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Valve Adds XB1's Coolest Lost Feature

By Jeff Buckland, 9/11/2013 1:37 PM

Back when Xbox One was announced with all of its DRM and controls, there was one feature - family sharing of games - that turned out to be a really cool idea. Since then, Microsoft decided to axe the entire always-online system with both good and bad properties getting dumped.

Well, Valve just announced that Family Sharing is now coming to Steam. It's got some weird limitations and it could wind up being a bit of mess, but this is a really good sign for the future of openness in digital games. If you're interested, make sure to sign up to the Steam Family Sharing group to try and get early access to it.

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River City Ransom: Underground Kickstarter

By Jeff Buckland, 9/9/2013 1:32 PM

We at AG get lots of requests to post about Kickstarters, but I try to keep the posts about them to a minimum. But because River City Ransom was my favorite NES game - yes, I liked it even more than the Mega Man, Mario, Zelda, and Battletoads games - I'm posting about the River City Ransom: Underground Kickstarter.

The art looks awesome and true to the wacky Technos Japan art style of the original game, and yes, it's officially licensed.



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River City Ransom: Underground Kickstarter

By Jeff Buckland, 9/9/2013 1:32 PM

We at AG get lots of requests to post about Kickstarters, but I try to keep the posts about them to a minimum. But because River City Ransom was my favorite NES game - yes, I liked it even more than the Mega Man, Mario, Zelda, and Battletoads games - I'm posting about the River City Ransom: Underground Kickstarter.

The art looks awesome and true to the wacky Technos Japan art style of the original game, and yes, it's officially licensed.

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Sony Doubles Down on World Market, Introduces PSVita TV

By Jeff Buckland, 9/9/2013 3:18 AM

Sony's press conference in Japan introduced a lot of new stuff including quite a few cool Japanese-made games, but the two bigger things were that 1) PS4 isn't coming to Japan until 2014 (which you could infer from the Gamescom press conference when they specifically didn't list Japan as a launch territory), and 2) PSVita TV is coming.

What's PSVita TV? Essentially, it's a PSVita that is made for home use only like Ouya or a small mini-console. You plug it into your TV and use plain PS3-compatible controllers with it to play Vita games, make use of the same PS4-connected features the Vita is getting (like Remote Play), and other stuff like playing video. The price? Well, it's in Japanese Yen for now, but it's about $100 if Sony brings it to the US at the same price. And yes, Vita cartridges work, and there's a spot for a Vita memory card (all of which will be getting price cuts, or at least in Japan). Apparently PSVita TV won't work with every Vita game because of the lack of the touch screen and touch panels, which is a bit of a shame, though.

They didn't show The Last Guardian which a lot of people are mad about, but hey - the east has been desperately trying to make a vaporware game like Duke Nukem Forever without luck because everyone's still taking it so seriously.

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Xbox One Release Date Set: November 22nd

By Jeff Buckland, 9/4/2013 12:20 PM

Microsoft has finally set the worldwide release date for the Xbox One: November 22nd. (Well, for the relative few countries that the XB1 is being released in.) For those counting, the PS4's release date is on November 15th in North America, one week earlier than the XB1, but it's on the 29th in Europe, so that's one week later than XB1. Does that mean much? At this point, I don't think it'll make that big a difference in that one-week period where in both regions only one console will be out. But once both are out, availability will make a big difference. If one console is in stock and the other isn't, that'll be an easier choice for some.

Of course, being sold out isn't exactly a bad thing for the guy that's sold out. It's just a balancing factor that's likely to even out sales of both consoles.

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Nintendo 2DS Announced

By Jeff Buckland, 8/28/2013 2:22 PM

Nintendo has announced a new member of its portable family: the 2DS. They took the 3D effect out of the screens and took the clamshell/hinge out entirely, putting both screens and all controls on one slate-like device. Instead of the $170-180 that the 3DS costs new (with the 3DS XL at $200), this will cost $130. Nintendo seems to be looking to sell this thing to more kids, and it's the hinge that apparently breaks most often on their clamshell consoles, so this solves that problem - although I hope they're doing more to protect the screens, too, because now they're going to be a little more susceptible to blunt-force trauma. Scratches probably don't matter to a kid, but a decent hit with a solid object will wreck even a lightly-protected LCD screen.

With all that said, this opinion piece by Polygon's Chris Plante brings up an important point: the 2DS name is cute for those who know a lot about Nintendo's products, but confusing for everyone else.



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Do You Need to Rush into Next-Gen?

By Jeff Buckland, 8/27/2013 3:50 AM

Casual and semi-hardcore gamers keep asking me: should I buy one (or both!) of the new game consoles when they come out? When this happens, I usually hit them with a series of questions, but after only a few answers, I've got my conclusion for them. The conclusion is usually "no." Click "Read More" to see if my logic follows.

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Is EA Turning the Corner... Again?

By Jeff Buckland, 8/19/2013 10:34 PM

Several years ago, before it became clear Activision was going to run Call of Duty into the ground and then continue drilling it until it popped out the other side of the planet, EA had the reputation of being game's big evil empire. With Activision's merger with Blizzard, making them the biggest publisher in the world and some flagging profits at the time, EA - with their new (at the time) CEO, John Riccitiello - said they wanted to change. New games like Mirror's Edge and Dead Space were born from that. Years later, we know what happened: EA didn't stick with that for long and have tried to franchise-ify these ones, most notably turning Dead Space into a transaction-laced AAA game too bloated to hold up its own weight; seemingly everyone was sick of it by the third game. And then SimCity happened.

And now, EA just announced a crazy new policy: refunds for games you're not happy with on Origin. Steam doesn't do this. GOG doesn't... nor does your local Target or Walmart, because they are directed to only give full refunds for unopened copies of any software, games included (console and PC). What does this mean for digital retailers and for EA themselves? Let's explore a bit...

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GTA Online: A Lot More Than You Thought

By Jeff Buckland, 8/15/2013 9:40 AM

Wow. Rockstar has released the trailer for Grand Theft Auto Online, the online component that will be coming with next month's GTAV - see the trailer below. There's a ton of stuff here: 16-player cooperative missions, competitive stuff, full customization of your character and cars for the online world, race events, random stuff to do, and even user-generated mapmaking and content creation (well, to an extent). This is a superbly impressive revelation for a game that's already apparently chock-full with a huge map and a ton of single player activities.



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EA's Humble Bundle: 100% to Charity

By Jeff Buckland, 8/14/2013 5:54 PM

The latest Humble Bundle might be the most ambitious one yet: EA has put up 8 games, some with DLC, together into a bundle and ALL proceeds will be going to charity or to the Humble Bundle people themselves. EA plans to make zero off of this sale. Those who pay more than the average ($4.65 as of this writing) get Battlefield 3 and The Sims 3 with 3 DLC packs. The catch? The bundle is mainly for Origin, but EA is also providing Steam keys for the 5 games that are on Steam too (full list is at the above link and the Steam keys list is here).

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