Video games

  • This Week on Xbox: March 27,2020
    on March 27, 2020 at 9:30 pm

    We know you’re busy and might miss out on all the exciting things we’re talking about on Xbox Wire every week. If you’ve got a few minutes, we can help remedy that. We’ve pared down the past week’s news into one easy-to-digest article for all things Xbox! Or, if you’d rather watch than read, you

  • Microsoft Joins with Intel to Optimize Gears Tactics for PC
    by Cam McRae, Gears Tactics, Technical Director on March 27, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Soon, you can experience the next chapter of the acclaimed Gears of War series built from the ground up for PC. Combining deep, tactical turned-based gameplay and a powerful story of leadership and sacrifice, Gears Tactics will send you back to the front lines at the dawn of the Locust War. In Gears Tactics, you’ll

  • Xbox Insider Release Notes – Beta, Delta and Omega Ring (2004.200325-0000)
    on March 27, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    Hey Beta, Delta and Omega ring users! Today’s Xbox Insider Release Notes highlight the latest fixes, known issues, and features coming to your console. Starting at 2 p.m. PT today, users will receive the latest 2004 Xbox One system update (build: RS_XBOX_RELEASE_2004\19041.1825.200325-0000). Keep reading for more details. System Update Details: OS version released: RS_XBOX_RELEASE_2004\19041.1825.200325-0000 Available:

  • Rocket Pass 6 Has Gone Cybernetic on Xbox One
    by Max Parker, Rocket League on March 27, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    Rocket Pass 6 is speeding into the future. Check out the most wanted ride, Ronin, in the Rocket Pass 6 trailer and unlock it immediately with Rocket Pass Premium! Rocket Pass Premium grants access to 70 tiers of futuristic items inspired by science fiction, like the HoloData Boost, UFO Engine Audio and the Rad Rock

  • Next Week on Xbox: New Games for March 31 to April 3
    on March 27, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Welcome to Next Week on Xbox, where we cover all the new games coming soon to Xbox One and Windows 10 PC! Every week the team at Xbox aims to deliver quality gaming content for you to enjoy on your favorite gaming console. To find out what’s coming soon to Xbox, read on below and

  • WayForward Doesn't Plan To Release DLC For Shantae And The Seven Sirens
    on March 29, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    At least for now.Not long after all the Nintendo Direct Mini presentation earlier this week, the talented team at WayForward locked in a Switch release date for Shantae And The Seven Sirens. It'll be washing up on the Switch on 28th May, and is expected to launch for $29.99 USD.While this new expansive quest is the "biggest outing" to date, there are still some fans out there wondering if the independent developer has plans to release downloadable content for the game. This was the official response via Twitter:Read the full article on nintendolife.com

  • Review: Operencia: The Stolen Sun - A Rich And Satisfying Dungeon Crawler
    on March 29, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Dungeon Master.Zen Studios' Operencia: The Stolen Sun doesn't really get off to the brightest of starts on Nintendo Switch. Opening with a prologue that sees you assume control of King Attila and his wife Reka as they attempt to close a portal between their land and the underworld, things kick off here with a ten-minute introduction that highlights a few of this port's niggling technical issues, namely a slightly blurred image quality with regards to enemies during battle and a lack of motion controls that can make some puzzles a little finnicky to interact with. Persevere through this very short sequence, however, make peace with the aforementioned negatives, and you'll be handsomely rewarded with a rich and satisfying dungeon crawler that strikes a sweet balance between engaging story, meaty combat, addictive treasure hunting and clever puzzles.Once you've managed to get the somewhat janky prologue out of the way you'll be briefly whisked through a character creation suite and then quickly plonked in the ruins of a sunken castle for some good-old fashioned dungeon-crawling action. Gameplay here will be familiar to fans of the Bard's Tale series, in particular The Bard's Tale 4 which modernised the franchise's traditional old-school gameplay mechanics by introducing the much more freeform style of traversal and camera controls that you'll get to grips with here.Read the full article on nintendolife.com

