jump to navigation

Nintendo Switch Games You Must Get Now September 30, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
add a comment

If you’re like me, you’ve got a Nintendo Switch or a Nintendo Switch Lite and badly want to play some great games on it. After the handheld spent the last year utterly dominating in sales, I’m sure many people are wondering what games they should buy for it now that they’ve had their fill of the recent Animal Crossing title. Well, look no further because I’ve compiled a definitive list for all of you! For the purposes of simplicity we are going to only focus on games that are currently available at retail. Away we go!

Super Mario Odyssey -My absolute favorite platformer of all time with one of the best songs ever produced for a video game.

Super Smash Bros Ultimate – this one is a no-brainer. Have you liked ANY Super Smash Bros game from the past fifteen years? The character you liked is in Ultimate.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – The ultimate party game. All of the carts, characters and tracks you remember are included, along with all of the DLC from the Wii U version. The best part is the game’s multiplayer component can be played either by controller sharing, local network, or online.

Splatoon 2 – Still my absolute console favorite multiplayer shooter of this generation. Splatoon’s gameplay is fast, frantic and fun. It also comes with an enormous single-player campaign (and a paid DLC single-player expansion that is so long I still haven’t completed it).

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – An Open-World Legend of Zelda game that you can take anywhere, explore however you want and complete at your own pace. Sign me up!

Octopath Traveler – An RPG made by one of the best RPG studios in the entire world with a unique art style I still haven’t seen replicated anywhere else. Seriously, did you see this trailer at the Nintendo Switch announcement event?

Catherine: Full Body – The definitive version of the classic platformer, Catherine: Full Body is a director’s cut of the 2011 game with new scenes, harder puzzles, and all-new characters. Why do I recommend getting the Switch version? All the DLC is included for free.

Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu or Let’s Go Eevee – You can’t buy a Nintendo handheld and not include a Pokémon game with it. A lot of you are going to be conflicted if I include Sword or Shield on this list so instead I’m going to go with the Kanto remakes. Let’s be honest, Pokémon Yellow was the first Pokémon game I ever played and seeing this game remade for the Switch tablet was just incredible.

All of the games listed here are available right now for the Nintendo Switch.

First Details of Spider-Man Remastered Released September 30, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
add a comment

Sony has just published the very first concrete details for Spider-Man Remastered, an updated version of the PS4 game Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018) for the PS5. Since this game is only being included in the PS5 version of Spider-Man Miles Morales Ultimate Edition, gamers wanted to know more about how the game worked and what to do to play it.

First off, this remaster is not coming to the PS4. If you own a PS4, and you already have a copy of the game, your PS4 copy will continue to function on your PS4. PS4 game owners are also not eligible for a free upgrade to the Remastered version. That said your PS4 copy will play fine on the PS5 as it does on the PS4. You just won’t be able to use the new PS5-only features being added.

The only way to be eligible to get the PS5 version of Spider-Man Remastered other than buying the Miles Morales Ultimate Edition, is to buy the PS4 version of Miles Morales (which should be eligible for a free PS4 Upgrade) and paying a fee to get Spider-Man: Remastered as DLC.

Here’s a look at what 60FPS mode will look like:

Oh and if that’s not enough for you? One of the three exclusive costumes that’s going to be included in the new version of the game will be based on the suit Andrew Garfield wore in the film Amazing Spider-Man. Up until this point it was the second most demanded Spidey suit online (the first being the suit from the Sam Raimi movies).

Spider-Man Remastered is coming to the PS5 on the same day Spider-Man: Miles Morales is releasing.

Big Pokemon News Today! DLC 2 Release Date and HOME Support Coming to Go September 29, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
add a comment

The Pokémon Company has just released a massive news dump for much of the upcoming Pokémon content for the rest of the year. We got a release date for Pokémon Sword and Shield’s second DLC expansion, The Crown Tundra.

DLC2, The Crown Tundra, is coming October 22nd, 2020. A copy of Pokémon Sword or Pokémon Shield is required to play it. If you don’t have a copy of a current Pokémon game and would like the option to purchase a copy bundled with the game’s expansion content, you’ll be able to find them at retail starting November 6th, 2020.

