Hypnospace Outlaw Is Like The Best (And Worst) Of The '90s Web

Indie studio Tendershoot has just announced its latest project, which is an eerily uncanny recreation of what browsing the web was like in the ’90s. In Hypnospace Outlaw, players log on to the virtual network and customize their in-game PCs with wallpapers, screen savers, and software. Along the way, they’ll be charged with enforcing rules like copyright theft and page vandalism.

Take a look at the announcement trailer below to see a glimpse of what the game looks like. The studio says if you’re thinking “Geocities: The Game,” you’re on the right track.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Hypnospace Outlaw is coming to PC, Mac, and Linux later this year.

Beta Test Hypnospace Outlaw Is Like The Best (And Worst) Of The ’90s Web

Belgium Classifies Loot Boxes As Illegal

Belgium has joined the Netherlands in declaring that randomized loot boxes in video games are gambling and are therefore illegal in the country. The Belgian Gaming Commission looked at Overwatch, FIFA 18, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Star Wars Battlefront II, and determined that only the loot boxes in the latter did not constitute a game of chance because they were taken out at the time of the investigation. Belgium’s Minister of Justice, Koen Geens, is calling for their removal.

Geens requested that the Gaming Commission look into loot boxes after the Star Wars Battlefront II controversy, and he feels that minors in particular could be vulnerable to loot boxes influence as “gambling advertising.”

Geens wants to meet with video game companies to discuss the removal of loot boxes, stating that since these and any other games with them are in violation of the country’s gaming legislation, a prison sentence and fine are possible.

Here in America, legislators in multiple states have proposed legislation involving loot boxes and called upon the ESRB to address the matter systematically.

[Source: Belgian Minister of Justice via Eurogamer] 

 

Our Take 
The dominos are clearly falling regarding loot boxes, and we can’t just dismiss this as the local concerns of other countries. Going forward, it’ll be interesting to see what the dialog between video game companies and politicians is like in countries like the U.S., Canada, and England where many game companies are headquartered and millions of dollars are at stake.

Beta Test Belgium Classifies Loot Boxes As Illegal

Microsoft Preparing To Take Possible Legal Action Against Popular Fan-Made Halo Project

A few years ago, Microsoft and Saber Interactive were working on a game for the Russian market called Halo Online. In August 2016, that game was canceled, but the modding community picked up the pieces to try and salvage something from the work. The resulting game is called ElDewrito and, in the modders’ own words, “attempt[s] to deliver an authentic Halo experience completely free for the PC.”

ElDewrito is essentially the closest thing that players can get to playing online component of Halo 3 on PC, since Bungie and Microsoft never released 3 on that platform. However, 343 Industries released a statement today that sounds rather ominous for the future of the mod:

 While we are humbled and inspired to see the amount of passion poured into this project, the fact remains that it’s built upon Microsoft-owned assets that were never lawfully released or authorized for this purpose. As this project reverberated across the community, our team took a step back to assess the materials and explore possible avenues, while Microsoft, like any company, has a responsibility to protect its IP, code and trademarks. It’s not optional in other words.

On the mod’s site, the community says that “Unfortunately, 343 Industries and Microsoft have noticed it’s success, and have reached out to us regarding potential legal action, and have requested we temporarily halt development.” ElDewrito’s community leaders note that they have not received a cease and desist letter or anything similar. They’ve just been made aware that Microsoft is thinking of taking action.

[Source: ElDewrito]

 

Our Take
Fan development on games is tricky business, and despite ELDewrito’s attempts to present itself as a mod, this definitely sounds like a case of some fans (skillfully) resuscitating a dead game without permission and being taken to task for it. This is not the first case where an idealistic group of talented fans have a project that’s been struck down and, sadly, it will probably not be the last given just how common the issue is.

Beta Test Microsoft Preparing To Take Possible Legal Action Against Popular Fan-Made Halo Project

Epic Jokingly Acknowledges Tilted Tower Meteor Speculation In Fortnite

Over the last few weeks, speculation has been rampant about comets in the sky in Fortnite Battle Royale. Now, it seems Epic is happy to help throw fuel on the fire.

