It’s a mythical, magical ancient world. Photo: Hunter LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
SEATTLE — Tanya Short, fresh off the successful release of sci-fi-themed indie game Shattered Planet, thinks her new game has widespread appeal. For a game set in ancient Mesopotamia, that’s saying a lot.
KitFox Games’ Moon Hunters, due out next summer for Mac, PC, and PlayStation, is a one to four player action role playing game that lets you create the kind of hero you want to be remembered as. The moon isn’t rising, and you and your group of friends set out to find out why.
“Essentially,” she told us at the Penny Arcade Expo this past weekend, “you’re in mythical ancient Mesopotamia in the Bronze Age. In pantheon of the gods, the central figure is the Moon. The moon not rising is a big deal.”
This colossus figure towers over all comers. Photo: Hunter LeFebvre, Cult of Mac
SEATTLE, Washington — Table top miniatures are some of the geekiest board games, coming as they do with thick rulebooks and complicated sets of play mechanics. Developer Harebrained Schemes, the folks behind video games Shadowrun Returns and the more recent Shadowrun: Dragonfall, has decided to bring this arcane, geeky gaming genre to players who might want to try it out without having to fight their way through an extreme learning curve.
With the time we spent with the game at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle this weekend, we’ve got to say, we’re pretty impressed. While there’s still quite a bit of learning that has to occur in order to fully and deeply play this fantasy-themed miniatures game, even players as young as four can grasp the basic concepts of move, battle, and conquer that the game’s iPad app and bluetooth-connected stylus allow.
“There are a lot of rules to these kinds of games,” said Harebrained Schemes’ Ray Winninger. “Sometimes there are these giant, thick rule books and that sort of thing. It’s especially hard to bring someone in who’s never played before and to just kind of plop them in the middle of it. So, we’re trying to manage all of that for you.”
Dave Marshall, Editor Dark Horse Comics, holding a coffee table book of video game art. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
SEATTLE, Washington – Walk into a comic shop, and you’ll probably see titles from publisher Dark Horse Comics. Known for its creator-owned series like Mike Mignola’s Hellboy and Sergio Aragonés’ Groo the Wanderer as well as television and movie adaptations like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or 300, the comic book publisher has a booth at the Penny Arcade Expo this weekend in Seattle to show off a different genre of comic.
The booth at the Washington State Convention Center in is full of video game-themed books of all stripe, from Mass Effect and Tomb Raider single-issue comics to larger, coffee table volumes like Hyrule Historia, which is chock full of the lore of The Legend of Zelda, and The Art of Naughty Dog, an art book that focuses on the popular game developer’s artistic output.
Dave Marshall says that video game books are the third pillar in the Dark Horse publishing strategy, and have become just as valuable a content stream as the creator-owned or media-based titles.
“We get the original writers and artists from the video games themselves to actually write or consult on these books,” he told us at the Dark Horse booth Saturday morning, “so we can come to the fans at a deeper level than just a crummy tie-in or cash grab.”
SEATTLE, Washington – Together: Amna & Saif puts you and another player on the same screen, controlling a mother and son duo of characters to solve various environmental puzzles. It’s a “couch co-op adventure puzzle game” that requires you to talk, interact, and think with another human being.
Lead designer Lyle Cox told us that he’s always wanted to make a game that benefits society in some way. “My hope is that people who play the game,” he said, “get some benefit to their relationship for having done so.”
The hot new thing is to record your epic gaming feats on your current-generation consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, sharing your amazing skills with the world via Google’s YouTube or Amazon’s Twitch TV.
Microsoft just made it even easier to do so with an update to Xbox One SmartGlass, an iOS, Windows Phone, and Android mobile app that connects directly to your Xbox One console.
The companion app already lets you navigate your console using your iPhone or other smart device’s keyboard and touchscreen as well as control your media via a SmartGlass remote control function. You can brows the web on your TV using your mobile device, and track achievements, get game help, message friends and watch game clips all on your iPad or other tablet.
As crazy as it may seem, this year marks Nintendo's 125th anniversary, from its origins as a playing card company back in September 1889, to its status as a gaming powerhouse today.
As much as we love Nintendo, however, it has been pretty reticent about embracing the world of mobile gaming; refusing to port any of its core titles to iOS and forcing the takedown of emulators that have tried to provide this (slightly illegal) service. True gamers that we are, though, we hold out hope that one day Nintendo may see the light. With that in mind, here's our list of the 8 Nintendo titles we'd love to see on our iPhone screens.
Scroll through our gallery to see which ones made the cut.
Okay, so this month saw the announcement that the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online is coming to iPad, but the Pokémon game players really want to see on iOS is the classic series of RPGs that made the Game Boy a must-have console.
While the first-generation games were all well and good (and by “well and good” I mean that I personally pumped hours into each one) it was with the follow-up trifecta of Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal where the series really took off. For the first time, day and night cycles were incorporated in a meaningful way, with certain Pokémon discoverable only at specific times.
There was also a Friendship/Happiness system, which meant that Pokémon became increasingly devoted to specific trainers. Throw this game into the App Store, and we’ll be clued to our iPhones pretty much non-stop.
The Legend of Zelda series started all the way back in 1987, but it took another 11 years -- when the franchise appeared on the N64 in 1998 -- for it to really hit its peak. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time sold 7.6 million copies in all, and is arguably the best game that appeared on Nintendo’s 64-bit console. Tantalizingly, the game has already received a touch screen mobile port — in the form of 2011’s 3DS update, which also added better graphics. Still, to date there has been no sign of Zelda on iOS.
But look on the bright side: Zelda-hungry fans can at least download the mobile exclusive Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas, which takes the Zelda formula as far as it can go without the official Nintendo seal of approval. Check it out if you haven’t already.
What can I say? I’m a wrestling fan, and despite having well over a decade to catch up, the WWE 2K franchise (formerly the Smackdown series) has never been able to match the brilliance that was AKI’s wrestling games.
Of these, 2000’s WWF No Mercy was arguably the greatest: adding ladder matches, an enormous roster, and a surprisingly fun story mode to what was already a near-perfect game engine. There’s little to no chance we’ll ever see this ported to iOS on account of the difficulty of securing the rights to the WWE roster circa 2000, but this would be my personal pick of the bunch.
So long as a touchscreen (or an MFi game controller) were able to replicate the deep control system this would be iOS perfection that is!
Forget about Retina display, impressive 3-D graphics and pixels-per-inch for a second, and bask in the ambience of the greatest Nintendo platformer to ever grace our consoles. Released in 1985, Super Mario Bros. is the oldest game on this list, and the one that many fans would still pay a premium to see on iOS.
Nintendo is hardly making millions from the original Super Mario Bros. these days, so why not open up the vault and allow an official port for iPhone and iPad players? The fact that iOS gamers are still denied this game is a crime so wicked it can only have come from Bowser.
(Oh, and give us Super Mario Bros. 3 while you’re at it!)
Super Mario Bros. may be the most iconic side-scroller Nintendo ever put out, but Metroid surely runs as a close second. An action/platformer that puts you in the space shoes of galactic bounty hunter Samus Aran, Metroid is an immersive world-building experience that never goes easy on players. It’s levels weren’t linear, there were plenty of dead ends, and the villain unveiling at the end is to video games what Darth Vader’s Empire Strikes Back revelation was to movies. We’d dearly love to see this game grace our iPhone screens.
Unlike so many other 3D games of its era (Crash Bandicoot, for instance) Super Mario 64 really was a game in which players were able to explore the vast 3D world which had been created for it to take place in. A 2004 Nintendo DS port added new playable characters like Yoshi, Luigi and Wario, and showed that the game worked just as well without the N64 controller that was specially designed for it.
With ten years now having passed since that port, it would be wonderful to see a re-release show up on iOS to wow a whole new generation of players.
As with many of the franchises mentioned here, there are some great games in the Mario Kart series, which makes picking one a real challenge. With that said, I’d love to see Mario Kart 8 make an appearance on iOS, just to show the karting pretenders (Angry Birds Go! I’m looking at you!) who’s boss. The game featured the same core ingredients we’ve loved since 1992, but it added some innovative touches like anti-gravity strips, which tweaked an already spectacular formula. The graphics are also top-notch.
The Modern Combat games have shown that first person shooters can work surprisingly well on iOS. Why then can’t we have GoldenEye 007, the pitch perfect James Bond game that was 90 percent of the reason that most teenage boys bought the N64 back in the day? Throw in an online multiplayer mode for good value and watch the dollars roll in. The premium price would be worth it for the Facility stage alone…
Ridge Racer Slipstream is one of the best racing games available on iOS.
Ports of popular console and arcade game series can be hit-and-miss on iOS, but Namco Bandai’s Ridge Racer Slipstream definitely falls into the “hit” category.
An iOS game which pulls together a lot of the best vehicles and tracks from previous Ridge Racer games, Ridge Racer Slipstream has just been updated for the first time since March adding two brand new race tracks, four new Class 1 vehicles (including the Kamata Synci, Kamata RC410, and Lucky Wild Evolver), Masters’ Class career content, and support for MFi game controllers.
Tanks are fun, but blowing them up is even better.
Super Battle Tactics is a free-to-play iOS game published by DeNA that has you using virtual tanks to face off against other players or AI opponents; you’ll choose which upgrades and tactics you’ll use your available action points on to outwit and destroy the enemy tanks.
Sometimes, though, you just want a little help in climbing the leaderboards, ranking up as fast as you can. To that end, we went straight to the publisher for these exclusive tips and tricks to help you take your game to the next level. Check them out below, and feel free to add in your own.
The creator of minimalist text game A Dark Room has just released an intriguing new title entitled Gridland. Although the game has yet to arrive in the App Store, it is playable on iOS devices using Safari.
Gridland is a match-3 game, which requires players to make matches in order to gather resources and build buildings during the day — and then to fight off creatures at night. In other words, it’s every bit as “out there” as A Dark Room – and quite possibly as immersive as well.