NVIDIA & HTC Bring VR to PC Gamer Weekender

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NVIDIA & HTC Bring VR to PC Gamer Weekender

HTC to showcase latest content for Vive virtual reality headset at PC Gamer Weekender

“The 4K Stage Powered By NVIDIA”
NVIDIA, the World Leader in Visual Computing, To Co-Curate Stage

Tickets On Sale Now
Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 March 2016
Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London

 

The PC Gamer Weekender will be one of the first opportunities for the British public to experience the latest VR content for Vive, HTC’s highly acclaimed virtual reality headset.

Visual-computing giant NVIDIA will be showcasing Vive at its demo booth throughout the two days of the PC Gamer Weekender. All attendees will be able to get hands-on with the device that goes on sale in April and is available to pre-order from February 29.

NVIDIA has also confirmed that it will present at the event “The 4K Stage powered by NVIDIA”. Curated in conjunction with show producers, the stage will host developer interviews, gameplay, walkthroughs and more, demonstrating the latest and most cutting edge in 4K gaming technology.

The full line-up of the stage activity will be announced imminently at weekender.pcgamer.com/

“Virtual reality is an incredible advance for gamers, providing full immersion in whole new worlds. The best VR experience demands enormous computing power – and the best way to get that is with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX GPUs. We’re thrilled to be working with game developers and VR headset companies like HTC to bring spectacular new experiences to the market,” – Jaap Zuiderveld, VP EMEAI, NVIDIA.

Vive is a collaboration between HTC and game developer, Valve, and is powered by Steam VR. It is designed to fully immerse its wearer in their virtual environment while playing games. As well as a headset, which boasts two screens (1080×1200 resolution) streaming data at 90 frames per second to create the sense of 3D virtual reality, Vive gives a full body VR experience, with sensor array mounted wand-shaped controllers for superior positional tracking, and laser-emitting base stations for a full-room 360-degree VR experience with minimal latency and high accuracy.

VR is a demanding technology that requires 7x the performance of a typical 1080p PC gaming experience. NVIDIA’s work in the VR space enables it to deliver this capability through its GeForce GTX GPUs, as well as GameWorks VR technologies which enhance performance through tools such as multi-resolution shading.

The PC Gamer Weekender takes place on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 March at the Old Truman Brewery, London. Tickets are available at weekender.pcgamer.com/booking-new.

Samuel Roberts, Editor of PC Gamer, says, “Vive has captured the industry’s attention as we enter the era of VR. We are delighted that the Weekender attendees will be among the first to try out its new content on GeForce GTX-powered PCs.”

For more information regarding the event including itinerary please email sophie.brown@futurenet.com

For information about how to book space at the event, please email kevin.stoddart@futurenet.com

Media enquiries please contact Ben@PesterPR.co.uk

Vote for the Golden Joystick Awards 2015!

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Closing at midnight on 16 October, you can vote at www.goldenjoystick.com, and each voter will receive a copy of BioShock Infinite for PC from Green Man Gaming (GMG)*.

With 21 categories to vote in, the past 12 months has produced an incredible array of games, meaning the voting of this year’s Golden Joystick Awards will almost certainly come down to the last hours of voting. We have analysed just a few of the categories, with our insider tips below.

The Ultimate Game of the Year includes 13 outstanding releases from the past 12 months. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Batman: Arkham Knight and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain to name just three. Voting in this category is exceptionally close.

Insider tip – It looks as though votes in this category are being widely split.

Ultimate Game of the Year

  1. Batman: Arkham Knight (Warner)
  2. Dragon Age: Inquisition (EA)
  3. Destiny (Activision)
  4. Bloodborne (Sony)
  5. Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Namco Bandai)
  6. Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate (Capcom)
  7. Life Is Strange (Square)
  8. Ori and the Blind Forest (Microsoft)
  9. Kerbal Space Program (Squad / Steam)
  10. PES 2016 (Konami)
  11. Her Story (Sam Barlow)
  12. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Activision)
  13. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Konami)

The Most Wanted Game category is all about those games not yet released. A 15 game category, it has some of the biggest gaming franchises of all time, as well as Star Wars Battlefront, which will almost certainly excite the masses with the new film set to smash box office records.

Insider tip – There are four clear frontrunners

Most Wanted Game in association with The Sun

  1. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Square)
  2. Ghost Recon Wildlands (Ubisoft)
  3. Total War Warhammer (Sega)
  4. Horizon: Zero Dawn (Sony)
  5. Final Fantasy XV (Square)
  6. Halo 5: Guardians (Microsoft)
  7. Rise of the Tomb Raider (Microsoft)
  8. Street Fighter V (Capcom)
  9. Uncharted 4 (Sony)
  10. New Zelda (Nintendo)
  11. Star Wars Battlefront (EA)
  12. Mass Effect Andromeda (EA)
  13. Fallout 4 (Bethesda)
  14. The Last Guardian (Sony)
  15. Dark Souls 3 (Namco Bandai)

The Best Indie Game category has got stronger and stronger since it’s inception at the Golden Joystick Awards. These incredible and innovative games have made this one of the overall most competitive categories.

Insider tip – From the ten nominated games, at least seven could still take the gong

Best Indie Game

  1. Axiom Verge
  2. Affordable Space Adventures
  3. Volume
  4. Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture
  5. Kerbal Space Program
  6. Crypt Of The Necrodancer
  7. Her Story
  8. Invisible, Inc
  9. Chaos Reborn
  10. OlliOlli 2

Taking place on the afternoon of Friday 30 October at the indigO2 in the world famous O2 Arena in London, it celebrates the very best in the gaming industry. The Golden Joystick Awards, powered by GamesRadar+, is the only annual awards voted for by gamers, and in 2014 an incredible nine million people cast their votes.

The 21 public voted categories are:

Best Original Game
1) Bloodborne (Sony)
2) Kerbal Space Program (Squad / Steam)
3) Life is Strange (Square)
4) This War of Mine (11 bit Studios)
5) Ori and the Blind Forest (Microsoft)
6) Splatoon (Nintendo)
7) Invisible Inc (Klei Entertainment)
8) Sunset Overdrive (Microsoft)
9) Talos Principle (Devolver Digital)
10) Her Story (Sam Barlow)

Best Storytelling
1) Pillars of Eternity (Obsidian / Paradox)
2) Sunless Sea (Failbetter Games)
3) Life Is Strange (Square)
4) Her Story (Sam Barlow)
5) Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft)
6) Game of Thrones (Telltale)
7) Dragon Age: Inquisition (EA)
8) The Talos Principle (Devolver Digital)
9) Bloodborne (Sony)
10) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Namco Bandai)
11) Batman Arkham Knight (Warner)

Best Visual Design
1) Dragon Age: Inquisition (EA)
2) Vanishing of Ethan Carter (People Can Fly)
3) Ori and the Blind Forest (Microsoft)
4) Bloodborne (Sony)
5) The Order: 1886 (Sony)
6) Sunset Overdrive (Microsoft)
7) Assassin’s Creed Unity (Ubisoft)
8) Splatoon (Nintendo)
9) Batman Arkham Knight (Warner)
10) The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Namco Bandai)
11) Alien Isolation (Sega)
12) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Konami)

Best Audio in association with DTS
1) Elite Dangerous (Frontier)
2) Ori and the Blind Forest (Microsoft)
3) Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (Devolver Digital)
4) Batman Arkham Knight (Warner)
5) Battlefield Hardline (EA)
6) Bloodborne (Sony)
7) Dragon Age: Inquisition (EA)
8) Titan Souls (Devolver Digital)
9) Dying Light (Warner)
10) Life is Strange (Square)
11) Alien Isolation (Sega)

Best Multiplayer Game
1) Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Capcom)
2) GTA Online (Rockstar)
3) Destiny: House of Wolves (Activision)
4) Splatoon (Nintendo)
5) Mortal Kombat X (Warner)
6) Kalimba (Press Play)
7) Bloodborne (Sony)
8) Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Activision)
9) PES 2015 (Konami)
10) FIFA 2015 (EA)
11) Heroes of the Storm (Blizzard)

