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Top Games Coming to VR from E3 2018




E3 2018 showcased a ton of new games, updated us on a few we already knew about, and even brought some classics to new platforms. But if you purchased an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive last year you might be anxious to know what titles are coming to VR, and who gave the best press conference when it comes to the future of gaming?

Though it wasn’t the same VR-wave we saw last year, almost every press conference had a title or two to share, including Bethesda’s huge push to bring its titles to new platforms, and a big range from Sony – who didn’t show everything they had up their sleeve during the actual presentation. Microsoft, on the other hand, despite a huge catalog of fifty different announcements, stumbled and fell when it came to the VR front.

Overall, there are still a ton of titles in development from big studios and smaller indies, and we’re excited to see where they’ll end up. Here are our top picks for the VR games you’ll be playing next year, and the ones that might persuade you to cross the line into virtual reality:


  • Keep Your Eyes on the Mimics in Prey Multiplayer: Typhon Hunter

Alongside all-new game modes and Mooncrash DLC for Prey, Bethesda announced that a VR game mode will be launching this summer for players who buy Mooncrash, or the Prey Digital Deluxe edition. Typhon Hunter mode will put you back in the boots of Morgan Yu, finding your way through the overrun Talos space station – but this time it’s multiplayer.

You’ll face off against five friends playing as mimics, with the ability to transform into any item aboard the space station. Did that coffee mug just move? Was that chair always stood in the doorway? Prey: Typhon Hunter sounds like the ultimate VR paranoia experience, and it also comes with a singleplayer TranStar escape room experience.

The game mode should be coming to all Steam VR compatible headsets, and of course, can also be played on PC, so you’ll always have mimics waiting to hunt you down.


  • Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot – Punch Nazis in an All-New VR Dogfight

If punching Nazis on a computer screen isn’t as satisfying as you’d like, you’re invited to go the next step with Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, a standalone VR title to be released in 2019. Cyberpilot puts you in the cockpit of a Panzerhund: (bringing a new meaning to the more common ‘dogfight’ VR titles) a fire-breathing armored dog-tank, in addition to a range of pimped out destructive mechs, you’ll have all the tools at your disposal to wreak havoc on the streets of Paris.

Bethesda also announced that, in addition existing Elder Scrolls titles, their new game Elder Scrolls: Blades will be coming to all possible platforms, including everything from phones to VR. However first footage only showed the phone UI setup, and it’s clearly far from being adapted to VR platforms. We’d settle for Elder Scrolls VI and Fallout on VR instead.


  • Déraciné – A Haunting Fairytale from Dark Souls Developers FromSoftware

From the developers of Dark Souls and Bloodborne: something drastically different. Déraciné, the French word for “uprooted” or “nomad”, is a new VR title exclusive to PSVR, and launching later this year. Sony showed off a mysterious trailer shortly after their E3 press conference, showing a young girl in what appears to be a British boarding school.

“Aren’t you excited? You’re going to be a fairy, and live in the world where time stands still, where nobody can see what you’re up to – ever again.” There’s something sinister at play in Déraciné, but we’ll have to wait for more announcements to learn more about how the game will work in VR, and where FromSoftware are headed with their strange new story.


  • Transference – A Close-Up and Personal Horror Game from Elijah Wood

Transference is “an escape room set in a deranged mind”, a horror VR experience that wants to get inside your head, and it looks sincerely unsettling. Ubisoft debuted a new trailer showing off Transference gameplay: exploring neon-lit claustrophobic hallways, we glitch between visions of figures watching us from afar and close-up live footage of our obsessive captor.

Transference seems to bleed between multiple perspectives and warped realities, simulating a corrupted consciousness, and shredding your nerves with a constant, ramping tension. The game will be available on Steam VR and will release in the fall of 2018.


  • Lend a Hand in the Charming World of Ghost Giant

In amongst Sony’s PSVR lineup was a gem in the form of Ghost Giant: a puzzle adventure game from the makers of Fe. You play as a strange, invisible giant, looking after a dollhouse town of furry residents as you befriend

“Peek into the windows, open doors and find hidden secrets all around town. Sancourt is full of discoveries for you to make, and people for you to meet.” At its core Ghost Giant is a game about loneliness and friendship, and about reaching out a hand to those in need. It looks like a charming, relaxing game to disappear into when the day is done.


  • Soar through Clouds in Insomniac Game’s Stormland

Last, but not least, Insomniac delivered on a new title at the PC Gaming Show, presenting Stormland, an action game where you play as an android, destroyed in the path of a coming Tempest, you must search the cloudscape for your scattered friends, and fight your way to freedom. Stormland is aiming for an expansive open world that you’ll be free to explore: walking, hovering, and gliding through stunning environments.

The game has both a single player mode and the option for multiplayer exploration, raiding, and collaborative missions that benefit players everywhere. It looks like an incredibly ambitious game for VR, but it’s exciting to see Insomniac still on the cutting edge of game design. Stormland is coming exclusively to the Oculus Rift sometime in 2019.

