Missed Evo 2014? 6 Matches You Need To See

The last couple of weeks have been huge in the world of eSports. We had the International 4, the giant Dota 2 tournament with a prize pool of over $10 million, and we had EVO, the annual event where the best fighting game players gather to compete in games like Street Fighter 4, Marvel vs. Capcom, and Smash Brothers.

As is the case every year at EVO, some incredible matches took place. When you put the best fighting game players around the world together, you’re bound to get some special fights, and those are the battles we are going to look at today. If you missed the event, here’s some of the most intense matches that you absolutely need to see.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 – Filipino Champ vs. Justin Wong

Context

Justin Wong is a name synonymous with high-level fighting game play. He’s originally known for his exploits in the second Marvel vs. Capcom, and he then shifted focus to the world of Street Fighter 4, but he’s back in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (MVC 3) now. He’s done it all, and an MVC 3 championship at EVO 2014 would be the icing on the cake of his spectacular career. Filipino Champ is another force in the world of competitive MVC 3, and when the two meet, it’s always something special. In fact, in a previous meeting Wong made one of the most epic comebacks ever, and this match had all the making for another battle of epic proportions.

The Match

This one comes down to the very last moment, with one player looking like he’s about to go down, but a split-second decision at the very end of the game turns things around. Even if you don’t understand the finer nuances of the game, the way it ends is truly shocking, and it rivals any of the best moments you will find in traditional stick and ball sports.

Ultra Street Fighter 4 – Louffy vs. Bonchan

Context

Street Fighter 4 is still the biggest game at EVO, and this is the grand final. That means it’s the two players who made it all the way through the gauntlet of incredibly skilled players. You really don’t see a bigger moment than that in competitive gaming.

The Match

In a game ran by players who have been on the scene for a while, this year’s final saw relative newcomers Bonchan and Luffy go at it. To make it more interesting, Luffy played the whole tournament with a rather odd controller choice. Just watch it, and prepare to be entertained.

Injustice Gods Among Us – Pig of the Hut vs. Sonic Fox

The Context

Injustice is far from the most popular fighting game on the scene, but it’s mechanics are interesting enough to make it feel different from others out there. In this match, there’s not a ton of special context or a grand story that sets the table, but that certainly doesn’t make it any less worth watching. It is the finals though, so the stakes are high for the players involved.

The Match

This is just an intense match filled with great action. Even if you’ve never played Injustice, or any fighting game for that matter, you can still appreciate the battle that is raging on the screen in front of you. Watch it, and you’ll be glad you did.

Super Smash Bros. Melee – PPMD vs Hungrybox

The Context

Jigglypuff! Everyone loves a good Jigglypuff match, and to see the beloved Pokemon square off with Falco, another very popular character, is always a treat. Hungrybox is generally regarded as one of the best Jigglypuff players in the world, while PPMD is lauded for his Falco play, so we’re looking at a quality match. It’s not a particular important match in terms of the overall tournament, but as you’ll see, the quality of the fight is so high, I just had to include it.

The Match

The fight itself is a downright fantastic display of skill and speed that actually prompts the commentators to scream “he’s a wizard” about one of the combatants. There’s an epic comeback, that you just have to see to believe.

BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma – Dogura vs Garireo

The Context

This is the grand finals of the BlazBlue tournament, which is really all the context you need. We have two of the best players in the world going at it on the biggest fighting game stage in the world. It doesn’t get much bigger than that for fans of this game.

The Match

This is such an evenly matched battle that it’s impossible not to be entertained. I’ve never played a BlazBlue game, and I still thoroughly enjoyed watching Dogura and Garireo go at it. This is a match where an offensive style meets that of a defensive player. Who will win? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Killer Instinct – CDJR vs. Justin Wong

The Context

We mentioned Justin Wong and his awesomeness in the world of Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom, but now here he is taking his skill to the combo-focused Killer Instinct at the very same EVO where he competed in MVC 3. This wasn’t a huge match, as it wasn’t a grand final or anything, but seeing Justin Wong adapt his skills to a completely different type of fighting game is certainly impressive, and the match is worth watching for that alone.

The Match

Justin picks Saberwulf and CDJR picks Sadira, a matchup that favors Justin’s character. It’s a back and forth fight, and as is the case in most high level fighting games, it comes down to one player making a mistake and suffering a crushing defeat. Who makes the mistake? Watch the fight to find out.

Your Turn

So now, we turn to you, our loyal readers. What matches from EVO 2014 had you the most excited? Hit the comments below and tell us about your favorite fights!

Here Are Your Free Ps Plus And Xbox Live Games For February 2017

With January already gone, it’s time for the next batch of free games for PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold subscribers. Here are the titles you can claim for free in February 2017.

PlayStation Plus

First up, on PS4, LittleBigPlanet 3 is available. A platformer fan’s dream, this game lets you create your own levels and worlds and play thousands of user-generated levels online. Also free on PS4 is Not a Hero, a pixel shoot-em-up that tasks you with clearing city crime for a mayoral candidate from the future.

On PS3, you’ll receive Starwhal, a couch multiplayer game that has you battling as narwhals in space. The other PS3 title is Anna: Extended Edition, an overhauled version of a psychological horror game where you must uncover clues about your past.

Finally, Vita owners can play Ninja Senki DX, a retro-syled ninja platformer, and TorqueL, an action puzzler where you must reach the end of stages while inside a box.

Thanks to Cross-Buy functionality, PS4 owners can also play Starwhal, Ninja Senki DX, and TorqueL.

Xbox Live

The first free title for Xbox One is Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, in which you pilot a spaceship through a variety of campaigns alone or with friends. You’ll also receive Project CARS Digital Edition, a realistic racing game.

If you’ve got an Xbox 360, you can download Monkey Island 2: Special Edition, an enhanced remake of the classic point-and-click game. Finally, check out Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, an action-adventure game that bridges the storylines between the two Star Wars trilogies.

Don’t forget that Xbox One owners can play the 360 titles through backwards compatibility.

Are you excited for any of February’s games? Let us know what you’ll be playing this month down in the comments!

