Newly-added Games

Red Dead Redemption 2: Official Gameplay Video

Introduced to video games when he was only five, after dying somewhere around four thousand times while playing Star Tropics, he never looked back. Some of his favorites range from titles like Shenmue and Metal Gear Solid 3 to Half-Life 2, Manhunt, and the Dark Souls series. Justin has a passion for vinyl records, and loves to collect video game memorabilia. If he had one wish, it would be to travel back to 1984 Miami.

Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise – Combat Trailer

Introduced to video games when he was only five, after dying somewhere around four thousand times while playing Star Tropics, he never looked back. Some of his favorites range from titles like Shenmue and Metal Gear Solid 3 to Half-Life 2, Manhunt, and the Dark Souls series. Justin has a passion for vinyl records, and loves to collect video game memorabilia. If he had one wish, it would be to travel back to 1984 Miami.

What is Shenmue? Part 3: Combat & Mini Games

Introduced to video games when he was only five, after dying somewhere around four thousand times while playing Star Tropics, he never looked back. Some of his favorites range from titles like Shenmue and Metal Gear Solid 3 to Half-Life 2, Manhunt, and the Dark Souls series. Justin has a passion for vinyl records, and loves to collect video game memorabilia. If he had one wish, it would be to travel back to 1984 Miami.

Preorder the arcade 1-up

Pre-order the Arcade 1Up (advertorial)

What makes a videogame feel great? Is it the game itself, the friends you enjoy it playing with, or the machine powering the amazing experience that you’re completely engrossed in?

For most of us, the answer is all three. And if you happened to chance upon a bustling amusement arcade during your youth then you’ll fully understand why.

Games played on a classic arcade cabinet seemed to come alive. They’d pull you in with graphics that would pop from the screen and provide robust, chunky controls that perfectly complemented the game.

Above all else, though, they would entice you with audio that would not only scream to be heard over the sounds from other games but compete with the chatter and laughter filling the room.

Pre-order the Arcade 1Up (advertorial)

That’s because arcades were a destination, a place for you to hang out with your pals and have fun. And if you want to replicate that enjoyment, then how better than a modern arcade cabinet packed with the greatest of hits?

Step forward the Arcade1UP cabinets, a range of amazing machines that bring the arcade home with no quarters or tokens required.

They allow your favorite games from yesteryear to come back to life in the way that they should always be played – with arcade-style joysticks, trackballs and buttons.

At a wallet-friendly introductory rate of $299 they really are a bargain. But if you want to guarantee one, then you’ll need to be quick.

GameStop, which is the only retailer allowing pre-orders in store, expects them to sell as fast as your reactions will need to be to master these games. You can, however, also order at gamestop.com.

Pre-order the Arcade 1Up (advertorial)

But why are they set to be popular? Well, the cabinets will inevitably light up your room thanks to a 17-inch LCD screen that will perfectly showcase the games in their original form, with the same graphics and sounds that made them instantly appealing the first time around.

The machines will also turn heads for their sheer presence since each upright cabinet stands at three-fourths the size of the original machine.

Most crucially, however, are the classic games you’ll be able to enjoy.

GameStop will have a finger-twitching four cabinets in total and each one contains up to four games.

  • The Asteroids-led cabinet comes with the addition of Major Havoc, Lunar Lander and Tempest;
  • Rampage is bundled with Gauntlet, Joust and Defender;
  • Centipede includes Missile Command, Crystal Castles and Atari Millipede; and
  • Street Fighter II Champion Edition has the addition of Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers.

But just as important as the selection of games, is the look of the cabinets, each of which are faithfully decorated with the eye-catching marquee and side artwork of the leading title.

This was no mean feat for Arcade1UP which went to great lengths to find the original art sheets in order to recreate them, helping those memories to come flooding back.

To add to the fun, the cabinets need to be self-assembled so you get a chance to go behind the scenes of the machines and get up close with each of the parts inside and out. This is a very simple process and it has enabled the makers to keep the cost of these impressive cabinets down.

Don’t forget, you need to get your pre-order in to guarantee one or more of the cabinets, though. Ask the staff at your local GameStop for more information or head over to gamestop.com.

