A Proposal: Use Games to Teach History

by: Nicholas -

"A historical game is a recreation of the circumstances surrounding history, rather than a reenactment of history," that's how Super Bunnyhop begins his conclusion in his latest video essay on using games to teach history. 

Teaming up with History Respawned, a content creator that I've highlighted before, it's a discussion between the two on the potential use of games to teach history. John Harney, assistant professor of Asian History at Centre College, states that although video games have traditionally been utilized by philosophy and English professors for analyzing narrative and free will, there is also potential to place players in the "vintage realism" of historical settings.

For professor Harney, the tools with which to view history boils down to Contingency and Agency. With the former, that means that modern folks know that the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 played a huge role in the rise of the National Socialist Party in Germany. But when viewed with a perspective skewed toward Agency, the people back then had no way to know that. 

Video games, therefore, have the potential to capture that Agency, of not knowing what will happen, but driving history forward. 

It's a great watch, covering games like CivilizationAssassin's Creed, and more. See below. 

Farming Simulator 19's Platinum Edition brings a heck of a lot more tractor

by: Nicholas -

Farming Simulator 19, perhaps the most advanced simulator of anything this century, had a little gift for fans at this year's Gamescom. 

In the debut trailer for the game's Platinum Edition, the Platinum Edition boasts of 35 new vehicles from the Claas brand, bringing small tractors, reapers, and whatever else modern agriculturalists use to harvest their crops.

Per the trailer's description, this brings the vehicle and equipment count to over 380 pieces. It's bigger, and it's badder. 

Farming Simulator 19 Platinum Edition launches October 22nd. 

Nintendo Download for 8-24-2019: Super-Hotline Miami

by: Sean Colleli -

This week's Nintendo Download sees two indie instant classics hit the eShop, as both Superhot and the Hotline Miami Collection head to Switch. Superhot is a first person action game where the action only moves when you do, lending a frantic kind of strategy to the game as you plan your next move while surrounded by enemies and bullets, suspended in time.

Hotline Miami needs no introduction. The Collection bundles both games together into a pixel pop-art, neon-drenched nightmare of die, learn, kill, repeat. I have a lot of friends who were addicted to these games when they hit Steam (a couple even bought the iconic rubber animal masks for Halloween) so I'm expecting the addiction to start all over again. I'm honestly surprised Hotline Miami hasn't made it to Switch already.

There's other goodness on the eShop this week, including a demo of Dragon Quest XI S and a whole slew of digital sales and discounts, so check those out after the break.

[Read More]

New Roccat lineup unveiled at Gamescom 2019

by: Rob -

From the entry level Kain to the top of the line Vulcan series, Roccat, is unveiling their latest offerings at Gamescom 2019 in Cologne, Germany. Gamescom is ongoing right now, having kicked off midweek and finishing at the end of this weekend and it's not a far jog for Hamburg based Roccat to head over and showcase their latest wares.

The new entry into the Kain series of gaming mice boasts faster response times due to a new click-mechanism. Roccat claims this makes those taps on the mouse register 16ms quicker giving gamers the competitive edge in the 89-gram device which is available as either a wired or wireless model. The Vulcan mechanical keyboards are also getting two new versions: the Vulcan 120 is utilizing the Titan Switch Speed, as does the 122 but the later comes in Arctic White. All products have version which use the AIMO LED lighting system as does the new Sense AIMO mousepad.  That pad is borders a soft cloth surface with an RGB light guide over two programmable zones.

While the new mouse and keyboard are neat, I've not actually seen an LED mousepad before having always just used regular old boring pieces of cloth and rubber like some sort of peasant. So that's a bit of something you never knew you needed, huh? I've got a shot of the mousepad below and you can head to Roccat's official site for more details.



Mario and Sonic, together at last

by: Rob -

Two iconic characters from video game history are again teaming up in the spirit of togetherness for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is a mouthful of a title, but not the first team up for the pair. They've done it before, 12 years ago for the 2008 Olympics  in a Wii game and again for the Winter Olympics, but this outing marks their debut on the Nintendo Switch. 

Competing across a series of both 2D and 3D events, over 30 events in all, with split screen and online play supported, a complete cross-pollinated lineup of characters to choose from across both worlds (Mario, Sonic, Luigi, Knuckles, Peach, Amy, Dr. Eggman, Yoshi, Tails), Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will release in the Americas on November 5th and Europe on November 8th. Suggested retail is $60 and you can read the full press release below after the trailer by following the Read More link.

[Read More]

So, what are you playing?

by: Randy -

The band Korn is holding a virtual rock concert in AdventureQuest 3D starting August 20. Cyberpunk 2077, starring Keanu "You're Breathtaking" Reeves, is joining the Google Stadia game list. And it's dipped a few points since launching, but Angry Birds 2 is still the highest-rated video game movie on Rotten Tomatoes.

So, what are you playing?

