Shacknews - Bill Lavoy

Although it’s easy for Gamescom 2017 to fly under your radar after events like E3, and being wedged between SDCC and Pax West, it’s a huge gaming event that you should probably pay attention to. No doubt there will be news coming out of it about something you’re interested in, so make sure you’re up to speed on the event dates and how to get tickets if you’re in the area. The area being Cologne, Germany.

When is Gamescom 2017?

Gamescom 2017 runs from Tuesday, August 22 until Saturday, August 26. August 22, however, is for trade visitors and media. For the public, Gamescom runs from Wednesday, August 23 until Saturday, August 26.

Below are the event hours of operation:

  • Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 am. To 8 p.m.

Of course, the times listed above are local to Cologne (GMT+2), so if you try watching Gamescom coverage at 7 p.m. EDT on a Saturday, you’re going to be disappointed. To avoid this potential problem, try using an online time zone converter to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Gamescom 2017 Tickets

Gamescom 2017 tickets are still available for both Wednesday and Thursday of the event, Unfortunately, Friday and Saturday are both sold out. If you are still interested in getting tickets, we’d advise that you go directly to the source and check the Gamescom 2017 ticket page. If you can’t find the answer to your questions there, the next step is the Gamescom 2017 FAQ.

If you’re not able to make it to Cologne for Gamescom 2017, the next best option is to snag the PUBG Gamescom Invitational crate. We know you're playing.

Shacknews - Kevin Tucker

This has been an interesting week in the mobile and portable gaming kingdom. Sonic Mania has released for the Nintendo Switch for the delightfully-low price of $20, meaning handheld players can catch up on some fresh-yet-old-school platforming action, and Pokemon Go has been featured in stories explaining some previously-unrevealed mechanics. Not everything has gone well for everyone, however, as both Nintendo and Disney are being sued for alleged wrongdoing. As always, we've got the highlights featured below in this week's Modojo Rewind.

Rings, Portals, Emeralds, And More

We wouldn't be doing very good work if we'd passed on the opportunity to highlight Sonic Mania, the latest and perhaps one of the greatest Sonic titles ever to release. The game has been made with the help of some of the series' biggest fans, and it shows: Sonic Mania plays like a love letter to the Sonic titles of yesteryear. Small wonder it's become so popular so quickly.

Naturally, this means some fan-favorite mechanics and bonuses have returned. In particular, fans can seek out all of the game's secret stages in order to collect Chaos Emeralds, which can be used to unlock the ultra-powerful Super Sonic. Players can also open up portals to the game's bonus stages in order to unlock goodies like the Mean Bean mode, which presents a nearly-complete emulated version of the classic puzzler Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. Lastly, we've also put together a guide for players who wish to open up debug mode and stage select in Sonic Mania.

We've also got a few new guides for all the mobile fans eagerly awaiting Apple's upcoming fall release of iOS 11. Though no specific date has been set, we've got information on when users can upgrade to iOS 11 as well as highlights on the features they can expect from the operating system, and we've also put together an extensive list of the games that won't be compatible with iOS 11 due to a lack of 64-bit updates.

Better Call Saul

The stench of legal conflict hangs around the air this week as two major companies and game publishers are being sued for two different reasons. Disney is being taken to court over allegedly spying on children through a huge number of Disney-based games and selling that information to third-party ad agencies. Such behavior is said to be in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, and the plaintiff is seeking an injunction against the company.

Nintendo is also embroiled in a legal suit, though this time the company is on the receiving end of the case. Games accessory manufacturer Gamevice is suing Nintendo for allegedly violating the patent for their Wikipad console's signature detachable Bluetooth-enabled controllers. The company filed a patent for their design in 2013, and seeks for an undisclosed amount in damages as well as a total cease of Nintendo Switch production. This is a big story, so we'll be sure to keep everyone updated as new information comes to light.

We never want to close these stories out on a bad note, so we've got some fresh new content out there for all the Pokemon Go players still getting their training and capturing fix. Shiny Pikachus have begun spawning in the wild, and in a pleasant turn of events, capturing them isn't as complicated as might be expected. Pokemon Go-based subreddit-turned-website The Silph Road has also dropped some new information regarding previously-undisclosed reward multipliers, giving us the opportunity to write a guide about how Pokemon Go raid battle reward multipliers work. Lastly, we've also got all the information players need in order to take part in Niantic's newly-revealed invite-only raid battles.

