Battle.net Lives Again

Blizzard has decided not to retire Battle.net after all. According to an article on Venture Beat, Blizzard has stated “Battle.net is the central nervous system for Blizzard games and the connective tissue that has brought Blizzard players together since 1996,”. You might recall Blizzard had plans to scrap the moniker last September because they felt two different names weren’t necessary when describing the online and multiplayer services that Battle.net offer. Going forward, the Battle.net logo will include the name Blizzard.

I always questioned the decision myself along with many other gamers and members of the press. Seems we were all right.

Atari is developing a new game console: enter Ataribox

While I don’t like the name of the device, Atari is indeed working on a new console. It’s called the Ataribox. CEO Fred Chesnais confirmed the news in an exclusive interview with GamesBeat. This could mean bringing old classics like Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda to HD or 4K televisions. What’s the point in doing that? Not long ago Atari filed bankruptcy and was bought by Chesnais. He then turned the company around licensing many of their titles to mobile devices and they now turn a profit.

The console space is very competitive and Atari is going to have to offer something none of the other consoles can. In a day and age when you can buy a Raspberry Pi 3 and make it into a retro game console, how are they going to compete in the same space as XboxOneX, PS4 and the PC? We don’t know yet. Details are thin but one thing that is confirmed as seen in the teaser is that badass wood siding. Rumors were confirmed by the CEO at this year’s E3 gaming expo.

Atari has licensed their name for use in the upcomming Blade Runner 2049 film. Not sure how that ties in…are we getting an exclusive Atari console Blade Runner game? That would be cool. Bring back 8-bit gaming to the mainstream!

E3 Day 3 Recap

Day 3 at E3 2017 was a whirlwind of games and hype.

We started the morning off with the PC Gaming Show hosted by Twitch streamers Day 9 aka Sean Plott and OMGItsFirefoxxx. I thought they did a great job. Here’s what we learned from that conference:

Intel announced they are the official sponsor for eSports. X-Com 2: War of the Chosen was unveiled. Ooblets which is a very japanese inspired cartoonish mash-up of Stardew Valley, the Sims, Pokemon and probably a couple other games looks interesting if a bit odd. Battletech is back for the PC! Mount and Blade (one of my favorite games ever) gets a sequel, appropriately called Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord. Total War: Warhammer 2 showcases massive prehistoric dino battles. Shadowverse gets an expansion in Wonderland Dreams. Secret Legend has been renamed Tunic – an isometric action adventure title. Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds adds vaulting over objects and makes fences climbable. Killing Floor 2 Summer Sideshow adds 50 new cosmetic items for free. KF2 also gets a VR treatment. Klei unveiled a new RPG called GriftLands. Chucklefish announced Wargroove. Lawbreakers comes out August 8th for $29.99! Middle Earth: Shadow of War comes out October 10th. Finally, Microsoft surprised with news that Age of Empires: Definitive Edition will be coming with an overhauled graphics engine, all new sprites and re-balanced play. That wraps up the PC Gaming Show.

Up Next was Ubisoft who started in a big way with Nintendo who announced Mario & Rabbids crossover game for the Nintendo Switch which plays very much like XCOM. showed us a new IP based on the mechanics it seems from Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag called Skull & Bones. It looks stunning and I am super excited to play it. Transference is a VR experience aimed at exploring digital memories. Far Cry 5 looks pretty great and they showed some gameplay which of all the scenes, the most satisfying was what looked like a combine or thresher running over someone. Brutal. Beyond Good & Evil 2 was unveiled and it looks completely different from its predecessor. Those are the big announcements and everything looks pretty cool. I’m really looking forward to Skull & Bones and Far Cry 5 out of the bunch.

Finally, Sony showcased their new games and news to a packed house. Problem is…it kinda sucked. There’s some hype about Gran Turismo which comes out in the fall, a trailer for Shadow of the Colossus (remaster) which I was really hoping was a new game and not just a remastering for the second time. Uncharted gets a new DLC, Crash Bandicoot (groan) is revived, Monster Hunter World comes to the PS4, Horizon Zero Dawn has a new DLC called Frozen Wilds, Days Gone actually looks promising if it isn’t just another zombie fps. A long trailer for Detroit Become Human looked really cool and there’s a new Spider Man game coming likely coinciding with the release of Spider Man: Homecoming when it hits theaters.

Playstation VR has a few titles in the works and some game called The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition – PC will be playable in VR now. The most interesting VR game I thought they showcased was Moss which is about a little mouse going on an adventure. Apparently there’s a Final Fantasy fishing game as well…meh. Destiny 2 makes an appearance but I’ll be looking for that one on Windows.

That pretty much sums up Day 3. I probably missed a few here and there as it’s hard to keep up with everything. What did you think? What was your favorite announcement over the past 3 days?

E3 Day 1 EA Conference Recap

So EA had their conference at E3 today and to be honest it was pretty underwhelming.

