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    PlanetSide Arena will offer the largest battle royale experience yet. Here's what we know.

    Planetside 2 Arena Battle Royale
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 9, 2019

    The PlanetSide franchise is getting a massive battle royale mode

    Dubbed PlanetSide Arena, this upcoming title is not an add-on for PlanetSide 2 but rather a standalone battle royale take on the PlanetSide concept. At launch, it will include three battle royale modes: a fairly standard 100 player battle meant for solo players, a three-team squad mode that supports 102 players, and an absolutely staggering 250 vs. 250 team battle mode. 

    That 250 vs. 250 mode is a pretty fascinating take on the genre that seems to tap into the spirit of the series' massive battles. Of course, the twist this time will be that any player who falls during these massive skirmishes won't respawn. This will no doubt lend a sense of urgency to the experience as well as lead to some different team strategies. 

    All of this action will take place across an 8k by 8k map called Echoes of Amerish (which is based on an existing PlanetSide 2 map). Before you do battle on the battle royale map, you will be able to choose between one of three soldier classes that will each feature special abilities but will all be able to utilize a jetpack and various vehicles. In fact, it sounds like the plan is to ensure that Planetside 2's characters are all highly mobile and fairly difficult to take down. This should lead to longer matches as well as fewer incidents of most players being wiped out at the start of a match. 

    Interestingly, PlanetSide Arenaisn't meant to be just a battle royale game. Developer Daybreak games plan to update Arena with special modes like Capture the Flag and Global Conquest during subsequent seasons. Yes, that does mean that PlanetSide Arena will feature a battle pass-like system. Arena's battle pass will feature a free option that includes the ability to unlock new items via gameplay and a premium option that includes some exclusive cosmetics.

    Here's everything we know about PlanetSide Arena

    PlanetSide Arena Trailer

    This new preview for PlanetSide Arena focuses on some of the new weapons that we will see in this upcoming multiplayer title. Take a look:

    PlanetSide Arena Release Date

    PlanetSide Arena is scheduled to launch on January 29. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    The Nintendo Switch Online membership club is adding some more NES titles this month, including Zelda II!

    Nintendo Switch Online: Free Games
    NewsRob Leane
    Jan 10, 2019

    Nintendo Switch Online is the subscription service for owners of, you guessed it, the Nintendo Switch. The portable games console's snazzy membership club launched properly in September 2018, and, although membership isn't essential to enjoying the Switch, it does connect you to some pretty cool stuff. 

    In terms of pricing, single-user membership to Nintendo Switch Online is priced on the official Nintendo website at $3.99 for one month, $7.99 for three months or $19.99 for a year. There is also an option to spend $34.99 for a family of up to eight members to have access to the service for a year. Alternatively, you can buy a membership through Amazon, which can be a bit cheaper depending on the retail giant's current pricing fluctuations.

    As for perks, members of Nintendo Switch Online can use online multiplayer features on a vast selection of games. They can also make the most of cloud saves and exclusive offers, as well as communicate through voice chat on the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app.

    Further Reading: 25 Underrated NES Games

    We'd argue, though, that the coolest thing about Nintendo Switch Online is the library of games from the NES era that it allows you to play on your Switch. In this article, we'll keep tabs on what NES games are available through Nintendo Switch Online, starting with the titles releasing for this month...

    Zelda II - The Adventure of Link 

    Arriving on Nintendo Switch Online on Jan. 16, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is a side-scrolling RPG/platformer that first released on the NES in 1987. It's the sequel to The Legend of Zelda, which arrived on NES in 1986 and is already available on Nintendo Switch Online. In terms of story, Zelda IItakes place several years after the first game, putting you in the shoes of a 16-year-old Link who is (as usual) on a mission to save Princess Zelda.

    Further Reading: The Many Innovations of The Legend of Zelda 

    Fun fact: until Breath of the Wild came out, Zelda II was the final adventure in the official Zelda timeline. All the others were prequels or alt-universe adventures.

    If you'd like to buy an original NES cartridge instead, Zelda II will set you back about $25 on Amazon.

    Blaster Master 

    Also on Jan. 16, members of Nintendo Switch Online will be granted access to Blaster Master, a run-and-gun/platformer title from 1988 which went on to spawn both sequels and spinoffs. You'll play as a dude named Jason, who follows his pet frog underground and ends up in a tank battling eight levels of radioactive mutants. The game was renowned for its difficulty and lack of save points, so prepare to have fun with that!

    Further Reading: 20 Games That Deserve Remakes

    If you'd like to own Blaster Master as an original NES cartridge, you can get it on Amazon for about $16.

    Note: Players in Japan will also get access to Joy Mech Fight through Nintendo Switch Online from Jan. 16.

    Nintendo Switch Online Games Available Now

    Adventures of Lolo

    Balloon Fight

    Baseball

    Donkey Kong

    Double Dragon

    Dr. Mario

    Dr. Mario SP

    Excitebike

    Ghosts 'n Goblins

    Gradius

    Gradius SP

    Ice Climber

    Ice Hockey

    Mario Bros.

    Metroid

    Metroid SP

    Mighty Bomb Jack

    NES Open Tournament Golf

    Ninja Gaiden

    Pro Wrestling

    River City Ransom

    Soccer

    Solomon's Key

    Super Dodge Ball

    Super Mario Bros.

    Super Mario Bros. 3

    Tecmo Bowl

    Tennis

    The Legend of Zelda

    The Legend of Zelda SP

    TwinBee

    Wario's Woods

    Yoshi

    We'll keep this article updated as Nintendo adds more NES games to Nintendo Switch Online...


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    Stan Lee makes one more cameo in this World of Warcraft update.

    Stan Lee World of Warcraft Update
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 10, 2019

    The latest World of Warcraft update includes a tribute to Stan Lee. 

    The latest PTR patch for World of Warcraft included a note regarding a new NPC that pays tribute to the legendary comic creator. However, it didn't mention where fans could find this tribute or what form it comes in. 

    Fortunately, it didn't take long for World of Warcraft players to find a new knight wandering the streets of Stormwind Keep who looks an awful lot like Stan Lee. Sure enough, it turns out that this new knight is named Stanley. We're going to go ahead and guess that is our guy unless this happens to just be an incredible coincidence. 

    It seems like Stanley follows a set wandering path that isn't clear at this time, so it's not easy to point at a specific place you can find him. It also doesn't seem like it's possible to interact with him in any real way. While we would have loved it if Stanley was a quest giver, it is nice to hear that some players have noticed him saying "Excelsior!" to nearby passing NPCs. 

    Of course, it is somewhat appropriate that the in-game tribute to Stan Lee come in the form of a cameo. After all, Lee is known by a younger generation of Marvel fans for his various cameos in the MCEU films. 

    To our knowledge, this is the first video game to pay a direct tribute to Stan Lee since the Marvel icon passed away last year. However, at the time of his passing, various video game industry figures took to Twitter and elsewhere to share their memories of Stan Lee and pay their respects to the fallen icon. Spider-Man PS4 also included a rather brilliant Stan Lee cameo that could be seen as one of his last and, in the minds of some, his very best. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    The latest series of Xbox Game Pass quests will let you earn reward points.

    Xbox Game Pass Microsoft Quests
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 10, 2019

    The latest update to Xbox Game Pass includes a fascinating excuse to start grinding for achievements. 

    As detailed over on the Xbox website, the latest set of Xbox Game Pass quests for January includes the ability to earn up to 2,100 Microsoft Reward points which, if you plan to spend any money in the Xbox ecosystem, translates to about...err...not much. It's a shade more than you need for a $1.25 gift card. It's probably best to just save these points up for something a little more exciting. 