At this point, the community is pretty sure that a meteor is going to hit Tilted Towers, a popular landing spot in the game’s Battle Royale mode. Earlier today, a Redditor on the game’s subreddit noticed four signs that indicate Epic is playing along in a decidedly non-helpful way.

The four signs indicate a building, a hardhat, a meteor, and the word “Today” scratched out and replaced with “Tomorrow.” Assuming the signs aren’t meant to be taken literally, Epic seems to be poking fun at the doomsayers who are predicting the destruction of Tilted Towers with certainty on any given day. One comment points out that it seems to be a reference to Independence Day, with a party on a roof of a skyscraper was held to welcome the aliens with less than positive results.

Either way, fans are now more motivated than ever to figure out what’s happening now that Epic has acknowledged their speculation.

 

Our Take
Alternate Reality Games can be fun as long as they don’t go on too long and only capture the attention of diehards. Epic has people hooked right now, but how long that’s true is another question.

Beta Test Epic Jokingly Acknowledges Tilted Tower Meteor Speculation In Fortnite

Death Road To Canada Console Release Delayed Due To Tragedy In Toronto

Ukyo Games and Rocketcat Games, the publishers and developers respectively of indie title Death Road to Canada, have made a decision to delay the game due to yesterday’s tragedy in Toronto.

The game was originally intended to release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch tomorrow. However, an assailant in Toronto used a rental van in a vehicular attack yesterday, killing 10 people and injuring 15 others. As such, the developers of Death Road to Canada have decided to delay the game due to the title’s similarity to the attack.

The game itself holds no theming or content that matches the events, but the developers are obviously put off by the title’s juxtaposition to them.

“It not about the content,” Ukiyo’s twitter responded to complaints on social media, “we felt that given yesterday’s tragic events, that releasing a game with this name two days later would have been insensitive for those directly and indirectly involved in the event. To be honest, we felt no matter what choice we made there was always going to be some form of backlash. We felt it best to try and be sensitive and responsible with the situation and push the date back.”

There has been no word of when the game will release on consoles after the delay.

 

Our Take
Like the twitter account said, there’s no good answer here so probably best to err on the side of sensitivity. It’s probably not an easy decision to make.

Beta Test Death Road To Canada Console Release Delayed Due To Tragedy In Toronto

Far Cry, Sea Of Thieves, And Kirby Sail To The Top Of March U.S. Sales

The March National Purchase Diary, or NPD, sales rankings have been released, showing that March’s biggest releases have floated to the top.

In terms of software, Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5 topped the charts for March despite releasing late in the month and is now the top selling game of 2018 so far. Sea of Thieves followed behind, with MLB 18 and Kirby: Star Allies just behind that, making places 2 – 4 all console exclusives. Software is overall lower than last March, though that was also the launch of the Switch, which naturally was a higher month for software than a non-console launch month. Overall, software in 2018 is 8 percent higher, a number the NPD group attributes to Switch software sales.

Sea of Thieves sets a record for Rare as the highest launch month sales for any of the studio’s games since the NPD group started tracking in 1995. That means the most notable game that would exclude is Donkey Kong Country on the Super Nintendo.

Kirby: Star Allies sets a similar but separate record for the series, which consistently does fairly well for Nintendo. Star Allies’ launch sales are 90 percent higher than the second highest launching game in the series, Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land on the Gameboy Advance in 2002.

Far Cry
5
1
Sea Of Thieves 2
MLB 18: The Show 3
Kirby Star Allies 4
Grand Theft Auto V 5
Call of Duty: WWII 6
Mario Kart 8 7
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant
Kingdom
8
NBA 2K18 9
Monster Hunter: World 10
Super Mario Odyssey 11
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of
the Wild
12
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds 13
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six:
Siege
14
A Way Out 15
Assassin’s Creed: Origins 16
Dragon Ball: FighterZ 17
FIFA 18 18
Splatoon 2 19
UFC 3 20

 

Note that not all publishers report digital sales.