Image Credit: Atelier211 via Shutterstock.com

Pull Out The Tissues: 5 Video Games That Will Make You Cry

Video games offer something that no other narrative medium can: interactivity. Film, television, and literature are the traditional forms of storytelling, but they’re all passive. The journey is predetermined and you’re only a spectator. Video games take that to the next level. You’re not just an observer; you’re the actor.

Of course, video games can have linear narratives. They can also have sandbox, open world, nonlinear stories. Either way, the important thing is that you are the character. You experience the story as it happens in real time. And when it comes to emotional gaming, there are some seriously impactful scenes that will take your breath away.

Disclaimer: I hate spoilers. In this article, I do my best to avoid revealing the specific plot points and character arcs that define the emotional impact of these games. That being said, just knowing that these are emotional games could itself be a spoiler as it will color the gaming experience. Continue at your own risk.

The Walking Dead (PC, PS3, X360, and more)

This game has nothing to do with the television series except for its name and setting. Developed by Telltale Games, The Walking Dead is a graphic adventure game that focuses heavily on character arcs, player choices, and human drama. It’s not a puzzle game. It’s not a shooter game. It’s a story game.

The crux of the gameplay rests on quick-time actions, a mechanic that’s often lambasted for being clunky, immersion-breaking, and unnecessary. However, The Walking Dead makes perfect use of it by forcing you to make story-altering decisions in the heat of the moment. It creates an atmosphere of urgency and tension that complements the game’s gloomy and gritty reality.

And those quick-time actions will break your heart. You’re bound to make bad decisions – embrace it because that’s part of the experience – and those mistakes will result in plot points that twist your gut. There’s a reason why The Walking Dead won over 80 Game of the Year awards. It deserves every single one of them.

The Last of Us (PS3, PS4)

Like The Walking Dead, The Last of Us is a narrative-centric game that takes place in a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic world with a larger focus on story and characters than gameplay itself. However, The Last of Us does have elements of action-adventure and survival horror, making it a more compelling experience for many gamers.

The developers, Naughty Dog, have succeeded in doing what many survival horror games fail to do these days: make us care about the characters. Consequences and stakes only matter if you, the audience, care what happens. When the safety of your favorite characters is threatened, that’s when tension and horror truly shine.

That’s what makes The Last of Us such a memorable and emotional experience. The atmosphere, mood, setting, characters, and plots all come together in a cohesive way that grips the heart and makes you feel human. Truly, The Last of Us is one of the PlayStation-exclusive games worth buying a PlayStation to play.

Metal Gear Solid 3 (PS2/PS3, X360, 3DS)

Having been released back in 2004, Metal Gear Solid 3 might be one of the older games on this list, but don’t let that cheapen your perspective. Yes, the graphics and the gameplay might feel dated – it is over a decade old after all – but the story builds up to one of the strongest and most emotional climaxes in gaming history.

Metal Gear Solid 3 stuck to its stealth-action roots with a couple of gameplay twists that some critics liked and others didn’t. In that sense, Metal Gear Solid 3 is a safe bet for more of the same heart-pounding, edge-of-the-seat operations that defined the previous titles in the franchise.

But unlike its predecessors, Metal Gear Solid 3 streamlines the narrative flow and tightens up the storytelling so well that it effectively amplifies the cinematic atmosphere up several notches. It’s beautiful, it’s exciting, and it all leads to an ending that will leave you with an impression you won’t soon forget.

Heavy Rain (PS3)

Heavy Rain is the story of four protagonists who are caught up in the mystery of a serial murderer known as the Origami Killer. The player interacts with the environment, as well as with quick-time events, to drive the story forward. This game is a thriller, yes, but it’s not an action-thriller. It’s slow, deep, and immensely powerful.

The player’s decisions dictate the story and it’s entirely possible for all four of the main characters to die. Different decisions can lead to multiple endings with one of those climaxes being a grand example of just how strikingly powerful a video game can be in its imagery and mood. For this reason, many consider Heavy Rain to be more of an interactive film than a traditional video game, reminding us that video games can be art.

If you’re looking for actual gameplay, look elsewhere. That’s not where Heavy Rain excels. Instead, if you want a dark film noir game that explores the depths of the human condition, there are few games as good as this one.

Lost Odyssey (X360)

Lost Odyssey is a bit of an odd title to include, mostly because it’s a lesser-known game. It didn’t sell very well despite favorable reviews from critics. Part of the reason for that was likely due to its unconventional art style and old school gameplay mechanics. Admittedly, it’s a bit dull on the gameplay front, but the narrative side stories are incredible.

Here’s the premise: what happens when you’ve lived a thousand years but remember nothing of your past? That’s the central mystery of Lost Odyssey in the main character Kaim, who comes to learn that some things are better off left in secret.

In general, reception of the game’s story was split: the main storyline didn’t receive much love while the memory flashbacks were praised for being emotionally weighty and deeply moving. Should you play this game? If you aren’t bothered by mediocre gameplay, yes, it’s definitely a story worth exploring.

Final Thoughts

We cry for different reasons. For some, the death of a loved one is what takes us over the edge. For others, it’s undying loyalty, brotherly sacrifice or grave injustice that tugs at our hearts. These games may not end with you in tears, but they have the necessary ingredients to make it happen.

Not satisfied? Check out our other post on games that will touch you emotionally.

Have you played the listed games? Did they make you cry? Are there any unlisted titles that have resulted in puffy red eyes and a mound of wet tissues? Share your thoughts on the most emotional video games by commenting below!

What Do Gaming Routers Do And Does It Really Matter

Hardware companies target gamers with all kinds of special gaming hardware. There are gaming mice, keyboards, headsets, sound cards, and more. There are now even “gaming routers” — routers specially marketed towards gamers offering an improved online gaming experience. But what exactly do these gaming routers do differently from standard routers, and do their features really matter?

We’ll also cover the “Gaming Mode” included on many D-Link routers, which is different from a gaming router. Gaming Mode is an option included on many D-Link routers, even the cheapest ones, and has nothing to do with improving your gaming performance.

Quality of Service on Gaming Routers

Some routers are marketed as “Gaming Routers,” like D-Link’s DGL-5500. In addition to having a gamer aesthetic and a higher price, this router promises “StreamBoost” technology. Now, we haven’t benchmarked the DGL-5500 itself, but we can explain exactly what’s going on here. StreamBoost is a type of “traffic-shaping” engine. This is also often known as Quality of Service (QoS).