Helen Jones is a Ravenclaw graduate who likes to apparate between her homes in England and Denmark. She spends her time reading fantasy novels, climbing mountains, and loves to play story-focused and experimental indie games like The Stanley Parable or Night in the Woods. She also covers tabletop and board games over at Zatu Games, and you can follow her twitter @BarnacleDrive for updates, blogs, and pictures of mushrooms.

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‘Tecmo Bowl, the Godfather of NFL Games



Tecmo Bowl Retrospective

Tecmo Bowl was a big deal back in 1989!

With Madden growing more popular and even more complex every year, we sometimes forget about the game that started it all.

I cannot stress the importance of Tecmo Bowl twenty-nine years after its release. Originally an arcade game, Tecmo Bowl was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System by the makers of such classics as Ninja Gaiden, Mighty Bomb Jack, and Solomon’s Key, and it took everyone by surprise by just how good it was. Nobody expected the Japanese developers of puzzle games and 2D platformers to succeed in creating a sports game, much less an American sports game, but they did. Named NES Sports Game of the Year, Tecmo Bowl provided players with the best football experience found on the NES console back in 1989 and it paved the way for what became the biggest trend in sports games to this day.

Although Tecmo didn’t have the official NFL license to use the actual team names and logos (the teams in the game are identified by their home city or state), the game features players from 12 NFL franchises due to being licensed by the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association). Nowadays this doesn’t seem like a big deal but back in 1989 it was huge! Tecmo Bowl features some of football’s greatest players including John Elway, Bo Jackson, Marcus Allen, Mike Singletary, Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Walter Payton, and Dan Marino, and when it shipped 29 years ago, it changed everything for sports video games.

Long before football video games became just as complex as real-life football, Tecmo Bowl laid the groundwork for what would be the standard moving forward. There aren’t many plays to choose from but you’re given the choice of 4 plays while on offense and another 4 while on defense. In addition, the game features three different modes: Single Player, Two Player, and Coaching mode which allows you to call plays while letting the CPU control the players on the field. The simple and responsive controls work perfectly within the framework of the game, and it is this simplicity that makes the game fun to play to this day. And regardless if you know don’t know much about the sport, anyone can easily follow along thanks to the broadcast camera view and two-button controls.


Tecmo Bowl is a seemingly effortless game in which everything falls neatly into place. It stripped football down to its basic elements and created a fun arcade experience anyone can enjoy. Tecmo Bowl was Madden before Madden was a household name. It’s the game that started the football franchise craze in video games and laid the groundwork for the even better, Tecmo Super Bowl. American football games have come a long way over the years, but what hasn’t changed is the sheer enjoyment any football fan can have when playing Tecmo Bowl.

Tecmo Bowl is without a doubt the granddaddy of football games, and there’s something to be said for the back-to-basics formula that Tecmo Bowl employed. With technological enhancements in gameplay, graphics, power, and speed, the original Tecmo Bowl seems incredibly dated in 2016, but surprisingly the game holds up nearly three decades later.

Side Note: There were two NES versions of the game released in the U.S. The first release is easily identified by its black and gold seal of quality and the second version by its white and gold seal. It should also be noted that the names of players were removed on the virtual console release.

Tecmo Bowl
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Game Reviews

‘Coffee Talk’ Review: The Best Brew in Town

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.



It’s 9:00pm. The rain just started coming down softly a few minutes ago, and the street outside is reflecting the lights above it. Neon signs shine brightly in the distance, although it’s hard to make out the words. You unlock the doors to the coffee shop and wipe down the counters in order to get them clean for the customers. The rain makes a soft sound as it hits the glass and passerby speed up their walking pace to avoid it. The bells chime as a tall, green orc walks in and sits down at your table in silence. You wonder what their story is…

I wanted to set the tone for this review because of how important atmosphere and audio/visual design is in the world of Coffee Talk. While it’s easy to boil the game down as a visual novel-type experience, it’s honestly so much more than that. A unique cast of characters, incredible user interface, and a mysterious protagonist combine to form the most enjoyable experience I’ve had this year on Switch.

Coffee Talk
Some of the subject matter can be pretty serious in nature…

Coffee Talk is beautiful because of how simple it is. The entire game takes place within a single coffee shop. As the barista, you’re tasked with making drinks for the patrons of the shop as well as making conversations with them. The twist is that earth is populated with creatures like orcs, werewolves, and succubi. The relationship between the various races is handled very well throughout the story, and some interesting parallels are made to the real world.

Making drinks is as simple as putting together a combination of three ingredients and hitting the ‘Serve’ button. If a unique drink is made, it will be added to a recipe list that can be referenced on the barista’s cell phone. This is where the awesome user interface comes in, as the phone has a series of apps that can be accessed at any moment in the game. One app houses your recipe list, another acts as a facebook for the characters in the game, one allows you to switch between songs, and the other houses a series of short stories that one of the characters in the game writes as it progresses. It’s one of the coolest parts of the whole experience and helps it stand out from other games in the genre.

