Category Archives: Video Games

Niantic Drops ‘Pokemon Go’ Valentines Day Event.

Pokemon Go is probably one of the most interesting gaming experiences you are going to find in the mobile world. We aren’t sure if that is saying much, but Niantic is doing their best to keep their experience as fresh as possible and this means making sure to release big holiday events. Most recently, Niantic broke open February with their newest Valentine’s Day event and it wasn’t what anyone had expected. Gamers may have had their expectations heightened due to past holiday events, but fan reaction around the game was less than inspired. Still, that doesn’t mean that fans should feel let down — we’ll explain why.

For this year’s Valentine’s Day event, Niantic decided to push focus toward some of their new Pokemon. Starting February 15th, gamers will have to keep an eagle-eye out for roaming Luvdisc. Luvdisc is a pink, heart-shaped Pokemon that is decidedly perfect for this event. What makes them special, aside from being on the roster of the newest gen of Pokemon, is the fact that they are giving triple-stardust for each capture during this event. That is pretty much it for the event in a nutshell.

While these small events are going to be disappointing for players looking for new immersive experiences, they still should hit the mark for higher-leveled trainers. Any time that Niantic releases an event that improves your ability to quickly rack up stardust, that will be considered a win for the community. Leveling, as most trainers know, can feel arduous at the higher levels — especially during non-event periods of time.

What trainers should take to heart, no matter their opinion on this specific event, is that Niantic is not abandoning their flagship application. Despite the increased focus on their work with the announced ‘Harry Potter: Wizards Unite’ application, Niantic continues to unleash a flurry of activity and updates to keep their trainers happy. Alongside their recently released AR+ and weather updates, we can’t complain about what we have been seeing from the company of late.

Hawaii Looking to End Loot Boxes

State lawmakers are looking to put an end to manipulative and predatory loot box practices in some games according to the Hawaii Tribune Herald.

Four bills have been introduced within the last month, each targeting the monetization technique as exploitative and potentially able to turn players into gambling addicts.

House Bill 2686 and Senate Bill 3024 both aim to entirely prohibit the sale of games with loot box mechanisms to anyone under the age of 21. House Bill 2727 and Senate Bill 3025 are less restrictive but require that publishers be more transparent with their loot box odds, requiring prominent labels on games with these systems and disclosure of the probability rates.

Rep. Chris Lee of Oahu said he had witnessed the industry evolve to exploit children to drive profits. Although some loot box systems, like Blizzard’s popular shooter Overwatch, offer players the chance to earn loot boxes through gameplay or only offer cosmetic rewards, some have begun to offer rewards with competitive advantages. Star Wars: Battlefront II caused controversy in 2017 for its system, which not only included gameplay advantages but also locked fan-favorite characters behind a paywall.

Lee said that many of these publishers have often employed psychologists to create these mechanisms and not game designers. This gives the impression that publishers are more interested in exploiting children to gamble. After working with other states and countries, Lee said more than half of U.S. states are now working to legislate loot box oversight.

Pushback from the industry is expected, as Lee noted that games are currently a $30 billion industry, larger than Hollywood, with nothing forcing them to disclose their practices. Activision Blizzard, the publisher of Overwatch, announced this month that the company made $4 billion from in-game transactions in 2017 alone.

Rare To Release Sea of Thieves for Xbox One

If you have an Xbox and like pretending to be a pirate, you will love Sea of Thieves from British game developer Rare.

The game is much different than recent titles from Rare, which has mostly been making games for Microsoft’s now defunct Kinect accessory. Sea of Thieves is more like their older games, such as GoldenEye 007, Banjo-Kazooie and Battletoads. In this game, which has been in development for years, gamers battle each other for buried treasure.

The game is due to be released in March, and, at least initially, it will be available for Xbox and Microsoft Windows exclusively.

Sea of Thieves is a big game, with a wide open world, making it a most welcome addition to the current crop of high-end games. As a player, you must deal with rival pirates — who fire upon you at will — while also avoiding fire from Skeleton Island. And if this isn’t enough thrills for you, there are also sea monsters lurking in the water nearby, ready to snatch you from your crow’s nest. Of course, you get to dig for buried treasure as well.

However, at least at the moment, the game seems not quite finished. Though it could evolve quickly, and some in the industry believe that it could be a surprise hit and a long lasting one if Rare and Microsoft continue to develop the property.

It is certainly visually stunning, even now. In fact, the sea and the storms are so realistic that some players have actually experienced seasickness. They have also have felt that they were really out to sea while playing. There is further a great attention to detail throughout the game. Players will feel that they are existing in a world that is true to life.

Finally, when you buy the game for Xbox, you get the Windows version free of charge, and the two will seamlessly sync with one another.

New Fortnite Patch Released Today

“Fortnite” has quickly become one of the most popular video games in the world thanks to its exciting Battle Royale mode. The game even surpassed “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” as the most played game on Steam with more than 3.4 million concurrent players. Those numbers did not even include the large number of fans enjoying the game on a PS4 or Xbox One. “Fortnite” fans will be happy to hear that Epic Games has just released a new patch that will vastly improve the game.

