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Celeste Raises the Bar for Storytelling in Games

If you’re anything like me, you were probably ecstatic when Celeste got a Game of the Year nomination for The Game Awards 2018. It may not have won, but the team at Matt Makes Games did go home with two other notable awards: “Best Independent Game” and “Games for Impact.” The latter, according to the Game Awards site, is “for a thought-provoking game with a profound pro-social meaning or message.” If you’ve played Celeste or are at least familiar with its themes of struggling with depression and anxiety, you’ll know this award was very well deserved.

I’m hardly the first to write about Celeste‘s portrayal of mental illness—I’m not even the first here at Gamnesia to sing the game’s praises—but as someone deeply touched by the game due to my own anxiety, I wanted to talk about how Celeste brilliantly blends this story with its challenging gameplay, and why that hands-down makes it my game of the year.

Warning: There will be major plot spoilers past this point.

If you follow game criticism, you might know of the term “ludonarrative dissonance.” This refers to when a video game’s story and gameplay do not mesh particularly well. For a recent example, look no further than Octopath Traveler (a game I also quite enjoyed). The game follows eight protagonists with individual goals and narratives, who wind up traveling together for no apparent reason aside from giving the player a full party, as per the JRPG norm.

Since the order of story chapters can vary per player, Octopath makes no real attempt to intertwine the travelers’ separate tales. In fact, story cutscenes only feature that particular chapter’s protagonist—on occasion you see the protagonist tossed into a prison cell alone, only to have the full party appear in jail with them when gameplay resumes. The game attempts to compensate for this with optional dialogue scenes in which the leader chats with another character about the chapter’s events, but while entertaining, this comes off more as a tiny bandage than an actual narrative solution.

So why do I bring up ludonarrative dissonance? Because Celeste pulls off the exact opposite, blending the game’s story beats with appropriate gameplay and level design, thus bringing out the best in each part. Arguably the best example of this occurs during the story’s turning point in Chapter 6. After Madeline finally opens up to Theo about her struggle with depression and how that motivated her to climb Celeste Mountain, she thinks the solution is to leave behind her vices and negative energy, which have taken the form of the antagonist Badeline (typically referred to as “Part of Me” in-game, but Badeline is her official name according to Towerfall). This attempt to deny the parts of her that she hates backfires when Badeline retaliates and tosses Madeline halfway back down the mountain.

Farther into the chapter, Madeline realizes that Badeline, being “Part of [Her],” cannot be destroyed or left behind, and she tries to make amends, proposing they work together. Badeline, who shares Madeline’s fears and anxieties about the climb, pushes back at first, creating the closest thing Celeste has to a boss battle. The two eventually make peace, and as they merge into a more powerful form, the words “LEVEL UP” flash on-screen.

Celeste has no actual level-up system, but the player quickly discovers that Madeline can now do not one, but two mid-air dashes per jump, which aids her in finishing the climb in Chapter 7. Here, rather than ludonarrative dissonance, we see an excellent example of ludonarrative resonance (or harmony, depending on your preference): with her breakthrough in the narrative, Madeline becomes stronger in the game, which complements the game’s theme of coping with mental illness.

On a personal note, this and many other moments in the game’s story resonated with me and my own journey through anxiety — but as I got to the more challenging B-Side stages, I found that observing Madeline’s character arc also made me a better Celeste player. I’m typically the kind of gamer that can rage pretty easily at challenging single-player games like this; Celeste‘s post-game levels are no slouch! But during my run of the Chapter 7 B-Side, I had a different reaction.

When I started to rage, I considered Chapter 7’s premise: Madeline accepts Badeline as Part of Her, and through their new bond they become stronger together. As I thought about that, I found myself channeling my frustration into determination (here’s to you, Undertale!), which helped me push myself even farther before I needed a well-deserved breather. That moment of clarity was when I knew Celeste would easily be one of my top games of 2018, and ever since, I have tried to carry similar lessons with me on some of my more stressful or anxious days.

I could point to several other moments in Celeste that helped me process my anxiety or that I could strongly relate to, but for now, I would encourage everyone to check out some of the countless other articles and videos that have been made on that very subject. And if you aren’t one of the roughly half million people to give the game a shot, I highly recommend checking it out or at least watching an LP – especially if anxiety or depression plays a big role in your life too. Celeste isn’t a perfect symbol of these struggles, nor is it a substitute for real mental health treatment, but it’s a beautiful reminder that we’re never alone in that fight.

