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This Week in Gaming News: Minecraft Joins in with the Sony Bashing



I’m baaaack! I’m sure, were E3 not taking up the collective consciousness of every serious gamer on the planet, that you’d have really missed not reading this article last week, but Goomba Stomp absolutely smashed its E3 coverage, so I’m certain you were all more than catered for. I wholeheartedly recommend you read John Cal McCormick’s ranking of the E3 pressers, because it’s as informative as it is absolutely hilarious. With E3 over for another year, the news has been trickling in a little slowly in its immediate aftermath, but there are still plenty of tasty morsels for your consumption below. Let’s tuck in, shall we?

‘Minecraft’ Pokes at Sony With Whatever That Axe Thing in ‘Minecraft’ is

I couldn’t give less of a tiny rat scrotum (and I’ve been saving them up for something that deserves it) about Minecraft. For me, it has that Harry Potter element to it; I’m 32 years-old and I’m way too lazy to invest any serious time in it, so I’ll just avoid the whole thing and deride it whenever it comes up in conversation. Minecraft is shite. So is Harry Potter. See?

What isn’t shite about Minecraft is its advertising campaign for cross-play between the Switch and Xbox One versions, that does some deliciously passive aggressive jabbing at Sony’s all-round cross-play shithousery. Nintendo of America joined in on Twitter with a response to Microsoft’s request for some Fortnite cross-play last week, with a reciprocal Minecraft cross-play invitation. This kind of corporate shenanigans – although produced and funded by big, evil bastards who probably pay someone to wipe their arse – is the exact kind of thing that gives me a snarky stiffy. The final step is Reggie punching Kaz Hirai in the dick at next year’s E3.

The dick punches are a whole lot more deliberate from good ol’ Joe Public on basically everything Sony tweets right now. They can’t even move for all the Twitter salt they’re getting. GamesRadar collated a whole bunch of tweets that were all under the hashtags #BlameSony and #NotForThePlayers and it’s getting a little ridiculous now, even if it is for the greater good. It can’t be denied that recent fan backlash has worked – just look at the Battlefront 2 loot box situation for proof of that – and, given that we’re talking about Sony deliberately infecting users’ Epic accounts to prevent them ever being used on other platforms to play the world’s biggest game, it will surely yield some sort of positive response soon.

Gaming News Minecraft Crossplay

Mmm, corporate bickering. Nom nom nom.

Sony’s current response to all this, however, isn’t anywhere close to positive. As per an interview with the BBC, the official line is currently: “With… more than 80 million monthly active users on PlayStation Network, we’ve built a huge community of gamers who can play together on Fortnite and all online titles. We also offer Fortnite cross-play support with PC, Mac, iOS, and Android devices, expanding the opportunity for Fortnite fans on PS4 to play with even more gamers on other platforms.” Suppose you might as well keep up that Twitter salt a little longer then, folks.

Reggie Fils-Aime Has Ears That Can Hear

It’s everyone’s favourite exec line again! While I’m glad that all these rich, corporate gentlemen fully believe in the ergonomic stability of their collective cochlea to receive sound vibrations from fans, it sure would be nice if their stereocilia could convert those vibrations into nerve impulses and take them up to their brains to be interpreted into thoughts that give us the games we want. Yeah, you just learned about ears. Every day’s a school day.

Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime spoke to IGN at E3 and addressed a lot of the fan questions regarding where in the blue hell Mother 3, Animal Crossing, the core Pokémon RPG and Metroid Prime 4 were. While we all know the latter three will be arriving on Switch at some point, Mother 3 remains a bafflingly age-old saga of Nintendo indifference in response to fan outcry.

Gaming News Mother 3

This is seriously what all the fuss is about.

In case you’re not aware, the GBA title Mother 3 is the final entry in the HAL Laboratory RPG series, and is the sequel to Mother 2, which is known as Earthbound in the west. The title has never been released on anything outside of Japan, although it was re-released on the Japanese Wii U Virtual Console in 2015, which probably hurts even more. It’s safe to say people want it. Hell, some schmucks are even writing a book about wanting it. The big question is, what did Reggie have to say to IGN about it?

“It’s interesting. I show up at the Belasco [theater, for the Smash Bros. Invitational] and one fan is saying ‘Hi, Reggie!’ and another is saying ‘where’s Mother 3?’

