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December 2014

London-based Assassin's Creed Victory Due Out In 2015

Assassin's Creed VictoryWhile Ubisoft would rather you turn all of your attention to Assassin's Creed Unity this holiday season, Kotaku has thrown a wrench in that idea by revealing the existence of next year's new Assassin's Creed title.  Set in Victorian London, Assassin's Creed Victory follows on from Unity as a Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One, and PC adventure.  No last generation versions here.  Here's Kotaku summarizing some of an internal, E3-style announcement trailer showcasing the targetted end gameplay result featuring trains and grappling hook mechanics:

The video begins with an assassin, presumably the game's protagonist, climbing up a tower and looking out at the city of London. We get a quick overview of the city as the camera flies from alley to alley, showing us some of the game's potential side activities (gambling in a pub, street-racing with carriages, and so forth). We then cut back to the assassin, who leaps down to the street, makes his way into a nearby horse carriage, and accepts an assignment from a mysterious masked woman. The task: kill a man named Roderick Bulmer, who has been trafficking little girls for the assassins' ancestral enemies. "The templars must receive our message," says the woman. "You must send it in blood."

There's some intriguing ideas here on display and while it seems to be, at heart, yet another Assassin's Creed sequel, I'm still interested in playing new installments provided they actually work and aren't packed with game-breaking bugs and glitches as we saw with UnityAccording to Kotaku's Jason Schreier, Ubisoft is not pleased with today's reveal.  So the company is upset that an Assassin's Creed game made it out the door before it was finished?  Well, now they know how the rest of us feel.

(Image via Kotaku)

Ten Years Of Nintendo's Dual Screens

Nintendo DSHas it really been ten years since the Nintendo DS arrived on the scene?  It feels like Nintendo's dual screen handheld system came out just... well, not yesterday, but certainly not a long ten years ago.  After a rough first year of lackluster games in which the development community tried to figure out how this whole touchscreen thing was supposed to work, the DS library stepped up, took off, and never looked back.  USgamer to the rescue with an anniversary retrospective article!

While no one disagreed with this sentiment at the time, few looking on could imagine how this third console — the supposed "third pillar" of Nintendo's games business — could be anything but a leaden weight dragging the company's future straight to hell. The DS was introduced without preamble, with barely a hint that a new system was in the works. It was also announced without any sort of imagery; no game demos, no prototype handhelds. No target renders. Simply a statement of intent, and, stunningly, the promise that the console would be on the market by the end of 2004.  1

"Prior to the actual unveiling of the system, my first impression — like many other people's — was confusion regarding the design," says Chris Wright. "The choice to use two screens, combined with doubts about the usefulness of the touch sensitive bottom screen (back before everything everywhere was touchable), certainly left me wondering if we weren't about to see another Virtual Boy. The unusual design choices made the DS an immediate target of mockery and derision before anyone even had the chance to see the real system."

It only took one game to convince me to buy a Nintendo DS, and that was a remake of Super Mario 64.  The original game was a major part of my teenage years and helped me to understand how large structures related in three dimensions (which later led to my career working in architecture and building design), so when I heard that Nintendo was adding new levels and new stars to the game, I knew I had to play it.  I preordered a DS and Super Mario 64 DS as soon as I could despite not owning a handheld game system since the original Game Boy (which I'd drifted away from once I learned to drive and didn't need to kill time on long car trips anymore).

Continue reading "Ten Years Of Nintendo's Dual Screens" »

PC Driver For Nintendo Wii U GameCube Controller Adapter Spotted

GameCube controller adapterNintendo's new adapter that allows classic GameCube controllers to connect to the Wii U has a new use now that a programmer going by the name "elmassivo" has developed an open source driver that allows a Windows PC to recognize the USB adapter and accept GameCube controller input.  Now you can use authentic Nintendo hardware to play your favorite PC games.  I haven't tried it for myself (so use at your own risk), but I'm glad to see that exists.  Here's some of the README file:

This is a vjoy feeder application written in C# using LibUsbDotNet.

It allows for communication with the WUP-028 model of the Wii U to Gamecube USB adapter.