Best Indie Game
1) Axiom Verge
2) Affordable Space Adventures
3) Volume
4) Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture
5) Kerbal Space Program
6) Crypt Of The Necrodancer
7) Her Story
8) Invisible, Inc
9) Chaos Reborn
10) OlliOlli 2

Innovation of the Year
1) 3D head tracking for Nintendo 3DS (Nintendo)
2) Affordable Space Adventures’ GamePad cockpit
3) First-person mode in GTA 5 (Rockstar)
4) Destiny’s companion app (Activision)
5) FFXV’s demo 2.0 fan feedback update (Square)
6) #IDARB (Microsoft)
7) Project Morpheus London Heist Demo (Sony)

Best Gaming Moment in association with Absolute Radio
1) Making it across the bridge in Dying Light (Warner)
2) The summon in Final Fantasy XV (Square)
3) Amygdala and the Nightmare Frontier in Bloodborne (Sony)
4) Meeting yourself from a previous game in Dragon Age: Inquisition (EA)
5) Riding an elephant to war in Far Cry 4 (Ubisoft)
6) Hyperspace in Elite Dangerous (Frontier)
7) The ‘return’ of the Joker in Batman Arkham Knight (Warner)
8) The death derby in Tales from the Borderlands (2K Games)
9) Saving Kate in Life is Strange (Square)
10) The bloody baron quest in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Namco Bandai)

Most Wanted Game in association with The Sun
1) Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Square)
2) Ghost Recon Wildlands (Ubisoft)
3) Total War Warhammer (Sega)
4) Horizon: Zero Dawn (Sony)
5) Final Fantasy XV (Square)
6) Halo 5: Guardians (Microsoft)
7) Rise of the Tomb Raider (Microsoft)
8) Street Fighter V (Capcom)
9) Uncharted 4 (Sony)
10) New Zelda (Nintendo)
11) Star Wars Battlefront (EA)
12) Mass Effect Andromeda (EA)
13) Fallout 4 (Bethesda)
14) The Last Guardian (Sony)
15) Dark Souls 3 (Namco Bandai)

Gaming Personality of the Year
1) Shaun Plott
2) Austin Creed (Up, Up, Down, Down)
3) PewDiePie
4) MasterOV and MasterChar
5) StampyLongHead
6) NerdCubed
7) Spencer FC
8) The Miller Report
9) Ashley Mariee Gaming
10) Greg Miller

Studio of the Year
1) Bungie
2) The Creative Assembly
3) From Software
4) Rocksteady
5) Housemarque
6) Klei
7) CD Projekt RED
8) Frontier
9) Blizzard
10) Kojima Productions

Gaming Platform of the Year in association with Digital Spy
1) PS4
2) Xbox One
3) Wii U
4) New Nintendo 3DS
5) Steam
6) iOS
7) Android

Ultimate Game of the Year
1) Batman: Arkham Knight (Warner)
2) Dragon Age: Inquisition (EA)
3) Destiny (Activision)
4) Bloodborne (Sony)
5) Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Namco Bandai)
6) Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate (Capcom)
7) Life Is Strange (Square)
8) Ori and the Blind Forest (Microsoft)
9) Kerbal Space Program (Squad / Steam)
10) PES 2016 (Konami)
11) Her Story (Sam Barlow)
12) Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Activision)
13) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Konami)

Performance of the Year
1) Ashly Burch as Chloe in Life is Strange
2) Freddie Prinze, Jr. as The Iron Bull
3) Mark Hamill as The Joker in Batman Arkham Knight
4) Molly Stone as Talia Forrester in Game of Thrones
5) Laura Bailey as Fiona in Tales from the Borderlands
6) Troy Baker as Pagan Min in Far Cry 4
7) Viva Seifert in Her Story
8) Patrick Warburton as Vasquez in Tales from the Borderlands
9) Fry and Laurie in Little Big Planet 3

PlayStation Game of the Year
1) Bloodborne
2) LittleBigPlanet 3
3) DriveClub
4) Tearaway Unfolded
5) Until Dawn
6) God Of War 3: Remastered
7) The Order: 1886
8) Helldivers
9) Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture
10) Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection

Nintendo Game of the Year
1) Splatoon (Nintendo)
2) Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Capcom)
3) The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (Nintendo)
4) Xenoblade Chronicles 3D (Nintendo)
5) Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (Nintendo)
6) Yoshi’s Wooly World (Nintendo)

PC Game of the Year
1) Cities: Skylines (Paradox)
2) Elite Dangerous (Frontier)
3) Pillars of Eternity (Obsidian)
4) Kerbal Space Program (Squad / Steam)
5) Endless Legend (Iceberg Interactive)
6) GTA 5 (Rockstar)
7) The Talos Principle (Devolver Digital)
8) Heroes Of The Storm (Blizzard)
9) Invisible Inc (Klei Entertainment)
10) Her Story (Sam Barlow)
11) Alien Isolation (Sega)

Xbox Game of the Year
1) Kalimba
2) Sunset Overdrive
3) State of Decay: Year One Survival
4) Ori and the Blind Forest
5) Forza Horizon 2
6) #IDARB
7) Halo: Master Chief Collection
8) Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition
9) Rare Replay

eSports Icon in association with Gfinity
1) Dota 2 – Syed ‘SumaiL’ Sumail Hassan
2) Smite – Brett ‘MlcSt3alth’ Felley
3) Hearthstone – Sebastien ‘Forsen’ Fors
4) Hearthstone – Andrey ‘Reynad’ Yanuk
5) CounterStrike GO – Anders Blume

Family Game
1) Splatoon (Nintendo)
2) Yoshi’s Woolly World (Nintendo)
3) Lego Jurassic World (Warner)
4) Lego Dimensions (Warner)
5) Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (Nintendo)
6) Disney Infinity 3.0 (Disney)
7) Minecraft (Microsoft)
8) Kingdom Hearts 2.5 (Square)
9) Skylanders Trap Team (Activision)
10) Captain Toad (Nintendo)

Best Handheld / Mobile Game
1) Terra Battle (Mistwalker)
2) Final Fantasy Record Keeper (Square)
3) Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Capcom)
4) Football Manager 2015 Classic (Sega)
5) Lifeline (3 Minute Games)
6) Framed (Loveshack Entertainment)
7) Neko Atsume (Hit-Point)
8) Fallout Shelter (Bethesda)
9) Steins; Gate (Nitroplus)
10) Twenty (Frenchguys)

 

*To claim BioShock Infinite on PC, you just need to follow these instructions;

  • Vote in the 33rd Golden Joystick Awards
  • Create your GMG / Playfire account through the links provided after voting
  • Link your Steam account on Playfire (if you haven’t already) to receive your exclusive voucher code for BioShock Infinite for £1/$1/€1.
  • Play BioShock Infinite and earn £1/$1/€1 GMG credit back.
  • Receive other great discounts from GMG.

The Best Retro GamePort Joystick for your Old Gaming PC

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I’m on a quest to find myself the perfect retro 90s joystick for my retro gaming PC. After searching long and hard, I made a list of six top-quality PC-gaming joysticks from the 90s and I bought all six. Now we’re going to pit them against one another in a fight to the death! How do you determine the best gaming joystick for a 90s retro PC? I’m looking at four factors: Looks, feels, function and value for money. Whichever joystick scores the highest out of these categories will become my regular retro PC gaming joystick.

A couple of points – I’m looking for a gaming joystick, not a full HOTAS setup. Secondly, these retro 90s joysticks are gameport joysticks, not USB. This means they’ll work far better in both DOS and Windows and should be a lot easier to install on my Windows 98 gaming PC. Lastly I will be testing these joysticks with the excellent Windows shooter Fury 3, for no reason other than it’s an awesome game. Going to head to head we have the Microsoft Sidewinder 3D Pro, the Logitech Wingman, the ThrustMaster Top Gun, the Gravis Blackhawk and the Saitek Cyborg 2000. We have a last-minute new challenger in the guise of the CH Gamestick, which I won on eBay for 83p delivered!

Retro PC Joystick Review

microsoft sidewinder 3d pro best retro pc joystick

First up is the Microsoft Sidewinder 3D Pro. Microsoft have always made good gaming hardware and the Sidewinder PC peripherals from the 90s are amongst the best.

  • Looks-wise the Sidewinder does it for me. The 3D Pro is a game-agnostic joystick and that shows in its design. It’s effortlessly simple, with clean lines and a tasteful colour scheme making this probably the coolest-looking stick on the list.
  • When it comes to feel though, the 3D Pro falls a little short. That minimalist geometric design starts to hurt your hand after a while, and so the Sidewinder falls short of some of the more ergonomic joysticks in this list.
  • Functionally, the 3D Pro is a mixed bag. The joystick features a ton of buttons, an 8-way POV hat, a throttle slider and a z-axis rudder control. The 3D Pro also has clever optical tracking components, opposed to an analogue gimble, which means that the joystick isn’t as subject to drift over years of use. However, installing this stick was a headache. Due to poor future-proofing, the standard drivers for this need a bit of jiggery-pokery to get the joystick working. Not the end of the world but other sticks work right out of the box.
  • In terms of value, the Sidewinder is fab. Released around the $95 mark, it was intended for everyone. I picked mine up for 99p local collection on eBay, so that’s a huge plus!

logitech wingman extreme retro pc joystick
Next we’re looking at the Logitech Wingman Extreme. The Wingman is probably one of the most iconic items from the entire 90s. Nearly all PC gamers had a Wingman in one form or another.

  •  Face it, the Wingman looks ace. Whether you had the beige budget version or this top-flight joystick, the Wingman was just a marvel of nineties curvy plastic. An absolutely top colour scheme, with bonus points for being purple.
  • It looks good, it feels good! The Wingman’s super-ergonomic joystick just sits so right in my hand. It’s a good job I’m right-handed as this would likely be a nightmare for a southpaw. As for me though, this is a shoe-in, probably the most comfortable stick on the list.
  • Very good points for function too. There’s a good chunk of buttons, a direction hat and a slider control, all in easy reach and all with a nice clicky response, even after all these years. The stick does feel a little spongy though, that’s probably from too many good times.
  • In its heyday the Wingman was the go-to joystick, with OEM sticks being given away with new PCs, as well as a budget line just missing a few features. This stick cost me £4.50 in Sue Ryder in Northampton which I think is about right, for what is still considered the everyman’s gaming joystick.

thrustmaster top gun best old joystick

Number three is the Thrustmaster Top Gun. This officially-licensed joystick was released some ten years after its namesake, but comes from arguably the biggest name in simulation gaming.

  • Starting out, this joystick looks like it was ripped right out of a fighter jet, and that’s almost the case. Thrustmaster are famous for their attention to detail and the Top Gun is straight out of Maverick’s F-14 cockpit. With that oversized hat and the big red buttons, the Thrustmaster certainly looks the business.
  • As for feel, it’s not quite for me. This joystick was bought brand new, still in the packaging, so is the only stick that was a virgin before I got my hands on it. The stick feels too stiff for my tastes and the weighted bottom needs a firm grip in the turns. It might need some breaking in, but off the bat it’s all too tight for my liking.
  • Functionality seems to be quite sparse on the Thrustmaster Top Gun. It has a four-way hat, a trigger and three buttons. It’s certainly a bit spartan if you’re looking to do more than just fly around, so it loses marks here too.
  • As a brand-new-in-box joystick, this was the most expensive joystick on the list, costing £8 delivered. The modern equivalent is probably the Thrustmaster Warthog, which costs around £130, so that seems fitting. The stick did come bundled with a free copy of Tomb Raider though, which is ace.

gravis blackhawk game port joystick

Fourth on the list is the Gravis Blackhawk. Gravis are well-known for their line of sound cards, gameport cards and PC gaming peripherals and the Blackhawk is well-known to flight sim aficionados.

  • It needs to be said, this is an ugly joystick. The giant molded base and the short stick makes the Blackhawk look dumpy and bottom-heavy. It’s a nasty stick BUT I am almost certain that the Manual Steering Column used by Riker in Star Trek Insurrection is a Gravis Blackhawk. Obviously absolutely loads of bonus points for that.
  • Those ugly looks belie a pretty decent-feeling stick. This must be why so many people still swear by their Blackhawk. The gimble is lovely and smooth and that lower centre of gravity is more forgiving on the wrist, which is lovely.
  • The Gravis Blackhawk is a three-axis, four-button stick. Even more spartan than the Top Gun, the Blackhawk even lacks a POV hat. Supposedly this heightens its compatibility with modern machines but that’s not what I’m after today.
  • As for value, the Gravis stick was £6 delivered, making it the second most expensive stick on the list. Gravis still sell this joystick with an RRP of $60. Considering that I’ve picked up better sticks for much less, the Blackhawk loses a lot of points for value.

old saitek cyborg windows 98 pc joystick

The most contemporary joystick on this list, the Saitek Cyborg 2000 was released in – you guessed it – the year 1999. Saitek have been making PC peripherals forever and the Cyborg is something to behold.

  • Immediately, the Cyborg 2000 is the most futuristic-looking stick. All those bolts and screws, the metal plating, that big utilitarian spring… Top marks for looks, Saitek.
  • This is where it gets interesting. Those bolts aren’t just for looks. Using the included Allen key, the Saitek Cyborg 2000 can be completely customised; hand rests can be moved, the head angle can be adjusted and the whole operation can be changed from right-handed to left-handed. Top marks!
  • In addition to the customisation, the Cyborg is choc-a-bloc with buttons. The thrust handle is a lovely feature and the stick installs perfectly under standard Windows drivers with no additional software.
  • The Cyborg was dead in the middle when it came to value, costing me £4 delivered. A modern Cyborg will run you around £50, so again the price is really aggressive.

ch gamestick retro gaming joystick

Last but by no means least, our last-minute entry, the CH Gamestick. CH are famous for being one of the first manufacturers out of the gate making joysticks and some of the real vintage sticks are immensely expensive. The Gamestick though was intended to be a budget stick for all-comers.

  • Christ alive, this is by far the ugliest stick on the list. The CH loses about a million points for actually looking like a massive dildo. Seriously, playing with this thing on your lap is just embarrassing. If someone comes in the room which you’re waggling this thing about, you will never live it down.
  • Okay so looks aren’t everything. It’s actually pretty comfortable and it’s ambidextrous which is definitely a plus point.
  • Three buttons, no hat and that nasty little throttle control make this stick no fun to play with. Using that throttle is like trying to use the volume wheel on a tape Walkman, for those who remember it. For those who don’t TL;DR: It sucks.
  • Actually one thing this stick has is value. It was designed as a genuine entry-level stick, and it certainly succeeds in that. These don’t come up too often, but when they do they never command a high price. The poor bloke who sold me this got 83p delivered, and he shipped it from ISRAEL.

Old PC Joysticks Roundup

So there we have it. The scores are in and in order from worst to best we have the Gravis Blackhawk with 9 points, the Thrustmaster Top Gun in with 10, the CH Gamestick scored 11 points and the Microsoft SideWinder 3D Pro scored 13. In second place with 15 points is the Logitech Wingman Extreme but the all-round winner and no real surprise is the excellent Saitek Cyborg 2000. A fantastic combination of looks, functionality and value for money, the Saitek Cyborg is officially The Game Show’s choice for best PC joystick for retro PC gaming.

 

The Best SNES Games for Android or iOS Emulation

The emulation scene has allowed younger generations of gamers access to the vast libraries of retro gaming, without asking them to invest serious bank. You can get a SNES emulator on anything these days, but most of us already carry our smartphones and tablets with us everywhere, so that’s the obvious go-to device. The trouble is that 20 years ago, SNES games were designed to be played with a controller, not a touch screen.
If you just want to blast some old games on the bus, or whilst having a sneaky extended break on the khazi at work, you don’t want to be messing about with touch controls that the non-haptic screen just can’t deliver. If you don’t have a Moga Ace or a PS3 controller in your pocket, you can forget about playing Street Fighter on the bog. No, we’ve put together five of the best SNES games to play on your touchscreen Android, iPhone, iPad or tablet.

