Category Archives: Games

Trigger other classic gaming machines to appear in mini form

Today there’s a scramble to grab a SNES Classic before they inevitably sell out. And such was the demand for the NES Classic last year that Nintendo is set to re-release it next summer. But it won’t be the only new mini retro gaming machine available in 2018. Retro Games is set to release a tiny version of the Commodore 64 complete with 64 games.

The C64 Mini as it is called, will take the form of a 50 percent scale replica of the original 1982 computer complete with “accurate C64 operation.” Unlike the original, though, the C64 Mini will connect to a TV via HDMI and includes a joystick connected via USB.

Retro Games is promising sharp, CRT, and scanline emulation pixel filters as well as a “pixel perfect graphics” mode. 64 games will be available to play including a save game function, with the full list of available titles available on the official website.

According to Eurogamer, there’s no release date beyond 2018 right now and the price is set at £69.99 ($95). For that, you get the C64 Mini, one joystick, a HDMI cable, and a manual. Two USB ports are available, suggesting that the joystick will also be available separately for two-player gaming. You can also plug in a USB keyboard for some reason.

The Commodore 64 was a big deal for its time, with the C64 Mini website pointing out it was “the world’s best-selling single computer model.” I doubt it will end up selling anywhere near as well as the NES or SNES Classic, but it’s sure to be popular if Retro Games have put together a high quality package.

 

Best Metal Gear Bosses

One of the most prolific and influential video game series comes to an assumed end next week. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain promises to shed light on Big Boss’s transformation from war hero to mythic shadow militia leader. The long and complex story has spanned consoles and generations, each game compelling and effective in their on respects. Taken as a whole, the series’ consistent high points have always been the incredibly thorough boss encounters that punctuate the narrative.

 

Metal Gear bosses are a different breed of crazy. They often challenge players in ways the game proper hasn’t before and serve as platforms for to showcase the games stranger antagonists, with the best among them creating a ludonarrative nugget of gaming excellence. These are the best of those. Warning: There will be spoilers.

This Brazilian-born swordsman was met with tragedy at a young age and would be pulled into the world of blood and revenge early. Sam saw Raiden as a sort of parallel of one another after their first encounter, and he spent the remainder of their combative relationship attempting to goad Raiden into embracing his inner killing machine. Raiden eventually gives in, and despite their final encounter being a straight-forward slug fest, the emotional resonance was palpable.

For the most part, Metal Gear Solid 4’s bosses were more homages to boss fights passed than wholly new experiences in and of themselves. What makes the return to Shadow Moses so fufilling then, is how the end of that chapter takes concepts from the past and breathes new and exciting life into them. Up until this point, Metal Gears were bipedal monstrosities who only served as targets for your Nikita missiles. This fight had you at the helm of your very own device of militaristic overabundance, as you finally got to square off with Liquid Ocelot – in his own Metal Gear, of course. The rock-em, sock-em laser fest that ensues is the perfect encapsulation of everything MGS stands for.

What made the second coming of Vulcan Raven such a dangerous fight was how completely indomitable he was in open combat. If you didn’t stick to cover, he would destroy you without much effort. In a game where you spent most of the time being out-gunned and out-manned, Raven found a way to make you even more vulnerable. By the skin of your teeth – and with a Dollar Menu of explosives – is the only way to take down this juggernaut of both body and spirit.

What’s worse than one Metal Gear? Many Metal Gears. There’s already a great deal of pressure when if comes to fighting the newer, more agile, amphibious Metal Gear RAY, who moves faster and is more accurate than its dense and stocky counterpart. When they attack in a seemingly endless string, the stress turns into nervous break down. Say what your want about pre-bionic Raiden, but he earned his keep in this fight.

 

OpenAI Bot Beats Pro Dota 2 Player

Artificial intelligence developed by the Elon Musk-backed OpenAI bested human players this weekend at The International, an annual Dota 2 championship.

While that might not sound too impressive on its face—we’ve seen Google-developed AI beat Go players—Dota 2 is “vastly more complex than traditional board games like chess & Go,” Musk tweeted.

“Dota’s a great testbed for artificial intelligence; it’s a very complicated game with a large competitive scene,” OpenAI co-founder and CTO Greg Brockman said in a video explaining the project (below). “The rules of Dota are so complicated [that] if you just think really hard about how the game works and try to write those rules down, you’re not even going to be able to reach the performance of a reasonable player.”

OpenAI has been hard at work on a bot capable of beating top professional players at Dota 1v1. On Friday, it was showcased at The International, a huge event hosted by Valve that draws 20,000 fans and players competing for $24 million in prizes.