Again, we know, I know there’s a fan base for that title. All I could say is we’re aware. It’s something that we always think about in terms of where there are opportunities to reintroduce IP to fans, to do it in a way that builds new fans, we’re certainly aware. No promises, no commitments one way or the other, but we’re aware.”

Gaming News Mother 3 Reggie

“What did you say about my mother?!”

He’s aware, ok?! Leave him alone! In fairness to Nintendo, when they say they’re aware, they mostly pull through in the end – Metroid Prime 4 and core Pokémon coming to Switch are the most recent indicators of that. Mother 3 really doesn’t seem like much of a stretch at this point, but this is, of course, the folly of caring so much about the creations of other people; we are completely at their mercy regarding what we get, and when we get it. Just hang in there, yeah?

Shmups Will Soon be (Comfortably) Playable on Switch

Remember when I was getting all squishy about Ikaruga and Gunbird 2 coming to Switch? Well, they’re already here, and I think they’re both ruddy lovely games (I also bought Gunbird 1 and Strikers 1945 because I went overboard), with one pretty big caveat: the best way to play them in handheld mode is to flip the display vertically. Sounds like no big deal, right? Wrong, you stupid idiot; quit making such stupid assumptions.

Playing the Switch vertically in handheld mode is basically impossible. So far I’ve given myself a crick in my neck while balancing it on my thighs and staring downwards at it, and I’ve had to lean it against a pint glass full of water so I could play some co-op with a friend at work. Neither of these methods are good. At all. Fear not though, because Kickstarter exists!

Gaming News Switch Flip Grip

It’s like they took this right from my brain. Except they took it from their brain.

Fangamer has already designed, Kickstarted, and successfully funded the Flip Grip – an ingenious peripheral that allows you to comfortably and portably play the Switch in vertical mode. The pictures really are pretty self-explanatory, but it’s also important to note that the device doesn’t build an airtight seal around the console, so fan ventilation is still assured, and you won’t be able to plug the Switch in to charge, so overheating is not an issue (but running out of battery is).

The Kickstarter has already been funded with over two weeks to go, and the pricing is incredibly reasonable. It’s only $12 for one Flip Grip, which in my merry land of Blighty is less than a tenner. Spot on, old chap. You’ve got until July 9th to stick in your order for one, so off you go!

‘Valkyria Chronicles 4’ Gets Release Date and Trailer

The Valkyria Chronicles games are hugely under-appreciated, but the fourth instalment could potentially see the series gain some real fandom. The first game in military-based tactical RPG series was released ten years ago on the PS3, and its two sequels probably slipped right under most folks’ radar, as they were only released on the PS Vita. The latest entry, however, is going multi-platform and will release on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC.

Gaming News Valkyria 4

4? What happened to 2 and 3? Oh, PS Vita happened.

We also don’t have that long to wait, as Sega announced a few days ago that the game will release on September 25th this year. If you were smart and savvy, you’d have picked up the original’s PS4 remaster when it was available for buttons and pocket lint in a recent Humble Bundle, but if not it’s available on PSN for $20, and is well worth investing in before the new game launches.

Nintendo fans really have no excuse not to love the game, as it’s basically a mix of Advance Wars and Battalion Wars, with the story-telling of a Fire Emblem game thrown in for good measure. As well as a release date, we also got a new trailer for the Switch game this week, so feast your peepers on that and get excited.

Criterion Founders Are Suffering from Burnout 

We all know EA doesn’t give a left bollock about Burnout or, indeed, you. Screw them, then, because Alex Ward and Fiona Sperry – founders of Criterion and the creators of Burnout – are here to fix that little issue under their new studio Three Fields Entertainment. The studio announced this week that they’re bringing two spiritual Burnout successors to the masses in the forms of Danger Zone 2, due out next month, and Dangerous Driving, coming this winter.

The original Danger Zone was very highly rated when it released back in May 2017, and the sequel is a significant step up from the first game with lots more driving including drifting and boosting, a variety of objectives, brand new vehicles and even more spectacular crashes,” according to a quote from Sperry to Eurogamer. Screenshots of the game have been released, featuring the UK’s M1 motorway and the road outside LAX Airport. Awesome.

