Everything: Game Review

As a rule, games are typically meant to be played then won then played again (in some cases). This is not the case for Everything. The game, from Mountain developer David O’Reilly, espouses the connection of organisms from the smallest subatomic particles to the largest cosmic objects the mind can imagine. These objects are all playable characters in the video game that eventually becomes a meditation on consciousness and Eastern philosophical thoughts and ideas.

Starting from scratch as a floating particle through space, you initially inhabit the body of a deer and have the ability to communicate with objects that are roughly within your size and environment. You can call upon other members of your same species and travel in packs towards a destination within the ever-expanding game universe. A horse interacting with a tree allows the player to inhabit the tree and thus ascend to a new height. Trees can elevate to land masses while land masses can elevate to the planetary level. From a planetary level, the player can float through space and eventually come into contact and ascend to the star-level of the sun.

Ascension can continue until you have become a cosmic entity with the next level being a subatomic particle of another dimension. All of this occurs as Alan Watts’ famous lectures that espouse the “oneness” play in the background. With the soothing color palette and musical score in Everything, O’Reilly provides a background to illuminate a vision for Watts’ Buddhist-inspired outlook on life. Though some portions of gameplay are mechanical and require you to unlock new skills, a large aspect of the game is autonomous and runs well enough without human interference.

If you are a player that needs a constant challenge then Everything might not hold up to your standards, however, if you are looking for a new experience that might radically change your worldview then Everything will not disappoint.

The Evolution of Street Fighter II and Consoles

One of the most loved games in the fighting game genre is Street Fighter II. Many people may have references to other fighting games that have come after this game, but Street Fighter II remains one of the innovative pioneers of the fighting game genre. One of the most cherished experiences is playing the home console versions and seeing how they compare to the original arcade release. One of the interesting things about Street Fighter 2 is that there have been multiple versions of the game released. The most recent version of Street Fighter II has been released in 2017.

There are probably a little over 10 different versions of Street Fighter II. There have also been plenty of home console versions of Street Fighter II. Of course the best version of the game is going to be the arcade versions which can now be played on home consoles with the technology that is available. While the earlier home console versions are great representatives of the arcade counterparts, there have been plenty of differences between the arcade versions and the home console versions. Among the most obvious differences are the character sizes, resolutions and the frames of animation. Interestingly enough, the audio soundtrack has often been outdone in the home versions. The Super NES version has a soundtrack that actually sounds higher in quality than the arcade version.

One of the most recent appearances of Street Fighter II was on an airline. One particular version that was being played was the Turbo Hyper Fighting Edition. When Street Fighter II first appeared, players only had access to eight characters with four extra characters given to the CPU. Subsequent versions made the other four “bosses” playable to the user. Later versions would have adjustments to speed, subtle changes in graphics and add more new characters. The Super versions would come with an upgraded sound chip which would bring about upgrades to the classic themes which have been somewhat inspired by the Super NES soundchip. The most recent version called Ultra Street Fighter II has brought four more characters to the roster.

New Updates to Pokemon GO Present New Challenges to Trainers

It’s an exciting time in Pokemon GO, the mobile app that took the world by storm since its launch in July 2016. Niantic, the app’s developer, has been improving the app’s features and slowly adding new monsters introduced after the original 150 from the series’ first video games and cartoons. The most noteworthy changes in Pokemon GO include a weather feature which reflects the real time forecast of a user’s location. Certain Pokemon will now spawn more frequently and have enhanced stats based on the forecast, allowing trainers to hone new strategies when bringing their Pokemon into battle against rival gyms.
Additionally, Niantic has started to roll out Generation 3 Pokemon found exclusively in the Hoenn region of the fictional world. Trainers can currently catch 50 of these monsters, although there are two that are regionally restricted. Legendary Pokemon found exclusively in raids have also made an appearance. North American trainers now have the opportunity to battle and capture Groudon, a high powered ground type Pokemon with a max CP of 4074, until January 15, 2018. Groudon’s appearance marked the exit of Ho-Oh, a Gen 2 raid boss that appeared in legendary raids for one month.
Trainers are currently awaiting news from Niantic for the anticipated Christmas event. Events in Pokemon GO typically allow trainers to enjoy additional perks or limited chances to catch rare monsters. Last year’s Christmas event introduced Gen 2 baby Pokemon only hatched in eggs. To facilitate the capture of these Pokemon, trainers were able to obtain a daily single use incubator from a Pokestop and receive eggs with a higher statistical likelihood of hatching the babies.
Since the release of Gen 3, trainers cannot accurately predict what this year’s event will be. Game events in the past have been proven to follow a pattern. The last two Thanksgiving events awarded double experience to players and the Halloween event offered double candy and dramatically increased spawns of ghost and psychic type Pokemon. This year’s Christmas event is expected to be launched on December 20th. Until then, trainers will continue to theorize what Niantic’s Christmas gift will be.

