Category: News

Get A Good Bundle of Indie games for $2 from Itch.io

 

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If you ever pondered to yourself “what are these indie games people are always talking about?” then itch.io has an amazing answer for you this week. “A Good Bundle” contains 151 DRM-free indie games with all proceeds being split 50-50 between the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood. The motherload of 151 titles goes for $20 with tiers at $2 for 89 games and $8 for 125 games.

The $20 tier is where indie favorites like Proteus, Gone Home, Catlateral Damage, The Novelist and Read Only Memories sit but there’s plenty of good, weird stuff at the lower levels. For $8 you get Hero Generations and Metamorphabet which already justifies the price for me but even at $2 there are gorgeous Finji titles, Pioneers and Depression Quest to check out. A lot of these games can even be played straightaway in your browser.

If you happen to be that hypothetical person wondering what’s up with indie games and you hypothetically wound up on this site, then A Good Bundle would make for a good primer on the bewildering and gargantuan indie scene at whatever price you pay. But don’t ponder it forever, the deal ends Tuesday, November 29th.

Nintendo Reveals the NX as the Nintendo Switch

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“Nintendo Switch. We decided to.” The Google translated text on Nintendo Japan’s official site is probably all the explanation anyone really needs. Nintendo does what Nintendoes and that is almost always “100% Weird”. They did not disappoint us today.

So the NX is officially the Nintendo Switch, named as such because — look at it — it’s a home console tethered to a TV, it’s a tablet-sized portable, it supports multiplayer by breaking apart the controller and it even has a traditional Pro Controller option. You can switch to play however you want.

Peripherals and Game Carts
It looks like a peripheral bonanza for Nintendo to profit from. I fully expect at least one necessary charging cable to be sold extra along with a myriad of color options, battery packs, cables and headrest mounts (?). Games come on DS sized cartridges and slip into the Nintendo Switch whether you’re playing on the go or docked to a TV. I assumed the processing guts were in the large docking station but it seems that the Switch is fully encompassed in the tablet device.

Backward Compatibility?
Speaking of being docked to a TV, that base station features 2 USB ports on the side and seemingly no space for a disc drive, ruling out backward compatibility with any Wii U, Wii and GameCube discs we may own. If it is backward compatible we’ll likely be re-buying our games or engaging with an elaborate system to send in discs and have them exchanged for downloads. That sounds exhaustive for consumers and Nintendo alike. I expect a full break from disc-based backward compatibility, possibly ALL backward compatibility, from here on out.

Now I’m just Arguing with Myself
The number of permutations of this hardware reminds me of this old GameCube promo booklet. It took a 2-page spread to show all the ways you could hook a GameCube up to a Game Boy Advance for features that hardly anyone, even Nintendo, implemented. With the Switch it seems like people could just be confused by what to do with it. Being built around a tablet is a smart move but I think a lot of people may be put off by that familiar form factor inundated by controller add-ons and docking bases. “Why bother with that when my iPad already plays great looking games without extra stuff?”

However, while it wasn’t shown in the video the tablet may be all we need to play a whole bevvy of Nintendo games. Those who don’t want the bolt-on controllers can stick to a new Touch Generation of games à la Miitomo and even Pokemon GO. “The kids play with those controller doo-dads, I’ll stick to the brain scientist man myself,” Grandad could be seen saying in an advertorial in Home & Garden magazine. Rather than winning non-gamers over with a new motion control gimmick the Switch’s secret weapon may be that it can cater to everyone. Cue the advertising slogans urging family members to each buy their own.

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Oh right, Games!
Every generation Nintendo trots out an image like the one above as proof that, this time, third party publishers are going to be on board with their wonky new console for the long haul. So let’s just say I’m not totally won over by this roster but I am nonetheless excited to see what people release on it. Here’s the official list without all the sneaky middleware names that Nintendo slid in:

505 Games

Activision Publishing

ARC SYSTEM WORKS

ATLUS

BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment

Bethesda

CAPCOM

Codemasters

DeNA Co.

