Shacknews - Asif Khan

I am pleased to announce a new line of products for the Shack Shop. Our Shack Analytics based on Chatty search showed us that while Shackers liked our more expensive and high quality T-Shirts, like the Classic, Classic Mini, and 20th Anniversary shirts, there was a gap in our product line. Shackers are smart buyers and today we have the products for you...

I can't do this. Shacknews has been losing money for years. I have to come clean with you guys. I spent all the money on the E3 booth. We can't afford our AWS bill, but if I can sell enough stuff today we can make it to E3. So today, I really hope you open up your hearts and wallets to us by buying these new products. 

First up is Signed Picture of Lola. For only $5, I will sign this picture of my dog Lola. Do the needful.

Shacknews - Josh Barnes

In the year of our Lord, 1989, not only was the world graced with the presence of one dashingly handsome future video game journalist, it was also brightened by the release of a device that would go on to turn a former love hotel business into a portable video game giant. This device was the Nintendo Game Boy. Since then, many have tried their hand at convincing people to play quality video games on the go, but none have captured the success of Nintendo. Though Sony did make a really good device and then forget to make any more exclusive games for it. But-thats-none-of-my-business.jpg.

Welcome to Modojo Rewind, where we regale you with stories that feature gaming in the palms of your hands. We do phones and stuff too. N-n-news!

I don't see what there is to be confused about

Get The Gist With A List

We've had a bit of a long-term project going on over at Modojo, and it involves making more lists than you can shake a stick at. Don't believe me? Grab a stick and come check out our Best 3DS Games, featuring Luigi's Mansion — the only game with a freaky ghost bed. We've got Best Android Games and Best iOS Games as well, one of which features the excellent Bastion...but which one?? Our Best PSP Games list has the objectively amazing Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and I won't hear any sass that claims otherwise.

There's also the Best GBA Games list, in which I gush about Mother 3 and include everyone's favorite Castlevania game, Music Term of Depressing Word. We even have a Best Game Gear Games list, in case you can remember that existing without having PTSD about its battery consumption. Finally, Modojo is the only place you'll ever read a Best Game Boy and GBC Games list that includes Final Fantasy Legend III.

Now actually playable on modern PCs

Get The...Uh...Shoes...With The News? Look, writing is hard.

Do you like fighting demons in the decidedly Japanese future end times? Then you probably already played Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, but now you can play an improved version of it with the newly announced Deep Strange Journey. If you prefer your dungeon crawling in less oppressive atmospheres, then the crossover title Etrian Mystery Dungeon will be getting a sequel. That Radiant Historia remaster got a trailer and is still looking excellent, outside of a questionably redesigned character.

Our own Steve Tyminski reviewed the crazy new title Snake Pass, and there are more S's than any article we've ever published. I don't have any evidence to back that up, but I feel pretty confident. Fire Emblem Heroes has a Springtime Festival going, which apparently involves dressing its characters up in...well...”festive” outfits. Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy releases on April 18, hopefully featuring a killer soundtrack. The Samsung S8 has been officially unveiled, now with less explosive properties. Finally, the excellent Planescape: Torment has an Enhanced Edition on the way April 11 for PC and mobile devices. Possibly the only game in which you can help a pregnant alley give birth.

Maybe one day we'll have a Modojo Fast Forward where we predict the news of the future, but until then you'll just have to settle for another Rewind. Have a lovely weekend rocking back and forth in your chairs as you wait impatiently for Persona 5.

Modojo is your homebase for mobile and portable gaming and tech news. You wanna read about the Switch or 3DS? Come on down. How about app store titles? We've got you covered. Interested in mobile VR or phones themselves? We write about 'em. Hell, if Sony were so bold as to release a Vita game, we'd cover that too. Our patron saint is Robomo, the wise-cracking robot.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Welcome back to This Week @ Shack, your weekly dose of news, commentary, video, guides, and goings-on.

Almost every year around this time, the consistently pretty great reviews for MLB: The Show 17 make me wonder if I should try picking up the virtual bat again. It's the springtime equivalent to "maybe I should try Madden" in the fall. Without fail, though, I've always found that I'm more excited about playing sports games on a theoretical level than in practical use. Somehow, they always lose me after only a few days.

