With Christmas rapidly approaching the deluge of major AAA titles is upon us. At least three of the releases this week could have been contenders for top title, but Kratos just edges out Sonic in my opinion (plus, Frontiers might suck…). We’re in the home stretch of 2022, it’s a magical time, full of fun, friends, family, and love. You, dear readers, are also a source of joy during this holiday season. When you sleep, when you dream, I’ll be there if you need me.
God of War: Ragnarök (PS4/PS5) – Releases Nov. 9th
Developed by: Santa Monica Studio
Published by: Sony Interactive Entertainment
The word “masterpiece” is already being bandied about in early reviews, could God of War pull off the upset again and be called GOTY over Elden Ring like it did to Red Dead Redemption 2?
Sonic Frontiers (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Nov. 8th
Developed by: Sonic Team
Published by: Sega
ARK: Dinosaur Discovery (Switch) – Releases Nov. 9th
Developed by: Studio Wildcard
Published by: Grove Street Games
The violent, brutal FPS survival game ARK is being transformed for a younger generation! Introducing ARK Dinosaur Discovery, a educational game where kids can run around and hang out with their favorite dinosaurs without any of the fear of being eaten.
Garfield Lasagna Party (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Nov. 10th
Developed by: Balio Studio
Published by: Microids
There’s no trailer online for this game, at least at the time I wrote this, instead enjoy this 11 minute long video of some gameplay. I guess this is some kind of Mario Party style game but with Garfield characters so if that does anything for you, cool.
Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration (Atari VCS/PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Nov. 11th
Developed by: Digital Eclipse
Published by: Atari
Featuring over 100 games, Atari 50 is a comprehensive collection of not just the most popular Atari titles, but a slew of rare ones. This covers the company’s entire slate including games from the arcade, all Atari home systems. the Atari 8-Bit PC, the Lynx, and even the Jaguar. The game also serves as a documentary and historical document, with multiple interviews with Atari developers and industry insiders, as well as an interactive timeline showing release dates and notable events (gee, who is super obsessed with those things, hmmmm, oh, ME). If you love retro gaming and the history of the industry then this is one of the biggest releases ever, a veritable holy grail.
Tactics Ogre Reborn (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch) – Releases Nov. 11th
Developed by: Square Enix
Published by: Square Enix
Square Enix you are just KILLING IT with the releases this year, holy cow. I can’t wait to sink hours and hours of my life into this tactical RPG. I guess this is goodbye to my family and friends, I’ll be laying in my new bed playing Tactics Ogre Reborn until AT LEAST Christmas.
Ports and Re-releases:
Among Us VR (PC – VR headset required) – Releases Nov. 10th
The VR landscape is about to get a little…sus…when Among Us heads to VR on PC. Herp de derp.
Jurassic World Aftermath Collection (Switch) – Releases Nov. 10th
The terrifying Jurrassic World: Aftermath, built for maximum VR immersion, with literally no other way to play the game, is now coming to the Switch and does not require VR to play because the developers always wanted everyone to play it, the VR isn’t that important.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 40th Anniversary (PC/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Nov. 11th
Hey all you aviation nuts out there, Microsoft is releasing a fancy new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator that features a bunch of new aircraft and airports. WOOOO!!! NEW AIRPORTS!!!! FUCKING A!!!!!
Resident Evil 2 Remake (Switch – Cloud version) – Releases Nov. 11th
Get ready to play one of the best Resident Evil games on the go, I mean, assuming you have a device on you that can provide internet to your Switch. Oh, and it also assumes you don’t have a Steam Deck, which also plays this game natively without a need for an internet connection. Wait, why are here? Who are you?
Dying Light 2: Stay Human – Bloody Ties (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Nov. 10th
Dying Light 2: Stay Human was a nice appetizer game back in February when there wasn’t a lot to play. If you were one of the many who picked it up and quickly finished it, congratulations, you now have more content to do! Featuring a new story, new location. new weapons, and new gear, Bloody Ties should give you something to do until the next game comes along. There’s always a new game…always.
A Castle Full of Cats sounds amazing, but it’s one of those hidden object games, bummer. I wanted to go on quests with cats and watch them joust. Quick, somebody make that game.
