Battle Royale: The Last Generation Of An SNES-CD Saga

How? Gravity was a by the books show, rocco modern life did have More adult jokes sneaked in
Have you seen a single episode? Rocco was par for it’s time, Gravity Falls was A DISNEY CARTOON in the 2010s. They got so much crap past the ginormous disney radar, it’s incredible. Also, YAY! STEVEN UNIVERSE!
 
Have you seen a single episode? Rocco was par for it’s time, Gravity Falls was A DISNEY CARTOON in the 2010s. They got so much crap past the ginormous disney radar, it’s incredible. Also, YAY! STEVEN UNIVERSE!
Of course, was ok remind me a western Shaman king would have been ( just without spirits) but was that just a Cartoon
 
Winter 2013 (Part 4) - Come Fly With Me
Nexus Flight

Nexus Flight is a flight simulator game developed by Microsoft exclusively for the Google Nexus. The game is in some ways an enhanced port of Microsoft Flight Simulator X, though in other ways (mostly graphically and in terms of content detail) the game isn't as technologically advanced. The game allows players to control a wide variety of aircraft and fly to and from dozens of American cities, utilizing realistic controls in a simulated fashion. One of the earliest "simulation" titles of the eighth generation, it's somewhat of an experimental game, developed by Microsoft as a way to test out the capabilities of Google's console, and also to experiment with the second screen controls, which play a major part in the game. The game controls much like OTL's Flight Simulator X, and gives the player a variety of options, including the default controls which utilize the second screen Nexus Companion and the Nexus Grip, a set of simpler controls which just use a normal controller, and then an option to use flight stick controls with an optional accessory, alongside the Nexus Companion. If using the Nexus Companion, much of the plane's functionality will be displayed on the Companion, and the player can use a single control panel screen or they have the option to use touch controls to move back and forth to view a simulated instrument panel. The player also has the ability to use the Nexus Companion as an altitude meter, a second camera, or an in-flight navigation computer by tapping a button on the screen. Nexus Flight also includes a "Tablet Mode", an option to use an Android tablet and display an even larger control panel. This Tablet Mode is best utilized with flight sticks, and the player can even set up a table in front of them, put the flight sticks on it and put the tablet between them, and enjoy a realistic flight control setup. Nexus Flight receives continuous updates that tweak settings, add new cities and planes, and also add more functionality and control options. All of these updates come entirely free, at least at first, with paid DLC coming about a year later (but only to add new planes and cities, with functionality updates remaining free). Nexus Flight is, graphically, perhaps the best looking game on the Nexus thus far, even if its graphics pale in comparison to Flight Simulator X running on high-end rigs. The planes and cities look realistic and beautiful, and the game runs at an extremely smooth framerate at almost all times, showing off the Nexus' capabilities. It's released on March 12, 2013, to strong reviews from critics who praise the game's realism and skill at porting over a popular PC flight sim program and its versatility of control schemes, perhaps the most versatility ever for a console game. The game's initial sales are fairly strong considering its genre, with more than 50,000 units sold in the first week, and sales remain strong throughout the rest of the year and beyond, thanks not only to the updates that the game receives, but also videos of people playing the game. There's even video of people setting up a flight stick controller and a tablet in public places, streaming from their Nexus at home, and playing the game on their tablet, which looks incredibly impressive considering the game's level of tech. Nexus Flight is an early success story for the Nexus not just in terms of sales, but also in showing the possibilities and potential that the console affords.

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"Nexus Flight proves that Google's Nexus console might just be the best ever for simulator games. The second screen allows for an unprecedented amount of control flexibility, allowing developers to put all kinds of things on the Nexus Companion. Some just use it as a second controller, but it can also be used as an instrument display panel, a rear view window, a camera screen, a navigation deck, and more. The Nexus Companion's built in GPS makes it perfect for simulation titles as well, allowing it to use the maps that GPS provides as settings for games. Nexus Flight uses it to a small extent, with more functionality set to come later on through DLC and updates, but future titles such as a racing simulator could allow players to race through their hometowns, and perhaps even take road trips without leaving the comfort of their couch. Simulator titles are a somewhat obscure genre, and apart from Maxis' slate of Sim titles, have never sold all that well, but the Nexus could change all of that. Steam is seeing a wave of simulator games coming to the PC platform, and porting from the PC to the Nexus is fairly simple, especially simulator titles that are less graphically intense than their action and RPG genre counterparts. If Nexus Flight continues to sell well, expect more PC simulator ports in the future, one of which could well be the next killer app that could help give Google's console what it needs to take down the Nintendo and Apple juggernauts."
-from an article on Destructoid, posted on March 29, 2013
 
A question regarding Guardians of the Galaxy: what is the line-up of the team? Is it closer to the 1968 incarnation of the team or the OTL 2008 incarnation? The latter is far enough from the PoD that there would be some butterflies.

My rationale is that the team received a complete makeover in the wake of the "Ultimate Marvel" reboot (possibly with Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning) so that it would take take in the contemporary Marvel Universe. Marvel editorial largely give DnA a free hand in shaping the cosmic side of their line so that obscure characters like Star-Lord, Rocket, and Groot could better resemble their OTL MCU counterparts. Plus you could throw in other characters like Adam Warlock, Moondragon, and reimagined versions of the 1968 team as well.
 
Winter 2013 (Part 5) - Mariokart Excel
Mariokart Excel

Mariokart Excel is a kart racing game exclusive to the Nintendo Connect. Designed to be quite similar to 2010's Mariokart Crown from a graphical and gameplay perspective, Excel differs from Crown in one significant way: it trades in some of Crown's hardcore difficulty for a focus on speed, and introduces hovercarts to the series for the first time, in the same way that Mariokart 8 (the OTL game Excel is most similar to) introduced them IOTL. The game is a 3-D racer featuring a total of 40 tracks, with 20 new to the series and 20 retro tracks, and keeps the 16 kart races from Crown. The graphics are a small step down from those of Crown, but not a major one, and the game looks significantly better than the 3DS' Mariokart 7 from OTL. Kart customization returns from Crown as well, though the game's items, both the returning and new items, have been adjusted to not call for skill as much as they did in Crown. This game introduces items such as the Missile Shell, a shell with a rocket attached to it that can move at a high rate of speed and has a high blast radius, but must be aimed carefully, and also introduces the Switcher Boost, which can be fired ahead of the player and alternates between boosting a kart and making the person that drives over it spin out. Typically, the person who fired it will be able to use it, and perhaps one person close behind, but after that it turns into a road hazard.

Mariokart Excel includes five circuits of four tracks each, similar to Crown. These include the Mushroom, Flower, Star, and Special Cups, as well as the Excel Cup. The Excel Cup must be unlocked, but the requirements aren't nearly as strict as they are in Crown: simply winning all four circuits at the corresponding difficulty will unlock Excel for that difficulty and all the ones below. Unlike in Mariokart: Road Trip, these tracks aren't based on anything from the real world, returning to the series' wacky Mario themes for most of the courses.

Mushroom Cup:

Mario Zipway: A speed-themed basic course.
Goomba Grasslands: A grassy course where Goombas frequently cross the track.
Boulder Bounce: A hilly, rocky course with lots of bumps.
Wario Blusterland: An amusement park themed on Wario, with colorful scenery and tricky hazards.

Flower Cup:

Dire, Dire Ducks: A partially submerged track with lots of ponds.
DK's Barrel Roll: A thrilling course in which players must drive from barrel to barrel.
Cool Circuit: An ice-themed speedway, fairly simple but with slippery segments.
Toad Town: A suburban-themed course.