In terms of hardware, revenue declined 30 percent from last March, which again likely has a lot to do with this year not having a console launch. The declination is all in all a little misleading, as console sales are actually doing remarkably well. The NPD group points out that the Xbox One is contributing to overall hardware growth, meaning that the system is selling better than it has at any point in the past. 

The PlayStation 4 overall sold the most hardware in March and has thus far been the best selling console in 2018. The Nintendo Switch with neon controllers, however, was the single best selling piece of hardware. That means that the PlayStation 4 line, including the Slim and the Pro, sold more than the Switch, but no individual SKU of that line outsold the neon Switch which is also the best selling hardware item of 2018 so far.

 

Our Take
Far Cry 5 rocketed to the top fast and has overtaken Monster Hunter World as the best selling game of 2018. Ubisoft has a grasp on the formula of what makes a major AAA game successful and has far more hits than misses in that space these days.

Beta Test Far Cry, Sea Of Thieves, And Kirby Sail To The Top Of March U.S. Sales

Kongregate Digital Store Kartridge Outlines Details Of Developer Revenue Share

Kartridge, the upcoming digital store from the Gamestop-owned Kongregate, has announced their methods for revenue sharing with developers selling games on the service.

For the first $10,000 of a game’s sales, the developer gets 100% of the revenue from the sale. This had previously been announced as a timed promotion for developers, but has since been extended indefinitely. This is on a per-title basis, so developers with multiple games get it on every game.

To encourage exclusivity, Kongregate extends that number to $40,000 for exclusive content with a 90% share going to developers. Developers can opt out of exclusivity when they want, but unlike the base $10,000, this is a timed promotion. Developers need to opt in before the end of October to take advantage of this.

The industry-wide standard, with some variability, is a 70/30 split with the latter amount going to store owners or licensors. This is still true for Kartridge after the applicable caps have been hit. Katridge is expected to enter open beta this summer.

 

Our Take
For lower-volume games, this is a fantastic thing. If Kartridge takes off, it could be a good place for indies that find themselves lost on Steam.

Beta Test Kongregate Digital Store Kartridge Outlines Details Of Developer Revenue Share

Submit Your Question For Our Spider-Man Podcast

All month long we’ve been talking about Spider-Man coming to the PlayStation 4, to coincide with our cover story. Now it’s your turn to ask questions. In an upcoming episode of the podcast, we’ll be speaking with Spider-Man’s creative director Bryan Intihar and asking him questions from the community. What do you want to know about the game’s web-swinging, combat, story, or any other topics about Insomniac’s take on Spider-Man? Please leave your question in the comments section below and you might hear it answered during the interview!

Subscribe to The Game Informer Show podcast by clicking here and get ready for the bonus episode airing this Friday.

Click on the banner below for more exclusive features on Spider-Man

Beta Test Submit Your Question For Our Spider-Man Podcast

15 Frostpunk Tips To Protect You From A Bloody Revolt

The world of Frostpunk is frigid, brutal, and uncaring. As you build up an outpost in the middle of nowhere, you will face a never-ceasing onslaught of crises, including an angry populace, dwindling resources, and the dawn of a new ice age that makes it nearly impossible to survive. 

Like a grizzled survivor who has returned from the frontier a changed man, I’ve seen and done things I hope you never have to experience. Hundreds died during my reign – some from the weather, others from starvation – and I’m not proud. But I hope to pass on the lessons I’ve learned to hopefully make your leadership turn more successful than my own. 

Check Your Heat Map Often
Heat is a precious resource when an ice age is setting in, so you need to monitor it often. If buildings get too cold, they cease production. If homes succumb to cold weather, your medical facilities may buckle under the stress of the sickly. This is why it’s important to always keep an eye on the temperature of your buildings. Once you install heaters in buildings or steam hubs, you have another layer of control over what buildings get warm. 

