Battletoads Articles RSS Feed | Battletoads RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network E3 2019 Microsoft Press Conference Recap: Team Xbox Unveils Project Scarlett and a Whole Lot of Game Pass Sun, 09 Jun 2019 20:47:53 -0400 Mark Delaney

Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference just wrapped after nearly two hours of new trailers for games like Gears 5 and Halo Infinite, world premieres for games like Miyazaki and Martin's collaborative Elden Ring, and more than a little bit of info on the next Xbox, which is now officially being referred to as "Project Scarlett," after rumors have long suggested so.

If you missed the whole show or maybe just bits and pieces of it in your excitement we've recapped every moment, every reveal, and every trailer into this handy round-up. Of course, if you'd rather watch it all from start to finish yourself, that's fine too. Check that out below!

If you want to take it bit by bit with us, here's literally everything Microsoft announced at E3 2019.

The Outer Worlds

The Xbox presser kicked off with the next game from one of their new first-party studios, Obsidian Entertainment. While the space RPG The Outer Worlds isn't being published by Microsoft — it was already in development from 2K's Private Division label before the 2018 acquisition it will still be premiering in Xbox Game Pass at launch, the same as so many more games to come in this roundup, as you'll see.

The trailer avoids the game's cynical humor for the most part and depicts a more serious version of the capitalist hellhole the game was made famous for when it debuted last December. You can look forward to playing the game on October 25.

Bleeding Edge

Following quickly from The Outer Worlds, two of Ninja Theory's developers came to the stage to introduce their next game, Bleeding Edge. If you think of a melee-focused Overwatch, you're not far off. The game was in development before Microsoft came calling with big wads of cash, so the June 27 technical alpha may seem like a quick turnaround, but really this has been their project for a few years already.

Bleeding Edge pits two teams of four into maps that seem conducive to many playstyles, which should benefit players no matter which of the many teased heroes from the new trailer above. Like The Outer Worlds, it'll launch directly into Game Pass at an unannounced date.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Before we had even seen Phil Spencer hit the stage, a third Xbox Game Studios project came to the stage. The Ori sequel delivered a new trailer that showed off a ton of new environments and several enemy types that are hopefully bosses otherwise, Ori may be vastly unprepared if these behemoths are to be commonplace.

It launches on February 11, 2020 -- and yes, directly into Game Pass too.

Minecraft Dungeons

One of two new games in the Minecraft universe coming soon (though the only one shown on stage at the presser), Minecraft Dungeons' trailer highlighted brand new gameplay moments, including character loadouts, combat, and four-player co-op, which can be played either locally or online. It didn't get a firm release date but it did get a window of spring 2020.

I bet you can guess whether it's coming to Game Pass day and date with retail. If you're really stuck, here's a spoiler: it is.

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order

As promised, Jedi: Fallen Order made its second appearance in as many days on a pre-E3 stage. This time, new gameplay segments were shown off in the trailer on Xbox's stage, including more interaction with a familiar character from the film's universe. Remember, the game is officially canon now. Take that, Force Unleashed! 

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order arrives this year on November 15.

Blair Witch

After the power fantasy of Star Wars concluded, it was time to flip game mechanics on their head with a horror game that leaves you almost completely helpless.

What looked a bit like Outlast 3 at first was soon revealed to be Blair Witch, a first-person horror adventure from Bloober Team, the same studio behind recent horror games Observer and Layers of Fear.

Though it's not a first-party title, Blair Witch will be coming directly to Xbox Game Pass on August 30.

Cyberpunk 2077

After last year's exciting stinger, CD Projekt Red returned to the Xbox stage and they brought John Wick with them. Well, sort of. Revealed at the end of the trailer above, Keanu Reeves is portraying a character in the much-anticipated cyberpunk title.

He took to the stage to reveal the game's release date too. Despite what we heard about the game being too powerful for current generation consoles, Cyberpunk 2077 hits next spring, April 16, 2020, on all the platforms you'd expect.


Yet another Game Pass-at-launch title is this indie, Spiritfarer, which bills itself as a "cozy management game about dying." Well, okay then. Seems like a strange, almost contradictory setup, but I bet that's the point. get comfy with losing your loved ones, folks. This is going to be cathartic.

No release date was given yet, but the trailer does offer some cool gameplay detailing how you can customize your boathouse together with your everpresent cat companion.


"Do you have Battletoads?" Yes, and so will Game Pass at launch. The revived brawler from yesteryear only got a teaser last year and didn't show us any gameplay, so this cartoony melee combat is our very first look at what the hokey series can be in a contemporary setting. It feels like a game that knows it's absurd and that's exactly how you'd want it to be.

No release date was given just yet, so maybe keep calling your local game retailer for now.

The Legend of Wright

One of the cool things Microsoft has done a lot lately is make time on their massive stage for some tiny games. Hand-drawn indie The Legend of Wright is another example of that. The shifting aesthetics of the game are glorious and confusing at once. What's going on in this one?

We can't be sure yet, but we'll find out when it launches in 2020.

ID@Xbox Sizzle Reel

Speaking of indies, the annual ID@Xbox sizzle reel was up next and showed off over a dozen games, all of which will be you guessed it coming to Xbox Game Pass on their respective launch dates.

One of them, Riverbond, is even out today. I know because my wife and I spent all of our morning before the show playing it. It's fun! Check out the trailer for the rest of the games.

20+ Game Pass Titles Added Today

I don't know if you've heard by now, but Microsoft has this service called Game Pass...

Yeah, even more Xbox Game Pass titles were announced, all of which came to the service today. Big hitters like Batman: Arkham Knight and Metro Exodus were supplemented by indies like Hollow Knight and Old Man's Journey. Here's the full list of what's new to Game Pass today:

  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Battle Chasers: Nightwar
  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
  • Bridge Constructor Portal
  • Everspace
  • Guacamelee! 2
  • Hollow Knight
  • Lightspeed: Double Speer Edition
  • Metal Slug X
  • Metro Exodus
  • Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
  • Moonlighter
  • Neon Chrome
  • Old Man’s Journey
  • Riptide GP: Renegade
  • Riverbond 
  • Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
  • Shenmue 1&2
  • Silence – The Whispered World 2
  • Smoke and Sacrifice
  • SteamWorld Dig 2
  • Supermarket Shriek 
  • Thimbleweed Park
  • The Turing Test
  • Wizard of Legend

Xbox Game Pass Comes to PC Today, Included in Game Pass Ultimate

As the company revealed last week, Game Pass is coming to PC. In fact, you can join the open beta today. The PC version will feature its own list of "over 100 games by August" including all Xbox Game Studios titles on day one just like its console counterpart. 

Subscribers to Game Pass Ultimate (Game Pass and Games with Gold combined) now also get Game Pass PC included with their $14.99/month subscription. You can also sign up for your first month of Game Pass Ultimate right now for $1.

MS Flight Sim

Coming directly to Game Pass PC, and seemingly consoles for the first time, is the latest edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator. The ever-popular sim has been a PC staple for years, and the trailer implied it'll be coming to Xbox One as well.

In the time since the trailer was shown, some are saying that's inaccurate, though Microsoft has said no such thing themselves yet.

Age of Empires II Definitive Edition

More surely coming just to PC is Age of Empires II Definitive Edition. You can see the remastered classic in action in this brand new trailer.

I probably don't need to say it again, but lest we forget, it's coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one next year. Who would've guessed it?

Wasteland 3

Another title from a newly acquired studio, Wasteland 3 continues Inxile's tradition of keeping CRPGs alive. This time it's to the cold Rocky Mountains of Colorado, giving an aesthetic makeover to the series.

Tonally, it's probably right where fans want it to be, with a similar humorous cynicism as The Outer Worlds from Obsidian and the previous Wasteland games.

Microsoft Acquires Double Fine Productions

Matt Booty twerked to the stage to reveal yet another Microsoft studio buyout. This time it was Tim Schafer's Double Fine Productions.

The studio famous for games such as Psychonauts and Brutal Legend got to celebrate their new parent company with the first-ever gameplay trailer for the long-awaited Psychonauts 2.

LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga

It was a bit weird when The Force Awakens got a LEGO game but The Last Jedi didn't. Well, now it has, along with every other mainline story in the Star Wars universe. 

The Skywalker Saga depicts all nine films, including the yet to be released Rise of Skywalker in brick and minifig form. It arrives next year, after the final movie in the Abrams run has made a billion dollars.

Dragon Ball Z Kakarot

Once known as Dragon Ball Project Z, the action RPG based on the hugely popular anime series is now Dragon Ball Z Kakarot. 

The combat of Kakarot resembled something closer to the past games in the series rather than last year's 2D fighter, though the label of "action RPG" should mean it's ultimately quite different from anything else in the franchise. It arrives in 2020.

12 Minutes

If I'm allowed to editorialize here (if you're reading this, I am!) 12 Minutes was one of the coolest reveals on stage during the Xbox show. Presented in top-down format, the entire game seems to take place in a small apartment where players control a man stuck in a Groundhog Day-like time loop, only it's one that tends to end much more tragically. 

I won't say anything else on it, as it's so stylish and well done, you should really see it for yourself.

Way to the Woods

Up next was Way to the Woods, an indie about a pair of deer, father and fawn, exploring a world, presumably to return to the woods. It has the air of a game that will be at different times uplifting and tragic, and it has me wondering which note it will end on.


Stay safe, little deer!

Gears 5

The stage presence for Gears 5 was rumored to be heavy before the show, and it turns out that was correct. It got the longest time on screen of any game, featuring multiple trailers. The first, above, depicts the psychological tormet of new protagonist Kait Diaz. 

The game will be coming to Game Pass at launch on September 10, but you can access it four days early with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription or if you buy the game's Ultimate Edition.

The versus technical test will go live on July 19 during which time players can take part in a new arcade mode. Later this summer, beginning in August, players can regroup for an early look at the game's Horde mode. 

Rod Fergusson also hit the stage to unveil a brand new mode called Escape, which has players infiltrate an enemy encampment, plant a bomb, and escape amid the chaos.

Anyone who pre-orders the game or plays within the first week via purchase or Game Pass will also gain access to a character pack featuring a T-2000 robot from Terminator Dark Fate.

Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

Rumors of a new controller were loud for weeks and they were proven right on stage. Microsoft unveiled the Elite Series 2 controller, featuring "over 30" new ways to customize your experience, including new trigger sensitivity settings, new wraparound rubberized grip, and game profile settings that you can set for up to three games so each plays how you like it.

You can see all that and more in the tech-heavy trailer above.

Dying Light 2

Following the news that it's going to be published by Square Enix, Dying Light 2 got a new trailer during Microsoft's show which included a release date and some more pondering on how player choice affects the world.

You can play nice, be the bad guy, or (a gaming favorite) exist somewhere in the gray area when it hits stores next spring.

Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions

Another one that was heavily rumored was the Forza DLC featuring LEGO. Right again! An all-brick McLaren Senna was this year's token on-stage vehicle and helped introduce players to Forza Horizon 4's second expansion: LEGO Speed Champions.

If you're a fan of both the game and the toys, it seems likely this partnership will extend to physical playsets in the near future just as it has when Forza teamed up with Hot Wheels.

Gears POP!

Returning to the stage after last year's reveal was Gears POP!, a mobile strategy game which brings together an unlikely pair of properties.

Pre-orders go live "soon" and players can pre-register (pre-pre-order?) the game starting today. 

State of Decay 2

We already knew State of Decay 2 was getting a Return to Trumbull Valley DLC. What we didn't know was it had been reworked or just expanded into the Heartland story DLC, which is out today for $9.99 and a 10% discount if you have Game Pass.

The DLC offers two parallel storylines featuring new characters in both cases. It seems likely their stories will converge, but thankfully we haven't been spoiled yet.

Phantasy Star Online 2

Japan's premiere online MMORPG is coming to Xbox as a free to play title next year. A new trailer highlighted a lot of the tropes we've come to expect from the genre like big hair and bigger swords, so even if you're new to the series, it may feel familiar.

Crossfire X

If you're going to go and get Japan's premiere MMO, why not snag China's premiere shooter too? That's what Team Xbox did with Crossfire X, a rebranding of China's most popular FPS. It's coming to Xbox next year and will launch directly into Game Pass.

They didn't reference it in the show, but this is also the game for which Remedy wrote the story content, so fans of their games may want to take a closer look when it arrives in 2020.

Tales of Arise

A new Tales game is coming, and that would've been a huge reveal if it wasn't for the fact that Bandai's site was scraped earlier this weekend and all their news were leaked.

Still, fans got the full trailer on all its glory. Watch it above if you're ready for another adventure.

Borderlands 3

A new stylish as ever trailer was shown for Gearbox's Borderlands 3 and it introduces the four primary character classes on offer in the third go-around.

What's even better is Gearbox confirmed the leaked Fight for Sanctuary DLC is real, out today, and free in Borderlands 2. The DLC is meant to bridge the gap between the last game and this September's so if you're one of the few in it for the story, this one is for you.

Elden Ring

Perhaps no game would've received bigger applause than this one if it weren't for the aforementioned Bandai Namco leak. The Miyazaki-George RR Martin collaboration, Elden Ring, is real.

No release date was mentioned, but the trailer definitely feels like something spun up from precisely these two creators, which makes for an extremely exciting prospect for fans of either and perhaps a literal dream come true for many who admire both men's work.

Project Scarlett Revealed

Phil Spencer then returned to the stage to discuss the future of Xbox. In the near term, your Xbox One will be updated this October to allow you to stream games completely for the first time ever. 

Speaking farther down the line, Spencer also introduced Project Scarlett, the next-gen Xbox project being built by the same team that created fan favorites such as the Xbox One X, the Elite controller, and more. He stressed it will be a games machine first and foremost, obviously still trying to clear away the smears left by Don Mattrick's failed vision. 

Together with AMD, his team has created a custom processor that is four times more powerful than the Xbox One X. Many of the project leaders are seen in the above trailer mentioning things like 8K resolution and near-total removal of loading screens.

The console will launch at the end of 2020. They chose to not yet confirm if there will really be two versions of the console as other rumors have stated, but we image a reveal event next spring may eventually tell us what's true or false in that regard.

Halo Infinite 

Though it's almost a year and a half away from launch, Project Scarlett has already been given its first launch title reveal, and what else would it be? 

Halo Infinite closed out the Microsoft E3 2019 press conference with an extended cinematic trailer featuring our hero, Master Chief, who awakens from near-death and immediately straps in for the fight. He doesn't waste any time, does he? 

That's everything from Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference. What was your favorite announcement?  

Be sure to check out our other E3 2019 coverage below: 

Classic SNES Titles That Should Make a Comeback On The Switch Tue, 28 Feb 2017 12:00:01 -0500 Azreen_Azmi


Given the vast library of the SNES, there’s bound to be plenty more titles that deserve a comeback. But for now, if Nintendo can remake these five SNES classics on the Switch, it’ll make plenty of Nintendo fans happy. But which SNES titles would you like to see remade? Let me know in the comments below!


Another cult classic that was underappreciated when it was released, Earthbound is a SNES title that truly deserves a comeback on the Nintendo Switch. Known for its quirky take on RPG tropes, nods to pop culture, and unique setting, Earthbound oozes with a certain charm that’s unlike any other -- even to this day.


It’s no surprise then that it manages to amass a rabid and vocal fan base that still hopes for a sequel to this day. And we can’t think of a better place for Ness and friends to make their return, than on the Nintendo Switch.

Secret of Mana

For RPG fans, the SNES was considered the golden age for RPGs, with masterpieces such as Final Fantasy III and Chrono Trigger being released. Secret of Mana was one of those masterpieces but was sadly overlooked despite sharing the same publisher as the aforementioned RPGs.


Secret of Mana manages to hold its own with its addictive real-time combat system, fun co-op gameplay, and a haunting soundtrack that’s iconic in its own right.


A full-fledged Mana title would definitely work on the Switch as it can take advantage of the console’s ability to play multiplayer locally with the Joy-Con controllers.