Star Cup:

Luigi's Accelerator: A fast-paced speedway with some sudden turns.
Boo's House Of Horrors: A ghost house themed course with some fast segments.
Piranha Pipe Paradise: A pipe-themed course with lots of hazards and falls.
Mall Of Mirrors: A mall-themed course that has some deceptive tricks.

Special Cup:

Peach's Cloudy Dreamscape: A ride through a puffy cloud paradise.
Thunder Valley: A ride through a hazardous canyon with lightning.
Bulbous Branchway: A plant-themed course with lots of vines and thorns.
Bowser's Castle: A straight-up, lava filled Bowser castle stage with incredible perils.

Excel Cup:

Wild Ride: An extremely fast course full of speed boosts and jumps.
Yoshi's Island: A ride around a track shaped like two Yoshis.
Future Runner: Another F-Zero styled course, this one isn't quite as dangerous as Crown's Zero Field, but can still be quite tricky.
Rainbow Road: Loaded with speed boosts and sick turns, this Rainbow Road is the fastest one yet.

Mariokart Excel also has an Adventure Mode, but it's significantly shorter and easier than the one in Crown, and isn't required to unlock anything (though it is possible to unlock kart parts by playing it). It's much simpler but still teaches players the basics of the game, and is more of a side attraction than anything. Excel also has online play, and allows 16 people to play locally as well via the Connect's local connection capabilities. Developed to take advantage of the Connect's software, Mariokart Excel is a beautiful looking Mariokart game, with the biggest criticism being that it doesn't change enough from Mariokart Crown. Despite this, it's a very well reviewed game, averaging in the high 8/low 9 range and becoming one of the Connect's best reviewed titles of 2013. The game is released on March 19th, amidst a strong amount of hype and a major marketing campaign from Nintendo. It's released at a time that the Connect's sales are lagging somewhat, and it immediately helps those sales pick back up, giving the Connect its strongest non-holiday sales since early 2012. It becomes the fastest selling Connect game to date, with more than two million copies sold worldwide in the first week, and sales remaining extremely strong in the weeks afterward, even as the attention of the gaming community largely shifts to the launch of the Apple Virtua. It continues the success of the Mariokart series, gives the Connect a major victory over the Gemini (which remains strong and will have a big push around the launch of the Virtua), and also sets the bar high for the Reality's Mariokart game, which is expected to be released in 2014 or 2015.
 
Seems like the Handheld battle is becoming more ferocious then the console battle between Nintendo/Sony vs Apple 👀.
It was last gen as well. Even though the Supernova would ultimately win, it felt like they did so barely. I felt that they didn't tip the scale in their favor until 2007-2008 (Super Mario Dimensions 2, Pokemon Gen 4, Final Fantasy VII-2, and Zelda: Sage's Knight.)
 
It's been a while, so I thought I would let everyone know what I originally envisioned for TTTE 2010...
- The RWS books Enterprising Engines and Oliver the Western Engine are adapted as one direct-to-video film.
- Duke the Lost engine forms the basis for a mini-series featured on CN's website, starring Michael Caine as the aforementioned Duke.
- Several adaptations of Christopher Awdry stories, notably Jock the New Engine and his cancelled Barry the Rescue Engine.
- Several original stories for characters written for the show.
 
Winter 2013 (Part 6) - Gemini On The Eve Of The Virtua Launch
Nightscour

Nightscour is an action-RPG published by Electronic Arts exclusively for the Apple Gemini. It combines elements of titles such as Diablo III, Castlevania, and the OTL Souls series, and takes place in a Victorian-era town that is being menaced by a strange and powerful beast. This beast's presence has spawned other, smaller beasts, and has also caused animals and even some humans to go crazy, forcing the protagonist to put them down with an array of weaponry including a crossbow and a rapier. While operating somewhat like a typical loot-based slasher title, with enemies able to drop loot, the protagonist able to find it, and merchants able to sell it, exploration also plays a major role, as does gathering clues and talking to the townspeople, which opens up new avenues of exploration and discovery for the player. The game's difficulty can be tricky to navigate at first, but it's not quite as unfair or punishing as a Souls title, especially once the player collects a good amount of loot and levels up the protagonist enough. The game also has some steampunk elements, with the protagonist able to assemble gadgets and even deck themselves out in a limited amount of steampunk-style armor. The game never goes full steampunk, but there is that influence there. As for the game's graphics, they're excellent, looking like a full console iTwin game with a few small graphical tricks. The game's world is also quite large, with the town actually being somewhat of a small city, with lots of surrounding environs to explore and the ability to go into buildings and even explore tunnels and caves. Nightscour has some of the best production values of any handheld game yet released up to this point, and critics give it excellent reviews, helping to contribute to the game's hype as one of the year's stronger Gemini exclusives. Sales of the game aren't great, but it does still make a decent profit, and is ultimately seen as a success.

However, Nightscour itself isn't all that significant of a game. It doesn't really innovate and doesn't become influential, and is mostly remembered as just another strong adventure title, albeit one that shows off the power of the handheld it's made for. Instead, what makes Nightscour significant is that it represents a significant investment by Electronic Arts in Apple's Gemini. It's a game that could have been made for any of the consoles, or even any of the handhelds, but Electronic Arts chose the Gemini. They chose the Gemini after developing the first wave of sports titles for the Gemini and realizing how powerful the handheld truly was and what its potential could be. Nightscour was originally intended as a console game, either a late-seventh generation game or an eighth-generation launch title, but EA chose the Gemini, an unusual choice considering the game's genre. Though Nightscour didn't push many Gemini units, and was probably somewhat hurt in terms of sales by being a Gemini exclusive, its developers gained crucial experience in programming for Apple's machine, which they found to be much like programming for the iTwin. Nightscour's release and limited success shows that companies are starting to gravitate toward the Gemini for developing their handheld exclusives, despite the system's drawbacks (its price and the fact that it's a digital only device). The Gemini is proving to be a more powerful and capable machine than the Connect, and though the Connect will continue to see stronger first party titles, third party companies begin to see the Gemini as being the more attractive handheld to develop for. Apple will continue to take advantage of this going forward, and will encourage companies to port their Virtua titles to the Gemini as well.

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Apple Expecting Virtua To Push Gemini Hardware Sales

Even after the Nintendo Connect has enjoyed one of its most successful months ever thanks to the launch of Mariokart Excel, and has once again opened up a healthy lead over its competitor the Apple Gemini, Apple has signaled that it's "encouraged" for the Gemini going forward. The Apple Virtua has launched, and while early sales figures won't be released for a few more days, the company took the time to promote its handheld console, the Apple Gemini, alongside the Virtua. John Carmack, director of Apple's gaming division, recently said during a conference call with media representatives and investors that he expects the Virtua's launch to push Gemini hardware sales heavily. Not only does Carmack see potential in the Virtua's ability to stream content to the Gemini, he also believes that Apple fans will enjoy playing their favorite franchises on both devices, with a number of Virtua ports expected in the coming months. When asked if he believes people would be willing to buy a $299 handheld after dropping $499 on the Virtua, he replied that he believes buyers in the market for premium gaming devices will be willing to pay for both. He went on to say that Apple had a number of deals and sales planned that would make the cost of owning both devices "easier to absorb", and that such sales would include software bundles, hardware deals, and cross-buy between the Virtua and Gemini versions of certain games.

