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    It continues to be one of 2018's gaming success stories: Fortnite has made $1 billion in revenue just from in-game purchases...

    NewsRyan Lambie
    Jul 25, 2018

    Nothing gets across the vibrancy and dynamism of the games industry better than a graph or slab of data. But one recently-published graph, in particular, helps illustrate the phenomenal success of Epic's battle royale game, Fortnite.

    Put out by Superdata, a company which specializes in compiling market data, new figures reveal that Fortnite has made $1 billion from in-game purchases. That's a pretty startling figure, particularly when you consider that Fortnite is only one year old as of July 25, 2018. Since the game's launch, its popularity has positively exploded thanks to its battle royale mode.

    Indeed, one of Superdata's fancy graphs shows that, between October 2017 and May 2018, Fortnite's monthly revenue shot up with unusual speed, with takings now at a level of about $200 million to $300 million per month across all platforms. It's a testament to just how eagerly players have embraced Epic's multiplayer chaos simulator, and how, despite the criticisms often leveled at free-to-play games, well-balanced ones can win the affection of users as well as make a huge vat of money.

    With Fortnite celebrating its first birthday right now, and a mini in-game party adding some festivities to the mix, it sounds as though Epic has a good reason to celebrate.

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    We have seen the pop culture glory that is Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One. Repeatedly. So we're ready to dissect every geeky gem in it!

    News David CrowMike Cecchini
    Jul 26, 2018

    This article contains more Ready Player One spoilers than a Nintendo Player’s Guide walkthrough.

    Ready Player One is now out on Blu-ray, and fans are basking in all of its easter egg glory. While Steven Spielberg was able to infuse a creative spark into the film that allowed it to stand on more than only pure nostalgia, there is no denying that the immediate hook of Ernest Cline’s novel and the subsequent Spielberg blockbuster is its cornucopia of movie references, video game easter eggs, and pop culture homages to all things ‘80s (and in the film’s case, ‘90s too). The film might be set in 2045, but it’s good to know that the future is just as obsessed with Gen-X and Millennial culture as we are today!

    In that vein, we here at Den of Geek will attempt the fool’s errand of compiling every single nod, shoutout, and joyful wink to nerd culture that has been stuffed into the very seams of this unapologetically geeky movie (*NOTE: Movie and not the book). Granted it will be almost impossible to get them all in the first pass, so if you notice that we missed anything, let us know in the comments section below, or yell at me on Twitter, and we’ll course correct.

    Read the Den of Geek SDCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine Here!

     Without further ado, onto the reference guide! Also, just a head’s up, given the sprawling nature of the film, we are compiling the easter eggs by mediums, characters, and other arbitrary separations that will lead to some overlap, but will hopefully make this easier for you to digest (especially if you’re looking for something in particular). Now get out your chocolate bunnies, because we’re about to have an easter egg hunt!

    Ready Player One Movie References

    - In the opening montage of what you can do in the OASIS, the first actual homage appears to be Batman climbing Mount Everest. But not just any Batman… it’s Michael Keaton’s Batman from the Tim Burton classic of 1989! (For more superhero movie references after this point, please scroll down to the superhero movie reference's subsection. Your eyes will thank us later.)

    - During the opening montage, among the avatars filling up the OASIS portal terminals Z traverses is the original RoboCop from 1987.

    - Also during this sequence, commenter David Thiel spotted the Cyclops from Ray Harryhausen's The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958).

    - When we meet Aech on Planet Doom, he* is seen blasting Freedy Krueger into space buck coins. To be specific the Freddy Krueger first played by Robert Englund in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).

    *(We shall henceforth refer to Aech in the OASIS as “he,” and in the real world as “she,” as the character seems to want to be approached in both realities.)

    - Also seen getting gutted on Planet Doom is a cameoing avatar as Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th movies.

    - When James Halliday and Ogden Morrow are introduced via flashback in a press conference, the film’s soundtrack plays Tears for Fear’s “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” which was memorably used in the TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999), which for Apple cultists and computer lore junkies is the preferred biopic on Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Bill Gates. This is unlikely to be a coincidence as a newspaper clipping in Wade’s van asks if Halliday is “Bigger Than Jobs?”

    - More appropriately for the era this movie evokes, it was used prominently in 1985's Real Genius starring Val Kilmer.

    - Not only is Halliday’s virtual vision of his funeral in a Star Trek themed church, but his coffin is actually the exact same one (complete with torpedo markings) that Spock is jettisoned into oblivion in from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Although personally, we were sad the film did not recreate the novel’s version of this scene, in which Halliday presides over his own funeral (both as corpse and parishioner) from a digital recreation of the set of Heathers (1988). A young Winona Ryder and Christian Slater were also in attendance.

    - Halliday’s OASIS alter-ego Anorak looks vaguely wizard-y, like Merlin or Gandalf. However, the way the film animates his flowing black robes in the film seems intentionally evocative of how Don Bluth drew such robes on Nicodemus in The Secret of NIMH (1982). It should be noted Bluth and Spielberg later partnered for An American Tail (1986) and The Land Before Time (1988).

    - Parzival’s vehicle of choice is obviously Marty McFly’s DeLorean from Back to the Future, albeit it has been retrofitted to include the red-light grill scanner from Knight Rider (1982). In the book, it also has the Ghostbusters (1984) symbol spray-painted on the door, but alas Sony must not have wanted to contribute. This is also the sole BTTF reference in this section (just so you know we aren't crazy!). For the rest, please scroll down to the Back to the Future subsection.

    - Also spotted during this section is a jack-knifing truck, which eagle eyed Twitter user @Azrael2073 recognized as the one Kurt Russell drove in Big Trouble in Little China (1986). 

    - As if you needed to be told, that is the queen Tyrannosaurus Rex from Spielberg’s very own Jurassic Park tearing up the track.

    - King Kong is also doing massive damage to the track, but while we appreciate this Spielbergian addition to one of his heroes, Merian C. Cooper (the half-crazed adventurer who produced the 1933 masterpiece), the Kong design walks on his knuckles and most resembles Peter Jackson’s Kong from the 2005 remake. Spielberg teamed with Jackson for 2011’s The Adventures of Tintin.

    - Also on the race track is a neon, digitized silver cup, which is a replica of the silvercup used at the end of the original Highlander film from 1986. This was brought to our attention by commenter Chris Procter. Also fun fact, in the book, Art3mis' favorite film is Highlander.

    - Also during the race, we glean that the OASIS’ New York movie theater is screening Jack Slater III, which is the action movie franchise-within-an-action-movie found inside Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Action Hero (1993). Think of it like a misunderstood The Purple Rose of Cairo for teen boys and meatheads alike.

    - When we are introduced to Aech’s workshop, we are given a geeky overload of references. And the movie stuff, alone, includes the Iron Giant (obviously); the U.S.S. Sulaco drop ship from James Cameron's Aliens; the Eagle 5 space RV from Spaceballs (1987); an ED-209 from RoboCop; the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986); the Extravehicular Activity Pod from 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); and the Valley Forge from Silent Running (1972).*

    - Thanks to @Ritaseer for spotting this one.

    - The XI suit commercials haunting Wade Watts in the Stacks feels like a subtler echo of the oppressive commercialization of Coke and Eastern marketing in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982).

    - Not really a reference, but Ralph Ineson is his very own easter egg for anyone who saw 2016’s masterful The Witch. Seriously, Hollywood hire this man more, and if you’ve seen The Witch, see it again!

    - In Halliday’s digital recreation of a memory about himself and Og, he leaves a massive hint about going “backward as fast as you can, really put the pedal to the medal like Bill and Ted.” This is obviously a most gnarly reference to the timey-wimey Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989).

    - Upon discovering the Copper Key, Anorak/Halliday refers to Z as “padawan.” This is a nod to how Jedi refer to apprentices in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. See George, at least Steven isn’t ignoring them!

    - Shoto's car, which he totals on his way to getting the Copper Key, is Burt Reynolds' sweet ride from Smokey and the Bandit (1977). Thanks again to @Number_6 for spotting this one for us!

    - The Holy Hand Grenade is first seeded for its amazing third act return when Z and Aech go shopping. This is obviously the weapon of choice for the most pious (and rabbit-infested) of knights from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975).

    - The first avatar to fawn over “rock star” Parzival is someone dressed as Michael Keaton’s Beetlejuice circa 1988. Check out the video game section to discover some of the others.

    - Art3mis* became the geek crush of everyone (of every gender) when she terrifies Z by having a chestburster from Alien (1979) destroy her Goro suit. She also must be a fan of that franchise, given her weapon of choice that is revealed later…

    *(From this point on we’ll mostly refer to “Art3mis” as “Artemis,” because that number is ridiculous. And to be fair, Arty agrees in the Ready Player One novel.)

    - The love of Halliday and Og’s lives, Karen Underwood, goes by Kira when she meets Halliday. This is her homage to a character in The Dark Crystal (1982).

    - Z refers to Kira as Halliday’s “rosebud.” This is a reference a little outside the wheelhouse of Ernest Cline’s bowling alley arcade novel, but right in keeping with Spielberg who is calling back to Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane (1941).

    - When Nolan Sorrento first approaches I-R0k, he steps out of a crashed martian ship from the classic War of the Worlds circa 1953. Thanks be to commenter Jon Sleeper for being eagle-eyed, there.

    - I-R0k's box in which he keeps the orb is the same box that Mogwai came to suburbia in during Gremlins (1984).

    - Aech also has a poster from the original Mel Gibson-starring Mad Max (1979) in his garage as Z gets ready for his big date.

    - Aech also has a sign that says “Cocktail & Dreams” in neon, just like the one in the horrible Tom Cruise movie, Cocktail (1988).

    - Parzival's outfit of choice is that of Peter Weller's title character from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension, a totally bonkers 1984 film that also starred Jeff Goldblum, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow, and Christopher Lloyd. If you haven't seen it, do so. Depending on who you ask, it's part of a shared universe with John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China.

    *Also a fun fact our contributor Delia Harrington pointed out is that Ernest Cline's first spec script (before he went on to write Fanboys) was an intended sequel to Buckaroo Banzai. It was read by Harry Knowles who helped champion Cline as a writer. (Knowles also is credited as someone who helped read early drafts of teh novel Ready Player One in the book.)

    - During Z and Arty’s sweet (and visually stunning) dance, Wade goes the full movie geek and selects the song “Stayin’ Alive” from Saturday Night Fever (1977). And he completes the beautiful lameness of it with the rainbow disco dance floor that John Travolta once huffed across.

    - Once IOI crashes the party, Arty reveals her weapon of choice that she uses throughout the film, an M41A Pulse Rifle that Sigourney Weaver made so badass in James Cameron’s Aliens (1986).

    - Nolan Sorrento’s first pot-sweetener to bring Wade Watts to IOI is the promise he’d get to fly Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon.

    - Nolan next pledges to turn all the schools on Ludus (the OASIS’ educational planet that plays a major role in the book) into replicas of the high schools from John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club (1985) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. However, Z tries to slip Nolan up by naming the high school from Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) and the college in Animal House (1978).

    - When looking at the films James Halliday might’ve put on to “seduce” Kira, wrong choices include The Fly (1986) and Say Anything (1989). So presumably these were VHS tapes in the ‘90s given the differing years?

    - The right choice is of course, amazingly, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980). See Ready Player One and The Shining subsection below for a complete deconstruction of this sequence in the film.

    - Also among the movie posters of other films Halliday watched that week is Firestarter (1984), which starred Spielberg darling Drew Barrymore. It also must've meant Halliday was on a Stephen King kick that week. Thanks to @thegeekflux for spotting this one!

    - The Overlook Theater inside the OASIS also has a Return of the Jedi (1983) poster, so it’s not all Kubrickian down there…

    - The magic spell cast on the orb controlled by Sorrento and I-R0k is actually the exact same spell Merlin used to transform Uther into the visage of his enemy in John Boorman's Excalibur (1981). It was called "Charm of Making" in that movie, and it allowed Uther to take his foe's wife and in the process father the child who would become King Arthur. Given that Z's name is a giant love letter to that film (chech out the Parzival section for more), that makes this extra cool. Also, thanks to commenters Wil Dalphin and Tom Stephens for bringing this to our attention.

    - During the final third of the film, we discover the fate of the OASIS depends on your dexterity with an Atari 2600. If you pick the wrong game, into the ice you go, which feels like it could be a nod to the “banishment” seen in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), as Spielberg is a vocal admirer of Christopher Nolan and those Batman movies. In that vein…

    - While IOI fools are taking repeated chilly splashes, Parzival and Daito hold Nolan hostage in a simulation-within-a-simulation. And Daito’s all-black suit and silencer-adorned gun seems intentionally reminiscent of the dream-within-a-dream iconography of Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010).

    - Similarly, when Wade leaves Sorrento’s faux-office, he rips off his face to reveal he’s really Parzival in a visual intentionally evocative of Mission: Impossible (1996) and its many sequels.

    - Faux-Daito also seems to give a clue he is not really, well real, given a glowing amber sheen in his eyes, which seems like a sly nod to the telltale sign of replicants in the original Blade Runner.

    - Upon the entire OASIS turning on Sorrento, the scene-stealing I-R0k quotes It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) at the exact wrong time to someone who is clearly a Mr. Potter type: “No man is a failure who has friends.”

    - When Z leads his avatars into actual battle, he goes the full John Cusack and holds a boombox above his head, although with a much more metal song than the sweetly annoying "In Your Eyes" that Cusack plays to win his ex back at the end of Say Anything. (The movie that Halliday maybe also should have put on for Kira, instead of The Shining.)

    - During the third act uber-video game battle the entire movie is stolen by “IT’S FUCKING CHUCKY!” And if you need me to explain that evil, ginger-haired bastard doll is from Child’s Play (1988), like what are you even doing here?

    - Movie shoutouts during that battle include the return of Arty’s pulse rifle; Aech going the full Iron Giant (who has a much bigger role in the movie than the book); the Caterpillar P-5000 Work Loader from Aliens; some ED-209s; and the movie designs from the recent Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (Alas 1990’s TMNT live-action designs would have been way cooler and more fitting). We’ve also heard Spielberg lament a Gremlin got into a frame courtesy of ILM, so we imagine they’re in here somewhere. Check out the Games and Misc. section for more cameos.

    - Someone also at the end here is rocking a Glaive from Krull (1983), a five-sided star that also acts like a boomarang upon occasion.

    - Nolan Sorrento pulls the ultimate dick move and turns into Mechagodzilla from Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974). Even cooler, it features Akira Ifukube’s “Godzilla March” theme from Godzilla (1954).

    - Daito answers by going Gundam in return (see Misc. for more), but his arrival is heralded by the amazing cameo of Mal Reynolds’ Serenity, a Firefly-class vessel from Joss Whedon’s all-too brief Firefly (2002) TV series and later 2005 film, Serenity.

    - When Iron Giant goes down, he dies like a champ, a la Arnie’s T-800 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991).

    - Monty Python’s Holy Hand Grenade does its God-given duty!

    - Halliday’s contractual fake-out with Parzival feels, unintentionally or not, like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Spielberg’s third Indy adventure where you had to choose wisely between real grails and fake ones.

    - The treasure and faux-egg atop its pedestal in this fakeout room is also reminiscent of the treasure trove in the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin (1992), complete with a ruby-shaped egg that beckons the monkey Abu to his almost-doom. But as Disney didn’t seem to play ball with WB on this, it is vague.

    - Among baby Halliday’s decorations are statues of Godzilla and Robby the Robot, the latter being from the influential Forbidden Planet (1956), which is a film that had a profound effect on Spielberg.

    - Speaking of Spielberg, he slyly allowed his production team to put a Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) poster on young Halliday's wall.

    - Robby the Robot shows up again as a life-sized statue in Wade and Samantha's flat at the end of the movie.

