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Update 6/24/2018: A miracle happened last week. After announcing it on June 18, trading was finally added to Pokémon Go a few days ago. It only took over 1,000 days to implement one of Pokémon's core mechanics to what may be its mostly popular entry ever. Now we can start the countdown for trainer-to-trainer battling!
Update 5/5/2018: An additional day has passed in the Gregorian calendar, which means it has now been 969 days since Niantic teased trading in Pokémon Go. We have also corrected some faulty math in the copy of the original story.
Original Story: A number of Game Informer staffers just vacated the office to compete in a Pokémon Go raid battle a few blocks away. The five-minute walk transformed into a discussion about the current state of the game. One of the big topics of note was the quest to catch Mew. Some of us have already added this illusive critter to our Pokédexes, but a few staffers are still working on a number of the objectives, and are frustrated by one in particular: catching Ditto.
Given just how infrequently this Pokémon shows up these days, we jokingly said we wished we could just trade him to other players for a Pidgey. We then wondered how many days have passed since developer Niantic announced trading would be in the game. The promise of trading was in the game's debut video, which hit on September 9, 2015 – 968 days ago.
The entire point of Pokémon Go is to track and catch Pokémon. Being able to trade for rare creatures you don't have yet would likely break the game, as the thrill of the hunt would be toned down significantly. Niantic hasn't given up on this feature entirely, however. In a September 5, 2017 interview with Bloomberg, Tsunekazu Ishihara, the president of The Pokémon Company, says trading is on the list of updates on the way. "We’ve only accomplished 10 percent of what Pokémon and Niantic are trying to do, so going forward we will have to include fundamental Pokémon experiences such as Pokémon trading and peer-to-peer battles, and other possibilities," he said.
I would love to see trading get added to the mix, as I doubt I'll ever catch regional exclusives like Mr. Mime and Kangaskhan (although the latter does give me an excuse to travel to Game Informer's Australia office). I understand Niantic's hesitance to implement it into the game, but it is something that we expect. They advertised it. Many of us players have duplicates of various Pokémon with the intent of someday trading them away. I paid real money to upgrade the size of my bag to hold more Pokémon.
What do you think the odds are of trading making its way into the game? Would it break the game, or do you think it would push you to complete your collection more?
With enchanting music and trippy visuals, our first looks at Tetris Effect promise the timeless gameplay of Tetris in an entirely new context. Last week, we wrote about its gameplay additions and wild stylistic choices. But as novel as it appears, Tetris Effect isn’t the first reinvention of its kind. Developers have been giving classic games like Pac-Man to Afterburner new life for years – often accompanied by explosive graphics and sound.
Tetris Effect has a chance to learn from the best by looking at these past titles. Let’s check out some of the most effective examples of old games that have learned new tricks.
Blast Through Previous Hardware Limitations
The original screen-clearing gameplay for Tetris came from a technical limitation; the screen would simply fill up too fast. So Alexey Pajitnov, the original programmer, made each one simply disappear once it was full.
That workaround led to some of the most addictive gameplay ever created. But with the technical horsepower we have now, we could probably render about four billion lines at the same time. What new possibilities does this open up?
Galaga Legions and Space Invaders Extreme both spin the original ideas of their games into modern generations. Instead of the framerate-limited titles from several decades ago, modern consoles let these revamps display hundreds of enemies on screen. Legion’s spaceship fires screen-clearing blasts and navigates through maze-like formations of enemies, while Extreme’s waves of enemies explode in such tightly orchestrated sequences it sometimes feels like a rhythm game.
Today’s shoot ‘em ups owe much to Galaga and Space Invaders; it’s fun to see the games that inspired these genres adapt to the 21st century’s new gameplay conventions. Even in their updated state, they maintain their individuality. Galaga’s looping patterns of enemies are immediately recognizable in Legions, and Space Invaders Extreme’s aliens continue to chug down the screen.
I can only imagine what Tetris will look like with effectively infinite technological possibilities. Instead of clearing those lines, Tetris Effect could keep them balanced in an ever-growing tower or use them to fill a glittering geometric ocean. Suriel wrote about whizzing past pyramids in his quick demo; maybe we could take a tour of the seven wonders of the ancient, Tetris-filled world.