Apple's Gemini has sold more than 12 million units thus far, and Carmack predicts that it will have sold around 20 million units total by the end of 2013.

-from an article posted on Gamespot.com on March 30, 2013
 
Apple Virtua Worldwide Launch
(Authors' Note: This is coming a bit early, as I have a business trip to go to next week and won't be able to update at all for about a week or so. I'm leaving you with this major update in the meantime!)

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Apple Virtua Technical Specifications

The Apple Virtua is a large black console with a polished finish, a bit smaller than OTL's original Xbox One and a bit larger than OTL's original Playstation 4. Like the Google Nexus, it features a Blu-Ray disc drive, four USB ports, and HDMI inputs and outputs. Unlike the Nexus (and unlike the later Reality), it also features two cameras in the front of the console. These cameras are what set the Virtua apart from its competitors, as it gives the Virtua the ability to create a “total immersion space” that allows the player to experience full body motion controls. This is fully customizable, allowing players to calibrate the motion control range to the space that the Virtua is in (you can't play it in a closet, but it accommodates a wide range of living spaces). The Virtua thus operates in a similar fashion to OTL's Xbox Kinect, though there are a few key differences in terms of functionality. The Virtua's cameras are first and foremost designed to enable the virtual reality gameplay, and so the system, at least at first, doesn't function like the Xbox One did with voice commands and controls (those would come in later). In fact, Apple devices ITTL don't yet have Siri-like functionality, as voice controls are one of the major fields of technology that is actually behind IOTL in terms of progress. The Virtua will get a similar system to OTL's Siri later on, but for now, the Virtua lacks any kind of voice control system. This does free up processing power and development resources for the motion controls, and so the Virtua has, by far, the most advanced motion control system for any video game device to date. As far as software goes, the Virtua has access to the legacy iTunes library, and is capable of playing any digital Master System, Genesis, Saturn, Game Gear, Katana, or iTwin game yet released, and is also capable of playing iTwin games via backwards compatibility (giving the Virtua a library of 3,000+ digital games at launch).

The Apple Virtua is right around OTL's original Playstation 4 in terms of raw graphical power. In some ways, it's more powerful and capable, though in other ways, it's slightly less, again due to added processing power being devoted to the Virtua's motion control gameplay technology. The Virtua utilizes a custom-built 1.95 GHz octo-core Intel CPU alongside a 833 MHz GPU, providing around 2 teraflops of processing power. It has 8 GB of RAM, 2 more than the Google Nexus, and is generally a more powerful console overall, with graphics that are visually better in most games. Like the Nexus, the Virtua has two primary control schemes: a twin-controller setup similar to the iTwin, but with a few key differences, mostly concerning the grips, which have an extra trigger button (L4 and R4), which is primarily used for virtual reality functionality but which other developers use in different ways. The Virtua also has a traditional controller option, and on those controllers, the L4 and R4 buttons operate like the paddles seen on some advanced OTL controllers (including the Xbox Elite). The Virtua's default twin controllers have special chips allowing the camera to see their positions from anywhere, and the controllers have a wide array of movements and sensors, including an advanced rumble functionality that exceeds the capabilities of OTL's HD Rumble on the Switch. This has the effect of making the twin Virtua controllers quite expensive, with a set of them running $99.99 (the traditional style controller also has an MSRP of $99.99).

Overall, while motion controls and virtual reality were Apple's primary development goal with the Virtua, they also designed the console for raw power in a much more overt way than they did the iTwin. Steve Jobs was annoyed by just how much better first party games looked on the Sapphire than they did on the iTwin, and he didn't want to be beaten that badly by Nintendo in terms of raw power ever again. The Virtua is priced and promoted as a premium product, and though its initial MSRP is $200 more than the Nexus, the high price isn't a concern to Jobs, who knows that Apple loyalists are willing to pay big bucks for premium, well promoted products.

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Launch Title Summaries-
(The Virtua's North American launch line-up consists of 20 games, plus a few more small titles not worth mentioning here. Most are ports, but around half are exclusive to the console.)

Bayonetta 2

Developed by PlatinumGames exclusively for the Apple Virtua, Bayonetta 2 is a hack and slash title and a sequel to 2009's Bayonetta. While the game comes out ITTL about a year and a half earlier than it did IOTL, it enjoyed about the same amount of total development time, due to the extremely strong sales for the original game pushing Apple to commission and fund a sequel almost immediately. Bayonetta 2 features similar gameplay to its predecessor, but like OTL's sequel, gameplay is more refined and better paced, with new combo attacks at Bayonetta's disposal and the introduction of Umbran Climax, allowing players with a full magic meter to pull off numerous combos and strong attacks in rapid-fire succession. There's also an alteration to the Witch Time mechanic that allows Bayonetta to temporarily take control of an enemy and attack either themselves or another enemy. Called Witch Trance, this ability plays a major role in certain fights and can lead to some unique and humorous moments. Other than these new additions, little has changed between Bayonetta 2 and its predecessor. Of course, the Virtua does allow for an entire layout of motion controls which allows the player to punch, kick, and pose to make Bayonetta pull off some incredibly fun combos. Like in the first TTL Bayonetta game, Bayonetta breaks the fourth wall at times to comment on the player's performance if they're utilizing the motion controls. It IS possible to use the traditional control scheme, which is still quite fun and controls Bayonetta just as well. Another major difference between OTL and TTL's games is the graphics: the Apple Virtua is by far the most advanced console the Bayonetta series has been on (IOTL or ITTL), and the game demonstrates the system's graphical power quite nicely, with a smooth framerate and detailed character and enemy models that make the game one of the best looking launch titles for the system. Hellena Taylor and Kari Wahlgren reprise their roles from the original game, and TTL's Bayonetta 2 features much of the same music as OTL's game, including “Tomorrow Is Mine” and a remixed “Moon River”. Plotwise, there are also some strong similarities between OTL and TTL's titles. Like OTL's game, Bayonetta's companion Jeanne has been dragged into hell by a betrayer demon, and Bayonetta is forced to battle both angels and demons to get her back. Bayonetta's human allies Luka and Lizbeth both return from the previous game, and both have a role to play in the game's main plot, which now involves a modern day preacher figure known as Pastor Goliad (voiced by Stephen Root) being used by an ancient witch hunter named Margaretha (voiced by Susanne Blakeslee) in order to restart the Witch Hunts of years past. Margaretha is behind Jeanne's abduction, and Goliad (who doesn't know that he's being used to summon demons into the world, but instead believes his new miracle powers come from God) serves as the human face of her plan, directing swarms of angels against Bayonetta as she travels the world to save Jeanne and ultimately the universe from Margaretha's evil plans. Though Bayonetta does slaughter armies of angels, she doesn't harm Goliad himself, instead using her powers to break the hold Margaretha has over his mind (she DOES humiliate him though, and it's implied that the government arrests him for fraud soon after his defeat). Bayonetta rescues Jeanne from execution, and together, the two travel back in time to defeat Margaretha before she gains enough power to destroy witches in the present. Bayonetta isn't able to save her own mother from the hunts, but she does gain inspiration and a brand new power, and uses this power and Jeanne's help to defeat Margaretha and end the witch hunts once and for all. Bayonetta and Jeanne then return to the present and resume their lives of luxury, decadence, and angel hunting. Bayonetta 2, like OTL's game, enjoys incredibly strong reviews, with review scores easily the best of any game released so far in 2013. The game is heavily praised for its fun hack and slash action, its optional motion controls, its gorgeous graphics, and its extremely fast pacing. The game has plenty of replay value, and is considered to have set a new bar for the genre. It becomes the Virtua's most successful launch title, and is a true killer app for the system, helping to push hardware units despite the Virtua's high price.

