The Essentials – Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time

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The Essentials is Game Informer's weekly recurring feature that takes a look at the most important games the industry has to offer. These games aren't just a ton of fun: Their quality, innovation, and industry influence make them must-play experiences for anyone who wants a greater appreciation of our interactive medium.

This weekend we're taking a look at Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Technically the fourth game in the Prince of Persia franchise, Sand of Time marked a reboot for the series with a new story, a new Prince, and new groundbreaking mechanics that are now considered common in many modern games.

Release Year: 2003Publisher: UbisoftDeveloper: Ubisoft Montreal
Released For: PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, PC

Super Replay – Conker's Bad Fur Day Episode 9

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Conker's Bad Fur Day tells the story of a foul-mouthed squirrel journeying across farms, poop mountains, and into space to earn money and save the love of his life. You voted for Conker's Bad Fur Day to be our next Super Replay a few months ago, and we couldn't be happier to dive back into this Nintendo 64 classic! We anticipate this will be one of the longest Super Replays yet, so grab a tasty beverage, sit back, relax, and prepare for the journey of a lifetime with Ben Reeves, Tim Turi, and me.

As acclaimed as this game is, it almost didn't happen. Long before Conker was a drunkard, he was a happy-go-lucky red squirrel who was designed to appeal to kids, in a game called Conker's Quest. The press didn't like what they saw of Conker's Quest, saying it was uninspired in design. Rare went back to the drawing board, renaming the game Twelve Tales: Conker 64. That vision too came under scrutiny, and Rare scrapped everything "kiddie" or "cute," and opted to make a dark game for a mature audience. The switch worked, and launched Conker to the same heights as Rare's other hits, Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye 007, and Perfect Dark.

Super Replay – Conker's Bad Fur Day Episode 9

about X hours ago from

Conker's Bad Fur Day tells the story of a foul-mouthed squirrel journeying across farms, poop mountains, and into space to earn money and save the love of his life. You voted for Conker's Bad Fur Day to be our next Super Replay a few months ago, and we couldn't be happier to dive back into this Nintendo 64 classic! We anticipate this will be one of the longest Super Replays yet, so grab a tasty beverage, sit back, relax, and prepare for the journey of a lifetime with Ben Reeves, Tim Turi, and me.

As acclaimed as this game is, it almost didn't happen. Long before Conker was a drunkard, he was a happy-go-lucky red squirrel who was designed to appeal to kids, in a game called Conker's Quest. The press didn't like what they saw of Conker's Quest, saying it was uninspired in design. Rare went back to the drawing board, renaming the game Twelve Tales: Conker 64. That vision too came under scrutiny, and Rare scrapped everything "kiddie" or "cute," and opted to make a dark game for a mature audience. The switch worked, and launched Conker to the same heights as Rare's other hits, Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye 007, and Perfect Dark.

Five Games Thought Cancelled That Eventually Released

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People are still reeling from the official cancellation of Silent Hills, grasping at unsubstantiated rumors and clinging to hope that one day the game the game may actually see release. There's not much hope considering the somewhat ambiguous state of Konami and the future of Hideo Kojima at the studio that runs the Silent Hill franchise, but temporary cancellation is not foreign to the video game industry. It's rare, but there have been a few occasions where a game was cancelled, or assumed to be cancelled, only to surface some time later.

Duke Nukem ForeverThe poster child of long-term development, Duke Nukem Forever was announced in 1997 and floundered in development changing hands for just under 15 years until finally seeing release in 2011. It's a game many assumed was cancelled after it simply not showing up for a such a long period of time. The game did eventually release, however, to middling reviews despite our cancellation assumptions.

How Splatoon Surprised A Six Year Old (And His Father) With His First Online Experience

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As I think about how different my childhood was from my children's, I'm forced to realize how much has changed in 35 years. My kids still hide books under their pillows and read with a flashlight after bedtime, so I know that some things remain the same. But the world is at their fingertips, and until today, my son didn't really know it.

The Internet has changed everything, both for good and for ill. It's easy to look at the pain social media has caused so many and think it's all a waste, but then I remember the connections I've made with those I might never have met. Information is at our fingertips at all hours of the day, and books, movies, and games can all be in our hands instantly.

My six-year-old son grew up with games in the house. One of my favorite pictures of us is him propped up next to me in our house in Rochester, New York as I played a game. I even remember what was on the Xbox 360 when the photo was taken (Fable II Pub Games, so I could build up cash before I started the game when it came out).

