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Amongst the myriad of pick-up-and-play games on mobile platforms, it’s hard to stand out these days.  Virtually every genre is utterly swamped with games, especially indie releases.  And no genre is more stuffed to overflowing than the physics-based genre, primarily owing to the success of games like Angry Birds.  In a content-rich environment such as this one, it’s hard to stand out.  But what better way to do so than with Cthulhu?

Lunarsea (ah, the double entendre!) is a free physics based game on iOS and Android where you play as the great lord Cthulhu himself, who decided to steal the moon.  Doing so has angered the puny human population though, so oddly enough, Cthulhu is fleeing their wrath with a hastily muttered “wgah’nagl bug.”  Unfortunately for our poor angry Elder God, the only getaway vehicle he could locate was an ancient wooden sailing vessel, so he tosses the moon in his pocket, hops aboard, and makes good his escape.

Okay, perhaps a little suspension of disbelief might be required.  The story is short and endearingly odd, but how is the gameplay?  Well, it’s very straightforward.  The moon affects ocean levels, and well, you have it, so you can tap the screen to release it anywhere in the air to raise and lower the waves, as well as to block missile attacks from those filthy humans that just won’t leave you alone.  In addition, there are left and right buttons to move your vessel across the screen to prepare for obstacles, which are frequent and appear rapidly.  The lunar gameplay makes Lunarsea unique and interesting, as the combination of waves and gravity make for a remarkably organic combination.  Timing is everything in this game as you are raising and lowering the waves to get over sharp mountains, dodge missiles, and collect coins and health.

Yes, Cthulhu needs money.  That’s probably on a sign being held by a vagrant trying to wash a windshield somewhere, and if it isn’t, it should be.  In this case, coins buy much-needed upgrades to your skills, such as health, boat speed, and invulnerability length.  And you will need them.  The difficulty curve in Lunarsea ramps up fast.  By level  5, you’ll be swearing at your phone and getting frustrated as those pesky humans manage to fire torpedoes, regular missiles, and even laser-guided missiles at your creaky old vessel.

Fortunately, Live In the Game thought ahead on this one.  Frequent deaths don’t lose all the coins you’ve collected.  It would be nice if you saw a running tally of those as you played, but each time you die, and die you will, your updated bankroll appears and you’re able to buy upgrades.  In addition, there are goals as well, such as blowing up ten missiles or traveling a thousand meters.  The completion of each goal earns you additional bonus coins, allowing you to buy even more upgrades so that eventually, even those of us unskilled at physics games can still manage to move forward at an ungainly crawl.  Many of the goals are also cumulative between games just like coins, giving you the chance to complete them, as you are unlikely to in a single game.

 

There are a couple of sticking points in Lunarsea though.  The list of active goals you are trying to achieve scrolls down from the top of the screen every single time you die.  After you raise the goal cap, this actually intrudes on the gameplay itself, distracting you at the beginning of each level and constantly reminding you that you’re failing to complete them.   The challenge of the game itself can be daunting at times as well and may lead to frustration for the more casual player.  And the jaunty nautical music that seemed novel and enjoyable at first (controllable with a slider, thankfully) can become quickly repetitive as there is only the one song that repeats ad nauseam on every level.

As a minimalist game, however, even after an hour, your phone is unlikely to heat up significantly.  Lunarsea is definitely not a resource hog on Android, which is a plus in these days where you can literally watch your battery life drain away like a swirling toilet flush while you game.   There’s also an Endless Mode to just relax and play if the stages are frustrating you.  It’s still hard, but it’s definitely fun too.   The install on Google Play warns of in-app purchases and ads, but neither were to be seen for this review of the current build of the game.  Overall, Live In The Game has created a clever little game that’s fun to play in small doses when you have a few spare moments.  I mean really, how can you go wrong with a free-to-play game that combines H.P. Lovecraft, Baby Driver, Despicable Me, and Pirates of the Caribbean?  You can’t, and don’t try to say that you can!  Go and give it a try if you enjoy physics games and a challenge, or ever wanted to just… steal the moon!

Download Lunarsea free for Android here.

Download Lunarsea free for iOS here.

This review covers the Android version of Lunarsea by Live In The Game.

By Jessica Brown On 11 Nov, 2017 At 04:57 PM | Categorized As Company Spotlight, Featured, Interviews, PC Games, Previews, ROG Tech | With 0 Comments

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Haste is a software and infrastructure designed to improve gamers’ connections to the Internet by reducing jitter and packet loss while lowering ping to fantastic levels. In a nutshell, this is achieved through a proprietary software and a new infrastructure they have put in place with participating game servers, but this new service which is in its infancy has its sights set much higher.