As the game’s director, Matt Thorson, put it in his Game Awards acceptance speech:

“If Celeste has helped you come to terms with mental illness … you deserve credit for that. That change came from inside of you, and you are capable of a lot more.”
— Matt Thorson

Keep climbing, my friends.

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Nintendo Treehouse Takes a Closer Look at Killer Queen Black

Tuesday’s E3 Nintendo Direct gave countless viewers a shock when Sakurai, having caved to fan demand, announced Ridley as a fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Personally, though, I got nearly as much of a jolt (and even more excitement) from another surprise reveal earlier in the Direct: a reveal trailer for Killer Queen Black, an adaptation of BumbleBear Games’ hit arcade game Killer Queen for home platforms. For the final segment of today’s Nintendo Treehouse stream, we got a closer look at Killer Queen Black‘s gameplay and its changes from the arcade version.

For those unfamiliar, here’s an overview of the arcade version’s gameplay. One player per team controls the Queen, armed with a sword, while the other players control Drones, who perform various tasks around the map—they can also evolve into Warriors and join the Queen in taking down the other team’s players. What makes the gameplay so deep and intricate is that there are three ways to win a round; a match is decided by best of five. A Military Victory is achieved when the Queen, who has three lives, is defeated. Drones can also claim an Economic Victory by bringing enough berries to their team’s base, or a Snail Victory by slowly riding the snail at the bottom of the screen to the corresponding goal—all while avoiding an assault by the opposing teams Queen and Warriors.

The original Killer Queen began as a single arcade cabinet of a 5-on-5 team strategy platformer, with one huge screen per team. Through popular demand and various crowdfunding efforts, cabinets have slowly spread across the United States. Now, BumbleBear has partnered with developer Liquid Bit to bring the game to Nintendo Switch and PC as Killer Queen Black. The folks at Nintendo Treehouse spoke to staff from BumbleBear and Liquid Bit, who showed hands-on gameplay and described some of the changes to the home version; this includes cutting teams to four player each, presumably to make the game more console-friendly, as well as online and local play between Switches. You can check out the reveal trailer and full Treehouse coverage below!

Killer Queen Black is currently expected to launch this winter in the first quarter of 2019. Having played the game with friends at Up-Down in Kansas City, I could not be more excited to see Killer Queen reach a wider install base.

Sources: Nintendo Treehouse Live @ E3 2018, Polygon

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Get a Limited Physical Edition of Myst 25th Anniversary Collection Exclusively on Kickstarter

Last month, Cyan Worlds announced plans for a 25th anniversary re-release of their critically-acclaimed Myst series on Windows 10. Cyan also hinted at a possible physical collector’s edition in that announcement and is delivering on that promise, but there’s a catch: the collector’s edition will be available only as a pledge incentive during the Myst 25th Anniversary Collection Kickstarter, which went live earlier today.

As explained in the previous announcement, Cyan notes in the Kickstarter description that they needed to reacquire the publishing rights to some games in the series before announcing the bundle. With the Kickstarter page live, we now know that Cyan worked with GOG.com to upgrade the games for Windows 10; they also mentioned exploring options for a future Mac release.

In total, Myst 25th Anniversary Collection will include the following seven games:

  • Myst: Masterpiece Edition
  • Riven: The Sequel to Myst
  • Myst 3: Exile
  • Myst 4: Revelation
  • Myst 5: End of Ages
  • Uru: Complete Chronicles
  • realMyst: Masterpiece Edition

The first reward tier, for pledges of $49 or more, will get you download codes for all seven games from Steam or GOG. The next tier of $99 or more nets you that as well physical copies of the game in a box resembling the classic Myst book; again, the physical bundle is only available via this Kickstarter. More expensive rewards include the same book-shaped bundle with an animated LCD panel, resembling the game’s in-book animations; a replica of Gehn’s pen and beetle inkwell; and a limited reward of hand-drawn Riven sketch art, which is already sold out (physical rewards include an additional shipping fee).

The target amount for the Kickstarter is $247,500, which was, in fact, surpassed tonight as I wrote this article. Cyan explained that the high goal was due to the need for a minimum number of collector’s edition orders:

To deliver a high-quality Myst collector’s edition at a reasonable price, we need to have a minimum number of orders. Based on quotes for the design, tooling and manufacturing, we’ve calculated that we need at least 2,500 orders at the $99 tier or above (2,500 * $99 = $247,500) to achieve the bare minimum and move forward. — Cyan Worlds, Inc.