If you already have a copy of a recent Pokémon game and want the Pikachu Mystery Gift, you want to visit this website.

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are out now exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. Pokémon Go is out now for Android and iOS Smartphones and Tablets. Pokémon HOME is out now for Android and iOS Smartphone and tablets, as well as the Nintendo Switch.

Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2 Substance Now On GOG September 29, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
add a comment

“The nuclear disposal facility on Shadow Moses Island in Alaska’s FOX Archipelago, was attacked and captured by NEXT GENERATION SPECIAL FORCES being lead by members of FOX-HOUND.”

PC players can rejoice, two of my favorite games of all time have just been rereleased for purchase through GOG.com, Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance. Old school 8-Bit gamers will also be happy the original Metal Gear for the MSX has been ported and put up for sale as well.

If you’re curious as to why these games were released, you need to remember that these games were not platform exclusive back in the day. Konami did port them to the PC many years ago, but due to the incredible amount of time that passed since then, modern PCs were not as able to run them due to compatibility issues. These are clearly updated versions of the PC ports improved for use on modern PCs.

Gaming History You Should Know – The Beginnings of Game Freak September 27, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

It’s Sunday, and while we haven’t had the chance to post a new Gaming History You Should Know in a few weeks, it wasn’t due to a lack of great content being available, it was more because Sundays became really busy for me as of late. If you’re new here, this series highlights some of the best independently produced original gaming documentaries from across the web.

As we’ve previously reported, the Pokémon franchise is a multimedia powerhouse, but the company who originally created the game that brought it to the world came from very humble beginnings.

YouTube Legend Tamashi, known for her reviews of the Pokémon games, created this incredible television-length documentary about the history of the company who would go on to create Pokémon, Game Freak. She’ll tell you about where the company came from, and do a review of their very first game for the Famicom, err, Nintendo Entertainment System.

Tamashi has really outdone herself with this one. I totally recommend checking out her YouTube channel, because she does some great game reviews.

iOS and iPadOS 14.0.1 Released September 25, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
add a comment

Apple has just released a minor but important update for iOS and iPadOS. The new version is listed as 14.0.1 and contains non specific bug fixes weighing in at around 125MB.

Given the fact Apple will not list specific fixes in its update menu, my guess is that this update contains a security fix of some sort. You can download 14.0.1 right now through your smart device’s Software Update feature or through iTunes.

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu – This Generation’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit September 24, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
add a comment

A few years ago I wrote an essay declaring that the game Halo: Reach was our generation’s version of The Dirty Dozen. Today, we’re going to do it again. In the late-80s Disney took a huge gamble and made their most technologically ambitious film of that time. Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a classic sendoff to old Hollywood depicting animated characters as no different than live-action film stars who actually exist in the real-world, get married and have 9-to-5 jobs. When a well-known cartoon character is framed for murder, he has to hire a human private detective to help clear his name. Here’s the trailer:

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was Directed by Bob Zemeckis, and starred Charles Fleischer, Bob Hoskins and was based on a novel by Gary K. Wolf. While it was a tremendously successful film at the box office when it released in the late 80s, it was an expensive and difficult movie to make. In fact, it was so difficult to produce that it was believed that no movie like it would ever be made again. There may be some truth to that since Disney has been unable to make a sequel to this day.

Meanwhile, on other side of the world game developer Nintendo has dominated the gaming handheld market for twenty years with the incredibly successful Pokémon franchise. Originally created by Satoshi Tajeri, Pokémon allowed players to explore a region full of magical creatures where they could capture, battle and trade amongst each other while on the go.

By today, Pokémon has been recently declared the most popular consumer franchise in the world, beating out other enormous franchises like Hello Kitty and Star Wars. While numerous Pokémon animated feature films and an ongoing animated television series have been produced over twenty years, there has always been a fan demand to see a live-action film adaptation of the Pokémon games. The problem was the story of a standard Pokémon game is not easily translated to a two-hour film and due to the otherworldly appearance of the game’s creatures production prices would be high. It was believed creating a live-action Pokémon feature film would be a difficult to impossible task.

