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This Week in Gaming News: This Doesn’t Make Us Even

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There are many things in the video game world that make people angry. Luckily, they happen often enough to make a weekly news roundup a viable undertaking. In recent weeks, there have been two very specific instances that I myself have found particularly egregious. As of today, the companies responsible for those abominations have, without apologizing, taken steps to make amends and fix their missteps. God I love it when I’m vindicated.

Sony’s Cross-play Stops Us Playing Cross

Well, well, well, whaddyaknow? It may have taken over three months (or longer if you count the…forever before Fortnite was released on Switch), but Sony has finally caved and made the smart decision to allow cross-play on PS4. The company announced the about-turn on Tuesday with the following statement:

Following a comprehensive evaluation process, SIE has identified a path toward supporting cross-platform features for select third party content. We recognize that PS4 players have been eagerly awaiting an update, and we appreciate the community’s continued patience as we have navigated through this issue to find a solution.”

Man, that evaluation process must have been really comprehensive but, hey, it’s finally here, and we’re now playing the waiting game (again) in terms of finding out precisely what “select third party content” will have cross-play enabled in the future. Fortnite is the only game with it enabled so far, which is the one everybody seemed to care about the most. The real question here, despite the fact that we all probably already know, is why did this take so long to happen?

Gaming News Cross Play

Man, this game has changed a lot since I last played it. None of these things mean anything to me.

On the PlayStation Blogcast podcast, PlayStation Worldwide Studios boss Shawn Layden gave the reasoning of:

“Enabling cross-play isn’t just about flipping a switch and ‘there you go’. It’s a very multi-dimensional kind of attribute or feature. So we had to look at it from a technical point of view, we have to work with our partners from a business point of view, we have to make sure that if we enable this, do we have the right customer service support, do we have the right messaging out there, do we have all these different things that you have to get in line.”

Hmmm…I wonder what switch Epic Games accidentally flipped when they allowed cross-play for Fortnite between Xbox One and PS4 back in September last year. Sony say it can’t be done like that; Epic do it like that by accident. Seems legit. Anyway, if you want to get all your Epic accounts and consoles sorted out for cross-play, Gamespot has put up a guide on how to do it.

No PSX For You!

Anybody disappointed in Sony’s E3 conference almost exclusively revolving around just four games was probably hoping that the company was saving all the really juicy stuff for the annual PlayStation Experience conference. Tough shit, losers! There isn’t going to be one. Back to that PlayStation Blogcast episode and Shawn Layden again – he had this to say:

Now that we have Spider-Man out the door, we’re looking down into 2019 games like Dreams and Days Gone. But we wouldn’t have enough to bring people all together in North America to have that event. We don’t want to set expectations really high and then not deliver on that.”

They don’t want to set expectations really high and not deliver? I guess Shawn hasn’t heard of the Final Fantasy VII remake, eh? This will be the first year since 2013 that PSX hasn’t happened, and perhaps it’s merely not needed after the ridiculous double record-breaking year PS4 has had. For those unaware, God of War and then Spider-Man broke sales records with 3.1 million and 3.3 million units shifted in the first three days of their respective releases. If I’d had a year like that, I’d probably be sitting at home counting my money instead of changing the subject as well.

Genuine Surprise! Nintendo’s Cloud Saves Are Less Shite!

It might be expected of me to eat some humble pie after ranting about the cloud save function of Nintendo’s online service deleting your saves as soon as your subscription ends, as this week the Big N clarified that your saves will actually remain available for 180 days. Well, I’m not very hungry and I generally stay away from self-deprecating desserts.

Gaming News Cloud Saves

It’s better, but it’s not perfect

I feel the need to preface this segment with the reminder that I bloody love Nintendo games. They have been my favorite game developer for my entire life. But, son of a bee-sting, in terms of customer service, hardware, market awareness and PR they are an absolute clusterfuck. Yes, they have now clarified the cloud save system, but why do they continually leave pertinent details off the table until the gaming sphere complains enough for them to come clean?