Whenever someone mentions Battletoads, two things come to mind; that infectious pause menu music and the hilariously difficult bike level. Despite having a reputation for being the hardest platformer ever made, Battletoads had quite a following when it was released on the SNES back in 1991.


While Battletoads went on to have several sequels and tie-ins, with the recent being a playable character on Killer Instinct, a new release that brings back the insane difficulty and cheeky humor on the Nintendo Switch is what we're clamoring for.

Earthworm Jim

Another cult classic that was much beloved on the SNES, Earthworm Jim boasted some of the most impressive animations, many of which still hold up to this day. Combine that with a zany art style, and surprisingly tight platforming gameplay, Earthworm Jim is a SNES classic that deserves a modern remake.


Given that we haven’t had a new Earthworm Jim release since the 90s, we think it’s about time that the grooviest earthworm makes his return on Nintendo’s newest console.


A cult classic among Nintendo gamers, ActRaiser is a classic SNES title that was criminally overlooked when it was released back in 1991. Mashing up two entirely different genres -- city-building and action platforming -- ActRaiser is one of those games that fans have always been clamoring for a remake.


Sure, the thought of an ActRaiser that you can play anywhere is definitely tantalizing, but unfortunately, the original developer (Quintet) has long since become defunct. So alas, it doesn’t seem like there are any plans to remake it for the Switch, but there should be.


March 3rd is just around the corner and gamers are plenty excited for the release of the Nintendo Switch.


However, what gamers should be more excited for is the prospect of Nintendo bringing back classic Nintendo titles and remaking them for the current generation. Which classic titles you may ask?


Well, here are a few that Nintendo should consider.

6 Other Platformer Stars Who Need to Hop on the Remake Bandwagon Mon, 26 Dec 2016 06:00:02 -0500 Janette Ceballos

Abe’s Oddessy, DuckTales, Tomb Raider -- all these franchises were beloved by gamers enough to be brought back in the modern day. And it’s been great. With improved visuals, gameplay, and a nostalgic factor, most reboots have been doing well enough to inspire even more reboots and remasterings. (Even in spite of some massive failures like Mighty No. 9.) Sometimes, that’s what a good franchise needs.

So what other games could benefit from the reboot fad? We can think of quite a few...

Chip n’ Dale Rescue Rangers

Considering how DuckTales Remastered proves you can add to these sidescrollers while still keeping the core of the game, this one could work too. Both the original and the sequel were incredibly popular in their time, so it’s not too crazy of an idea for Disney to release updated versions of one of their most popular games.

The cooperative play of this sidescroller is what players enjoyed the most. Being able to lift and toss boxes and each other was always a fun time, and a return to simple two-player might be a welcome change of pace from online multiplayer. What I would love to see in a reboot is a little more challenge added to the boss battles, adding special abilities that let the other characters be playable, adding a more adventure-y feel like the old cartoon had. 

Ape Escape

This was a weird 3D platformer about monkey armies, butterfly nets, and time travel that came out for the PlayStation. It was fun going around different time periods, using cool gadgets, and trying to stop the monkeys from destroying human history.

While the latest game came out in 2010, the series could definitely use a reboot. Going back and improving on the original platforming mode would be better than going the motion-controlled route. Plus, updated graphics would be nice. You can even incorporate some of the PlayStation 4’s online mode to create multiplayer challenges people would enjoy.


People love a challenge, and this was a game that notoriously delivered. The 2D sidescrolling beat ‘em up offered no save points and only three lives. It was a challenge to get through one level, let alone the entire game. Every combo and attack was the difference between seeing the end and having to start over.

Plans for a 2013 remake were dropped, which is a shame since it would do well in the current market considering the popularity of Super Meat Boy and similarly challenging games. It’s nonsensical, creative, and has the right amount of 90’s oddness that would make it appreciated today.

Ghost n’ Goblins

This one’s even more difficult than Battletoads in terms of gameplay, but is still regarded as one of Capcom’s best sellers. With maze-like stages and relentless armies of monsters on your heels, the game tests just how good of a player you are. Like Battletoads, the challenge it poses to players will be the main draw in a reboot.


Let’s be honest, it’ll only be a matter of time before this happens. With Skylanders being such a commercial success and Crash Bandicoot getting a remastered edition, this is a logical step for the franchise.

It would be fun to have a reboot in the adventure platformer style of the original game or Year of the Dragon, where you could explore the bright and magical worlds for hidden gems and secrets. You wouldn’t even need to add a long, detailed legend or gritty story plot. Just have the purple dragon explore and save other dragons in weird new worlds with weird new friends from Skylanders.


Originally released for the Nintendo 64 in the early 2000s, this platformer was a fun and addicting collect-a-thon in the same vein as Donkey Kong 64. The memorable characters and fun world ripe for exploration kept people coming back for more. It’s got a spiritual successor in the upcoming title Yooka-Laylee -- but if somehow a full-blown reboot could be made, people would love it.

There you have it...a few old classic games that could benefit from a remake. Whether it’s because of neat mechanics, fun worlds, or for just being well-made platformers, all of these games deserve the reboot treatment. In any case, the reboot craze is showing no signs of stopping, so we might as well enjoy the nostalgia-driven ride.

What sorts of games would you like to be brought back in a modern reboot, remastering, or remake and why? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

The 6 Best 2+ Player Couch Co-op Games on Xbox One Mon, 30 May 2016 11:34:50 -0400 RobotsFightingDinosaurs


Rock Band 4


Shut up, of course this counts.


I mean, what could be more cooperative than a Rock Band game? Rock Band 4, in particular, rewards cooperative play liberally, offering a fully-fledged career mode playable with up to 6 players simultaneously, as well as bonuses for playing together as a band. 


It's not like there isn't strategy involved here either. Anybody who has played a Rock Band game before knows that for the harder songs, coordination is key. Deploying and saving overdrive power at the correct time to save a partner after a particularly difficult section is absolutely necessary for success, and when you and your friends finally put everything together and nail that final setlist, there are few feelings like it. Rock Band games will always be amazing and singular cooperative experiences, and Rock Band 4 is no exception.


What do you think? Have we missed any great co-op games for the Xbox One? If so, let us know in the comments! We're always looking for more excuses to stay inside with friends on beautiful summer days.


Super Battletoads (Rare Replay)


Rare Replay offers a smorgasbord of content for gamers who grew up with the company, but for players looking for a co-op experience, the Battletoads games are king here. Obviously, the original NES game is great with a friend, but the port of the arcade game Super Battletoads is a gem that is often overlooked.


It's bloody, over-the-top, and unafraid to switch up game mechanics at a moment's notice. Plus, even though Rash, Zitz, and Pimple all play largely the same way, they each have distinct special moves and combos that make them feel very different. 


At the end of the day, Super Battletoads is pure fun, much like a Streets of Rage game. It's always satisfying to punch a miniboss in his crotch or watch your hand turn into a drill to savagely kill a downed enemy. If you own Rare Replay and have haven't given this game a try yet, you owe it to yourself to grab two buddies and settle in for a few hours of pure arcade action. 


Rayman Legends


Yes, it's been around pretty much since the Xbox One launched, but anybody who has played Rayman Legends knows that it still holds up. Its platforming, its atmosphere, its physics... The general way the game feels is astounding. It's that Super Mario World feeling of being completely engrossed in a challenging-yet-satisfying video game. There are few feelings like it.


But of course, the experience is better with friends. Rayman Legends has a gigantic roster of characters to unlock, and each of them can be controlled by a friend if you play the game cooperatively. In particular, the rhythm-platforming stages and challenge stages in Rayman Legends get incredibly frantic and fun when you play with a friend. If you haven't played this game yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It really is one of the best co-op platformers this generation has to offer.


Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime


If the reviews (and my own personal opinions) are anything to go by, Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime is not only one of the best co-op games on the Xbox One, but one of the most unique and interesting co-op experiences in recent history.



The basic gist of the game is that you and a friend have to pilot a bright circular ship through the depths of space, coordinating different functions via the ship's many terminals.


