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Shacknews - Steve Watts

While the Xbox One turning on with the sound of your voice made for an impressive stage presentation, it didn't take long for the Internet to notice: doesn't that mean it's listening all the time? Today, in a bevy of new information that also included online checks and game licensing, Microsoft attempted to put fears at ease with more detail about the new Kinect's privacy settings.

In a detailed announcement, Microsoft stated that you'll personalize your Kinect during start-up. That will let you pick which settings are on from the start, and you can turn the sensor on, off, or pause it. When the Kinect is off, Microsoft says, it's only listening for the command "Xbox on," but you can disable that feature as well. When the Xbox One is in use, Microsoft is careful to note that it's not recording or uploading any conversation. Finally, you can use other inputs if you just want to turn off or pause the Kinect.

Concerning personal data, Microsoft claims that nothing will leave your Xbox One without explicit, expressed permission. It uses examples like a fitness game measuring heart data or a card game that views your face to determine the strength of a bluff.

This is all much more specific than the information we heard late last month, which simply promised privacy settings without going into detail.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Almost as soon as the Xbox One announcement ended, we started hearing contradictory tales from Microsoft regarding the system's connectivity requirements. The last two weeks have apparently given the company a chance to get its messaging straight, as it finally clarified today just how often the system needs to check in.

As confirmed on the official site the system will require an online check-in every 24 hours on your primary console. If you're accessing your game library on someone else's system, that window gets narrowed to every hour. The page warns: "Offline gaming is not possible after these prescribed times until you re-establish a connection, but you can still watch live TV and enjoy Blu-ray and DVD movies."

This is similar to what Phil Harrison told Kotaku, which apparently let the cat out of the bag early. Microsoft quickly told Polygon he was merely describing "potential scenarios."

More mundane details include the recommended connection speed (1.5Mbps), and the ability to sign in and install games from your friend's house to play them there. That's certainly convenient, but the one-hour check-in time might make it less welcoming.

Shacknews - Steve Watts
Steam announced a new "Family Sharing" feature today, and is accepting beta applications to test it. When it launches fully, close friends and family will be able to play one another's games, while still earning their own achievements and saving their individual progress through the cloud.
Shacknews - Steven Wong

The race between cops and robbers begines anew this year, with cars fully tuned up and ready to roll. The Need for Speed Rivals Complete Edition is set to release on October 21st in North America and the 24th in Europe. The Complete Edition includes all six DLC packs which are:



  • Ferrari Edition Special Complete Pack

  • Simply Jaguar Complete Pack

  • Concept Lamborghini Complete Pack

  • The Koenigsegg Agera One

  • Complete Movie Pack

  • Loaded Garage Pack


The Need for Speed Rivals Complete Edition is coming to the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PC. Our review of the game called it a satisfying experience and a sheer joy to play.


Shacknews - Steve Watts

Hyrule Warriors is set to kick off next week, and we liked it quite a bit. For any flaws the Dynasty Warriors series might have, mashing it together with Zelda tropes seems to have paid off. Link hasn't always been so lucky when it comes to venturing outside his traditional adventure game comfort zone, though. More often, Zelda spin-offs have been bonkers.


Link: The Faces of Evil Zelda: The Wand of Gameleon


Thanks to an ill-fated partnership with Phillips, Link starred in two side-scrolling games for the CD-i console. The games themselves resembled Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link, a divisive Zelda game in its own right. However, Faces of Evil and Wand of Gameleon had no weight behind the strikes. The tight and responsive gameplay that Nintendo is so well-known for was replaced by sluggish animations, unresponsive controls, and enemies that simply shredded like paper. 


To its credit, though, Wand of Gameleon was the first game to put Zelda in her own starring role. While Faces of Evil had a boilerplate plot revolving around Link visiting another kingdom to defeat Ganon, Gameleon let the princess stand on her own two feet. After the disappearance of the King and Link, she sets off to do some rescuing herself for a change, and ultimately gets to take down the big-bad of the series. It was pretty good payback, considering how often she's been a damsel in distress.


These days, both games are remembered most for their wacky FMV cutscenes and bizarre characterization. Just look at the wistful look in Link's eyes as he fantasizes about getting another chance to hack away at a pig monster. "I just wonder what Ganon's up to..." We're sure you do, Link.


 




Zelda's Adventure


Only eight months later, Link managed to get himself captured again. The third and final game in the Phillips deal was handled by a completely different developer, and eschewed the side-scrolling style in favor of a more traditional top-down Zelda game. It once again starred Zelda herself, who set out to save Link again. Phillips was apparently much more progressive than Nintendo at the time, given that this was years before Shiek mad her first appearance.


Zelda's Adventure was also wise enough to avoid hastily thrown-together animated cutscenes. But, this being the age of FMV, it instead went with hastily thrown-together live-action cutscenes.





Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland


More than any other character in the series, Tingle is a sign of the differences in Japanese and American sensibilities. Created by Takaya Imamura, he's a silly, stocky little man with a fairy obsession. It's impossible to tell if he's meant to be an ugly gay stereotype or a Michael-Jackson-esque man-child. Americans haven't really known what to make of the character, but in Japan he's apparently popular enough to demand three spin-offs. Three. By comparison Zelda herself has only had two, and they weren't even made by Nintendo.