Gaming News Dangerous Driving

Be assured, this is from the game and not an actual image of an LA cab driver.

Dangerous Driving is a competitive racing game, that reportedly features boosts, takedowns, and massive car crashes. According to Ward, “Dangerous Driving gets me back to making arcade racing, the kind of software I am most passionate about.” I, for one, am also passionate about arcade racing, so I can’t wait for both of these games to hit PC, PS4 and Xbox One later this year.

Now, I’m going to go play Danger Zone and Valkyria Chronicles, and I’ll see you next week.

Crotchety Englishman who spends hundreds of pounds on video game tattoos and Amiibo in equally wallet-crippling measure. Likes grammar a lot, but not as much as he likes ranting about the latest gaming news in his weekly column.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. naitik

    June 24, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    this is the Biggest news because i love minecraft game.
    thanks nice article

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Let’s Discuss the Revamped Sonic the Hedgehog Design



The internet has breathed a collective sigh of relief following the release of a new trailer for the upcoming Sonic The Hedgehog movie. Some leaks a few weeks back that turned out to be correct showed the design that we see but the trailer shows a lot more of the new redesign of the world renowned video game character. The movie has been the subject of much attention-mostly negative- after the initial trailer was released six months ago. The first trailer (which initially announced a release date of November 2019) was incredibly poorly received due to the odd design choice for the titular character. With small eyes, a tiny snout and human teeth, the original design was weirdly realistic and resembled an odd humanoid rather than the blue cartoon hedgehog that we all know and love.

The first design for Sonic looked a bit like a child in a Sonic the Hedgehog suit. Creepy to say the least.

The new trailer shows off a brand new look for Sonic which is far more in sync with what we already know for the character. He is definitely an animated character, with the exaggerated features that he has always had in every other iteration. The movie itself still looks cheesy as hell but it looks like a tolerable, even kind of enjoyable sort of cheesy.  The controversy surrounding the terribly received first Sonic design has been so prolific that some even argued that the whole thing has been a marketing ploy and that the character was never meant to look as bad as he originally did. Whatever the case may be in terms of what went down behind the scenes of the Sonic the Hedgehog movie, it is clear that even if the film is terrible it will attract a substantial audience of people just curious as to how the whole thing is going to turn out. As a fan of Sonic since the 90’s when I was little, I’m probably going to be one of those people.

Sonic is now appropriately cute, fluffy and more in line with his usual style.

I’m still kind of hoping it can break the curse of the video game movie-like Detective Pikachu did- but alongside the aforementioned cheesiness, it looks like a pretty generic movie aimed at kids rather than diehard fans of the Sonic franchise. Flop or not, at least Sonic is looking far more adorable and less like he might murder you in your sleep. It also shows how the filmmakers were willing to listen to their audience and implement changes following feedback. Incredibly vocal feedback at that.

The comparison between the two designs shows just how much the animators have worked to create a brand new Sonic. Their hard work has certainly paid off.

Sonic the Hedgehog is due for theatrical release on February 14th, 2020.

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Anamanaguchi – [USA] (Album Review)



Few acts boast such renown amongst uber-nerdy video game enthusiasts as Anamanaguchi. Unveiling their debut EP ‘Power Supply’ in 2009, the Chiptune pioneers have pushed their unique brand of 8-bit powered Rock and Pop across various releases, including 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game soundtrack, and 2013’s Kickstarter funded 22 track LP ‘Endless Fantasy’. And with ‘Endless Fantasy’ being their last LP (excluding their stuffed to the brim ‘Capsule Silence XXIV’ compilations), to say fans have anticipated ‘[USA]’ is an almighty understatement.

Six years is a while, so has Anamanaguchi’s latest batch of tracks been worth the wait? Seasoned fans Harry and Kyle are on the scene to offer their takes, from how ‘[USA]’ stacks up against the band’s other offerings, to its effectiveness as an artistic whole.