  • Poll: Box Art Brawl #36 - Streets Of Rage 3
    on March 29, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    A Bare Knuckle sandwich.Bienvenido a Box Art Brawl, our weekly look back at the same game's retro box art from around the world with a cheeky vote attached.To coincide with the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons we took a look at the first game in the series last week. Despite the North American and European variants being very similar, the minor differences elevated the North American version way above the rest with a comfortable 59% of the vote. Japan mopped up just 7% leaving Europe in the middle with the remainder.Read the full article on nintendolife.com

  • Random: Pichu Player Shocks Himself While He Plays Smash Bros. Ultimate
    on March 29, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Don't try this at home.Super Smash Bros. Ultimate fan and mechanical engineer, Eric Heckman, came up with an electric idea to wire a taser to a GameCube controller, so he could shock himself while he played as the Pokémon fighter, Pichu.In an email to Kotaku, Heckman explained how it's was a "pretty simple" design. Apart from the controller, system, and a copy of Smash Bros. on Switch, the components included an Arduino microcontroller, a relay switch and a cheap taser. The entire assembly took around two hours to wire, and the rest of the time was spent coding:Read the full article on nintendolife.com

  • Mini Review: Mekorama - It May Look Like Captain Toad, But Don’t Let That Fool You
    on March 29, 2020 at 12:00 pm

    Dior-iffic.Mekorama looks a lot like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. There’s no getting around this, but in the same way that Metroid Prime looks a lot like other FPS titles, it doesn’t quite play the same. In fact, Mekorama is played entirely on the Switch’s touch screen (or with an on-screen cursor, if you wish), and feels completely different to Nintendo’s own puzzler. Initially available on mobile devices, it triumphantly makes the jump over to Switch with little to no fuss, and even packs in plenty of extra levels in the process. It’s remarkably clever and charming, even if it does contain a few quirks that may frustrate some players.Mekorama stars an adorable robot named ‘B’ (he rather looks like a bee, but also shares a striking resemblance to BB-8), and it’s your job to guide it from A to B in a series of levels presented as dioramas. These are split into Easy, Medium, Tricky, and Hard categories. You’ll need to make good use of the game’s camera in order to inspect the stages from every possible angle, as most, if not all, contain obstacles, secret passageways, and moving objects that will only be visible from certain points of view.Read the full article on nintendolife.com

  • Upgraded Nier Replicant Heading To PlayStation 4, Xbox One, And Steam
    by Andrew Reiner on March 29, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    Click to watch embedded media In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Nier series of games, Square Enix today announced an upgraded version of Nier Replicant (the original Japanese PlayStation 3 release) is heading to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam. The port is being developed in conjunction with Toylogic and is spearheaded by director Yoko Taro and producer Yosuke Saito. Square Enix also revealed a new mobile game called Nier Incarnation is in development at Applibot (you can see the trailer below). No release information was provided for either game. Nier Replicant will feature rerecorded music along with a new tracks by Keiichi Okabe, and will introduce new characters and potentially one more ending. The full title for the game is "Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139..." Nier Replicant has had many names outside of its PlayStation 3 release. In Japan, the Xbox 360 version is called Nier Gestalt and it featured an older man as the protagonist instead of the teenage boy. The older protagonist was also in the western releases, which were just called Nier. I think I got all of that right. Confusing, no?  Square Enix says the sequel, Nier: Automata, has "shipped/downloaded more than four million units worldwide." Click here to watch embedded media

  • Persona 5 Royal Review – Revealing Its True Form
    by Brian Shea on March 28, 2020 at 1:21 am

