It’s been dormant for a while, with Double Dragon Neon being released back in 2012 and few games since then.
But now, it seems Double Dragon may be making another comeback! Why? Because just earlier this week, Arc System Works announced Double Dragon IV for PS4 and PC!
Here’s the trailer showing it in action:
As you can see, it’s got a very retro style to the whole thing there. The graphics look like they’re from an arcade machine in the 80s. The story follows directly from Double Dragon II, like if it was designed mere months after that previous game.
And heck, even the staff are the same! So for example, you’ve got Takaomi Kaneko returning as the producer and Yoshihisa Kishimoto returning as the director! That’s a pretty neat touch if you ask me, especially given how few retro revivals really get any of the original team back together.
So yeah, that’s Double Dragon IV. It launches worldwide on January 30th 2017, has the original team working on it and mimics the style of the originals to a tee.
But hey, what do you think about the game? Is it the revival the series needs right now?
Double Dragon IV Page (Arc System Works Official Site)
Hey it’s Christmas Day! A time of goodwill. Of family. Of giving and receiving presents supposedly brought to you by a fat guy in a red suit with a white beard.
In other words, not a time for reading articles on gaming websites. But hey, you’re here now. And based on that title, I’m gonna assume you want some suggestions for Christmas themed games to play. Something that really gets into the spirit of the holiday season, right?
Yeah, I thought so. Well, a quick tip before we begin:
Do not buy any Christmas games on the Wii or Wii U. With maybe one or two exceptions, they’re gonna be crap. Something like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer isn’t worth the cost of the disc it was printed onto.
Nor is that Christmas themed ‘find the hidden objects’ game that’s likely going around the eShop by now. Santa Claus Jr and Santa Claus Saves the Earth are pretty crap too.
Instead, here are some real suggestions for enjoyable games to play on Christmas Day. Starting with the inevitable Christmas themed platformers.
Such as Daze Before Christmas on the SNES and Mega Drive. Yeah, you knew this was coming. After all, a game where you actually play as Father Christmas and then collect/deliver presents while defeating the various evil bosses out to stop your journey? That’s about as obvious a Christmas themed game as you can get.
And it’s quite good too. Not amazing, but decent, with some nice graphics and music to get you in a festive mood.
Also on the same systems, you’ve got James Pond II: Codename Robocod. Starring a secret agent fish who’s very clearly a pastiche of James Bond, he has to stop the evil Dr Maybe, who has taken over Santa Claus’ workshop and attempted to ruin Christmas in the process.
Again, it’s a 16 bit platformer, albeit one a hell of a lot more competently designed than Daze Before Christmas was, with an interesting mechanic where Pond can stretch his body upwards to view or reach new areas. And hey, he can fly a plane around too!
Another notable one to try is Santa Claus in Trouble, a neat 3D platformer that has Santa Claus collecting presents in a weird Croc like world. Interesting, it’s part of a series of 2 games, with the first being entirely free to download and the second being a paid, much higher budget follow up to it. Both games are solidly designed with decently done game mechanics and lovely graphics, and they work about as you’d expect them to.
However, it’s not just platformers here! Oh no, Christmas stealth games are surprisingly good too! There’s Merry Gear Solid, a decent Christmas themed parody of Metal Gear with Santa Claus as the main character:
As well as the old Grinch video game based on the movie. Yeah, that movie. The home console one is a mediocre platformer/action adventure thing, but the Game Boy Color one is actually a really good stealth game in the style of the old Metal Gear titles! To the point IGN gave it a 9/10 review score!
But what if you want something a tad more familiar?
Like, an expansion of an existing game?
Well you’re in luck here too. Because quite a few great old school games have Christmas levels and episodes too!
For example, Jazz Jackrabbit had plenty of nice Christmas levels to play. Like Holiday Hare 94 and 95 for the original game:
And the similarly named Holiday Hare 98 version for the sequel:
Which were then redone and rereleased as Jazz Jackrabbit 2: Christmas Chronicles. Either way, all the levels are very nice, very festive affairs filled with Christmas trees, twee looking houses covered in snow and lights and a whole multitude of snowmen.
Other games with interesting Christmas versions include Christmas Nights into Dreams, which has you collect items while flying through a beautiful Christmas night while a frantic remix of Jingle Bells plays in the background:
Duke Nukem: Nuclear Winter which has you stop a feminist elves and evil snowmen in your quest to free Santa from his brainwashing by alien forces and take back the North Pole:
Saints Row IV: How the Saints Saved Christmas. Where your gang has to fight to save Santa from an evil alien warlord called Clawz.
Christmas Lemmings, which is exactly what you’d expect it to be.
The Christmas mission in Hitman. Where you have to kill the robbers from Home Alone (and maybe get a Santa outfit in the process).