However, in 2019, Warner Bros, Legendary Pictures, and The Pokémon Company teamed up to make the film Pokémon: Detective Pikachu based on the spin-off game of the same name. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, and Kathryn Newton and was directed by Rob Letterman. If you haven’t seen it yourself, Here’s the trailer:

WARNING: Just be aware this article is going to include SPOILERS for the film Pokémon: Detective Pikachu. If you’re uncomfortable with that, I recommend watching the flick yourselves before continuing with the rest of this article.

Watching both trailers back to back probably made you see some parellel’s in the two film’s plot right off the bat. Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Pokémon: Detective Pikachu were both heavily inspired by the film noir genre. In fact I remember writing a paper about the Roger Rabbit film as a perfect example of film noir when I was back in college. Had I been born a few years later, I probably would’ve written that same paper on Detective Pikachu. Film noir is a classic genre of film, usually revolving around a murder mystery or some difficult case a hero must solve. Visually the genre’s films are shot with heavy shadows, the dialog is foreboding with heavy use of allegory and in the end the hero must solve the case. Just from that description of the film noir genre you can see a similarity in plot between the two films, can’t you? Well we’re not done yet.

So what went into making both films in the first place? Since it is impossible to produce complex fictional animated characters on set, actors were hired to film scenes while their animated co-star would be added in later during post-production. While Who Framed Roger Rabbit used 2D animation drawn by artists, Detective Pikachu used lifelike 3D models rendered in a computer. This was done to match their source material’s respective animation style. They also hired crews who were not only the absolute best in the industry in their respective field, but were fans of the franchises the films they were working on were based on.

So how did this all work on set? Unlike a purely animated film which would have actors recording their voice overs separately depending on their schedules, both films had their voice actors on set (slightly off camera) so the actors who were on camera could have an easier time acting opposite what was essentially an invisible person. Bob Hoskins had to undergo training to imagine his costar was in the room with him, despite the fact he was (in reality) talking to an invisible being. Charles Fleischer, who played Roger Rabbit, treated his role as off-camera acting and would deliver lines off camera in timing with Bob’s dialog. Roger had no on-set body double, Charles was the ONLY actor to perform him throughout the film’s production. In fact, Charles was so method with getting into his character, he spent his mornings before filming began getting into a rabbit costume similar to the one Roger wore, so to help his performance.

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu was produced in a very similar method to Who Franed Roger Rabbit. Sadly, we do not have as extensive a look into Detective Pikachu’s production as we do for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but from what I was able to see I was taken aback by how similar what I saw was on Detective Pikachu’s set to the Roger Rabbit film.

The majority of Detective Pikachu saw actors Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton interact with a computer generated Pikachu performed by actor Ryan Reynolds. Since Pikachu’s performance was being added in post-production, that meant that Justice Smith had to believe he was really talking to a fictional electric mouse to sell his performance to the film’s audience. I’m not an actor but even I know this is not an easy task, but it seems the actors were up for it. I don’t know what it says about the greatness of Justice Smith’s acting capability but he had to undergo Mime training while filming a scene in the film where his character interacts with a Mr. Mime. The Mime who trained Mr. Smith appeared very impressed with Smith’s performance in the film’s Behind the Scenes footage.

At this point, I’m afraid I have to reveal the film’s biggest spoiler. At the end of Detective Pikachu, we learn that Justice Smith’s father is in fact Ryan Reynolds, and Mewtwo’s actions put Ryan Reynolds inside Pikachu’s body to save his life following a major accident. When Mewtwo reunited with the group, he could restore Mr Reynolds back to perfect health. In essence, Ryan Reynolds, or if you prefer, Detective Pikachu, was Justice Smith’s father the whole time. This was a huge reveal that I can remember not everyone in the theater audience I sat with was willing to accept, and even online critics like Doug Walker did not see coming. (ED NOTE: I saw it coming).