YouTube Brings 4k Support to Xbox One X

It seems like yesterday when people were struggling to get everything optimized for HD. Now, there is the 4K rush with all of the devices coming out which offer 4K content. However, one of the companies that is bringing in 4K content is YouTube. YouTube is making it possible for people to view 4K content on this platform with their XBox One X device. Another feature that YouTube is giving the XBOX One X is 60fps support. This basically makes viewing on YouTube very identical to viewing on TV. Also, people can watch video game events as well as sporting events the way they were meant to be seen.

The video resolution and other features are advancing at a much quicker rate than ever. There are still plenty of people who remember the days of playing video games that consisted of tiny sprites and simplistic graphics. The soundtrack to games were little more than bleeps. Anyone that wanted decent graphics and visuals had to go to the arcade. Even then, the arcade sounds had little more than simplistic bleeps in their sound card. When the Super NES came out, the sound has already surpassed the capabilities of many arcade machines.

Nowadays, game systems are practically computers. Users can play video games, surf the internet, watch movies on them, and plenty of other features. Many people use gaming systems in order to watch their favorite shows or movies through their streaming services. At the same time, there are plenty of great games coming out with amazing storylines that rival some of the best blockbuster movies. The graphics in the game rival those of high budget summer blockbusters. With the increase in resolution, the idea of what can be done is exciting.

4K is definitely taking off as much as HD has taken off. One of the best things about this ultra high resolution is that this allows for more lifelike colors and greater picture detail in any medium that allows for it.

Good Movies Based on Video Games

One of the interesting issues with video games is that it seems like there can never be a good movie based on a video game. Even the games with the best storylines have movies made that are lacking. While some people would say that the video games can’t be made into good movies, there has been at least one good video game movie. One particular example that comes to mind is Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie. This movie was so good that it has inspired one of the Street Fighter Alpha games. It shows that there is a way that a video game can be translated to the big screen.

Another movie that is not necessarily good, but considered better than other attempts is Mortal Kombat. The movie follows the video game storyline adequately. It is important to note that the game was basically a remake of Enter the Dragon with elements of Big Trouble in Little China thrown in for good measure. After all, Liu Kang of the games is based loosely on Bruce Lee. The story of Liu Kang vs Shang Tsung remains in tact. What is largely missing is the feud between Sub Zero and Scorpion which is admittedly hinted at in the film. Fans did get to see a fight between Sub Zero and Scorpion in the sloppy and Abysmal Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.

These are just two examples of good movies made from video games. There is an important question to consider when it comes to making good movies out of video games. One thing that could be done is putting the storyline of the film in the hands of the fan of the franchise, preferably someone from the gaming community.

Admittedly, there are some games that are largely impossible to translate to the big screen. A lot of liberties would have to be taken in order to get it to work. One of the games that would prove to be extremely difficult is Super Mario Bros. There was a movie based on the game franchise back in the 90s but it bore very little resemblance to the game. Instead, it has taken on some of the elements from Blade Runner. It ultimately didn’t work. There is still hope for a good video game movie. However, the upcoming Tomb Raider movie might not be it.

Nintendo To Release Pokemon Crystal For 3DS

Nintendo is bringing back another classic Pokemon game title in January when it makes Pokemon Silver available for download on the Nintendo eShop. As part of its revamped launch, the game will be compatible with the Pokemon Bank. That service allows players to import Pokemon from older games into the latest releases: Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Ultra Moon. Pokemon Crystal is the last of the original Pokemon games to be connected to the Pokemon Bank.