The OpenAI bot went up against Danylo “Dendi” Ishutin in rather dramatic fashion, and handily beat the pro player twice before Ishutin bowed out.

“Bot is really fun and challenging to play against 🙂 I am sure it is possible to beat it. But it [has] no room for even slight mistakes,” Ishutin tweeted after the match. “Need much more tries for that 🙂 I think first few levels are most important to keep the lead. Still was amazing fun to play on stage!”

Ishutin added that it’s “awesome what awaits us in future with all those technologies. Excited!!!”

According to Brockman, OpenAI “trained entirely through self play. It starts out completely random with no knowledge of the world and simply plays against a copy of themself, which means it always has an evenly matched opponent. And it climbs this ladder of skill level until it’s able to the reach the performance of the best professional players in the world.”

OpenAI then invited pro players to try out the OpenAI bot. “Many pros wanted to keep playing the bot and talked about using it as part of their training routine,” Brockman said, though “amateur players enjoyed playing the bot as well.”

On Twitter, Musk thanked Microsoft “for use of their Azure cloud computing platform. This required massive processing power.” OpenAI and Microsoft announced a partnership in November.

The International was OpenAI “introducing our Dota product to the world and see if they can reach the world of the top human professionals,” Brockman said.

Going forward, OpenAI wants to “mix AIs and humans on a single team and reach a level of performance that neither of them can reach on their own,” according to Brockman. “AI can be extremely beneficial to humanity and it’s going to require fundamental advances to see what it’s really capable of.”

The new pop culture fad since the end of the last decade

Comic book movies have become the new pop culture fad since the end of the last decade. There were comic book movies before the like of Iron Man and The Dark Knight, but none were particularly stellar until Spider-Man 2, and even then they weren’t very consistent. Comic book heroes and villain’s big cross over territory was generally video games, with hundreds of title spanning 8 console generations. The bar for what a “good” comic book game is was consistently raised over the year, and even though they aren’t as popular as they used to be, these comic book games will stand the test of time.

2013’s Deadpool game was a labor of love for everyone involved. High Moon’s Sean Miller is a big fan of the character and always wanted to make a game based on the him, but didn’t want to do it without the right elements in place. Those elements being Deadpool writer Daniel Way and voice actor Nolan North, who plays the character in pretty much every other video game staring the Merc with a Mouth. The game itself is a rather generic hack and slash, but there’s a palpable appreciation for the source material in every inch of the title. It’s funny and frantic and had a lot of sequel potential, but tepid sales (by Activision standards) really put the brakes to that. Also, the Marvel’s publishing agreement with the company ran up without being renewed, causing it and other games to be removed from digital marketplaces. It’s since been restored to Steam, but it’s hard to sell a game that isn’t on the shelf.

The Hugh Jackman Effect is probably the only factor in the anomaly that makes Wolverine movies keep happening. The Wolverine was an awkward movie that was mostly forgettable, but still all around better than the movie before it, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Oddly enough, the silver lining of that travesty of a movie was the tie in game it produced. A straight forward hack n slash ala God of War, putting you in the shoes of a formative Wolverine was great fun.  It was also extremely violent and full of naughty language, which was actually perfect for the character. It also elaborated on some of the movies plot points, allowing a bit more story to leak in here and there, as well as provide big set piece moments that the movie never achieved, like dismembering a Sentinel prototype as its being launched into the atmosphere.

 

Master Chief Riding a Scorpion

Back in August 2016, Microsoft released the Xbox One S and as usual iFixit did a teardown of the refreshed console. At the time there was a limited release 2TB model, and what iFixit found hidden inside was a Halo Master Chief figure etched into the optical disc drive bracket. Microsoft decided the Xbox One X also deserved a hidden Master Chief.

As Windows Central reports, Spanish-language YouTube channel Unocero got a close look at a disassembled Xbox One X. What they found inside is another Master Chief in updated form. You may remember before Microsoft decided on the name Xbox One X, the new console was known as Project Scorpio. So it’s fitting to discover Master Chief riding a Scorpion as an etching on the motherboard.

As very few gamers end up taking apart their console, especially when it costs $500, it’s nice that someone found it so owners know it’s there without going searching for it. It’s also a nice easter egg from Microsoft that reminds us of the naming history of the machine and how important Halo continues to be for Xbox. As the video above shows (11 minute mark), Microsoft also printed the Microsoft name and logo on the inside for the casing.

We are assuming the Master Chief scorpion image features on every single Xbox One X motherboard, but it could be just the Project Scorpio editions that include it. We won’t know until someone gets a hold of a standard edition Xbox One X and decides to open it up.