First off, Madden 18 introduces a story mode just like the NBA games have had for years. Meh. I have no desire to pretend to be a football player vying for a spot in the NFL. Also, the graphics looked pretty mediocre. Next up, Need for Speed: Payback. You play as 3 different characters throughout the game depending on the situation, Tyler (The Racer), Mac (The Showman), and Jess (The Wheelman) as you race your way through revenge against “The House” whose symbols are Aces (UGH). I mean, come on, how unoriginal is this series at this point? Sure they have some customization in the game, but overall so far it looks pretty disappointing. The last NFS game I played was The Run which I never finished. I just couldn’t take how lame some of the races were considering the AI was perfect and the controls were mediocre. Really not interested in the franchise anymore. IMO, after NFS Underground 2 the game died.

Star Wars Battlefront II was showcased but only the multiplayer and it’s pretty much more of the same. Sure you get to play as a droid, Darth Maul, Yoda, Rey, Kylo Ren…but the multiplayer is basically the same. Unfortunately there was barely a mention of the single-player campaign which is the only thing I’m looking forward to out of that game. My kids love the multiplayer though so it’s a given that I’ll be buying it.

A Way Out, brought to us by the team behind Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (one of the best games I have ever played) is a new co-op game about two men trying to escape from prison. This game looks fantastic! I love that the split-screen actually changes depending on which player is doing something more important than the other. It will stretch, go vertical etc based on the gameplay. The focus for this game is playing in the same room with a friend. I think that’s pretty cool. Definitely looking forward to this.

Battlefield 1 introduces a “night mode”. Night time trench warfare…hmm. I dunno about this one. I thought the single player campaign was amazing in how it portrayed the war. From the outset you really see the horror that war was. As name after name fills the screen you get that impending sense of doom and sacrifice so well delivered. Watching the multiplayer night game though looks pretty cool. The game itself is just so chaotic all the time I don’t see how anyone can have any strategy. Spawn in, run and gun and die…ad nauseum. I guess it’s just not my bag.

That was kind of it for Today. Tomorrow is the Microsoft conference which is also set to announce more EA news. Until then. See ya.

Bioware to address issues in “Mass Effect: Andromeda” with patch 1.05

Bioware’s last game launch had a rough go of it. Numerous bugs, character issues, animation problems all plague Mass Effect: Andromeda to this day. Bioware has announced they will be patching many of these issues which gamers have been complaining about since day one.

Among the fixes are the inclusion of a same-sex romance option available to “Ryder”. The lack of option drew much criticism from fans of the series for not representing the LGBTQ community properly. Another fix going in allows players to skip the autopilot sequences in the galaxy map.

You can read more about these fixes and see the official changelog.

Blizzard Dropping Battle.net Moniker

US Gamer reports that after 20 years, Blizzard is finally dropping the name Battle.net as their defacto online service.

Going forward, all online content through Blizzard will be known as Blizzard Tech. This includes titles like Overwatch and the still wildly popular World of Warcraft franchises.

It doesn’t surprise me. I never thought Battle.net was a good name anyway. For a company like Blizzard who is fairly diverse in their product offerings, the name just never gravitated with me. Rest assured, everything is business as usual, just a small name change for that service.

You can read more about it at USGamer.

Musings on Time Travel

Was thinking about time travel…here’s an interesting perspective, especially if you have seen the film “Primer”. Suppose it is possible…suppose you had the ability to time travel. You could go to the past or the future. What would the downsides be?

Oh, you could eliminate some rare species of flora or fauna…aka, the “butterfly effect”.

“you could interfere with your own creation”…ok maybe.

“you could bet on sports and stuff and be like a billionaire”…sure ok…possibly.

However, these all assume that once you make that first step into the past or future, that you are embarking on a single, set timeline. This assumes that we really are not in control of our own lives and our own decisions! Yeah you heard me.

Think about that. How many times have you said, “If I could just go back in time and…” finish that sentence however you want. The hard to understand reality of the question is that if you DID, you would instantly be creating a new timeline for yourself only. Have you heard of the idea of the multiverse? That several parallel universes simultaneously exist within our one known universe…sort of like slices of bread in a loaf? The loaf of bread is only aware of the loaf itself, but within that…everything has been divided x amount of times, unbeknownst to the loaf itself.

In Primer, a couple guys have an idea to create something to try and figure out how to predict stock market movements and it turns into something else. Watch the film, PLEASE!

So let’s say you did build a machine capable of taking you backward or forward in time…There is the very real possibility that you could interfere with your own life and thus, eliminate yourself from existence…except, if that were true, then how did you invent the machine to begin with and…kaboom, there goes your brain. Yeah.

So…here’s the prevailing theory. Any such machine that could move you through time would only do so within your life-span…think of the show Quantum Leap. I mean, you have no recollection of living in the prehistoric times, right? so how could a machine take you there? I posit that any such machine built would be limited somehow to your own deep physical memories. Even then, I think it would only be observational much like a halucination. Altering anything in the past would create a new timeline…which in some way would bypass events leading to your own birth and thus, eliminating you from the original timeline.

Let me throw this at you. Wouldn’t the easiest way to use time travel be to send an electronic message? Email my past-self a message with some bit of information about whatever and prevent some future disaster from happening? Email myself and give the winning lotto numbers? It hasn’t happened yet because it can’t happen. Any alteration to the current stream of events would skew to an alternate path thus not affecting previous or future paths.

Yeah. It hurts the brain to fathom this stuff…of course i’m just an old guy rambling on and still waiting for that email from my future self telling me which horse to bet on and which lotto numbers are going to win me the millions!

What do you think?

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