Desert Child Interview – Console Monster

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the creator of the upcoming RPG racer ‘Desert Child‘. From eating ramen and live fish, to taking a long, long holiday; we talk about it all.

Console Monster: Let’s start off with some of the basics; Who are you and what do you do?

Oscar Brittain: My Name’s Oscar Brittain and I’m an independent game developer.

CM: You’re based in Los Angeles, correct? How would you describe the company, and has your location influenced your games in any way?

OB: I’m actually in Fremantle in Western Australia at the moment. I think it’s had a big influence on my game. I tried to put as many locations and bits of culture and music from where I live as I could.

CM: Your upcoming release, ‘Desert Child‘, is a racing RPG, that’s a new one for me. Can you tell us a little more about the title?

OB: Desert Child is a game where you explore a pixel art city, upgrade your hoverbike, talk to people, take jobs, and of course, race. There’s also a multiplayer mode where players can go head-to-head with their friends. It’s all about starting with nothing and working your way to the top (also, eating ramen).

CM: You chose Kickstarter to help fund the game; can you tell me a bit about your experience with the platform?

OB: It was pretty good. I wasn’t sure I was going to get funded, but a bunch of great people rallied around in the last 48 hours and it was a success.

CM: The game seems to be inspired by Cowboy Bebop and Akira, it also takes place in a sci-fi setting; why did you choose that setting and what would some highlights of these inspirations be?

OB: I just like Cowboy bebop and Akira. I like the multicultural and lived-in feeling that those two anime have in their cities. There’s also so much more to world that’s only ever hinted at; that was a big inspiration too.

CM: If you had to choose one single feature of the game to highlight, what would it be?

OB: You can buy a raw fish and eat it while it’s still alive.

CM: Has the team drawn inspirations from any other sources? Film, books, etc.

OB: The team’s just me, and I think I’ve taken influence from basically everything I love. One big thing was internet lofi hiphop streams. In this age of Spotify algorithms telling people what to listen to, YouTube streams are a blessing, especially when you’re coding a game.

CM: I’m loving the visuals of the game! Other than aesthetic, why did you choose this style?

OB: I’m not very good at drawing, so pixel art seemed easy haha. I was always bad at drawing faces, so thats why none of the characters have them. It kinda reminded me of EC from Lift-Off, so I kept it.

CM: In terms of RPG or racing titles in general, which would be the overall team favorite and why?

OB: Racing would be Driver San Francisco, RPG would be Digimon World. Both do something really weird with the genre. I can’t think of a racing RPG that’s really done with a story mode and stuff.

CM: Looks like the Kickstarter was a success, and the game will be hitting nearly every platform, correct? What are some of the difficulties and/or benefits of working with different hardware?

OB: Difficulties are having to pass three rounds of certification! Benefits are more people get to play the game (and I finally have an excuse to splash out and buy a Nintendo Switch!) Also, the Switch version will have single joycon support, so that’s great for multiplayer.

CM: What does the future hold for yourself and your team?

OB: Mostly support for Desert Child on all platforms. There’s some cool Kickstarter rewards that I’m working on right now, too. Then I’m going to take a long, long holiday and hope to god an idea for a new game comes to me.

CM: What are some of the current favorites of the you and team?

OB: I finally got around to playing No Man’s Sky. Rough around the edges, but I don’t think there’s anything quite like it. Also, Getting Over It With Bennet Foddy is like my Milo before bed right now. It’s great.

CM: Thanks for taking to time to answer some questions, Desert Child looks to be right up my alley in terms of style and themes, can’t wait to play it!

OB: Awesome! Thanks for the questions!

 

Desert Child releases this September. If you’d like learn more about the title, check out the official website.