We never saw the face of Mr. Smith’s father throughout the majority of Detective Pikachu. Never once does the camera focus on a picture of him when the audience is exploring his apartment and all archived video footage we see of him is of his backside. This was likely done intentionally to hold back the film’s major reveal, but it also made me wonder how practical this was for the performers on set.

Both Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton had to be on set interacting with (to them) Pokémon they would have to imagine were next to them. It was entirely possible for Mr Reynolds to use a body double for any moments we saw Smith’s father on set however, in the behind the scenes footage I watched from the film’s production, Ryan was clearly on set in costume (as Justice Smith’s father) acting alongside the rest of the cast. This could’ve either been done for the benefit of the actors on set or could be seen as a testament to Ryan’s dedication to the role.

The one thing I can’t seem to confirm is if Reynolds was on set delivering Pikachu’s lines to Smith or if his voice was dubbed in later. Needless to say Ryan took his role very seriously to the point of method acting. How method did Ryan get? Well they did include this documentary with the film’s home video release but I’ll let you be the judge just to how accurate it is.

If you ask me I feel both films succeeded in their premise to mix live-action actors with animation. In both cases, the films broke ground in not just what can be done technologically, but what actors can be capable of performing. While it is highly unlikely we will ever see a new Roger Rabbit film, (the rights are currently tied up between Amblin and Disney and Mr. Hoskins sadly passed on many years ago), I would be more than happy to see Detective Pikachu as a jumping off point of a live-action Pokémon cinematic universe! My only hope is that if they intend to go the same route they did before, they cast the right skilled actors for the roles (or just bring back Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton).

Hope you guys enjoyed the article! If you haven’t watched these films for yourself yet, or want to watch them again after not seeing them in a while you have several options. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu can currently be found on the HBO MAX service and Who Framed Roger Rabbit is currently on Disney+.

Halo 3: ODST Released on PC Today September 22, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
add a comment

Back in 2009, Bungie released one of my favorite games of all time on the Xbox 360, Halo 3: ODST. It was later rereleased on the Xbox One as a downloadable gift for people who bought Halo: The Master Chief Collection at launch (due to that game’s extreme issues). Today, it is on PC. Here’s the launch trailer.

Halo 3: ODST is out now on PC and Xbox One.

Science Check: Marvel’s Avengers September 21, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, Science Check.
add a comment

It’s been a long time since we played a game that inspired us to break out the lab coats and do a proper Science Check but we have been playing the multiplaform game Marvel’s Avengers all month and I must say that I have come across a scene that shook my plausible belief in this game about a team of super powered individuals. What happened? Well, read on and find out.

Just be aware there will be SPOILERS for a great moment in Avengers and if you haven’t played the game’s main story yet I recommend completing the single-player campaign before finishing this article. With that out of the way let’s get started with our article.

Sometimes, you’re forced to make some severe leaps of logic as to just how plausible a video game’s grounded reality can be. Some things we’re willing to take for granted, like enemies will simply just carry health and ammunition supplies with them at all times, and you will be immediately able to make use of them.

But then sometimes there will be moments in gaming which skirt the bounds of reality and you are forced to ask yourself…COULD THAT REALLY HAPPEN? Fortunately for me, I happen to have a bunch of friends on speed dial with science backgrounds and when I ask them questions, they have no problem filling me in on just what reality would do in these situations.

So this is Science Check, where I take a look at the leaps and bounds of scientific logic that games have made over the years and check if it would indeed work, or if you tried doing it in the real world, you’d be totally screwed.

During a major set piece of Marvel’s Avengers, the titular heroes need to do an investigation of an illegal laboratory located in Earth’s orbit. However, getting into space, even for The Avengers, is not easy. A S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier can fly but not into space. Helicarriers use jet turbines to stay aloft, which redirect air pressure in the earth’s atmosphere for thrust. No air, no thrust. They also couldn’t call up any international space agencys due to the dubious legal gray area the team was operating in at the time. That meant a rocket or shuttle launch was also out of the question. So the solution for getting into space meant Tony Stark would need to build an Iron Man suit capable of orbital insertion. That’s what we are going to be talking about today.

