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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.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

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

Ubisoft announces next experimental game for PC, Grow Home

Ubisoft announced a new platforming game for PC today, Grow Home. Developed by a small team at Ubisoft Reflections, the game features a red robot named BUD (Botanical Utility Droid), who travels across the galaxy to find a “new species of flora to he…
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Ubisoft Unveils Innovative Procedural Platform Grow Home

Ubisoft Reflections (the team behind the Driver series) has a new game that's very different from its past titles – and it's coming soon.

On a post on the Ubi Blog, Anne Lewis writes extensively about the new project, which is being created by an eight-person team within Reflections. Here's the basic premise:

"Grow Home is the story of BUD, a Botanical Utility Droid sent on a mission across the galaxy to seek out a new species of flora to help oxygenate his home world. He finds the perfect specimen in the Star Plant. "We think of the Star Plant like a giant beanstalk," says Producer Pete Young. "BUD's mission is to grow it to maturity and harvest the seeds it produces. The plant ends up being a towering two-kilometer-high bridge from the ground to his space ship."

As you progress, you'll help grow, guide, and climb increasingly towering plants to reach various destination. These plants will grow procedurally, meaning that each playthrough will be slightly different. The team promises that this odd concept will be accomplished with an intuitive, easy to master control mechanic, allowing BUD to effortlessly scale his natural towers. It's important to note: though the game is being made for PC, the developers say its made to be experienced with a game pad. This begs the question: why isn't it being made for console? Hopefully, those announcements are coming in the near future.

The game looks extremely interesting, and we won't have to wait long to experience it; Grow Home will be released for PC on February 4. Watch the teaser trailer below to get a better sense of the game's look and feel.

[Source: Ubi Blog]

(Please visit the site to view this media) – The Feed

Tacoma, the next game from Gone Home developers

The next game from Gone Home developer Fullbright is called Tacoma, and it’s a decidedly sci-fi, Rapture-esque journey due out in 2016. Fullbright debuted the game and fresh teaser trailer at The Game Awards tonight.

The game has a site and a Twitte…
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Far Cry 4 review: Home despot

Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Far Cry 4 is about a man returning home to scatter his mother’s final earthly form. Only he gets distracted, goes mountain climbing for a bit, helps dismantle a despotic regime, fights a tiger, runs in circles…
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