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Batman: Arkham Origins Cold, Cold Heart DLC Launch Trailer April 22, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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The final piece of the Batman: Arkham Origins Season Pass is hitting a gaming platform near you today.  Set after the events of Batman: Arkham Origins, “Cold, Cold Heart”, Batman has to tangle with Dr. Victor Fries just in time for New Years Eve.  Don’t worry, Batman’s got an all new batsuit ready to go.

The “Cold, Cold Heart” DLC is included as part of the Batman: Arkham Origins Season Pass, which retails on the Xbox 360 and PS3 for $19.99 US, or standalone for $9.99 US.  The full version of Batman: Arkham Origins is required to play.  The DLC is not available on the Wii U version.

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THEATRHYTHM Final Fantasy: Curtain Call Announced for North America April 22, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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The music from the Final Fantasy series is considered by many to be some of the finest music ever written for video games.  Much of it has been rereleased through fan compilations, or covered by professionals.  Heck, Video Games Live chose to include a track from Final Fantasy VIII to start off their Level 3 Album.  I mean, the battle fanfare is so well known people have used it as their ringtones!

To celebrate all the music over the course of the 20+ years of this incredible franchise, Square Enix released THEATRHYTHM: Final Fantasy for iOS and 3DS several years ago.  It included tracks from each of the thirteen main Final Fantasy games and a ton of unlockable special features.  Recently, I dug through every retailer I could just so I could find a copy of the game, and was really happy I did.

However, by only including songs from the main thirteen games, Square Enix missed out on the chance to include the tracks they produced for several Final Fantasy spin off games, as well as songs from more recent releases like Final Fantasy XIV or Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.  To remedy this, Square Enix has been working on the first official sequel to the THEATRHYTHM series, THEATRHYTHM: Final Fantasy Curtain Call, but up until today we believed this game would only be released in Japan.

Today, I am proud to announced that Square Enix has revealed their plans to release THEATRHYTHM: Final Fantasy Curtain Call in North America this year.  Take a look!

THEATRHYTHM: Final Fantasy Curtain Call is coming this year to the Nintendo 3DS.

How To Stream All iPhone or iPad Content to Your HDTV With Apple TV April 21, 2014

Posted by Maniac in How To, Site Videos.
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If you’ve got a Third Generation Apple TV and a compatible iPhone or iPad, you can stream everything you are doing on your device to your HDTV in real-time using your home wireless network.  However, the command to stream your content is not easy to find.  If you are currently using iOS 7, here’s how.

Final Season Pass Content For The Last of Us Revealed April 16, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Naughty Dog has announced the third and final set of downloadable content for their 2013 Game of the Year contender, The Last of Us.  The new DLC, dubbed the “Grounded Bundle” will include additions for both single player and multiplayer game modes.  The first is called “Grounded Mode”, which is an entirely new and incredibly hard difficulty mode for the single player game.  On the multiplayer side, a new map pack, called the “Reclaimed Territories Map Pack” will include four entirely new maps for multiplayer.  Finally, there will also be some new skills and weapons packs up for purchase at the same time.

You can read all the specific details about all of the new content here.

All of the content will be included for free to anyone who has already purchased a Season Pass for The Last of Us.  Otherwise the Grounded Mode will cost $4.99 US by itself and the new map pack will cost $9.99 US by itself.  Just be aware that after May 13th, Sony intends to remove the Season Pass from the Playstation Store.  Anyone who hasn’t purchased one by then will have to purchase the game’s DLC individually.

The Last of Us is out now for the Playstation 3.  It will be coming to the Playstation 4 this summer.

inFAMOUS: Second Son Patch 2 Out Tomorrow April 16, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Sony and Sucker Punch have announced that the second patch for the PS4 exclusive hit inFAMOUS: Second Son should get released some time tomorrow.  The biggest changes the patch will make to the game include three changes specifically requested by gamers.  Players will now have the option to change the game’s time of day to any point they wish.  You will also be able to cap the game’s framerate to a maximum 30 frames, however Sucker Punch has stated that there may be points where the game will dip below that framerate.  Finally, you’ll be able to turn the game’s HUD off if you desire.

