actual fun.

So, we decided to reboot the idea of a convention. We decided to build something new from the ground up. We decided to focus on a core philosophy: this is a con you attend if you want to have actual fun. This is a place to observe and/or participate in games, comedy, and creativity. This is a place for tabletop gamers, card game players, casual party game players, families who love games, game makers, or anyone who ever hosted a game night.

Burning Cat is an event for people who are tired of screens and want to have fun face-to-face.

If this sounds fun to you (and why wouldn't it?!), better get your tickets now — this thing is definitely going to sell out. Read the rest

Gaming's #MeToo moment: male fragility versus women's fundamental rights

The latest turn in the Gamergate sage: Zoe Quinn (previously) outed their former partner, game dev Alec Holowka as a sexual and emotional abuser, which prompted others to come forward with their own stories of abuse at Holowka's hands, which led to Holowka being kicked out of his Night in the Woods game project -- and shortly thereafter, Holowka committed suicide. Read the rest

Playable 'Super Mario Bros' 19-foot mural

This is a really incredible game-inspired DIY art project. Read the rest

The Nintendo Switch is the best platform for playing Torchlight 2 on

I love the mindlessness of a good quest-for-loot dungeon crawler. After a long stressful day, playing one for an hour or two gets me right out of my head. They're good games! But, for me, they'll never match the gory, cartoonish charm of Torchlight and Torchlight 2. When I bought my Nintendo Switch, around this time last year, I thought about how great Torchlight 2 would be a perfect port to play on the portable (alliteration, I know. I'm afflicted). I didn't think that it would happen: the game's development studio, Runic Games, closed down in 2017. But here we are: Torchlight 2 was released for the Nintendo Switch this week. After spending a good number of hours with the port, I can tell you that playing the game on a handheld, with control sticks and buttons trumps a keyboard and mouse in every way.

Playing with a joystick provided me with more of a challenge than pointing and clicking at enemies with a mouse. At the same time, it also gave me more of a challenge. Being able to map the Switch's buttons with my various abilities, spells and scrolls? Icing on the cake. Graphically, the game looks a lot tighter: but that could be more about the display resolution than anything else.

My only complaint about the port is that there's no way to tinker with mods like you can with the PC version of the game. But, for $20 Canadian (so, like what: three U.S. dollars?) it's pretty hard to beat the levels of portable entertainment that Torchlight 2 on the Switch delivers. Read the rest

Amazing cosplay art: V, from 'Cyberpunk 2077'

This cosplay project of V, from 'Cyberpunk 2077' is absolutely incredible, and was shared in two parts online by its creator, @aelirenn. Read the rest

Review: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: the Black Order is a fun, glitchy, gaming experience

Sometimes, I play video games to get out of my head for an hour or two. A bit of gaming allows me to numb myself after a stressful day at work or to relax through a bout of insomnia once I become too damn tired to read but not sleepy enough to drift off. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: the Black Order for the Nintendo Switch offers just the right amount of a dumb plot, decent graphics and button mashing to scratch my escapist itch.

For the past few years, everything in Marvel’s cinematic universe and many of their comics have revolved around the Infinity Stones. You’ll find no exception here. If you’ve seen a trailer for Avengers Endgame, you’ve got the broad strokes of this game’s story. Infinity Stones are powerful. Infinity Stones are bad. Bad people want them. It’s a plot that a wee kid could follow, which I suppose is Disney/Marvel’s plan. And why not? It’s a story that’s proven capable of printing its own money.

As you progress through the game’s various levels, you’ll take on progressively tougher foes with a team of four heroes of your choosing. Your roster of potential teammates grows as you bop along. There’s no earning new members... it just kind of happens. I’m a few hours into the game. Disappointingly, the amount of customization allowed for your heroes by the last two iterations of the game appear to be largely absent. There’s no costumes to unlock. No accessories that your heroes can mix and match to enhance their power set: just points and drops that allow you to power up in one way or another. Read the rest

This tiny Nintendo Switch TV dock looks amazing

I like to take my Nintendo Switch with me when I travel for work—being able to game in my hotel room is lovely. You know what would be even better? Being able to play some Mario Kart or This is The Police on my hotel's television. Sadly, the Switch's ginormous TV dock takes up too much space in my carry-on for it to be practical.

Happily, it looks like Human Things, the folks that brought us this neat bluetooth dongle for the Switch a while back, may have a solution. They've designed and are currently Kickstarting a wicked tiny combination HDMI/USB C charger that fits into a wall wart around the size of a 10-Watt iPad charger. Did I mention it has an additional USB port for charging your smartphone or a Pro Controller? Welp, it does.

The only catch, as I pointed out earlier, is that it's only being offered as part of a Kickstarter campaign. Normally, that'd make picking one of these up a non-starter for me. I've been burned too many times in the past by hardware that took years to drop or simply disappeared into the mists of time. However, as Human Things has come through in the past with I'm willing to some cash at them. If you feel the same, you can do so, here. Read the rest

The Outer Worlds is coming to the Nintendo Switch

I'd kill to see Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, or any of the Borderlands games come to the Nintendo Switch. They're some of my favorite titles to turn to at the end of a long, stupid day when my brain is in desperate need of a bit of numbing. Sadly, so far as I know, there hasn't been a reliable peep on the possibility of a port for any of them. Happily, Engadget plopped out some news today about a game that could be the next best thing to the titles on my wish list.

From Engadget:

Obsidian had already revealed its Fallout-esque sci-fi RPG The Outer Worlds will debut on PC, Xbox One and PS4 October 25th. Sometime after that, it'll land on Switch too. Nintendo's console is less powerful than Sony and Microsoft's ones, and won't pack as much punch as a typical PC, so it remains to be seen how well The Outer Worlds will run on the hybrid.

For this version, Obsidian is teaming up with Virtuos, which has helped bring the likes of Dark Souls Remastered and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age to Switch. There's no firm release date as yet for The Outer Worlds' arrival on Switch, but the UK eShop pegs the release date for sometime this year.

Obsidian was responsible for Fallout: New Vegas. From what I've seen in the trailer for The Outer Worlds, much of the humor of that old chestnut has made it alive into their space game. Read the rest

Pillars of Eternity is coming to the Nintendo Switch this August

Despite the user interface issues with games like Wastelands 2 and Phantom Doctrine on the Nintendo Switch, I've still waited like a mook for Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity II to break cover for the console since late last year. The last time I checked on Amazon, it wasn't going to be available until New Year's Eve, 2019. So that sucks. In the meantime, Obsidian is throwing gamers a bone: if you didn't have the opportunity to play the original Pillars of Eternity a few years back, you'll be able to pick it up for the Switch, early next month.

The announcement was made by the company in a tweet, late last week:

I played the original when it was released for Mac, a few years back. It was pretty good! But I never got around to investing in the additional content that came out for the game. As Obsidian is releasing Pillars of Eternity as a complete edition for the Switch, I might be persuaded to pick it up to play through and see how it feels on a handheld.

Image via Flickr, courtesy of BagoGames Read the rest

If you are planning on buying a Nintendo Switch, wait until next month for the new model

Here's a tip: if you're thinking of getting a Nintendo Switch -- skip the current model (HAC-001) and wait for the HAC-001(-01), which offers significantly improved battery life. Read the rest

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