Constant teamwork is absolutely necessary, and to be completely frank, the thrill of completing a particularly difficult level with a friend (or significant other) is incredibly satisfying. It'll be almost impossible to resist the urge to high-five or hug your player 2 after a long gaming session.


Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition


Guacamelee has been around for a while, but the indie brawler-slash-metroidvania hit has also seen a whole bunch of content added through re-releases on the latest consoles. One thing that hasn't changed, though, is the fact that after a certain point in the game, one of your friends can take control of the luchador Tostada to aid you on your quest.


Now, of course, Guacamelee is tons of fun if you play alone, but playing co-op allows for opportunities for some frankly ridiculous team combos as you gain abilities and make progress in the game. Plus, as the game gets tougher, or when you decide to take on the game's many challenge stages, it's helpful to bring a buddy along.


Octodad: Dadliest Catch


Yes, I know what you're thinking. Octodad is a single player game! Switching off levels doesn't count as co-op! 


Well, just shut up for a second and let me explain. Octodad: Dadliest Catch actually features a pretty unique co-op mode where you and up to 3 friends can simultaneously take control of Octodad, with each player controlling different limbs.



It's awkward, difficult, and hilariously cumbersome.


It's also insanely fun, especially if players turn on "roulette mode", which intermittently randomizes the limbs the players control. Despite its ridiculousness, the mode really does require teamwork and coordination if players want to actually... well... accomplish any goals. Pour your pals some drinks (might I suggest these?) and give it a go.


The rumors of the death of couch co-op gaming have been greatly exaggerated. All of the current consoles have plenty of games that you and your friends can conquer together. Especially the Xbox One. So for you Microsoft gamers who are lovers and not fighters, grab a buddy, some brews, and a pizza. You and your player 2 won't be leaving the couch for a while. These are the best 6 couch co-op games on the Xbox One.

The Best Gifts You Got as a Kid Gamer in the '90s Wed, 09 Dec 2015 21:05:48 -0500 Venisia Gonzalez

When we think back to the 90s, some remember the Gulf War, the fall of the Soviet Union, cloned sheep, the Oklahoma City and Olympic Park bombings, the OJ Simpson ordeal, and Clinton. I remember trying not to get a blister on my hand while playing Mario Party.

So when it comes to thinking about the past, there's nothing like gaming nostalgia to get me excited. These console and game launches were paving the road to what we now play today. And when the holidays rolled around, these were the gifts we were hoping to find under our trees. 

Game Boy Color

We 90s kids loved playing video games, and nothing made doing that quite as easy as a handheld. The Nintendo Game Boy Color (GBC) released in November 1998 and featured a color screen unlike its 1989 predecessor. Nintendo dominated the market with record sales across Japan, North America, and Europe.

This 8-bit baby was backwards compatible and cost $69.99 with launch titles like:

  • Pocket Bomberman
  • Wario Land II
  • Tetris DX

The Game Boy Color was available in:

  • Kiwi
  • Berry
  • Grape
  • Teal
  • Dandelion

You were one of the coolest kids on the block to own one. And one of the luckiest on those long car trips to Six Flags: Great Adventure in New Jersey.

Kids today have no idea how lucky they are to have the built-in lighting, speakers, and phenomenal graphics that they do.

I know you remember all the gadgets we had to get and the backpack to carry it all in.


Sony Computer Entertainment entered the market with their first console in 1994 in Japan and 1995 in North America. It cost $299.99, and competed against Nintendo and Sega. The idea was originally a joint venture between Nintendo and Sony.

It launched with titles like:
  • Rayman
  • Air Combat
  • Battle Arena Toshinden
  • Philosoma
  • Ridge Racer

The PlayStation became known for its DualShock controller (1997/98), 3D graphics, and the fact that it used a CD-ROM instead of a cartridge. Everyone wanted this console thanks to the graphics. The DualShock controller also introduced the vibration we now know today. Sony was changing the world of gaming forever with this system.

Super Nintendo

The Super NES or SNES was a 16-bit console that launched in North America in 1991 for $199.99. This was Nintendo's second console release during its "console war against Sega." Where Nintendo created the first arcade-to-console conversion with Capcom's Street Fighter II.

Launch titles available were:
  • Super Mario World
  • Sim City
  • Pilotwings
  • F-Zero
  • Gradius III
Biggest Selling Games on SNES:
  • Super Mario World
  • Donkey Kong Country
  • Street Fighter II: The World Warrior
  • Super Mario Kart

Nintendo 64

The N64 was the successor to the SNES in 1996, also costing $199.99. The number stood for the 64-bit CPU. It was fast, had 3D graphics and great gameplay; but was criticized for its lack of games.

It launched with these titles:
  • Super Mario 64
  • Pilotwings 64
  • Saikyō Habu Shōgi (Japan only)
Most acclaimed games:
  • Super Mario 64
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • GoldenEye 007
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day
  • Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Super Smash Bros
  • Perfect Dark

This console handled 3D graphics much cleaner, but its games were what nailed it for many of us.

Sega Dreamcast

The Sega Dreamcast launched in 1999 for $199.99. It was much more successful than its predecessor, the Sega Saturn. This CD-ROM console displayed both 2D and 3D graphics. It also had 19 titles available for the North America launch.

These launch titles were:
  • Soul Calibur
  • NFL 2K
  • Sonic Adventure
  • AeroWings
  • Airforce Delta
  • Blue Stinger
  • CART Flag to Flag
  • Expendable
  • The House of the Dead 2
  • Hydro Thunder
  • Monaco Grand Prix
  • Mortal Kombat Gold
  • NFL Blitz 2000
  • Pen Pen Trilcelon
  • Power Stone
  • Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
  • TNN Motorsports HardCore Heat
  • Tokyo Xtreme Racer
  • Trickstyle

Playing Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast was a lot of fun. It was also the first all-3D platform for a Sonic the Hedgehog game. That was huge!

Pokémon Red and Blue Versions

Pokémon Red and Blue are both RPGs, available for the Nintendo Game Boy. They were a third-person, overhead perspective, and had three basic screens:

  • Overworld: player navigates the main character
  • Side-view battle screen
  • Menu interface: player configures their Pokémon, items, or settings

In these games you battled for Pokémon. It took place in Kanto, featured 151 various species of Pokémon in different habitats, towns, and cities. It had single-player and multiplayer capabilities.

Players could also trade Pokémon with the use of a Game Link Cable between two Game Boys. Players loved this feature. Even for the 90s, it's very clear how popular Pokémon has remained even today.


Everyone knows the name Doom. It's so popular that MythBusters did a Video Game Special and had an episode around the gaming myth. ID Software's 1993 FPS was a great survival-horror game and still is. From PC to console, Doom has been a hit for gamers.

Other titles in the series:
  • The Ultimate Doom (1995)
  • Doom II: Hell on Earth (1994)
  • Master Levels for Doom II (1995)
  • Doom 3 (2004)
  • Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (2005)
  • Doom 3 BFG Edition (2012)
  • Doom (2016)
Spin-off Titles:
  • Final Doom (1996)
  • Doom 64 (1997)
  • Doom RPG (2005)
  • Doom Resurrection (2009)
  • Doom II RPG (2009)
  • DoomRL (2013)

In Doom, you fought the demons and the undead of hell as a space marine. The BFG (aka Big F*****g Gun) was a highly discussed weapon in the game. It even received a proper nod in the 2005 film starring Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson.

I cannot properly explain why we love this game. Shooting your way through the hordes and finding your way throughout the mazes in the dark was sheer heaven.

Donkey Kong Country

This is the second game that made the SNES a huge hit in the 16-bit generation. Rare brought us to Donkey Kong Island in 1994. Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, his nephew, had to recover their stolen bananas from King K. Rool and the Kremlings.

It was a fun platformer and side-scroller. Each level had different tasks to overcome and was themed. Players could switch between characters, and you had six lives.

Mortal Kombat II

This arcade hit by Midway Games was the ultimate competitive fighting game. From PC to console, Mortal Kombat's popularity has risen to see itself now on the current gen. There is nothing like performing a "Fatality" against your buddies. The shriek of defeat and delight were moments to cherish.

