Farming e-Sports…You Read That Right Folks

There is a new contender in the eSports arena, as GIANTS software announced they would be hosting a second season of their Farming Simulator Championship within it’s own league. According to their website, there will be ten tournaments held in Europe. The competition follows these rules, “…each team has a maximum of 8 minutes to press 20 bales of straw and load them onto a bale cart in the middle of the field. The team that has loaded the 20 bales in the shortest time wins.” outlined in their May 25th, 2018 announcement for their first tournament.

While this game may not reflect the mainstream of gaming, it does demonstrate the power of community. This game found support from its fans to build and promote a series that they enjoy. This is just more proof that with the support of a community, any game has the chance to expand; and with the popularity of eSports, any franchise has the opportunity to be celebrated with their own league. With eSports gaining more sponsors and traction as it goes, we may see a rise in less traditional competitive games.

Mortal Kombat 11 Reveal Date, Cover Art, & First Looks at Scorpion, Shao Khan, & Raiden!

Last month at The Game Awards, Mortal Kombat creator and NetherRealm Studios founder, Ed Boon surprised everyone with the reveal of Mortal Kombat 11. With their latest project, Injustice 2, reaching it’s two year release this May, it is no surprise that NetherReal Studio’s next release is the sequel to 2015’s Mortal Kombat X.

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The official cover art for Mortal Kombat 11

This coming Thursday in London, the world will be tuning in on NetherRealm’s Twitch channel at 10:30 AM PST/6:30 GMT, as the studio will be doing it’s global reveal of Mortal Kombat 11 itself along with other announcements to follow.

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NetherRealm Studio’s Mortal Kombat Twitter account gave us a special look of what Scorpion, Shao Khan, & Raiden will look like in this upcoming sequel, check them out below!

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It’s confirmed that if you do pre-order the game, you’ll be entered to try out the beta before the game’s release.

Mortal Kombat 11 releases globally worldwide on April 29th for the Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

A Katamari by Any Other Name

With the King of the Cosmos under some strange influence all the stars in the sky have been destroyed, and it is his son’s (The Prince) job to fix everything!

Almost fifteen years passing since the original release on the PlayStation 2, Katamari Damacy gets an HD re-release on the Nintendo Switch. While this won’t be Katamari’s first console change, it will be the first time on Nintendo’s main console. Reroll is available in both physical and digital forms with a launch price of $29.99 USD plus tax.

Most notable is the update to the graphics; a full HD makeover was given not only to in-game graphics, but to all the cut scenes as well. There is a bit more roundness to some characters, as the Prince seems less edgy in better resolution, but retains some familiar jerky motions while adding more vibrant lush colors.

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The controls are usable and by no means inhibit game play from the original. However, they feel a bit less coordinated having smaller knobs and they are separated considerably more than when the original concept was conceived. Having the Joy-Cons free of the console seems to be the way to go unless the pro controller is available, which handles a little closer to the original game. A two-player mode is also available in split screen versus, and a local co-op mode that unfortunately I did not try.

As far as game play goes, it’s the original map out. Notable features, such as the ability to jump, that became popular in some of the sequels aren’t present. This could be to keep the levels a challenge as they were originally meant to be challenged, but it did take some adjustment not having a jump and a less forgiving speed roll.

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Listening to the game was a joy as always, with the game’s distinct soundtrack along with its charmingly quirky sound effects, Katamari ReRoll is a game that absolutely must be played with the original music. Every stage the track can start off as a relaxing start to a round and adding to the frantic disposition of only being only a few cm short while the timer ticks down to the limit.

The only disappoint with audio was a personal one, as there is no option to have the side videos in English like they were on the PlayStation release. Although I fully support exposure to the Japanese culture that inspired this gem of a game, the original English dubs were hilarious to listen to, and I wish there was an option to turn them on.

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Conclusively, this game is a gem even fourteen years after its launch. With a low price for a HD re-release of a gem with good replay-ability, this game is a great grab for either fans of the series or newcomers looking for a relaxing and quirky game.

Pros:
-The updates are an eye to behold.
-It feels right to have this title on the Switch.