The new patch will also include a whole lot more than just player requested submissions, it will include some entirely new features such as Photo Mode.  Take a look below to see for yourselves how it will work.

If you want to know more about what changes the patch will bring to the game, you can read all the specific details on the patch on the Playstation.Blog.

inFAMOUS: Second Son is out now exclusively to the PS4.

The History of Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) April 14, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Mind of Maniac, Site Videos.
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Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) have no game engine and they blur the line between the real world and the game world.  Where did they come from?  When were they first used?  Maniac gives a brief history on the use of Modern ARGs, and where you can find one today.

Google Maps Put Us in a Pokémon World April 13, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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Since the release of inFAMOUS: Second Son and the great RPG deluge of Spring 2014, there wasn’t much gaming news going on to report on.  It was one day from April 1st, and if previous experience was any indication, most of the news that would be coming out that day would be outright false, and I wouldn’t have much to report on.  Unless I’m doing an April Fools Prank of my own, I don’t like posting up fake news or false information on this site, so I was ready to just put work on the site on hold for the day.  By the time the clock hit 7PM local time, I was just burnt out.  So I was nursing my wounds on Twitter when a Tweet from The Pokémon Company crossed my eye.  Google was looking for a Pokémon Master to join their company.  Don’t believe me?  I’ll let the video explain it for you.

That’s right, Pokémon were in Google Maps and Google, with the blessing of The Pokémon Company, was daring us to catch ‘em all.  I fired up my Google Maps app, which, in my opinion, is the best GPS available on a SmartPhone, and tapped the search bar.  Normally I would see a record of all the previous locations I had searched for, but this time was different.  The words “Press Start”, comprised of blue letters, appeared in the search menu.  I tapped the words and the app changed, hurling my present location to the west coast of the United States.  A pixelated building was superimposed on top of the map’s present location, baring a very similar appearance to a Pokémon Center.  A few tiny, pixelated icons resembling Pokémon surrounded the building, and the city the building was in.  I couldn’t believe it, I was mapping the Pokémon World.

In my opinion, the reason why Pokémon has worked so well as an enduring franchise for so long, is that it copies just enough of the real-world to appeal to a wide audience.  In fact, the exotic lands that Pokémon games have taken place in closely resemble real world locations, and the game’s developers have stated on several occasions that this is no coincidence.  The blurring of the line between the real world and fictional events that take place in the real world to promote the latest media release is something that marketing partners have been doing for at least ten years now.  I’m sure that many people remember the I Love Bees alternate-reality game designed to promote the release of Halo 2 in 2004, but it wasn’t the first ARG ever done, and there have been many others since.  For April Fools 2014, Nintendo was stepping into that territory, and for a short time the line between reality and game was going to get even blurrier.

The first thing I noticed was just how detailed the promotion was.  Google did a great job with updating the Maps interface for this event.  They didn’t just have Pokémon icons all over the maps that you could highlight and “capture”, the app’s interface kept track of all the Pokémon you currently possessed, kind of like a rudimentary Pokedex.  Also, just like a Pokedex, you unlocked character bios and statistics for any Pokémon you had captured, and you could go back and review that information as much as you needed to as you continued your search!  The Pokedex informed me that there were only 150 Pokémon to find, a number reminiscent of the first generation Pokémon games.  After combing through all the wild Pokémon surrounding the starting Pokémon Center, I was off searching the world for new Pokémon to capture.

I traveled across the map, searching far and wide.  As I searched, so did the rest of the world.  The internet was abuzz with other Pokémon Trainers swapping notes on where to find difficult Pokémon all over the world.  There was a Pidgey on the top of the CM Tower in Toronto, Canada.  Several Pokémon were hiding throughout Manhattan.  The Galpagos Islands were practically brimming with all kinds of life, and not just the real kind.   Within a few hours I had found what I thought was all one hundred and fifty Pokémon and called it a night.