Give Us A New Perspective
Classic games often suggested situations and perspectives they weren’t technically able to pull off yet. Battlezone used wireframe vectors, a first-person perspective, and an arcade-linked pair of goggles to approximate a VR experience over 35 years ago. This was the appeal of many games in the arcade; a cabinet could add unique controls and visuals that were impossible at home.
It only makes sense that Battlezone’s re-release came with the delivery of virtual-reality tech only imagined in 1980. On PSVR, it’s possible to look in every direction and experience sitting in a tank the way the original tried to simulate with its vectors and goggles. The original arcade cabinets were on the cutting edge of technology when they were made. Pushing the same game to 2018’s limits with VR is an excellent way to live the future that 1980 gamers dreamed of.
We know that Tetris Effect will work with PSVR. Given the studio’s jaw-dropping achievements with Rez’s new VR areas, it’s safe to assume that Tetris Effect will have unprecedented visual takes on the game. With the scale that VR allows, each block could be as big as a house. Or, Tetris Effect could even recreate the game in its original setting (presumably a room-sized computer in Russia).
Embrace Score Chasing
Many arcade classics weren’t meant to be beaten. They ate quarters without mercy, challenging players to come back again and again to make it just a little further. Instead of seeing credits, the goal was to move your initials a couple ranks up on the machine’s leaderboards.
The advent of online gaming and smaller indie titles like Geometry Wars brought leaderboards back in style. Knocking a friend off their mantle with a ridiculous high score is as satisfying as it has ever been, and now you can do it from the comfort of your own couch.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that revamped arcade games have maintained their score-focused roots. Online leaderboards are a must, but so is gameplay that lends itself to that addictive “just one more run” mentality. I love Doom’s arcade mode, but the high-score holders are slow, deliberate, and mechanical; they’re exactly the opposite of how that game should be played. Meanwhile, Pac-Man: Championship Edition’s world records are incredible tests of reflexes and memorization.
Tetris has some of the most impressive high-score competitions around. Pushing the limits of human perception, the Tetris: The Grandmaster editions of the game challenges players to clear lines of invisible blocks that fall almost instantaneously to the ground. At last count, there were fewer than 10 people in the world who had achieved the ultimate title of “Classic Master Grand Master.”
With its VR potential, Tetris Effect may open a whole new type of high score, one centered around physically moving around with as much finesse as using a controller. Tetris Grand Masters can get high scores with invisible blocks, but can they physically haul and spin the Tetris pieces into place?
Keep What Made The Original Special
While new graphics and gameplay options are exciting, it’s also important to remember the reasons these games have stuck around so long. There are mountains of arcade games that haven’t been revamped. Certain titles stick with us for a reason.
Are there flight titles more technically accurate than the original After Burner? Of course. But the barely controlled sense of speed, the sudden changes in environment, even the voiceover screaming “f-f-fi-fire” as each missile launched from the wing; in the ‘80s, these qualities captured the imagination enough that any remake would have to pay homage to them.
That’s exactly what After Burner Climax does. Despite everything that changed in the decades since the original release, Climax is still unmistakably an After Burner title. The quickest way to rob a classic IP of its identity is to lose the things that made it special. Bionic Commando was a classic defined by its challenging and rewarding swinging mechanic. It isn’t a mediocre third-person shooter with some light grappling.
Almost everyone knows how Tetris is supposed to work. While I’m excited to see what revisions are in store with Tetris Effect, I still want my grandma to see the screen and say “Oh, people still play Tetris?” No matter how complex the graphics or gripping the sound, I still want to be begging my computer for a long piece, or frantically sweating as my blocks reach the top of the screen.
Give Us The Original Game
Look, sometimes all the pixels and explosions and space whales get exhausting. When all else fails, I’d love to just be able to fall back on the original Tetris that we know and love.
Centipede and Millipede released “Evolved” versions on the Xbox arcade. They weren’t particularly good. Their updated graphics served mainly to rob the original art of personality without making up for it in any meaningful way.
However. Those games came alongside their original counterparts, which meant that when all else failed you still had a perfectly good version of the arcade classic. Even better, having both games provides an easy way to admire just how far games have come. Despite its timeless gameplay, the original Tetris looks shockingly primitive. Flipping between that and the eye-popping spectacle of Tetris Effect might give you technological whiplash (but, you know, in a good way).
Remaking a classic game is a kind of historical fiction. The harder edges may get sanded down, and it’s impossible to recapture the context of the original release. But like historical fiction, these re-releases are valuable. Galaga, Pac-Man, Tetris; these titles influenced generations of games, and now those generations are re-influencing the originals.
It’s a unique case of game design coming full circle, and I’ll gladly play Tetris in loops for years to come.
First lady Melania Trump recently taught us we should pay attention to what we wear outside of the house. Over the last three years, I've been trying to hammer home this same message to video game fans. I began with 50 game shirts you should avoid, and then returned a year later to warn you about 39 more shirts that would make people audibly groan when they walked by you. My most recent collection of terrible game shirts was the largest I've assembled, and it was truly hideous (because Hanzo was in it).
This year's featured shirts are topical. Fortnite is everywhere, as is Donald Trump. You'll even see shirts that unite Trump and Fortnite. My message to you: Wear what you want, but don't wear these shirts. Sometimes the best shirt you can throw on is a solid color free of images and messages. Just a nice blue shirt. Any shade will do. Without further delay, here are 2018's shirts to avoid:
Hot on the heels of the character being featured in Mario Tennis Aces, Did You Know Gaming is spotlighting longtime Mario mischief maker and notable Super Smash Bros. Ultimate playable roster absentee Waluigi, giving is a quick look at his history.
The video details how Waluigi came to be created a doubles partner for Wario in the original Mario Tennis, the meaning of his name, some of his potential inspirations and references to the classic Nintendo game Wrecking Crew, and the various times Nintendo has (appropriately) dunked on this character.
Microsoft may have been working with peripheral manufacturer Razer on bringing full mouse and keyboard support to Xbox One according to a recent report, though whether that is still the case is unclear.
The report comes from Windows Central, which claims to have received leaked documents regarding a presentation to developers earlier this year regarding its plans to add support for mouse and keyboards. The company seems to have been working with Razer on the endeavor, citing its Turret and BlackWidow devices as that could be directly compatible with Xbox One, through their Chroma light-up keys, which allows the keyboard to respond to cues from games. This would also include support for just about any USB mouse, including wireless mice with dongles.
The presentation also offered guidelines planning to implement mouse and keyboard in their games, including support for at least five buttons on a mouse, being able to properly pinpoint the cursor, and implementing new APIs for mouse data. Microsoft reportedly notes it would be up to developers how they want to implement mouse and keyboard, if that means separating controller and mouse-and-keyboard users into distinct multiplayer matchmaking queues.
Windows Central does state the information is from earlier this year, and the documents it received to not say whether the company is still planning to go ahead with this initiative. Though Minecraft's Bedrock Edition currently supports mouse and keyboard, most games do not. However, if this report proves true, Xbox One players may be able to enjoy PC-oriented controls on their console of of choice in the near future.
Arika vice president Ichiro Mihara has posted an image of character for Fighting EX Layer that hasn't been shown before, despite the game's roster being more or less final.
With Fighting EX Layer being out next Thursday, it's no surprise the game will appear at the week's major fighting game tournament, Community Effort Orlando (CEO). In a Tweet thank the tournament for their presence, Mihara also posted a strange screenshot.
The second screenshot also has the tweet text, "We are honored to be able to participate in CEO 2018. This sentence has nothing to do with the picture (w" in its image, as well as something fans hadn't seen before: A fully rendered version of the Street Fighter EX character Pullum Purna, who had been mentioned earlier as a potential DLC character should the game perform well, but hadn't been shown. While this doesn't necessarily confirm the character will release, it does bode well, since it shows the team is at least working on creating the character in-game.
Currently the cast includes only 12 confirmed characters in the final cast, as well as one DLC character available in the special edition of the game.
[Source: Ichiro Mahara on Twitter]