According to the first reward tier description, the digital versions of the Myst 25th Anniversary Collection games are expected to launch in August. The collector’s edition and other physical rewards have an estimated delivery of November 2018. For more info, you can check out the video above, featuring Adam Conover of Adam Ruins Everything fame, as well as Cyan CEO Rand Miller (who fans will also recognize as Atrus from the games); or you can check out the Kickstarter page in the link below. For those who want to contribute and effectively pre-order the collector’s edition, the campaign officially ends on May 24th at 12:02 PM CST.

Are you excited for modern playable versions of Myst? Will you be backing this Kickstarter? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Kickstarter

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The Myst Series is Getting a Full 25th Anniversary Re-Release

2018 marks the 25th anniversary of Myst, the critically lauded point-and-click adventure/puzzle game by developer Cyan. The Mac/PC game’s surprise success led to five main-series titles over 12 years, an online multiplayer spinoff, novels supplementing the lore, a Hulu series announcement (that we have heard nothing new about for some time now), and much more. While the older Myst games have not aged well when it comes to modern platforms, it turns out that Cyan has been working on a full series re-release, which they announced this weekend.

For those unfamiliar with the series, the original game is set on a gorgeous island called “Myst,” containing bizarre buildings, puzzles, and messages left by a man named Atrus. By reading notes and clues left in Atrus’ library, the player solves puzzles and discovers “linking books” to other worlds, leading to further exploration and puzzle solving as they gradually piece together the mysteries (get it?) of the island and discover what happened to Atrus and his family. The gameplay of the first two titles,
Myst and the aptly named Riven: The Sequel to Myst, is rather basic: you move around areas by clicking from one single screen to the next, interacting with objects and puzzles along the way. Later games and remakes in the series featured more advanced camera and movement controls.

Earlier this month, Cyan teased at a 25th anniversary announcement,
tweeting a picture of the iconic “Myst” book with a sticky note labeled “25” attached. This weekend, an official statement went up on the Myst website and Cyan’s social media channels, announcing updated Windows 10 versions of the entire series:

“Over the last few years we’ve been working to procure the rights to make all of the Myst games available. As an indie developer, resources are limited for development, and acquiring rights isn’t always an option. But we managed to finally talk to all the right people and departments and put some funding together to try to make it happen. With agreements in place, we’re happy to announce that we’ll be releasing updated (for Windows 10) versions of all the Myst games later this year!”
— Cyan

Cyan also teased a limited physical edition of the series, as well as the possibility of more
Myst titles in the future:

“There will probably be more adventures in the Myst universe, but we’re reserving 2018 for remembering our journey, and making something special to commemorate the last 25 years.”
— Cyan

This series has been truly meaningful to me since my early childhood. Myst was the one computer or video game I encountered in those days that my whole extended family could get into, which was my first hint that maybe gaming wasn’t just for children after all. While I was too young to figure out the bulk of the first game on my own, my dad put together a journal containing our own personalized walkthrough as we all progressed, including a sketch of the island, notes on various puzzles, and even the silly names we came up with for the game’s various locales like “Metal Myst” and “Tree World.”

I’m also excited at the opportunity to play the full series for the first time. Most of the games are currently available on Steam and GOG, but
Myst and Riven do not run particularly well, if at all, on modern PCs. Furthermore, Ubisoft, who published Myst III: Exile and Myst IV: Revelation, have sat on the publishing rights for years, not bothering to bring the games to modern platforms or marketplaces. So it’s particularly thrilling to hear that, in an industry full of nostalgia and other remasters, Cyan will at last be able to give this cult classic series the modern recognition it deserves.

Cyan’s announcement post concludes with a line from the original Myst intro: ”
The ending has not yet been written…” I couldn’t be happier to hear that again.

If you’re curious about
Myst in the meantime, you can look up several of the games on Steam or GOG, or try out Cyan’s latest release, a Myst-esque adventure game called Obduction. If anyone needs me, I’ll be doing the same.

Source: PCGamer, Myst.com

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A Fan-Made Mega Man Stage Creator Launches This Weekend

As the only “new” Mega Man content we get from Capcom continues to appear in the form of Legacy Collection ports, it seems that fans are as motivated as ever to make their own games starring the blue bomber. Mega Man 2.5D was published several months ago after nearly eight years in development, but this Saturday, a very different fan game will arrive: Mega Maker, a level editing game based on the first six classic Mega Man titles.

Mega Maker was built from the Game Maker engine by programmer WreckingPrograms, along with a small team of programmers, artists, and composers. The stage editor includes plenty of assets from Mega Man 1-6 on the NES, including 40 backgrounds, 129 tilesets, 63 music tracks, 12 bosses, and more. As you can see in the trailer above, several of the game’s 24 special weapons have been tweaked with new abilities; the Charge Kick now allows Mega Man to air dash, for example. This also includes two new weapons based on Super Smash Bros.: namely, Fox’s Reflector and Meta Knight’s Mach Tornado.