The Xbox One X launches on November 7. All Project Scorpio editions were pre-ordered as soon as they became available, with Microsoft claiming it is the fastest selling Xbox pre-order ever. Since then, Xbox One X standard edition pre-orders have opened. However, it looks as though all allocated stock has been taken leaving the console sold out for now.

Microsoft doesn’t like to talk about specific sales figures anymore, but maybe it needs to do what Nintendo just did and pull out all the stops to increase production in the coming months.

 

The most iconic cities in fantasy literature to life

A group of intrepid nerds have organized an Indiegogo campaign to bring one of the most iconic cities in fantasy literature to life. Peter Jackson’s version of Minas Tirith would make for a most impressive living experience. Can you imagine the block parties? Thing is, video games know a thing or two about creating fascinating and wonderful cityscapes that inspire our curiosity and imagination, and there are many of them that I would definitely choose to have residence in over the capital of Gondor.

Treno is a city of perpetual night, and it is one of the most cultured and diverse spots in all of Final Fantasy 9. There’s a huge art community there, with street performers and painters littering pretty much every available sidewalk. There’s a pronounced criminal element, but let’s focus on the good, here!

This submerged city-state on the bottom of the ocean was supposed to be a land of opportunity. A place unhindered by societal pressures, Rapture quickly became a city of discovery and revolution. Quickly after that, it become a ghost town rife with death and addiction. Oops.

Based heavily on New Orleans, New Marias is the Gulf of Mexico city that Cole ends up in after the events of the first Infamous. New Marias is like the French Quarter of NOLA, but across an entire city – which is both exciting and overwhelming for anyone who’s been to Frenchmen Street on a weekend.

Val Royeaux is an impressive city, architecturally speaking. Its buildings and streets are intricately molded, gilded with gold, and draped with grand tapestries. It’s the religious seat of Theadas – the Vatican of the game, if you will – and is also the epicenter of much of the intellectual progress that happens in the country. Too bad most of its residents are jerks.

A lot of choices on their hands

When Destiny 2 comes to PC on October 24th, new guardians are going to have a lot of choices on their hands. For starters, there is which race to pick, which class to play, and which subclass they’ll want to specialize in.

 

They’ll also have options to customize their look with armor shaders. They’ll need determine which exotic guns and armors they’ll want to pursue. And on top of all that, new guardians will also have to choose which faction they want to pledge their loyalty to.

 

Sounds like a bit of a Titan-sized order right?

 

But it doesn’t have to be. Choosing a faction won’t change how you experience the game, not like, say choosing Horde or Alliance in World of Warcraft might. Instead, you’ll have access to a unique cache of guns and armor (because really, isn’t that what this is all about anyway), each with a slightly different color scheme depending on which faction you pick.

 

So who to choose? What is each faction about and what do they stand for? Let this lore guide to Destiny 2’sthree core factions help you decide.

It’s hard to look at the wealth of human history, examine life under absolute monarchies and other authoritarian regimes, and go ‘yeah let’s bring that back!’ But the New Monarchy faction led by Executor Hideo wants exactly that. They believe that the City, with it’s current system Vanguards and the Speaker, leave the city weak. They believe the best way to usher in a new Golden Age for humanity is for the city to be united under “a single sovereign of unimpeachable character.”

 

That potentially alarming caveat aside, on paper the New Monarchy is a faction of inclusiveness and improvement. They’re guided by the principle of “Together we rise,” along with seven tenants all designed to promote harmony and collective advancement within the city walls. Overall the New Monarchy might be a pretty decent faction, if you can get over the whole enlightened despotism bit.

Should only be played once

Some games are so great, they should only be played once. They can still be good on subsequent playthroughs, but these five games are prime examples of experiences that exist to shock or inspire the first time around. This shouldn’t put these games in diminished standing amongst their peers, though. These games are at their fullest when they aren’t over-prodded by the ever curious gamer.

 

1. Bioshock: Infinite

Bioshock is a great series of narrative-heavy first person shooters that bring a particularly unique set of mechanics to the genre. It’s always fun to shoot lightning bolts out of your hands, and the game’s focus almost always tends to be how twisted and dramatic the story is – especially in Infinite.

 

Once you play through the last half hour of it, you can never look at Bioshock: Infinite the same way again. One of the biggest plot twists in games is when the ending is obvious, but so well executed that it remains impactful. You can never have that “first time” back, though, and romping through Columbia again will not bring you back from behind the veil.

