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FAIL: Why Haven’t There Been Sequels to Who Framed Roger Rabbit August 28, 2015

Posted by Maniac in FAIL, Site Videos.
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FAIL is back, and it’s back in a big way.  For those of you unfamiliar with this series, it’s a chance for us to take a look at Hollywood’s biggest failures, both on the screen and behind the camera.

After already speaking about popular franchises like Superman and The Terminator, Maniac has now set his sights on something a little more personal.  After being inspired by YouTube creator The Dom and his fantastic series Lost in Adaptation, Maniac decided to set his sights on one of his favorite films of all time, the 1989 classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  When it was released it was one of the most groundbreaking and successful films of all time, and yet in all the years since its release it never received a sequel.

Turns out there’s a very complicated reason why.So sit back and relax as Maniac gets to the bottom of why Disney never produced another Roger Rabbit movie even though scripts were made, money was set aside, and the actors were willing to come back.  Prepare yourselves to hear a story of Hollywood at its worst.

A Remedy Fan’s Speculation on How Quantum Break’s TV Series Should Be Presented (Part 3: Controls) August 26, 2015

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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Welcome back to our ongoing essay series where we are speculating about the upcoming Xbox One title, Quantum Break.  The game is being developed by Remedy, the developers of Max Payne, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne and Alan Wake.  You may remember those titles because of their in-depth stories, something that Remedy has routinely delivered for over the past decade.  Now, Quantum Break looks to completely evolve storytelling in a way that games have not dared before, by including a live-action television series which will be fully integrated into the game’s story.

We’ve already discussed the technical issues with creating such a groundbreaking title and shared some of our ideas on how to best present this series to players, but if I may be completely honest there is something that I’ve neglected to bring up until this point and that is control.  How do you best control these sequences?  At this point, there’s so little information available to us and very little precedent I can use for possible examples that control may very well be the hardest thing for me to write about.

Once again I have to remind you all that this article will be written entirely upon my own speculations based on my experiences playing other titles. Under no circumstances do I believe Remedy needs to take any of my recommendations as a mandate, because for all I know, they could come up with different ideas that are better than mine by the time the game is released next year.  This article will strictly focus on what we’ve seen work and not work in other games, and we will name those titles when applicable.

In order for me to tell you my perspective on video game cinematics, I need to tell you this personal story about myself.  In early 2000, I asked my parents for an original PlayStation just so I could play the first Metal Gear Solid on my birthday, and it became one of my favorite games of all time.  A brief time later, Konami announced that they were making a sequel, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty exclusively for the PlayStation 2.  When it came out in November 2001, a brand-new PS2 cost $299 US, something that neither my parents nor myself could afford, so I ended up playing through the game over at my cousin’s house during the times my family visited their house between Christmas and New Year’s.

As I’m sure you know, Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty has some of the longest story segments in video game history, and the player’s only option to interact with the game during these sequences is to either watch or skip them.  For someone who was an enormous fan of Metal Gear Solid, skipping the cutscenes on my first play through was not an option.  For a person watching these extremely long cutscenes while his family is constantly trying to get his attention to do other tasks like eat or leave, this was difficult.  Nevertheless, I got through the game and was eventually able to get it myself at a later date.

Why bring up Metal Gear Solid when we are talking about a completely different game from a completely different developer made for a completely different platform?  Well, one might argue that if Remedy intends to integrate episodes from the series directly into the game’s presentation, you could think of Quantum Break’s live-action television episodes as a long cutscene, and because of that we could draw some inspiration from games known for their long cutscenes, like Metal Gear Solid.  While I didn’t think I would need a rewind feature while I was gaming, I can’t say how many times I wished I could pause MGS2‘s cutscenes, so I could eat or use the bathroom without having to wait for the scene to end.  Thankfully, times have changed and newer games with lengthy cutscenes will allow you to pause them, like Final Fantasy XIII.  Heck, Kojima added a pause feature for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, something I and my brother-in-law greatly appreciated.

We don’t have to limit our inspiration from just video games, We could also draw inspiration from the ways people can interact with their television shows nowadays.  Since the days of DVD, anyone can binge watch a series of their choice, and have the ability to select any episode, pause, rewind, fast-forward, or skip to their heart’s content.  In the past fifteen years, all that’s changed about this ability is the medium the content has been presented to us whether it be through DVD, Blu-Ray Disc (BD), Digital Video Recorder (DVR), Video On-Demand (VOD), or online streaming services like Netflix.  Now in 2015, consumers expect this bare minimum of functionality when watching television, and this could provide a great benefit if it is brought to Quantum Break.  I think that at bare minimum people are going to want to know if the TV series even be skipped or they may end up calling up the guys over at The Escapist, as someone who would love the chance to rewatch these scenes after I’ve unlocked them I would hope for a lot more.

