How Sonic the Hedgehog Was Almost Sonic the Rabbit

1988 saw the Japanese release of SEGA’s Mega Drive, or Genesis in the United States, placing it ahead of Nintendo’s SNES. The Mega Drive was one of the earliest 16-bit consoles and its expanded graphical options meant that a character like Sonic the Hedgehog could convey more colors as he zipped from left to right. While Sonic was the ultimate outcome of an internal design contest between SEGA’s Japanese and American offices that generated 200 characters, he was not among the initial offerings; the leading submissions in this contest was a long-eared rabbit with a bow tie drawn by Naoto Ohshima.

 

As the winner, Ohshima was partnered with programmer Yuji Naka and tasked with creating a rival to Nintendo’s Mario. Naka’s love of racing games and desire to make an innovative platformer fostered the need for a speed-focused character. In the duo’s presentation to SEGA’s board of directors, every aspect of its marketing pitch featured Ohshima’s rabbit. SEGA was pleased with the presentation and told them to take their material beyond a mere concept, adding Hirokazu Yasuhara to the team. Their primary directive was to produce a killer title that would boost sales of the Mega Drive and solidify a mascot for SEGA.

 

One of the first hiccups with a rabbit character came in his approach toward enemies; Ohshima’s character would use his ears to grab and toss enemies but this impaired the intention of high speed and required more button presses than seemed feasible. The team decided to rework the game to focus on minimal button presses and reduction of speed. These needs caused the team make a character that rolled into a ball when jumping, damaging enemies and breaking walls that the character collided with. The need for an animal known for balling itself up forced the team to discard the rabbit idea, eventually paring their biological survey down to an armadillo or hedgehog; the hedgehog’s quills won out over the armadillo’s armor.

 

A Review of HyperX’s Revolver S Gaming Headphones

HyperX is a name that has thrived in the competitive eSports scene because of its gaming headphones. This article is concerned with reviewing HyperX’s latest product, the “Revolver S” headphones with Dolby 7.1 surround sound. As it turns out, the Revolver S is a gold standard for gaming headphones from a company that has built its reputation within the professional gaming market: The Revolver S is priced at a surprisingly reasonable $150; features a robust variety of sound awareness that makes tasks like sensing an opponent’s footfalls a piece of cake and its construction is sturdy enough to convey a sense of durability and premium quality.

 

While other gaming headsets may offer Dolby surround sound, the Revolver S is the first one in some time that actually delivers on that promise-competing models like Sennheiser’s PC 373D were so imprecise with its Dolby that the device amounted to an over-priced gaming headset. Presentation and sound quality aside, one of the other stand-out offerings for this device is how users can listen to their games with it-the Revolver S simply uses a USB port without the need for tweaking sound cards or installing device drivers. Once plugged in, users can tweak direct volume levels, toggle Dolby sound and selectively mute sound channels.

 

Between its presentation, robust sound offerings, variety of settings, modest pricing and sturdy construction, the Revolver S is an ideal pair of headphones for any professional gamer. Honestly, even non-gamers who are simply interested in owning a set of Dolby-capable headphones should not pass up the opportunity if they have the means; the fact that the overall design does not offensively convey “gamer” like certain Alienware materials is certainly not a drawback. There is also the notable design decision regarding the microphone; users who have no interest or need to speak into a device, like simply listening to a film or some music, can simply separate the mic from the rest of the Revolver S.

 

The Company Behind Pokémon and Their Non Pokémon Titles

Game Freak is best known as the company behind the insanely popular series Pokémon which they have been making since 1996. They have created seven generations of Pokémon games including off shoots such as their Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games. Besides Pokémon games they have been behind the Pokémon television series, books, movies and even the popular Pokémon trading card game. Even though they are the Pokémon company, Game Freak has been responsible for a variety of other games that have nothing to do with Pokémon, a move that is unusual for video game developers. In this article on Kotaku, the idea behind these non Pokémon games is explained as to allow developers at Game Freak to get more experience and give them a break from the main series, allowing them to enjoy developing their own creations outside of the busy season creating Pokémon games. One of the none Pokémon games created in the past five years is HarmoKnight, a rhythm platformer released in 2013 in the United States. HarmoKnight is a story about a boy named Tempo on a musical planet trying to stop the evil Gargan and his army of Noizoids from disturbing the peace on his planet. This year Game Freak released another non Pokémon game alongside its late 2016 release of Pokémon Sun and Moon called GIGA WRECKER. GIGA WRECKER is the story of a girl named Reika who has the ability to manipulate debris and explore a world that has been invaded by an evil army of robots. What further sets GIGA WRECKER apart from the main line of games by Game Freak is that it is available on the gaming platform Steam, a first for the company. Game Freak is invested in continuing to allow its game developers to work on projects besides Pokémon as a way for them to develop professionally and gain new skills that will help them in their career at the company.

 

Breaking Bad to Return Via Sony PlayStation Streaming

Breaking Bad is returning, but not to television. The cult television series about high school chemistry professor Walter White’s decent into a life of crime is gaining a second life as a virtual reality experience. The new endeavor is not going to be a mere downloaded app. Series creator Vince Gilligan is working with Sony PlayStation to craft an interactive virtual reality live-action 360 experience.