That's not to take away from the craftsmanship of them. MLB The Show is a respected series for good reason. Madden has had a rockier history with more ups and downs, but it's still the go-to example for simulation football. And while I enjoy watching football on TV, or baseball in-person because it's boring on TV, the simulation just doesn't connect with me. 

(I haven't tried MLB The Show 17 yet, and our reviewer Bryan Carr makes it sound pretty great. But he also has baseball pajamas, so.)

I watched Sports Night a few years after its short-lived run, and the very first episode has a scene that constantly comes to mind when I play simulation sports games. Casey, the anchor, is talking with Jeremy, the researcher. Jeremy goes into exhaustive detail about a series of no less than seven pitches that eventually led to a grounder to the shortstop. Casey is baffled by putting all that detail into a highlight reel, but Jeremy calls it "the inevitable conclusion to a job well done." 

It's a solid punchline, but playing simulation sports games always makes me feel like Casey. I don't have a head for all the careful nuances of baseball, or football for that matter. And in a world where The Show owns baseball and Madden owns football, there isn't much room for casual, arcade sports games. Give me an NBA Jam or NFL Blitz or even Cyberball. I just want the highlights. 

News of the World:

Featured Features:

Guides to Life:

Full-Motion Videos:

Shacknews - David Craddock

Even if you logged thousands of hours exploring the planets and wooing the races of the original Mass Effect trilogy, Mass Effect Andromeda shakes up BioWare's formula in enough ways to throw off veterans. Or, this might be your first Mass Effect game. Either way, this guide makes an excellent starting point.

The tips, tricks, and strategies you'll find here will serve you best during the beginning of your quest to colonize planets and trick out your Ryder character with all the best gear and skills. If you want more detailed information on a particular topic, click the link in its section to view a comprehensive guide.

Level Up Physical Stats First

Even if your Scott or Sara Ryder doesn't plan to get up close and personal during combat, it behooves you to prioritize increasing physical stats. Think of them as a catch-all: Not only will you do more damage, your shields will get a boost and your shot accuracy improves. Even late into the game, when you find yourself wondering what to upgrade, give thought to dropping more points into physical stats. Don't sweat mistakes: you can always respec later.

Help Your Helping Hands

Your allies are good for more than story arcs and romance. Ryder depends on his or her allies to harness their strengths. Ignoring their stats and focusing all your time and energy on your main character will make later parts of the game an uphill struggle.

Research, Develop, and Craft

Crafting enables you to make gear that augments your party's abilities. You'll craft in two phases: research and development. Research entails unlocking blueprints that expand the weapons, armor, and other items you can construct in the second phase: development, carried out in the Development menu. If you want to make something but don't have the option, highlight it and press Square on PS4 or X on Xbox One and PC to find out what ingredients it requires.

Scanning Planets and Anomaly

Scanning offers another method of researching. As you cruise through the galaxy, you'll get the option to scan planets individually. That coughs up a small amount of research points, though. Set your sights on various anomalies you'll come across as you travel solar systems.

Gather Materials for More Crafting

Once you land on a planet, keep your eyes peeled for rocks that look out of place; you can mine them for materials. However, you'll net even more materials by hopping in your Nomad and enabling the mining computer, which guides you to larger deposits. Deposits contain variable amounts of elements. As you drive, keep your mining computer up and watch the graphs to see when you draw close to an element you want. Then dispatch a drone to harvest it.

Upgrade Your Nomad

Some merchants sell upgrade parts for your Nomad vehicles. There are ways to boost its suspension, defensive capabilities, and more. Some of the materials you need for certain upgrades can also be put toward more valuable upgrades, so you're better off leaving Nomad mods for later.

Access AVP Pods

Throughout the game, you'll be able to unlock AVP pods that earn you resources after certain intervals of time pass. Seek out Commerce pods; they deposit 500 credits into your account every 45 minutes. Go exploring, do a mission or three, and before you know it you'll be swimming in cash to spend on weapons and gear.

Once you're happy with the credits to your name, it's time to diversify your AVP portfolio. Switch to Science pods that boost your minerals. More Science pods increasing your minerals means less time spent searching them out on planets.

Make sure to hyper-jump over to our Mass Effect Andromeda guide for more walkthroughs and tips.

