The History Of Pokémon

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The History Of Pokémon

Gazing up at the orange Carrot building in Setagaya, Tokyo, you would have no idea it was the home of Game Freak, the developer behind one of the world's most popular video game franchises. The Pokémon logo isn’t displayed anywhere in the lobby, and Pokémon Go’s nearby PokéStops don’t offer any hint of the studio’s existence. Across the street at a 7-Eleven, a banner waves over the door to promote the most recent Pokémon movie, but that’s currently at every one of the convenience stores throughout Japan.

Once you make your way to Game Freak’s floor, a red sign with the company’s logo makes an appearance in the hall, but you won’t see your first Pokémon until you make it past a locked door. The waiting area is a dark room with a single chair, ominous floor lighting, a backlit Game Freak logo, and a brightly lit, slowly rotating globe.

This feature originally appeared in print issue 293.

10 Unexpected, Weird Games We Want On Switch

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10 Unexpected, Weird Games We Want On Switch

The Switch has had a busy year, with both exciting new releases and unexpected ports. Nintendo's portable powerhouse continues to draw the interest of third-party and indie developers. We already wrote up the heavy-hitters we want to come to Switch, so we sat down and thought about the lesser-known stuff on the console, y'know, the weirdos. Here are 10 unexpected games we'd love to see on The Switch.

Heat SignatureFrom the maker of Gunpoint, Heat Signature is an ambitious, fun sci-fi indie that's all about tactics and reaction timing. In Heat Signature, your mission is to board ships. Sometimes you're killing everyone on said ship, sometimes you're just sneaking around to steal tech. Either way Heat Signature is a great combination of action and strategy. Given the dearth of strategy games on The Switch, it'd be great to have this indie gem on there.

You can read Kyle Hilliard's review of the game here.

The Games Brian Shea Finished In 2017

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The Games Brian Shea Finished In 2017

Each year I relish the opportunity to play through as many games as possible before the calendar turns. I don't look at this solely as a challenge as a gamer, but also a way for me to get as full a picture as possible so that I can make educated statements about the year as a whole in my professional life. I know it's always going to be impossible to keep up with all the big and noteworthy releases each year, but that was especially true in 2017.

Last year, when I did this list for 2016, I reflected back on how amazing games were during that year, but I don't think I could have ever prepared myself for what 2017 would bring. I played plenty of new and exciting experiences, but I also found myself relying on old favorites from last year. Despite my fervor dying down a bit, I still poured over 100 additional hours into Overwatch, my favorite game of last year, and Pokémon Go, a title that continues to deliver a markedly different experience from any game I've ever played. However, I tried to limit my time most nights so that I could experience the goldmine of new releases that 2017 offered.

Super Replay – Vampire Hunter D

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Super Replay – Vampire Hunter D

Our playthrough of Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 is the most successful Super Replay to date. One thing became abundantly clear: You love watching us suffer while playing broken games. From the comments I read, a good number of you expected we would play another Sonic game for the annual 12.31 Super Replay. As tempting as that idea was, we decided to flip the script again, and do something completely different. Playing a survival horror game without Tim Turi still feels wrong. Playing another Sonic game just feels wrong, period. So we decided to turn our sights on the anime crowd, a pocket of loyal fans Replay hasn't mocked enough.

The one game that bubbled to the surface was Vampire Hunter D, a little-known PlayStation relic that launched on September 25, 2000. Developed by Victor Interactive Software and published by Jaleco, Vampire Hunter D is a game about a powerful talking hand that is attached to a vampire. I don't want to give away much more than that. The only other thing I will say is, we're having a terrible good time playing it. As always, we hope you enjoy this year's pick. It's unexpected, I know, but that's how these 12.31 Super Replays should be.

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Two Free PSVR Games Worth Downloading And Six That Aren't

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Two Free PSVR Games Worth Downloading And Six That Aren't

If you're new to the world of PlayStation VR as a result of the holiday, here is some free software worth checking out, and some that isn't. In looking at these free PlayStation VR games, I avoided demos for larger games and the couple of video platforms that are available as those are just avenues to paid content.