The Occupation – Announce Trailer

It’s 1987 in North West England; A time of 80’s British pop, grand architecture and political unrest. An explosion has triggered a controversial act which threatens to erode civil liberties of the population to be rushed into place. You are tasked with investigating and questioning people on their actions from a tumultuous night which resulted in the loss of many lives. Each person has a different account of the night’s event and you must use the tools at your disposal to get the results you need for your investigation.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles Review

Not all games must revolve around a ‘failure’ system. A game over is not a requirement in a video game, as much as some would like to believe. Even combat isn’t needed if done properly. Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles sets out to present the player with a vast, vibrant, and very charming world prepped for discovery and adventure. Part Minecraft, part Harvest Moon; but does it pull it off?

You play the part of a young adventurer, sent away from their homeland and parents as an infant, with only a magic compass and a letter. In this letter your parents explain that they had to send you away due to a sort of plague called ‘murk’, that has infested the city. They sent you away in hopes that one day you can follow said compass to find the truth, and perhaps make the world a little brighter along the way. You are able to customize your character by creating either a male or female avatar, which can have various hair colors, skin tones, etc. While the clothing and hair options are limited upon creation, you will come across lots of options as you plunder the world of Yonder.

You are presented with an open-world where nearly everything can be crafted from everything. You’ll find yourself cutting down tall grass, trees, and mining to craft various items for yourself and others. You’re even able to build a farm in which to grow plants and house various adopted animals. These plants and animals then automatically produce items for both crafting and trading; and with the trading system this game uses, you’ll need the spare items.

Instead of the usual monetary selling system games use, this one is actually based on trading goods. You are required to swap goods for at least the same value as those you wish to obtain. These prices vary based on trader location and the player’s craftsmanship abilities. All of this will help you complete your ultimate goal of removing the ‘murk’ that has driven the people away from parts of the land, yourself included.

You can upgrade your crafting abilities by joining and completing various craftsmen “guilds”, each with their own master and challenge quests. Upon completing these guilds, you will be awarded a multitude of new blueprints for craftable items, along with a badge that you can adorn on your backpack. I found these quests to feel incredibly rewarding, and I honestly couldn’t stop myself from completing them all, if only to see all the goods I could create.

If I had to find a downside to the world, it would be within the map and fast travel system. Whilst fast travel does exist, you are likely to only “unlock” it once you’ve finished the game. I assume this is purposely done to encourage exploration, and I totally understand that, but I did find myself lost a few times and would have appreciated a quicker way back to my farm or village. This, mixed with the lack of a distance tracker on waypoints, means you may find yourself going towards a dead end more than once along your journey.

Visually the game uses an animated and vivid look somewhat similar to ‘Windwaker’. The world is a wonderfully vibrant and varied land, growing only more aesthetic with the changing of the seasons. Wind blows the leaves, the trees, and the brush. Rain and snow fall from the sky creating an almost living painting on your screen. The art style is both refreshing and suitable for what this game offers. You truly feel as if you are in another, a more simple world.

The audio is just as charming as the rest of the game. Lovely melodies play a calming, soothing song that adds to the overall atmosphere of exploration and discovery. Sound effects are also well done, such as random bird calls, or the crunching of snow and ice under your feet.

Overall, Yonder is a wonderfully charming and relaxing title that proves you don’t need death or combat to create a memorable game experience. You’ll fall in love with the locals, the wildlife, and everything else you discover on this love letter to adventure and beauty. If you’re looking for a game that will allow you to sit back and relax while still feeling extremely accomplished, then look no further.

We Need To Talk About No Man’s Sky – Console Monster

Every now and again a game appears that sparks instantaneous hype and expectations. No Man’s Sky arguably had the most explosive reveal in video game history. A short but striking premier at E3 2014 had players worldwide hailing No Man’s Sky as “Winning E3 forever” and being an “everything game”. Touting procedurally generated planets and landscapes where there would be “infinite” planets, I was immediately skeptical of No Man’s Sky. Not only of the literal impossibility of infinite planets, but in my experience, procedurally generated games almost always mean unpolished, uninteresting, and unstable. While I’m not saying I knew it would turn out the way it did, I just don’t see why everyone just assumed it would be this amazing, deep, incomparable game. Was it carefully planned hype? The right amount of advertising? Or as I believe it to be, blatant lies.

