Gaming

Video games: one’s escape from reality to become a hero and save the land from a dark malevolence, or weaving among banana peels, and green shells. The video game sector is a tens of billions of dollars industry spanning the globe and everything from portable consoles to powerful PCs.

Vancouver added as stop on Final Fantasy concert 2018 tour

Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy

Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy at the Orpheum in 2013.

The immense universe of music from the Final Fantasy franchise returns to Vancouver for another performance of Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy on Friday, June 1st, 2018 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Led by conductor Arnie Roth, this 100-piece orchestra and chorus recreates the many themes, ballads, melodies and operas from more than 30 years of  this popular video game series. Complementing the live music are scenes from the Final Fantasy games, presented in HD, enveloping both the visual and aural senses.

Tickets for this single evening show go on sale at 10:00 am Friday, January 19th, 2018.

Vancouver is the only Canadian stop mentioned so far for 2018. Other cities on the tour include Kansas City, MO, Los Angeles, CA, St. Petersburg, FL, Portland, OR, Paris, France, Cleveland, OH, and San Francisco, CA.

Source: Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy

Nintendo Direct Mini unveils new games for 2018

Neku Sakuraba

Neku makes a return on the Nintendo Switch in The World Ends with You: Final Remix.

Nintendo kicked off 2018 with a brief Nintendo Direct video this morning announcing a bunch of upcoming titles for the Switch console.

After releasing a decade earlier on the Nintendo DS, The World Ends with You: Final Remix returns with improved graphics and an epilogue building on the existing storyline. Players can use the Joy Con controllers or the touch screen to interact with the game. This Square-Enix adventure is expected sometime this year.

The Pokémon x Tekken cross-over fighting game Pokkén Tournament DX gets two DLC packs this year. “Wave 1” includes Aegislash with Mimikyu and Mega Rayquaza as support Pokémon, while “Wave 2” includes Blastoise with Celebi and Mew for support. “Wave 1” is available January 31st, 2018, followed by “Wave 2” on March 23rd, 2018.

Kirby Star Allies brings everyone’s favourite pink ball onto the Switch with new abilities, including being an artist and using spiderwebs to capture enemies. Multiplayer functionality allows up to four friends to partake in the fun. Kirby Star Allies goes on sale March 16th, 2018.

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition is getting the Switch treatment. In addition to the existing 29 playable characters from the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS versions, their levels and downloadable content, Link and Zelda can don attire from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Two players can play together sharing the Joy Con controllers in mobile mode. This title is scheduled for Spring 2018.

The ball is in your court with Mario Tennis Aces. Enhanced gameplay makes guessing an opponents next move far more formidable. A new story mode brings more ways to play, and challenging boss battles. This title is scheduled for Spring 2018.

It’s the epic story of survival in Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. Adol barely makes it off of a sinking ship with his life and ends up on a deserted island. Enlisting the help of other survivors to build a camp and defend themselves from the vicious inhabitants of the island thru fast-paced battles. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is expected in summer 2018.

New downloadable content for Super Mario Odyssey makes for balloon-popping fun! Upon completing the main story, a new mode called Balloon World appears with two modes: Hide It and Find It. In Hide It, players must hide balloons in various worlds for others to find. In Find It, the player must find balloons secreted away by others. This update becomes available in February 2018.

SNK HEROINES ~Tag Team Frenzy~ brings SNK’s famous idols together in a tag-team fighting game for the Nintendo Switch. Players can utilize special attacks and items to give themselves the advantage, making victory all the sweeter. This title is expected in summer 2018.

It’s payday! Pull of some expert pilferage with your friends locally or a world away with PAYDAY 2. Updated to take advantage of the Switch’s touchscreen and HD Rumble makes holdups that more sweeter. A new character exclusive to the Switch version introduces Joy, a Japanese hacker into the fray. PAYDAY 2 goes on sale February 27th, 2018.

Explore a forest and interact with its colourful flora and fauna in Fe. Advance through the forest by singing with the animals and plants to unlock its secrets; these songs come alive with feedback from the HD Rumble in the Joy Con controllers. Fe launches on February 16th, 2018.

In Celeste, Madeline must climb a mountain, using any terrain available, granted she has the stamina for it. Using her mid-air dash, Celeste can overcome obstacles in this dangerous environment. Adjust the difficulty by playing in Assist Mode, or unlock the B-side chapters for arduous adventures. Celeste launches on January 25th, 2018.

Source: Nintendo

Zelda symphony invades Vancouver like horde of Moblins

Fans filling the auditorium at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Fans filling the auditorium at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

The wildly popular The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses returned to Vancouver to delight fans of one of Nintendo’s popular franchises with an evening of music and magic. The concert was held at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, instead of the Orpheum (as in years past) on Thursday, November 30th, 2017. Attendees of all ages filled the auditorium, many in costume or decked out in their favourite Zelda gear to show their love for the games.