Optimization can save you a lot of coal, so if you notice your city is glowing with warmth, turn a few heating elements off to preserve your precious stocks for when you really need it. You can also set steam hubs to run only during working hours, which is a great way to save energy when they are placed by places of employment.  

You Can Upgrade Pre-Existing Buildings For Less
When you unlock facility improvements like the bunkhouse, house, or steam upgrades to your resource-gathering operations, you don’t need to place them on a fresh plot of land. If you build directly on top of the older building, you actually re-use the resources it took to construct the original, which drops the resource price significantly in some instances.  

It’s Okay To Leave Buildings Empty
Frostpunk’s inhospitable world is indifferent to your min-maxing plans. Sometimes you just need to cease resource gathering on one material to throw workers at an urgent problem. If your medical posts are overflowing, pull some engineers off a project where you are running a surplus and squelch the sickness for a while. Once things are under control, you can return them to their original duties. 

Pay special attention to medical posts at all times. If things are going well and your population is healthy, you may have workers sitting around twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do. If that’s the case, transfer them to another job until the need inevitably arises to employ more doctors.

This yo-yo approach to workforce management also means it’s smart to build more resource buildings than you may need at the time. If supply demands suddenly surge, it’s nice to be able to quickly open a new mine, sawmill, or thumper that has been waiting to be put to good use. 

Keep Workshops Busy
Workshops are vital buildings that allow you to research new technologies, which is the best way to improve your efficiency. You should always make sure you have enough resources to put your researchers to work immediately after they complete their previous task. 

After you get your beacon set up, you have a lot of tantalizing options. I recommend improving your hunting and exploration right away, then transitioning to researching the coal thumper, sawmill, and steelworks so you can scale up quickly. After that, you should heavily invest in heating technology to deal with the impending ice age.

Coal Thumpers Need Gathering Posts
The coal thumper produces more coal than the mines do, but it also requires more people to work the operation. The tutorial glances over this, but if you want your thumper to be at its maximum effectiveness, you need to pair it with two gathering posts. As you upgrade your thumper, you will need to increase the number of gathering posts around it as well. 

Enact Only The Laws You Need
The book of laws extends in many directions, from forcing amputations and child labor to eventually declaring you an untouchable supreme ruler. All of these are at your disposal, but you are under no pressure to make the more egregious ones a part of your leadership platform. 

Two laws I highly recommend enacting off the bat: Emergency Shift and Extended Shift. These aren’t permanent modifiers, but you can use them when things get tough to pull you out of a vortex. When a serious ice storm is on the horizon and you need to make multiple improvements to your heating infrastructure, having your research workshops work 24 hours straight can be a lifesaver. The same goes for extending shifts of coal workers when infrastructure improvements leave you at a resource deficit. 

Never Leave Workers Idle
When your citizens leave work for the sick bay, the natural inclination is to replace them with new workers at vital facilities like the various coal operations. This means when they come back from sick leave, they won’t have a job assignment. Whenever you see an idle worker, which are indicated on the population widget at the bottom right of the screen, find them a new home. 

Build Several Resource Depots
When things are going well, you may end up hitting your storage cap for a particular resource. Rather than sitting comfortably against the cap, unless your workers are desperately needed elsewhere it’s better to build resource depots and continue the gathering operation. 

Queue Construction During The Day
Workers return from their jobs each night, but they don’t head straight to bed. If construction needs to be done, they tackle it during the evening. To make sure new operations are built quickly, place the new structures on the map before the work day is over. If you are in a pinch for time, you can also assign idle workers to construction projects during the day as well. 

Keep Buildings Close To Each Other
When designing your city, try your best to build right next to your other dwellings. The reason is twofold. One, you only have so much room to build, so wasted space could come back to haunt you. Two, if you leave gaps, this creates places where the cold can penetrate your city and necessitate the addition of another steam core. 