The original version of Pokemon Crystal was the sixth Pokemon video game released and was the only game that was exclusive to the Game Boy Color. It was the first Pokemon game to feature between scene animation and the first Pokemon game to feature a playable female character. It was also notable for being the first game to include a lengthy storyline featuring Suicune. Sucine is a boss that is seen in some other games, but his role is much expanded in Pokemon Crystal.

Other notable features in the game include the introduction of a new character named Eusine, which battles the player while looking to team up with Suicine. There’s also a new radio show, Buena’s Password, which includes a password that can be used later by the player to complete a battle.

One change for the updated version of Pokemon Crystal is that players will be able to have an interaction with the mythical Pokémon Celebi after they completely finish the game. In the original version of Pokemon Crystal, the only to interact with Celebi was by inputting a special code. That code was available for a limited amount of time through a mail-in contest.

While Pokemon Crystal is the final original Pokemon game to be ported to the 3DS platform, it is not yet available as part of the new Nintendo Switch gaming system. Some of the older Pokemon games are available on Switch as part of an add-on game, but there is no word on when Crystal will be available.

“Kingdom Hearts” Fans Speculate On 21st Century Fox Themed Levels

Right after it was announced that Walt Disney Company officially bought a $52.4 million stake in 21st Century Fox, Kingdom Hearts fans were online speculating about what this could mean for the video game series. Many gamers hope that Sora, Donald, and Goofy will travel to worlds based on 21st Century Fox franchises in the near future.

A few popular suggestions for 21st Century Fox-themed worlds in Kingdom Hearts include The Simpsons, X-Men, and the Fantastic Four. Some fans even suggested edgier franchises like Family Guy, Deadpool,and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

It’s still way too early to tell whether or not Square Enix/Disney is even thinking about putting a few references to these popular shows in a Kingdom Hearts title. Most video game experts don’t believe, however, that Square Enix will incorporate any 21st Century Fox areas into Kingdom Hearts III.

Most posts on social media regarding 21st Century Fox worlds in Kingdom Hearts III were humorous in nature. There are millions of Kingdom Hearts fans, however, that are serious about new worlds from some of Disney’s other recent acquisitions.

Disney purchased Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm shortly after Kingdom Heart II was released in 2006. That certainly gave designers at Square Enix plenty of time to consider incorporating these franchises into Kingdom Hearts III.

While there’s no confirmation on any Marvel or Lucasfilm inspired worlds, Disney confirmed that there will be a Toy Story level in Kingdom Hearts III. Disney released an ad showing Sora, Donald, and Goofy in Andy’s room at the 2017 D23 event. This ad already has 5 million views on YouTube.

A few other new worlds that are confirmed for Kingdom Hearts III include Tangled and Big Hero 6. It has also been confirmed that Kingdom Hearts III will include classic worlds such as Mt. Olympus from Hercules, Twilight Town, and Mysterious Tower.

The other big reveal at the D23 2017 event this year was Kingdom Hearts III will be released sometime in 2018. There’s no word yet on an official release date.

Kingdom Hearts III director Tetsuya Nomura said the main reason it has taken so long to release this game has to do with the switch to Unreal Engine 4. The switch to this platform was made in the first year of Kingdom Hearts III’s development and was out of Nomura’s control.

Nintendo Partnering With Developers to Release More Mobile Games

Recent news reports suggest that Nintendo is getting ready to increase its presence on the mobile gaming scene. In the past, the company has maintained that it won’t be bringing its top franchises to the mobile market as it was focusing on developing games for its own hardware. This strategy hasn’t worked out too well for them, as sales of both home and handheld consoles remained low, trailing behind their main competitors Sony and Microsoft.

These disappointing results have led to Nintendo changing their stance on mobile gaming and they released a series of games for the Android and iOS platforms. Super Mario Run was one of the most popular, along with other titles like Miitopia and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.

Nintendo has recently acquired a 10 percent stake in mobile game developer DeNA and is currently collaborating on them to release several games for mobile devices. It is now believed that the company is trying to form partnerships with other firms specialized in mobile game development in an effort to push out a larger amount of games in a short time period.