Mortal Kombat II introduced Kung Lao, Mileena, and Baraka to the series. It featured its existing characters battling it out against the forces of Shao Kahn. It also improved on some gameplay features:

  • Crouching Punch
  • Roundhouse Kick
  • Turnaround Kick
  • Improved Combos
  • New Special Moves
  • Multiple Fatalities
    • Stage-specific Fatalities
  • Non-lethal Finishing Moves
    • Babalities
    • Friendships

Mortal Kombat II was definitely a fun competitive fighting game for players of the original MK.


Please tell me you remember Battletoads. This 1991 beat 'em up game by Rare featured characters like Rash, Zitz, and Pimple. (Yes, you read that correctly.) The Dark Queen was the Gothic equivalent to "Jessica Rabbit." Your mission was to rescue Pimple and Princess Angelica from the Dark Queen.

The series was a mock of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in that these were fighting toads. The series was known for its difficult levels like Turbo Tunnel that were cause for broken controllers. The objective of this level was to navigate your toad on a speeder while trying to jump from ramp-to-ramp and avoid hitting the walls. You had to memorize the ramps, walls, jumps, and turns to avoid disaster.

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back

Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back was a great platform game by Naughty Dog for PlayStation in 1997. This orange guy was fun to play just like Sonic.

Crash was abducted by Doctor Neo Cortex and you had to collect 25 crystals. Each "Warp Room" led to different levels where you navigated Crash through the various obstacles in order to collect the crystals. In between getting to the next Warp Room, you had to defeat a boss before you gained access. Bonus paths led to secret levels. The jump and landing were heavily influenced by the Mario games.

It was a hilarious cartoon game that lacked cutscenes, had great music, and beautiful graphics. Most importantly, Crash Bandicoot 2 was pure fun and led to many other games in the series.

What was your must-have gaming gift in the 90s?

Please share with us in the comments and thanks for reading. For more nostalgic reading, glance over this article on cult games.

Happy gaming!

Killer Instinct Season 3 featuring Battletoads. Hints at new game? Wed, 05 Aug 2015 20:07:47 -0400 Larry Iaccio

It was announced at the Gamescom convention this week that Season 3 of Killer Instinct will be coming to Xbox One and Windows 10 in March 2016. To tide players over in the meantime, Microsoft released a new playable fighter that can be downloaded right now.

Rash from the Battletoads series makes his unexpected way into the hardcore fighting game and the results are about as awesome as you'd expect. Rash retains his original sense of humor and punk attitude which brings a welcome breath of fresh air into Killer Instinct.

Rash's availability is limited unfortunately. Players can only select the Battletoad as a fighter during this initial test period which runs until September 8.  Also, only those players who had previously purchased some type of Killer Instinct content or own Rare Replay will be able to currently play as Rash.

Back in November 2014 Microsoft filed for a new Battletoads trademark and there was widespread speculation across the internet of a possible new game in the series. In January of this year during a Windows 10 event, head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, was caught wearing a Battletoads shirt only further promoting speculations of a new game. A few months after this, at the Game Developers Conference this year, Microsoft also teased fans with Battletoads content for the very popular game Shovel Knight which came out for Xbox One back in April.

Phil Spencer wearing a Battletoad shirt during a Windows 10 conference

Keeping all of this in mind while looking at this new Killer Instinct update and even the release of Rare Replay, Microsoft seems to be doing a lot of promotion for the Battletoads series. Is a new game in the works, and if so could this be our first look at what the characters could look like?

All that big Xbox Gamescom News: Scalebound, Chat Pads, and More. Tue, 04 Aug 2015 14:41:13 -0400 Phillip W

This is a brief roundup of all the big news from Microsoft's GamesCom Press-Conference.


Remedy Studio, the people behind cult classic Alan Wake, new time bending game, Quantum Break is now being released on April 5, 2015.

The first gameplay for the Crackdown reboot, has a lot of explosions.

Platinum Studio's Xbox exclusive Scalebound is being released holiday 2016. The first gameplay trailer is below.

Rash from Battletoads is a new playable guest character in Killer Instinct. He is available to play right now.

From Software showed off some brand new Dark Souls III gameplay.

Gameplay from the long dormant Homefront: Revolution was shown off today. Along with the announcement of an Xbox One beta.

The newest gameplay trailer for Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Halo Wars 2 is coming Fall 2016! Here is the first cinematic trailer.

ID@Xbox announces new games coming first to consoles on Xbox including City:Skylines and We Happy Few.

Features and Hardware:

Xbox backwards compatibility comes to everyone in November. All games with gold games from now on will be backwards compatible at launch.

DVR functionality will let you stream and record to any windows 10 device in 2016.

A new Limited Edition Halo 5 Xbox One is coming October 20, 2015. Pre-orders are up now.

A new Xbox one chat pad is coming in November 2016.


Stay Tuned to GameSkinny for more Gamescom news and impressions.

A Tribute to Rare Tue, 09 Jun 2015 02:30:01 -0400 Fireboltz_7795

I’m finally ready to let it all go. Rare, the powerhouse of video game devs, is just not going to be that anymore. I keep begging for a sequel to Conker’s Bad Fur Day, another Banjo-Kazooie, or anything that brings the company back to the days when their games dominated in terms of style, creativity, and overall enjoyment. Ever since Microsoft purchased Rare in 2002, the company seems to have stalled, and is reduced to producing unfortunate Kinect games.

So let’s honor Rare, and remember it for what it was: a great company that kept me thoroughly entertained throughout my childhood. Here are some of the best games that this once-spectacular company gave us:

Goldeneye 007

It was wonderful. This game had a great story and awesome guns, but exceceed all expectations in the multiplayer. It’s crazy to think that the multiplayer was an afterthought, but it just goes to show you that even Rare's afterthoughts were strokes of genius.

Perfect Dark

Then they created this game, and I fell in love with first person shooters all over again. Perfect Dark is a masterpiece. Not only that, Joanna Dark is one of the most memorable female protagonists ever. So take all of this, add more excellent multiplayer, and you get another superb game from Rare.


I previously mentioned this one. Banjo-Kazooie is a timeless classic; I know because I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve played this game. There’s just something about collecting those jigsaw pieces that I can’t get enough of. You can download this game now on the Xbox 360, and it’s worth every dollar. 

Diddy Kong Racing

In my opinion, this is one of the best racing games of all time. What made this game so accessible was the variety of challenges that Rare provided. You didn’t just race; you had to collect coins, collect keys, drop eggs into a nest and protect them from other players, have boss battle inspired races, etc. If you want a complete racing game, this is the one to choose.

Donkey Kong Country


One of the best series still, Donkey Kong Country is a platformer that promises to challenge and frustrate gamers. It’s not the most difficult to beat, but it does get more difficult with each level you pass. The final boss fight in this original game is also one of the most memorable in video game history. King K. Rool will not go down!

R.C. Pro-AM

Released in 1987, R.C. Pro-AM used an isometric perspective (meaning you are looking down at the ground basically) that worked surprisingly well. This game featured the ability to shoot missiles and use other traps to impede your opponent’s progress. Like most of Rare's games, this one only got harder with each level passed. 


This game is hard; really, really, really hard. I would argue it’s more difficult than Dark Souls or any of that series for that matter. It has a cult following now, and Forbes magazine listed this game as one of the franchises that they would like to have come back from the dead. If you want to pull all your hair out, play Battletoads. 

Killer Instinct

If you’re a big fan of this series, then you have Rare to thank for it. Killer Instinct is one of the original fighting games, dating back to a 1994 release. It was one of the fighting games that I played in the arcades, alongside Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. 

Conker’s Bad Fur Day

Last but certainly not least on my list, Conker’s Bad Fur Day was Rare’s most interesting game. It was funny, disturbing, hard, and included a fantastic ending. This game received a lot of heavy criticism for its toilet humor (who could forget the Great Mighty Poo!) but won the hearts of fans everywhere. It also has one of the best multiplayers that I’ve ever played.