Fun Fact: Throughout the series, we've met Tingle's three brothers: Ankle, Knuckle, and the must-have-been-adopted David, Jr.


Tingle's first solo adventure displays everything strange and off-putting about the character. The title is comically flamboyant, and the story raises troubling questions about the Zelda world. It revolves around an old man who tricks a relatively normal Tingle into becoming a fairy-person by promising him access to a land made of money. In the process, Tingle becomes reliant on Rupees to sustain his life. This is exactly the sort of case you'd think the kingdom's resident hero would take up, but Link is too busy fighting pig monsters. Instead, Tingle discovers the duplicity and battles the old man himself, being irreparably changed into a creepy character. 


(On the bright side, the actual game mechanics of building a tower and exploring dungeons was fairly well-received in Japan and Europe. It never came out in America.)




Tingle's Balloon Fight DS


The quintessential mash-up, Tingle's Balloon Fight was a reward for Club Nintendo members. It was the classic NES game, except it starred Tingle instead of Anonymous Helmeted Man and had slightly upgraded graphics. On the bright side, Tingle didn't talk much.





Ripened Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love


The Voltron of Tingle spin-offs, this one borrowed the naming conventions of the first game and the balloon motif of the second. Like Rupeeland, Balloon Trip of Love featured the character as an ordinary middle-aged man trapped by forces beyond his control. In this case, he was sucked into a magical book where he has to dance with several princesses.


The plot is mostly a parody of the classic film The Wizard of Oz, as Tingle meets and journeys down the Yellow Brick Road with a scarecrow, a tin man, and a lion. That would put him in the role of Judy Garland, who is something of a gay icon for her part in the film. Subtle!




Link's Crossbow Training


As the Wii exploded in popularity thanks to college dorms and retirement homes enjoying virtual bowling, Nintendo attempted to appease the fans of its classic franchises with Link's Crossbow Training. Twilight Princess had been a bona fide hit, but nothing about it really needed the Wii properties to function, as evidenced by its simultaneous GameCube release. Crossbow Training was a Wii title through-and-through, and packaged with the "Wii Zapper" for extra nostalgic cred.


Unfortunately, if it proved anything, it was just how shallow motion experiences could be. It was derided in reviews for being entirely too short, with only a few modes to choose from and not enough stages in each. If Nintendo was already struggling to make one of its most popular franchises work with waggle in 2007, it's no wonder the concept was running out of steam only a few years later.


Shacknews - Daniel Perez

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel will soon be available in just a few weeks, which means you’ve got a lot of planning to do in order to make your character the most badass human being, or robot, on the moon and beyond. As Gearbox Software and 2K Games have done with past iterations of the Borderlands series, the official skill tree calculator has just been launched.


You’ll be able to pick from Claptrap, Wilhelm, Athena and Nisha to get a better understanding of what their skill trees look like prior to dedicating yourself to any of their classes. You’ll start off with just 48 points to play around within the Fragtrap, Enforcer, Gladiator or Lawbringer skill trees. One of my personal favorites has to be Claptrap’s center tree, which is called “I Love You Guys.” I won’t ruin what it is, but let’s just say you’ll want to pay close attention to a play that uses it during co-op play.


Think you have the perfect skill tree for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel? Feel free to share them in Chatty.

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time still stands as one of the greatest console games of all time. Of course, if you ask even its most devoted fans, they'll tell you that the hardest part of the game is the dreaded Water Temple.


But is it just as hard in 2014 as it was back in 1998? The Shacknews video crew's Andrew Zucosky is about to find out in this edition of the Throwback Thursday stream.


To catch all of our streams, be sure to subscribe to Shacknews on Twitch!


Watch live video from Shacknews on www.twitch.tv

Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

During last Friday's Nintendo Treehouse stream, Nintendo revealed that they would be releasing the demo for Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, prior to the game's release on October 3. What ensued was a fan scramble unlike quite any other, with thousands of people scouring the internet for early access codes.


It is now safe to stop gouging one another. Nintendo has officially released the Super Smash Bros. demo on 3DS to the public on the 3DS eShop.


The demo features single-player or local multiplayer 2-minute free-for-all brawls. Players can select between Mario, Link, Pikachu, Villager, and Mega Man and duke it out on the Battlefield stage only. All of the game's items appear to be in place, though they can be disabled by selecting the Battlefield's 'Final Destination' setting.

Shacknews - Steven Wong

It looks like Battlefield Hardline won't be limiting the war between cops and robbers to all-out street battles. In the newly announced Hotwire mode, shown in the gameplay video below, players from both sides of the law can jump into high speed car chases. It's sort of like Need for Speed Rivals, but with a lot more firepower involved, and an all new kind of Battlefield.


Battlefield Hardline is expected to release in 2015 on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.


Shacknews - Ozzie Mejia

The series of adventures starring Lightning and her friends is set to make the jump from consoles onto PC. Square Enix confirmed at this year's Tokyo Game Show that the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy will be coming to Steam, beginning with the first Final Fantasy XIII on October 9.


Videogamer notes that the first game's Steam listing is now active, revealing a $15.99 price tag, with a 10% off pre-order rate. Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII are expected to release before spring 2015.

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