 

Although the project is being crafted through a venture with a video game giant, the new project is not intended to be a video game. Of course, PlayStation has expanded beyond engaging strictly in video game play.

 

Sony Interactive Entertainment would handle the creation of the virtual reality series, but the project would air on PlayStation Vue, the company’s streaming service.

 

Breaking Bad could be the perfect project for Sony PlayStation’s entertainment programming division. The audience for the series likely skews older than a large number of video game fans. The intriguing concept of a continuation of the series might draw in a significant number of subscribers who otherwise would not be interested in PlayStation Vue.

 

Eventually, the series would find its way to DVD and Blu-ray, which creates additional marketing streams beyond the PlayStation Vue airings. In time, the streaming series should turn up on a “regular” channel when the need for programming arises many years down the road.

 

Such conjecture is getting far ahead of the current situation with the planned series. Very little news about the specifics of the series have been released. No word exists on whether or not stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are going to appear in the new series. Honestly, it would be difficult to fathom how the series would succeed without their presence. And what would be the timeline of the series? Will it present a storyline that took place during the events of the series?

 

Fans are going to learn the answers in time. Odds are the new VR series positively won’t disappoint.

Microsoft New Gaming Console Revealed

At one time, the  gaming console was the reigning champion that attracted millions of gamers to their platform. Players were presented with a multitude of gaming experiences that simply did no exist on a desktop computer or laptop computer. However, things in the gaming world are changing. The fact is that more and more gamers are turning to their desktop computers, laptops, and smart-phones, to play popular games like Overwatch, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, Hearthstone, and Clash Royale. Today, people are demonstrating to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo that their gaming console is not the only way to play games.

 

Microsoft Reveals Powerful New Gaming Console At E3

The big three game consoles are beefing up their game consoles. All the new entries make their debut at E3. Reports state that Microsoft is about to reveal their ultra powerful gaming system, the Scorpio console in its final form at E3. The Scorpio is a massively powerful entry that is substantially more powerful than Xbox One. The Scorpio console will probably be renamed Xbox Elite, once it hits the consumer market. Still, gaming insiders state that the new powerful entry is not enough for Microsoft to rise to the top of the gaming world again. Insiders state that Microsoft needs to flood the market with more games. The kind of games that players really want to play.

 

The fact is that Microsoft is betting that the Scorpio console will change their sagging game image and place them back on top. However, those in the gaming industry believe that Microsoft should back up their new console with a collection of aggressively challenging new games that will quickly set the gaming world on fire.

CD Projekt Red Hacked

CD Projekt Red Hacked

The video game developers CD Projekt Red is most well-known for adapting author Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher novels into a series of hit videogames. Recently, the company’s forthcoming game Cyberpunk 2077 is making headlines, but perhaps not in the way the company had hoped.

 

 

In a move right out of a William Gibson-esque sci-fi techno thriller, the makers of Cyberpunk 2077 have had an in-development version of their game stolen by an unknown person or persons. The icing on this cake is that the perpetrators of this foul deed are asking for a ransom of seven million dollars or they’ll release the game files to the public.

 

 

Upon receiving the demand, CD Projekt Red quickly posted on their official twitter page that they will not be giving in to the ransom demands. Instead they wanted to warn fans that if the files are leaked “The documents are old and largely unrepresentative of the current vision for the game. Still, if you’re looking forward to playing Cyberpunk 2077, it would be best for you to avoid any information not coming directly from CD PROJEKT RED.”

 

 

This is why the company’s handling of this situation, and decisions to not pay, is really the best move. First, criminals by nature are not trustworthy, so there’s no guarantee that the hackers won’t leak it anyway when they get paid. This also shows the importance of being able to control story. If the files do get leaked, and the reviews of the leaked version are less than flattering, the future of the game could be irrecoverably damaged. But, if CD Projekt Red is clear and upfront about the state of the leaked version, even if those who play the leaked version don’t like it, the final version could be significantly different.

 

 

Let’s all just hope these criminals are brought to justice and this kind of espionage won’t be making a regular appearance in the headlines.

 

 

 

A Review of Arms: Nintendo’s New Fighting Game

“Arms,” Nintendo’s new and unconventional fighting game, has just recently released. The game fuses traditional fighting games with “Wii Sports: Boxing”-like controls. Unfortunately, this hybrid approach means that it may be hard to market.

 

One perspective is that Arms should be treated like a casual multiplayer game like Mario Kart; Arms was developed by Mario Kart 8’s team. While the MK series is known for being novice-friendly, it also offers incentives for players with more gaming experience. Much like Wii Sports: Boxing, Arms’ controls are based around motion controls. While all a player needs to do for their character to punch is to throw a punch himself, the intricacies of Arms’ control system include a mild learning curve-motion controls are also involved when jumping, dodging and blocking.

