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Shadowlands drew me back in

I first started playing World of Warcraft (WoW) when a group of friends suggested we level characters together. That one act led to many sleepless nights, a ton of headaches, but much more enjoyment, achievements, and memories. Like many others, ever since beginning WoW I have technically never stopped, I just took breaks, sometimes short, sometimes exceedingly long.

I ‘stopped’ playing World of Warcraft at the end of high school. There were other games that had come out at the time, and I finally had a lot more free time. Of course, there were plans to go back but no future expansion ever captured my interest. And for a while, I thought I was done. Whenever a friend mentioned the game, I would begrudgingly give it another chance, but would quickly become disinterested. The magic was just gone. …


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And why it’s more effective than games like 1986’s Mafia

Among Us is one of the most played games in the world right now. A few months ago, nobody would have guessed it would be so successful. This online take on the “social deduction game” was originally released in June 2018 by developer InnerSloth. Like Mafia, Werewolf, or other variations, the goal of the game is about figuring out which one of your friends is actually the killer. The game has since become so popular that developers have canceled their plans for a sequel and decided to update the game instead.

The developers attribute this success to Twitch livestreams, which has continued to this day along with a ton of YouTube content. …


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The impressive technology allows you to create almost anything you can imagine

Ever since its reveal at E3 2015, Dreams has interested many game enthusiasts. Dreams is a ‘creation system’ that the creators of Little Big Planet, Media Molecule, have been working on for roughly the past 10 years. In their latest update Dreams added PSVR functionality allowing creators to start creating their own virtual reality experiences.

Last year when it went into early access I was happy to give it a try. The game offers two modes, a creation mode and a browsing mode called “dream surfing” that allows you to explore the Dreams other people have created. …


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Electronic beats and slick action provide a decent workout

Originally released on Steam and the Oculus store last year, Pistol Whip, created by Cloudhead Games just released on PSVR and makes for an action packed bullet fueled workout. Although it looks similar in gameplay to Superhot or Beat Saber, the game is a unique blend of an on-rails shooter, coupled with a synthwave aesthetic, music, and great gun feel. Shoot and punch your way through an onslaught of bad guys while racking up points to the electronic sound track.

Upon booting up the game the first thing I noticed was how great the guns feel. Sure they are just pistols, but when you fire them the sound and controller vibrations feel satisfying. If the game were only a shooting gallery this first moment would have been worthy of the $25 price tag. I can’t remember the last time that the primary interaction of a VR game felt that good. …


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Step into Iron Man’s shoes on PlayStation VR

Iron Man VR, one of Playstation VR’s exclusive titles, was released last Friday on July 3rd. Developed by Camoflaj, creator of République and it’s VR counterpart. Published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, Iron Man VR seeks to bring the Marvel superhero suit to your home. Much like Insomniac’s 2018 Spider-Man, which was praised for putting you in the mind of Spider-Man, this VR title really ‘makes you feel like’ Iron Man.

Since the early days of VR, one of my dreams has been to ‘suit up,’ look at the futuristic heads-up-display that is so prominent in the Iron Man movies, and fly around, shoot robots, and punch things. One of my first ever VR pitches was just that, and I’m sure many others had a similar idea, and for a good reason. …


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Vacuum up ghosts and hunt for objects in this haunted house roguelike

Spectro is a neat roguelike-meets-Luigi’s Mansion developed exclusively for VR. Explore a procedurally generated mansion and try to make it to the top floor while trying not to get spooked.

Made by Borrowed Light Studios, the developers of the Vincent van Gogh VR tribute The Night Cafe, Spectro is more than just a virtual reality recreation of a depicted environment. With a Ghostbusters-themed experience, the game draws upon a lot of great spooky thematics and concepts to make Spectro more than the average fun-filled ghost hunting experience. It is a gauntlet of great environments fueled by satisfying upgrades and mysteries, with a good amount of replayability. Play sessions usually go from 30 to 60 minutes. …


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Pop on a VR headset and step into your locale of choice

Have you ever been stuck inside or at work, or in your home during quarantine, and craved a retreat to nature for some good old forest bathing? Brightdawn Entertainment’s A Walk in the Woods allows viewers one of the most relaxing virtual experiences of a nature walk I’ve seen yet in VR.

While other ‘walking sims’ have tried to stand out from the crowd with additional mechanics, A Walk, as well as a few other ‘nature walking sims’ have caught my eye for their approach to deliver the most realistic escape to nature possible. …


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Valve’s new workshop tools are powered up for VR

Last Friday on May 15th, Valve released the Beta version of the Half-Life: Alyx Workshop and Editor Tools. Almost two months ago the game was made available to VR users but it didn’t take long before modders and hackers started looking through the files for any information about how to use the Source 2 engine tools with the game.

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The Source engine is responsible for a lot of games, like Half-Life 2, Portal 2, Counter-Strike Global Offensive, The Stanley Parable, and many more. Not only that but Source 1 originated from the GoldSrc engine which in itself is a heavily modified version of id Software’s Quake Engine, built primarily by John Carmack who now works at Oculus. The Source engine was and still is a great game engine and film making software. …


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Concerts and festivals may never be the same

With the advent of COVID-19, many events are being canceled as people are encouraged to stay inside. This of course is bad news to everyone, but to music festival and concert goers it’s even worse. Many big events such as Coachella, SXSW, and Live Nation have been delayed or canceled. Worse yet, small local venues are all closed. But some events have decided to make the switch to the virtual environment.

As well, live streaming services and social media have become more and more useful for artists and fans enduring the quarantine. Plenty of artists and DJs have already taken to their platform of choice, whether that be Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitch to perform probably their first ever virtual concert. …


An exciting take on the turn-based tactics genre and the Gears of War formula.

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The Locust War has just begun and the planet is overrun by monsters from the underground. Take control of a squad of survivors as they go on missions to hunt down the evil mastermind of the Locust army, Ukkon. Set as a prequel to Gears of War, you play as Gabe Diaz with the sole purpose of recruiting soldiers to defeat the Locust Horde.

Not Just Another Tactics Game

Gears of War was originally developed by Epic Games, and was one of the best-selling franchises on the Xbox 360. It is an Xbox Game Studios staple, that at long last has come to PC gaming on Steam and on the Xbox Game Pass (Beta). I didn’t have high hopes for the game, as new entries in the turn-based tactics genre have a negative connotation of just being XCOM clones. These games may fall under the broad term of ‘clone’ but the systems they implement create a much more varied game experience. Gears Tactics, is not just an XCOM clone, although it shares many similarities. Ultimately the core pillars of Gears of War shine through in Tactics to create a rewarding and challenging tactical gameplay space. …

About

Joshua Gad

Game Designer with a Bachelor of Science. I talk about techno life and design ethics while I make games.

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