These are but a taste of the stories we've been cooking up this week. As always, stay on top of the mobile and portable gaming realm by keeping your browser tuned to Modojo.

Shacknews - Joe Stasio

Calm down, buddy. We all know what you’re thinking. You’re desperate for a podcast that speaks to you—no, speaks to your soul. A podcast that feels like your mind is being opened like a cracked coconut, a podcast that infiltrates your very life-force. We get it because we’re all looking for that, too.

As it happens, today’s your lucky day. The Cartridge Family has arrived on your podcast app’s doorstep and is ready to carry you away to another world—a world so ripe with good feelings and the latest information on gaming, that it’s literally bursting out from the very seams of your smartphone, device, or workstation. That’s right, thus dawns a new era of podcast-listening, the era of The Cartridge Family.

We hope you’ll enjoy episode one of our new show, as we discuss the Crackdown 3 Delay, the mass’s affection for Sonic Mania, and of course the upcoming release of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. We’ll tease John about his upcoming trip to Cologne, Germany for GamesCom before taking a slightly cynical look at the upcoming Xbox One X launch. Things will wrap up with a hot take on NBA Live 18, and the curious case of the missing Virtual Console.

On this week's episode: Vincent Genova, Chris Buffa, John Benyamine, and Joe Stasio.

Thanks for listening and be sure to tune in next week for Episode 002.

Subscribe using your favorite app and stay tuned for more podcasts coming to Shacknews.com.

Shacknews - Bill Lavoy

Now that Sonic Mania is in the hands of players on the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, gamers are busy trying to unlock all its features. Two of those, the Debug Mode and Level Select, are among the most sought after. Well, after figuring out how to unlock Super Sonic that is.

How to Unlock Debug Mode

Unfortunately, the first time you play Sonic Mania, Debug Mode will not be unlocked. Doing so requires that you play the game and complete Blue Sphere stages. These are accessed whenever you please so long as you’re at a checkpoint and have 25 rings in your inventory.

To successfully complete a Blue Sphere stage players will need to collect as many spheres as they can prior to the clock ticking down. When the clock does reach zero, the number of spheres you’ve collected will be tallied and you’ll be awarded a medal. When you’ve earned enough medals, the game will give you a notification that you’ve unlocked Debug Mode. Unfortunately, we don’t know how many medals that is at this point.

How to Activate Debug Mode

Debug Mode is much easier to activate than it is to unlock. Not that unlocking it is hard, but the activation is downright simple. Below you’ll find instructions to unlock Debug Mode on the PS4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch.

PS4 Debug Mode

To access this on the PS4, highlight the no save file option on the main menu and press the triangle button on your DualShock4 controller. Open the secrets menu and enable Debug Mode. Back out of the window for save selects and again highlight the no save option. If you press the square button on your DualShock 4 controller, you’ll be taken to the level select screen. After loading into a level, press and hold the triangle button on your PS4 DualShock4 controller and you’ll enter Debug Mode.

Nintendo Switch Debug Mode

For the Nintendo Switch Debug Mode, allow the title screen to load, then press and hold both B and Y. Do this until the press any button prompt appears. Pressing any button will take you to the game’s level select screen. Enter the level of your choosing, then press X to launch Debug Mode.

Xbox One Debug Mode

The instructions to get into this mode on the Xbox One are similar to that of the PS4. Follow the PS4 instructions above until you get to the point where you’ve selected and entered a level via the level select screen. Press the Y button on your Xbox One controller and the Debug Mode will launch.

Now that you’re into the Sonic Mania Debug mode on your PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, look at the Shacknews Sonic Mania Guide hub. You’ll find all the resources you need to make the most of your time.

Shacknews - Charles Singletary

In a report on Rocket League's new collegiate league, we wondered if the NCAA would consider an official collegiate esports union of their own. As reported by ESPN, it appears the conversation has at least started.

