Tuesday, July 25, 2017

News:: The Morning After: Tuesday, July 25th 2017

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

The big news in tech this morning? Microsoft's 32-year-old Paint program. Oh -- and we're expecting a new phone or two from Motorola. It's that kind of day.



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News:: Tech Hunters: Opening up new worlds with the Nintendo GameBoy

You have to hand it to Nintendo: the company knows how to change the way people play video games. As millions of gamers getting to grips with the Switch, which delivers A+ games on-the-go as well as it does docked at home, many will remember the console that pioneered the concept of portable gaming: the GameBoy.

Launched in Japan in 1989, the GameBoy sold over 300,000 in its first two weeks and over 100 million in total. The 8-bit handheld console supported small interchangeable cartridges and its monochromatic display could screen render games in four different colors of gray, but thanks to titles like the side-scrolling Super Mario Land, Kirby's Dream Land and Tetris, consumers just couldn't get enough of it.

With so many units sold, there's a plethora of handsets still available to quench your retro gaming needs, as Julia Hardy discovered in Croydon. But what if we could open up new worlds on the portable brick? We'll hand it over to Simon Ellis from Retrogamebase to see what else we can get it to do.



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Monday, July 24, 2017

News:: One of the best soundtracks of 2016 is getting a vinyl release

Black Screen Records has announced that it is teaming up with composer Michael Kelly to release the soundtrack to VA-11 HALL-A, hands down one of the best games to come out last year, on vinyl. The limited edition release, due out his summer, will be coming out on two records, one blue and one pink, and will include a tracklist curated by the composer.

That's before we get into the extras.

One of the best soundtracks of 2016 is getting a vinyl release screenshot

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News:: Experience a blast to the past with new Planet Coaster DLC

Since our own Patrick Hancock reviewed Planet Coaster last winter, the game seemed to fall off the radar. While the spotlight was off of them, the team has been hard at work, constantly adding new features and items to the already good game for free. However, not only did the 1.3.3 update on Friday add in more free content, it also added in the game's first instances of paid DLC.

Hope you're ready for a blast to the past, as Back to the Future, Knight Rider, and The Munsters have arrived in Planet Coaster.

Experience a blast to the past with new Planet Coaster DLC screenshot

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News:: Zelda: Breath of the Wild with co-op sounds like an absolute delight

The Zelda series doesn't have much in the way of multiplayer experiences. While I don't dislike any of the MP focused games we have gotten, I've never really thought of Zelda as an experience that I want to play with a friend. The whole game is meant to be a personal journey of discovery, amazement and adventure. Breath of the Wild, though, has so many options available that it would be divine with a buddy.

If you're down with emulation, you'll eventually be able to experience Nintendo's latest adventure with a friend. Modders have taken it upon themselves to incorporate co-op for Breath of the Wild via the CEMU Wii U emulator. It works by swapping an NPC model with Link and then letting a second person take command of them.

The mod is about a year off and there isn't any proof of concept video footage, but the screenshots definitely prove this is plausible. Now if only Nintendo would officially release this as DLC, since the current plans don't sound very exciting.

Modders are adding co-op to Zelda: Breath of the Wild [Eurogamer]

Zelda: Breath of the Wild with co-op sounds like an absolute delight screenshot

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News:: Special stages are back in Sonic Mania

If there's one element of classic Sonic the Hedgehog games I tend to forget about until I go back to replay them, it's the special stages. Favorite? Least favorite? I like them for different reasons.

Sonic 1's bouncy mazes were mesmerizing to look at, Sonic 2's half-pipe was fun to launch yourself off, and Sonic 3's blue-sphere-touching, red-sphere-avoiding special stages were satisfying to clear.

For Sonic Mania's bonus levels, Sega is taking some cues from Sonic CD. Here's the announcement from San Diego Comic-Con, courtesy of YouTube user Sollux Captor:

As a bonus (and keeping in line with its recent trend), Sega has shared another track.