Much like Super Mario Maker, Mega Maker will allow players to upload their levels and play other users’ creations. This also includes features such as a rating system and custom user profiles. The Mega Maker team plans to keep supporting the game with new content after release, such as additions from Mega Man 7 (and so on) and some new features altogether.

Mega Maker launches on Saturday, July 15th, and will be free to download from the game’s official website. The team originally planned to accept Patreon donations for server costs (with the game still being free of charge), but that will no longer be the case. WreckingPrograms announced in a video last weekend that the game’s server provider has offered to host the server free of charge. As for the legal questions invariably raised whenever a new fan game starts getting attention, he doesn’t sound too worried. Capcom has been quite lenient of fan projects in the past, and they even officially published the fan-made crossover Street Fighter X Mega Man.

Will you be trying out your own Mega Man creations, or maybe just enjoying others’? Let us know in the comments!

Source: Mega Maker Website, Rockman Corner

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A Fan is Gorgeously Reimagining All Your Favorite Mega Man Games in “Mega Man 2.5D”

If your Mega Man itch wasn’t scratched by the lackluster Mighty No. 9 or the latest Legacy Collection repackaging, this new fan game might be what you’re looking for. Since 2009, game developer / animator Peter Sjöstrand has been working on Mega Man 2.5D, a free-to-download PC game starring the blue bomber and a collection of his old Robot Master nemeses. Sjöstrand published the completed version of his project yesterday, along with a new release trailer that you can watch above.

While the project began as a 2.5D remake of Mega Man 2 and 3, Sjöstrand has made lots of changes over the years, turning Mega Man 2.5D into a classic Mega Man reimagining that borrows from the majority of the NES-era series, including 2008’s Mega Man 9. The complete game features eight Robot Masters and levels ranging from Mega Man 2 to 9; even Time Man, exclusive to the PSP remake Mega Man Powered Up, makes an appearance. Players can run through the campaign as Mega Man or Proto Man, and the game includes local 2-player co-op, a VS mode, 2.5D visuals, beautifully remixed music, and more.

You can download the full game from Sjöstrand’s website. Capcom doesn’t appear to have the same DMCA-happy history as Nintendo, but to be safe you might want to grab it sooner rather than later if interested. So far I’ve only played a little bit for myself, but while it’s not AM2R quality, it feels appropriately challenging for a game of its style.

Have you given Mega Man 2.5D a shot? What’s your favorite fan game, if any? Let us know in the comments!

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Zelda: Breath of the Wild is Dropping a Feature That’s Been in Nearly Every Zelda Game

We’ve known since last year’s E3 that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be the first game in the series to feature voice acting on a larger scale than the typical grunts and yells. This was apparent in the reveal trailer when a voice says, “Open your eyes […] Wake up, Link,” which also called into question whether players would be able to enter their own name for Link when starting a save file; this has almost always been the case since as early as A Link to the Past. But in a recent interview / gameplay presentation, series producer Eiji Aonuma confirmed that, for the first time since the NES Zelda titles (excluding the multiplayer spin-off Four Swords Adventures), players will not be able to change Link’s name in-game.

YouTuber Zeltik posted a video including the interview clip and analyzing the news, which you can watch above; you can also see the full interview here. While this deviates to some extent from what Aonuma has previously said about Link being a blank slate on which players can project themselves, Zeltik argues that this design choice improves the immersion of the game—especially considering the game’s voice actors will refer to Link by name, and not your favorite curse word. Whether we will still be able to name individual save files remains unclear.

Are you sad to see this feature disappear in favor of voice acting? How do you feel about voice acting in general? Let us know in the comments below!

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And the Most Disappointing Game of 2016 is…

While some of my Gamnesia colleagues have had the honor of discussing 2016’s gaming highlights, it now falls on me to reflect on one of the year’s most crushing disappointments. But what to choose? No Man’s Sky, although eventually cleared of false advertising charges, suffered from criticism of misleading advertising, as well as some advertised features still being absent from the game. While Pokémon GO has certainly been successful, it’s been similarly frustrating that Niantic struggled for so long to fix tracking issues, and that early-promised features such as trading have yet to arrive nearly six months later. As for my personal choice for 2016’s most disappointing game… well, I wouldn’t say it left me crying like an anime fan on prom night, but it was still pretty upsetting. So let’s talk about the only remaining game in the banner above (whoops, spoiler alert!): Mighty No. 9.