Energetic local conductor Kevin Zakresky kept the crowd engaged with his performances leading the orchestra, turning to the audience for cheers and applause. He even broke out the Wind Waker baton for a few of the songs.

Tour producer Jason Michael Paul started the evening off with opening remarks, including a statement that the concert would go on hiatus for 2018. He added that if we’d like to see the tour start back up again, fans would need to contact Nintendo to let them know there’s still a demand for it.

The journey back into the many worlds of Zelda began with the overture, a compilation of the themes and motifs of Link, Princess Zelda and Ganon. From there, we launched into heaving Great Sea from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. The calming music of the immersive Hyrule in the latest title, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild captivated the crowd. Images from the games were shown on a giant screen behind the orchestra, adding to the wonder and nostalgia. Other compilations included selections from the 3D classics The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, the renowned The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the colourful The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Of course, there was also a reprise of additional melodies from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The evening concluded with a classic, the Ballad of the Wind Fish from The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. It was a beautiful way to finish off the concert.

Merchandise this year included a new tour shirt, updated poster, music books and a replica of the Wind Waker baton. As usual, the line for these goodies snaked their way up to the second level of the theatre.

Merch booth at the Queen Elizabeth theatre for the Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses #zeldasymphony

A post shared by Frederick Linsmeyer (@nephrus) on

Arby’s advertising wins over anime and gaming fans with their marketing

Arby’s joins the ranks of fast food companies with awesome social media campaigns (including Wendy’s sassy Twitter posts). The sandwich chain uses their food and packaging to recreate various pop culture scenes from video games, anime, television shows and more. Here’s a selection of some of their most recent anime and video game posts from Facebook.

InuYasha

Sit boy!

Posted by Arby's on Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Read the rest of this article…

Fire Emblem Heroes live-action trailer

Nintendo uploaded a live-action video promoting the new legendary heroes for their mobile device game, Fire Emblem Heroes. In the nearly three-minute long trailer the four legends, Ike (Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance), Lucina (Fire Emblem Awakening), Roy (Fire Emblem: The Blinding Blade) and Lyn (Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade), showcase their strength over various enemies, including a fearsome armoured swordsman.

While Ike, Lucina, Roy and Lyn already appear in the game, these four are special heroes and carry different weapons. Normally, Roy, as an example, is an infantry unit, but his special version changes him to a cavalry unit as he is mounted on a horse. He also wields the sword Blazing Durandal instead of the Binding Blade.

The four special heroes are available for summoning; though an in-game promotion lets you select one of these five-star heroes free; additional summons require orbs.

Fire Emblem Heroes is free to download on iOS and Android devices.

Source: Fire Emblem Heroes

Kingdom Hearts III to be released in 2018, includes new Toy Story world

At Disney’s D23 event this afternoon, Square Enix director Tetsuya Nomura announced that Kingdom Hearts III would be launching in 2018 and presented a trailer detailing a new world in the game based on Disney Pixar’s Toy Story franchise.

Protagonists Sora, Donald and Goofy, transform into action figures as they enter Andy’s bedroom. Upon learning from the other toys that Andy’s disappeared, they must join forces with Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Rex, Hamm and Sarge as they fight off the Heartless in the long journey to the Galaxy Toys store.

Sora gains new abilities in the Toy Story world. Woody and Buzz can lend Sora their strength to create a giant mallet and strike multiple Heartless at once. Once in the store, he can also take control of large toy robots and use them to battle other larger toys, utilizing their large cannon arms.

Kingdom Hearts III will be available on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sometime in 2018.

Source: Square Enix

Nintendo unveils Super NES Classic Edition console

Super NES Classic Edition

The portable size of the Super NES Classic Edition.

Following the success of the NES Classic Edition console, Nintendo revealed the Super NES Classic Edition console today. Included are 21 pre-installed games (see the list below), two controllers, an HDMI cable and USB power cable. This version of the retro console is  smaller than its original form; it’s easily held in one hand.

The pre-installed software library is a selection of popular series from the 90’s, along with the never-before-released game, Star Fox 2; which is unlockable upon completing the first level of Star Fox.

  • Contra III: The Alien Wars
  • Donkey Kong Country
  • EarthBound
  • Final Fantasy III
  • F-ZERO
  • Kirby Super Star
  • Kirby’s Dream Course
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
  • Mega Man® X
  • Secret of Mana
  • Star Fox
  • Star Fox 2
  • Street Fighter® II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
  • Super Castlevania IV
  • Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts®
  • Super Mario Kart
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  • Super Mario World
  • Super Metroid
  • Super Punch-Out!!
  • Yoshi’s Island

The Super NES Classic Edition goes on sale September 29th, 2017, with a suggested retail price of $79.99.

