Quite a week it's been. Sea of Thieves is finally out, we had yet another Nintendo Direct and, to top it all off, we've got a fancy new site that you're reading this on. Anyway, it's the weekend yet again, which means I'm back with another roundup of the week's best deals from the realms of games, tech, and more.
Over the last couple of months I've been falling in love all over again with Final Fantasy XII. I know I'm late to the Zodiac Age party, but I've been marvelling at how much this game has come into its own since its original release back in 2006. Certainly the remaster's smoothing-off of the original's (literal) rough edges helps, but I'm not the first to observe that it feels a bit like gaming has caught up with some of its ideas that weren't fully appreciated at the time like its distinctive automated battles. Or maybe it's just that I'm in a different place in my life, and FF12's peculiarly hands-off approach to monster hunting fits so much better into what a 30-something wants after a day at work than it did the long holidays of a student with time on his hands.
The Super Nintendo Classic Edition - or the SNES Mini as we all know it, let's face it - is currently back in stock and on offer for its cheapest ever price.
Any week that allows me to talk in any small way about Bob Ross is a good week. Such is the case with this week's deals roundup, where you'll find the man himself along with deals on everything from The Witness on iOS to fancy 4K TVs, with a few choice game discounts along the way.
This piece contains spoilers for Rime.
Miss out on getting either of Nintendo's tiny retro throwback consoles over the past two years? Apparently, Nintendo has some stock left over somewhere since this week, the official UK Store has added a brand new retro bundle to its site.
This fresh gallery of Star Wars art offers a glimpse at what might have been - had British developer Free Radical Design got to make its Star Wars Battlefront 4.
Mario is a simple guy. He wears overalls and a spiffy cap. He's got a brother and a couple of close friends. He can run fast and jump high. In his various quests to save princess Peach, he makes use of all of these attributes and relationships, yet none of them tell us anything about who Mario really is.
A conservative estimate puts the value of the entire Neo Geo library of games - all European, US and Japanese variants - at around a quarter of a million dollars. Some of the games are so scarce that they come up for sale only once a decade. In October 2009, for example, an anonymous buyer paid $55,045.64 for the European versions of the fighting game Kizuna Encounter and the football game Ultimate 11 (as if guided by a scriptwriter's pen, the buyer carried a custom-made briefcase to meet the seller, to ensure the games remained pristinely cosy on the flight home). There are, it is estimated, fewer than ten copies of each game in existence. Even for the wealthiest game fanatic, then, there is almost no opportunity to play these games anywhere outside of a PC emulator.
When HP Lovecraft wrote the definition of the genre he more-or-less invented, he did it with the understanding that weird fiction was always going to be a niche taste. In his 1927 essay, Supernatural Horror in Literature, he declared that: "tales of ordinary feelings and events, or of common sentimental distortions of such feelings and events, will always take first place in the taste of the majority; rightly, perhaps, since of course these matters make up the greater part of human experience." Barely able to generate an income, chewed up and spat out by the pulp magazines, and finally, dying painfully of untreated stomach cancer ten years later, Lovecraft could reasonably have expected to be forgotten.
In the late 90s, when Tomb Raider was at the height of its power on PSone, Lucozade snapped up Lara Croft for one of the most famous video game-related TV ads of all time.
The first games I played were games of memory. My English grandfather was full of them. Parlour games, mainly. There was one in which each chair in his living room became a station and his family became trains. He would stand in the middle of the room and direct the trains between the stations, and you had to remember which train you were and where the station you were headed to could be found. At five or six, I found it overwhelming, but also intoxicating. (At 39, I now look back and suspect my grandfather wished he hadn't spent his life as clerk of the local magistrate's court.) Then there was another game - I've since learned that it's called Kim's Game, but as a kid I assumed my grandfather had invented it - in which he arranged a tray with bits and pieces from around the house, gave us a minute to study them all and then covered the tray with a cloth and quietly removed one item. When he uncovered the tray again we all had to spot what was missing.
There's another Super Nintendo game-playing console on the market.
It was Superhot that first made me think about the old writer's adage, that you do the slow stuff fast and the fast stuff slow. This is the thinking that powers Jack Reacher novels, for example - Lee Child talks about this trick often and with great clarity. If Reacher's doing a bunch of research, you whip through it in a couple of lines. Literary montage! If Reacher's outside a bar, though, and a horseshoe of bad'uns is forming around him, time slows until it forms a thick mineral goop that traps everyone within it. The next few seconds are going to involve the shattering of kneecaps and the bruising of aortas (if aortas are a thing that can be bruised - having typed it, I am unconvinced). The next few seconds are going to be violent and memorable. Crucially, the next few seconds are going to take eight or nine pages to play out, because every move will be examined in great forensic detail. We will count the separate sparks in the air, and be deafened by the clatter of a spent cartridge case rattling on the tarmac. We will be fully present and fully conscious in these terrible, glorious moments.
The science of prediction has a long history of seeking answers to seemingly impossible questions. What will the weather look like next month? Will the stock market dip in the next hour? In 1928, studies were being done by the United States government to find an answer to another hard question, one that might save lives: Can you predict the nature of a river before a flood?
