Why In-Game Betting Is The Next Evolution For The NBA 2K Series

In console-based sports gaming, things can begin to seem stagnant from one year to the next. Franchises like Madden, FIFA, and NBA 2K primarily make incremental changes with their annual releases, updating players and teams as needed and perhaps tweaking poplar game modes. For the most part though, they rely on tried-and-true formulas and gameplay that is at this point about as good as it can get with current technology.

More than its genre counterparts though, the NBA 2K series has actually demonstrated a somewhat subtle ability to adapt and surprise its loyal following from time to time. It was only two years ago, in fact, that the series launched a companion app. Just a matter of months ago, NBA 2K20 became the first game in the series to include the entire WNBA. And over the last few releases (though particularly with 2K20), narrative has been infused with game play in a way that far surpasses sports games of the past. So, while the core game play of NBA 2K hasn’t hasn’t changed meaningfully in quite some time, and the games may look similar, the series has been perfectly willing to introduce fairly significant changes.

Now there’s reason to believe that in-game sports betting could be the next big one.

In part, this is because of the ongoing expansion of real-money betting activity across the United States – naturally one of the game’s primary markets. In the aftermath of a Supreme Court decision that struck down a nationwide ban on betting in 2018, some states are indeed welcoming online and mobile bookmakers. New Jersey kicked off the trend with a whole collection of prominent sportsbooks, and a few have since opened in Pennsylvania as well, demonstrating the potential for expansion. Furthermore, these new betting sites in Pennsylvania – where people may not be as familiar with betting as in New Jersey, where there’s a history of casino activity – are specifically striving to make things easy on customers. A review of the Sugarhouse sportsbook in Pennsylvania pointed out that the site already offers a convenient mobile option, as well as a “Quickstart Guide” that explains betting practices and even provides a glossary of terms.

Features like those from Sugarhouse, as well as the fact that mainstream sports journalists are now covering betting as well, are going to help the public get up to speed quickly, and will likely help to spark interest in betting among large swaths of the sports fan (and sports gamer) population. And the NBA may be uniquely positioned to take advantage of these developments.

That doesn’t mean that basketball will be the most popular betting sport in the U.S. However, the NBA as a professional entity has been far more openly friendly to betting than its counterparts in professional sports. League commissioner Adam Silver was vocal in his support of legalized betting in the U.S., and the league announced its first betting partnership back in 2018, mere months after the federal ban on sports gambling was lifted. On a related note, Silver has also played an active role in promoting NBA-related eSports, specifically in the form of the NBA 2K League. With eSports having already become popular among bettors internationally, this too has helped to strengthen the ties between the modern NBA and online gambling.

With all of this under consideration – the expanding betting culture in the United States and the NBA’s openness toward gambling and modern gaming – in-game betting does begin to seem like the next natural evolution in the 2K series. It could take any of a number of different forms. The games could simply have built-in betting for online competition. They could incorporate fantasy sports components similar to those on FanDuel, allowing people to play with real money within the games. Or, they could partner with full sports books to include betting options surrounding the real NBA, such that fans can play 2K and gamble on basketball all in one place.

Whatever specific form the development takes though, don’t be surprised if in-game betting is the next big innovation in the 2K series, and potentially in console sports gaming in general.

News Opinions X-Box One News

Microsoft’s Next-Gen “Family” of Devices – What Does it Mean for the Future of Console Gaming?

At E3 2018 Phil Spencer confirmed that Microsoft is already working on the next-gen Xbox. What we know now is that they are, in fact, working on TWO new Xbox devices for the next generation. One will be obviously be the regular traditional console. The other: an affordable game streaming device that promises to succeed where all the other Cloud Gaming services have failed. This is a bold claim, yes, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Microsoft. They have been heavily invested in Cloud technology for quite some time now for their business dealings outside of the gaming industry. They also have deep enough pockets to really hit this type of service in a way other companies just can’t compete with.

Not a whole lot of information is out about the traditional console. However, it should be an obvious assumption that it will be more powerful and impressive than the Xbox One X. What we do know… is quite a bit about the streaming device code named: Project Scarlett. Scarlett Cloud is boasted to be powerful enough to handle all controller input, collision detection, and image processing. These things are believed to be some of the key elements that cause latency issues with other streaming services that handle those things server-side. It will also be using their Azure network of servers that should also help with latency in multiplayer titles. Azure being their very robust and powerful Cloud Computing Service being used by a wide number of developers and projects world-wide.

Other companies have been trying to enter this market and have not provided anything extraordinary or worthwhile. Sony tried breaking into this market a while ago with PSNow and it left a lot to be desired. Even with my Google Fiber connection I was unable to properly stream with it, the latency issues were terrible and frequent. My attempt left me frustrated and extremely unsatisfied. I canceled my free trial after a week worth of attempts. With every other company struggling to deliver a stab;e and enjoyable game streaming service, Microsoft could really capitalize on this market if they succeed.

Scarlett will include a service fee similar to their other online offerings and is part of their bigger plan to make playing Xbox titles on any devices a reality, including phones, TV’s, and other smart devices in the future. Will they be the first company to fix the glaring issues with game streaming services? If so, what will this mean for the future of gaming and the Xbox directly? Only more time will tell but it will be exciting to see where this goes. What do you think? Would you purchase a streaming device? Let us know in the comments!

Nintendo Nintendo Switch Opinions

Hyped Again: All thanks to the Nintendo Switch!

Jaded, oh so jaded.

For the longest time I found myself becoming disenfranchised with gaming. Triple A titles were becoming watered down, half finished, open worlds with nothing in them, and mostly disappointing. I was no longer getting excited about new games coming out and when one did catch my eye, I would find myself being skeptical and negative. It was becoming a little depressing. I’ve been an avid gamer since the NES days, and this genuine feeling of apathy towards my favorite hobby was weighing heavily on me.

Then came the Nintendo Switch.

At first, like others, I was skeptical about it. The design caught my eye, of course, but Nintendo always has their gimmick right? I was intrigued but I didn’t hop onto the hype train because I just didn’t want another disappointment.
Fast forward to the beginning of 2018. Completely uninterested in anything coming to my Xbox or Ps4, I decide to pick up a Switch and Breath of the Wild with my tax return,  and dove right in. Needless to say,  I was utterly blown away. The seamless transition between my TV and portable play was just the tip of the iceberg. Everything the console did was fast and snappy. This was a new Legend of Zelda title that had everything it needed to be familiar and nostalgia inducing, but also so vastly different from the rest of the series that it felt new and refreshing. I was absolutely stunned. I hadn’t been this excited about a console or a game in forever. Then I picked up Mario Odyssey, and the same thing happened. Everything a Mario game needs to feel like a Mario game…and yet… so utterly different. I found myself getting excited again and it felt like coming home.

Now, I’ve always been a Nintendo fan. I have owned every Nintendo system since the NES except for the WiiU. To be honest they are really the only company that has never actually let me down. They sparked my love for gaming when I was only a 3 year old obsessing over 8-bit cartridges. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised that they would pull me out of this “Next-Gen Funk” I’d succumbed to. The Switch is just downright amazing. It has a fantastic library that is only growing more and more diverse and worthwhile every week. Plus, Nintendo’s desire to bring back and encourage that old style of “Couch Multiplayer” is truly a lovely and long sought after return to my roots. The Switch is a perfect console for the younger gamers, but it really brings something back to some of us cynical old farts that we’ve really been missing.

However, as if Nintendo pulling me out of that particular hole wasn’t enough. They also pulled me out of another one. Which leads to something else I think deserves talking about.

Project Octopath Traveler


Now being in the older generation of gamers I have a fond attachment to turn based JRPGs. From my first Final Fantasy on the NES, to the stellar lineup of games on SNES. These games were a major part of my childhood. I remember getting sucked into those adventures for months on end. Seriously, the amount of times I’ve beaten Chrono Trigger is absolutely ridiculous. I have easily thousands upon thousands of hours on that game alone. At the end of the GameCube/PS2 era though…these kind of games really took a dip in quality in favor of more action based gameplay and a sudden lack of superb storytelling. I found myself disenfranchised with this genre more than any other.

Until I downloaded the demo for Octopath Traveler on my Switch.

This game is exactly what I want and need from Square-Enix. It truly captures that old time feeling of a good classic JRPG. From the music, to the small tidbit of story we got in the form of expertly sliced demos, and the highly addictive battle system (which was only a small taste of it) and it’s gorgeous art style. It’s a perfect call back to those fantastic games on the SNES. I found myself feeling nostalgic and entranced in something that felt so new. I hadn’t felt this way about a game in a long time. The moment it became available for pre-order I snatched up the Wayfarer’s Edition with no hesitation. I’m normally against pre-orders entirely but man…this game deserves my cash.

So to sum it all up before this gets even longer: The Nintendo Switch is the best thing to happen to gaming, particularly my generation, in a very very long time. I feel like I can safely get hyped about gaming again. With all the love for JRPGs being shown to the Switch so far with games like Lost Sphear, I Am Setsuna, and the incredible Switch exclusive that Octopath will be I am so stoked. Plus all those sweet Nintendo first party franchises in the mix. My rekindled love is all due to this wonderful little device. It has even strengthened my relationship to my PS4 and X-Box One. It’s a good time to be a gamer, especially if you’re on the Switch.

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Microsoft’s E3 – A Potentially Promising Future for Xbox players!

