Random: Wrestler Wins National Championship After Entering To The Pokémon Theme Song

If, for some reason, you don’t already believe that the original Pokémon theme song was made out of pure magic and dreams, then maybe this story will change your mind.

University of Iowa freshman Spencer Lee defeated Rutgers’ Nick Suriano on Saturday night, winning the 125-pound title at the 2018 NCAA Wrestling Championships in the process. While his achievement is one to be celebrated for – you know – talent-related reasons, we couldn’t help but love the fact that he chose the Pokémon theme to give himself a boost before the match.

As it turns out, Lee actually follows the competitive Pokémon scene and has entered into competitive play in the past. If he wasn’t busy being a full time student and athlete, he might actually still be competing.

Not wanting to take anything away from Lee’s hard work and success, we hope that the track somehow had some sort of mystical influence over proceedings and, with that in mind, we now plan to blast the song out on repeat for the rest of the week in hopes that all of our dreams come true.


Epic gifts over $12M worth of Paragon assets to Unreal Engine devs

Epic is giving Unreal Engine 4 devs access to over $12 million worth of assets from its soon-to-be shuttered online shooter, Paragon

The free-to-play offering launched back in 2016, but struggled to find its feet in a market dominated by titles like League of Legends and Dota 2

Epic eventually decided to shut down the game, claiming it couldn’t find a “clear path” to sustainability, and promised to refund players for every purchase they’ve made since launch. 

Every cloud has a silver lining, however, and as Paragon prepares to wind down for good on April 26, Epic has given the game a new lease on life by releasing its assets into the wild. 

That includes 20 “triple-A quality” characters, with their respective skins, animations, VFX and dialogue, and over 1500 environment components. 

All of that content is now available for free over on the Unreal Engine Marketplace, and Epic has given developers free rein to use any and all of them in their own Unreal Engine 4 projects. 

“For those interested in importing Paragon characters into their projects, we recommend starting with Shinbi, who comes with an animation blueprint,” wrote Epic, offering some pointers on where best to start.

“This can be used as a framework for animating the other characters in the Paragon packs. We’re also shipping a sample map that is handy for testing and can be used as a baseline for creating more customized environments.”

Epic plans to release additional Paragon assets in the future, and has said more will be landing in spring and summer. You can find out more about the asset release by checking out the Unreal Engine blog.

Video: Check Out Blastoise In Action In The Latest Pokkén Tournament DX DLC

We know that Blastoise is headed to Pokkén Tournament DX as part of the two-part Battle Pack – the first of which brought Aegislash as a new playable character with Mega Rayquaza and Mimikyu back in January – and now we’ve got the first proper footage showing the giant Pokemon’s move list.

Supported by mythical Pokémon Mew and Celebi, Blastoise has a mid-range grab, a withdraw stance for creating distance from fast-moving opponents and plenty of offensive warfare from its shell-mounted cannons. And with a meaty 660HP health bar to its name, it’s a proper beast as well.

Revealed as part of the Spring Fist broadcast on Twitch, you can check out the Japanese broadcast below. Let us know what you make of the footage and whether or not you’ll be maining Blastoise when it arrives on 23rd March…


Amazon debuts GameOn, a new cross-platform competitive game platform

As the Game Developers Conference kicks off today, Amazon has unveiled GameOn, a new platform aimed at helping devs implement cross-platform (mobile, console, PC) competitive multiplayer in their games.

This may appeal to teams looking for an off-the-shelf solution that helps players compete against one another across platforms, and Amazon is hoping to draw devs into trying GameOn by offering it for free until May 1st. 

After that, you can expect to be charged roughly $0.003 per play, though Amazon says after the May 1st cutoff it will then give devs 35,000 free plays per day for a limited time. 

What GameOn offers is pretty straightforward: standard multiplayer, leagues and leaderboards, as well as the ability for devs, players, and community members to create custom events or competitions. According to an Amazon representative, GameOn was initially intended to be an SDK — but feedback from devs pushed the team to go with a set of APIs instead.

More details on GameOn and other Amazon developer tech can be found on the company’s dev portal.


Video Game Deep Cuts: The Exoplanets Of Trust

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

[Video Game Deep Cuts is a weekly newsletter from curator/video game industry ‘watcher’ Simon Carless, rounding up the best longread & standout articles & videos about games, every weekend.

This week’s highlights include helping gamers find undiscovered exoplanets, research about ‘the trust spectrum’ from Raph Koster, and lots more.

As we drift into GDC week (wow, there’s a lot to do – oh, check out the alt.ctrl.GDC game preview!), here’s the latest roundup. Not many previews or reviews this week, but here’s some miscellany – IGF 2015 Grand Prize winner Outer Wilds has been reannounced, to be published by Annapurna Interactive, and looks sweet.