Thankfully, Haste Founder and CEO Adam Toll was happy to answer some of our questions about this new service!

Q: “Haste” seems to be all about improving ping while reducing packet loss and jitter to overall improve a user’s connection to a game. Is there any information you can give us about how this is attained and what results you can expect on average?

Adam Toll: Haste was designed specifically to reduce latency in gaming by routing game traffic as directly and efficiently as possible. To do this, we engineered a cutting-edge network that employs fiber optic lines, switches and servers in key locations, including adjacent to the game servers.

Running on top of that, we have our proprietary network software which includes everything from proprietary route optimization algorithms to redundant pathing, so there’s no single point of failure. Finally, we have the software that gamers install on their game machines.

Because of the nature of the internet, results vary widely based on variables including location, hardware, ISP, etc., but we often see a reduction in ping and an elimination of packet loss and jitter.

The best thing is for gamers to just try Haste for themselves. We offer a free 14-day trial and diagnostic tools like Haste Check, so gamers can see exactly how Haste will impact their network performance.

Q: Currently it looks like Haste is focused on League of Legends, Overwatch, and CS:GO. What other titles do you expect to expand support for over the next year or so?

Adam Toll: Right, we spent most of this year building out our platform while in beta. We launched with Overwatch and League of Legends and just added CS:GO.

We’re now aggressively rolling out support for the top game titles and plan to add at least half a dozen games over the next two months, including such titles as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite, Dota 2, World of Tanks and Paladins.

Next year we’ll continue to add support for all the major titles.

Q: Are there any plans to expand Haste support in some way over to popular gaming consoles in order to improve the player’s connection in competitive titles?

Adam Toll: Absolutely, we are starting to work with both ISPs and hardware manufacturers towards solutions that will encompass any device connected to the internet. So not just console, but mobile as well.  With Haste embedded in an ISP’s infrastructure, and/or with a Haste-enabled Wi-Fi router at home, we can optimize traffic from any device.

Q: While Haste seems like it would really benefit the titles it currently focuses on, what about improving and stabilizing connections to platforms like Steam, to improve both network stability during Steam online gaming as well as perhaps improving overall download speeds? Would this be possible in the future?

Adam Toll: Apart from a few Valve titles, most of the games on Steam are hosted independently on the game companies’ servers versus a universal Steam server (Author’s note: I didn’t know that!).  As such, Haste will continue to roll out support for more titles with the end goal of supporting almost every game.  

While we’re currently focused on optimizing the internet for gaming, it is possible for Haste to improve download speed and might be something we focus on in the future.

Q: As a related question, what about connections to popular streaming sites or upload servers, namely to Twitch or YouTube/YT Gaming. Packet loss can have a terrible effect on online game streaming, so I wonder if Haste could one day help in that area too?

Adam Toll: Yes, in the future, we believe Haste might be able to optimize streaming video in the same way we’re optimizing gaming now. This would further benefit streamers and their fans by providing faster, smoother connections to streaming content.

Q: And finally, to sum up, a little, do you see Haste being used outside of a game-to-user connection? Perhaps with online streaming or other related activities?

Adam Toll: Absolutely.  While we’re 100% focused today on fighting lag in gaming, we see a future where Haste is optimizing the internet for any number of real-time applications. This could include streaming, VOIP communications, networked VR and many other applications.

 

It certainly sounds like Haste has some great plans for the future! Right now, they are running a free 14-day trial of their software, so if you’re curious to see how it may help you with its currently-supported games, be sure to give it a try!

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I am a major fan of retro gaming, and with regards to that, the Neo Geo holds a special place in my heart. The games had so much to them and they felt like nothing else at the time. Today, I wish to highlight 7 Neo Geo games that you can play right now via Arcade Archives on PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. I will only include one entry per franchise, as otherwise this list would be a little repetitive.

 

Number 7: Magician Lord

Magician Lord was a launch title for the Neo Geo and holds up surprisingly well all these years later. It has challenging gameplay yet is still fair and most of all fun. The game allowed you to transform the main character in different ways to take on enemies, sort of but not quite like Altered Beast. The game was very action oriented combined with excellent platforming gameplay that would come to show why the Neo Geo was a force to be reckoned with. With fans both old and new, Magician Lord is one to try!

 

Number 6: Neo Turf Masters

A golf arcade game doesn’t sound like an extremely exciting game that would be beloved decades later, but Neo Turf Masters is a different kind of beast.  The game has fast paced action combined with excellent fluid animation that still looks great today. I would even go so far as to say that Neo Turf Masters is the direct inspiration for games like Everybody’s Gold and Mario Golf. Neo Turf Masters is still as fun today as it was when it was first released, and it may interest you all to know that this was made by the same team that made the Metal Slug games. The game was easy to learn but difficult to master and that is something that I can appreciate.

