At last call Sunday night, the Ottawa Senators ordered up another round.
And this one tasted pretty sweet.
The Senators are moving on to Round 2 of the NHL playoffs for the first time since 2013 when they eliminated the Boston Bruins with a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory in Game 6 to clinch the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series 4-2 at the TD Garden.
Now, the Senators will prepare to face the New York Rangers in the second-round in a a playoff series that could get under way as early as Thursday at the Canadian Tire Centre after winger Clarke MacArthur scored on the power play at 6:30 of OT to give the club the win.
David Pastrnak was off for holding at the time of the goal and cheers went up in the dressing room when MacArthur joined his teammates after a TV interview.
“It’s just awesome to be back playing and to end the game like that,” said a thrilled MacArthur, who has missed most of the past two years with post-concussion syndrome and only returned in the final week of the regular season. “You get opportunities like that to put them away, it’s nice to put them away.
“You miss most of the last two years, and you keep working on it, and it’s just great to get that opportunity and be able to put away like that.”
While Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan did the scoring on Tuukka Rask in regulation, it was Patrice Bergeron, who sent it to OT, by beating Craig Anderson in the third and Drew Stafford also chipped in for the Bruins.
This was the fourth game of the series to go to OT and it’s the first time in franchise history that has happened to the Senators in a series.
“We showed a lot of character and resilience to be able to win this series,” alternate captain Dion Phaneuf said. “It’s a great feeling. It was an incredible series to be a part of. It just had everything. As a player, it was a tough series. They’ve got a lot of skill over there, they’re a smart veteran team.
“There’s some guys that finished everything on our guys and they made it a long series. We found a way.”
Like pretty much every game in the past 10 days, nobody has been able to hold a lead. It was Bergeron who tied it up only 1:57 into the third on a bad change by Ottawa. Anderson gave up a big rebound and all Bergeron had to do was deposit it home to bring some life back into the Garden.
The Senators took a 2-1 lead through two periods. The Senators outshot the Bruins 20-18, but Anderson had to step up as well. He made a big stop on a tip by Riley Nash with 4:25 to go in the period that would have tied it up.
“The series is over. It was a great battle,” Anderson said. “We were hanging on for dear life (in the third period) but we came in here, we realized next shot wins and we just had to get back to business. That’s all we had to do.”
It was Turris’ first goal this spring that gave the Senators a much-needed lead. He beat Rask up top at 8:32 of the second to give the club a 2-1 lead. Up to that point, the Senators had been making life difficult for the Bruins, but they simply weren’t able to score on Rask.
Following a trying first that saw the club squander power-play opportunities, Ryan scored with the man advantage at 3:26 of the second. Derick Brassard fired a blast from the top of the circle that Ryan tipped home in front for his fourth of the series and that allowed the bench to breathe a sigh of relief.
Trailing 1-0 after the first period, the Senators have nobody to blame but themselves.
The power play, which has been inconsistent all season, continued to be a major issue after the Senators were unable to make the Bruins pay when they carelessly took three delay-of-game penalties in the first 16 minutes.
Stafford scored on the power play for the Bruins to give them the lead, but in the end in the Senators made them play.
“It was quite a fight. That’s the way it was all year against them and you’ve got to give these guys credit. It was a war attrition. It went down the wire. I said Game 7 in overtime, it was Game 6 in overtime,” coach Guy Boucher said. “I have a lot of respect for the players in that room. We had three power plays that don’t work out and they score on their so mentally it could have effected us.
“In overtime, the message was clear, we didn’t play all year to play on our heels and that’s not the way we approached it all year.”
Yes, and it turned out to be a winner.”
Video games based on movies have a long history of being terrible. But there are a few licensed games that don’t just ride the coattails of successful films, they actually expand and add to them. Here are 12 video games that picked up the torches for stories started on film.
“The Thing” (1982)
John Carpenter’s 1982 horror movie finds a group of scientists trapped in an Antarctic research facility with an alien threat that takes over and imitates them. The film ends with awesome ambiguity: MacReady (Kurt Russell) and Childs (Keith David) staring each other down, neither sure if the other is actually a horrific alien in disguise. Though “The Thing” got a 2011 prequel, there was no answer to the 1982 movie’s final question on film.