GameRankings Score: 96.93%

Virtua Fighter Beyond Infinity

Virtua Fighter Beyond Infinity is a half-sequel, half-enhanced port of the hit Gemini title Virtua Fighter Infinity. It's essentially the same game, but includes all the DLC plus several original characters, a suite of brand new modes (including a built-in brawler title and expanding on the Virtua Quest-style RPG mode from Infinity), and most importantly, support for the Virtua's built in motion controls, allowing players to achieve almost one-to-one movement for their characters in the game. There's a super-detailed Create A Fighter mode that will allow players to put themselves into the game like never before, meaning that for the first time, it's possible for the player to star in a Virtua Fighter game. While some critics see it as a bit of a gimmick, most players eat it up eagerly, and the game is seen as a major improvement over the original (which was already considered one of the greatest fighting games of all time). Virtua Fighter Beyond Infinity is one of the best reviewed console fighting games ever, and sales heavily reflect that. It's the best selling launch title in Japan. In North America, sales are strong, but a bit lower than might be expected, due in part to people owning the game on the Gemini and not quite wanting to make the jump at launch. Still, it's a massive hit, and probably the most successful Virtua Fighter overall since 4.

GameRankings Score: 93.01%

Virtua Rally

A successor title to both Sega Rally and Virtua Racing, Virtua Rally aims to be a comprehensive racing experience combining both arcade and simulation style racing into a single package. The game includes three main modes: a “simulation style” mode that emulates the Gran Turismo and Forza series, an “arcade style” mode that provides full arcade-style racing in the style of the classic Virtua Racing games, and a “rally style” mode combining the two. The game includes support for traditional controls, simple motion controls, and complex motion controls. It releases alongside a steering wheel accesory (sold separately) intended to simulate the feel of real virtual racing. While the game is graphically gorgeous and plays quite well, it's seen somewhat as a “jack of all trades, master of none”, a game that isn't quite as challenging and compelling a sim as Gran Turismo, or as simple and fun as Virtua Racing or even the earlier Sega Rally reboot. It's still a very well received game, and another strong seller, but isn't quite the killer app that some of its fellow launch titles are.

GameRankings Score: 86.23%

Virtua Sports

A compilation sports title including new versions of Virtua Tennis and Virtua Soccer, as well as basketball, baseball, golf, billiards, darts, foot racing, boxing, and fishing. The game allows for both traditional controls and motion controls. Like Virtua Rally, it suffers from a bit of a “jack of all trades, master of none” problem, but all the games are quite fun and control quite well. The game has less of a budget title feel to it than OTL's Wii Sports did (retailing at full price), but ironically, the game doesn't become as iconic or successful, mostly because it's not packaged with the system. Players who do take the plunge are rewarded with a very fun game and an excellent demonstration of the Virtua's capabilities.

GameRankings Score: 88.98%

XCOM: From The Skies

Another Virtua exclusive, this one from a third party, this game is the latest in the XCOM series, in which players must repel an alien invasion with the army they have at hand. Unlike games such as OTL's Enemy Unknown, this is an RTS, not a tactical RPG, and it requires more resource management and faster thinking, operating a little bit like Starcraft without quite as much strategy. It allows for optional motion controls, in which players can physically pick up and move units around, and though this is a fun way to play the game, traditional controls are probably the way to go. It's a slick, simple, but fun RTS, and though hardcore XCOM fans scoff a bit, it's overall a good game.

GameRankings Score: 76.15%

World Series Baseball 2K13

The latest in Apple's exclusive baseball series, this one also made its way to the iTwin and Gemini. The Virtua version is nearly identical, though it does have better graphics and tacked-on motion controls. It's a good baseball game, and though it's no Ken Griffey: Hall Of Fame, it's still a popular launch title.

GameRankings Score: 80.50%

NASCAR 2K13

Another Apple sports exclusive, this NASCAR game actually runs into a bit of a conflict with Virtua Rally, which also includes NASCAR racers (though 2K13 is the only one with the actual NASCAR tracks and ruleset). The 2013 game is considered somewhat of a disappointment compared with the excellent NASCAR 2K12, and the Virtua version is no exception. It's certainly not a bad game, but does have some trouble selling due to the various issues.

GameRankings Score: 71.54%

Dragonball ZV

This interesting title is a Virtua-exclusive Dragonball fighting game. Though there are plenty of Dragonball games being released for various consoles at this time, most with similarities to OTL's Tenkaichi and Budokai games, Dragonball ZV slims down the roster a bit in order to showcase the graphics of the Virtua. It's a beautiful fighting game, certainly the closest in appearance to the actual anime that has been released to date, but it's nothing too special. Most fighter fans buy Virtua Fighter Beyond Infinity, while only hardcore Z junkies pick this one up.

GameRankings Score: 70.77%

Ghosts At Dusk

A horror title with some similarities to Fatal Frame, this first-person launch title is designed to take advantage of the Virtua's controls. It's about a group of Japanese students on a class trip who find themselves harrowed by ghosts. It's legitimately terrifying, if somewhat short and simplistic, and best remembered for the elaborate motion control scheme which forces players to stay alert and attentive to protect the students (most of whom are attractive girls). Though most reviews are positive, a notable negative review compares the game to Night Trap.

GameRankings Score: 77.04%

Skullgirls

This anime-based fighter comes to the Virtua exclusively ITTL, due to Apple working extensively with Reverge Labs to produce and publish the game. It's quite similar to OTL's title, though it's even better looking graphically, and gets a physical release at launch (at a budget price of $29.99). With more fighters and an expanded storyline, it's overall a stronger game than OTL's title, but amidst the other fighters present at the Virtua launch, it gets lost in the fold and becomes known as a niche game.

GameRankings Score: 83.40%

Assassin's Creed III

Like the previous Nexus port, Assassin's Creed III is fairly identical to the game that got released late last year. It has the best graphics of any port released thus far, and a bit smoother gameplay due to included patches, but there's little reason to buy this version if you've already played the others.

GameRankings Score: 92.77%

Call Of Duty: Coalition

Second verse, same as the first. It's a better looking port than the Nexus version, but nothing new has been added here.

GameRankings Score: 81.60%

Thrillseekers: Winter Challenge 2

Activision threw in some DLC with the Virtua version of the game, but other than a new graphical coat of paint, this is essentially the same game as the others.

GameRankings Score: 77.36%

Child Of Light

Absolutely nothing has been changed here from the other versions. Even the graphics are identical to the Nexus version of the game.

GameRankings Score: 85.16%

Shadowrun Archaica

The next-gen Shadowrun title, launching on the Nexus in February, the Virtua in March (at launch), and the Reality in June, this game is a brand new WRPG set in the Shadowrun universe. It plays much like a more simplistic Deus Ex: Human Evolution, though with less combat and more computer hacking and trading. Its plot revolves around the discovery of an ancient library of interplanetary knowledge, and the struggle amongst various factions to retrieve portions of the library's collection. It's a fairly open ended game and also quite intellectual for an RPG, with the player asked to solve complex word puzzles and decipher interactions with a wide variety of characters. In addition to the game's console launches, it also launches on PC and Mac, and generally does better there, with the game's content and gameplay style more suited to PC players than to console ones. Reviewers criticize the game's length (the main story is fairly short) and some of its obtuse content, though a few reviewers call it one of the best RPGs of the year. The Virtua version is a decent showcase for the console's graphical power, though it lacks the second screen functionality of the Nexus. It's a flawed but fun Shadowrun game and hardcore fans of the series tend to really like it.

