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Microsoft is going digging for old Atari games

- April 10th, 2014

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Video game legend has it that in 1983, Atari Inc. buried thousands of copies of the huge flop E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, along with unsold computers, consoles and copies of Pac-Man, in a landfill in New Mexico.

There were news stories about it at the time, but details differed. The E.T.-centric aspect is only a theory, and some skeptics have suggested the whole thing is nothing but an urban legend. But now, Microsoft is setting out to discover the truth.

Become a part of gamer history. Unearth the truth behind the ultimate urban legend. We’re excited to announce that the excavation of the long-rumored “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” video game burial site will occur on April 26, 2014 and will be open to the public. Spectators are invited to watch the team uncover the infamous Atari game cartridge grave.

The Atari Corporation – faced with overwhelmingly negative response to the “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” video game – allegedly disposed of millions of unsold game cartridges by burying them in the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico in 1983. Fuel Entertainment took an interest in the legend, and in December 2013, with help from local garbage contractor Joe Lewandowski, acquired the exclusive rights to excavate the Alamogordo landfill. Fuel Entertainment brought the opportunity to Xbox Entertainment Studios, and now, as part of a documentary series (developed by Xbox Entertainment Studios and two-time Academy Award® winning producer Simon Chinn and Emmy winning producer Jonathan Chinn, through their multi-platform media company, Lightbox), the team will excavate the legendary New Mexico landfill to reveal the true story of Atari’s bizarre burial.

If you’re in Alamogordo on April 26 between 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., you can head over and watch live as massive corporations attempt to unearth E.T.

Violent games don’t cause aggression, frustrating controls do

- April 9th, 2014

A new Oxford study has proven what gamers have always known — violent games don’t make people aggressive; hard-to-play ones do.

Published in the  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the study found “games that were too difficult or where players had trouble mastering controls that were too complicated were the most likely to leave players feeling aggressive afterwards.” Whether the games were violent  made no difference.

A.K.A. nobody ever screamed and threw their Xbox controller across the room because they got desensitized to violence and wanted to try some out.

Co-author Richard M. Ryan, from the University of Rochester, explains:

The study is not saying that violent content doesn’t affect gamers, but our research suggests that people are not drawn to playing violent games in order to feel aggressive. Rather, the aggression stems from feeling not in control or incompetent while playing. If the structure of a game or the design of the controls thwarts enjoyment, it is this, not the violent content, that seems to drive feelings of aggression.

‘Super Smash Bros.’: All you need to know

- April 9th, 2014

Nintendo promised they would have some big announcements regarding their fighting game franchise at Tuesday’s Direct Conference, and did they ever deliver.

The newest installments of Super Smash Bros., the company’s longest running and most beloved fighting game, will be released on the 3DS this summer, with the Wii U version being released closer to the holiday shopping period.

Host of the Smash Bros. direct and series creator Masahiro Sakurai also put to bed rumors that the 3DS version would be of lesser quality because of its platform. Instead, he announced, the main fighters would move at 60 frames per second (FPS), while assist characters would move at 30 FPS. The game, he added, would be available in full stereoscopic 3D, fully using the handheld device’s capability.

The only difference, Sakurai confirmed, would be the stages players can fight on. While some stages will be shared, like the average battle arena stage, they will look completely different depending on what Nintendo platform players choose.

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Sakurai put aside fears, however, that certain players, items, and specialty moves would only be available on one platform.

He assured the extremely large roster of first and secondary characters would be available on the 3DS and the Wii U, as well as the items players can grab mid-battle to fight with.

And what a roster it is this time around.

It’s been six years since the last Smash Bros. installment, Brawl, was released to appease “Smashers” requests. In that time, Nintendo has developed a hoard of brand spanking new characters that have all been added to the lineup.

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Shiek, Princess Zelda’s secret identity in the incredibly beloved Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, Yoshi, and Zero Suit Samus from Metroid were the first round of unannounced characters to get their fair share of the spotlight during the conference.