 

Number 5: Spinmaster

This one is just fun, no other way to say it. It is a side scrolling platformer run n gun game but more akin to Mega Man than anything else. It has some of the best visuals of any Neo Geo game, visuals which stand on par with games from today in fact, and has a charm that just cannot be artificially replicated. This is a game I can play over and over again non stop and still be enthralled by. The combination of platforming and shooting is extremely well, and the different power-ups you get are all fun to use. If it seems like I am gushing a bit, it is because I am. Spinmaster is an amazing game that has sadly fallen from the minds of many. I daresay this is one of the best Neo Geo games of all!

Number 4: King of Fighter 98

A King of Fighters game was of course going to be on the list and this one deserves the spot. Considered by many to be the finest in the series,  KOF 98 combined everything that was good about the previous entries into a Dream Match game. The fighting was refined, the music was incredible, even by today’s standards, but most of all, it was just fun. This is a game that should be on every fighting game fan’s radar and is a must play at least once. SNK fighters did not get the same attention from many gamers that Capcom fighters got, but KOF 98 will show you why SNK also delivered greatness.

Number 3: Magical Drop II

The Magical Drop series  is a series of puzzle games very similar to the Puyo Puyo series, but with its own unique identity as well. The games have a colourful cast of characters and a fantastical sense of charm. Magical Drop II refined the series gameplay from the first entry and added new modes and gameplay options, as well as an improved single player campaign. The Japanese version also contained another gameplay mode as well named Hirameki, in which players are given preset puzzles to solve. I should also point out the arcade archives series contains the Japanese versions of the games as well.

Number 2: Metal Slug X

X or 3? X Or 3? I debated for a while which to include but I finally chose X, as it feels more refined. X was a remake of 2 that corrected all of the flaws of the original and added in numerous changes and improvements. Many of the highlights in 3 were also present in X, including transformations and weapons. Metal Slug is just an incredible series and one of the best Run n Gun series ever. WHile many view Metal Slug 3 as the best, I feel X is a better entry point as it is better paced and balanced for both veterans and newcomers.

 

Number 1: Waku Waku 7

 

Waku Waku 7 is one of the most off beat fighting games ever made. It parodies numerous genres, animes and tv shows while adding its own spin on things and being a great game. The fighting was excellent, and I daresay even better than the KOF series, and the music was on another level altogether. Waku Waku 7 was sadly lost among the other fighting games on Neo Geo, but in truth, was a step above them all. Like other entries on this list, it is easy to learn but difficult to master and very rewarding. There really isn’t another fighter like it and that is a shame. This is a fighting game done right that deserves more attention. It is a damn good one.

 

 

Well that was the first list. I’m plan on highlighting more Neo Geo games going forward. Leave your feedback and suggestions for what you think deserves a mention.

 

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The above is the opinion of the author of the piece and not necessarily that of Real Otaku Gamer.

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Recently I had the chance to have a discussion with Brian Diamond and Stephen Froeber of the Materia Collective, regarding their upcoming project ZODIAC: Final Fantasy Tactics Remixed. We talked about how the project came about and what was involved. Have a read below.

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JB: This is a very interesting project, how did it come about?

Brian Diamond (BD): Stephen can probably answer this question more fully than me as a life long fan of the Tactics franchise. I came onto the project as an assistant producer a few weeks after it started, to help with organisational grunt work, though I quickly took on more responsibility as the project took shape. Tactics is a very popular game among members of The Materia Collective, with many chomping at the bit to put their musical mark on the world of Ivalice.

Stephen Froeber (SF): Final Fantasy Tactics was actually the second game that I played in the franchise. I was one of the “late bloomers” that caught the FF series starting with VII and the PlayStation era. I later went back and played all the originals.

Tactics was special to me because of how much more mature it was. The storyline was much darker and more serious, and the gameplay itself was more cerebral.What ultimately grabbed me, of course, was the music. It was so atmospheric and really fit the world so well.

When Materia Collective started with the first album covering VII, I knew it was only a matter of time before Tactics had to be done. I was thrilled to be able to produce the album with Brian. 

JB:  How has the response been for the project so far?

SF: We’ve had a lot really positive feedback, to include a nice comment from Yasumi Matsuno himself, which was a huge, unexpected honor! 

BD: The response has been extremely positive, with many praising the size of the album, its eclectic mix of styles and high quality of arrangers remixes. Everyone has a different favorite and I think that’s a testament to the all the talented individuals who poured their hearts into this project. We even had Tactics Creator Yasumi Matsuno retweet and buy a copy of the album.