Also the new episode of Cool Ghosts is out, and it twins bizarre home shopping situations with odd, human game analyses in some beautiful ways. And what is going on with the Pixel Ripped 1989 VR game trailer? Is this the ultimate use of VR or mindbogglingly silly? I don’t know, which is half the problem…

Until next time,
– Simon, curator.]


What Works And Why: Opus Magnum (Tom Francis / RockPaperShotgun – ARTICLE)
“Opus Magnum is a puzzle game about designing machines that arrange and combine shiny little atoms to turn lead to gold, and other fanciful alchemy. It’s by Zachtronics, whose games follow such a recognised pattern that they’ve become a genre… But it’s a particular quirk of this format I want to dive into, and it’s one Opus Magnum does especially well: optimisation.”

Meet The Man Trying To Save Lost Video Games (Vice / YouTube – VIDEO)
“Waypoint meets Frank Cifaldi, the founder of the Video Game History Foundation. The history of video games are in danger of disappearing. Not just the games itself, but the packaging, the culture, and the experience of the players. We join Frank on his quest to save these relics.”

New Video Game Montage Seeks to Counter Trump’s Violent Reel (Brian Crecente / Glixel – ARTICLE)
“As with the White House violence video, the Games for Change video runs 88 seconds long. It features painterly landscapes, dazzling worlds and plenty of action. [SIMON’S  NOTE: I’ve seen some people complain that this video is missing the point, because we should be OK with defending violence in games. Possibly – but the video is still more apposite than the White House one.]”

Rachel Weil on Femicom and the Value of Preserving Classic ‘Girl’ Video Games (Adam Conover / Adam Ruins Everything – PODCAST)
” Our guest Rachel Weil is trying to change that by preserving these ‘girl’ games by going around the world and collecting these games and talking to the people who made them. She is a software developer for Microsoft and the founder of the Femicom Museum, a hybrid physical/digital museum and archive dedicated to the preservation and reimagination of femininity, girlhood, and the aesthetics of cute within twentieth-century video games, computing, and electronic toys.”

What Happened to ‘Reset,’ That Promising Time Travel Mech Game From 2012? (Patrick Klepek / Waypoint – ARTICLE)
“A lonely mech sitting in the rain has transfixed players for years, but after endless delays, abandoned release dates, and vague updates, fans have reason to be skeptical. We asked the developers what happened.”

Resident good: how video games can be used in church (Andy Robertson / The Guardian – ARTICLE)
“However, games are more than just entertainment. They can create spaces that address wide-ranging topics in imaginative and meaningful ways. The unusual texture of these spaces can have psychological, ethical, social and, yes, spiritual benefits.”

The Real Problem With Video Games (Seth Schiesel / New York Times – ARTICLE)
“Video games do not create murderers. With his Thursday meeting, the president was merely engaging in political distraction. And yet Mr. Trump was absolutely right when he said that “bad things” are happening on the internet. [SIMON’S NOTE: Seth is a former (quirky) games writer for the Times – quite fond of EVE Online, as I recall – so interesting to see him pop back up with a piece like this.]”

Road to GDC: Training Gamers to Hunt For Undiscovered Exoplanets (Attila Szantner / Glixel – ARTICLE)
“A couple of years ago my friend Bernard Revaz and I, started to work on a new project around citizen science, which is the crowd-sourcing of scientific data acquisition and analysis. Citizen science (CS) is a beautiful concept that I have been watching evolve ever since the first very successful online project, Galaxy Zoo was launched.”

What Makes a Good Puzzle? (Game Maker’s Toolkit / YouTube – ARTICLE)
“Puzzles can be one of the most complex things in game design. In this video, I break down some great conundrums from favourite games, and share some knowledge from sharp puzzle designers, to find out what makes a good puzzle.”

Decrypting video games events: which one is right for you? (Thomas Bidaux / ICO Partners – ARTICLE)
“There are more and more events every year dedicated to video games. Navigating through the annual schedule is getting increasingly complex, and we have many discussions with our different partners about the merits of the different events for them to attend, depending on the profile of their games, the current state of development of the projects, and the company’s long term goals.”

Interview: Todd Howard (AIAS Game Maker’s Notebook – PODCAST)
“Todd Howard of Bethesda Game Studios chats with Ted Price about the history, decisions, production challenges behind The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series, the relationship between games and their own family lives, and the games they play vs the games they create.”

What Developers Think Of Steam Reviews (Rick Lane / RockPaperShotgun – ARTICLE)
“Because of Steam’s ubiquity on the PC, Steam reviews have become one of the main ways that developers receive feedback on their games. But how do developers feel about the system itself? Do Steam reviews provide a beneficial service that can help improve games? Or is it a perpetual nuisance warped by review bombing and ‘joke’ reviews that cause stress and confusion to the people who make the games we play?”

