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August 2017

Gaming News

Doomiablo, the Unexpected But Awesome Doom and Diablo Crossover

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First the Super Mario 64 multiplayer romhack, and now this? This week is just retro-inspired all over! Adding to the list of wacky things nobody thought about for classic games, YouTuber user DolloM has recreated Doom in… Diablo II?

Doomiablo (name pending) is a mod of Diablo II that features you playing as the famous Doomguy doing what he does best, but this time in the isometric view of Diablo II. Everything you know and love about Doom is here, but it’ll be played like an point’n’click action RPG. You’ll face off against classic demons like Imps and Revenants. Doomguy will even get new loot in the form of armor that actually change his sprite, new guns that shoot projectiles, and more.

This video showcases the current tech demo. DolloM is currently seeking feedback, so if you’ve got some ideas for what could be changed or implemented, be sure to leave a comment on the video! Unfortunately DolloM has also stated that this is a very, very rough demo and there won’t be a playable one for at least a couple of months, if not longer.

We’re just wondering whether or not we’ll actually be able to fight the demons and Prime Evils from the Diablo universe. Andariel, Baal, Mephisto, and Diablo had a hard time with the Diablo heroes, but the Doomguy is an entirely new nightmare on his own.

Another interesting prospect is the idea of PvP. You can see a sample of it towards the end of the video, and it shows two Doomguys duking it out with various Doom guns. You know, the funny thing is that this isn’t too far off from PvP in Diablo II. Fighting other players in Diablo always consisted of a storm of projectiles on the screen, and it was an elegant dance of who could weave their own attacks in between dodging enemy attacks. This sort of looks like it could be the same thing!

Above all, it’s just really interesting that someone came up with the idea to do this. Props to you, DolloM!

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Gaming News

Super Mario 64 Online Co-op Is Now a Thing

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Ever wanted to play Super Mario 64 with a friend at the same time? An oddly specific request we know, but it’ll soon be a possibility thanks to rom hacker Kaze Emanuar. Kaze has a lot of experience with modding Super Mario 64. Just last month he released Super Mario 64 Maker, an editor where you can make your own levels in Mario 64.

Super Mario 64 online multiplayer has been done before, though. There have been mod projects dating as far back as 2012 that added experimental co-op play to the game, but Kaze promises his version will improve in all aspects. In other romhacks, both Marios were constrained to the same screen. If one of the Marios wandered too far from the other one, the camera would zoom so far out it made things pretty hard to see, much less control. This problem was compounded in certain levels that had vertical emphasis as a Mario falling but not quite dying got the camera stuck.

Kaze’s version of the romhack makes it so that both Marios have their own camera, and the experience will play out much like the regular version of Super Mario 64. Additionally, setting up the game was rather cumbersome, as it often called for external networking programs like LogMeIn’s Hamachi. There’s no playable download yet so we’re not quite sure how Kaze will handle it, but he says that his romhack will be relatively easy to setup.

Another issue was desync. Depending on the players’ computers and internet, the game could potentially desync and cause you to essentially lose “stable” connection to your friend. You would remain connected in a way, but everything your friend was doing would not be properly translated to your game, causing for some awkward movements from your buddy Mario. As you can probably guess, another promise from Kaze is no desyncs, which would be an impressive feat.

The project is currently in pre-alpha state, so hang tight for a playable alpha soon. Check out Kaze Emanuar’s other videos if you’re interested in more romhacks for Super Mario 64. He’s got some pretty cool stuff!

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Gaming News

Mega Man Inspired Roguelike 20XX Leaves Early Access

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Hooray! Another indie game left Early Access today, and it’s none other than the 2D side scrolling platform shooter 20XX20XX is what would happen if you took modern day roguelike elements and mashed them into one of the classic Mega Man X games. Piqued your interest yet? It’s currently sitting at a Very Positive rating out of 1,214 review of Steam at the moment and is hailed as the true successor to Mega Man, after the tragedy that was Mighty No. 9.

20XX is a roguelike action platformer where you’ll jump and shoot your way through procedurally changing levels. You’ll fight bosses at the end of each level and defeating them rewards you with numerous upgrades and new abilities. Be careful though – true to the genre, you’ll lose almost everything upon death, and you’ll have to start from scratch on your next run.

20XX was initially released on Steam through the Early Access program back in November 2014. This game has been in development for roughly three years, and it’s come a very long way. Today’s 1.00.0 patch will bring the game officially out of Early Access and adds the typical Steam dressings like achievements, trading cards, and more.

As for the actual game, there will be new bosses and new endgame content. Simply called the “Station,” this level will appear after level 8, which was previous final level. Here you’ll fight two new super tough bosses that will put everything you’ve learned so far to the test. There’s new music for previous stages, a proper ending cutscene, weapon and character balance changes, and a plethora of bug fixes.