Back in the early ’90s, when I was still digging into the NES’s vast library, my first big gaming obsession was Mega Man. Fast-forward nearly 20 years, and former Mega Man artist Keiji Inafune announces the Kickstarter for a game that promises to fill the blue-bomber-shaped void left by Capcom in recent years. Nostalgia and a promising amount of successful, crowdfunded games encouraged Mega Man fans to meet the initial goal as well as the numerous stretch goals, ending the campaign with over $4 million. Yet after multiple delays that kept backers waiting over a year, the final product was not only mediocre at best, but a cluster of failed promises due to poor execution. From a business standpoint, Mighty No. 9 was an utter failure; speaking as a longtime Mega Man fan, I think it’s fair to call it not only the most disappointing game of 2016, but the biggest gaming letdown of my life.

Admittedly, I am far from an expert on the business side of the gaming industry – I recommend The Jimquisition’s overview as an excellent summary of that side of Mighty No. 9‘s struggles. But it doesn’t take an expert to realize that Inafune made too many promises when it came to Kickstarter stretch goals. By the end of the campaign, Comcept had promised PC, Mac, and Linux versions, as well as ports for nearly every console of the current and previous generations – even 3DS and Vita ports. Yet due to porting difficulties, several console ports, such as Xbox 360, failed to meet the final projected release date; even now the portable versions are still TBD.

As I look back at the list of stretch goals on MN9‘s Kickstarter page, I also find the order and priority of various stretch goals questionable. That Inafune would fund a making-of documentary for an unproven IP may or may not have made sense during my naïve, nostalgia-fuled hype phase, but it now seems odd to prioritize a film patting himself on the back before various console ports – especially when his game’s spiritual predecessor was such an icon in early console gaming.

Stretch goals for additional stages were also scattered around the list, including one for an intro stage (pretty common to the later Mega Man and X games), and another for a solo stage starring Call, the game’s “Roll” equivalent (Rock and Roll? Beck and Call? GET IT?! Sigh…). Sadly, this stretch goal provided us with one of the worst levels of the game, in which Call’s noticeably different gameplay makes the boss and various enemies unnecessarily frustrating by deviating too far from the previously established mechanics. Simply put, it appears Comcept overestimated their capabilities when announcing the various stretch goals, prioritizing quantity of content over quality of design.

As messy as the crowdfunding side of things became, what really let me down as a Mega Man fan and Mighty No. 9 backer was the sloppy gameplay and level design. I will happily point out that the game has a few decent levels, as well as some interesting ideas that pay homage to its predecessor while trying to set itself apart. The most striking difference from classic Mega Man is protagonist Beck’s “assimilation” ability. By dashing, Beck can absorb weakened enemies, sometimes earning powerups, and he also uses this mechanic to make bosses good again. The old-school Mega Man himself, a peace-loving robot who sometimes questioned the merit of saving the world through violence, would love this concept of defeating without destroying, but the game’s reliance on dashing can get frustrating. As Honest Game Trailers’ video puts it, the level design ironically seems to punish dash-happy players with “falling platforms and pits, instant death spikes, and sadistic enemy placement.” Were this a full review, I could go on for much longer about things like the tedious dialogue and hit-and-miss boss fights, some of which make you question whether Inafune ever understood how classic Mega Man works… but that might require another playthrough, and after writing this I just don’t have the heart.

2016 has truly been a bizarre year, including for gaming. It’s ironic that a fan game, one quickly shunned by Nintendo, so successfully scratched the itch Metroid fans have felt for years, while one of the names most closely associated with Mega Man failed so spectacularly to breathe new life into an old franchise’s legacy. Having completed the game once, though, I wouldn’t say Mighty No. 9 is the worst game I’ve ever played. Once I got the hang of the core gameplay and learned how to track the ideal boss order, some of the levels weren’t half bad. Even so, considering the massive nostalgia that fueled Keiji Inafune’s crowdfunding success and the various promises he and Comcept set out to fulfill, what would otherwise be just a so-so game has turned into a masterclass on how not handle a Kickstarter campaign, let alone make a single indie game.

As far as we know, Inafune is still planning a sequel to Mighty No. 9 despite these blunders, and as skeptical as I am, I truly hope he learns from his mistakes and makes a solid game.

But he would be wise to stay the hell away from Kickstarter.

With all that said, what’s your pick for the year’s most disappointing game? Let us know in the comments!