Remember, previously an FAQ section on the Nintendo site stated:

“Save data stored with Save Data Cloud cannot be kept outside of the duration of your Nintendo Switch Online membership.”

Now a spokesperson has explained to IGN that:

“If a Nintendo Switch Online membership expires, users won’t be able to access their Save Data Cloud backups. However, Nintendo will allow users who resubscribe within 180 days to access their previous Save Data Cloud backups.” 

Well, that settles that I guess. Half the games on Switch still won’t support cloud saves at all, but at least the ones that do will allow users a pretty significant grace period in between subscriptions. Next time, let’s get this important stuff laid out with the rest of the opening hand of cards, eh Nintendo?

Telltale’s Layoffs Are Potentially Illegal

The mess at Telltale Games isn’t getting any cleaner, as this week it was revealed the company is now facing a class action lawsuit for breaking labor laws during the process of last week’s mass layoffs ahead of the studio’s closure. According to Polygon, former employee Vernie Roberts is filing the lawsuit against Telltale after an alleged breach of the WARN Act. According to Polygon, the suit specifically refers to:

“The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act stipulates that most businesses with at least 100 full-time workers must notify employees 60 days in advance of any plant closings or mass layoffs.”

Gaming News Telltale

Uhhhhhh which way to the job center?

As previously reported, and now reiterated by Roberts, the total layoffs at Telltale amount to approximately 275 employees, and it doesn’t take a mathematician to calculate that 275 is a lot more than 100. It seemed like there may have been a reprieve for Telltale, as the WARN Act has an exemption from the 60-day advance in the case of “business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable.”  

To me, Variety’s report that Telltale were seeking financial backing, and that the last possible one (believed to be Lionsgate) pulled out, suggests to me that the circumstances were pretty foreseeable, but I’m not a lawyer – I’m just an idiot. It doesn’t matter anyway, because Telltale Games are based in San Francisco, and the California counterpart to the WARN Act does not feature any such clause. Uh oh. At least we can now focus our ire at the company without having to caveat it with sympathy for the employees – because they’re gonna get theirs! Fingers crossed it all goes well and these folks can settle this horrible situation and progress their career elsewhere.

Twatty News Roundup!

It’s time for bonus news of the strange variety! It’s been a pretty serious read this week, so like a bad cable news broadcast, I’ve got some lovely little treats at the end to send you all off with a smile.

Firstly, there’s the brilliant story that Swiss football fans, for some reason, do not like eSports. In fact, they hate it so much that they decided to interrupt the match between Young Boys and Basel. For any North Americans who think I made that up, yes, there is a real team called Young Boys and, yes, football fans have numerous innuendo-laden chants about them. Anyway, in protest of potential club-spending on an eSports team instead of, you know, footballers for the football team, the fans decided to hurl video game controllers and tennis balls onto the pitch and unfurled a banner of a pause button. Fun fact: the controllers had “fuck eSports” Tippexed on them. Classy.

Gaming News esports

I still don’t get the tennis balls’ significance

Next up, Fortnite’s latest patch has fixed the boob jiggle physics that were “unintentionally” implemented in the Season 6 update. Twitter user FaZe Agony pointed out that one of the new avatars had some seriously jiggly juggs when performing certain emotes, and Epic has quickly moved to un-jiggle them. A spokesperson for the developer tried to clarify the issue to Gamespot by saying: “This is unintended, embarrassing, and it was careless for us to let this ship.” I’m not sure how these things can (nip) slip through the development cracks, but at least it’s been fixed now.

Lastly this week, I offer for your delectation some schadenfreude at the terrible attempts of non-gamers to answer questions about video games on a TV gameshow. Contestants on a recent episode of Jeopardy! were seen completely failing to answer a single question about our beloved hobby.

How many times do you see video game questions come up on a gameshow? Guaranteed if any of us went on Jeopardy! then the questions would be about advanced quantum physics or something, yet these mooks had our specialist subject come up and they completely whiffed it. To be fair to Jordan, his guesses were at least on the right lines, but when Alex Trebek is ragging on your gaming knowledge, you aren’t coming out of that burn with any credibility.