Background With Anamanaguchi

I first heard Anamanaguchi around 2010. At the time I was neck deep in my Slipknot phase (a phase I’ve yet to grow out of judging by how much I replayed ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ this year), so their goofy electronic schtick didn’t tick my boxes. But as time passed I developed a stronger fondness of them, so much so that I enthusiastically backed their 2013 LP ‘Endless Fantasy’ on Kickstarter. Now I’ve seen them live twice, followed their progress over the years, and can proudly proclaim my superfan status. – Harry

The late 2000s saw a shift in pop culture: suddenly, geek chic was all the rage. G4 was at the height of its popularity, pixel art infested countless pieces of media, and video games were undeniably cool. Few other pieces of media encapsulate this cultural zeitgeist more than Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game. Based on the popular comic by Bryan Lee O’Malley, the Scott Pilgrim game featured Anamanaguchi’s crunchy pixelated Rock sound, which melded perfectly with the colorful 16-bit beat-em’-up gameplay. Older Anamanaguchi albums are more than just music: they’re a trip back in time to a brighter, more innocent era of pop culture and gaming. – Kyle

Introducing [USA]

I was excited for ‘[USA]’, but that’s stating the obvious based on my prior words. The LP kicks off with its titular track, introducing affairs with an amalgamation of predictably glitchy bleeps ‘n’ bloops. It’s straight up Anamanaguchi, their Chiptune flair intact. This is good, as Anamanaguchi sans Chiptune is like spaghetti sans sauce (still awesome, but lacking a key ingredient). “USA” is chanted as instrumentation morphs stylistically, crescendoing in dynamics and tempo, and setting the stage for the lead single.

“Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” is an LP highlight. Stepping out the gate with Vocaloid-y singing, an aesthetic of grandiose gorgeousness is speedily cemented. This later juxtaposes with the rapid-fire rhythms of Luke’s drumming and manic synthesizer arpeggios that run around like an 8-bit-ified (Sega Master System) Sonic the Hedgehog. This mental meld of melody, Drum and bass, and all manner of other musical magic finally sinks into a sea of atmospheric spookiness, concluding in an out of left field (yet utterly engaging) way. “Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” avoids predictability through each and every beat of its journey, but nails catchy accessibility to a tee. A masterclass in creative songwriting, it sets ‘[USA]’s’ bar sky high. – Harry

The weeks to ‘[USA]’ releasing were positive ones, marked by enticing singles like “Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” and “Air On Line”. Anamanaguchi’s distinct Rock-flavored Chiptune style had undergone a stylistic shift in the band’s 2013 release ‘Endless Fantasy’, where the band shed off some of its punk flair in favor of dreamier synth tones. In the six years between LP releases, Anamanaguchi experimented with singles and EPs featuring sonic palettes characteristic of modern J-Pop (“Pop It”, “Miku”). While the band stretched its legs with poppier beats, it did mark a further departure from the traditional Rock-oriented sound that had defined much of their earlier work.

‘[USA]’ in many respects displays a return to Anamanaguchi’s roots. Tracks like “On My Own (feat. HANA)” and “Air On Line” boast driving guitar riffs, thumping drums, and fluidly complex intricacies. Yet, it’s more than clear that Anamanaguchi has evolved beyond their geeky beginnings to cultivate an airy soundscape of bright pastel colors and crystal clear tones. It doesn’t always hit the mark, but the highs that ‘[USA]’ can reach prove that the guys have still got it. – Kyle

Negative Bits

Unfortunately, said sky high bar is scarcely met again throughout the rest of ‘[USA]’. Plenty of tracks, like “The C R T Woods” and “Overwriting Incorporate”, are serviceable, but fall short of the laser focused compositional direction and melodic magnificence that Anamanaguchi are so super slick at. ‘[USA]’ suffers from banality, with tracks like “Tear” and “We Die” meandering noisily without focus, and big chunks (particularly the interlude-like tracks “Speak To You [Memory Messengers]” and “Apophenia Light [Name Eaters]”) feeling akin to ‘Capsule Silence XXIV’ cuts (i.e. decent demos, but not kickass LP standouts). – Harry

Much like Harry, I found a large chunk of the album rather dull to get through. Admittedly, Anamanaguchi has an undeniable talent for their synth instrumentation. However, what pushes their work beyond generic electronic music is their ability to anchor that instrumentation to a melodic through line built on catchy hooks and unexpected turns. “Lorem Ipsum (Arctic Anthem)” is one of the few tracks that manages to pull off this floaty, ethereal sound because it moves forward with purpose and constantly engages your curiosity. The same can’t be said for several of the other synth-heavy tracks, too lost in their own sound to offer anything truly engaging. – Kyle