    The points themselves are given out for completing more generic achievements (such as earning an achievement from three different games in three different genres) and more specific achievements (like earning four outlined achievements in Metro 2033 Redux and Metro: Last Light Redux). It's a pretty diverse combination of required achievements. 

    However, the most interesting thing about these new quests has nothing to do with the points they reward or the achievements themselves. The most interesting thing about these new quests is what they mean for the future of Game Pass. 

    Microsoft has previously mentioned wanting to do more with achievements, but this is the first time that we've seen them really put that plan into action. Previous quests on Game Pass occasionally rewarded you for completing an achievement, but this particular collection of quests that are all based on in-game achievements might very well represent the future of the system. If that is the case, then it might really be possible to save up those reward points throughout the year and put them towards something substantial. 

    All in all, this looks like one of the many ways that Microsoft may help ensure that their future has less to do with physical Xbox consoles and more to do with the Game Pass service

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    The incredible Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has surprisingly been added to the Xbox Game Pass roster.

    Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 Xbox Game Pass
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 10, 2019

    Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 just got a surprise release on Xbox Game Pass. 

    Microsoft didn't give Game Pass users any real kind of heads up regarding this game's pending arrival to the service, but we're going to guess that this is one of those things that fans will classify as a good surprise. Still, it's somewhat unusual for Microsoft to add such a high-profile game to the service at random. That's a move that Nintendo has pulled off in the past, though, so it will be interesting to see if Microsoft continues to make these kinds of additions. 

    As for the game itself, it's pretty great. While there are some that would argue that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 doesn't quite reach the heights of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (the third game's roster isn't quite as impressive and there's some debate about its visuals), the general consensus is that the third game in the popular crossover fighting franchise does a great job of living up to the standards of the better games in the series. 

    It's also important to remember that we're talking about Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and not Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. The former game is a generally respected title that is seen by some as a slight step backward while the latter game is an utter abomination that should have never seen the light of day. You're getting the good one here. 

    While it's been previously said that there's little realistic hope for another Marvel vs. Capcom game given the failures of Infinite and the high-profile status of the Marvel license, there's always some hope that Marvel vs. Capcom 3 will find a large new audience via this service and inspire someone to revisit the idea of adding more games to this franchise. 

    In case that doesn't happen, you can always play one of the many upcoming superhero games instead or just wait to see what those teases about Fantastic Four DLC in Spider-Man PS4 are all about. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    The Niobe Labs Destiny 2 event has been cancelled after 24 hours of failed events.

    Destiny 2 Niobe Labs Puzzle
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 10, 2019

    Bungie has given up on a special Desinty2 event after the game's top players spent more than a day trying to solve its toughest challenges. 

    See, Bungie recently released a series of challenges called the Niobe Labs as the final part of their Black Armory DLC release. The idea was that multiple squads would all compete to be the first team to beat these challenges (like we see with every Destiny raid). Once a squad did beat the Niobe Labs challenge, they would unlock the Bergusia Forge for all the players in the game. Simple, right?

    Wrong. See, the puzzles in Niobe Labs required players to shoot certain symbols in order to progress through a series of rooms. In order to determine which symbol they had to shoot, players had to solve some incredibly obscure puzzles that seemingly make no sense when you first see them. Only through some clever analysis and constant attempts could players hope to solve the lab's most challenging puzzles. 

    Further Reading: Bungie Ends Destiny Partnership with Activision

    That's nice and all, but the big problem with this challenge was that failing one room would send you back to the very beginning. This meant that players not only had no idea how to beat the later rooms, but they also became increasingly frustrated every time that they had to start over just to earn the right to fail at the puzzle they couldn't solve yet again. You can imagine how angry people were after about 24 hours worth of failed attempts. 

    Eventually, Bungie had to step in and scrap the entire idea. 

    "While coming together as a community to solve puzzles can be fun, setting this puzzle up as a gate between you and new content that you want to play has not been an ideal experience," said Bungie via an update on their website. "As such, we will be decoupling the puzzle from the final offering of the Black Armory. All Annual Pass owners will be able to experience the Bergusia Forge when the puzzle is solved or when the deadline expires - whichever happens first."

    Bungie stated that the Niobe Labs will remain open for those who still want to try to complete the challenge, but their initial good idea to tie a global event to the completion of this challenge has proven to be something of a bust. It's going to be interesting to see whether Bungie employs this tactic again or whether this affects the difficulty of future Destiny 2 challenges

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    Gun Rush is the latest addition to Red Dead Online, bringing some Fornite-ish fun to the beta.

    Red Dead Online Battle Royale Mode
    NewsRob Leane
    Jan 10, 2019

    When you think of the gritty realism of Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2, you might not immediately associate it with the bombastic battle royale gameplay that the cartoonishly-colored Fortnite has popularized. But, nonetheless, those two things have now been mashed together: today's update to the Red Dead Online beta has added a new take on the battle royale game mode that's been a work in progress since the online mode launched. This new battle royale mode is called Gun Rush. 

    Red Dead Online launched in Nov. 2018, allowing players to roam the digital wilderness in posses of up to 16 players. At the time of this launch, numerous challenges and events were available to any gamers with internet access, the appropriate game pass, and a copy of Red Dead Redemption 2. The launch also featured a pseudo-battle royale mode called Make It Count, a take on this type of free-for-all gameplay but on a much smaller scale and with only bows and knives as weapons.

    Further Reading: What Capcom's Red Dead Revolver Would Have Looked Like

    Gun Rush, we're told, will "put your survival instincts to the test," tasking players with "gathering weapons and ammunition while the play area shrinks." Up to 32 players can partake in a game, either as solo contenders (in a 'Free For All' battle) or two rival groups (in a "Team" battle). 

    Although this may sound like a rather full-on online offering, Rockstar insists that Red Dead Online is still very much at the beta testing stage. The developers are still open to feedback, and promise that further updates are on the way. These future updates will apparently include new Races and Showdown modes, Daily Challenges, Parley Changes, Proximity-Based Player Blips, Law and Bounty Upgrades, new emotes and clothing, and all-new Story missions for A Land of Opportunities.

    That stuff is all coming soon, but Gun Rush is available today. Happy battling!


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    Bungie is ending its partnership with publisher Activision and retaining control of Destiny.

    Destiny: Bungie Splits from Activision
    NewsJohn Saavedra
    Jan 10, 2019

    Developer Bungie has ended its eight-year partnership with publisher Activision and is taking full control of the Destiny franchise. The news was revealed in a blog post on Bungie's website, which revealed that the transition is already in its early stages, as Activision transfers Destiny publishing rights over to Bungie.

    According to Kotaku, Bungie and Activision had shared a tense relationship since before the release of the first Destinygame. It seems like that tension was only made worse when Destiny 2: Forsaken, Bungie's latest expansion for the game, failed to meet Activision's sales expectations.

    The studio originally had a 10-year publishing deal with the publisher, and there were even rumors that Bungie was beginning work on Destiny 3. It remains to be seen whether Bungie does indeed plan to move forward with another Destiny game. At the moment, the developer plans to continue to work on Destiny 2and the upcoming updates it has already promised.

    "With Forsaken, we’ve learned, and listened, and leaned into what we believe our players want from a great Destiny experience. Rest assured there is more of that on the way. We’ll continue to deliver on the existing Destiny roadmap, and we’re looking forward to releasing more seasonal experiences in the coming months, as well as surprising our community with some exciting announcements about what lies beyond."

