Join us in the dining cart as Zed Games’s Hazel and Caroline punch your ticket to 4zzz’s April Atonement and THE Zed Games x Netherworld Video Games Trivia Night~! So stow your luggage, and take your seat as the team joins you on Zahra’s train themed express, reviewing Blocks Tracks Trains & Tiny Rails!
Using the unlimited resources of our team of news hounds, we’ve found the hottest gaming news in town!
So long, Gary Bowser!
About four years ago Gary Bowser (no relation) was sent to prison for the heinous crime of selling devices that people used to play pirated games on their Nintendo Switch. After spending 40 months trapped in the prison system with rapists and murderers, this diabolical danger to society has been released on good behaviour. But there’s a catch. As part of the settlement, Bowser has to pay 20 to 30% of whatever income he earns for the rest of his life to Nintendo. He owes Nintendo 10 million dollars and he’ll never pay it off in his entire life. Wow, I feel safer already.
VR Gets Unreal
In other hacking news, dangerous underground hacker PrayDog has, I dunno, reversed the polarity on the mainframe database or something, I don’t know how hacking works, and released a Universal Unreal Engine VR Mod. This smart piece of tech adds full VR headset support to 90% of games that are built in the Unreal Engine – even ones that weren’t designed for VR in the first place. The next iteration of the mod will apparently add motion controller support, so if you want to play Rocket League or Fortnite in VR, this is the mod to keep an eye on. As yet there’s no word about Epic following Nintendo’s lead and sending a team of lawyers after PrayDog for colouring outside the lines, but we’ll keep you posted.
The Doctor is in…Fortnite!
Rumour, and some convincing screenshots from data miners, has it that Doctor Who is coming to Fortnite later this year. Or early this year. It’s hard to tell when time travel is involved. Doctor Who fans are already excited about the concept of playing their favourite Gallifreyan in Fortnite, as I’m sure there’ll be a litany of different skins you can purchase so you can be Tom Baker or David Tennant or, I dunno, the one that all the neckbeards got mad about online. Fun!
Diablo 4 gets the Midas touch
Soon to be Microsoft employees Activision-Blizzard have announced that Diablo 4 has gone gold. That’s a fancy way of saying the developers have finished work on the game and are ready to release it. This is big news because…
…oh, I don’t know. look, I’m old, I’m tired, I’m sure Diablo 4’s going to be great but I really just want a cup of tea and a lie down, so you guys knock yourselves out and have fun. I’ll be in the corner sleeping through old Coronation Street reruns.
And now for the latest game releases!
Today, April 20: Mr. Sun’s Hatbox (PC, Switch) Cavity Busters (PS4, PS5, XBO, XSX/S, Switch) Kick of the Spear (C64)
Tomorrow, April 21: Dead Island 2 (PC, PS4, PS5, XBO, XSX/S, Stadia…wait, the Stadiia?!) And finally…FINALLY!! Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp (Switch)
Time for some Kiss, Marry, TRIVIA! this week on Zed Games This week Zahra leads the charge pulling in Cameron, Maylee, and Tom from Netherworld to talk Trivia, play a couple of rounds of Kiss Marry Kill gaming style, and chat this week in gaming news. Click the play button to listen in, or find us at any reputable podcast deli in the freezer section.
Emulators & Mods Under Fire Easter weekend has been an interesting time for emulator enthusiasts, mod makers and enjoyers alike. This weekend saw the quiet removal of Universal Windows Platform apps, UAP’s, utilised by Xbox Series S|X owners to run emulators for older PlayStation 2 and GameCube titles1. Those users are now facing an error code stating that they are running software that “violate[s] Microsoft Store policy.” This continues the crackdown started in mid-2022 after UWP’s were removed from the storefront. However, those with developer mode active are still able to run this software, skirting the issue. In more mod news, YouTuber PointCrow, a Nintendo speed racer and content creator, has released the mod he offered a $10,000 bounty for in late 2021. The mod to make Zelda: Breath of the Wild multiplayer.