The introduction of a new weapon and an alteration to the map are the two biggest changes in the patch. The new impulse grenade will stick to to the first thing it touches after being thrown. The large explosion created by the impulse grenade will be a great way to take down enemies hiding in large structures. You will only be able to find the impulse grenade in supply drops and treasure chests.

The addition of a new weapon is not coming without a sacrifice. The regular SMG will no longer be found in “Fortnite.” This change was made in order to maintain balance in the game. The crossbow, minigun and chug jug will also show up far less often on the map. The tactical and suppressed submachine guns will remain in the game.

Special shrines are being added to slightly change the “Fortnite” map. These shrines will be hidden in random locations every time you play a new game. Finding one of these shrines may be crucial to being the last survivor because they will be filled with lots of treasure. The current shrines are decorated to honor the Chinese New Year.

In addition to these major changes, there are also a few minor updates with the latest patch. Several annoying bugs and performance issues have been fixed. Eliminating these bugs will vastly improve load times on the PS4. It will also let the game run in 4K resolution on the Xbox One X.

“Shadow of the Colossus” Thrives in a Open World Devoid of Activity

The Forbidden Land of 2005’s “Shadow of the Colossus” is a barren wasteland containing only a fraction of the elements found in other open world titles. With Bluepoint’s recent HD re-release on the PS4, players can savor the world without the PS2’s muddiness.

Players control Wander, a young man seeking to revive his deceased girlfriend. Wander enters the Forbidden Land and makes a pact with the dark god Dormin; Dormin will return his girlfriend to life if Wander murders 16 colossi. Although the Forbidden Land is vast and covers several biomes, few would consider this title as an “open world” endeavor. The newest generation of gamers, whom have been forged in an environment full of hand-holding and checkpoints, will likely find many minor grievances with Shadow of the Colossus.
• Other than the engagements between Wander and the unlucky colossi, players will have to hunt down waypoints across sweeping vistas. While the game features an expertly-drawn map, it only reveals what the player has already seen.

• When hunting colossi, players must raise Wander’s sword into the air and follow the general direction that sunlight bounces off. This can lead to some consternation as many colossi naturally blend into the terrain.

• Because the game is dedicated to hunting and killing colossi, its massive world is devoid of almost anything else for the player to interact with beyond lizards, fruit and coins.

By tracking and killing certain lizards, Wander’s grip meter, crucial in scaling colossi to reach their weak points, will increase. Certain trees bear fruit that slightly increase Wander’s vitality. Coins were added to this version of the game, with a new sword as reward for collecting all 79. Adept players can find a map that reveals every lizard and fruit tree location. Unfortunately, players have to really explore the world to discover these incremental rewards.

While Shadow of the Colossus offers few things, the colossi fights and exploration are their own reward.

Microsoft Adds Gaming Upstart To Its Portfolio

In big gaming news, Microsoft has acquired a small gaming start-up that it can add to its portfolio. This is a development company called “PlayFab”. They handle many of the live operations and other technical tasks so that those who develop games can focus more on that and less on keeping the games that they already have out there running.

PlayFab already manages a lot of the technical details for games that have a total worldwide player audience of seven hundred million players says Business Insider. This indicates that a lot of game developers trust them with even some of the most sensitive information that they possess. It is quite clear that this is a gaming start-up that will not remain just some small company for much longer. They are making big moves. Now that Microsoft owns them, the acceleration of this business is likely about to take off.

A lot of gaming is moving into the cloud. This means that it is becoming far more inter-connected, and far more reliant on the ability to play games live and compete with other players all around the world no matter where they are. Since this is what players want, it is a wise move by Microsoft to focus more energy into this aspect of the gaming world.

PC games in particular are white hot right now. It seems that just about everyone wants to take their skills to their computer and show other strangers around the world that they are in fact the best at whatever particular game it is that they want to prove their chops in. The exact game that one is playing may change from time to time, but the environment of online gaming has remained largely the same for some time now. Microsoft is simply consolidating some hold on that market.

Legendary Speed-runner Todd Rogers Loses Records

Video games were meant to be played in all sorts of ways. Some players take their time, exploring every edge and corner of the landscape possible, even doubling back to find hidden items and clues. Others try to defeat levels and games as quickly as humanly possible. They are called speed-runners, and the key phrase here is “humanly possible.”

On Monday, Todd Rogers, one of the legendary speed-runners in video game history, was stripped of all his time records by Twin Galaxies, a group responsible for monitoring video game records. He also received a lifetime ban because of accusations of cheating and fabricating records.

The main record on the chopping block was his speed run in the Atari game Dragster. His record had stood since 1982, making it the Guinness World Record-holder for longest-standing video game record in the world. Not only did Twin Galaxies strip Rogers of that record, but it also notified the folks at Guinness World Records, advising them to do the same.