GameRankings Score: 78.45%

Batman: Dark Legend

Another port that's fairly similar to the other versions, it does look quite good on the Virtua, and it's possible to control Batman with motion controls, leading to some fun Youtube videos of players dressing up like Batman to play.

GameRankings Score: 86.04%

Grapple: Settle It In The Ring

THQ's long-awaited wrestling adventure game comes to next-gen consoles in early 2013, and is a Virtua launch title. It allows the player to create their own protagonist (male or female) with a basic set of wrestling moves, and they'll learn more as they progress through the world. The game isn't quite as silly as it sounds, it has some serious plot twists and villains, and plays the “world based on wrestling” trope fairly straight. The plot itself involves corporate espionage and a rigged presidential election, with Terry Crews playing the voice of the game's main antagonist (the developers wanted to get Randy Savage, but Savage died in 2012 under similar circumstances to OTL, just before he could record his vocal lines for the game). As you play, you'll have to recruit various wrestlers to your side (mostly by beating them in matches), with the gameplay resembling the company's OTL WWE wrestling titles. Grapple is a really fun game that doesn't quite live up to the massive hype THQ was attempting to generate for it prior to its release (mostly due to developmental issues). Its sales are mediocre, and it becomes more of an underappreciated gem rather than the company's next new hit IP.

GameRankings Score: 81.89%

Guacamelee!

Another hit OTL indie game that also appears ITTL, Guacamelee! is released on most current platforms in early 2013, with the Virtua port appearing on the digital score at launch. Like IOTL, the game is a melodramatic luchadora-based Metroidvania game, and achieves similar critical and commercial success to OTL.

GameRankings Score: 88.37%

Nightmare Of Ammut-Ra

The latest in the moderately popular adventure series, Nightmare Of Ammut-Ra is released exclusively to eighth generation consoles, including the Virtua. The priest protagonist, along with Kannara and Septet, all return to battle the mighty Anubis and a legion of undead horrors that have invaded Ammut-Ra and seek to destroy everything and drag everyone into the underworld. This game, three years in the making, is a major graphical showcase for the new consoles, but achieves much better sales initially on the Nexus than on the Virtua, where it becomes lost amongst its fellow launch games. It would see decent sales legs later on, and is overall considered a good game, though not as good as Savior of Ammut-Ra.

GameRankings Score: 79.16%

Wulfsbane

An Enix produced horror-themed RPG for the next-gen consoles (only the Virtua and Nexus, with no Reality port), Wulfsbane is an action RPG about a werewolf who stalks a Gothic-themed world in search of revenge on the person who put them in that condition. Interestingly, the werewolf is actually a teenage girl, and she's attempting to hunt down a young prince who murdered her best friend (who also happened to be the prince's betrothed). The game's combat system is somewhat slow and stiff, a sort of hack and slash with Souls-esque controls (but not difficulty), and it's meant to evoke a sense of horror and melancholy in the player. It's a dark, brooding, and beautiful game, though the graphics are a bit weak for eighth generation standards. The game's reviews are solid but not great, and sales are highly disappointing in the States (though in Japan it becomes one of the best selling Virtua launch titles and also a major hit on the Nexus). The failure of Wulfsbane in North America leads Enix to draw back its operations in the West, and Japan would see numerous exclusives in the eighth generation that North America wouldn't.

GameRankings Score: 75.82%

-

March 25, 2013

The Apple Virtua is launched worldwide at an MSRP of $499.99. This price includes the Virtua and its twin controllers, but no other accessories or games. The system's release is preceded by a major advertising and hype campaign for Apple which pushes the system's motion control capabilities and also the trendiness of the console, with celebrity endorsements and gamer testimonies hyping it up as a premium product. The system's launch is also preceded by highly favorable reviews from the gaming press of both the hardware and software, with the motion control capabilities receiving especially high praise. Virtua Sports, Virtua Rally, and Virtua Fighter Beyond Infinity receive the bulk of the mainstream hype, while Bayonetta 2 is pushed by Apple as the hardcore gamers' game of choice for the console's launch. The Virtua receives considerably more launch hype than Google's Nexus, and pushes its connection to the iTwin quite heavily, hoping to appeal to families who purchased the iTwin even at its own high launch price of $399. It's a tough sell, but Steve Jobs is determined to make it work, and the Virtua's advertising campaign is by far the biggest for a game console launch of all time, twice that of the previous record holder, the Microsoft Xbox 2. The Virtua launch is accompanied by enormous fanfare, both from the gaming community and the mainstream press alike. Though most of the early buzz is positive, the Virtua's high price receives huge backlash from large segments of the gaming community, who are also suspicious of the system's built in cameras that could potentially be used to spy on players (though the cameras' functionality being initially devoted strictly to the motion controls does mitigate this a bit).

The launch of the Virtua is considered a major success in Japan, a success in North America, and so-so in Europe. Sales are largest in North America, with over a million total units moved in the first week, while Japanese sales, around 600,000 in the first week, significantly outpace expectations. The Virtua's price was thought to have been a major limiting factor on sales, but that doesn't seem to be the case, at least initially, with the usual early adopters joining Apple hardcores and mainstream players swayed by all the hype. It's not as big a launch as some systems have seen, but in the eyes of most, more than any $500 console has any right to have. In Europe, only around 100,000 units would be sold in the first week, with British, French, German, and Spanish shelves full of consoles throughout the remainder of the year.

Here are the launch week sales figures for the 20 launch titles, based on North American sales (on a total of 1,138,507 first week units sold in North America):

Bayonetta 2: 357,834
Virtua Sports: 321,050
Virtua Rally: 213,816
Virtua Fighter Beyond Infinity: 145,963
Call Of Duty: Coalition: 123,728
Assassin's Creed III: 80,599
World Series Baseball 2K13: 61,774
Dragonball ZV: 48,360
NASCAR 2K13: 37,619
Batman: Dark Legend: 37,447
Thrillseekers: Winter Challenge 2: 30,515
Ghosts At Dusk: 27,461
Nightmare Of Ammut-Ra: 23,800
Shadowrun Archaica: 21,216
XCOM: From The Skies: 20,534
Guacamelee!: 18,271
Grapple: Settle It In The Ring: 15,361
Skullgirls: 10,071
Child Of Light: 7,604
Wulfsbane: 7,382

-

*On the set of Late Night with Drew Barrymore, Drew Barrymore and Lyssa Fielding are showing off the Apple Virtua. They're playing Virtua Fighter Beyond Infinity, and facing a large screen as they play the game with the full motion controls.*

Drew: Okay, I'm pretty sure you're gonna kick my ass, but I'll take you on anyway.

Lyssa: *laughing* Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna kick your ass too. *the audience laughs loudly at this*

Drew: Well, let's get to fighting, huh?

*The round starts and Drew throws a few weak punches, doing some damage to Lyssa's character, who just mostly stands there and takes it.*

Drew: Yeah! Yeah!

Lyssa: *smirking, she launches into several fierce combo attacks, throwing a series of sharp punches and kicks which register as strong strikes that combine to quickly take off half of her opponent's lifebar*

Drew: Oh no, oh no! *gets thrown to the ground by Lyssa's character* Come on, punch, punch dammit! *throwing futile punches at the screen as her character tries to get up*

Lyssa: I feel like I should let you hit me a few times.