Building a space launching Iron Man suit wasn’t a bad idea since it was something Tony had been thinking about for years but could never accomplish up to that point. Tony mentioned that he had no issue with constructing an Iron Man suit capable of operating in space, his problem was getting the suit to launch into space. Essentially, with the game’s current technology, a power unit capable of getting Iron Man into orbit would either weigh too much or be too underpowered to fit in the suit. Getting into space requires power, and building a power source capable of orbital insertion (get used to that phrase we are going to be using it a lot) was difficult. In the event the suit was too heavy or too underpowered would cause it to flame out during launch. Tony’s had similar issues minimizing the size of certain Iron Man control systems throughout his comic series, with my favorite solution coming in the Extremis plotline, so this kind of issue is not unheard of.

So how does Iron Man fix his power problem? Tony’s solution was to use some of Hank Pym’s Pym Particles (yes the same ones Ant Man uses to get really small or really big) to miniaturize his biggest power control systems small enough to fit into his prototype suit. That brings us to this scene:

Okay, you saw it. But is it possible? I admit having played this scene and immediately thinking to myself, “This video game about a heavily radiated genius, a WWII super soldier, a man wearing a powered suit of armor, a super spy, a Norse God, and a girl with the ability to morph the size and shape of her limbs may not be very realistic.”

Let’s break down every single component of that launch, shall we? First off, can he really generate enough power to get him into orbit with just his modified power systems? We also see him going pretty fast while wearing little more than a skintight suit of metal armor to protect him from the forces required for orbital insertion, would a human body survive that? Finally, we see Iron Man launch during a lightning storm, could that be considered hazardous? Well, I’ve looked at all of these concerns and right now we are going to find out for sure if this scene could really work!

Tony Stark powers his Iron Man suit with something called an Arc Reactor. As you may remember from the very first Iron Man film, Tony was able to build a miniature reactor while in captivity to serve two purposes. First, to power a surgically implanted electromagnet that kept metallic shrapnel from entering his heart, and second to power the heavily-armed suit of armor that would help him escape. The first arc reactor he constructed in a cave with scraps was capable of “3 gigajoules per second” and while he never states the power output of later models (I’ve heard numbers high as 15) they clearly exceed the capability of the original model.

I would like to say that I know for a fact that you can or can’t get into space with just an arc reactor…but I don’t. We use rockets fueled by propellants such as hydrogen and oxygen to get into orbit. They require enormous fuel tanks and expend almost all of their energy in a matter of minutes. The Iron Man suit flies by using what is called “repulsor technology” which converts energy from a power source (like an arc reactor) directly into lift. That’s how Iron Man is able to fly without having to lug around an enormous fuel tank on his back. Sadly, we don’t have repulsor technology in our world so I can’t tell you what this fictional technology is fully capable of. I wish I could tell you an exact power output required for a rocket to get into orbit, but none of the rocket scientists I know will currently take my calls. On the side note, the Iron Man space suit clearly looks like it is made from gold and titanium, so it shouldn’t have an icing problem.

Now let’s talk about how fast the suit is going. I may not be a rocket scientist but even I remember what I heard from Walt Disney Presents. Launching into orbit, regardless of the fact of if you’re doing it in a rocket or a suit of armor, requires you to exceed the natural acceleration of earth’s gravity of 9.8m/s. Any less and you would start falling back to earth immediately. I appreciated the fact that Crystal Dynamics left players the ability to view the gauge readings on the screen as Iron Man ascended so we had an idea about how fast he’s going. True to that acceleration demand, the Iron Man suit is depicted as always going faster and faster, increasing speed by a Mach a second maxing out at Mach 32. That would certainly be fast enough to get into orbit but it does open some new issues.