So, let’s say that we get all of the functionality to control these sequences that we could imagine, including the ability to pause, rewind, and fast forward the game’s television episodes after they’ve been unlocked, how do we control them?  Actually, there’s more options than you’d think, and we’re going to talk about each of them.

Let’s start off with the most obvious option players will have right away, and that is the Xbox One controller.  The Xbox One’s controller is the most obvious option because controllers have been tried and tested to work the best when it comes to video games, and the best part is they have the benefit of you being guaranteed to have one.  A typical Xbox One controller has two analog sticks, several interface buttons, two trigger buttons, and two bumpers.  That is more than enough to navigate through any video, but could other options work better?  There’s a big debate about that.  Some studios have tried to replace the controller, or “improve” it through features like motion control, microphones, or touch screens, but many have argued over the years that the controller is perfect the way it is and nothing could ever replace it.  Next, we’ll talk about some things that could replace it.

If you bought the Xbox One within the first year of its release, you found an optional peripheral included with it which was intended to greatly improve your Xbox One gaming experience, the Kinect.  On it’s face, including the Kinect with all Xbox One units sounded like a great idea, because there was a lot that Microsoft and Xbox developers could do with it.  To improve Xbox One navigation, Microsoft implemented Kinect voice and gesture commands so players could easily launch their games, stream their content online, or save video content to the console’s internal DVR.  Why bother searching for a remote when you can simply say, “Xbox, Pause” to your television, or tell it to go to a specific channel?  If you’re like me and were interested in watching an episode of the Quantum Break series with friends, it would be more convenient to implement voice commands, than to constantly have to look for wherever you left the controller.  It’s also pretty useful for quickly navigating menus, doing gesture commands with the controller, and handling the Xbox One’s dashboard.  I don’t think I need to remind you all that Quantum Break was in development during the time that Microsoft was planning to offer a Kinect with every Xbox One system they sold, and Remedy did post job offers for Kinect experienced developers.  It would be likely to assume that Quantum Break could have SOME Kinect functionality in it, but due to the poor reception of the peripheral, I think many developers are going to try and distance themselves from it.

The next option I wanted to talk about is something you may not even consider a controller, your personal digital device.  That’s right, your SmartPhone or Tablet, regardless of who made it, can be used to interface with the Xbox One through the dedicated Xbox One SmartGlass app.  Games like Dead Rising 3 have used SmartGlass to great effect. If used right, it enhances the game experience, and adds another layer of depth to gameplay.  There’s no limit to what you could do in Quantum Break with a SmartGlass component and it would work very well for players who preferred to control the game or watch the series from a touchscreen.

If you don’t want to use SmartGlass, I mentioned in a previous article that Remedy has several mobile programmers on staff, so it isn’t unreasonable to assume Remedy could create a dedicated app for portable devices that could work as a remote.  Other games like Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes are compatible with a dedicated third party mobile app, so we know that Microsoft will allow non Microsoft programmed apps to connect with the console.  Pause, rewind, stop and fast-forward buttons are trivial to design on a touch screen, and for those who prefer tactile feedback, they could always add a vibration or sound effect every time the user inputs a command.  I would love to see this feature in action.

However they choose to present this groundbreaking series, I’m sure the experts at Remedy will do it right. Until then, you can expect plenty more Quantum Break coverage on this site as new information is revealed.  Hope you enjoyed the series and if you had any ideas you’d like to share feel free to post a comment below.

Quantum Break is coming April 2016 exclusively on the Xbox One.

Until Dawn Launch Trailer August 25, 2015

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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A horror game I have been waiting years to play has finally been released and to celebrate the launch of this unique game, Sony created this brand new trailer. Enjoy.

Until Dawn is out now exclusively on PS4.

Console War VI Part 1 August 25, 2015

Posted by Maniac in Console War, Histories.
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In 2011, Nintendo would be the first to enter a new generation of console war.  Fueled by the tremendous success of the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS, Nintendo was ready to take another gamble to try to repeat the unbelievable success of the Nintendo Wii.  They planned to create a low powered reasonably priced console which would reinvent the controller in a way that only they were capable of.  Taking inspiration from their successful handheld lineup, and the increasing popularity of personal tablet computers, Nintendo created a console based entirely around a controller equipped with both motion controls…and a touchscreen capable of displaying its own video feed.  The Nintendo Wii U was officially announced at E3 2011 to incredible fanfare, and a wide variety of first and third party games Nintendo was preparing for the console’s launch.

Sony and Microsoft said nothing about the Wii U’s announcement, and they were not concerned about Nintendo launching the next console war first.  They knew their consoles would have at least one more year in the market before they would be considered technically obsolete and they were not ready to reveal what they were working on just yet.  The mainstream gaming press gave Nintendo a lot of positive praise for the Wii U, but many were wary.  The console’s graphics were basically on par with what the Xbox 360 and PS3 were already capable of, and without the tablet controller, the Wii U was essentially a high-definition capable Wii.  The Nintendo Wii U launched at the end of 2012 with a pretty impressive series of launch games including Super Mario Bros UBatman: Arkham City Armored Edition, and the most anticipated third party game in the Wii U’s lineup, ZombiU,  To best show off the system’s capabilities, Nintendo bundled the game Nintendo Land with every premium black Wii U model sold, hoping that it would bring the same success that bundling Wii Sports with every Wii brought.

