Articles by Tony Polanco


Sonic Mania is Getting a Vinyl Soundtrack

For many retro game fans, Sonic Mania is one of the year’s most anticipated titles. Unlike Sonic Forces, Sonic Mania is a complete throwback game with old-school graphics and sounds. Classic Sonic the Hedgehog games always had great music, and Sonic Mania — with its mix of new and remixed songs — will have memorable tunes as well. You can listen to the songs while playing the game, or, you can listen to them on a classic vinyl record. This vinyl is being manufactured by Data Disks (in partnership with Sega). It will have select tracks from composer, Tee Lopes. The vinyl disk will come housed in a heavyweight gatefold sleeve with UV spot varnish. It will feature exclusive artwork both outside and inside the sleeve. The vinyl will come in Sonic Blue, Classic Black, and limited edition variants. For those who don’t own record players but still want to buy this vinyl, the package will include a download code in lossy and lossless formats. We’re proud to announce the Sonic Mania vinyl album in partnership with @datadiscs! Pre-orders go live Mid-July. — Sonic the Hedgehog (@sonic_hedgehog) June 23, 2017 The Sonic Mania vinyl READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!

Sega Forever Offers Free Sega Classics on Mobile

Back in late May of this year, we brought you a story about something called “Sega Forever.” Discovered by a person in the Philippines, Sega Forever looked to be a subscription service for mobile devices that allowed users to play classic Sega Genesis games. At the time, it was unclear whether this service was legit or not — though there was a lot of evidence suggesting it was the real deal. Today, Sega has officially confirmed Sega Forever. Sega Forever allows users to play ad-supported Sega games. These games feature offline play, cloud saves, leaderboards, and controller support. If you don’t want to deal with ads, you can purchase each title for $2 after you’ve downloaded them. The first wave of titles includes Sonic the Hedgehog, Comix Zone, Phantasy Star II, Altered Beast, and Kid Chameleon. Sega says that it will release a new batch of games every two weeks. Back when we originally talked about this service, Sega had registered Sega Forever accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. All of these are now live. The Reddit one is still private, but folks can at least register for it. These will no doubt be venues for keeping up to date…


Hands-On: Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is a Blast of Pure Nostalgia

In case you didn’t know, I’m a rather big fan of the classic Mega Man games. I could never finish any of the old games when I was a kid, but I always enjoyed playing as the Blue Bomber. After the disappointment that was Mighty No. 9, I’ve found myself playing Mega Man Legacy Collection quite often. The games are still super challenging, but playing them provides a nice respite from the glut of open world games being released. When I was told there would be a Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, I became extremely excited. The original Mega Man Legacy Collection featured all six of the brutally difficult NES-era Mega Man titles. Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 features everything that came afterward — namely Mega Man 7-10. These titles don’t have the same unified look as that of the original collection since they were made for systems like the SNES, Sega Saturn, and PlayStation 3. Despite being very different titles from one another, each is a solid entry in the classic franchise. I’ve never played Mega Man 7 or Mega Man 8 so I began the demo with those. Despite each being over 20 years, both READ FULL STORY…

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Hands-On: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is the Best Castlevania Game in Ages

Konami doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to release a new Castlevania game anytime soon. Thank Satan for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. Created by famed Castlevania developer, Koji Igarashi, Bloodstained is an unofficial spiritual successor to the classic vampire-rich franchise. I played Bloodstained at last year’s E3 and absolutely loved it. This time, I got to play a brand-new stage and tried out some of the game’s crazy weapons. This Bloodstained demo took place inside of a creepy castle. As I made my way through the demo and killed all manner of monsters, I picked up a ton of new weapons. I managed to procure nearly a dozen short swords, whips, rapiers, claymores, and brass knuckles. Each weapon has a distinct feel, and it was great to swap between them to see the differences. I was also able to equip armor and accessories that helped boost my stats. Control-wise, this demo played smoother than the one from last year. That was surprising given how great Bloodstained already felt. Traversing the world is simple and intuitive. I had no issues managing some of the trickier platforming sections. Like any good “Metroidvania” title, Bloodstained has a map READ FULL STORY…


Atari is Making a New Retro-Style Home Console

Atari was once the most dominant force in the gaming industry. Thanks to the video game crash of 1983, Atari was reduced to being a shell of its former self. Nearly 20 years after the release of the ill-fated Atari Jaguar, gaming’s first giant is poised for a comeback. Speaking with GamesBeat, Atari CEO Fred Chesnais said the company is planning on releasing a brand-new home console called the Atari Box. It appears that the decision to develop a new system was inspired by the recent success of Nintendo’s miniature NES retro console. Chesnais didn’t divulge many details about the Atari Box, but said it is based on PC technology. In the video below, you can see what the system might look like. [embedded content] Some have speculated that this new console could be a proper current-gen system. While the idea of Atari coming back into the console race is interesting, it’s not exactly realistic. After all, we currently have three very successful consoles with the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. I personally don’t see room for a modern Atari system in the market. Then, of course, there is the fact that Atari has READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


Hands-On: Marvel vs Capcom Infinite Story Mode Leaves a Lot to be Desired

Marvel vs. Capcom games have always been enjoyable because they have characters from both companies duking it out. However, as great as it was to have Ryu and Mega Man facing off against Cyclops and Wolverine, there was no real explanation for why these characters came together. This is something the upcoming Marvel vs Capcom Infinite will address in its story mode. I got to try some of it out for myself while at E3. Though I can’t say I was fully impressed by what I experienced, I’m just glad there’s a story in there at launch (I’m looking at you, Street Fighter V). Using the power of the Infinity Stones, Ultron and Sigma have combined the Marvel and Capcom universes into one. The two androids have also merged into a singular being: Ultron-Sigma. Marvel and Capcom heroes have banded together in order to overthrow the robotic tyrant, but things aren’t going so well. Thanks to the power of the stones, Ultron-Sigma is virtually unstoppable and his control absolute. This is the sort of wild, comic book-y story this sort of game requires. It may not be elegant, but it works. The demo begins 88 days after the convergence of…

Battle Chasers: Nightwar

Hands-On: Battle Chasers: Nightwar Resurrects a Forgotten Comic Book Series

One of my favorite comic books from the mid-90s was Joe Madureira’s Battle Chasers. What was fun about this series was that it was essentially a role-playing game in comic book form. The series lasted less than ten issues, but it has always stuck with me because of its unique art style and setting. You can imagine my surprise when I learned that a Battle Chasers RPG was in development. I made sure to land an appointment for the game at last year’s E3 and was impressed by what I saw. It was exactly what I imagined a proper Battle Chasers RPG would be like; complete with gorgeous Joe Mad art and classic turn-based action. That was a hands-off demo, but for this year’s E3, I got to actually play it for myself. Spoiler alert: I really, really liked it. Battle Chasers: Nightwar has an isometric camera angle similar to Diablo. With this viewpoint, it is easy to navigate through the intricately designed dungeons. Though most stages are hand-crafted, there are a few which are randomly generated. This gives the game significant replay value. As you would expect from any good RPG, each area is littered with READ FULL STORY…

E3 2017

These Smaller Titles From E3 2017 Deserve Your Attention

E3 is the place where gaming’s most powerful publishers and developers get together to show off their biggest titles. While the focus is decidedly on the giants of gaming, E3 is also a place where smaller developers spotlight their creations. While preparing my E3 coverage, I always make sure to schedule appointments for games and studios that may not get as much attention as the big dogs. Below are some of the coolest games I played at E3 which deserve more attention. [embedded content] The Talos Principle is one of the best puzzle games I’ve had the pleasure of playing. When I heard it was getting the VR treatment, I had to check it out. While I wouldn’t exactly consider myself a proponent of VR, I felt that this title would lend itself well to that interface. I was both right and wrong. For the demo, I used an HTC Vive headset. This is the most expensive VR headset in the market for a reason: it feels extremely comfortable, and its graphics were far beyond those of the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR. Because of that, I was able to adjust to playing The Talos Principle with the READ FULL…

agents of mayhem

Hands-On: Who Needs Crackdown 3 When You Have Agents of Mayhem?

One of my favorite franchises from last generation was Saints Row. It started off as a GTA clone before becoming its own (awesome) thing. It should be no surprise to know that I was very excited to play Agents of Mayhem at E3. After all, this Volition-made title is a spiritual successor to the company’s over-the-top open world series. My time with Agents of Mayhem was brief, but I can safely say this will be one of my favorite games of 2017. I began the demo at the headquarters of M.A.Y.H.E.M (Multinational AgencY Hunting Evil Masterminds). Here, I was able to select a team of three agents to take to the field. I also got to pick their weapon loadouts and special abilities. I selected my crew purely based on how they looked, but I was told to bring at least one hacker. Once I finished prepping, I headed out to tear shit up. As soon as I landed in the open world, I was hit with Saints Row nostalgia big time. Everything from the environments (so much purple!), character interactions, and controls were purely Saints Row. Because of that, I was able to acclimate myself to READ FULL STORY…


