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PS4 Software Update 4.73 Released August 3, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Sony has released a minor software update for the PlayStation 4 earlier this week. The new update includes very vague notes about optimizations and bug fixes but that is all.  This may fix the online availability issues certain users were reporting from the last firmware, but I haven’t yet had the chance to test the new system software  long enough to confirm that.

You’ll have to download the latest software update as soon as possible because you won’t be able to log into the PlayStation Network without it.  You can get it right now using the system software update feature in your console’s settings menu.


Let’s Play at Final Fantasy XV’s Moogle Chocobo Carnival August 2, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Let's Play, Site Videos.
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Earlier in the week, we reported on the unexpected return of the Moogle Chocobo Carnival in Final Fantasy XV.  I had been meaning to check it out the first time it launched, but I wasn’t able to.  I’m so greatful to Square Enix for bringing it back with the recent patch!

So what is in this carnival, what kinds of things can you unlock, and is it worth your time?  Let’s check it out together, shall we?  All gameplay footage is provided with full video commentary.

I’ve been getting lots of requests recently to resume our Let’s Play of the Final Fantasy games, and I’m happy to say that we will be resuming our Final Fantasy X Let’s Play soon.

Final Fantasy XV is out now on Xbox One and PS4.

My Favorite Pokemon Go Memory August 1, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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After the details emerged about what happened at the Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago last month, I thought the time was finally right to talk about my favorite Pokémon Go memory.  Pokémon Go officially released on SmartPhones and Tablets a year ago, and there have been plenty of ups and downs over the course of that year.  As news about its release spread like wildfire, the app saw an unbelievable amount of users in its first week.  Pokémon Go developer Niantic was unprepared for the game’s sheer number of simultaneous players for at least a month after the app was released, and because of that the app was unable to support all the people who just wanted to use it during the day.

I had started playing Pokémon Go the second it was released in my region and because of that I had a tiny leg up over the newer users.  By the end of the app’s first week I had already gotten my starter, visited some PokéStops, and caught a handful of Pokémon in the wild.  Due to the program’s instability during this period, that was about all that early players could hope to accomplish.  However, while the program was completely broken during the daytime, it would actually work at night, precisely when the app tells its users NOT to use it.

Playing Pokémon Go at night wasn’t a big deal to me since I’ve been a night owl for as long as I can remember.  In fact, my late night gaming sessions have lead to some of my favorite gaming memories, and I’m going to tell you one of those stories right now.  One night during the first month of Pokémon Go‘s operation, I was hanging out with my friend who I still need to refer to as the Unknown Cameraperson. I had been running low on in-game supplies and I needed some extra PokéBalls for the game. It was late and we weren’t far from the center of town, so I figured there had to be some PokéStops in the area I could use to fill up on supplies.

We pulled into a public parking space and I turned on the Pokémon Go app.  We were in luck, I discovered there were at least five PokéStops and a Gym in the town green. Then as my friend and I entered the public space I noticed the park was completely full of people playing Pokémon Go.  My town green would normally be empty most days of the year, and here we were.  It was past midnight in the park, and that didn’t seem to matter to all the young people playing Pokémon Go.  My guess is that was probably the first time that park was full since my town was founded!

As I walked through the diverse crowd of people I smiled, my whole life I had to go online to find peers who shared my interests.  Now, as an adult, I discovered people from my town were interested in gaming and the proof was all around me. 

As I looked around at the PokéStops surrounding the park, every one of them had been connected to a lure module, increasing the probability of random Pokémon encounters for anyone near them. In essence, not only were the park’s patrons there to play, they were working together to make the game better for each other!  To me, that gesture speaks volumes about the merits of gaming as a social activity.  At its core, Pokémon games have always been a social experience, and twenty years later that experience still endures.

The Unknown Cameraperson and I completed a lap around the park and visited all the PokéStops within a safe walking distance.  Eventually, Niantic improved the connection issues with the app, and I’ve been able to play the game during the day for quite a while.  However, I’ll never forget the sight of so many people working together on my town green…all for the love of Pokémon.

