WOW! I’ve been doing this for two years now and I gotta tell you, it feels more like 3, but if I go back and check the archives I can clearly see that the first one came out on the week of June 5th, 2018, so yeah, two years. I don’t think my clout in the industry is as big as I thought, though, because the stuff coming out this week is pretty weak. No offense to these developers, I’m sure they put a lot of effort into their games so that it would coincide with my two year anniversary writing this article, but it would have been nice if something like The Last of Us Part 2 was coming out instead of Goosebumps: Dead of Night. Anyway, these last two years have been a blast, and if we don’t enter a formal revolution/civil war in November, I look forward to making another one of these videos next June. See you in the funny papers!
Samurai Shodown: NeoGeo Collection (PC – Epic Games Store) – Releases Jun. 11th, comes to Steam Jun. 18th, consoles on Jul. 28th
As time marches on, our nostalgia for the past continues as well, but instead of countless Atari and late 70’s/early 80’s arcade compilations, we’re now entering an age where stuff from the late 90’s/early 00’s is starting to rear its head. Collections are a great way to either re-live a more joyous and youthful time in your life, or a chance for you to experience something that you might have been too young to partake in, so I say the more, the merrier. I’ve been playing Samurai Shodown games since the 1994 SNES port, huddling in front of a tiny CRT television with my friends while we all hung out in someone’s bedroom (usually whichever one’s parents weren’t home). Now here we are, 26 years later, and I’m just as giddy to play Samurai Shodown now as I was back then. Add to that a brand new entry in the series with Samurai Shodown V Perfect and I’m now weak in the knees. No matter your age when these first released, or your familiarity with the series, if you’re a fighting game fan then I would implore you to check out these classic titles as they are damn fine; damn, damn fine!
1971 Project Helios (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 9th
If you’ve already finished Gear Tactics and XCOM: Chimera Squad then have no fear, the indie games are here! Developer Recotechnology S.L. have created a really interesting looking world, an alternate reality Earth where the sun stopped shining in 1942, plunging us all into freezing cold darkness. Now in the year 1971, you will command eight characters who must work together to rescue a scientist from an oppressive government while avoiding the military and anti-technology religious zealots. With only 9 levels this game sounds a bit short, but with over 25 combat actions & abilities I imagine you’ll have plenty of reason to play the game multiple times to see find the best combinations, and could be a fun game to try and speedrun.
Beyond Blue (Apple Arcade/PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 11th
From the developers of the critically acclaimed Never Alone, which told the story of a young indigenous Alaskan native, comes their latest title Beyond Blue. In this game, players will journey underwater in an effort to explore the ocean and gain a better understanding of the animals that live in it. As with Never Alone, the team at E-Line consulted with experts in the field, including documentary filmmakers at the BBC, and leading oceanographers, to help the game be as realistic as possible. I’m not really sure what you actually DO in the game, but in these chaotic times it might be nice to just go on a virtual deep sea dive and watch some dolphins swim around.
Goosebumps: Dead of Night (PC/Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 12th, PS4 and Switch TBA
Initially released as a VR game for mobile phones and the Oculus Rift, this new (maybe?) entry in the Goosebumps video game franchise is now heading to PC and consoles without the need for any VR headsets. Billed as a “first person survival horror” game, my guess is that this is less Resident Evil and more Scooby-Doo. While this would have likely made more sense as a Halloween release, I certainly spent a couple Summer vacations reading Goosebumps books, and I can guarantee that if a video game version of the books existed when I was in the fifth grade I would have been all over it.
In case you were wondering who the target demographic for this game is, well, just check out the video below:
Warborn (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 12th
We’ve got another tactical war game out this week, but instead of following the XCOM model, Warborn falls into the category of something closer to Conflict, that NES game from 30 years ago that I did a highlight on a few weeks back. Move your mechs around a grid map and take out the enemy units, simple and fun.
Ports and Re-releases:
Demon’s Tier+ (PS4/PS Vita/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 9th
I can’t tell if two brand new Vita games in one year is a sign that the world is ending, or if it’s the first steps towards a very bright future.
