Wednesday, 10 January 2018

This month's Splatoon 2 Splatfest goes global, asks fists or funny bone?

This month's Splatoon 2 Splatfest, the first of the new year, is doing things a little differently: it's the first time that the Switch game has held a proper global Splatfest face-off.

And what will the world be joining hands and taking sides to fight for when Splatoon 2's international action commences? Well, it's not exactly the most inspiring of themes. This time around, Nintendo pits Action against Comedy - which isn't a whole lot more scintillating than the Book or Film option that European players got stuck with last month. We're certainly a world away from the halcyon days of The Great Toilet Roll Controversy.

Granted, Nintendo's rather bland choice of subject matter is probably to ensure that it travels well across all three participating territories, what with players from North America, Japan, and Europe all able to fight it out for their chosen cause. And unlike the last time that a single theme was shared across the globe (ketchup versus mayo), victories and votes from each territory will contribute to the overall global winners.

Read more…


Video: The importance of storytellers in eSports

In this GDC 2016 eSports day panel, industry professionals discuss how storytelling is a crucial component in eSports. ...

from Gamasutra News

Japanese console game market experiences growth for the first time in 11 years

The Japanese home video game console market has grown for the first time in 11 years, experiencing a spike in sales during 2017. ...

from Gamasutra News

Writer Justin Bortnick discusses the secrets of the Frog Fractions 2 ARG

One of the minds behind Frog Fractions 2's mind-bending alternate reality game discusses his craft and his upcoming GDC session. ...

from Gamasutra News

Deep sea survival adventure Subnautica launches this month after three years in Early Access

Developer Unknown Worlds has confirmed that its deep sea survival game Subnautica will finally leave Steam Early Access this month on January 23rd.

Subnautica first launched in Steam Early Access nearly three years ago, back in 2014, and SteamSpy estimates that it's already been bought by over 1,850,000 people.

Its success shouldn't really be much of a surprise though; even in unfinished form, Subnautica's tightly structured blend of base building, exploration and survival beneath the waves of a mysterious, alien ocean planet is wonderfully engaging - and the constant procession of development updates, introducing the likes of farming, underwater mech suits, and deeper narrative elements, has only made it more so.

Read more…


Discovering the first video game commercial

The Video Game History Foundation analyzes how the marketing push for the Odyssey console created confusion for consumers during the 1970's and looks to the original commercial for answers. ...

from Gamasutra News

'Qriket' Is the Adorable Public Access Cable Version of 'HQ Trivia', You Need to Try It.

By now, you've probably heard of HQ Trivia [Free], it's growing at a rate that reminds me of the rise and fall of Draw Something [$2.99 / Free] in that I have friends of mine who I know don't care at all about mobile gaming asking me if I've played it. Like HQ Trivia, Qriket [Free] is another live stream game show anyone can play through an app. They're like something out of an episode of Black Mirror on Netflix, and as soon as I first saw HQ Trivia, I thought to myself, "This is neat but man this format is going to open up so many possibilities."

Interestingly enough, Qriket actually hit the App Store before HQ Trivia. It's been running for well over a year now and is the brainchild of apparent internet celebrity Jonny Comparelli who also uses Qriket to funnel followers into his various social media accounts. To play, you download the Qriket app and register for games using spin tokens. (You earn more tokens by viewing ads and doing other things you're super used to if you've played a freemium game.) Just like HQ Trivia, games are scheduled throughout the day and they've got a number of different hosts.

Actually playing the game is sort of hilarious, in that super low-fi indie Wayne's World basement public access show kind of way. While HQ Trivia has big prizes and is filmed all on a green screen with all kinds of fancy overlays, Qriket is filmed in a tiny studio with a couple screens, a host, and a spinning prize wheel like the one you might spin to figure out whether you're getting a free chip clip or a pair of sunglasses from some local business at a county fair. Instead of guessing trivia questions, you're just deciding between whether the prize wheel will land on yellow or gold. Guess correctly and you get points. That's all there is to it.

