Articles by Tony Polanco

1 2 Switch

The Switch’s Paltry Launch Lineup Doesn’t Justify a Day-One Purchase

Let’s be honest, with the exception of the Dreamcast; most console launch lineups are rather pathetic. A system doesn’t start getting the juicy stuff until months (or years) after it has been released. With that said, the launch lineup for the Switch may take the record for having one of the most anemic in recent history. I wish I could say I’m being hyperbolic here, but I’m dead serious. Nintendo has confirmed that the Nintendo Switch will launch with only five games. Five. Games. They are: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 1-2 Switch Super Bomberman R Skylanders Imaginators Just Dance 2017 Most people are purchasing the Switch for Breath of the Wild. That’s fine since that is a game worthy of buying the console for. On top of that, this title will no doubt be robust and contain countless hours of gameplay. However, the rest of the lineup is somewhat questionable. It’s hard to see 1-2 Switch being a game that warrants its $60 price tag. Skylanders Imaginators and Just Dance 2017 will no doubt be good titles. However, they can be purchased on competing systems. Super Bomberman R is READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!

Half-Life 3 Will Never Be Released According to Valve Insider

If you were holding out hope of ever playing Half-Life 3, we’ve got some bad news for you. According to a Valve insider, both Half-Life 3 and Half-Life 2: Episode Three will never see the light of day. This information comes to us from a recent Gamer Informer interview with the alleged insider. According to them, “There is no such thing as Half-Life 3. Valve has never announced a Half-Life 3.” Various teams within Valve have worked on projects that could have become the next Half-Life but never did. The insider pointed out how there were three different versions of Half-Life 2 ready before the final version was produced. “Over the years,” the source states, “you’ve probably had many dozens of people within the studio as early as probably 2005 working on things that they would imagine for themselves as Half-Life 3 or Half-Life 2: Episode 3.” “I’ve heard that some teams have had two to three people working on it,” said the source when asked how close Half-Life 3 and Half-Life 2: Episode Three came to being released. “They eventually ran into a wall, and some teams may have gotten up to 30 or 40 people before it was…

artificial intelligence

Grand Theft Auto V is Being Used to Teach AI Agents How to Drive

Those who are building self-driving cars will now have the option to test their AI agents inside of Grand Theft Auto V thanks to OpenAI’s, Universe program. Universe connects game controls and video displays to machine-learning agents that can be trained by video games. Universe has actually been tested using a wide range of video games. Researchers use games to test out their AI agents because they learn the way humans do: through trial and error. This open-sourced MIT-licensed code is maintained by Craig Quiter, who works for the Uber-owned start up, Otto. They were responsible for delivering 51,744 cans of Budweiser over 120 miles by using a self-driving truck. This AI software comes programmed with a trained driving agent, so developers only need a copy of GTAV to get started. [embedded content] Grand Theft Auto V is based on Los Angeles. The game isn’t an exact replica of the city, but its streets are very similar and are perfect for teaching an AI car how to drive. In addition to that, the game’s wide variety of vehicles and weather patterns also provide researchers with a good deal of data to test out READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


9 Ways Nintendo Can Make the Switch a Success

I’ll be completely upfront with all of you wonderful readers: I’m not a fan of Nintendo. Sure, I loved the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Super Nintendo, but after that, the company lost me. While my fondness for what Nintendo released in the late 80’s and early 90’s remains intact, everything that has come out after that golden era has failed to interest me. I guess you can say I grew up as a gamer and Nintendo didn’t keep up with me. With that said, I have been following what Nintendo is doing with its upcoming console/mobile hybrid, the Nintendo Switch, with keen interest (and not just because it’s my job to cover gaming news). Despite my admitted indifference towards the company, I have been waiting for a reason to buy one of its systems for a long time. The Switch seems like the perfect device to get a disillusioned former fan like myself back in the fold. There are numerous ways Nintendo can botch the Switch the way it did the Wii U. Instead of focusing on that; I want to talk about how Nintendo can make the Switch a huge hit and once again become relevant to hardcore…

game roms

Nintendo Hides Secret Message for Hackers Inside NES Classic

It should come as no surprise that the Nintendo Classic Mini has already been hacked. The system comes with 30 games pre-installed but determined hackers have managed to figure out a way to get more games onto the system. It appears that Nintendo knew that it would only be a matter of time before this happened, and hid a secret message for any would-be hackers inside of their diminutive console. This message was left by a programmer who goes by the handle of “The Hanafuda Captain.” The Hanafuda name is an homage to the hanafuda cards that Nintendo used to sell before becoming a video game company. Here is what the message says: “This is the Hanafuda Captain speaking. Launching emulation in 3…2…1. Many efforts, tears and countless hours have been put into this jewel. So, please keep this place tidied up and don’t break everything! Cheers, the Hanafuda Captain.” The code was posted on Twitter by user bakueikozo: 大変!ファミコンミニの内蔵エミュレータの中身をのぞいていたらメッセージを発見したよ … ごめんキャプテン!!ズタボロに壊し始めちゃったwwwwww #ニンテンドークラシックミニ #開発者からのメッセージ #削るとなぜか動かない系とはちょっと違う — ひろみつ(85.1kg) (@bakueikozo) January 6, 2017 Getting more games onto the NES Classic involves uploading one’s console memory to their PC, adding in extra ROM READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