"The majority of varsity programs have been built intentionally to stay separate of the NCAA's oversight, mostly due to the restrictions of operating under the NCAA's bylaws," says Michael Brooks, the Executive Director of the National Associate of Collegiate Esports, in a statement to ESPN. "Unless there are some pretty dramatic exceptions being considered specifically for esports, the NCAA would be unlikely to be able to absorb esports under its banner."

The article shares the NCAA board of governors will be meeting in October and that the esports landscape will a topic of discussion for them. Some colleges already offer scholarships that cover tuition and room and board to esports players and the article mentions a publication dedicated to esports specifically reporting that 40 schools were devoting $4 million to 655 players. 

With universities already dipping a toe into the cool esport waters, hopefully, the governors will come away with a plan to dive fully into the deep end and get things started on a true NCAA esport infrastructure. Though the NCAA has strayed far away from any video game licensing (RIP NCAA Football games), maybe they'll be willing get more involved with esports. We'll update as more information is made available.

Shacknews - Charles Singletary

Psyonix, the developer behind Rocket League, has announced that they’ll be bringing the indie esports hit to colleges in the US and Canada. The developer has partnered with college gaming network Tespa for what is officially called the Collegiate Rocket League or CRL.

This new league is an expansion of a partnership between Psyonix and Tenga that was initiated when they teamed up for the CRL Summer Series this year. The new CRL will start this September and end with a 3v3 tournament for $50,000 in scholarships in early December.

The two teams involved in that tournament will be determined by a playoff that takes place in November. For those that don’t initially qualify for the playoffs, there’s going to be an Open Ladder competition where the winner will able to enter the playoffs as a wildcard entry. The playoffs will begin with eight teams from the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western conferences.

With leagues like this and the potential for esports to be a part of the Olympics, one could wonder if the NCAA would establish a concrete esports identity for all of collegiate athletics. Registration is currently open for CRL and closes on September 22 for Qualifier 1 and September 29 for Qualifier 2. You can sign up on the CRL website and find more information in Psyonix’s announcement of the Fall league.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Atari and LGBT Media have joined forces and will start a new project together. In turn, LGBT will acquire Atari's Pridefest app and rework it, then relaunch it under its own corporate umbrella.

LGBT Media is best known for its social app LGBTQutie, a dating and partnership app designed to bring together people looking for a relationship or just wanting to socialize and have fun. Atari's Pridefest app lets players create colorful cities, design amusement parks and more.

“When meeting the co-founders of LGBTQutie, Rachel Kimelman and Jordan Weiss, it became clear that the team’s extensive expertise and relationships within the LGBTQ community would benefit Pridefest,” Atari CEO Fred Chesnais said in a press release. “We knew that joining forces with LGBTQutie was the best course of action to further develop and grow the game.”

“Pridefest is centered on the celebration of LGBTQ culture and pride and will allow users to have a fun, engaging and interactive experience,” added Rachel Kimelman,  Co-founder of LGBTQutie. “By combining the respective experience levels of both of our companies, we hope to provide players with a new standard for LGBT gaming.”

Atari launched Pridefest in January of last year, trying to capitalize on a demographic it sees as underrepresented, Atari COO Todd Shallbetter said when Pridefest was announced, but at the same time the decision was about money. "We're in business," he said. "We do love the craft, but, at the end of the day, we're trying to return something to the shareholders. [Pridefest] makes sense from a business perspective."

Shacknews - Jason Venter

Konami has struck a deal with England’s famous soccer player, David Beckham. The superstar’s career will be recreated in PES 2018, which will feature several versions of the athlete taken from key points in his spectacular career.

David Beckham’s 20-year career included 19 major trophies, as he played on teams for a variety of countries that included England, Spain, Italy, and even the United States of America before his retirement in 2013. He was the first British player to be featured in 100 UEFA Champions League matches, and his career garnered an impressive 115 England caps.

“It’s a great honour to join the roster of legends that work with Konami as PES Ambassadors,” David Beckham said of the new development. “I look forward to seeing my career represented in this fantastic game, and working with such a talented team of people who obviously love football as much as I do.”

PES 2018 is due to arrive on September 12, 2017. The myClub mode will represent five eras depicting Beckham during his time at the various clubs. Today’s press release promises the game will capture the athlete’s playing style and abilities for use across multiple campaigns.

“David Beckham is rightfully a legend within the game, and we are delighted to welcome him to the PES family,” said Jonas Lygaard, Senior Director of Brand & Business Development at Konami Digital Entertainment B.V. “His fantastic career and all he has achieved will be faithfully recreated for those playing PES 2018, and we look forward to working with him as we unite to promote PES 2018 as the definitive football title.”

Konami notes that no part of the game’s design has been left untouched in this year’s iteration, and there have been a few additions to the control systems, as well as a new user interface to simplify the process. Players can look forward to Random Selection matches, pre-season tournaments in the Master League, pre-match interviews and more.

Players interested in picking up PES 2018 will be able to find it on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. A Steam edition is also on the way, and Konami promises parity with the console editions. From the sound of things, Beckham picked the right time to jump on board.

Shacknews - Jason Venter

Sega has announced that Yakuza 6: The Song of Life is slated to arrive in the west on March 20, 2018. The PlayStation 4 exclusive will retail for $59.99/CA$79.99 in North America, £49.99 in the United Kingdom, €59.99 throughout the remainder of Europe, and for A$89.99 in Australia. It’s a multi-national sort of affair.

As the star of the series since its first installment (though the games like to give multiple leads their own sprawling segments), Kazuma Kiryu will once again assume the lead role. Yakuza 5 ended with him in a tight spot indeed, so hopefully the next chapter will conclude with everyone finally finding some of the peace Kiryu has so long pursued.

“In Yakuza 6, Kiry will find out exactly how much people are willing to sacrifice for family – be those ties through blood or bond – when he investigates a series of shadowy events that involve the ones he holds closest to his heart,” says the press release. “He’ll journey to familiar grounds in Kamurocho and the new setting of Onomichi, a beautiful, sleepy port town in Hiroshima Prefecture, in order to find the answers he seeks.”

Yakuza 6 employs the new Dragon Engine to present the “ultimate iteration” of the blend of violence, combat, vices and “distractions” for which the series is known. Visits to the popular hostess clubs and arcades are implied.

If you have been following the Yakuza series since its first North American release on PlayStation 2 in 2006, you might be interested in picking up the announced “After Hours Premium Edition,” which includes a hardcover art book, two bar glasses (with 280ml capacity), two ice stones, two coasters with Tojo Clan branding, plus an outer box in which to store it all. The pricing for that deluxe edition is $89.99/CA$119.99/£79.99/€89.99/A$129.99 in the regions noted above.

Even if you’re not ready to pay that premium, you can preorder the standard version to snag a launch edition that includes a hardcover art book you can also use to hold the game disc. After treating one of its finest properties roughly for years (the exceptional Yakuza 5 didn’t even make it west except as a download), Sega is finally ready to put Kiryu and his family in the spotlight. Are you planning to come on board for the final chapter?

Shacknews - Chris Jarrard

Another week comes to a close and brings with it a weekend full of hot game deals. Highlights for the last weekend before Gamescom 2017 include deals on the Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War Series, Mass Effect: Andromeda, and Titanfall 2. Below is a list of the best game deals and a few pieces of gaming hardware at low prices.

Humble Store

Dawn of War Franchise Sale - Up to 75% offDawn of War III - $44.99Dawn of War II: Master Collection - $13.74

EA Origin

Mass Effect: Andromeda - $19.99Titanfall 2 - $19.99Fifa 17 - $9.99Need For Speed - $9.99Mirror’s Edge Catalyst - $4.99Star Wars Battlefront Ultimate Edition - $4.99

Steam

Capcom Collection SaleStreet Fighter 4 - $19.99Resident Evil 7 - $35.99Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - $14.99Dead Rising 4 - $23.99

Bundle Stars

Summer Sale 2017 - Additional 10% off with code: SUMMER10Sonic Mania (Pre-Order) - $15.99Rocket League - $11.99Overcooked - $8.49

Amazon Gamescom Sale

20% Off Select Items With Code: GAMESCOM20(Prices are before 20% discount)Steelseries Rival 300 Mouse - $44.99Corsair K70 LUX RGB Mechanical Keyboard - $129.99Coolermaster Masterkeys Pro L White with Cherry MX Reds - $99.99

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