Plus a Christmas themed level for Viscera Cleanup Detail, where you have to clean Santa’s Workshop after ‘jolly’ old Saint Nick when on a homicidal rampage.
And a Christmas themed version of The Escapists called The Escapists – Santa’s Sweatshop. That one has you playing as an elf who has to escape the workshop after suffering through Santa’ cruel regime for the last 20 years of his life.
Yes, both of those are real:
And both make for very different takes on the whole ‘holiday season’ affair.
Which brings us to the final set of games. Namely, the fan games and mods. Did you ever want a Christmas version of Super Mario World?
Well, no problem! There are tons and tons of these online. For Super Mario World hacks alone you’ve got the likes of SMW Christmas Special, A Haunted Christmas and Mario’s Christmas Adventure among many others.
Older games don’t have as quite Christmas versions, but they definitely exist all the same. Like Super Mario Bros 2 Christmas Edition:
Or Super Mario Xmas, based on the original Super Mario Bros for NES:
Other possibilities here include Holiday Hex, a really interesting Earthbound mod that has two Christmas loving kids team up to save it from evil, Pokemon Christmas (which is basically Pokemon Gold and Silver Christmas edition) and the Christmas themed chapter of Fire Emblem 7 Chaos Edition. Yeah, Santa in Fire Emblem.
And there’s always Super Mario Blue Twilight DX. The game that was actually meant to be Halloween themed Mario (and which only lets you play its final level on October 31st), but that also comes from Christmas and April Fool’s Day themed side stories:
It’s not amazing (at least, compared to the main storyline), but it does a competent enough job of providing some fun Mario platforming on Christmas Day. Short too, in case your only allowed playtime is between Christmas dinner and your favourite TV show starting.
So yeah, I hope that gives you some ideas of what to play this Christmas Day. Just avoid the shovelware, okay?
Last year, the Society of Professional Journalists launched the Kunkel Awards. Designed specifically to cater to gaming journalists, the awards were meant to be a way to reward writers for good gaming journalism, and to lift the negative reputation the field had received over the years.
A noble goal to say the least.
As for how well they actually worked on the other hand… well the jury is still out on that one. The awards certainly went to good articles, but the actual concept itself never really hit the mainstream like it was expected to. No one covered it except for the winners.
But hey, the SPJ has decided to bring them back this year as well! And this time, there are some interesting new award categories to look out for.
Category 1 is the one for ‘best college journalism’, as to encourage a new generation of writers to start writing about video games. Fairly standard stuff, though perhaps kind of necessary given how non diverse the world of gaming journalism is at the moment.
And then there’s category 2. Or, as the SPJ puts it, the one for ‘worst story’.
Oh boy, this is gonna be contentious. Why? Because in a nutshell, it’s basically like the Golden Raspberry Awards/Razzies for gaming journalism. The winner is the most unethical, poorly written article related to video games. Like say, the ones listed in my article here.
Either way, based on how a lot of journalists handle criticism now (by whining about it on Twitter), I can see the nominations and results here going ‘viral’. Or at least, causing one hell of a fight on various social media sites.
Still, it’s necessary in today’s world of ‘fake news’ and poorly researched articles. And hey, maybe it’ll kill the whole ‘rush stories out as quickly as possible without fact checking’ trend that’s become so popular recently.
But what do you think? Are you interested in the Kunkel Awards returning? Is the idea of an award for worst story a good one? Post your thoughts on the matter at the Gaming Reinvented forums or on social media today!
Kunkel Awards Official Announcement (SPJ website)
It’s been around since 1999, but now it seems time is running out for Microsoft’s old MMORPG Asheron’s Call. Why? Because according to a recent announcement on the forums, both it and its sequel are shutting down on January 31st 2017.
Here’s the announcement about the shut down in full from the official site:
It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the end of our support for Asheron’s Call and Asheron’s Call 2, and will close both services on January 31st, 2017.
This decision did not come easy, and we know this is disappointing for many of you. This game is a labor of love, and it’s not easy for us to bring it to an end.
We have had a phenomenally long run; one of the longest in the world of MMORPGs, and that in and of itself is a spectacular feat. We are proud of our legacy, and the entire Asheron’s Call team has been honored to adventure with you for nearly twenty years. We thank you very much for being a part of it.
It’s been an amazing run. You’ve done Asheron Realaidain proud.
Between now and January 31st, 2017, the game will remain available to play, completely free, for any player currently with an account. New account creation will be disabled.
So yeah, it’s pretty depressing really. I mean, it’s survived three publisher changes, a change in business model and even a full blown resurrection after an earlier shut down. That’s quite the history for a game like this.
But hey, all good things come to an end. And the players will at least be able to play for free until the servers go down for good.