Whether you’re an Xbox player or not, there is no doubt that Microsoft really outdid itself at E3 this year. Not only was it the largest show in their history, but they unveiled some really juicy details that should have any Xbox owner excited. I’m not referring to the 18 console launch exclusives, 15 world premiers, or any of that. I’m talking about their clear focus on creating original content in the future.

The creation of The Initiative, Microsoft’s brand new studio dedicated to creating first party titles, is big news. Based in Santa Monica and headed by Darrell Gallagher, The Initiative’s sole purpose is to make Xbox exclusives, which should be exciting to anyone who owns an Xbox as our lineup of first party games is basically a barren wasteland at the moment. The most exciting thing about this announcement is that while they are directly a Microsoft studio, they have been given the creative freedom to operate like an Indie studio. Which could mean getting some fresh and unique titles exclusively for Xbox.

As well as this new first party studio they have also acquired Playground Games, longtime development partner and team behind the Forza series, who are not only working on Forza Horizon’s 4, but have been confirmed to already be working on a brand new project. In addition, Microsoft will also be acquiring Ninja Theory, makers of Hellblade and Kung Fu Chaos. This will give them the resources and ability to make even more ambitious games on the Xbox platform. State of Decay 2 has seen over 2 million people playing, and more to come especially since it was available at launch on the Xbox Game Pass, and it sounds like Microsoft is planning on shelling out the resources to make sure that game continues to grow. Last, but surely not least, Compulsion Games. The brilliant minds behind We Happy Few, could truly benefit from Microsoft’s support and deep pockets. They have definitely shown they can make a unique and refreshing game, now imagine what they can do with the freedom to dream bigger and take risks. All of these teams developing for Microsoft is a HUGE boon for future releases, and I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

Also, one of the better announcements of Microsoft’s E3 presentation is the upgraded Game Pass, which will now see many big titles added such as Elder Scrolls Online, The Division, Fallout 4. As well as giving subscribers Xbox exclusives on their launch day, including games like Horizons 4 and Gears 5.

Definitely sounds like some exciting games will be coming to Xbox in the near future. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!


Celebrating Every E3 Press Conference

If someone was to dive into the social media reactions to the suite of 2018 E3 press conferences, they are going to see a lot of negative reactions. However, this year, it seems to be ramped up to a new level. The line of critiquing for all intense and purposes was crossed this year. In its place, it isn’t hard to find personal attacks, illogical anger, and hyperbolic claims. Without going into specifics, here are just some general themes that I have found:

  • Where are the new IP’s? RIP this company.
  • The pacing was terrible, they are falling apart, selling my console.
  • It was all third party! Where are the exclusives?
  • They spent way to much time one that one game, guess they are just running out of ideas.
  • (Insert name of presenter/studio here) is a pompous chump, doesn’t know how to connect with the fans.
  • That isn’t how this game should look, hard pass, the developer has lost their touch, not buying the game.

This is just a small sampling of some of the themes you will find when looking at responses to this year’s press conference. Honestly, it is a shame. E3 should be about celebrating video games and what makes this medium of entertainment so special. Following the theme of celebration, I decided to look at one thing that made each press conference worth praising.

EA: EA Originals Continues to Shine

EA Originals, EA’s program supporting independent studios has been the highlight of their show. The initiative has helped bring games like Fe, Unravel, and A Way Out into the spotlight, giving smaller studios a chance to shine. This year was no different with the reveal of Unravel Two from Coldwood Interactive and Sea of Solitude, being developed by Jo-Mei Games. Reveals of EA Originals are always special because you can see these developers wearing their emotions on their sleeves. Think back to the reveal of the first Unravel. Creative Director Martin Sahlin’s hands were shaking as he showed off his game to the world. This year, Cornelia Geppert gave a touching speech when introducing Sea of Solitude to the world. For all of the flack EA takes, EA Originals is something that should continue to be praised and celebrated.

Microsoft: Setting the Table for the Future

Microsoft has taken a beating over its first-party lineup for a while. For the immediate future, that isn’t going to change. A huge chunk of the reveals at their show, outside of the standards(Forza, Halo, Gears, Ori, and Cuphead) are multiplatform games. However, Phil Spencer and his team are putting the pieces in place to right the first-party ship. With the acquisition of Undead Labs(State of Decay), Playground Games(Forza), Compulsion Games(We Happy Few), Ninja Theory(Hellblade, DmC: Devil May Cry), and the creation of The Initiative (brand new Santa Monica based studio), Xbox now has the teams in place to start creating amazing first-party experiences. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but this is a first step in the right direction.

Bethesda: Giving Prey a Chance to Shine

Doom and Wolfenstein are getting new games, Fallout is going online, and Starfield and Elder Scross VI are in the works(kind of). However, what put the biggest smile on my face during the Bethesda show was the new content coming to Prey. This is a game that despite being critically acclaimed, didn’t do great in the market. So to see Bethesda give Arkane the chance to release new features for the game is something to be celebrated. Three new modes, New Game+, Story, and Survival have been added in, with two additional modes, Mooncrash and Typhoon Hunter coming down the road. Whether this turns Prey around in any major way is yet to be seen, but it is really cool to see Bethesda supporting Arkane and giving them a chance to do so.

Square Enix: Continuing to Publish PlatinumGames

Yes, Square Enix’s video presentation was short, and there was a noticeable absence of some major titles. However, that shouldn’t take away from the reveals that they did have. Specifically, the announcement of Babylon’s Fall, a new game coming from PlatinumGames. This developer/publisher relationship did great with Nier: Automata, so it is nice to see the two at it again. Not much is known about Babylon’s fall at this time, the reveal trailer for the game was heavy on lore and didn’t show any gameplay. However, I have learned never to doubt Platinum when it comes to melee based combat.

Ubisoft: Continued Relationship with Nintendo

Go back one year to E3 2017. The idea of Mario combining with Rabbids in a strategy shooter seemed absurd. However, somehow, Ubisoft and Nintendo managed to make it something special. How would these two companies follow that up? How about Star Fox making an appearance in the upcoming toys to life space combat game Starlink: Battle for Atlas. Partway through the game’s E3 trailer, a familiar set of sound effects tipped off fans to the appearance Star Fox in the game. It was later announced that Fox would be an exclusive addition to the Switch version of Starlink. The relationship between Ubisoft and Nintendo is turning into one of the most intriguing partnerships in the gaming industry. What crazy crossover will they think of next?

Sony: Extended Gameplay Demos for Exclusive Titles

Yes, the first twenty minutes of the Sony Media Showcase, plus the intermission was bizarre, weird, and threw off the pacing for the start of the show. But don’t let that take away from what was shown. Shawn Layden said we would be getting extended looks at four upcoming exclusives(Spider-Man, Ghost of Tsushima, Last of Us Part II, and Death Stranding) and that was exactly what was delivered. Extended demos, let alone four in one show aren’t common in press conferences. Each of these games showed incredibly well on various levels. They all had their moment to stand alone and amaze fans. No amount of bad pacing should take away from that.

Nintendo: The Deepest of Deep Dives Into Smash Bros. Ultimate

Of Nintendo’s forty-two minute E3 direct, twenty-five of those were spent introducing the world to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. In that time, there was plenty of information, for both competitive and casual fans alike. They took time not just to introduce a roster made up of every character from each previous game, but also to show off changes to gameplay, mechanics, character voices, and so much more. Smash Bros. is up there as a flagship title for Nintendo, just like Mario or Zelda. Giving it this kind of time shows the confidence and belief they have in the franchise to do what it has always done. Create chaotic and wild fun for everybody.

So there you have it. One moment that makes each press conference worth celebrating. Remember, E3 should be about embracing what makes video games great. Let us know what your favorite moments were!

Nintendo Opinions Sony

Proven 5: Nintendo First Party Franchises That Could Use The ‘Sony Style’ Reboot

One thing is certain this gaming generation: Sony and Nintendo are delivering first-party exclusives beyond anyone’s wildest expectations. In 2017, Nintendo released Game of the Year Winner The Legend of Zelda and the remarkable Super Mario Odyssey. God of War was released to critical acclaim and is well on its way to set records for Sony. Both companies have a very different approach when it comes to first-party titles. While Nintendo focuses on lighthearted games that are hardly ever taken too seriously, Sony has built its brand on mature, story-driven epics – with Nintendo-esque titles like Ratchet & Clank and Knack tossed in for good measure. So if Sony can deliver the occasional whimsical game, then why can’t Nintendo deliver a mature epic of its own? Better yet, what if Nintendo took  a few of its existing IP’s game them created them with an eye for an older audience? Here are five Nintendo franchises that could potential rival Sony’s mature first-party titles.

Star Fox

While Star Fox has plummeted in quality over the years, the pedigree of the franchise is still largely remembered in good light. Nintendo can go back to the basics and focus on the story of Fox McCloud – a renegade pilot who knows no meaning of the word “limits”. Perhaps a telling of his origin as a young fox…man that was expelled from the academy and battled his way back up the ranks to prove himself. The game can take an Uncharted approach to humor and focus on third-person storytelling with kickass dog fighting capping off some levels. Nintendo could easily make a Warhawk-like online multiplayer component to go along with the rich single player experience. Maybe even add a Battle Royale Mode complete with mechs, tanks, and Arwing battles. Star Fox could again be a pillar franchise for Nintendo.

Metroid Prime

The most obvious franchise to potentially take on a more mature vibe,  Metroid Prime could take its stellar FPS and exploration mechanics and craft a experience that is absolutely dripping with atmosphere. Two ways I would love to see this go down: a more reserved, isolated space-horror title similar to Alien: Isolation, or a more intense body-horror like Dead Space. Completely separating Metroid from Nintendo’s family-friendly batch of first-party titles could be a bold move that fans of the series would surely respond to.

Star Tropics

Good ol’ Mike Jones. Good ol’…forgotten Mike Jones. If there was ever a Nintendo series ready for a comeback it would be Startropics. While many would be quick to dismiss the tale of a would-be boy adventurer searching for his missing uncle to be a derivative of The Legend of Zelda, Startropics (and its sequel) was a charming game that caught me surprise as a young gamer. Mike Jones is the closest thing Nintendo is ever going to get to a Nathan Drake-like character. You can still retain the off-beat sense of humor and an insane plot that involves an alien race but the overall tone would be a modern-day fantasy epic. And seriously, I DARE Nintendo to make Mike’s signature yo-yo as badass as Kratos’ Blades of Chaos.

Kid Icarus

The Greek myth brought to life of the NES (sort of…I still don’t know why Pit is fighting Medusa; that was Perseus!) has a bizarre past. While it’s true that Pit made a semi-ish comeback with a title for the 3DS in 2012, the star of Kid Icarus has seen more action on the Smash Bros. scene than in a game of his own.  Transitioning Pit into a more mature narrative and taking a God of War/Horizon Zero Dawn approach to combat would be a refreshing take on this classic Nintendo franchise. The title could focus on the ranged combat ala Aloy’, but also throw in a healthy amount of melee options for good measure. Plus given the mythology the series is inspired from, Kid Icarus can explore a wealth of mature themes and plot points.


Mother is no stranger to adult themes. From missing persons and paranormal activity and psychic abilities to people being held captives in caves and an antagonist that wishes to doom all of reality to a horror of infinite darkness, Mother could easier transition to a dark RPG. Giygas’ character alone is worth taking this innocent looking series and running with its creepy undertones. It could legit be the RPG to rival the Persona series.


So what do you think? Are there any existing Nintendo IP that would would like to see get a mature reboot? Let us know in the comments below.


Sony’s New Exclusive IP’s Are Winning The Generation & Future

Throughout the modern console generation, Sony has separated itself by highlighting the variety of exclusive content that is available on their platform. Genres ranging from sports to open-world, riveting stories to silly action platforms, they have pretty much covered all their basis. Exclusive games are one of the things that has always made PlayStation special. Dating back to the PlayStation 3, there have been several franchises that have led the way for Sony. However, if recent announcements have shown a trend, Sony could be on the verge of introducing some entirely new IP’s to the PlayStation lineup. Some of these games have already been announced. They are not only coming from studios that are trying something brand new, but also a studio that is new itself. Let’s take a look at some of the trends from Sony’s studios, both first and second party, and what it could mean for the future of PlayStation.

First Party Studios:

Sony Santa Monica:

Before we dive too far into this, yes, God of War just came out. However, it is some of the recent comments from Cory Barlog, the creative director at Sony Santa Monica that stands out. God of War is already a success in the eyes of reviewers and it would be a shock to everyone if the gaming public doesn’t view it the same way. But regardless of its success, there is always a question of what is next. This leads to an interview that Barlog had with Skill Up, where he talked a little bit about what is next for him.

“Something that’s truly coming from my original vision. That would be awesome.”

While God of War does contain much of what made the original games great, all of the ideas are re-imaged to fit new ideas and themes. Imagine what Barlog could do if he was given the freedom to bring a brand new idea to the table for PlayStation. After the success of God of War, he probably deserves the chance.

Guerrilla Games:

Dating back to 2002, Guerrilla Games was associated with one thing, Killzone. Sony’s first-person-shooter had good success, with no game going below 70 on Metacritic. However, in 2015, everything changed. Managing Director Herman Hulst came on stage at E3 and revealed to the world Horizon Zero Dawn, an open-world game different than anything Guerrilla had done before. Gone was the war between the ISA and Helghans. In its place, the story of Aloy and the post, post-apocalyptic world that she was born into. Beyond its story, Horizon set a new bar for open-world, RPG combat. Learning the strengths and weaknesses of each of the machines was just as important as upgrading your various weapons and traps. Horizon was met with rave reviews, reaching an 89 on Metacrtic.

Beyond its success, Horizon has allowed Guerrilla Games to go off in an entirely new direction. After its initial launch, the game received more content with The Frozen Wilds, a DLC experience that helped further flesh out Horizon’s world and story. Most importantly, the end of the main game sets the table for a sequel, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Sucker Punch:

Much like Guerrilla, Sucker Punch made its name in the current generation era behind the Infamous franchise. Infamous, Infamous 2,  Infamous Second Son, and Infamous First Light built a world where the main playable characters, Cole MacGrath and Delson Rowe could either be applauded as heroes or feared as villains. All of it was built around a karma meter that the player could impact with their actions and decision that were made throughout the game. Every game in the Infamous franchise was met with success, with none of the main games scoring below an 83 on Metacritic.

However, after the release of Second Son and First Light in 2014, the studio went dark. Conference after conference, rumor after rumor, the question of what Sucker Punch continued to grow. Was it another Infamous game? Or, were they going a totally different direction. The question was finally answered at Sony’s 2017 Paris Games Week showcase. The show opened with a trailer introducing the world to a new IP. As the trailer rolled, bits and pieces of information came out, the game was set in Japan, with the main character a Samurai, who appeared to be fighting to save his land. The game was revealed as a new IP, Ghost of Tsushima was introduced to the world. But throughout the entirety of the trailer, the question of who was developing this game was in question. It wasn’t until the very end, after everything was shown, that the Sucker Punch logo was shown. While much about the game is still unknown, one thing is for sure, it is a brand new direction for the Studio. They have broken away Infamous, and have been given the opportunity to try something totally new.

Second Party Exclusives:


Insomniac and PlayStation have a long history, dating back to Spyro in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. More recently, first-person shooter Resistance had three installments on the PlayStation 3. Ratchet and Clank has been a staple of the PlayStation lineup dating back to 2002, and had a reboot of the series hit PlayStation 4 in 2016. Insomniac has always been known for its crazy weapons, fast-paced combat, and over-the-top action.

After the Ratchet and Clank reboot, there was the talk of what was next for Insomniac. Could it be another game with everyone’s favorite lombax? Maybe a return to Resistance? E3 2016 answered that question, and the answer was none of the above. Insomniac gets to go in an entirely new direction, becoming the latest studio to take a crack and everyone’s favorite web-slinger, Spider-Man. Spider-Man and Insomniac seem like a perfect match. Everything that has been shown so far has only built the hype for the September 7 release date.

Kojima Productions:

If there is any one developer in the game world that epitomizes breaking away from the old and bringing something new and different to the world, it is Hideo Kojima. After officially breaking away from Konami, Sony was quick to cut a deal with Kojima, making the first game of his new studio Kojima Productions a PlayStation exclusive title. Death Stranding was announced in 2016 and the hype train has been rolling ever since.

This brand new IP will only go to bolster Sony’s library of games even more. More importantly, it is another new title for PlayStation to add to their quiver of exclusive games.

Sony will always pride themselves on their exclusive games. But to see the potential shift to a new set of IP’s is very promising for the PlayStation platform going forward. It sets the table for new characters, new worlds, and new ideas to drive Sony’s exclusive games forward.


The Proven 5: Game Series That Desperately Need A Part III

Nowadays, game sequels rarely end at the number two mark. Just recently it was confirmed that the latest God of War title would be the start of a new trilogy. And while developers are planning on setting up extensive, multi-game franchises, there are plenty of games that unfortunately came to a premature end after only one sequel. So here are five two-game series in need of a third installment.

Left 4 Dead

Many games have tried to emulate what Left 4 Dead the magic was able to capture: frantic four-player cooperative gameplay with a whole lot of attitude.  Payday and Evolve tried their best to recreate what made the Left 4 Dead series so memorable but it seems that the formula isn’t so easily reproduced. And while we are all aware of Left 4 Dead 3 never being a thing due to Valve’s apparent allergy to the number ‘3’, a boy can dream, right?

Army of Two

I know what you are thinking: ‘this guy goes from Left 4 Dead to Army of 2?!’ And yes, I admit that Army of Two doesn’t have quite the following as the FPS zombie shooter, but man this game was a complete blast as a cooperative experience. Though the goofy plot was serviceable at best, the combat was solid, and being able to run through a entire campaign with a buddy sitting next to you made the experience a tad more special. With two unique characters in a balls-to-the-wall action movie scenario made the Army of Two series a unique enough experience. Given today’s advancements to the third-person shooter genre, we can a whole host of remarkable changes to Army of Two that would make a third installment a standout title.


Dark Cloud

You didn’t think I would write a list article and not include Dark Cloud in some way, did you? The first Dark Cloud was a revelation for me as a gamer. Deep weapon customization, world building, engaging combat and fun characters were only a few things of what makes this game so prominent in my memory. Dark Cloud 2 changed art styles and refined the combat, but almost did a little too much different from the first installment. A third installment could take all the lessons learned from the past two generations and create something truly special. Just thinking of the amount of weapon permutations makes me giddy.

Jade Cocoon

Jade Cocoon was  a unique experience when it came out for the original Playstation back in the day. It was a monster breeding game that took the best parts of Pokemon  – the creature capture aspect – and mixed with something like Spore. Oh, and it is actually a decent RPG as well. I am actually shocked that Genki hasn’t revisited this franchise, especially since it hasn’t done anything worth a damn ever since. Seriously, how awesome would it be to capture, raise, combine and fight with monsters that are not Pokemon? Oh and when I say combine, I literally mean combine’ you combine monsters and make completely unique monsters out of them. Why isn’t there more of this game?!

Mega Man Legends

It is extremely rare that a traditional 2D franchise can make the leap to 3D with the same style and grace that made its sprite-based origins so appealing. Nintendo’s lovable plumber and green tunic hero are arguably the a few exceptions to the rule. But Capcom’s Blue Bomber is not to far behind them. Mega Man Legends was far from perfect. In fact, it is often criticized for its semi-awkward control scheme. But despite a few technical shortcomings, the game took the basic structure of its 2D counterparts and translated it into a 3D adventure game that felt fresh for series fans and newcomers alike. And – big shocker – the game actually told a compelling story. Unfortunately for fans of the series, Mega Man Legends 3 was canned and a sequel is as unlikely as…



Because…you know…what did you expect?

So what do you think? Do you have any favorite yet short-lived series deserve more than two entries? Did Valve not make any of them? Let us know in the comments section below.

Opinions Sony

The Proven 5: Trilogies Sony Should Remake Next

Crash Bandicoot is a Playstation icon – an icon that been out of the spotlight for far too long. While many fans of the series wondered if Crash Bandicoot 4 would ever become a reality, their fervor for a new installment was quelled with the release of Crash Bandicoot: The N. Sane Trilogy. A complete remake of the first three Crash Bandicoot titles bundled in one package, the game went on to sell over 2.5 million copies and became the best selling remastered collection in the Ps4’s history. Now that Crash Bandicoot is set to go multi-platform, the gold standard of trilogy remakes is set to reach an even broader audience and deliver the marsupial mascot to more homes than ever before.  So with the continued success of Crash Bandicoot: The N. Sane Trilogy guaranteed, I thought it might be fun to take a trip down memory lane, and choose five Playstation trilogies that might be worth revisiting.

5) The Gex Series

Crash Bandicoot? More like Crash BandiWHO?! (Yes I recycled that joke). Consisting of Gex, Enter the Gecko, and Deep Cover Gecko, the Gex series starred a wise-cracking lizard with a lovable penchant for obscure movie/television references. Having sold a combined total of over 15 million copies, Gex 3 – the final game in the trilogy – was the best selling of the series, shipping over 6 million copies and becoming the best-selling PlayStation adventure game of 1999 with 3 million copies in that year alone. As long as comedian Dana Gould would be able to return to voice the sly-tongued lizard,  Gex would be able to capture the hearts of a whole new generation – and cash in two decades worth of pop culture zingers and one-liners.

4) The Mega Man Legends Collection

Yes, I know. Mega Man Legends died with the cancellation of Part 3 years ago…but I hate myself and I just can’t let go! Made up of Mega Man Legends 1 + 2 and the spin-off The Misadventures of Tron Bonne, the Mega Man Legends games were quite the departure from what gamers thought a Mega Man game was supposed to be. Ditching its 2D roots for a full 3D world complete with voice acting and a super-engaging plot, the games instantly became a classic among Mega Man fans worldwide. And given that the Blue Bomber is set to dazzle gamers once again with Mega Man 11, and X will return in a collection series, I see no reason why Mega Man Volnutt should be ignored. A remake of the entire Mega Man Legends library might be the first step in a proper sequel. And seriously, isn’t about time we get that lovable blue guy off the damn moon?!

3) Prince of Persia – Sands Series

 Prince of Persia was one of the more prolific series during Playstation 2-era of gaming. And since the original trilogy came to an end. gamers have been subjected to a laughable mobile game, a silver-screen adaptation which bombed, and a divisive reboot which failed to capture any of the magic and wonder the original trilogy was known for. Remaking the these three games could invigorate a long dormant fan-base and possibly and show new gamers what the perfect blend of story and gameplay looks like.

2) Syphon Filter, PSX Trilogy

Borrowing elements from GoldenEye 007 and Metal Gear Solid, the Syphon Filter series was every bit as engaging and entertaining as gaming best spy/espionage thrillers. Starring Gabriel Logan, the original PSX trilogy detailed the impending threat of a deadly bio-weapon that could be programmed on a genetic level to target specific groups of people. With the Metal Gear Solid franchise moving forward sans Hideo Kojima and as a shadow of its former self, the timing is right for Gabriel Logan to show gamers just what he is capable of. And besides, the though of tasering someone until they burst into flames in full, remade glory is too much of an awesome sight to pass on. Get on this, Sony!

1) Spyro the Dragon Trilogy

Do I even need to say why this is Number 1 on the list? First off, the series’ debut was not only met with critically acclaim, it was also a commercial success, selling nearly 5 million copies worldwide. Second, if there was ever a character that would be as synonymous with the Playstation brand as Crash Bandicoot was back in the day, it would no other than Spyro the Dragon. It comes as no surprise that rumors persist of a remastered trilogy hitting the PS4 this year – it would be an absolute no-brainer for Sony and Activision to return this series to its former, pre-Skylanders glory. It may possibly have even stronger earning potential than the bandicoot himself.

Honorable Mention – Die Hard Trilogy

Go ahead – convince me why this wouldn’t make be amazing. Bundle it with Die Hard Trilogy 2, and BOOM, Game of the year.

So, reader, what do you make of this list? Do you see Sony perusing bundled remakes given how well Crash Bandicoot’s revival performed? Did anyone expect Crash Bandicoot: The N. Sane Trilogy to sell as…insanely well (*note to self: make some toast in the tub) as it did? Let us know, as well as what trilogy you would like to see remade, in the comments section below.

Companies Opinions Playstation 4 Playstation 4 Pro Sony

When Is It Time For Sony To Unveil the Playstation 5?

Sony’s Playstation 4 is entering year-five of its release the public and as of now maintains an unwavering stranglehold on the console gaming market. With sales more than double that of its closest competition – Microsoft’s Xbox One – Sony and Playstation 4 have shown no signs of slowing down…or so it would seem. 2017 was a stellar year for the Playstation 4, but it was also the year its holidays sales showed signs of slowing for the first time since launch. While one would argue that the slight dip in numbers can be attributed to the runway success that is the Nintendo Switch (and to a lesser extent the release of the Xbox One X), is it time for Sony to start thinking about the next iteration of the Playstation? Or should the gaming powerhouse play the long game and respond what its competitors are up to?

In the fall of 2017, Microsoft launched the Xbox One X –  touting it as the most powerful console ever made. As true as that statement may be, Sony and the PS4 don’t appear to be too impacted – if at all – by a more powerful console on the market aside from a slight dip in sales during the 2017 holiday season. On the Big N’s side of things, the Nintendo Switch has officially outsold its predecessor’s lifetime sales and continues to sell like gangbusters, even tripling PS4’s sales numbers in its first year in Japan. While there is cause for a growing concern in Sony’s camp, one can argue that the PS4 has more than enough fuel in its tank to come out ahead of its competition.

Sony recently confirmed that Days Gone – a title which was thought to be released this year – would be pushed back to 2019, making Sony’s 2018-2019 release calendar a little more clear. 2018 is already shaping up to the another landmark year Playstation gamers with releases like Dissidia: Final Fantasy NT and the critically acclaimed Shadow of the Colossus remake leading the the 1st-Party charge. Sony’s library was further bolstered in the early months of the year with a number of 3rd-Party titles such as Dragon Ball FighterZ and Monster Hunter World attributing most of their sales on Sony’s platform. But that is just the beginning.  April will bring God of War, May will deliver Detroit: Become Human, and if my spider-sense is accurate, Insomniac’s highly anticipated Spider-Man will be out before the year’s end as well. And let’s not forget about Dreams, a title which looks to take the best parts of LittleBigPlanet and truly allow the player to let their creativity run wild.  Those heavy-hitters signify the strength of the Playstation brand and will to push more and more PS4 consoles into people’s homes.

While Nintendo is no stranger to the 1st-Party game, its main shots have already been fired with Super Mario Odyssey and Breath of the Wild launching in the Switch’s first year. Although, the recent announcement of Super Smash Brothers coming to Switch in 2018 will certainly help sway the pendulum a bit in Nintendo’s favor, especially if the game ends up being more than a port of the Wii U/3DS version. That just leaves Microsoft. While it may have a beast of a console, it doesn’t have much to offer in terms of a diverse library. Yes, the the higher resolution patches and the growing number to its backwards-compatible library are a good thing for its existing users, but Xbox One has yet to unveil a system-seller title. Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2 seem to be getting a lot of buzz but Crackdown 3, however, appears to be nothing more than a fart in the wind. One has to wonder what Microsoft is hiding up its sleeve. 2018 may be a lock for Ps4’s continued success but 2019 may just be a the most critical year for Sony since the launch of Playstation 4.

By the time we raise a glass of champagne to 2019, the 6th year of the PS4’s stellar life will be upon us. With Days Gone slipping into 2019, will its release also be accompanied by the likes of Last of Us Part II and Death Stranding? My hunch tells me no, as TLoU II and Days Gone may be too similar and may inadvertently cannibalize each other.., honestly, Days Gone wouldn’t stand a chance. The Last of Us II is likely to be a 2020 title and Death Stranding? I wouldn’t count on seeing that game released prior to 2020 either. It is possible that TLoU II and Death Stranding are the swan songs of the PS4 generation in the same way that TLoU was the swan song of the PS3 generation. The argument can be made that a 2019 reveal and 2020 release of the PS5 is possible, but I think a 2020 reveal at E3 and March 2021 release might be the better decision. The Nintendo Switch releasing in March was able to stave off the supply and demand issues they have had in the past when releasing in November. Playstation hasn’t had those problems before, but it is an interesting strategy to take nonetheless.

What do you think? Do you think the PS5 will be announced sooner? Do you think Sony needs to get ahead of things or do you think they can still afford to wait until the PS4 install base dries up? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Opinions Playstation 4 Sony

The Top 5 Playstation Titles Bluepoint Games Should Remake Next

With the recent remake of Shadow of Colossus being met with overwhelming critical acclaim and capturing the hearts of an entirely new generation of players, many are left wondering: where does Bluepoint Games go from here?  While many are eager for the Austin-based developer to shed its ‘master of remasters’ title and create an original work of their own, I would argue that Bluepoint Games should continue to do what it does best. And so, here are the Top 5 Playstation Titles Bluepoint Games should consider remaking.

5) Metal Gear Solid

So, Konami…how’s uh…Metal Gear Survive working out for you? Oh, not so great, huh? Well, perhaps what you need to do is try to get back in good graces with the gaming community. What better way to do that than to remake the title that propelled Solid Snake into stardom: Metal Gear Solid.Bluepoint already did a Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, so they know the series intimately. Let’s face it, the Fox Engine was destined for more than just a zombie-horde multiplayer mess. Speaking of things Konami messed up…

4) Silent Hill

Damn you, P.T.! Why did you have to be so good? WHY DID YOU GET MY HOPES UP, KONAMI!? For those of you not in “the know”, P.T. a.k.a “Playable Trailer” (nobody calls it that), was a teaser for Silent Hills, a Silent Hill sequel with the potential to completely reinvent the franchise. It was to be a collaboration between Hideo Kojima and Guillermo Del Toro. Needless to say, people lost their damn minds over the possibilities. Well, Konami ran Kojima out of town and Silent Hills was forever lost to the mist. Sure, we now have Death Stranding to look forward to, but Silent Hill has been neglected for years now (and no, Pachinko Games DON’T COUNT!).  A recreation of the original, terrifying Silent Hill would be a spectacular way to make up for the Silent Hills fiasco.

3) Driver

Released back in 1999 for the PS1, Driver was a complete game changer for the genre; it set an incredibly high bar for story driven, high octane driving. Spread across four distinct cities, Driver’s insane chase sequences and ground-breaking physics made it a must-have title for Playstation owners. While Driver received a minor face-lift when it was ported to iOS  in 2009, it was hardly worth of such a watershed title in Playstation history. Bluepoint Games can completely redesign the cities from the ground up, making them bigger and more realistic worlds to explore. Is there a place for this series in such a crowded driving landscape? Maybe not, but nostalgia alone might be worth the investment.

2) Dark Cloud

Dark Cloud is a long time favorite game of my Nintendo Duel Screen’s Co-host, Stephen Fontana. He asked me to add it to the list, but he really didn’t have to do much convincing. Dark Cloud was an incredibly deep dungeon crawling RPG with an insane weapon crafting mechanic. Throw in an adorable town building mechanic and funny/unique characters and you got yourself a recipe for a classic action-rpg. A sequel was released a couple of years later and both games were touched up and given trophy support last year on PSN, but a full fledged Bluepoint Games remake is incredibly enticing.

1) Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

Released in 1999 for the Sony Playstation 1Crystal Dynamics’ tale of a vampire turned specter was met with critical acclaim. Fans have been clamoring for a remake/reboot for years now. And given that Crystal Dynamics is hard at work its Avengers Project, Bluepoint Games would be a logical second choice to helm the franchise reboot and reintroduce Raziel and Kain to the world.

Well that is it. What do you think? This list can easily be a top 20, so what would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.





Android Iphone Mobile Opinions Reviews

PG Mobile Gaming Addiction – September 2017 Edition

Welcome to the new monthly series highlighting the Proven Gamer staff’s current mobile gaming addiction! Let’s face it; mobile gaming carries an ugly stigma, yet almost everybody plays mobile games throughout their day. Well, instead of poo pooing those games, we would like to highlight a few. Who knows?! Maybe you, the reader, will play something new. With that being said, lets get down to business with our first Mobile Addiction games for the month of September, 2017!

Stephen Fontana – 80’s Mania Wrestling: 90’s Xtreme

Platform: Playing on Android

Why, though?:

I was looking for a wrestling game where I can run my own fed. I don’t know why I had that itch, but it was there and it needed a good scratching. I scoured the store and found something that caught my eye. What I found here was a collectible card game that has me putting on shows with 80’s parody characters that make me chuckle and cringe. Everything from poorly parodied wrestlers of old and even 80s cartoon icons make an appearance here. My main feud is Jet Set Strutter (Ric Flair) and Pierre the Enormous (Andre the Giant), who have been battling for a year for the world title. Every month has 4 shows – 3 TV shows and a Pay Per View. You set a card of wrestlers in hopes of having the best ratings, best attendance, and best reviewed shows. I have played 6 years worth of events, and even spent $11 on “coins” so I can buy more talent/match types.  I have found myself playing this over my Switch at times…please send help.

Tina Tatsis – Toy Blast

Platform: Playing on Android

Why, though?:

For those who have no clue every summer I torture myself and run Summer Camp at my job. I leave my little ones and trade them for the older ones for 2 months. When I commute the with my group to our destination and back I needed a game to play to keep me occupied. So I went through the Play Store and found the game I am addicted to now Toy Blast.  

I will admit that this game is similar to Candy Crush, however it has more features that lures you in. I came across this game when I was scouring the internet for Word Relax answers. Every week they have tournaments and also Treasure Hunts as well. I became more addicted to the game once the tournament started. I became determined to be either in 1st or 2nd place to win coins. After completing a few levels you get a chest with get 2 hours infinite life up to 24 hours as you go through the levels. Once that started, I said “one more game” and an hour later I was shocked how long I was actually playing this game.


Jerry Young – Hearthstone

Platform: Playing on iOS

Why, though?:

I will come out and say it: I can’t stand mobile games. Most of the premium games out there are hard to play because of the virtual controls or compromised performance of some ports. For free to play games, the minute my progress is stifled and I am encouraged to pay to speed something up, or gain access to a special item, I immediately delete the game. Mobile games are at their best a way to kill a few minutes here or there, but I won’t do it unless I enjoy the game and feel like I am being treated fairly. However, I may be a hypocrite because I play a lot of Hearthstone. Whenever I have a few minutes, playing a quick game on the ranked ladder is a perfect way to pass the time. For me, one thing I am proud of is that regardless of what the meta is, I will always play the decks that I enjoy. Since the Journey to Un’goro expansion, I have been playing OTK Mage, or Quest Mage. Although the deck is wildly inconsistent, the payoff when everything comes together it is an absolute joy. I have stopped putting money into Hearthstone as well which has made the feeling of beating the high decks in the meta so much better. To summarize: can’t stand mobile games, but play a lot of Hearthstone.


Matt Murray – Guild of Dungeoneering.

Platform: Android

Why Though?:

This game might be one of the best translated PC to Mobile games I’ve ever seen. It’s a combination Deck/dungeon building/RPG with rogue-like elements. I know that sounds like an insane combination, but it works so well here. On top of the gameplay there is an absolute metric-butt-ton of content and the developers are constantly adding more…for FREE! This is one of those games I find myself continually going back to after the “Game of the week/month” has started to wear out its welcome. If any or all of that sounds appealing I would highly suggest the game, It’s charm alone could win you over.

That’s all the PG Mobile Gaming Addictions we have for you this month. Next month we will highlight some new addictions for you to try out. Let us know is the comments which one of these games you love – or even if you got addicted based on our recommendation. Until next time, be excellent to each other!


Rocket League Wins MVP for Multiplayer

Rocket League is the best multiplayer game – either past or present.

I said it; you read it. I’m over here dropping rhymes like pouring pancake mix in a skillet.

Before I go any further, I understand that this debate is subjective. To me, Rocket League wins the MVP award for best multiplayer game. You might not agree. Chances are, if you survey 10 people, you’ll get at least two different answers. The chances are low that you’ll hear the same answer 10 times. If you survey 100 people, Family Feud style, I’m sure that you’ll hear, among others, Call of Duty, Super Smash Bros., and Mario Kart.

Rocket League, developed by the lovely folks at Psyonix, is a frenetic soccer game built around a simple concept: Sports games can be as fun as a bounce house in zero gravity. While many sports games attempt to ape the realism of their inspirations, Rocket League brings the thunder with over-the-top action that never leaves overdrive.

Rocket League owes much of its success, at least initially, to PlayStation Plus. Upon release, Rocket League joined the PlayStation Network’s Instant Game collection, which made it free to all PS Plus subscribers. With a firm grasp of simple economics, and the ability to tie a pair shoes, anyone can surmise that a free game is more accessible than a $20 game. If a free game turns out to be bad, I haven’t wasted any money to play it, so I am no worse off. I like to think practically.

While PS Plus helped promote Rocket League, Psyonix’s arcade soccer game – where the stars are cars – is amazingly fun, and Psyonix has poured gasoline on the starting flame to create a firestorm of hotly contested online and offline matches – including competitive seasons and championship tourneys. This summer, NBC Sports will air a Rocket League tournament. Have I mentioned that Rocket League is a big deal? Rocket League has also sponsored at least two World Wrestling Entertainment special events.

Psyonix has supported Rocket League with truckloads of downloadable content – much of which has been delivered in free updates. Along with new arenas, Aquadome is the greatest of the great, these free updates have included new games modes ranging from ice hockey to basketball. Instead of releasing a sequel, Psyonix has continued to support Rocket League with new content, and players have continued to maintain – and grow – a thriving online community. I can jump into a Rocket League online game in less than 10 seconds. How many games can say that after nearly two years? Many gamers migrate to new online communities once a sequel supersedes an older game; however, thanks to a ravenous and loyal community, as well as Psyonix’s dedication and hard work, Rocket League continues to thrive.

Whether you play online or offline, Rocket League is incredibly fun.  The online infrastructure is stable and reliable — even on a decent web connection.  In other words, unless you’re inactive, you rarely drop out of a game.  Local multiplayer has always been my preference, given the large amount of intolerable hyenas online; however, I enjoy playing online in Rocket League.

However you shake the snow globe, Rocket League scores high.  The action is fast, and given that standard games last five minutes, you can string together an impressive amount of games in one sitting.  It’s easy to jump in and play, and you can always find an online game if local multiplayer isn’t an option.  Even if Rocket League isn’t your first option for multiplayer chaos, it has to be in the conversation for top of the crop.  If I’m handing out an MVP award, Rocket League races ahead of the competition and scores the win.

Companies Consoles Opinions Playstation 4 Playstation 4 Pro Sony

Gorgeous Shadow of the Colossus Towers over the Landscape

Shadow of the Colossus, originally released in 2005, was a landmark game.  The realization of an incredible and enthralling concept, Shadow of the Colossus brought players to a mysterious land filled with large mythical beasts that were key to the resurrection of a young woman.

At the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Japan Studio surprised everyone and revealed that Shadow the Colossus was being rebuilt for the PlayStation 4.  As if you need to be told, the game looks gorgeous.  Shadow of the Colossus shines brightly in the “games are art” discussion, and, as you might expect, makes a strong argument that throws support into overdrive.

You need to play Shadow of the Colossus. I leave no wiggle room in that discussion. Would you spend your entire life refusing to eat one stack of pancakes or a single doughnut? If so, you need to flip that script and take that “can’t do” attitude to Krispy Kreme or IHOP.

In Shadow of the Colossus, Fumito Ueda and Team ICO told a story fraught with intrigue, excitement, danger and uncertainty. Your character, Wander, driven by love and hope, has a purpose and a quest, and while you are aboard initially, as the game unfolds, you become increasingly anxious about the consequences of your actions. As you kill each colossus, the music plays a somber tune, and you ask a frightening and saddening question: “What am I doing?”

The soundtrack is amazingly poignant, chilling and evocative. What’s more, the music has purpose. Each song sets the tone for every scene — and every moment. If you’re on top of a colossus, then the creators ensure that you feel the reckless excitement and precarious nature of your situation. You experience an array of emotions while playing Shadow of the Colossus, and the music evokes each gasp and every yelp.

As Wander, trying to save the woman whom you love, you have to find and slay 16 awe-inspiring colossi that tower over trees like armored, lumbering skyscrapers. The colossi shake the ground as they walk. If you dare, imagine standing under the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, climbing onto one of his feet, scampering up one of his legs, struggling up his torso and neck, and stabbing the vulnerable spot on the top of his head — tucked so obviously beneath his adorable sailor hat.  For any sane person, it’s a terrifying proposition.

Each colossus is a puzzle, so, much like the boxers in Nintendo’s Punch-Out!! series, you have to figure out how to expose the beast’s weak points. While a game comprising only boss fights might seem liable to disappoint, the towering beasts in Shadow of the Colossus go far beyond traditional boss fights. If you think that you’re going to kill a colossus by jumping on its head three times, then you have earned a hard, hard lesson: The colossi don’t play around.  While some colossi seem docile, at least initially, others will try to smash you into paste as soon as they see you.  As you might expect, the closer that you get to a colossus, the more guarded it becomes.  Once you unsheath your sword, you’ve tossed your cards on the table, and the colossus goes into survival mode.

Sony, as well as other game companies, have garnered heat from some gamers by re-releasing games on newer consoles; however, the PS4 version of Shadow of the Colossus isn’t a remaster, and it’s one of the greatest video games of either past or present. If you haven’t played Shadow of the Colossus, which, for me, sits behind only The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, then you have the opportunity to play the definitive version.  I implore you not to miss the opportunity.

Shadow of the Colossus transcends video games.  It’s imaginative art.  It’s brilliant storytelling.  It’s a beautiful experience that evokes every emotion and leaves you with a heavy heart.  And yet, somehow, you recognize that the journey has been magnificent.

Consoles Opinions Playstation 4

Crash Bandicoot Spun me to the PlayStation Brand

Crash Bandicoot changed my gaming habits. When you’re 10 years old, and a fan of silly cartoon characters who emit bright colors and flash stupid grins, Crash Bandicoot doesn’t need to say much to grab your attention.  Despite undeniable charm, Naughty Dog’s furry orange tornado uttered fewer sentences than a Ballpark hot dog.

In 1995, when I was a wee lad with a decade of Earthly experience, my mom took me to Toys ‘R’ Us to pick out a video game console.  As we entered the store, a Sony PlayStation and a Nintendo 64 were featured on side-by-side televisions. I grew up with a Nintendo Entertainment System, and with years of experience blasting through boxers in Punch-Out and running through castles in Super Mario Bros., Nintendo had the early advantage. They did not keep it. I was a child, so, despite the power of brand recognition, I was liable to change my interest as quickly as a mercenary for hire.  As soon as I saw Crash Bandicoot, I picked up the PlayStation controller.  Crash won my heart.

Since that day, I have owned every PlayStation console released for the home market.

In the early days of PlayStation, Sony Computer Entertainment needed a marketable mascot to go head-to-head and toe-to-toe with Nintendo’s Mario. Crash was to Sony as Sonic the Hedgehog was to Sega. While Sonic has seen more success, Crash helped launch the PlayStation brand and contributed heavily to a new era in gaming. And, to be honest, people have long asked Sonic to hit the bricks.

When it comes to video game sales, Mario will always be king, because Nintendo has created the most versatile and recognizable character in the history of video games. If you can host raucous parties, drive a go-kart, and swing a tennis racket, then I think that you have enough talent to generate enough cash to fill 64 dump trucks.  To be fair, Crash played way better in commercials. Sony’s legendary Crash Bandicoot commercials, etched into history via YouTube, were brilliant and hilarious. Sony and Crash seemed to have an edge and an attitude from which Nintendo shied away. We saw that divide play out between the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo; however the rift grew wider when Sony released the PlayStation.

Naughty Dog and Crash had the biggest booth (among Sony games) during Sony’s first Electronic Entertainment Expo, so while he never toppled Mario, Crash provided Sony with the marketable and endearing face that they needed to establish a foothold in the home console market. During those days, video games were still seen as playthings for children and teenagers. Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Twisted Metal and Tomb Raider deserve much credit for growing the PlayStation brand, but Sony and its games division owe a lot to Naughty Dog and their hog-riding, kart-driving, plane-flying marsupial. Crash did it all. Unless you’ve ridden a polar bear, then you aren’t as cool as Crash Bandicoot.

Crash converted me to the PlayStation brand.  I hope that didn’t sound too cult-like.

After the NES era, with the inception of the next generation, I graduated to the Sega Genesis. In retrospect, I often wonder why I opted for the Genesis (instead of the Super Nintendo). While the Genesis was beloved, no thanks to Eternal Champions, the SNES had — far and away — the superior software library. It’s like comparing pulled pork tacos to a bologna sandwich. The next time that you’re at a restaurant, look around and see if someone is sipping a margarita and following up with a big bite from a bologna sandwich.

I’ve owned Nintendo and Sega consoles since buying a PlayStation, but following the release of the PlayStation 2, Sony’s latest hardware has always taken priority. Admittedly, I spent more money on Nintendo 64 games than on PlayStation games – but I bought the PlayStation first.  I’ve continued that tradition with each hardware generation. And I haven’t purchased a Nintendo console since the Wii.

Crash Bandicoot was my door to the world of PlayStation, and thanks to Naughty Dog, I have come to know Twisted Metal, Sly Cooper, Ratchet & Clank, The Last of Us, Horizon Zero Dawn, Uncharted, Resistance, Until Dawn, Shadow of the Colossus and God of War. If I have only one home console, then it needs to be the latest incarnation of the PlayStation.

Crash has fallen on harder times. After Crash Team Racing, Activision gained the rights to the franchise, and they proceeded to shame the body-slamming bandicoot with poorly reviewed games.  If they were less cruel, they would have tied boulders to Crash’s legs and tossed him into a rural lake.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy reminds us that Crash Bandicoot and Sony have great history and, with the right direction, Crash games have been dynamite. Crash Bandicoot: Warped, the third game in the series, remains the pinnacle. While Naughty Dog created three terrific platforming games, and one fantastic racing game, their ability to iterate, expand, and improve a winning formula ensured that Warped built on the success and quality of its predecessors.

In the absence of Crash, I might not have taken to the PlayStation brand. We will never know. More importantly, we will never have to know. I am PlayStation first, and I thank Crash Bandicoot for bringing me home.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy will be available on June 30.


MontanaMania! The Cultists of Far Cry 5

On Friday, Ubisoft gave gamers the first real look at Far Cry 5. Players will assume the role of the new deputy in Hope County, Montana, with the goal of taking down a doomsday cult terrorizing the region. While we have much to learn about the game, the faces of villain Joseph and (some of) his comrades are in the trailer — as well as in previously released art.  If you are a World Wrestling Entertainment fan, then you may notice that certain Far Cry 5 characters share similarities with current and former wrestling superstars. Let’s take a closer look.

CM Punk:

The obvious place to start: the man in the middle of the image, Joseph. He is the leader of the cult. The slicked-back hair, mustache, and beard are shared by former WWE Champion CM Punk. Punk is no stranger to leadership. He was the leader of The New Nexus from 2010-2011, as well as the Straight Edge Society.

Daniel Bryan:

On the far bottom left of the photo, we see an individual with long hair and a disheveled beard. These features, along with his overall complexion, are shared by current SmackDown general manager Daniel Bryan. Despite retiring from active competition, the former champion remains one of the most popular voices in WWE.

Eric Rowan:

Erick Rowan, once a member of the Wyatt Family, is familiar with a cult mentality. Bald-headed and with a gnarly beard, Rowan is a vicious enforcer who has become a reliable mid-card talent in WWE. Can some of the same qualities be said for the man in the upper left of the key art? Only time will tell.


The Celtic Warrior, better known as Sheamus, is a pure brawler. His style is all about moving forward and punishing his opponent. Since his return to WWE in 2015, fans have cheered, “You look stupid,” to lampoon his hairstyle and beard. If we look to the right of the Far Cry 5 image, we see a man with a similar look, who, if you ask me, looks equally stupid. Could his knife imply that he is the enforcer of the cult?

Over the years, we have seen many video games pull inspiration from other forms of entertainment. Sometimes the influence is seen on a large scale. Rockstar uses locations such as Los Angeles, Miami, and New York to build the cities in the Grand Theft Auto games. Supermassive Games brought in Brett Dalton and Hayden Panettiere to do voice-acting for the two main characters in Until Dawn. We may never know if Far Cry 5 took inspiration from these WWE superstars; however, these eerie similarities remind us that video game developers are willing to look elsewhere to create the worlds and characters that we love.

3DS Nintendo Nintendo Switch Opinions Wii U

12 Wii U and 3DS Games that should come to the Nintendo Switch


The Nintendo Switch has had an impressive showing early on into its life. Sitting at just about 5 million sold thus far. It has been a success by and large on the backs of two games made for the previous generation’s Wii U hardware. There is no arguing that Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8: Deluxe are incredible games and it is remarkable that these games can sustain this early Switch success. With this being said, there are many other Wii U games that could come to the Switch early on that can help stave off any drought and help continue its early dominance. If you throw in resoundingly successful 3DS, and you can truly have a dominant Nintendo system for the first time in nearly two decades. Here are 12 of those such games we would love to see come over from Wii U & 3DS to Switch.

Full disclosure: this list was originally 5 games, then 10, and now finally 12. A true testament to the strong library from 3DS specifically. 

#12) Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)


The Nintendo fans are super excited for Super Mario Odyssey, but lets not forget the incredible multiplayer experience that 3D world gave us on WiiU. This game would work brilliantly on the upgraded hardware. With 2 players ready to play right out of the box, a 4 player session would be simple to achieve as well.  This could ensure that the 3D world games would continue to live on in a post Wii U world as well.

#11) Final Fantasy Explorers (3DS)

This game didn’t receive too much critical acclaim, but for me this game was a fun time sink. A Monster Hunter lite, this was perfect for a quick train ride to work, or a little session while at the doctor’s office. Raising the resolution and allowing for local co-op on the switch would be all you really needed to do for this title to be a fantastic addition to its library.

#10) Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker (Wii U)  

Captain Toad was a favorite of my 10 year old Nephews. This is a cute game with bite sized co-op experiences that would feel right at home on the Switch. A a pattern is clearly forming here, as good multiplayer experiences on Wii U would feel great on Switch. This game would also scratch a puzzle game itch for gamers tiring of Puyo Puyo Tetris.

#9) Pikmin 3 (Wii U)

This franchise doesn’t get nearly the amount of love it deserves. This is a hardcore real time strategy game with the quality and cuteness of Nintendo. Pikman 3 was received well, but didn’t quite hit enough living rooms. Throwing it as an early Switch title, perhaps in the same calendar year as Hey! Pikman on 3DS, would be a boon for the franchise and the Switch.

#8) Pokemon Sun/Moon (3DS)

What better way to test the waters for a 3rd version of the game than porting over theses 3DS games outright. The internet has been speculating about a “Pokemon Stars” version of the game, but it is not like The Pokemon Company to stray from the handheld with the biggest install base, but this might be a good move for them and their relationship with Nintendo. Imagine porting over Sun and Moon and selling 2 million units. This would all but guarantee a move to the Switch in the franchise’s future.

#7) Bravely Default/Second (3DS) – I know its cheating. 

Bravely Default and Second were very well received JRPG’s. While there isn’t a shortage of JRPG’s on this list, it would be really cool if we got both games packaged together in a special Switch version. Lets face it, the Switch is perfect for JRPGs. Embrace it.

#6) Fire Emblem (Any of them…all of them?) (3DS)

The 3DS is home to a plethora of Fire Emblem games. It is hard for me to narrow it down to just one, so let’s just say they should throw one of them on the Switch to satiate the fan base’s appetite. This, like Pokemon, would allow Nintendo to open a door to a future audience on their new console.

#5) Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright (3DS)

These two franchises have a ravenous fan base that gobbles up everything there is to gobble up. This title on the 3DS was met with excellent critical reception and would instantly add credibility to the Switch’s line up. The games are also not too graphically intensive, so it would be a relatively quick port. (Totally speculating as I have ZERO development experience so DON’T HURT ME).

#4) Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

The Dynasty Warriors series is HUGE and tying Zelda to it was a fun experiment. The issue was that anybody that purchased it on 3DS was met with horrendous frame rate issues and an overall lesser experience than the big brother Wii U version of the game. With the Switch’s beefed up hardware we could finally get the on-the-go experience we deserved.

#3) Super Mario Maker (Wii U)

Imagine the Wii U version of this mixed with the 3DS version and you get a truly impressive experience. Imagine this: The tablet features of the Wii U, except with the far superior Switch touch screen. Then you just pop the Switch into the dock and play your creations with your family. This version could also maybe come with a dongle that allows us to beam to the TV instantly and continue to use the tablet. This would obviously take a lot of work, but it could open the doors for a Mario Maker 2. Think about that. Maybe you can have two tablets going at once and your buddy and you can create something awesome together.

#2) Super Smash Brothers (3DS)

This is pretty obvious. Give this the “Deluxe” treatment and you should be able to top Mario Kart 8: Deluxe numbers pretty easily. Include all DLC and add a few new modes to the game and fans will be more than happy while Nintendo takes its time with the next installment. Combine that with the awesome ad-hoc play of the 3DS version and you have an incredible Smash Brothers experience.

#1) Monster Hunter XX (3DS) [HOLY COW THEY ANNOUNCED IT!]

So this franchise doesn’t need much introduction. It sells millions of copies with each iteration and this recent 3DS game has already surpassed Mario Kart 8: Deluxe on the charts. This is thought to be the last Monster Hunter game to appear on the 3DS, so it is a great time to test the waters on the Switch. Not only will this be a boon for Nintendo fans, but Nintendo is sure to sell many more consoles if a beefed up version appears on the Switch.

So there are 12 games from 3DS and Wii U that would be an amazing addition to an ever-growing roster on the Switch. Let us know what you think of the list over on our facebook page.


Windjammers Will Be the Next Rocket League

In July of 2015, developer Psyonix came out of nowhere with Rocket League. What started as a free PlayStation Plus game has now become one of the great success stories of competitive and indie gaming. In just one year, the game sold 5 million units and generated $110 million in revenue. This all from a game that was made on a budget of $2 million. Rocket League became the success it is due to three factors: A simple concept, easy to pick up controls, and a balance of competitive and casual gaming.

Two years later, I believe that there is a game on the horizon that will have the same surprise success as Rocket League. Windjammers originally hit the scene in 1994 in the arcades and NEO GEO. 23 years later, publisher and developer DotEmu is bringing the game back on PlayStation 4 and Vita. The closed beta for the game will run from June 8 to June 12 this summer. For some, this game will be a resurrection of a classic arcade game. For newer players, they have the chance to be introduced to a great competitive and casual game. Windjammers will have the same success as Rocket League because the same three factors will be what drives the core of the game.

To get things started, let’s take a look at the Windjammers announcement trailer from the PlayStation Experience last year. 

The Concept is Easy to Understand, But the Depth is There:

Just by watching this video, the objective of Windjammers becomes very clear. Players complete one-on-one on a court to throw a disc past their opponent into a point zone. Standard matches are played in best of three sets, with each set lasting 30 seconds. This is really all anyone needs to know to understand what is going on at a basic level. Somebody that has never seen the game can use the above information and know who is winning and who is losing a match. At the same time, there is depth to the game beyond the basic concepts. Each of the six characters has a skill set that is a balance of power and speed. They all have a special move that puts a crazy amount of speed, spin, or trajectory on the disc. The point zones on each court have three sections that are worth either three or five points. Depending on the court, this will change. Some courts also have obstacles in the middle which add another layer of depth to the game. The concept to Windjammers is very simple, but there are many layers of design that go into that basic idea.

Pickup and Play Controls:

The arcade version of Windjammers featured a simple two-button design. The joystick, which controlled movement, a primary button, and a secondary button was all that was needed to jump into a match. The primary button was used for a basic, straight throw. By rotating the stick before a throw, players are able to make the disc curve in different directions. The secondary button was used for a high arcing lob shot. This is all that was needed for a beginner to dive into Windjammers and have hours of fun. Much like Rocket League which only requires a jump and turbo button. However, also like Rocket League, there is a  depth to Windjammers for competitive players that give competitive players a multitude of strategies to master. By reading opponents and getting to the disc early, players can pop it into the air and charge up super and power throws. These types of advanced moves will allow the cream of the crop to rise in Windjammers. At the same time, the casual audience will still be able to jump in and enjoy the game with their friends using the basic controls. 

Casuals Will Love Windjammers, But So Will eSports:

Due to its simple concept and control scheme, the casual gamer will love Windjammers. It is the perfect party game for friends. With online ranked play coming to the game, the online community should thrive as well (assuming the notched is solid). Ranked leagues and matches will allow the best players in the world to rise above the rest. This will lead directly into Windjammers finding its spot in the eSports world. Even before a release date has been announced, the game was listed as one of the options as part of the of the final slot donation vote for EVO 2017. One of the bi-weekly fighting game tournaments here in Arizona has already said that the game will be part of the schedule once it is released. Last year, Rocket League finished number 41 on the highest earning games in terms of prize money. I would expect Windjammers to find a spot in a very similar area. It won’t ever be the biggest game in eSports, but it will find its niche.


Gamers Growing Up

This has always been a view of mine, and finally I’m putting it on paper, well the internet.

I remember as a kid, playing my first video game when I was 5 years old and mastering it the best I could while hearing constantly from my mother to go outside and play. Here it is now, 25 years later, buying gaming accounts from aussyelo, playing only the best games, and always on the lookout for a new ones on ethershock. With the case being heard in the Supreme Court about the proposed law in California to restrict game sales to minors, just shows the obstructed vision people have about video games. There is already a system in place to stop the sale. Its called the ESRB. Just enforce the system! There is no reason to waste our tax dollars and time! Now this isn’t going to be an article on the case but rather on the general topic of video games and what they are now.

In my humble opinion video games for the most part are no longer for kids. Back in time when Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt were the games of choice, video games were geared towards kids. But today, games like “Alice, The Madness Returns, Call of Duty, and Duke Nukem Forever”, games are geared towards adults. Even with a game like “Duke Nukem Forever,” while most of the appeal of the game was the nostalgic factor from playing the game as kids, but even back then the game was adult themed. I am a father now and I would never dream of letting my daughter play an M rated game until she reaches an acceptable age. I barely even let her sit in the same room as me while I’m playing certain games.

It burns me up when I’m standing in my local video game store and a parent comes in to buy a game for their kid without even know what they are buying. I’m not saying every parent should be into video games. I’m simply saying that a parent should at least do some research on a game before letting their kid play the game. With simple use of internet search engines like Google, there is no reason why a parent should be without the information of a certain game.

Sorry for that little rant there, but it just needed to be said!

Now back to my point. With games today, being adult themed, isn’t it about time we shed the image that video games are for kids? Sure there are still games out there for kids. I’ve gotten the platinum in most of them (that was for hardrocknguy), but those games mostly come out for a system that is still living in the past, the Wii. That wasn’t a fan boy comment, it’s just the truth.

With systems like the X-BOX 360 and PlayStation 3 costing the amount they do, not many kids are able to buy these systems, therefore it leaning to my point that video games are not just for kids. As an adult gamer who enjoys a game like “God of War” and “Metal Gear Solid,” I’m tired of having to justify my video game playing! The fact of the matter is that non-gaming adults for the most part, just don’t understand what the hype is. I love getting lost in the story of “Solid Snake.” To me it was like watching a 22 year long movie series. The same can be said for the “Uncharted” series because I never feel like I’m playing a game when Im playing Nathan Drake. I feel like I’m interacting with a Blu-Ray movie and this concept gives me the same enjoyment as someone gets from watching a movie or playing sports. Now, of course, video games isn’t a physical activity same as playing sports, but it still gives the same amount of enjoyment.

Okay, I’ve ranted long enough. I leave it up to you “Proven Gamers.” Isn’t it about time we shed that immature label and just admit video games are geared towards adult and just get on with our lives?

*editors note: This article was orginially published Jul 13, 2011


EA’s Do’s and Don’ts For E3 2017

The month of May is a month of anticipation, speculation, and excitement for the video game world. It means that in just a few weeks, it will be time for the next Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3. For three days, the video game world will converge in Los Angeles. Games will be revealed, rumors will fly, and the many people will stand in long lines to get a taste of the best upcoming games from the greatest developers in the world. As always, the first course of E3 will be the press conferences from EA, Bethesda, Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. Leading up to these presentations I wanted to present a list of a few key do’s and don’ts for each of the major showcases. Some of these are my personal hopes, others are predictions based on previous conferences and some just general thoughts.Today, we will take a look at EA.

What EA Should Do:

1)Resurrect Dead Space:

When the original Dead Space launched in 2008, it had all the makings of an amazing survival-horror franchise. The protagonist Issac Clarke wasn’t a soldier, just a simple engineer sent to repair a mining spaceship. Things quickly changed when Issac found himself in a fight for survival like he never expected. The story, tone, sound(or lack of sound), and alien-limb cutting mechanics made this game a scary, heart-pounding experience from beginning to end. Jump to 2013 and Dead Space 3, and the game had changed dramatically. What started as a psychological, survival game had become something much more action oriented. It was still scary but had lost what made the original game special. Much like Capcom was able to do with Resident Evil 7, EA has the opportunity to bring Dead Space back to its horror roots with a new installment of the franchise. Games like RE7 and the recently released Outlast II continue to prove that survival-horror is still alive and well. Dead Space could be another flagship of the genre.

2) Star Wars Push (IF the games are ready):

EA is in a perfect spot to make a huge Star Wars push at this year’s presentation. With the Last Jedi set to light up the box office this Christmas, EA should capitalize on the hype and make Star Wars a major focus of their presentation this year. Battlefront II  will have a major showing this year. Personally, I hope that the focus continues to highlight the campaign. The idea of playing things from the side of the Empire is something new and exciting. There is plenty of time to talk about the changes and improvements to multiplayer, but fans want to hear more about the campaign that was greatly missed in the first game.

Where the real Star Wars potential lies for EA are the games beyond Battlefront II. There are two other major Star Wars games in development. The first is coming from Amy Hennig and Visceral Games, set for a release sometime in 2018. The other is being worked on by Respawn Entertainment. These are both expected to be third-person adventure games that will tell their own unique stories in the Star Wars universe. EA talked about these games last year, but it was done through a developer video that really didn’t give fans anything to be excited about(more on that in a little while). With Visceral’s game supposedly coming next year, a trailer and hopefully gameplay will be revealed. If two of these three major Star Wars titles get screen-time, EA will be capitalizing on the Star Wars Hype.   

What EA Shouldn’t Do:

1)Put The Audience to Sleep Talking about Sports:

This is a balancing act that EA has to deal with each year. EA’s sports franchises are a huge part of the company. Madden and FIFA are some of the best-selling games each year. The problem is that for as large as the audience is for these games, there is an equally sized, if not bigger group that just doesn’t care about these games. The last two years, EA’s conference has come to a grinding halt when FIFA has taken the stage. Two years ago a long awkward interview with Pele stalled the show. Last year saw an actor come out to talk about the character he was playing in the new career mode. People who are going to buy Madden and FIFA will buy the game regardless of what is shown in a press conference. At the same time, these are huge titles for EA that deserve to be shown off. EA needs to figure out a way to balance this to keep their show moving briskly.

2) No Developer Diaries:

Personally, this goes for all presentations, but EA last year crossed the line in the worst way possible. The Star Wars development video gave players no useful information about the games that were being talked about. People don’t want to see Amy Hennig talk about making a Star Wars game, they want to see the game that is being made. Simply put, if a game isn’t ready to show, don’t show it. These types of videos don’t give gamers anything to hold on to or be excited about. They tell fans that a game is being made, but there isn’t have anything of importance to show yet.


With EA, the success of their press conferences comes down to pace. Each year, there is something that happens with EA that brings the show to a screeching halt that kills the hype and momentum for the major games that fans have tuned in to learn more about. There is also something each year, like the Star Wars developer video that just doesn’t belong in the press conference. There are plenty of great EA games that should give gamers a reason to watch their press conference. Lets just hope that EA can put together a show that is exciting from beginning to end.