JB: Was there any special selection of the musicians for the project?

SF: Many of the arrangers are veterans of the Materia Collective’s previous albums, but we always have new people with each project that request to join. We are continually impressed with the quality of work that arrangers put into each piece.

Each arranger has discretion on using their own musicians for their song, and many times, that is how many people end up getting involved long term.  

BD: Not really, the process of the majority of our projects involves our would be arrangers pitching proposals for the tracks they want to remix. We often ask that they pitch multiple tracks in case they don’t get their first preference. As with all soundtracks there are really popular tracks and hidden gems, and sometimes we have 7 proposals for one track. In that situation we might allow 2-3 versions of a track but we give priority to the first to submit and make sure the multiple submissions are stylistically different enough e.g. (a) Dubstep Remix, (b) Solo Piano and (c) Full Orchestral. It’s important for us to try and cover as much of the original soundtrack as possible, so we try and keep the number of repeated tracks to a minimum.

JB: What kind of future projects do you anticipate?

SF: We anticipate many future projects. 😉 

If you take a look at our current discography, you can probably take some good guesses as to things that are in the pipeline. 

BD: I can’t go into details yet (mainly because I don’t know myself), but would love to do more Final Fantasy albums, maybe some remix albums of Indie Games, I’m really looking forward to Materia Collectives Kickstarted Hero of Time orchestral album – the art work and vinyl design for it looks gorgeous and the work that Producer Eric Buchholz has done with Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses is stellar.

JB: What kind of approval process was there for the songs recorded?

SF: We have a pretty wide variety of skillsets and experience levels within the Collective. It’s always a delicate balance between being inclusive, and keeping our quality level consistently high. 

We have periodic check-ins throughout the production process for us to give feedback on demos and mixes. By the time the final tracks were submitted, they were pretty polished. 

BD: Outside of the initial proposal process, we try and get our arrangers to check in periodically with updates on how their tracks are doing, whether they’re having any problems, making sure they submit stuff on time. The most important thing we strive for is making sure that everyone involved give the best that they can give and that they can look back on the project with pride.

JB: There are a lot of tribute albums to video game soundtracks, how will this one stand out?

SF: One thing that makes all of the Materia Collective albums unique is that you really don’t know what you’re going to get from one track to the next. We have such a diverse range of musical influences, and you can hear that front and center in the music…. and yet, in spite of that, the album stays surprisingly unified and consistent. There’s something musically for everyone. 

BD: One thing about Materia releases that I have always enjoyed has been the sheer size of them and eclectic mix of styles – ZODIAC: Final Fantasy Tactics Remixed has 63 tracks and 4 hours long. And that isn’t even the largest one – our Undertale tribute album FALLEN that we released last September was 97 tracks 

JB: Have there been any difficulties in the making of Final Fantasy Tactics remixed?

SF: All large projects have challenges, and this was no exception. Life still happens even when you’re making awesome music. 

We had some artists that had to drop out of the project, as well as some growing pains with project management tools.

We try to take each problem as a point of learning to bring into the next album.

BD: I found it surprising how smoothly it went considering Stephen and I were dealing with 60 odd arrangers and by extension 100+ musicians throughout the process. Sometimes working with musicians can be like herding cats (speaking from past experience) however I’m delighted that we had very few issues on this album and all the musicians and vocalists were wonderful to work with.

JB: What is it about the music of Final Fantasy Tactics that stands out the most to you?

SF: Tactics, more so than the other FF series, was much more focused on atmosphere. There are several ambient, dissonant, haunting tracks all throughout, as well as some large orchestral pieces. 

I initially thought that would make this a challenging album to cover…. but when I started hearing the renditions of each track, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. It breathes new life into an already amazing soundtrack. Many times, it put a unique spin on a piece that gives it a whole new meaning.

BD: For me it’s the rich and luscious scores of Sakimoto and Iwata, the interweaving themes, the tapestry of storytelling conveyed through their music. My first experience of Sakimotos wonderful composition style was with the music of FFXII – I grew up on Uematsu sans gorgeous arrangements from the mainline Final Fantasy entries of the 90s and early 2000s. I came late to Final Fantasy Tactics playing it more recently on Android devices, but I had heard the soundtrack long before playing the game, and it’s unique style has stayed with my ‘til this day.

JB: Do you have anything you would like to say to the readers of Real Otaku Gamer?

SF: The one thing that I really enjoy about the VGM cover scene is the deep passion for the source material. 

These albums give us a chance to connect with fellow fans of these amazing games, and (hopefully) add something personal to the conversation of how we experienced the music that other people can connect with.