Wii U sales were slow, but the system gained a loyal following.  People who did buy the system opted to only buy the premium black model, so Nintendo eventually eliminated manufacturing the cheaper white model.  Reviews for the system ranged all over the place, while players loved Nintendo Land and ZombiU, most felt that the games alone did not merit the console’s purchase, even though it was compatible with every Wii game and allowed players to transfer all their save games, Miis and digital purchases from their Wii to the Wii U.  Meanwhile, Sony and Microsoft continued to promote their current platforms but remained tight lipped if they had any plans to replace the PS3 or Xbox 360 with new consoles.  Christmas 2012 would be dominated by the Wii U, but would it be alone for long?

In February 2013, Sony announced their successor to the PlayStation 3, the PlayStation 4.  They had no demo unit available to show the press, only a controller, a 3D camera, and a very select amount of games.  The PS4’s architecture would be a complete 180 from what the PlayStation 3 used, making it completely incompatible with any PS1, PS2 or PS3 game.  In fact, most of the system’s presentation revolved around Sony’s plans to offer a game streaming service based on Dave Perry’s Gakai service.  After the platform’s creator unveiled some of the system’s major features, including an impressive standby feature, several games were shown including a racing game called DriveClub, as well as new entries in the Killzone and inFAMOUS franchises.  Third party developers like Ubisoft also demoed their upcoming games on the PS4, and showed Watch Dogs would be coming to the platform.

After the presentation concluded, PS4 buzz began almost immediately.  It was undoubtedly a powerful system, but there were still a lot of questions about it.  Since Sony had not included a mock up of what the console was going to look like at its initial presentation and spent so much time going on about the console’s streaming services, players did not know if the PS4 would even include a disc drive until after Sony released the system’s specification sheet.  Also, the lack of backwards compatibility was an issue, especially since Sony was planning to sell new PS3 and PS4 titles over the next year, and Nintendo was able to offer Wii compatibility with the Wii U.  However, the console’s specifications impressed and the games looked incredible.

After Sony’s PS4 announcement wrapped, all eyes were on Microsoft to announce their successor to the Xbox 360.  Microsoft would announce their next Xbox console a few months later.  At the announcement event, Microsoft unveiled what their next console would look like and it’s name, the Xbox One…which happened to be the exact same thing most of the mainstream was already calling the first Xbox console since the Xbox 360 launched.  To show the audience how revolutionary their new console was, they showed a clip from the popular game show The Price is Right to show the world their console could stream regular television feeds by connecting with mainstream cable/satellite provider’s set-top boxes!  That’s right, Microsoft was showing how revolutionary their next generation console was by demoing gimmick features nobody would make use of.  They also announced a new Halo TV series was in development with the help of Steven Spielberg, but to this day absolutely nothing has come of that project.  The first game that was shown on the system was Remedy’s Quantum Break, a game which has not been released at the time of this writing, but still remains my most anticipated Xbox One game.

To cap the presentation off, Microsoft announced that every Xbox One sold would come bundled with its own brand-new Kinect camera which would enable full voice control, motion tracking, and video streaming.  When Microsoft launched the first Kinect sensor for the Xbox 360 in 2010 a lot of people thought that it had a lot of potential, but most game developers were not willing to develop games for such an expensive optional accessory.  Now that Microsoft was planning to bundle new Kinect units with every Xbox One sold developers could take full advantage of everything the Kinect added to the platform.

The Xbox One impressed a few but a lot of people remained skeptical.  With the exception of Quantum Break’s showing, most of the time Microsoft spent unveiling their next generation games console was used to talk about everything the system could do but play games. Also, most of the mainstream press had a bad feeling about the things Microsoft was not saying about the new system.  The Xbox 360’s Kinect was revolutionary when it was released, but anyone who had one knew it was too unreliable to work as well as a controller did.  Plus, with the improved camera, a lot of people expressed major privacy concerns with what they considered should have been an optional accessory.  However, the biggest concern the mainstream media would have about the new platform was how it would handle used and traded game sales.  Several media outlets had heard musings that the Xbox One would deny playability to all resold, rented or traded games, one of the most anti-consumer practices that any game developer could have engaged in.  On video, Microsoft spokespeople denied these claims, but officially Microsoft had planned for the Xbox One to be one of the most anti-consumer consoles in gaming history.

