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2018-07-22T08:40:14.650Z
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The Game Gear isn't talked about often, but ended up being one of Sega's great successes, selling over 10 million units worldwide. With over 300 games to play on a 160x144 pixel resolution screen, players flocked to this handheld for the color display and backlit screen. With Sega's big franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage, and Shining Force shrunk down for gaming on the go, the Game Gear gave all handhelds a run for their money.

Nintendo's Game Boy ended up being unstoppable, however, thanks partially to NIntendo's licensing rules, which prevented some third-party developers from making games for any other handheld. In this episode we dive deep into the Game Gear's library to show off some of the stranger games that appeared on it. We also take a look at a Sonic title that makes the blue blur one of the slowest characters in gaming.

Enjoy the show, everyone! We'll see you again in seven short days.

From Spider-Man to Red Dead to a host of innovative battle royale shooters, this fall is teeming with huge game releases. However, thanks to our collective obsession with spoilerphobia, developers are keeping much of their projects under wraps, leaving story-focused players little to base their purchasing decisions on. At least that would be true if I wasn’t about to use my incredible insight to blow the lid of this fall’s biggest games.

Plot predictions may seem like a sorry substitute for concrete facts, but I’ve honed my analytical chops through years of experience. I’ve uncovered mind-blowing video game conspiracies, investigated the decline of modern box art, and even reviewed a purely hypothetical game. Just a few months ago I offered readers a wealth of in-depth Detroit: Become Human plot predictions, which I’m sure will prove true if any of us ever actually plays the game to find out. In other words, my predictions basically ARE concrete facts, so there’s no need to doubt anything else I say from here on out.

With that out of the way, here are my plot predictions for 2018’s biggest games. Well, the games that are left, anyway – predicting the plots of games that are already out would just be stupid.

The Dreaming City is a gorgeous, vibrant world that will act as your endgame hub in Destiny 2: Forsaken. Its colorful sky, spacious caves, and palatial interiors give the impression it was a sort of utopian homeland at some point. But that’s not what it is now.

As you spend time exploring the Dreaming City, you’ll quickly discover it has a literal darker side: The Ascendant Realm. This otherworldly plane of existence is host to the gods the Hive hold allegiance to, as well as Scorn Baron Hiraks, the Mindbender. This world is oppressively dark - the easiest way to navigate it is to follow a string of bright lights that will guide you through the few isolated pieces of terra firma around you. Your adventures in The Ascendant Realm will be among the most challenging in Forsaken, but the rewards will prove worth the trek.

But before you can test yourself in The Ascendant Realm, you must gain the ability to enter it. As you defeat enemies, complete Public Events in the Dreaming City, or test yourself in the Blind Well, enemies will occasionally drop a new kind of consumable item. This item is your key to entering the Ascendant Realm. When you use this item, you'll be able to see many of the secrets that link the Dreaming City and the Ascendant Realm. You’ll only this ability for a limited time, however, so make sure you have a group and your wits about you before you start hunting.

If you're wondering what games are coming up in 2018, we've put them all in one convenient location. This list will be continually updated to act as a living, breathing schedule as new dates are announced, titles are delayed, and big reveals happen. This should help you plan out your next several months in gaming and beyond.

New additions or changes to the list are in bold.

As the gaming calendar is constantly changing, we highly recommend you bookmark this page. You'll likely find yourself coming back to this to find out the most recent release schedule for the most anticipated games across PC, consoles, handhelds, and mobile devices. If you notice that we've missed something, feel free to let us know! Please note that games will not get assigned to a month until they have confirmed release dates.

Monster Hunter: World
January
  • The Escapists 2 (Switch) - January 11
  • Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition (PS4, PC) – January 16
  • Forged Battalion (PC) – January 16
  • Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth - Hacker's Memory (PS4, Vita) – January 19
  • Kirby Battle (3DS) – January 19
  • Lost Sphear (PS4, Switch, PC) – January 23
  • The Inpatient (PSVR) – January 23
  • Iconoclasts (PS4, Vita, PC) – January 23
  • My Time at Portia (PC) – January...