Electronic Arts

FromSoftware

Frozenbyte

GameTrust

GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE

Gungho Online Entertainment

HAMSTER Corporation

INTI CREATES

KOEI TECMO GAMES

Konami Digital Entertainment

LEVEL-5

Marvelous

Maximum Games

Nippon Ichi Software

PlatinumGames

SEGA Games

Spike Chunsoft

SQUARE ENIX

Starbreeze Studios

Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.

Telltale Games

THQ Nordic

Tokyo RPG Factory

TT Games

UBISOFT

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

It’s an appreciable mix of all the big names from both Western and Eastern territories along with a handful of feel-good indie-sized studios. Are they all bringing totally new, original titles? Probably not, but having some of the games from these studios available on a portable only adds value to the Switch’s proposition.

No Gimmicks, Just Games
It didn’t hit me until an hour or so after the reveal (and well after I started this rambling post) but the Switch isn’t trying to revolutionize how anyone plays a game. Nintendo didn’t flaunt motion controls, accelerometers, dual screens or bean-shaped button layouts. Instead they showed us a series of gameplay options that caters to practically everyone, all with one device.

With the Switch we’ll be able to engage with Nintendo’s games in seemingly any form factor we choose. And probably more importantly, third parties don’t have to run their games through a gimmick machine to bring them to Nintendo’s new platform. Translating a game from PC to PlayStation to the Switch’s NVIDIA Tegra hardware may be more complicated than a simple copy and paste but the whole game doesn’t have to be re-designed for a change.

There’s still much, much more to learn about the Switch before it’s March 2017 release (price, hard drive capacity, battery life, launch lineup) but I’m pretty impressed with what has been shown. A TV is where I prefer to play but every now and then I’ve enlisted the Vita to remotely stream the PlayStation 4 and always wished it worked better. Clearly there are cases when even I want to play on a handheld device and the Switch caters to that out of the box. I’m impressed but not completely sold but that’s a fair deal better a response than I had from the Wii U.

Earth Defense Force 5 Announced for 2017 at TGS

D3 Publisher and Sandlot announced a new Earth Defense Force title overnight at the Tokyo Game Show. The appropriately titled Earth Defense Force 5 is coming first to PlayStation 4 in Japan in 2017. No Western release has been confirmed but as the series’ fanbase continues to grow in North America and Europe it’ll most likely happen at some point. For now: rampant speculation.

Giant bipedal frog creatures carrying guns! This is by far the most over the top thing I’ve seen in the series. At least one fan has already suggested these could be the as-yet-unseen Ravagers, the alien race behind the incessant attacks on Earth throughout the series. At one point we see one of them leap out of the way of incoming fire and another give a hand signal command, presumably to nearby insects.

New UFO types. The little saucer ships remind me of their counterpart in EDF2: Invaders from Planet Space hinting at more inspirations from the series’ older entries. There are also slightly reworked (and golden colored) dropships that rain down streams of giant insects and a glimpse of a gargantuan, blade-wielding mother ship.

A new monster spawner. At the 1:00 mark in the video we see giant spikes rain down in front of the EDF forces that start teleporting in a stream of ants.

A new map location. A few quick clips show a new metallic indoor environment. In one shot a group of EDF Rangers are running up a dimly lit ramp towards the battle raging outside. In another the fight takes place in the dark interior with red lighting and muzzle flashes illuminating the action.

Physics! Up to this point EDF has relied heavily on the design theory of “just add more explosions” when it comes to damaged vehicles and alien craft. But there are a few glimpses in the trailer of devastated tanks flipping over, mechs falling to pieces, giant alien debris collapsing to the ground and even an ant headshot with exploding skull!

Rain and splatter. It’s a very simple looking effect but there are a few shots of action with sheets of rain falling down the screen. There are also 2 really quick cuts with red and orange insect blood splattered on the ground and environment. We see a lot of this arterial spray when shooting the bugs but this is the first I can remember where it’s appeared on the environment.