It wasn’t until Sakurai bid his farewells and ended the hour and half long presentation, however, that the two massive character announcements were made.

Charizard, one of the most popular Pokemon from the first generation games, and Greninja, one of the more poplar characters introduced in the last generation of Pokemon, X and Y, have also been confirmed as playable fighters.

To go along with the increase in roster size, Sakurai introduced some of the new items Smashers would be able to use in battle.

Motion censor bombs, fire swords, ore swords, and back shields were just some of the new items on a list of many Sakurai revealed during the presentation.

Although Sakurai didn’t specifically mention the old generation items, Nintendo has never removed them from play before, and it’s a pretty safe bet to assume they’ll be in the upcoming titles.

The last announcement Nintendo had for fans was the inclusion of new gameplay options, branching out from the stagnant fighting arena formula they’ve relied on for so long.

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The two different modes -For Fun and For Glory- are only available to play online, and showcase the first time Nintendo has ever considered the game as a competitive title.

In the “For Fun” mode, players can fight with strangers of varying skill level and not have to worry about their losses directly affecting their online player scorecard.

In the “For Glory” mode, players will be teamed up with others of the same ranking and fight either in groups of four, or in one-on-one battles, that will directly affect their scorecard. The higher a player’s scorecard is, the faster and stronger their character becomes, giving them an overall advantage in the arena.

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Wii U arena example.

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3DS arena example.

To make sure the game stays fun, though, Sakurai confirmed Nintendo would be cracking down on cheating players and in doing so, will be implementing a temporary ban system.

Although there’s no concrete release date for either the 3DS or Wii U versions, my guess is that we can expect to see the 3DS title drop sometime in June, with the Wii U title dropping in late October, just in time for the holiday retail season.

Man proposes with Skyrim’s Amulet of Mara

- April 7th, 2014

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Nerd love is my favourite kind of love.

Redditor Sarah Briody introduced her beau to Skyrim, who then used it to level up their relationship. He recently popped the question by placing the Amulet of Mara — the in-game item required to marry your character — around her neck.

“He gave me the amulet and while I recognized what it was — it didn’t really click as to WHAT it was,” Briody said. “I put it on and he started to smile from ear to ear. Then he said: ‘Is that an Amulet of Mara? I’m surprised someone like you isn’t spoken for.’”

“Then it finally registered that he was proposing! He got down on one knee and slipped the ring on my finger.”

Let their marriage be as engrossing and beautiful as Skyrim itself, and let any glitches along the way be patched up with minimal damage to their journey.

h/t Gamespot

 

 

Rainbow Road inclusion in ‘Mario Kart 8′ sends internet into frenzy

- April 5th, 2014

Something about the new Mario Kart game looks very familiar, and it’s got the internet all riled up.

That’s putting it lightly, too.

When Nintendo dropped the latest trailer for Mario Kart 8, the newest installment in the company’s popular racing game franchise, the nostalgia hunting twenty and thirty somethings couldn’t contain their excitement at the sight of classic Mario Kart N64 tracks.

Everything from Toad’s Turnpike to the infamous Rainbow Road have been completely revamped for the Wii U, and they are without question, stunning.

The added retro levels, just a part of the 32 level package, have been paired with recently introduced items, like the ability to parachute over enemies and barrel through opponents with Piranha Plants attached to the hood of the vehicles, in an attempt to blend the old with the new.

Which, if we’re honest, has always been a bit of an issue for Nintendo. Trying to find the perfect balance of new content while pandering to the traditional fans has been a rather complicated, unforeseen algorithm Nintendo may have just solved.

Gaming aficionados, floored by the design visuals, instantly began tweeting their joy, excited with the new direction Nintendo was headed in after months upon months of dismal announcements and strategies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are your thoughts on the newest Mario racing title? A last hope gimmick to bring back old fans, or a stoke of marketing genius?