Sonic the Hedgehog [Twitter]

Special stages are back in Sonic Mania screenshot



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News:: The Retro AVS Wireless NES Gamepad is out and worth a look

While sitting around killing time with Kingsway (best thing ever go buy it) and staving off what I can only assume to be a deadly parasite after drinking so much delicious ocean water while on vacation, the doorbell rang. I answered in my typical attire; a faded “best dad ever” t-shirt, evidenced by the fact that it was 1PM and my kids were still in their pajamas, and saw a tired postal worker standing there awaiting my signature plus a hefty duty fee on a package I had almost forgotten was coming.

The Retro AVS is a great, cheaper alternative to the Analogue NT. Not long ago I posted about a controller that was on the way for it by Retro USB much to the lukewarm response of most people. I’ll admit; it’s ugly. Our own CJ Andriessen said it looked like a container for novelty video game mints, the kind you’d find at a Hot Topic or GameStop. But it touted some impressive battery life (100 hours!) mechanical switch buttons, and zero input lag, so I thought I’d give it a whirl since I own an AVS myself and am sick of my kids tripping on cables all day.

The Retro AVS Wireless NES Gamepad is out and worth a look screenshot

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News:: Noita is the new game from one of The Swapper developers

It has been four years since The Swapper -- a masterful puzzle platformer from two students at the University of Helsinki -- originally released. Since 2013, the developers have updated their studio's site exactly once. It was a couple of weeks ago when one of them announced the formation of a new studio.

The new company is called Nolla Games and its debut project is a rogue-lite called Noita. ("Noita" means "witch" in Finnish.) Nolla describes Noita as "a magical action rogue-lite set in a world where every pixel is physically simulated. Fight, explore, melt, burn, freeze and evaporate your way through the procedurally-generated world using spells you've created yourself."

It's tough to tell exactly what that means, but the trailer gives some decent indication. This seems to be a game about casting spells on the environment to interesting effect. Death is permanent but you can "use what you've learned to get further on your next adventure" -- hence the "rogue-lite" designation.

Noita is currently only planned to launch on PC. Nolla says it'll release "when it's done" but that there will be some sort of early access period. We'll have to wait 'til then to see if this is some spellbinding stuff.

Noita is the new game from one of The Swapper developers screenshot

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News:: Slime Rancher exits Steam Early Access next week

The appeal of Slime Rancher is built right into the name. It's a game about wrangling cute slimes with a combination vacuum/cannon/backpack and gettin' paid -- the sort of thing I'd ideally like to play a little bit in the evening when I'm unwinding. (Just like how I used to play Stardew Valley for "a little bit." Right...) I've been holding out for the game's full launch and that's happening real soon.

On Tuesday, August 1, Slime Rancher will leave Steam Early Access and launch with "a smaller update that ties up a few loose ends." So if you've also been waiting, you're probably good to jump in any time now. The save files for the current build "will absolutely carry over to v1.0.0."

Slime Rancher exits Steam Early Access next week screenshot

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News:: Comic-Con 2017 trailer roundup

What a weekend its been, while nothing really overly exciting or brand new was announced at San Diego Comic-Con there was a ton of trailers from previously announced TV and movies. So to cure your Monday blues we at Flixist have compiled all of the trailers that we reported on as well as a few that slipped through the cracks...for you.

Comic-Con 2017 trailer roundup screenshot

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News:: You can do a cute lil fist pump in Splatoon 2

On Sunday, I spent most of my waking hours playing Splatoon 2. I'm obsessed.

The campaign is delightful and creative, as expected, and I just love exploring every nook and cranny in the overworlds. The competitive multiplayer -- yeah, I need to get better at that. I'm rusty as hell, and that puts a damper on would-be marathon sessions. But the new four-player co-op horde mode, Salmon Run? That's the ticket right there. That's the reason I can't stop playing Splatoon 2. It has exceeded my expectations in every way (aside from the lack of split-screen, which is a bummer).

I've had my head down trying to learn the ins and outs of Salmon Run -- the best way to take out the bosses with each of the randomly-assigned weapons, how to prioritize egg gathering vs. survival, remembering not to jump off the ledge in case it's high tide -- and that means I've missed a lot of the game's amusing little details. Stuff like this first pump captured by Dylan Schirtz:

I'm sure there's a ton more where that came from. What else have you spotted?