    - I believe young Halliday’s computer is an IMSAI 8080, which is the computer Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy use to almost start a thermonuclear war in the underrated WarGames (1983), a movie which played a much larger role in the book.

    Ready Player One and The Shining References

    Yes, this gets its own subsection. And if you want more detail about the importance of The Shining and Kubrick to Spielberg (as well as why King hates the movie), you can click over here to read it for yourself.

    -Before they even enter the Overlook Hotel, our dear High Five is made to dread the horrors to come thanks to Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind’s unforgettably eerie score.

    - Spielberg meticulously recreates the set of the Overlook Hotel’s grand lobby, complete with a typewriter that repeats verbatim, “All Work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” However, it takes on the shape of a key, a Jade Key to be specific, as opposed to the odd shapes in the film.

    - Aech is lured to his seeming doom by a bouncing ball, which belongs to the Grady twins, ghostly girls that beckon foolish children to come play with them.

    - This also leads Aech to almost be enveloped in the river of blood that pours from the elevator, as Shelly Duvall also discovered the hard way in The Shining’s climax.

    - The portrait that Aech tears of the Overlook Hotel with Halliday and Kira at the center is the ghostly photo that is the final shot of The Shining, which despite its inexplicable then-modern setting of 1980, it still features Jack Nicholson’s protagonist partying with the dead in 1921 (where Halliday and Kira are standing).

    - Room 237 features a ghost that attacked young Danny Torrance, and like with Aech, it also seduces his father as a comely young woman before turning into a haggard old woman (although she does not try to kill him with an axe). Also credit for the film noting that Aech likes women, as most mass-marketed blockbusters shy away from LGBTQ characters.

    - Aech is attacked by an axe to the door, but before he gets a “Here’s Johnny” (or Jack Nicholson), he is then dropped inside the snowy maze that Jack Torrance dies chasing Danny in. He escapes through the freezer that is also where Danny and Wendy tie up a deranged Jack earlier in the film.

    - When Aech comes out of the freezer, you can also see Danny’s iconic tricycle in the background.

    Ready Player One and Back to the Future References

    As previously mentioned, there is so much love for this Robert Zemeckis film, which was executive produced by Steven Spielberg, that we felt it worthy of its own subsection.

    - Again Parzival's vehicle of choice is the DeLorean from Back to the Future with a KITT upgrade. It also comes complete with a non-functioning flux capacitor.

    - As Parzival and Aech are discussing Halliday, I believe I spotted an avatar dressed as futuristic Doc Brown from the final scene of Back to the Future (1985).

    - Before Wade Watts first enters the OASIS onscreen, we witness some questionable product placement of a drone delivering Pizza Hut to a Stacks neighbor. As shameless as this is, we also suspect it could be a sly nod to similar sci-fi commercialism in Back to the Future Part II (1989), in which Marty McFly’s family in the far-flung future of 2015 dines on small packets of grow-able Pizza Hut pies.

    - Before Artemis signs out of Aech's garage during her first meeting with Z, she calls our hero “McFly” in reference to his sweet, timey-wimey ride. It's an adorable sign of affection and deserved condescension all at once.

    - In the same shopping scene, the “Zemeckis Cube” captures Parzival’s eye, which is a nod to Spielberg’s buddy, Robert Zemeckis, the director of Back to the Future (Spielberg produced it). Combined with the Rubik’s Cube this artifact has an awesome feature Doc Brown would approve of.

    - When Parzival uses the Zemeckis Cube to reverse OASIS time by 60 seconds, composer Alan Silvestri is able to break out some of his timeless Back to the Future theme.

    - When Z puts down the pen, Halliday takes him to his past in a recreation of his childhood bedroom, which is given a musical stinger by Silvestri, who uses his synthesizer echo from Back to the Future.

    - When Samantha interupts her near-kiss with Wade to shout, "Oh shit!," as well as when F-Nara punches Nolan in the face, Silvesteri uses the same musical stinger to denote a moment of shock or bewilderment that he uses in all the Back to the Future films.

    - As Parzival is getting ready for his date with Artemis, he’s chilling in Aech’s digital den, which comes with an awesome poster of “Re-elect Mayor ‘Goldie’ Wilson” from Back to the Future. Hell yeah, we smiled at this one!

    Ready Player One Video Game References

    Still with us? Good. Because we’re just getting to the meat and potatoes of a movie about a giant interactive video game world…

    - The first branded IP we see in the film, beyond Pizza Hut, we believe is an entire OASIS world dedicated to recreating Minecraft the game that has taken Generation Z by storm.

    - On the racetrack for the first key, the Street Fighter character Ryu makes the first of several cameos.

    - When Artemis quizzes Z about what Halliday’s favorite shooter was, he is quick to name-check GoldenEye, the 1997 Nintendo 64 video game that is the staple of many a Millennial’s childhood. Also special points to both avatars for knowing his favorite multiplayer character was Oddjob while playing in “Slaps Only” mode (no weapons).

    - Parzival also reveals that Halliday’s favorite racing game was Turbo, a 1981 arcade entry by Sega.

    - Also in Aech's garage, via @thegeekflux, is the cocktail cabinet version of Pac-Man.

    - Rick (douchey boyfriend of the aunt played by Ralph Ineson) has modeled his avatar after Jim Raynor from StarCraft (1998), as per Twitter user @FeanorToro.

    - In the first digital flashback to Halliday and Og, Halliday is wearing his patented Space Invaders t-shirt, a nod to the legendary 1978 arcade game.

    - Halliday also tells Og in this scene that one thing that is perfect is Asteroids, a 1981 arcade game.

    - There is a poster of arcade game Galaga (1979) in Halliday and Og’s breakroom.

    - Among the “accessories” at the OASIS shop that Z and Aech peruse is a Street Fighter store where Ryu turns up again.

    - There is also a Halo add-on that lets you become Master Chief from the classic 2001 video game.

    - After the “Beetlejuice” avatar spots Parzival in his rock star moment, Jill Valentine in her ridiculous tube top outfit from 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (perfect for fighting virus-carrying zombies) shows up to also gawk.

    - As Arty and Z are meeting at the archives, the original video game Lara Croft of Tomb Raider glory walks by, as per Paulo Bastos.

    - Luckily, Z is saved by Arty, albeit in that exact moment she appears to be Goro, the four-armed warrior from Mortal Kombat (1992). And Goro seems to be having a case of indigestion.

    - Among Z's costume changes before his big date with Artemis, there is a sbutle nod to Donkey Kong as the punk outfit he tries on has a "DK" logo on the back.

    - When Nolan is trying to seduce Wade, among other things he claims he likes to play Robotron, a multidirectional-shooter for Atari 2600 from 1982.

    - Among the Atari 2600 games name-dropped by IOI as incompatible with Halliday’s final challenge are Centipede, Pitfall, and “all three” Swordquests. Other key ones include Berzerk, notable for its innovative maze design and the home of gaming's most notorious sentient smiley face, Evil Otto, and Defender, which had one of the coolest spaceship designs in early gaming.

    - In real-life, Daito’s OASIS rig comes with a Mortal Kombat pin.

    - Among the cameoing avatars in the final battle, we also spotted iconic game characters like Big Daddy from BioShock (2007), Chun-Li from Street Fighter II (1991), characters from the new popular next-gen first-person shooter, Overwatch (2016), and a squadron of Halo ass-kickers.

    - Also commenter Niko Sama picked up Chocobo from Final Fantasy II (1991) and StarCraft marines from StarCraft (1998).

    - At one point it looks like not the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but the Battletoads are leading a charge. Battletoads sure may seem like a TMNT ripoff, but they were mainly known as the protagonists of an extraordinarily difficult 1991 NES game. We wrote more about them here.

    - Also among all this craziness, Twitter user @therealmcKay22 noticed that Artemis uses a lancer from Gears of War (2006).

    - Similarly, @HikariDesTIny spotted Battleborn from 2K games in this battle royale.

    - Similarly, @misterredpants spotted that Parzival used the rail gun from Quake (1996) in this scene. 

    - During Parzival and Nolan Sorrento’s epic throwdown, Z totally drops a “hadouken” on him. Ryu would be proud.

    - Before Sorrento blasts I-R0k’s ten years of upgrades to hell, he calls using the cataclyst “a camper move.” Which in gamer terminology is akin to saying, “bad sport,” since it refers to newbies who play online shooters and just camp out in a hard-to-reach spot near respawning ammo or weapons.

    - During the final chase, Aech jokes she is “practicing my Mario Kart” when IOI scum begin trying to run her van off the road. This is a reference, to well, the true greatest racer franchise of all-time, no?

    - As the movie highlights to a sentimental degree, the first video game easter egg was in Adventure (1979), an Atari 2600 entry designed by Warren Robinett, who included a literal egg far away from the game’s central quest. If you discovered it though, you’d be greeted by Warren Robinett’s actual name, (which the Atari publisher refused to credit in the game at the time).

    - Young James Halliday appears to be playing a Colecovision system in his room. Anyone know what game he's playing, though? Well according to commenter Paul Imboden, we now know it is a game called Gorf (1981).

    - Inside Halliday's bedroom is also an old school poster for the original Pac-Man game.

    - Halliday’s final words to Wade of “thank you for playing my game” are a valued tradition among game-makers. It was most popularized by Super Mario 64 (1996) when Mario himself says, “Thank you a-so much for playing my game” at the end of the closing credits. Too bad Halliday didn’t offer Z some cake!

    - In the final scene with a rich and happy Wade and Samantha, you can see a Revenge from Mars (1999) pinball game behind them. Why they would include Revenge from Mars and not its infinitely superior 1995 predecessor, Attack From Mars, will have to remain a mystery.

    Ready Player One Superhero and Comic Book References

    - As aforementioned the first avatar we see as a pre-existing IP is Batman… Michael Keaton’s Batman from 1989 to be specific.

    - That is also Adam West’s classic Lincoln Futura (1955) as the Batmobile convertible during the film’s opening race. He drove it in the late 1960s camp classic TV series and 1966's Batman: The Movie.

    - Twitter user @Number_6 has pointed out that Artemis' bike has the logo for The Greatest American Hero, a short-lived superhero television series, which ran on ABC from 1981 to 1983.

    - When Artemis and Parzival are testing each other on geeky Halliday trivia knowledge, Z drops that the late Halliday’s favorite quote was from Superman: The Movie (1978). And to be fair, it is an amazing nugget of comic wisdom, compliments of Gene Hackman’s Lex Luthor: “Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story; others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.”

    - Wade Watts reveals his father gave him an alliterative name to mimic superheroes like Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and Bruce Banner (the Hulk). Fun fact: actor Tye Sheridan also plays Scott Summers, aka the mutant superhero Cyclops, in the current X-Men movies.

    - When Arty gives Z Clark Kent glasses, they’re not just any generic Superman reference, but one specifically taken from Christopher Reeve’s frames in Superman: The Movie. As are the questionable plaid, ‘70s suit clothes options she offers for him to peruse, and that particular slicked down hairstyle.

    - At the Distracted Globe dance party, a couple’s avatars are cloyingly modeled after the Joker and Harley Quinn.

    - In the real world, 11-year-old Shoto is sporting a varsity jacket that looks a lot like the ones found in Smallville in Superman III (1983).

    - Somewhere in the Stacks, there is a tagger who is a big fan of Teen Titans since one of the urban artworks is of the DC character Raven.

    - During Parzial's call to action, we totally see the back profiles of avatars dressed as Catwoman and a capeless Batman. However, @dickson_edwards suggests the capeless Batman is in fact the Arkham Knight from the PS4/Xbox One video game, Batman: Arkham Knight. We aren't sure, but it seems very plausible.

    - During the epic final act throwdown, Spawn is definitely present for the fireworks.

    - Someone came ready for the war by dressing as Batgirl too, albeit we only see her briefly before the flash of the cataclyst incinerates everyone in sight.

    -The IOI researcher offices include back issues of DC Comics Presents.

    Ready Player One Misc. References

    - The film defiantly begins to the sounds of Van Halen's “Jump” before the cold open even fades onto an image.

    - At the beginning of the film, near the time we see RoboCop, another avatar runs by dressed as Marvin the Martian from Looney Tunes.

    - Also in this sequence is an avatar dressed as Hello Kitty! (Thanks to commenter Erin Grady Brown for pointing this one out!)

    - Aech is introduced getting points by being a badass on Planet Doom, which is a reference to a dead rock in the Drule Empire on the Voltron cartoon series (1984-1985).

    - It feels like much of James Halliday is also somewhat based on Dana Carvey's Garth from iconic early '90s SNL sketch and unlikely blockbuster, Wayne's World. You know, by way of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (with a sprinkling of Willy Wonka).

    - Halliday is often seen wearing a Simon pin. Simon was a Milton Bradley electronic memory game, a multi-colored, lights-and-sounds "Simon says" that was a surprising amount of fun, and as much an icon of the 1980s as the Rubik's Cube.

    - The blue Bigfoot truck that Aech drives is the original monster truck, and one that was replicated on countless pieces of 1980s merchandise at the height of that bizarre craze.

    - Among the race cars is again the Mach Five from the Japanese anime Speed Racer (1966-1968).

    - Parzival’s DeLorean has KITT’s red-eyed grill scanner from the David Hasselhoff cheese-classic, Knight Rider(1982-1986).

    - Commenters Erin Grady Brown also caught Stephen King's Christine in this scene. Also Erin and Twitter user @Number_6 caught the van from The A-Team is also in this scene. 

    - And of course Artemis' bike is the one from Akira (1988), a reference we should have remembered but forgot about until commenter Liam Crewe helpfully reminded us.

    - In the lead-up to the race Joan Jett's “I Hate Myself for Loving You” rocks on.

    - While listing a few of James Halliday's favorite things, Z reveals his favorite snack food is Hot Pockets, and his favorite restaurant is Chuck E. Cheese. Which considering he was a grown man is... interesting.

    - Also here is a bonus about Chuck E. Cheese, compliments of @HBEaker. The restaurant franchise was founded by Nolan Bushnell in 1977 after he co-founded Atari in 1972.

    - When Z and Arty are testing each other on geeky Halliday knowledge, Parzival says Halliday's favorite song was the Buggles' “Video Killed the Radio Star” (there's no accounting for taste, eh?) and his favorite music video was aha's “Take On Me.” And in the latter's case, he has a point...

    - Aech’s garage includes laser guns and spaceships from Battlestar: Galactica (1978-1979). There is more of that in Aech’s own subsection.

    - It appears that all of the Doritos bags in the movie use the vintage 1980s logo and bag design.

    - Also a really nice touch is the casting of Hannah John-Kamen as F'Nale in the film. Introduced early as the IOI executive in charge of the "loyalty centers," F'Nale's job is to round up poor souls and welcome them into glorified slavery as corporations' new take on indentured servitude, which honestly doesn't feel that far off from our world. While that is grim, John-Kamen's casting feels like a subtle nod to Black Mirror, in which she appeared in the second episode ever in "Fifteen Million Merits." That is the episode where a future dystopia keeps people trapped as glorified slaves in little glass and plastic cubes while they watch reality television. Sound familiar?

    - I-R0k attempts to “compliment” Nolan Sorrento by saying “you never lick;” he just bites down to the center of a Tootsie Pop. Like that commercial. You know THAT commercial…

    - As Aech taunts Z for daydreaming about Arty, the Temptation's “Just My Imagination” softly plays in the background. 

    - I-R0k is introduced doing a “Poor Yorick” routine with a Steam Punk Pirate’s skull, which is a slightly more high-brow reference to Act V of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

    - Speaking of Hamlet, the nightclub that Arty invites Z to is called “the Distracted Globe,” a subtler nod to the first act of the Bard’s masterwork. This is the term the eponymous Danish prince uses to sneer at his court and surroundings, implying they are distracted with crass entertainment while matters of importance, like justice for his father’s murdered ghost, go ignored.

