Pretty good likeness, don’t you think? Photo: Telltale Games
In George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, anyone can play the Game of Thrones, including little-known House Forrester.
Telltale Games, the house behind video gaming hits like The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead, have brought this more obscure Westeros family to the forefront of a brand-new game set in Martin’s Game of Thrones universe, and it looks delightfully dramatic.
Check out the trailer below, which includes some fine voicework from Natalie Dormer and Peter Dinklage as their respective characters from the show, wily Margaery Tyrell and diminutive Tyrion Lannister.
You really need to download Vainglory and get your fingers into battle. Photo: Superevil Megacorp
Chances are, the first time you try your hand at Vainglory you’ll get ganked almost immediately by a crystal-toting Glaive.
If you’d rather avoid that ignominious end, you’ll want to read our guide to all things Vainglory. It’s loaded with tips and tricks on how to kick ass in this excellent iOS game, an Apple favorite that showcases the awesome fun possible in the multiplayer online battle arena genre.
You’ll find basic and advanced gameplay tips, plus a special top 10 list for every hero in the game, right from the developers themselves.
Not every video game that ties into a blockbuster movie has to be crap, destined to fill the bargain bins of your local electronics store. There are a surprising number of quality titles based on movies that belie the rather common conception of movie video games as fodder for kids and bargain hunters alike.
As we wait for Jurassic World to end up on the silver screen (with an appropriately awful tie-in video game likely to surface), here’s a list of the good ones: ten of the best film-based video game spin offs from the last couple of decades.
This delightfully colorful video game had kids throwing apples and leaping across dangerous bazaar stalls to re-enact some of the crazy scenes from the Disney animated movie of the same name. The title blended some Prince of Persia gameplay with the easy-on-the-eyes color palette of the Disney hit to create a very playable video game experience.
Spider-Man 2 (2004 - Playstation 2, Xbox, GameCube)
Here's one of the only video game adaptations of Marvel’s web-slinger that actually captures the true joy of swinging from rooftop to rooftop in New York. Sure, the side missions are a bit repetitive, and it took some grinding to get to new story chapters, but this Activision title is worth seeking out just for the city roaming alone.
This game was less tie-in and more franchise-based, but it surely brought the braininess of the original story — full of political and social intrigue — to the forefront, rather than sticking with David Lynch’s weird adaptation for the silver screen. You get to build the army of one of the three houses from Herbert’s sci-fi epic, and then command and conquer the rest of desert planet Arrakis.
Perhaps the only Bond game worth noting, GoldenEye holds a special place in every gamer's heart from the era. While the graphics are dated beyond belief at this point, GoldenEye might be that one game that introduced everyone to the idea of multiplayer death matches in style.
Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (2005 - PlayStation 2, Xbox 360)
Strangely compelling, this pixel-based spin-off from the celluloid film of the same name had bargain-bin written all over it. Until you played the game and realized that it was a challenging, well-conceived romp through the jungles where a giant ape can fight a big old T-Rex. Hats off to Ubisoft for making something good out of something that could have been absolutely awful and still have sold some copies.
Sure, this is mainly a kids’ game, but being able to beat up other martial arts animals while controlling a giant panda is one of the great joys in life. The animation is fantastic, as should any video game based on a Dreamworks animated feature, and the difficulty curve ramps up nicely as you progress through the game. It’s a fantastic time with younger nieces or nephews who really shouldn’t watch you own noobs in Call of Duty.
Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga (2007 - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Also available on Mac and Windows, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga launched an entire series of games that took the concept of toy bricks re-enacting entire genre movies to a whole new level. You'll thrill and laugh as you guide all your favorite Star Wars characters from all six films through their respective storylines, with a large does of humor thrown in for good measure.
Just because it's a kids game doesn't make Virgin Interactive's The Lion King any less compelling, especially when it came out in the early ‘90s. You’ll get to leap, run, dash, roar, and attack Simba’s enemies at each stage of this fun game on the Sega Genesis or Super NES. This one came out at the height of the 16-bit revolution and just hows off the fun to be had with a simple side-scroller themed with the hit movie’s lions.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay (2004 - Xbox, Windows)
I have to be honest: the movie this game is based on is one of the two films I've ever walked out on in my life. I just hated it when I saw it in the theater. Imagine my surprise, then, when the reviews of the game came out that said what a masterpiece it was. Vivendi Games somehow created a stealth-based video game (with Vin Diesel's help, we hear) that transcended its own source material. Hooray!
While Disney's movie Tron doesn't quite hold up these days, what with its rudimentary green screen and awkwardly tight LED unitards, the video game still holds a special charm for those of us who remember how cool it was to launch our light bikes across the master computer grid while feeding quarter after quarter into the hungry machines at the local arcade. It's like the movie was made to be a video game, or something.
Awwww, yiss! New MMO mode for Goat Simulator is free to current Steam owners. Photo: Goat Simulator
What’s better than goats? Goats you can control in a weird physics-simulator, of course.
What’s better than that? A full-on massively multiplayer online version of the goat sim. Duh.
The hilarious developers at Coffee Stain Studios (Sanctum, Sanctum 2) just offered up a free patch to all current owners (via Steam, not iOS) of the game, turning a wacky game jam cult hit into an MMO with various classes, like the Tank, or Magician.
Shit just goat serious, guys. Check out the sweet trailer below.
The first successful full-color video game came out in 1979. Photo: Stuart Brown
If you’ve been alive in the past fifty years or so, you’ve played a video game. It’s a primarily visual art form that uses current-day technologies to provide ever-evolving gaming experiences across generations.
This new series of short, ten-minute videos written and produced by Stuart Brown aim to take a closer look at the evolution of video game graphics, from the simple monochromatic lines of Pong to the incredibly rich and detailed photo realism of today’s games like Crysis, Destiny, and Far Cry 4.
“Graphics are absolutely important,” says Brown in the fifth and final video. “They are an essential part of video games. A window into another world and a prime indicator of the technology that powers it.”
Gaming, Apple Watch, Black Friday. what more do you need? Cover Design: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Hey, guess what? It’s yet another fantastic round up of great stories from Cult of Mac, so time for another special Newsstand issue just for you!
We’ve got all of the best news stories and features compiled in one place to easily read on your iPad or iPhone, like: New innovations in gaming include hot upcoming game Subterfuge, currently available MOBA Vainglory, and a new ex-Pixar-employee-led studio, plus news on the Apple Watch, some amazing gift guides, and a Black Friday special report that you won’t want to miss.
Everyone’s rightfully celebrating the tenth anniversary of World of Warcraft at the moment, but WoW isn’t the only game blowing out the candles for a significant birthday this year. Turning back the hands of time (or, well, reverse-circling the D-pads of our mind), Cult of Mac pays homage to some of the other classic video games that changed everything.
What made the cut? Scroll through our gallery to find out.
The most recent game on our list, Batman Arkham Asylum seemed to come out of nowhere to become not only the best Batman game ever created (which, let’s be honest, wasn’t all that difficult) but also a veritable titan of the DC publishing empire.
Telling the Grant Morrison-inspired story of everyone’s favorite Dark Knight Detective being locked in Arkham by arch nemesis The Joker, the game not only gave us a stunningly beautiful open world environment for Batfans to explore, but also nailed the fight dynamics, detective work and stealth that makes Batman so compelling. Given everything it’s influenced in the years since, if anything it’s tough to accept this game is only five years old.
10 Years Ago: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
I shared my thoughts on GTA: San Andreas when it was miraculously ported over to iOS late last year. The pinnacle of PS2-era Grand Theft Auto games, San Andreas took everything that made Vice City such a joy to play, and ramped it up a notch. Giant map, four times the size of its predecessor? Check. 240 vehicles instead of Vice City’s 60? Check. Immersive storytelling? Check. Pitch-perfect satire? Check. Blistering soundtrack? Mic check one.
In short, the game is perfect -- although how old does it make you feel to consider that it’s now as old as the mid-90s culture it was lampooning at the time?
15 Years Ago: Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (1999)
I don’t know if this makes me a traitor to everything Apple stands for, but for me Age of Empires II pretty much nullifies every dull, uninspired, monopolistic move Microsoft has ever made. Set in the Middle Ages and putting you in charge of your choice of 13 different civilizations, Age of Empires II is the strategy game that made me fall in love with strategy games.
Despite not being the first such title (hell, it wasn’t even the first in its series), this game influenced many, many other games in the same genre. Is there a more rewarding video game experience than demolishing a castle with a fireball-hurling trebuchet? I don’t know if my heart could take it if there is.
Arriving on games consoles in November 1994, Donkey Kong Country took the villain from an old Mario and turned him and his pint-sized nephew Diddy him into the stars of a whole new franchise. Donkey Kong Country was a relative latecomer to the platformer era of games, but it helped convince many people at the time of its release that there was still juice left in the SNES’s tank, after the arrival of the first generation PlayStation. Mission accomplished! Its stunningly modelled characters still stand up today, too. Which brings us to…
Coming out of an era of clunky 8-bit sprites, Prince of Persia practically looked like a classic Hollywood Errol Flynn movie unfolding in front of you. Using rotoscoped graphics (i.e. digitized scans of real life movement), the game has a realism to it that still stands up today. Boasting enhanced sound effects, the Macintosh version was the best incarnation available. Oh, and that sword fighting fight dynamics? Perfect.
If you were interested in high tech, 1984 was a helluva year to live through. Not only did you have the very first Macintosh in computer stores, The Terminator bursting into movie theaters, and William Gibson’s cyberpunk classic Neuromancer in book stores, there was also Elite.
Redefining the way that video games looked and played, Elite was an open world 3-D title that all but created the space trading game. It seemed an impossible achievement in its day, and its infinite universe spawning gameworld still impresses today, even in an age of Grand Theft Auto V.
Released 35 years ago this month, Asteroids is one classic game that everyone reading this has surely played at some time in their lives. Interestingly, while Asteroids’ simplistic graphics may appear today to be a triumph of substance over style, at the time the game’s high resolution vector graphics were considered an amazing achievement. Its superb gameplay and iconic sound effects remain legendary today.
Before he co-founded a little company by the name of Apple, Steve Wozniak worked at Atari, where he played one innovative single-player racing game for hours to get the inspiration for his own arcade title, Breakout. That game? Gran Trak 10.
Although it doesn’t look like much in a circa-2014 world populated by Need for Speed and Gran Turismo, Gran Tran 10 was a game changer at the time of its release. It also happened to be the first game to feature a steering wheel, four-position gear shifter, and accelerator and brake foot pedals in its coin-op iteration. A classic!
Having been an avid Sim City player going back 20+ years, I will never not be excited about a new game in the franchise.
EA has just released a new trailer for its upcoming SimCity BuildIt worldwide launch, and it has to be said that it looks pretty darn fantastic.
Letting you do all the building, demolition, micro-management and, err, UFO survival the game series is known for, the mobile-only title incorporates full 360° controls, which means that you can explore your beautiful 3-D city from an angle you want.
Manage your troops, destroy all aliens, save the world. Again. Photo: 2K Games
The excellent strategy game, XCOM: Enemy Within, is out now for mobile devices as an entirely new standalone game for $12.99. If you haven’t played an XCOM game yet, this is a fantastic place to jump in – the graphics are stunning and the gameplay is addictive; like Civilization, you’ll battle it out with alien invaders in turn-based, tactical maps that offer some thrilling alien-busting fun.
In the new game from developer Firaxis and publisher 2K Games you’ll manage the XCOM global headquarters and send your troops out to fight, dealing with both battle mechanics as well as resource allocation and research into new weapons and gear for your soldiers. The new game adds a “rogue” human faction, EXALT, that will offer even more battles and maps.
“XCOM: Enemy Unknown for Mobile proved that turn-based strategy games are a natural fit for touch interfaces,” said lead designer, Firaxis Games’ Ananda Gupta in a statement. “In XCOM: Enemy Within, players can return to the XCOM universe, where they’ll encounter an assortment of new content including powerful new weapons, abilities and strategies, and confront a host of dangerous new alien threats.”
Monument Valley is my pick for iOS game of the year; a twisting, gorgeous, MC Escher-style puzzler that’s spellbinding from start to finish. And given that it has received upwards of 1 million downloads, I’m far from alone in thinking that way.
Which is why it’s great to hear that the game is set to receive its first expansion on November 13. Titled “Forgotten Shores,” the expansion will plunge players back into the world of Princess Ida, as she travels through eight entirely new levels, with a slew of fresh puzzles to solve on her journey.