China Says Pokemon Go is Dangerous

Pokemon Go is not a “dangerous” game in and of itself, but we did hear all kinds of crazy stories last summer when Pokemon Go fever swept the nation. While most people were able to enjoy Niantic’s addictive mobile game without incident, you would always run across reports of people finding dead bodies, walking off cliffs, crashing their cars, or even accidentally entering into a neighboring country while playing the game. Because of incidents like these, China will not allow the game within its borders. The Chinese state censor has deemed that Pokemon Go and similar augmented reality games will not be licensed until they have been thoroughly evaluated for potential security risks. According to Reuters, China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television cites “a high level of responsibility to national security and the safety of people’s lives and property,” as their main concern surrounding Pokemon Go. As stated by the games panel of the China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association, these risks include a “threat to geographical information security and the threat to transport and the personal safety of consumers.” There is also the fact that Pokemon Go (and READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


Xbox Exclusive Scalebound Officially Cancelled by Microsoft

2017 is barely two weeks old, but we have our first tragic celebrity death of the year… sort of. Microsoft has announced that it has canceled Scalebound. Rumors about Scalebound’s cancellation began making the rounds early last week among some independent gaming sites and YouTube channels. Earlier today, reputable sources such as Kotaku, Eurogamer, and IGN began to report on this rumors, thus giving it an air of legitimacy. It wasn’t long before Microsoft made the news official. “After careful deliberation, Microsoft Studios has come to the decision to end production for Scalebound,” read a press statement from the Redmond-based tech giant. Announced during E3 2014, Scalebound was being developed by Hideki Kamiya and Platinum Games as an Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive title. It was set to be an ambitious action RPG where players could control both a human protagonist and his giant, fire-breathing dragon companion. Given its pedigree, Scalebound made it to the top of many site’s “most anticipated” games lists (including ours… twice!). [embedded content] According to Eurogamer, relations between Platinum Games and Microsoft “dramatically soured” since Scalebound was last seen during Gamescom 2016. Last Fall, senior members of READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


Super Mario Land Gets Recreated in Mario Maker

One of the best, but often overlooked, Super Mario games is Super Mario Land for the original Gameboy. It not only managed to contain everything people loved about the NES games but featured its own unique qualities as well. It’s a beloved title for those who have played it, so it should come as no surprise that someone has decided to recreate it within Super Mario Maker. These Mario Maker levels were created by YouTuber KHAce, who had also recreated versions of Mega Man 1 and Kirby’s Dreamland. He managed to recreate all of Super Mario Land with some minimal adjustments. The submarine from world 2-3 was recreated by using the Koopa Clown Car, and all of the game’s bosses, including the final one, have been replaced by Bowser. It also has the same graphics of the first Super Mario Bros. game, but besides that, this is about as close to Super Mario Land as you can get outside of playing the original. [embedded content] Personally speaking, I think this is brilliant. Super Mario Land was one of my favorites as a kid, so it’s awesome to see that there are others out READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!

and Fears 4D candle

Resident Evil 7’s “4D VR Candle” Will Let You Smell the Horror

I don’t even know where to begin with this one, so I’ll just dive right in. Retailer Merchoid will be releasing an officially-licensed Resident Evil 7 candle to coincide with the game’s launch. The purpose of the candle is to help immerse those who play Resident Evil 7 in VR even more by scaring their olfactory senses. This 4D candle (I thought time, not smell, was the fourth dimension) is supposed to smell like old timer and blood. Appropriate given how the game takes place in an old wooden home filled with bloodthirsty maniacs, but that sounds like something that’ll linger in the air long after the candle has been extinguished. How do you explain that smell to your friends, significant other, or kids? “The 4D candle is 100 percent officially licensed Resident Evil merchandise; this means Capcom have smelt the candle and found it scary to enough to give their seal of approval,” said Merchoid. “We’d even suggest that using the Blood, Sweat and Fears 4D Candle is the definitive way to experience the game. Be careful, though, with an experience this horrifying, the candle might not be the only smell you notice READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


