A new squad-based Battle Royale game, Apex Legends, is thrilling the gaming world.
Available free for Xbox, PC and Playstation, Apex Legends moved to the top spot on Twitch in under a week. Teams of three heroes work together to survive yet another battle island.
Apex Legends is far less whimsical than Fortnite, the reigning champion of Battle Royale video games, but also includes character classes. Players choose from a limited list of classes to receive special powers and offensive accents. Carribean and Pacific Islanders will cringe.
Game play and overall functionality are fantastic for a free game at launch. There are in-game purchases that you do not need. Most are purely cosmetic, a few speed the activation of a few player classes. I am still learning my first class and do not need a new one.
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Kisaragi double 6 created this fantastic hand-drawn stop-motion animation of the Super Mario Bros (1985) World 1-1 level.
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The power is in the polygons.
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Classic games, computers and gaming consoles are a source of joy for those who came of age when the titles and hardware were cutting edge commodities. Few things can transport you back to your youth faster than playing with what made you happy back in the day. For some people, playing with the games of yore includes tinkering to make something new and wonderful.
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Modder Kaze Emanuar has taken the 2D level design of that older game and crammed it into the engine of Super Mario 64. Judging from the video that announced the mod, this allows the player to do all the leaping, hopping, and air flipping that a modern Mario can do while still enjoying the “classic” feel of the levels.
I've always had a soft spot for Marvel Ultimate Alliance and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. They were met with middling enthusiasm from critics, but they served up a whole lot of what I wanted: the ability to build my own team of Marvel heroes to open cans of whoop ass on the forces of evil. Long before Diablo 3, the Ultimate Alliance games allowed me to scratch my "quest for gear" itch, without having to log on to World of Warcraft and deal with other people. Providing me with juuuust the right combination of mindless button mashing, light tactics and story to keep me coming back, they used to be among my favorite games to turn to when I needed to switch my brain off for an hour or two.
Soon, there'll be a new addition to the franchise for me to play.
From The Verge:
Nintendo has announced Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order exclusively for the Switch. The game was announced through a trailer shown off at The Game Awards, which are currently in progress; it’ll be out in 2019. Team Ninja, the studio behind Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive, and Nioh, is on board as developer, marking its first Nintendo collaboration since Metroid: Other M.
I'm curious about how it'll work for the Switch. The PSP version of the first installment in the series was playable, but often felt cramped on the portable console's tiny display. I guess I'll have the opportunity to find out in 2019. Read the rest
"Katamari" is the Japanese word for "clod" or "lump," and people familiar with the Katamari Damacy video game franchise know that the object is to created a giant clod of stuff by rolling it around like a snowball, picking up increasingly larger objects over time.
Reroll is a new Katamari Damacy game for the Nintendo Switch and it looks like fun. I'm going to get it and I'll let you know what I think.
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Akihabara got its reputation for being Tokyo's "Electric City" -- both for its consumer electronics as well as for its electronics components stalls. In more recent years, it's become more well-known for anime, manga, claw machines, game arcades, capsule toy shops, maid cafes, unusual vending machines, and vintage video game gear stores. Scotty of Strange Parts took a tour of Akihabara with Only in Japan's John Daub.
My daughter and I love Akihabara. Here's a few photos and a video from our last visit:
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Gamers of a certain age remember what it was like to walk into Game Stop or Electronics Boutique, pick a game, then be tempted by the siren call of a Prima guide at the front counter. Before the Internet offered walk-through videos Twitch streams and online guides, the guides churned out by Prima were one of the best ways to enrich/ruin your gaming experience with all of the hacks, loot locations and maps required to play every game in your library from soup to nuts. Sadly, after years of service to gamers and scads of books, Prima's calling it a day.
Thanks to the rise of sites like GameFAQs—and major gaming publications like IGN commissioning their own online guides, which bring in monstrous amounts of traffic—print strategy guides have struggled for years now. In 2015, Prima purchased and swallowed its biggest competitor, BradyGames, and has been consistently churning out guides for both print and the web, but it wasn’t enough to survive what the company called “a significant decline” in the world of print video game guides.
