Alright, so you may have noticed we rely on feature pieces and indie news for content. However we would like to bring you our opinions on the releases and interesting non-indie gaming news that happens each week as well.We are very busy (lazy) people however with lives of our own (games to play), so how are we going to bring you this information? Enter the weekly round up! Each weekend we will update with an article like this, in which each of our writers post a news piece they find interesting, the game release they would buy if money and platform were no problem, and will comment on them for your entertainment. We think this is also a good way to convey our interests as gamers, so let’s get started!
Halo 2 PC servers to be switched off next month.
It was a sad day for Halo (2) fans all over the world when Microsoft flipped the switch and turned off the original Xbox Live system on April 15 2010, since even at that point, there was still a surprising amount of active Halo 2 players. Come February this year, the PC version will suffer a similar fate as Microsoft have decided to turn off those those servers too, leaving dedicated servers as the only option for taking Halo 2 online. Being able to blaze through the campaign with a friend across the Internet or duking it out in multiplayer battles with other players across the globe was a huge thing in this game, and even though I arrived late to the Halo party, I took my share of plasma-pistol-to-the-face against random people online. That said, come next year the game has been around for a good 10 years though, so it’s not like they’re flicking the switch on something brand new. It’s been a good decade and let’s not forget that the franchise itself is still very much alive!
Release pick: 10,000,000 (PC, Steam)
While I’m not too fond of the randomness that is RPG/Match 3 hybrids, 10,000,000 is still my pick from the past week, because it looks like a fun way to kill (at least) a few hours with its silly plot of scoring 10000000 points in order to escape and lightweight RPG mechanics. Accumulating all those points will require a great many runs through the dungeon, but after each attempt you’ll have the option of spending resources on upgrades, unlocking abilities and other things in order to improve your odds for future runs. So basically a crazy loot-focused RPG, accompanied by repetition, with everything from opening chests and doors to fighting monsters playing out in a fast-paced Match 3 game? My kind of thing (randomness be damned)!
Android port of Snes9x Ex is back on Google Play.
This week Snes9x Ex+, a very popular SNES emulator for Android, re-appeared on the Google Play Store. It was removed a while ago for reasons unknown, and while the developer Robert Broglia kept hosting the app on his own website, it’s good to have it back on the store – with all the auto-updates, easier accessibility and whatnot this entails. And it’s still free!
Emulation is of course still a legal grey area, but even with all the re-releases on modern consoles there are a lot of old games that just cannot be played any other way. I for one am very thankful for this option, let’s leave it at that.
Snes9x Ex+ is widely regarded as the best SNES emulator on the Android platforms due to its high game compatibility and overall speed. What turns this from “mildly interesting” into a “must-have app” for me is the gamepad support. Among the wide variety of controllers you can connect to your Android device are a wired Xbox 360 gamepad (you’ll need a USB OTG adaptor for that, they are pretty cheap) or a Wiimote via Bluetooth. Sadly, Android 4.2 seems to have issues with Wiimotes due to a changed Bluetooth component. but the developers of the various Wiimote apps should be working on that already. For now, using the built-in “gamepad” works as well, but it just doesn’t feel right. I don’t want touch controls, I want real buttons! Yes, the feel of the controller is important in retro gaming, at least to me.
I’ll leave you with this mental image: you, sitting all comfortable in your bed with your tablet on your lap, playing SNES games with a proper controller. If that sounds almost too good to be true, you might be in for a treat.
Release pick: Luminesca (PC/Mac)
After being in development for quite a while now, indie underwater explore ‘em up Luminesca is finally available for pre-order. The alpha version gets you the first of the game’s five parts, with the rest to follow once they are done. Apparently, Luminesca focuses on atmosphere and stylish visuals, while being a bit of a short experience so far – but that might change in the future. In any case, it looks like a deeply (get it?) atmospheric, beautiful game that is well worth buying or at least keeping an eye on.
Persona 4 Arena nearing a European Release.
Those who read my old blog (*cough* *cough*) might know about my admiration for Persona 4 (One of the two best jRPGs I’ve played in the last ten years). What might not be known is my love for ARC System Works’s fighting games. I may be terrible at Guilty Gear XX or Blazblue, but man are those games a blast. Seeing I live in a PAL region (Australia), a European version is great news… mainly because the game is region-locked and the Australian release date is to be announced. ><
Release pick: Temple Run 2 (iOS)
It’s funny that while I review iPhone games for my job, I missed out on the Temple Run phenomenon. Oh I understand it as I’ve seen all the clones pop up trying to emulate its success, but I never went back to try the one that started it all. The sequel hit this week, and as it only minorly evolves and refines its formula, seems a great way to see what all the hype is about. It’s also a free game, and that’s definitely a bonus!
So what say you dear reader? What one piece of gaming news this past week did you find the most interesting? What game release would you buy? What are your opinions on our picks? Don’t be afraid to make your voices heard in the comments, and we’ll see you next week.