Posts by Ben Silverman
Ben Silverman at Plugged In 9 hrs ago
Harmonix is getting the band back together.
On Thursday, the music game developer announced Rock Band 4 , the first core Rock Band game in five years. It’s due out later this year for the Xbox One and PS4.
The news might come as a bit of a shock to gamers who watched the once-mighty music game genre peter out several years ago, but to Harmonix, it’s about giving the fans what they want. And they want more Rock Band .
“Every time we announce a new game, everybody’s like, ‘That’s cool, but where’s Rock Band 4 ?’” said project manager Daniel Sussman.
The company is being pretty tightlipped about specific new features and gameplay, but here’s what we know so far.
You can use your old gear
Harmonix is working with Microsoft and Sony to ensure that older Rock Band instruments will work with the PS4 and Xbox One, though it’s not as easy as it sounds. The change in hardware muddies the compatibility waters, but Sussman is hell-bent on making it right.
“As a conscientious human being on this planet, I’d love for you to use the guitar you already have rather than force you to get a new one,” he said.
You can use your old songs
Ben Silverman at Plugged In 1 day ago
Virtual reality is coming to the PlayStation 4, and it’s surprisingly comfortable.
The newest version of Sony’s Project Morpheus headset made quite a splash at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco Tuesday night, boasting impressive tech specs and a definite launch window. It’s shaping up to be enticing piece of gear for PS4 owners.
It’s also the coziest VR headset I’ve ever strapped to my face. While the Morpheus can’t yet quite match the jaw-dropping fidelity of the latest Oculus Rift kit, it’s a fair share easier to take on and off. You can smoothly slide the monitor back and forth to accommodate, say, a chunky pair of glasses, and the weight has been distributed to the top of your head, a small tweak that that pays off big time by keeping the visor from pulling down on your poor nose.
Of course, without awesome software to back it up, it’s just a flashy set of goggles. Sony showed off a handful of new demos during their GDC presentation, and while they all offered a glimpse into the platform’s potential, two in particular stood out.
The London Heist
Ben Silverman at Plugged In 1 day ago
Sony hasn’t had much to say about its VR headset, dubbed Project Morpheus, since showing off a few demos at last year’s E3 trade show in June. Back then, the Morpheus was one of only a handful of VR products on the horizon, but in the past few months we’ve seen somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 tech companies throw their awkwardly visored hats into the VR ring.
Sony decided to go all in at the Game Developers Conference taking place this week in San Francisco, however, showing off a new “close to consumer” prototype and touting some pretty serious tech specs.
Crucially, it also tossed out a vague release window: The Morpheus will be available in the first half of 2016.
There’s no word on pricing yet. Sony offered plenty of words about the headset’s new guts, however, and they’re certainly impressive. Project Morpheus now boasts a 5.7-inch OLED display with 1920x1080 resolution. It’s got a 120 Hz refresh rate, runs at a super-low latency (no noticeable delay between real-world movements and in-game action), and can handle graphics running at 60 or 120 frames per second.
That’s a lot of jargon. The gist: It’s a beast.
Ben Silverman at Plugged In 7 days ago
Most big video games these days are released in a few different shapes and sizes. You can buy a standard $60 disc, go with a disc-free digital download, or, if you’ve got the dough, opt for a pricier Collector’s Edition, which typically includes the game, a commemorative statue, and some art books.
But if you want, say, a zombie shelter, night-vision goggles, parkour lessons, and adult diapers, you’ll have to cough up a little more cash.
Those are just a few of the goodies included in the ridiculous My Apocalypse Edition of recently released zombie game Dying Light being offered by UK retailer GAME. Only one copy is available, in part because that copy costs £250,000, or about $385,000.
What does a gamer get for that kind of bread? The My Apocalypse Edition aims to simultaneously terrify you and give you the tools to survive a real zombie epidemic.
Sound like a publicity stunt? Yeah, it totally is, and that’s nothing new for GAME.
Ben Silverman at Plugged In 13 days ago
The Order: 1886 has a killer pitch.
The first big PS4 exclusive of 2015 is set in a steampunk version of Victorian England policed by gruff, gun-toting descendants of the Knights of the Round Table. Werewolves are running amuck, Jack the Ripper is Jack the Rippering, and the only thing standing between chaos and order is you, your crew of fellow knights, and your hefty wrought-iron ordnance. Also, there are zeppelins.
It’s a fine setup for an action game, and when it’s cooking, The Order: 1886 is quite a sight. But even virtues like great graphics and an intriguing setting mean little when you can’t find the holy grail of fun, interesting gameplay.
Your quest drops you in the clunky boots of Sir Galahad, the latest in a long line of Galahads descended from the real deal. Black Water, a substance infused with superjuice from the grail, gives each knight an extended lifespan. Once they crap out for good, the name is passed down to a new knight. There are no seat fillers at the Round Table.