Kinsey Danzis
So there I was, lying in bed at 11:00pm and waiting for an unrelated cooldown on my phone, when I suddenly got an urge out of the blue to browse the Google Play store—and what should I find but an Elder Scrolls game? The Elder Scrolls: Blades (which, by the way, my fiancee apparently knew about and didn’t think it necessary to tell me, so thanks, babe) looks better than I’d expected for a mobile TES game, but then again I haven’t gotten past the character creator. Pretty par for the course. The facial textures are improved, but the hair and clothing textures still seem to be stuck somewhere between Skyrim and TES Online. The movement system isn’t as clunky as I would have expected, but I’ll have more insight on that as I get deeper in (if I ever decide between being an Imperial or a Dark Elf).

Randy Kalista
The Church in the Darkness is committed to its mission. And by mission we're talking missionary. To an isolated neck of the South American jungle. It's Panama hats and Dengue Fever interwoven with the brainwashing-cult panic of the 1970's. But ultimately? It just feels like an excuse to blare socioreligious audio logs over a relentless PA system. Just add water to some paint-by-numbers stealth gameplay and you have a—surprisingly—dull offering unto the Lord. Having just returned to the U.S. from a mission myself, there should be more meat on these Christian-based bones.

I'm also downloading Hyper Light Drifter onto my PC for the first time. Sure, I've had it on PS4 since it launched in 2016. But I'll take Heart Machine's brilliant, tough, beautiful pixel art Legend of Zelda anywhere and any way that I can get my hands on it. Between the Dobermann Pinscher god dogs and cardiac arresting cutscenes, Hyper Light Drifter is the only game that's never been deleted from my PS4.

Nicholas Leon
I was invited onto a games podcast, and the focus of the next episode will be Vampyr! So it looks like, in addition to the title I’m currently reviewing, it’ll be a weekend of early 20th century London, a few buckets of Vampiric blood, and the flu. In digital format, of course. 

23andMe the video game: Ancestors launches next week

by: Randy -

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey launches next week, Tuesday, August 27, on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. This is the latest from Patrice Desilets, creator of the Assassin's Creed series. Ancestors doesn't excite me the way Assassin's Creed did back in the day. But it (vaguely) takes the (idea of a) DNA-time-traveling backstabby platformer and goes further back into mankind's prehistory than most games will even come close to attempting.

Hopefully there are some weird 2001: A Space Odyssey moments to be had (eh, eh, see "Odyssey" right there in both titles?) to be found in Ancestors. I hope Desilets has just been keeping it a big ol' secret. Because while I applaud that he's going where few games have gone before with the apes and the evolution and whatnot, I feel like there needs to be more to it—a lot more to it—than swinging from trees and unlocking a skill tree made up of tying a rock to a stick. If fire is the game's crowning discovery and not some huge alien monolith, then I'll be reconsidering my purchase.

You know that one human evolution illustration showing a hunched over ape on the left and then, walking towards the right, evolving into an increasingly upright-standing, tool-handling homo sapiens? That's the game Ancestors. The setting takes place in the jungles of Africa. The place could even double as the setting of Far Cry 2.5 ... or Far Cry 2: Episode 0. The video starts with your apes figuring out how low they are on the food chain. Then, through language development ("What is it, Lassie? Is Timmy in the well?") and tool manufacturing (pick up rock, throw rock) you engage in the first survival sim. The survival sim where Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs includes don't get eaten by a saber-toothed tiger.

Not going to lie: This trailer does not graphically amaze me. I'll have to approach it from a different angle. And it'll be an angle that doesn't depict Adam and Eve as a hot, white couple chilling in a beautiful garden at the beginning of mankind's timeline. Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey will likely bring to life your 23andMe DNA test in a way that will encourage you to dig deeper, or roll your eyes at the theory posturing.

Deep Silver releases latest Shenmue III trailer at Gamescom 2019

by: Carter -

During Gamescom 2019, Deep Silver released the latest trailer for Shenmue III, an upcoming action-adventure game following the life of teenage martial artist Ryo Hazuki. The trailer covers a day in the life of Ryo.

The third installment of the series has been a long-awaited title, considering Shenmue I and II released in 1999 and 2001, respectively.

Shenmue III was initially announced at Sony's E3 2015 press conference. Worldwide release is expected to be 11/19/2019. 

Upcoming 4X strategy game, Humankind, announced at Gamescom 2019

by: Carter -

During Gamescom Opening Night Light, Amplitude Studios announced its upcoming 4X strategy game: Humankind

Per the Humankind website, "create your own civilization by combining 60 historical cultures from the Bronze to the Modern Age. Each culture brings its special gameplay layer, leading to near-endless outcomes." 

Check out some gameplay screenshots here and the trailer below. The first half is...a little strange. But hang in there for a sneak peek of gameplay. 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt's Nintendo Switch release date revealed

by: Carter -

During Gamescom 2019's opening night, it was revealed that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be released on the Nintendo Switch on 10/15/2019. 

Wild Hunt was initially released on consoles and PC in May 2015. Check out the release date trailer below: