Man, 2016 was a real fucker, huh? Everyone dropping dead, a Cheeto dust-covered meme being elected President thanks to an antiquated electoral system (plus a sizable white supremacist contingent), and a general feeling of despair draped over every second of the year. But hey! There were a lot of really good games that came out this year, and this is about those. The Golden Gizmos do not dwell upon the horrible and terrifying — that’s the Golden Gremmies’ job — but instead celebrate the remarkable, as we look at the greatest achievements in interactive entertainment this year.

NOTE: Games released in November or December of this year are eligible for the following year. This includes titles such as Dishonored 2, Final Fantasy XV, The Last Guardian, Dead Rising 4, etc.

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Drinking again

I thought there was no way the Game Awards would make it past year one. When year two rolled around I assumed that’s it, that’s the ball game, this shit show couldn’t possibly go on from here. Now it’s year three, and the reality that this will be an annual responsibility of mine is quickly becoming apparent. Lets get this shit show started.

The award show doesn’t start until the top of the hour, but best mobile and family game awards are being casually announced already. The awards go to Pokemon GO. Reminder that an actual-ass Pokemon came out this year too and that Pokemon GO is widely considered to have under delivered. Also it’s barely a game. But whatever, this is the Game Awards, chaos reigns!

Gearbox is publishing Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, set to release April 2017. You can preorder it now (don’t) by opening up the digital dashboard on your favorite console (don’t do it) and you can get it at a nice discount (not worth it.) You can also play as Duke Nukem (still not worth it.)

[BULLETSTORM IS A GREAT GAME. GEORGE’S OPINIONS ARE SOLELY HIS OWN AND NOT THOSE OF DESTROY ALL CHILDREN DOT COM — Ed.]

More awards. Best fighting game is Street Fighter V because, of course. Best VR game is Rez: Infinite, and most anticipated game was Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Gotta get all these awards out of the way before the show starts, it would take away from valuable advertiser time.

The show has officially started, and rather than head right into awards for games, Geoff is righting the wrong of last year’s show by giving Hideo Kojima the industry icon award. The crowd is changing “KOJIMA! KOJIMA!”

Kojima has taken to the stage, but Hideki Hayakawa has just come from out of nowhere and blind sighted him with a folding chair. Hayakawa has taken the award! He grabbed the mic and said “see you at E3” and walked off stage. Kojima is being taken off stage by stretcher.

New Death Stranding trailer reveals Mads Mikkelsen is in the game. Death Stranding, true to its previous trailer, looks dope as hell. Kojima (like all of us here at DAC) is mad about Mads.

And now this lady is here to talk about Warframe. Cool great, what a great way to follow up Death Stranding.

I’m not sure whether it was my internet or something else, but I could not get the Game Awards to continue streaming after the Warframe thing.

I decided to take a shower, the stream is up and working again. I wonder what I missed.

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alright

Best performance is up next, half of the nominees are from Uncharted 4, two actors from Firewatch are up for the award. Nolan North won. Wowie zowie, what a shock.

Michael Phelps (who looks like a mutated Stretch Armstrong doll come to life [this was my joke and I was not accredited properly so I must make it clear who wears the pants in this relationship — Ed.] ) is here to announce the best e-sports. I wasn’t paying attention when they announce the winner because I honestly don’t care, I don’t care even a little bit.

Gotta say, if you pronounce Mario like “mary-oh” then you aren’t qualified to be on stage during a video games award show. Winner of best sports game is Forza Horizon 3.

Do the de-evolution, baby.

Do the de-evolution, baby.

Evolve has had a weird and unfortunate history. Starting out as a full retail game, Evolve struggled to gain traction due to its high cost of entry, lack of content, and overpriced DLC. Four months ago, developer Turtle Rock Studios converted the game to a free to play model, redubbing it Evolve Stage 2 Beta. The launch of Stage 2 drove in an impressive amount of new players, but the game has had a hell of a time maintaining those numbers ever since. Currently, Evolve has failed to breach 3k active users since October 4th, a far cry from the 50k+ the game was enjoying during its relaunch. Granted, there’s no reasonable expectation that the game would hold numbers quite that high, but the current amount of players makes it clear that Evolve is on the way out for a second time.

In a post on Turtle Rock’s website, the developer announced that their involvement in Evolve Stage 2 has been suspended. The letter points out that TRS is not a self-funded studio and they have no control over the Evolve IP, a pretty clear indication that 2k no longer sees the game as being viable, opting instead to pull the plug. 2k has since posted an FAQ going into more detail about what to expect now that support for the game is gone. Essentially, the servers will stay online, but players can expect no bug, balance, or content patches. Stage 2 may still come to consoles, but currently that seems unlikely.

This is all coming off the heels of a content update which went live today. This update introduces a variant to the Behemoth monster called Glacial Behemoth. A “work in progress” version of The Dam from Legacy Evolve, which was last week added into the custom game mode, has been introduced into arcade mode as well.

So that’s about it for Evolve, at least until the servers close.

Above is the trailer Nintendo just released for what was previously codenamed the NX. Surprise, it looks exactly like the previously leaked patent images that have been reported on everywhere. A tablet with removable controller sidebars, cartridges, and a TV dock.