I feel a lot of nostagia for Prima's dead tree guides, but they've honestly have had their day. Books were fine back in the days before updates, expansion packs and patches. But as games have become more dynamic, the books became far less useful and were often out-of-date within weeks of hitting store shelves.
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Blizzard games have staying power. They're incredibly well crafted and designed to run on a wide spectrum of Windows PCs and Macs, both low powered and high. New content? They're all over it. I can't think of a single one of their titles that hasn't received multiple updates, oft-times for free, in the past decade.
I played Diablo III on my Mac. When it came out for PS3, I played it there, too. It's a game that I return to time and time again, not because it is particularly challenging, but because of the grind: there's always something new to find--a new piece of gear that'll give the character that you're playing a slightly different way to play. So, when I tell you that Diablo III Eternal Collection for Nintendo Switch is pretty much the same deal as Diablo III played on any platform, you'll understand that what I actually mean is that it's great.
I've always preferred playing Diablo III with a game controller over a mouse and keyboard. I like that a wee flick of the right thumbstick will send my hero rolling out of the way of danger. This was one of the first things I tested when I loaded up the copy of the game that Blizzard sent to me last week. The thumb-flick works with the Switch. The rest of the game's controls are similar to what I remember from my PS3 as well. You can't remap your controller's buttons, but your powers and attacks are laid out well enough in the game that it's not a hassle to use them, arbitrary or not. Read the rest
There's a lot of text out about how, for better or worse, playing computer games will mess with your brains. Instead of adding to the pile of words already scrawled on the subject, WIRED's Peter Rubin took it upon himself to work up a video that examines how gaming messes with his brain in particular. Read the rest
In the mid-1990s, Nintendo released Satellaview, a satellite modem for Nintendo's Super Famicom (SNES) only available in Japan. Just for kicks, Bertrand Fan hacked an SNES and Satellaview to run Slack. Bertrand has an intimate knowledge of Slack because he's one of the engineers building that platform. From Bert:
If you can beam satellite signals to a SNES, you can probably run Slack on it...
Most SNES games are closed systems. When you play a game like Bronkie the Bronchiasaurus, an educational game about dinosaurs with asthma that teaches you how to use an inhaler, the content is fixed on the cartridge.
But the game that comes with the Satellaview, BS-X: The Story of The Town Whose Name Was Stolen (BS-X それは名前を盗まれた街の物語), is different. It looks like a lot of Japanese RPGs but has one key difference: it can receive content beamed from the sky and that content gets integrated into the game....
Using a tool called SatellaWave, you can generate your own Satellaview Broadcast binary files.
Slack on a SNES (Bert.org)
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The 8-Bit Big Band is a jazz/pops orchestra that performs video game music. In this video, they're accompanying "Be More Chill" actor George Salazar as he plays through first two worlds of Super Mario Bros. "All sound FX performed live on drum pads!"
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I've been playing Civilization, in one form or another, since the mid-1990s. I love the depth of the game and the multitude of ways that it can be played. Read the rest
We've come to the end of an era in portable gaming: according to Engadget, Sony has announced that they'll cease producing their handheld PS Vita in Japan, next year.
At the 2018 Tokyo Game Show, Sony has announced the birth of a new product and what could possibly be the final nail in the coffin for another. Sony Interactive Entertainment SVP Hiroyuki Oda has revealed that the company will cease PS Vita's production in Japan sometime in 2019. Further, he said the electronics/gaming giant has no plans to create a successor, echoing Shuhei Yoshida's revelation way back in 2015 that Sony doesn't see a market for a follow-up to the handheld console.
That it's not going to be produced for the Japanese market any longer is likely the final nail in the PS Vita's coffin. Japan was the nation where the handheld was most popular. If it's dead there, it'll soon be dead everywhere else as well. I for one am sad to see it go. I have a large library of PS Vita and PSP games that I still enjoy goofing on, from time to time. The size of the PS Vita and its performance made it an enjoyable piece of kit, for me. I ran out to buy one as soon as it became available in Canada and never regretted the decision.
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Apparently, you are looking at the President's penis. Read the rest
A few months back we bought a Nintendo Switch. The portable console gets shared between a 46 year-old dad and an 11 year-old daughter. The Switch sees a lot of playtime. Read the rest