Cons:
-Slightly inferior control handling.
-Missing features from other sequels may take a small adjustment from those who haven’t played the original in a while.

Final Score: 4 out of 5

The Pros and Cons of 2018

With the year winding down and just a few weeks left (still plenty of time for more surprises to be fair) let’s look at some of the notable events that occurred this year.


Gaming

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Pros:

Red Dead Redemption 2: A world that not only meets the status quo of Rockstar, but exceeds it with the amount of detail, depth of story, and seemingly endless hours of game play (with online still on the way).

Synchronizing online play: Despite some disputes on how it will all work, there has been a rise in cross-platform online play. While Fortnite is currently the only game to work across all platforms, Rocket League, Minecraft, and Hover are examples of games that play with more than the platform you may own them on.

With Microsoft supporting purchases across PC and Xbox with their play anywhere initiative, it looks to be a positive future regardless of your platform of choice.

SSBU: Possibly the final entry in the series (at least with Masahiro Sakari at the helm), this game delivers every single good thing you’ve experienced in a Smash Bros game and then some.  Touting an epic proportioned story mode and the largest cast of fighters yet, this is a must grab for any Switch owner out there.

Spider-Man: Although this is only for the PS4, when a Spider-man game is good, it’s great! Everything you could hope for in a sandbox superhero game and a bit more.

Cons:

Tell Tale: The company hit it big years ago with their Walking Dead series and came out with some promising titles after including their takes on Minecraft, Batman, and Game of Thrones. However, their lack of game play variation and poor management saw a very ugly end to the company.

Fall Out 76: This game was either going to be a hit or a miss.  Unfortunately, the launch was a huge miss.  Between the messy BETA, the amount of glitches, and the over reliance of multiplayer to compensate for the lack of story and NPC’s, the launch has been messy to say the least. It’s now lead many players to wait until Bethesda can provide more incentive to dive into their new Fall Out experiment.


Music

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Pros:

Honestly, this has been a great year for music in this writer’s opinion.  With releases like Kid Cudi’s Kids See Ghost,Anderson Paak’s Oxnard, Pusha T’s Daytona, Idles Joy as an Act of Resistance, Portal’s Ion, Sophie’s Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, Kanye’s Ye, and Brockhampton’s Iridescence to name a few album titles there was really at least two albums in most genres this year that were great to amazing to listen to.

Cons:

The cons aren’t long in length, aside from some inflated drama with celebrities, the biggest hits came in those who passed in 2018.  One of the most tragic losses being that of Mac Miller who passed away due to an accidental overdose. Mac Miller’s untimely passing was felt by many, and his positive influence on the world will be missed even by those who never got the chance to meet him.


Cinema and Showtime

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Pros:

Marvel, hands down the current king on the super hero genre and Infinity War was a true epic to everything that had come before, with more to come this next year.  Worth catching in the theaters and a fresh take on the whole Avengers formula.

Broly is coming, again.  With the mixed success of Dragon Ball Super, a new movie is on its way and while it has yet to hit, the impact of the trailers alone is palpable and is promising an anime movie release to rival that of the Pokémon franchise.

Whether it’s via broadcast or streaming service, television shows may be at its peak right now.  The only real problem is there may be too much worthwhile content.  It’s hard to keep up with things on Netflix, Hulu, and network shows from Fox, NBC, Showtime and so on.

With a controversial split between Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy’s director James Gunn, Warner Bros. wasted no time in penning Gunn as the new director of the sequel to Suicide Squad. One of the silver linings of the fall out is the sequel to one of DC’s bigger disappointments is getting a promising upgrade in direction.

Cons:

Marvel is also on the con side of things.  The whole franchise is huge and has plans to keep growing, but the burn out can be felt by some casual movie goers and fans alike.

To bookend the Marvel expansion issue, is the seeming end of the Netflix Marvel universe with the end of Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Daredevil, all announced this year.  It’s not too surprising considering Disney is now going forward with their own streaming service, but is still a blow to those that enjoyed what some of these series offered on the service.

