Wii U Version of Super Smash Bros. Will Have 8 Player Battles and Mewtwo

So there were some pretty awesome announcements recently for Nintendo’s upcoming installment of their popular Super Smash Bros. series. For the first time ever, the game will support 8 players simultaneously via online network play. That means bigger battles than ever before, and a ton of excitement.

But another cool aspect, was the recent announcement that Mewtwo will be a playable character in the game’s first DLC later on this year. That I love, because Keith Mann and I have always been huge Pokemon fans. Ever since I was a kid.

But there’s even more good news with the announcement that Super Smash Bros will also feature a level editor, so that you can create your own fun levels to play with friends. Create the perfect stage, and push your skills to the limit when the game launches next month.

Anita Sarkeesian and “Gamergate”

Anita Sarkeesian is a Canadian cultural critic who was a relative unknown except in gaming and feminist circles until recently when she hit the “New York Times” newspaper’s front page and was interviewed for “The Rolling Stone.” Sarkeesian has a YouTube series, “Feminist Frequency,” in which she has applied a sort of literary criticism to the misogynistic portrayal of women in video games. Even-tempered and comprehensive, the “Tropes vs Women” series on gaming demonstrates the limited roles available to women. The roles apparently are restricted for the most part to “princesses to be rescued” or “prostitutes to be murdered.”

What is now being referred to as “Gamergate” is violence directed at Sarkeesian from male gamers who are upset by her criticism of the limited and ostensibly harmful roles given women in video games. Recently her talk at Utah State University was canceled due to threats made against Sarkeesian and her audience. The police refused to put any screening for firearms in place due to Utah’s concealed-carry laws. This caused Sarkeesian to cancel her talk, forcing Marnie Bennett to make a last minute trip from Ottawa to Utah in her place. The email threats referenced specific weapons the person intended to use and past shootings at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique and UC Santa Barbara.

While Anita Sarkeesian has had to leave her home and limit her activities due to threats of violence, the circumstances have opened up the debate to a wider audience. The discussion is already causing those within the video game industry to discuss changes in the portrayal of women in games.

Vote on Golden Joystick Awards…Get a Free Copy of XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a freaking fantastic game. Something that every gamer needs to play, but that unfortunately many people haven’t experienced. Let me tell you, you need to play this game.

Now you have an opportunity to play the game for free on Steam. All you have to do is sign up and vote on the Golden Joystick Awards, and you get a free Steam code to download the game. So don’t forget to boot up your FreedomPop web browser, and get online. This game is a must play.

You have to go fast though, because there are a limited number of Steam keys. Once they run out, that’s it, no more free games.

Yup eSports Are For Real

So we already knew that there was going to be the first eSports scholarship team in college history. But now eSports have taken another major honor in South Korea, as 40,000 filled people packed into a World Cup stadium, to watch video games be played.

Of course, South Korea is known for their gaming, so they take it pretty seriously there. However, the unprecedented support is still pretty amazing. Something that I definitely haven’t seen before. Was cool to see this different take on gaming, and to see everything happening on such a large scale.

If Jared Haftel had tweeted me earlier, I probably would’ve said, let’s fly to South Korea, because we need to be a part of this, haha:

Epic Games Distancing Itself From Controversial Trailer for “Hatred”

In case you haven’t seen, Andrew Heiberger reported on the trailer for Hatred, which dropped yesterday. The game showcased a shocking amount of totally senseless violence, in which a man spoke of his hatred for all humanity, and his plans to go out in a blaze of violent crime.

The trailer shows him murdering innocent people in the worst ways imaginable, as he carves a path through the environment. The game is powered by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.

However, the development of the game has nothing to do with Epic Games, and they’re not too happy to be linked to such an appalling piece of video game drivel.

A statement from the company read:

“Epic Games isn’t involved in this project. Unreal Engine 4 is available to the general public for use ‘for any lawful purpose,’ and we explicitly don’t exert any sort of creative control or censorship over projects. However, the video is using the trademarked Unreal Engine 4 logo without permission from Epic, and we’ve asked for the removal of our logo from all marketing associated with this product.”

Can’t argue with Epic on this one. I think they’re right. Hatred is a pretty vile and incorrect response to the controversy of GamerGate. In which several misinformed and angry gamers have taken to sexist, and racist threats to journalists, in response to a perceived corruption in games journalism.

Some gamers have taken the criticism against portraying women as sex objects in games, as a sign of censorship. Hatred was created to fight that censorship…although, nobody is actively advocating censoring games in the first place. So the vitriolic response that Hatred represents is pretty unnecessary.