Drew: Yes, you should!

Lyssa: *fierce kicks Drew's character to the ground again*

Drew: Oh, come on!

Band Director: You're getting your ass kicked, Drew!

Drew: I'm no good at games! While Lyssa was playing Super Mario Bros., I was doing drugs! *the crowd laughs*

Lyssa: Well, to quote former FBI director William S. Sessions, winners don't use drugs...

Band Director: Isn't the Virtua designed for people who aren't good at games? I mean, if you can do the motions you can play the game, right?

Drew: It's not designed to beat experts!

Lyssa: *laughing as she lands the finishing blow, the crowd cheers loudly* Woooooo!

Drew: Okay, okay, let's go another round, I'm not finished with you!

(…)

*Now Drew is playing Bayonetta 2 while Lyssa helps by giving her advice.*

Drew: This game is fun, it's more fun than Virtua Fighter anyway. I think that's because I'm not playing against you.

Lyssa: Bayonetta is awesome. I'd jump in, but you're the host, so I'll let you play this round.

Drew: Yeah, you just show me how to play. I'm actually doing pretty good right now I think. *using some punches and kicks to take down a gang of angels* Aw yeah, feathers are flying now!

Lyssa: Do the torture attack, do the torture attack!

Drew: *does the hand motion to use a torture attack on the last angel in the group* Can we even show this game on broadcast TV? I feel like we're going to get a fine showing this.

Lyssa: Well, it's a taped show, so...

(…)

*After the quick Bayonetta demo, Drew and Lyssa sit back down to discuss the console.*

Drew: So that's the Virtua, and it's... it's really neat! It's probably the most fun I've ever had playing video games.

Lyssa: It is a lot of fun, you know, I've gotten about a week to play with it and I've had a blast. The motion controls are awesome, the games are great, I've been playing the hell out of Bayonetta 2...

Drew: The one you have, Apple sent you, right?

Lyssa: That one is in my trailer on the set of Hating Places, and then I'm buying another one to keep at my house. What's neat is that I heard that the camera can tell how big of a room you're in, so it doesn't matter whether you're in a trailer or in your living room. It's kind of cramped in my trailer, I cleared out some of my stuff to have room to move around though. That means you know it's good, I wouldn't clean out my trailer for just any reason! I'm a slacker when it comes to that kinda thing!

Drew: Oh, I know. *smirks* So this thing you think is going to give lazy people all over the world a reason to clean up their houses.

Lyssa: It is, it's going to be better than a nagging mom. *the crowd laughs* Speaking of moms, I'm getting my mom one of these too. She doesn't play video games but I'm getting her this and probably Bayonetta.

Drew: I'm not sure that's an appropriate game for an elderly woman to play.

Lyssa: My mom would love it. My mom is cool.

Drew: I know your mom, she is cool, I didn't know she was THAT cool.

Lyssa: My mom is that cool.

-from the March 22, 2013 episode of Late Night with Drew Barrymore on CBS

-

April 6, 2013

Steve Jobs smiled as he read the reports showing off the early sales figures for the Apple Virtua. Despite the system's high cost, it had outsold the Google Nexus in its first week of sales, and was on pace to sell more than ten million units by the end of the year if things continued at their current pace (and Jobs expected that they would).

He could take credit for most of the Virtua's sales, but not all of them... and despite the problems he'd had with his friend Steve Wozniak in the past, even he had to admit that Wozniak's ideas had been paramount in the development of the Virtua. Wozniak had been a major part of the iTwin's success as well, and more than 100 million units later, and barring a late surge of Sapphire sales, Apple had become the first company ever to win a console generation against Nintendo.

He knew the Reality launch was on the horizon. Nintendo's system was expected to be slightly more powerful than the Virtua, and would cost $100 less for the base model (though if buyers wanted the system's main selling point, its VR headset, they too would have to shell out a total of $499). However, like the Sapphire before it, Jobs knew Nintendo's Reality was beatable.

And despite all of the controversy over Jobs and Apple's activity in Japan, the Virtua had been a major success there as well. How could it not be? Apple was huge in Japan. Jobs had cultivated a major part of the console's launch lineup for Japan, with Bayonetta 2, Virtua Fighter Beyond Infinity, and Ghosts At Dusk all receiving heavy promotional pushes there. He'd also ensured that the Virtua wouldn't experience any of the same supply crunches that had plagued the iTwin.

His teams were already hard at work on the Virtua's VR solution, a headset for the Virtua that would work in combination with the system's motion controls to create the first ever true virtual reality experience. He knew it would be several years away, and would likely require a second iteration of the Virtua, but he also knew it would be worth the work and the time, and if Nintendo's Reality did initially start out ahead, it would be his ace in the hole.

Jobs had chosen a young tech wizard to lead his team, someone who'd been recommended by another recent hire: John Carmack, now heading up Jobs' gaming division. In a meeting shortly after E3 2012, Carmack had introduced Jobs to a young man, just 19 years of age, who was about to start his own technology company.

“Maybe,” said Carmack to the young man, “instead of starting your own company, you could come work for my friend Steve.”

Jobs had been impressed with the young man immediately, though he knew his design would need work before it could be implemented for the Virtua. It also wasn't a done deal right away... the 19 year old didn't initially know if he wanted to work with Apple. His technology was groundbreaking, and with Nintendo rumored to be working on something similar, he still wanted to weigh his options. However, later in the year, at the same Silicon Valley party where Jobs and Wozniak had discussed the re-election of Jon Huntsman together, this young man was also in attendance, and told Jobs that he'd like to take him up on his offer.

Now, the young man was leading one of Apple's most important development teams, putting all of their resources into developing a suite of virtual reality headsets. The devices would be rolled out across the iOS family initially, but eventually, a Virtua solution would be developed.

This young man, Palmer Luckey, was now one of the most important people in gaming, but at the moment, only Apple insiders knew his name.

But eventually, hoped Steve Jobs, all of that would change. Next year would see Apple's rollout of true virtual reality begin, and the console wars would enter worlds that had never before been imagined.
 
I had to look up who palmer luckey is, but now that i know: nintendo/ sony I hope you planned much better for your vr, because an apple made oculus rift just screams insurmountable.
 
(Authors' Note: This is coming a bit early, as I have a business trip to go to next week and won't be able to update at all for about a week or so. I'm leaving you with this major update in the meantime!)
Good luck, Ry!
hardcore XCOM fans scoff a bit
Does that mean TTL Spoony's response is more "Meh, it's all right" than OTL's "BETRAYAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
the developers wanted to get Randy Savage, but Savage died in 2012 under similar circumstances to OTL
Aww, RIP Randy "Macho Man" Savage, a.k.a. Bonesaw McGraw.....
-from the March 22, 2013 episode of Late Night with Drew Barrymore on CBS
I totally forgot she was hosting a talk show ITTL, but that was hilarious!

Awesome update! I can't believe there's an ATL where I'm an Apple fan!
 