“The Thing” (2002)
The video game answered that question when American soldiers return to the camp to find out what happened and face off lots more aliens on the way. They find Childs frozen but apparently human, and MacReady (also human?) comes to the rescue in the end. The game‘s story wasn’t as inspired as the film’s, but it did manage to introduce a system that made characters distrustful of each other, and of the player, forcing you to constantly wonder if your companions were really monsters waiting to pounce.
There are plenty James Cameron‘s sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic “Alien” puts 57 years between the two movies. The original film saw a group of what were essentially space truckers accidentally picking up a deadly organism after investigating a distress call. At the end of the movie, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the lone survivor, goes to sleep hoping someone will pick her up.
“Alien: Isolation” (2014)
“Alien: Isolation” takes place between the first two “Alien” films, jumping 15 years ahead to tell the story of Ripley’s daughter Amanda. She hunts for evidence of what happened to her mother and her crew, but the search for the Nostromo leads unlucky salvagers to accidentally bring the original alien back to a space station full of people. Amanda discovers the creatures haunted both Ripley women as she fights to survive.
Before there was the all-women reboot of “Ghostbusters,” fans hoped for a sequel to the original and its sequel, 1989’s “Ghostbusters II.” Rumors floated around of a “Ghostbusters III” for years before Harold Ramis‘ death in 2014. A third film in the original continuity was not to be, but that doesn’t mean there was never an attempt.
“Ghostbusters: The Video Game” (2009)
The closest thing to the long-awaited “Ghostbusters III” is a video game. Most of the original cast returned to their roles, and Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd helped with the story and script. Players joined the team as a “rookie” fifth ghostbuster, revisiting locations from the movies and exploring a story that continues the first two films.
“The Chronicles of Riddick” (2004)
Vin Diesel turned his character, Richard B. Riddick, from director David Twohy’s sci-fi horror film “Pitch Black” into a franchise with “Chronicles of Riddick.” The murderer-turned-anti-hero got some intricate backstory as he battled a death-worshiping, planet-invading space cult.
“The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay” (2004)
Vin Diesel worked closely with developer Starbreeze on “Escape from Butcher Bay,” a prequel “Pitch Black.” Diesel and Twohy worked on the story for the game, which fills out Riddick’s backstory with the prison break discussed in “Pitch Black.”
“The Matrix Reloaded” (2003)
When the Wachowskis prepared their two sequel movies to 1999’s “The Matrix,” they created an experience that included several media. “The Animatrix” was a series of short films that filled out the story of the world, for instance. The movie also left some things untold with side characters Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Ghost (Anthony Wong) that could be filled in with the tie-in video game “Enter the Matrix.”
“Enter the Matrix” (2003)
Players took part in the story of “The Matrix Reloaded” by taking on the roles of either Niobe or Ghost. “Enter the Matrix” is full of live-action scenes with the actors, directed by the Wachowskis, that make look and feel like a full expansion of the movie.
“The Warriors” (1979)
Gangs from all over New York attend a giant meet-up where Cyrus, one of the gang’s leaders, proposes that together they outnumber police and could take over the city. When he’s assassinated, the innocent Warriors are blamed, resulting in a night of brawling as the gang fights its way back to its home on Coney Island.
“The Warriors” (2005)
“Grand Theft Auto” developer Rockstar Games created a game based on the 1979 cult classic “The Warriors,” and it’s notable for its fidelity to the original movie. It brings back the original cast to voice their roles again as the Warriors fight their way across New York, and expands backstory of each of the gang’s members.
“Jaws: The Revenge” (1989)
By the time the “Jaws” franchise got to its fourth film, the frightening great white shark was somehow specifically targeting the family of its one-time nemesis, Chief Brody (Roy Scheider). Once you’ve got a monster shark going after literal, premeditated revenge, where do you go from there?
“Jaws Unleashed” (2006)
In “Jaws Unleashed,” you don’t play as the poor residents of Amity, New York, as they fight to get their beach back — you play the shark, bent on eating a variety of corporate folks as they try to set up an oil refinery near the island. Not a great game, but a funny take on the killer shark idea generally.