Many of the people who worked for Rare during these games have since left the company. Some of them have now created a new studio called Playtonic Games, and are going to release a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie titled Yooka-Laylee. But I just want to thank Rare for making my childhood a memorable and great one, and wish them the best of luck. 

Poetry Corner (NES Games) with Lumpz the Clown Tue, 19 May 2015 20:16:57 -0400 LumpztheClown

Prepare to get fancy with some NES poetry!

In a recent contest, I asked the retrogaming community to submit their best NES game-themed haikus and poetry! The turnout was absolutely amazing, and to show them my appreciation, I recite all of their submissions here. Works feature games like Amagon, The Adventures of Bayou Billy, Mega Man 2 and many others, reviled and beloved.

Crack open your finest wine and dig out the glassware, because this homely clown is about to get fancy with some of the best that the retrogaming community has to offer!

What Game Genre Would Super Bowl XLIX Players Be A Part Of? Thu, 29 Jan 2015 09:20:11 -0500 WesleyG


Rob Gronkowski Is The Final Boss of a Fighting Game


Genre Examples: Street Fighter IV, Tekken, Soul Calibur 2


You have finally conquered the 31 other fighters through strategy and determination and the only thing standing between you and the end credits is...Rob Gronkowski. Is it too late to lower the difficulty?


Yes, the New England tight end known as “Gronk” frustrates defenses the same way Shao Khan has frustrated Mortal Kombat players for years. Built like a lighthouse at 6’ 6” and 265 lbs, he can still catch passes as well as any wide receiver in the league. If this guy gets the ball, prepare for cheapness not seen since Seth in Street Fighter IV.


First of all, he has no stun animations so don’t even bother with weak attacks. He also has an insane speed for a guy his size, so don’t think you can lock him down either. He even has a one-hit kill move!


If the Patriots have their way at Super Bowl XLIX, don’t be shocked to see the Seattle fans (aka the 12th man) sending letters to the league office asking them to nerf Gronk. He’s obviously overpowered, but don't expect a patch anytime soon.


Russell Wilson Plays Like He's In A Shoot 'em up


Genre Examples: Batsugun, Ikaruga, Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony


Shoot 'em ups (especially so-called “Bullet Hell” games) are all about patience, precision dodging, and firing bullets right back. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson executes all three with mastery beyond his years. Like trying to dodge the insane amount of bullets in Ikaruga, Russell Wilson has been dodging linemen his entire career. His ability to get out of trouble and find receivers downfield have made him one of the most dynamic players in the NFL.


What makes Wilson so special, though, is how smart he plays. He very rarely puts his body at any risk, choosing to run only when no other options are available to him. Even when he does take off, he will step out of bounds before any defender can touch him. If the game gets to a point that requires it, however, Wilson is not afraid to get physical with defenders to get crucial yards and extend the drive.


It’s a lot like playing Raiden Fighters where you have to judge the right time to press forward and collect power-ups, usually while attempting to find the gaps between enemy bullets. Sometimes you have to put yourself at more risk, but you know that power-up can mean the difference between life and death against the boss.


If you need any more convincing, just play this video of Wilson scrambling with your Shoot 'em up song of choice.


Marshawn Lynch Plays Like He's In A Beat'em Up


Genre Examples: Final Fight, Streets of Rage, Battletoads


Marshawn Lynch and Mike Haggar are kindred spirits. Both are ridiculously strong and are fully capable of tearing through any fool that steps in their way. In fact, the only way to stop either man seems to be swarming them with guys until they finally fall to the ground.


Great, now I can’t decide if I want to see Haggar play halfback for the Seahawks or see Marshawn take on the Mad Gear Gang. I mean, Beast Quake sounds like such an awesome screen clearing special move.


Just like Marshawn, though, I’m going to keep this one brief. He is all about that action boss, you know.


Tom Brady Plays Like A Real Time Tactics General


Genre Examples: Total War series, Syndicate, Valkyria Chronicles


Tom Brady is one of the most efficient field generals in the entire NFL, making him a prime candidate for the Real Time Tactics sub-genre of strategy games.


Brady’s ability to recognize defenses and counter accordingly are legendary. It’s like when you’re setting up your units before a Total War battle. You see the enemy units suspiciously stacked on one side of the field, and you realize that they’re probably hiding some cavalry that’ll come charging in from your flank. You set up your spearmen in preparation for it. The cavalry charge is dead before it ever began.


In Total War, you get unlimited time to set your troops up. Tom Brady does all this in 40 seconds between each and every play.


Tom Brady also boasts an impressive 95.9 passer rating, ranking him fifth all-time. Combine that with six Super Bowl appearances, and you've got an experienced general who is looking to lay siege on the Seahawks secondary this Sunday.


Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman Play Like An NES Action Platformer 


Genre Examples: Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man, Ghosts N’ Goblins


You remember those old platformer games back on the NES where you couldn't make any progress because an enemy would guard the edge of a platform? No matter how many different ways you try to attack him or avoid him, he still manages to hit you and knock you into the bottomless pit below. That’s the easiest way to describe opposing quarterbacks going up against Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman.


Though they play on different teams, the Patriots’ Revis and the Seahawks’ Sherman are among the best in the game in denying any progress to NFL offenses. Though their stats with things like interceptions are impressive, what makes them scary is how often QBs will refuse to throw the ball to their side of the field.


Heck, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers didn't throw the ball Sherman’s way in Week 1. Not even once. That’s the football equivalent of playing Ghosts N’ Goblins without Arthur’s armor. It didn't end well for Rodgers.


After 17 weeks and three rounds of thrilling playoff action, we are finally less than a week away from Super Bowl XLIX. On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks take on the New England Patriots to see who will prove themselves the best team in the NFL and take home the Lombardi Trophy.


Before all that happens though is the NFL Media Day, a big event where all the Super Bowl players are made available to the press. This event is where the press gets all the quotes and pictures it needs to begin hyping the Super Bowl proper. GameSkinny wasn’t invited to attend (the nerve!), but we don’t need direct access to the superstars of the gridiron to answer the tough questions.


Questions like “If you were in a video game, what genre would it be in?”


I delved into the record sheets and watched hours of game film in order to bring you the definitive list of what genres key players in Super Bowl XLIX would fit. In the words of’s Dave Dameshek, “LET IT BEGIIIIIIIIIIIIN!”

Battletoads Could Be In Our Gaming Future After Microsoft Trademarked the Brand Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:32:02 -0500 Jay Prodigious

News has been circulating the web about the latest trademark registered by Microsoft. The reason for all this commotion? That would be the name of this specific trademark:


Released back in 1991 that was started by Rare Studios as a beat 'em up action game, which in many ways compared to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games that were on the NES. Battletoads was a cult classic, some people still clamour for a sequel to the later titles to this day. Others use it as a prank call to GameStop for years.

The trademark was filled on November 5, 2014 and the world has been a buzz that this is another Rare remake, just like Killer Instinct was last year. 

The Battletoads trademark reads that the name is registered for "Goods and Services" that include "entertainment services, namely, providing online video games." This could mean a few things, like a download-only game for the console or maybe an update on the series with online capabilities.

You can check out the full Trademark report here on NeoGAF.

If you remember last month, I reported on Rare working on a new project. Could this be their latest project or will it be just advised upon by Rare members, like Killer Instinct?

Microsoft confirmed the trademark as real, but didn't give any further information to the public:

Microsoft often acquires various trademarks as part of its ongoing business strategy, but beyond that we have no comment. - Microsoft Spokesman to Game Informer

At this point, it is pure speculation what a new Battletoads will bring, but we can expect a whole bunch of prank calls to GameStop that might turn into realistic requests.

The Top 5 Video Game Level Designs Fri, 18 Jul 2014 18:46:22 -0400 onpv3rtigo1

Lets face it, we have all played way too many video games. Now I'm not saying that as if it were a bad thing. All I am saying is that it makes it really hard to narrow down a very short list of the top video game levels by design. I have done some research and gathered some consensus between other "Top Level" articles. The levels I have selected are not only some of the best in the business, but are also some of the most memorable.