There hasn’t been any official confirmation of who they may be planning on working with next, though some reports indicate that Nintendo has expressed interest in a partnership with GungHo, the developer of Puzzle & Dragons. The two firms have already worked together in the past, as a few characters from the Mario world have made their appearance in the 3DS release of the Puzzle & Dragons game.

As Nintendo is now showing that it has completely reversed its previous policy of staying out of the mobile market to focus on its own consoles, many gamers are speculating about which games are going to be released for mobile devices soon. Some are expecting a Mario platform-based game to be the next one in line, while others believe that the company is more likely to bring its highly popular Mario Kart series to smartphones and tablets first.

Big Reveals About “The Last Of Us 2” At PSX Conference

Neil Druckmann, the writer and director of Naughty Dog’s successful video game The Last Of Us, suggested that one of the lead characters could die in the upcoming sequel. At the recent Playstation Experience (PSX) conference, Druckmann told reporters, “no one is safe – not even [Joel and Ellie].”

Druckmann went on to say that while the theme of the first game was “love” the theme of The Last of Us 2 will be “hate.” He explained that the stakes in this second game are huge and that nobody is guaranteed to survive.

The Last of Us fans got to see the latest tease for this sequel at the Paris Games Week. This extremely violent ad already has over 3 million views on YouTube.

Gamers got to hear a bit more about this sequel in a panel discussion with Druckmann and author Halley Gross. Gross, who’s best known for her work on the TV show Westworld, is collaborating with Druckmann on The Last of Us 2’s story.

Druckmann said he had a clear idea of how he wanted the game to begin and end, however he didn’t know what to put in the middle. He said that Gross jumped right in with incredible ideas for the sequel’s storyline.

At one point in the PSX conference, Druckmann said that Gross “got someone pregnant” while working on her story boards. Druckmann didn’t add any more details to this major tease.

As mentioned above, Druckmann said the theme of The Last of Us 2 will be “hate.” Although many scenes in this game will be tragic, Druckamann said this game won’t totally be without hope for justice or redemption.

There were a few other major reveals on The Last of Us 2 at the PSX panel. For example, developers said most of the game will be set in Seattle and that Naughty Dog is about 50 percent done with making the game. Druckmann also said some people who loved the first game won’t like the sequel. Fans can expect more big reveals at E3 2018 in Los Angeles.

Before the PSX panel on The Last of Us 2, Troy Baker and Ashely Johnson took to the stage to perform an inspiring musical act. You can watch the entire PSX conference online.

Will the End of Net Neutrality Affect Indie Games?

On Thursday, December 14, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the net neutrality rules that had been in place since 2015. These rules defined broadband service as a utility, which gave the F.C.C. more power to impose regulations on them.

This included prohibiting internet service providers from blocking or throttling legal content. It also made it impossible for ISPs to create pay-for-speed programs, where companies and users would pay more for faster load times.

What does this mean for the game industry? It has the potential to harm the growing indie game scene. Indie game designers depend on an open, equal internet for networking and for promoting their games. As the game market becomes more saturated, it becomes more difficult for smaller companies or designers to get the word out about their products. They depend largely on social media and word of mouth.

With the end of net neutrality a real possibility now, indie designers will be unable to compete with larger corporations who have the funds to pay for visibility. Indies also depend on small and niche stores to distribute digital copies of their games. These smaller stores could be driven out by behemoths, like Amazon, who have the vast resources needed to pay for fast speeds and visibility.

Aside from the financial costs, there are any number of potential issues. With only a few corporations controlling the flow of information on the internet, there’s a real threat of censorship. For example, Comcast is the largest internet service provider in the United States. Comcast also owns NBC and its related channels (MSNBC, CNBC) and Universal Pictures. If a game with a political bent took aim at some of Comcast’s holdings, they could throttle the speed to its website, making it difficult for people to learn about or acquire the game. They would also be able to charge extra to any storefronts that carried the game.

This might be an extreme example, but it illustrates the many dangers facing indie game creators in a world without net neutrality.