    Destiny 2's current DLC roadmap promises updates all the way through this August, including both free and paid content. At this time, it sounds like that's still the case. 

    Bungie's split from Activision couldn't come at a more interesting time for the studio, which is in the process of creating a brand new IP after receiving a $100 million investment from Chinese publisher NetEase in June 2018. The new game is rumored to be called Matter, although Bungie has made no official announcement regarding the project beyond its partnership with NetEase. 

    We'll keep you updated as we learn more about this new era for Bungie and what's next for Destiny

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9


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    Raiden, Shao Kahn, and TWO Scorpions?! Here's everything we know about Mortal Kombat 11 so far...

    Mortal Kombat 11 Release Date, Trailer, and News
    News Gavin Jasper
    Jan 11, 2019

    Things got a bit crazy the last time we visited the world of Mortal Kombat. Raiden traveled back in time to prevent Shao Kahn from ruling the multiverse. Next thing you know, Raiden’s an asshole, Liu Kang and Kitana rule Hell, Scorpion’s a human again, Johnny Cage is immortal, and there are movie aliens and slasher villains running amok. It’s been about three years since Mortal Kombat X, which means it's about time for a sequel. 

    At The Game Awards 2018, Mortal Kombat co-creator Ed Boon took the stage to announce Mortal Kombat 11 with a brutal trailer that is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, it's about as NSFW as it gets. You've been warned. The trailer is all cutscene and no actual gameplay, but it’s still very interesting.

    Check it out below:

    Okay. So. We have Raiden in his corrupt fascist state. More eagle-eyed fans might even notice that he’s wearing the magical amulet of Shinnok, the last game's final boss. He gets in a violent battle with Scorpion, who is still in his human form. Even if he’s the face of the series, Scorpion doesn’t do so well and gets horribly murdered.

    Except...here comes UltimateMortal Kombat 3 Scorpion?! What?! The official description for the YouTube video claims, “The all-new Custom Character Variations give you unprecedented control to customize the fighters,” so I guess that’s what that’s all about. Perhaps this is an evolution of last game’s variations engine mixed with Injustice 2’s armor system.

    Further Reading: Mortal Kombat Character Ranked

    The new/old Scorpion proceeds to get the best of Raiden and we get a very cryptic shot of a bald woman covered in a glowing, cloudy effect standing near a giant hourglass. What does it all mean? Did Raiden’s actions in Mortal Kombat 9 cause some excessive damage to the space-time continuum? It certainly is a good way to sidestep major character deaths.

    Well, we’ll find out soon enough because here are the important dates:

    - You can pre-order on December 7, 2018. Doing so will get you Shao Kahn DLC and beta access.

    - The Community Reveal Event will be on January 17, 2019. This is when NetherRealms will show actual gameplay footage and give us an idea of what kind of crazy shit we'll be able to do in the game.

    - Sometime in March 2019, beta access will be available, but only for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

    - The Global Launch is April 23, 2019. Prepare yourself.

    Additionally, you can check out the very cool cover art for the game above. Unsurprisingly, it's all about Scorpion.

    Mortal Kombat 11 will be released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. We’ll have more news as it happens!

    Gavin Jasper writes for Den of Geek and has his fingers crossed for Mokap’s return. Read his other articles here and follow him on Twitter @Gavin4L


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    There's a hidden playable character in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe that's a blast from the past.

    New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe Secret Character
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 11, 2019

    Players have discovered a hidden playable character in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe(which is still the most unnecessarily long title in quite some time). 

    The story behind this hidden character is a bit strange. See, the original version of the game on Wii U allowed you play as Yellow and Blue Toad characters. Granted, these characters were typically given to whichever players weren't lucky enough to pick Mario and Luigi in time, but they were part of the game nonetheless. 

    As you may recall, Nintendo announced that the Switch version of the game would feature a new character, Toadette. Indeed, it was Toadette's ability to become Peachette that kicked off that incredibly weird era of Bowsette fetishizing that Nintendo had to pretty much denounce. What wasn't necessarily known as the time of Toadette's reveal, though, was that she would seemingly replace Blue Toad on the character selection screen. Blue Toad doesn't even appear as a playable character when you launch the game. 

    However, it seems that Blue Toad is playable in New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe after all. If you hold the L or ZL button when hovering over Yellow Toad on the character select screen, they will become Blue Toad instead. It's a pretty simple color swap that we've seen many times in many games. It's easy to believe that Nintendo simply elected to offer players the option of playing as either original character even if they don't inform you of how to make this swap on the screen.

    Here's where things get a bit weird. While you can play as Blue Toad instead of Yellow Toad, it seems that the game might not have been programmed to fully account for Blue Toad's presence. In fact, Blue Toad doesn't even appear in the opening cutscene even if you pick him. Blue Toad is instead replaced by Yellow Toad who sits alongside Mario, Luigi, Toadette, and Peach during the opening cutscene. 

    Do we sense some kind of Blue Toad conspiracy possibly tied to the Bowsette controversy? No, we don't. Sorry for the unnecessary tease. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    A new Legend of Zelda animation show why we need an animated Zelda series.

    Legend of Zelda Animated Short
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 11, 2019

    There's a new piece of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild animation out there that has us dreaming of a new animated Zelda series. 

    This animated short is the result of a collaboration between animators Youyang Kong and Qianya Yin who are known in certain circles for publishing some pretty impressive pieces of fan animation. It's an incredibly short animated short (clocking in at under two minutes), but the length of the piece is really second to what it offers on a technical and emotional level. 

    Technically speaking, this animated short isn't some revolutionary new (or relatively fresh) approach to animated entertainment such as we see in titles like Into the Spider-Verse. However, there is a kind of watercolor "washed-out" style that really does seem to fit the franchise and kind of reminds us of the drawings in the old instruction books for The Legend of Zelda and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. It also invokes the Wind Waker with things like its smoke effects. 

    More importantly, the art and animation do a terrific job of conveying the emotions of the characters and the stakes fo the situation. Granted, it's a pretty simple scenario (Link battles two Guardians in order to protect a helpless creature), but the animators do a fantastic job of wringing a lot of heart out of the principal characters and simple story. All of Link's facial animations appear true to the character, which is pretty impressive when you consider that he's not really a firmly established character in the first place so far as mannerisms and personality go. 

    This actually gives us quite a bit of hope for the possibility of getting a worthwhile animated Zelda series, even if the rumored Zelda series from the Netflix Castlevania team was reportedly nothing more than a rumor. There's always a chance someone will revisit the idea on a large scale, though, especially considering that Nintendo's new president is very interested in expanding further into multimedia projects. 

    For now, we look forward to what else these animators will come up with. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    Prey and Metro 2033 are among the new games on PlayStation Now this month...

    PlayStation Now: Prey
    NewsRob Leane
    Jan 11, 2019

    PlayStation Now is Sony's cloud gaming subscription service, which is designed for fans of the PlayStation family's huge gaming catalog. Not to be confused with the PlayStation Plus membership club (which has its own separate library of playable titles), PlayStation Now allows users to stream and/or download a vast number of PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4 games on either their PS4 or laptops.

    In terms of pricing, the official PlayStation website will sell you a membership for $19.99 per month, $44.99 for three months, or $99.99 for the year. It is also possible, at the moment to try out the service with a 7-day free trial (if you can't afford the payments, don't forget to cancel your membership before the end of the trial period!). You can also pick up a membership on Amazon.

    Each month, new games are added to the PlayStation Now library. Here's what's available this month:

    Prey 

    This surreal sci-fi action-adventure game stars Morgan Yu, a scientist living on a space station above Earth. When the space station comes under attack by a shape-shifting alien species, Morgan must defend the station and eradicate the alien threat before it's too late. You can also pick up this game on Amazon for $20.