    - While getting ready to party at the Distracted Globe, Parzival tries on a series of costumes that he and Aech rightly reject, like Michael Jackson’s red “Thriller” outfit, Prince's "Purple Rain" get-up*, a generic-looking punk Mohawk, and a white Duran Duran get-up that someone else will have to precisely identify.

    * Thanks to commenter Janne Nyyssonen for pointing out this one!

    - As Z enters the Distracted Globe New Order's “Blue Monday” adds some disaffected style. Later, when we meet Arty in the real world, she's wearing a Joy Division shirt. Joy Division is the band that eventually morphed into New Order.

    - At the Distracted Globe, all the robotic bartenders are wearing the ridiculous hats from Devo's awful "Whip It" music video.

    - Nolan’s deal with the Devil offer includes the claim he enjoys drinking Tab. Just right there, Z should’ve known Nolan wasn’t on the level, because Tab is disgusting.

    - When Aech has his/her fancy tickled by a ghostly girl, she asks “am I being punked?” This reference the awful Ashton Kutcher/MTV series, Punk’d (2003-2007).

    - Among IOI’s research materials is a copy of the book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1978).

    - Nolan Sorrento’s private rig includes the complete Nancy Drew mystery book series. Don’t judge.

    - Inside Sorrento and I-R0k's orb of power is a D-20 dice. Dungeons & Dragons fans know what's up with that, including our dear commenter Tom Stephens who brought it to our attention.

    - During Parzival's big speech across the OASIS, his drone-camera is what appears to be a literally magical Magic 8-Ball. You know those silly toys that "could tell the future" and kids used to love before smartphones?

    - Z's final call to arms is Twisted Sister's “We're Not Gonna Take It.” Hell yeah!

    - During the final battle, commenter Erin Grady Brown helpfully spotted He-Man! Now the struggle on Planet Doom can truly be legendary!

    - To battle Mechagodzilla, Daito assumes the mobile suited body of an RX-78-2 Gundam from the iconic Japanese anime Mobile Suit Gundam (1979). However, I personally would have recommended he’d selected Heero Yuy’s Wing Zero from Gundam Wing (1996) if he wanted to truly wreck Mechagodzilla.

    - When Artemis puts down Nolan Sorrento (for a minute) and Mechagodzilla (for the count), she does so with a Madball. These were briefly popular grossout toys for young boys in the mid-'80s, which like all fads of that decade spawned a video game and shortly lived Saturday morning cartoon series. I believe the Madball used was "Dust Brain," but please correct me if I'm wrong.

    - Both Aech in real-life and a poster in Halliday’s digital childhood bedroom includes Rush’s 2112 album cover. 2112 side one is a bizarre, futuristic/dystopian sci-fi rock epic. You can see why these characters are fans.

    - Clearly visible in young James' room is a vintage Dungeons & Dragons poster. That, along with the Rush 2112 poster, were standard issue for edgy '80s nerds.

    - Also visible on the back wall of Halliday's bedroom is the album cover of Devo's Freedom of Choice. Thanks be to Peter J. Daley Jr. for bringing that to our attention!

    - We hear of "the gold mines of Gygax." Gary Gygax was the inventor of Dungeons & Dragons.

    - At one point, Ghost Halliday also briefly holds a toy (don't ask us the year or model) of the Robot from Lost in Space (1965-1968). He was kind of like Robby's knockoff, but much more cuddily, cousin. (Thanks to commenter Eric Sharpe for reminding us of this!)

    - There's a killer Masters of the Universe tin lunchbox in Wade's hideout, too.

    - Also Twitter user @Yeedi_Dinsuar makes an interesting point that Halliday's egg is a nod to the golden seed (or egg) in the anime Sword Art Online. While I'm not sure myself, judge for yourself by looking at the egg here.

    - Also during the very end, commenter Erin Grady Brown spotted the Star Trek weapon Bat'leth near the aforementioned Robby the Robot in Wade and Samantha's nerd nirvana home.

    - While we're on the subject of toys, Aech keeps lots of them in his lair. There are models of the original Battlestar Galactica, the Nostromo from Alien, Cygnus (from Disney’s The Black Hole) and they mention (but we do not see) the Harkonnen Drop Ship a toy that was advertised by LJN as part of their bizarre Dune line, but which never actually came out.

    Art3mis References

    We also thought it might be worthy deconstructing each character and what they bring to the table, in case the above references can seem dizzying or daunting.

    - Again, “Art3mis” should be called “Artemis” because, at least per the book where Samantha only conceded putting the numeral “3” in her avatar's name, because “Artemis” was already taken when she created her avatar.

    - Artemis as a name is in reference to Greek mythology where Artemis is Goddess of the Hunt. Further, fans of Wonder Woman might like to know that Artemis was conflated with “Diana” as one goddess in Roman mythology.

    - Arty’s weapon of choice throughout the film is an M41A Pulse Rifle from James Cameron’s Aliens (1986).

    - In the real world, Samantha’s visor has a Batman sticker on it.

    - There's some graffiti in Samantha's HQ that looks like a nod to seminal 1980s graffiti artist, Keith Haring.

    Parzival References

    - A perfectly good place is to start with Parzival himself. As we’ll detail more later, his name is obviously a play on Percival, the member of King Arthur’s round tabled knights who, according to some versions of the myth, is the one who found the Holy Grail. However, this version is most popularized in nerd culture by John Boorman’s 1981, heavy metal cult classic, Excalibur. Which for the record has a design for its titular sword that looks identical to the blade embroidered into the back of Z’s clothes in the OASIS.

    -His empty gun holster also looks suspiciously like what Han Solo wore in the original Star Wars trilogy.

    - Z’s entire aesthetic is typical mid-‘80s, heavy metal fan.

    - There is a Thundercats symbol on Z’s belt buckle, while his gun holster/belt combo are reminiscent of Han Solo.

    - Parzival's final visor at the end has a sticker for The Greatest American Hero TV show. But we're not sure if this is really Z's style or Aech, since it is her van... (Thanks to Twitter user @Number_6 for finding this!)

    Aech References

    - In the real world, she’s Helen, but she prefers to be just a “he” and Aech while logged into the OASIS.

    - In the real-world, Aech has a lot of different vintage pins on her jacket. We could not catch them all, but among the ones we spotted were a classic Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) pin and a vintage '70s Wonder Woman badge of honor. Also thanks to commenter Peter J. Daley Jr., we also now know that one more of the pins for the band Dead Kennedys.

    - Aech totally also has a Batman poster in the back of her truck.

    - Also thanks to commenter Erin Grady Brown, we also know the graffiti on the back of Aech's truck is actually from the Dungeons & Dragons module, "Tomb of Horrors," which was a pivotal plot point in the book.

    - And now, all in one place, everything we spotted in Aech’s garage and den:

    The Iron Giant; laser blaster from the original Battlestar: Galactica; the U.S.S. Sulaco drop ship from Aliens*; the Eagle 5 space RV from Spaceballs; the Colonial Viper spaceship from Battlestar: Galactica; an ED-209 from RoboCop; the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; the Extravehicular Activity Pod from 2001: A Space Odyssey; the Valley Forge from Silent Running; an exo-skeleton robot from the animated series Exosquad; a Thunderfighter from the TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century; and a Swordfish II spaceship from the anime Cowboy Beebop (1998-1999); the Cocktails & Dreams sign from Cocktail; a Mad Max poster; and an awesome “Re-Elect Mayor ‘Goldie’ Wilson” poster from Back to the Future.

    - Also some more we missed, but commenter Erin Grady Brown picked up: Pee-wee Herman's bike from Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985); the TARDIS from Doctor Who; a stuffed Kermit the Frog; and a political poster for Wil Wheaton.

    *Thank you to commenter Raul Martinez-Orozco for pointing this out.

    Numb from your sugar overload yet? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Let us know what we missed or chew me out on Twitter here.

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    What we know about Strange Brigade, including latest news, release date, trailers, and much more!

    News Den of Geek Staff
    Jul 26, 2018

    Sniper Elite development team Rebellion has revealed the latest supernatural addition to the series. Strange Brigade will take players to the "remote corners of the British Empire" where they will the need to combat various supernatural forces with the help of firearms, explosives, and good ole' melee attacks. 

    Much like the Nazi Zombie Army series, Strange Brigade is a 1-4 player shooter experience that emphasizes co-op gameplay. Basically, you should be thinking of Left 4 Deadwhen imagining the kind of chaotic gameplay this title will surely offer. 

    Strange Brigade distinguishes itself from the co-op shooter pack with its serial adventure inspired universe that seems to take more cues from the Universal monster movies than George Romero. The brief reveal trailer for the game reveals what appears to be ancient Egyptian mythological monsters, cave-dwelling creatures, and other guardians of legend who look a tad bit more formidable than the average member of the walking dead.

    Here's everything else you need to know:

    Strange Brigade News

    The latest trailer for Strange Brigade focuses on the bounty of post-release content you'll get via the game's season pass. Take a look at what you can expect from the game. 

    Strange Brigade Release Date

    Strange Brigade will launch on August 28, 2018. The game is coming to PC, PS4, and Xbox One. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Strange Brigade Trailer

    This developer playthrough of Strange Brigade from E3 2018 reveals a new level from the promising co-op shooter. 

    It's been a little while since we've seen footage of Strange Brigade, but the game's latest trailer shows that the co-op shooter is progressing nicely and is still loaded with '30s serial adventure style. 

    Check out the new story trailer below:

    Here is the first trailer for Strange Brigade:

    And here are 14 minutes of gameplay:

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    Mortal Kombat is ridiculous, dated, awkward, and the one essential piece of video game movie history.

    Feature Matthew Byrd
    Jul 26, 2018

    Many modern video game movies suffer from the delusion that they must be "good."Mortal Kombat didn't have that problem.

    Released in 1995, Mortal Kombat followed what some call the unholy trinity of early ‘90s video game adaptations: Super Mario Bros, Double Dragon, andStreet Fighter. The legacy of those films are forever entangled, but it's not entirely fair to lump them together in terms of either quality or success. For instance, Street Fighter did fairly well for itself at the box office (it grossed almost $100 million off a $35 million budget) and is actually fondly remembered by some for its irreverent nature and Raul Julia’s show-stealing final performance. Comparatively, Double Dragon and Super Mario Bros. both failed to make their budgets back (the latter is considered to be a historic film failure) and were both at least in the conversation for being the worst major movies of their era.

    However, there is one element which ties all these films together. Each of them tried to be something they were not.

    Super Mario Bros., the game, was about two plumbers in a magical kingdom. Super Mario Bros.,the movie, was a film about a lizard-ruled dystopian metropolis where the people’s revolution is aided by the use of rocket boots. The Street Fighter film was notable for its almost complete lack of actual street fighting. Double Dragon’s director seemed more interested in seeing how much scenery Robert Patrick could chew than he did in trying to turn any of the game’s trademark elements into something watchable.

    These films sent a very clear message to video game fans everywhere: the games you love are stupid and Hollywood studios are only interested in them because they think you might just be dumb enough to buy into whatever they make with a video game title attached to it. More than insulting, that entire practice called into question whether or not there was any point to making films based on video games at all.

    Mortal Kombat was different. When schlock producer Lawrence Kasanoff visited Midway Games in the ‘90s, he spent half an hour playing on a Mortal Kombatmachine. He turned to Midway Games boss Neil D. Nicastro and told him that he felt this game was “Star Wars meets Enter the Dragon.” He thought it had the potential to be a global phenomenon. Even Nicastro thought he was out of his mind.

    He was - this is the guy who produced C.H.U.D. II: Bud the C.H.U.D., after all - but that didn’t mean he was wrong. Mortal Kombat was a genuine gaming phenomenon that flew in the face of morality and lured gamers to arcades in droves with its “realistic” graphics, brutal moves, and outlandish characters. It was the game kids were told not to play. Naturally, that ensured that nearly all of them did. 

    Kasanoff wasn't strictly interested in making a great Mortal Kombat film, but rather in finding a way to use the film as the basis for his own multimedia empire based on Mortal Kombat. On paper, that sounds like the exact same philosophy that led to the downfall of the unholy trinity of video game movies. In practice, it worked because nobody involved with the project really had a clue what they were doing.

    Director Paul W.S. Anderson had directed one movie before Mortal Kombat and didn’t even know how to properly direct a movie that used CGI. Mortal Kombat's script was essentially written on the fly and heavily relied on the actor's ad-libbing large chunks of dialogue (a fact screenwriter Kevin Droney bemoaned as he felt it compromised his vision). Robin Shou - who played Liu Kang - became one of the film’s unofficial fight choreographers because he had actually been in martial arts movies before. At one point, the crew had to find “a guy” with heavy machinery after watching their local help in Thailand spend half the day trying to push a boulder out of the way between cigarette breaks.

    There was genuine talent on the film’s crew, but the underlying level of ignorance on the set lead to a glorious moment in film history that single-handedly saved Mortal Kombat. Because Anderson and the rest of the team weren’t entirely sure they knew what they were doing, they decided to turn to Mortal Kombat fans for feedback.

    When those fans at test screenings told them that their movie sucked, they listened. When those fans told them there weren’t nearly enough fight scenes in the movie, they listened. When fans told them the classical orchestral music score didn’t fit at all, they listened. Anderson was also a fan of the game and treated these comments as gospel from the very people the movie was made for. Anderson and his crew weren’t necessarily trying to make a movie that was good; they were trying to make a movie that felt like Mortal Kombat.

    Those fans’ notes are responsible for the film’s greatest elements. That’s especially true of those who said there weren’t nearly enough fights in the film. Because of that feedback, the epic showdown between Johnny Cage and Scorpion - which is an oddly well-shot piece of action that harkens back to classic samurai battles - was added to the film alongside several other action sequences.

    What some of those sequences lacked in merit - some of them felt as authentic as the mid-meal battles at Medieval Times - they made up for in absurdity. Mortal Kombat is often credited for being the first Western film to use the “wire-fu” techniques popular in Chinese action films. I don’t quite support Anderson’s subtle claims that The Matrixsteals Mortal Kombat’s glory in that respect - there's a difference between wearing it and wearing it well - but that is the perfect example of how Mortal Kombat’s action scenes refused to be generic because the game’s battles were anything but.

    That same philosophy aided the film’s soundtrack. Test audiences hated the generic orchestral music used in the initial cut of the movie, so the film’s sound team looked at the Mortal Kombatgames. They discovered that the music essentially used an upbeat electronic soundtrack, so they decided to emulate that. Record labels and studios laughed at them and suggested that they do something like have Buckethead battle Eddie Van Halen on guitar (which, for the record, would have been fucking awesome).

    The result of the crew's persistence was a soundtrack gem called Techno Syndrome (Mortal Kombat). It’s an absurd electronic dance song that utilizes warped audio files from the game. The idea of an electronic song that screams the title of the film at audiences is absurd and stupid, yet that song was the driving force behind the Mortal Kombat achieving platinum status. Why? Because who cares about absurd and stupid when something is obviously entertaining.

    There are times when it feels like that was the guiding light of the entire Mortal Kombat production. Do Sub-Zero and Scorpion look ridiculous on-screen in their video game accurate costumes? Yes, but they’re ridiculous characters and trying to “normalize” them would have been worse. Was Goro a honking piece of puppeteering that broke down as often as the shark from Jaws? Yes, but watching a decrepit animatronic react to a low-blow from Johnny Cage is just as amusing on film as that same move is in the game.

    That’s why Mortal Kombat is such an essential part of video game adaptation history. Maybe movies like Resident Evil and Silent Hill are “better,” but they’re not better than the games they’re based on, and they’re not better than a legion of other horror films. Who would you recommend either movie to? Rampage and Tomb Raider are acceptable braindead romps, but what elevates them above all the other braindead romps? Most importantly, could you tell a fan of any of those games that they absolutely must see the movies based on them? 