Poetry, and writing about poetry, has long enjoyed the sort of amorphous characterization that comes along with the territory. Ask a hundred poetry readers or poets what a poem is and you’ll get a sea's worth of different answers in return. Formalists and traditionalists will probably give you the dictionary definition of a poem as “a composition in verse” and preach about the importance of rhythm, cadence, and of the trials of creating a unique voice within very strict parameters. Other schools of thought tend to focus on the looseness of the medium, saying that is the prime vehicle of artistic expression, requiring no narrative thread or justification, and that poets should write whatever the hell they want however the hell they want with little regard for antiquated structure and woebegone elder notions of what makes poetry good.

As a reader, I tend to embrace the looser definitions of poetry: a poem is a thing that exists and expresses, as loosely or tightly the vision its creator asserts. It can be an ancient epic that retells the labors of mythology’s greatest figures and it can be about insects frozen solid in winter dirt. There is plenty of room for all sorts of poetry in the world. So the question when it comes to Treasure’s 2001 seminal shoot-em-up Ikaruga isn’t really “can a video game with spaceships and giant mechanized monsters be a poem?” Of course, it can. The more interesting and timely question is “can such a video game be a good...

Since its original release on the GameCube in 2005, Resident Evil 4 has been ported to seemingly every console known to gamers. The last three PlayStations, iOS, a surprisingly good Wii version and a Central/South American console called the “Zeebo” are just a few of the platforms included in the game’s long legacy. Despite its breadth however, Resident Evil 4 has never really received the loving remasters as in titles like Crash Bandicoot or Shadow of the Colossus. The current versions can run at 60 fps and a variety of resolutions, but the game’s muddy textures and 2D models have only grown more pronounced with each console generation.

Enter the Resident Evil 4 HD Project. In production since February of 2014, the “project” is a mod that’s updating and replacing virtually every single texture in the game. As ambitious as that sounds, the mod’s scope extends far beyond simply making things prettier. The HD Project replaces flat objects with 3D models, corrects mapping discrepancies from the original game, and even visits real-life locations for additional reference work. The breadth of this mod is breathtaking and, perhaps due to its two-person development team, remarkably consistent.

Albert: Look familiar? (XLV) Palmyra (Syria) carving detail in RE4 !! https://t.co/81ljwSH8lI #re4hdproject pic.twitter.com/KhXEz94JL3 — RE4 HD Project (@re4hdproject) August 28, 2016

Although the project’s frequently updated website has a donate button, nothing is kept behind a paywall.  The project’s leads, who go simply by Cris and...

Spoilers are an issue with trailers and pre-release promotion today, but rarely are they used to enhance the experience. Usually, trailers give away the final shot, cameos and plot twists. On top of that, games coverage is so comprehensive that very little is left to the imagination by the time a title comes out. On the opposite end of the spectrum, spoilers can be hidden right under your nose via clever box art and smart storytelling. There are times when the promotional material—such as trailers, posters, and box art—contain the biggest spoilers, with you never knowing until you have context. Below are some of the games that had major spoilers and plot points that were under our nose the whole time.

Warning: Spoilers for all the following games!

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus - The cover and promotional art for The New Colossus features BJ in his varsity jacket looking ready to take down Nazis on a grand scale. But, at the start of the game he is wheelchair bound and requires a special suit just to walk due to taking a grenade to the chest at the end of the first game. Players spend a majority of the game with a...

I'm currently on a role-playing game kick. My time is divided between Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, which I'm approximately 60 hours into, and Octopath Traveler, which I just began a day ago. The two games couldn't be more different in tone, story, or gameplay, but I'm finding both are jarring for the same odd reason: only a portion of their stories feature spoken dialogue. I know this isn't a new thing that is happening in games. RPGs in particular have been offering a mix of spoken dialogue and written text for decades, but Octopath Traveler's handling of it is oddly irritating.

Bouncing from a long sequence with spoken dialogue to city exploration without any isn't the problem. That actually works fine. A clean transition is made. Most RPGs figure out the best points to use it or not. Octopath Traveler's problem is that won't shut up when the quiet sequences arrive. In these moments, characters offer just one or two words (and maybe even a grunt) instead of saying their lines. The back and forth between people talking ends up being unintentionally comedic given how little their are verbalizing.

After observing a strange moment in which my character verbally offered one of her go-to canned responses of "I am ready," yet the text on-screen read "Let the show begin," I jumped on Twitter to ask game developers why partial spoken dialogue happens. I was surprised by the number of lengthy responses...

Montreal's Crea-ture Studios grabbed the world's attention with their skateboarding game Session at E3 when Microsoft showcased the title during their press conference. Session is coming to the Xbox One and PC, and will be in Steam Early Access and the Xbox Game Preview program in late 2018, with the first version of the title in 2019.

I met with some of the dev team at E3, and asked them about some additional game details since we covered it late last year.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Since we last saw the game, a mid-spin catch mechanic has been added, which is just the start of how the game is going to continue to evolve until it hits Early Access and beyond. At that time Crea-ture says it wants the game to be "almost perfect" despite being an Early Access title. Having said that, it doesn't intend for the feature set to be locked at that time per se, but it will continue to add bits and work on what's currently there. One of the examples of this is the game's skater customization feature, which has already grown. There are plans to allow you to change the tightness of your trucks, board concave and width, and more.

Beyond the game's launch, there may be DLC with future cities or parks depending on how the game does, but Crea-ture says the core gameplay will always be free, so they won't be selling tricks, for instance.

A Full Bag of Tricks

Session's tricks are performed...

During E3 in June, Fortnite released on Switch, and it's a solid port. After spending time with it, however, I wondered how it would play with the aid (or hindrance, depending who you ask) of motion controls.

Realistically I don’t know if I would use it, or if it would help my aim, but I would like to try Fortnite with motion controls. I would want them to function a bit like Breath of the Wild where they would only turn on when you aim down sights. Okay, bye! — Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard) June 26, 2018

On July 12, Fortnite made it clear it was also curious about motion controls and updated the Switch version of the game to include them, so I decided to try them out.

Motion controls are divisive, and my feelings on them fall somewhere in the middle of those like them and those who wouldn't be caught dead using them. Generally, I don't like them, but there have been a few occasions where I appreciate them. I like their implementation in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for aiming with the bow and arrow, and I also like them in Mario Tennis Aces for aiming the Zone Shot, but not for general tennis. In Splatoon, however, I just can't get the hang of motion controls, despite many of the game's best players swearing by their use.

Basically, I like motion control in moderation. I don't want to...

30 years ago today, the film adaptation of the manga, Akira, released in theaters in Japan. The legacy of both the film and the manga are important and far-reaching, both in the broader science-fiction landscape, and the cultural acceptance of anime across the world. You can see its influence in video games, but direct adaptations of the property are non-existent in North America and disappointing in Japan. I wrote this feature back in December 2012, but my desire for a video game based in Neo-Tokyo are as strong as ever on the film's 30th anniversary.


Akira (Amiga/CD32, 1994)

One of my favorite movies and comics of all time is Akira. I got my anime feet wet with Dragon Ball Z when I was young, but Akira was the first time I realized of what the medium was capable. After watching the movie dozens of times, I pursued the comics, and then watched the movie a dozen more times. Neo-Tokyo is one of my favorite fictional worlds, and the abrasive dynamic between friends Tetsuo and Kaneda has always fascinated me. I don’t know if it would work in a video game, but I would love to see somebody try.

For the uninitiated, Akira tells the complicated story of government experimentation gone terribly wrong, and the lasting effects it has on the individual citizens of a future Tokyo and politically across the entire country. The story mostly centers on two teenage orphans, Tetsuo and Kaneda, but there is...

In the summer, we do things that cool us off. That’s just conventional wisdom. We jump in lakes and lay in front of fans and eat gazpacho. Suggest hot chocolate in July and people scoff. But what if we’ve been going about it all wrong? What if the solution is leaning in to the heat, diving into even hotter activities to show the summer we’re not scared? What if doubling down on heat is the ultimate life hack?

Welcome to hell – at least, the video game version. Games are all about escaping to impossible places, like the beautiful mountains of Skyrim, or the creepy caves of Brinstar, or in a surprising amount of cases, the bowels of Hell itself.

Just like video game designers, I understand the appeal of hell. Sure it’s a life of extremes, but at least there’s no faffing around with the banality of everyday life. There’s probably less, “Oh it’s Tuesday again, do I have rice or quinoa tonight?” in hell. Plus, it’s a dry heat.

Let’s beat summer at its own game here. Whether you want to murder your way through hell or skate over it, gaming has got you covered.

Depriving this song of fiddle is...

Gaming is for everyone, and intelligent and creative women have always been an integral part of bringing the biggest and best games to life. From Sierra co-founder Roberta Williams, who pioneered the graphic adventure genre with series like King’s Quest, to Brenda Romero, who has spent nearly four decades as a programmer and designer in the game industry on franchises like Wizardry and Jagged Alliance, women have made extensive contributions to the industry. This has only continued with women taking more leadership roles, such as Jade Raymond going from executive producer on Ubisoft’s juggernaut Assassin’s Creed series to co-founding and becoming a GM at EA’s Motive Studios.

Continue reading...

We're kicking off season 5 of Replay by adding some small, but noticeable changes. For one, Leo Vader now has a camera in his booth so you can look at his face when he decides it's pertinent! Also, if the two games we played today are any indication, it looks like we will now be playing bad games on Replay. Admittedly, that's not too different from what we usually do, but today's selections are exceptionally bad.

Join Andrew Reiner, Jeff Cork, Leo Vader (now with camera!), and me as we muscle our way through a few rounds of Celebrity Deathmatch before ending with another game that involves celebrities being surprisingly violent to one another.

As always, thanks for watching! We're excited to be starting this new season!

 

Three Fields Entertainment is back with a sequel to last year's Danger Zone. Danger Zone 2 continues the car-crashing mayhem of its predecessor, moving the action to busy freeways. Matt Kato takes the wheel on today's episode, showing Ben Hanson and me what players can expect to see from the game. Fine. It's crashes. Just so many crashes.

Kato plays through several different challenges, but they all have something in common. Whether he's punting vans with a truck, racing through checkpoints in an F1 car, or trying to catch some air in a boring old car, each attempt ends in a fiery explosion. 

Danger Zone 2 is out today on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Today is Friday the 13th, which is the perfect excuse to share some spooky-scary features about video games that inspire fright. This feature, covering the history of the game would go on to inspire Resident Evil, originally appeared in issue 282.

Tokuro Fujiwara didn’t play video games; he didn’t even know that Konami was a game developer when he walked into the studio to apply for a product planner job he’d heard about through a college recruiter. However, Fujiwara excelled at game development. After breaking into the industry at Konami, Fujiwara moved over to Capcom, where he created Ghosts ‘n Goblins and Bionic Commando before working on other 8-bit classics such as Strider, DuckTales, and Mega Man 2.

Fujiwara’s most significant contribution to the gaming industry, however, might be an often-overlooked RPG for Nintendo’s first console that never officially released outside Japan. Entitled Sweet Home, Fujiwara’s project sounds like a game bound for obscurity; it was an adaptation of a low-budget Japanese horror film that served as an early experiment in video game horror. In spite of all this, Sweet Home became a cult hit and went on to inspire the Resident Evil franchise as well as the entire survival horror genre.

Film Fright
At some point in the late ‘80s, Capcom began talking with Japanese film company Itami Productions about making a game based on the then-upcoming film Sweet Home. The gory horror flick centered on a small crew of documentarians who break...

Every year, I try to do at least one column focusing on the RPG mobile scene. We’ve seen a bevy of developers capitalize on this growing landscape, giving popular series like Final Fantasy and Fire Emblem time to shine on the small screen. About a year ago when I highlighted two interesting mobile titles, I wrote that “more of these types of experiences coming to this platform is inevitable.” Therefore, I feel it’s important to bring some of them to your attention when I can. 