Still, what do you think? Are you disappointed that such an old game is finally shutting down? Or is 17 years a long enough lifespan for an MMORPG?
Online RPG Asheron’s Call to Shut Down After 17 Years (Engadget)
As you probably know by now, gaming journalism… does not have a good reputation. It’s seen as corrupt, filled with obvious clickbait and flooded to the brim with articles based on questionable rumours from sources with absolutely no evidence behind it. Admittedly, that may or may not be a fair assessment of the field. But it’s definitely how the public think of it, for better or worse.
Yet as bad as the reputation may be, there are some examples of ‘journalism’ that well and truly live up to it. These include articles and videos based on questionable rumours, obvious clickbait made to attract pageviews from angry people and all manner of other things besides.
And so here they are. Here are the worst examples of gaming journalism in 2016!
12. SJW Says Super Mario Run is ‘Sexist’ Because She’s Captured in Super Mario Run
So let’s start this party with a bit of a bang. Or in this case, a delusional moron who’s never played Super Mario Run complaining that Peach being kidnapped is ‘sexist’ for the two hundred and fifty millionth time.
Of course, what makes it all more hilariously bad are the complaints brought up here. Oh no, she’s baking a cake instead of DJ-ing at a party! That’s a sexist stereotype!
No really, that’s actually from the article. As are comments about how the series should be ‘restructured’ to appeal to young girls. Because apparently Super Mario 3D World, Mario & Luigi Paper Jam and various other games where Peach is either an independent character or outright playable don’t exist, do they?
And to put the final nail in the coffin, this is in regards to Super Mario Run. You know, a game where…
Peach actually IS a playable character! No really, you unlock her as a playable character complete with floating ability after playing a bit of Toad Rally.
So not only is the article painfully outdated and cliché with its content, but it was clearly written by someone who’d played four minutes of Kingdom Tour and assumed Peach was only a damsel in distress. Hooray for thorough research there guys!
11. Destructoid Says Minecraft Billionaire ‘Feels Oppressed by Women’
But hey, at least Super Mario Run is sort of relevant news. Cause this Destructoid article (about an argument between Notch and Jennifer Scheurle on Twitter) really isn’t:
Basically, the latter posted a picture of a statue and said it was ‘Mansplaining: the statue’, then Notch followed it up with a comment about mansplaining being a sexist term and a joke involving the non word ‘cuntfusing’ some time afterwards.
Fair enough. It’s your usual back and forth between someone with more left wing political views and someone with more right wing political views. Like the other two hundred times it’s occurred on Twitter by now.
Which means it’s not newsworthy. Even if one guy was the creator of Minecraft and the other one was a game designer.
But no, they ran with it. What a pointless article to run on an otherwise respected website.
10. Polygon Tries to Play Doom
But hey, onto something a bit light-hearted now. Namely, Polygon’s absolutely terrible attempt at showcasing the 2016 version of Doom. Here it is, if you haven’t seen it:
It’s pretty obvious that whoever is filming this cannot play the game to save their life. Seriously, even the simple tasks of moving out of the way of enemy fire and not falling off cliffs while trying to shoot opponents seems to be beyond the person holding the controller.
Now admittedly, that’s not an uncommon thing for gaming videos. After all, if you ever saw people trying to play Mario Kart Wii before its release date, it was just one big cringey train wreck filled with karts and bikes flying off the road at every opportunity. And every Pokemon game seemingly gets recorded by an awful lot of gaming journalists and YouTube celebrities who clearly don’t have the slightest clue how the game mechanics work.
But here’s the thing:
Most of those were done by either one man bands or people whose jobs didn’t specifically involve playing games.
Polygon on the other hand, has a team of staff. Of which most of them likely have different interests and game genres they’re good at.
So here, someone who’s played an FPS before should probably have taken the reigns. That way, the video would have shown how the game actually works (aka when played by someone with any interest at all in the genre) and the site’s reputation wouldn’t have dropped even harder the minute the video hit the internet.
Still, it’s a simple mistake to make.
9. Metro Assumes Niantic is Making Harry Potter GO
Which is more than you can say about this one. Where the Metro newspaper is saying that Niantic is working on Harry Potter GO:
Sounds good, right?
Well, no. Because there’s just one snag here.
They’re not making Harry Potter GO. The original news story was from a questionable site (which might be rightfully classed as ‘fake news’) that ended up being debunked by Snopes.
And that’s not all! Because you see, they never bothered doing the research or actually looking at where the story came from. Instead, they found a random online gossip blog (which then quoted the fake site), and took their word as gospel. Great work guys! Not only did you not look up whether your source was a reliable one, but you never bothered to look up whether THEIR source was reliable as well!
Just goes to show you how much ‘research’ goes into news reporting this days…