Yes there are a few on this list that were absolutely infuriating as well but think about it. You may have played some of these levels a long time ago, but you still remember them to this day. Also the sense of accomplishment you got for completing these insanely hard levels is unparalleled. So without further interruption, I present my top five video game level designs.

The Milkman Conspiracy - Psychonauts

Psychonauts is a brilliant platformer created by the mind of Tim Schafer and Double Fine Studios. Released on April 19, 2005 for the Playstation 2 and original Xbox, Psychonauts tells the story of young Raz. Raz is a powerful, young cadet who is attending psychic summer camp in hopes to hone his mental abilities. Upon discovering that someone is kidnapping other cadets and stealing their brains Raz must project himself into the minds of many bizarre characters in order to discover the culprit.

The level of interest here is the one called The Milkman Conspiracy. Not only is it the longest level in the game, it is also the first to immerse you into full length puzzles. The level is portrayed as a nightmarish suburban mental landscape where the laws of gravity don't really apply. Raz's enemies range from the mysterious G-Men to a troop of girl scouts who call themselves the Rainbow Squirts. Yes--the level of satire in this world knows no bounds either.

Despite having glowing reviews overall (8.4 from Gamespot and 8.7 from IGN) and very positive feedback from the people who played Psychonauts; the game did not sell well. This is a shame since the entire game has the kind of creativity and charm that lacks from many of today's titles. A few of the sites that list this game as top level, actually list the entire game and not just one specific level.

Facility - Goldeneye 64

Released on August 25, 1997 and developed by Rare for the Nintendo 64, Goldeneye is still to this day one of the most quintessential shooters of our time. The game is based off of the "James Bond" movie of the same name. You play as the famous Agent 007 as he tries to unlock the mystery of a secret Russian weapon named Goldeneye and what an ex-agent of the MI6 would want with it.

Facility is not that much of a stand out level on its own during single player. It is the game's second level and gets you used to the type of close quarters shooting that will be found throughout the game. It is also cool to re-live the scene from the movie where 007 breaks in through the bathroom vents and knocks a guy out on the toilet.

Ah--the toilet (weird segue I know). The bathroom is actually where this level shines but during multiplayer. Facility is probably the level that the majority of us played the most. You always knew that someone was hiding in the bathroom stalls because the kid in us thought it was the perfect hiding place. It had amazing level design for the use of proximity mines. There were vents, tight corridors, and doorways. The level basically boiled down to whoever was the quickest to procure the proximity mines and then set them up in the bathroom. Quick thinking players could use the vents to enter the bathroom, however, the vents would most likely be rigged with mines as well; so good luck with that.

Goldeneye drew tremendous praise when it came out (scored a 9.8 on Gamespot and a 9.7 from IGN). It is still considered one of the greatest shooters ever made. Fans are screaming for an HD release of some sort whether it be on Xbox Live or Playstation Network. We got Perfect Dark to be a DLC title; why can't we have Bond? Oh and on a personal note; to all the PSP first person shooter haters out there bitching because there was only one analog stick, ONE OF THE GREATEST SHOOTERS EVER HAD ONE F#$%ING STICK! You weren't all bitching back then so shut your pie holes and get over it! Sorry, now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Water Temple - Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

How many of you just growled, groaned or cursed me out for even mentioning this accursed level? Trust me the feeling is mutual. Even though this game is one of the industry's finest, the Water Temple is one of the most hated and loathed levels in the gaming community. The term "water temple" is even used to describe problems that are difficult or impossible to solve. Yes it's that bad.

Released for the Nintendo 64 on November 23, 1998 and developed by Nintendo, this brilliant game hit its stride when you arrived at the infamous temple. This level is on this list, not for its difficulty, but as one of the most impressively designed and cleverly challenging levels ever made. I found out halfway through the game, the temple is also perfectly placed. I guess Nintendo thought that we would progress through the game too quickly and become too complacent with the games mechanics. I tell you what, it's a hell of a speed bump.

The Water Temple is so insidious with it requiring you to raise and lower the temple's water level in order to proceed. This results in the player tying themselves into knots trying to figure out the proper solution to continue further. It's all about the sequencing of water level and unlocking doors.

As infuriating as the Water Temple is, once you get through it, you have an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I know that it pains me to admit but the design and placement of this temple in the overall game is genius. Ocarina of Time got outstanding reviews (Gamespot gave it a 10, as well as IGN) and is still one of the best games in the Legend of Zelda series.

Turbo Tunnel - Battletoads

A vast majority of players out there may not even know or remember this game. Out of those who have played this game, there are few of us who actually made it through this game. The reason why myself and other players didn't make it through this title was because of this level. It is also responsible for more broken controllers than any other I can think of. Oh yeah, and it's only the third level in the game.

Developed by Rare and released in June 1991, Battletoads was a beat 'em up game starring cool, mutated toads named Rash, Zitz, and Pimple. The toads are on a mission to rescue Pimple and Princess Angelica from the Dark Queen. The game was made to rival the Ninja Turtles and has similar gameplay to the Double Dragon games.

Turbo Tunnel is one of the hardest levels in the game because it forces players to do something that really doesn't happen anymore. It forces you to remember things. The objective of the level is to steer your toad of choice as he races on a speeder bike while trying to jump from ramp to ramp and avoiding walls. This is where the memorization comes in. The ramps and walls come at you so fast that you have to be lightning fast with your steering in order to make the jumps or avoid crashing. It took so many times of learning where the next two ramps were, dying, learning the next ramp, dying again that most of us, including me, just gave up.

This level of Battletoads is on this list because it momentarily take you out of your element. It removes you from the first two level brawling gameplay, throws you on a speeder bike like the ones from "Return of the Jedi", and just tells you to go. Games should throw you curve balls and escapes from the norm so that the player doesn't get bored. Gamespot and IGN don't have any official scores for this game, however the community score for Gamespot is 8.2 while IGN's is 8.4. Not too shabby for a game that is 23 years old.

We don't go to Ravenholm  - Half-Life 2

Let me start off by saying that Half-Life 2 is one of my all-time favorite games. I have played through it at least twice on PC, twice on Original Xbox, and then again on the Orange Box for Xbox 360. The game as a whole is so consistently excellent that it is hard to pinpoint a single, stand-out mission. But if I had to pick one, "We don't go to Ravenholm" is a clear choice in my book as well as others I have read.

First released for the PC on November 16, 2004, Half-Life 2 is the long-awaited sequel to the original Half-Life which was released in 1998. It continues the story of Gordon Freeman after his mysterious return to the world after having been missing for several years. You must help Gordon escape from the mysterious Combine and flee the confines of City 17.

Half-Life 2 was also the flagship title for the Source Engine which was developed by Valve for Half-Life 2. This engine was a graphical powerhouse at the time and still looks excellent even today 10 years later. The biggest feature of the Source engine is its integration of some of the most realistic physics I had ever seen up to that point in a video game. The use of an objects weight, mass, and how they reacted to items within the environment is used for many of the games puzzles. It also allows you to have a little fun with the games enemies once you acquire a certain piece of hardware (more on that in a bit).

"We don't go to Ravenholm" is encountered fairly early on in the game (about a quarter) and is the first chapter where you really get to have some fun with the certain piece of equipment mentioned earlier. That would be the game's famous gravity gun. This gun has the sole purpose of picking up, dropping of throwing pretty mush any loose, non-living item in the game. The tutorial to get the player used to the new mechanic is Gordon playing catch with the big mechanical character named Dog. I mean come on, how cool and different is that.

The town of Ravenholm has been abandoned for some time now and is heavily infested with headcrab zombies. Because of this the chapter mixes genuine horror with extremely gratifying shoot-em-up moments. It's the atmosphere that Valve brought into this town combined with how you need to move through the level that make it really stand out. The tension and level design make you wonder what may be lurking around every corner. Part of this tension and horror also comes from the introduction of a new type of headcrab and zombie. The toxic headcrabs like to lurk in dark places until you walk right up on them. Then all you hear is a hiss and what sounds like a rattlesnake. All of a sudden the crab is jumping at your face and your health instantly reduces to 1 HP. If that happens with other enemies around you are in deep my friend.