An important note: previous players of 20XX will have their save files wiped, however leaderboard data and your game stats will remain in tact. While this means that you’ll lose any permanent progress you’ve made so far, you’ll keep your statistics which means some achievements will unlock right away! Now is the greatest time to jump into 20XX!

You can read the full patch notes on the 20XX Steam community announcement board.

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Gaming News

Boulder Dash Through Art History in Rock of Ages 2

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The wacky and zany boulder rolling adventure Rock of Ages is coming back to once again storm castles and forts in Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder. Developed by ACE Team, the studio behind unique titles like the FPS brawler Zeno Clash and the 2D platform dungeon crawler Abyss OdysseyRock of Ages 2 continues the legacy of the studio’s signature style and charm.

Rock of Ages 2 is a hilarious mix between tower defense and, well, rock rolling! You will travel through the art ages battling famous historical figures portrayed as animated vignettes. Just take a look at the trailer – the first thirty seconds sums up the game’s sense of humor pretty well. Players will get to see art from the Egyptians, Late Gothic and Early Renaissance era, Surrealist movement, and more!

Levels take place on tracks filled with natural obstacles and winding roads. Your boulder will charge up gradually, so in the mean time you can set down a variety of towers to defend your castle. Once your boulder is fully charged, it’s time to rock! Your boulder will roll out of your castle gates and you’ll take full control over it. It move likes how you’d expect a giant boulder to move, and the Unreal Engine 4 is capable of producing some awesome physics effects when you crash into things. Your job is to guide your boulder to your opponent’s castle and knock it down! The less damage your boulder takes on the way to the castle, the more damage it’ll do!

Rock of Ages 2 features new multiplayer modes, including an all-new 2-on-2 team match. You’ll co-operate with a buddy to take down the opposing team. Strategize with your tower placements, deploy your rocks at opportune moments, and seize the day! There’s also a new foosball mode that looks as silly as it sounds. There are new boulders that have unique properties to them, like a bomb boulder!

Rock of Ages 2: Bigger and Boulder launches on August 28 on PC/Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. As an awesome bonus, anyone who purchases the game within the first month of release will receive the Binding of Isaac DLC pack free! This pack adds Isaac as a castle character, and an Isaac themed boulder.

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Mobile News

Blizzard App Changes Name Again to Blizzard Battle.net

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A couple months ago Blizzard changed the Battle.net application name to be simply “Blizzard”. Many fans were confused why this change was necessary, but things started to make sense once we found out that Destiny 2 was going to exclusively be on the Blizzard app on PC. While somewhat understanding, the community was still a little upset. Today, Blizzard has announced that they are changing the name again, this time to reincorporate Battle.net. From here on out the Blizzard app will now be known as “Blizzard Battle.net”.

Blizzard themselves came to recognize just how important the name Battle.net really is. In the official statement Blizzard states that the name “…represents years of shared history and enjoyment, community and friendship, for all of us and our players.” That cannot be any more true, as Blizzard and Battle.net are names that resonate with PC gamers who grew up during the 90’s.

Take me, for an example. Throughout the 90’s I was still really young, and the only computer we had was a Power Mac G3. This was during the time where there were very little games to play on the Mac, but we could always rely on Blizzard to bring their flagship titles over like WarcraftStarcraft and Diablo. Battle.net was the multiplayer service for all three franchises, and soon it became a staple name. We just didn’t go “online” to play with friends; we went onto Battle.net!

And so, Battle.net is here to stay. We’re actually very curious as to what’s happening internally. Was the initial name change a cause of Activision or whatever side of Blizzard that isn’t actually Blizzard? And is this the real Blizzard getting back control over their brand? Whatever the cause we hope that things are okay over there, as we’re only a couple weeks away from the August 29 Destiny 2 PC beta.

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Editorials

The Unlikely Role of Twitch in Reviving Online Poker in America

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Twitch has grown to become the leading streaming platform for video gaming with a huge number of eSports teams and well-known professionals and video game enthusiasts sharing their virtual endeavors with a large viewing audience. Since the very beginning, gaming and Twitch seemed to have hit it of perfectly, creating a situation favorable to everyone: the platform, players, and the audience.

In the midst of all that, online poker slowly found its way into the streaming community. Although much different from the video games seen on other popular channels, a number of players saw Twitch as an opportunity to popularize online poker and, potentially, earn something in the process.

With time, the popularity of online poker channels on Twitch has been growing, with some streamers, such as Tonka, Jaime Staples, and recently Doug Polk (WCGRider), have gathered quite a big following.

For the first time in a while, young people from the US, who mostly had no exposure to online poker, were introduced to the game. The interest is clearly there, even if some of these people have no real experience with poker, so the question is: could Twitch play a crucial role in reviving online poker in America?