    Publisher: Atlus Developer: Atlus Release: March 31, 2020 Rating: Mature Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 When it launched in 2017, Persona 5 represented the next evolution of the Persona formula. Persona 5 Royal amplifies the stellar turn-based combat and masterful social mechanics, as well as the complex systems surrounding them. But it also adds new characters, story arcs, and a meaty post-game palace that ventures even deeper into the world’s lore to deliver the definitive way to experience Persona 5. The gameplay loop of the original remains intact: You hunt for corrupted individuals, infiltrate dungeons based on their personalities, and battle through tons of enemies – all while going to school and developing relationships with various confidants. Connecting with people from all walks of life, learning their stories, and strengthening your bonds remains rewarding from both a character development standpoint and in the way these relationships give you useful perks. If you haven’t played Persona 5 before, this is the perfect way to start. Click here to watch embedded media Even if you did play the original release, Royal gives you plenty of reasons to return. In addition to restructuring the way you level up your relationship with Akechi, leading to more meaningful interactions with this important character, Royal adds Kasumi and Maruki, two all-new confidants. While I like the stories of both characters, I especially love the bonuses they give along the way: Kasumi increases your HP and gives you an awesome dodge ability for when a shadow is about to ambush you, while Maruki raises Joker’s maximum SP, which comes in handy during lengthy palace infiltrations. Kasumi and Maruki offer humorous and heartfelt interactions, and while Kasumi eventually joins your party as a full-fledged Phantom Thief, that doesn’t happen until the new post-game palace. While I’m disappointed she isn’t in your party for the vast majority of the game, her constant presence in the story means you’re already familiar with her when the time comes. That new palace and its surrounding arc serve up an interesting look at the weird way the world works following the events of the original conclusion, and offers puzzles, dungeon elements, and is unique from the other palaces in the game. I was initially worried that the addition of a new final boss battle would take away from what made the original finale special, but without spoiling it, this new end boss delivers a climactic and cinematic endcap to your journey as the Phantom Thieves. Click image thumbnails to view larger version                                                                                                               In the 100 hours leading up to that post-game content, I loved revisiting the original palaces with their minor additions. Joker now has access to a grappling hook, which lets him swing to new points in palaces to find hidden treasure chests or the new collectible Will Seeds. Each palace’s three Will Seeds are often hidden behind grappling sequences, puzzles, or difficult battles, but if you collect all three and bring the resulting item to a new character Jose in Mementos, you earn valuable accessories to equip to your characters. While they all give you powerful perks or moves, my favorite was one that buffed an ally’s next magic attack to an extreme degree; I can’t tell you how many times that move helped me turn the tide of battle. As you progress through the story, you also accumulate Showtime moves, team-up attacks that play out through funny, over-the-top cutscenes that also have the capacity to get you out of hot water if you're in trouble in a palace. Revisiting the memorable battles against palace rulers is made even more fun as they now have additional forms that play off the themes of their sins. Since the palaces are based on the cognitions of the palace rulers, I loved seeing how they incorporated the bosses’ transgressions and twisted views in unique ways. While each of these forms adds something exciting or compelling to the way the battles play out, one boss battle operates on a time limit, and Royal’s version adds additional dialogue and a new form without adding time to the clock, leading to frustration. Regardless of that one misfire, thanks to these additions, the palace boss battles are overall better than those in the original game. With so many additions and improvements, Persona 5 Royal is an improved version of what was already one of the best RPGs of the last decade. Whether you’ve been itching to enjoy the Phantom Thieves’ journey again or looking to experience it for the first time, Royal wears its crown well. Score: 9.25 Summary: Whether you're looking to replay Persona 5 or experience the Phantom Thieves' adventure for the first time, Royal is your best bet. Concept: Get the Phantom Thieves back together for this director’s cut of Persona 5, which includes new characters, gameplay mechanics, and areas Graphics: The visuals haven’t changed from the initial release, but even three years later, Persona 5 still oozes style and visual flair Sound: One of the best soundtracks of the generation is supplemented by new tracks that diversify and strengthen the musical offerings. The new voice actors slide seamlessly into place with the already excellent cast from the original game Playability: With complex social systems and superb turn-based combat already present, Royal adds gameplay enhancements great and small Entertainment: While new characters and a new post-game palace are the biggest selling points, the tweaks and improvements make this the best way to experience one of the best RPGs in recent memory Replay: Moderately high Click to Purchase

