There are a few games coming out this week; none of them are Lemmings.
The Division 2 (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Mar. 15th (Gold Edition releases Mar. 12th)
After the release of Anthem are you even ready for another games-as-a-service loot shooter? Oh, you didn’t buy Anthem? That’s cool, I didn’t either *quickly hides Anthem case behind back*. The first Division game released in 2016 to decent reviews, but had a rough launch (as most of these types of games usually do), with reviewers nothing that the game was bland and too derivative of other MMOs. Over time the game found an audience through constant updates and changes, and eventually became Ubisoft’s best-selling game of all time, as well as the top selling game of 2016. It was inevitable that a sequel would come out, this time I’m sure Ubisoft is hoping to have a hit right out of the gates. The game is moving locales, from
Brooklyn Manhattan to Washington D.C., and if you thought the politics of the first game were a bit too right leaning and on the nose, just imagine what they’ll do in Washington D.C.!
Hypnospace Outlaw (PC) – Releases Mar. 12th
In an alternate dimension version of the 1990’s, you are a Hypnospace Enforcer, patrolling the World Wide Web as people surf it in their sleep. This looks like some kind of weird point and click adventure/computer simulation, where you basically use an old 1999 Mac-esque OS to do your patrol work, solve clues, and download GIFs.
Truberbrook – A Nerd Saves the World (PC) – Releases Mar. 12th (PS4, Switch and Xbone versions coming in April)
A Ron Gilbert approved point and click adventure game…man, I didn’t think I was getting anything new this week, but sign me up! This game looks incredible, using real, hand crafted backgrounds for the scenery (digitized, but still mighty impressive). You play as a young physics student from America who “wins” a trip to Trüberbrook, Germany; but after having his research paper stolen from his room at the Inn, he realizes that maybe this whole thing wasn’t by chance, and maybe, just maybe, it’s up to him to save the world. I’m always down to try out a new point and click adventure game, so let’s hope the reviews are positive.
One Piece: World Seeker (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Mar. 15th
Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hat pirate gang are back in their latest video game adventure, and for the first time you will be exploring an open world. Not much else to add here, it’s based on a popular anime, and if you wanted to play this you probably already pre-ordered it.
Ports and Re-releases:
LEGO Marvel Collection (PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Mar. 12th
You can never go wrong with LEGO games, as they’re usually pretty tightly paced, offer a unique take on an existing property, and mine that sweet, sweet nostalgia. This new collection of LEGO games includes three Marvel titles, Super Heroes 1 & 2 and Avengers, with each offering hundreds to characters to control, dozens of levels to play through, and of course tap into that part of your brain that holds all of your good memories about Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. Remember reading those comics as a kid! Be happy!
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT: Free Version (PC/PS4) – Releases Mar. 12th
I hated this game, and now they’re giving it away for free and I fucking hate it even more. Don’t get this game, it sucks; send Square Enix a message.
The Caligula Effect: Overdose (PC/PS4/Switch) – Releases Mar 12th
Well, it’s true, I’m a human being who makes mistakes. Back on the Feb. 12th column I said this game was coming out on Feb. 15th, but I was wrong, and I’m sorry, okay? I’M SORRY!!! Here’s what I originally wrote:
If I’ve never heard of the game, is it really a re-make/port? These are the questions that keep me up at night (not really). Before seeing any artwork I 100% believed this was a game about the Roman emperor Caligula, so imagine my surprise when I found out it was a JRPG with anime art. You appear to be someone who enters a simulation of a high school in a kind of virtual reality, not sure if you’re an adult pretending to be in high school for fun, or an actual high school student going to school in VR. In any case, it looks bizarre in that fun anime sort of way.
Baba Is You (PC/Switch) – Releases Mar. 13th
In this unique puzzle game, you will manipulate the rules of the game in order to reach the goal. For example, the exit is behind a door, and the rules say “The door is locked”, but there is another rule that says “The gate is open”, and nothing important is behind the gate, so you can take the “open” portion of that rule and replace the “locked” portion of the door rule to now make it say “The door is open”, which opens the door and allows you to finish the level. It looks really cool, and continues to show that, like movies and television, the most interesting stuff is usually done by the people with the least amount of money and exposure.
RICO (PC/PS4/Switch) – Releases Mar. 12th on PS4, Mar. 13th on XBone, and Mar. 14th on PC & Switch
I swear this game came out last year, or maybe it’s just so similar looking to everything else that I’m just confusing it with another game. At any rate, this cel shaded FPS game is a “buddy cop” game with procedurally generated levels. Make your way through nefarious dens of criminals, blasting them away with zero regards to who they are, what circumstances led them to start a life of crime, and of course how it will affect their families (well if they didn’t want their mama to cry they wouldn’t have been in this sketchy building holding a gun as I went into it, acting as judge, jury and executioner). I think I’m really gonna like this game.
Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 years ago:
Here’s some games that came out a long time ago, and again, none of them are Lemmings.