You can do a cute lil fist pump in Splatoon 2 screenshot



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News:: Review: Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight

It may not be the most significant trend in gaming history, but the last few years have been pretty good if you're the type of gamer to try out the occasional licensed title. Unlike some of the drek from generations of budget tie-ins past, many licensed games these days are at least playable, and often have enough spark in them to make playing them not feel like a predatory exploitation of fans' love.

Then again, there are always exceptions.

Review: Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight screenshot

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News:: The D-Team takes PUBG: Don't glaze your meatloaf mid-match

Jordan, Steven, Ray, and myself. We're the D-Team. There are a lot of logical leaps you can take to explain that name. We're like the A-Team, but barely passable. The "D" might stand for Destructoid. Or, it could just stand for something like "Dysfunctional" or "Deficient" or "Dreadfully Bad."

We won't stop never stoppin' though. Here's another episode of us hopping across picnic tables, picking battles we can't possibly win, and talking strategically despite a combined zero years of military service. I hope to eventually figure out what a ridgeline is.

Some housekeeping stuff: This should be the last episode that's low-ish quality. I think we've got 1080p from here on out. Growing pains! Also, it's a pain growing so if you like what we do, throw us a subscribe on YouTube or a follow on Twitter. The bigger we get, the more likely we'll be to winner that chicken dinner (probably).

Here's the first episode if you missed it last week.

The D-Team takes PUBG: Don't glaze your meatloaf mid-match screenshot



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News:: Review: Nioh: Defiant Honor

Nioh pretty much knocked it out of the park already, but a string of DLC and free updates have bolstered its lifespan for those of you who aren't into grinding for loot and stats to take on those New Game+ challenges.

Both add-ons haven't reached for the stars or given us anything drastically different, but they've built upon the strong back of one of the best action games of the past five years. So far, that's more than enough.

Review: Nioh: Defiant Honor screenshot

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News:: Roughly 10% of mobile studio DeNA is working on Nintendo products

It feels like forever ago that Nintendo revealed that they were getting into the very same mobile market they once scoffed at ("the 3DS is mobile!"), and it kind of was.

Back in 2015 the publisher told us that they were starting to work on a string of mobile games, a stable to date that includes Fire Emblem Heroes, Miitomo, and Super Mario Run, all of which have used different monetization schemes (gashapan/gambling, actually free, free-to-start).

As we know there's more in the pipeline, but now we know just how many people at mobile partner DeNA are involved in that process. According to Gamesindustry.biz, the firm has committed 10% of its entire staff for Nintendo related dealings. That may not sound like much, but for a 1,000 strong studio that's 100 people -- far more than the average mobile title.

I'm really curious to see where they go in the future. Super Mario Run "did not meet expectations" despite being advertised at literally every Apple Store across the country, and the (in this writer's opinion anyway) questionable gambling model of Fire Emblem Heroes exceeded projections. It's kind of obvious what model they might gravitate toward in the future, but it's still weird to me to see Nintendo put out mainstream gashapon games.

DeNA has 10% of games staff working on Nintendo projects [Gamesindustry.biz]

Roughly 10% of mobile studio DeNA is working on Nintendo products screenshot



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News:: Inti Creates is no longer working on Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night's main game

GoNintendo spoke with a representative from ArtPlay, the main developer behind Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, the Castlevania spiritual successor coming from Koji Igarashi.

The ArtPlay rep cleared up a few things in this title's confusing development. Inti Creates is not involved in the development of the main game, but they are working on the retro inspired prequel mini-game.

Inti Creates is no longer working on Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night's main game screenshot

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News:: That Galaga animated show you asked for is coming soon

Namco Bandai are teaming up with Swedish-US company The Nuttery Entertainment to produce an animated show based on the classic 1981 shmup, Galaga.

Galaga Chronicles will feature new characters and adventures based around the classic arcade game, and will lead a host of new and upcoming Galaga-themed projects.