  • Top Of The Table – Stellar Board Games That Actually Teach
    by Matt Miller on March 27, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    The educational game scene likely deserves some of the criticism that gets leveled its way. Taking a bunch of facts and jamming them into a tired trivia or card game format isn’t good game design, and whether your potential players are kids or adults, they’re sure to see through the ruse. Fortunately, recent years have seen a surge of excellent releases that treat educational elements like any other potential theme, and build a great design around that concept.  If you’re a teacher or parent, the games below are ideal for young people who learn best with supplementary game experiences. But in choosing the titles to select for this article, I’ve also tried hard to only include games that I’d happily recommend to any adult gaming group as well – stuff that is fun enough to come out on any game night.  I’ve also steered away from the wealth of clever releases that teach in an abstract way about strategic thinking, logic, or critical thinking; while those skills are eminently valuable to anyone, the focus here is on games with discrete subject themes like math or history. Editor's Note: This article originally ran on March 23, 2018. We're resurfacing the article today for families who may be looking for additional opportunities and activities for kids currently sheltering in place at home.  Photosynthesis Publisher: Blue Orange GamesRecommended age: 8+Applicable subjects: Ecology, Life Science, Environmentalism Selected as one of our best tabletop games of 2017, Photosynthesis is a phenomenal game about growing a forest. Two to four players each take on the role of a specific type of tree, like blue spruce or oak. Small trees can grow into towering behemoths that cast shadows across the rest of the forest. The unique hook is the ever-moving sun, represented by a game piece that rotates around the board to communicate the passing seasons, demanding that you consider how shade is cast from multiple perspectives over time. The growing table tableau is beautiful, filled with multi-colored cardboard trees of various sizes, each competing for light and life. Players learn the principles about how plants use light to grow, the ways trees compete for placement in a crowded canopy, and showcases how a tree’s completed life cycle makes way for new life. The game also offers remarkably challenging tactical dilemmas, as tree placement must be considered from multiple perspectives simultaneously.  Timeline Publisher: AsmodeeRecommended age: 10+Applicable subjects: History, Cultural Studies Proving that you probably know less than you think about the order that important historical moments happened, the aptly named Timeline challenges players to put major benchmarks in order. Every player has a hand of cards with specific instances to consider. It’s easy enough to know whether the domestication of sheep happened before the first 45 rpm record. But how about the invention of the pull-tab can or the typewriter? Timeline is expandable and combinable across several subject areas, including Music & Cinema, American History, Americana, Events, and Inventions. It makes for a great family game, as adults and kids alike encounter subjects they know more or less about; inevitably, played cards elicit longer conversations about the historical moment in question, and why they were important. Played with adult friends, I think you’ll be surprised how frequently you’ll be off the mark. As a special note, while players under age 10 will have trouble having the necessary historical context to succeed, the simple core game mechanic is easy to grasp for a younger player, especially with help from an adult.  In addition to standard card packs for Timeline (which easily supports anywhere from two to eight players), you can also expand into the more fully-featured Timeline Challenge board game, or branch off into the similar Cardline series of games, which focuses on individual topics like animals, geography, and dinosaurs, and challenges players to compare and contrast them side by side.   Cytosis: A Cell Biology Game Publisher: Genius GamesRecommended age: 10+Applicable subjects: Biology, Physiology, Health Genius Games is built around educational games (and books) that tackle a variety of subjects, and teachers and parents would be well advised to check out the company’s full catalog. But I’m especially impressed with Cytosis, a game all about living cells for two to five players. Immaculately presented and modeled scientific concepts like cell detoxification and the role of the mitochondria are all communicated seamlessly through the natural flow of the game. But strip away the science jargon, and Cytosis is a remarkably fun worker placement game. By placing tokens on various organelles on a board that represents a cell, different tasks may be completed like building enzymes and hormones, with the end goal of completing particular objectives and scoring health points to win the game.  