Shacknews - John Keefer

The new Hearthstone expansion, Journey to Un'Goro, is coming on April 6. That date will mark the end of the Year of the Kraken and the beginning of the Year of the Mammoth. In preparation for the release, Blizzard is enticing players just to log in each day to get some nice rewards.

Here's the schedule for the remaining goodies:

  • Today: 100 Dust
  • April 1: Whispers of the Old Gods card pack
  • April 2: Journey to Un'Goro card pack
  • April 3: 50 gold
  • April 4: Journey to Un'Goro card pack
  • April 5: The Golden Volcanosaur. Just look at that thing.

The fine print for the Golden Volcanosaur requires: "To receive the golden Volcanosaur card reward, you will need to log in with a Hearthstone client that has been fully updated for Journey to Un'Goro." The expansion will probably preload in the next few days, letting you claim the login reward.

A new Tavern Brawl also began this week, which offers another Un'Goro pack, so jump in if you haven't already. Steve has been all over the cards coming in the Journey to Un'Goro expansion and you can check them out below:

Shacknews - John Keefer

Total War: Warhammer has done very well for Sega and developer Creative Assembly, breaking franchise sales records shortly after launch last May. So it stands to reason that a sequel is in the works. Oh, look, a press release and announcement trailer for Total War: Warhammer 2!

The next installment in the planned Warhammer trilogy will take players to a new world of four continents: Ulthuan, Naggaroth, The Southlands, and Lustria. Those continents will be populated by High Elves, Dark Elves, Lizardmen and a fourth race that marketing wants to keep secret so they can hype it later with a reveal trailer. And, if players own the first game, a campaign map combining both the Old World and the New World, will be released shortly after launch.

The campaign will focus on the the various factions trying to stabilize or destroy an "ailing Great Vortex that has swirled for millennia above the elven homeland of Ulthuan." An ominous cataclysmic endgame is promised. This "new style of campaign" promises hundreds of hour of game play, along with new features inspired by Warhammer lore.

“Total War: Warhammer II represents the next step in our trilogy, our vision for the most incredible fantasy strategy series ever made,” Game Director Ian Roxburgh said in a statement. “The success of the first game has increased our ambition; we’re not only going to deliver a thrilling campaign in the sequel, but also an additional combined campaign, the biggest so far, for owners of both.”

While there is no official release date, Sega has confirmed that the game will be out this year, likely on PC only. The Creative Assembly holds true to its previous plan for post-launch content, players can expect new races, quests and heroes through a combination of paid DLC and Free-LC.

 

Shacknews - John Keefer

The Hearthstone Global Games are coming up on April 11, and 48 countries will have teams in the tournament that should run over the next few months. But already Team Germany has taken a few hits as two of its members have been banned over a feud stemming from an incident two years ago.

When popular Hearthstone streamer Mats “P4wnyhof” Kathage was named as member of the team in February by community vote, opponents raised a stink, pointing to an incident in 2014 where Kathage and been an admin and a player in a tournament that ended up giving his team a more favorable seeding and based on some weird tiebreaker rules. The machinations didn't sit well with peers, and the bad blood bubbled to the surface again with his official addition to the HGG team. Two potential teammates threatened to pull out if he was actually named after his nomination, with Sebastian “Forsen” Fors actually following through on the threat. He has since been replaced.

That was not the end of it as apparently both Kathage and new teammate Thomas “Sintolol” Zimmer got into it over Discord chat, with Kathage throwing around homophobic comments. Not to be outdone, Zimmer responded on one of his streams calling Kathage's backers “mentally handicapped.” He later threw in the dig that he can “see why people like Hitler exist when people like P4wny walk the streets.”

Blizzard finally had enough and removed both players from the team. "In the light of recent, inappropriate, and unsportsmanlike comments made by Thomas “Sintolol” Zimmer and Mats “P4wnyhof” Kathage, we have decided to rescind their invitation to represent Team Germany in the upcoming Hearthstone Global Games," Blizzard European Community Manager Valgrimasz said in a blog post. "We’re in the process of identifying replacement players, and will reach out to them privately."

Kathage was nonplussed by the removal, but vowed to keep streaming for his #family. He also called the removal a "witch hunt" and that his comments were taken "completely out of context."