    Mortal Kombat is different. Mortal Kombat is an essential piece of filmmaking for anyone who wants to understand the entirety of the Mortal Kombat phenomenon. It's as much as part of that legacy as the games themselves. More than that, it's for anyone who wants to see what it truly looks like when a video game is converted to celluloid. It’s for film history buffs, ‘90s shlock junkies, kung-fu fanatics, and Netflix addicts who have moved on to tier three titles.

    All of these accolades for a film that, quite honestly, isn’t even really that great of a movie. That’s how you know it's the definitive video game film.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    The Game Boy Advance may not have stuck around for very long, but it still had a great lineup of games. Here are the 25 best!

    Feature Chris Freiberg
    Jul 26, 2018

    The Game Boy Advance had a brief yet beautiful heyday. Released in the summer of 2001 as the long-awaited full-color successor to the Game Boy line, developers quickly filled the handheld’s library with perfect ports of 16-bit classics and new games that epitomized the best parts of the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis era.

    But with the Sony PSP breathing down Nintendo’s neck, the company shifted focus to the Nintendo DS in 2004, just three years after the release of the GBA. Still, GBA games continued to trickle out in North America until 2008. Many of these games still hold up remarkably well.

    Here are the 25 greatest Game Boy Advance:

    25. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

    2001 | Vicarious Visions

    The long-running Tony Hawkseries really did peak early with the second entry, which added bigger levels and more opportunities to connect tricks for huge combos. This was one of the biggest titles around the turn of the millennium, so obviously Activision wanted to put a version of it on the GBA. Of course, because the handheld was just a little more powerful than a SNES, it couldn’t handle the 3D graphics of the PSX, N64, and Dreamcast version.

    The solution to this problem was ingenious. Vicarious Visions created large, static isometric levels that were nearly identical to the console versions. You could still skate around as a pixelated version of your favorite skater with complete freedom, and somehow the trick controls still worked pretty well on the tiny handheld.

    24. Boktai

    2003 | Konami Computer Entertainment Japan 

    There had never before been a game like Boktai before, and there may never be a game just like it again. The cartridge for this action RPG shipped with a light sensor that you had to charge in the sun to fill up your sunlight guns, which were used to fight vampires in-game. If you didn’t have any sunlight, you had to play Boktai like a stealth game and avoid enemies. Inputting your time zone would also affect the gameplay in various ways, including the time of day. Produced by Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima, this is one of the most unusual, creative, and just plain fun handheld games released for any system. It’s just a shame that the light sensor means it can’t really be ported to other systems.

    23. The Pinball of the Dead

    2002 | Sega 

    Sega has never been shy about shoving its House of the Dead zombies into new genres that don’t really need the undead (see also The Typing of the Dead and Sega Superstars Tennis), but The Pinball of the Dead is easily the best example of a game made better by zombies. At its core, this is a re-telling of The House of the Dead 2 through three pinball tables. All of the tables here are fantastic, even better than a lot of what you’ll find in Pinball FX 2 today. The quick action of pinball is perfectly suited for a handheld, and you haven’t really played pinball until you’ve hit a ball through a half-dozen undead creatures and into a giant zombie’s face. It’s a shame that the game has been largely forgotten since its release.

    22. Car Battler Joe

    2002 | Ancient 

    At its core, Car Battler Joe is a cutesy Twisted Metal RPG. There are only four car types available, but each can be outfitted with a huge number of weapons, and Overdrive features that can affect the speed and handling of your car. The story is pretty basic RPG fare, with slight Mad Maxinfluences, but the 7-style battles are where the gameplay really shines, and they still hold up pretty well today. Car Battler Joe has always been one of the more underrated games on the GBA, but at least now its readily available on the Wii U.

    21. Super Mario Advance

    2001 | Nintendo

    The saga of Super Mario Bros. 2 is well known at this point. Nintendo thought the real Super Mario Bros. 2 in Japan would be too difficult for American gamers, so they took an unrelated game called Doki Doki Panic, slapped Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach onto it, and called it a day, confusing the hell out of American kids in the late ‘80s who wanted to know what happened to the goombas and fireflowers from the first game.

    Because the gameplay is so different, Super Mario Bros. 2 has received a lot of criticism over the years. It’s not a bad game at all though, and the tweaks in this GBA remake, like better graphics and a new boss, easily make it the best version of this misunderstood classic.

    20. Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis

    2002 | Quest

    The Final Fantasy Tactics series might get all the glory, but without many of those developers cutting their teeth on the Ogre Battle and Tactics Ogre series, there would never have been Final Fantasy Tactics. Knight of the Lodis was the last entry released in the epic fantasy series, with more classes and more customization than any of its predecessors. A deep story focusing on military and royal intrigue, with five different endings (that could change depending on several choices throughout the course of the lengthy story), makes Lodis one of the most replayable games on the GBA.

    Sadly, developer Quest was absorbed into Square Enix soon after completing The Knight of Lodis, and while many key team members worked on later Final Fantasy Tactics games, Square has shown little interest in completing the Ogre Battle saga.

    19. Final Fantasy VI Advance

    2007 | Square 

    Final Fantasy VI is arguably the very best in the series, and the GBA port is the definitive edition of this classic. Unlike the recent controversial smartphone and PC ports, Square kept the original graphics but added two new areas, four new espers, three new spells, and a new enemy to this version. That’s in addition to quashed bugs and a better translation. This is still one of the most expensive GBA cartridges around, but it’s well worth picking up to experience the best possible version of the best Final Fantasy game.

    18. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance

    2002 | Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo 

    Harmony of Dissonance was the second of three Castlevania games released on the GBA. It’s easily the weakest of the trio, but still pretty good, taking heavy inspiration from the gameplay of Symphony of the Night. Unfortunately, the game focused too much on trying to apologize for the first GBA entry, Circle of the Moon. That game was criticized for being too dark on the original GBA, which lacked a backlight, so Harmony of Dissonance had bright, detailed graphics. Unfortunately, that meant less processing power was available for music. The soundtrack sounds like it belongs in an NES game, but it still has a certain charm.

    The important thing is that Juste Belmont’s dash and spell-heavy attacks have held up well over the years, and the additions of a boss rush mode and a second playable character give Harmony of Dissonance some of the stronger replay value in the series.

    17. Pokemon FireRed/LeafGreen

    2004 | Game Freak 

    You can’t talk about the best games on a Nintendo handheld without including Pokemongames. Nintendo’s first Pokemon entries on the GBA, Ruby and Sapphire are fine games in their own right but still felt a little disappointing compared to the previous entries. Those games are best experienced through their recent 3DS remakes.

    But FireRedand LeafGreen are the real stars of the GBA era. These are remakes of the very first Game Boy Pokemon games, but with actual color and animation during battles. And once you beat the game, you can import Pokemon from Ruby and Sapphire. Nintendo brought the original Game Boy Pokemon games to the 3DS eShop recently, but the world really needs these games on there too with the ability to transfer GBA pocket monsters directly into the 3DS games.

    16. Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls

    2004 | Square 

    Let’s be honest: a lot of NES games have not aged terribly well. The original Final Fantasy, in particular, is slow, plodding, and overly difficult if you try to play it in its original 8-bit form. Dawn of Souls fixed all of those problems with better pacing, faster combat, and beautiful 16-bit style graphics. There are even four additional dungeons thrown in for good measure, and of course Final Fantasy II, which was never released on the NES in North America.

    These are simpler games than Final Fantasies IV-VI, which were also released on the GBA, but that’s part of the charm that makes them perfectly suited for portable gaming. These are among the best games to play in short spurts on the go, while the latter games in the franchise require quite a bit more focus. Pick up the later titles if you want to sit down with your GBA for a few hours. Get this to play while waiting in line somewhere.

    15. Fire Emblem

    2003 | Nintendo 

    Fire Emblem may be a household name in North America now, but Nintendo stubbornly refused to localize the games for years. This is actually the seventh game in the Fire Emblem series overall, but the very first released in the U.S. That doesn’t make the game any less understandable, however, and the deep strategy gameplay, in all of its difficult permadeath glory, is still on full display here.

    The recent 3DS entries in the series may be more accessible (and they certainly look a lot better), but this is still a great game to go back to in order to see the history of the series and explore its strategy RPG roots.

    14. Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island

    2002 | Nintendo 

    Yoshi’s Island was first released on the SNES in 1995 when 3D graphics were starting to take off, thanks to the original Playstation and the Sega Saturn. Unfortunately, that meant that its hand-drawn art-style wasn’t fully appreciated at the time, but the 2002 re-release on GBA gave the game a new lease on life to be appreciated as one of the greatest platformers of all-time.

    This port crops the screen a little to fit the GBA’s display but makes up for it by adding eight fantastic new levels to a game that was already approaching perfection, to begin with. Nintendo has repeatedly tried to surpass this game with Yoshi sequels over the years, but still, nothing comes close to the original masterpiece.

    13. Mega Man Zero

    2002 | Inti Creates

    While the original Mega Man series will always reign supreme for many gamers, the Zero series is quite possibly the best spin-off. Picking up with Zero from the X series more than a century after those games, this game tweaks the classic Mega Man gameplay more than ever with upgradeable secondary weapons, mission objectives besides just defeating bosses, and Cyber Elves that can alter entire levels.

    Despite those additions to the gameplay, the game is hardly a cake walk. In fact, by limiting Zero to three lives per mission, it’s easily one of the most difficult games among all of the Mega Man series. Capcom released three direct sequels to Zero on the GBA, and they’re all worth playing, though none are drastically different from the original, which is still the best starting point.

    12. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon

    2001 | Konami Computer Entertainment Kobe

    Circle of the Moon was easily the best GBA launch title, and it held up surprisingly well throughout the handheld’s lifetime. The game kept the huge, nonlinear map of the previous game in the series, Symphony of the Night, while focusing on classic whip combat from the earlier entries. The new Dual Set-up System focused on combining magic cards found throughout the castle.

    Yes, the game was infamously too dark to see on the original GBA, but if you play it now on a backlit GBA SP or the Wii U, this isn’t a problem, so you can finally enjoy this challenging, lengthy adventure properly.

    11. Ninja Five-O

    2003 | Hudson Soft 

    Konami released the best action platformer you’ve never heard of right in the middle of the GBA’s lifespan. Ninja Five-O is like a faster, modern Shinobi. The story doesn’t make much sense other than you’re a ninja who has to stop bad guys, which is honestly enough for a game like this. Armed with shurikens, a sword, and screen-clearing ninja magic, you take on dozens of armed goons through the game’s six stages. It’s short, but oh so satisfying.

    Despite its quality gameplay, the game has never been officially released on another platform. There’s no telling exactly how many copies of the original were manufactured, but between the positive buzz and apparent low print-run, demand has sent prices through the roof on the secondary market. Expect to pay over $100 for just the cartridge alone, and maybe three times that if you’re looking for a complete copy. Even at those prices, Ninja Five-O is still worth checking out.

    10. Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World

    2002 | Nintendo | GBA

    Unlike a lot of other SNES ports to the GBA, there were no major changes made to Super Mario World in bringing it to the handheld. If you select Luigi, he now jumps higher and runs slower for a slightly different experience, but that’s about it (plus the obligatory Mario Bros. remake that was included with all Mario Advance games).

    But really, that’s fine. Super Mario World is such an amazing game that it didn’t need a ton of new levels or characters to convince people to pick it up. Whether you play it on the SNES or the GBA, it’s just one of those games that needs to be experienced by anyone who considers him/herself a hardcore gamer.

    9. Sonic Advance 3

    2004 | Sonic Team

    The early 2000s were arguably Sega’s last gasps of greatness, and Sonic Advance 3 is one of the last great Sonic games before the blue blur fell into mediocrity if not complete irrelevance. Building on the previous two games in the series (both of which are also great), Sonic Advance 3 includes five playable characters. You pick any two at the start of each stage, which changes the abilities you can use in that level. It’s sort of a modified version of how Sonic and Tails worked together in the later Genesis titles.

    The more cartoonish art-style and huge levels make Sonic look better than ever, and that includes some of the more recent games he’s starred in. In the past few years Sega seems to have forgotten what originally made Sonic great, but going back to his GBA games would be a good start to figuring out how to make better Sonic games in the future.

    8. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

    2003 | Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo

    The third and final Castlevania game on the GBA managed to fix all the issues with the prior two games to create one of the best titles in the entire franchise. The graphics are crisp and detailed like in Harmony of Dissonance, but the game actually has a great soundtrack too like Circle of the Moon. The game has a fantastic map, and Konami also introduced the innovative soul system. It could take a while to farm the right souls from enemies, but almost every monster in the game gives you an ability that can be used on your quest to reach the master’s chamber.

    Notice that I didn’t say “quest to defeat Dracula.” Aria of Sorrow is set in 2035, which actually makes the story quite a bit different from other entries in the series, including one particular twist that’s among the best in video game history.

    7. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

    2002 | Nintendo

    As with Super Mario World, Nintendo didn’t change a whole lot when bringing one of the best games of the 16-bit era to the GBA. A Link to the Past is still arguably the greatest game of all time on GBA, but this version comes with the first Four Swords adventure as well. Multiplayer Zelda has always been slightly controversial among fans. It can be a lot of fun going through dungeons together, but Nintendo has never made it easy for fans to play these levels. In this case, you’ll still need to gather four GBAs, four A Link to the Past cartridges, and a link cable to get it to work. Yeah, that’s a bit of a hassle, but at least the single-player game holds up and doesn’t require dropping $100 on decade-old technology.

    6. Golden Sun

    2001 | Camelot Software Planning

    The GBA was home to a lot of great ports of older RPGs, but this original adventure is easily the very best RPG on the system. Golden Sun’s story and puzzles may be simple, but figuring out which Djinn to set to which character required a fair bit of strategy, and the magic and summon animations are among the very best graphical effects on the handheld.

    The sequel, The Lost Age, feels more like the second half of one complete game, and is pretty much required playing after Golden Sun. You can even transfer characters and items between the two titles, a feature seen all too rarely in modern RPGs.

    5. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3

    2003 | Nintendo

    Nintendo fans will always argue whether Super Mario Bros. 3 is superior to Super Mario World, but there’s really no denying that Super Mario Bros. 3 got the better GBA port. The graphics are completely remade from the NES original. Mario is actually blue and red instead of black and burgundy like he was always meant to be, and the fire flower power-up doesn’t give him that weird red tint. These are welcome changes, and the ability to save the game makes it a little bit easier to play through, but the real highlight here is the e-reader support.

    The e-reader was one of those goofy Nintendo peripherals that no one really bought, and was mostly useless except for one or two games. By attaching it to a second GBA and scanning proprietary cards into it, you could transfer it to a cartridge in a second GBA and unlock new content in a handful of games. In most instances, this was pretty useless, but in Super Mario Bros. 3, it meant the addition of 32 brand new stages and even the cape from Super Mario World. Sadly, Nintendo didn’t include this content in the Wii U re-release, and tracking down and purchasing all the cards online requires a decent investment, so hopefully, Nintendo will consider releasing a truly complete version of Super Mario Advance 4 on the Switch.

    4. Advance Wars

    2001 | Intelligent Systems

    Nintendo isn’t the first company to come to mind when you think “hardcore military strategy sim,” yet the company’s forays into the niche genre are among the very best out there. Sure, the graphics are cartoony and the stories are much lighter than what you might find in many PC games, but there’s real depth in Advance Wars when it comes to building armies, taking cities, and moving the best units into place to counter the enemy. It’s kind of like Fire Emblemwith tanks.

    Advance Wars and its sequel, Black Hole Rising, arguably hold up better than any other GBA games, and they’re both readily available on the Wii U right now. It’s a shame that Nintendo hasn’t released a new entry in the series since 2008’s Days of Ruin for the DS.