While the mod is still available and works through the emulator Cemo, Nintendo has copyright striked every single video where the mod is featured or utilised. So if you and up to 31 friends want to run around Hyrule together, you now can (with limitations).2 Lastly in modding news, are you a Half-Life fan, but can’t run a virtual reality headset? Well, now you too can jump into the world of Half-Life Alyx. While the mod has been available for a while, the creators are finally confident enough that you can play the game from start to finish to tag a 1.0 on the release. So, grab your gravity gloves with your mouse and keyboard and get at em!3
E3 is Dead! Long live everybody doing their own thing So while E3 cited developer disinterest for the gathering, there’s been a remarkable turnout of developers running their own shows.
Xbox has announced they will be platforming an Xbox Games Showcase & Starfield Direct on June 11, 10-12 Pacific time. Yep, that’s two whole hours of nothing but Xbox games; however, it’s rumoured that at least 30 minutes of that could be dedicated to Bethesda’s new IP Starfield.4 Nintendo is pulling out all the stops, with the first convention outside of Japan coming to Seattle in September. Nintendo Live 2023 is promising live stage performances, tournaments, photo ops, and “…a new way to experience the games and worlds of Nintendo…”. With similar shows in Japan sporting live concerts including holographic performances of Splatoon 2 and KK Slider, this could be one worth keeping an eye on.5 Lastly, QuakeCon 2023 is returning to FPS, and by that I mean first person suitable… as in it’s their first in-person even since before … since 2019. This is a fan favourite BYOC event (bring your own computer) with gaming, esports, and meetups. Think huge LAN party and you’ve got the right idea. Wish I could go.6
Capcom Continues Charging for Nostalgia. The recently released remake by Capcom of Resident Evil 4, came out of the gate with flying colours with a Metacritic score of 93 and the promise of a free update/DLC in the works. Well, this dropped with The Mercenaries Mode and a sprinkle of microtransactions that Capcom have been seasoning into recent Resident Evil releases. This monetisation of nostalgia fast tracks weapon-exclusive upgrades allowing you to max out weapons faster. While still available in base games, the grind requires you to level all the item’s stats as well as in-game currency to purchase the upgrade. Or shell out near 5 bucks for ONE weapon’s upgrade.7
And now for the Upcoming Game Releases Friday April 14th, explore the afterlife in De-Exit, a voxel puzzle, platformer coming to PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. Ultra Pixel Survive, a mobile game trying to take the microtransactions OUT of the pixel adventure genre, coming to Playstation, Xbox, and the Switch. And Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection coming to PC, PS4, and the Switch. Monday April 17, float around in this roguelike twin stick shooter in Beyond the Long Night, or suffer the night in the first-person horror game Suffer the Night. Both coming to PC. Tuesday April 18, delve into the tactical roguelike Desktop Dungeons: Rewind coming to PC. Put on your boxing gloves and dance shoes to get your beat on in the rhythm-based fighter God of Rock, race with your favourite Disney or Pixar character in DisneySpeedstorm, or you could play Minecraft Legends. All coming to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and the Switch. Wednesday 19th, Final Fantasy 1-6 Pixel Remasters and its Collection coming to PS4 and the Switch. Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores DLC coming to PS5, and become a shipwrecked conquistador in Survival: Fountain of Youth, coming to PC. And finally on Thursday April 20th, go insane in the Lovecraftian co-op Eresys coming to PC, go kill things with a witty companion in Stray Blade coming to PC and next gen consoles, or get your lemmings… I mean tin soldiers in line in Tin Hearts, coming to Switch.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is the latest addition to the ‘video game movies can be good’ evidence pile.
Produced by Chris Meledandri and Shigeru Miyamoto (basically Mario’s dad), and the awesome talents of Illumination, The Super Mario Bros. Movie has the bros themselves, Mario and Luigi, sucked into the magical world of warp pipes, mushroom people, and power-up blocks. Unfortunately, Bowser is set to destroy everything, find love, and reign supreme.
As we settled in the cinema surrounded by kids, big and small, we were immediately hit with a wave of nostalgia as the titular characters appeared on the big screen, looking much more appealing and familiar than their last foray onto the big screen. Animation-wise everything looked gorgeous, with the video game characters requiring only a few tweaks to maximise their characterisation and expressiveness. Coupled with Illumination’s team, the world of the Mushroom Kingdom took on a kind of beauty never really expressed in the games.