Best SNES Emulator Games for Android and iOS Touchscreen

 

Kirby’s Dream Course

We’re kicking off our list with Kirby’s Dream Course, purely because it’s the simplest, most casual game we can remember playing on the SNES. Nice easy controls, simple gameplay and a relaxing slow pace make Dream Course an easy choice when finding SNES games that play well on a touchscreen. Plus it’s Kirby and it’s a Golf Game all rolled into one, that’s a double-header starting you off right there.

best snes touchscreen kirby dream course snes touchscreen games kirby best kirby snes game touchsreen top snes game on phone

Chrono Trigger

As soon as we started making this list, we knew RPGs were going to be an easy choice as they’re mostly turn-based. But, we didn’t want to make this whole video about SNES RPGs, especially considering that the SNES has about 12 million of the damn things. Even narrowing down one RPG from that library was tough. As much as I love Shadowrun, God that would suck on a touchscreen! No, we chose Chrono Trigger because it really feels like it almost benefits from the touch screen interface. The music, the pacing, that generous difficulty curve; everything about Chrono Trigger makes it a top SNES game for a touch screen. You’ll be playing this one for a while, no doubt.

chrono trigger touchscreen snes rpg touch screen snes rom chrono trigger chrono trigger is a great snes rpg for an ios touch screen best snes emulator roms for touchsreen chrono trigger

 

Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

Another genre that gets a good innings on the SNES is the scrolling beat ‘em up. Final Fight, Knights of the Round, Double Dragon, Spider-Man – they all get a look in. Sat amongst these otherwise pretty tough titles though, sits Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. This SNES game is cake, but it’s still super-fun. Choose your favourite Hero in a Half Shell and kick Foot Soldier tail over ten different time periods. Due to its relative ease, Turtles in Time is a good SNES game to play on a touch screen before you pick up harder games, like Battletoads.

best snes touchscreen games turtles in time turtles in time rom turtles in time snes cheats snes turtles in time emulator

Pop n’ Twinbee

We wanted to try and have at least one slightly hardcore SNES game on this list. Seriously though, Super Probotector is hard enough and I don’t even want to imagine playing Super Star Wars on a touch screen. Considering the SNES has a wicked catalogue of shmups and my main man Raff has a bit of a penchant, we struggled through a long number of titles before we settled on… Pop n’ Twinbee. That’s right, whilst it’s not the most hardcore shooter on the SNES, we thought that the super-cute style, trimmed-down gameplay and the wicked graphics set Pop n’ Twinbee apart from its contemporaries. Not the easiest SNES game to play on a touchscreen, it still gets our official seal of approval.

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Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse

To be the best SNES touch screen game on this list, the game has to be excellent to look at, easy to play on a touchscreen but crucially needs to be a good game first. It’s a case of Disney to the rescue here as we chose the excellent Magical Quest starring Mickey Mouse. We put together a best of the old school Disney games not long back and World of Illusion beat this game onto the list. Truly though, this is a classic Disney game that is certain to get played time and again. All the magic expected in a Disney game and no chore to play on a touchscreen, Magical Quest was the obvious choice for best SNES game on a touch screen.

best snes games for android what snes roms for android phone best snes emulator games on touch screen how do i play snes games on my phone

Honourable Mentions

Bust-a-Move, Power Rangers, Unirally, Aladdin, Kirby All-Star, Zelda, Bomberman, Super Aleste, Sunset Riders, E.V.O, Goof Troop, Asterix, Lost Vikings, Mario RPG, (Final Fantasy) Mystic Quest Legend.

Whilst we tried to highlight five SNES games that you might not find by yourself, if goes without saying that the SNES has arguably the best library of games of any retro console. There are a ton of SNES games that are outrageously fun to play and should work really well on a touchscreen.

The Best Star Wars PC Games

What are the best Star Wars PC games?

Video games – and I think specifically PC games – have long been the beating heart of the Star Wars universe. From its very inception, LucasArts and its partners have concentrating on telling great stories and making the best Star Wars PC games, rather than just trading on brand recognition. Regardless of their being Star Wars games, some of these games are considered to be the best PC games in their genre. Perhaps it’s for the best then, that we reminisce over the past few decades of Star Wars games on the PC. The Force is strong with these ones, but I’ve picked out my five of the best Star Wars PC games.

One main advantage to choosing a list of Star Wars PC games is the fact that the PC has so many exclusive Star Wars titles. Practically every great Star Wars game is a near-PC exclusive. In the late 90s though, two previously-exclusive N64 games, Shadows of the Empire and Rogue Squadron were both curiously ported to the PC. Now, it’ll be a cold day on Mustafar before I say Shadows of the Empire is a good game (the PC version is not completely horrible), but Rogue Squadron 3D is awesome! Sporting practically identical gameplay to the N64 game but with better graphics and none of that horrible slowdown that plagued the original. Hokey graphics and ancient gameplay are no match for a SideWinder joystick at your side, kid. Playing Rogue Squadron with a proper flight stick is fantastic, and feels like the way it was meant to be played. Just don’t get cocky.

 

When it comes to first-person shooters, Star Wars doesn’t have a lot to choose from. Dark Forces is consistently one of my favourites, mostly because it tickles my nostalgia-bone. But the best example of a modern FPS is Republic Commando. Essentially the best thing to come out of the prequel trilogy, Republic Commando is a tidy FPS with just enough features to help it stand out. You play as Clone Trooper Delta RC-1138, who commands the four-man Delta Squad. Each trooper has their own specific abilities, which Delta can command through the straightforward orders system. A generous difficulty curve and a pretty decent story shunts Battlefront off the list and makes Republic Commando the definitive Star Wars shooter.

 

If there’s one game genre that is absolutely overserved when it comes to Star Wars PC games, it’s strategy games. Whether you like epic space battles, or ground-based combat; if you’re after asset micromanagement, or real-time empire building, Star Wars has it in one PC game or another. My personal pick from this hefty list is Star Wars: Supremacy. Known as Star Wars: Rebellion to our friends in the colonies, Supremacy is pretty much the Civilisation of Star Wars games. Diplomacy, combat, asset management, lightsabers – it’s all here. Yeah, you know maybe it’s not objectively as good as Empire at War, but I played loads of this game back in the day, I even remember it was the first PC game I played that needed a massive 1GB of free disc space.

 

You can’t make a list of best Star Wars PC games without mentioning Knights of the Old Republic. Believe me, I’ve tried! KOTOR is truly both a fantastic RPG and a great Star Wars game. Knights of the Old Republic takes the classic pen, paper and D20 template and transfers it cohesively to a video game. BioWare’s MO is turning D&D into compelling video games and they would continue this when creating their own Space Opera RPG, Mass Effect. Star Wars runs deep in Mass Effect, with that early work in KOTOR forming the larger part of ME’s DNA. Telling a bold and ambitious story set thousands of years before A New Hope, KOTOR introduced elements of the Expanded Universe which are still held dear by a lot of Star Wars fans to this day. On any given Sunday you can fire up KOTOR and play the whole game through again, choosing different paths and discovering new story threads.

 

In my X-wing series review, I espoused TIE Fighter for its story and scope, but X-Wing Alliance is truly the definitive Star Wars space shooter. A PC-exclusive, X-Wing Alliance was the last entry into the X-Wing / TIE Fighter series and the last great Star Wars space combat game. Ace Azzameen is a freighter pilot for his family business, but moonlights as a rebel ace. Choosing between his family’s wellbeing and the bigger picture of galactic peace forms a solid backbone to the story, and the ability to fly big crewed vessels like the Falcon takes the gameplay in exciting new directions. Featuring a full voiceover, excellent graphics and realistic space physics, X-Wing Alliance took the X-Wing series to its logical conclusion. Fan-made graphics updates make the game look even better on modern PCs, and despite LucasArts unplugging the online multiplayer over ten years ago, the online modes are still fully supported by Gameranger so PC gamers can still experience the thrill of blasting their enemies into oblivion.