Ys: Memories of Celceta – Timeless Adventurer (PS4) – Releases Jun. 9th
Originally released in North America for the Vita in 2013, then ported to the PC five years later, PS4 players will now get a chance to play a new entry in this oft overlooked JRPG series. Billed as a remake/replacement for the two (yes, TWO) different versions of the original Ys IV, this is now considered the official 4th release in the series, even though it was made between Ys Seven and Ys VIII (yes, the titles are Seven and VIII). To make things even more complicated, while it is the official fourth entry, it takes place chronologically between Ys II and Ys III. Phew, and I thought Bubble Bobble continuity was confusing (side note: the kids from Bubble Bobble are named Bub and Bob, and get transformed into dinosaurs. In one of the games, you actually play as the human versions of the characters, but they’re dressed up in dinosaur costumes. Oh, and the Rainbow Island series is them in human form, with no dinosaur costumes. WTF). Back to Ys: Memories of Celceta, series protagonist Adol Christin once again ends up in a strange land and, surprise, has amnesia. He then meets up with the local ruler and is tasked with charting a map of the land surrounding the town, which, is pretty much the plot of Ys VIII, I feel like. In any case, story be damned, these games are fun as heck to play and should be high on your list if you’re a JRPG fan.
Samurai Showdown (PC – Epic Games Store) – Releases Jun. 11th
While this game is currently available on almost every platform out there, if you’ve been sleeping on it then you might want to pickup the PC version. Everyone knows that games are better when they’re on PC, so why not annoy your family every time you scream “FUCK!” when the computer player beats you. Frame rates are sick.
Europa Universalis IV: Emperor (PC) – Releases Jun. 9th
Blood splattered, colonial oppression is exactly the kind of escapist entertainment I need right now; thanks Paradox!
Prison Architect – Island Bound (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 11th
Building the perfect prison is exactly the kind of escapist entertainment I need right now; thanks AGAIN Paradox.
Isle of Spirits (PC/Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 10th
Evan’s Remains (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 11th
Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 years ago:
This week’s notable titles include a re-release, the birth of a new franchise, and a sports figure you’ve likely not thought about in 30 years.
NeoGeo Battle Coliseum (Xbox 360) – Released Jun. 9th, 2010: Wiki Link
Xbox 360 owners were treated to a NeoGeo fighting game re-release ten years, just like we’re being treated with one this year. Originally released to arcades in 2005, and the PS2 in 2007, the funky NeoGeo Battle Coliseum was released to the Xbox Live Arcade on June 9th, 2010 to tepid reviews. The game featured a pretty convoluted story, with the official synopsis reading like bad Matrix fan fiction, with a madman in the year 2017 trying to take over the world of NEOGEO by using his considerable power and wealth, which he obtained through his company the WAREZ corporation. Whatever, story doesn’t necessarily drive fighting games, the gameplay does, and I can confirm that the fighting here is the same NeoGeo style we’ve all grown accustomed to over the years. However, while the two player mode is a standard 2v2 tag-team battle, the single player mode is a bit strange. Unlike most fighting games in which you beat your opponents one at a time on your road to the final boss, NeoGeo Battle Coliseum is fought in a survival style, with your characters facing an almost non-stop gauntlet of fighters. With a timer counting down at the top of the screen, you face off groups of three opponents. Defeat them and you are taken to a bonus screen which allows you to add a new perk, such as adding power or restoring health. Each of these can only be done once, giving the game a strategic element on when to best use the perks. If you can make it through the wave of fighters and reach the end of the countdown clock, you’ll face off against the boss with whatever health you have left, in a do or die battle. It’s tough, trust me, but with the fast paced nature of the game you’ll quickly learn to master the moves of each character and discover which ones best suit your play style; and what a roster its got. With an all star cast of characters, you’ll be able to choose fighters from a myriad of different NeoGeo games, such as Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown, King of Fighters, Metal Slug, King of the Monsters, and others. There are certainly better SNK fighting games out there, but NeoGeo Battle Coliseum is certainly worth checking out for it’s unusual single player mode, if you’ve got the guts!