The Trust Spectrum (Raph Koster / Raph’s blog – ARTICLE)
“Today I want to share with you a design framework that I’ve been working on for a couple of years now with a team at Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, led by Aaron Cammarata. We call it “The Trust Spectrum,” and it’s a practical design lens for designing multiplayer games, particularly ones involving co-operative play.”

Secret Writer’s Society, the best way to swear at children in 1998 (Phil Salvador / The Obscuritory – ARTICLE)
“Panasonic Interactive Media’s game Secret Writer’s Society was supposed to teach kids how to write well. Instead, it became infamous. The game had a text-to-speech feature that would read back what you wrote, and under the right circumstances in the Macintosh version of the game, it would read a list of obscenities instead.”

One dev’s quest to support every controller you can plug into a USB port (Jay Allen / Gamasutra – ARTICLE)
“The devs of Jelly Team—composed of three Northeastern University alumni: programmer and designer Mark Trueblood, artist and designer Oskar Strom, and programmer Liam Fratturo—set out to make use of as many of those oddball controllers as possible for their arena battle party game, Super Slime Arena.”

Video Games Don’t Know How to Handle Current Events (Granger Willson / Vulture – VIDEO)
“While the creators of Far Cry 5 and many other modern game designers are getting inspiration from real-world issues, most of them are taking a superficial approach. So how can video games successfully integrate current events and social politics into their stories and mechanics, without being insensitive or exploitative? [SIMON’S NOTE: This is surprisingly relevant to the next No More Robots game announcement, as you’ll see… soon!]”

Indie veterans on the state of indie games on Nintendo Switch versus Steam (Austin Wood / PC Gamer – ARTICLE)
“The big question is this: with Steam more overcrowded than ever, are the wide-open fields of the Switch a better alternative? The zeitgeist certainly says so. You can’t read an announcement nowadays without finding “Switch please!” in the comments.”

The Story of R.O.B. the Robot (Gaming Historian / YouTube – ARTICLE)
“In 1984, Nintendo made plans to bring their Famicom console to North America. There was just one big problem: Stores wanted nothing to do with video games. Learn how a small robot helped save the video game industry and made Nintendo a household name. [SIMON’S NOTE: Ah, accurate historical game analyses on YouTube – such a wonder and a relative rarity.]”

Directing from the sidelines (Matt Leone /  Polygon – ARTICLE)
“We look at the rise of concept teams — from Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Fumito Ueda and others — in Japan’s game industry. [SIMON’S NOTE: This is a signature Polygon piece – super interesting and readable, but BOY, it’s long – about 5 articles in one. But fascinating stuff in here about how big Japanese creators structure their firms nowadays.]”

Why It Took Seven Years For These ‘My Little Pony’ Fans to Ship Their Game (Patrick Klepek / Waypoint – ARTICLE)
“All it took was getting paid nothing for years, a cease and desist from the legal team at Hasbro, and a last-minute rescue from the creator of ‘My Little Pony’ itself.”


[REMINDER: you can sign up to receive this newsletter every weekend at tinyletter.com/vgdeepcuts – we crosspost to Gamasutra later on Sunday, but get it first via newsletter! Story tips and comments can be emailed to vgdeepcuts@simoncarless.com. MINI-DISCLOSURE: Simon is one of the organizers of GDC and Gamasutra & an advisor to indie publisher No More Robots, so you may sometimes see links from those entities in his picks. Or not!]

ARMS Producer Open To Sequel In The Future, Would Like To Reveal ‘Unknown Stories’

The future of ARMS is one of uncertain mystery in some respects; we’ve already been told that there will be no more major updates, yet little tweaks and adjustments are still relatively common and support for the game’s online events is still as strong as ever. Despite this lack of future updates, though, the game’s producer has made it clear that ARMS has the potential for a very bright future indeed.

In a recent interview with Famitsu, translated by NintendoEverything, Kosuke Yabuki has revealed some of his thoughts on the game’s updates and lore, noting that the plan was always to have ARMS reach version 5.0.0 by the end of 2017. Interestingly, some updates that made the cut weren’t planned from the start, however; the addition of the character Springtron, for example, was an idea that came much later, taking the total of planned bonus fighters from four to five.

A particularly noteworthy section of the interview discusses the lore surrounding the game, with Yabuki revealing some interesting information about the game’s leading character Spring Man. 

There are still many more deeper world setting aspects in ARMS that haven’t been revealed yet. For example, the current Spring Man is the third to hold the name. Yabuki would like to reveal more of these unknown stories if there’s the chance.

Does this mean that Spring Man is similar to Link, with anyone worthy of taking on the name becoming the hero through numerous generations? Who knows?

While it’s still too early to know for sure, the interview goes on to suggest that we may be treated to new information surrounding the game – and new gameplay, of course – in a future sequel.

Finally, when asked about plans for a sequel, Yabuki says it’s still too early for that since not even a year has passed since ARMS’ release and they will still continue to update the current game. The team’s stance is that they would like to talk about this topic again when they’re finally in the right time and condition to be able to provide a big surprise to everyone.

It might not come as much of a surprise, but this certainly suggests that we’ll be seeing much more of ARMS in the future. Would you be happy to see the game get a sequel some day? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Amazon Germany Lists Flashback: 25th Anniversary Edition For June Switch Release

Update: Publisher Microïds has confirmed that Flashback is indeed coming in June. Here’s the info:

Microïds and Paul Cuisset are pleased to announce that Flashback, the classic action-adventure game consistently ranked among the best 100 games of all time, will be available on Nintendo Switch starting June 7th, 2018. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Super Nintendo version of game, Microïds is releasing a Collector’s Edition (in Europe and Australia), which includes the game in physical edition, a retro cartridge style metal case, an exclusive numbered metal card, a 24-page retro-style instruction booklet, the digital soundtrack (remastered version). Pre-orders are now open!

Flashback the story:

2142. After fleeing from a space ship, but stripped of all memory, the young scientist Conrad B. Hart awakens on Titan, a colonised moon of the planet Saturn. His enemies and kidnapers are snapping at his heels, and he has to find a way back to Earth while warding off the dangers that beset him and unravelling a fiendish extra-terrestrial plot that threatens the planet…

In the Nintendo Switch version of Flashback, players will be able to choose between the original 1993 gaming experience and Modern mode, which contains:

+ Post-FX graphic filters,
+ Completely remastered sound and music
+ A brand new “Rewind” function, variable according to the level of difficulty
+ Tutorials for those who need a boost!

Flashback will be available from June 7th, 2018 on the Nintendo E-shop and in retail with the 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition. The game is entirely subtitled in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and is rated PEGI 12.

Original story: Last June, publisher Microïds revealed a whole host of games it plans to bring to Nintendo Switch, including a remaster of 1992 platforming classic, Flashback

However, if a listing on Amazon Germany is to be believed, we’re to be getting the 25th Anniversary edition instead – or perhaps as well as – the 2013 remake. This may be for the best, as the Remastered edition of the game was met with a distinctly lukewarm critical response at launch.

The Amazon listing shows a rather snazzy 25th Anniversary collector’s edition, which will retail for €39.99 (that’s about £35), and includes a soundtrack, a collector’s guide and an awesome case shaped like a cartridge. It’s also got a release date of 7th June. It looks pretty legit, and a great way to belatedly celebrate the game’s quarter-century anniversary.

We’ve reached out to publisher Microïds about this new release and Flashback: Remastered, and will update this story when we have some solid intel.

Would you like Flashback on Switch? Will this be the first time you’ve heard of it/played it? Share your take below…

Funimation Really Wants Goku To Join The Roster In Super Smash Bros

Super Smash Bros. is real, it’s really coming and turned that Nintendo Direct into one of the most talked about broadcasts of the year. Now we’re wondering which fighters are going to be joining the fray come its release, especially when it comes to those surprise cameos. And in an innocent, lighthearted tweet at Nintendo, distributor Funimation thinks a certain hero from the Dragon Ball series would be a perfect fit.

Following on from the success of Dragon Ball FighterZ, there’s clearly a huge market for Goku and the gang when it comes to virtual fisticuffs, and what better place to go Super Saiyan than with Mario, Link and the rest of the Smash gang? We’re certainly game…

Would you like to see Goku in Super Smash Bros.? Is he a good fit? Who else would like to see making an appearance? Maybe Geralt of Rivia will pull double duty this year…

Kirby Star Allies Denied UK Number One Chart Debut By Burnout Paradise

New Switch release Kirby Star Allies has made an robust start in the UK video game charts, dropping in at number two, just behind the remastered version of Burnout Paradise – which, it should be noted, launched on more than one system (Kirby is of course entirely exclusive to the Switch).

Elsewhere, FIFA 18 rose from 4th place to 3rd, with the Switch version no doubt contributing to that in some small way. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe rose one place to 5th, with Super Mario Odyssey close behind, rising up from 7th to 6th. Zelda: Breath of the Wild is holding steady at number ten.

  1. Burnout Paraside Remastered (Multi)
  2. Kirby Star Allies (Switch)
  3. FIFA 18 (Multi)
  4. Grand Theft Auto V (Multi)
  5. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Switch)
  6. Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
  7. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (Xbox One)
  8. EA Sports UFC 3 (Multi)
  9. Fallout 4 (Multi)
  10. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch / Wii U)

Outside of the top ten, Splatoon 2 rose from 22nd to 16th, while Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle dropped six places to 26th. At the bottom end, 1-2-Switch has now sunk to 39th – last week it was 36th in the chart.