Like taxes, iPhones and, well, Madden, you can count on a new Skylanders game every year. If you’re unfamiliar with the franchise, that may just be a symptom of not being around kids — the toy / video game series is a dominant force in the kids gaming market, sharing responsibility with biggies like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft for bringing in 80 percent of Activision’s earnings in 2013. Each new entry in the game series comes with a new physical device for reading toy figurines; when said figurines are placed on the device (called a “portal”), they’re transported into the game world and playable in-game.
Between the figures ($5 – $7 apiece, on average) and the games (anywhere from $7 to $60), it’s easy to understand why the franchise is so profitable. Thankfully, the franchise is also lauded by most critics as a pretty decent game, too. The next entry, Skylanders: Trap Team, arrives this October — the first time the series is on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One — and it’s the largest game in the franchise to date.
When Skylanders: Trap Team launches on October 5th in North America (the 10th in Europe), it arrives with a new portal, and also even larger Skylanders figures than before. The hook this time around (beyond the whole “putting a toy from the real world into a game” thing) is the ability to “trap” in-game enemies. Using one of eight “Traptanium Traps” — that’s eight colored real-world toys that must be purchased — you can “trap” enemies (store the character data from the game). That enemy can then be used in-game, just like a Skylander. This enables players to quickly switch between two characters, one Skylander and one boss character, on-the-fly. There’s also a neat interactivity aspect wherein the portal now has a speaker and the boss character, once captured, will comment on the game in real-time.
We spoke with Toys for Bob’s Paul Reiche, head of the studio that both created the Skylanders franchise and headed up development of Skylanders: Team Trap. Before you ask: yes, all previous Skylanders toys work with this new one. All the parents in the crowd say “Yay-a!” Reiche (pronounced “Richy”) walked us through the new game, the scope of the series, and spoke to the design of the new characters. What’s with the new traps? Why are the characters larger? And what the heck is “traptanium”? Allow him to explain in the video above, and get a much closer look at all the new hardware while you’re at it.
Video produced by Edgar Alvarez and Daniel Orren.
By now, everyone has probably heard about Google’s Project Ara modular smartphone that should arrive in January 2015.
While there are plenty of people talking about the potential to swap out components such as the display, camera, processor, battery, etc., one concept is making its way around the web that could bring an almost Nintendo DS/3DS gaming experience to the smartphone.
Designer Samuel Herb is sharing a concept he created called Flippypad for Project Ara, a hinged controller that turns the smartphone into “a neat little clamshell gaming device.”
The concept has L and R buttons, a D-Pad, two flat joysticks “and the familiar ABXY diamond.” The hinged component concept also connects into the back of Project Ara to power and integrate it.
This could be the perfect accessory for gamers who want to carry as little with them as possible and allow them to get great gaming experience out of their mobile device as well.
Herb said that if anyone wants to see something like this made, they should try and get the word out, then maybe it will find its way to the right people and he can start developing it for real.
Would you be interested in such an component/accessory? Are you excited for Project Ara?
The post Flippypad, a Project Ara concept gamers could get behind appeared first on AndroidGuys.
Welcome to the Joystiq Weekly wrap-up where we present some of the best stories and biggest gaming news from our sister-publication.
- Nintendo’s stumbles extend beyond its hardware, as the gaming giant also passed on securing the exclusive rights for the now-multimillion dollar Skylanders series.
- The LGBT-focused GaymerX con became a victim of its own success and its second year will, unfortunately, be its last.
With a few smart and unobtrusive tweaks to its thorny heart, Trials Fusion nails its balance between purity and cruelty. The new tricks system doesn’t betray the game’s simple roots, and instead makes a perfect landing seem even less attainable at times – and more rewarding. The primal pleasures of Trials live on and into the future, leaning forward just a tad.
- The latest entry in the punishing Trials series earns high marks from Joystiq’s editor in chief Ludwig Kietzmaan.
That’s it! Be sure to check back next Sunday for another recap, or if you’re impatient, click over to Joystiq and catch the news the moment that it happens.
Welcome to the first edition of the Joystiq Weekly Wrap-up, where we present some of the best stories and biggest news from our beloved sister-publication. After the break you’ll find, among other things, Pokémon, the Big Bad Wolf and the final word on Titanfall’s ongoing multiplayer examination. Our brothers and sisters in arms are on the ground in Boston this weekend for PAX East too, and you can find all of that coverage right here. Pour a frosty beverage and join us for the week’s gaming news, won’t you?
Arguably the biggest news this week came from Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros-themed Nintendo Direct broadcast. The franchise hits the 3DS this summer and the Wii U this fall with two online modes (For Fun and For Glory) and a unique spin on series-staple Adventure mode, Smash Run. Perhaps the biggest news, though, is the addition of all around bad-ass Charizard to the game’s roster.