YouTube may not be considered a television or movie source (at least not legally), but it is becoming harder for new content creators to be interested in coming to the site. YouTube’s ability to pay its creators has been coming under repeated scrutiny over the past few years it does not seem to be heading for a positive resolution, especially with the EU’s Article 13 (see more here). There is some worry about any appeal to this platform’s future.


Conclusion

All in all it has been an eventful year yet again in all types of ways. We had so much to be thankful for with new groud breaking in all areas of pop culture. The bad always comes with the good and it can only be taken in stride as we continue to see and enjoy the  innovation in what we as consumers enjoy so much. We can only hope for more of the good (without more of the bad) as 2019 quickly approaches. So lets say a so long to 2018 and embrace the new year with open arms.

Embrace the New Year and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for the latest news @tehlunchboxpub!

Happy 20th Anniversary Half-Life from Wookiefragger Gaming!

Hello to all of our followers and newcomers. Here’s a special piece from our friend over at Wookiefragger Gaming.


The First-Person shooter is one of the most popular and enduring game genres, with a rich history that includes some of the most important video games ever made. In the 2000s, shooters would come to flood the market, and with each passing year, it became more difficult for the cream to rise to the top, but in the 1990s, the genre was marked by mighty classics that stood out like redwoods among the bushes. I’m referring to games like Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem 3D, Goldeneye… and Half-Life.


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“A person seemingly with no voice, the character of Gordon Freeman only emerges through his actions, and with no morality -or lack thereof ascribed to him by anything other than the decisions of the player”

During that decade, realtime 3D graphics were going through some rapid growth spurts, and standing apart from the rest of the pack was often accomplished by trying out new ideas as the technology allowed, but sometimes, a game could distinguish itself by polishing ideas that were previously explored, but limited by hardware constraints, and Half-Life is pretty much the exemplar of this. Some of the greatest strengths of the first-person genre are its intensity, instant gratification, and its ability to immerse players into the mindset of the game, and Valve, the developers of played to these strengths by designing the game as one long, continuous environment, broken up only by the occasional loading screen. But never a level transition.

The primary setting of the game (the Black Mesa Research facility), is a fully realized setting, with dark secrets, strange quirks, and a cold, cynical logic in its design. Much like Shadow Moses Island in Metal Gear Solid, Black Mesa is a place where the left hand was never intended to know what the right hand was doing, and now that things have gone wrong, the powers responsible are still trying to manipulate events from the shadows, with the player caught in the middle.

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“The primary setting of the game (the Black Mesa Research facility), is a fully realized setting, with dark secrets, strange quirks, and a cold, cynical logic in its design”

In Metal Gear, this meant Solid Snake, but in Half-Life, this just means you. Well, technically it means Gordon Freeman, (Half-Life’s protagonist) but Gordon is a character devoid of characterization. A person seemingly with no voice, the character of Gordon Freeman only emerges through his actions, and with no morality -or lack thereof ascribed to him by anything other than the decisions of the player. While the game mostly only lets you interact with situations and people in terms of violence, not everyone in the game is an enemy, and the possibility for selfishness exists in these interactions with friendly non-player characters. Do you try to save the scientists, or just try to survive? Do you ask the guard to accompany you, or do you take his weapon for yourself? In terms of the greater plot, these moments don’t count for much, but, assuming that you finish the game, how you played it will have defined whether or not Gordon was a hero, or just a survivor.


Half-Life’s impact on first-person game design really cannot be overstated. The game made heavy use of scripted sequences in order to advance its plot as well as to shock, astound, or otherwise provide satisfaction to the player, and all of this without ever resorting to the use of cut scenes. While games at large wouldn’t ultimately treat in-game scripted sequences as an alternative to cinematics, their use became a staple of the medium in the years following Half-Life’s arrival, and these kinds of sequences are often among the most memorable parts of any game. It certainly -obviously- wasn’t the first game to marry the progression of a game’s story with the actual act of playing the game, and that’s not the kind of credit I’m trying to give it here. However, it did it all so expertly that once the game proved to be a commercial triumph, an entire industry snapped to attention and started taking notes.