Resident Evil 5 (PS3/Xbox 360) – Released Mar. 13th, 2009: Wiki Link
Four years after being announced, Resident Evil 5 came to PS3 and Xbox 360 in March, 2009, and was the first of two main line series games to send the series down a dark path towards obsolescence. After the masterful Resident Evil 4, which partly reinvented the series by taking it out of the survival horror, tank-controlled world it had created, and put it in a 3rd person, over the shoulder horror adventure game, Resident Evil 5 was a major departure from the series’ previous horror roots, putting RE5 firmly in the action-adventure genre. The game did bring back some previous elements that had been missing from RE4, such as the return of Chris Redfield and having two playable characters, but instead of two different stories, both characters were part of one single story. This was a new trend in gaming that really came into its own in 2008/2009, with other titles also employing this feature, such as 50 Cent: Blood On The Sand, Army of Two, Borderlands, Left 4 Dead and may have even been started by 2007’s Gears of War. When released, the game did receive pretty favorable reviews, but it was noted that by turning away from their horror roots, Capcom could be alienating their original fans. Despite the good reviews, and sales, there was a sense that the Resident Evil was not the best it could be, and after the dismally received Resident Evil 6, it was almost thought that the series could be dead, but as we all know a little game called Resident Evil 7 came out to critical and commercial acclaim in 2017, returning the game to its horror roots, giving life once again to this once great series of games.
EverQuest (PC) – Released Mar. 16th, 1999: Wiki Link
While many of the games I highlight here are still available to play in some form, you can’t really expect their online modes to function, heck, there are some multiplayer modes that go dark after a year. However, this week’s twenty year old game is not only still available to own, it’s still available to play online, with people, RIGHT NOW. Now, EverQuest is not the first MMORPG, they’ve been going strong since the 1970’s, in text based form. According to Wikipedia, the first graphical MMO was 1991’s Neverwinter Nights, a game that was released through America Online, and then we got perhaps the most well-known 2D MMO, 1997’s Ultima Online. It would take two more years for the MMO to graduate to the 3D world when Sony released EverQuest in March of ’99, bringing the MMO to the mainstream. Sony initially had very low expectations for the title, and poured all of its time and energy into the home console market, but to their surprise the game was a massive success, completely overtaking Ultima Online in terms of subscribers. Sony would end up re-organizing Verdant Interactive into Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), and put more time and attention into the game. Reviewers loved the game, claiming it was a game changer, completely obliterating the bar for online gaming. It was addictive, fun and the best online RPG of its time. Players concurred, smashing pre-order records at EB Games, and with 10,000 active subscribers in the first 24 hours, it would take the crown as the highest selling online RPG up to that point. The success was a somewhat quick burn though, as by 2001 the game was already showing signs of slowing down, but did climb higher and higher, having at one point over 550,000 active players. As with all successful genres, the game industry was quick to copy the success; Squaresoft would release Final Fantasy XI in 2002, City of Heroes would come out in 2004, and of course the biggest one of all, Blizzard’s 2004 juggernaut World of Warcraft. At this point EverQuest could see the writing on the wall, subscribers were leaving the game in droves for better looking and better fleshed out worlds. For a brief few years at the turn of the century, a large group of players were finding adventure and friendship in EverQuest, and while you might think the game is gone, it isn’t. 20 years and 25 expansions later, you can still play the game on your PC for free.
Marble Madness (NES) – Released Mar. 1989: Wiki Link
Originally released to arcades in 1984 by Atari, this NES port was developed by Rare and released by Milton Bradley. In Marble Madness, players are tasked with moving a marble through obstacle courses full of ramps, pitfalls, and precarious pathways with bottomless cliff edges that had no guardrails. The game was quite frustrating, but addictive, giving credence to the term, “just one more try”. The game would go on to inspire other game companies to try their hand at the “ball balancing” genre, including Rare’s Snake, Rattle ‘n’ Roll, Sega’s Super Monkey Ball, and the recent Switch title Marble It Up.
Well, today, March, 12th is my birthday. I don’t really like getting older, but it’s something we all do, obviously. Over the years I’m sure I’ve gotten a lot of great games, and I’ve played a lot of great video games on my birthday. In 1999 I turned 18 (do the math and you’ll figure out how old I am now), and I remember having a huge party at my house. I invited a bunch of kids from my church youth group over, as well as a few school chums, and we had video games going in three rooms. In our TV/family room we had Madden ’99 going, over in the living room we had Mario Party running, and in my bedroom I was running an NES emulator. It was a great birthday, one of the last “kid” parties I had, and if you’ve heard me talk about this time in my life before you’ll know that my family wouldn’t be the same for much longer, due to the impending divorce of my parents. Despite all the games running, I didn’t actually play much, I mostly hung out in the backyard talking to my close friends, making fun of the guy getting mad who was losing Madden, and listening to Buck-O-Nine and MxPx. Boyhood was going away, but I wouldn’t stop acting like a boy for some time. Maybe video games did that to me.
I don’t know what the hell is going on in this photo, but clearly my friends and I are the coolest people in this photo. That’s me in the Less Than Jake shirt doing…something? Why am I standing like that?