“Hard Boiled” (1992)
Chow Yun-Fat starred in director John Woo‘s final Hong Kong movie, “Hard Boiled.” The story follows hard-drinking gun-slinging Inspector “Tequila” Yuen as he battles Hong Kong gangsters, and while rumors of a sequel bounced around Hollywood about a decade ago, a film follow-up never materialized.
John Woo and Chow Yun-Fat teamed up again for “Stranglehold,” the official sequel to “Hard Boiled.” It attempts to translate Woo’s “gun fu” or “bullet ballet” aesthetic from his movies into a video game format. With another sequel to “Hard Boiled” apparently never materializing despite some rumors around 2009, “Strangehold” remains the only official continuation of the film’s story.
Based loosely on the comic of the same name, “Wanted” sees white collar office drone Wesley (James McAvoy) suddenly finding out that he’s from a long line of super-killers. Recruited by Fox (Angelina Jolie), he’s brought into the fold of assassins who try to control the flow of human history.
“Wanted: Weapons of Fate” (2009)
The James McAvoy-Angelina Jolie action movie “Wanted” never got a film sequel, but the story was continued in video game form a year after the movie’s release. Jimmi Simpson of “Westworld” fame provided the voice for McAvoy’s character Wesley, with the game bringing more assassins from around the world for him to battle while it fills out the backstory of his father from the movie.
“From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996)
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s movie “From Dusk Till Dawn” starts out as a crime film before taking a hard left turn to become a gory vampire flick. It’s become something of a cult classic, spawning a pair of movie sequels and even a series.
“From Dusk Till Dawn” (2001)
Before the film continuations of “From Dusk Till Dawn” was a video game that directly followed the events of the 1996 film. Although it doesn’t employ the likeness or voice of George Clooney, it does follow his character Seth Gecko as he fights off a hoard of vengeance-seeking vampires, this time on a tanker ship for some reason.
“Scarface” chronicles the rise of Cuban immigrant Tony Montana (Al Pacino) from street thug to cocaine kingpin. He’s also incredibly paranoid and violent, gunning down friends and family members when he perceives them as turning on him. All of it catches up to Tony in the end, when a kill squad sent by rivals takes Tony down in his mansion.
“Scarface: The World is Yours” (2006)
What if Tony Montana survived the climactic, cocaine-fueled battle in his mansion at the end of 1983’s “Scarface”? That’s where the 2006 video game comes in. The game features Pacino’s likeness for Tony but not his voice — the actor believed his voice had changed too much over the years, so he personally selected Andre Sogliuzzo to take over the role. Other original cast members, including Robert Loggia and Steven Bauer, voiced new characters in the game.
“Back to the Future” (1985)
The original “Back to the Future” trilogy wraps up a pretty cogent story of time travel shenanigans. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) manages to get himself stuck in, and then freed from, 1985, save his son from jail in the future, and rescue Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) from certain doom in the Old West. It’s a trilogy that doesn’t really need a sequel, but then again, everyone loves Marty and Doc.
“Back to the Future: The Game” (2010)
Before it made a name for itself with its phenomenal adaptation of “The Walking Dead” comic series, developer Telltale Games continued the story of “Back to the Future” beyond “Part 3.” The video game finds Marty traveling all through Hill Valley’s history, interacting with a young Doc Brown and accidentally altering the course of time to make a totalitarian version of 1985. “Back to the Future” writer Bob Gale helped with the story, but it’s ultimately too messy to make as strong an impression as the films.
“Jurassic Park” (1993)
The classic Steven Spielberg thriller about a corporation, InGen, cloning dinosaurs to create a theme park is a pretty tight story, and its sequels actually take place on a completely different island — the one where InGen had its dino clone factory. The movies don’t revisit the original island until “Jurassic World.”
“Jurassic Park: The Game” (2011)
Telltale took on another movie sequel in video game form with “Jurassic Park: The Game,” a parallel story that takes place at the same time as the original movie. The game follows a minor character from the film, veterinarian Gerry Harding, and the contacts Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) was supposed to give his stolen dinosaur embryos. This sequel is mostly a chance to revisit the 1993 film from a different perspective — and watch dinosaurs eat a few people.
James Cameron sequeled Ridley Scott’s “Alien,” jumping 57 years into the future. Instead of a small crew encountering the aliens, a whole colony is taken down and Ripley accompanies a group of marines to the planet to find out what happened. Most of the marines are killed, and fans were famously disappointed when survivors Newt (Carrie Henn) and Hicks (Michael Biehn) were killed off-screen in “Alien 3.”
“Aliens: Colonial Marines” (2013)
Like “Alien: Isolation,” “Aliens: Colonial Marines” adds more story between the existing “Alien” films. The game focuses on the marine rescue team that would have come to save the characters from the film. Of course, the marines find more aliens, plus human bad guys from the Weyland-Yutani corporation, just to make exceedingly sure the game completely misses the point the movie was making. But it does ret-con “Alien 3” to save Hicks from his untimely off-screen death, so it’s not all bad.
Read original story 14 Times Video Games Continued the Stories of Movies (Photos) At TheWrap
As covered over at GamesIndustry, Bleszinski touches on the following subject of unsustainable big budget games:
$60 is still a lot of money to ask people for and to ask them to make that bet multiple times per year? Gamers are picky, they’re smart. This is a nearly unsustainable model, unless you’re an Activision, 2K or a Sony.
While I think he is being somewhat diplomatic here, as the situation is far worse than he makes out, he is by no means the first person to point out this current state of affairs. This is because Tim Sweeney also said something similar to Glixel not that long ago:
A funny thing happened in the console market, though. Budgets were being bid up. The first Gears of War cost $12 million for us to make. And it made us $100 million in profit. So that was awesome. But by Gears of War: Judgment, the game cost about $60 million to build, and made about $100 million still.
We saw as you moved to this new console generation, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, we could expect our costs to double again. And the user base wasn’t going to double. It was going to go back to zero and then have to rebuild. We felt we would be of questionable viability as a standalone developer in Triple A.
To understand what has happened in console gaming over the last decade, you need to realize that the exponential increase in graphical output has hugely impacted game budgets.
The frustrating thing is that the console market is still growing quite substantially with each new console generation. However, the problem we now have is that the budgets far outstrip what the market can support.
The fact that people such as Bleszinski and Sweeney are talking about this more openly now, shows that the situation cannot be ignored or hidden for much longer.
The obvious and best solution is to stop spending so much money on the art in any given game and focus on functionality over graphics but I don’t that will happen any time soon.
Disclosure: I worked on Gears of War: Judgment as a senior game designer but I have no professional or financial connections to LawBreakers or Boss Key Productions.
Read my Forbes blog here.
Amazon.com’s video-game streaming site Twitch will begin selling games and features in the coming months, as Amazon tries to further expand its commerce services into the large gaming industry.industry.
Twitch streams competitions featuring professional gamers, letting viewers chat alongside the action, react and ask questions. The site now will let its 10 million daily viewers download games and game features such as characters, weapons and tools while they watch their favorite streamers.
Twitch viewers will be inspired to download games and purchase features while watching their favorite players use them.
Twitch currently generates revenue from selling advertising and subscriptions. Subscribers pay $5 a month per channel to interact with their favorite streamers in chat rooms and get access to emoticons.
Amazon, which has its own video game division, sees the platform as a gateway to the market to rival Microsoft and Sony.
In September, Twitch announced some of its video-game streaming services would be included in Amazon’s $99-a-year Prime membership, which also includes delivery discounts and video and music streaming.
This weekend marks the last full week of work for the Game Informer Interns, but know that our time here has been well spent, and is full of fond memories. Like that one time Ben Hanson barged into the break room to ask me what I was eating that he could smell from his desk. Or that one time I said “Hi” to Reiner in passing, and I don’t think he heard me. These are truly moments I will cherish for the rest of my life.
When we’re not busy preparing our long goodbyes, the GI Staff will be partaking in the great national pastime: video games. Persona 5, Overwatch, Destiny, and Horizon Zero Dawn are all on the agenda. What are you playing this weekend? Sound off in the comments below.
Suriel Vasquez (@SurielVasquez) — I reached 400! But I’d still like the have all four raids done on Hard mode, so I’ll probably keep plugging away at Destiny for a little longer. I’m also going to keep plugging away at Persona 5, which continues to be very good. I’m running into a little too much déjà vu, though, so I’m hoping the main plot picks back up.
Ben Hanson (@yozetty) — This weekend I’m hoping to finish off Mass Effect Andromeda for our GI Game Club. Other than that, I should really play more Persona 5 but my sick and twisted heart wants to start playing Nier. Too many JRPGS! Oh, and I’m going on a weird expedition and playing a game called Survival Kids for the GameBoy Color thanks to Kyle Hilliard. I’ll report back from these murky waters. Have a good weekend!
Jordan Leendertsen (@Bad_Durandal) — I’m getting pretty close to Grandmaster rank in Overwatch with Pharah, so I will likely be continuing that crusade. I’m also planning on diving into Marvel Heroes Omega Closed Beta, and I also just started playing KOTOR for the first time. Also, Street Fighter V and Mortal Kombat X have somehow managed to suck me back in. Dark Souls III is in there somewhere too. I also have to finish half a bottle of whiskey at some point.
Brian Shea (@BrianPShea) — I’ve been playing Pokémon SoulSilver, but I also just started Persona 5. I couldn’t get into Persona 4 thanks to its long, dialogue-heavy opening, but I’m hopeful for this game – the intro is already way better. I’m also having some people over to play Rock Band 4, so that’ll be on the agenda, plus some Cities: Skylines and Overwatch.
Javy Gwaltney (@HurdyIV) — My weekend is going to be FAST and FURIOUS because, well, I’m finishing up marathoning those rad movies and then going to see Fate of The Furious in theaters oh yeahhhhh. Also: Zelda. Also: PERSONUH. Also: Whiskey. Also: Pizza. Oh, and Andromeda, I guess :/
Kyle Hilliard (@KyleMHilliard) — I still haven’t beaten Horizon Zero Dawn so that should probably happen. I also want to play Persona. And Nier: Automata. And Salt & Sanctuary on Vita. The most important activity of the week, however, is to build the grill my father bought for me while he was visiting for Easter. After I build, I will cook some kind of meat on it. It will be delicious. Or at the very least, edible. Wish me luck.
Manon Hume (@ManonHume) — I’ll be jamming out with some Rock Band this weekend, which should keep the blues of leaving Game Informer away. (Good thing I’m getting a cold right before my big vocal debut…) Thanks for reading my stories and all your awesome comments during my time here, and have a great weekend, everyone!
Zak Wojnar (@ZakWojnar) — It’s a race to the finish for ol’ Zak. That’s me. I’m Zak. I’ve got about a week left to finish Yakuza 0 before Jordan goes back to Washington and I go back to New York, which won’t be too tough, since I’ve amassed ~40 hours since I started playing in the early days of February. I took a break to conquer Quantum Break and Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, but now I’m back in Japan, busting heads and… Running a cabaret club. I love it! I would have been done with the game by now if I hadn’t gotten hooked by Fargo season 2, but I finished that last night, and now I’ve got my own Sisyphean boulder to push up the hill. No, I’ll probably never make it over the mountain, but if I don’t keep on trying, then what’s the point of even living at alll.
A reader comments on the urge to play every game as quickly as possible and explains why he’s taking his time with Zelda.
Do you remember the days when there was a new Harry Potter book out every couple of years? Most of you probably will.
Well, I remember back then watching the news, because there is little else on the TV at stupid o’clock in the morning when I have to get up for work. There where droves of people flocking up to at midnight to get their hands on the latest instalment of the illusive franchise.
There were also a minority of people being reported on who wanted to be one of the first to finish reading it, and were actually sitting in the book stores to do so.
That’s just stupid, I thought to myself.
It’s been a couple of years since the last one and it’ll probably be a good couple of years for the next.
Are they even taking any of it in?
Or just speed-running through the words?
Is this just binge consuming?