The trailer also shows a new Mario game in the 64/Sunshine/Galaxy single-player mold, rather than the more multiplayer focused games they’ve been into for the past couple of generations. Praise Gorb.

Oh, and there’s portable Skrim, which is probably cool for people who still care about Skrim. The Switch will also have a version of Splatoon, apparently, but it’s unclear if it will be retroactively cross-buy with the Wii U version (ha ha, of course it won’t) or even have the same feature set. After all, a multiplayer-only portable game doesn’t seem like the best idea.

Among the last things shown is a new Pro controller which looks like a standard 360/Xone-style pad. That’s good news, as it might indicate that Nintendo is finally focusing on usability instead of gimmickry. Or not. The trailer does have a whole lot of people click-clackin’ them sidebars on and off of the thing. It’s fairly unrealistic, considering the guy on the plane was not eyeballing the dude playing like he’s a goddamned maniac.

As if the whole brouhaha about Mafia 3’s 30fps cap wasn’t enough of a terrible portent, there’s an issue that’s affected many purchasers of the game, including me — one that means we can’t even play the game we paid for. In the physical Deluxe editions, it seems like the majority have not included any Steam keys, making the product a glorified paperweight.

The Amazon page for this version of the game is full of one-star reviews from people who had the same problem, along with one smug asshole who actually did get a code and should probably go buy a lottery ticket. There are multiple threads on the Steam forums about this as well (the second one there featuring a 2K rep sticking his head in, followed by him doing this at the realization of what was happening), as well as Best Buy’s forum and *shudder* reddit. There’s also an anecdotal story floating around that a Gamestop received 25 copies total, and 17 of them were missing inserts.

The cool thing is that retailers won’t take refunds for PC games, and 2K has zero interest in either rectifying this or even admitting that it’s an issue. Amazon and Best Buy have removed the game from sale, but 2K has yet to issue any kind of response to this, opting for complete radio silence instead. When I contacted them to see if there was anything they could do about this, even offering to provide photographic proof that I bought the game, I got this response:

Thank you for contacting 2K support. I’m sorry to hear that you are missing your Key, I know how frustrating it can be when your game doesn’t come complete.

Sadly, as this was a physical copy of the game, you will have to contact your retailer for more information about your key.

We are however trying to gather information, so if you don’t mind, could you provide the following information:

  • Which retailer did you use to purchase your copy of Mafia III?

  • Which region of the world do you live in?

A big fat “fuck off,” more or less. So now we’re all stuck here with a bunch of useless discs until somewhere, someone at 2K gets their head out of their ass and sends out some goddamn codes.

 

[UPDATE: Once this started showing up on news outlets, 2K decided maybe they should actually do something, and are in the process of sending codes. Finally.]

I had a lot of images I could go with for this article, but I picked the right one.

Shit really hit the fan for Palmer Luckey this week when the Oculus founder was outed by The Daily Beast as having bankrolled a political organization known as Nimble America, notable for being a major Trump supporter and perpetrator of crappy Hillary Clinton memes and bigotry. The organization’s goal is to use “meme magic” and “shitposting” to communicate their political message to a new Internet raised generation, and wouldn’t you know it there’s now vomit all over my shirt. Who put this here. Disgusting.

Not satisfied with merely financing the organization, Palmer was also accused of creating an account on Reddit (named NimbleRichMan) through which he disseminated Nimble America produced memes into the public conscious. Things, obviously, aren’t looking so great for Palmer, and by extension Oculus and Facebook. Both companies have also caught a lot of heat because of Palmer’s actions, despite his involvement with them being rather dubious since Oculus’s acquisition.

Trying to mitigate some of the damage, Palmer took to Facebook today with the following statement:

“I am deeply sorry that my actions are negatively impacting the perception of Oculus and its partners.The recent news stories about me do not accurately represent my views.

Here’s more background: I contributed $10,000 to Nimble America because I thought the organization had fresh ideas on how to communicate with young voters through the use of several billboards. I am a libertarian who has publicly supported Ron Paul and Gary Johnson in the past, and I plan on voting for Gary in this election as well.

I am committed to the principles of fair play and equal treatment. I did not write the “NimbleRichMan” posts, nor did I delete the account. Reports that I am a founder or employee of Nimble America are false. I don’t have any plans to donate beyond what I have already given to Nimble America.

Still, my actions were my own and do not represent Oculus. I’m sorry for the impact my actions are having on the community.”

Unfortunately, this Tweet by Gideon Resnick, author of the original Daily Beast article, makes some of Palmer’s statement look like little more than back pedaling. While he denies not making posts as NimbleRichMan, it appears that he in fact did, but may have just not made the account or been the one to delete it. It’s possible this conclusion could be drawn from miscommunication between Palmer and Resnick, but a later snippet pretty much seals the deal, as Palmer admits that the NimbleRichMan account represents him.

Fuuuuuuuuck.

Fuuuuuuuuck.