With the last two major console announcements out of the way, all eyes were on E3 2013.  There was no doubt that Microsoft, Sony, and third party publishers would be showing off more games for the Xbox One and PS4.  Microsoft struck first, announcing tons of exclusive titles would be coming to the Xbox One including LocoCycleKiller Instinct, Dead Rising 3, D4, Forza Motorsport 5, and the next main Halo game.  As the show concluded, they announced the Xbox One’s price, $499 US, and said all systems would include a controller, headset, 500GB internal Hard Drive and a Kinect.  However, Microsoft said nothing about how the system would handle its games or how disc purchases would be handled by the system.  Even after the show wrapped, many were still extremely concerned that the Xbox One would not be usable for players who lacked an internet connection, and that game rentals and used resales would be impossible on the system due to heavy anti-consumer copy protection.

A few hours later, Sony took the stage to show the final version of the PS4 and several of the games that consumers would be able to play day one.  Most of the games shown were multiplatform titles and sadly, Sony had no God of War or Uncharted game to show.  However, near the end of the presentation Sony had a moment that most of the mainstream press considered one of the greatest moments in the history of E3, a “drop the mic” moment if you will.  Sony’s executives made it crystal clear in plain English that the PS4 would ship with absolutely no anti-consumer copy protection and have no problem playing borrowed, resold, and rented game discs.  The system’s final price would be $399 US, a hundred dollars cheaper than the Xbox One’s.  The crowd exploded, and preorders for the PS4 in the US went crazy that night.

Nintendo was the last to present, and they showed off a library of upcoming games for the Wii U including Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, and a Wii U remake of The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker.  It impressed Nintendo’s loyalists, but Wii U sales had been slumping and many were concerned that these games would not improve the Wii U’s sales.

After the E3 show concluded, both Sony and Microsoft started looking at their preorder numbers.  Sony was happy, Microsoft was not.  Oddly enough, Microsoft’s anti-consumer plans for the Xbox One were not resonating with consumers, and the lower price and solid titles offered by the PS4 was more than enough to earn gamers’ trust.  Fearing their own decisions would make them lose the console war before it even stared, Microsoft scrambled their PR teams to try to fix this debacle before the console’s launch, and they made a public announcement to all of their dedicated retailers that they were changing course with their plans and removing the online requirements and rented/resold/borrowed game restrictions of the Xbox One.  The console would have an initial online activation requirement at launch (similar to how a SmartPhone has to get activated in a store before you can take it home with you), but that would be all.  Many consumers, myself included, breathed a sigh of relief over this announcement, but the news was considered too little too late for many who simply didn’t trust Microsoft and had already planned to buy a PS4.

Fall 2013 came around, and the battle was about to start.  The PS4 launched first and quickly sold out its initial allotment.  Demand for the console was so high many were turned away with their money still in their pockets.  Even though it had no backwards compatibility, few exclusive titles, and a launch lineup of games you could likely get for other systems, new PS4s would not stay on retail shelves for long.  When asked why most players were interested in the system, the mainstream consumer listed price and technical capabilities as their primary reasons for buying a PS4.  They believed the multiplatform games looked and ran better on PS4, and for $399 US, the price was right.

Microsoft launched the Xbox One with a Kinect, a huge lineup of exclusive titles for download and retail release, and a $499 price tag.  Aside from a huge market for people who purchased the Day One edition of the console, any non-Day One Xbox One system sat on shelves to collect dust.  The peripheral that Microsoft felt would give the Xbox One a huge leap over Sony’s PlayStation 4 console became every conspiracy theorist’s whipping boy.  Even though Microsoft had reversed their decision to restrict used game sales and require a persistent online connection to play their games, privacy concerns over the Kinect sensor became the reason many gamers refused to pick up the console.  In contrast, Sony’s console was such a hot seller consumers wouldn’t be able to find it on shelves for another three or four months,  By E3 2014, Microsoft backtracked on their decision to bundle the Kinect with the Xbox One, and announced the Xbox One would be sold without a Kinect for a price of $399 US.

What came of this decision and how did this effect the Console War?  You’ll have to read that next time!

Pokkén Tournament Announced for the Wii U August 21, 2015

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The Pokémon Company kicked off this year’s Pokémon World Championships with a big announcement, the Japanese arcade game Pokkén Tournament is coming to home consoles next year!

Pokkén Tournament is an arcade fighting game developed by the creators of TEKKEN featuring many of the characters from the Pokémon franchise.  Before today, it was believed that Pokkén Tournament would never be released outside of Japan. Now we know that the international community will not only be able to play it, they’ll be able to play it on the Wii U. Take a look.

Pokkén Tournament is coming Spring 2016 exclusively to the Wii U.

Final Fantasy Portal App Released August 21, 2015

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Final Fantasy Portal has been released as a free download on Android and iOS devices.  The app serves as a web portal to keep Square Enix fans in the loop on the latest Final Fantasy news, and offers a fun minigame, Triple Triad, a game you might remember when it originally appeared in Final Fantasy VIII.