A typical router doesn’t care about which type of traffic is which. Your roommate using BitTorrent at maximum speed, Dropbox uploading and downloading files, web browsing, Netflix, gaming — it’s all the same to your router. All of it has equal priority when it comes to your Internet connection.

Of course, this is actually bad. You want your gaming traffic prioritized ahead of your roommate’s BitTorrent downloads. Heck, you want everything — web browsing and Skyping, for example — prioritized ahead of things like BitTorrent and background file-syncing.

What Do Gaming Routers Do And Does It Really Matter d link gamer router

D-Link’s StreamBoost feature is an intelligent QoS traffic-shaping feature. Crucially, QoS isn’t only available on routers marketed as “gaming routers.” Any router with QoS support will be able to prioritize your gaming traffic. You can even install third-party firmware from your router — like DD-WRT or OpenWRT — to add QoS support to a router without it. Of course, these may not support the router you currently have.

Of course, some of these QoS features may have more confusing, arcane interfaces. D-Link pitches their StreamBoost feature as having an easy-to-understand drag-and-drop interface, while the QoS features built into firmwares like OpenWRT and business-grade routers can be more confusing to new users.

In Summary: QoS is definitely useful and can make your online gaming more reliable if you’re struggling with a roommate that just can’t give up on their BitTorrent habit. However, bear in mind that any router with QoS can do the same thing.

What Do Gaming Routers Do And Does It Really Matter qualcomm streamboost

Other “Gaming Router” Features

Gaming routers generally also have a few other important “gamer” features that give you faster network speeds, whether you’re using a wired or wireless network connection:

  • Gigabit Ethernet Ports: These offer the fastest wired network speeds. Wired connections are still faster and lower-latency than wireless ones.
  • 802.11ac Wireless: 802.11ac is the new wireless standard, and gaming routers generally have high-end Wi-Fi hardware that supports it. Of course, this only matters if you have 802.11ac-compatible hardware.
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi: Higher-end routers support dual-band networking, allowing them to transmit on two different channels at once. This allows the router to provide more wireless network capacity.

None of these features are exclusive to “gaming routers.” They’re often not available on the cheapest, low-end routers, but they’re available on routers that are cheaper than high-end “gaming routers.”

In Summary: These features are useful and offer faster local network speeds, but aren’t exclusive to gaming routers.

Gaming Mode on D-Link Routers

D-Link routers — not just “gamer routers,” but many D-Link brand routers marketed to home users in general — come with a “Gaming Mode.”

This mode isn’t very self-explanatory — the D-Link router configuration interface says “If you are having difficulties playing some online games – please enable this mode.” and that “Gaming Mode should be used when you are playing games on the Internet from behind the router.”

What Do Gaming Routers Do And Does It Really Matter d link router gaming mode

While D-Link doesn’t provide much documentation on this, it turns out that “Gaming Mode” is essentially the same thing as “Full-Cone NAT” and the router uses “Symmetric NAT” when gaming mode is disabled.

We’ll back up a bit here. Your router uses network address translation (NAT) to share your Internet connection between the devices behind it — PCs, gaming consoles, smartphones, tablets, and whatever else. Your router discards incoming traffic by default because it has no idea which device to forward it to.

Now, let’s say your Xbox console establishes an outgoing connection to the Internet. When the Xbox receives a response to that connection, the router will forward the incoming traffic to the Xbox. With the default Symmetric NAT, the router will only forward traffic to the Xbox if it’s from the same destination the Xbox opened a communication channel with.

With full-cone NAT — that’s “Gaming Mode” in D-Link router parlance — the router will forward all incoming traffic on that port over to the Xbox.

In other words, when Gaming Mode is enabled, the Xbox can establish an outgoing connection and then receive incoming connections from any other address. This is often necessary when playing games, as they may be hosted on the Xbox itself. Many people have reported that enabling Gaming Mode on a D-Link router is necessary to use Xbox Live.

In Summary: If you have a D-Link router and are experiencing issues connecting to Xbox Live or playing multiplayer games online, enable Gaming Mode. Don’t buy a D-Link router just for this option — it won’t actually improve your gaming performance. It’s just a more permissive networking mode that allows other people to connect to you.

Is It Just Marketing?

“Gaming routers” aren’t just marketing, but a big part of them is. They do offer useful features — like traffic-shaping (QoS), Gigabit Ethernet, and all-around better Wi-Fi hardware.

However, it’s important to remember that none of these features are exclusive to gaming routers. QoS, Gigabit Ethernet, and dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi are common features in all higher-end routers, from business-grade hardware for corporate networks to higher-end home routers.

For example, D-Link’s DGL-5500 “Gamer Router” goes for $200 on Amazon, but the TRENDnet TEW-812DRU router offers all the same features — QoS, Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac wireless, and dual-band Wi-Fi — at just $138 on Amazon. The main difference is that the TRENDnet router isn’t being marketed specifically towards gamers and doesn’t have the same over-the-top design.

What Do Gaming Routers Do And Does It Really Matter trendnet router

Have you purchased a gaming router, or have you set up QoS to prioritize your online gaming traffic? Leave a comment below and share your experiences!

Image Credit: Timo Kuusela on Flickr

Experience The Perfect Combination Of Mario & Portal With Mari0

mario gamesDo you ever see Nintendo and Valve getting together to create something beautiful? No? Me neither. Thankfully, the kind folks at Stabyourself manufactured this hypothetical gaming lovechild all on their own, and it has come in the form of Mari0, the perfect combination of Mario and Portal. It’s a crazy little game, but it actually works. Not only that, but it works quite well.

Get ready to see the old meet the new with Mari0, because we’re about to take a wild ride into the Aperture Kingdom, where gladOs and Bowser unite. Maybe gladOwser would be more appropriate, or BadOs. Wait, wait. gladOopa. I’ll stop now.

Put Portal In The World Of Mario

So let’s get this straight – you get to play the entire original Super Mario Bros. game… with a Portal gun. How cool is that? (pretty darn cool, I’d say).  Basically, in addition to your original frustrations of getting hit by Lakuta or bit by one of those pesky piranha plants, you now have the challenge of utilizing the Portal gun to get around.