The musical score was an auditory delight, with familiar themes making an appearance constantly, as well as the additions of a few rock and love ballads. We were especially thrilled to hear the ‘DK Rap’ at the appropriate moment.
Turning game logic into movie logic is a challenging thing, and incorporating familiar mechanics into the movie world, and the powerups, was an experience all on its own. It was a lot of fun to see a powerup block, to see what the powerup was, and then to witness how that powerup would be used was hysterical. That wasn’t the only example of how the movie translated video game mechanics into the world, with my favourite mechanic being a Mario Kart mechanic, where you’re required to build your kart. The addition of this mechanic was clever and overall just a lot of fun, adding a lot of character to the setting, and being a familiar call-back.
And that was a common theme. As adults who grew up with these games, it was a joy to spot various references and additions, nudge each other, and meet each other’s grins as our inner child fed on the nostalgia. And for the kids who also grew up with these games, just perhaps with more pixels, it was a satisfying movie, with thoughtful nods and delights for them. Really, I don’t think anyone left the cinema without feeling a bit like a kid, in the best way possible.
I’m not sure if it’s a very rewatchable movie for the adults, but it was a lot of fun to watch through for the first time. For the kids, easily something I’d rewatch a couple of times. There were scenes that had me laughing, cheering for our heroes, appreciating the references, or even needing a tissue for (sue me, I’m a sap).
It’s a fun movie, a beautiful movie, and definitely a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours. Everyone’s performance was lovely, especially Bowser’s, the music was a treat, and we all left the cinema feeling that urge to boot up the Nintendo64, Switch, or NintendoDS and continue the nostalgia trip.
This week the Zed Games team unhinges their lower jaw and sanity to bring you the week in gaming news, and a run down on the new “The Super Mario Bros. Movie”… all while sending mind control rays to invite you to the Video Game Trivia Night.
Last week we reported that things weren’t looking good for the iconic video game trade show and mere hours later it was announced the show was cancelled. At this point it’s hard to imagine its return after years of turmoil.
Brisbane boy made big and Reedpop’s Business Development Director for E3 Expo, Guy Blomberg posted on the eve of his birthday.
“I’m sorry. We genuinely tried.”
April the 1st is very clever and not terrible at all
It was April Fools this week. The holiday which has become the commercial equivalent of “Wouldn’t it be funny if we kissed?! Haha that would be so funny unless you want to? Just kidding?”. While the normal dreck of market testing and audience pandering was fully at play some audience pandering stood above the rest. Primarily there was a surprise drop of a new Sonic game! In ‘The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog’ players will attend Amy Rose’s murder mystery party where Sonic is the victim. Uncover the mysteries and other such happenings in this short but fun official Sonic Visual Novel available on Steam.
Ark 2 delayed and Ark Survival Evolved shuts down
‘Ark 2’, the sequel to the popular dinosaur themed survival game ‘Ark: Survival Evolved’ has been officially delayed until next year. Out of the kindness of their hearts however developer Studio Wildcard has announced that a remaster of the original game will be released having been ported to Unreal Engine 5. Despite stating as recently as January that the upgrade will be free, the remaster will be released as part of a bundle with ‘Ark 2’ for $50 USD on Xbox and PC and as a standalone title on PS5 for $40 USD.
They also announced they will be shutting down the official servers for the first game and any DLC purchased for the original game will need to be repurchased for the remaster once they are made available. When the official servers shut down the player data will be made available for players to rehost themselves.
‘Ark: Survival Ascended’ will be available in August while ‘Ark 2’ staring Vin Diesel will be released late in 2024. Maybe.
PSVITA? I hardly knew her
Sony is reportedly developing a new PlayStation handheld device, codenamed the Q Lite. Unlike previous handheld consoles, this device will require constant internet connection and will utilize Remote Play with the PlayStation 5 rather than cloud-streaming. It features an 8-inch LCD touchscreen and adaptive triggers for haptic feedback, similarly to the PlayStation 5 controller. The Q Lite is currently in the QA phase and is expected to release in 2024 alongside other PlayStation offerings including a PS5 with a detachable disc drive, wireless earphones and a wireless headset.