    Further Reading: Everything You Need to Know About Metro Exodus

    Metro 2033 Redux 

    The future looks bleak in the world of Metro 2033. Russia has been turned into a wasteland by nuclear war and people have been forced to live underground in Moscow's metro system. You play as Artyom, a survivor born underground who must travel through the system's mysterious tunnels to seek help after his station is attacked by strange creatures. It's a spooky journey. If you want a physical copy, Metro 2033 Redux, which a current-gen remaster of a last-gen game, is actually available as part of a two-pack, along with the sequel, Metro Last Light, for $29 on Amazon

    PlayStation Now: Other New Games

    Lock’s Quest

    Chess Ultra 

    God Eater 2: Rage Burst 

    Onechanbara Z2: Chaos 

    Project Cars 2 

    Skydrift 

    Thunder Wolves 

    That's all, folks! We'll keep this list updated as Sony adds more games to PlayStation Now...


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    Peter Sollett will take over the troubled Minecraft adaptation as writer and director.

    Minecraft Movie Peter Sollett
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 11, 2019

    Peter Sollett will write and direct Warner Bros. upcoming Minecraft movie adaptation. 

    Sollett is perhaps best known as the director of the 2008 title Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. In recent years, he has primarily focused on directing television shows (such as The Path, Rise, and Vinyl). Regardless, this is certainly the largest project from a notoriety standpoint that Sollett has been attached to. There's no official word at this time regarding why Warner Bros. chose Sollett to direct the Minecraft movie, but we do know he will work with producers Roy Lee and Jon Berg on the project. Jill Messick is also still credited as a producer on the film, but she passed away last year. 

    While Sollett will likely bring some changes to the movie, it seems that the film's basic plot will follow a young girl who must lead a group of heroes against the fabled Ender Dragon. Beyond that, not much is known regarding the specifics of the movie's plot. 

    As some of you may remember, though, the opportunity to write and direct the Minecraft adaptation only came about after Rob McElhenney (It's Always Sunny in Philidelphia) decided to leave the project. McElhenney previously informed TheWrap that the film "is not happening" with him as director. Neither McElhenney or Warner Bros. have elaborated on the matter further, but all evidence suggests that the movie will miss its May 24, 2019 release date. 

    While some were surprised to learn that McElhenney had agreed to direct the Minecraft film adaptation, his departure still came as something of a shock. McElhenney was fairly heavily involved with the production promotion process and there haven't been any tangible rumblings regarding any problems he may have with the direction of the project. However, it does seem that he will no longer be associated with the adaptation. 

    That isn't the only time that the Minecraft adaptation has lost a director. The film was originally going to be directed by Shawn Levy (Night in the Museum, Stranger Things). However, Levy said that he decided to leave the project after he discovered that developer Mojang wasn't on-board with his ideas for the adaptation. He indicated that they didn't give him much specific feedback and instead stated that his ideas just didn't "feel right."

    It will be interesting to see if Sollett will be the guy who actually makes this thing happen. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    Does Bethesda plan on adding human NPCs to Fallout 76?

    Fallout 76 Human NPC
    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 11, 2019

    Fallout 76 players have discovered a hidden developer room that contains a human NPC and other as-of-yet unused assets.

    Historically, most major Bethesda games have contained these developer rooms. Much like the recently discovered Legend of Zeldaminus world, they allow developers to store some excess assets and maybe test a few things in the game environment. Most of the older developer rooms in Bethesda games were only accessible when you used certain console commands. Many players figured that tactic wouldn't work in Fallout 76 due to the game's multiplayer features. 

    However, it's reportedly been rumored for quite some time now that there is an accessible developer room in Fallout 76. While it's not known exactly how long people have known about this room (and how to access it) a series of recent videos and reports confirms that the room can be entered. 

    What's in Fallout 76's developer room? Quite a bit, actually. The arguable highlight of the room (it's actually several rooms) thus far is what appears to be a model for a human NPC named "Wooby." As you may remember, Bethesda had previously stated that there are no human NPCs in Fallout 76because the game is about the first vault dwellers venturing into the world and settling it themselves. However, the mysterious Wooby seems to suggest that Bethesda is either testing the idea of implementing human NPCs, had previously tested it and rejected it, or maybe just needed a human NPC around when it came time to test certain other items.

    Speaking of other items, players have actually found certain skins in this room that haven't been added to the game yet. Remarkably, it's actually possible to take the skins out of this room and use them in the live game. It seems that this element of the room has caused Bethesda to step in and start issuing bans for anyone who actually takes the skins or any other items from this room. This comes after some players attempted to sell these skins online ahead of their intended release date. It's not clear if similar bans are being issues for people who just choose to enter the room. 

    Regardless, the fact that Bethesda is banning people for actions related to Fallout 76's developer room means that we're not going to share how to enter the room or encourage anyone to seek that information out unless they are prepared to deal with the consequences. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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    Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is among the new titles on the Xbox Game Pass this month...

    Xbox Game Pass: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
    NewsRob Leane
    Jan 11, 2019

    Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft's subscription service for Xbox One owners. It's designed to be like a "Netflix for games," where you pay a simple monthly rate and get access to loads of games for download. It's not to be confused with the Xbox Live Gold membership, which gives users a selection of free games each month.

    There was a huge surge in popularity and profile for the Xbox Game Pass last year, mainly due to Microsoft unveiling a strategy that puts brand new games on the service. Sea of Thieves was the first example of this, followed by State of Decay 2. Crackdown 3's launch on Feb. 15 will be the next first-party release on the service. 

    Further Reading: Why Xbox Game Pass Is Microsoft's Future

    Membership to the Xbox Game Pass will set you back $9.99 per month, although the official Microsoft website will currently sell you the first month for just $1. Amazon is currently selling 3 months for $25, as well.

    New games are added each month to Xbox Game Pass, and these are some of the recent titles to get excited about:

    Xbox Game Pass: New Game for January 2019

    Here's the full list of new stuff that Microsoft has announced, so far, for Xbox Game Pass this month...

    Life Is Strange 2: Part 1 (January 3rd)

    Ark: Survival Evolved (January 3rd)

    Farming Simulator 17 (January 3rd)

    Absolver (January 7th)

    Just Cause 3 (January 10th)

    Aftercharge (January 10th)

    Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (January 10th)

    Coming Soon to Xbox Game Pass

    Looking further into the future, we know that the following games will become available on Xbox Game Pass on the day of their release...

    Crackdown 3 (Feb. 15)

    Gears 5 (TBA)

    Halo Infinite (TBA)

    Battletoads (TBA)

    Ori and the Will of the Wisps (TBA)

    Further Reading: The Game You Need to Play in 2019

    Leaving Soon from Xbox Game Pass

    The Xbox Game Pass app also mentions that the following games are "leaving soon." It doesn't give us an exact date for any of them disappearing, but you'll want to start playing them sooner rather than later if you want to have a go...

    The Division

    Letter Quest Remastered

    Riptide GP: Renegade

    The Escapists: The Walking Dead

    That's all the info we've got for now, but we'll keep this article updated as Microsoft adds and removes stuff from the Xbox Game Pass...


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    Without Activision, Bungie now has control of its own Destiny. Is this a good thing for the shooter franchise?

    Destiny: Bungie Without Activision
    Feature Megan Crouse
    Jan 11, 2019

    The planned ten-year contract between Bungie and Activision has ended two years early. Bungie announced in January that it would be taking full control of the Destinyfranchise going forward. The separation of the two companies comes as a surprise, although the signs were there. Late last year, Activision expressed its disappointment with the latest Destiny 2 expansion, Forsaken, which failed to meet the publisher's sales expectations. While we don't know the exact reason for the split, it stands to reason that Destiny was becoming a riskier investment for Activision while Bungie felt more creatively restricted by the publisher's sales goals. Perhaps the breakup was mutual.

    Bungie and Activision have reportedly disagreed regarding Destiny’s direction since day 1, according to Kotaku. It hardly needs to be said that Activision doesn’t have much good will in the Destiny community: the publisher is generally seen as the money-grabbing big corporation trying to push scrappy little Bungie around. Both reputations are understandable. Activision works on World of Warcraft and Overwatch, the former the grand dame of the subscription MMO market and the latter a very popular (and lucrative) esport. On the other hand, Bungie is still beloved among fans who remember the Halo days.

    Whatever the reasons, the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. There's a belief among Destiny fans that without Activision looking over its shoulder and encouraging microtransactions and season subscriptions, Bungie can work the Halo magic and make Destiny the way the studio wants to make it.

    One thing is for sure: things are going to change.

    At best, Bungie taking Destinyfully under its wing might remove the pressure for in-game transactions, including less emphasis on the Eververse shop where items can be purchased with real money. Fans have been happy to buy expansions, but less so cosmetics (players already have more shaders than they know what to do with).

    Although I’m optimistic about Bungie being able to take a more creative direction as an independent studio, there is also the problem of whether Destiny still has a strong enough player base to revitalize the series. According to Activision's earnings call last November, Forsaken wasn't enough to bring back all of Destiny 2's "core" audience.

    "We have not yet seen the full core re-engage in Destiny, which has kind of led to the underperformance against our expectations to date," Activision COO Coddy Johnson explained. "Some players we think are still in wait-and-see mode. So when you're in, you're deeply engaged. If you're not, we're hoping now's the time to bring players back in and win them back."

    Bungie’s freedom isn’t a blank check. Without Activision's marketing power behind it, Bungie could struggle to bring a wider playerbase back to Destiny 2, let alone sell it a new copy of the game, even with organic advertising sources such as streamers who tacitly encourage people to buy or return to the game. Over the years, Bungie and Activision have cultivated a close relationship with streamers and YouTubers, a population which requires a steady drip of game content to give their own audience something fresh. That content is still coming, but the updates are largely finite. After all, Destiny isn’t an esport or a phenomenon like Fortnite. Streamers can only carry the marketing of the game so far, with the exception of viral moments such as this week’s days-long Niobe Labs excursion.

    Bungie will have to figure out other ways to keep Destiny 2 fresh after Activision's exit. The upside is that whatever Activision was already doing for the game clearly wasn't working, according to the publisher, so change might be good. Otherwise, without the playerbase of days past, there’s a chance that the Destiny franchise will crumble earlier than it might have otherwise.

    But until the day the Tower falls, the future is bright — especially when it comes to the release schedule. The pace of Destiny content releases changed after The Taken King, presumably under Activision’s direction. It was Activision, Kotaku says, that encouraged the regular release of a substantial Year Two expansion each fall, with Destiny 2 itself also falling on that schedule. Meanwhile, events in 2018, such as giving away Destiny 2 for free as well as letting players who don’t own Forsaken play Gambit, one of the expansion's exclusive multiplayer modes, looked like increasingly desperate attempts to lure in fans who were on the fence.

    The Annual Pass, which costs $35 to unlock additional DLC otherwise locked behind a paywall, seemed especially designed to get people to shell out more money for a small amount of content, and even some die-hard fans aren’t willing to take that step. While I’ve enjoyed the Season of the Forge (disclaimer: I received a complimentary press copy of the Annual Pass), the content itself is a grind, the Forges feel half-baked, and there isn’t enough story to justify lore fans taking a closer look. What’s there is good — the Truth to Power saga is deliciously baffling and the new vendor, Ada-1, has a neat personal connection to the Guardian — but Ada’s story is told in short bursts behind activities that just aren’t very much fun. 

    Without Activision pushing Bungie to upload more content in smaller chunks, the studio could finally change Destiny 2's release schedule so that it feels like there's always something substantial to do in the game. Bungie could revert back to a schedule of seasonal expansions, as was the case before Forsaken. Or maybe it could switch to something completely different.

    "We’ll continue to deliver on the existing Destinyroadmap, and we’re looking forward to releasing more seasonal experiences in the coming months," Bungie said in a blog post announcing the split, "as well as surprising our community with some exciting announcements about what lies beyond."

    Bungie has been pretty good about responding to the community's requests for more content without following a tired trend: last year, instead of adding a battle royale mode, the team rolled out Gambit, a unique PvPvE mode that's kept me hooked to the game. Content is undoubtedly where Bungie will really be able to make the most difference sans Activision. 

    On the lore side, the possibilities are relatively slim in the short term. Destiny’s story, which underwent major changes before the series made its debut as most stories do, won’t necessarily be directly affected by the change while Destiny 2 is still the current installment, which will itself probably continue to wind down over the next year. But what about Destiny 3, which is rumored to be in development as we speak?

    A jump to a brand new sequel could see the return of concepts from the original, scrapped draft of the first game's story, such as Uldren working as an ally to the Guardian — especially likely now that he’s been reborn as one himself. There are also rumors that a theoretical Destiny 3 might find Guardians using Dark powers as well as Light, although you'll have to take that bit with a grain of salt. 

    And what of Bungie's next IP? The studio announced last summer that it had partnered with Chinese publisher NetEase to create a brand new franchise, which is rumored to be called Matter. NetEase invested $100 million in the developer to make it so. How will Bungie's work affect continued work on Destiny? We won't know the answer to that question for a while yet.

    What we do know for sure is that, without Activision, Bungie will now carry the full responsibility for Destiny in the eyes of its fans. If Bungie hopes to bring back the core player base (and some new players along the way), the studio is going to have to set new benchmarks — and I’m dying to know what those might be. With Anthem coming out in February, Destiny 2 might struggle to hang on to its remaining audience — but the people who remain have a trust in Bungie that's even stronger now that Activision is out of the picture.

    Megan Crouse writes about Star Wars and pop culture for StarWars.comStar Wars Insider, and Den of Geek. Read more of her work here. Find her on Twitter @blogfullofwords.


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    Before Super Mario Bros., there was the slightly less famous arcade machine, Mario Bros. We look back at Mario's first eponymous outing...

    Mario Bros: 1983 Classic
    Feature Ryan Lambie
    Jan 12, 2019

    In 1981, Donkey Kong emerged in arcades, hypnotizing a generation with its frightening difficulty, barrel-throwing ape and unassuming mustachioed hero, Jumpman. Four years later, that hero took his first step on the path to international stardom with Super Mario Bros, a game which would sell a legion of consoles and popularise the Italian plumber as one of the medium's most familiar characters.

    But nestled between Donkey Kongand that later console hit was Mario Bros, which first appeared in arcades in 1983. It was a solid, if not remarkable hit, but nowhere near of the same magnitude as Donkey Kong or Super Mario Bros. So why is Mario Bros, which served as the hero's first eponymous outing, relatively obscure compared to the games which followed?

    Like Donkey Kong, Mario Bros was a collaboration between Nintendo game designers Shigeru Miyamoto and Gunpei Yokoi. Having also worked together on the sequel Donkey Kong Jr, they began working on a new title starring Jumpman (although by this point, Jumpman had been rechristened Mario by someone at Nintendo of America - the name famously came from a warehouse landlord, Mario Segale).