Yes You Can Buy a Gold Xbox One

Have you been laying in wait, not upgrading for the new generation because none of the consoles are made of gold? Well, no longer! You can now buy an Xbox One with gold plating.

A literal gold Xbox, that looks kind of awesome, if not pretty heavy and impractical.

Not to mention the entire thing is going to set you back more than $13,000…meaning that your console will be worth more than it’s weight in gold.

But if you have the means like Sam Tabar, I guess this is a pretty cool investment. Definitely something people would be talking about when they came to your house to game.

Just make sure there aren’t going to be any overheating issues. I love my Xbox, but I still feel burned by the Red Ring of Death incidents with the 360. So I’m veeeery careful about anything that could cause my Xbox products to overheat.

Hellraid Shaping Up To Be A Great Next Gen Digital Exclusive

We’ve been seeing more and more of Hellraid lately, and it looks like one of the better digital exclusives that will be available next year. So far looks like Diablo meets Dead Island. Providing first person combat ala Dead Island, and hordes of skeleton enemies, as well as tons of loot chests that you can find littered throughout the world.

So far the first person combat looks solid. Should provide a good experience, and some medieval flavor to the Dead Island mechanic.

The game will feature the opportunity to use melee weapons, as well as ranged, and magic staffs as well. You can also tweak your character with options for one handed melee and two handed melee combat.

The graphics are looking pretty good, and will make it a truly next gen type of experience. I just hope that there’s plenty of exploration to be done. I can’t wait for the day when the new single player Elder Scrolls game comes along.

While we’re all waiting, games like Hellraid could be just what the doctor ordered to make that wait a little more bearable.

Star Wars Battle Pod Coming to an Arcade Near You

Bandai Namco wants you to remember that the arcade experience is not dead. Despite arcades seeming to be a thing of the past, thanks to the rise of home console gaming, Bandai is fighting that notion with the release of Star Wars Battle Pod.

The game is a Star Wars vehicle sim, that allows you to step into the pilot’s shoes in simulations of real battles from the Star Wars movies.

The game is unique because of the large wraparound screen, which allows you to play the game as if you were really in the cockpit of a Star Wars fighter. Allowing for full immersion into the world, and also containing controls that are realistic for space flight.

The graphics look pretty amazing, but I don’t know if this game alone can single handedly bring back the arcade experience. I was sort of disappointed, because when I saw footage I was hoping for a next gen version of Rogue Squadron.

I don’t even know of a videogame arcade near me where Keith Mann and I could go to play this. Guess I need to get on Google and see what’s around.

Biggest Video Game Collection on Record Could Be Yours For $164,000

In the world of free ROMs for practically any retro game you could want, apparently there’s still an audience for those that would like to own the physical copies. On eBay, one of the biggest game collections on record has just gone on sale.

For about the price of a home, you could own the collection which comprises more than 5,700 games, and 50 different consoles. The set ranges from the original Atari, all the way to the Xbox 360. But the current console generation (Xbox One, PS4) is not included.

The seller notes that all games are in used condition, but promises that all of them are in excellent to near mint condition. Saying that he always replaced lesser copies with higher quality copies for his master collection. This sale represents that master collection. Now if only I can talk Marnie Bennett into going halfsies with me…we’ll still be $160,000 short.

RoomAlive Transforms Room into 3D Gaming Environment

At CES 2013, Microsoft unveiled an interactive 3D gaming experience called IllumiRoom. The system measured the geometry of the surrounding room and used projectors to extend the virtual field of vision beyond the gaming screen. Microsoft said it blurred “the lines between on-screen content and the environment we live in.”

In October 2014, Microsoft unveiled the next evolution of 3D gaming technology: RoomAlive. The system is an expensive soup of cameras, projectors and motion sensors that transform a room – any room – into a virtual environment. Gamers feel as if they are inside the game as the walls of their bedrooms metamorphose into graffitied alleys, fantasy worlds and dark shadows.

Six Kinect sensors mounted to the ceiling track the gamer’s head as he or she moves about the room. Each sensor is matched with a mini-computer and a wide-view projector. The group can map a room, figure out its geometry, and adjust the game appearance accordingly. “Users can touch, shoot, stomp, dodge and steer projected content,” says Microsoft.

Since RoomAlive sensors and cameras are auto-calibrating and self-localizing, the system can adapt to any room. The procams track the user and adjust the perspective so the projected content always appears 3D.

At this point, RoomAlive is only a proof-of-concept demonstration of Microsoft’s wizardly techno skills, but enthusiasts hope that the technology will be integrated into future versions of Xbox. “There’s still lots to explore with RoomAlive as a gaming platform,” says Microsoft.