I’ve rarely encountered a game that so aptly communicates complex topics through the DNA (no pun intended) of the game’s mechanics and structure. Cytosis also includes relevant details about the actual science behind the game and its presentation. Cytosis is a surprising, and at times highly competitive, experience that stands quite strong even before considering what might be learned along the way. Ticket To Ride Publisher: Days of WonderRecommended age: 8+Applicable subjects: Geography Two to five players can enjoy any one of the many variations of this classic and widely popular board game. In the original version, players are competing to claim various train routes across North America. Different routes demand a designated number of cards to connect two cities. Ticket to Ride is widely cited as one of the best “gateway games” into more involved thematic board games, and for good reason; its elegant rules are straightforward and quick-to-learn, but have the depth and replayability to keep players coming back.  And that’s one big reason why Ticket to Ride’s teaching of fundamental world geography is so great. By its very nature, players must carefully examine individual cities, and learn not only their locations, but also which cities they sit in close proximity. While the core game tackles North America, versions of the game exist for India, Europe, Africa, and several other locations. If the core concept is a hit with your gaming group, family, or classroom, there are tons of ways to expand the fun and learning potential. Regardless of version, Ticket to Ride supports 2-5 players. Bananagrams Publisher: BananagramsRecommended age: 7+Applicable subjects: Spelling, Vocabulary, English, Foreign Language (with relevant version) Of all the games on this list, this is probably the one you’ve likely already seen once or twice before. Bananagrams is a popular choice in the family game sphere, and it’s that way for a reason. The simple rules and focus on speed is attractive to both children and adults, and the game is ideal for developing vocabulary, spelling skills, and understanding the similarities between different words. Players receive a set of tiles, with which they must create a freeform crossword-like grid of real words. As new tiles come into play, players are forced to rearrange their grid to accommodate the new letters. The focus is on making your grid of words as quickly as possible. Bananagrams is simpler to play and speedier to complete than the similarly structured Scrabble, and is likely a better choice for word play with kids than that classic (but don’t get me wrong, Scrabble is great fun). And while the version you’ve likely seen helps build language skills in English, the game is also available in French, German, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, and Spanish options, and can be enjoyed by one to as many as eight players.  Concept Publisher: Repos ProductionRecommended age: 10+Applicable subjects: Psychology, Linguistics This is a fantastic party game for friends and family who might enjoy examining language and ideas from new perspectives. My experience with Concept is that it often starts with a few people at a get-together and everyone following turn order, but rapidly gathers other people at the party, until you have a crowd, and everyone is taking turns willy-nilly. With that said, it can also be enjoyed by smaller groups in equal measure as a more structured experience. As you’ll see if you decide to play, there’s no real player limit here, other than how many people can fit around the table and see the board.  A large board depicts a variety of concepts core to how we organize our thoughts. These schema are represented as images, not words, so it’s up to the players to decide exactly how they interpret each picture. One or two players play tokens onto chosen spaces that represent a concept. For instance, a simple one might be an animal that is also small, yellow, black, and flies – pretty soon, the other players are able to guess that you might be talking about a bee. But what images might you use for a concept like “Tina Turner,” or “Hungry like the Wolf?” I love the way this game reveals the way we all understand language and communication, as well as the psychology behind shared understanding of core ideas once written and spoken language has been stripped away. A special note about the age range on this one: The game suggests players of 10 years and older, but I suspect that has more to do with the clues on the cards than anything else. With easy tweaking, you can alter the concepts that players are presenting and transform them into ideas that younger children can grasp; I had a blast playing with a six-year old nephew, and also got some surprising insight into how he organizes his thoughts.    