    Further Reading: Super Mario's 20 Platformers Ranked

    Miyamoto was, he later admitted, inspired by a hit arcade game called Joust, designed by John Newcomer and released by Williams in 1982. Unlike the Donkey Kong games, Joustcould be played simultaneously by two players, and saw them flying around a static screen and knocking down enemy knights.

    Intent on making a two-player arcade game of their own, Miyamoto and Yokoi began throwing ideas around, including making Mario more athletic than he was in Donkey Kong, and creating the character's brother Luigi - essentially a palette-swapped version of the Mario sprite.

    Their ideas ultimately evolved into a fast-paced platform game, in which Mario or Luigi defeated enemies by striking the platform beneath them. Thus stunned, the player then jumped on the enemies to finish them off.

    This double-strike mechanic - the first to stun, the next to kill - ultimately led to Miyamoto's slightly surreal idea of having turtles as enemies: they're vulnerable while they're lying on their backs. These turtles would turn up in later Mario games as the Koopa Troopers (or Nokonoko in Japan).

    Further Reading: The Surreal Brilliance of Super Mario Land

    Looking back, Mario Bros is clearly a midpoint between Donkey Kong and Super Mario: the way platforms react when Mario strikes them from beneath is the same as that later game, spinning coins look remarkably similar, and the series' distinctive green pipes make their first appearance, too. Miyamoto later revealed that the inspiration for these came when he spotted some pipes sprouting from a concrete wall on the way from work one day. He couldn't, however, remember why he decided to color them green.

    Perfectly designed for the quick-fix atmosphere of the '80s arcade, Mario Bros is still a lot of fun when played today, particularly in two-player mode. It's more forgiving than the brutally tough Donkey Kong, too, though the sense of elation when a screen is completed isn't quite so pronounced because of this.

    Mario Bros may have been a bigger hit were it not for the unfortunate timing of its release - it appeared in American arcades when the country was in the midst of a video game slump. Mario Broswas, however, ported to a wide range of home computers and consoles, with Hudson Soft handling its port to Japanese machines like the PC-88, Ocean responsible for western 8-bit machines like the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. It's a testament to how casual Nintendo was with its properties at this point in its history that it even allowed Hudson Soft to create two sequels, Mario Bros Special and Punch Ball Mario Bros, released exclusively for Japanese computers. 

    Further Reading: The Terrifying Scientific Implications of the Mario Universe

    Nevertheless, Mario Bros would soon be roundly eclipsed by Super Mario Bros, a game grounded in the ideas established in that 1983 title, but also expanding on them; where Mario Bros was a single-screen game which took place against an austere black backdrop, Super Mario Bros was alive with movement and color. Its levels took in a range of locations as well as dingy underground areas. Mario could swim, change size, and, for the first time, spit fireballs. If Mario Bros was a biplane, Super Mario Broswas, by comparison, a fighter jet.

    When Super Mario Bros launched in the US in 1985, the game became synonymous with the NES, and as a result, Nintendo became far more protective over the title and its characters. The days of ports to other machines were over.

    Eclipsed though it was by the success of that 1985 hit, Mario Bros still occupies a vital place in gaming history. Nintendo certainly hasn't forgotten it. The game has been released on several modern systems, including the Wii, 3DS, Wii U, and the Switch. Containing the same buoyant, fun spirit as the later Mariogames if not their variety, Mario Brosremains a fascinating waypoint in the series' history. Plus, it gave the world commercials like this...


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    Super Mario Bros: The Movie remains a remarkable (and bizarre) video game movie. Here's why...

    Super Mario Bros. Movie Facts
    FeatureRyan Lambie
    Jan 13, 2019

    Adapting any art form into a movie presents a tricky proposition. It is, after all, easy to fall into the trap of being too reverential to the source material. Whether it happens to be a play, novel, or old television show you're making into a feature film, there has to be an element of invention, of reworking the source material into something that stands on its own as a piece of entertainment and - dare we say it - art.

    This would go some way to explaining why the 1993 feature-length adaptation of Nintendo's hit video game series only vaguely resembles the property on which it was meant to be based. Released in a busy summer season - one dominated by another flick with dinosaurs in it, Jurassic Park- Super Mario Bros. was a critical and financial flop.

    Made for a lavish $48 million (just $15 million less than Jurassic Parkcost to make), its $20-or-so million returns were surely grim reading for its investors. And given the talent involved, from its actors (Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper) to its filmmakers, exactly why it all went wrong is something of a mystery.

    Join us, then, as we dig into this frequently maligned film to see if we can find a few remarkable things to report about it...

    It's Surprisingly Murky

    For the army of kids who played Super Mario Bros. through the '80s and '90s, setting eyes on the movie adaptation must have been a bizarre childhood moment. The blue skies, cartoon landscape, and bouncy effervescence of the game are nowhere to be seen. Instead, there are animatronic dinosaurs, long shadows, and strange hints of sexual menace.

    As in the game, Mario and Luigi are a pair of Italian-American plumbers based in Brooklyn. They're played, respectively, by Hoskins and Leguizamo. Unlike The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, a late-'80s/early '90s attempt to turn the video game into a sitcom, the movie makes no attempt to replicate the colors of the game or its suggestions of cartoon humor. Instead, Mario's a sullen, somewhat cynical middle-aged man, while Luigi is in his 20s, idealistic, and oddly fascinated with pseudo-scientific TV shows.

    The plot sees Mario and Luigi drawn into an alternate universe created by the meteorite that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. This meteor, we learn, formed a parallel Earth where a few dinosaurs survived and evolved into cold-blooded humanoids. Princess Daisy (Samantha Mathis) is one of their reptilian numbers, and she's been kidnapped by Iggy and Spike (Fisher Stevens and Richard Edson respectively), the underlings of the evil King Koopa (Dennis Hopper).

    Further Reading: Why 1983's Mario Bros. Is Still So Important

    Koopa, who rules over the dystopian city of Dinohattan, hopes to use Princess Daisy and her meteorite fragment necklace to fuse the two parallel dimensions together and conquer the realm of humans. Needless to say, it's up to Mario and Luigi to head into the lizard dimension to stop him.

    The story's actually a bit more complicated than this, and there are all sorts of things in here about fungus and reptiles and resources. Really, though, the movie's more about spectacle than story, with directors Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel (previously of Max Headroom and D.O.A fame) seemingly more interested in exploring the gigantic dark sets they had constructed in a disused cement factory in North Carolina.

    Here, lizard women push their eggs down the street in pushchairs, street vendors sell fried salamanders in bread rolls, and neon King Koopa propaganda posters glower down from skyscrapers. It looks less Mushroom Kingdom and more Blade Runner noir.

    Bob Hoskins Didn't Know He Was Making a Video Game Movie

    There's a lot to be said for researching a role before you sign up to play it. Legend has it that Hoskins had no idea that Super Mario Bros. was based on a video game when he agreed to take the lead - it was only later, when his son happened to ask what he was working on, that the truth was revealed.

    The late Hoskins, who later admitted that he took the part for the money, would soon have his hopes of an easy paycheck thwarted. In a rather tight-lipped interview on Entertainment Tonight in 1993, Hoskins said, "If you're going to survive this film, you're going to have to be very, very careful [...] I got stabbed four times. Electrocuted. Broke a finger. Nearly got drowned. And that's just what happened to me..."