Seems to be just another example of another popular streamer getting too full of himself and not owning up to comments made. The internet's growing incivility seems to empower streamers, but when they're participating in a tourney, they have to understand that it reflects poorly. Hopefully, they can mature enough to rise above the juvenile antics that seem to be increasingly popular.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Per the official website, QuakeCon 2017's 'BYOC Select-a-Seat with UAC Command Center Seating' is open for registration. This package deal gets you a number of perks, the most important of which for any serious QuakeCon attendee is an express lane fast-pass registration for the Bring Your Own Computer area.

Each 'BYOC Select-a-Seat with UAC Command Center Seating' package goes for $400. Only 32 are available. See below for the full list of all the benefits offered in the package, and visit QuakeCon's registration website to reserve one.

If this package doesn't do it for you, worry not: id and Bethesda will announce other packages over the coming weeks. You can get a glimpse of all the packages, their prices, and what they offer on QuakeCon.org. And if you haven't been, read Shacknews CEO Asif Khan's breakdown of what makes the annual id-Software-game extravaganza so special.

The fragging kicks into high gear when this year's QuakeCon spawns on August 24 at The Gaylord Texan in Dallas, TX.

BYOC Select-a-Seat with UAC Command Center Seating

  • Select and reserve a guaranteed seat of your choice in the BYOC
  • VIP seating upgrade
  • Personalized, engraved, illuminated QuakeCon 2017 UAC badge and lanyard
  • Express lane fast-pass registration for the BYOC
  • Express lane fast-pass to every presentation and public event at QuakeCon
  • Limited reserved access seating for all presentationsand events
  • New for 2017! Membership in our QuakeCon UAC Acolyte program, which includes access to register for next year’s UAC experience before open online registration begins
  • New for 2017! Access to new UAC Executive Lounge in the heart of the QuakeCon BYOC, featuring meet-and-greet and signing events with developers
  • New for 2017! Upgrade a QuakeCon attendee registration to join as a +1 for all express-lane and limited access events.
Shacknews - Donovan Erskine

The first of five episodes in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series is set to be released across all platforms on April 18th for $4.99, the studio announced today.

In TellTale's statement about the game, they describe the game as "a brand new story” in which “the Guardians discover an artifact of unspeakable power.” Each member of the crew has their own reason to why they desire the relic, as does the main villain. The identity of that villain is shrouded in mystery for the time being. Gamers will play the role of the Guardians' leader, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord. Given this information, it may be that the game will include tough decisions as to how to go about sharing the relic and using its powers.

Similar to most of their other properties, Telltale closed out their description of the game by stating, “your decisions and actions will drive the story you experience.” James Gunn, writer and director of the Guardians films was tapped to help put together the game's soundtrack, so you can expect some epic tunes as you travel through space. The first episode, appropriately enough, is named after the Bob Dylan song "Tangled Up in Blue."

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series stars Scott Porter (The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series, Friday Night Lights) as Star-Lord, Nolan North (Uncharted series) as Rocket Racoon, Emily O’Brien (Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor) as Gamora, Brandon Paul Eells (Watch Dogs) as Drax, and Adam Harrington (League of Legends, The Wolf Among Us) as Groot.

Shacknews - David Craddock

Palmer Luckey, who founded Oculus VR and came up with early VR prototypes that evolved into the Oculus Rift, will depart Facebook this week. Luckey's final day at the company will be tomorrow, Friday, March 31 (via UploadVR).

"Palmer will be dearly missed," Facebook representatives wrote in a statement. "Palmer’s legacy extends far beyond Oculus. His inventive spirit helped kickstart the modern VR revolution and helped build an industry. We’re thankful for everything he did for Oculus and VR, and we wish him all the best."

Luckey sold Oculus to Facebook for $2 billion just over three years ago on March 25, 2014. Facebook embraced the Rift as a gaming platform, and envisioned usage far beyond its original purpose.

"After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said following the acquisition. "Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face—just by putting on goggles in your home."

Luckey's departure should come as no surprise to enthusiasts. Last fall, reporters from The Daily Beast found links between the Oculus founder and Nimble America, a far-right political group. Nimble America gained infamy for generating and spreading provocative memes and other content designed to weaken the campaign of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Facebook representatives declined to comment on Upload VR's inquiry as to whether Luckey's departure was voluntary.

Shacknews CEO Asif Khan caught up with Palmer at last year's Oculus Connect 3, but the VR magnate danced around answering questions regarding the elephant in the room.

...

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