A new IP from a relatively small indie developer with no previous release of the like under their belts, I knew the title ran the risk of disaster. I wasn’t interested in the game regardless of how I imagined it would turn out; it just didn’t interest me that much. However, because I try my best to play every game I can, I did rent the title. Of course I had heard the horror stories of crashing, freezing, lost saves, and the massive deception that was the mulitplayer aspect, but I still wanted to give the game a go. Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed parts of the game. The first few planets were somewhat exciting to explore. Meeting the first few aliens was a gripping experience. Upgrading started off actually feeling rewarding. It was at about the tenth planet where I started to realize I was in a loop. A sort of Westworld robot host, living man-made hell. I did the same things over and over, with only slight differences, but always the same outcome. Due to boredom and lack of good modern cinema, I actually achieved the Platinum on the PS4 version of the game. I walked away tired of the repetitive gameplay, but happy with the bits I actually found enjoyable.

The rest of the world seemed to fall into two extremes; Blind devotion to the title, and ones that wanted development lead Sean Murray dead. Both of these options are pretty ridiculous, and I couldn’t seem to understand why people jumped to these radical stances. Why did gamers feel so strongly about this game in particular? After a bit of research I discovered the source of the anger from those let down by the release. It seems, at least in my opinion, Sean Murray and other members of the Hello Games team made endless promises of features and game mechanics that simply didn’t appear in the final product. Now I’m sure they wanted to include all the ideas and promises they told us pre-release, but the fact of the matter is they were no where to be found. I personally know a handful of people who pre-ordered the title purely for the multiplayer experience that was very much absent in the final product, which wasn’t addressed until after release.

Were they lying to us? I know this is debatable, but I have to say I think they were. They were aware that a major selling point was the multiplayer factor. They knew it wasn’t going to be included in the final release. But instead of making that clear, and potentiality losing loads of sales, they said it would be “nearly impossible” to find another player due to the so-called infinite universe the game featured. They thought, “Hey, this is safe. They can’t really prove we’re lying. Let’s go with that!” Well it backfired hard when two streamers proved this false on release day. Oh, awkward. But Sean Murray being the charmer that he is just brushed it off turning it into an incredible feat rather than proof of a lie. But enough about the original release, let’s talk about No Man’s Sky today.

The No Man’s Sky NEXT update is a complete overhaul to the original release that coincides with the Xbox ONE release. The update will finally be adding online multiplayer for up to four players, third-person mode, actual story missions, enhanced graphics, and a bunch of other stuff I don’t care to list. From what I have read, and the small amount I’ve played, the update is very impressive. I wholeheartedly commend them for releasing this free to all current owners. Well it’s still fifty USD for Xbox owners, since it was previously PS4 and PC exclusive. Oh, and if you bought via GOG.com you’re probably never getting the update, but other than that, 100% free. Is it possible this update was designed to help sales of the Xbox version? I mean no one in their right mind would buy the original version of the game after seeing the disastrous PS4 release. Hmm…nah, they did this for the fans, they love the fans!

But here’s the real question: Should we really applaud this? An update released two years later that add features originally promised for the core game, free or not, doesn’t really sit right with me. While I am truly glad people seem to be enjoying this update, I can’t say I think these practices should be supported. Is it better than nothing? Sure. But I can’t help but be bothered that Hello Games never properly addressed the misleading information involved with No Man’s Sky. A massive amount of fans were unbelievably let down with the initial release. The lack of communication from the developers was unforgivable. And upon looking back at pre-release interviews, it’s clear we were flat-out lied to about what the game would offer. Thanking game companies and creators for taking us out to dinner after they rob us doesn’t fix the problem, it’s still our stolen money they bought us dinner with.

I only played a few minutes of the updated version myself. I know it’s just my opinion, but it’s still boring, it’s still lifeless, and I still just don’t care to explore anything. Don’t get me wrong, I’m positive it’s an improvement, but that wouldn’t exactly be hard. So here’s what I’m asking: Do you think we should be thankful for this update? If so, in what way? I can’t help but see people who have always defended No Man’s Sky, still defending No Man’s Sky. This game invokes a very vicious response to criticism, and I don’t think that’s healthy to the industry.

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