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This Week on YouTube: An E3 time warp to 2001 and loads more!

E3 may be happening here in 2014 but my YouTube channel is stuck in 2001! First up this week was Nintendo’s press conference where they unveiled the GameCube and Super Smash Bros. Melee. It seems fitting considering the Nintendo of today is so hype on Smash Bros. You can also time travel back to watch Sony’s press conference where a baby Jack Tretton reads us the hottest sales figures of the day and Square wows everyone with Final Fantasy X. Hey, just like today only it’s Netherrealm with Mortal Kombat X!

I’ve also got an old video up of the Nintendo 64 LodgeNet console. This was a modified N64 that let you pay for chunks of time in order to play a handful of, at that time, archaic games. I also recorded some Sonic R footage to test out my original Sega Saturn which is officially hosed. Elsewhere, our adventure through Virtual Hydlide comes to a close in Part 5, but don’t worry, you can watch me play the game again on Hard Mode starting next Tuesday morning! There’s also an upload of the spectacularly Japanese-y Legend of Zelda commercial. I love it!

Katy’s channel is happenin’ once again with a new installment of Jo’s Dream Organic Coffee, some Style Savvy Trendsetters contest design work, and her firstfewhours with Disney Magical World on 3DS.

E3 2014: PlayStation TV could be a surprise hit for Sony

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While the introduction of the Vita TV to North America as the PlayStation TV doesn’t bode so well for the Vita name, it could be a big win for Sony. Coming this Fall in two SKUs ($99 alone, $140 with a Dual Shock 3, 8gb stick, HDMI cable, and the Lego: The Movie game), the minuscule box offers a lot of PlayStation synergy.

It can download and play “select” Vita, PSP, and PS One games from the PlayStation Store. It can stream “select” PlayStation 3 games from PlayStation Now, and it can remote play PlayStation 4 games across a local network. It will also enable buying and renting movies, TV shows and music from the PlayStation Store and since it’s basically a Vita it should also offer Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and other entertainment apps. It’s a super tiny box and at least with PS4 remote play it addresses that complaint about family members hogging the living room TV.

Could it ever compete with Chromecast, Fire TV, or the dozens of other little plastic media boxes already established in the market? It’s possible but Sony will probably slack with keeping it updated. The one major selling point I see is Sony’s angle with Disney Infinity 2. Details were nonexistent at their press conference but at $99 for the console it could be the cheapest way for kids to get sucked into Disney Infinity 2.

Add on the marketing angle of the tiny box, the game streaming and media apps and it could be a surprise seller for parents this holiday season. I don’t think I’ll ever need one but it’ll be interesting to watch how this potential dark horse fares out of the gates.

E3 2014: Free soundtrack to the best DLC from the show

dr3dlc-high

I have always hung my hopes for each E3 on weird stuff and surprises, and this year’s show started out with quite the surprise. Dead Rising 3 is definitely odd but after playing the demo it just didn’t feel weird enough. Over a half a year later Capcom has rectified that, revealing new DLC for the game that puts a ton of Capcom fandoms into the zombie slaying title.

Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX plus α’ is basically putting a Smash Bros. spin on Dead Rising. A ton of disgustingly fabulous costumes, a giant zombie M. Bison, a new 4-player co-op mode and more. There’s also a new 35-track soundtrack from numerous artists that features just as much Capcom love as the DLC itself. There are new mixes of classic Street Fighter, Rival Schools, and Final Fight tunes as well as new music from Dead Rising composer Oleksa Lozowchuk. Oh, and it’s also free! The DLC is not free, however, but this might finally be the thing that brings me to buy the game.

E3 2014: A little more about a lot of Xbox One indie games

Chris Charla

Well that didn’t take long! Here’s a list direct from Microsoft’s ID@Xbox page with a little more about their ridiculous roster of indie games coming sooner or later to Xbox One. Most of these fall under the heading of “making their console debut on Xbox One” so if there’s something super interesting you can probably find it right now on PC or shortly after its Xbox debut on every other console.