"We are incredibly honored to be able to work on such an amazing legacy property," says Nuttery founder Magnus Jansson. "Our team is excited make sure the next chapter in the Galaga saga is equally impressive and inspiring as its humble 8-bit beginnings."

I have no idea what made them decide 2017 was the time to strike whilst the iron was hot on this property, but it will be interesting to see what series is crafted out of the beloved space-shooter.

Galaga to become animated series [Variety]

That Galaga animated show you asked for is coming soon screenshot



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News:: Big Bethesda PC sale has Doom and Fallout 4 down to $12.90, plus $2 Dishonored

As a PC gamer, you just gotta love competition between digital retailers. After Steam's Summer Sale last month, we've been faced with more and more aggressive sales from other digital retailers. This week the Sweden-based GamersGate has thrown the gauntlet and discounted a plethora Bethesda titles -- many of which are with huge price cuts and reaching historic low prices, beating out even GMG's strong Summer Sale (which also uncoincidentally launched last Friday).

Standout titles include $12.90 Doom and Fallout 4 (lowest we've spotted for Doom), cheap Dishonored 2 at only $16.16, and a very aggressive price cut on Prey to $32.56 - this game was 17% more expensive during Steam's Summer Sale in June).

If you want to confirm Bethesda's bias that everyone wants even more Skyrim, the Skyrim Special Edition is now at a new low price of $17.60. Other Elder Scrolls title such as Elder Scrolls Online Tamriel Unlimited and its expansion Morrowind are both at new low prices of $7.50 and $24.55 respectively.

Finally, we'll be remiss if we don't mention $2 Dishonored. While the Definitive Edition is priced at $8.88 (has been cheaper at $6.80), we think for casual gamers new to the franchise, the $2 price is a great entry point without over-committing. For a full breakdown of the sale, check our page here which includes a price history chart for easy reference.

Bethesda PC Game Sale

Doom/Quake

Elder Scrolls

Fallout Series

More

Big Bethesda PC sale has Doom and Fallout 4 down to $12.90, plus $2 Dishonored screenshot



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News:: It looks like The Sims 4 is coming to Xbox

The Sims' neighborhood seems set to grow a bit this fall. It seems as if the most recent Sims game is going to break free of its PC-only status and expand to Xbox One.

This news comes via a product listing for The Sims 4 on Microsoft's store page (screenshot included in the gallery below in case the listing is pulled). The release date is listed as November 16, 2017. If true, this would be a fairly late adaption as The Sims 4 originally launched in September 2014.

As of right now, this development is confined solely to the early page on Microsoft's store. The link in the description leads to a 404 error, and The Sims' blog's most recent news is about an expansion.

We've reached out to both EA and Microsoft about the possibility of The Sims 4 coming to Xbox One. Predictably, Microsoft had nothing to offer other than pointing us EA's way. EA didn't respond by the time of writing. This article will be updated if/when we hear back.

The Sims 4 [Microsoft Store]

It looks like The Sims 4 is coming to Xbox screenshot

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News:: One weekend with the 'Destiny 2' beta

It's easy to think of the original Destiny as a large-scale, highly polished test run for Bungie's vision of the future of video games. When Destiny came out in September 2014, it was unclear whether an MMO-style first-person shooter could even work on consoles, and it wasn't guaranteed players would be able to reliably connect to the servers over the game's lifetime. We're talking about an online-focused game that landed on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 alongside current-generation consoles, back before Rocket League, Smite or Overwatch invaded the living room. Back when the industry knew something like Destiny was possible, but not whether it would be popular or profitable.

Bungie tweaked Destiny over the game's lifetime, incorporating fan feedback into add-ons like The Taken King and Rise of Iron, and players have stuck around for the ride. Last week, fans got their hands on Destiny 2 for the first time in an open beta across Xbox One and PlayStation 4 -- and though the test was supposed to end over the weekend, it was extended through July 25th. Now that Bungie has proven Destiny's success, the sequel is a chance to truly push the medium forward and leverage a new ecosystem of connected consoles.

So, what's new in Destiny 2? Engadget associate editor Timothy J. Seppala and senior reporter Jessica Conditt dive in and report back.