Shogun: Total War (PC) – Released Jun. 13th, 2000: Wiki Link
Before developer Creative Assembly was under the Sega umbrella, they were an independent studio that released games published by industry stalwart EA. With a few sports titles under the belt, the team decided that after the success of Command & Conquer they should work on an RTS game to try and capitalize on the new craze. What initially started out as a low budget “b-tier” RTS title, eventually morphed into a big budget, 3D graphics, genre-redefining title that would spawn a long running franchise. Originally announced in 1999 as a 2D, top down RTS game, with the proliferation of 3D gaming cards in PCs, the team at Creative Assembly wanted to challenge themselves to take advantage of this new technology. Due to certain camera and field of view limitations, the team opted to go with a more basic set of units, leading them to reach to the past for inspiration. The choice to the Sengoku period of Japan was based on two things; it allowed for several different factions to choose from and do battle with, and it was “cool”. With the setting and units figured out, the team started to mock up battles, however they soon realized that things were a bit too simple, and most battles were over rather quickly. To compensate for this, it was decided to add the campaign map, giving the player an overall goal to accomplish, and add a sense of accomplishment and progress. When the game released it was met with high praise from critics and decent, but not Earth shattering, sales. It would be nominated by several outlets, mostly in the RTS category, but would usually lose to titles like Sacrifice and Combat Mission. It was also nominated by the BAFTA’s for best PC game, but would lose to next week’s notable title, Deus Ex. Oh, fun fact side note, this wasn’t the only RTS game to come out this week in the year 2000, as the Nintendo 64 would receive a surprising port in StarCraft 64.
James “Buster” Douglas Knockout Boxing (Genesis) – Released Jun. 1990: Wiki Link
After his stunning knockout defeat of Mike Tyson in February of 1990, boxer, and new undisputed heavyweight champion, Buster Douglas was the “it kid” of the moment. Initially seen as another scrub on the road to Tyson’s inevitable match with Evander Holyfield, Buster Douglas was able to last ten rounds against Tyson, finally knocking him to the mat in a decisive, yet controversial, victory. Seeing a potential star in the making, Sega of America decided to license a Taito arcade game called Final Blow and add Douglas to the roster, naming the game James “Buster” Douglas Knockout Boxing. In their effort to appeal to teens and young men, Sega was trying everything it could to separate the Genesis from the NES. Posing Nintendo and their Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! as the old guard, and Buster Douglas as the new hot thing. This game, along with a slew of other celebrity driven (mostly sports) games, would make up the core “Genesis Does What Nintendon’t” campaign. Reception to the game was lukewarm, however, with critics noting that the graphics were exceptional, but it was mostly just a button masher with little substance. Over the years it would gain a reputation as one of the worst Genesis games of all time, and I’d argue that the only reason we’re still talking about it is because of the ad campaign. Oh, and in case you were wondering what happened to Buster Douglas; he would decline a rematch with Tyson and instead face off against Evander Holyfield in October of 1990. Douglas, who was apparently pretty undisciplined, put on an excess amount of weight, reaching 247 pounds, and looked sluggish and tired in the fight, allowing Holyfield to easily knock him out in the third. Douglas would retire after that, gain even more weight, reaching 400 pounds and going into a diabetic coma. He would eventually come out of it, lose the weight, and then return to boxing in 1996 where he would get off to a promising start. However, in 1997 things would go south again when he was sucker punched after the bell rang in a fight, causing him to remain unable continue after a five minute rest period. He would receive the win by disqualification, but it just wasn’t the same after that. In 1998 he’d be knocked out in the first round against a boxer named Lou Savarese, then he’d fight two more times, winning both of those, before ultimately retiring for good in 1999 with a record of 38-6-1. Douglas now lives in Ohio where he trains young boxers at a community center in Columbus, still basking in the time he beat Mike Tyson.
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