BD: Even though we’ve just released ZODIAC: Final Fantasy Tactics Remixed – Materia Collective has got a lot of cool projects coming out this year; so if you want to keep up with all our goings on – follow Materia Collective on Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and Bandcamp for updates on all our releases and general VGM goodness.

 

JB: Thank you again for doing this.

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I recently had the chance to speak with Austin Harper of ScrewAttack Games and Sam Beddoes of FreakZone Games. We discussed how some of their projects came to be, what the future holds and more. Please take a read below.

JB: ScrewAttack is best known as a gaming website. What led to you guys deciding to make your own games?

AH: We are all gamers at heart and we’re really passionate about video games; we decided to take that passion for games and apply that to design. I think all of us at some point in time have daydreamed about being able to make a video game. It’s kind of a childhood dream, you know? We were just very fortunate in having a platform and a great community to support us in trying to fulfill that dream.

JB:  ScrewAttack came out with a rather interesting mobile game a few years ago called Texting of the Bread. What was the inspiration behind that?

AH: Haha, it was very much inspired by the Dreamcast game Typing of the Dead. Essentially we were sitting around talking about how cool Typing of the Dead was, and wondering why nothing like that had been done in the mobile market. We really liked the punny name we came up with, so we decided to take the theme and run with it — hence the main character with a cow strapped to her back and the hordes of gingerbread men.

JB:  What lead to the Nerd being a character in the game? Was it a test run to see how he would be in his own game?

AH: Honestly, we were just really happy that we got to make a game, a real game, with our name on it and wanted to share it with our friends.?

JB:  How was the reception to Texting of The Bread? I understand that one mobile version of the game itself was cancelled?.

AH: The reception was actually pretty good, and we wanted to bring the game to Android, but at the time the ShiVa Engine we built the game in just didn’t have Android support. Our developer made a few test builds anyway, all of them had really ridiculous bugs, like not being able to close the application without removing your battery… Long story short, we parted ways with the developers before we ever got the build completed. Though, you may hear something about our mobile titles in the near future.

JB:  Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is probably the most well known of the games ScrewAttack has produced. How did it come about?

AH: We were talking about making a new game, specifically considering the Angry Video Game Nerd franchise, but we didn’t have a developer in mind. Around that time, Sam Beddoes of FreakZone Games reached out to us, asking us to do a review of his game, Manos: The Hands of Fate. We really liked the game and got along with Sam pretty well, and he happened to mention he was a big fan of the AVGN series. The rest just kind of clicked.

JB: Sam, how did you come to be the developer that worked on AVGN adventures? Did ScrewAttack reach out to you? What was the experience like to work on an officially licensed game based of a reviewer of crappy games? Was it intimidating?

SB: A few years back I made a similar project “MANOS: The Hands of Fate” – A retro-style adaptation of the infamously bad movie of the same name. It was a pet project which did pretty well. The idea was to adapt the movie in the way movies were adapted to games back in the 80s on the NES, and a lot of my research involved binge-watching AVGN, who I had been a big fan of for quite some time, to try and capture that “LJN” feel. Also being a big fan of ScrewAttack, I approached them to try and get MANOS some coverage, and the retro style impressed them, at which point they allowed me to pitch a collaboration to them – that pitch was AVGN Adventures, a game I’d dreamed of making since before I even started MANOS. They liked the pitch, and my life was changed!

JB:  You brought to AVGN Adventures some elements from your game Manos the Hands of Fate, based off that infamous movie. I’m curious how that game came about, being based on a notorious film from decades ago.

SB: MANOS is an interesting one. I’ve been fond of watching terrible movies with friends for as far back as I can remember, and when I caught Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie on TV I ended up obsessively watching that show on the internet (we didn’t have the show here in England, only the movie, which was essentially just a higher budget episode!), and through MST3K I discovered the film MANOS. Since I’d been making games as a hobby since the late 90s, my “bad movie buddy” Chris and I always joked about making a game of MANOS, how it’d be adapted, how it’d play. We joked around with the idea of a point and click adventure, for example. Whilst reading about the history of that film one day I found out that the film and everything in it was in the public domain due to the director’s failure to take all the necessary steps to copyright a work back in the time it came out (similar to what happened with George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”, thus giving birth to the entire zombie genre), and I was amused to think that I actually COULD make MANOS due to this! I believe I was thinking about AVGN when I realized how much fun it’d be to adapt MANOS the way game developers adapted movies on the NES in the 80s, and so I went for it – The main idea would be to “celebrate badness with something good”; to include all of the tropes of bad game adaptations and bad movies alike, but without making the game itself bad! Not long after the release of the game, I was befriended by most of the remaining cast of the original film, so I suppose you could even say it’s the “official” video game adaptation at this point.

JB:  What is your philosophy to game design and what are some of your biggest influences and inspirations in gaming? I’m talking about both games and game developers.

 SB: I like to keep things simple, challenging, fun and exciting! My greatest influences on my platformers are Yoshi’s Island, Mega Man X and the original Sonic games, but I also find myself inspired by some modern indie developers like Edmund McMillan and the guys at WayForward. Of course not forgetting the masters themselves, Miyamoto, Inafune, Igarashi. There’s so much more, though. Games have been an enormous part of my life and they’ve never not been inspiring me, so it’s a tough question to ask!

JB:  What do you personally hope to Accomplish with AVGN adventures II? Will it come to consoles like the first game did?

SB: Regarding Consoles, that’s up to ScrewAttack to talk about, but obviously that’s something I really hope to see happen. As for the game itself, we’ve learned a lot since the first, so I hope not just to make fans of the original happy, but perhaps win over some people who weren’t too smitten with the first game as well!

JB: Austin, Disorder is an interesting game. How did that one come about and how has the reception been?

AH: Chad and Craig were walking the floor and checking out indie games down at SXSW Gaming when they came across Disorder. Both of the guys thought it was a really awesome game and spent the weekend hanging out with the Swagabyte Games team. After a night of playing games together and drinking, we decided to take on the project as the publisher. Disorder is a different tone than our other titles, it’s bit more serious in subject matter, but most everyone who has played it has responded pretty positively.

JB:  Jump ‘N’ Shoot is an awesome throwback to classic games but I have to ask, why is it on mobile devices only?

AH: Jump’N’Shoot Attack is kind of Sam’s passion project to try and bring a real platforming game experience to the mobile phone that gamers will enjoy.

JB:  Is there any chance there may one day be a Death Battle game? I understand it would be a licensing nightmare but you could use stand ins/obvious parodies for the real characters and even include Wiz and Boomstick (and Jocelyn).

AH: It has definitely been talked about, but at this point I can’t really say much either way.

JB:  Do you see ScrewAttack continuing to pursue video game production? If so, what are some genres that you would like to see tackled?

AH: I think, like with most things, we’ll continue doing it as long as it makes sense and people enjoy it. Being a super small publishing team, we try to focus on a limited number of projects so we can give proper attention to them all. I can say that I’m busy for the foreseeable future. I think one of the hardest genres to do well is horror.

JB:  Do you have any regrets about how things were done in any of the games ScrewAttack produced?

AH: Looking back, if we could do it over again we would have launched Texting of the Bread with a Free to play model.

JB: Have there been any games that ScrewAttack was producing that have ended up being cancelled along the way that people are not aware of?

AH: There have been a few publishing opportunities that didn’t pan out. One example was a small development team that disbanded before the contract was finalized. It’s a bummer, because it was an awesome game that will never see the light of day. I hope one day they reconnect and continue work on the game.

JB:  Do you have anything that you would like to say to the audience of Teal Otaku Gamer?

AH: Thanks so much for reading the interview! If you’re a fan of retro inspired games, we hope you’ll check out our stuff!

Thank you again for doing this.

 

You can follow ScrewAttack on Twitter at @ScrewAttack, Austin can be followed at @PotatoHound and Sam at @FreakZoneGames

 

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Virtual Reality (VR) has been hovering over the world of technology for awhile now with products like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Sony PlayStation VR, and the Microsoft HoloLens. Opto adds to that list with a defining difference: it intends to be the first portable VR headset with integrated audio. It’s Kickstarter campaign has already been launched on March 31 with the goal of 40,000 GBP by April 29 for the first 500 devices.

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Developed by industrial designer Tom Jarvis and software developer Richard Stephens, Opto is a portable VR headset where sound was a top priority during the start of its design. Speakers sit inside the headset so that users do not have to add their own headphones. It has a 40mm 32ohm speakers and a frequency of 20hz/20 khz.

Opto will support any smartphone with screen sizes between 4 and 5.1 inches. It will attach to the phone by way of a magnetic front cover that will allow the user to easily place the phone in and out of the device.

According to Opto’s blog, they are actually reworking the device to support larger phone screens as well as enlarging the acoustic chamber to 50mm.

It is made from the patented closed-cell foam material, XL Extralight, which should make it extremely lightweight and comfortable yet tough at the same time. This could make for an interesting angle for parents, considering that this technology is not only durable but is also easy to clean.