I will say that "Ravenholm" is one of the levels I had the most creative fun with in this game. The one reason for that was, of course, the gravity gun. When you first start the chapter you enter through a lumberyard and sawmill. There you come across some of the 48 inch saw blades just lying around. The inner Mr.Burns in me exclaimed "Excellent". I made it a point to go through as much of the chapter as I could carrying and using the sawblade. Against the headcrabs, bad idea. But all the zombies, hell yea! The trick was finding the blades once I had launched it. That was tense all on its own, but I did get through the entire chapter carrying a saw blade. Fun as hell!

Half-Life 2 met with critical acclaim and received 39 Game of the Year awards and the title of Game of the Decade at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards. It also spawned two expansions and was responsible for the creation of the Portal series. Half-Life 2 was so groundbreaking when it was released, that it's hard to contain my excitement for what Half-Life 3 will bring us. Oh yeah, hey Valve, GET ON THAT WILL YOU!! It's been 10 years! I think we are long overdue for number three don't you?!

Honorable Mention

This list is by far a definitive one. It was also very hard to nail down just five of them. Yet in conclusion, I feel I must add something. During the last decade or so there has been a swell of games and mods that have come from user created content. Gary's Mod, Little Big Planet, and the upcoming Project Spark are among some of them. The quality of some of the projects that have come from these games and mod tools are amazing. I mean Counterstrike was made from modding the original Half-Life. It was and still is a major title in the professional gaming community. I am sure that a huge part of that success of Counterstrike was the level design. So I guess what I am trying to say here is that some of the best video game levels could be your own. Don't be afraid to take the plunge and work hard on your dream games. Who knows, maybe someday one of your levels could be on everyone's must-play list.

Is "Hardcore" Gaming A Thing of the Past? Wed, 05 Feb 2014 18:58:40 -0500 Graduated Gamer

I’ve never been called a “hardcore gamer,” and I’m not sure how to feel about that. On one hand, I feel that my dedication to gaming throughout the last 22 years of my life warrants recognition as hardcore. On the other hand, while I’ve played games for a long time, I’ve always been a bit of a casual gamer--one who picks up a game, plays it through once, and then sets it aside for a long time (or forever). There are obvious exceptions I can point to (Final Fantasy VII, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, and Starfox 64), but overall I’m not someone to attempt true mastery or 100% completion of every game which, to me, means a gamer is hardcore.

However, it seems that my definition may not accurately reflect the current generation of games and gamers, and it’s something that I’m not sure how to feel about.

To me, beating Contra with only 3 lives, finding and destroying every ultimate weapon in FFVII, or getting a high score on a classic arcade cabinet like Joust is hardcore and would allow you to claim such a title. However, it seems things have changed dramatically from a world where simply beating a game could be considered hardcore (I’m looking at you Battletoads and Super Ghouls ‘N’ Ghosts), to a world where pwning n00bs and insulting them about it makes you hardcore.

Now, even as I write this, I know right away that this can be seen as an unfair assessment of the gaming landscape today.

I’ll clarify that I am aware that there are games that still give the gamer a way to be completionist and try for high scores. I’ve played PacMan Championship Edition, and I’m currently working on 100% on GTA V so I know this first-hand.

Still, there’s something to be said about how achievements, trophies, and online multiplayers have warped people’s views of what makes someone “hardcore." I even fell into the trap earlier of thinking that getting all achievements in a game would make me hardcore, only to be extremely dissatisfied with my experience. I found that I wasn’t playing for fun, but rather playing to increase my Gamerscore so others would see it and think “wow, that dude’s gotta be a hardcore gamer.”

Certain games and series have been highly influential in what I see as the “end of hardcore” as I knew it in my youth. You probably saw this coming a mile away, but series like Gears of War, Halo, Call of Duty, and Battlefield have certainly changed the culture of what makes a hardcore gamer, especially in online multiplayer.

I tried playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield 2 online with my dad on a few occasions, and I simply couldn’t stand it. I’m not going to sit here and say that getting my ass handed to me was fun and didn’t influence this feeling, but the biggest issue I had was the culture of gamers both on my team and not. It seemed that no matter what you did, you weren’t good enough. Even when I moved from dead last on my team to a respectable third in kills and points, I still felt like I was crap and more of a liability. It didn’t help that obscene insults and childish whining flew around more than bullets, and with that I decided that this wasn’t the scene for me.

In my opinion, best played without a headset...or really any volume at all.

Still, there are millions of people out there that live and breathe those franchises and consider themselves hardcore, and anyone else that doesn’t is a n00b (among other things).

Does this make me any less of a gamer? Of course not. Does being a badass in those games make you hardcore? I don’t really know. Perhaps it does, just like collecting all the Chaos Emeralds in Sonic the Hedgehog or unlocking every car and winning on all courses in Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec would be back in my day. Perhaps I’m just getting old and I want nothing more than to hold on to the nostalgia of the past where achievements were “Not Dying” and “Saving the Princess.” Perhaps I’m just yelling at kids to get off my lawn.

I honestly don’t know anymore, so I’ll just say that to me the idea of “hardcore” is gone for me in today’s generation of games. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist for the current generation of gamers, and one day they may feel the same as me, but I prefer to stick to high scores in arcades and the brutality of 16-bit side-scrollers to define my core as hard.

A Nice Sunday Conversation with My Mother Sun, 25 Aug 2013 19:04:57 -0400 MyNameIsProjekt

I have been playing video games for over 19 years now, and my earliest gaming memories are from playing the Nintendo Entertainment System with my parents. My parents and I played a handful of different games together back then, and we all had our favorite games to play. My dad and I played Battletoads a lot and managed to beat the game in one sitting one afternoon, and that apparently is an achievement of some sort due to that game's obscene difficulty level. 

I also have a lot of memories from the times where my mom and I would play, and the two of us beat quite a few games together. 19 years later, I still play video games more than I probably should and she does not. The reasons for which I decided to ask her in this interview.

What was your favorite video game and why?

"I was always a Donkey Kong fan, (the original), because it was my first video game that I ever played. I remember playing Donkey Kong with my brother on Christmas Eve when I was a kid and I've probably played that game more than any other."

Do you still play video games?

"Not really, but I do watch Jordan (my youngest son) play his video games when I'm in the living room." 

Why don't you play video games anymore?

"I don't play video games anymore because they have become too advanced for me. New games are not like the games I grew up playing as a kid. But, I still play puzzle and word games on Facebook."

Well, the game is quite colorful...and explosions are always good. 

What is your favorite puzzle game then and why?

"My favorite puzzle game that has come out would be Bejeweled Blitz because it made me really think about my moves carefully so I could string together combos to earn more points. I first found that game through the DirecTV game lobby when it was free one weekend."

After hearing about why she had decided to stop gaming as much, I decided to shift gears and ask about her views on video games and her life now.

What is it like having two sons that both play video games when you do not play anymore?

"It's annoying as 'heck', because none of the chores ever get done around the house. I feel like I have to tell people to do their chores 100 times before they actually get done."

(She's so silly, I do chores...I mean, without me how would anyone in Skyrim get any of their mail delivered to them?  And don't make me bring up the number of times I've saved people during a zombie apocalypse...)

Does this picture look familiar to anyone else or it is just me?

What is your fondest gaming memory?

"My fondest gaming memory is when you and I used to play Battletoads back in the early 1990s. Battletoads was the first real video game that I played in the 1990s so it makes it my fondest gaming memory...oh, and you know since I was playing with you too!"  (Hmmm...I see.)

What is your least fond gaming memory then?

"My least fond gaming memory is not actually about my playing a video game.  My least fond moment is watching your brother play Minecraft because I do not understand the game. All I ever see him do is chop down trees, go underground, kill some random monsters and build stuff. He just seems to do the same thing over and over, and never seems to achieve anything. What's the point?"

Sorry Minecraft fans, she doesn't mean it, I swear...

I miss the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System and being able to play video games with my mom. Might sound like I'm a momma's boy but I really enjoy talking and joking around with my mom, and I can only imagine the laughs that would eventually follow.