There's various special emoji sections of the wheel that when hit do things like add more rounds to the game, increase or decrease the prize pool, and all sorts of other things. (In the game I played, three additional bonus spins were added at the end of the game.) It's straight up weird how captivating this all is, particularly as your brain tries to assign some kind of strategy to your choice between the two colors, not at all unlike playing roulette. You know how when the roulette wheel hits red three times and you're sure it just has to hit black next? That's the same part of your mind Qriket tickles.

Instead of there being chat in game, you interact with the hosts and the rest of the community via Twitch chat. Like any Twitch channel, emoji spam is everywhere, but it all moves slow enough and the game (currently) is small enough that it really feels like the host is connecting with the audience in the chat (compared to being one of the hundreds of thousands of people in a HQ Trivia game). They've apparently given away over $2,000,000 in prizes since the game has been online, and the side benefit of games being smaller is the prize split is way better. In the game I was in, $400 worth of prizes were split between only five people. Prizes get paid out to a PayPal account, just like HQ.

What I like most about Qriket's format is that you can play the game until it's over, as you never know if you'll get a string of luck and regain a ton of points by accurately choosing between blue and gold. Comparatively, in HQ, if you get a question wrong you might as well just close the app. It was really cool to actually be engaged and feel like there was a point to playing the entirety of a game of Qriket.

If you're even remotely interested in this whole live streamed app-enabled game show thing, you really need to also try out Qriket. As I mentioned, I'm super stoked to see where this whole format can go, and seeing the massive differences between HQ and Qriket, this really feels like the future of game shows and the sky is the limit.

from TouchArcade

Get a job: Shiny Shoe is hiring a Gameplay and Engine Programmer

Shiny Shoe is looking for a talented, self-starting Gameplay and Engine Programmer with a good understanding of code architecture, optimization strategies, and debugging. ...

from Gamasutra News

7,672 games hit Steam in 2017 alone, says Steam Spy

According to the unofficial Steam analytics platform Steam Spy, Steam saw over 2000 more game releases in 2017 than it did in the preceding year. ...

from Gamasutra News

First Footage of 'Battleheart 2' Shown Off in New Hero Spotlight Video

Games don't get much more classic than Mika Mobile's Battleheart [$2.99]. Launching just short of 7(!) years ago, Battleheart was one of the few mobile games that seemed to delight gamers of all types and its ingenious line-drawing battling system became one of the most copied mechanics in the years that followed. Mika's Battleheart Legacy [$4.99] arrived in May of 2014 and gave a different spin on the formula, but as wonderful as that game was many fans have been clamoring for a true sequel to the original Battleheart. Mika answered the call of fans in September of 2016 when they officially announced Battleheart 2 with a revamped art style and an emphasis on cooperative multiplayer. As with anything Mika does they're taking as much time as it takes to get Battlheart 2 just right, and the last major update we got on its development was this past July. Now today Mika has posted a new blog entry which highlights the character Natsuko and the abilities she'll have in Battleheart 2, and it also gives us the first glimpse of the game in action.

There will be 12 playable heroes at the launch of Battleheart 2 and over the course of the next few weeks Mika plans to do similar Hero Spotlights just like this one for the rest of the cast of the game. In addition to the 3 primary abilities of each hero, you'll also be able to customize the abilities of each character using unlockable Talents. It wouldn't be a Mika Mobile game without some stellar character progression now, would it? We'll be keeping a close eye out for more Battleheart 2 news in the coming weeks, and expect the game to launch at some point in 2018. In the meantime though be sure to give this latest blog post a read for all the details about Natsuko.

from TouchArcade

Video: The Super Mario Anime Series You Probably Never Knew About

Video: Video: The Super Mario Anime Series You Probably Never Knew About

Peach-boy and Princess Peach

from Nintendo Life | Latest Updates

Capcom sheds some light on Monster Hunter World's PC delay

Capcom had shed a little more light on the significant delay between Monster Hunter World's release on consoles and PC.

Monster Hunter World was originally announced at E3 last year, where it was confirmed for release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. However, while console versions have long since had a launch date of January 26th, Capcom only recently revealed that the PC version was now "planned for an Autumn 2018 release".

At the time, Capcom gave no reason for the delay between console and PC releases. Now though, in a conversation with Gamesradar (as reported by PC Gamer), Monster Hunter World producer Ryozo Tsujimoto has offered something of an explanation for the PC game's arrival some six months after other versions.

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Don't Miss: How the Witcher devs turn ideas into actual game features

If you're working well, you winnow out bad ideas and build great game elements out of your good ideas. But how, exactly, do you do that? ...

from Gamasutra News

'Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena' Coming to iOS January 25th, Pre-Order with Rewards Now Live

We posted about the colorful tactical battling game Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena back in early October of last year, and with the game already being available in Early Access on both Steam and Android for the past couple of months we finally have an official release date for the iOS version of the game: January 25th. Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena is all about battling opponents in PvP, and with cross-platform play and more than a million players already downloading the game from Steam and Android during its earlier release period, there should be a decent player pool for opponents when the game arrives on iOS in a couple of weeks. Here's a brand new trailer to give you a look at the game in action.

Ahead of the game's release on iOS, Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena is available for pre-order and developer Camex Games is offering a promotion that will see players getting a 500 Gem Promo Pack for free by pre-ordering the game. Just mash on this link on your iOS device to be taken to the pre-order page in the App Store, and then join the Camex Games Discord server to find out how to redeem your in-game gift when the game launches. I'm loving the look of Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena and with its positive reception on other platforms so far it seems like it will have some real potential to become a huge competitive game when it arrives on iOS January 25th.

from TouchArcade

Blog: How we created Endless Space 2's alternate reality game

For the release of Endless Space 2, we put together an Alternate Reality Game based on an in-game AI character. It turned out to be larger, more complex, more fun, and more work than we expected. ...

from Gamasutra News

Darkest Dungeon is bringing turn-based misery to Switch later this month

Developer Red Hook Studios has announced that its superb turn-based misery generator Darkest Dungeon is heading to the Switch eShop on January 18th.

Darkest Dungeon is gloomy turn-based dungeon crawler with a striking art style and a heavy emphasis on unspeakable, otherworldly Lovecraftian horror. As you explore the dungeons and catacombs beneath your dilapidated manor, and the terrible lands around it, you'll encounter and battle ever-more unsettling sights.

Using your party members' class-based skills to reach the end of a dungeon is only half of the battle, however; once you're back in the relative safety of the village beyond the manor gates, you'll need to aid your party's recovering from stress or sickness or insanity by catering to their particular whims - perhaps leaving them to a period of self-flagellation at the abbey, or to drinking and whoring at the local tavern - while you face more antediluvian horrors with the remainder of your crew.

Read more…


Winter Movie League – Insidious Arrival

The sixth week in our Fantasy Movie League was a bit tumultuous.

It was also yest another reminder of how dependent I am on published information to make anything like a good pick.  I have absolutely no “gut” when it comes to making my picks.  Fortunately it looked like the industry was back from their holiday break and eager to report on something besides the fact that Star Wars: The Last Jedi passed the $1 billion world wide revenue mark before the end of 2017.

Of course, first we had to get through a day or two before projections and relevant data became available.

So back at the start of last week my first pick was Jumanji, Downsizing, and six screens of Molly’s GameJumanji looked to be set to win the week in the box office while Molly’s Game was finally expanding to a wider range of theaters.  And Downsizing… well, I had enough budget left to thrown that in and only have $1 remaining.

And then I started playing around with numbers.  Two Jumanji, five Coco, and a blank screen seemed like an option.  Coco seemed to be in the running for best price/performance.  But then Two Star Wars and six Coco… and no blank screen, I hate blank screens… seemed like an even better plan.  The gap between Jumanji and Star Wars didn’t seem like it would be that big.