Except, that is, when you have to actually play it.
What’s Hot: Incredible graphics; Interesting world; Excellent acting and sound; The combat is fine…
Ben Silverman at Plugged In 14 days ago
These days, the arrival of a new video game console is a big, brash event. Fans line up for hours at countless retailers for fancy midnight launches. Gamers eagerly plunk down cash, shake hands with a Company Representative, and proudly raise their haul above their heads like ancestral hunters hoisting a fresh kill.
Yeah, it’s ridiculous. It’s also not always been that way.
Take the launch of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, which was so hard to find when it arrived on U.S. shores in 1985 that you had to write a letter to the company to get one.
Kotaku has the lowdown on the rarely seen ‘information packs’ that Nintendo sent out to prospective NES buyers. Distinctly lo-fi – it seems to have been typed up and stapled together – the pack includes details on the games, accessories, and system itself, as well as a list of the whopping three U.S. retailers that actually stocked the thing.
For more pics, check out King Solomon's post at Nintendoage.
Ben Silverman at Plugged In 23 days ago
The gearheads at toy company Anki stumbled upon a little slice of genius when they pulled Anki Drive out of the garage back in 2013. Essentially slot cars without the slots, the system lets players use mobile devices to steer sleek, futuristic toy cars around what looks like a flat sheet of thick plastic. It’s a killer trick — Drive was the runaway hit of Thanksgiving 2014 for the Silverman clan — but it’s been hampered by one pretty sizable problem: You can’t make your own tracks. No ramps for you. That changes later this year. Anki Overdrive trades Drive 's fixed tracks for a new modular format that lets players build their own. It’s probably what Anki should have been from the starting line. The upcoming Overdrive Starter Kit ($150) includes two new cars, a four-car charging base, two little risers, and 10 track pieces, which can be arranged in eight different layouts. The track segments snap together using high-powered magnets and initially come in an assortment of straightaways and curves.
Cue the somewhat misleading trailer:
Ben Silverman at Plugged In 27 days ago
Hyrule may be coming to a television near you.
Quoting sources ‘familiar with the matter’, The Wall Street Journal reports that Netflix is developing a series based on Nintendo’s beloved action adventure franchise The Legend of Zelda. The WSJ says it’s in the ‘early stages’ and that Netflix is working closely with Nintendo on it.
The show is being described as ‘ Game of Thrones for a family audience’, so basically Game of Thrones with all the good stuff cut out.
The Zelda series has an unflattering history with TV adaptations. A 13-episode cartoon series - best known for generating the awesome “Excuuuuuse me, Princess” meme - ran briefly in 1989.
Netflix has been on a tear lately, however, and it’s setting its sights squarely on the geek crowd with a Marvel development deal that will produce shows based on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. A Legend of Zelda series is a big deal.
The WSJ notes that Netflix has yet to line up a writer, though, so there’s still plenty of time for this particular hero to get lost in the woods.
Ben Silverman at Plugged In 27 days ago
Mortal Kombat is 23 years old. That makes me feel older than Shang Tsung.
I still remember playing the original in a long-since vanished Berkeley arcade, anxiously fumbling through moves in the hopes of triggering one of those nasty Fatalities everyone (including the government) was talking about. Gamers had never seen anything quite like it.
We’ve seen plenty like it since, however. Over a dozen games and a pair of feature films – with another on the way – have kept us dripping in digital gore for over two decades. But just as longtime license holder Midway was crashing, Warner Bros. Interactive and developer NetherRealm Studios (helmed by series co-creator Ed Boon) brilliantly rebooted it with a terrific 2011 effort. That game never got a proper follow-up, however, as the studio went on to launch the excellent Injustice franchise instead.
A worldwide fight
The towers are alive. ALIIIIVE
Ben Silverman at Plugged In 29 days ago
You’ve likely played at least one Legend of Zelda game. That game probably wasn’t Majora’s Mask.
Not that it wasn’t a hit. Originally released for the Nintendo 64 in 2000, Majora’s Mask sold nearly 4 million copies. It boasts an innovative time-travel premise, features great combat and puzzles, and ranks among the most critically-acclaimed games in the long-running franchise.
But still it’s considered a sleeper, a lost classic. Why? Who knows. Perhaps it’s the fact that it directly followed what most gamers consider to be the high water mark of the 3D Zelda games, 1998’s groundbreaking Ocarina of Time . Or maybe its darker tone and strange mechanics kept some folks at bay. You could even blame it on the PlayStation 2, which was released on the very same day. Ouch.
No matter how you missed it - or how long it’s been since you helped Link save a peculiar world from an angry, falling moon - Nintendo is giving you a do-over. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D isn’t just a beautifully sad, wildly creative, and smartly updated port of a 15-year-old game for the 3DS. It’s a must-own action adventure for any Nintendo gamer worth his weight in Rupees.