Sandlot has made tiny, iterative improvements on the series since it began so it’s not a surprise that I’m calling out blood splatter as a hot new feature. I was a little dismayed at how similar the game looks but there are a lot of surprises hidden in the quick cuts of this trailer. I hope it’s hinting at even more changes and surprises that only we dedicated fans can truly appreciate.

You can buy Joust again. I also started a new Site

Joust when you thought you’d never see the Midway arcade classic on Xbox again, Major Nelson confirms that it’s been been re-listed out of nowhere. Joust is once again available to buy on Xbox 360 and Xbox One for $4.99. I recorded a quick little video of the game running on Xbox One which you may notice isn’t on my personal YouTube channel.

Surprise! I started working on a new site back in March that officially launched on June 1st that’s all about delisted games. Not surprisingly, it’s DelistedGames.com. It all started with the delisted games I recorded last year and the commenters who repeatedly (frustratedly) asked why their games had disappeared. Beyond simply confirming that “[Name of Game] has been delisted” I wanted to compile as much information as I could on where the game came from, when it disappeared and why.

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It’s been fun, enlightening research and it’s sent me into mysterious new areas of the internet to dig up licensing terms and copyright expiration dates. The site has come a long ways already with 90 games fully detailed and pages for over 100 more. While investigating older games I’ve kept the main page updated with new delistings and server shutdown announcements.

It’s become more of a Memorial to the Lost than the simple database I initially started with and I love it. Even bad games deserve to be remembered! So check it out if you’ve ever been curious about a game you lost or if you’re worried about one that might soon go away.

Metal Gear Survive interview confirms Single Player and more

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In an interview with PlayStation Dengeki Magazine translated by Play-Asia a Metal Gear Survive staffer has revealed some intriguing new details. The most relevant being that there’s a single player component and it’s more difficult and stealthy than the 4-player co-op thanks to the swarms of monstrous new enemies.

Further detailing the zombie-esque horde seen in the trailer, the interviewee refers to them as “creatures” and describes the world of Survive as being similar to Ground Zeroes’ Side Ops. That specifically calls to mind the spooky Jamais Vu mission where Raiden has to identify otherworldly “snatchers” posing as human soldiers. The loading screen text for that mission may have also served as a jumping-off point for Survive. It lays out the vast possibilities for life on other planets and with wormholes involved there’s no telling who or what could be sucked into Konami’s new alternate universe.

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These guys have no heads to headshot!

So far it looks like the interdimensional Hoover has only scooped up the remaining Mother Base soldiers, both dead and alive. This sets the stage for character customization which the interviewee confirms and adds that players will be able to “develop your own equipment for your own play style”. And where do you do this R&D? At the remains of Mother Base which the interviewee mysteriously refers to as the “starting base”. So will we eventually move our operations to bigger facilities or was this just a quirk of the translation?

Developing gear and building up a base are the foundation of both Peace Walker and The Phantom Pain with it all tied together by a series of repeatable missions. Survive looks to follow suit here as well with the staff member indicating an escalating flow to the gameplay.

“Enemies will be surrounding the base and may attack at certain points.” When asked for a final comment on the game they add that “we’re bringing the highly enjoyed MGSV:TPP action and following it up with a little twist where you battle non-human creatures alongside a mass of difficult missions.”

Finally, there’s some vague confirmation on just who is making Metal Gear Survive. The interviewee reveals that several Phantom Pain staff members are returning indicating that this is more than just a lavish expansion from the Metal Gear Online team.

That’s a few more answers than we had last week but it’s already painting a brighter picture for me. Metal Gear Survive looks to retain the gameplay loop I loved in The Phantom Pain but stars the cast of underdog dorks I turned into badass soldiers in Peace Walker. I know it’s popular opinion to smother the game with scorn but I honestly can’t wait to see more.