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News:: Here's what each Metroid amiibo does for Samus: Metroid Returns

When Metroid: Samus Returns was announced at E3, two new amiibo sprung up with it -- the Metroid 2 Samus figure and the Metroid toy (that has a squishy body). That duo will add a tiny bit of functionality to the game along with a few of the old figures, and as of this week we know what that actually entails.

The new Samus will provide an art gallery after the campaign is completed, as well as a reserve tank for special abilities. The Metroid creature tells you where the closest Metroid enemy is located, and unlocks a "Fusion" difficulty after the story is finished. The standard Smash Samus (the one that became rare eventually) will give you a missle tank and a concept art gallery (you guessed it, after you beat the game), and Zero Suit Samus provides an energy tank and a sound test (hey, you need to finish the game first).

It's all pretty innocuous stuff outside of the new difficulty mode, which I hope isn't entirely locked to the amiibo. The good news is that the new pair aren't locked to a specific retailer, and were readily available for pre-order.

amiibo [Metroid: Samus Returns]

Here's what each Metroid amiibo does for Samus: Metroid Returns screenshot



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News:: I foresee many a Joy-Con being broken when Overcooked hits Switch

Overcooked was a bit of a sleeper hit last year. The game is uproariously fun with a bunch of friends, but not many people seem to know of its existence. The general premise has you cooking food in a kitchen where you need to communicate with your friends under a tight deadline. You also need to avoid obstacles like tables flying in your direction because someone thought it was smart to build a restaurant on the back of a semi and put it on the highway. It's insane!

This week, Switch owners will be able to get in on the cooking action when Overcooked: Special Edition lands on July 27. The game will feature local cooperative play with four single Joy-Con controllers, so it really won't take much effort to get a full game going.

I foresee many a Joy-Con being broken when Overcooked hits Switch screenshot

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News:: Check out 30 minutes of Ni No Kuni II gameplay

Bandai Namco have released a video featuring a half-hour walkthrough of upcoming RPG Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. The footage is the same demo a lucky few experienced at E3 earlier this year.

The sequel to the gorgeous looking Wrath of the White Witch does not feature any input from Studio Ghibli this time, however the game looks to carry on its aesthetic tradition of lavish colour and beautiful environments as foppish catboy prince Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum (no, really) attempts to reclaim the kingdom he was usurped from.

The footage, narrated by Bandai Namco PR types, features a little exploration, a little story and a lot of combat, including a battle with a fearsome "Longfang". Obviously if you're choosing to go into the game blind, then the video isn't for you.

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom recently had its release date pushed back a couple of months, but is now expected to launch on PS4 and PC January 19 2018.

Check out 30 minutes of Ni No Kuni II gameplay screenshot

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News:: Five years on, Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses is still beautiful

Years back I attended my first Symphony of the Goddesses concert. It was perfect timing as the 25th anniversary was happening and I was in the process of replaying every Zelda game to date. It all sort of just came together during that magical period of time, but I didn't expect the production to last as long as it did.

With the incorporation of Breath of the Wild though, it's just as relevant as ever.

Five years on, Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses is still beautiful screenshot

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News:: Splatoon 2 music with lyrics

Splatoon 2 is finally out in the wild, and its hype levels are arguably greater now than ever before. Nintendo's newfound knack for developing competitive games that have staying power, outside of staples like Smash Bros. and Mario Kart, is quite a cultural turn around for the company. 

Part of that may be because competition isn't the only worthwhile thing Splatoon has to offer. The single player campaigns, and lore surrounding them, are enough to satisfy some on their own. The cult of personality that's developed around the franchise's in-game idols is a testament to that. 

Gonintendo's Rawmeat Cowboy and Austin from Eggbusters are already part of the cult that covets Marina and Pearl, the Splatoon 2 idols collectively known as Off The Hook. They've created a video for one of their new tunes, complete with translated lyrics to help you sing along. I got a real kick out of it. Watch here for a cut that jumps straight into the music.

Splatoon 2 music with lyrics screenshot



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