The long lasting impact of this has yet to be seen, but like all things of this nature we’ll probably forget about it in a few weeks and move on with our lives. And so will Palmer, undaunted by the revelation that things aren’t always so sunny in his world, continuing to frolic merrily on a VR beach.

It’s a story we’ve surely heard a million times. Plenty of outlets have done their own pieces about it, and many of us grew up in the midst of it, but Gaming Historian’s video on the formation of the ESRB is a comprehensive and all around well put together look at one of the industry’s most pivotal moments. We don’t often share other people’s videos here on Destroy All Children, but this one is worth the watch.

I fully expected the story of Digital Homicide vs. Jim Sterling to fizzle out a long time ago. While the indie developer did file a lawsuit alleging Sterling of making libelous comments that impacted their bottom line, they also apparently lacked the funds to keep a lawyer appointed and had to resort to starting a GoFundMe to cover the cost of litigation. That campaign only managed to make a dismal $425, and that’s pretty much where all of this should have ended. Instead, litigation against Sterling is ongoing as the Romine brothers have opted to represent themselves in court, which is always a good idea.

The suit against Sterling is now joined by an additional lawsuit, this time filed by James Romine (one half of the dream team that makes up the Romine Brothers, owners of Digital Homicide) against 100 Steam users, seeking restitution to the sum of $15 million for personal injuries sustained by mean comments people left about him and Digital Homicide.
In response to a subpoena requesting the forfeiture of those 100 user’s information, Valve has decided to throw their hands up, say “screw this noise” and blacklist Digital Homicide from Steam. Every game developed by the studio has been excised from Valve’s storefront, although if you previously purchased one of their games, you’re still able to install it.
Valve spokesman Doug Lombardi confirmed this earlier yesterday, saying “Valve has stopped doing business with Digital Homicide for being hostile to Steam customers.” So hey, if you were ever wondering just how far you had to go to get a game removed from Greenlight… there’s your answer.
Digital Homicide is of course trying to turn the tables back on Valve, asserting that their poor community moderation is what lead to the lawsuit. They’ve also gone on to accuse Valve of interfering with business, breach of contract, “anti-trust issues.” You can read Digital Homicide’s statement here.
So there you have it, the latest chapter in Digital Homicide’s excruciatingly slow implosion. And all because some British weirdo in an ill-fitting suit said mean things about a video game. What a time to be alive.

The opening to the above trailer really “gets it” when it comes to the quality of the Sonic franchise. Speeding through Sonic’s history, it eventually hits a point where everything begins to rewind, and an admission that things haven’t been so great flashes up on the screen. In an odd moment of sobriety, SEGA realizes that what made the Sonic games so iconic are locked up in the 90s.

So here’s Sonic Mania, which appears to be taking a page from Mega Man 9 and 10’s book, and that kind of announcement is coming at what may be the most crucial time for this franchise. Generations was a hit, and Colors did well for SEGA, but the goodwill earned by those two titles was quickly undone by Lost Worlds and Sonic Boom. The latter of which marked a record low in sales for the franchise. If Sonic wasn’t on life support before, that certainly put him there.

Mania shows promise, though many could cite the “Sonic Cycle” as being in full effect here. However, Christian Whitehead, who spearheaded the HD remake of Sonic CD and the iphone ports of Sonic 1 and 2 appears to be closely tied to the project, and that’s the key element that might just set this thing apart. Sonic CD was incredibly well handled, and what was even more impressive about it was that Whitehead essentially had to remake the original physics engine from the ground up. While I haven’t played the iphone versions of Sonic 1 and 2, they are also held in high regard. Whitehead tried to remake a cut level and additional final boss stage for CD, but his efforts were shot down. He later got his chance to make a brand new level in an official capacity in the form of Hidden Palace Zone for the iphone release of Sonic 2. It looks like now he’s going to be able to do a whole lot more, as Sonic Mania will not only feature remixed versions of classic levels, but will have brand new levels with original assets. Even Sonic’s sprite has undergone a redesign of sort, though it retains just enough of the charm that made the original 90s design of the character work.

Sonic Mania will release in Spring 2017 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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Nintendo has announced that they’ll be releasing a mini NES this November, retailing at $60 dollars and pre-loaded with 30 classic titles. It will come with a NES controller with a Wii style plug,  no USB ports so you won’t be able to pop in retro USB controllers (although additional controller will retail at $9.99, which is about as much as a off-brand controller would cost so, whatever.) It also has an HDMI out port, allowing you to play games on your new fangled non-cathode ray tube television. At launch, the system will play the following games:

  • Balloon Fight
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Castlevania
  • Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest
  • Donkey Kong
  • Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Double Dragon II: The Revenge
  • Dr. Mario
  • Excitebike
  • Final Fantasy
  • Galaga
  • Ghosts ‘n Goblins
  • Gradius
  • Ice Climber
  • Kid Icarus
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Mario Bros.
  • Mega Man 2
  • Metroid
  • Ninja Gaiden
  • Pac-Man
  • Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream
  • StarTropics
  • Super C
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2
  • Super Mario Bros. 3
  • Tecmo Bowl
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

There does not appear to be a way to update the system, as it doesn’t accept either flash memory or cartridges.