Indie games don't sell as many copies as big-budget titles, although not necessarily because they're lower-quality. In general, indie game development starts with a handicap: a limited market. They are, mostly, experiences made for niche audiences. AAA games -- think Call of Duty, Halo, Battlefield, Destiny -- are made for everyone, an audience that's been intensely researched over decades of action-movie box-office sales and Black Friday marketing campaigns. AAA consultants know exactly which games sell the best, where they sell the most, how much the mainstream audience wants to think and what their boundaries are. This approach to creation contributes to the flood of sequels and first-person shooters in our game libraries, now and into the foreseeable future. Sony's and Microsoft's showcases at E3 2015 were soaked in sequels and remakes, leading some fans to question the creative status of the industry as a whole. But, the AAA industry does innovate -- in its own, small way.
Most people haven't hosted a party for 10,000 guests (the bathroom situation alone is daunting), but thanks to the internet and Jackbox Games, that's now a super-easy, low-mess situation. Quiplash is the newest game from Jackbox -- makers of You Don't Know Jack and Fibbage -- and it boasts a pretty cool feature: Just one person needs to own the game for up to 10,000 people to play in a single round. This is a game built for streaming.
Minecraft has proven to be an invaluable tool for educators and students. Not only is the game popular with children and adults, but its open, customisable nature means it can be used for all sorts of different purposes. Like learning to code, understanding Britain's geography and reimagining modern art. Microsoft clearly knows this, so it's launching a new portal where teachers can discuss the game and share classroom resources. The full site isn't live just yet, but the trailer below gives you an idea of what Microsoft and Mojang are aiming for. After this and its Hololens demonstration, it's clear the company sees its $2.5 billion acquisition as more than just a game with a guaranteed smash-hit sequel.
Mojang means Minecraft. But that's not the only thing the Microsoft-owned developer tinkers away at. Scrolls was another project: an online card-based battle game that's available across PC, Mac and tablets. Unfortunately, the title has reached the end of its life, with the developer announcing that it will discontinue work on the game. It doesn't offer up a particular reason for the quiet ending, but we've reached out to see if there was any particular reason -- the developer claimed a legal victory against Bethesda in being able to name the game "Scrolls" in the first place, but was bound from naming any sequels similarly. Mojang promises that it'll keep the servers running for another year, so that's twelve more months to tackle the latest update and levels, which were released only last month.
The trends of remaking and remastering classic games just kicked into overdrive. Rebellion (best known for its Sniper Elite games) has revealed that it's developing not just a virtual reality version of the original Battlezone, but a refresh of the 1998 Battlezone title for PCs -- yes, it's a remake getting a remaster. It's too soon to know what this new version will entail, although it'll probably be fun if it maintains the 'original' mix of tank-based action, real-time strategy and an alternate-history space race. Let's just hope that someone doesn't try to re-do the remaster a decade from now... that would be a bit much.
We know that Pavlovian conditioning can make you do all sorts of crazy things, so could it be used to make us all a bit healthier? Psychologists from the universities of Exeter and Cardiff believe that it's possible after building a "computer game" that, essentially, trains you to steer clear of bad food. Unfortunately, the game itself is just a flashcard routine where players are asked to push a button when they're shown salad and hold off when they see cookies. If we're honest, the bad guys in the food and drink industry still have the upper hand, just look at Cool Spot, the 1993 platformer that was a giant ad for 7 Up.
Whether you've already eagerly thrown money at the Shenmue 3 Kickstarter or are skeptically viewing the explanations, you can hear more directly from the man in charge tonight. Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki will hop on Twitch live at 10PM ET to talk about the upcoming PC and PS4 game in a Q&A. While you wait, the project recently revealed its list of stretch goals, which to this point are already filled to the tune of $3.6 million. Suzuki and Sony's plan is either a fantastic way to breathe life into a long-dormant franchise, or everything that's wrong with big companies using crowdfunding for publicity, but if you're a fan of the series, we'll see you back here in about half an hour.
When you head out to watch Terminator Genisys next week, you might want to get to the theater a little early. Not just to get good seats, but also to play a game on your phone before the movie starts. Based on Terminator Genisys: Revolution by Glu Mobile, it's apparently the first ever in-theater interactive game according to Paramount. To participate, simply join the local WiFi network (you'll see prompts to do so on your mobile device). You'll then be assigned to one of four teams, at which point you're instructed to point your phone at the movie screen to aim and shoot at incoming cyborgs. And don't worry about people doing this during the movie -- the game only lasts three minutes and is over before the film starts. Winning teams will get a poster of the movie, at least until July 2nd or while supplies last. The game is only playable in select participating theaters, the list for which you can find after the break.
In just under two weeks, Jurassic World has absolutely demolished box office records around the globe and has raked in over $1 billion to date according to Box Office Mojo. The film series is a natural fit for video-game (and virtual reality) tie-ins and since you gals and guys enjoyed us streaming a pair of those not too long ago, we figured it'd only be fitting that we'd go back to the island with Lego Jurassic World. Join me at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific as I wade through the muddy jungles of Isla Nublar completely blind on PlayStation 4.
Hatoful Boyfriend is a pigeon-dating simulator. You read that correctly and, yes, it means exactly what it sounds like. However, Hatoful Boyfriend is also much more than a pigeon-dating simulator: It's a dark tale of science experiments gone awry and a formerly human world now run by birds. In Hatoful Boyfriend -- released on Steam in September and on its way to PlayStation 4 and Vita this year -- you play as a young (human) woman and uncover truly terrifying things about this strange new avian world. Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star is a new game in the same pigeon-dating universe, due to hit PS4, Vita and PC this fall. As Mediatonic Producer Luke Borrett explains direct from E3 2015, Holiday Star features even wackier stories, including scenes reminiscent of Sailor Moon, a trip to a manga convention and birds in tanks. Watch a portion of our interview with Borrett below.