The games (or in some cases, experiences) you will find below are standalone, ideally in place by Sony to show off what your PlayStation VR can do, but some are barely worth the time it takes to download. Of course, with that being said, all of these come with the caveat that they are free, so you certainly don't have to take my word for it.

The Last Guardian VR DemoI love the universe Fumito Ueda created between Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian, and the opportunity to be quite literally inside of it and interact with Trico up close was an offer I was eager to take Sony up on. In the demo you see through the eyes of the boy as you get a sense of Trico's scale and what it might be like to ride on his back. You also get to play through the collapsing bridge sequence that was used to re-introduce The Last Guardian to the world at E3 from the first-person perspective.

The 10 Best Arcade Bars In America

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The 10 Best Arcade Bars In America

Few things pair better than video games and beer. Restauranteurs have taken notice, and over the past decade several impressive arcade/bar hybrids have emerged throughout the country looking to lure thirsty gamers. The Game Informer staff travels a lot over the course of the year, and when we're in new towns we often try to make time to check out these venues. We haven't crossed every barcade throughout the United States off our list of places to visit, but of the many we've visited to burn through a hefty stack of quarters, these are our favorites.

The 1UpLocation: Denver
The barcade of choice for most Denverites like our own Ben Reeves, The 1Up is so popular it spawned a second location. Both the Colfax and LoDo spots feature dozens of classic arcade cabinets and pinball machines. Hardcore players can engage in monthly tournaments or league play. To match the lo-fi vibe, the bar offers many different 40-ounce malt liquor offerings in addition to tap beer.

Our Favorite Video Game Music From 2017

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Our Favorite Video Game Music From 2017

2017 was a year popping with fantastic soundtracks, from beginning to end. Here are our editors' favorite soundtracks to blare.

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Leo VaderStreets of Rogue
Streets of Rogue has an absolute banger of a soundtrack, which in a roguelike does a lot to make replaying it exciting. Every friend of mine who tried this game out, whether they enjoyed it or not, individually mentioned how damn good the music is. "Slum Scrum" from the third level of the game is my personal favorite track.

Replay – BioShock

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Replay – BioShock

Beneath the surface of the ocean, at a depth where not even the faintest trace of the sun’s mighty light can be seen, the cold, obdurate blackness holds the future of mankind. It’s here that the underwater metropolis known as Rapture was built with the dream of the top brass of science congregating to build a better tomorrow. As the experiments and theories began to take shape, science defeated common sense, and something went wrong. Something went terribly wrong. As your bathysphere descends toward this revered paradise, you are hit with the sinking fear that mankind may have gone too far. It’s not until you step foot in the ruins of this city that you realize just how real this fear is.

This is the intro paragraph to my BioShock review. I was blown away by this game, giving it a rating of 10 out of 10, and showering it with hyperbole along the lines of calling it "ingenious, enthralling, and a masterpiece of the most epic proportions." BioShock originally released on August 21, 2007, and has recently come back for its 10th anniversary on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Would you kindly click the play button below to see why I call it one of video games' most important titles? Seriously, click the damn button.

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The Top Tabletop Games Of 2017

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The Top Tabletop Games Of 2017

The tabletop gaming world has seen a year of innovation and design excellence, with dozens of stellar projects to discover. It’s challenging to narrow down to just a few standouts; this year’s selections attempt to target the most innovative, artistically rich, and elegantly designed games that rolled out to players over the last 12 months.  

Many of the best releases of 2017 boasted intricate “legacy” elements, allowing groups to carry over storytelling and add new game elements from one session to the next. Other projects had abstract, single-session strategy designs that felt inventive and surprising. Still others managed to capture the spirit of existing fictional universes, and translate them into stunning game concepts. 

Flip through the pages of the article to see some of the best the tabletop scene had to offer in 2017. The first half of the article includes dedicated board, card, and miniature-driven games, listed alphabetically. The second half of the article focuses on some of the most intriguing tabletop role-playing products of the year. Enjoy!