I’m no Harry Potter fan by any stretch of the imagination, but if I were I’m sure I would want to relax, sit back, and enjoy it. After all isn’t that the point?
Yet I’ve seen the same behaviour in gaming over my fair share of years. Consumers rushing out to buy the latest game regardless of review scores, or lack of. Devoting a weekend to the game in order to complete it before the next supposed ‘best thing since sliced bread’ game comes out.
I’m guilty of it myself in my early years, I wanted to finish a game as quickly as possible and then pass it onto my friends to play.
Any problems just ask me, I’m the guy in the know. How popular and cool do I look?
I get the established franchises. They sell off the back of the success of the last instalment (like Harry Potter) but that doesn’t mean you have to blitz your way through it.
As I got older I didn’t have so many friends, well none with the same console as me anyway. I got married, had kids, bought a house and had a full-time job. Not that I’m complaining about that, but it does somewhat limit your time and your budget on gaming. And it implores you to choose a bit more wisely when purchasing a new game.
I’m a massive Legend Of Zelda fan. Ocarina Of Time is my favourite game of all time. I’ve spent the best part of the last 20 years hoping another Zelda could topple it. It never did. It got close a couple of times, but never did. I knew why and that was because Ocarina always felt more like an experience rather than a game. Everything after it always felt like a game, or kept reminding you that it was.
I only realised how good Ocarina was after I had finished it and I felt myself yearning for more. I didn’t rush through it, how could I? I had no Internet to fall back on and the only help I had where a few nice pointers in the monthly gaming magazines (remember them?).
I wish I would have realised how good it was the first time I was playing it all those years ago though.
Fast forward to 2017 and Breath Of The Wild is in full swing. This supposed best game ever hype had me intrigued. That first time you walk out onto Hyrule is very classy indeed. I thought to myself, ‘This is it, Nintendo have nailed it’. I got about 20 to 30 hours in and started to wonder if this game really is as good as everyone is raving about.
I certainly had my doubts about it. I wasn’t very good to be honest, the shrines are bland interior-wise and those shrine fights really would have been better if they were just past enemies from previous Zelda encounters. So yeah, you could say the jury was out.
I persevered with it though, and the game keeps knocking up surprise after surprise after surprise. Spoiler alert: has anybody else met Robin Williams yet? YouTube it.
Pulling the Switch out of its dock and being instantly whisked into Hyrule, even during the adverts of your favourite TV show, really does help with the whole experience side of things. Like a memory, you feel you can access it at any time regardless of how brief.
Like I said, I’ve been gaming for many, many years now and I can’t recall a game that I consciously dragged out and tried to make last, not even Ocarina, for knowing how good it is.
I’m currently 100 hours in, two divine beasts down, and the third one keeps tempting me. Yet I’m still looking for distractions (and finding them) to prolong what has to be one of the greatest gaming experiences I’ve ever had.
It might, just might, be the greatest game I have ever played ever, but I’m sure time will tell me that. When, or if, in 20 years’ time I still have the same enthusiasm for it as I do today, like I do Ocarina.
What a game though, I have every intention of sitting back, soaking this up and enjoying every minute this game has to offer.
Nintendo, you really did nail it.
By reader freeway 77
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. As always, email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Twitter.
Mass Effect: Andromeda blasts you off on missions to uninhabitable planets so you can thaw a freezing climate, replace a vanishing atmosphere, purify poisonous water and otherwise modify them for Earthlings using alien technology. Could this virtual reality actually become reality?
Mars has been the terraforming dream of both wishful scientists and sci-fi lovers everywhere because of its vicinity to Earth and research supporting an ancient water supply. It seems logical to believe that if we could somehow turn up the proverbial thermostat, we could make the Red Planet more like our planet—but MAVEN principal investigator Bruce Jakosky doubts we can give the hostile climate of Mars a makeover.
“If we knew enough about climate to control the Mars climate, we also could control the Earth’s climate and either keep from mucking it up in the first place, or repair it after we’ve damaged it,” Jakosy said as a reality check. He has a point. We keep thinking of terraforming as some sort of panacea that would theoretically give humans a backup planet after giving Earth a beating, but we haven’t even figured out how to reverse global warming yet.