    3. Metroid Fusion

    2002 | Intelligent Systems

    Speaking of neglected Nintendo franchises, perhaps the only one more mysteriously forgotten than Advance Wars is Metroid. While Nintendo’s home consoles spent the 2000s doing a fine a job of exploring Metroid in the third dimension, Fusion arrived in 2002 as the true sequel to the beloved Super Metroid. The game does hold your hand more than its predecessor, but there’s still no shortage of secret areas, and unlocking new abilities in the fight against X parasites is a real joy.

    While Fusion may not quite top Super Metroid, its gameplay is still top-notch in the Metroidvania genre. The story also does a fine job of moving the Metroid saga forward, as this is the last game in the series chronologically. Hopefully, Nintendo will finally give us a proper sequel to Fusion soon. It’s already been 14 years since it came out.

    2. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

    2005 | Capcom 

    It’s a fair criticism of the Zelda franchise that many of the games are too similar, which is a real shame because some great things have come from letting developers experiment with the land of Hyrule. For The Minish Cap, Nintendo actually handed development off to Capcom, which crafted a unique take on Link, emphasizing the ability to shrink and grow as necessary in the environment. Main franchise antagonist Ganon is given a break here, as evil sorcerer Vaati takes center stage, and the game finally explains the origin of the Four Sword that takes center stage in the multiplayer Zelda games. You know, for the four people who were actually able to get everything together to play it in A Link to the Past.

    The Minish Cap looks a little different and plays a little different from the other 2D Zelda games out there, and most of those changes are for the better. This is an accessible, fast, yet ultimately too-brief adventure, which is its only real problem.

    1. Metroid: Zero Mission

    2004 | Nintendo

    The GBA was a system full of ports and remakes. That’s not always a good thing (as the huge number of last-gen ports to the PS4 and Xbox One have recently illustrated), but when those remakes are done as well as Zero Mission, it’s hard to complain. The original NES Metroid was great for its time, but by the early 2000s, it felt clunky, confusing, and overly difficult to most gamers. Zero Mission solved all of those problems.

    This is the original Metroidwith the graphics and faster gameplay of Metroid Fusion. The combination of the classic music and layout of the original with modern gameplay is simply stunning. Nintendo also fleshed out the story a little bit better to tie it into the Prime games, and added in completely new areas, including a section near the end of the game where Samus must survive without her iconic power suit. It’s a short game, but that really just means there’s no filler, and it’s easy to play over and over again to uncover every last secret and beat your previous times. Metroid: Zero Mission was the GBA at its absolute best.

    What are your favorite Game Boy Advance titles? Tell us in the comments!

    Chris Freiberg is a freelance contributor. 

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    H1Z1 officially arrives on PS4 next month.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 26, 2018

    H1Z1 is exiting its open beta and will officially launch on PlayStation 4 as a free-to-play game on August 7th. 

    The PlayStation 4 version of H1Z1 will launch with two new weapons (a new sniper rifle and an RPG), an ARV that can fit up to five people, two launch bundles, and a host of performance optimization options. There will also be a season one Battle Pass that features three reward lines (free, premium, and PS Plus). 

    In case you missed the debut trailer for the PS4 version of H1Z1, you can check it out below:

    The console version of H1Z1 will feature some improvements and changes made to make the game more enjoyable on that platform. For instance, there's now a radial menu in the game that makes item management easier, as well as a grab-and-go equipment system that greatly speeds up your ability to pick up weapons and items. Interestingly, the game's crafting system has been abandoned entirely. That's a pretty big alteration considering how valuable that skill is in the PC game.

    The overall goal of these updates seems to be to increase the overall speed of the average H1Z1 match without compromising the core of the game. If you're feeling a bit cheeky, you could say that these changes were implemented as part of the developer's way to bring the game a bit closer to the style of PUBG. That certainly feels like it could be the case, but many of the changes outlined thus far do feel as if they were made specifically with the limitations and advantages of the PS4 in mind.

    However, other alterations like an increased emphasis on gathering rare items from supply drops, as well as unspecified alterations to the game's "gas zone" designed to speed its progress, do suggest that the H1Z1 team sees a chance to capitalize on the fact that a notable, more grounded battle royale experience isn't readily available on the PlayStation 4. In other words, PS4 gamers can't play PUBG.

    The team could certainly benefit from trying to fill that void, but it will really come down to whether or not the game itself is able to smooth some of the PC title's rough edge's and prove to be a worthwhile console experience. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    Fallout: Miami looks like the best Fallout game in years.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 26, 2018

    The official trailer for the Fallout: Miami mod gives us a far better look at the project's story. 

    We now know that Fallout: Miami follows the mythical sole survivor on a journey to the south in search for work. Along the way, though, the survivor becomes involved in a series of conflicts between the various factions that run this part of the apocalypse world. The survivor then must help resolve - or further - these conflicts while trying to solve a few strange disappearances that haunt the region. 

    Everything in the trailer suggests that this is going to be an absolutely brilliant mod. Of course, the mod's debut trailer also did a pretty good job of making us believe that this is going to be a brilliant fan-made addition to the Fallout universe. 

    Fallout Miami is a Fallout 4 mod that explores the beachside city. We'd be lying if we said that this is the best that Miami has ever looked, but the locale is certainly more sunny and cheery than the settings of previous Fallout games. There are even mutants wearing inflatable yellow duck floaties. 

    Fallout Miami is more than just a just a few region appropriate visuals, though.  In fact, it is shaping up to be a  fully-fledged fanmade Fallout adventure on par with a DLC release. That means new characters, new plotlines, new companions, new weapons, and plenty of new environments to explore.

    The city itself is divided into seven districts that include the downtown area, the luxurious Bayshore, and a series of retirement communities codenamed Flamingo. While wandering, you can expect to find a variety of things that wouldn't exist in any other Fallout game, such as a new shark enemy that somewhat resembles a Deathclaw. Yikes. 

    Based on some of the media the Fallout Miami creators have released thus far on the mod's blog, it definitely feels like the game is adhering to the '50s while incorporating some '80s aspects. While that doesn't exactly adhere to Fallout lore, we're willing to excuse it in this particular instance as everyone knows that '80s Miami is the best Miami. 

    Overall, it's hard not to be impressed with the work that went into this mod. To be perfectly honest, it's the exact kind of content update we hoped to see from Bethesda's official DLC for Fallout 4. While some of that game's post-release content was good, we longed for the days of Fallout 3's wild DLC that shelved most conventions in favor of exploring some wild corners of the Fallout universe. 

    We're incredibly excited to take a trip to what we presume is Will Smith's favorite city whenever this mod is released.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    Turn your Nintendo Switch into a car, plane and other vehicles with the next Labo kit. Here's a trailer showing it in action...

    NewsRyan Lambie
    Jul 27, 2018

    It's easy to be cynical about Nintendo's decision to sell packages of cardboard and elastic bands to its loyal customers, but its Labo range has some pretty amazing design going on in its combination of software and papercraft.

    Just look at the Vehicle Kit, the latest in the Labo Toy-Con line, due out in September. It essentially turns the Switch's controllers into a working steering wheel and accelerator pedal, or, alternatively, a fighter jet-style joystick.

    As in previous Labo offerings, the Vehicle Kit really comes to life when paired with its accompanying software, which appears to offer a series of mini-games and challenges that involve driving around in little jeeps, puttering around in the ocean in a submarine, or flying about in an aeroplane.

    There's other stuff going on, too, including what appears to be vehicle editor which allows players to add new coats of paint to their cars and so forth. Mostly, though, the trailer below deals with the interaction between the Toy-Con and the software, and as with other Labo kits, this one has all kinds of imaginative flourishes: we like how a second player can use the joystick to shoot at things while the first does the driving. 

    The Nintendo Labo Vehicle Kit is due out on the 14th September for $69.99. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Our vain hope? That someone will make a version of Outrun or Sega Rally compatible with this. 

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    Demon's Crest is the best of a small series starring a minor Ghosts 'n Goblins character, and it's a genuine hidden gem...

    FeatureAaron Birch
    Jul 27, 2018

    Ghost n' Goblins is a classic videogame in many ways, not least when it comes to being one of the hardest games ever made, a game that still punishes gamers today, thanks to several re-releases on modern platforms via online arcades. It's a basic platformer, one that's stood the test of time, and it also spawned several sequels and even spin-offs, including Maxmio, and the lesser known Gargoyle’s Quest.

    The latter of these didn't take inspiration from its source material in the way most other games would. It didn't star Ghost 'n Goblins' main hero, Arthur, and didn't follow the same basic formula. Instead, Gargoyle's Quest starred Firebrand, the red gargoyle enemy you fought in Ghosts 'n Goblins. Called Red Arremer in Japan, this very minor enemy somehow found his way into his own series of games, which began life on the Nintendo Game Boy in 1990.

    Winged demon rising

    Gargoyle's Quest retained some side-scrolling platform elements, but the whole game was much more of an RPG, complete with top-down adventure and exploration sections akin to Zelda or Pokemon. Firebrand, as a gargoyle, could grip onto and climb walls, and could fly, or at least hover, and had to travel various lands fighting bosses and facing enemies in random battles. It was very different from Ghosts 'n Goblins, but still retained much of the same feel. The second game, titled Gargoyle's Quest II: The Demon Darkness, was released for the NES in 1992.

    This sequel made the most of the greater power offered by the NES, not only being in full color, of course, but offering a bigger, better overall game. Again it split the mechanics between top-down adventuring and side-scrolling action, and Firebrand retained his abilities to climb walls, shoot fireballs and fly for limited periods. He could also grow in power, finding items to increase his abilities. This included special projectiles that could do such things as destroy blocks to open passages you otherwise couldn't explore. Random battles were removed from the game, however.

    In Japan, the second game was actually ported to the Game Boy, and even featured extra levels. This version never made it out of Japan, sadly. Thankfully, the next game in the series did, even if it did fly very low under most people's radar.

    Super Gargoyle's Quest

    One of the few continuations of a series on the 16-bit Nintendo machine that didn't slap the word 'Super' before it's moniker, Demon's Crest is the game we're looking at here, and is one of the best SNES hidden gems you really should check out. It's the third game in the Gargoyle's Quest series, even though it doesn't have the same name. Once again it stars the protagonist, Firebrand, who has been imprisoned by his nemesis, Phalanx, who has stolen the powerful crests, once possessed by Firebrand. Stripped of his power, Firebrand must escape his prison, regain his power, and defeat Phalanx.

    Although Demon's Crest received a western release, it went largely unnoticed by many, possibly because it didn't bear the Gargoyle's Quest name, and instead went with a different title. This is a shame, as it's a fine example of action adventure, and it bore similarities to its predecessors, as well as classics Metroid and Mega Man.

    One thing that always sticks in my mind from my first play through of the game was the very beginning. Unlike many games, especially today, that hold your hand and start you off easy, with a quiet level full of easy foes and non-threatening situations, Demon's Crest began with a fight against a giant zombie dragon Yes, long before Dark Souls, Demon's Crest threw you in at the deep end to see if you could swim.

    In truth, this fight wasn't too hard once you figured out the controls and the dragon's weakness, but it was nonetheless something of a surprise back then, and made for a great set opener to a very tough, and surprisingly complex game.

    Once free of the dragon (or were you?), you ventured out into the first level, which delivered much the same gameplay of the previous Gargoyle's Quest series, only with a 16-bit makeover. Controls were better, the action looked a whole lot more impressive, and when you completed the first area, you found yourself in the game's overworld map. This was presented via Mode 7, and Firebrand could fly around the world, descending into various areas in a non-linear, open world fashion. These locations included actual quest areas, as well as towns and shops, including areas where you could play mini-games to earn more money.

    Shops sold various potions and spells that could augment Firebrand's skills, but your major abilities came from defeating bosses and finding power-ups.

    With your powers combined...

    When you defeated one of the game's major villains, Arma, who returned again and again to challenge you, Firebrand earned a magic crest. These crests allowed Firebrand to transform into different types of Gargoyle, each representing the elements of Fire, Earth, Water, Air, Time, and Heaven. These forms changed Firebrand's appearance, and gave him access to special abilities, such as being able to smash various barriers, swim underwater, and fly.

    This is where the game's Metroid-style content came in. As the world was open, allowing you to return to visited areas, you had to earn new abilities and then retrace your tracks to find new sections you previously couldn't explore. This could include small treasure rooms, hidden items, or even whole new areas and boss fights. These secrets often required Firebrand's other forms, or his normal form's additional firepower, as he could also find new projectiles that could smash rocks, help him climb walls, or jump higher.

    This all made for a very puzzling exploration, and one that demanded you always keep your eyes open when progressing through levels, remembering those suspicious areas you were unable to access so you could revisit them later with he right skills.

    Of course, the best of these new abilities weren't just sat around waiting for you to pick them up, and many were in the hands of bosses. Let me tell you, some of these bosses were tough in the extreme.

    Chaotic patterns

    Boss fights in many classic platform games, particularly of the 80s and 90s era, had patterns of attack. These patterns could, with time, be learned, revealing the best methods to defeat each foe. Demon's Crest was no different for the most part, but it had one little quirk that made it all the more difficult.

    Often the bosses you come up against have a wide range of attack patterns, but these don't flow in any set order. The AI picks from its various attacks and movement at random, resulting in some of the most unpredictable bosses you'll take on. This ramped up the difficulty to quite a degree as each fight required real skill, and not just a good memory. You had to be able to react quickly and change up your tactics in a split second. The fights could also last a long time, meaning this level of skill was needed for long periods. These fights were tense.

    One fight I always remember was the fire demon in the woods. Starting off as a relatively easy humanoid form that threw fiery birds at you, its second form was that of a flaming skull, and it was one of the most unpredictable enemies I'd seen. Worse, if the enemy itself hit you, it took two life points, and not one. As I fought it early on, before I powered up more, this made for one nail-biting, controller-gripping confrontation. It also took a lot of damage, so this lead to having to quickly avoid attacks and react to its constant change-ups for a prolonged time, otherwise it'd be back to square one. Nightmare.

    All bosses could be tamed with the right moves, however, and Firebrand's various abilities could often make an otherwise difficult fight easier. For this reason, it was all the more important to explore and uncover the many abilities before taking on the more powerful foes.

    Rock hard

    Perhaps the best feature of Demon's Crest was that it was dynamicallydifficult. It was tough as nails, unless you embraced the game's open nature, and explored to power up. Unlike Metroid, which often denied you access to various bosses or areas until you found a specific item, Demon's Crest often let you proceed to a boss regardless, meaning you'll end up as a pile of dust sooner than later. This made for a unique experience, as hardcore gamers could defeat foes without powering up first in order to show off their skills, and others could instead prepare and be more ready for the task at hand. It was open, and the challenge came from more than just forced difficulty; it gave you the chance to tackle barriers at your own speed. Sure, many areas did require certain skills to open up, but there was some flexibility, and I admired that.

    Even today, the game still stands the test of time, and is a great example of the Metroidvania style of game, even though it came out long before that genre name was coined by Symphony Of The Night. Even better, you can now get it on the Wii U Virtual Console, if you have a Wii U, which I highly recommend you do if you like a challenge.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    Classic beat-em-up Golden Axe is taking to the stage - though currently it'll only be in Japan...

    NewsRyan Lambie
    Jul 27, 2018

    Ah, Golden Axe: a fantasy beat-em-up from the days when Sega was at the height of its creative powers. 

    Essentially, if you wanted a great action game that involved wearing skimpy outfits and battering an assortment of skeletons and gigantic trolls, Golden Axe was your go-to choice back in the late 80s and early 90s.

    In Japan, Golden Axe is making an unexpected return - as a stage play. A theatrical outfit called Spiral Chariots is staging its live homage to the arcade classic in December 2018, and according to Anime News Network, it's their second adaptation of a Sega property. They previously did a stage rendering of the action RPG, Rent A Hero.