Granted, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this newfound frustration is totally voluntary.  You can play the entire game without the gun seeing that this is just the original SMB game with an extra tool, but where’s the fun in that?

mario games

The Portal gun adds this whole new element to Mario that simply wasn’t available when it was originally released. Considering that these two games were both genre-defining creations, putting them together was a match made in heaven. Now you can send your enemies into pits of death with careful planning, jump from one end of the screen to the other with only a couple of shots, and best of all, soar higher than ever before with the gravity-defying effects of the glorious portals.

mario games video games

Put Mario In The World Of Portal

So you may eventually get tired of playing just the original Mario game with a side of Portal. Fortunately, the creators have thought of a way to help you out there. In addition to the Mario map pack, there is actually a Portal map pack set in the halls of Aperture itself (cake will be served.)

mario games video games

It’s a pretty nifty little thing getting to look at this game with an 8-bit flair. You’ll get to play with all sorts of toys like light bridges, lasers, and companion cubes, so the reimagining is pretty accurate. Granted, you won’t be playing as the female lead character at all, but hey… it’s a-Mario. Nothing wrong with that, but a Peach character would have been pretty cool…

mario games video games

Put Yourself In The World Of Mari0

This game is built for customization, and fortunately, it does just that. You’ll actually find a pretty cool level editor for the game, and furthermore, you can play with up to four friends (it’s a Mario party, y’all). Granted, the level editor is a little time consuming since there are no shortcuts whatsoever. However, I really can’t complain too much – all of this is just a great idea.

play mario games

mario games

Just throwing this out there, but the controls for the game were a little clunky for me seeing that it is essentially combining two games. You would likely be using WASD keys along with maybe Space to jump and right-shift to run or throw fireballs if this was purely Mario. However, with this, your right hand (or left-hand) has to use the mouse for the Portal gun.

With that being said, the default run/fireball button is the left-shift, and to be honest, that’s a little tough at times. I tried toying with other configurations, but I simply couldn’t figure anything out. It’s not too big of a deal, though – the game survives just fine.

Conclusion

Mari0 is a must-download, and with that in mind, the entire thing is free. Totally free. You don’t even have to sign a EULA in blood. Go ahead and download it whether you’re running PC, Mac, or Linux. Heck, the creators even will throw in the source code. What do you have to lose?

At the time of this article, Mari0 is a recent release, and there are still a few bugs being worked out. As stated in this blog post, the creators have addressed them and are presently working on them to the best of their abilities.

Based on personal observations, the game is still playable, and I have encountered only one minor bug with only the editor in which Mari0 actually disappears, rendering the tool useless. However, exiting the editor and then returning to it seemed to fix it. Keep in mind that the game is hot off the press, and bugs are still being fixed (but it is SO cool).

What other game mash-ups do you know of? What do you think of this version of Mari0?

Ready To Get Weird? 7 Bizarre Mobile Games You’ll Love

Flinging birds, matching candies, and outscoring friends on your smartphone are all a ton of fun. But sometimes you’re just in the mood for something out of the ordinary. Check out these bizarre, kooky, oddball games for Android and iOS that bring a bit of weirdness to your day and enjoyment to your mobile gaming.

1. Booger Boing

Bounce boogers through a nose.

If the name alone doesn’t describe the bizarre nature of this game, then the gameplay will. In Booger Boing, you must shoot a booger through a nose, around obstacles, and into the level goal. Just remember, there is no helpful tissue, nose-blowing, or nasal spray allowed. It’s just you and your finger.

Ready to Get Weird? 7 Bizarre Mobile Games You'll Love BoogerBoing mobile

You can adjust the direction and strength of each fling. Stick to the green parts of the nasal walls, watch out for dangerous nose-residing creatures, and do not fall into the vast mucus at the bottom. Collect coins as you bounce and you can redeem them for awesome hats, glasses, and other items to dress up your booger.

If you can get past the strange name and off-the-wall concept, you will enjoy Booger Boing. The game has impressive graphics, upbeat music, and plenty of challenging levels. It is a truly fun, hard-to-put-down game.

Download — Booger Boing for Android | iOS (Free)

2. Sausage Bomber

Save the nation with sausage.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to strike back at invaders. Gear up and move out with your Sausage Bomber. You will load up with kielbasa, Scottish haggis, Vienna sausage, and even your standard-issue encased meat.

Ready to Get Weird? 7 Bizarre Mobile Games You'll Love SausageBomber mobile

As you complete 128 unique missions, you will earn coins for your successes. Redeem those valuable coins for different bombers or save up for the Atomic Sausage. Your best strategy is to create a chain reaction that takes out the invaders with a single sausage. Take aim and plan your drop because there is nothing worse than a sausage just lying on the ground.

Sausage Bomber has the strange concept of bombing invaders with meat. However, it’s enjoyable with well-designed graphics and the right amount of difficulty, making it an overall cool game.

Download — Sausage Bomber for Android | iOS ($1.99)

3. I Am Bread

Become a piece of toast.

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the most interesting. I Am Bread is a game where you are just that: bread. But, you have high hopes for yourself that go beyond bologna. You want to become toast and you are determined to make it happen.

Ready to Get Weird? 7 Bizarre Mobile Games You'll Love IAmBread mobile

I Am Bread is a challenging, addictive game that takes you through the kitchen and into the garden to fulfill your dream. You will flip, turn, climb, and nudge the bread toward the toaster. The hard part is that you cannot touch the ground. If you do, you must move quickly to save yourself or you will have to start again.

Can you make it out of the kitchen and onto the other seven levels? Or is peanut butter and jelly as far as you will ever go? Toast — er, test your skills in this unusual bread-winning adventure.

Download — I Am Bread for Android | iOS ($4.99)

4. Robot Unicorn Attack 2

They really do exist.

Rainbows and unicorns are said to bring happiness. But in Robot Unicorn Attack 2, they bring kookiness. You are in control of the strong and mighty robot unicorn in this endless runner with a twist. Make a wish and then race through the worlds at war.

