Atari Announces New Game System: Ataribox

Atari, a video game company based in France, sent out an early preview of its first new gaming console in over 20 years. The details were sent via email and were sparse. Although the information was limited, photos of the console were enough to get fans and press talking about the brand once again.

In a press statement, Atari said that the new console is inspired by its previous works. The front and back will feature a wood and glass panel and the main console material will be available in either wood or a classic black and red paint job.

Drawing influences from Atari’s heritage, the company says it hopes to introduce something new to gamers, but also remain true to the brand’s sensibilities.

The technical specifications of the new Ataribox remain speculative at best. The company kept any mention of price, release date, and capabilities absent from their press release. Photos of the console haven’t stopped speculations about what’s inside though.

On the exterior, an SD card slot is visible, as well as four USB ports and an HDMI output. In addition to playing classic games, the Ataribox is expected to pack a modern punch. In the newsletter released to fans, the company said, “As you can guess, those ports suggest modern internal specs. It also means that while we will be delivering classic gaming content, we will also be delivering current gaming content.”

Atari was founded nearly four decades ago by Ted Dabney and Nolan Bushnell. The company was most recently acquired by Infogrames, a French video game creator. Shortly after acquiring Atari, the company rebranded itself to take on the original Atari moniker.

E3, the world’s largest gaming convention, passed in early June. While this announcement was unexpected, critics predict a full release or product debut at next year’s conference.

Bandai VR Zone In Shinjuku Showcases Their HTC Vive-Powered Virtual Reality Games

Many cynics are of the opinion that virtual reality is just a fad; another gimmick like 3d television that ends up tucked away in the attic gathering dust.

Well Bandai is here to prove those naysayers wrong with their new VR Zone arcade in Shinjuku, Japan. According to Engadget, VR Zone has two floors which are a total of 37,600 square feet, and could potentially get 1,500 visitors a day.

The arcade contains 12 games total, with some non-virtual reality games near the in-store restaurant. Games featured in the VR arcade include classic Bandai titles such as Gundam, Evangelion, and Dragonball. Also included in the line-up is a virtual reality rendition of the ever popular game Mario Kart, a flying bicycle game, a fishing game, and more.

The most intriguing of these games is the Mario Kart VR because of its setup. Players utilize the traditional steering wheel and pedals, and sit in a force feedback chair. They wear the HTC Vive VR headset and have custom strap-on controllers which allow them to interact with their virtual environment to, say, throw a koopa shell.

Mario Kart VR is the first virtual reality game to be officially licensed by Nintendo, though it is developed by Bandai Namco. Fans of Mario Kart are hoping that the game will eventually make its way to the Nintendo Switch, but there is no evidence that it will as of yet.

If Mario Kart isn’t your taste, you can always learn how to Kamehameha in the Dragon Ball VR game. This game requires two players, and players must put on a total of five HTC Vive motion trackers. A cool feature is that the tracker gloves will rumble in response to actions performed in the game.

With a brief training session from the Dragonball character Goku, you are then sent out to battle the person you are hooked up to the game with.

While the Bandai VR Zone is only located in Japan, one can hope something like it eventually makes its way overseas.

Marvel Powers United VR Takes Hero Games To The Next Level

Marvel Powers United VR is more than just another upcoming superhero video game. Marvel has produced a ton of those over the years. Anyone remember way back in the 1980’s when Spider-Man debuted for the Atari 2600? The newest planned video game definitely is a lot more advanced than any previous release. Marvel Powers United VR will be the House of Idea’s first virtual reality game.

Actually, the VR game is being developed and produced by Oculus on a Marvel license agreement. Oculus deserves the bulk of the credit for the creation of the game. Both Marvel and Oculus should experience a major cash windfall when the game comes out. Stepping into the virtual reality shoes of The Incredible Hulk and other heroes positively does sound like a cool gaming experience. Okay, The Hulk is barefoot but the sentiment remains the same.

The Hulk won’t be the only character players can assume in the game. A dozen different heroes are available opening the door for a player to enjoy the game from 12 different perspectives. How one hero deals with a situation is not the same way another would. Marvel Powers United VR definitely won’t become a boring game for any consumer too quickly.

Superhero movies are still doing quite well at the box office. The popularity of heroes has not translated to comic book sales. However, video games and other ancillary merchandise seem to be doing extremely well. Marvel Powers United absolutely should be a hit. The concept is great and the market is perfectly hot for such a product.

Giant Pokemon Go Festival Happening In Chicago

Just over a year ago, masses of people suddenly descended on some of the most random and obscure locations, deliriously excited about something that onlookers were at a loss to understand. What they were witnessing was the release of a brand new type of video game – one that took players out from in front of their TV’s and got them interacting with the world around them. Since then, the numbers of players have declined, but millions of die hard fans still remain.

While there have been rumors of several similar games scheduled to be released in the last year, including one based on the wildly popular Harry Potter series, none has materialized or gained anywhere near the massive following of Pokémon Go. As a result, Niantic closes off it’s first year as the completely undisputed champion of interactive “real world” video games.

On July 22, they will celebrate this crowning acheivement with a massive POGO celebration to take place in Grant Park, located in Chicago, IL. During the festival, Niantic will coordinate challenges taking place in Chicago with challenges that players around the world can participate in, based on challenges chosen by the players in Chicago. A final challenge will take place in the evening on the 26th, with a special reward being offered for completing the challenge. Rumors abound that the much-awaited legendary Pokémon will finally be released to anxious players around the world.

Aside from the initial release of Pokémon Go, this may be the first time that video game players all around the globe are all participating in playing one video game at one time, making it a truly global event. Given the stunning success that Pokémon Go has experienced, it is unlike that they will maintain their stranglehold on the market for this type of video game for long, but for the moment, they are basking in their success. In August, Niantic will also be hosting special events throughout Europe, as well as being part of a week-long celebration in Japan in August.

‘Pokemon Go’ Continues to Update Gym interfaces

In the summer of 2016 ‘Pokemon Go’ released to almost hysteria inducing levels of popularity. The game skyrocketed up the iOS sales charts and soon everybody and their brother was outside trying to catch the rarest Pokemon. People realized early on that the gym system was struggling and ever since then the developers at Niantic have been trying to get it just right. Changes seem to be in full effect a year later and Niantic seems to be doing their best to make the new Gym Raid system part of their core gameplay mechanic. A recent update made it easier than ever to fight to hold on to gyms.

In just the past few months we saw an update to the gym system that introduced the concept of Raids. Rather than just stacking your strongest Pokemon into a gym and holding it forever, Niantic implemented a system where you could pool Pokemon together to fight in strategically timed group battles. When you station your Pokemon at a gym you can also stop by and feed the Pokemon at that gym from your berry pouch, strengthening and healing them to continue fighting for your team. This was a neat update but it meant that you had to constantly go check on your Pokemon while they were at a gym. If you had a lot of Pokemon out and about this became an obvious issue.

In order to address these obvious issues, the developers at Niantic made it possible to care for and nurture your Gym Pokemon without actually having to go see them in person. This patch, though small, makes a fundamental difference in the realm of holding gyms for prolonged periods of time. Hopefully these small updates lead to larger improvements in the future as Pokemon Go inches toward becoming the game we had hoped it would be.