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Gravity Falls’ Creator and a Marvel Film Writer are in Talks to Write the Detective Pikachu Movie

While the chances of Danny DeVito voicing Great Detective Pikachu‘s titular character aren’t looking too hot, Legendary Pictures has some intriguing news regarding the staff of the upcoming live-action Pokémon film. According to a report from Variety, writers Nicole Perlman and Alex Hirsch are currently in talks to write the film adaptation of the 3DS game Great Detective Pikachu. Even if these two don’t sound familiar to you, there’s a high chance you’re at least familiar with some of their film and TV work, respectively.

Nicole Perlman is best known for co-writing the Guardians of the Galaxy script, as well as working on the first Thor movie; Marvel has also hired her to write for the upcoming Captain Marvel film. Alex Hirsch is the producer of the hit Disney animated series Gravity Falls, and he has contributed as a writer, animator, and voice actor to various other TV series and projects. You may also remember his drawings of several presidential candidates in Pokémon form, should anyone need evidence of his creative potential with respect to the franchise. This would be Hirsch’s first film credit.

Personally, I quite enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy, and as a big fan of Gravity Falls and Hirsch’s work in general, my excitement level for this movie has gone from “mildly interested” to “Mabel on a sugar high.” How do you feel about these writer choices for Great Detective Pikachu? What else would you like to see from the first live-action Pokémon adaptation? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Variety

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Gravity Falls’ Creator and Director Both Visited SEGA Yesterday

The cartoon masterpiece Gravity Falls may have concluded last month, but series creator Alex Hirsch has stayed active on the web via his witty tweets; you’ve probably seen his recent drawings of presidential Pokémon by now. Yesterday, Hirsch and Gravity Falls director Matt Braly each tweeted a picture of themselves by a Sonic the Hedgehog statue at what appears to be the SEGA of America HQ. When a fan asked if he is involved with a 25th anniversary Sonic title, Hirsch responded, “I cannot confirm any rumors.”

While we should take this with several grains of salt for now, any Gravity Falls fan knows Alex Hirsch loves to keep things mysterious—so why not speculate just a bit? Hirsch is certainly a gifted writer, artist, and voice actor (many of the voices in Gravity Falls are his own), so having him on board in any way would be an excellent addition to Sonic‘s production value. It may also be that the man is simply showing off his wacky nerd cred—not that he needs to so soon after drawing Donald Trump as a Muk.

Do you think Hirsch and SEGA have any surprises in store? Share your thoughts below!

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See How Zelda: Twilight Princess HD’s Upgraded Story Trailer Compares to the Original Game’s Scenes

Earlier today Nintendo dropped a new story trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD, and it comes as little surprise that the talented folks at GameXplain have already covered it in a new comparison video. Placing the trailer for the upcoming HD re-release side-by-side with the same scenes from the Wii version, the video shows a close-up of several scenes from the trailer for extra attention to detail; a comparison for the full trailer follows afterward. While the graphics on the Wii U side don’t look particularly new, the images and textures are certainly much crisper. You can judge for yourself by watching the video above, and let us know what you think in the comments!

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Mega Man’s Getting These Officially-Licensed Headphones Sometime Soon

If you haven’t grabbed last summer’s Mega Man helmet, here’s your chance at another piece of hardware based on the blue bomber. Electronics manufacturer EMIO has unveiled a limited edition pair of HD LED Mega Man-themed headphones, officially licensed by Capcom. Styled after Mega Man’s helmet, the set is now available to preorder only in the US for $99.99 with free shipping. It is worth noting, however, that no specs are listed on EMIO’s page, so as nice as these headphones look, the quality is unclear at this time.

Source: EMIO

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Daily Delib: What Kinds of Let’s Plays Do You Enjoy?

Ever since Jimmy Kimmel mocked “Let’s Players” – those bizarre creatures who record themselves playing video games for YouTube – and the followers who eat this content up, YouTube gaming in general has become an interesting topic of discussion. As a gamer who has only started getting into LPs fairly recently, I thought it would be neat to offer my own experiences and thoughts on why watching Let’s Plays can be a fun pastime.

During my semester abroad in college, I stumbled upon a Let’s Play of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which happened to finish just before my semester ended. I resisted bringing my 3DS on that trip because I didn’t want a tempting excuse not to go exploring, but I found that this LP was a nice source of escapism at night if I felt homesick (I then went on to play a 100% run—okay, fine, minus the Nintendo Gallery—of the game within my first week of coming home).