 

There would be no lists of best Star Wars PC games if for so long, these Star Wars games weren’t so consistently good. This is a dangerous time for us, when we will be tempted by the Dark Side of preordering. But it’s up to us as fans to demand more from our Star Wars games, before parting with our money. The future holds great things for Star Wars games, but it’s difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.

Watch a video version of my Star Wars PC games article here on YouTube.

How to Benchmark a Retro 90s Gaming PC

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Retro PC builders, retro gaming enthusiasts. Welcome to my guide to benchmarking your retro gaming PC! You can watch my video of benchmarking a windows 98 PC here, or scroll to the bottom where the video is embedded. When it comes to benchmarking a retro gaming PC like mine, I was surprised to find such a wealth of information out there. Both the excellent VOGONS forums and good old-fashoined Google searches helped me to find exhaustive lists of benchmarking programs which were written in the 90s to benchmark the PCs of the time. The single best resource for retro PC benchmarks though, was www.benchmarkhq.ru. A list of benchmarks longer than my arm, for every operating system since DOS. At first the list was overwhelming, but I soon got down to it. To me, the obvious go-tos were the ones which I recognised from back in my day, like 3DMark, WizMark and GLClock. I’ve included the complete lists of retro benchmarking programs at the bottom of this article, below the video. Some of the more interesting benchmarks out there are ClothSim and GLClock, but I kept them out of the tests as they’re more for fun, and they didn’t seem relevant to this article.

how to benchmark your retro pc

Benchmarking the Retro Gaming PC

After selecting the benchmarks I wanted to test, it was simply a matter of downloading the files, unzipping them on my contemporary PC (Windows 98 doesn’t open .zip files natively, and I want to keep the install base clean, so it has no bloatware) and burning them to a CD. Installing and running the benchmarks is academic at this point, so I don’t think I need to explain that. In this retro benchmark adventure, I wanted mainly to benchmark the performance of the Voodoo 2s in SLI. To do this we’re first running FutureMark’s 3DMark99 MAX. We’re also going to be running 3DFX’s WizMark as well as the CPU benchmark TestCPU for variety. I had a go at running Archmark but couldn’t get the thing running!

running 3dmark on a retro pc 3d benchmarks on your gaming pc benchmarking a voodoo 2 graphics card retro pc benchmark results

Running 3DMark on Windows 98

In 3DMark99 I selected the Voodoo 3D Accelerator cards here and kept all the other settings at the standard. The simple reason was that I’m not particularly familiar with benchmarking and assumed that standard settings would be a sensible thing to benchmark and old PC on. The benchmark then runs through different tests for textures, geometry and other number-crunching calculations. As the machine is a Windows 98 build, and specifically all the parts are circa 1998, 3D bump mapping isn’t supported on my cards. Bit of a shame, but a Voodoo 3 or newer card would have been able to run those tests. The graphics in these benchmark tests are incredible for 1999, showing unbelievable 3D geometry and processing effects. Essentially you’re running the Crysis of 1999. Imagine how kids were marvelling at these on-screen treats. You can see the VRAM getting cooked in the big backfill texture tests too, something which I wasn’t actually expecting on these beastly Voodoos.

testcpu retro pc benchmark retro pc benchmark 3dfx 3dfx wizmark benchmark for voodoo 2 retro gaming pc half life

Once I was done with 3DMark, I got to grips with TestCPU, which is awesome at grinding your processor (in this case a Pentium III) and the software allows you to compare its performance with a huge list of other CPUs. Lastly I ran through WizMark, which is probably the weirdest benchmark on the list. Crucially though it gives me numbers, and even a link to compare results on a long-defunct website! Still – if you’re keen to join in, why not run these benchmarks on your own Retro PC? Send some screenshots over to us here, on Twitter or comment below to join in. I’d love to see some retro rigs running the same benchmarks.

Retro Benchmarking Video

 

Windows 98 Benchmark resources:

http://www.roylongbottom.org.uk/oldones.htm

https://dosbenchmark.wordpress.com/

www.futuremark.com/benchmarks

http://www.benchmarkhq.ru/be_video.html

http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=37982

A Look Back at the Assassin’s Creed Series

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Love it or loathe it, Assassin’s Creed is one of the biggest franchises in gaming and its popularity doesn’t seem to be waning. At the time of writing, Unity has sold 5.8 million units over three platforms. That puts the game at the top end of mid-table for multiplatform releases. Unlike Call of Duty or FIFA, Unity wasn’t released on last-gen. If you bundle in Rogue then, the number starts looking more like 10m, which makes AC one of the best-selling franchises of last year and it absolutely widdles all over Black Flag. After the controversy surrounding the game last year though, is the Assassin’s Creed franchise in trouble? Should we expect the famous Star Trek formula of good game one year, bad game the next? I’m certainly jaded with the series. I’ve reviewed the last four Assassin’s Creed games on this site and you can see through the years I’m feeling less and less invested. I’m not alone in this either, so what could stem this waxing enthusiasm?

What Assassin’s Creed Unity Has Done Right

I’m not going to claim Unity is a bad game. Assassin’s Creed Unity is just not a very good game. For starters, the assassinations are WAY better in Unity than in previous AC games. Taking your time, looking for unique opportunities and finding escape routes adds a level of detail that’s been missing since the first game. It’s not quite Hitman, AC has always been more a casual effort, but Unity rewards contemplation and execution very nicely. Elements of emergent gameplay have bled over from Far Cry, making the assassinations more engaging than ever before. Assassin is sort of 50% of the title, so it ought to be a decent component. One element I loved in previous games were the assassin tombs, which made a part-way comeback in Unity, so that was just lovely.

 

The co-op, from what I’ve seen, is good. It’s certainly underused; from what I was expecting, I thought the whole game would be drop-in, drop-out. Raff blasted the multiplayer before anything else and he was actually quite fulsome about it. Matchmaking problems, server issues and the usual pitfalls aside, he said it was decent entertainment. I watched him play it a couple of times and it looks good, provided you have a good team to play with. It’s definitely no fun by yourself, take it from me (foreveralone.gif). I don’t think it’s perfect, but it’s a solid launchpad to propel onward into this generation. I’m looking forward to seeing where co-op goes in the future. Maybe Ubisoft can port a bit more over from Far Cry in that respect.

assassins-creed-unity-review-09 great environment modelling in assassin's creed unity

Speaking of nicking elements from Far Cry, the stealth button and Far Cry-style sneaking dynamics worked really well in Unity. I love stealth games and could talk all day about engaging and rewarding stealth design. Assassin’s Creed has more of a cinematic quality, with a forgiving balance of skill and luck. The predictable AI and dependable tools makes one a master of their environment from very early on. Very few non-binary factors ensure the gameplay suffers very little chaos (in short, making it easy). Unlike other dedicated stealth experiences like Dishonoured and MGS, AC is telling a deep story with a shallow puddle for gameplay. In this instance, that works in its favour, that’s probably why Assassin’s Creed is so popular.

 

The story is consistently well-realised and well-integrated with actual history. The modern-day story has been left wanting in recent titles though, making Assassin’s Creed more of a historical series, with less and less context between each game. That’s both a blessing and a curse. The canon is rich and compels me to keep coming back. Each game is linked with the modern-day conflict between Abstergo and the modern Assassins. Recent revelations regarding the Sages (no spoilers) is a brilliant little story feature, one which I’d like to see more of. The drive to stop Abstergo is what keeps me in the Animus long after the main story. Without that point of contact, I’m just fulfilling empty fetch quests.

What Assassin’s Creed Has Gotten Wrong

Bugs be damned! They weren’t even that big of a deal. Raff and I both fell through a floor a few times or got stuck on the scenery, but a sandbox game of this size inevitably gets pushed out with a few wrinkles in the fabric. It’s not ideal, but it got patched and we all got a free DLC episode out of it so it would be unfair to still hold that one over Ubisoft’s heads. Besides, the problem’s with Assassin’s Creed run a lot deeper than a few glitches.