The Giant E3 2015 Games List

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The Giant E3 2015 Games List

There's no shortage of gaming conventions throughout the year, but the Electronic Entertainment Expo is still the show where you're likely to see the biggest reveals and newest demos. That's why we've compiled a handy list of all the games we're expecting to see, which we will be updating as more announcements are made.

So far, only a handful of games have been confirmed by their respective publishers to be at the show, and are consequently labeled as such. If you don't see the word "Confirmed" next to the game's name, it means the title might not be there, but we expect (or in some cases hope) to see it in some form at the show.

Matt Miller, Matt Kato, and Brian Shea also contributed to this feature.

Replay – Mission: Impossible

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Replay – Mission: Impossible

James Bond isn't the only secret agent/spy/super sleuth/master of gadgets/good-looking ninja guy to make a splash on Nintendo 64. Ethan Hunt was a part of a Mission: Impossible game that launched on the system in 1998 to a respectable 8 out of 10 rating from Game Informer. "The key to this game's success is variety and there's plenty of it," a younger version of me said back in the day.

You'll get a good taste of Mission: Impossible's variety in today's Replay episode. Bryan, Kyle, Jeff Marchiafava, and I play through the first 40 minutes of the game and make a surprising amount of progress. A few of us are skeptical of Mission: Impossible's quality at first, but no one can deny the charm tied to Mr. Hunt infiltrating a party.

Our second segment is of a more recent game that gave Bryan Vore fits during his review. We see how much of the game he can take again. Thanks again for your support throughout the years, gang! Come back next week for another episode!

Two New Mobile Games Worth Checking Out

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Two New Mobile Games Worth Checking Out

I’m on the go frequently, so I spend a lot of time mashing the screen on my phone or iPad. The mobile market often comes under fire for aggressive free-to-play models or lack of meaningful content, but there are always awesome new entries that keep me going back to the App Store to see what’s fresh and interesting. Here are two titles that have taken up some of my travel time as of late that you may find interesting!

Dragon Blaze

It’s an MMO on the go! This super-popular Korean title has come to North America, and it’s fairly easy to see why it’s so popular after playing for a few hours. While the game doesn’t break the mold as far as typical collect-and-combine creatures go (Something similar in this regard to Puzzle & Dragons or Brave Frontier), you get a lot of playtime for your “stamina bar” equivalent, and you get to spend it in a variety of ways, from standard maps where you watch your mixes of healers, warriors, rogues, mages, and your main character plow through hordes of enemies with stylish area-of-effect attacks and disables to real-time raids where your allies stay at home and your main character teams up with other players.

Should Nintendo Make An Amiibo-Powered MOBA?

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When we think of MOBAs (Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas), our minds gravitate toward the isometric, RTS-inspired offshoots that have come to prominence on the PC scene – titles like League of Legends, Dota 2, and Heroes of the Storm. But upcoming titles like Gigantic, Battleborn, and the Xbox One version of Smite all speak to the potential of the genre to move into new spaces on console territory, with third-person shooter elements melding with parts of the traditional MOBA formula. Nintendo has a unique opportunity to take this genre to new heights of accessibility with a focus on casual fun.

Nintendo already has a fascinating framework to capitalize on with the existing Amiibo line, and while I doubt that anything the company comes up with would fit snugly into the current definition of what a MOBA is, there’s certainly the intriguing possibility of a MOBA-like game fueled by Amiibo fervor.

How Avalanche Snuck A Lightsaber Into The First Disney Infinity

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When Disney bought Star Wars in late 2012, Avalanche had already been had at work on the original Disney Infinity for some time, prepping it for its August 2013 release. It was too late to add a robust Star Wars playset or figures to the game at a worthwhile capacity, but Avalanche felt it couldn’t ignore the acquisition. It’s Star Wars after all.

Prior to the Star Wars acquisition, vice president of production for Disney Infinity, John Vignocchi had friends who worked for Lucas. Once Star Wars became part of the Disney family and they were now co-workers, he started making calls. “We want to do an ultimate unlock in the game. We’d like to put a lightsaber in the game,” Vignocchi told his Lucas friend. “Here’s what we’re thinking: If you own all the figures then this is like this super-secret end of the end – the Yoshi on top of the Princess’ castle.”

The team had to scramble to get it in the game, and they wanted to make sure it was part of the shipped product as opposed to getting added later as an update. “It became a passion project for the team, that was already doing tons of overtime to ship a great game,” Vignocchi says. “They were like, ‘If we can get this approved, we can put in an extra weekend or extra time to get this in there.’”