One of the more intriguing games shown at Microsoft’s E3 press event last year was indie-puzzler Below. It’s being developed by Capybara Games (Super Brothers Swords and Sworcery EP) and news hit this week that if you don’t feel like shelling out $500 for an Xbox One — it was previously announced as a platform-exclusive — that the game is coming to Steam, too.
In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel you’ll travel to the moon when it releases this fall for PS3, PC and Xbox 360. The last-gen title takes place between the first two games, and you’ll be fighting for antagonist Handsome Jack this time around.
If you’ve beaten Bastion countless times while waiting for developer Supergiant Games’ follow-up Transistor to hit, it’s almost time to let The Kid rest. The action-RPG releases on the PS4 and PC for $20 on May 20th.
This week Joystiq reviewed Xbox One exclusive Kinect Sports Rivals and episode three of Telltale Games’ The Wolf Among Us. Critic Jessica Condit lamented Rivals is another instance of Kinect’s crippled functionality.
The Xbox One Kinect is more responsive than its predecessor, but it still doesn’t seem ready for this level of gameplay. My set-up meets the requirements – a clear, open floor and seven feet of playable space from Kinect to the front of my couch. Still, Kinect had trouble deciphering who was playing if anything moved in the background or just off to the sides, and it tracked motions inconsistently.
Joystiq‘s managing editor Susan Arendt was much more positive in her look at Biggby Wolf’s latest chapter. Although The Crooked Mile narratively occupies the middle of Telltale’s Fables yarn, that shouldn’t be held against it she says.
Taken by itself, it’s unsatisfying and half-missing, but of course it’s not meant to be taken by itself. It’s the centerpiece of a larger whole, the lock that will let everything eventually make sense.
Road-trip season will be here before you know it, but with the price of gas still pretty high, getting out and exploring the open road can be an expensive proposition. If you’d still like to see some of the US though, Ubisoft’s The Crew will let you do just that, virtually. The constantly-connected racer lets you and three buddies drive from San Francisco to Salt Lake City and other cities (including Detroit), completing challenges and collecting cars. Joystiq‘s video preview gives an overview of the game’s look and feel.
As part of its ongoing look at crowdfunded game development, Joystiq notes that the month of March continued the space’s continued slump. What’s more, March was the second-worst month of pledges in the prior 10 (when Joystiq started the series).
PC gamers are a proud people: they tend to invest heavily in their rigs and expect the best possible experience from their games as a result. For them, playing a console game that’s been ported can be a crap shoot in terms of performance. With the brutally difficult Dark Souls 2, however, that isn’t the case. The PC version is prettier than its PS3 and Xbox 360 counterparts, and is the best version of the game that’s available.
In the wake of games like Battlefield 4 and its still-rocky performance, Joystiq has started an ongoing look at how a game’s multiplayer fares in the first month after launch. With Titanfall, the outlet says that despite a few brief outages, the experience remains solid, dubbing the game’s state of service “good.”
That’s it! Be sure to check back next Sunday for another recap, or if you’re impatient, click over to Joystiq and catch the news as it happens.
Before you send in your angry emails, comments and tweets that decry me as a hatchet-wielding antichrist, let’s begin by saying that I’m not a gamer. I do play games, but I have no specific allegiance to a console or manufacturer — I simply go where the fun is. My console history, for editorial balance, includes the VIC 20, Commodore 64, NES, Mega Drive (Genesis), PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360 and the Wii. That means that I’m about as much of a dilettante as you can be, and there’s no bias or malice in the following. Just disappointment.
My wife, you see, isn’t a fan of technology. And yet, despite never joining in games, she holds a soft spot for the Super NES. She takes on (and beats) all-comers on Super Mario Kart, but her favorite game, and the one that she’s probably devoted the most time to, is Tetris Attack. For those not in the know, it’s a reskinned version of the Japanese puzzle game Panel De Pon, which was later reskinned as Pokémon Puzzle League and, later, Puzzle League for the DS. Anyway, my wife’s friend recently came over, and we dug out the SNES so the two of them could while away the time. Unfortunately, the console is now 22 years old, and both controllers are now nearly unusable. “Never mind,” said I, dusting off our unused Wii. After all, I’d heard plenty about the Virtual Console service that promised nearly every SNES game had been added to the digital store, and it wouldn’t take long before they could play the game with the Wiimotes doubling as controllers.
This is where things start to fall apart. Nintendo, for some capricious reason, has declined to release Tetris Attack for the Virtual Console. I say for some “capricious reason,” but it’s because Henk Rogers, CEO of the Tetris Company, is annoyed that the game carries his beloved branding. Heartbroken, we decided that as a sop (and to get the evening’s frivolities going), we’d buy Pokémon Puzzle League, despite how annoying Pokémon is for anyone who isn’t a Pokémon fan.