Right, I’m off to apply for 30 gameshows and I’ll see you when I’m a millionaire in seven.

Crotchety Englishman who spends hundreds of pounds on video game tattoos and Amiibo in equally wallet-crippling measure. Likes grammar a lot, but not as much as he likes ranting about the latest gaming news in his weekly column.

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Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Antlers’ Gets a Mysterious Trailer

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Fox Searchlight has released the first trailer and poster for Antlers, a rural horror film about a small-town Oregon teacher (Keri Russell) and her brother (Jesse Plemons), the local sheriff, who discover that a young student (Jeremy T. Thomas) is harboring a dangerous secret that places the entire town in danger.

Director Scott Cooper and producer Guillermo del Toro have teamed to adapt a short story from Nick Antosca, the creator of the criminally underrated horror anthology series Channel Zero. Not much is yet known about Antlers other than Fox Searchlight, now owned by Disney, has scheduled the film for a 2020 release. Rounding up the main cast is Graham Green, Amy Madigan, Scott Haze and Rory Cochrane. Watch the trailer below.

Antlers Movie
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Be Excellent to Each Other with these Awesome ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ Figures

“History is about to be rewritten by two guys who can’t spell.”

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Since its release in 1989, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure inspired a sequel (Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey), a Saturday morning cartoon, a comic book series, and launched actor Keanu Reeves into movie stardom. And now, three-plus decades later, Bill and Ted are getting their own scale collectible set courtesy Sideshow and Blitzway.

This is your chance to own the friendly duo in one go! The work put into creating these high-end figures is truly astounding as the figures capture the look of a young Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves just as we remember them. If you have $399 to spend, they can be all yours.

Check out the photos below along with the official press release.

Bill and Ted are two high school buddies who dream of becoming international rock stars. Their hilarious time travel adventure is depicted in the amazingly audacious comedy Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

It’s like having them pop up right in front of you, with their iconic fashion and elaborate accessories. Besides, the iconic props are designed to let you reproduce a variety of wonderful scenes from the movie.

Be excellent to each other and travel to the past through the exciting story of Bill and Ted!

The Bill & Ted Sixth Scale Collectible Set specially features:

Highly detailed likeness of Alex Winter as Bill S. Preston Esq.
Highly detailed likeness of Keanu Reeves as Ted “Theodore” Logan
Newly designed and developed male body with over 30 points of articulations and flexible soft arms
Two (2) Newly designed and developed figure stands
Twelve (12) interchangeable hands (total for both) including:
Two (2) pairs of guitar hands
Two (2) right blow fist hands
Two (2) pairs of open hands
Two (2) right good fortune hands

Costume for Bill:

One (1) purple pattern shirt
One (1) graphic t-shirts
One (1) pair of blue jeans
One (1) pair of pattern underpants
One (1) pair of striped socks
One (1) pair of canvas shoes

Costume for Ted:

One (1) blue jacket
One (1) black vest
One (1) graphic t-shirt
One (1) pair of graphic shorts
One (1) pair of inner training pants
One (1) pair of striped socks
One (1) pair of canvas shoes

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Watch the Creepy Trailer for ‘Little Nightmares 2’: Six is Back and She has Help.

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One of the biggest surprises to come out of Gamescom 2019 so far is the announcement of Little Nightmares 2, the sequel to the puzzle-platformer hit horror game developed by Tarsier Studios.

While the first Little Nightmares has you take control a character named Six while avoiding instant death as she traverses alone amongst the depths of a dungeon, the sequel will give her a companion named Mono, who must accompany Six throughout her terrifying new journey.  

Little Nightmares was one of our favorite games of 2017 and so we can’t wait to get our hands on the sequel. In our review, James Baker wrote, “Tarsier Studios have created a wholly original concept to a horror genre that has leaned more towards thriller before anything else, bringing its roots back without relying on jump-scares and needlessly-gory shocks. Just like hide-and-seek, Little Nightmares captures the fear of being caught, albeit in a creepy, macabre style.”