As a great promotion, all users who download the app right now can purchase the original Final Fantasy through the app completely free of charge.

Final Fantasy Portal can be downloaded right now for iOS and Android platforms free of charge.

Until Dawn – Playstation Underground Video Preview August 20, 2015

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Until Dawn has had a long and interesting development period, but with its release date quickly approaching, this page in the history of Playstation exclusive titles is drawing to a close.

Earlier today, Playstation Underground did a 20 minute gameplay preview of an early section of the game. Since its been announced, very little of the game has been shown, and because of that I’m really happy to see Sony officially release this footage. Take a look but don’t forget, if you’re in a horror game, never take a bath.

Until Dawn is coming August 25th, 2015 exclusively on the Playstation 4.

The Best Downloads for the Nintendo 3DS August 20, 2015

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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Nintendo released the New Nintendo 3DS XL earlier this year to much fanfare.  It’s a beautiful piece of hardware that can play any retail title from the Nintendo DS or Nintendo 3DS’s grand software library, and grants you access to a great digital marketplace called the Nintendo eShop.

With so much content being offered on the eShop, it can be overwhelming for new 3DS owners to know what they should download, so I’m going to give you some tips on what are the best downloads for the system.  It’s hard to break down a list of some of the best software that is being offered through the eShop since it has been in operation for several years.  With so much content being offered how is a new user going to know what to get?  Well, that’s what we’re here for, this article is going to detail some of the best content to download on the Nintendo 3DS platform.  Some of the content is free, some of it will cost money, but trust me, all of it is worth taking a look at.  Break out your Nintendo 3DS system, turn on your system’s WiFi, update your system software, and fire up the Nintendo eShop app because we are about to get started.

Before we get started I want to give a few points about the rules for this list.  We will be exclusively talking about titles available through the Nintendo 3DS system’s eShop, but DSi-compatible software can get mentioned as long as it will work on the Nintendo 3DS.  Since we’re only going to be talking about 3DS downloadable software, any games that have been released at retail in North America will not be counted here, so titles like Pokémon X, Fantasy Life, or The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds will not be listed, but game demos are perfectly acceptable.  We’re also not going to be mentioning any downloadable titles available through the Virtual Console, because if I did that this entire list would be populated with classic Game Boy, Game Boy Color and NES titles, and most players will already know which titles from those platforms are good or not.  With all that out of the way, let’s get started.

Demos

Here’s a section of demos which in my opinion go above and beyond what is expected of them.  While you can find demos for all sorts of retail titles you might be interested in playing on the Nintendo eShop, you should download these particular demos even if you were planning to get the game at retail anyway because they can either offer exclusive items or feature a section that is not included in the full version of the game.

Bravely Default Demo – All I can say is if you’re even the slightest fan of JRPGs, you need to get this demo right now.  Bravely Default has gone on to become one of the most essential titles for the Nintendo 3DS platform.  It was developed by Square Enix, and draws heavy inspiration from their earlier Final Fantasy titles, including Final Fantasy III.  The game’s demo serves as a prequel to the game and covers events which do not happen in the main title.  This does a great job of setting the stage for the player, and becomes a great use of the player’s time.  You can also unlock exclusive content and items you can transfer to the full game by completing certain goals during the demo, so make sure to keep playing it to its fullest if you want to buff up your party as much as you can once you start the full retail game.

Pokémon Omega Ruby & Pokémon Alpha Sapphire Demo – Because this demo was so unlike any demo Nintendo had released previously on the Nintendo eShop, it was originally only offered exclusively to special players through special promotions.  Thankfully, Nintendo reversed that policy and now anyone can download this awesome demo from the Nintendo eShop, and I would recommend doing that even if you already have a copy of the full version of either game.  This demo, like the one for Bravely Default, takes place before the events of the Generation III remakes, and gives you a first look at one of the later areas in the game.  The demo might seem short at first, but just completing the demo once grants you a Mega Evolution capable Level 40 Glalie you can transfer to the full game.  After that, every time you fire the game back up you’ll be presented with another random challenge you’ll have to complete.  The more you play, the more you can unlock, and that content can be brought into the full version of either Generation III remake using Pokémon Link.  The best part is that unlike other Nintendo demos, there is no limit to how many times you can play this game so play as much as you want.

THEATRYTHEM: Final Fantasy Curtain Call – The 3DS demo for this delightfully fun rhythm game is a must-download for anyone who is a fan of Final Fantasy’s incredible music library.  While the demo does not offer any exclusive songs to play, anyone who plays the demo gets the chance to unlock a playable character early if they pick up the full version of the game.

Applications

That’s right, you can download more than just games for the Nintendo 3DS system, you can also find plenty of useful applications on the Nintendo eShop which can improve your system’s functionality and enable you to do more with your portable gaming system.  Let’s take a look.