    We can only imagine what Spiral Chariots will actually bring to their stage version. Will they recreate an entire village on the back a turtle? Will there be a lull in the action where the actors hit tiny creatures around a campfire and steal their little blue jars of magic?

    Unless somebody wants to buy us some tickets to Japan in time for December, we may never know. That is, assuming someone enterprising doesn't bring the stage show over to our shores.

    Andrew Lloyd Webber, we hope you're reading this.

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    The Marvel Ultimate Alliance series was barely back in stores before someone pulled it again.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 27, 2018

    Not long after it was restored to digital marketplaces, Marvel Ultimate Alliance has been pulled from digital shelves once again. 

    There's no official word on what happened, but the users at ResetEra actually predicted that this was coming. It started when someone on the forums noticed that the two Marvel Ultimate Alliance games had received a deep discount almost two years to the day after they were re-released via Steam and other digital platforms. Other users chimed in and said that the games were also on sale via Xbox Live at the same time. 

    Some speculated that the sales might be related to SDCC in some way, but others felt that the Ultimate Alliance games were about to be removed. The latter theory proved to be true as the games are no longer available via any digital stores. 

    As always, anyone who currently owns either title on Steam, Xbox, or other platforms is able to keep them and play them as usual. However, you are no longer able to buy these games if you haven't done so before. 

    While this move is somewhat surprising, it's far from unprecedented. Historically, Marvel games are incredibly tough to find via digital marketplaces. In recent years, Disney/Marvel have cracked down on the availability of these games. The most infamous example of this policy is the Platinum Games Deadpool title which pulled from digital stores not long after its release and has made some brief returns to digital platforms since then. 

    It's still not entirely clear why Disney/Marvel are so adamant about keeping Marvel games off of the marketplace. Regardless, the policy has prevented us from easily accessing excellent titles such as X: Men Legends, Ultimate Spider-Man, and now, the Ultimate Alliance series. 

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    Despite recent reports, HTC says the VR market is as healthy as ever.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 27, 2018

    HTC says that recent criticisms that claim the VR market is dying are largely unfounded. 

    The criticism in particular that HTCis referring to is an article on Digital Trends that claims sales of all VR devices are taking a nosedive. Their information is based on these figures from Thinknum who track Amazon sales data. The long and short of it is that nearly every VR device on the market is suffering some kind of sales drop. For instance, the PSVR was once ranked 29 out of all video game products in terms of user popularity. It is currently ranked somewhere around the 100 spot. The HTC Vive itself was also called out for its own plummeting sales figures. 

    While the information provided in the article seems pretty damning, HTC says that you shouldn't be quick to believe any of it. 

    According to the VR manufacturer, the reason that the Vive's sales have declined is that they sold out of the unit at some points and were unable to replenish stocks for weeks on end. They claim that such a "continued trajectory is nearly unheard of" for a consumer product in its third year of availability. The company also noted that they are working to replenish stocks as soon as possible. 

    To counter the sales figures that Digital Trends provided, Vive also released a chart of their own which shows their market share compared to other VR manufacturers. According to them, the most important thing to look at when you're analyzing the success of current VR manufacturers isn't just the number of units being sold but the projected growth of the company in question over time. 

    HTC Vive makes some compelling arguments, but one of the things they don't address is the fact that the company recently laid off a large number of employees at its Taiwan plant. Some people believe that information like that - and the general feeling of a cultural decline in VR - are more telling than charts and graphs. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    The next Nintendo Labo kit will let you construct a variety of vehicles.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 27, 2018

    Nintendo has announced that the third Labo kit will allow you to construct a variety of vehicles. 

    Dubbed Toy-Con 03: Vehicle Kit, this new Labo set includes parts and instructions necessary for the construction of a car, an airplane, and a submarine. Based on the trailer above, it seems that the car model will be used as part of a Labo game that sees the player control an off-road vehicle of sorts. The airplane model, meanwhile, is actually a flight stick that can be used to guide a small plane. The submarine build may prove to be the most complicated of them all as you must construct two control wheels that are used to maneuver the vessel. 

    Interestingly, it seems that players will be able to utilize a key-like device to transform one vehicle into another on-the-fly. Each vehicle will also come equipped with a pedal that will be used to propel each of the vehicles being controlled. As for where you are taking these vehicles, there seems to be some kind of free-roam element at play that is complemented by various minigames that include golf, racing, and target shooting. 

    The best feature of this set may be what Nintendo is describing as a "co-pilot" option that lets a second player join in on the fun. The extent of this feature isn't clear at this time, but the trailer for this set shows one player controlling the land-based vehicle while another uses the flight stick to shoot at targets from the passenger - or back - seat.

    This Labo vehicle kit is set to release on September 14th. It will cost $69.99 in the US, while Nintendo has not confirmed what the kit's international price will be. Based on previous releases, though, it's expected to launch for £50-60 in the UK.

    While the vehicle kit itself looks promising, there's some debate regarding how successful the Labo line actually is. While reports indicate that sales have met expectations, Nintendo has also stated that they don't think the device has reached its full potential quite yet

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    Detroit: Become Human developer Quantic Dream now faces repercussions over claims of a toxic work environment.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 27, 2018

    Quantic Dream, makers of Detroit: Become Human and Heavy Rain, has lost a lawsuit filed by a former employee over allegations of a hostile workplace. 

    Based on reports coming from the courtroom, it seems the case was based on the employee's desire to have their decision to leave the company be recognized as an unfounded dismissal that was spurred on by a hostile workplace. Because the employee won their case, their departure from the company is legally recognized as being an unfair dismissal. This means that the employee will be entitled to certain benefits and actions that would accompany a recognized unfair dismissal based on French laws. 

    This isn't the first time that a Quantic Dream employee has taken their former employer to court over such matters, but it is the first time that a court has ruled in favor of the employee. Quantic Dream will now have the opportunity to appeal this decision. 

    This whole mess was dragged into the public light when it was revealed that Quantic Dream is suing French newspaper Le Monde over reports on the toxic working conditions at the studio. Kotaku reports that both Le Monde and its subsidiary website, Meiapart, are included in the lawsuit over a report in which they state that five former Quantic Dream employees filed a complaint against the studio in Spring 2017 against one employee in particular.

    It seems that a Quantic Dream IT manager discovered over 600 Photoshop images of various employees that were described as sexist and homophobic. The images dated as far back as 2013 and some of them were reportedly openly displayed at the offices.

    At the same time, studio heads David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière claimed that they did not know about the images. However, a 2017 e-mail insinuated that de Fondaumière did know about the images and seemed to state that they were a mistake. The allegation in question went beyond those images, though, and included general instances of a toxic work environment.

    A Kotaku reporter tried to ask Cage at a recent Detroit: Become Human event whether or not there was a lawsuit going on and what the details of it were. The question was shut down by a Sony representative, but Cage reportedly stated that they were "suing the journalists." 

    William Audureau, a journalist for Le Monde, confirmed to Kotaku that he was managing paperwork related to the Quantic Dream lawsuit but was not able to elaborate on the situation due to the nature of the legal process. However, he is saying that he stands by the report they ran.

    Quantic Dream seems to believe otherwise. The basis of the company's lawsuit seems to dispute the nature of the reports and the information gathered as part of it. Quantic claims that it was a smear campaign against the studio and has reportedly sent threatening letters to outlets that also ran the initial report. However, not all of those outlets are being sued. 

    However, this recent ruling will certainly go a long way to helping the publications verify that they did their due diligence when researching these claims and that the article that ran was not just an attempt to attack the game developer. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    The lengthy rivalry between Heihachi Mishima and his family runs through the Tekken games. Let's take a look at this ever-expanding dynasty.

    FeatureGavin Jasper
    Jul 29, 2018

    Mortal Kombat X and its comic tie-in had a running theme about family and living up to the previous generations. Not just in the young newcomer characters, but with a majority of the cast. Characters like Kotal Kahn, Mileena, and Goro fought in the name of their fathers and followed in their footsteps, while even Kano worked to train his never-before-mentioned son to one day take his place. For such a dark series, it was surprising to see such an emphasis on the bonds of kinship.

    Tekken, meanwhile, spits in the face of that. Behind all the wacky character designs, the entire Tekken series is about the Mishima family destroying itself. Throughout the various games, there are four generations of extremely resilient martial artists constantly clashing, with or without demonic possession being tossed in there. What started as the revenge story of a young man going after his criminal father turned into a never-ending series of Mishimas and Kazamas coming out of the woodwork to battle for domination.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Tekken 7 hyped itself up as being the end of the Mishima saga and...didn't QUITE deliver. In fact, the story ends with the promise of more Mishima-on-Mishima violence.

    Here's a look of who's who in this violent family tree. Beware of spoilers.


    The elder in all of this is Jinpachi, a character alluded to in the early games as being long dead, only to show up in Tekken 5. Jinpachi was a good man and headed the Mishima Zaibatsu, which was at the time your usual gigantic corporation. Although Jinpachi had a loving relationship with his very young grandson, Kazuya, the same couldn’t be said in terms of his relationship with his son, Heihachi.

    Heihachi was able to oust Jinpachi from the Zaibatsu and take over for himself. Jinpachi grew anxious at Heihachi’s ambitions, especially when Heihachi transformed his business into a more ominous military-based faction with intentions of world domination. Feeling that he had no choice, Jinpachi challenged his son to battle and lost. Heihachi chained his father up underneath a temple and left him there to die. It took a while, but despite his strength and willpower, Jinpachi succumbed to starvation and perished. Some time afterwards, a vengeful and evil spirit took over his body and resurrected him. Jinpachi still couldn’t escape the chains, but a major and very explosive battle taking place in the temple above him allowed him to break free.

    In that battle, Heihachi was perceived as killed and now a demonic Jinpachi was on the loose. Working from the shadows, Jinpachi was able to retake the Mishima Zaibatsu and used it to advertise the fifth King of Iron Fist tournament. The winner would get ownership of the Zaibatsu itself. Unlike most final boss villains in these kinds of situations, Jinpachi’s intentions were anything but devious. The resurrected, old man knew that he was losing control to the dark spirit by the hour. It was only a matter of time before he’d lose himself completely and destroy the planet. He put together the tournament in a last ditch hope that someone – anyone – would rise up, kill him, and prevent him from running amok.

    In the end, Jinpachi got his wish. His great-grandson, Jin Kazama, won the tournament and defeated him. With the dark spirit gone, Jinpachi’s body faded to dust.


    Very little had been known about Kazuya’s mother over the years. She got some brief mentions in the Tekkenanime, and she was namedropped in the background of one of the Tekken 2 stages, but the series never paid her any lip service. That said, considering Heihachi was not connected to the Devil Gene and Kazuya and Jin were, that meant that either it all began with Kazuya or it came from his mother’s side. Through Tekken 7, it’s confirmed that it’s the latter.

    Kazumi Hachijou was a lifelong friend and training partner to Heihachi. The two grew up together and fell in love. They were married and Kazumi gave birth to Kazuya. Yup, things looked great.

    Secretly, Kazumi was part of a bloodline of Devil-possessed assassins who dedicated themselves to wiping out those who were a danger to the planet. Kazumi knew that Heihachi and later Kazuya would be threats to humanity and prepared to kill them both. Just in case she failed, she sought out Akuma -- a mysterious and powerful warrior that she once saved the life of -- and asked him to eliminate Heihachi and Kazuya for her.

    Transforming into her Devil form, Kazumi attacked her husband and announced her intentions. Distraught, Heihachi defended himself and defeated Kazumi. Although she broke his heart, he broke her neck.


    Once upon a time, Heihachi was a good-hearted man who loved his wife and son. Kazumi sensed a dark future due to Heihachi's actions and attacked him. Would Heihachi have brought doom upon the world regardless or did Kazumi's betrayal cause a self-fulfilling prophecy? It's hard to say, but despite Kazumi's warnings that killing her would cause an endless cycle of hatred, Heihachi killed her. This Devil was not the woman he married. Upon committing the act, Heihachi's world darkened.

    Heihachi was disturbed at the possibility that Kazuya could have inherited the Devil Gene. Young Kazuya was already angry at Heihachi for killing his mother, but he was too young and weak to do anything about it. Heihachi threw Kazuya off the cliff as a sadistic test. If Kazuya survived, he had the Devil Gene. Years later, Heihachi would note that he should have just killed him on the spot.

    To continue to stick it to his estranged son, Heihachi adopted Lee Chaolan and treated him with more respect as a way to slap Kazuya in the face.

    Heihachi held a massive martial arts tournament called the King of Iron Fist. In the finals, Kazuya defeated him and got his revenge. Kazuya threw Heihachi off a cliff, giving him a taste of his own medicine. Heihachi survived due to his innate toughness and returned to even up the score. Kazuya – now in charge of the Mishima Zaibatsu – held a second tournament, and this time Heihachi came out the winner. He threw his son’s beaten body into a volcano.

    As a couple decades passed, Heihachi’s age became more and more of a looming threat. While he was just as keen and powerful as ever, he knew that he couldn’t escape his mortality. Then opportunity made itself known when Ogre, a god obsessed with fighting, slaughtered much of his military force. Around the same time, Heihachi found out that he had a grandson named Jin Kazama, who wanted revenge on Ogre for killing his mother. Heihachi trained Jin, and for a time there appeared to be a bond. To lure Ogre out into the open, Heihachi hosted a third King of Iron Fist.

    Being that Jin was Kazuya's son, Heihachi secretly became afraid of what Jin could physically become.

    After Jin killed Ogre, Heihachi betrayed him by having Jin riddled with bullets. Jin survived by transforming into his Devil form for the very first time, attacked Heihachi, and flew off into the night. To make matters worse for Heihachi, he soon found that the Mishima Zaibatsu was being opposed by a paramilitary faction called the G Corporation, which included a resurrected Kazuya. Wanting to steal Kazuya and Jin’s powers for himself, Heihachi put together yet another tournament. This time, the winner would be promised ownership of the Zaibatsu. Surely, his son and grandson wouldn’t be able to resist.

    The three ended up battling in a temple, with Jin coming out the winner. He chose to spare Heihachi and flew away. Moments after, Heihachi and Kazuya were ambushed by an army of Jack robots. The two put their differences aside for a moment or two, but it was short-lived. Kazuya abandoned Heihachi and let the Jacks swarm him. The robots self-destructed and Heihachi was believed to be dead.

    Yet Heihachi shockingly survived. His body was blasted into the distance and his pulse remained. By the time he regained consciousness, he found out that Jin had taken over his corporation. Since then, Heihachi has chosen to stay hidden, not playing his hand and allowing everyone to believe he’s dead.

    When Jin went missing, Heihachi returned to take back the Zaibatsu and went to war with Kazuya's G Corporation. During this, Akuma appeared before Heihachi, claiming that he had been waiting for years for Heihachi to grow in strength before making the kill. The two battled it out in an epic encounter and although Heihachi was able to recover from the soul-killing Raging Demon attack, he attacked Akuma head-on and lost badly. Akuma walked away, not realizing that Heihachi survived.

    Heihachi knew that Akuma would go after Kazuya and used the battle as a way to publicly expose Kazuya by showing the world his Devil form. Kazuya, in return, blasted a Mishima Zaibatsu satellite out of the sky, which crash landed to Earth and caused Heihachi some nasty publicity. Heihachi then decided that he was done playing his games. It was time to end this rivalry for good.

    Heihachi and Kazuya fought it out on a volcanic island. Heihachi was able to defeat and suppress Kazuya's Devil form, but a weakened Kazuya still won out by unleashing an anger-fueled punch to the chest that caused Heihachi to fall limp. Kazuya took his father's dead body and dropped it into the lava below, repeating his teachings, "A fight is about who's left standing. Nothing else."