Pokémon Go is out now for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

Final Fantasy XV Chocobo Carnival is Back July 31, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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I finally started playing Final Fantasy XV on the Xbox One and I couldn’t be happier to announce Square Enix has brought back the limited-time Chocobo Carnival event!

If you want to join the carnival, fire up your game console right now!  Players will need to install the latest Final Fantasy XV patch and the Free Holiday + DLC to participate in the carnival.  The event will take place from July 31st to September 2nd!

Final Fantasy XV is out now for the PS4 and Xbox One.

Gaming History You Should Know – The Super Mario Adventures Comic Series July 30, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
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Apologies for not resuming our regular schedule of Gaming History You Should Know since we returned from E3 2017, but I’m happy to announce we have started a backlog of new articles to get released every Sunday for the next month!  So with that housekeeping out of the way, what do you say we take a look at today’s feature?

Back in the early 90s, Nintendo ruled the gaming world with an iron fist and almost everyone my age had a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The console’s mascot, a red overall-wearing plumber named Mario, became an international legend, but most attempts to put Mario into mediums outside of his games have been met with disappointment. Well, except for one, the Super Mario Adventures Comic.

Super Mario Adventures was a comic series printed in the pages of Nintendo Power Magazine.  It was written as a serial, continuing the story with a new part each month.  However, unlike Mario’s outrageous film adaptation, the Super Mario comic was written by a great group of people who not only loved the source material, they truly understood the characters they were writing.

I only read a few issues of Nintendo Power back in the very early 90s, and I’m sad to say I wasn’t familiar with the Super Mario Adventures comic series until a man named Doug Walker, the host of the Nostalgia Critic on Channel Awesome, did a fantastic video review of it. Without further ado, I’ll let him tell you all about it!

If you would like to take a closer look at the comic, the guys over at the YouTube Channel Tatoo Pedigree posted it online with a full voice over. The actors they chose to perform each part were perfectly cast and if you’ve read the original comic or not, I can’t recommend it enough!

If you liked the review and the motion comic, I’m happy to say that the entire series is back in print and you could buy a collected edition from retailers like NintendoNYC for a price of about $15 US.  I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Gaming History You Should Know.  We’ve got a lot more planned for release throughout August, please stay tuned!

You Will Be Missed – Xbox One QR Codes July 30, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Editorials, You Will Be Missed.
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Every day I read a tweet lamenting the fact users can’t use a digital camera to scan the lengthy codes they got as a bonus with their game preorder, these players must never have used the Xbox One at launch. By the end of 2013, the Kinect was included with every single Xbox One console.  While a vocal group resented its inclusion with the console, I was in the opposing camp that actually liked the Kinect and preferred using it.  The Kinect actually enhanced a lot of the console’s functions, and I like it so much I still keep it plugged into my Xbox One to this day.

Many Day One and Collector’s Editions of games can come bundled with exclusive DLC. Traditionally, games that offer extra DLC will bundle one-time use codes players can manually input to get their content. If you’ve never done it before, it works similar to using a gift card online, except instead of store credit you get the item you wanted free of charge.

However, this process of code input is quite antiquated in today’s day and age. Xbox codes are twenty-five characters long and can take forever to input on a controller.  If and that was if you input the code correctly. It could take much longer if you made a mistake mistyping a letter, since you would need to go back into what you typed and double check every single letter to the printed code.  Code redemption was actually the reason I purchased an Xbox 360 controller chat pad back in the day, It was supposed to be for sending messages to friends.

When the first wave of Xbox One games were released alongside the console, the leaflets bundled with those games included more than just DLC codes, they were each printed with a unique QR code.  According to the instructions, by simply saying “Xbox, redeem a code” and holding up the QR code, the Kinect could automatically scan and redeem the code without the need for user input.  The first time I saw one, I was very happy.  Using this method, the entire scan and redeem process took mere moments, and it was such a convenience.

Sadly, this exceptionally useful feature seems to have gone away.  The last time I personally saw a QR code included with a retail Xbox One game was in the Day One Edition of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. That was a third-party published game, and I was grateful to use it to unlock the Final Fantasy XV demo.  However, a QR code was not included with the Day One Edition of Final Fantasy XV, giving me the feeling that this feature may be well and truly dead.

So when did this feature die and what killed it?  No QR Code was included with the premium editions of Halo 5: Guardians back in 2015, and given the fact H5 was Microsoft’s highest profile first-party game of that year, this could have been the tipping point to tell gamers Microsoft was done with the feature.  Let’s face it, the Kinect is no longer bundled with new Xbox One consoles.  The Xbox One S and Xbox One X consoles don’t even have a Kinect port, and it is possible Microsoft doesn’t see the point in providing further support for the device that gets a smaller and smaller install base every day.

It looks like Microsoft is now focusing their efforts on improving the Xbox One’s controller interface. They’ve already redesigned the Xbox One OS several times, and while many new features have been added it feels like every new feature makes the Kinect more and more pointless.  Still, I’m sad to see all the useful improvements the little camera brought fall to the waist side.

Farewell, QR Code reader, you will be missed.

Halo Wars 2 Operation Stormbreaker and Leader Serena DLC Released July 26, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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It has been a day since the release of the latest Halo Wars 2 patch and today Creative Assembly has officially released two DLC expansions for the game. The first is the Leader Serena DLC, which adds all-new Blitz Packs to multiplayer. The second is the Operation Storybreaker DLC, which adds two new single-player missions featuring the fan-favorite ODST squad.  Here’s the trailer:

The two DLC expansions are free to download with the Halo Wars 2 Season Pass and the Halo Wars 2 Legendary Edition. It can be purchased in a bundled pack for those who do not have the Season Pass.

Halo Wars 2 is out now for Windows 10 and Xbox One.

If You’re Having Issues Updating Halo Wars 2, Keep Your Xbox One Running July 25, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Since the second patch was released for Halo Wars 2 on the Xbox One, I’ve had nothing but issues installing it.  The update would simply hang at 0% in my download queue, seemingly accomplishing no progress regardless of the amount of time it was running.

Today, an all new patch has just been released for Halo Wars 2, including new balancing tweaks and support for the new DLC Blitz Packs, and once again the download stalled before it even started. I kept my Xbox One running for over two hours before the game finally began to patch.

In the past, I believed this issue to be a bug with the Xbox One’s operating system or a mistake with my game installation, the developers have assured me neither is the case.  They believe it is an issue with the Xbox Live Marketplace and they are still working on fixing it. If you do a hard restart of your Xbox One console while it is patching the game, the Xbox One will immediately re-download the entire game from scratch, all 30GB+ of it, so be aware of that.

Halo Wars 2 is out now on the Xbox One and Windows 10.

Destiny 2 Beta Extended, Final Hours Today July 25, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Bungie has been overwhelmed by the popularity of their Destiny 2 Multiplayer Beta and because of that, they have extended their online test to today.  Just be aware that Bungie is doing an extreme test in its final hours, as they are spending this time to test their network under extreme stress.  Sudden disconnects are a very real possibility for anyone who continues to play.  If you haven’t had the chance to check it out, you can download it for free off the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Marketplace.

The beta test is expected to end in a few hours so make sure to play it all you can until then.  Destiny 2 is coming to PC, Xbox One and PS4.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Western Ghats Gameplay Preview July 25, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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I got an in-depth look at Uncharted: The Lost Legacy during E3 2017, and I honestly thought that would be the longest preview Sony would do for the game before its release, but it looks like I was wrong. Earlier today, Sony released this all-new preview of the game, featuring the Western Ghats section.  Its a pretty lengthy preview so if you want to avoid spoilers you may not want to give it a watch until after the game is released.

Is it just me or did this level feel like it was a bit more open than some of the other Uncharted games have been?  I guess we will find out next month.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is coming August 22nd, 2017 exclusively to the PS4.