Little Nightmares 2 will be released sometime in 2020 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.

Watch the trailer below and if you are a fan of the first game, we recommend reading this article that dives deep into the meaning behind Little Nightmares.

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NBA 2K20’s Story Mode Gets a Stunning Trailer

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NBA 2K19 features to date, its strongest MyCareer mode with the aptly titled, “The Way Back”, a fascinating look at the culture behind college basketball recruiting. The story mode was well received by critics and fans everywhere and in our review, we called it, “an incredible achievement that conveys the fabric of modern American life, aspirations and incidentally, sports, in close-up and at length”.

NBA 2K20 which will be released in less than a month, promises to include an even better story mode, and while we haven’t played the game yet, we have plenty of reasons to think it might be. Not only does it feature an all-star cast with top-tier talents such as Idris Elba and Rosario Dawson, but the story mode – entitled “When the Lights Are Brightest” – is being produced by LeBron James’ Springhill Productions, the same company behind the upcoming Space Jam 2.

NBA 2K20’s latest trailer, which debuted Monday during Microsoft’s Inside Xbox show live from Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, give us a good idea of what to expect. We get a glimpse at Idris Elba and Rosario Dawson in action as well as the rest of the supporting cast which includes Thomas Middleditch, Mark Cuban, Ernie Hudson, Lamorne Morris, Scottie Pippen, and Jaleel White!

The NBA 2K20 demo will go live on Wednesday, Aug. 21 and will allow players to create a character and get a head start on MyCareer. Any progress made will carry over to the full game, which will be released Sept. 6 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.

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The Transformers: Lessons in Warfare, Scale, and Childhood

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The Transformers are an enduring part of American pop culture. Starting with the introduction of the first toy lines in the early 1980s, the animated series went on to define a large part of ‘80s culture, reaching its apex with the release of The Transformers: The Movie in 1986. After a disappointing performance in theaters, however, the brand reached a nadir in the post-movie era, receding from the front of American pop culture until the late 1990s, when Transformers: Beast Wars brought the franchise to the forefront again.

It was into this climate that I was born. By the time I was old enough to watch TV and get toys courtesy of the North Pole and my parents, I began to take an interest in the series. After all, what five-year-old boy doesn’t like the idea of giant robots fighting each other for control of the earth and the universe?

My local video store (yes, those used to exist) had a copy of the first three episodes of the original Transformers series, Generation 1, on VHS. I remember renting this one particular copy from the store and watching it at least three times, sun-faded front cover and all. Even then, I loved the series, though I only had a few generic dollar-store “transformers,” an Armada Megatron that I had received for my fifth birthday, and a couple of hand-me-down G1 figures from my Dad.

Some of my earliest memories of Transformers came from a trip my parents and I took to visit my Dad’s former college roommate, a professed 80s culture geek. I remember watching a ton of G1 episodes, like “Dinobot Island,” as well as The Transformers: The Movie on his large projection-screen TV, an experience which inculcated within me an intense love of the series.

Optimus Prime The Transformers The Movie

Optimus Prime, bastion of bravery and an excellent role model for a maturing boy.

The first real episodic Transformers show that I watched with any sort of consistency, however, was Transformers: Armada. Now, I don’t remember much about this show — for good reason, as it’s derided by many Transformers fans for its poor animation, bad dubbing, and terrible story — but what I do remember is one particular toy that I really enjoyed: Armada Unicron.

I think it was the Christmas of 2002 when I first got Unicron. I remember having seen him in the store and (probably) telling my parents something or another about it, but I was utterly shocked when Santa brought it to me as a present. As a kid, Unicron was an impressive toy that towered over all of my other Transformers. He was such a hefty toy that I had trouble just picking him up from the ground. After having seen The Transformers: The Movie, I was just impressed by having the planet-eating destroyer of worlds himself in toy form. It was good to be a kid.