 

2. Journey

The evocative and almost ethereal adventure that Journey takes players on is really only great once. When you find random travelers (other players) and investigate the incredibly elegant spaces you’re lead through, everything comes together organically. Words are replaced with visual and audio cues, and the effort to get to the end is one that will never feel powerful a second time around. Every new environment relies on some form of “WOW” factor that you can’t unsee and get re-surprised by.

 

3. Any Telltale Game

Telltale has their particular brand of adventure game down to a science, and almost all of their games have followed a similar format. Unfortunately, that means there’s really only room for one genuine playthrough, where you set aside the fact that you know how these narrative paths work and can almost predict what happens next because of it.

 

Regardless of how you feel about the game’s stories, playing it a second time shows you not only the micro effects of the actions you didn’t take, but the fact that they really don’t change the overall course of the story much at all. It can be a real bummer to pull the veil back like that.

 

Facts We Couldn’t Believe About Game

Nintendo, which means “Leave Luck to Heaven”, is a 126 years old company from Japan that has captured our hearts and imaginations for years, and it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Check out these awesome Nintendo facts, and share your favorite trivia in the comments below.

 

Nintendo History

Did you know the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) only came out 30 years ago? If the company is over a century old, what were they up to in their earlier years? Initially, Nintendo was known as a playing card company that produced various card decks when a playing card ban was lifted in Japan. They even became involved in board games, toys, a taxi service, and hotels for adult couples. Yeah, it’s safe to say they have a colorful past.

 

Color TV-Game

The Nintendo Family Computer was not the first console from the company. With Mitsubishi Electronics, Nintendo produced a series of game consoles called the Color TV-Game. The consoles didn’t have interchangeable cartridges, but they offered a variety of games from Pong to racing.

 

A bit later, Nintedo released the Game & Watch series of portable devices. Are you familiar with Mr. Game & Watch from Super Smash Bros? Now you get the reference.

 

Luigi

The original Mario Brothers game introduced our favorite gaming sidekick, Luigi. In the game, he’s basically just a green and white version of Mario – not the tall and lean character we’re familiar with today. Luigi’s outfit is green because shell creepers (more commonly known now as koopas) were also green, and it saved memory space.

 

Nintendo Cereal System

Ever dreamed about a Nintendo cereal? Well, the Nintendo Cereal System showcased Super Mario Bros and Zelda-themed cereals. Each box contained two bags of cereal (one for each game), and was produced by Ralston. You might know the company from their other products, though – such as Purina Dog Chow and Tidy Cats cat litter. Hope you didn’t lose your appetite…

 

Seattle Mariners

Nintendo of America is located in Seattle, Washington – so it makes complete sense that Nintendo would purchase the Seattle Mariners baseball team. President Hiroshi Yamauchi was the one who purchased the team, but unfortunately wasn’t able to see them play before his untimely death in 2013.

 

Nintendo in Space

When Soviet cosmonaut Aleksandr Serebrov traveled into space, he had a Nintendo Gameboy at his side. His game of choice? Tetris, of course.

 

A juggernaut for any hero based game

Release a hero shooter in 2017, and it’s bound to be compared to Overwatch. It’s simply an inevitability. Blizzard’s FPS is too much of a juggernaut for any hero-based game following in its footsteps to avoid the comparison.

 

Such is the case with LawBreakers, released earlier this month on Steam and PlayStation 4. The hero-based, multiplayer-only FPS from Boss Key Productions has been compared to Overwatch almost from the beginning.

 

From its cast of larger-than-life characters to their ultimate abilities and the game’s loot boxes, there are definitely some apt comparisons to be made between the two shooters. There are also a number of major differences that set the two games apart, in terms of everything from game mechanics to the wider universe each title occupies. Here are some areas in which LawBreakers and Overwatch find common ground — as well as some of the elements that make each experience unique.

A hero-based shooter is hardly deserving of the name if it lacks heroes to play as, and it’s here whereLawbreakers and Overwatch find the most common ground (at least on the surface). Nearly every character in Blizzard’s Overwatch has become an immediately recognizable piece of videogame iconography, and while the hero roster in LawBreakers isn’t nearly as charming or memorable, there are a few standouts.

 

Maverick, for instance, sets herself apart with a look and attitude straight out of the film Top Gun, while the reprogrammed security bot Nash shines by only being able to communicate via violence-oriented quotes from popular culture.

In a major departure from OverwatchLawBreakers actually features two heroes for each of the game’s roles, depending on which team the player finds themselves on. Fans of the Vanguard class will play as Maverick while on the side of the Law, but play as Toska-9 when on the Breakers team. It’s a nice touch that keeps LawBreakers grounded in its own universe, as opposed to playing a match in Overwatch, where archenemies Soldier: 76 and Reaper can be seen fighting side by side.