It’s hoped that Nintendo will increase stock availability for this console, as the NES Classic Edition was plagued with limited inventory causing sellouts at some retailers and reports of scalpers dumping the console online for exorbitant prices.

Super NES Classic Edition console box

Source: Nintendo

Kingdom Hearts III keeps getting more beautiful with a new trailer

In the days leading up to E3, Square Enix has tossed us yet another tantalizing teaser of a video for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III. This latest clip shows just how much work the developers are squeezing into this title; another video is expected on July 15th, 2017 during D23 Expo 2017, including a peek at a new world.

Sora dives into Olympus from the movie Hercules and instantly engages swarms of heartless, being able to lock on to multiple enemies and unleash a devastating attack. The battle with Lythos, the colossal rock titan, takes place under pouring rain where the water flows down the sheer cliffs akin to tears of joy. The graphics have gotten smoother, looking almost cinematic where the characters in the cut scenes are in focus while the backgrounds are softened. The user interface remains the same as in previous games, utilizing minimalism styles to focus on the action.

Unsurprisingly, a release date for Kingdom Hearts III was not mentioned in the video.

Source: Square Enix

Return to Hyrule with the Zelda Symphony in 2017

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses

Zelda fans find their seats at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for the 2016 concert.

Vancouver Zelda fans, get ready for another musical adventure with The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. The popular concert is back again and touring more cities across Canada, the United States and Europe for 2017.

Enjoy an evening of 30 years sights and sounds with this classic video game franchise. This year includes selections from the recently released The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and additional songs from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses stops in Vancouver on Thursday, November 30th, 2017 at 7:00 pm PST at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Other Canadian cities include Quebec City, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal.

Tickets are available in advance online through the concert web site.

First experience at playing Breath of the Wild

Nintendo Switch demo

A Nintendo Switch with a demo of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

I had an opportunity to play the demo of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Nintendo Switch earlier today. One of the most anticipated titles announced for the Nintendo Switch, the hype around Breath of the Wild is all real. Nintendo teased Zelda fans with videos to show how much detail went into developing this title and promised the most open and expansive adventure in the franchise yet. They’re not wrong about that.

First, let’s look at the Nintendo Switch itself. The whole console is the size of a Wii U tablet, but is easy to hold in handheld mode. I played The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild with the pro controller, which is Nintendo’s interpretation of an actual gaming controller like those on a PlayStation or Xbox instead of the smaller Joy Con that snap to the sides of the Switch. The pro controller felt light and comfortable; the buttons are easy to reach, and it’s wireless.

The game itself has a 20 minute limit. I didn’t make it far in the allotted time, wandering around, picking up items and cleaving Bokoblins in two, but it opened my eyes to just how massive Hyrule is. The game begins with Link waking up from a deep sleep. Before heading out into the open, there’s a couple of treasure chests containing items of clothing that can be worn. It’s important to remember that the environment affects Link now more than ever before. Certain clothing must be worn to keep him from overheating or freezing — a temperature icon exists onscreen to alert you to this.

A new item called a Sheikah Stone is an accessory that acts as a map and compass. Because the world is so immense, map points make it easier to set locations to come back to later. I’m sure its purpose expands as the game progresses.

Once out in the fields, it’s just breathtaking. The horizon is endless, mountains, rivers, forests, ruins and towns all as far as the eye can see. The first NPC (non-playable character) I met was an old man seated under a cliff with a roaring fire, cooking apples. After picking up a branch, I took some of that fire and proceeded to set some of the grass field on fire. Unfortunately, I had done so at the edge of a cliff and couldn’t escape and thus succumbed to the flames. But it was testament to how interactive the environment really is.

Seizing an abandoned axe, I promptly proceeded to cut down some trees. The axe also proved helpful defeating some of the roaming Bokoblins — a few swings easily felled these creatures. Upon expiring, they leave behind either horns or teeth which are collected for a later use. Apples are plenty, taking the place of hearts to replenish Link’s health.

Gone are the days of speeding across Hyrule as Link now tires after continuous running — a green circle appears when the B button is held down and depletes the longer it is held. Link can now jump on command and climb walls, no more vines or exposed brick to ascend or descend. It all adds to the experience.

I got a little confused using the in-game menus. Items acquired are stored in this menu, but the control sticks navigate these sub-menus where as the L and R shoulder buttons switch between the menu screens.

Another neat feature is the auto save. No more will you have to save your game (or forget to) as the game will periodically record your progress with a visual reminder to show it is doing so.

The graphics are beautiful; sticking with the cel-shading that first appeared in The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, Nintendo has refined the look to improve the visual experience. 20 minutes is not enough to take in all that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I look forward to playing it fully and enjoying the fruit of Nintendo’s labour.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild goes on sale, Friday, March 3rd, 2017.

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