Positive Bits

Nevertheless, there are flashes of brilliance here. “Sunset By Plane (feat. Caroline Lufkin)” is Anamanaguchi firing on all cylinders, delivering energetic poppy bombast in spades. Porter Robinson’s co production is evident in “Air On Line”, resulting in a smooth stomper of happy hooks. “B S X (feat. Hatsune Miku)” incorporates choppily glitched-out singing from the iconic Vocaloid, serving as a pseudo-sequel to the 2016 single “Miku”. “On My Own (feat. HANA)” sees Anamanaguchi’s Chiptune/Pop/Rock melting pot bubbling away again. And speaking of Chiptune, it’s wonderful to hear mountains of 8-bit eccentricity throughout ‘[USA]’, proving even as their sound matures, Anamanaguchi still celebrate where they came from with beaming pixelated smiles. – Harry

As a whole, ‘[USA]’ still deserves a place worthy of praise in Anamanaguchi’s discography. Porter Robinson only collaborated with the band for “Air On Line”, but his style bleeds wonderfully into tracks like “Up to You (feat. meesh)” and “Sunset By Plane (feat. Caroline Lufkin)”. The kawaii-infused J-Pop rhythms and hooks are infectiously catchy, but don’t let that fool you: Anamanaguchi haven’t lost their edge. “B S X (feat. Hatsune Miku)” and “On My Own (feat. HANA)” show that the band can reach back into their deep musical pockets and bring out their signature hard Chiptune Rock to surprise you with something intimately familiar. – Kyle

Final Thoughts

In typical Anamanaguchi fashion, ‘[USA]’ is ambitious from start to finish. ‘Endless Fantasy’ is bloated, but stylistically spot on, whereas ‘[USA]’ trims the fat, but gets a little lost in its journey. Glistening gold sits alongside stale pies, and that description is a fitting metaphor for elements of ‘[USA]’: it’s odd, and doesn’t make much sense (and perhaps that in itself is a metaphor for the real life USA?).

Still, when Anamanaguchi’s latest is good, it’s really good, and there’s bundles of genius in the 8-bit boys yet!

Check out, stream, buy or consume ‘[USA]’ in your preferred capacity by clicking HERE!

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Star Wars Fan Films Embrace the Essence of A Galaxy Far, Far Away



There is no doubt that dedicated fans are capable of creating brilliant, fan-made content, but the Star Wars fan base has a habit of going above and beyond in making incredible works of art that often surpass official entries in the franchise. Two relatively recent short fan films — one released last week, the other released in March of this year — are great examples of this.

The first is a 1970s/80s-style cartoon from YouTuber Wilkins Animation called Dark Empire Episode One: The Destiny of a Jedi. This animated short is incredibly reminiscent of classic cartoons — so much so that it is difficult not to feel a pang of nostalgia upon watching it. The style gives off a He-Man vibe due to the quirky animation, stellar voice work, and vibrant colour scheme. The story is set after The Return of The Jedi as Han, Leia, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO embark on a mission to save Luke and Lando, who are stranded on war-torn Coruscant. I won’t spoil anything in case you want to check it out for yourself, but the story is engaging, and I couldn’t help but feel that I wanted to see more when it came to an end.

Have a watch below if you want to see more, and to check out Wilkins Animation’s Patreon to support their work, click here.

The second fan made film is a slightly older (from March 2019) one called Battle of the Dreadnoughts, by YouTuber EckhartsLadder. The film is significantly shorter than the 12-minute Dark Empire cartoon, clocking in at about three and a half minutes. It depicts a space battle between the New Republic’s Viscount Class Star Defender and the Empire’s most dangerous of all its weapons, the Eclipse Super Star Destroyer. Battle of the Dreadnoughts may be short, but it is astounding in quality. Upon my first viewing, I was certain I had accidentally clicked on a scene from the movies rather than a fan-made project. The accuracy, attention to detail, and sheer scale blew my mind and — as with the Dark Empire animation — left me wanting more from the content creators involved.

Check out EckhartsLadder’s Patreon here and their Twitch account here.

There is no doubting the talent of the Star Wars fan base, but these two films in particular are incredible works of art both in their own right and as Star Wars fan projects.

For more Star Wars, have a read of our Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer breakdown.

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