    As a little boy, Kazuya was thrown off a cliff by his father. Kazuya was horribly busted up until a demon within offered to give him ultimate power as well as survival and revenge. Kazuya accepted. His Devil Gene had protected him from death. Kazuya trained for years, only finding a challenge and rival in fellow martial artist Paul Phoenix. When Heihachi held the first King of Iron Fist, Kazuya blazed through the tournament and defeated his father in the finals. It’s there that Kazuya proved the true hook of the Tekkenseries: despite being given a sympathetic backstory that should make him the true hero, Kazuya revealed himself to be a monster as he threw his father off a cliff and took over his corrupt business.

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    The Devil Gene within Kazuya began to manifest itself more during this time, but he seemed to have it under control. He held a second King of Iron Fist, where he crossed paths with a pure-hearted competitor named Jun Kazama, who was tasked with bringing him to justice. While the details are unknown, the two conceived a child during the events of the tournament. It’s mostly believed that Jun was able to appeal to Kazuya’s hidden goodness, but there are some fans who suggest that perhaps the conception wasn’t consensual.

    Regardless, Kazuya was quickly taken off the board when Heihachi returned and defeated him in the finals. Victorious, Heihachi made sure Kazuya wouldn’t bother him again by dropping the body into a volcano. Unbeknownst to Heihachi, Kazuya’s body was collected by an organization called the G Corporation, who were able to resurrect him and help him understand the origins and makeup of his Devil powers. Kazuya remained hidden for years, but a raid on the labs by the Mishima Zaibatsu revealed his survival.

    Heihachi held the fourth King of Iron Fist tournament in hopes of drawing out Kazuya and his son Jin. Heihachi successfully captured Jin and then faced Kazuya in the finals. Kazuya won and was brought to the temple where Jin was being held. Meeting his son for the first time, Kazuya showed no softness and instead egged him on to give into his Devil powers. Jin did so and overpowered Kazuya and Heihachi before flying off. Immediately after, the G Corporation sent a series of Jack robots to assassinate Kazuya and Heihachi. Kazuya left his father to die, returned to the G Corporation headquarters, killed those responsible for the ambush, and took over completely.

    After Jin won the fifth tournament and became the new CEO of the Mishima Zaibatsu, Jin became bolder in his takeover of the world. The G Corporation was the only thing in his way, and the public saw Kazuya as a hero. In reality, Kazuya only opposed Jin out of megalomania and planned to take over the world the moment Jin was taken out. Instead, Kazuya was defeated by his half-brother Lars Alexanderrson.

    Jin went missing and Heihachi returned to take over the Mishima Zaibatsu. The war continued with G Corporation appearing to have to upper hand. Akuma confronted Kazuya and the two fought it out on the rooftop of G Corporation's headquarters. Kazuya transformed into his Devil form, but before there could be a true winner, a Zaibatsu satellite fired a beam that engulfed the building.

    Kazuya survived, but his PR took a huge hit. The world knew about his true nature. Out of anger, he used his powers to fire a laser into space and knock that satellite to Earth. He then met with his father for the final battle, where he ultimately bested and killed Heihachi.

    After dropping Heihachi into a lake of lava, Kazuya sensed Akuma nearby. Kazuya transformed into his Devil form and the two fought once more. While the ending is unknown, Kazuya definitely survived and currently refuses to let up on G Corporation's world domination.


    Jun Kazama is a psychic who worked for a wildlife protection organization called the WWWC. Due to Kazuya’s tendency to smuggle animals illegally during his time as the leader of the Mishima Zaibatsu, Jun was sent to enter the second King of Iron Fist tournament to stop him. During the event, the two gave the punching a rest, and instead, Kazuya impregnated Jun. Although Jun didn’t win the tournament, Kazuya was taken out of the picture and her mission was technically over.

    Jun gave birth to Jin and raised him. Ogre, the battle-hungry god, sought her out. Jun told Jin to go seek out his grandfather Heihachi, and she took on the god in battle. Jun was defeated, although her remains were never recovered. In other words, she’s probably alive somehow, even though she’s too boring to ever bring back.

    Jun has lived on in two ways. One is through visions Jin receives in later games, acting as a conscience and keeping him from acting on vengeance.

    The second is through the non-canon Tekken Tag Tournament games. Not only is she playable in both, but both games feature a boss character named Unknown. Though ambiguous in the first game, the sequel makes it apparent that Unknown is a dark version of Jun, possessed by a forest demon and clad in only purple sludge. Unknown has yet to make an appearance in the main series.


    A Chinese orphan, Lee was adopted by Heihachi as an attempt to really stick it to Kazuya growing up. Lee became the heir to the Mishima Zaibatsu and helped run parts of it in the US, where he studied martial arts. Once Kazuya took over, Lee was granted the spot of second-in-command, though Lee intended to use the second tournament as a way to take over himself. After Heihachi won the tournament and threw Kazuya into the volcano, he banished Lee and warned him that if he ever saw him again, he’d have him killed.

    Lee was filled with hatred, but got over it. After all, the best revenge is living well, and he’d definitely outlive that old geezer. While Kazuya went against type by being a villain instead of a hero, Lee took what should have been a pompous, entitled jerk background and instead became one of the nicer characters on the roster.

    Over the years, Lee started his own robotics company, where he created a fighting android called Combot. He saw the fourth Iron Fist tournament as a perfect opportunity to really stick it to Heihachi and even show off his new product, but he remembered Heihachi’s threat from years earlier. Lee created a new persona as Violet and entered, revealing his true identity later on. Sadly, he was defeated by his adopted brother Kazuya.

    Lee entered the fifth tournament because he figured Kazuya was the new leader of the Mishima Zaibatsu. When he found out it was Jinpachi, Lee decided he had no horse in this race and dropped out.

    In the war between the Mishima Zaibatsu and the G Corporation, Lee aligned himself with Lars Alexanderrson (coincidentally, Lee is one of the very few characters who doesn’t fight Lars upon meeting him in Tekken 6’s story mode because he’s such an excellent guy). Lars’ robot companion Alisa was almost completely destroyed in the climax and Lee promised to have her rebuilt using his company’s resources.

    Lee fixed Alisa, although she initially tried to kill him. They reconnected with Lars and found the weakened, unconscious body of Jin Kazama. While waiting for Jin to recover, Lee and his allies sat on the sidelines to wait out the ongoing feud between Heihachi and Kazuya.


    When Jin Kazama took over the Mishima Zaibatsu, a section of its military force went rogue. Swedish soldier Lars was the leader and opposed both the Mishima Zaibatsu and the G Corporation. During a mission, Lars was the only survivor and was struck with amnesia. As that was happening, the android girl Alisa Bosconovitch was activated. The two worked together to help Lars figure out who he was, which meant crossing paths with basically the entire Tekkencast.

    When Lars found Heihachi, training in secret while the world believed him dead, he suddenly remembered who he was. As he told the cold, old man, Heihachi had an affair with a Scandinavian operative back in the day and Lars was his long-lost son. Heihachi was taken aback, but admitted he had his suspicions that he had another kid out there.* Heihachi briefly suggested working together, but Lars instead attempted to kill him. Heihachi caught a bullet with his teeth (!) and Lars decided to table their spat.

    Lars got back in touch with his Tekken Force comrades and took the fight to the Zaibatsu and G Corporation. Soon he discovered that Alisa was really working as surveillance for Jin and was forced to attack him. Lars found a new ally in the ninja spy Raven and the two traveled to Egypt, where Jin was summoning the demigod Azazel. In the climax, Jin and Azazel appeared to kill each other and Alisa was badly damaged. Lars handed Alisa over to Lee Chaolan to fix up while continuing to lead the revolution and strike against his cursed bloodline.

    Speaking of which, Lars is destined to lose his rocking hairdo and go bald just like his father and grandfather before him. Lousy genetics.

    Lars discovered his nephew Jin in the Middle East and protected him from Zaibatsu forces. Alongside Lee, Alisa, and other rebels, Lars has been preparing a plan to destroy G Corporation and take down Kazuya for good.

    *Tekken 7 retcons this with the revelation that Heihachi knowingly conceived Lars just to make sure that the Devil Gene came from Kazumi's side.


    As mentioned, Jin is the offspring of Kazuya and Jun. He was brought up by his mother, but that life came crashing down when Ogre appeared. With his mother apparently dead, Jin sought out his grandfather Heihachi and offered his loyalty in return for revenge against the murdering beast. Heihachi trained the boy and enrolled him in a school, where Jin met Lin Xiaoyu, the granddaughter of Wang Jinrei, one of Heihachi’s greatest enemies.

    Heihachi set up a King of Iron Fist tournament knowing that Ogre would have to show up. In the tournament, Jin took on fellow teenager Hwoarang, who soon became obsessed with constantly challenging Jin over the years. In the end, Ogre was initially defeated by Paul Phoenix, but after Paul left, Ogre recovered and transformed into his true form. Jin was able to avenge his mother by destroying Ogre once and for all.

    Suddenly, he was gunned down by Zaibatsu soldiers. Heihachi appeared and fired a gunshot straight to Jin’s head. By transforming into his Devil form, Jin was able to shrug it off and manhandle his traitorous grandfather. Jin flew off and spent the next few years hiding from the organization, while teaching himself a new fighting style. Mainly because Kazuya was back in the fold and there was no point in having them fight the same way in-game.

    Jin entered Heihachi’s next tournament and made it far, only to be overpowered and captured by Heihachi’s forces. Kazuya ended up winning and afterwards, he and Heihachi went to where Jin was being held. Jin was released from his chains and defeated both his father and grandfather. He began another transformation into Devil Jin, but he received a vision of his mother and calmed down. He spared Heihachi and flew off into the night.

    During a side game in Tekken 5, Jin investigated his mother’s death and got in an adventure that led to him fighting clones of Heihachi and Ogre. Afterwards, he entered Jinpachi’s tournament and killed his great-grandfather. As the winner, Jin gained ownership of the Mishima Zaibatsu. Rather than play the hero, Jin followed suit with his bloodline and embraced megalomania.

    Jin’s Zaibatsu basically went to war with the world, but there was more to it than simple plans for domination. Jin knew that he would soon lose control to the Devil within him. Likely inspired by Jinpachi, Jin wants someone to kill him before it’s too late. His big plan led to him summoning the godly beast Azazel, knowing that the two of them would be able to kill each other. The two fought it out, but in the end, Jin remained alive and the Devil Gene was still with him.

    The UN Intelligence Agency captured Jin and flew him off in a helicopter, but Jin transformed into Devil Jin and escaped. Wandering around like a wounded animal, he came across Hwoarang yet again. The two fought it out, but Hwoarang saw some enemy soldiers coming for Jin and helped him escape. Jin weakly wandered from village to village and was almost taken in until Lars appeared and rescued him.

    While Heihachi made an effort to capture Jin, Lars kept him safe. Jin spent almost the entirety of Tekken 7 recovering from his battle with Azazel. Despite the horrors he's commited as leader of the Mishima Zaibatsu, Jin is aware that he and his Devil powers are all that stand between Kazuya and world domination. He's ready to do the right thing.


    Lastly, there’s Asuka, who is fairly high profile despite being a complete outsider to the Mishima dealings. She’s initially ignorant about her connection to everything and gets involved with King of Iron Fist for her own reasons.

    She’s the niece of Jun Kazama, and while we never get a look at her father, we know that he’s a martial artist and instructor. Feng Wei, a ruthless and mute warrior in search of special scrolls, destroyed the Kazama dojo in his quest. Asuka, despite being a mere teenager, decided to enter the fifth Iron Fist tournament to get her revenge on Feng Wei. She didn’t catch up with him, but did cross paths with Jin in his Devil form. Likely due to her biology, she had a healing effect on him and unknowingly brought him back to his human form.

    Asuka spent her days breaking up gang warfare in her neighborhood while constantly putting up with Lili, a rich French girl obsessed with fighting her. After finding out that Jin Kazama, the CEO of the Mishima Zaibatsu and scourge of the world, was actually her cousin, Asuka decided to do something about his crimes against humanity and entered the next tournament in hopes of stopping him.

    She's since been sidetracked by dealing with Lili's unhealthy obsession with her.

    Seven games later (nine if you count the Tekken Tag Tournament games), we have an overstuffed pile of family drama that overshadows the rest of the cast. It makes sense that this would be the finale to the Mishima turmoil. If there is a Tekken 8, maybe they can get around to centering it around Paul Phoenix. That badass doofus is worth a story or two.

    And now, for your added enjoyment, here's Heihachi vs. Kazuya vs. Jin from the movie Tekken: Blood Vengeance.

    Gavin Jasper doesn't know how Kazumi saved Akuma's life but likes to imagine she noticed Akuma was about to eat expired Spaghetti-O's and warned him at the last second. Follow him on Twitter!

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    The Street Fighter lore is out of order and filled with retcons and rewrites. Our story guide will help you make sense of it all.

    FeatureGavin Jasper
    Jul 30, 2018

    When Street Fighter V hit the scene, it got a lot of flack for being incredibly incomplete. Not for the 16 starter characters, but because the internet stuff was busted, there was no arcade mode, and the "story mode" was a bunch of lengthy and uninteresting cutscenes occasionally broken up by 1-3 matches that were frustratingly simple with no option to change the difficulty. Over time, Capcom finally released a cinematic story mode called "A Shadow Falls" and even later upgraded the game into Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition.

    Arcade Edition's arcade mode came with a fun little gimmick where you could choose which era you were fighting through. For instance, you chould select Street Fighter II, a campaign which would only include those characters on the Street Fighter V roster who were in Street Fighter II and its revisions. Finishing the game will get you a modernized take on that character's Street Fighter II ending. That means that the more the character shows up in the series (ie. Ryu and Ken), the more endings there are to unlock. A fun way to play with the series' history.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Street Fighter has an overall interesting storyline and great characters, but trying to make sense of the continuity can be a headache at times. Think of it this way: Street Fighter Vnaturally takes place after Street Fighter IV, but also before Street Fighter III.

    Not only do games take place out of order, but upgraded versions of games (ie. Street Fighter III: Second Impact or Super Street Fighter II) are a crapshoot in whether they’re considered a different chapter completely or if they just retcon the original versions of the games.

    Street Fighter also crosses over with plenty of other franchises, whether they’re Capcom-owned or not. In terms of actual canon, Street Fighter is in the same shared universe as Rival SchoolsFinal Fight, and Saturday Night Slam MastersFinal Fight is the biggest example as various characters such as Cody, Guy, Rolento, Hugo, Poison, Maki, and Sodom have become part of the Street Fighter franchise over time. Then again, they never seem to have an impact on the overall plot.

    To make it all a little less confusing, here’s a handy dandy guide to the weird world of Street Fighter continuity. I’m only talking about the games here, so I’m not going to argue whether or not certain manga or animated movies are part of Street Fighter canon.


    The first game is obviously the most straightforward. You choose either Ryu or Ken to enter a fighting tournament and that’s about it. As the story goes, Ryu wins the tournament, defeating the ominous Muay Thai fighter Sagat. The original version is cut and dry, explaining Sagat’s badass scar in the sequels and why he went on such a mental breakdown.

    Years later, Capcom made the final battle a bit more dramatic. Ryu doesn't simply defeat Sagat by being a better martial artist. Sagat kicks the crap out of the kid. Absolutely destroys him. Sagat, being honorable and a bit egotistical, decides to offer Ryu his hand to help him up. Ryu’s killing intent (the Dark Side of the Force of his martial arts style) suddenly takes over for the first time and he suckerpunches Sagat with one hell of a Shoryuken to the chest. Ryu wins the tournament, albeit cheaply, and in a way that makes him afraid of what he's becoming.

    Sagat, meanwhile, loses his mind and falls into a bad crowd when M. Bison recruits him to join Shadaloo.