My consumption of Transformers-related content stayed relatively the same for a couple of years. Since my family didn’t get any of the channels that the shows came on, I was often left to make up what stories I could from my own memory, but we had Netflix (back when it was a DVD mail-in service), so I was able to watch some of the old series, including Beast Wars, Beast Machines, and Transformers: Energon on DVD. As usual, however, I spent most of my time in school or playing on my GameCube.  

When Michael Bay’s Transformers released in theaters in 2007, it ushered in an entirely new era of Transformers fandom across the world. With the return of G1 originals Peter Cullen and Frank Welker as the voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron, respectively, the ‘80s were alive and well again. This transformation (pun fully intended), brought about the introduction of an entirely new show, Transformers Animated, which aired on Cartoon Network. Before the days of DVR, it was nearly impossible for someone like myself, who was usually involved in any myriad of school activities on any given day, to find the time to watch a show at its air time. 

Unicron Armada Transformers Toy

Just look at this toy! Even today, it’s impressive.

However, luckily enough for me, Cartoon Network aired reruns of two episodes of Animated every day at 6:30 AM. As someone who lived literally two minutes away from school, I usually didn’t leave my house until around 7:45 or 8:00, so I had plenty of time to watch the show. I remember getting up every morning, fixing myself a big bowl of cereal, and sitting down to watch Animated before anyone in the house was up. Just me, Transformers, cereal, and a lot of fun. 

Soon, as I aged and Animated was replaced by Transformers Prime, I grew into a more nuanced appreciation for the shows’ storytelling. Prime, a dark tonal contrast with Animated, found me at the perfect time in my life. I appreciated its reverence for Optimus Prime and its overarching themes of sacrifice and leadership. While some would say it was boring or over-wrought, for a burgeoning pre-teen it was an engaging combination of cool and edgy that I thoroughly enjoyed.

When I sit down to think about the impact the Transformers series has had on my life, there’s one point in particular that sticks out to me: the imagination that playing with Transformers encouraged. While the brand was doubtlessly born of a commercial desire to sell as many pieces of plastic as possible, it nonetheless developed into a series capable of some interesting, if not always deep, storytelling. 

I copied this sense of storytelling when it came time to play with my toys. I remember incorporating various weather machines, weapons of ultimate power, and energy crystals into overarching narratives that could last a whole afternoon. Narratives in which Autobots died, lost limbs, or were otherwise in peril before the power of the Matrix of Leadership or Primus himself showed up to save them in the end. While this may not seem all that unique, I credit the series with instilling in me a sense of narrative detail. In fact, I remember not mixing my G.I. Joes and Transformers together, because in my internal head canon, they weren’t to scale (everyone knows that Transformers are at least three to four times taller than humans.) 

Megatron vs. Dinosaur G1 Transformers

I can safely say that I probably played out this exact scenario at least four or five times in my childhood.

However, Unicron himself created all sorts of problems for an internal narrative. For a being the size of a planet, he was rather puny in scale when compared to the other figures. So, I would always put Unicron to the side and pretend that the smaller Transformers were mere dots on him, tiny little specks that could barely be seen, the same as they had been in The Transformers: The Movie. I feel like the toys gave me an appreciation of the tropes of narrative fiction that I otherwise wouldn’t have noticed or appreciated. 

Today, I still love the series and try to watch The Transformers: The Movie at least once a year. Newer entries, like Transformers: Rescue Bots and Rescue Bots Academy allow me to share my love of the series with my younger siblings without encountering the darker elements of some of the classic shows. It allows me to teach them all about the Cybertronians that I grew up with, and perhaps encourage them to craft stories of their own. Now, excuse me while I help the Rescue Bots put out a fire on Wayward Island…

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Freelance Film Writers

Goomba Stomp is the joint effort of a team of like-minded writers from across the globe. We provide smart readers with sharp, entertaining writing on a wide range of topics in pop culture, offering an escape from the usual hype and gossip. We are currently looking for Film, TV, Anime and Comic writers.

Contact us: Editor@GoombaStomp.com

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