Does that mean TTL Spoony's response is more "Meh, it's all right" than OTL's "BETRAYAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Yeah we loss this legendary song, as is a causalized version than a fps(i think he will liked it but complain the lack of a 'traditional/pro' mode not being available)
 
Winter 2013 (Part 7) - The Rest Of The Games New
(Here are the rest of the notable games from January 2013 to March 2013!)
-

Nintendo Sapphire-

Dragon Quest: The War Of Legend

Dragon Quest: The War Of Legend is a tactical RPG developed by Enix for the Nintendo Sapphire. It can best be compared to a Final Fantasy Tactics-style game, but with Dragon Quest art design, gameplay, music, and tropes. It's a bit simpler than Final Fantasy Tactics, at least at first, with less character classes and more straight-forward combat. However, later in the game, the ability to send certain units on “quests” opens up, and those quests can alter character growth and storylines, while also opening up new missions for players to embark upon. There are a wide variety of character classes and races in the game, with humans being the most common, but also angels, demons, elves, and dwarves, each with their own unique classes and abilities, and players can also have monster units such as Slimes, Drackys, and Dragons. The game utilizes the familiar Dragon Quest art style, with symphonic music by Koichi Sugiyama. Voice acting is non-existent in the game, with dialogue playing out across menus during and between battles. In between battles, players can visit towns to recruit characters, outfit units, and even launch side quests, much like a typical tactical RPG. The game's plot is alluded to by its title: it concerns a war being fought between the great kingdom of Artania and the powerful Radclorian Empire, led by an emperor who is being controlled by the powerful demon lord Zartanius. The player starts out as a young Artanian soldier leading a small unit of troops, but is eventually revealed as the legendary hero, who must recruit more heroes to their cause. Each mission plays out like its own mini-quest, with some quests playing out over multiple missions, though most are self-contained and only have a small part in the game's overall storyline. While thousands of different units can be recruited, there are twelve main heroes in the game, with eight recruited over the course of the story and four being optional. With the player allowed to have up to twelve units take the field at a time, it's possible to use all the playable heroes at once, though most will have their own personal favorites. Each of the twelve main heroes has their own storyline and missions, though it's somewhat abbreviated compared to a traditional Dragon Quest game. The plot plays out much like one would expect, with Zartanius eventually revealing himself and the heroes forced to confront him in one grand final battle. Overall, Dragon Quest: The War Of Legend is a rather simple tactical RPG. It's got enough Dragon Quest gameplay and fanservice to please longtime series fans, but is only a decent SRPG on its own. As one of the last significant Sapphire games, it gets a decent amount of hype and attention in the months prior to the Reality's release, and has passable sales in North America, while being a chart-topping hit in Japan.

Apple iTwin-

Thomas The Tank Engine

Thomas The Tank Engine is an action/train simulation title for the Apple iTwin. Intended for younger players, the game is a sort of cross between a typical action platformer title and a train simulator game in the nature of Densha de Go (with MUCH simpler controls). The game tells a fairly simple story of Thomas and his friends taking cargo to various destinations across the land, with some obstacles in their way. Intended to capitalize on the fame of the hit Cartoon Network animated series, the game shares a lot of voice actors and its animation style from that, while telling its own original story. The game gives the option of using traditional controls or allowing players to use the twin controllers to move Thomas and the other playable characters on the tracks. The game is extremely linear, and most players can beat it in less than two hours, though it does provide a decent challenge for its target audience. Overall, review scores are mediocre, though critics do praise it for being appealing to young fans of the franchise, and it's a well made game overall. Initial sales are decent, but the game's sales legs remain strong throughout its lifetime, even after the release of the Virtua (the game does get a Virtua port in 2014 with new quests and features).

Mickey Mouse Returns 2

A Capcom-developed sequel to 2011's hit iTwin adventure title, Mickey Mouse Returns 2 plays and looks much the same as its predecessor, and is intended mostly to cash in on the success of the first. It does incorporate characters and situations from Disney's new Mickey Mouse animated series, helping to tie the two properties together to capitalize on that game, with some new playable characters showing up, including Max Goof and Chip and Dale. Hat power is the name of the game this time around, same as last time, though some characters have unique power-ups, including a paintbrush for Minnie and a skateboard for Max. This game's main villain is Magica DeSpell from DuckTales, who initially uses Pete as a patsy, though Pete actually turns good about a third of the way through the game after Magica's treachery is revealed. With a decent amount of obscure characters and easter eggs from previous Disney properties, it's a fun little fanservice game, though fans expecting big improvements over its predecessor are somewhat disappointed. It achieves decent sales upon its release, and is considered one of the last great iTwin games.

Google Nexus-

Angry Birds World

A platformer title combining the physics-based action of Angry Birds with the exploration and discovery of a 3-D platformer, Angry Birds World is considered an early flagship title for the Google Nexus. As of TTL 2013, Angry Birds is still an extremely strong gaming IP with plenty of sales on most gaming platforms, including Android, and an Angry Birds platformer on Nexus is intended to take the IP to the next level. It introduces a complex storyline with a number of different characters, but the familiar Angry Birds motif of a war between the birds and the pigs provides the driving action of this game. The game's controls involve slingshotting the birds from place to place, with each bird having their own form of movement and their own attack style. Players can switch between different types of birds to access different areas, and exploration and platforming are adapted to this style of movement, while aiming has been streamlined to allow a fast and flowing style of play. It is a bit tricky to get used to, but once players get the hang of it, it's fairly easy, and Angry Birds veterans are able to adapt quickly. It's definitely not the most detailed or content-rich platforming title, but it's full of wacky humor and has all of the elements that made the original Angry Birds so addictive. Overall review scores are fairly positive, while initial sales meet expectations, making it one of the top three new launch titles of January 2013.

Cold Mist

Cold Mist is a mystery suspense adventure game in which the player must use the Nexus' controller screen to suss out visual clues about missing persons. The screen can be adjusted to a variety of modes and displays, and allows the player to move around and talk to witnesses while viewing information and clues on the second screen. The game's protagonists are a pair of young female detectives named Annabelle and Rei. Annabelle is a mystery novelist who moonlights as a sleuth, while Rei is a new police recruit who seeks vengeance for the death of her older brother, which may be connected to the current cases being investigated. The game features a somewhat melancholy, serious storyline, where, at least initially, a lot of bad things happen to good people. The game has five different endings, with two considered “bad”, two considered “bittersweet”, and only one really considered “good”. Cold Mist is praised by critics for its unique visual aesthetic (a sort of pulp comic/manga blend, with motion comic animation) and its use of the Nexus' second screen, but it's definitely a cult hit, with low sales (it IS one of the top five launch titles of January 2013, but this is mostly due to a lack of strong games released during the month).

Sewer Scamps

Developed by the indie RPG company Pallisade, which was acquired by Google around a year before the game's release, Sewer Scamps is a JRPG-styled game with an Earthbound-like aesthetic. It stars four child protagonists who venture between several large cities, mostly traveling the sewers, and help people deal with their various problems. These problems can be as simple as rescuing a lost cat and as complex as defeating an eldritch horror. The game features an action combat system with timed hits (though sometimes, other control inputs determine attack success) and various battle techniques (there's no “magic” in the game, but some special techs resemble magic). As for experience and money, characters earn Helper Points, which can be spent at a special menu on stat upgrades, new techs, and hidden weapons. All character progress is earned through this system, allowing players to customize their characters to their heart's content. The game's world is quite sprawling, stretching across eight cities overall, along with a vast underground network of tunnels and dungeons. In addition to main storyline quests, there are hundreds of side quests to complete, ranging from simple “go here” tasks to complex chains of missions that can sometimes span multiple story chapters. The game has no voice acting, while the graphical style can best be described as “SNES-CD esque”, a sort of graphical hybrid of 16 and 32 bit graphics. The game's music is also a mix of orchestral-based and chiptuned, creating a sort of “modern retro” vibe. The storyline itself involves four adolescents, two boys (Alan and Tommy) and two girls (Caitlin and Selena), each of whom has their own individual problem that eventually draws the four of them together to help others. The game's antagonist is a powerful real estate developer who wants to take over the eight cities, but is doing so at the behest of an eldritch death god named Shamble who wants to eat the souls of every living being (though Shamble is quite a terrifying villain, he's portrayed in a mostly family friendly way). The game is full of humor, drama, twists, and turns, and overall is considered one of the best RPGs of the year, becoming an instant cult classic and one of the Nexus' best indie exclusives. The game also has an Android version with slightly downgraded graphics and less cutscenes that also becomes a strong seller.