 

Most importantly, there’s just too much. The release of Assassin’s Creed Rogue ushered in the first instance of two main AC games in one year. Next-gen gamers also got the Dead Kings DLC for Unity and the stand-alone side-scroller, Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China. Both Unity and Rogue are BIG games. That’s too much Assassin’s Creed for one year. It took me months to finish Unity, a fact that was at times disparaging. Knowing Rogue was still on the to-play pile was flat-out demotivating. An even bigger problem though, is that the games themselves are getting bigger with each iteration. Due to piss-poor decision-making somewhere in the development chain, Assassin’s Creed is just getting bigger and bigger with no obvious rationale save for the illusion of value. The series could push into any number of directions, making bigger maps with more chests is not good enough. Black Flag was big, but it was fun. Sailing about the archipelago and getting into impromptu ship battles was ace. Even if you’re not on a quest to find the Mayan armour, you could just muck about for hours with the tools at hand.

Unity suffers from too much of everything. There are far too many chests, collectables and side quests. Big numbers =/= a better game and Unity is the proof. My guess is that some awful middle-management type enforces this false model of year on year growth. After all, if the game has twice as many chests, it’s twice as good, right? Wrong. This rationale is transparent, insipid and present in more games than I care to mention. It probably took about an hour for some graduate level designer to arbitrarily scatter hundreds of chests and trinkets across the map and in doing so the game is not any better, it’s just longer.

Ages back I had a retro gaming debate with Raff. We do this a lot, and one of the supporting facts about modern games is that modern games have got so much more to them nowadays. Not like this though. Endless crowd events, exhaustive and repetitive side missions. We’re not talking about an engrossing world or a sweeping epic storyline here, it’s just five hundred chests to find. Look at blockbuster efforts like Uncharted, under-the-radar hit Darksiders or even my old favourite Soul Reaver. These games all have stuff to do aside from the main campaign, but there’s not an exhaustive amount of it. If you fancy spending an extra few hours in the world, there’s a handful of bits you can mop up. Lovely. AC Unity’s single-player story accounts for less than a quarter of the total synch, though. The rest is made up of all the other stuff the game wants you to do. But let’s look into that.

Assassins-Creed-Unity-Map

In order to collect everything and 100% synch the game, players are asked to sign up to and play the Unity companion app, the Initiates web game and the Dead Kings DLC – these are all “optional” extras, which are required to complete the game. I am not the only person who finds this approach assumptive, intrusive and unfair. Games are a big part of my life, but they’re not all of it. My time is divided between all my various interests. I have time for gaming and time for other stuff. I do not want any my other stuff time to be encroached upon by Assassin’s Creed. In the end I just couldn’t be arsed with jumping through these asinine little hoops. Judging by the 1 or 2% trophy claimants, few others did either.

 

Further, Assassin’s Creed Unity has dropped useful features from the toolset. This sounds trite to begin with, but bear with me. We’re given cherry bombs with one hand, and whistling is taken away with the other. Since MGS gave us the knock feature, distraction is a staple stealth technique. Features come and go, I understand that. After all, hookblades and DIY bombs never made a comeback, but chucking money on the floor has become a permanent arrow in the proverbial quiver. Whistling was a good feature and allowed the gamer to position their enemies, before either taking them out or avoiding them altogether. It may have been Easy Mode for some, but it should have been nerfed, not removed entirely. Furthermore, armour kits have now been displaced by the interchangeable gear. Now that player health is increased with RPG-style upgrades, the skins which I’ve earned don’t actually do anything. In previous games, earning an outfit came with a boon, not just looking nice. As a footnote it’s worth remembering that Ubisoft offer the option of “fast-forwarding” your progress with in-game purchases. I’m not one for the eye in the pyramid, but if progress was constructed to be steep on purpose, I’m sure more than a few gamers would part with some currency to get a game done.

 

My point is that we’ve lost the assassin’s “chemistry set” from Revelations and with it the sense of immersion in the game world. The tools at hand are a little awkward and I don’t feel like the master of my environment any more, unlike in Black Flag. Crowd control, a key feature in the AC games, sucks in Unity. Seeing the “living” city, I was expecting awesome water cooler moments. Instead I got a vapid sea of morons that don’t really do anything.
think what we’ve got here is the annual tick-tock of feature drift. Yearly franchises like FIFA find it hard to innovate year on year, especially now they’ve practically perfected the formula. One of the ways FIFA stays fresh is to switch off features one year, just to announce their return in the following installment. I think Assassin’s Creed is doing the same. Mark my words – whistling will be back in Victory. Most likely your avatar will be able to throw stones too, just like in Far Cry.

This is the major pitfall of multi-studio development at this scale. About a dozen teams worked on Unity and the whole experience starts to break down when cracks appear between the different aspects of the gameplay. Some of the tech is just too clever for other parts of the game. Running and climbing is often embarrassing. The middleware AI can’t be expected to actually guess where you want to go, so there’s a coin toss when you’re near dynamic pieces of geometry. Heads, you’re climbing a ladder, tails you’re jumping through that window. Sometimes it all comes together and the experience is excellent, sometimes it’s a lot worse.
Instead of being seamlessly integrated, multiplayer is tagged-on, available only for certain aspects of the story. The problem is that the various different development teams have limited communication with one another, so small problems are exacerbated to the point of silliness. There’s just too much going on, and it’s all trying to do too much.

 

Where Assassin’s Creed Should Go Next

 

Focus. The AC series has been pushed and pulled through every gameplay mechanic going. Base-building, tower defence, trading minigames, assassination minigames, ship-sailing – you name it. Throughout seven games, Ubisoft have dabbled in all sorts of tertiary gameplay dynamics but the core experience remains remarkably samey. Rather than continuing to throw new ideas into the games design hat, I would concentrate on drilling down into the core dynamics of Assassin’s Creed. Making a better social, stealthy, crowd-blending assassin game should be at the forefront. Strip away all that other rubbish, though. Keep the gameplay pure, wholly at the expense of gimmickry. There’s less to hide behind, but a clear gem should be set in a plain ring.

 

Pick your battles. The crowd tech seemed worse in parts of Unity than in AC1. The game’s level design is ace. Nothing is arbitrary; every piece of furniture has purpose. From a running start I can plan lines and routes through the city, and crucially the game doesn’t look like it’s made of token prefab rails. I have a genuine playground, I’m not funneled in any direction. But interacting with people sucks. There are close to zero pure gameplay opportunities, just static lumps of people milling about and a shallow pool of predetermined interactions. My actions don’t directly affect the city or its population, and that’s an avenue that’s begging to be investigated. Finding a mark or losing a tail in a crowd; searching for clues using social engineering; the ideas sparking off just the crowd alone is what the series should be about. Keep your murder mysteries, build the game around the crowd.

acr_3 acr_5

Simplify. If you don’t have time to animate the feathers on the outfits, don’t have feathers on the outfits. Seriously, I’d rather see five dynamics explored to the fullest, beautifully-realised and intelligently integrated than thirty odds-and-sods that don’t quite add up. Stop with so many collectables. The older games had animus relics, which actually rewarded the player for exploring, not forcing it for exploring’s sake. If I’m going to hunt collectables, I want to be able to collect them all without playing an iOS app or an awful web instance.

 

When Assassin’s Creed started nearly ten years ago, Jade Redmond said that Ubisoft wanted to explore time periods and places which other games hadn’t. Setting a game in the Middle-East from a native angle was a brave move, one which made for a memorable game. Renaissance Rome was also good, but colonial America felt a bit wasted. By the same token, Victorian London seems like a very easy move. The locations have become easy-wins by being very Euro-centric. There’s no challenge to them. I’d like to see a proper AC game set in ancient China. How about revolutionary Russia, ancient Egypt, Mughal India? Why not set a game during the fall of the First Civilisation?

 

As the series moves further into the gunpowder age, I think it’s getting less interesting. shooting always felt like cheating in these games. Further to the lack of originality, guns are in 99.99% of all video games ever (probably), which helped the series stand out. I don’t really like shooting games and Assassin’s Creed represented fresh air at the top of the charts. Air which is now stale with the smell of gunsmoke. I’d like to think that originality and creativity still have sway at Ubisoft, that not every move is made to appease share prices and stock holders. If this is true, then the series can still redeem itself in my eyes. If not, then here’s one fan who will vote with his wallet.