- Football Manager 2023 (PC/PS5/Series X|S) – Releases Nov. 8th
- A Little to the Left (PC) – Releases Nov. 8th
- A Castle Full of Cats (PC) – Releases Nov. 9th
- Invercity (PC) – Releases Nov. 9th
- Robo Legend (PC) – Releases Nov. 10th
- Shadow of the Guild (PC) – Releases Nov. 10th
- Summoners War: Chronicles (Android/iOS/PC) – Releases Nov. 10th
- Titan Station (PC) – Releases Nov. 11th
Notable Releases from 10, 20, and 30 (and sometimes 40) years ago:
Candy Crush Saga (iOS) – Released Nov. 14th, 2012: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: Skyfall – Starring Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, and Naomie Harris
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Green Day – ¡Dos!
*Click here to listen to the album*
Swedish developer King had made a name for itself in the web browser based gaming scene from their inception in the early 2000’s. Running games out of their own web portal, while also hosting portals on sites like Yahoo!, King was able to sustain a healthy profit margin on their over 200 games. By 2010, the social media gaming boom was happening with titles like Farmville and Mafia Wars and Facebook was eager to sign on more partners to their platform. King stepped in with a few entries, including Miner Speed and Bubble Witch Saga. It was at this point that Facebook noticed that players were more likely to spend time with Bubble Witch Saga rather than with Farmville, as it required far less time to play and thus, less of a commitment, making it easy to pick up and put down and, in turn, make actually spend MORE time on Facebook. With Bubble Witch Saga, King had created a new model for these “match 3” games that, instead of having one play field that players would stare at for several minutes, the game would be broken up into levels, with a different looking play field for each, and adding in various gameplay changes. It was here when King would embark on its most profitable and popular game of all time, Candy Crush Saga.
In 2011, King released a game on their portal called Candy Crush, which was a simple match 3 game that took ideas from their game Miner Speed which, in turn, borrowed elements of Bejeweled. By 2012, King was seeing a lot of success with Bubble Witch Saga and wanted to continue their forward momentum, and in April of 2012 they put a new game on Facebook, Candy Crush Saga, which took the basic elements of Candy Crush and gave it the “saga” treatment. This Facebook roll out was a bit of a trial run, though, as King had their sights set on mobile devices and, in November of 2012, the iOS version released to massive commercial success. This was a shock to King who fully expected Candy Crush Saga to have a 6 month life span, as was typical of social games. However, by the end of 2012 the game had not only maintained its player base, but it was growing exponentially.
King added several more team members to support Candy Crush Saga, adding in new features, new animations, new levels, and a whole slew of bells and whistles. By the end of 2012, the game had been downloaded more than 500 million times across all platforms and by the end of 2013 had over 245 million active players. King was raking in billions of dollars from both ad revenue and micro transactions, though this was only coming from about 4% of the player base. Candy Crush Saga is a global phenomenon, with reports that 1 in 7 people in Hong Kong were playing the game at any given time, it was the top download from the App Store in Japan, and is considered the most popular video game of all time in the UK.
The popularity didn’t come without some controversy, as Candy Crush Saga was seen as highly addictive and uses a compulsion loop mechanism to goad people into playing the game longer than they should, while also making the prospect of purchases more enticing. Aside from their predatory gameplay practices, King was also involved in two trademark scandals. The first came when they tried to trademark the word “candy”, fearing competitors would start putting “Candy” in the names of their games. After coming under intense public backlash, they dropped the trademark bid. Later, they again tried to trademark the word “Saga” when the developer Stoic released their game The Banner Saga, claiming that people would be confused by the title. However, King and Stoic were able to reach an amicable agreement and The Banner Saga was released with no changes to its title.
Candy Crush Saga has spawned three sequels, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Candy Crush Jelly Saga, and Candy Crush Friends Saga, all of which basically play the same as the original. A short lived game show aired on CBS in 2017, hosted by Mario Lopez, to scathing reviews and low viewership. One final note, in 2015 King was purchased by Activision Blizzard for $5.9 billion, in a move that would position the company to be the leader in not just console and PC gaming, but now the leader in mobile gaming. You can still download Candy Crush Saga today, it’s a massive cash cow that shows no sign of stopping, for better or worse.
Resident Evil Zero (GameCube) – Released Nov. 12th, 2002: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: 8 Mile – Starring Eminem, Mekhi Phifer, Brittany Murphy, and Kim Basinger
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Jay-Z – The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse
*Click here to listen to the album*
Before Resident Evil was even released, Capcom intended to make a spin-off for the Nintendo 64, with development beginning in 1998. This game, Resident Evil Zero, would be a prequel to the first game and was to tell the story of S.T.A.R.S. member Rebecca Chambers, one of the supporting cast members in Resident Evil. Due to the use of cartridges on the N64, there were no load times, unlike the optical discs used on the PlayStation. Because of this lack in load times, the team decided to make the game contain dual protagonists who could be controlled simultaneously by the player, seamlessly swapping between the two at any time. Unfortunately, the cartridges on the N64 held far less data than the PSX optical discs, about a tenth of the space. This meant that RE: 0 would need to be drastically scaled back in scope and size. By 1999, RE: 0 had a finished script and a few areas built, with a public confirmation of the game in the Japanese magazine Dengeki Nintendo 64.