A genuine Super NES classic, Secret of Mana holds a special place in the hearts of those that played it back in the day. Its blend of role-playing action, gorgeous visual design and evocative music remains a treat even today. The series has persisted across multiple generations since, but the original is still best. Or is it? Last week, Square-Enix released a 3D remake for PS4, PS4 Pro, PC and even PS Vita - and we've played them all.
I can still remember when I first laid my eyes on it. On a shelf full of the usual mid-1990s suspects - Streets of Rage, Sonic the Hedgehog, Revenge of Shinobi, so many sports games - Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday stood out. A distinctive red box with some garish and heroic art, it couldn't help but stand out. I'd later learn this was the NTSC version of the game (fortunately, it was region-free), but for now, that just made it look a bit exotic for an 11-year-old who mostly bought into the 'judge a game by its cover' conceit. At that moment, I was just delighted that I'd stumbled across this game at a rare time when I had £15 to spend. £15! It was a veritable fortune back then, and this proved to be the perfect investment.
In 2017, Analogue released the Nt Mini - a premium console designed to play 8-bit NES games with exceptional accuracy and video quality but at $450, it was prohibitively expensive for most. One year on, Analogue has returned with the Super Nt, an FPGA-based precision recreation of the Super NES with many new features. Priced at $189, it's more affordable too, but with so many options available for playing Super NES games, you might be wondering what exactly makes this product special.
When you tell someone you don't like something, their first response is often that you don't understand it. They often can't comprehend how you can't love something in the same way they do.
By any conventional definition, Jon Burton has lived at least three careers: first, a multi-hyphenate founder-programmer-director at Traveller's Tales, best known as the scrappy studio behind a wide variety of licensed movie-games; second, a producer and director of films, primarily in the inescapable Lego mondo-franchise; and, now, a burgeoning YouTuber with nearly a hundred-thousand subscribers to his channel, Gamehut. And while it might seem like a wild leap to some, to hear Burton tell it, it's a natural outgrowth of his existing hobbies, which now includes remastering his old games.
Back in the 1990s, the first-person shooter genre was still very much a work-in-progress, beginning with incredible, pioneering work from id software in the form of Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake, accompanied by a flood of so-called 'Doom clones'. Bolstered by the arrival of hardware-accelerated 3D for PC gamers, players could explore ancient castles and realistic cities, even exploring the outer edge of space through the eyes of their avatar. In the years of that followed, the industry exploded with unbridled creativity as developers tried their hands at building the next great first-person experience. Some succeeded, others failed but one small developer situated in Redmond, Washington delivered its own hugely significant contribution to the development of the genre.
In a certain phase of my childhood I lived for castles. My sacred texts were the stories of King Arthur and Robin Hood; my toyboxes were filled with Lego knights, and there wasn't a photo to be had of me where I wasn't striking a heroic pose and pretending to wield a bow and arrow. Sure, my young heart also beat for other classic little-boy obsessions like spaceships and trains, but when it came to castles, I had it particularly bad.
Nintendo has shifted 4m of its dinky SNES mini consoles.
When Epic added a battle royale mode to Fortnite in September last year, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds publisher Bluehole was pretty upset.
Like many of his fans, I met Bob at one of the gaming expos he attended in support of his good friends, online retro seller The Attic Bug. As no doubt the umpteenth such individual to approach the talented artist that weekend, I was greeted with a friendly 'alright mate' in his soft Liverpudlian tone that served so well in disarming the nerves of awestruck geeks such as myself.
Nine-and-a-half: this is the sort of mental age I ascribe to Pokémon. To first playing it, that is, but you could say it probably also fits the mental age of Pokémon themselves, too, in a roundabout way. It's that weird bit of life you occupy right between having an adult brain and a child's - right after you start to pick up a moral compass that goes beyond just doing what you're told, to a sense of duty or justice, but right before you're really sentient enough to start thinking about why that is. Permit me to really overcommit to a point here: as humans, we are probably closest to Pokémon when we're about nine-and-a-half.
A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.
To coincide with the 20th anniversary of Resident Evil 2, the game's director Hideki Kamiya took to Twitter to reveal some cool tidbits about the game's turbulent development.
Bob Wakelin, the artist behind some of the most iconic cover art of the 80s, has passed away.
We all know about Usain Bolt and his ludicrous speed over 100 metres. He currently holds the record with 9.58 seconds. Paula Radcliffe set the fastest women's marathon at 2 hours, 15 minutes and 25 seconds. In sports, world records mean acclaim and the chance to be recognised as the best in the business. But human obsession over world records isn't limited to the track or the sportsfield. Tony Glover is a name you won't likely be aware of unless you're into horticultural endeavours; he holds the record for growing the world's heaviest onion at 8.5kg. You maybe haven't heard of Silvio Sabba, an Italian man who aims to hold as many records as possible. He currently has around 70 titles to his name, including most clothes pegs attached to his face in one minute (51), most AA batteries held in one hand (48) and most CDs balanced on one finger (255).