    Further Reading: Super Mario's Platformers Ranked

    These Rasputin-like brushes with death were only a small part of the grim things going on behind the scenes. The directors' desire to make a dark fantasy clashed with what investors' had in mind - namely, a cute family movie. A creative tug-of-war ensued, in which the script was repeatedly rewritten, often while scenes were actually being shot.

    In the nightmare of sets being built and torn down, accidents happened. It was Leguizamo who reportedly broke Hoskins' finger when a van driving sequence went wrong. Hoskins was forced to wear a flesh-colored plaster cast for the rest of the shoot - look carefully, and you'll spot Hoskins' frozen, plastered-up hand in some scenes.

    Leguizamo and Hoskins apparently found the production so depressing, they'd frequently drink between takes to relieve the tension. Years later, memories of Super Mario Bros. are still emotionally charged - even after almost two decades, the late Hoskins still counted the movie as his worst professional experience.

    Mario's Last Name Is Mario

    Not long after Mario and Luigi arrive in Dinohattan, they're arrested by the Police, who drive squad cars that look like something out of Mad Max. It's when they're hauled down to the precinct that we learn Mario's last name, which is, imaginatively, Mario. Exactly why the screenwriters bothered adding this detail isn't clear - it's not even written in as a gag, like that episode of The Simpsons where Homer goes on a quest to find out what the "J" in his middle name stands for.

    It's one symptom, perhaps, of Super Mario Bros.' nightmarish pre-production, where different writers were brought in to have a go at sculpting the script. The first, which imagined Super Mario as a straight fairytale fantasy movie along the lines of The Wizard of Oz or Shrek, was abandoned when original director Greg Beeman was replaced by Morton and Jankel.

    Further Reading: The Surreal Brilliance of Super Mario Land

    Two other drafts were written by Dick Clement and Ian la Frenais, the writing duo famed for TV shows such as Porridge and movies like The Commitmentsand Flushed Away. Their drafts were darker and more action-packed, and one even included a cameo from Bruce Willis, who would have been glimpsed in John McClane mode, crawling around a duct in Koopa's lair.

    It was Clement and la Frenais' script which attracted much of the acting talent - particularly Hopper, Hoskins, and Fiona Shaw, who plays Koopa's evil muse. Unfortunately for them, Clement and la Frenais were soon replaced by a new writing duo, and the script gradually mutated out of all recognition as the production went on. Willis had a lucky escape.

    An Old Lady Is Thrown off a Balcony

    Whether you approve of the direction Super Mario Bros.' makers took with the Nintendo property or not, it has to be said that some of the ideas in the resulting movie are quite interesting. Taken on its own terms rather than a video game adaptation, it's a weird, often surprising jumble of bickering humor and grungy action, complete with car chases and outlandish shootouts.

    It has to be said, though, that nobody involved seems particularly interested in the property's origins. It's even said that the directors had the desire to make a parallel universe fantasy movie before they took Super Mario Bros. on and simply adapted the property's characters to fit their pre-existing ideas. This might explain why the characters bear no resemblance to the ones in the video game, with King Koopa (otherwise known as Bowser) now a half-human, half-lizard instead of a monstrous turtle with a shock of red hair.

    Similarly, the game's cheerful mushroom fellow Toad is a busker played by Mojo Dixon in the movie and later turned into a Goomba (here imagined as a breed of shrunken-headed reptiles). Yoshi, the adorable dinosaur sidekick who first appeared in 1990's Super Mario World, makes an appearance here as a realistic yet still quite cute animatronic lizard who could have wandered in off the set of Jurassic Park. Even Mario and Luigi spend much of the film in a selection of hooded tops and baggy trousers - it's not until well past the half-way point that they finally get to don their more familiar red and green overalls.

    Further Reading: The Terrifying Scientific Implications of the Mario Universe

    Bertha is perhaps the most outlandish character adaptation in the whole movie. In Super Mario Bros. 3, Big Berthas are giant red fish. In the movie, Bertha's a large-framed woman who possesses uncanny physical strength. In one of the film's more surprising moments, she picks up an old lady who threatens Mario and Luigi and throws her over a balcony like a rag doll.

    By this point, one begins to wonder what would have happened if the directors had adapted Alice in Wonderland as a dark dystopia instead. The Mad Hatter probably would have been a crack dealer played by Harvey Keitel or something.

    Koopa Tries to Seduce Princess Daisy

    Following his astonishingly unfettered performance in Blue Velvet, we struggled to watch a subsequent movie starring Hopper in quite the same way. So when Hopper shows up in a movie with a family rating in a low-lit room with Princess Daisy, we're nervously wondering when he's going to start yelling, "Mommeee," or "Don't look at me!"

    Actually, what happens is only slightly less disturbing. With Princess Daisy holed up in Koopa's lair, which appears to be a parallel universe version of the Twin Towers, Hopper drinks a few shots of alcohol and starts making all sorts of discomforting comments. "You're so fresh, so clean," he hisses. "...you know what they say about little girls, don't you? They never forget their first kiss from a lizard..."

    Further Reading: Super Mario Maker and the Difficulty of Great Level Design

    Just when we thought the scene couldn't possibly get any creepier, Koopa lolls his long, lizard tongue around suggestively, while the princess looks on in horror. It's likely that Samantha Mathis didn't have to pretend to be frightened in this scene.

    Yoshi Is Stabbed

    As if Hopper's CG-assisted seduction of Princess Daisy weren't enough to freak out the under-10s in the audience, a late scene in which the princess is attacked by a knife-wielding Lina (Shaw) probably had them weeping into their popcorn. As Yoshi helps Princess Daisy escape by tripping up Lina with his massive tongue, the latter stabs the poor little creature in the back.

    It's a surprisingly cruel moment, even leaving aside the fact that, in one of the weirder collisions of pop culture, it's Harry Potter's Petunia Dursley sticking a knife into one of video gaming's most adorable characters. It's a bit like seeing Jon Pertwee setting fire to Bagpuss or Sean Bean throttling E.T.

    Mario and Luigi Go to a Nightclub

    It used to be an unwritten rule in the '80s and early-'90s that all films had to contain a scene set in a strip joint or seedy nightclub. True to form, Mario and Luigi put on a pair of gaudy suits and head to a dingy nightspot where scantily-clad dancers cavort to the Divinyl's cover of "Love Is the Drug."

    As if all the leather and tights weren't incongruous enough in a family movie, we're then treated to the edifying sight of Mario doing the bump n' grind with Bertha, as he attempts to seduce her into giving up the meteorite fragment/necklace thing she stole earlier.

    Further Reading: Shigeru Miyamoto Reveals Mario's True Age

    If the scene has a decidedly kinky '90s vibe as it stands, an earlier cut of the nightclub sequence would have seen Iggy and Spike clamber on stage to perform a rap song. A production photograph shows actors Richard Edson and Fisher Stevens joined on stage by a dancer in a decidedly PG-13-unfriendly outfit - which is possibly why the scene was cut. In case you were wondering what the rap was like, here's a sample of the lyrics, courtesy of SMB Movie:

    Well, we just met two plumbers who had an idea.
    They showed us the light and new frontier.
    Mario and Luigi - they know what's right.
    We gotta take a stand and put up a fight!

    Bob-omb Is Actually Quite Cute

    In a film in which we've already seen Yoshi stabbed and Princess Daisy menaced by Hopper, we were beginning to wonder whether any of the video game series' childlike whimsy had survived the transition. And then, somewhere around the 80-minute mark, a Bob-omb shows up - and for once, it looks almost exactly like its counterpart in the game. It's simply a little wind-up bomb with eyes, and looks adorably hand-made - like something from a Michel Gondry film.