Rogers had registered a time of 5.51 seconds in Dragster, a game that requires players to shift gears on their racer at just the right time. As the years went by and other players continued to be dubious of Rogers’ play, evidence mounted. Eventually, engineer Eric Koziel designed a computer program to see what was the literal fastest time anyone could achieve on Dragster, even beyond “humanly possible.” The search was for the greatest score the game would allow, and the answer was 5.57 seconds. If you believe Koziel’s findings – which Rogers does not – a time of 5.51 seconds was literally impossible.

Rogers had other suspicious speed-run and scoring records to boot. Many players accused him of cheating over the years. It seems like the powers that be finally agree.

February PS Plus Games Announced

Subscribers to Sony’s PlayStation Plus program are rewarded with several free games every month, and they now know what games will be provided in February after the list of six games was announced today. All six games can be downloaded for free starting on Tuesday, February 6. They must be downloaded before the beginning of March if you want them in your video game collection

The biggest game being offered for free on PS Plus in February is “Knack.” The cartoon platformer was originally released when the PS4 launched in 2013, so this is a great way for newer PS4 owners to pick up a game they may have missed. “Knack” may have a weak story and a few other flaws, but it still a very fun family-friendly game.

PS4 owners will also get the opportunity to download “Rime” and “Grand Kingdom” in February. “Rime” is one of the most beautiful games of its generation, so it is worth your time even if you are not a big fan of puzzle games. “Grand Kingdom” is a Japanese role-playing game that forces you to use precise tactics to take down the enemies. Thanks to cross-play, you will also be able to enjoy “Grand Kingdom” on the PS Vita.

The other three games offered in February are only available on Sony’s older devices. If you still have a PS3 handy, then you can add “Spelunker HD” and “Mugen Souls Z” to your collection. “Spelunker HD” is a high definition remake of the popular platformer that was released on the Atari in 1983. “Mugen Souls Z” will satisfy most RPG fans, but everyone else will likely find the game to be extremely shallow. The 2D adventure game “Exile’s End” will also be available for the PS Vita next week.

Video Games You Don’t Want to Miss in 2018

Last year was a great year for the video game industry. Heavy hitters such as “Super Mario Odyssey,” “Persona 5” and “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” ensured that 2017 was a year that gamers won’t soon forget. Looking ahead, 2018 looks like it may be just as impressive. Below is a list of games that you can look forward to this year.

“Shadow of the Colossus”

Who would’ve thought that one of the best PS2 games in 2005 would be one of the most anticipated tiles of 2018? Well, it is thanks to the upcoming PS4 title “Shadow of the Colossus.”

“Shadow of the Colossus” is back with a complete makeover in HD. The goal of the game is to take down larger-than-life monsters. This was a hit years ago, and it’s shaping up to be one of the hottest tiles of the year. Keep an eye out for the game when it launches on February 6th.

“Bayonetta 2”

If you’re one of the few people who owned a Wii U, then you may have experienced the Bayonetta series reboot with “Bayonetta 2.” The game wouldn’t have been possible without help from Nintendo, but few people got to experience it. Thanks to the Nintendo Switch, they can.

Coming February 16, Nintendo is re-releasing “Bayonetta 2” on its newest console. Buying a copy will also let you download a digital copy of the first “Bayonetta.” That’s two games for the price of one. Both of them should get you pumped for the recently announced “Bayonetta 3,” which is also coming to the Switch but has no official release date yet.

“Red Dead Redemption 2”

You can’t have a list of the most anticipated games of 2018 without talking about “Red Dead Redemption 2”. This is a follow-up to the award-winning “Red Dead Redemption” that came out on the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Once again, you’ll get to experience the old west in a massive open world much like the Grand Theft Auto series. You can take on a slew of missions and watch this world come to life. Rock Star has indicated that the game is set for a second-quarter release.

What games are you looking forward to this year? Is 2018 shaping up to be as good if not better than 2017? In either case, most would agree that there are a lot of great games to look forward to.

World Record for Atari Dragster is Thrown Out

Twin Galaxies, a group that tracks top performances in video gaming, has announced that it will throw out a record that has stood for 25 years.

The player at the center of the controversy, Todd Rogers, submitted proof in 1982 for a record performance in the Atari Dragster game. The game is a side-scrolling driving simulation that challenges the player to switch gears at precise moments in order to speed up a car. Rogers supposedly beat the game in 5.51 seconds and took a Polaroid photo of the time before submitting it to the developer of the game.

The Dragster record was added to the Twin Galaxies system in 2000, which qualified it as a Guinness World Record for being the longest held video game record. For years, other players tried to match or beat Rogers’ time, but the next closest performance was 5.57 seconds.

The decision by Twin Galaxies to nullify the Dragster record came after the video game community gathered evidence to suggest that Rogers had fabricated his performance. Software analysis has suggested that 5.51 seconds is a physically impossible time for a human player in Dragster. As part of its finding, Twin Galaxies has erased all of Rogers’ other video game records from its database as well.

Rogers has yet to publicly respond to the decision by Twin Galaxies, but he has previously argued against his detractors by claiming that he used a special shifting strategy when setting the record for Dragster. The developer of the Atari game has not produced any new evidence to validate Rogers’ original time of 5.51 seconds, but the debate over this record in speed video gaming is likely to continue into the future.