This driver has been confirmed to work on Windows 7 and Windows 8 so far.

For reference:

  • Z-Axis is the L trigger

  • X-rotation is the C-stick X axis

  • Y-Rotation is the C-stick Y axis

  • Z-rotation is the R trigger

  • When calibrating the triggers, do not make them click (hit the button), it will cause you to go to the next screen and could mess up your calibration.

  • Rumble is not currently supported.

  • Input lag is variable as of the 2014-11-28.5 release. It defaults to 10ms (~2/3 a frame) and can go as low as 5ms (roughly 1/3 frame) or as high as 30ms (just under 2 frames). Faster refresh rates (lower values) will use more processing power but be more responsive.

Now you can use a GameCube controller to play Windows versions of classic GameCube games like Resident Evil 4 the way they were meant to be played.  I love how the community steps up to fill needs left open by the original hardware producers.  I've given my DualShock 4 controller a second role to fill by connecting it to my PC and it's become my primary Steam gaming controller.  Find a need a fill it, I say.

Power Button - Episode 156: Reboot Camp

Power ButtonSometimes when a video game franchises buckles under the weight of its own convoluted lore or when sales start to drop off, there's only one thing for the publisher to do: reboot it!  Give the series a clean slate and start over with a bold new direction.  We've seen it happen to Tomb Raider, we've seen it done with Castlevania, even Donkey Kong once had a fresh start.  On this episode of Power Button, Blake Grundman and I are joined once again by David Oxford to discuss video game franchises that need a reboot.  We kick around new ideas for Sonic the Hedgehog, Blast Corps, Mega Man, Star Fox, and many more.  What could possibly go wrong?  Download this week's episode directly from PTB, listen with the player below, find us on Stitcher, subscribe via iTunes, toss this RSS feed into your podcast aggregation software of choice, and be sure to catch up on past episodes if you're joining us late. Remember that you can reach us via , you can leave a message on the Power Button hotline by calling (720) 722-2781, and you can even follow us on Twitter at @PressTheButtons and @GrundyTheMan, or for just podcast updates, @ThePowerButton.

Who Would Make A Game Starring Fester Addams?

Uncle Fester's QuestThe Addams Family wasn't exactly a highly demanded franchise during th 1980s.  Barry Sonnenfeld's 1991 film would revive the property for a new generation of fans, but when Sunsoft's Richard Robbins and Michael Mendheim were hard at work on Uncle Fester's Quest in the late 1980s, they had their work cut out for them.  Not only did they have to develop the game itself, but they had to convince Sunsoft to buy the rights to what was then a moribund license.  Kid Fenris caught up with Robbins and Mendheim to get to the bottom of Fester's Quest once and for all starting with that essential question: why?

Fester's Quest has a strange premise for a licensed game. How did Sunsoft decide to combine The Addams Family and an alien invasion? And why make Uncle Fester the hero?

Robbins:  I had a dream, literally, for a game called "Uncle Fester's Playhouse." Pee Wee’s Playhouse was airing then. We came up with the alien idea as a quest, to save the family.

The Addams Family seems to have been a fairly quiet property in the late 1980s. Why did Sunsoft option it for a game? Did they get it as a package deal with Platoon?

Robbins:  I was a huge Addams Family fan. I called Charles Addams’ widow Lady Colyton literally at a chateau in France and started a dialog. It took many, many expensive long-distance calls and a sort of romancing to convince this regal lady to let us do a game. Lady Colyton kept talking about a movie deal, which I thought was a bunch of baloney at the time. The Japan folks at Sunsoft were extremely skeptical and gave me a real hard time. They really questioned who would care about this really old weird TV show.

I was a fan of the game as a kid even though it was brutally difficult (the soundtrack is awesome though). Nintendo Power's maps would only take me so far once the enemy swarms became overwhelming. The interview goes on to include apologies for not including a password or save function of any sort; apparently it was excluded due to a design oversight. The next time you play Fester's Quest, die near the end of the game, and end up kicked back to the start when you choose to continue, you know who to thank/blame.