At that point I only had some long term forecasts from last year to anchor my predictions.

Then the forecasts for the week started coming in and they were all over the board… which is not unusual.  But they seemed to trend towards Jumanji doing better than initially expected, so the gap between it and Star Wars was growing to the point that Jumanji seemed like the better anchor.

Then there was Insidious, the newcomer at the top end for the week.  The long term forecast put it a $20 million or so.  However the new forecasts were really downplaying it, calling it somewhere between $15 and 18 million while Jumanji was up near $33 million.  My spreadsheet calculations… which I had to use because the calculator at FML Nerd hadn’t been updated yet… showed that Insidious needed to get past $22 million to be considered as an anchor.  So back to Jumanji and Coco.

Then word came through that the theater estimates for Molly’s Game and Darkest Hour had been low and, with the expanded numbers, the estimated box office for both had been increased.  That didn’t do much for Molly’s Game in my book, but suddenly Darkest Hour was a better choice than Coco.  Out with Coco in with Darkest Hour.

That sat until Friday morning when the Thursday night preview numbers… which count towards the weekend total… were announced for Insidious and it had done much better than expected.  It seemed to be good for as much as $25 million, at which price point it was a better pick than Jumanji based on my estimates.

So my guess was that Insidious would be the best anchor and Darkest Hour would be the price/performance winner for the week.  Now I just had to get the most of both of them into my pick.  My spreadsheet, the FML Nerd calculator, and Po Huit’s Python tool all said three screens of Insidious and four screens of Darkest Hour, leaving one screen blank.

You cannot argue with command line output

I hate leaving a blank screen, especially when I know the estimates I am basing my pick on are all anchored in quicksand.  They are just somebody’s guesses.  But I figured with my position in the rankings it might be time to take a gamble, so I went with it, leaving a screen blank and accruing the $2 million penalty that goes with it.

Saturday came around, and with it the first updated estimates based on Friday night numbers.  At that point it looked like Insidious was a good choice, but Coco was ranked equal with Darkest Hour.  Since Coco was $2 less per screen, that made it the price/performance choice.  But the Saturday numbers are generally pretty vague and often change come Sunday.

Sure enough, with the Sunday estimate not only had Darkest Hour become the price/performance pick, but my pick… empty screen and all… was looking like the perfect pick for the week.

But nothing is ever final until the real numbers come in on Monday.  I have had the perfect pick over the weekend before only to have the final numbers go a different way.

However, things held on just enough for me to get the perfect pick, a result I shared with 142 other people.

My Winter Week Six Picks and the Perfect Pick

A perfect pick with an empty screen is fairly rare accoding to FML chatter, with it coming up about three times a year on average.

The rest of the Meta League was fairly diverse in its picks, with only pairs of people picking the same line up.  People anchored on Insidious, Jumanji, Star Wars, and Pitch Perfect 3. And while I was the only one with the perfect pick this week, there were some very close picks, so my win didn’t help me pull very far ahead of those behind me or close in on those ahead.  The scores for the week were:

  1. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $123,944,965
  2. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $118,415,470
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $115,116,358
  4. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $113,922,711
  5. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $111,431,498
  6. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $111,252,163
  7. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $111,170,186
  8. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $109,655,310
  9. Kraut Screens (T) – $95,768,377
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $95,759,238
  11. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $79,753,794
  12. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $78,944,993
  13. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $78,944,993
  14. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $77,577,401
  15. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $77,548,306
  16. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $68,623,472
  17. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $66,634,546
  18. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $41,270,846 (did not pick)
  19. The Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $35,036,947 (did not pick)
  20. Movies Movies Movies (T) – $19,426,717 (did not pick)

Meta League Legend

  • TAGN Movie Obsession – players from it marked with a (T)
  • MCats Multiplex – players from it marked with an (M)

Unfortunately we had multiple people who forgot to get their picks in on time this week.  Po Huit, The Bean Movie Burrito, and Movies Movies Movies all had to roll over with what they picked previously.  That is tough to bounce back from, though I will say that Liore forgot to pick one week during the Summer league and still ended up winning.  So a come back isn’t impossible, even if it is unlikely.