Before you can buy the game (or click on the entry in the store), the console requests you buy Nintendo Store credits. So, after another five minutes of trying to put credit card information onto the system (which isn’t the easiest in the world, I assure you), we’re finally in a position to purchase the game. Except it’s at this point, when you click through, that Nintendo decides to tell you that you can’t use this game without purchasing the Nintendo Classic controller. Which wasn’t going to be possible at 8 p.m. on a Saturday.
What’s the moral of the story? There are two, I guess. Firstly, don’t be the sort of self-absorbed ass who just presumes a company would make logical decisions instead of doing the research. That level of self-absorption could also manifest itself in the decision to write 700 words on the subject and attempt to pretend this isn’t merely the most first-world of first-world problems. I’m happy to accept the charge, and my hubris will linger forever in the £7 that sit on my Wii, unused for time immemorial.
The second, of course, is that for the sort of novice consumer looking to buy a product from Nintendo, the company doesn’t make things easy. After all, it could have shown me before I added my cash that I didn’t have the necessary accessory. It could have also simply rebranded the title as Yoshi’s Puzzle League, since a short trawl of the internet shows there’s more than one aggrieved, self-absorbed Brit wanting to see this game on the Virtual Console. I don’t expect a company to bend over backward to cater to my every need, but I do wonder why Nintendo couldn’t have made this process easier.
Nintendo’s had some success with approximating the mundanity of real life in the past, but its latest attempt looks like it’ll amp up the crazy rather dramatically. In Tomodachi Life you import a collection of Miis (Nintendo’s avatar system) and watch as they interact with each other on an island. We know what you’re thinking, but trust us, it’s the opposite of boring. For example, one scene from its recent unveiling involves Nintendo’s senior product marketing manager Bill Trinen professing his love for Samus Aran on a beach when a shirtless, musclebound president Reggie Fils-Aime runs down the shore to do the same. And then, CEO Sartoru Iwata emerges from the water and joins in on the action. Yes, really.
You might say the day is never really done in consumer technology news. Your workday, however, hopefully draws to a close at some point. This is the Daily Roundup on Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines for the past 24 hours — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. Click on through the break, and enjoy.
Google has been alerting users when downloading apps of questionable origin for some time. But now the company’s taking its security a step further by checking up on your apps after you’ve already installed them.
There’s a new sheriff in Xbox town, and his name is Phil Spencer. While most of us know him as the E3 guy who speaks about games during Microsoft’s keynote, Spencer is a longtime Redmond employee who worked his way up from the bottom.
In an effort to keep you on top of your privacy settings, Facebook’s giving its existing controls more visibility. By rolling out a new “Privacy Checkup” box in the near future, the company hopes people will become more aware of their sharing habits.
Back in the 90s, Nintendo released 90 copies of a three-part, competitive play cartridge called Nintendo World Championships. In the spirit of nostalgia, the company’s adding said game into its next iteration of NES Remix for the Wii U.
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Filed under: Misc
Nintendo World Championships is a game for Nintendo’s first major game console, the NES. It’s notorious for popping up every few years on places like eBay and fetching a ton of dough. You won’t find articles praising its thrilling gameplay or beautiful soundtrack, and that’s because it’s not really a game. Nintendo World Championships is actually pieces of three games — Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer and Tetris — and was used for competitive NES play in the early 1990s. It’s rare because only about 90 copies exist, but now you too can play it on your Wii U. Well, sort of.
Folks who already own NES Remix on Wii U can purchase its sequel in the coming weeks, which unlocks “Championship Mode.” Therein you’ll find a similar challenge to the one immortalized by Fred Savage in The Wizard, albeit with Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros 3 and Dr. Mario. Head below for a video taste of the nostalgia-laced madness in action.
Jonesing for a new Super Smash Bros. game? Hope you own a 3DS: Nintendo has announced that the mobile version of the series’ latest entry will land first, debuting this summer. The Wii U version will arrive this year too, but it won’t be available until winter, presumably to make the most out of the holiday season. Nintendo teased the launch windows with a tweet right before today’s Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct, where Masahiro Sakurai (the game’s director) updated players on the game’s latest development.
In addition to showing off the standard deluge of stages and new characters (Sheik, Zero Suit Samus, Yoshi and Pokemon’s Charizard and Greninja, specifically), Sakurai explained the new games’ disparate multiplayer modes: “For Fun” and “For Glory.” Gamers playing “for fun” will play with randomized items and stages, counting only victories to the players record – gamers looking for glory, however, will play on simple, flat stages with no items. In “For Glory” mode, both wins and losses count against the player’s record. Finally the 3DS version comes with an exclusive battle game called “Smash Run,” where up to four players navigate a timed obstacle course to collect power ups and fight enemies before ultimately facing each other in a final battle. Miss Nintendo’s live broadcast? Not to worry: we’ve embedded the full presentation after the break.