Access for everyone
Sony is rolling out Accessibility Tags on its online storefront to help identify features in available products. More than 50 tags will be available covering visual and audio accessibility, online communication, caption, control and gameplay options. For full details check out the PlayStation blog.
April 7 – EA Sports PGA Tour (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC), Curse of the Sea Rats (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)
April 12 – Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened (Remake) (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC), Tron: Identity (Switch, PC)
Games podcast, where Paul, Hazel, and Tobi talk gaming news. However, it doesn’t stop there… In an exclusive double reviewer special Hazel and Paul rejuvenate destroyed ecosystems in the game Terra Nil, then Paul risks his sanity by fishing for a review of Dredge.
Assassins’ Creed Developer Ubisoft announced in a recent statement that it would not be attending E3 later this year, despite having shared their intentions to attend as recently as February.
“While we initially intended to have an official E3 presence, we’ve made the subsequent decision to move in a different direction and will be holding a Ubisoft Forward Live event on 12th June in Los Angeles. We look forward to sharing more details with our players very soon.”
Ubisoft was the first major company that had confirmed their attendance and them dropping out seems like a significant blow considering that Nintendo and Microsoft had already stated they would not be attending.
In the days following Ubisoft’s revision, two more companies publicly confirmed they would not be part of E3 2023. Sega, in response to questions from IGN, said “After careful consideration, we have decided not to participate in E3 2023 as an exhibitor. We look forward to sharing more information on announced and unannounced projects in the future.”
In previous years Devolver Digital wouldn’t be present on the show floor, but would setup in a nearby parking lot, has confirmed it wouldn’t be part of the show in any capacity this year.
E3 has not held a proper physical event since 2019, and many are questioning if it still has a place in the industry. There are still many developers who haven’t said they aren’t attending, but their silence is noticeable. Whatever the case for E3, with only 3 months until this year’s grand return, it won’t be long until we have a more concrete idea.
3DS and WiiU eShops have closed their doors for good.
Earlier this week Nintendo took the eshop offline for both the 3DS and WiiU consoles. It’s no longer possible to make any purchases from those online stores. This was announced over a year ago and gamers have had plenty of time to grab anything they still wanted.
If this is the first you’ve heard of it, and you still had plans to pick up something for your collection, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news. While you cannot make new purchases, you are still able to redownload content you own and download software updates.
Changes to the National Classification Scheme could be on the Horizon.
The Albanese Government has proposed stronger measures to protect vulnerable individuals from gambling-related harm by introducing a mandatory minimum classification of R 18+ for games with simulated gambling and M for computer games with paid loot boxes. The proposal responds to the fact that current regulatory arrangements for classification are incompatible with digital media, leading to non-compliant online content.
The government plans to expand options for self-classification for the gaming industry in line with Australian classification guidelines, making it simpler and more cost-effective for the industry to classify their content. The proposed changes will help set the National Classification Scheme on the right path forward and ensure Australian families and consumers can benefit from trusted and reliable information to guide their media choices.
MultiVersus is going offline, will return 2024.
Player First Games has announced that the open beta for their 2022 fighting game Multiversus is coming to an end, and the game will shut down until early 2024. It’s being pulled from digital stores on April 4 and will go offline sometime in June. Multiversus released on the 19th July 2022, which means it will have been live and playable for about a year before it goes offline.
Many players have voiced their frustration with the announcement, claiming the developer was not transparent with these plans. Especially upset are those who spent money on cosmetics or the founders pack and will not have access to these purchases, some costing more than a hundred dollars, until the game returns.
01110111 01110010 01101001 01110100 01110100 01100101 01101110 00100000 01100010 01111001 00100000 01100011 01101000 01100001 01110100 01100111 01110000 01110100 Zed Games is a podcast that covers gaming news, reviews, community and culture. In this episode, Caroline reviewed Journey to the Savage Planet: Employee of the Month Edition which includes both the base game and the expansion pack, Hot Garbage DLC. The team also discussed ChatGPT which is an AI chatbot that can generate human-like responses.