Development really took off after the completion of the script, with the team now working on the various gameplay mechanics. Their intention was to make Resident Evil Zero far more difficult than the first RE, these changes included the removal of item boxes, zombies reacting in one of three different ways when being shot, and also having zombies that could run after players. By January of 2000, Capcom had a working demo available to play on the Tokyo Game Show floor, gaining wide praise for its return to a more suspenseful atmosphere after RE 2’s more action oriented gameplay. However, despite the team’s eagerness to continue and the positive response, it started to become clear that the N64 cartridges, as well as they system itself, was just not powerful enough to incorporate all of the ideas that the team had. Luckily, Nintendo was busy at work on a brand new console.
With the impending release of the GameCube, Capcom decided to shift the game over to that console as the optical discs and processing power would give them the extra juice they needed to get the game finished. While the game’s script and concept stayed exactly the same, the programming had to rebuilt from the ground up, delaying RE: 0’s release by over two years. The good new, though, was that there would be higher resolution textures and the team would be able to create more CGI videos to help enhance the story. Partway through development, the script was actually re-written a bit to make sure that neither Rebecca or new character Billy could die, as it would not be canonically correct with Resident Evil where Rebecca is alive and well. The change basically stipulated that if either character died then you’d receive a game over, making keeping your partner safe a top priority.
As I noted earlier, RE: 0 is a prequel to the first game. It features Rebecca Chambers in her first mission with the special forces group S.T.A.R.S., on the Bravo team. They are called to the Arklay Mountains to investigate chilling reports of cannibalistic murders, however, things go awry when the engine in their helicopter malfunctions, causing them to crash land in a forest. The team investigates the area and finds a military police van crashed on the side of a dirt road. Inside the guards are dead and a prisoner transfer order is found. It turns out the van was carrying a ruthless murderer named Billy Coen who was set to be executed. The team decides to split up and search for Coen, Rebecca goes off on her own (I guess no one gives a shit about the rookie) and discovers a passenger train stopped on the tracks. She enters the train and her night of terror begins.
Early in the game, Rebecca runs into Billy and is initially apprehensive about having him around, still thinking he’s a mass murderer. However, Billy saves Rebecca from being attacked by a mutated leech and she begins to soften her stance, sensing that he may not be as bad as they think. Over the course of the game, Rebecca and Billy will work together to solve puzzles and fight monsters from the train to an ornate training facility for Umbrella Executives, an underground water treatment plant and, finally, at an Umbrella research facility. Leeches play a big part in the game, causing mayhem at various points in the game and acting as a nuisance in certain locations on the map. The final boss is a humanoid leech queen that has fused their DNA with that of its creator, the mad scientist James Marcus, who is also the father of the T-Virus.
Resident Evil Zero received mostly positive reviews when it was released, with critics praising the graphics and setting, calling the game incredibly detailed and beautiful to look at. Critics were divided over the gameplay changes, particularly in regards to the new item system. Some noted that it was very handy being able to drop any item anywhere in the game, freeing up space immediately if you needed it. However, it did lead to a bit more backtracking than some critics liked, instead preferring all of their items in one central location instead of scattered all around the game map. The dual protagonists also divided critics, with some calling it a fresh take on the genre, and others calling it unnecessary and poorly implemented. Some critics found their AI partner to be incredibly stupid, having to constantly save them from death. Others didn’t quite think the puzzles were difficult enough to warrant splitting the two characters up. Overall, though, the biggest complaint was that RE: 0 still featured the terrible tank controls seen in the first two Resident Evil games and not the more user friendly controls seen in Devil May Cry and Eternal Darkness.
RE: 0 has seen re-release on multiple consoles, first being ported to the Wii in 2009 and received an HD remaster for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One in 2016, then on Switch in 2019. I was able to get through this game in less than a week, starting on Halloween and finishing it the following Saturday. It’s moody, dark, and terrifying. I really do hate the inventory system, finding that being able to drop things at the any time far less appealing than having it all sorted neatly in one spot. Having to pick up items is a major pain in the ass, plus you can lose sight of items if you put it on the floor behind a background object. Thankfully, this appears to be the only time Capcom has used this feature in a Resident Evil game and I hope it stays that way. If this game has slipped by you, give it a try. There’s flaws but it’s a nice, mid-tier RE game that doesn’t overstay its welcome; highly recommended.
Super Star Wars (SNES) – Released Nov. 1st, 1992: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: Passenger 57 – Starring Wesley Snipes, Bruce Payne, Tom Sizemore, and Elizabeth Hurley
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Rockapella – Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?
*Click here to listen to the song, you know which one*
Before the prequels and the JJ Abrams sequels, there was just the original Star Wars trilogy. By 1992, the first Star Wars film was only 15 years years old, to put that into context, Michael Bay’s Transformers film is right now 15 years old at the time of this writing. This meant that the franchise was still fairly fresh in people’s minds, but was clearly starting to show its age and therefore ripe for nostalgia. The Star Wars expanded universe of books was in full swing and doing really well, but with no new films on the horizon, when it came to video games, the only thing developers had to go on were the original films. With a recent re-release on VHS in letterbox format, the public eye was on Star Wars once again, so why not make a new game?
Co-developed by LucasArts and Sculptured Software (who also developed another recent notable title, Bart’s Nightmare), Super Star Wars was a run & gun platformer that would occasionally have players piloting vehicles. The game told an abridged version of the first Star Wars film while also taking various liberties with the plot to better suit it for a platforming video game. Players mostly play as Luke Skywalker, though there are occasional levels where players control Han Solo and Chewbacca. Luke initially starts the game with a blaster but, after meeting Obi Wan Kenobi, is given a lightsaber with which to fight.
Development seemed to be smooth, with the team throwing the game together fairly quickly. The artist for the game, Harrison Fong, said he didn’t do much concept art as we and the team were already incredibly aware of what the characters, vehicles, and settings looked like. Not a lot was cut from the game, however one level that took place in the trash compactor was removed as the team discovered there wasn’t enough space on the cartridge to include it. A PC and Genesis version were in development as well but were scrapped for time and budget issues, though both prototypes can be found online from various emulation sites.
Super Star Wars received universal critical acclaim, being called one of the best video games of 1992 and a must buy for the Super Nintendo. Magazine EGM named it Best Action/Adventure Game of 1992, as well as the Best Movie-to-Game release. Retrospective reviews have also been kind to the game with many outlets calling it one of the best Super Nintendo games of all time, while ports to modern consoles have also garnered positive reviews. Your best bet to play Super Star Wars today is on a PS4/PS5 or, of course, emulation. It’s a fun platformer that really plays fast and loose with the plot of Star Wars, but who cares.
Millipede – Released Nov. 12th, 1982: Wiki Link
Notable Film Release: The Man from Snowy River– Starring Kirk Douglas, Jack Thompson, Tom Burlinson, Sigrid Thornton, and Lorraine Bayly
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Pat Benatar – Get Nervous
*Click here to listen to album*
Following the smash success of 1981’s Centipede, Atari got to work on its follow-up, another bug hunting themed game, Millipede. Unlike the first game which had players piloting a small vehicle that shot projectiles at the centipede, Millipede featured an elven protagonist who wielded a bow and arrows, who was protecting the forest from a giant millipede. Now, was this change from nameless spaceship to nameless hunky elf a direct response to Centipede’s overwhelming popularity with women? I can’t say for sure, but the fancy artwork and softer edges seem to indicate that it was possible. No matter the reason, Millipede is just as much fun as Centipede and improves on it quite a bit.
Aside from the superficial story and cabinet art changes, Millipede had several new, challenging additions made to enhance the user experience and, of course, make Atari more money. The millipede is much faster than the centipede and its head segment is smaller, making it harder to hit. Earwigs would replace scorpions and, upon death, leave behind a poison mushroom that, if not destroyed, will cause the millipede to immediately head straight down to the player. Bees replaced fleas, leaving behind a mushroom that requires two hits to destroy. Spiders are still here, with the chance to have multiple on screen at once. Ladybugs will appear and, if not destroyed, will leave an indestructible mushroom behind. To help players, cans of DDT will appear on screen and when hit will explode, destroying anything nearby, bugs and mushrooms.
Millipede was just as successful critically and commercially as Centipede, being one of the top earning games of 1983. It would be ported to multiple Atari consoles, as well as to the NES where it was developed by HAL Laboratory. Today, Millipede is easily available in just about any collection of Atari games, including the recently released Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration. Check it out!
You must be logged in to post a comment.