Dice Stars Publisher: WizKidsRecommended age: 10+Applicable subjects: Math I didn’t want to finish out our list without a couple of fun math games. Lots of great games teach logical thinking, pattern recognition, and there are even building games that show off geometric and engineering principles. However, for a straightforward numbers-based arithmetic game that is also a ton of fun, I’ll first point you toward Dice Stars. This quick-playing abstract dice game is loosely themed around falling stars, but it’s really about numbers, sets, addition, and multiplication.  Players roll dice into a shared pool, and then select specific dice to mark onto an included scoring grid sheet (the game includes a pad with a bunch of sheets, and more are printable online). Same numbered or colored dice in the same row or column can be added together, but collect enough star results and you’ll eventually score a multiplication of the row.  Dice Stars has some simple arithmetic to complete, but its more significant mathematical depth comes through thinking ahead and understanding the probabilities of different die results, and then making smart choices about what rows and columns to pursue on your scoring sheet, pushing your luck as you pursue different matched sets. Up to four players can hop in and enjoy Dice Stars in a single game, but there’s also a fun solitaire mode for solo players.  Prime Climb Publisher: Math For LoveRecommended age: 10+Applicable subjects: Math This highly replayable and enjoyable competitive game was created by a pair of mathematicians to help explore arithmetic from multiple perspectives. On the surface, Prime Climb shares some traits in common with children’s classics like Chutes & Ladders, in that it’s all about following a distinct track to a clearly defined goal space. However, this math-oriented strategy game offers a lot more to think about, and is a heck of a lot more fun for anyone old enough to grasp the fundamentals.  Prime Climb asks that two to four players attempt to advance their pawns to the space labeled 101 (at the center of the spiral board and the end of the track). To do so, players roll dice, and use the rolled dice as variables in an arithmetic formula using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. For instance, while on space 12, you might roll a 2 and a 6. With those numbers, you could choose one of several equations, but one option is to subtract 2 from 12 to get to 10, and then multiply by 6 to reach 60 – and then move your pawn to space 60. Players also get a special bonus card to help them out when they land on an all red space, which signifies a prime number greater than 10.  The color coding on the board spaces offers a fascinating way to understand math, as each colored space indicates tells you how it will multiply with any other space. For instance, 3 (a green space) multiplied by 10 (an orange and blue space) has a product of 30 (a green, orange, and blue space).  The colored spaces do two important things for the game. First, the bright primary colors look great as a board display against a stark black background. But funcationally, it also means that even young players who don’t know multiplication and division quite yet can begin to grasp the concepts through color; simply match the colors together to multiply. The same color coding works for division. It’s also easy to adapt the game to even younger players by limiting the available equations to only addition and subtraction. Cater your choice of when to start playing with kids to their current understanding of numbers and math.  The extra element of the cards and their special powers lends Prime Climb some layers of strategic fun, which lends the game some more depth. Game sessions last around half an hour. For a game that is a relatively pure experience of math equations, I think you’ll be surprised how much fun it can be for players of all ages.  You’ll note that many of the games I’ve included above are meant for older children and adults. If your game player is even younger, check out this round-up of other great">https://www.gameinformer.com/column/top-of-the-table/2018/08/24/great-g… games to play with kids, all of which introduce them to the fun and camaraderie of tabletop games.  Do you have any favorite educational games that I didn't include? Feel free to leave your recommendations in the comments below. If none of the above games strike your interest, I’d encourage you to check out our backlog of recommendations by exploring the Top">http://www.gameinformer.com/p/topofthetable.aspx">Top of the Table hub, including the recent Best Tabletop Games of the Years lists from 2016&gt">http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2016/12/23/the-top-table…; and 2017&gt">http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2017/12/29/the-top-table…;. And if you’re a teacher, parent, or just someone who loves educational themes in your board games, and you didn’t find what you’re looking for here, I hope you’ll reach out using email or Twitter via the contacts below; I’d be happy to suggest some additional options that might target the particular educational goals you’re shooting for. 