“It is especially suited to children as it’s made of lightweight foam and very impact resistant,” Co-founder Richard Stephens said. “We have tried it with children from about 9 upwards. We are also in partnership with WEARVR.com…They are also launching a new app for curated VR content for kids.”

This means that older children as well as adults could experience movies, games, and other content on the go in a full-immersion type of experience, though Stephens stresses that the device has not been tested on children younger than 9 (the American Academy of Pediatric recommends limited time for children on these types of devices anyhow).

The current set of VR devices as of right now are bulky and heavy. They also require wires as well as a set of headphones. The goal for Opto is to just carry a smartphone and the VR device instead of lugging around headphones as well.

“Opto is about making high-quality VR accessible for anyone who owns a smartphone. Our aim is to move VR from the gaming den into the living room, “ said Stephens.

No GravatarThis article is an opinion piece. It doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Real Otaku Gamer or the collective staff.

Yes, Its time for NX speculation. I like many others have thoughts on what the NX should be. Here are 7 things I think Nintendo needs to do with the NX.

 

  1. Move away from the Wii era: The Wii era of gaming was an interesting era of gaming since while the Wii did have many great games, most flew under the radar and weren’t well known. The Wii, for good or bad was associated with lesser gaming by most and that hurt the Wii U. In fact so many thought the Wii U was an add on for the Wii that it hurt sales. Moving away from the Wii brand would mark a great new direction for Nintendo.
  2. Large hard drive at launch: The Wii U came with 2 models, and 8 gb Hard Drive and a 32 gb Hard Drive. However in today’s gaming world, that just doesn’t work anymore seeing as some games are well over 30 gb and just getting bigger. With digital only titles like  Fatal Frame and more as well as the Xenoblade data packs taking up several gb, Nintendo’s own titles show that there is a need for a much larger native hard drive. It should come with no less than 1 TB, with an option for a 2 TB model.
  3. Region Free: Nintendo is at present, the only console maker to region lock their consoles. This may not seem like much but the truth is, Region Free consoles are far more appealing to hardcore gamers than region locked ones. With region free, you could play games that normally just stay in Japan. Its something Nintendo must consider for the NX.
  4. An Expanded Retro Catalog: The Virtual Console has been a major attraction for the Wii and Wii U but the fact is that on Wii U the service is rather lacking. The NX needs to have a large retro catalogue of games at launch and soon after. They need Gamecube games, more Nintendo 64 games, more NES and SNES and GBA games. They need Sega systems games and Turbo grafx games and arcade games and Square-Enix games outside Japan. Further it would be good if games people bought on Wii or Wii U automatically were available on NX’s equivalent of the virtual console
  5. More New IPs: When Splatoon was revealed at E3 2014 most were taken aback. Contrary to what many thing, Nintendo has made many new IP in the last few years but they are usually either smaller downloadable IP or games made by external devs (i.e. The wonderful 101, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower). Splatoon turned many heads as the first major new EAD developed IP in several years. Many thought Splatoon would fail due to being an online multiplayer focused shooter on a Nintendo platform, but it ended up being a major System seller. Xenoblade is another recent internally developed new Nintendo IP (albeit not from an EAD studio) and these are a nice start but what they show is that there is major interest in what Nintendo has to offer. If Nintendo can continue creating new IP, maybe letting Retro Studios try their hand at one, then they can bring a lot more attention to the NX.
  6. Revive more older IPs: Nintendo has a major library of games, the majority of which many don’t know about. There are lesser known titles with a hardcore fanbase like F-Zero, and then there are Japan only games like Nazo No Murasame Jo, which would make a great action game on a modern console,  For the Frog The Bell Tolls, a Zelda like adventure that Link’s Awakening was built on the engine of, and titles like Advance Wars which hasn’t been seen since the DS. In addition to making new IP, Nintendo could easily reboot a classic IP and make it seem like a brand new IP which will attract new fans.
  7. Backwards Compatibility: The sad fact is that not as many people have bought the Wii U as Nintendo would have liked. As such, Nintendo should make the NX backwards compatible, even if only digitally, to allow more people the chance to play these games, when and if they bring in a new audience to the NX.
  8. A strong launch lineup: The Wii U did not have a good launch lineup, lets get that out of the way. NSMBU was the 4th NSMB game and the 2nd in less than a year. It wasn’t anything new as an experience. The rest of the launch lineup was likewise lacking. The NX needs a strong launch lineup because if the games are not there, why would anyone have a reason to buy it?

But those are just my thoughts. Let me know yours and share your opinions in the comments.