Aside from a vague knowledge of who PewDiePie was, I never followed the world of Let’s Plays all that closely afterward. This began to change last year when my roommates sat me down and forced me to watch some guy called Markiplier play a new game called Five Nights at Freddy’s (on the off chance you’ve heard of that). This was when I truly began to appreciate LPs as a form of entertainment. As a guy who has only owned Nintendo consoles my whole life and has never had a very Steam-friendly laptop, I’ve found that Let’s Plays are a great way to branch out and learn about a massive selection of games I might enjoy but have usually lacked the means to try. There are also plenty of games I’m not especially interested in playing myself (or just plain suck at) yet are actually pretty fun to watch, especially with the right people. I’ve even bonded closely with new friends over LPs like FNAF in some cases, just as some might do over a good movie or Netflix binge.

If anything, it seems to me like YouTube and the rise of Let’s Plays have massively broadened the potential of gaming as an entertainment form. Having said that, my take is probably nothing new; so what about yours? Do you prefer to watch certain games or LPers rather than play the game yourself? Any recommendations for less mainstream LPers to watch? Or do you find it all a waste of time? Have at it in the comments below!

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Stephen Colbert Experiences an In-Depth Demo of No Man’s Sky on The Late Show

The gaming community has gotten a bit more attention on late night TV since Jimmy Kimmel’s infamous take on Let’s Players. A mere day after chatting with PewDiePie, Stephen Colbert discussed No Man’s Sky with Hello Games cofounder Sean Murray on the latest episode of The Late Show. To put the size of the No Man’s Sky universe in perspective, Murray told Colbert it would be impossible to discover all “18 quintillion planets” in a lifetime, “even if a planet was discovered every second.” Colbert then spent most of the segment watching Murray play the game itself; they even named some newly discovered species (and more) after Stephen himself. You can watch the full interview above!

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Features

Daily Delib: Should Retailers Ease Their Limits on How Many Amiibo Each Customer Can Buy?

The supply of many Amiibo figures has been so unpredictable and aggravating since the product’s launch back in November, it comes as no surprise that Amiibo have repeatedly been the topic of a Daily Delib here at Gamnesia. With cancelled pre-orders, retailer exclusives, and even a few bundle-exclusive figures, the situation has simply been unacceptable, whether you’re looking to collect them all or just want to use the in-game abilities of a few. For this Delib, however, I thought it would be interesting to discuss a fairly common retailer tendency we have yet to tackle: restricting customers from buying duplicates of an Amiibo in one purchase.

To bring up a recent example, Amazon staggered the release times of the latest Amiibo wave on September 11th, and it prevented customers from buying more than one of each. I went to my local Toys “R” Us that day, and among the sea of Bowser Jr. figures sat a sign to notify customers of the same rule. On one hand, I applaud the idea of regulating sales to avoid both massive shortages and scalping; nobody wants another Rosalina-esque scarcity on their hands, after all. Having said that, perhaps one-of-each-per-person is an overcorrection; such strict limits can create a frustrating situation if someone wants to grab some additional figures for friends. Not everyone lives near a GameStop or Toys “R” Us (who did without pre-orders altogether for its most recent exclusive), and others might not be available for the mad dash when Amazon opens up orders.

Given all this, is one-per-person okay, or should retailers look for a happy medium? Is the Amiibo situation doomed to be an eternal headache? Have at it in the comments below!

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3DS News

Gravity Falls: Legend of the Gnome Gemulets Now Has an October Release Date

Two months ago Ubisoft released a trailer for their upcoming Gravity Falls 3DS title. Soon after, the major US retailers put the game up for pre-order with a tentative November release, but today an unofficial Gravity Falls Twitter fan page confirmed that retailers have a new release date for Gravity Falls: Legend of the Gnome Gemulets: October 20th.

The game’s Amazon page offers a handful of gameplay images, which you can check out below. While they don’t give much new info, we get to see the Mystery Twins themselves exploring various locales from the series. The lower screen in each image features Dipper’s journal opened to a Quest Log objective page, along with what appears to be item inventory. Because all the images remain on that screen, it looks like it’s up to us fans to interpret what the other tabs might contain for now—though most of them look self-explanatory.

Gravity Falls: Legend of the Gnome Gemulets launches for Nintendo 3DS on October 20th for $29.99 ($29.96 if you pre-order from Amazon or Walmart).

Are you fellow Gravity Falls fans going to give this game a shot? Let us know down in the bottomless pit…er, I mean, the comments!

Source: Amazon

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News

The Retro Amiibo Three-Pack Figures Won’t Be Sold Individually in North America

Over the past few days we’ve reported on a GameStop-exclusive Amiibo three-pack including Duck Hunt, R.O.B., and Mr. Game & Watch. It was previously assumed that after the three-pack’s release, the individual figures would be available at any retailer. But today, in a Facebook post confirming the North American release dates of upcoming figures, Nintendo stated that the three retro Amiibo will only be available in the three-pack, not sold separately. 