Save Data Transfer Tool – This is a very useful tool to download as soon as you get your 3DS online.  It’s designed to take any save data from a retail 3DS game card and permanently transfer it to the 3DS’s internal SD memory.  This will enable retail owners who wish to trade in their games the ability to back up their save and wipe it from the game card before it is traded in.  After that, if the player chooses to purchase the game once again as a digital download off the eShop, they can restore their previous game progress and resume where they left off.  It is a really useful feature for anyone who wants to borrow a friend’s retail copy of a game or trade any retail titles, but just be aware that this is a one-way feature and any save data transferred to the 3DS’s SD Card can only be used by a digital copy of the game, and cannot be installed onto a different retail copy.  It’s still a really useful tool, its free to download, and it doesn’t take up that much storage, so I would still recommend getting it.  Never know when you might need it.

Pokémon Bank – This is the application many Pokémon Trainers have been wishing for since the first Pokémon titles were released in the late 90s.  Pokémon Bank can store any of the Pokémon you’ve captured from the Generation VI Pokémon games, and enable you to use them in other Pokémon titles.  In fact, if you download an extra special application called the Poké Transporter, you can even bring the Pokémon you’ve captured or stored in your Generation V Pokémon games into Generation VI.  While the application is free to download, it does have a $4.99 US a year fee to use the service.  As a safety feature, It will not work unless you have created a save in any Generation VI Pokémon title..

Games

Well, we’ve talked a lot about the 3DS’s downloadable demos and apps, let’s talk about the platform’s download-exclusive titles.  Let me tell you, there is an incredible amount of great games you can download on your 3DS right now, and here are just some of them.

Attack of the Friday Monsters – Are you a fan of Japanese culture, fighting monster movies like Godzilla, and superhero sentai shows like Kamen Rider?  If you are, you need to give this download-exclusive game from LEVEL-5 a look.  You play as a young boy who just moved to Tokyo during the booming popularity of sentai hero shows.  Every Friday, enormous monsters come to do battle, and all the children line up to watch the event and play a special card game.  But is everything exactly as it seems, and are you sure you know your own background?  This game features a great story, relatable characters, and a great art style.  Without a doubt you’ll get a few hours of enjoyment from this game, well worth the price.

Weapon Shop de OMASSE – Another LEVEL-5 exclusive downloadable game, but this one is heavily inspired by RPG games like Dragon Quest and adventure titles like The Legend of Zelda.  The game takes place in a time when warriors, knights, and adventurers of all sorts come together to complete quests all with the hope to defeat an ultimate evil.  However, you don’t play one of those heroes, you play the guy who makes weapons for those heroes to use, and oh boy you’re not going to believe all of the crazy and eccentric people who want to rent weapons from you, just make sure you give them the right one.  The best part is the game has some of the funniest writing I’ve ever heard, with lots of jokes poking fun at RPG clichés, and several attacks on the fourth wall.  If you enjoy parody, or just want to participate in a funny story, this is well worth a download.

Shovel Knight – This 8-bit inspired platformer has won numerous game of the year awards and I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t played it yet…

Pokémon Shuffle – Imagine a puzzle game where you need to group together similar characters to win, only these similar characters happen to be Pokémon.  Each puzzle is devoted to a specific Pokémon, and if you can complete it, you will earn the chance to capture that puzzle’s Pokémon. Any Pokémon you capture can then be used in subsequent puzzles to help you capture more.  This free game is probably one of the hottest downloads on the entire Nintendo eShop and has been so successful on the 3DS the Pokémon Company plans to bring it to smartphones in the near future.  If you ask me it strikes the perfect formula to make for an enjoyable puzzle game.  The best part is new puzzles are added all the time, and special limited puzzles with unique parameters are brought in all the time.

The Starship Damery – Another great downloadable title from LEVEL-5, this one is a science fiction title where you play as a character trapped on a derelict spacecraft.  You’re stuck in a cryopod and your only hope to escape is by taking control of a small autonomous robot.  You’re going to want to play this game to the end, because this game’s got a big twist that I did not see coming.

Dr. Mario Miracle Cure – If you liked Dr. Mario on the original NES or the downloadable title Dr. Luigi on the Wii U, you must download this game.  This is without a doubt the definitive version of Dr. Mario, and not only offers tons of puzzles from either game, but a cool special mode with tons of exclusive puzzles you’ll have to wrap your brain around.  If that’s not enough for you, there’s always online multiplayer.

Honorable Mentions

Here’s a section of game titles and apps which were offered for download on the Nintendo eShop, but are not currently available anymore for one reason or another.  If the apps are ever re-released I would recommend downloading them immediately, but until then here’s some of my favorite apps that unfortunately you may never get to use.