Monument Valley

Similar to the OTL title, Monument Valley is an indie puzzle game designed to appeal to the player's sense of aesthetic beauty. The Nexus' second screen allows for the game to be played in a somewhat different way from OTL, allowing the player to zoom in on their segment of the screen while viewing the entire puzzle on their television. This also allows players to manipulate certain objects in the game's world in a way they couldn't do IOTL. Like OTL, Monument Valley is considered an excellent title, and its status as a Nexus exclusive (Google's funding allowed the game's development to proceed faster than IOTL, accounting for the game coming out a year earlier than IOTL) adds further prestige to the console's indie lineup. While it's not a major driver of hardware sales, it still helps to further legitimize the Nexus as a strong system for indie titles.

The Redacted

A military shooter about a squad left in hostile territory, The Redacted is notable for its use of the Nexus' second screen and its outstanding online multiplayer. The second screen is used for a variety of features, including an aiming scope, a mirror, an analysis tool, and a lie detector, giving the player a unique tool that they're able to use in the field. The main campaign (which sees the squad uncover a number of unsavory activities carried out by their high command) is decent but not quite up to Call Of Duty's level, and overall, the game sees lower than expected sales (which isn't helped by its status as a Nexus exclusive, giving it a smaller potential buyer base to begin with). It becomes an early high-profile “flop” for the system, but fortunately, the Nexus has plenty of third party titles to carry the FPS load. The online multiplayer community for the game, though small, is extremely devoted, giving this game life far longer than one might expect, and making a sequel a possibility despite fairly low sales.

Nintendo Connect-

Aeon: The Eastern Cross

A spinoff of the popular Sapphire action/adventure games, this title takes place between the original two games and features a new protagonist, a girl named Rumor from the eastern realms, who is guided by the goddess Aeon to save a valuable artifact from a deadly group of hunters. Rumor shares some powers and techniques with Aeon herself, but also has some unique and deadly futuristic weaponry to help her out. Overall, the game is shorter than its console counterparts, and its pace is sped up by a more action-oriented style of gameplay that includes more boss battle sequences and shorter sequences of exploration. Rumor visits four dungeons over the course of the game, each with its own unique gimmicks and gifts. The game features strong production values for a portable title, with graphics that at times rival those of the console games, and fully animated cutscenes with full voice acting (with Rumor herself being voiced by Gina Rodriguez). It's rare one gets a full-scale portable adventure on par with console games on a handheld system (though with this generation of handhelds, that will change), and critics enjoy Aeon, with the combat and boss fights making up for its fairly short length. Initial sales are decent, with the game becoming a somewhat popular budget buy once the price comes down a bit.

Elvenfall III

The first Elvenfall title for the Nintendo Connect, Elvenfall III (which doesn't have a subtitle in North America, but whose subtitle in Japan translates to Maidens Of The Falling Leaves), features four brand new protagonists, four elven sisters said to be born out of the season of autumn, and who must battle an army representing the encroaching winter. There's of course more to it than that, with each of the four seasons represented by its own nation, with spring and summer also coming into play later on. However, the main conflict takes place between the forces of autumn and winter, and later it's revealed that the four elven women are expected to give up their lives at the end of their journey. Each of them approaches their fate in a different way: one of them is calm and accepting of it, the other seems to have a death wish and seeks death and glory in battle, the other forms a romance though she knows she is destined to die, and the fourth sister laments the coming of death and seeks out ways to prevent it. This element gives the game a somewhat melancholy and bittersweet feel, though there are plenty of happy moments for the girls as well. The romance in particular becomes a critical focus, with a maiden of autumn falling in love with a Knight of Spring. Knights of Spring are said to be immortal, though the knight that the maiden falls for has never allowed himself to fall in love, knowing that he will remember the sorrow of loss for all eternity. And, even though the forces of winter are considered the “enemy”, there are heroes among them as well, with the game's primary antagonist being a tragic one as well: a beautiful queen who seeks to freeze the autumn to preserve the life force of its inhabitants, having once had a tragic love with a male denizen of the autumn realm. In the end, the queen is defeated, but comes to accept death, as do the four heroines, who each die and fade away in the game's ending. The other characters who remain alive learn to accept this as well, and the cycle of the seasons continues despite the pain and tragedy of loss. Elvenfall III is released in February 2013 in North America, after a fall 2012 release in Japan (where it was a major best seller there). It doesn't do as well in North America, but still sells decently thanks to critical reviews that call it the best JRPG on the Connect since Infinitia. The game's combat system (which involves a new mechanic called Elventime, essentially allowing the players to trade time and the risk of death for special stat boosts and moves) is highly praised, and the storyline is considered the best thus far in the series. Elvenfall remains a major hit franchise for Nintendo's handhelds, though the developers are considering expanding the series to the Gemini or mobile platforms in the future.

Apple Gemini-

Head-2-Head

A party game where two players compete in various mini games and gaming challenges. It's sort of reminiscent of 1-2-3 Switch from OTL, but has more complex games and requires more strategy, intended for a more older and “hardcore” gaming crowd, with mini-shooter games and RPGs amongst the 22 mini games available. Can be played locally or online, though it's intended for local play. Moderately successful commercially, it gets great reviews and becomes a decently popular e-sport later on.

The Library Of Elliot Carlisle

A mystery/adventure title that takes some inspiration from old school detective titles and contemporary games like Crime Stories, the game tells the story of a young man who inherits a mansion and discovers a series of mysterious books in the mansion's library that may solve the murder of the previous owner (while also preventing the murder of the protagonist's friends and loved ones). It's a budget title released in physical and digital form, but it's not an indie game. The game does have full voice acting, and some fairly decent, if also fairly simple, graphics. Achieves strong reviews and good sales, though not initially good sales (its sales increase later on due to good word of mouth).

-

Top Selling New Console Games In North America (in terms of sales over the first four weeks of release):

January 2013

1. Dragon Quest: The War Of Legend (Nintendo Sapphire)
2. Thomas The Tank Engine (Apple iTwin)
3. Angry Birds World (Google Nexus)
4. Aeon: The Eastern Cross (Nintendo Connect)
5. Cold Mist (Google Nexus)

February 2013

1. Batman: Dark Legend (Google Nexus)
2. Shadowrun (Google Nexus)
3. Mickey Mouse Returns 2 (Apple iTwin)
4. The Darkest (Nintendo Sapphire)
5. Head-2-Head (Apple Gemini)

March 2013

1. Mariokart Excel (Nintendo Connect)
2. Virtua Sports (Apple Virtua)
3. Bayonetta 2 (Apple Virtua)
4. Virtua Rally (Apple Virtua)
5. Virtua Fighter Beyond Infinity (Apple Virtua)
 
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