Mobile RPGs are a different beast from the other platforms we play these massive games on. They’re meant to be played in short bursts – stages often take less than a minute to complete. The allure usually lies in building your team and strategizing behind the scenes, and in many cases, there’s fanservice to boot. Gacha games have become increasingly popular in this realm, which allow you to draw characters via loot box systems to use in your party. The two games I’m showcasing today both use gacha mechanics but also have other hooks to lure you in. 

Star Ocean: Anamnesis

If you’re a diehard Star Ocean fan, this mobile game is for you. Star Ocean Anamnesis was...

Caprica. Dark Matter. Stargate Universe. Helix. Defiance. The Expanse. All of these shows aired on Syfy. All were canceled.

Thanks to the rise of streaming networks and the need to lock up exclusive shows, The Expanse will live on to see another day on Amazon. I have a feeling a number of the aforementioned shows would have a second chance at life if the arms race we are seeing today for exclusive shows existed when they were canceled. Stargate Universe was on the verge of greatness, Caprica was a fascinating expansion of Battlestar Galactica, and Defiance...well...

Defiance isn't done yet. You may never see another episode of it, but the Ark Hunters are still splattering alien blood in the newly released video game, Defiance 2050. Don't think for a second this is a sequel, however. Trion Worlds says it hopes to "evolve the story with new content in the future," but the bulk of Defiance 2050 is a slightly reimagined version of the 2013 massively multiplayer open-world Defiance game.

One big change: Players can now select a class from the outset of play. The assault class specializes in close-range weaponry and can self-sustain in battle. The assassin is stealthy and deals increased damage. The guardian's focus is crowd control and has high vitality. And the medic functions as you would suspect, offering healing and combat buffs. After just a few missions, I was able to see how these classes change up the flow, especially in...

One of the biggest changes Forsaken will bring to Destiny 2 is the arrival of nine new supers. Come September 4, players will be able to not only choose which subclass they like best, but which super under each subclass best fits their playstyle, leading to more options in PvE and more engaging encounters in PvP.

With each super comes a new subclass branch, and at the beginning of the Forsaken campaign, players choose which new subclass branch for their class they want to chase first. Once they've made their way to the Dreaming City, they can find additional quests there that will unlock the other two subclass branches, similar to the way unlocking additional subclasses works in the original Destiny 2 campaign.

After playing around with each of them, the new subclass branches feel more synergistic than past ones, laying out more defined gameplans with abilities that build and sync up with each other, while also creating new roles players can take on while playing a specific subclass. And after speaking with Bungie senior sandbox designer Claude Jerome, we got a better of idea to the studio’s approach to creating these new subclasses and supers, including what roles the new branches are designed to fill, how support might be a new role for players to fill, and more.

To prepare you for when Forsaken hits in September (or at least help out your theorycrafting), we have breakdowns of each super and subclass ability below, as well as brief glimpses of some of the abilities you can use to build up...

Right now, Destiny 2’s destinations feel like beautiful but uncoordinated spaces. Drop onto any of the available planets (or moon) to complete the weekly Flashpoint milestone, and you’re left to run a handful of public events (or kill defenders and conquerors, on Mercury) to fill up a meter and get your Powerful Engram for the week. Meanwhile Lost Sectors, miniature dungeons tucked away in various corners of the Destiny 2’s worlds, offer little reward for their completion, as do patrols.

Bungie hopes to alleviate these issues with Forsaken by incorporating more activities into the Flashpoint milestone, as well as giving players new targets to chase (or more accurately, hunt). While Bungie is still working on specific details of these changes, their current state should offer a glimpse into how different your experience on Destiny 2's many beautiful locales might change be once Forsaken hits this September.

More Hunting, Less Loitering

The week Forsaken launches, players will find the Flashpoint milestone works a little differently. Rather than simply wait for the distinct blue icon to start filling with orange on their map as they hop between public events, players will also be able to venture into Lost Sectors and complete patrols while they wait to earn completion percentage for the...