April 2nd passed, and I was fairly certain that my Pokémon journey had come to an end.  The joke was over and I had what I thought were all 150 Pokémon captured.  Little did I know that there was in fact one more to find.  When the first Pokémon games were released, Nintendo coded in a 151st Pokémon which could not be obtained through normal gameplay.  Their plan was to offer it to players who participated in official Nintendo sanctioned Pokémon events, kind of like the DLC that you get with preordering a game today.  The 151st Pokémon was Mew, and Nintendo built an entire legend around this one, culminating with the story of the first Pokémon motion picture.

It turned out that Mew could also be found in Google Maps as the 151st Pokémon, but he wouldn’t be easy to find.  After doing a little research on him I discovered that Mew could only be found by Pokémon Trainers who had already located all 150 Pokémon, which is why he never showed up on any of my previous sweeps, and he could only be found in one location out of a pretty hefty list of possible locations.  It sounded like he would be difficult to find, but I searched and searched, and eventually I did find him.

I have to remark on one major thing I don’t think has been reported on by the rest of the media, and that is the educational benefits of this promotion.  By choosing to do this event through Google Maps and hiding Pokémon all across the world’s map specifically, anyone who participated could have walked away with a little bit more experience in geography.  I’ve been hearing concerns for many years now that young people have difficulty finding the location of some pretty important countries, or the locations of certain major cities on the world map.  Since the whole point of the Pokémon Challenge involved using the world map for a giant Pokémon safari, anyone who participated in the event could have walked away with a better understanding of geography.  You really had to search the maps closely to find where Google hid all the Pokémon, and even if you simply breezed through location to location, seeing the names of cities, towns and landmarks would make anyone exploring a location in the world they were unfamiliar with more familiar to them.  Even if you specifically gave Google Maps the exact location specific Pokémon could be found, an animation would move the globe from your current displayed position to the location you told it, giving anyone who searched for the location a pretty quick understanding about where in the world the location was relative to where they were searching.  Educators are always trying to make the subjects they’re dealing with relevant to their students, how about doing a Pokémon search in your classroom?

While this was certainly designed for current Pokémon fans and for the nostalgic like me who remember the height of Pokémon fever, I’m really happy that Google and Nintendo were able to do this.  I hope that something like this comes our way again, and if it does, you can be sure I’ll write about it.  Happy April Fools everybody!

The Last of Us Remastered Announcement Trailer April 11, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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It was announced just a day ago, but Sony already has the first trailer up for the updated PS4 version of the 2013 Game of the Year hit, The Last of Us.  For me to simply say that this game will natively support 1080p HD is not enough.  You need to see it for yourselves.

The Last of Us Remastered is coming Summer 2014 to the Playstation 4.

The Last of Us Remastered Confirmed on PS4 April 10, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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There is little doubt that The Last of Us was Sony’s best exclusive title last year.  Developed by Naughty Dog, the same studio which brought the PS3 exclusive Uncharted series, The Last of Us was less of an action adventure and more of a dramatic character story.

Now it looks like Sony plans to rerelease this game on the Playstation 4, and this new PS4 edition of the game will be called The Last of Us Remastered. As one would expect from a next generation port of a previous generation game, it will include all of the game’s DLC, native 1080p support (the original game was in 720p) and improved graphics. However, it will also include a feature we have not seen before. The Remastered game will include a commentary track for all of the game’s cutscenes featuring guys from Naughty Dog and the lead actors!

No word on a definite release date has been provided, but Sony says we can expect the game to be rereleased this summer. Fans of retail establishments will also be happy to know that the Remastered Edition will get a retail release as well as a digital one. Anyone who preorders the game through a participating retailer will get a whole set of XP perks and exclusive clothing for single player.

Seriously this really was a great game and I would recommend it to any PS4 owner who never had the chance to play it on the PS3. If you want to know just how intense this game’s development actually was, check out the official documentary on the making of the game, Grounded.

Super Smash Bros Direct April 9, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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In honor of the upcoming release of Super Smash Bros on the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS next month, Nintendo has devoted their most recent Nintendo Direct video entirely to the new Super Smash Bros games.  Some new characters get premiered, some old favorites make a return, and some great technical information is spilled about the Nintendo 3DS version.  If there was anything you still wanted to know about either game, give this video a watch.

Super Smash Bros is coming to Wii U and 3DS.

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