While Mars once had a carbon dioxide atmosphere thick enough to trap heat and moisture (read: water necessary for life as we know it on Earth), that is now all but completely lost in space. CO2 was obliterated in such staggering amounts that there is no source vast enough to replace it. While gas now escapes at an extremely low rate, trace amounts left in minerals and polar ice are hardly enough to undo the damage. Even the CO2 issuing from volcanoes is nowhere near restoring what was violently stripped away by solar wind and radiation.
Without enough carbon dioxide, there cannot be any carbon-based life forms, and liquid water and the life that would potentially flourish around it as it does on Earth cannot exist. Absence of an atmosphere exposed the Martian landscape to killer radiation from the sun that turned it into a barren red desert.
The MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) spacecraft has been monitoring what remains of that atmosphere to measure the rate of atmospheric erosion. MAVEN’s Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer has been used along with measurements from the Curiosity rover to illustrate an atmosphere that is now all but nonexistent. Observations of argon isotopes have furthered scientists’ understanding of the disappearing atmosphere. Argon ions can only be removed from the atmosphere by sputtering, the process by which solar wind picks up electrically charged particles, some of which shoot into the atmosphere and knock molecules—including CO2—into space.
Terraforming might be more fiction than science, but don’t let that stop you from playing Mass Effect.
Ever throw your controller in frustration because that punch or that shot didn’t land and you just KNOW it should have? Well, blame the hitbox.
Hitboxes are a developer’s way of defining the space around an object — usually one that’s animated — that can be hit in real-time. Some objects will have a set of hitboxes that overlap each other, ensuring that no matter how fast the thing is going, the range around its shape is as accurate as mathematically possible.
Chris Wagar has compiled a huge gallery of different video games, showing off how exactly each of them handles collision detection on their characters. The multi-colored, boxy shapes drawn around recognizable characters almost feels like a modern, simplified take on cubism that I could totally see hung up on someone’s brick-wall apartment.
WATCH: These mesmerizing glass sculptures will leave you in awe
There’s a myth in the games business that consumers no longer buy boxed games.
However, the physical games market remains a lucrative proposition and worth billions of dollars every year. It’s a fact that’s gradually creeping its way into the minds of independent developers.
Last week, Stardew Valley was released in a box, as was Yooka-Laylee. In the coming weeks, Tequila Works is preparing two boxed products for Rime and The Sexy Brutale. There are several businesses that are set up to help indie studios release their games in places like GameStop and GAME, such as U&I, 505 Games, Sold Out and Badland Games. Other publishers include physical distribution as part of their key selling points, such as Bandai Namco, Koch Media, GameTrust (GameStop’s publishing arm) and a stream of others.
Yet it’s a risky area to invest in. Boxed products are costly and lack the flexibility of the digital marketplace. Going through retail also loses some of that direct contact with the customer. So why bother?
“Many gamers – us included – love to keep their physical copies and retail is still a big market,” says Tequila Works’ CEO and creative director Ral Rubio.
“We are working with partners who are physical distribution specialists, we will not be able to do it ourselves. Doing a physical release helps us to provide to our core fans collector’s editions, where they can have access to more content on the game, it does also helps us to reach an audience of more casual gamers who still prefer to buy their games in physical rather than digital. Finally, a physical release is a way to offer more visibility to our titles.”
There are other reasons, too. One of the most romantic reasons is that developers simply like seeing their work on a shelf in a shop. That was certainly the feeling for Ghost Town’s Phil Duncan when Team17 and Sold Out approached then about releasing Overcooked at Retail.
“We were surprised,” he says. “We just thought we were making a small indie game, and releasing it in the conventional way via the digital stores. It was interesting meeting the guys from Sold Out, and realising just how big that market still is. We wanted it from our point-of-view, because it would be great to see it in a box and on shelves at GAME. But I didn’t realise what the demand was like for it.
“There are lots of people out there, my parents included, that when looking to buy a game, they would go to GAME, or Argos. It also came out at Christmas time, so it’s good for giving as a gift. I got my brother a voucher from the Humble store, and I did feel kind of bad printing out this little bit of paper.”