Nintendo Video – Nintendo Video was a small video app which could automatically download as many as four short 3D films to your Nintendo 3DS.  Over the years it showcased popular web videos like the Dinosaur Office series, music videos from bands like Linkin Park, and clips from 3D-exclusive series like Meat or Die and Dream Defenders.  While the app could only hold four videos in memory at any given time and its content lineup at any given time was entirely decided by Nintendo’s programmers, I was charmed by the variety of the 3D videos showcased on the app.  Sadly, Nintendo Video was shut down a few weeks ago, and will no longer function even if you have already downloaded it.  Nintendo has promised that the incredible trove of content they offered on the app will be accessible on the Nintendo eShop from now on, but as of this writing only some of the content the app has showcased over the past three years is watchable in the eShop.  However, if you get the chance I would recommend checking out Shaun the Sheep shorts on the eShop, they’re great.

Pokédex 3DPokédex 3D was released as a free Nintendo 3DS download to coincide with the release of Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2 on the Nintendo DS back in 2012.  It is essentially a Pokédex for your Nintendo 3DS, and features information on Pokémon from the Generation V games.  While very little content is unlocked from the start, you could unlock new Pokédex entries by scanning AR codes or trading information with your friends. The app was later used as the groundwork for the Pokédex 3D Pro premium app, which added entries for all of the previous generation’s Pokémon and a cool trivia contest.  Sadly, when Pokédex 3D Pro was released, Nintendo discontinued offering the Pokédex 3D app on the eShop for download, and now you will have to pay $15 US to download the Pro version.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary – This DSi-downloadable title is an enhanced port of the original Four Swords bonus game included with all copies of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on the Game Boy Advance.  In it, you and as many as three other Links have to work together to complete challenges and defeat enemies.  It may sound simple, but it was a lot of fun and inspired many future games in the Four Swords series including The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures.  Sadly, this free game was released for only a short period of time to celebrate The Legend of Zelda‘s anniversary, but it was briefly rereleased last year to celebrate the critical success of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.  I would be happy to recommend this game, but Nintendo is very hush-hush about if they plan to offer it for download again.  Regardless, if it ever goes back up for any amount of time I would recommend getting it as soon as possible.

StreetPass Plaza

Last off, I want to remind all of you not to forget to create a Mii and enable StreetPass Plaza.  There are currently six exclusive games available for purchase through that application and they can only be purchased through the application.  Take my advice, all six of the games are a lot of fun, so your best deal is to buy them as a bundle since Nintendo offers the bundle at a discounted price.  Trust me, once you start visiting Nintendo Zone hotspots you’ll be very happy you bought them.

A Remedy Fan’s Speculation on How Quantum Break’s TV Series Should Be Presented (Part 2: Presentation Options) August 18, 2015

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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Welcome back everyone.  If you’re just joining us, we’ve been speculating about the incredible options and technical hurdles that are in store for Remedy Entertainment as they prepare for the release of the Xbox One exclusive title Quantum Break early next year.  In the last part of this editorial series, we spent some time talking about the technical complications that can come up if you’re planning to release a video game with an entire live-action television series integrated with it.  If you haven’t read it or would like to reread it, you can read that article here.  Today, we’re going to be talking about all of the different ways this game’s television series might be presented to us, and believe me there are actually a lot of options.  So, grab some popcorn and relax on the couch, we’re going to be talking about some pretty fun ways you might be able to watch Quantum Break’s live-action series when the game is released.

Since the game was announced alongside the Xbox One’s reveal back in 2013, I’ve heard a lot of theories about all of the ways the developers could present the game’s live-action television series, including some pretty fun ones.  Right now, I want to focus strictly on three possible options I can foresee being used to present the series to the game’s players.  Before we start talking about them, I just want to make a small disclaimer right here.  This is by no means a complete list, nor do I think that Remedy is under any obligation to construct their game using any of the options that I am speculating about.  This is just a fun thought exercise for me, and if you have any ideas of your own that you’d like to contribute, I want all of you to feel free to do so using the comments section at the bottom of the screen.

I cannot tell you how many games I’ve played through while I was growing up where simply finishing the game’s story was my sole motivation.  Many nights in my youth I would force myself to stay up late and complete a difficult level just so I could watch the next cutscene and discover what happens next in the story.  I’m sure avid book readers who find themselves reading something so interesting that they are unable to put their books down have had similar moments, but that’s how I feel when I’m playing a good game.  This has the side effect of making the FMV sequences feel like a bit of a mini-reward for your hard work in completing the previous section of the game.  Apparently I wasn’t alone with these feelings, I’ve heard similar comments from JRPG enthusiasts who felt the exact same way I did when playing through Final Fantasy games.