Most Anticipated Video Games in 2015

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Video games in 2015 is looking to be a good year. We’ve got the usual top-shelf franchises, trotting out their shiny new additions to the biggest franchises in gaming, but we also have some excellent-looking new IP, indie titles and a whole host of excellent video games in 2015. Looking at my release calendar, I wanted to jot down my most anticipated video games in 2015. BE warned, I’m not one for simulation racers and war-based FPS games. This list is purely my opinion.

Most Anticipated Video Games in 2015

Grim Fandango Remastered

January 27th

Grim Fandango is one of the best games of all time. I’m a massive fan. I built a retro gaming PC just to play the original game again. I mention my love for Grim and Tim Shafer in my Second Wind Psychonauts review video. If you’ve not played this (fairly) obscure PC adventure game from the tail-end of the point-and-click era, then now’s your chance to check it out. With Broken Age: The Complete Adventure (Release date TBC) on the horizon, 2015 is shaping up to be a great year for Double Fine. Released on console and PC, let’s hope the Grim Fandango experience lends itself to both platforms equally. Who are we kidding? It’s a 90% game before I’ve even played it! #gameoftheyear

 

The Order: 1886

February 20th

It looks good. The first major PS4 exclusive, The Order 1886 needs to do more than look good, though. Graphics aren’t everything and the hum surrounding this game suggests that it’s likely to fall short of the mark. A 10-hour single player story with no multiplayer or co-op, The Order will be a hard sell for AAA prices. Redditor DeckardPain recently put up an AMA regarding the first two hours of the game, and something is rotten in Denmark. If developer Ready At Dawn can’t pull it out of the bag before the end of February, we might be looking at another Hellgate: London. There’s a big marketing push behind The Order 1886, so somebody is at least feigning confidence that this new IP will do well. I’m anticipating this game as it’s nice to see publishers launching bold, new IP. Regardless of how well The Order does, it’s nice that a company will trust the vision of this project’s creative director. I’ll give it a blast to do my part for capitalism.

 

Chaos Reborn

May

After raising 200 grand on Kickstarter last year, Julian Gollop is making a new game. Well, kind of. It’s actually a ground-up remake of his old Games Workshop Spectrum game, Chaos: The Battle of Wizards. A turn-based fantasy strategy, Chaos sees players controlling opposing wizards who must summon creatures to do battle against one another. Think Age of Empires meets Magic: The Gathering, pre-dating both. Considering how highly I regarded XCOM: Enemy Unknown, (I put it at number two of our best video games in 2012) this was always going to be on my to-buy list. The turn-based strategy action of XCOM has been proven to still have market appeal. It was just a matter of time before more TBS titles started coming out of the woodwork. Look at the disproportionate number of Roguelikes and dungeon grinders which have been pumped at us in recent years – the 90s has come full circle. I hope we’ll see announcements for more strategy video games in 2015, Chaos Reborn launching us into a second renaissance.

video games in 2015 chaos reborn julian gollopchaos reborn video games in 2015

 

Batman: Arkham Knight

June 2nd

Who among us isn’t looking forward to Batman? Sure, Origins sucked the big one, but I’ve got a good feeling about Arkham Knight. Although Warner Bros. Games Montreal are pegged as the official developers, Arkham Knight’s development has been undertaken by the original Rocksteady Studios guys and the game is headed up by creative director Sefton Hill, the head honcho responsible for Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Not only are Rocksteady back in the game, but my main man Kevin Conroy is back as the voice of the Batman. Sorry, Roger Craig Smith – you voice a good Cap, but you were never going to take the cape and cowl from Conroy. The lush-looking Arkham Knight looks to be building on the meteoric success of the first two titles, pitching us a Batman at the top of his game. Driving Batmobiles, swooping about with that big swooshy cape and punching the bejesus out of evil-doers. That’s a day-one purchase right there.

 

Carmageddon: Reincarnation

TBC

Our pals over at Stainless Games have been taking their time with Carmageddon. Rightly so, as the game made unprecedented bank on Kickstarter back in 2012. A whole bunch of community-led live streams, blog updates and hard graft later, it looks like we’re finally getting the game. What more to say? CEO Patrick Buckland’s black sense of humour and acerbic attitude toward censorship shines in a game which seems to revel in Neanderthal simplicity. Vehicular homicide, big lobby multiplayer and more blood than you can shake an entire season of Spartacus at, this is one of the video games in 2015 I’m most looking forward to having a blast on.

video games 2015 carmageddon reincarnation

 

No Man’s Sky

Just the idea that a game like No Man’s Sky is coming to PS4 is enough to make me smile. Lofty, big-promising games usually end in disappointment (see: Spore), but honestly I’m willing to be fooled all over again, just for five minutes with No Man’s Sky. A procedurally-generated universe I can explore; swooping about in my spaceship, touching down on one of an infinite number of planets, having a brief shufty, checking out some orange leafy dinosaurs then blasting off into space again? Over and over? I can’t see how that will get old. I’m not one for long games – I sidestepped Skyrim, Fallout 3 and anything with an average campaign of >15 hours. No Man’s Sky, though, looks like one of the video games in 2015 which will cause me to break my own rule.

 

Star Wars: Battlefront

Star Wars. Video Games. It’s a killer combination that almost never fails. I’m a sucker for all Star Wars games. Last year I put out a list of the best Star Wars games (in my opinion) and I mentioned in that how much I was looking forward to Battlefront. I’m not one for multiplayer but this looks like it will be fun, fun fun from beginning to end. I loved the first two titles on the PS2, and it’s about time we got a new update to this killer franchise.

 

The Room Three

TBC

Bit leftfield this one, but I love The Room games. Raff and I checked out Fireproof’s stand at last year’s EGX and I got to have a look at their upcoming mobile puzzler. To be honest we got distracted by Omega Agent VR which they were showing off on the Samsung Gear, but it doesn’t detract from this one bit. The Room is an excellent puzzler, one which is actually pretty good with two or more people throwing ideas in at the same time. The premise is excellent; with a small mystery expanding infinitely outwards to a time-and-space spanning epic. Go pick up the first two for your phone or tablet – you won’t regret it and I think you will also be looking forward to the latest part of this excellent casual trilogy.

the room 3 fireproof video games in 2015 video games in 2015 the room 3

 

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

TBC

I think everybody wants to see Uncharted 4. Naughty Dog have been on a rise-and-rise since Crash Bandicoot and they’re showing no signs of dropping a clanger any time soon. The Uncharted games are consistently well-received by everybody, and despite the controversy surrounding the supposedly-realtime footage shown recently, it’s still a game to watch. E3 is rife with lies and deceit, but I think we can be sure than Uncharted 4 will still look extraordinary. With series stalwart and veteran voice star Nolan North now accompanied by the Benedict Cumberbatch of voice acting, Troy Baker, I’m sure we’re in for an impactful, emotional story as we (possibly) wave goodbye to one of the PlayStation’s greatest heroes.

 

Whore of the Orient

TBC

You know what game I actually found myself wanting to play again recently? LA Noire. Man, I loved that game. An amazing mixture of action, free-roaming, point-and-click adventure and puzzle solving, all set in a fantastic period setting, rich with the fine details of a well-realised game world. I was really fulsome about the game when it came out and despite the long-running controversy about the appalling conditions under which LA Noire was developed, I am hugely intrigued to see how Team Bondi’s spiritual successor turns out. Of course, it’s worth doing your research into this, as it would be a shame to fund amoral games development. Let’s keep our fingers crossed though that Team Bondi have learned how to treat their staff and how to ethically develop top-class video games.

 

Honourable mentions:

Always the retro gamer, I’m keenly looking forward to Metroid Prime Trilogy, Syberia III, Mario Party 10 and the triumphant return(ish) of Ratchet and Clank. I know I’ll be picking up Assassin’s Creed Victory when it hits. 2015 isn’t shaping up as the best year in gaming, but it’s looking like a good handful of titles will tide me over. There’s certainly enough out there for the hardcore and simulation gamers with Project Cars just peeping over the Horizon. This I’ve missed anything? Drop a comment below and chip in.

