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Rumor: New Apple TV Takes Aim At Home Gaming

Enthusiast site 9to5Mac reports that sources with knowledge of the product have told them that the new fourth-generation Apple TV is looking to compete in the TV gaming world, which would put it into more active competition against the likes of Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation systems.

The site says Apple’s plan is to focus on the convenience of downloading games directly from the Apple store, and that the new Apple TV will support Bluetooth game controllers with pressure-sensitive buttons and joysticks. We’re likely to find out soon about the alleged details, as Apple has an event planned for September 9th, at which time we expect new Apple TV details as well as information on the iPhone 6S.

[Source: 9to5Mac]


Our Take:
Apple has a huge built-in audience of mobile gamers to tap into, but if the details are true regarding its plans to tackle home gaming in a more aggressive way, the company has an uphill battle to lure existing home players away from their platform of choice. Those existing player bases may already have spent money on a recent new system like PS4 or Xbox One, as well as accompanying online services like PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold. In addition, without some strong announced support for Apple TV from third-party publishers, it's hard to imagine existing players jumping ship. Meanwhile, the existing audience of more casual players on phone and tablet may be reticent to suddenly embrace home gaming as a hobby. – The Feed

These Street Fighter II Figures Want You To Go Home And Be A Family Man

The worst part of Street Fighter II was seeing your character, battered, broken, and taunted after a brutal defeat at the hands of your opponent. Soon you'll be able to immortalize that soul-crushing experience thanks to a set of 12 upcoming Street Fighter II figures.

The series includes the characters Ryu, E.Honda, Blanka, Guile, Balrog, Vega, Ken, Chun Li, Zangief, Dhalsim, Sagat, and M. Bison all featured in their Street Fighter II forms. The "Continue? Portrait" busts are being created by PVC figure manufacturer Embrace Japan, though no pricing or release schedule has been announced at this time. 

[Source: Nonsolohobby] – The Feed

Bethesda Welcomes Us Home With First In-Game Fallout 4 Trailer

The Fallout 4 website is live, just an hour and a half in advance of the "Please Stand By" countdown timer's expected expiration. The game will be fully revealed at E3 at Bethesda's press conference on Sunday, June 14.

There will be a cinematic trailer coming this morning, as evidenced by the site. We expect that will be live at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Fallout 4 is slated for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Images of the box art were also posted on the Fallout 4 website before it was taken down.

And here's the trailer you've been waiting for. Ron Perlman returns (and we learn more about the man uttering the iconic line about war). Our hero (or heroine) will emerge from Vault 111. The Brotherhood of Steel is clearly active in this part of the country Boston (as identified by the USS Constitution and the State House shown in the trailer), and the underscore carries themes from Inon Zur's fantastic Fallout 3 theme. Check it out for yourself:

(Please visit the site to view this media)


Our Take
We finally know the game is real, and Bethesda is clearly ready to talk in detail at E3. The show starts a whole day earlier this year, but unless the first-parties bring some major heat, it also might as well be over that early, too. – The Feed

Report: Microsoft’s HoloLens To Cost A Lot More Than A Home Console

Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality technology sounds far out, and as is usually the case, you get what you pay for. A recent report states that the tech will likely cost well north of $ 400.

The New York Times says that an unnamed Microsoft executive (whose relationship to the project is also unknown) told the paper that HoloLens would cost – in the paper's words – "significantly more than a game console."

HoloLens will be at E3, and Microsoft also recently released this hardware video.

[Source: New York Times]


Our Take
Given the tech, this isn't a great surprise. Before you start saving your pennies or swearing the whole thing off, we wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft already expects consumers to adopt HoloLens at a later date. Many electronics products start out at prohibitively higher prices, with true consumer-friendly price tags not planned until later in the product's life. – The Feed

New 3DS Update Makes It Easier To Customize Your Home Menu

Nintendo has released the latest system update for its 3DS handhelds. The new version, which has the catchy name 9.6.0-24U, makes it easier for users to customize and manage their home-menu layouts.

If you're the type of 3DS user who enjoys fiddling around with the way your home menu is organized and how it looks, this one's for you. After installing the update, you can save and load up to eight configurations. Finding new themes is a bit easier now, too, with additional options popping up under the "view more" menu on the theme store. There, themes are filtered according to characters and games, such as Mario, Kirby, and The Legend of Zelda, as well as the option to just view it all.

System update  9.6.0-24U also adds "improvements to system stability and usability," and lays the foundation for Amiibo support for the 3DS, 3DS XL, and 2DS in advance of an upcoming peripheral.

[Source: Nintendo]


Our Take
I spend an unreasonable amount of time messing with my phone's layout, but my 3DS remains completely vanilla. Maybe it's because I don't want to foul anything up. With this update, I can at least save my initial setup and then dive in. Once I inevitably ruin how it looks, I can go back to the original configuration. – The Feed

Shadow of Mordor Takes Home Top Prize At 15th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards

In a year where Game Informer had its most heated game of the year discussions in recent memory, a dark horse candidate surprised the field to take home three awards at the Game Developers Choice Awards.

