GameStop claims it’s an ‘essential’ retail service

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GameStop claims it’s an ‘essential’ retail service

GameStop is arguing it sells “essential” products, and should remain open despite government orders to close businesses, like retail stores, restaurants, and bars, in the face of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to an email sent to employees on Thursday.

According to three sources, the company sent out a missive to retail managers today, saying, “We believe that GameStop is classified as essential retail and therefore is able to remain open at this time.” The message from GameStop argues that the retailer carries goods that “enable and enhance our customers’ experience in working from home.”

Epic Game Store’s free games next week: Figment and Torment X Punisher

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Epic Game Store’s free games next week: Figment and Torment X Punisher

Next week’s free games from the Epic Games Store are Figment and Tormentor X Punisher, which are available March 26 to April 2.

Figment is a 2017 indie game in which players explore a stylish, isometrically presented dream world. Developers Bedtime Digital Games of Denmark described it as a visit to the subconsciousness of a person who has gone through a traumatic incident, which a player’s journey is supposed to reveal.

Fallout 76 players are also hoarding toilet paper

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Fallout 76 players are also hoarding toilet paper

One unfortunate side-effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that folks are cleaning out real-world stores as they buy carloads of toilet paper in sheer panic. While there’s actually little chance of the United States running out TP, it seems that players residing in a fictional version of the country are using this as an opportunity to parody recent misguided shopping sprees.

Like many Bethesda games, Fallout 76 is full of junk that you can carry or break down into resources to craft or repair items. Some junk is definitely more valuable than others, but prior to 2020, there wasn’t a real reason to consider toilet paper rare or expensive.

Bungie disables Destiny 2’s Artifact power in Trials of Osiris after a frustrating first weekend

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Bungie disables Destiny 2’s Artifact power in Trials of Osiris after a frustrating first weekend

March 12 marked the return of the beloved Trials of Osiris PvP game mode in Destiny 2. But for the first weekend, Bungie couldn’t disable players’ Artifact power in time — resulting in some players who had time to grind Destiny before the weekend having a huge advantage in PvP. But as of a hotfix on Thursday morning, Artifact power is now disabled in Trials of Osiris and Destiny 2’s Iron Banner game mode.

Trials of Osiris and Iron Banner both factor power — how good a Guardian’s gear is — into how much damage players deal or take. Normally this wouldn’t be too much of an issue. As long as players are playing Destiny, they’re gaining power, and shouldn’t struggle too hard against slightly over-leveled players.

Naming your Animal Crossing island is hard, so here’s some help

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Naming your Animal Crossing island is hard, so here’s some help

I still don’t know what I’m going to name my Animal Crossing: New Horizons island. I have a few ideas, but I haven’t committed to any. I’m starting to feel the pressure, now that we’re less than a day away from the game’s release date. The truth is, I probably won’t commit to a name until the very last moment when I first boot up the game. But please, don’t be like me.

This is an important decision that deserves a thought out answer. You can’t change your island’s name, after all. Though I can’t help myself, I can help you. There is something really nice about “Nicole Land.” (Let me know if you choose this one.) If that won’t work, then developer Samuel Fine can help you: He’s created an Island Name Generator to help folks in these trying times.

Meet Echo, Overwatch’s new hero with ‘the most game-changing’ powers yet

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Meet Echo, Overwatch’s new hero with ‘the most game-changing’ powers yet

Following Blizzard’s announcement of Overwatch 2 at BlizzCon last November, fans were left with lingering questions. When will the sequel arrive? What will it mean for the original Overwatch ecosystem? And, of course, will there be any new heroes coming to the original Overwatch before Overwatch 2?

We now have the answer to at least one of those questions. The next playable hero to join the Overwatch lineup — and “very likely” the last one until Overwatch 2, according to game director Jeff Kaplan — is Echo, an ever-evolving AI who quickly adapts to the world around her. And she’s coming to test servers on the Windows PC version of Overwatch on Thursday, March 19.

Free games to pass the time if you’re staying inside

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Free games to pass the time if you’re staying inside

As millions of people worldwide stay inside and away from others, in an effort to “flatten the curve” of new cases of COVID-19, several online entertainment services and portals have made content free to users to help them enjoy life indoors for a while.

Twenty-seven free games are available on GOG.com right now. Many are from the 1990s and the turn of the century (one is even from 1979), but chances are good you’ve heard of some of these, if not played them already. They include Shadow Warrior Classic Complete, point-and-click adventure game Teenagent, and three Ultima games.

Razer shifts some production to surgical masks amid coronavirus outbreak

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Razer shifts some production to surgical masks amid coronavirus outbreak

Gaming peripheral company Razer will shift a number of its manufacturing lines from producing its own products to making surgical masks. Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan announced the initiative early Thursday morning on social media.

As COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, continues to spread around the world, healthcare officials are reporting shortages of essential resources, including surgical masks. Tan said Razer intends donate up to 1 million masks to healthcare providers globally; its first shipments will go to healthcare authorities in Singapore, where Razer’s Southeast Asia headquarters is located. The Razer CEO said designers and engineers have been working “24-hour shifts” to convert the company’s production lines.

Amazon delays Animal Crossing: New Horizons for some customers

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Amazon delays Animal Crossing: New Horizons for some customers

Amazon is reportedly delaying some orders of Animal Crossing: New Horizons until next Tuesday, March 24. Players who pre-ordered the game have reported on social media that they’re getting delay messages from Amazon, and some are opting to cancel their physical orders and buy a download code instead.

The delay of the highly anticipated Nintendo Switch lifestyle sim is probably related to Tuesday’s news that Amazon warehouses are prioritizing stocks of medical supplies and household staples, in light of the worldwide action to slow the spread of COVID-19. Demand for those products from Amazon has shot up, with many choosing to stay in their homes and avoid in-person shopping in a large gathering of others.

GTFO, the co-op shooter inspired by Left 4 Dead, is getting all-new levels

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GTFO, the co-op shooter inspired by Left 4 Dead, is getting all-new levels

I got my first taste of co-op first-person shooter GTFO in a four-person match with developers 10 Chambers late last year. By March 31, everything that we played — and that GTFO early access players have been playing with since December — will be gone, replaced by new maps, some new weapons and enemies, and new puzzles to solve. All of it will be free.

You can watch a playthrough of some of the new content above.