Reinventing the US online poker boom via Twitch

Whichever way anyone would like to think about it, the fact is that the interest for online poker in the US has been on a rapid decline. This is perfectly normal because young generations have no particular interest in the game they can’t really play, and many seasoned players often don’t want to deal with all the problems that come with playing at offshore sites accepting signups from the States.

This is where Twitch comes in as one thing that could keep the flame burning and at least pique the interest of the young crowd that hangs out on the platform. With many good American-based players streaming their online poker efforts, these people have an opportunity, for the first time, to see what the game is all about, how it is played, and what kind of a potential it offers.

Many of those who see online poker streams reach out to streamers to find out more. Many of them aren’t even sure if the game is played for real money, which goes to show that the popularity of online poker in the United States has declined quite a bit. But, by exposing people to the game, especially when playing on the sites that actually accept US players, interest in the game is being kept alive.

Quality of poker streams is crucial

There are many good online poker players out there, without a doubt. However, not all of them are fit to be Twitch streamers. If the fire for online poker is to be rekindled with young potential players from the USA, there needs to be more than just quality poker.

The fact is, most of them don’t really know what it means to play good poker.

Those streamers who are good at interacting with their audiences, answering their questions (even if they sometimes seem “stupid”), and are able to hype the things up are the ones who can turn things for the better. This is especially true for the likes of Doug Polk, who often streams the play from the US-friendly or regulated sites, and it is somewhat disappointing he decided to move all of his streaming almost exclusively to YouTube.

The Twitch crowd can be quite demanding, especially in a sense they primarily seek entertainment, and playing good tight poker can oftentimes be rather dull. That’s why it is important to have a kind of personality and charisma to keep people interested and engaged throughout, creating in them a desire to explore what online poker has to offer. Otherwise, they’ll just move on to watch something else.

The snowball is rolling to increase poker site popularity to Americans

One problem Twitch online poker streamers have to face, though, is the fact that it is hard to get through to the audience and actually create a fan base. Those on the top, like jcarver, Tonka, and Staples, pretty much have a monopoly, as their streams are the ones that people always click on. For others looking to stream, this is somewhat disheartening and begs the question if it is worth their time.

Clearly, the more streams there are, the more exposure there is for online poker, which is crucial for the revival of the game popularity in the USA. However, one can hardly expect people to embrace these noble goals and put them before their personal ones.

So, Twitch could do and is already doing a lot for the popularity of online poker in the States, at least keeping things alive while we’re awaiting some kind of a regulation. Whether this will be enough and when we can expect a reasonable regulation to be enforced remains to be seen.

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Gaming News

Going Mainstream? – ESports Getting Huge Opportunity!

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The early part of 2017 is going to be a major time for E-Gaming as it gets its first look inside a Las Vegas land-casino. The Luxor has decided to convert one of its nightclubs to an E-Gaming room which will be called ESports Arena. The room will play host to tournaments as well as enabling players to play one another at such times that tournaments are not taking place.

There are a handful of casinos in Las Vegas which are currently accepting bets on major ESports events, as well as many online casinos outside of the United States doing same. Furthermore, there are a number of sites that circumvent the laws concerning minors being able to gamble by accepting gambling, “Skins,” which can then be sold for actual real-world currency, in lieu of cash deposits. Of course, the majority of those sites are operating in a very dark gray, if not outright black, area of the law.

Of course, for individuals to place E-Gaming bets in land casinos in Las Vegas in perfectly legal provided the individual making the bets is of legal gaming age. Furthermore, the overseas sites that accept such wagers in tournaments such as CS:GO (and others) are operating legally. Unfortunately, players within the United States cannot access those sites.

Allied ESports, a tournament organizer, will be partnering (as they do) with ESports Arena Las Vegas to organize the tournaments and broadcast them live. Currently, as most gamers know, many of the major tournaments and games are already broadcast on various live streaming feeds.

The presence of one of these venues in Las Vegas may represent a new way to attract millennials to the casinos, which is almost certainly the ends that the Luxor is striving towards. The presence of the actual arena in the Luxor will enable bettors to place their wagers and, occupancy-permitting, be able to watch the ESporting event in question live in the arena.

It is difficult to say whether or not the revenues, including any revenue-sharing that may be taking place with the Luxor via advertisements during the events will result in an overall profit, (along with the actual wagering). However, the mere fact that Luxor is willing to make this attempt goes a long way towards legitimizing ESports. Furthermore, while ESports is certainly not a small market, a physical presence in a high-profile city such as Las Vegas may serve to market the concept to those who may only be loosely familiar, or completely unfamiliar, with it.

Personally, I’m looking forward to checking the whole thing out once it is up and going and I certainly hope it can find enough of a base in Las Vegas to justify the costs of putting the whole thing on. I could certainly see this spreading, at least in terms of more betting locations opening up their books for ESports events. If that happens, everyone benefits and the events might even gain some other casinos as co-sponsors.

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