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“Half-Life’s impact on first-person game design really cannot be overstated. The game made heavy use of scripted sequences in order to advance its plot as well as to shock, astound, or otherwise provide satisfaction to the player”

When compared to the other classic shooters of its day, Half-Life didn’t distinguish itself through its technical or gameplay innovations. Instead, it was distinguished by its craft. A frantic and chaotic thrill ride with an eerie science-fiction yarn, and sold by detailed environments and intense scenarios it sparked positive changes in first-person game design. It is still a source of pure excitement for gamers, as well as inspiration for developers. Every part of what made Half-Life great could be seen in other games before its arrival, but collected and employed in the service of Gordon Freeman’s harrowing adventure, each separate element sings together in harmony. It is this culmination of possibilities that makes Half-Life a shining example of the genre, and to this day, it still stands as one of the finest testaments to the potential of the first-person shooter.


Thanks again to Wookiefragger Gaming! Subscribe to his YouTube channel for more if you liked what you read. And feel free to follow us on twitter @TehLunchboxPub!

MapleStory 2: Ready for Action!

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MapleStory 2 has officially launched its free-to-play game on October 10, 2018! It’s only available on Microsoft Windows so far.

Graphically, the game has changed from being a side-scroller and has upgraded to 3D-graphics as well as procured the popular blocky style that Minecraft is known for. The interface has become simpler to navigate as well.

Despite the upgrade Nexon decided to stick to their soundtrack which personally brought me joy and nostalgia.

If you’re interested in checking out this game, follow this link! And if you liked what your read feel free to follow us @TehLunchboxPub!

New Pokémon Confirmed: Meltan!

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Nintendo was proud to announce a new mythical Pokémon by the name of Meltan. According to what they have released so far, it is a Steel-type, Hex-Nut Pokémon with the height of eight inches and weight of 17.6 pounds.

“Most of Meltan’s body is made from liquid metal, and its shape is very fluid. It can use its liquid arms and legs to corrode metal and absorb it into its own body.

Meltan generates electricity using the metal it absorbs from outside sources. It uses this electricity as an energy source and also as an attack that can be fired from its eye.

Clearly a curious Pokémon, Meltan is very expressive and shows an interest in all kinds of things.”

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! | Meltan

I’m excited to see what else Pokémon has in store for us! If you liked what you read, feel free to follow us on @TehLunchboxPub!

Pokémon Go’s Strange New Visitor

I’ve got to admit, I haven’t been playing Pokémon Go as much as a Pokémon fanatic should considering the pending Pokémon Let’s Go: Eevee!/Pikachu! to be released in November 16, 2018, but imagine my surprise when I open up the app to be greeted by these nut-shaped creatures.

At first I thought this Pokémon was a Unown, but after a few minutes of squinting and inquiring my friend about this critter, we came to the conclusion that this was possibly a new Pokémon? Perhaps Nintendo is laying breadcrumbs for their fans to follow. Even Global Marketing Lead for Pokémon Go, Kento Suga, posted a picture of the new creature with the caption “???”

Hopefully this mysterious Pokémon will be explained soon. If you liked what you read, feel free to follow us on @TehLunchboxPub!

Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch 2019: Confirmed!

screen-shot-2018-09-13-at-3-38-19-pmIt has been a long time coming, but Nintendo announced that the Nintendo Switch will be releasing an Animal Crossing game! In the clip Tom Nook mentions Isabelle joined the fight in Smash, and even acknowledges the Animal Crossing mobile app.

They have not revealed any details about the upcoming game other than that it will be coming out in 2019. If you liked what you read, feel free to follow us @TehLunchboxPub!

Best of E3 2018

Since E3 has ended, it’s given me some time to contemplate the games I found that stood out to me the most. It was tough. We were treated to so many announcements, but there were some definitive trailers that have caught my eye.

Image result for assassins creed odysseyAssassin’s Creed Odyssey

Set within the glorious Greece timeline, we’re introduced to familiar but fresh combat systems and flexibility with a whole new twist on our main character and the overall development they acquire from the trailer.
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