  • “#IDARB” by Other Ocean – “#IDARB” is a chaotic eight-player eSport jumping jetpack future arena ball game that is as inspired by “Bomberman” and “Smash Bros.” as it is by cans of soda, paint-by-number books, and driving five miles faster than the speed limit.
  • “Another World – 20th Anniversary” by Digital Lounge – Also known as Out Of This World, “Another World” is a pioneer action/platformer that released across more than a dozen platforms since its debut in 1991. Along the years, “Another World” has attained cult status among critics and sophisticated gamers alike.
  • “Aztez” by Team Colorblind – “Aztez” is a real-time action and turn-based strategy hybrid set in the world of the Aztecs. Push on the borders of the empire and manage political chaos with thrilling combat segments, where victory or defeat has immediate ramifications in your burgeoning empire.
  • “Calibre 10 Racing Series” by Bongfish – “Calibre 10 Racing Series” is a spiritual successor to “Harms Way.” The game is entirely multiplayer in a new experience that combines action-packed racing with fast-paced first person shooting.
  • “Chariot” by Frima Studio – “Chariot” is a humoristic physics-based couch co-op platformer in which a brave princess and her suitor carry a funeral wagon through ancient caves, fending-off swarms of looters while amassing riches, to bury the King’s remains in a worthy gold-filled tomb.
  • “Cuphead” by Studio MDHR – “Cuphead” is a single player or co-op run and gun platformer, heavily focused on boss battles. Inspired by 1930s cartoons, the visuals are hand drawn and inked, and the music is all original jazz recordings. Cuphead & Mugman traverse strange worlds, acquire new weapons, learn powerful super moves and uncover hidden secrets.
  • “Divekick” by Iron Galaxy – “Divekick” is the world’s first-ever two-button fighting game! It has made a splash with the fighting game community for not using a stick, yet still retaining the strategic gameplay and spacing techniques employed by professional fighting game players. Now anyone can experience the thrill of fighting games without memorizing complex combos and finger-contorting button presses.
  • “Earthlock: Festival of Magic” by Snow Castle Games – “Earthlock” is a turn-based fantasy RPG where an intriguing cast of characters must embark on a bold adventure to unlock the deepest secrets of Umbra, a world that mysteriously stopped spinning ages ago. The combat features an innovative twist using combat pairs and chain attacks.
  • “Fenix Rage” by Reverb Triple XP, Green Lava Studios – “Fenix Rage” is an inspired, frenetically-paced, challenging and aggressively addicting 2D platformer that will keep your palms sweaty, your thumbs fatigued, and your wits sharp. Gamers take on the role of Fenix, whose village is decimated by a huge explosion, leaving only two survivors – Fenix and Oktarus, a mysterious figure who manages to elude Fenix’s best efforts at capture.
  • “Fibbage” by Jackbox Games – “Fibbage” is the lying, bluffing, fib-till-you-win multiplayer trivia party game from the makers of “You Don’t Know Jack. Fool your friends with your lies, avoid theirs and find the (usually outrageous) truth. And get this: your phone or tablet is your controller!
  • “Forced” by BetaDwarf – “Forced” is a hectic co-op arcade adventure RPG for one- to four players. Intuitive twin-stick controls, tons of intelligent enemies, diverse settings, devastating skills and fiendish puzzle elements. Use teamwork to contain your enemies and control your Spirit Mentor to unleash the power of the ancient shrines, or die trying.
  • “FRU” by Through Games – “FRU” is a Kinect-based puzzle platformer in which the player utilizes both a joystick and their body to control the game. In fact, in “FRU,” the player’s silhouette is used to reveal what lies beneath the world at first glance. “FRU’s” gameplay changes according to the player’s shape, pose and movement.
  • “INSIDE” by Playdead – From the creators of “LIMBO,” Playdead is bringing “INSIDE” to Xbox first in 2015. For more information, visit playdead.com/inside.
  • “Get Even” by The Farm 51 – “Get Even” is a fast paced first person action game for PC and next generation of gaming platforms. It tells two very dark stories of ultimate foes whose lives were bond in some accident that led them both to tragic situations and put them at opposite sides of destructive conflict.
  • “Grave” by Broken Window Studios – “Grave” is an open-world fusion between modern horror and classic survival horror. Fight off armies of fearsome foes that each have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. No creature is alike and no weapon is foolproof in a reality that can shift or change at a moment’s notice.
  • “Guacamelee Super Turbo CE” by DrinkBox Studios – “Guacamelee! STCE” is a Metroid-vania style action-platformer set in a magical Mexican inspired world.  The game draws its inspiration from traditional Mexican culture and folklore, and features many interesting and unique characters.
  • “Habitat” by 4gency – In Earth’s orbit, where crisis is guaranteed, “Habitat” is the only strategic space simulation game that utilizes orbital debris to build the future homes of humanity and where hope for survival lies in your creativity as Commander.
  • “Hellraid” by Techland – “Hellraid” is a dark fantasy action game from the studio behind “Dying Light,” the “Dead Island” and “Call of Juarez” series. The game is a unique mix of melee, magic and ranged combat and can be played both in single-player and co-op.
  • “Hyper Light Drifter” by Heart Machine – “Hyper Light Drifter” is an action adventure RPG in the vein of the best eight-bit and 16-bit classics, with modernized mechanics and designs on a much grander scale.
  • “Knight Squad” by Chainsawesome Games – “Knight Squad” is a one to eight player action game that can be described as “Bomberman” meets “Gauntlet.” Play as a Knight in the arena and defeat your opponents using epic weapons and power ups. Challenge your friends in the Versus mode or play as a team as you complete the challenges on each floor of Destiny’s Tower.
  • “Lifeless Planet” by Stage 2 Studios – While seeking life on a distant planet, a skeptical astronaut discovers an abandoned Russian town. He suspects his mission is a hoax until a mysterious young woman saves him from a strange and deadly phenomenon. A third-person action-adventure featuring an old-school sci-fi story and spectacular environments in the spirit of classic adventure games.