By Jessica Brister On 5 Jun, 2015 At 02:32 PM | Categorized As Company Spotlight, Editorials, Featured, PC Games | With 0 Comments

No GravatarIn late April, Valve announced that they were going to start allowing modders to sell their work, starting with Skyrim.  That hadn’t been the first time that Valve permitted the sale of mods.  In January, according to the Verge, developers got to vote on which modders could sell, making it a lot more selective.  The April announcement made it the first to do an open market.  However, after a few days of outrage, Valve shutdown the whole experiment.  No more paid Skyrim mods.

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Mods are extremely popular for Skyrim users on PC.

In a way, I’m glad that the Steam community got together and petitioned for a change.  I always applaud it when gamers can come together and get things done.  In the end, though, I actually would have liked to see modders starting to charge for their work.  Obviously, the way Steam implemented the whole thing originally didn’t work.  They needed quality assurance, trusted modders, and price-setting to start out.  Let’s look beyond the implementation problems for a moment, though, and look at the core issues of allowing modders to get paid.  I still think that it is a good idea and here’s why:

Modders should be compensated for their work.

Most modders do an amazing job and spend a lot of their time making their mods amazing.  Shouldn’t they be allowed to charge for their work?  In reality, the modding community is one of the freshest things in gaming.  There is a pool of talented people out there that spend their time and effort so that others can enhance their gaming experience.  I don’t see why it is horrible to finally allow them to be compensated for their efforts.  In any other scenario, if a person produces something that someone else wants, they have the option of selling it.  Why isn’t this true for modders as well?  Besides, this isn’t the big gaming industry getting the money; it’s the little guy.  I really hope that if modders get compensated for their work, they will produce even more and better things.

Not all modders would be charging.

I really haven’t seen anything about Valve pushing people to charge for mods.  That means that there will still always be many awesome free choices.  I’m sure that there are a lot of modding purists out there who would never think of charging for their mods.  Good for them.  Steam users will then have the option of choosing to purchase mods or get them for free (just like the Apple Store or the Google Play Store with apps).  If you don’t want to purchase a mod, there will be plenty of others for free.

No one is forcing you to mod your game.

I’m a bit confused by all of the brouhaha because modding isn’t something that anyone is forcing a player to do.  In fact, Skyrim players on console don’t even get that option.  It’s just some of the PC gamers that are having a meltdown right now.  The last time that I checked, Skyrim is a pretty darned complete game (so are all of the other Bethesda RPGs).  A player could spend a thousand hours on it easily without mods or even the “official” DLCs.  I don’t see how the modding community is affecting anyone’s ability to play the game.  Besides, if you don’t like the way Steam is going, then get it on console.  Or find a way to get a standard PC version of Skyrim and figure out how to mod it yourself the old way.  Don’t like the old way of modding your game because it involves more work?  Then STOP COMPLAINING about Steam.  The ability to add a mod in a few clicks is one of the reasons why I use Steam.

Now, with that said, there are a few things that would change my mind about the pay for mod model:

If Valve starts charging for access to the Steam Workshop, I would pretty much be done with Steam.  The Steam Workshop IS one of the reasons why I purchase my games through this platform instead of outright just buying the game.

If Valve insists every modder must charge, I would be very unhappy.  I don’t think this is going to be the case.  I think that the model will look more like how Apple and Google are doing their App Stores.

Bethesda (or other developers) charge for access to the game code.  I will have to admit that Bethesda has been AWESOME about allowing modders access to the game’s code.  I hope that this trend continues, and that other developers do the same thing.

Steam also needs makes sure that the mods are decent and stable enough for players to buy, and Steam should also check to make sure people aren’t stealing other people’s work.

So, I think it’s about time to give these talented modders some incentive to keep doing the amazing job that they are doing.  And if you don’t like it, vote with your wallet and don’t buy these mods or buy from Steam.

Besides, let’s rejoice in the fact that there are games good enough out there to spawn a huge modding community, so that people can put their own twist on the game.  The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim came out in late 2011, and I STILL play it like mad.  Eventually, other games will have the pay-for-mod method, but I have a feeling that it will be for amazing games that people would actually care about.  It will end up extending the life of the game by purchasing mods.  I do not equate mods to what the gaming industry is doing to DLCs.  Besides, this is the “little guy” who is selling them.

No Gravatarrise-of-the-tomb-raider

Excited for Rise of the Tomb Raider? It’s expected during the holiday season of this year exclusively for Xbox One and Xbox 360. Check out this pre-E3 trailer below!

What do you think? Excited? Let us know in the comments!

No Gravatarfallout4

The countdown is done! Just when we thought we got all of our surprises with the confirmation earlier, Bethesda revealed a Fallout 4 trailer!

I’m hoping for even more at E3 and hopefully a release date for this year!

Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments!