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.
What were you doing when you were 17? Probably not publishing a book on how to program 3-D terrain in video games.
Game developer Trent Polack did just that. He’s been playing games since, well, forever.
“My mom says I’ve been playing games since I was 2,” he told Cult of Mac, “but I don’t think that’s possible.”
That lifetime of experience is paying off for Polack, creative director of Team Chaos, a small game studio based in Austin, Texas. His team’s latest project is a collaboration with Rooster Teeth, a video production house beloved by gamers for its hilarious machinima, or films created using video game engines (most notably Red vs. Blue, based on the best-selling Halo series).
In the Rooster Teeth vs. Zombiens, which should hit mobile devices in late November, the Rooster Teeth crew gets turned into cannon fodder as they face off against a swarm of zombie aliens. Cult of Mac talked with Polack about that noteworthy project, his gaming roots and his knack for crafting crazy publicity emails.
Flinging skulls, collecting taxes, like you do. Screengrab: Clutch Play Games
Picture this. You’re a disembodied skull with stretchy brain parts. You use this elasticity to fling yourself around the afterworld, Angry Birds-style, in order to collect taxes from the deadbeats who reside there.
Sound like fun? It is, oddly enough. While Skullduggery may be one of the odder platforming games you’ve played, it’s as challenging and action-packed as anything out there. Once you’ve wrapped your, ahem, head around the control scheme, you’ll find yourself flying through level after level with glee.
Check out the launch trailer below to get a sense of what we mean.
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.”
Listen up, soldier! The aliens are headed our way and it’s up to you to keep them out of our base. You’ll have access to a variety of offensive towers that you can upgrade along the way, as well as a special Hero and other power ups to turn the tide of battle in our favor.
If you’re like many of us, you love a good tower defense game on the go. There are a few good ones out there (Fieldrunners, Kingdom Rush), but we’re always willing to give a new take on this classic gaming genre a spin.
The true test of a tower defense game, however, is whether it keeps you in that zen-like flow state while you play, and whether or not you want to keep playing it.
Imagine if you were actually a hunter of massive, dangerous creatures. You’d need to gear up, make sure you have all the weaponry and armor you’d need, enough ammo for your ranged weapons, and you’d have to be sure your giant swords are sharp enough to cut through touch monster hide.
You’d need to practice, for sure, and you’d probably get better over time, able to aim your sights at even more deadly monsters, because the bigger the baddie, the better the payoff.
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite is exactly this. While hunting monsters is a ton of stressful fun, full of dodging and attacking and slaying, the rest of the activities in-game — choosing weapons, farming, hiring chefs and companions, crafting and buying better weaponry and armor — are equally as satisfying.
And now? It’s on your iPhone (or iPad), with some really excellent touch controls and better visuals than ever.
Itching to take on the future techno-war depicted in the hyper-realistic Call of Duty: Modern Warfare franchise? Well, if you’ve finished off the original Modern Warfare game on your Mac, ported in 2011 by Aspyr, it’s time to lock and load your weapon of choice for the next two installments in the series, Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3.
These huge sequels are available now for the Mac platform, on Steam or porting publisher Aspyr’s own GameAgent distribution service. The new Mac versions of the game have all the downloadable content (DLC) packs from each game ready for your first-person shooter marathon.
Dong Nguygen struck App Store gold when Flappy Bird became the viral video game hit of the year in early 2014, but after seeing the addicting affects of flapping it first hand, Nguyen says he’s working on a new game that doesn’t involve feathery friends, green pipes or repetitive deaths.
Nguygen took to Twitter this afternoon to give fans a preview of his next his next addicting game by posting a screenshot showing a small helmeted man jumping between two buildings; simple, clean, and probably just as addictive as his original hit.