Yet what about the commercial results? Like anything, the figures paint a mixed picture. There are some notable success stories, of course, such as Terraria, Minecraft and Rocket League. The latter has remained in the UK Top Ten since it launched last summer, and has sold well over 1m units in the physical space alone – that’s despite the digital version of the game arriving a full year prior.
Both Overcooked and Rocket League were ideal candidates for the boxed market. These games boast broad appeal, which includes the sort of consumers that may not even be familiar with how the digital marketplace works.
“[Rocket League’s] appeal to players of all ages is a major factor,” says Psyonix’s publishing VP Jeremy Dunham. “Despite our high skill ceiling, we believe that our game is still very friendly to kids and families because of its lack of violence and simple concept. When you’re talking about reaching out to younger gamers, though, you’re also talking about reaching people who do not yet shop with credit cards or similar payment methods usually associated with digital-only games – you need to be accessible to fans who only have cash or are only aware of games they see on the shelves as opposed to being online.
“There’s a high percentage of console gamers that still buy physical copies of games and not digital
Jeremy Dunham, Psyonix
“Even when you don’t factor that in, there are still the logistics of it all. There’s a high percentage of console gamers that still buy physical copies of games and not digital, so it just makes business sense to be available to them in as many ways as possible.”
Dunham adds that some of the gamers that are buying Rocket League are existing fans but it’s “mostly a new audience”, based on its internal data.
Nevertheless, the fact that even some of Rocket League’s players bought a boxed version of the game – despite already owning a digital copy – highlights the demand from certain players for physical goods.
What’s more, Tequila Works feels that retail doesn’t have to just be for mainstream or blockbuster games. Rubio says that High Street shoppers are interested in all forms of content.
“We think that gamers have matured,” says Rubio, “and they enjoy indie and deeper experiences, and they definitely deserve a place on the shelf of a collector.”
Ultimately, says Sold Out’s Garry Williams, it’s down to how good product is: “Like any sector of the games market, quality games sell.”
However, there are some deterrents to releasing a title physically. There’s the upfront cost, for starters, plus restrictions around pricing. There is a rule that the physical version of a boxed console game must cost the same as the digital SKU. Retailers won’t be happy selling a game that’s significantly cheaper on PSN or Xbox Live. Therefore, if a developer wants to charge more for a box version (to compensate for the extra distribution costs) than its digital counterpart, then the studio is often forced to create extra content for it.
“That was why, when we released [Overcooked] in August, we were still working ridiculously long hours on the game,” explains Duncan. “The game was out, but we were trying to get this DLC done because that was going to be included as part of the disc version, so that the price matched the downloadable version.”
Indeed, Sold Out admits that the pricing difference between digital and physical can be troublesome.
“Publishers are here to remove all the complications of a boxed release
Garry Williams, Sold Out
“The fact that the digital sweet spot for sales is at $14.99, and that due to format holder royalties nothing released under $19.99 is likely to make you significant revenues, focus on what you can afford to deliver – perhaps adding DLC for a higher boxed price swiftly if digital has proved itself numbers wise,” Williams explains. “It’s all about maximising the sales so let the consumer decide how they want to buy the game, ideally boxed and digital should go hand-in-hand.”
He continues:”Creating a boxed game might seem daunting but developers shouldn’t be put off.Publishers are here to remove all the complications of a boxed release. This frees up mindshareat the studio to prioritisedelivering the best gamingexperience to the consumers on any format.”
Rubio concludes: “There’s no easy answer. It requires a lot of work to find the right partners in each territory and negotiate distribution agreements. The situation for Rime and The Sexy Brutale were different. For Rime, our publisher Greybox is handling all the distribution of the game. For The Sexy Brutale, we are working with Badland Games for Europe, U&I in the US, and various partners in Asia.”
Clearly not every game can work in a box, and if you’re not careful, a physical release can end up costing a business dearly if you get the numbers wrong. However, with the likes of GameStop and GAME having to endure barren periods in terms of new game launches (such as this month, for instance), and with discoverability proving a never-ending challenge in the digital marketplace, the boxed games market may be an avenue worth exploring.