Hori is making a left Joy-Con with a D-pad — with several catches

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Hori is making a left Joy-Con with a D-pad — with several catches

Hori is making a left Joy-Con controller for the Nintendo Switch that features a cross-button directional pad, in lieu of the stock Joy-Con’s four buttons, but it comes with some serious drawbacks.

The first is that it appears to be available in Japan only. But even if it does come west, or if you import it, there are several functions on the Switch it does not support. Notably, it only works in handheld mode, meaning you can’t slap this and the right Joy-Con into the Joy-Con Grip and play off the TV, nor does it work for local multiplayer.

Pixel art rogue-lite Noita lets you twist the elements

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Pixel art rogue-lite Noita lets you twist the elements

Noita, an upcoming action-platformer rogue-lite from Finnish studio Nolla Games (The Swapper, Environmental Station Alpha), puts players in a strange and dangerous pixel-art world where environmental effects and procedural generation combine to affect nearly everything you see — including yourself. I sat down with Nolla Games’ Olli Harjola at Double Fine’s Day of the Devs event at GDC 2018 to play through the current build.

The first thing that jumps out at you in Noita is the dynamic lighting. Your character, a witch armed with up to four wands, ventures deep into a procedurally generated 2D cave system, lit occasionally by wall-mounted lanterns, fire and strange glowing runes. The effect is striking — each area feels dark, dangerous, and alive, as enemies’ eyes glow in the dark as they skitter among the caverns.

The Council is a weird, lavish adventure in dialog

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The Council is a weird, lavish adventure in dialog

The Council is an episodic historical detective adventure, in which I roam the corridors of mansion, searching for clues. In the first episode (of five),, I engage in dialog challenges with suspects, the direction of which are partly driven by RPG-based ideas about skills and powers.

Set in 1793, I play the part of Louis de Richet, a youthful French aristocrat in search of his missing mother. He snags an invitation to dear mater’s last known location, the island fortress of a wealthy gentleman. This mysterious gent’s house is decorated with great works of art. His collections include the rarest artifacts.

PUBG bringing in an Event Mode to answer Fortnite’s

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PUBG bringing in an Event Mode to answer Fortnite’s

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds will join the special events craze of battle royale games when it adds an Event Mode. Developers PUBG Corp. announced the new mode late Wednesday night in a Steam community post and said it would come to the game’s test server soon.

PUBG’s Event Mode will feature rotating custom games that differ from PUBG’s standard Solo, Duo and Squad modes. The first event will feature eight-person squads with double the assault rifle spawns of a normal game. “We know it’s not a huge change from the public matches but .. this is just to get things rolling,” PUBG Corp. said. “The future of the Event Mode holds exciting things!”

Official Super Smash Bros. for Switch, Splatoon 2 tournaments coming to E3

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Official Super Smash Bros. for Switch, Splatoon 2 tournaments coming to E3

Nintendo is bringing its live tournaments back to E3 in June, with this year’s events focusing on Splatoon 2 and the newly announced Super Smash Bros. game for Switch.

The tournaments, which will be held in Los Angeles on June 11 and 12, will have two different formats. The Splatoon 2 World Championship will feature four top teams who qualified in four regions — the United States and Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia — and is being touted as the game’s first world championship.

Breath of the Wild, Night in the Woods clean up at GDC Awards

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Breath of the Wild, Night in the Woods clean up at GDC Awards

At this year’s annual Game Developers Choice Awards, a familiar name took home grand prize: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, racking up its latest game of the year trophy. But this year’s Independent Games Festival Awards ceremony, held on the same night during Game Developers Conference, featured slightly more surprising winners.

The IGF Awards honors indie titles from the last 12 months in a number of categories, with monetary prizes handed out to winners. Infinite Fall’s Night in the Woods won both Excellence in Narrative and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, taking home a collective $33,000 in winnings. With two awards, Night in the Woods was matched only by the experimental student game Baba is You as the ceremony’s most honored games.

The origins of Sonic the Hedgehog

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The origins of Sonic the Hedgehog

When Sega and Nintendo battled for dominance in the early days of the 16-bit console era, Naoto Oshima and Hirokazu Yasuhara were tasked with creating a character that could take on Mario. Sonic the Hedgehog was born of a desire to create a cool, company-defining mascot for Sega — an icon that could sell millions of Nintendo fans on the Sega Genesis.

Much about Sonic’s history is well-known, but at GDC 2018 today, Oshima and Yasuhara shared lesser-known anecdotes about the creation of Sega’s famous hedgehog. Oshima, who was responsible for Sonic’s visual design, now works at Arzest Corporation, a developer that works closely with Nintendo. Yasuhara, who worked on Sonic the Hedgehog’s maps and game design, is now at Unity Technologies Japan.

This is the group using GDC to bolster game studio unionization efforts

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This is the group using GDC to bolster game studio unionization efforts

At this year’s Game Developers Conference, it’s not games that are dominating conversation, it’s the industry. This isn’t atypical for the annual gathering. But this year, in light of increasing mobilization in the media to combat harassment, poor wages and workplace abuse, many game developers are speaking out, declaring that it’s time for their industry to do the same.

According to Game Workers Unite, the fast-growing grassroots campaign that’s in many ways directing that conversation at this year’s GDC, the best weapon may be unionization.

Biopic about Atari founder Nolan Bushnell seeks cryptocurrency funding

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Biopic about Atari founder Nolan Bushnell seeks cryptocurrency funding

The makers of a biopic about the life and career of Atari founder Nolan Bushnell are going to fund it with a cryptocurrency. If you’re wondering the connection there, all you need to know is when companies like Kodak and an iced tea maker are getting into are getting into blockchain technology, it makes sense that Hollywood would also chase the trend.

Bushnell Tokens, as the filmmakers are calling this, are actually a kind of crypto-security more than they are something like Bitcoin. Officially speaking, it’s an an “ERC-20 security token,” which sounds like more of a security and less of a currency. Companies can use it to raise a bunch capital from investors (transacted in Bitcoin or Ethereum), on the expectation of future profit commensurate with that stake.