New Super Mario Bros. was the first Mario game since Mario Sunshine and the first 2D Mario game since Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, but it brought prominence back to the series in a big way with its use of new ideas laid atop the old-school formula. Today, we celebrate its initial launch on the Nintendo DS in 2006.
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The recent (and bewildering) success of Steam titles like American Truck Simulator have shined a light on the pleasures of digital trucking, but over the years there have actually been quite a few games about hauling cargo on the open road. This list highlights 10 of the most notable. While I’d like to say that these are all forgotten classics, the reality is that some of these games rank among the worst ever created. Most are at best goofy historical curiosities. There are still some excellent times to be had on the digital highways, however. So tear up the swindle sheets, turn on some C.W. McCall, and get ready to put the hammer down. We’re going truckin’.
Back in the 1990s, most prominent racing games were largely arcade affairs. Players enjoyed the experience of games like Cruis’n USA and Ridge Racer and even Need for Speed II dropped the more realistic simulation of the original in favor of a more arcade-styled gameplay system. It’s safe to say there were very few games going the racing sim route outside of the NASCAR titles licensed for development by Electronic Arts. In 1997, that changed when a new game hit the scene that was about to start a franchise and revolutionize the hybridization of arcade elements and realistic racing simulation, not to mention become one of the most popular PlayStation games of all time. Today, we celebrate the arrival of the original Gran Turismo on North American shelves in 1998.
With Blizzard’s Overwatch Open Beta wrapping up, many players have gotten the chance to try the anticipated team-based shooter. There have been billions of bullets fired, thousands of objectives seized and more than a few saps knocked into the death pit in the center of the Grecian Ilios map. Between the 21 heroes, 12 maps, and four game modes that have been available, Overwatch is shaping up to be well outside Blizzard’s norm in many ways and yet wholly familiar in others.
I usually take very thorough notes when reviewing a game. I keep my notebook next to me at all times, pen ready, and will often take a break between rounds to jot down my thoughts. That didn’t happen with Valkyria Chronicles Remastered. Maybe it’s because I already played it back in 2008, when it originally launched on the PS3, but I found myself without words as I made my way through its early battles and story set-up. When I did finally pause to write something down, it was simply this: “This game is still so good.”
Few games are as stunningly beautiful as Drinkbox Studios' Severed. It's a game that's vibrant and full of life, with colors that pop off the screen. This liveliness is a direct contrast to the story and thematic content driving Severed, which is a somber tale of loss and righting the wrongs committed against our hero's family. It all serves as the foundation for a deep, action-intensive dungeon-crawler, that dishes all its gameplay out in perfectly sized segments. Though some developers have struggled to craft unique and memorable games for the Vita, Drinkbox has managed to do just that and then some with Severed.
Two years ago, Disney Interactive launched Star Wars Commander, a base-building strategy game set in the Star Wars universe. Players could choose to enlist with the Rebellion or the Empire in an effort to either save or control the galaxy. Since the Commander's start, Disney has been updating the mobile game with new content to keep the adventures feeling fresh, but this past week, Star Wars Commander got a major update that would finally give players the feeling of taking part in a massive battle. With Squad Wars, players and their squads can now take on other squads in huge engagements, fighting over control of Sullust. The update features the same asynchronous combat you might be used to, but since the battles take place over 24 hours, you can coordinate with the other members of your squad to work out effective strategies for the best results. We chatted with Andrew Fazekas, executive producer on Star Wars Commander, Joe Canose, Star Wars Commander's lead designer, and Dave Feder, Commander's product manager, to learn more about the mode and what it does to separate Star Wars Commander from the competition.
The first-person shooter has ventured a very, very long way from its roots. Commonplace practice these days in any large scale FPS is a blend of fast-paced action, cinematic set pieces and integrated story told throughout a player’s lead-emblazoned escapades. Even Doom has seemed to go the way of this trend, blending a hellish cornucopia of environmental and active storytelling with it’s classic run n’ gun formula. That said, you don’t get any of it without the innovative granddaddy of the whole genre. Even before there was Doom, there was Wolfenstein 3D and today we celebrate its release on May 5, 1992.
There's a moment in the beginning chapters of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End where series hero Nathan Drake and his wife Elena sit at home on their couch and eat dinner while talking ,as two normal people living normal lives in a normal house. The dissonance of this scene compared to the expected run and gun Indiana Jones-style action of the franchise is deafening, and yet this brief moment of routine sets a perfect tone for the rest of the game.
Video Game peripheral gear has a history almost as long as video games themselves. Often times a new video game peripheral is created to address a certain problem with the current hardware. Other times they are meant to enhance the experience in some way. Somewhere in between that are specialized video game peripherals that come with certain games as a means to address unique controls or make the overall experience unique. Sometimes, but quite rarely, these devices play a role beyond that of a gimmick, actually providing application beyond its initial release.