  • “Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime” by Asteroid Base – The game is a frantic co-op platformer-inside-a-shooter, in which players work together piloting a neon-drenched battleship to save space animals, explore the galaxy, and fight evil robots. Deep space is a dangerous place, but at least you don’t have to face it alone!
  • “Mighty No. 9” by Comcept
  • “NERO” by Storm in a Teacup – “NERO” features a simple gameplay with accessible controls in a rich interactive environment filled with puzzles. NERO invites players to explore and experience emotions and feelings that are uncommon in videogames, redefining the visual novel genre and reshaping it in a next-generation first-person game.
  • “Never Alone” by E-Line Media, Upper One Games – Built in partnership with the Alaska Native community, “Never Alone” (Kisima Ingitchuna) delves deeply into the traditional lore of the Inupiat people of the Arctic to present a game experience like no other.  An atmospheric puzzle platformer of wondrous adventure and survival in a place where survival shouldn’t be possible.
  • “Plague Inc: Evolved” by Ndemic Creations – “Plague Inc: Evolved” is a unique mix of high strategy and terrifyingly realistic simulation. Your pathogen has infected Patient Zero – now bring about the end of human history by evolving a deadly, global Plague whilst adapting against everything humanity can do to defend itself!
  • “Pure Pool” by Ripstone – “Pure Pool” allows you to connect to a living, breathing pool hall from the comfort of your own living room. With all the buzz and vibrancy of a real pool playing environment, “Pure Pool” is set to serve up the most authentic pool experience on the market!
  • “Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut” by Toxic Games – “Q.U.B.E. Director’s Cut” is a brain-twisting first-person puzzler. Using special high-tech gloves to manipulate cubes in the environment, the player solves an array of conundrums – from physics-based challenges; to 3D jigsaws; to platform-based trials.
  • “Rip Tide GP2” by Vector Unit – Get ready for adrenaline-inducing water racing action with “Riptide GP2,” from the makers of “Hydro Thunder Hurricane.” “Riptide GP2” kicks everything into overdrive delivering intense online head-to-head multiplayer, 6 player split screen, upgradable hydro jets, enhanced graphics, stunts, and realistic wave-filled action.
  • “Roundabout” by No Goblin – “Roundabout” is an open world driving puzzle game where you control a constantly rotating limousine! Pick up passengers, find secret collectables, take on dangerous missions, and fall in love while reliving the 1977 rise to fame story of Georgio Manos.
  • “Siegecraft Commander” by Blowfish Studios – Create the ultimate medieval fortress and wreak havoc and destruction on your enemies with tower flinging fun! Carefully plan the location of the towers and walls in your fortress network to outmaneuver your foes. Easy-to-learn strategic elements combine in subtle ways to yield a rich tactical experience!
  • “SlashDash” by Nevernaut Games – “SlashDash” is a competitive party game for up to four players. Combat is fast paced, strategic and deceptively simple. The first game mode is Capture the Flag, where two teams of ninjas slash and teleport their way to flags and glory. Cooperation is key — when your teammate has the flag, slash them to make them dash!
  • “Source” by Fenix Fire Entertainment – “Source” is an adventure game that exists in another dimension. You control a firefly with the power to manipulate energy with all living creatures. However, this world is being devoured by a dark energy that is tearing the world apart, and it’s your destiny to stop this threat of extinction.
  • “Spectra” by Gateway Interactive – From new studio Gateway Interactive and Chipzel (the amazing chip-tune artist behind the “Super Hexagon” music) comes “Spectra,” a fast paced retro style racing game destined to get your heart pumping and test your skill like no other!
  • “The Golf Club” by HB Studios – “The Golf Club” is a next generation golf simulation which offers outstanding gameplay and gorgeous visuals. With the ability to procedurally generate courses and the depth of social interaction within the game there truly are an unlimited number of golf courses that can be created, shared and played with your friends.
  • “There Came An Echo” by Iridium Studios – “There Came an Echo” is a real-time strategy title with a heavy narrative focus being developed for release. The player can use an innovative voice control system to direct their units around the battlefield to ensure a tactical advantage over the enemy.
  • “Threes!” by Sirvo / Hidden Variable – “Threes!” is a tiny game about matching numbers that grows on you. Learn it in a minute. Play it for a lifetime. Featuring cute, charming characters, a catchy score, and deceptively deep gameplay, “Threes!” is a tiny game that will wrap up your heart and mind in a warm hug and never let go.
  • “Volgarr the Viking” by Crazy Viking Studios – Return to the Golden Age of arcades with an all-new hardcore action experience that pulls no punches. “Volgarr the Viking” possesses all the hallmarks of the true classics – simple controls, high challenge, and meticulous design – combined with hand-made pixel animation, an epic soundtrack, and buckets of blood.
  • “White Night” by Osome Studio – In America’s early thirties, explore the macabre past of an old family manor and solve puzzles of light and shadows. At the crossroads of fantastic literature, cinema and videogames, this fully black and white survival horror will teach you that light can be very fragile… and darkness often lethal.
  • “Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries” by GriN – “Woolfe – The Red Hood Diaries” is a non-sugarcoated fairytale platformer, full of drama and dark twists. In a fantasy-like setting – with dangerous smoke-spewing factories, a charming medieval village and nature manipulated by the evil – we follow the vendetta of a fearless Little Red Riding Hood.
  • “Wulverblade” by Darkwind Media, Fully Illustrated – “Wulverblade” is a side-scrolling brawler created in the spirit of the arcade greats. It’s 120AD and the Roman army has seized control of Britannia. Their goal: march north and conquer the island with brutal and bloody efficiency. The 5,000 strong 9th Legion are preparing for war, but little do they know what lies in wait for them.

 

E3 2014: The Coins in Microsoft’s Couch Cushions

Phil Spencer

UPDATE: I found a huge listing of all of the ID@Xbox games if you want to read a little more about some of the indie games. It’s not hard to find the big headlines from Microsoft’s E3 2014 press conference today but a few little coins always sink down into the couch cushions. Here’s what bubbled up from the ensuing press release explosion.

The Xbox 360 didn’t get mentioned out loud at the conference but Microsoft isn’t quite ready to put their past-gen console out to pasture. Coming, presumably through 2015, to the console are:

  • Forza Horizon 2
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
  • Ori and the Blind Forest
  • Project Spark
  • Magic 2015 – Duels of the Planeswalkers

D4, the Kinect-centric game from Deadly Premonition creator, SWERY, is now touted as having Kinect and controller support. The four D’s also stand for: Dark Dreams Don’t Die. I’m not sure if I ever heard that last year. D4 is out in 2014.

While Xbox One games like Ori are falling back onto Xbox 360, Microsoft announced that the 360’s free-to-play “online multiplayer action game”, Happy Wars, will make the jump to Xbox One. To be released before the end of 2014, the Xbox One version will include a story-driven campaign mode and support for up to 30 players. I have no idea if those are just the same features from the 360 version.

Somewhere towards the end of the show Microsoft shot off a rapid fire reel of indie games coming by way of their ID@Xbox initiative. The first few listed below are worth pointing out because they appeared on Microsoft’s press site but not in the footage at the show. The rest are coming to other platforms or are already available on PC so I won’t go into detail but here’s a handy list for anyone looking.

  • Wulverblade
  • Another World/Out of this World
  • Q.U.B.E.
  • There Came an Echo
  • Cuphead
  • Fenix Rage
  • Earthlock
  • Knight Squad
  • #IDARB
  • Aztez
  • Plague Inc. Evolved
  • White Night
  • Hyper Light Drifter
  • Lifeless Planet
  • Slash Dash
  • Fru
  • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
  • Might No. 9
  • Grave
  • Threes
  • Woolve
  • Hellraid
  • Below

This Week on YouTube: Watch Dogs, DJ Hero, E3 2001, and Virtual Hydlide

I’ve got an early half hour with Watch Dogs on Xbox One that I streamed direct from the console and the side by side comparison of the game and its companion app. Only slightly older is another multi-camera video I recorded when I was at the height of my DJ Hero skills which was honestly just a few weeks ago.

And only slightly older than that is footage Maxx shot at E3 2001, the last time I attended the “big show”. I’ve got old clips of unreleased games and press conferences scheduled for next week as well. As for this week you can check out some footage of Black Isle’s unreleased Diablo-like, Torn, some b-roll from Sega’s booth, the GameCube version of Kameo, my dearly departed Rubu Tribe and a little walkabout through some of the show floor booths.

All this and my continuing adventures with Virtual Hydlide! This week is part 4 where we go on a sweet minecart ride and run circles around an evil mage!

Now Playing: Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (Xbox One)

Welcome to blaaaaaaaaah

Welcome to blaaaaaaaaah

Eagerly awaiting my “free” games for Xbox One I was still a little bummed with the initial offering of Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. Giant Bomb’s Quick Look of the game didn’t impress but I’ve always appreciated what the series has done to add to the archaic platformer gameplay. That said, my first night with the game didn’t immediately destroy my trepidations. There’s not so much a learning curve to Max as a ‘learning wet noodle’. The game doles out its gameplay mechanics excruciatingly slowly but just as it got past bedtime things were finally getting interesting.

The setup here is that Max wishes his annoying little brother away and realizes what he’s done just as a gargantuan claw swipes his sibling. Max leaps through the portal after him but he’s already been swept away to MacGuffin Tower. Hot on the trail, Max runs into an old witch who is oddly happy to transfer her soul into his magic marker allowing him to manipulate the environment in unique, if specific ways.

At the start it’s simply pulling towers of dirt out of the ground to make platforms or move objects around. It’s neat enough but the mechanic is a little cumbersome and there are a few too many simple tutorial bits that ram home how it works. You’re also in a desert which doesn’t do anything to add to the appeal beyond some hi-res textures and nice animations. You’re also… kinda lame. Max’s quips are as flaccid as that wet noodle and while that’s fine for a younger audience there’s no high level Pixar style writing to smirk at so far.

Oh! This is much nicer

Oh! This is much nicer

Finally, though, things started picking up as I unlocked the second magic marker ability: BRANCHES! What I thought was going to be a simple draw-a-platform mechanic turned out to be a pretty big deal. With the ability to raise towers out of the ground and draw plank and box-like vines the game has started to feel a lot like Trine; less platformer and more physics puzzlery. There are some pretty clever puzzles, especially if you’re after the collectibles which have been more fun to suss out so far than simply moving forward.

That’s about where I stopped for Day One. The visuals have gotten much nicer as I’ve started climbing this huge tree and coupled with the atmospheric musical cues I’m getting a nice Rayman 2 vibe. I hope to return with even more surprisingly pleasant stories about the game but I’m still a little worried I’m just going to give up before long.

Watch Dogs and the Companion: ctOS app multiplayer side-by-side

I was trying to write something up to explain the Watch Dogs Companion: ctOS app but it was spiraling towards 1,000 words which no one would ever bother to read. Instead, I spent last night setting up Xsplit, a webcam and my phone to record, side by side, the game and the app. Our dialog wound up being just slightly out of sync but the games line up pretty well and give you a clear idea of how the two work. I think it’s pretty astounding stuff.

If you are interested in trying it yourself the ctOS app is available on Android and iOS.

This Week on YouTube: Yup, more old stuff

Another retro-tacular week is in the can! Back in the waning days of the 3DO Panasonic and Matsushita were deep in the works on a 64-bit follow-up that would surely have ruled the gaming landscape. Codenamed the M2, it looked incredibly hot right up to the point that Sony, Sega and Nintendo started showing off their own 32/64-bit tech demos. I dug up an M2 demo I hadn’t seen on YouTube and thought that it should probably be readily available for any other 3DO enthusiasts.

Next up was an old video I’d posted years ago that had gone offline over at Viddler. It’s kind of uneventful without the story that goes along with it so I’ll just link directly to the post. Then there was this amazingly hip Genesis commercial that predates the Nintendon’t and Welcome to the Next Level campaigns that is seriously, truly heinous.

The Virtual Hydlide playthrough continued as well, delving deep into the Volcanic Cave where I fought off the Mad Dragon without using fireballs. I wasn’t even sure that was possible! And then just this morning two more old videos went up: a segment on voice acting in games from the early 90’s on The Next Step and a chunk of the Seattle Toy Test from 1995. Meanwhile, Katy’s got a new installment of Jo’s Dream Organic Coffee up over on her channel.