Once again we dip our toes into the murky waters of gaming news, hoping to discover some hidden treasures or unknown aquatic lifeforms. Of course, we only managed to dredge up a few shipwrecks and an old boot.

Schedule your next Play Date

Well, this one came out of nowhere – a new handheld gaming device made by Panic, who published the gorgeous Firewatch and the upcoming Untitled Goose Game. It’s a bizarre idea that includes a crank on the side as a novel control device, a backlit black and white screen, it’s Bluetooth and wifi enabled, and has a headphone jack and USB-C port.

Then there’s the games for it. 12 games will be released in the first “season” over 12 weeks. Each will be different, offering traditional games, innovative experiences and all are being made exclusively for the new system. The games are being kept secret until they are released, so you don’t know exactly what’s coming to your shiny new CrankBoy until it arrives. Only one game has been confirmed so far – called Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure and it is being developed by Keita Takahashi, creator of  Katamari Damacy. For a weird device that takes a few mins to wrap your head around, getting the creator of Katamari on board seems like a match made in heaven!

The PlayDate is due to release in 2020 and no doubt we’ll be hearing more about this strange little thing before it arrives so watch this space. Start working on your cranking exercises now to prepare!

Do you like the look of the PlayDate?

Call it what you want

Games have a serious problem with naming conventions. Some obvious examples of this are:

  • Series like Devil May Cry rebooting themselves and jumping back from 5 to 1
  • Final Fantasy pissing all over the concept of “final” by having 15 of the buggers (and counting)
  • Kingdom Hearts eschewing integer naming altogether with shit like 1.8 and 2.5 along with a bunch of keywords tacked on the end

Well not to be outdone by those titles, Activision took a long hard look at the Call of Duty franchise and decided that the best way to confuse and upset everyone would be to name their upcoming title Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Ya know, a bit like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, only not number 4.

It’s supposed to be a modern “soft-reboot” of the much-lauded shooter, and news is leaking out about the game through influencers who got a sneak peek over the past couple of weeks. The new imagining of Modern Warfare will apparently be a gritty, realistic affair, potentially taking cues from the “No Russian” mission from MW2 and the “Death from Above” mission in the AC130 from MW4.  Aside from the bizarre nomenclature, news on the Call of Duty series has been slightly concerning for players with the recent announcements that development of the next Black Ops title will be taken over by Treyarch once more, with Raven and Sledgehammer studios no longer in charge for some unknown reason.

The studios had taken turns in developing the Black Ops titles for the past five years, and it wasn’t too long ago that we heard Raven studios would lead the development of the next title with Sledgehammer in support. Now Treyarch has taken the reins back, though Raven/Sledgehammer may still provide some support to the project.

What are your thoughts about the future of the Call of Duty franchise?

Got a bad case of the Joystick Jitters

Some unusual news this week, as the gaming industry fights back against the World Health Organisation (WHO). In an update to the WHO’s “addictive behaviour disorders” classification, it was deemed that gaming addiction should be a recognised condition which can be addressed by medical professionals. The WHO classification describes gaming disorder as:

  1. impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context);
  2. increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and
  3. continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.

To be honest, that does sound remarkably familiar… I might need to get myself checked. Or I could just fire up Steam and see what’s on sale….

Then came the rebuttal shot from the gaming industry, who called on the WHO to “rethink their decision” and remove the disorder from their classifications. A statement put out by the Global Video Game Industry Associations argues that “‘Gaming disorder’ is not based on sufficiently robust evidence to justify its inclusion in one of the WHO’s most important norm-setting tools”.

Whether the recent WHO classification will have a major impact on society’s view on gaming remains to be seen, although some UK politicians are already pissing all over university gaming courses due to issues of addiction. Even the “modern” royal family are taking a stance against gaming, with the hit title Fortnite being singled out as a game which is “designed to addict”. This comes at a time when loot boxes are under close scrutiny for their role in hooking gamers into making ridiculous spending decisions for a chance at getting in-game items, and several countries are banning or restricting games which include these features. It’s a tough time for gaming and how the impact of games are viewed.

Resident medical exert Robert House had his own take on Gaming Disorder.

What are your thoughts on the newly-defined gaming addiction?

New Shit

Now a quick look at the stuff coming out this week which you can add to your wishlist and then buy once payday comes around. It’s not too long, so start making those difficult decisions about whether to buy food or instead get your hands on Trover Saves the Universe.

TitleFormatPublisherRelease Date
Constructor PlusPCSystem 327/5/2019
Deep Diving SimulatorPCJujubee Games Studios27/5/2019
Little Friends: Dogs & CatsNSU&I Entertainment28/5/2019
Oxygen Not IncludedPCKlei Entertainment28/5/2019
Rescue HQ – The TycoonPCAerosoft28/5/2019
Unruly HeroesPS4Magic Design Studios28/5/2019
Vambrace: Cold SoulMac/PCHeadup28/5/2019
Among the Sleep – Enhanced EditionNSSoedesco29/5/2019
Conan UnconqueredPCFuncom29/5/2019
TerraTechNSPublisher TBA29/5/2019
Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost SoulsPC (online)XSEED Games29/5/2019
30-in-1 Game Collection: Volume 2NSDigital Bards30/5/2019
Lornsword Winter ChroniclePCTower Five30/5/2019
Space Ops VRORift/ViveFibrum30/5/2019
Super Cane Magic ZERONS/PC/PS4Studio Evil30/5/2019
Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s TrapAn/iOSDotEmu30/5/2019
World of KingsAn/iOSLoong Entertainment30/5/2019
Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of FujisawaNS/PC/PS4PQube31/5/2019
Trover Saves the UniversePS4Squanch Games31/5/2019

The Wins

Our usual roundup of other stuff that’s grabbed our attention this week – but wasn’t deemed interesting enough to be fleshed out into paragraphs. Alright, we admit it – we’re lazy.

Matt Tiernan

We played ‘Trover Saves the Universe’ at PAX East (it was great!)

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