So how can Remedy best present their story to the player?  First off, let’s get the most obvious presentation option out of the way, and that is to simply launch specific episodes of the live-action series at predetermined interludes during the game.  Imagine it would play out like this: you would finish a level or accomplish a specific mission goal, the game would fade out and a specific episode of the live-action series would start.  During the episode you could be prompted to make several decisions until the episode concluded, and once the episode came to its end you would be brought back into the game.  I know that Remedy is planning to tell the TV series from a different character’s perspective, but I know for a fact that they are masterful at story organization so I trust them completely to best know which episodes to play at which points in the game.  The only downside of this option that I can think of is that we just don’t know how long Quantum Break’s episodes are going to be, and because of that we don’t know how long players could theoretically have to wait before the episode ended and brought the player back into the game.  Granted I’m sure anyone who played Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of the Patriots or Metal Gear Solid 4: Sons of Liberty probably wondered the same thing, but I’ll be talking about that more at a later time.  Personally I think this option, while simple and straightforward, has a lot of positives going for it and I totally welcome the option of taking a break from gameplay and grabbing some popcorn between levels to watch an episode.

The second option is to keep your game strictly a game the entire time you’re playing it and have the episodes unlock in the background after reaching certain levels or earning specific achievements in the game. In this case the episodes can unlock just as they would in the first option, but all you’d simply get is an on-screen notification about it in the same manor you would get an achievement or friend request, and you wouldn’t be taken out of the game or be required to watch it until later.  This could help make players who are solely interested in playing Quantum Break as an action game happy and keep an even tone throughout the game.  Episodes would still unlock as if they were a reward, but they would be watched completely by the player’s choice, since the player would have the option to continue progressing in the game until they decided to take a break and quit to a main menu.  I know there are a lot of players who would prefer this option, they’re the same players who push X every time a cutscene starts up just so they can skip it and get back to the action.  While this option has several positives, there are also several negatives as well.  The first downside of this option is that if a player ignores the game’s series, they won’t be able to make choices which could only come up during the show, and those choices will not affect the later portions of their game.  Remedy has mentioned that they will have specific set pieces during gameplay happen differently depending on the choices the player makes during the live-action show.  For example, in one scene you could have to fight your way across the bridge.  If you had been watching the series, there might be a protest on that bridge.  By making the show optional, you are depriving the player of fully experiencing their game and all of the different events that could happen.  To me personally, it would also break the game’s narrative flow if I constantly had to quit my game to the main menu every time I got a new episode notification.

The third option was inspired by information I read in various interviews that Remedy has done, and I think they’ve been seriously considering this option for a while as a secondary option for gamers.  It works like this: once an episode is unlocked during gameplay you could choose to either watch or skip it of your own free will, but if the reason why you’re skipping it is because you don’t have the time or ability to watch the show on your Xbox One, you could still watch the episode on the go by to streaming the show on a portable device like an iPhone or Droid.  This Quantum Break TV on the Go option would be possible through a specific app you would have to install on your mobile device, which could be either Xbox SmartGlass or some other dedicated app.  Theoretically this would probably also work on the PC as well if you were using Windows 10.  I  would consider this an alternate option for players to view the series, so I’m not going to really weigh in very heavily on the pros and cons of it.  I mean, first off it would be a really useful option for gamers constantly on the go, players who would like to rewatch the series, and people who can’t boot up their Xbox One because someone else is using the TV its connected to.  It’s also very possible for Remedy to create a dedicated mobile app for Quantum Break.  Since Death Rally was released on iOS a few years ago, Remedy created a huge smartphone presence.  They already employ dedicated phone programmers to work on games like Agents of Storm, so they certainly have the knowledge, experience and assets to create a dedicated Quantum Break app if they want.  There are a few downsides I can think about, and most of them revolve around added development time, but the game has an established release date, so if they were going to go that route, it wouldn’t add any more development time then they’ve already used.

So, those are some of my options for how Quantum Break’s live-action television series could be presented.  If it is presented right, the video portions of the game’s highly-anticipated television series could start a whole new movement for video games.  Obviously, Remedy is under no obligation to take any of the design routes that I have speculated over, but I do have one big request: Remedy, PLEASE INCLUDE A CUTSCENE VIEWER in the game’s main menu so players can rewatch previously unlocked episodes!  This would be a great feature that could be used to easily show off all of your hard work to gamers who haven’t played it yet.  Personally, I’d love to binge watch the series with Princess Angel.

Before we go, I have one last thought to bring up.  If I may be completely honest there is something that I’ve neglected to bring up until this point and that is control.  How do you best control these sequences?  At this point, there’s so little information available to us and very little precedent I can use for possible examples, that control may very well be the hardest thing for me to write about.  Because of that, I think we’re going to save it for next time.  Hope you’ll join us then!

Quantum Break is coming April 2016 exclusively to the Xbox One.

Playstation 4 Firmware 2.57 Released August 17, 2015

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Just a friendly reminder for PS4 owners out there to don’t forget to run your console’s Software Update feature, because Sony has officially released Firmware 2.57 for the PS4 and unlike other updates it is not currently required to access the PSN.

Software Update 2.57’s patch notes are very sparse and only list’s one major change, improved stability when using certain features. That sounds like a nice way of saying “general bug fixes” to me.

You can get the update right now directly through the PSN or from Sony’s Official Website.

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