GameStop will take limited in-store preorders beginning August 8th at 9:00 AM (local time), and the pack’s official release date is September 25th.

Source: Nintendo (via Facebook)

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News PC Retro Videos

Here’s What Deku Link Could Look Like in Unreal Engine 4

It hasn’t been long since The Legend of Zelda got the Unreal Engine 4 makeover, but the Hero of Hyrule has already returned for more…in a way. For several weeks YouTuber CryZENx has uploaded videos featuring various classic characters within the graphics engine, including Mario, Sonic, the original starter Pokémon, and even Kirby. This latest video features Deku Link from Majora’s Mask spinning around the open-world demo from previous installments. While simplistic compared to some earlier videos in the series, this may be some of the smoothest character design yet. Click above to see for yourself!

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Features Wii U

Daily Delib: Should Future Splatfests Have a Different Scoring System?

On the 4th of July, Splatoon finally had its first North American Splatfest, Cats vs. Dogs. The next morning we got to see the results, and to my admitted surprise, my dogs just barely snagged an overall victory! But when all was said and done, was Splatfest’s final scoring system, which took into account more than a simple majority of victories, justified?

The first category Callie and Marie revealed during the results show was popularity. I was shocked to learn that Team Dog had actually dethroned the Internet’s favorite pet by nearly two thirds, winning that category over Team Cat at 62–38 percent. However, this made the next category of results, which was percentage of wins, especially impressive. Despite dramatically lower numbers, the cats narrowly clinched a majority here with 51 percent. For the final score, each team’s win percentage was doubled, then added to their popularity percentage. In the end, Team Dog’s massive popularity advantage was just enough to land them a 160–140 victory.

As thrilled as I was to see my team win the first Splatfest, I have mixed feelings on the way things were scored overall. While many players I saw in Inkopolis the next day were good sports in their posts, I also saw a few Team Cat people who were understandably upset (if not sometimes overdramatic) that they lost because of popularity of all reasons. I can somewhat appreciate that it didn’t simply come down to a simple majority of wins to keep things interesting, but I wonder if they could’ve gone with something better than popularity, such as the ranking system used for rewards (Cat Fanboy/Fangirl, Dog King/Queen, etc.). Regardless, I enjoyed the overall presentation and competition and am excited to see more Splatfests on the way!

Would you prefer to see a different system next time, or was it fair to you? Or does this go into “who cares, it’s just a game” territory for you? As long as we’re on the topic, is there anything else you enjoyed or would prefer to see changed for future Splatfests? Leave your thoughts below!

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3DS News Trailers Videos

Gravity Falls is Getting a Video Game on Nintendo 3DS

Ubisoft isn’t exactly a stranger to delivering licensed TV show games, having released the critically acclaimed South Park: The Stick of Truth last year (plus a sequel currently in the works). This fall, the publisher will take on another successful animated series with Gravity Falls: Legend of the Gnome Gemulets, exclusively for Nintendo 3DS.

From the teaser trailer, we see that the Disney cartoon’s first game adaptation will be a 2D platformer, which is commonplace for licensed cartoon titles. On that note, the gameplay looks quite Rayman-esque, which makes sense given that it uses the UbiArt engine first used for Rayman Legends. Also seen in the trailer is an interactive world map (along with what looks like access to Dipper’s journal), the Mystery Shack, and an appearance by Mabel’s beloved “GRAPPLING HOOK!

Here’s a little more info from Ubisoft’s press release:

“The game delivers Gravity Falls’ trademark quirky humor in an authentic and interactive way, letting fans play as Dipper and Mabel as they set out to solve mysteries and restore order to Gnome Kingdom. Along their journey, players will encounter many more characters from the show and will explore locations including the town of Gravity Falls, the Mystery Shack, and more. [Series producer Alex] Hirsch also designed the game’s original key art.”

All that said, I’m cautiously optimistic. Stick of Truth’s writing was certainly faithful to the game’s source material thanks to Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s involvement, and with Hirsch similarly on board for his show’s adaptation, this game will hopefully hold series fans’ interest and amusement even if it turns out to be an average licensed game. As a major Gravity Falls fan myself, I’ll be keeping an eye on this. The series’ lore is so rich and intriguing, it could definitely translate well to other genres (you reading this, Telltale?).

Who else will give Gravity Falls’ first game a shot? On a related note, is anyone else totally pumped for the mid-season premiere next week? Sound off below!

Source: GameSpot

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