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

Coffee Talk cycles between talking with customers and making drinks for them. In the beginning, they will ask for basic beverages that can be brewed on the fly. Later on however, they may ask for a specific type of drink that has a unique title. These drinks often have certain descriptive features that hint at other possibilities in terms of unique dialogue. If the wrong drink is made, you’ll have five chances to trash it and make a new one. If the wrong drink is made, don’t expect the customer to be pleased about it.

The gameplay really is not the focus here though; it’s the characters and their stories that take center stage. An elf with relationship issues, a writer that can’t seem to pin down her next story, and an alien whose sole goal is to mate with an earthling are just a few of the examples of the characters you’ll meet during the story. There are tons of memorable moments throughout Coffee Talk, with every character bringing something unique to the table. The barista develops an interesting relationship with many of these characters as well.

Coffee Talk
Appearances can often be deceiving in this game.

Even though serving the wrong drinks can change some of the dialogue, don’t expect any sort of options or branching paths in terms of the story. It’s not that kind of experience; the story should simply be enjoyed for what it is. I found myself glued to the screen at the end of each of the in-game days, waiting to see what would happen in the morning. The first playthrough also doesn’t answer all of the game’s questions, as the second one is filled with all kinds of surprises that I won’t spoil here.

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen. It’s an easy recommendation for anyone who loves video games, not just visual novel fans. There are characters in the game that I’ll certainly be thinking about for a long time, especially when the setting brings out the best in them. Don’t pass this one up.

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The Magic of Nintendo: How Mario and Zelda Connect us to Our Inner Child



Magic of Nintendo

Nintendo is special. Many excellent developers depend upon story or progression systems to entice engagement, but not Nintendo. Nintendo games captivate because of their immediate charm. There is no need for a payoff. The games, themselves, are enough: they elicit feelings, hard to find in adulthood. Through intrepid discovery, playful presentation, and unfiltered whimsy, the best of Nintendo connects gamers to their childlike selves.

The heart of any great Nintendo game is discovery and no encounter encapsulates this better than Breath of the Wild’s Eventide Island. First, finding the island requires genuine gumption. Found far from Hyrule’s shore, the island is only clearly visible from other islands, and even then, it’s only a speck in the distance. Reaching the island requires players to brave the open ocean and head towards something … that could be nothing. Then, upon arriving on the beach, a spirit takes all the player’s gear, including clothes and food. Link, literally, is left in his underwear. From there, players must make clever use of Link’s base skills in order to steal enemy weapons and make traps. The scenario creates a marvelous sense of self-sufficiency brought on by one’s own desire to discover. The player comes to the island purely of their own choosing, tackles the sea, and then overcomes obstacles without the aid of their strongest tools. The game turns players into plucky children who are discovering they can take care of themselves.

The intrepidity of Breath of the Wild and other Nintendo greats mirrors the feelings Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of many Nintendo franchises, experienced as a child. “I can still recall the kind of sensation I had when I was in a small river, and I was searching with my hands beneath a rock, and something hit my finger, and I noticed it was a fish,” Miyamoto told the New Yorker. “That’s something that I just can’t express in words. It’s such an unusual situation.” In sequences like Eventide Island, players don’t just understand what Miyamoto describes, they feel it: Apprehension gives way to exhilaration as the unknown becomes a place of play.

 Nintendo’s intrepid gameplay is often amplified by playful presentation with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island being the quintessential example. The game’s visuals, defined by pastel colors and simple hand-drawings, appear crayoned by a child while the celestial chimes that punctuate the jubilant soundtrack evoke shooting stars. The overall effect cannot be understated. It takes the surreal and turns it real, allowing players to interact, tangibly, with imagination.

Super Mario Odyssey Wooden Kingdom

Even if one removes the presentation and gameplay from Nintendo’s masterpieces, an unabashed creativity remains that bucks norm and convention. The arbiter is fun; reason and logic have no say. For instance, Super Mario Odyssey’s Wooded Kingdom, takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting akin to Nier Automata. Players explore the metal remnants of a civilization that has become a lush home to robotic beings. However, unlike Nier, the dark undertones of the past have no bearing on the game or those who inhabit its universe. The post-apocalyptic setting is just a fun backdrop. It’s as though a bunch of children got together, began playing with toys, and one of the kids brought along his sibling’s adult action figures. There is no attention paid to the context, only unfiltered imagination.

When they’re at their best the creators at Nintendo invite gamers to come and play, like a parent arranging a play date. Pulled along by joyful gameplay that expands in unforeseen ways, players desire to play for the sake of play. It’s a halcyon state of being: No messy thoughts or contradiction, just joy.

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