  • Opinion – Gaming Is An Important Social Connection Right Now, And We Should Make It A Good One
    by Matt Miller on March 27, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    Nobody needs another place to dwell on the challenges facing the world in the face of a health epidemic, so I’ll skip right past the obvious. It’s enough to acknowledge that, while everyone reading this is likely united in a shared love of games, we also share a much broader connection right now, being forced to confront a scary situation. As that crisis unfolds around us, gaming and online play has risen up to be a much more important part of life for a lot of people, many of whom might be new to the hobby. As we adjust to that reality, it’s a great time to find and embrace the best aspects of social gaming. Why now? If you’ve been watching the numbers, gaming is booming at the moment – and for obvious reasons. Much of the country (and the wider world) is stuck inside right now. Steam is posting absurd numbers of concurrent users. Anecdotally, I’ve heard from more friends and family returning to gaming in the last two weeks than I have in the last two years. I suspect you may have encountered similar conversations. And for those of us who are more frequent gamers, we all have a lot more opportunities to engage in our favorite pastime – it’s not like we’re going out to dinner or a baseball game. As these increased opportunities for gaming are upon us, there’s no doubt that other aspects of our lives have shifted. Some of us are trapped in literal solitude, living alone, and without a chance for face-to-face interaction. Others are confronting the challenge of houses too small for all the friends, partners, or kids that must all be inside at the same time – a sure recipe for going stir-crazy. In short, we could all use a good break when opportunities for social gaming arise.  So, what does it look like to try and make that experience a bit better for everybody? Every game community is going to be different, and every individual has different needs. But we should all recognize that it’s pretty normal right now to feel down or anxious, and that the escape of a fun game night might be an important relief from stress and worry. The last thing any of us need is having to deal with jerks online. While there’s no concrete path to improving everyone’s online gaming experience in one fell swoop, there are certainly some ideas we can think about. If you’re a dedicated player of a particular game, it’s an ideal time to reach out to the people you play with and explore opportunities that bring you together. Message your clan and try to pull together a dedicated evening where the whole clan is welcome to join and play together. Haven’t been raiding for a while? Throw together a group and tackle that old dungeon, even if you beat it three months ago. Do you miss playing D&D with friends? Think about a remote session. Do you like competitive shooters? Team up with some buddies you haven’t spoken with for a few months, and run a few matches in that one game you all own. You’re not the only person right now who is feeling weird about the current situation and being stuck in your house. We also all have that friend who bought a PS4 or Xbox One two years ago, and then stopped logging in. Consider reaching out to see if they want to play something together. Barring that, simply invite them to join you in party chat while you play something yourself, and ask them how things are going while you complete your third playthrough of God of War. And while I wish it could go without saying, don’t be an ass online. It’s one thing to vent a bit in a competitive match, but nobody right now needs the drama of a teammate screaming at them about a missed shot, or an opponent sending gloating messages after a win. Think for a second about the language you’re using in a match – and be respectful of all ethnicities, genders, and people in general. In short, be good to each other, especially in the current circumstances. Finally, embrace the communities that already exist around the games we love. Whether it’s in subreddits, official forums, gaming sites, Discord channels, or anything else – we have a ton of ways these days to engage with the hobby and the people who love gaming, and now is an awesome time to enjoy that. Participate in conversations. Share your thoughts. And listen to what others have to say. The best gaming communities emerge from divergent ideas, where everybody has a chance to be heard. Gaming isn’t a responsibility; it’s a thing most of us do for entertainment.  Everyone is entitled to approach their game time in the way they like. But we’re also living through an unprecedented moment in our lifetimes, in which we are being forced to come together, largely by living apart. It’s undoubtedly strange, but if gaming has the potential to ease just a little of the burden and stress for someone else, it feels like a good time to be part of helping with that. Be well, and be good to each other. And lastly, if you’re reading this, and you’re a person who really is struggling to confront the feelings that the last few weeks have brought up, and a night of gaming online just isn’t going to do it, there are places to turn to for help. The Disaster Distress Helpline exists for just that purpose. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also always there. Or if you’re not feeling safe at home, there’s the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Reach out and get the help you need.

  • Replay — Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal
    by Alex Stadnik on March 27, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Click here to watch embedded media Just like some of the other great developers under the Sony umbrella, Insomniac has turned into a powerhouse studio that has evolved throughout its 26 years of existence. But that evolution wouldn't have been possible without the help of a furry lombax and his mechanical mate. Join Andrew Reiner, Joe Juba, and me as we take you back to Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal and discuss why a certain executive editor has stated that Insomniac's series can go toe-to-toe with a Nintendo giant. You'll also want to stick around until the end of the episode, where we Roulette our way into the zany antics of Britain's greatest super-spy. This week's show had to be prerecorded, but we'll be back next week for more. If you're wanting some live content, though, be sure to check out our community stream where we play Call of Duty: Modern Warfare with you! If you can't get enough of our live shows, remember to subscribe on YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, Twitter, and Facebook to get notified when we go live each week! Thanks and enjoy the show!