Hands-On: Middle-Earth – Shadow of War Will Be Among This Fall’s Best Games

One of my favorite games of this generation is Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. The main reason I love it so much is because of its innovative “Nemesis System” which altered the game depending on your actions. Since Shadow of Mordor was as a hit, it’s no surprise that a sequel — Middle-Earth: Shadow of War — is coming out soon. Given my appreciation of the first game, I was excited to play the follow up during this year’s E3. The first thing I got to check out was a video that explained how siege battles work. In Shadow of Mordor, you had the ability to take over and command Orcs. This ability has been expanded to encompass entire armies of Orcs and other nasty Middle-Earth monsters. The goal of sieges is to take over a fortification by killing the Orc in charge. Each Orc leader belongs to a specific tribe, and that tribe’s characteristics will influence how the region develops. Things move fast once a siege begins. While the Orc army attacks the castle’s outer defenses with arrows and catapults, you as protagonist Talion (who is fused with the elf, Celebrimbor) must head in and take over specific sections while…

arc system works

Hands-On: Dragon Ball FighterZ is the DBZ Game We’ve Been Waiting For

I’m just going to come out and say it: Dragon Ball Z games have generally been awful. While entries like DBZ: Budokai managed to capture the frantic nature of the anime, they lacked coherent and satisfying gameplay. That’s all about to change with the upcoming Dragon Ball FighterZ. This, my friends, it truly the DBZ game we’ve always wanted. Dragon Ball FighterZ is being developed by Arc System Works. This is the same studio responsible for the Guilty Gear and Blazblue franchises. Like the most recent Guilty Gears, DBF looks like a 2D game despite actually being 3D. The distinct art style makes it seem as if the whole thing is hand animated. Because of this stylistic design, DBF looks as good, if not better, than the original Dragon Ball Z anime. The demo I played featured six characters: Goku, Vegeta, Gohan, Frieza, Buu, and Perfect Cell. For my first match, I picked Cell, Vegeta, and Gohan because that combination is just plain weird. The ability to swap between three characters reminded me of the old Marvel vs Capcom games (the upcoming Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite will be a 2v2 fighter). [embedded content] If you’ve played Guilty Gear or READ FULL…


E3 2017: 8Bitdo Outdoes Itself Once Again With New Controllers and Speakers

We’re big fans of 8bitdo’s amazing retro-style controllers. The company has been on a roll as of late with a wide range of wireless controllers. It should be no surprise to see 8bitdo show off some new peripherals at everyone’s favorite gaming convention: E3. These company’s latest offerings may be among their best work yet. The Super Nintendo controller is arguably one of the best (if not the best) controller ever made. As it is, there’s not much about the controller that needs improving. 8bitdo somehow found a way to perfect perfection with the SNES30 Pro. Billed as “the ultimate retro gaming controller,” the SNES30 Pro features: wireless Bluetooth, USB-C, rumble vibration, motion controls and player indicator LED’s. The chunky looking controller will be released this holiday. I enjoy playing Ultra Street Fighter II on Switch with the Pro controller. Despite how great (and essential) the Pro controller is, it still isn’t the absolute best way to play fighting games since it only has four face buttons. That’s where the NES30 Arcade Stick comes in. It features wireless Bluetooth, turbo functionality, and joystiq/d-pad modes. There are a lot of fighting games besides Ultra SFII on READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!

backwards compatibility

Sony Could Learn a Lot From Microsoft About Backwards Compatibility

One of the biggest advantages Xbox One has over the PlayStation 4 is backward compatibility. During the Xbox E3 briefing, Microsoft sweetened the feature by including compatibility with original Xbox games. Though there haven’t been many games announced as part of the program, the simple fact that users will eventually get to play old-school Xbox games is exciting. Playing old Xbox games on Xbox One (and the upcoming Xbox One S) is as easy as playing Xbox 360 titles. Games will be automatically downloaded to one’s Xbox after the disk is inserted into the system. Digital licences to original Xbox games will transfer over as well. And like Xbox 360 games, it’s safe to assume users will be able to buy Xbox titles from the Xbox store if they do not own the originals. One thing that wasn’t talked about during the conference is how folks will be able to play local multiplayer for original Xbox games through system link. This makes it possible to have LAN parties where you can play supported games by plugging in an Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. That’s support across three Xbox generations. Very impressive indeed. Right now the only READ FULL STORY…

Game Drive for PS4

Seagate’s 2TB Game Drive for PlayStation 4 Stores 50 Games for $90

The PlayStation 4’s firmware update 4.50 added the ability to play games from an external hard drive. The Xbox One had this feature since day one so it was great that PS4 finally caught up. Seagate has a number of external hard drives for Xbox One, and now that PS4 supports external drives, the company is releasing one for Sony’s console. The Game Drive for PS4 is a 2TB external hard drive that has been “built and tested” for PlayStation 4 systems. This includes the original PS4, the slim PS4, and of course, the PlayStation 4 Pro. 2TB of space will allow users to store over 50 games that they can play directly off the hard drive. Playing titles off the hard drive won’t be any different than playing them directly from the system. As you would expect, setting everything up is quick and easy and shouldn’t take more than three minutes. This process is PlayStation-approved and will not void the console’s warranty or the primary PlayStation user’s network account. One neat thing about the Game Drive is that you can take it anywhere since it’s — you know — external. Users will be able to READ FULL STORY AT…