Iron Man does not make his historic space launch on the ground. He launches from atop a SHIELD Helicarrier while it is aloft, which would in theory save his suit a little bit of power. Sadly I do not have insider specifications of what kind of max altitude a fictional airship from the Marvel comics has. Since we aren’t sure just how high an altitude the Helicarrier is at when Tony launches, we are going to assume it can reach at least the same altitude as a modern commercial jet. If the airship is lifted by four massive Jet Engines it can fly at an altitude of at least 12-15KM. (UPDATE: Iron Man VR lists cruising altitude of a conventional SHIELD Helicarrier as 30KM.) If AIM’s space lab is at the same orbit as the International Space Station, that would put it at an altitude of 408KM. That means even while launching from an elevated position, the Iron Man suit still needs to travel nearly 400KM while constantly accelerating to reach its destination. The gauges we see in the game put the station at around 300KM away at launch so it is possible either the Helicarrier can be at an altitude of around 100KM or the facility was in a lower orbit than the ISS is at. Either way it gets a pass.

Also remember Tony is traveling through a lightning storm during his flight. While the player has the ability to dodge the storm, he does endure a few bolts on the way up. Honestly, I can’t imagine he has much to worry in that case as long as the Iron Man suit is insulated. About a decade ago I was actually on a plane that flew through a lightning storm and we came out perfectly fine. In fact, the crew of Apollo 12 was struck by lightning twice during their launch from Cape Kennedy, and thanks to Al Bean’s quick thinking (with help from mission control) were able to reach orbit by resetting one of their more obscure console switches. I could easily believe the Iron Man suit is insulated and is controlled by a crash-proof computer, which should provide some protection against getting struck by lightning. I imagine as long as the bolt didn’t damage the suit’s structural integrity, Tony would be just fine. This also gets a pass.

However, there is something Tony may not be able to survive, and that is the need for speed. His suit topped out at a speed of Mach 32 as it entered orbit. Could Tony survive going Mach 32? Well, as far as we can tell, this version of Tony Stark is not using the Extremis suit, and he still has his Arc Reactor surgically installed in his chest so I am arguing for this article that the game’s version of Tony Stark is 100% human. The fact he likely also has a heart condition would likely disqualify him from being an astronaut, but so would being over six feet tall. Speed and acceleration by itself will not severely injure a human, but extreme G-forces will. As we saw Tony’s suit climb in speed, we also saw his body’s G-Force on a separate part of the display. That gage reporter a force at around 3.5G the entire trip. This is a pretty comparable force to what astronauts receive when they enter orbit and they have endured it with no long-term effects. Tony likely also works out and eats regularly so, as long as his diet isn’t entirely hot dogs he should receive a pass here.

My technical advisor also followed up with me about questions of just how Iron Man planned to return to Earth. They argued it was harder for him to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere than it was for him to get into space. While this may be a spoiler, Tony’s plan was always to steal one of the station’s escape capsules and use that to return to Earth. The escape plan doesn’t go off entirely without a hitch, but this satisfied by advisor’s curiosity.

I have to admit everything about this launch is coming up as very possible, with the only exception being the fictional Iron Man technology being a wild card. If we would assume a man could build a suit of armor capable of flight powered by a miniature reactor in his chest, anything is possible. Anyone willing to give me 1.4 billion USD to try it for myself?

Marvel’s Avengers is out now on PC, Stadia, PS4 and Xbox One. It is coming to Xbox Series X/S and PS5.

Microsoft Buys Bethesda September 21, 2020

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
add a comment

In an enormous announcement today, Microsoft has confirmed they purchased Bethesda’s parent company Zenimax, essentially purchasing Bethesda and all the companies operating under Bethesda’s publishing empire in one swoop.

If my math is correct, that means Microsoft now owns all of the IP currently under Bethesda’s name including DOOM, Wolfenstein, The Evil Within, Quake, Fallout, Commander Keen, Dishonored, RAGE and PREY. That also includes upcoming games including Ghostwire Tokyo.

Microsoft and Bethesda executives seem quite happy with the deal. Honestly, many players have been disappointed with the output coming out of Bethesda recently and this could mean an improvement in the company’s upcoming products. Me personally, I just hope this means they’ll bring the old Fallout Xbox game Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel as a digital download on the Xbox Live Marketplace.

We will keep you up to date with any upcoming developments on this deal.