Optimize Your Scouts
You can form several teams of scouts to explore the area surrounding the city. They often find vital materials for your community to use, but don’t rush them home immediately after a discovery. If they are in a busy area where they could investigate several sites quickly, this is a better use of time than having them trek back and forth every time.

Steam Cores Are Invaluable
The one resource you cannot produce in your city is a steam core, which are used to build factories, automatons, and the higher level resource-gathering buildings. Take these whenever your scout teams find them. Because of their scarcity, think about their application before spending resources to make sure you are improving your operations in the best possible way.

Build Outposts
At a certain point in the game, you’ll come across abandoned mines that can either be harvested for supplies or re-opened by establishing an outpost. These outposts are lifesavers, as they can deliver vital supplies on a daily basis. I particularly recommend opening the coal mine, which delivers 800 units of coal a day. As your city grows and the temperature drops, you’ll need it. 

Your Citizens Need Entertainment
Dissatisfaction can lead to revolt, so it’s important to bring some levity to your people’s lives. You can do this primarily by instituting new laws that allow fight houses, public houses, moonshine, and even brothels (though the last option also slowly drains hope, so be careful). 

Automatons Are The Best
Seriously, the more steam-powered robots you can get to work your city, the better. They are our superiors. Unlike lazy humans, automatons can work 24/7, never get sick (though they sometimes break down), never revolt, and consume coal rather than food. Whenever you discover one during expeditions, send it back to your city and put it to work in one of your facilities. You can also create them in a factory, but the cost is steep. That said, the more robots you have working vital operations, the better. 

Do you have other tips? Share them in the comments section below.

Beta Test 15 Frostpunk Tips To Protect You From A Bloody Revolt

A Tangled Web: The History Of Spider-Man Video Games

Spider-Man made his comic-book debut in August 1962, gracing the pages of Amazing Fantasy issue 15 with his striking costume, arachnid abilities, and a refreshing dose of youthful angst. Almost immediately, it was clear that Spidey was destined for a greater fate than a throwaway appearance in a second-tier title.

This feature originally appeared in issue 101 of the Australian edition of Game Informer magazine.

Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s creation – more relatable than the stoic, godlike superheroes of the day – was a runaway success with younger readers. Though teenagers couldn’t necessarily relate to having their scientific mentor turn into a giant lizard, the fact that Peter Parker, Spidey’s true identity, still had to get his homework done while dealing with said giant lizard hit home.

By 1963 he’d been given his own comic, The Amazing Spider-Man, which continues to this day. Domination of the pop-culture world followed, with a now-heavily-memed animated series, big-budget (and a few extremely low-budget) movies, and countless action figure and lunchbox appearances.

His video game life, however, was slow to start. Although he’s now starred in nearly 40 titles of his own, not to mention cameo appearances in everything from fighting to skateboarding games, Spidey’s gaming journey didn’t begin until the early 1980s…

Spider-Man (1982)
With video games exploding in popularity during the 1970s, Marvel saw a revenue source it could no longer ignore. For the first time the comic-book giant licensed out one of its characters to a game developer – the now-defunct Parker Brothers taking the honors.

The result was 1982’s Spider-Man for the Atari 2600 and Sears Video Arcade (essentially a rebadged Atari 2600 sold exclusively in Sears stores). Although it was repetitive and simplistic, the game did, to its credit, explore the power fantasy of being Spider-Man – which, as we all know, largely revolves around swinging on webs and climbing buildings. The fact that Spidey’s blue and red costume was somewhat recognizable while rendered with a few dozen pixels also meant that the visuals were considered impressive at the time. Seriously.

Players had to scale a skyscraper using the webhead’s signature abilities while dodging baddies with a penchant for sticking their heads out of windows. Upon reaching the top, Spidey had to get past the Green Goblin and defuse his “Super Bomb.” Web fluid was a resource to be managed, and, in a nifty touch, you could stop yourself from falling to your death by shooting a web onto a wall before you plunged too far. Unfortunately, in the grand tradition of arcade games of the day, after completing a stage an almost identical building needed scaling and an identical Super Bomb needed diffusing. Variety was not this game’s strong point.