 

The previously-mentioned variety of maneuvers make be just the thing to attract fans of competitive fighting games; how a player throws his punches affects the trajectories that his character’s attacks will fly, allowing for strategies like hooking around barriers to sneak in a hit or two. Another factor in the variety of Arms’ play styles is that each of its ten characters has a different “feel” and different weapons, the eponymous “arms,” to strike with; some arms can apply poison or blind, while others allow for projectile attacks. Ultimately, Arms has the potential to join competitive fighting games like the “Smash Brothers” and “Mortal Kombat” franchises without the need to exactingly memorize button inputs.

 

Yet another potential market for Arms would be as a compelling first-party title for the Switch beyond “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” While Arms is an innovative new IP for Nintendo, its strength is in its multiplayer offerings; just like Mario Kart or any serious fighting game, very little exists within Arms’ single-player experience beyond playing “Grand Prix Mode” to learn a character and unlock items. Arms is a great game for people who regularly have company over for gaming.

 

VR on YouTube

In companion with Google Daydream, YouTube VR is set to release sometime later this year. The plan, according to an article from The Verge, is to introduce a co-watching experience. In other words, users will be able to enter rooms together and watch videos at the same time. They will be able to communicate with each other with voice chat while they watch. Have no fear, however, because the user will not be forced to watch videos with other people. Instead, they will have the option to merge rooms with other people who are watching the same videos. On top of this users will be able to see if other people are watching videos in a room before they even click on it.

If you’re wondering what the rooms will look like you aren’t alone. Inside the room is described to be what sounds like a cross between Netflix VR and Altspace VR. If you haven’t seen either of these, Netflix VR is essentially a room with a relatively large viewing screen and a living room as you’re surroundings. Alternatively, Altspace VR is a place you can communicate with other people who appear in the form of customizable avatars. This is what YouTube VR is planning to accomplish when they try to redefine the market for watching videos online.

Considering everything that YouTube is used for, this program will most certainly be used for leisure, but the possible applications extend much farther. If you are trying to learn something through YouTube VR you would have the ability to talk about it with other people watching who may be able to help if you’re confused. We will see if YouTube VR can accomplish everything they say they will later this year!

 

Payday 2 Goes Free on Steam

Cooperative first person shooter “Payday 2” will be free until June 21. Like all good things that sound too good to be true, there are some conditions to this free game; the offer of a free game is only valid until June 21 or after five million Steam users have installed the game. Additionally and even if they have not actually downloaded the title to a device, Steam users who add the game to their Steam library have lifetime ownership of the title. Lastly, this offer does not extend to the various pieces of downloadable content, also known as “DLC.” Payday 2 has a total of thirty different pieces of DLC.

 

The premise of Payday 2 is that players assume various roles on a team of masked criminals. Players have a great deal of flexibility in what their characters look like and also in the particular skills their characters are most adept at. Players team up in order to successfully execute various criminal activities while avoiding or overcoming the countermeasures of law enforcement and SWAT officers. Should law enforcement manage to incapacitate a character, that character can still be resuscitated by one of the player’s teammates unless the character is downed a certain number of times; at which point the character is hauled off into custody and removed from play. A run is only considered a failure if all player characters are incapacitated or taken into custody.

 

Completing a mission presents each player with the choice of one of three different cards. These cards, known as “Paydays,” serve as one of the main incentives to keep playing and award the player with cosmetic items, certain color schemes for equipment, crafting components for masks, or temporary boosts to the acquisition of money or experience points; money is used to buy better weapons and tools and experience points are used to progress and acquire skill points used to specialize a character’s abilities among five different skill trees.

 

Call of Duty: WWII To Replace Traditional Franchise Create-a-class With New Division System

The create-a-class feature of the Call of Duty franchise has allowed players to create a class unique to their playstyle by letting them choose their own weapons, upgrades, abilities, and attachments. However, Treyarch, the company behind the Call of Duty: Black Ops series, has been toying with the concept of template class customization.

 

Following in their footsteps, Sledgehammer (a subsidiary of Activision) has designed a similar pathways system for Call of Duty: WWII in which players choose from five specialized characters (divisions) in multiplayer, each with their own specific training and skills. Michael Condrey, the co-founder of Sledgehammer Games, believes that this new system will “change how players invest in their multiplayer soldier career.”

 

Information about the five new divisions was released on the Activision blog a day after their announcement.

 

The first division given was the Airborne division, which sounds like a “sergeant” or “scout” type class from the blog’s description. This might be a class where you use speed and stealth to overcome your enemies, being “first to the fight”.

 

Next to be described was the Mountain division, which appears to be a sniper class whose focus is “precise and deadly sharpshooting”. Sniping is always an important part of multiplayer games, so it is no surprise they include this as its’ own division.

 

Infantry division, of course, is another one of the divisions included in the system. This division will most likely use close and medium range weapons such as the Thompson sub-machine gun or a shotgun.

 

There is also going to be an Armored division, who is reportedly going to be the heavy firepower of the group. This class will probably use light or heavy machine guns. Based on their name, they may also be equipped with anti-vehicle gear, but that is pure speculation.

 

Last, but not least, we have the Expeditionary Force division, who is “packing heat with incendiary shells.” This could be a very explosive class that uses grenade launchers, mortar, or perhaps even flamethrowers. It will definitely be interesting to see how this class is utilized once the game is finished.

 

Call of Duty: WWII is set to be released November 3rd for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.