    For a brief moment, as the little device trundles along the ground causing panic, its destructive power being far greater than its diminutive size implies, the sense of cruelty and cynicism lurking in the rest of the film briefly disappears. But then you happen to notice that the Bob-omb's wearing Reebok trainers...

    There's a Cameo from the Super Scope

    TheSuper Mario Bros. movie may have made only passing references to its video game source, but one particular Nintendo product did make a brief yet prominent cameo appearance. The Nintendo Super Scope was the company's next-gen replacement for its NES Zapper lightgun. Because of Nintendo's sensitivity over guns and violence, it decided to make the Super Scope look less like a pistol and more like some sort of shoulder-mounted mid-point between a bazooka and a periscope.

    This ungainly yet immediately recognizable peripheral appears in Super Mario Bros. as a devolution gun, a device which is used to turn a member of the Mafia into a chimpanzee in one scene, and Koopa into a puddle of primordial goo in another. Oddly, no one in the film mentions how annoying it is to have to fill the Super Scope (sorry, devolution gun) with six AA batteries, nor how sore their shoulder gets after wielding the thing for more than half an hour or so.

    Further Reading: 41 Dumb Consoles and Accessories Nobody Needs

    Okay, so this isn't the most remarkable point you could make about Super Mario Bros., but bear this in mind: the movie marks the first and only time Academy Award-nominated actor Hopper was spotted holding a Nintendo product. The scene illustrated above is also noteworthy for the repetition of one of the film's few potential catchphrases: "Trust the fungus!"

    Lance Henriksen Shows up for Approximately Three Seconds

    Super Mario Bros. opens with a bizarre computer-animated sequence that set the tone for the whole movie. With a voiceover by Dan Castellaneta, it simultaneously introduced the notion of an alternate universe full of dinosaur/human hybrids and also left audiences wondering if they'd showed up for the wrong picture. Legend has it that this opening scene was added at the last minute after executives worried that the film's premise didn't make sense.

    Fittingly, the movie ends in an equally bizarre manner. Throughout the last act, Princess Daisy has been pointing at a huge pile of fungus and goo and insisting that it's her father. On our first viewing, we simply assumed she'd been drinking, but in the final scenes, we discover that Daisy's been telling the truth all along: as the now dead Koopa's spell is lifted, the pile of goo morphs back into the King, played by none other than Lance Henriksen.

    Further Reading: Aliens and the Brilliance of Lance Henriksen's Bishop

    Incredibly, this brilliant actor is given little more than one line of dialogue: "[Cough]. I'm back. I love those plumbers." Exactly why such a great actor was brought in for such a brief scene isn't clear - like the opening, the sequence was shot way after principle photography was finished - but it's possible that Super Mario Bros. filmmakers thought Henriksen might make a bigger contribution to the sequel.

    With the movie's producers clearly expecting lots of money to be made, Super Mario Bros. ends on a cliffhanger. Princess Daisy comes bursting into Mario and Luigi's apartment dressed like Ripley, triggering the start of another adventure. Needless to say, that next adventure was never filmed - which is probably just as well. With the production of Super Mario Bros. proving to be such a nightmare, Hoskins may have been difficult to coax back into the role. It's perhaps fair, then, to give him the last word about the whole ordeal.

    "The worst thing I ever did? Super Mario Brothers," Hoskins said in a 2007 Guardian interview. "It was a fuckin' nightmare."


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    Breaking Bad: Criminal Elements is coming to mobile devices later this year...

    Breaking Bad: Criminal Elements Mobile Game
    News Rob Leane
    Jan 14, 2019

    Are you a guy who opens the door and gets shot, or are you the one who knocks? Will you let a rival drug lord go free, or will you poison the fella then dissolve him in acid? We can only imagine these are the types of tough choices you'll have to make in the newly announced, decision-driven Breaking Bad: Criminal Elements mobile game.

    The Hollywood Reporter broke the news, reporting that Sony Pictures Television has teamed up with FTX Games and Plamee to bring a mobile game based on Breaking Bad to life. With Better Call Saul continuing its run and Breaking Bad movie in the pipeline, it's clear that the Breaking Bad universe remains in good health despite the fact that the original AMC show ended more than five years ago.

    Players ofBreaking Bad: Criminal Elements will be tasked with growing their own illicit operation, with THR's article stating that "moral dilemmas and volatile personalities" will need to be navigated along the way. Walter White, Jesse Pinkman, Gus Fring, Saul Goodman, and Mike Ehrmantraut are among the iconic Breaking Bad characters that will show up in the game.

    Vince Gilligan - the creator of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, who is also working on the Breaking Bad movie - said this about the upcoming mobile game:

    "[FTX Games] care as much about the details as our creative team, and I have been very impressed with their commitment to building an authentic extension of the series' story universe. I think this will be a fun experience for fans, to interact with characters from Breaking Badin a completely new way."

    We also have this teaser trailer to share...

    Breaking Bad: Criminal Elements is expected to arrive later in 2019. We'll be sure to keep you furnished with updates as and when we see them.


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    A recent datamine effort revealed the names of some classic SNES games hidden in the Switch's code.

    News Matthew Byrd
    Jan 14, 2019

    Dataminers have uncovered new information that suggests Nintendo might add SNES games to the Nintendo Switch Online library of classic titles. 

    This information was first published by Twitter user Kapu who posted proof of code strings he found in the Nintendo Switch that contain the names of some notable SNES. Here's a list of the 22 games that have been discovered thus far: 

    Super Mario Kart
    Super Soccer
    The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
    Demon's Crest
    Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
    Stunt Race FX
    Kirby's Dream Course
    Pop'n Twinbee
    Star Fox
    Contra 3: The Alien Wars
    Kirby Super Star
    Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
    Kirby's Dream Land 3
    Super Metroid
    Super Mario World
    Pilotwings
    F-Zero
    Star Fox 2
    Super Punch-Out!!
    The Legend of the Mystical Ninja
    Super Mario All-Stars
    Breath of Fire 2

    Other dataminers have chipped in to share some information that really opens up some exciting possibilities. First off, it seems that these game names were not present in the original version of Switch Online's code (when the service launched with just NES games available as part of the classic library). On top of that, it seems the Switch's code references SNES emulation software (Canoe) and a mysterious third emulation tool that isn't currently officially tied to any known Nintendo systems (Hiyoko). 

    What does all of this mean? The popular theory at the moment is that Nintendo is taking back-end steps necessary to add SNES games to the Nintendo Switch Online's library of classic games (which, again, currently only features NES games). While that's hardly a given, it's hard to imagine what this information would relate to if not an influx of incoming SNES games. We've seen some of these titles on the SNES Classic, but the list of titles found via datamining and the list of titles included in the SNES Classic aren't 1:1. It's also possible that Nintendo might offer some kind of digital download package of the SNES Classic games (even if that doesn't explain the titles listed here not featured on the SNES Classic).

    It's also important to remember that the names of classic games don't usually hang around the Switch's code unless they relate to something. Remember that fans found references to the NES game Golf that turned out to lead to a hidden version of the game on the console. This was before Nintendo offered NES games via the online service. 

    The presence of additional emulator software has been interpreted to mean that the Switch could feature games from other Nintendo consoles at some point or that Nintendo is planning on developing more classic consoles. So far as that goes, Nintendo has previously suggested that an N64 Classic Edition is not in their immediate plans

    Nintendo has not yet released an official statement regarding why these game names are in the Switch's code, but we expect that we will hear more about this matter in the coming months if they are indeed related to titles Nintendo plans on adding to the console's online service. 

    Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014


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