Questprobe: Featuring Spider-Man (1984)
Scott Adams holds the distinction of being the first person to make an adventure game for PCs with 1978’s Adventureland. In 1984, he took a similar approach with Questprobe, a planned 12-part adventure series that would feature a different superhero in each episode.

The bankruptcy of Adventure International, Adams’ publishing company, put a halt to those plans after only three entries, the middle of which featured Spidey (Hulk, and Human Torch and The Thing featured in the other two).

Players needed to enter simple text commands (“Look Table”, “Talk Mysterio,” etc.) to navigate Spider-Man through a mysterious apartment building, confronting villains like Sandman and Electro, while collecting gems for Madame Web. Many of the puzzles were illogical, and finding the exact verb-noun combination was often a matter of trial and error.

But the biggest problem was conceptual: nothing says “thrilling superhero experience” like a puzzle-based text adventure!

The Amazing Spider-Man and Captain America in Dr. Doom’s Revenge! (1989)
Paragon Software’s 1989 effort for Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari and DOS PCs is notable not only for its unwieldy title but for setting the template for the next decade of Spider-Man games. No more text adventures or score-attack arcade titles – the indefinite future was combat-focused action games viewed from a sidescrolling perspective.

Dr. Doom, seeking to foil this unusual dynamic duo, constructed a doomsday weapon in his Latverian castle. For added protection, he solicited the help of a rogues gallery of extremely B-list Marvel villains, including Rhino, Batroc, Boomerang, Electro, Grey Gargoyle, Hobgoblin, Eduardo Lobo, and Oddball (Dr. Doom’s funds were, presumably, tight).

Like a fighting game, Spidey or Cap needed to beat down on these goons one at a time, whittling down a single health bar while protecting their own, each bout taking place on a single screen. Unlike a fighting game, these duels required very little skill.

Cap could throw his shield, and Spider-Man could fire web balls and climb on walls, but he lacked the ability to swing on web strands. In fact, the action was so simplistic that only six pages out of the game’s 24-page manual were devoted to play instructions – the rest featured character bios and an introduction from Stan Lee himself.

In a creative touch, each fight was interspersed with comic book-style panels explaining the context for the action, but, like the combat system, the story was simplistic and uninspired. Dr. Doom’s Revenge was, however, considered a visual spectacle for the time.

The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin (1990-1993)
The year 1990 saw a trio of Spidey platformers arrive. Both Oxford Digital Extremes and Rare released games called The Amazing Spider-Man (Oxford’s for PCs, Rare’s for the Nintendo Gameboy), but it was Sega’s first crack at the Spider-Man license, handled by developer Technopop, that best captured the  web-slinging fantasy.

The Amazing Spider-Man vs. The Kingpin launched first on the Sega Master System, and was ported to the Mega Drive, Game Gear, and Sega CD over the next few years following its runaway success. A sidescrolling platformer, it was the first Spider-Man game to capture the joy of moving through the air in high-speed web parabolas, allowing players to swing from strand to strand across levels that ranged from warehouses, to cityscapes, to spooky forests.

Unlike Dr. Doom’s lackluster recruiting efforts of 1989, Kingpin managed to round up a posse of A-list thugs to take on Spidey, including Doctor Octopus, Sandman, The Lizard, Hobgoblin, Vulture, Mysterio, Electro, and Venom.

The game attempted to dramatize the Peter Parker side of the equation, as well – namely being broke – and required players to take photographs of the villains for The Daily Bugle in order to earn money to pay for replenishing your web fluid.

For more on Spider-Man’s video game history, head to page two. To see our entire month of Spider-Man coverage, click the banner below and bookmark our hub.
New stories and features are added every couple of days, so check back
to learn more about Insomniac’s Spider-Man game for PS4.

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Beta Test A Tangled Web: The History Of Spider-Man Video Games