Fortnite for Android no longer requires an invite

Fortnite for Android no longer requires an invite

1:07pm, 11th October, 2018
Fortnite’s journey to Android has been an adventure unto itself. It first launched as a Samsung exclusive, alongside the Note 9, before circumventing the Play Store to arrive on Google’s Mobile operating system. Until now, however, actually getting the game required going to the site, signing up and waiting for an invite. Epic announced today via Twitter that it’s finally cutting that red tape. While the company is still sidestepping Play in order to keep its earnings to itself, downloading the game is a simple No invite needed – download the Fortnite Beta now on any compatible device Time to squad up: — Fortnite (@FortniteGame) Not that any of those extra steps were hurting the game. The wildly popular hit a mere three weeks after launching on the OS.
Fortnite's Skull Trooper Is Back

Fortnite's Skull Trooper Is Back

12:45pm, 11th October, 2018
A fan-favorite classic skin launched in Fortnite today, with the skeletal "Skull Squad Gear" making its triumphant return just in time for Halloween.
Nintendo’s ‘souped-up’ NES Zelda loads you with gear for an easier adventure

Nintendo’s ‘souped-up’ NES Zelda loads you with gear for an easier adventure

1:28pm, 10th October, 2018
has set a strange new precedent with the release of Legend of Zelda SP on the Switch: it’s essentially the original NES game but Link starts loaded up with good gear and cash. In a way it’s no different from a cheat code, but the way it’s executed feels like a missed opportunity. The game itself (SP stands for “special”) is described by Nintendo in the menu as a “souped up version” of the original: “Living the life of luxury!” It’s a separate entry in the menu with all the other NES games you get as part of the company’s subscription service. You’re given the white sword, big shield, blue ring, and power bracelet, plus 255 rupees to replace that shield when a Like-like eats it. Basically they’ve given you all the stuff you can find on the overworld (including max bombs and keys), but no items you’d get from inside a dungeon. You also have six hearts, and traveling around a little bit I determined these were awarded by raiding nearby hidden areas, not simply assigned. Secret passages are already revealed, and so on. Because it skips the title screen and save game selection it seems like someone must have essentially played through the game to this point (or more likely edited the values in game RAM) and then walked to the classic starting point and made a save state that automatically loads when you start or reset the game. This means the only way to save is to use the built-in save states, not the rather inconvenient save method the game used. It’s plain enough that this will be a less frustrating way to explore this famously difficult game, but it seems untrue to Zelda’s roots. I understand perhaps gifting the player some of the impossible to find things like a heart hidden inside a random block here or there. Getting some bombs to start is great too, and maybe even the rings (warping is helpful, and the game is pretty punishing so damage reduction is nice). But the white sword? For one thing, a player experiencing the game this way misses out on one of the most iconic moments in all gaming — “It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this!” Then the ritual lifting of the wooden sword. And then setting out into the world to die again and again. And for me, the white sword was always sort of a rite of passage in the game — your first big step towards becoming powerful. You earned it by finding those extra heart containers, perhaps after asking in vain after it before you were ready. Once you have it, you’re cutting through enemies like butter. To make it the default sword and to skip these steps seems like it causes the player to miss out on what makes Zelda Zelda. To be fair, it’s not the only version of the game you can play — the original is available too. But it seems like a missed opportunity. Why not just have a save game you can load with this stuff, so you can continue playing as normal? Why not have the option baked into the launch of the original Zelda — have a couple secret save states ready with differing levels of items? Nintendo has the opportunity to introduce a new generation to classic NES games here, having provided a rather barebones experience with the NES Classic Edition. Why not enhance them? Include the manual, god mode, developer commentary? This is the legacy the company has been stewarding for decades, and what better than to give it the respect it deserves? I’m probably overthinking it. But this Zelda SP just seems like a rushed job when players would appreciate something like it, just not so heavy-handed. It’s not that these games are inviolable, but that if they’re going to be fiddled with, we’d like to see it done properly.
Indie farm-em-up Stardew Valley is coming to iOS and Android