2014 Games of the Year

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Unlike some other publications, we at The Game Show prefer to list our favourite games of the year after the year is actually over. (I think that’s a good enough excuse for the delay, better than we were all just having too much fun). In previous years we have tried to be democratic, and had a voting system from a number of our contributors. All this led to was games that the minority had played but loved not getting enough votes to make the top 10, and fairly mediocre tiles which everyone played and thought were middling to good getting enough votes to be right in the mixer.

This time all we’re going to do is tell you on an individual basis what our favourite games were. As I’m writing this, I suppose I’ll go first followed by Alex, Kevin and Matt.

Assassins-Creed-Unity-Map

Raff:

Personally, my game of the year came down to not what I had spent the most time playing, as with the image of Assassin’s Creed above, simply smashing a whole load of collectables into the map a good game does not make. This jumbled mess of a birds eye view is with over 60% of the game synched, so there’s 40% of a game I will not be seeing. Nor, was it the game where I had the best social experience, which falls to Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. The Borderlands community has got to be one of the greatest out there, and get with a group of like-minded players who firstly know what they’re doing, but secondly just want to have fun, and any failings in the game are soon forgotten. Strangely though, from my steam profile I actually played more Borderlands 2 in 2014, and I’ll admit it is the better game. If all the promised DLCs came out in the same year and a were of the same quality as previous franchise entries, this would have been my top game.

No, my game of the year is the spawn of a flash game over 15 years old. It was in fact Trials Fusion. Released what feels like an age ago (April), Red Lynx came good on what they promised; bring the Trials franchise to the next generation. Although the harder tracks can be nigh on impossible to all but the most committed sadist, pretty much anyone can have fun playing this game. Tracks are hugely inventive, party games aplenty, and the standard of the frankly ridiculous user made content is carried over from Evolution. A few months after the title was released and users got to grips with the advanced editor, the quality of the tracks was better than those that were made by the developer. Add to this those smarty-pants who completely designed new or recreated other games with the engine, you will literally never run out of content from this title. Forget how it’s probably the sharpest controlled game I’ve ever played, the value alone make this my game of the year.

Alex

My favorite game of 2014 hands down has to be Shovel Knight. This 2D side-scrolling, skill-based platformer  was a slice of nostalgia warmly welcomed. The music alone makes Shovel Knight a winner, but I particularly relished the secrets. No obscure “reacharound” references to other games or lame easter eggs in sight, Shovel Knight features genuine “this wall looks dodgy, smash it down and win a pile of gold and health” secrets. There were games I played more of in 2014 and even games which blew me away, but none I enjoyed so much as Shovel Knight.

Kevin

My favourite game of last year was Velocity 2X. Simultaneously retro and cutting edge, Velocity 2X is furiously addictive. One minute it’s a frantic top down shooter, the next a puzzler, the next still a Metroidvania platformer. Yet this juxtaposition of styles works in spades forcing you to adapt whilst shaving precious seconds off your best time. The frankly awesome soundtrack just cements that this is style and substance.

Matt

2014 was, in the end, a decent year for games. Next gen consoles came into their own with a merry windfall of new content. My top game of 2014 though, is a no-brainer. Far Cry 4 represents the most fun I’ve had on a console since, well, Far Cry 3 actually. Ubisoft Montreal haven’t changed the Far Cry formula one bit and the game actually benefits from that. The mantra here is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and what we were offered is a game just as entertaining as the previous, without transparent attempts to shoehorn content or value into the final game. A smattering of new features, a ludicrously entertaining co-op mode and all the polish and finesse one would expect from Far Cry are present. Bloodlusting wildlife, water-cooler gameplay and vehicles that are even harder to drive make for laugh out loud, can’t believe I’m born levels of happiness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdp4mTq3CdU

Q1 2015 Game Releases Preview

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Where did 2014 go? While nowhere near as good as the fabled 2007, it was an acceptable year in terms of a good mix of innovative IPs and franchise follow-ups. With trepidation, it looks like 2015 may be slightly better. Here’s what game releases to look out for in Q1.

 

GTA V (PC)

The end of January brings that GTA hype finally to PC. Like most of you, I have already clocked GTAV on last gen hardware, and I played, loved, but in all honesty forgot the title once clocked. With the large number of games that get released and the time it takes to complete (or discard in disgust), it is very rare I will revisit a title, especially one that I thought was as good as it could get.

The previous games I have bought across all formats and remakes were Monkey Island, Resident Evil 4 and Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2, and they turned out, in order, as Great, Good, and Terrible. However, the lure of First Person Mode and the fact the modding community will go, for a word, mental, this is a day one purchase.  Best price can be found at cd-keys.com.

 

Evolve (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Like Destiny, Evolve is an always-on, cooperative experience. With no offline mode, Evolve is at the mercy of the servers and connectivity, and there lies the problem; you can count the number of recent online big titles that were problem free from day one on no hands. Expect patches galore and periods of downtime, so this may be one to wait a couple of weeks or months until everything is ironed out.

If everything launch-wise goes perfectly, Evolve in itself looks a decent title. The developers Turtle Rock Studios have a stellar record with a string of well received offerings. What we found from both the beta and hands on time at numerous expos is that the cooperative / competitive nature of the game will mean users’s mileage may vary. If you are playing exclusively with friends and with team talk, you will mop the floor with randomers and have a great experience. Evolve is so reliant on cooperation, that you simply cannot successfully play in the lone wolf mode.  Bear this in mind when deciding if you will hand over your cash.

 

The Order 1886 (PS4)

For all you Steampunk Gentlem’ladies out there, get ready to tip your augmented fedoras at The Order 1886. Originally extolled as one of PlayStation’s beacons of exclusivity excellence, recent months have seen a noticeable lack of presence on the gaming radar. This is because hands-on time from many respected reviewers have parroted the outdated, linear gameplay, full of quicktime events and forced stealth elements. Less “Hype Train”, more “Flimflam Trolley”.

Still, visuals are flipping amazing, and probably the best to date on home console. If it was a purely a tech demo, this would be how you sell PS4s.  And it almost is one, as you do not get to ‘play’ as much as ‘watch’.

 

Project Cars (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Is this game already out?! Until I looked it up, I didn’t even know. The similarities to DriveClub, even down to the drab naming, have made this a confusing affair to the outsider.  There’s a shed load of racing sims out there, all with the objective of keeping the big metal box on the black strip between the green bits, and this looks to be another, albeit beautiful, version of that. We are probably the wrong people to update on racing sims, as no-one on our team is a dedicated wheelman. Matty B and I had a laugh playing GRID 2 in December (courtesy of the Humble Bundle), but beyond that we like our car games a bit more arcadey.

Given that the title has been delayed by 4 months, the Wii U version is to be tackled later on, and the PS3 and Xbox 360 releases dropped all together, you would hope that Slightly Mad Studios will succeed in their ambition to release a serious but accessible racing sim. Good luck to them!

 

Battlefield Hardline (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360)

The thinking man’s mindless shooter, Battlefield has always been the “chalk” to Call of Duty’s “cheese”. Originally derided as a stopgap until Battlefield 5, more recent hands on have shown that maybe there’s something to it. With the good vs bad dynamic now skinned as ‘Cops vs Robbers’ there are a few new game modes which stir the pot. One of these is ‘Heist’, where the robbers are tasked with robbing a bank vault and making away with the goods, while the boys in blue blow up a city trying to stop them. It could just be capture the flag on steroids, but at least it is not more of the same.

The most interesting development is the Single player. Battlefield solo campaigns have always felt a bit tacked on, but as with the departure from the norm in Advanced Warfare, Hardline has gone even further. You will be acting as a cop, not a soldier, and good police behaviour such as cuffing and non-lethal force are rewarded. And as a cop, flashing your badge can be just as effective as blowing a crim’s head off.

There is a Beta beginning next week which I am having a crack at, so more will be known from there

 

Special mentions

  • Bloodborne – Dark Souls with Guns?!
  • Final Fantasy Type 0 – An unnecessary HD remake of a handheld puff piece.