Ustwo's mobile darling Monument Valley took home three prizes, for best handheld/mobile, best visual art, and the innovation award. The grand prize, however, went to Monolith's Shadow of Mordor.

Here is the full list of winners:

  • Ambassador Award: Brenda Romero
  • Pioneer Award: Dave Braben
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Hironobu Sakaguchi
  • Best Technology: Destiny
  • Best Audio: Alien: Isolation
  • Best Narrative: Kentucky Route Zero
  • Best Visual Art: Monument Valley
  • Best Handheld/Mobile Game: Monument Valley
  • Best Game Design: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
  • Best Debut: The Banner Saga
  • Innovation Award: Monument Valley
  • Audience Award: Elite: Dangerous
  • Game of the Year: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Before the Choice Awards, Capybara Games president Nathan Vella took the stage for the second year in a row to hand out the Independent Game Festival awards. Here is the complete list of winners:

  • Excellence In Visual Art: Metamorphabet
  • Excellence In Audio: Ephemerid
  • Excellence In Design: Outer Wilds
  • Excellence In Narrative: 80 Days
  • Nuovo Award: Tetrageddon Games
  • Best Student Game: Close Your
  • Audience Award: This War of Mine
  • Seumas McNally Grand Prize: Outer Wilds – The Feed

Grow Home Review – Not Fully Grown

I appreciate when a game has plenty of charm, but it needs to support other elements that are executed well. Call me a grump if you must, but an abundance of quirk and whimsy cannot completely compensate for threadbare design and clunky mechanics. That’s a lesson thoroughly reinforced by Grow Home, a strange platforming adventure from Ubisoft Reflections.

You control a robot named B.U.D., and your job is to make a plant grow high enough to reach your spaceship in the atmosphere. By grabbing offshoots of the plant and steering them into energy-infused rocks, the plant steadily gets taller, allowing you to reach new areas. You stumble and climb through a world of floating islands and strange vegetation in pursuit of that goal, but the journey is never complex or difficult. The main source of challenge is your character’s unwieldy movements, since the physics simulation has you falling all over yourself during what should be simple traversal.

The result is more frustrating than funny. You grab things with your left and right hands independently, climbing rocks and vines to get higher. The control scheme takes some getting used to, and even then, a wonky grab or errant jump can mean trouble. Tumbling to your doom isn’t too punishing, though; the respawn points are reasonable enough and you don’t lose progress. Plus, falling a thousand meters and seeing how far you’ve come on the way down is strangely rewarding.

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B.U.D. is kind of an adorable dope, and the world has a cool visual style. The humor and cartoonish sensibilities are bound to bring a smile to your face in the first few minutes, but it won’t stick around; Grow Home doesn’t have much to offer beyond that surface level of charm. Exploring the vibrant environment is exciting at first, but it rarely has any payoff. The thrill of reaching an out-of-the-way island is diminished when your only reward is seeing the same plants and rocks you’ve seen before. No unfolding story punctuates the climb, and the number of interesting things to see is minimal – mainly some hidden caves and animals.

The only incentive to go out of your way is collecting crystals, which are lodged in various inconvenient places during the journey. A total of 100 are scattered around, and you get upgrades – like a rocket pack, and then a better rocket pack – for completing certain percentages. The rocket pack helps with navigation, as do leaves and flowers you can pick up, but your main interactions with the world don’t evolve. You climb, grab, and repeat for a few hours – and then it’s over (unless you want to dig around for the post-game collectibles).

Not every release needs to have ridiculous triple-A aspirations. That being said, even considering its limited scope, Grow Home doesn’t feel complete. The technology behind the gigantic plant is cool, and seeing it take over the world below you is interesting. However, the game that you play between those realizations rarely blossoms into entertainment. – The Feed

How Home Improvisation got 100k YouTube views in a week

“It is a game about cooperatively building crazy Swedish modular furniture without instructions. It has been played over 20,000 times. In a week, its trailer has been viewed over 100,000 times on YouTube.” …

Gamasutra News

Ubisoft Launches Plant-Themed Grow Home On PC

Ubisoft has announced and released a new game from its
Reflections studio, along with a trailer and screenshots. Grow Home puts
players in the shoes of B.U.D. (Botanical Utility Droid), a small robot searching
for the Star Plant save his world.

The game focuses heavily on exploration through
climbing, and tasks players with growing a massive plant from which islands are
produced. The islands are, in turn, home to different species of animals and
allow the player to climb higher in their search for the seeds of the Star
Plant – which will help produce the oxygen needed to save B.U.D's planet.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Ubisoft Reflections is probably best known for their work on
the Driver series, though they also contributed to Watch Dogs, Just Dance, The Crew,
and Far Cry 3. – The Feed

Video: Crowdsourcing the localization of Gone Home

At GDC 2014, Gone Home programmer Johnnemann Nordhagen reveals how the four-person indie dev team enabled, supported, and encouraged fan-made translations for the game to broaden its reach. …

Gamasutra News