Indie farm-em-up Stardew Valley is coming to iOS and Android

6:07pm, 9th October, 2018
Stardew Valley, the hit indie farming game made by one guy in his spare time, . I’ve dropped dozens of hours into this charming little spiritual successor to Harvest Moon, and now I know how I’m going to spend my next few plane rides. In case you’re not aware, Stardew Valley is a game where you inherit a farm near a lovely little town and must restore it, befriend (and romance) the locals, fish, fight your way through caverns, forage for spring onions and wild horseradish, mine ore, and… well, there’s a lot. Amazingly, it was created entirely by one person, Eric Barone, who taught himself to code, make pixel art, compose music and do literally everything. And yes, it took a long time. (GQ of all things recently.) Fortunately it was a huge hit, to Barone’s great surprise and no doubt pleasure, and deservedly so. Originally released for the PC, Stardew Valley has since expanded (with the help of non-Barone teams) to the major consoles and is now coming to iOS — undiminished, Barone was careful to point out . This game is big, but nothing is left out from the mobile port. “It’s the full game, not a cut down version, and plays almost identically to all other versions,” he wrote. “The main difference is that it has been rebuilt for touch-screen gameplay on iOS (new UI, menu systems and controls).” Barone has added a lot to the game since its release in early 2016, and the mobile version will include those updates up to 1.3 — meaning you’ll have several additional areas and features but not the multiplayer options most recently added. Those are planned, however, so if you want to do a co-op farm you’ll just have to wait a bit. No mods will be supported, alas. In a rare treat for mobile ports, you can take your progress from the PC version and transfer it to iOS via iTunes. No need to start over again, which, fun as it is, can be a bit daunting when you realize how much time you’ve put into the game to start with. I can’t recommend Stardew Valley enough, and the controls should be more than adequate for the laid-back gameplay it offers (combat is fairly forgiving). It’ll cost $8 in the App Store starting October 24 ( version coming soon), half off the original $15 price — which I must say was amazingly generous to begin with. You can’t go wrong here, trust me.
Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4's Day One Patch Is Basically Just The Game

Call Of Duty: Black Ops 4's Day One Patch Is Basically Just The Game

5:03pm, 9th October, 2018
Gamers have been quite vocal these days about the surge in day-one patches for AAA games. It started with a few megabytes to fix a few glitches or catch a few bugs that were missed before the game went gold, but it's started to become a tradition now of having to download multiple gigabytes worth...
Holospark announces ‘The Haunted Graveyard,’ a newbie-friendly experience for VR arcades

Holospark announces ‘The Haunted Graveyard,’ a newbie-friendly experience for VR arcades

10:22am, 9th October, 2018
A screenshot from the new interactive VR title, The Haunted Graveyard. (Holospark Image) A new virtual-reality title from Holospark, an independent developer headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., is working to expand the audience for VR by creating an approachable, newbie-friendly experience, with help from Seattle’s arts community. The Haunted Graveyard, now available for purchase on Steam, was created with the growing virtual-reality arcade (“VRcade”) audience in mind. Its developers are careful not to call it a game, but instead, it’s an experience: a short, spooky adventure where you end up stumbling into a cemetery at night, complete with a local population of eccentric ghosts, and must find a way out before midnight or risk being trapped inside forever. Every ghost you encounter on your trip through the graveyard is played via full-body motion capture by professional actors from Seattle’s theater scene, such as , Brandon J. Simmons, and . Dynamic programming is layered on top of the characters to make them react in real-time to your movements. According to its executive producer, , The Haunted Graveyard is meant to feel like a virtual-reality Disney ride, complete with a full orchestral score by veteran video game composer (God of War, Assassin’s Creed III) and a musical number by Seattle musician . Holospark has been working in research and development for the last two years to try to make characters who feel like they’re actually speaking with you, as opposed to simply reciting lines while you happen to be standing nearby. “We’ve spent a lot of time and effort on building out this whole approach, with the technology, pipeline, and expertise we need,” Tynes said. “Then we can bring those characters right to you, right in your face, connecting with you and taking you on an emotional journey as you go through our experience.” Bruce Sharp, The Haunted Graveyard’s creative director, said, “We guarantee you you’ve not seen anything quite like this.” There are no failure states in The Haunted Graveyard; you can’t die, there are no time limits, and you can’t get stuck. You’re free to explore its world as you like, and to take in the scenery at your own pace. The general idea is that The Haunted Graveyard can serve as a kid- and beginner-friendly introduction to the possibilities of VR, particularly for VRcade patrons who aren’t gamers, or who are brand-new to VR as a medium. “There are several thousand ‘VRcades’ worldwide, a lot of them in Asia, but plenty in North America and Europe,” Tynes said. “We’re really excited about this because when we talk to operators, they will tell you that people who are new to VR will often have a frustrating time if they don’t get into something that’s the right approach for them. There are plenty of fairly hardcore VR games, and if you’re a mom at a birthday party, or Grandma and Grandpa, or anybody who doesn’t play shooters, then you may have a lousy experience and be turned off of this medium forever. And we think that would be a real shame.” Holospark was founded in 2015 by a group of developers who had worked together before, first at makers of the only- MMORPG and then at Cryptic Studios North, which worked on the Dungeons & Dragons-based online game before its closure in 2015. Tynes in particular has a long, storied history in games, as one of the co-creators of the 1999 urban fantasy RPG Unknown Armies and a prolific contributor to the Call of Cthulhu tabletop game. Holospark’s other titles include its debut project The Impossible Travel Agency, a short exploratory VR game, and the cooperative first-person shooter , which .