Ready to Get Weird? 7 Bizarre Mobile Games You'll Love RobotUnicornAttack2 mobile

You’ll collect tears and fairies, dash through stars, and witness space whales and ice owls. Reach the goals, climb the leaderboards, achieve a high ranking, and be rewarded for your bravery with powerful boosts.

Try not to get distracted by the strange and silly things happening around you. Just race through the land with your flowing rainbow mane in this follow-up to the original Rainbow Unicorn Attack.

Download — Robot Unicorn Attack 2 for Android | iOS (Free)

5. Goat Simulator

Be the goat.

Summon your inner goat and get ready to cause some destruction in Goat Simulator. Earn points for destroying objects — whether crates, cars, or cans, wreck whatever you want. Then, lick some money, jump on a trampoline, or take a stranger for a wild ride.

Ready to Get Weird? 7 Bizarre Mobile Games You'll Love GoatSimulator mobile

Goat Simulator has been around for a while, but is still going strong and receiving updates. The physics are a bit unusual and might make you chuckle. But what could be more fun than being a goat and headbutting a human on your quest for golden trophies or tasty sugar?

Be a normal goat, spider goat, or an evil goat as you travel through Goatville, Goat City Bay, and then go Buck to School. The choice is yours because, of course, you are the goat.

Download — Goat Simulator for Android | iOS ($4.99)

6. Amateur Surgeon 4

Play doctor.

Grab your pizza cutter and prepare for surgery in Amateur Surgeon 4. Doctor Bleed has been resurrected in this fourth game of the series. You will operate on over 100 unique patients patching up their brains, hearts, lungs, and other innards.

Ready to Get Weird? 7 Bizarre Mobile Games You'll Love AmateurSurgeon4 mobile

Reassemble a rib cage and remove glass from cuts, but watch the patient’s health meter as you operate. You may need to give them a shot of pain medicine because their lives are in your hands. You can also recruit partners with abnormal abilities to assist you. Filthy Nowe can help you find valuables inside of the patients and Barbara Ho-Tep sweeps away debris during the operations.

Amateur Surgeon 4 has an intriguing story of mystery surrounding all the blood and guts. And of course, the game does not use realistic graphics. So even though it is odd and a little gross, it’s still enjoyable.

Download — Amateur Surgeon 4 for Android | iOS (Free)

7. Office Jerk

Ever wish you could do this in person?

If you’ve ever worked in an office environment, then you know that no matter where you go, there is always that one annoying colleague. Maybe it’s your supervisor or just a coworker at the desk next to you. Either way, Office Jerk gives you the chance to do what you wish you could do in real life.

Ready to Get Weird? 7 Bizarre Mobile Games You'll Love OfficeJerk mobile

In this odd oldie but goodie, you get to throw a stapler, plunger, pie, and even a creepy gnome at a dude who is hard at work. Your goal is to hit him in the head as many times in a row as possible. But breaking his computer screen and making him sneeze do help you mark items off the handy checklist.

Aim well because when you miss, he taunts you. This makes you want to just grab that computer monitor and give him a huge lump on his head, which also happens to be on the checklist. Weird? Sure. Entertaining? Absolutely.

Download — Office Jerk for Android | iOS (Free)

What Oddball Games Did We Miss?

If you have tried and now enjoy one of these strange mobile games, let us know. But, if you know of one or currently play one that is bizarre, feel free to share it with us. It could be the concept, storyline, graphics, or even the controls that makes you scratch your head.

Whatever it is that makes the game weird, fill us in so that we can check it out!

Image Credits: ProStockStudio/Shutterstock

Xbox Live Indie Games: Must-play Titles That Won’t Break The Bank

Xbox Live Indie Games: Must-Play Titles That Won't Break The Bank xblig xbox indie gamesWith all the hype and excitement surrounding the next-gen hardware, and exclusive titles coming out of Redmond in November, you can be forgiven for missing the news that one of Microsoft’s brightest ideas will be rolling over come November. Xbox Live Indie Games will no longer have a dedicated home on the platform, and instead the program will be merged into the general entertainment section in the new console.

Xbox Live Indie Games are the product of hobby and folly, providing anyone with an idea and some programming skills with a chance to make and release a game. The platform went live in late 2008 when the first indie games were released. Since then the number of titles has surpassed 2,000, and despite all the terrible Minecraft clones and avatar games there are some quality titles to be found.

Unfortunately, Xbox Live Indie Games won’t be around forever, so here are my must-play titles before time runs out.

Note: You can download these titles as trials to sample them before you buy. If you login on Xbox.com using your Xbox Live credentials and “buy” the trials in your browser, the next time you turn on your console and sign-in, your downloads should auto-complete.

Hidden in Plain Sight (80 points, $1)

Xbox Live Indie Games: Must-Play Titles That Won't Break The Bank hidden plain sight

Without a doubt one of the best local multiplayer experiences you can have an an Xbox 360, Hidden in Plain Sight is a game all about deception and cunning. There are five separate game modes in total, providing quite a bit of variety for your 80 points.

For a detailed description of how each game mode works, you should watch the preview below in which developer Adam Spragg runs through the various rules in detail. Generally speaking, all of the games involve deceiving your fellow players and remaining undetected from a top-down perspective.

The best thing about this game is that up to 4 local players can get involved at once, which makes for an incredibly hectic session that is bound to result in hilarity. It is one of the simplest, most engaging party games on the platform, for a dollar!

I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 (80 points, $1)

Xbox Live Indie Games: Must-Play Titles That Won't Break The Bank zombies in it

As you might expect from that title, I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 is an indie game that heavily features zombies. The game takes the form of a twin stick shooter, where the player moves their character using the left stick, and fires endlessly with the right stick.

Thanks to its satisfyingly addictive mechanics and that rather silly name, I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES!!!1 became one of the biggest hits on XBLIG, and for 80 points it’s easy to see why.

Featuring a soundtrack recorded by the programmer himself (which is literally him wailing “I made a game, with zombies in it” over a guitar track), this is one memorable shooter that’ll keep you and a friend busy for really cheap.

Escape Goat (80 points, $1)

Xbox Live Indie Games: Must-Play Titles That Won't Break The Bank escape goat

Not just a brilliant pun, Escape Goat is a deliciously 8-bit platformer in which you play the role of a goat… who must escape from a series of rooms. This is typical puzzle platformer stuff, except it’s executed brilliantly and only costs 80 points.

There are certain full priced (800 points plus) games on Xbox Live Arcade that lack the thought and effort put into Escape Goat, making it a particularly compelling purchase.

A game such as this demands tight controls, and thankfully that’s exactly what the developers delivered. If you like block-pushing, button-triggering platformers laden with livestock puns this game’s for you.

Apple Jack & Apple Jack 2 (80 points each, $1)

Xbox Live Indie Games: Must-Play Titles That Won't Break The Bank apple jack

The original Apple Jack was a brightly coloured platformer that made quite a name for itself in the Xbox Indie community. The game appears to have been inspired by Super Mario Bros 2, the Mario game that isn’t actually a Mario game at all.

In both titles you play the role of Apple Jack, a British chap whose head has been replaced with an Apple. You must collect coins, light up bulbs and throw pandas around in order to beat the many levels.

These are two sweet little platformers that enjoy a great sense of humour, acoustic soundtracks and satisfying level design that’ll keep you busy for hours.

Text Zedventure (80 points, $1)

Xbox Live Indie Games: Must-Play Titles That Won't Break The Bank text zedventure

It’s like a text adventure, but for your Xbox 360! How does that work, you might be asking? It’s a completely re-thought text adventure… one that requires no typing, but multiple-choice instead.

This game has no graphics at all, instead relying on on-screen text and audio accompaniments. The story loosely revolves around a disaster in which your city is overrun with the infected.

A text adventure on your console might not sound like a great idea, but for a dollar this is worth investigating. The idea alone deserves some recognition, and I was personally surprised at just how tense it can get.

Arkedo Series: 01 JUMP!, 02 SWAP! & 03 PIXEL! (240 points each, $3)

Xbox Live Indie Games: Must-Play Titles That Won't Break The Bank arkedo

The most expensive games on this list at 240 points each, this is an abnormally polished series of XBLIG games developed by full-time game developer Arkedo. They’ve embraced the low price point of the Indie Games platform, while providing a professional quality product you might expect from Xbox Live Arcade. Three times.

Each of their games have some variety for around $3 a go. 01 JUMP (above) is a very shiny and exacting 2D platformer that’s not too dissimilar to the original Mario in its style.

02 SWAP! (above) is a puzzler, and one you’ve probably played before. The idea is to make horizontal and vertical lines of tiles by matching colours. Finally 03 PIXEL! (below) fuses platforming and simple puzzle solving into one rather beautiful and enjoyable final product.

qrth-phyl (240 points, $3)

Xbox Live Indie Games: Must-Play Titles That Won't Break The Bank qrth phyl

This is one Xbox Indie Game that’s given me flashbacks – both to the original, chunky Nokia mobile phones and to a time when the funky, trippy visuals of Rez were just hitting the Dreamcast.

qrth-phyl is the love child that Rez and Nokia’s Snake game never had. Not only is the visual style utterly striking and beautiful, the 90s-inspired gameplay means anyone can pick it up and instantly know what to do.

Radiangames Inferno, JoyJoy & Crossfire (80 points each, $1)

Xbox Live Indie Games: Must-Play Titles That Won't Break The Bank crossfire

Radiangames have consistently produced Xbox Live Indie Games for a number of years, with a total of 7 games currently available for download. I’ve chosen to highlight three of my favourites, starting with twin-stick shooter Inferno (below).

All of Radiangames’ releases share a neon colour scheme and over the top special effects. Glowing enemies meet vector-like tracer fire resulting in beautiful explosions, though each game offers a slightly different challenge.

These games all take their cues from the arcades. While Inferno is a platform-like shooter, JoyJoy (above) has the most in common with Asteroids while Crossfire (below) takes its inspiration from Space Invaders. A feast for the eyes, and rather good value for 80 points a pop.

You can see the rest of Radiangames’ releases here.

White Noise: A Tale of Horror & White Noise Online (80 points each, $1)

Xbox Live Indie Games: Must-Play Titles That Won't Break The Bank whitenoise

Cashing in on the success of the Slender games, which themselves were based on a SomethingAwful forum meme, White Noise and its sequel White Noise Online are two scare ’em up games that will scare you sideways.

The idea here is the same as the previous Slender games: wander round in the dark with a flashlight, collecting tapes (previously notes) only to scare yourself senseless when you spy something sinister.

White Noise Online is worth grabbing for its unifying terror – now you and a friend can team up for some co-op tape hunting and inevitable fear.

If you enjoyed this list of titles don’t forget to check out my recent round-up of freebies for your Xbox 360.

What are your favourite Xbox Live Indie Games? What should Microsoft do to preserve the community when the Xbox One arrives? Leave your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below.

Important First Person Shooters That Evolved The Genre [muo Gaming]

important first person shootersFirst and third person shooters are the most popular genre in the video game world right now. Call of Duty and Halo have the charts on lock down, and games like Battlefield and Crysis are extremely popular in their own right. On the PC, shooters have been around for a long time, with important first person shooters like Unreal Tournament, Doom, and Half Life really bringing the genre to the forefront.

The common theme with all of these shooters is, well, shooting. However, there are some occasions where a shooter breaks the mold and adds some kind of innovative gameplay mechanic. Sure, the core of the gameplay will remain pointing a crosshair at an enemy and blowing them to smithereens, but it’s amazing how much a little change to a mechanic can make a game feel like something completely new.

Today, we are going to look at some FPS games that offer something new to the genre. Of course, many of the items these games offer have been copied and are not so new anymore, but at the time, it was something new and special.

Faceball 2000

important first person shooters

If you’ve played any modern shooter, you are probably familiar with the concept of regenerating health. You get shot a few times, go hide, and come back ready to go. All too often, Halo is wrongfully given the honor of being the first shooter to bring this to the table, but the origin actually goes all the way back to a Super Nintendo game.

The incredibly odd Faceball 2000 had regenerating health long before Halo, and all of today’s modern shooters, were even in a glimmer in the eyes of their creators. Love it or hate it, this is the game that started it all (well technically Hydlide did, but it was not a shooter).

Call of Duty

first person shooter games

At this point, most gamers think of Call of Duty as the tired franchise that releases a new game every year that sells millions of copies. When Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare hit store shelves, no one thought that. Instead, we were blown away by the leveling and unlocking system offered in multiplayer. Never before have gamers had so many reasons to stick with a game for such a long period of time.

Call of Duty actually gets a double mention here. COD was the game that pioneered the “summer blockbuster” movie kind of game. The single player in Call of Duty feels like a nonstop roller coaster ride, which is a big shift compared to the pacing of most games. It may be done to death now, but when the original game hit, it was like nothing we’ve encountered before. Not bad for a game that many gamers feel is overstaying its welcome.

Winback

first person shooter games

Winback is a shooter released by Koei for the Nintendo 64 in 1999. It’s actually a third person shooter, but still, the idea of the game is pointing your crosshair at bad guys and kill them. Winback, while not remembered by most gamers, is actually the first 3D game to feature a cover system, a mechanic that’s featured in many shooters today like Gears of War and Uncharted.

Soldier of Fortune and Metal Gear Solid 2 deserve mention for bringing cover systems to the forefront, but it was Winback that really got the ball rolling.

Team Fortress

first person shooter games

Team Fortress is the game that really popularized the idea of players having a role in the battle. Instead of everyone just trying to get the most kills, players in Team Fortress choose a class, and the class has certain abilities that can help the team win the battle. This has led to franchises like Battlefield and all of its games.

Battlefield 2 is my favorite shooter ever made, and it was Team Fortress that paved the way for games like it with its awesome class system. Both Team Fortress and Team Fortress 2 are still played today, and that is certainly an impressive feat.

Hexen II

important first person shooters

Hexen II was the shooter that popularized adding “RPG Elements.” Instead of shooting simply to make it to the end of the level, in Hexen II, players actually gained experience points that made their character more powerful. Essentially, everything you find in a game like Final Fantasy or any other classic RPG is in Hexen II, except, instead of casting spells, you are shooting people in the face.

It’s not the best game ever made, but it paved the way for games like Borderlands, and I love me some Borderlands.

Conclusion

Most of the mechanics these games bring to the table are a little played out now. We’ve seen hundreds of shooters with RPG elements, and even more with progressive unlocking systems in multiplayer, but at the time, these flipped the genre on its head.

Will shooters continue to evolve with new mechanics like the ones brought forth with these games? Only time will tell, be we most certainly need to hope they do, or the shooter genre will have a limited shelf life, even if it’s already been around for a long, long time.

5 Ways To Stream Video Games From Your Pc To Your Main Tv

Want to play your favorite PC games on your main TV? You’re not alone.

With that huge library of games, using a Windows, macOS, or Linux computer like a quasi-games console is an attractive prospect. Given that console game controllers will run on desktop operating systems, it just makes so much sense.

But there’s often a problem, and it’s usually related to position. Your PC is in one room, your TV in another. Running a long HDMI cable between the rooms is both expensive and impractical. As is buying a second gaming rig!

So, what is the solution? Streaming. Here are five ways you can stream games from your existing desktop or laptop PC to your TV today.

1. Miracast

You’ll find several wireless HDMI systems available that are compatible with desktop operating systems. Wireless HDMI enables the transmission of audio and video signals between two devices, which makes the technologies you see below possible.

Early wireless HDMI devices (such as those using Intel’s WiDi and AMD Wireless Display) have been superseded by Miracast. This is now the standard for wireless connections from devices to TVs and other displays. With support for Windows, you can easily stream games from your PC or laptop to your TV via a compatible dongle.

Several smart TV manufacturers also include Miracast support, which means you might even be able to stream your favorite games to your TV without spending money on a Miracast dongle. If you need a dongle, they’re generally available for $30-$90.

In terms of a complete solution, Miracast doesn’t handle your game controllers. A wireless controller solution might work here, but if not, you’ll need to look at another option.

2. Steam Link

This option combines affordability, a dedicated console-style interface, and a controller. Steam Link launched in 2015 with an initial price of $49.99, but a series of price cuts in 2017 have seen it sold through major retailers for (at least) a 50% discount.

While you’ll need a Steam account and library of games to use the Steam Link, the device is straightforward to set up. With two USB slots on the side for connecting game controllers, the Steam Link also features an Ethernet jack and HDMI port. For best results, you should wire the Steam Link to your router.

5 Ways to Stream Video Games From Your PC to Your Main TV muo gaming steamlink device library

Once up and running, all you need to do is make sure you have Steam installed and running on your PC. Both your PC and the Steam Link should be on the same network, and a few minutes later you’ll be playing your favorite games on your TV! You can use either a standard console controller, your keyboard and mouse, or buy the Steam Controller (our review). This last option is intended to make keyboard and mouse-controlled games easier to interact with.

Game resolution is as expected, but note that audio is limited to standard stereo, rather than the Dolby 5.1 surround you probably enjoy on your PC.

See our guide to Steam Link for an in-depth look at setting it up.

3. Nvidia Gamestream

Offering a similar solution to the Steam Link, Nvidia Gamestream (available via the Nvidia SHIELD TV) is also capable of streaming video and other media from the internet. This, along with the bundled game controller and remote (both with built-in mics for voice commands) explains why it is considerably more expensive than the Steam Link.

Note that a suitable Nvidia graphics card will set you back an extra $100 or so.

Although positioned as a cord-cutter’s dream, the Nvidia SHIELD (our review) isn’t limited to streaming 4K content from the web. Once set up, if you have a PC or laptop on the same network with a suitable Nvidia GTX series GPU, the Nvidia SHIELD can manage game streaming from your computer to your TV.

Meanwhile, if your gaming rig isn’t up to scratch, the Nvidia SHIELD will let you stream video games from the cloud. The GeForce NOW service is available for $7.99 a month, and will stream games to your TV via the Nvidia SHIELD TV box.

4. Create Your Own Steam Link With a Raspberry Pi

Meanwhile, if all of these options seem a bit expensive, but you happen to have a Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, you can replicate the functions of a Steam Link on the little computer!

5 Ways to Stream Video Games From Your PC to Your Main TV smart mirror why you need a raspberry pi

Incredible but true, you’ll need a PC or laptop with an Nvidia GTX series GPU, starting with the GTX 650. Also required is the GeForce Experience software, and Steam itself. Naturally you’ll need to install the games you wish to play from your Steam library.

Finally, this excellent Raspberry Pi hack requires Moonlight. This is an open-source version of the software found on the Nvidia SHIELD, and runs on the Raspbian operating system. Once installed, you’ll be able to run Steam on your PC and stream the desktop and games to your TV.

Find out more in our tutorial to setting up a Raspberry Pi as a DIY Steam Link box.

5. Solutions With Limitations

Reading the above, you’ve possibly been considering some alternatives, based on hardware that you already own. For instance, you might own an Apple TV, or a Google Chromecast.

Sadly, these solutions don’t work reliably, if at all. For instance, while it’s possible to cast your PC’s display with a Google Chromecast (providing you use the Google Chrome browser!), the lag is horrendous, making games unplayable. When it comes to Apple TV, meanwhile, AirPlay has similar restrictions. While some attempts have been made to hack the Apple TV to run the Moonlight software, the results aren’t yet ready to use.

Curiously, it isn’t possible to stream PC games from your computer to your TV via an Xbox One. Instead, the Xbox Play Anywhere service makes it possible to play games on both Windows PC and your Xbox One, with a single purchase. So, for example, you could play Gears of War 4 on your PC while a family member is watching TV, then continue the game on your Xbox One when they’ve left the house.

This isn’t streaming, but it’s a great solution. Sadly, it’s limited to a few titles, but the list continues to expand.

Stream PC Games to Your TV With 5 Easy Methods!

While some of these solutions might require some expense, overall, they’re all better value, and require less fuss, than a long HDMI cable. Let’s remind ourselves of the five ways you can stream video games from your PC to your TV:

  • Miracast
  • Steam Link
  • Nvidia Shield TV
  • Raspberry Pi DIY Link Box
  • Chromecast/Apple TV/Xbox Play Anywhere

Which one should you choose? It’s a tricky call, but if you’re looking for an affordable, game-focused solution, then the Steam Link makes sense. Not only is it cheap, it’s simple to set up and has a companion game controller.

Have you tried any of these methods of game streaming? Do you know of any others? We want to know what you use! Tell us in the comments.

Sons Of Anarchy And Dexter – Two Shows Tailor-made To Be Video Games

Recently, South Park: The Stick of Truth came out to rave reviews, and it reminded us all that just because a game is based on a licensed property, specifically a TV show, it doesn’t have to be bad. Sure, plenty of bad games release based on movies and TV shows all the time, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be done right. All it takes is a developer giving the property a little time and effort, and a TV show-based game can be just as good as any other property.

All of this got me thinking — what other TV shows would make great games, provided they were handed off to a developer who actually cared enough to give it the proper treatment? So with that, let’s take a look at some TV shows that have the parts in place to make for a fantastic video game.

Sons of Anarchy

Outside of seeing how good the South Park game is, it was catching up on the most recent season of SoA that actually inspired me to write this article in the first place. Before I even get into why I think it would make for a fantastic game, I will say that if you’ve never watched the show, you most definitely should, provided a little excessive violence isn’t something you can’t handle.

What suits it to becoming a video game: The show is a non-stop action fest. It has high-speed motorcycle and car chases, intense gun fights, and even choices that Jax Teller, the main character has to make. Of course, those choices are made for you, the viewer, in the show, but in a game the options open up to allowing the player to make the choice. That guy who just betrayed the motorcycle club; run him out of town or send him to an early grave? These choices could now be made by the player.

It even has the video game equivalent of side quests, where the club is asked by others to perform various tasks for other people in Charming, CA, the city in which they reside. This would allow gamers to venture outside of the main story and into other areas, thus expanding game life.

What genre should it be: Your first instinct would be to make this a GTA clone, for obvious reason. However, I envision this hypothetical game as a third-person shooter with RPG elements, sort of like Mass Effect, but with even less focus on leveling up and amassing loot. The morality system and dialog choices would really be what makes the game interesting, as you could choose to make the SoA a ruthless street gang, or a slightly more legitimate business venture. Add in the intense combat that comes in the form of gun and fist fights, and you’d have an action-packed game that, if given the right amount of care from a development studio, could be absolutely fantastic.

mass-effect-screenshot

(There actually is a SoA game coming, and it will be a first person action game, but personally, I think it would be better if it wasn’t just action focused.)

Dexter

Dexter actually had a couple of games released, but quite frankly none of them were very good. Now that the show is off the air, it’s time to give Dexter his due.

In case you aren’t sure of just what Dexter is, it follows the tale of a sociopath named Dexter Morgan who works as a blood splatter analyst for the Miami Metro homicide department. Oh, and in his spare time he murders bad guys.

What suits it to becoming a video game: Dexter has everything a great video game needs — fantastic story, action, dialog, humor, and more. Dexter has to play a balancing act of living his public life and dealing with his dark passenger (that which compels him to commit acts of murder). This leads to choices that Dexter has to make every single day, and choices are the backbone of many of the best video games.

Dexter is not nearly as action-packed as Sons of Anarchy, rather it focuses on a much more cerebral approach. That doesn’t mean it’s not suited to gaming though, as a certain game based on a zombie comic book has shown us…

What genre should it be: The Dexter game on iOS, and most suggestions from fans of the series, focuses on open world gameplay. I have a different vision, and Telltale is the team to make it happen. The nuances of Dexter are perfectly suited to a game like The Walking Dead. No, not that terrible one from Activision, I am talking about the new take on point-and-click adventure games.

Much of Dexter is focused on dialog and finding clues that prove that the person Dexter wants to take out is actually guilty. This is perfectly suited to the point-and-click genre. When Dexter does prove guilt, the person generally doesn’t go down willingly, and that’s where Telltale’s slightly more action focused way of handling the genre would be perfect. With Telltale branching out to franchises like Game of Thrones, Borderlands, and Fables, it’s not far fetched that it could take on Dexter, and it’s something I would love to see happen.

Conclusion

Game developers: feel free to take these ideas and make them happen, because I want to play them! Seriously.

What TV shows would you like to see brought to gaming, and how do you think it should be executed? Hit the comments section below and let us know!