Nintendo Will Show Switch Launch Games on January 13

Nintendo has announced that it will air a special Treehouse Live event on January 13 that will give viewers an in-depth look at the launch games for the Nintendo Switch. The stream will begin at 9:30 am EST on the company’s Twitch and YouTube channels. As you may know, Nintendo will have a Switch-centric Nintendo Direct on January 12. During that time, it is expected that we’ll learn more about the Switch’s hardware capabilities, its price, accessories, and its exactly launch date. It is also expect that games will be announced during this Nintendo Direct, but it appears that the Treehouse Live stream will go more in-depth about these titles. Join us at 9:30AM EST on 1/13 for Treehouse Live and an in-depth look at upcoming games featured in the Nintendo Switch Presentation. — Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) January 5, 2017 We don’t know for sure what games will be shown during the stream, but it would be reasonable to assume that one of them will be the highly anticipated The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. During the Switch reveal trailer, we also saw brief glimpses of games READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!


5 Reasons to be Excited for Mass Effect Andromeda

The Mass Effect franchise debuted last-gen and quickly made it into my top three series of all time. As odd as this may sound, it was the Star Trek game I always wanted to play. I was able to travel to exotic locales and talk to all manner of interesting (and sometimes scary) aliens. It also had a lore deep enough to be on par with other science fiction and fantasy works. It should come as no surprise to find out that I’m extremely excited for Mass Effect Andromeda (which will release on March 21). Yes, even though Mass Effect 3’s ending left a lot to be desired, my love for the space-faring series hasn’t diminished one iota. Like many of you, I absolutely cannot wait to jump back into this universe once again. We only know a few details about Mass Effect Andromeda at this time, but here are a few reasons why you should be as excited as I am. [embedded content] A Whole New World As you can tell from its moniker, Mass Effect Andromeda takes place in the Andromeda galaxy. This means that players will have an entirely new galaxy to explore — one filled with…

dragon quest viii

These Are the Games You Should Be Checking Out in January

January 2017 is here which means that it’s time to look forward to a new crop of fresh games! Typically, January is a slow month for new game releases. However, this year will offer gamers a good selection of titles to try out, especially if they are fans of Japanese games. Even though there aren’t a lot of titles dropping this month, there is still a decent amount of variety to be found. [embedded content] Resident Evil 7 Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PCRelease date: January 20 Easily the most high-profile release of January, Capcom’s popular zombie-slaying franchise is reborn as a modern first person horror game. After Resident Evil 4 completely changed the familiar formula of the first three games, the series had grown stale. Now, Resident Evil 7 is aiming to reinvigorate the franchise in much the same way. Considering how Resident Evil had lost its way over the years, this hard reset is not only welcome but necessary. On top of reanimating and updating the classic survival horror franchise, Resident Evil 7 may serve as the last hope for mainstream virtual reality gaming. Its position of being the first full-length AAA VR experience could bring in a…

Pop Star Ariana Grande Will Be a Final Fantasy Character

via Aside from having real-world names for some of its creatures and monsters, Final Fantasy games have never had much crossover with our world. This changed with the release of Final Fantasy XV which featured in-game Cup Noodles ads and even a mission where players had to create the perfect Cup Noodle recipe. This seemed like a one-time only thing, but now a very famous pop idol will guest star in a Final Fantasy game. Ariana Grande recently revealed on instagram and Twitter that she would be a character in the mobile-only, Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius. Her character is based on the look she had for her Dangerous Woman album cover — complete with a black dress, black mask, and very Final Fantasy-ish black bunny ears. Her appearance in the game marks the very first time that an American pop star has appeared in a Final Fantasy title (even if it is a mobile offshoot). ♡ 👋🏼 I’m SO so excited to share that I’ll be featured in FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS *crying* 🌌♡ #FFBEWW @FFBE_EN — Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) January 1, 2017 Below, you can see some of her character’s animations. Square-Enix hasn’t announced when Grande’s character…


Don’t Expect to See Mass Effect Andromeda on the Nintendo Switch

Last year, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen revealed that his company would be bringing one of its “bigger” games to the Nintendo Switch in 2017. The game in question wasn’t announced, but many speculated that it could be the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda. Unfortunately, it appears that the fourth installment of Bioware’s popular space opera will not be landing on the Switch after all. Speaking with Stevivor, producer Mike Gamble said that that there are no plans to release Mass Effect Andromeda on Nintendo’s handheld/console hybrid system. “Yeah, not right now, no,” said Gamble. “We’re not planning on it. If the Switch launches and everyone’s just yammering for Mass Effect, who knows. We never want to close doors like that.” Mass Effect 3 was one of the bigger third party games to come out for the Wii U, so it is somewhat surprising that its direct sequel will not be headed to the Switch. However, a Switch port hasn’t been completely ruled out if there is demand for it. If the Switch is a big seller, it is easy to see EA and Bioware changing their stance on bringing Mass Effect Andromeda to Nintendo’s READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!