With the week six scores added in the Meta League rankings look like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Express (M) – $686,377,801
  2. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex (M) – $676,348,109
  3. Aure’s Astonishingly Amateur Amphitheatre (M) – $642,301,603
  4. Biyondios! Kabuki & Cinema (T) – $640,470,411
  5. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics (T) – $638,239,583
  6. Wilhelm’s Broken Isles Bijou (T/M) – $628,263,092
  7. Dan’s Decadent Decaplex (M) – $604,819,790
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex (T) – $596,094,591
  9. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex (T) – $560,388,916
  10. The Filthy Fleapit (T) – $559,085,889
  11. Elly’s Elemental E-Plex (M) – $546,181,283
  12. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite (T) – $541,066,164
  13. Kraut Screens (T) – $540,196,641
  14. Logan’s Luxurious Thaumatrope (M) – $539,926,941
  15. I HAS BAD TASTE (T) – $529,480,032
  16. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights (T) – $525,310,035
  17. Joanie’s Joint (T) – $506,216,308
  18. Dr Liore’s Evil House of Pancakes (M) – $486,127,025
  19. Movies Movies Movies (T) – $413,464,979
  20. The Bean Movie Burrito (T) – $256,566,211

Ben remains out in front, but just $10 million ahead of Corr.  Then a ways back is the three-way race for third place with just a $4 million gap spread.  Then there is me simply hoping I can get into contention for third place, after which the pack starts to spread out.

And it will likely spread out some more with the options for week seven:

Jumanji              $293
The Post             $210
Paddington 2         $201
Insidious            $179
Proud Mary           $169
The Commuter         $143
Star Wars            $139
The Greatest Showman $132
Pitch Perfect 3      $70
Darkest Hour         $64
Molly's Game         $59
Ferdinand            $58
Coco                 $44
The Shape of Water   $41
Best of the Rest     $41

We say good-bye to I, Tonya, Wonder, Father Figures, Downsizing, and All the Money in the World  this time around, though one of them could pop up again as the Best of the Rest pick.

This week we get four new releases on the list, The Post, Paddington 2, Proud Mary, and The Commuter.

The Post ought to be a strong challenger, with Spielberg directing and starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks.  But it didn’t win any Golden Globes this past weekend and I can’t help but think I saw this played out in the TV series Lou Grant already.  We shall see.

Paddington 2, the return of the other famous English stuffed bear, this one named after a tube station rather than a bodily function, jumps into a market with a number of other kids titles still hanging about makes this an unlikely pick for me at this end of the week.

And then there is Proud Mary and The Commuter, two action films vying for the audience that is looking for that sort of thing.

All of which are going up against the still strong Jumanji, the second week of the surprisingly popular Insidious, The Greatest Showman, and the lingering threat of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

All seven of those titles want to be your anchor film of the week.

And once you have an anchor you’ll find the low end of your pick constrained by high prices, with the bottom of the list ringing in at $41.  There are not any nice $8-15 picks for filler this time around, so you can’t have all the anchor screens you may want without leaving a screen blank… and that usually doesn’t work out.

Then there is the price range itself, running from $41 to $293, a smallish gap, which does not foretell a big scoring week to my mind.  Then again, it is a four day box office weekend.

Finally, there is a crisis on the tool front, with FML Nerd shutting down.  Not only was it a handy tool, but it started the week off with some baseline estimates with which to start working.  A site called Moovee Picker has emerged however, so I am looking at that.  Still, I am really waiting for the press to roll out their last minute estimates before I lock in my picks for the week.

from The Ancient Gaming Noob