    Street Fighter Alpha came out after Street Fighter II, but was meant to bridge the gap between the first two games. Although Alpha 2 has different endings, it’s still supposed to just be a rewrite of Alpha’s storyline. Unlike the last game, this one isn’t actually a tournament, but just a bunch of instances of people wandering around and getting into fights. It’s mainly two stories that intertwine.

    On one hand, you have the aftermath of Ryu’s big win against Sagat. Now everyone wants a piece of him. Ken wants to challenge his old rival. Sagat desperately wants his rematch. Sakura wants to meet her idol. More importantly, Akuma – the man who killed Ryu and Ken’s master Gouken – is interested in Ryu’s journey into darkness. He and Ryu have a showdown on Akuma’s island, but after seeing all he needs to see, Akuma destroys the island with his fist, lets Ryu escape, and tells him to embrace the dark path and seek him out when he’s stronger.

    On the other hand, you have the rise of M. Bison, ruler of the Shadaloo criminal syndicate. He’s a big megalomaniac mass murderer and, aptly enough, has enough people out for his blood. US Air Force dude Charlie wants to take him down for the good of mankind. Chun-Li wants to avenge her father’s death. Rose – a gypsy woman who is literally M. Bison’s exorcised goodness in human form – wants to rid the world of his evil.

    Bison has his eye on Ryu and is able to hunt him down, beat him up, kidnap him, torture him, and brainwash him while pumping him full of evil energy. The plan is to make Ryu a suitable host body for M. Bison’s soul.

    Meanwhile, Sagat’s anger becomes his downfall, causing him to lose to his own former student Adon. Realizing the error of his ways, Sagat throws a fight against Dan Hibiki, Street Fighter’s resident doofus pushover, who was also obsessed with vengeance. In this moment of clarity, Sagat starts to realize that Shadaloo is for the birds.

    Worth noting is that although Charlie is able to get the drop on Bison, he's betrayed by one of his own men and gets shot up by a plane before falling off a cliff. Street Fighter V makes it very apparent that this kills Charlie and his appearance in Street Fighter Alpha 3 is non-canon.


    Once again, people are getting into random fights. This time there’s an actual endgame in that Bison has a doomsday weapon called the Psycho Drive. It's a big machine that's able to both recharge Bison's power and harness it into an energy source for a giant robot's bigass laser face. Basically, it's capable of taking out entire cities and as long as it exists, Bison is nigh-invincible. At some point, the Psycho Drive is destroyed by one of the heroes. Originally, Guile and Charlie got the credit for this, but as I just explained, that's since been retconned.

    M. Bison and his corrupted Ryu fight the team of Ken, Sagat, and Sakura. Sagat defeats Ryu and helps him regain himself. Through willpower, Ryu conquers Bison’s influence and forces all of the negative energies back to Bison, blowing him to smithereens. Ryu and Sagat agree they’ll figure out who’s the best another day. Unbeknownst to them, Bison’s soul survives and possesses the body of Rose. Shadaloo scientists clone him a new body.


    Or whatever the latest version of that game is.

    Bison’s back in charge and he holds a World Warrior tournament, inviting the greatest fighters from around the world. Not only does he plan to use the combatants as brainwashed soldiers in his plan for world domination, but he’s also attempting to draw Akuma out of hiding, so he can experiment on him. This proves to be his undoing.

    Despite being the most popular entry in the franchise, little is known about what actually goes down. Who wins the tournament? No clue. All that’s known is that Akuma attacks Bison and seemingly kills him for good with his Raging Demon attack, which literally kills souls.

    Personally, I’ve always liked to think that Guile won. His ending, where Guile's estranged wife and daughter beg him not to kill Bison, makes for a good thematic contrast with Akuma killing Bison without flinching. But that’s just me.


    Yes, again, Street Fighter IV comes before Street Fighter III. Whatever. Through some retconning, Akuma is shown to be all but worthless. Not only has Bison survived with a new clone body, but it turns out Gouken’s not dead either! Man, the Master of Fist just can’t keep anyone down.

    With Bison considered out of the picture, there’s a void in the whole power-mad final boss department. Bison had a bunch of genetically-engineered beings created for the sake of using them as pawns and potentially host bodies. He did this back in the Alphadays with women, but I guess he’s seeing if he can do better with dudes this time. One of the early experiments, Abel, was at some point freed by Charlie and lived on as a mercenary with amnesia. Another one of these dolls became self-aware and rebellious, calling himself Seth.

    Seth would lead a Shadaloo division-turned-offshoot called SIN. He puts together a new tournament in hopes of recording the abilities of all the best fighters – especially Ryu – so he can copy their abilities and become powerful enough to rule the world. Many of the players end up at Seth’s headquarters when the final battles go down. Presumably, Bison returns and kills Seth, unleashing the other dolls upon the other fighters.

    The Shadaloo henchman Balrog comes across a scared little boy named Ed. Ed is a SIN experiment covered in bandages, though neither he nor Balrog know what makes him so special. Regardless, Balrog abducts him, feeling that he's probably worth a lot of money to Bison.

    As this is all going on, Akuma and Gouken finally meet again and duel over Ryu’s soul. Gouken fights off Akuma and helps Ryu conquer his inner darkness, at least for a little while.

    Oh, and at some point, Elena convinces Akuma to take a selfie with her.


    Shadaloo has replaced Sagat with FANG, a psychotic mad scientist. He comes up with a big plan for world domination called Operation CHAINS where a series of giant satellites called Black Moons will cause a giant EMP across the globe. The fear and chaos in the aftermath will bulk up M. Bison’s powers and Shadaloo will conquer a helpless world. Unfortunately for him, one of the hackers he kidnapped to make this plot happen sabotaged the process. There are a series of keys in the form of chess pieces needed to activate the Black Moons and before being killed by FANG, that hacker had them sent out to various warriors around the world.

    From there, there are two main factions out to stop Shadaloo. One is run by the mysterious Russian woman Helen. She has been able to resurrect Charlie into a Frankenstein’s monster with a very limited lifespan. Also on her team are Rashid – a close friend of the murdered hacker – and Shadaloo-hating psychopath Juri Han.

    The other faction is led by the wealthy Karin Kanzuki, who employs ex-Shadaloo member Birdie, pro wrestler Rainbow Mika, and ninja student Ibuki. Using her resources, she’s able to bring in various street fighters and help gather the chess pieces. All the while, Ryu declines to show up as he’s too busy dealing with his returning dark impulses and feels that he’d be a danger to the team.

    Ryu is stalked by a mythological savage Necalli, who devours the souls of worthy fighters. By finally conquering his inner darkness, Ryu not only cleanses himself of evil, but destroys Necalli.

    FANG's plans are foiled. Charlie sacrifices himself to weaken M. Bison and helps Ryu destroy the villain once and for all (so it seems). All of Bison’s Doll soldiers are no longer mentally controlled. Meanwhile, Cammy is a fugitive from the law for refusing to turn her twin sister Decapre in to the authorities.

    Helen tells her higher-up that Shadaloo is destroyed and will no longer be a threat to them. Helen is revealed to be minor Street Fighter III character Kolin and her leader is that game’s final boss Gill.

    Also, throughout the last few years, Balrog has been mentoring Ed, adding boxing skills to his developing Psycho Power and precognition abilities. With Shadaloo gone, the two continue to travel together until Ed is warned by the fortune teller Menat that he’s in for rough times ahead. Fearing that Bison’s soul will return to possess him, Ed reluctantly leaves his father figure Balrog behind for the sake of protection. Along with Falke, Ed founds Neo Shadaloo, which appears to be more about liberating Shadaloo experiments than straight-up megalomania.


    Shadaloo is gone completely. Now the big, bad organization is the Illuminati. Yes, the “running everything since the dawn of time” organization that shows up in crackpot YouTube comments everywhere. It’s run by Gill, a powerful self-proclaimed religious figure who wants to find the strongest and most worthy to join his eventual utopia. He isn’t as outright evil as M. Bison (who, to be fair, is literally pure evil), but his organization has done a lot of shady stuff that makes him less than a saint. Still, his jealous brother Urien is far more insidious.

    Gill holds another World Warrior tournament for the sake of checking out fighters’ potential. The main hero is Alex, a military guy whose best friend was hospitalized after a match against Gill. There was nothing sinister about it or anything. Gill just plain beat the guy in a fair fight, but Alex is a hothead and goes on a mission for vengeance. Alex ends up defeating Gill, which not only gets Gill interested in what Alex has to offer, but it causes Alex to understand why certain people travel the world to fight strong opponents.

    During all of this, Ken is enjoying fatherhood while training his own student Sean. Sean is most likely the worst fighter in Street Fighter canon, making Dan Hibiki look unstoppable. Ryu is still training and comes across an elderly hermit named Oro, who feels that after another few decades of solid training, Ryu might be man enough to face him at full strength.


    Once again, we have a game that isn’t about a tournament, but about fighters just wandering around and crossing paths. There is little actual story in all of this, other than how Alex’s newfound love for globetrotting leads to an obsession with fighting Ryu. The Illuminati is still active and doing stuff, but there’s no climactic endgame on their part. Just plotting and random fights.

    All of this is monitored by the mysterious Q. Nobody knows who he is, whether he’s a man, robot, or both. It’s been almost 20 years since this game’s release and we’re not a step closer to figuring him out. Maybe some eventual Street Fighter V DLC will give us some kind of hint.

    Gavin Jasper is still wondering where Joe from the first game ended up. Nobody’s seen him for 30 years. Follow Gavin on Twitter.

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    Cyberpunk 2077 will stay true to the genre's roots by dealing with politics.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 30, 2018

    Patrick Mills, the quest designer for Cyberpunk 2077, says that players can expect the game to feature some kind of political commentary. 

    "Cyberpunk 2077is a game about people with power at the top and people at the bottom with none," said Mills in an interview with Official Xbox Magazine (as reported on by PC Gamer). "That power can come from money, hierarchies, technology, and violence. The original Cyberpunk 2020 setting, like the setting of The Witcher stories, was a complex critique of the author's world, and we don't shy away from that in our games. On the contrary, I think it's one of the things that sets us apart [...] Cyberpunk is an inherently political genre and it's an inherently political franchise."

    One of the most important things to take away from Mills statement is that it sounds like the team isn't necessarily going out of their way to make statements based on current political events and are instead staying true to the roots of the genre by implementing general social commentary into the experience. 

    For those who don't know, the cyberpunk genre was born from the New Wave science fiction movement of the '60s. Authors were trying to use the sci-fi genre to comment on a rapidly changing world and were increasingly disinterested in utilizing the common idea of a happy sci-fi future. Cyberpunk, and the tabletop game Cyberpunk 2020, eventually emerged from that idea. 

    That's not to say that Cyberpunk won't feature more specific pieces of commentary, but rather that it sounds like the Cyberpunk team aren't willing to avoid the inherently political nature of the Cyberpunk concept in order to avoid some potential controversy. 

    Speaking of controversy, Mills also explained that the game's somewhat controversial first-person perspective was implemented in order to enhance the immersive nature of the experience and create something that felt distinct from The Witcher 3

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    Those who want to relive the GameCube glory days will have a special way to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 30, 2018

    To the surprise of few, manufacturers will release Gamecube-style controllers for the Nintendo Switch ahead of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate's release. 

    The fun starts with hardware manufacturer Hori who took to Twitter to showcase GameCube-style Switch controller featuring themes based on Mario, Pikachu, and Zelda. They are joined by PDP who are also releasing GameCube controllers featuring similar themes. Actually, these controllers share quite a few similarities. They're all expected to be available before the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, they feature a wired connection with a 10-foot long cable, and the price and availability of their international releases are currently up in the air. 

    The biggest difference between the two models is that PDP's controllers will feature a removable C-Stick that can be replaced with a more traditional joystick. Purists may balk at that idea, but it's a pretty handy optional feature for those who prefer a slightly more modern take on the classic controllers. 

    On top of all of this, Nintendo is releasing an official GameCube controller for the Nintendo Switch in December. However, unlike the third-party models, this controller will require a controller adapter peripheral to work. If you happen to have an old GameCube controller lying around, you'll also be able to just plug that into the available adapter. 

    So what's the deal with these GameCube controllers (cue Seinfeld beat)? Well, some consider the GameCube controllers to be the best overall controllers that Nintendo has ever made (at least in the semi-modern age). However, their popularity in this instance is directly related to the popularity of Super Smash Bros. Melee. The GameCube Smash Bros. game continues to be the franchise's most popular installment on the competitive scene. That being the case, many hardcore Smash Bros. players will forever associate the game with the GameCube controller. 

    If you didn't live through the GameCube era (or want to revisit the console) be sure to take a look at our retrospective look at how the GameCube forever changed Nintendo and the gaming industry

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    A special GTA V Online mission lets you get an early taste of Red Dead Redemption 2.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 30, 2018

    GTA Online players have found a way to unlock a weapon from Red Dead Redemption 2 ahead of its intended release. 

    Reddit users Kaimeera and theinsightfulwatcher used the recent release of GTA Online's Nightlife expansion as an excuse to go digging through the game's code. What they found was information related to one of the promised weapons from Red Dead Redemption 2. In order to unlock it early, players must follow a series of steps (showcased in this video) to trigger a special mission that begins with an email from Maude Eccles. 

    That e-mail will cause five random locations on the map to appear. Each of these locations features proximity-based objectives that require you to capture/kill a target for Maude. If you do manage to capture the targets and bring them back to Maude, you will receive a sizeable reward. However, capturing the targets is not a necessary requirement to receive the Red Dead Redemption 2weapon. 

    Instead, you just have to complete all five of the objectives however you see fit. Once you do so, Maude will send you to a sixth location where you will find the stone hatchet from RDR 2. If you get 25 kills with the weapon in GTA Online, you automatically unlock the weapon in RDR 2.

    As previously mentioned, we already knew that Rockstar intended to officially release this mission/weapon at some point. However, it seems that they may have unintentionally made the mission/weapon available ahead of its intended release date. The strange thing about that is that GTA Online's other weapon from RDR 2 - a revolver - was also seemingly put live ahead of its intended release. 

    That being the case, it's entirely possible that Rockstar is just messing with fans at this point and are hoping that they discover these weapons themselves. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    A writer whose credits include Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, and Portal 2 appears to have returned to Valve.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jul 30, 2018

    Jay Pinkerton, a video game writer whose credits include Portal 2, Left 4 Dead, and Team Fortress 2, has seemingly returned to Valve. 

    Reddit user OWLverlord noticed that Pinkerton is now listed on the Valve staff page under the "Other Experts" section. The funny thing about that listing is that Pinkerton left Valve back in June around the same time that Valve writers Chet Faliszek, Mark Laidlaw, and Erik Wolpaw left the famous studio. Since then, there has been no official word from Valve or Pinkerton regarding the writer's possible return to the company. 

    Assuming that his inclusion on the staff page isn't a typo - which we doubt is the case - we are now left to wonder why Pinkerton has returned to Valve and what his current role is. 

    Given that Pinkerton is listed under the "Other Experts" category, it's entirely possible that Pinkerton is serving as an advisor of sorts. That would explain why his return wasn't a bigger deal in terms of public statements. However, there's also the possibility that Laidlaw has returned as a full-time employee whose current role expands beyond being a writer for the studio's games. 

    At the same time, Pinkerton's return couldn't have come at a more intersting time for Valve. More and more people with knowledge of Valve's intentions indicate that Valve is interested in making games again. While that might just mean more VR projects, it's entirely possible that the studio is genuinely interested in pursuing some more traditional Valve projects and have brought Pinkerton back in to recatpure some of that old Valve magic. 

    Of course, that other report from a former Valve employee which suggests that the company has become a shadow of its former self that is only interested in keeping the Steam cash machine running does cast some doubt over Valve's intentions. 

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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