Side-scrolling Link is exactly what everyone needed from Super Mario Maker 2

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Nintendo is adding Link to Super Mario Maker 2 on December 5th. The 2.0 Update features a lot of great stuff, like a new speedrun mode and special blocks, but the star of the free content addition is the plucky hero from The Legend of Zelda. Unlike previous costume changes for Mario, turning into Link will drastically change how players interact with the game’s levels. Link can shoot arrows, thrust with his Master Sword, and carry bombs. Let me turn into Zelda, and we’ll really be cooking.

Civilization 6 on the Switch can have a tantrum just like you

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There’s a pretty nasty bug in Civilization 6 on the Nintendo Switch that prevents winning. According to reports from numerous players, the game has a tendency to crash just before the human player gets to declare victory. Like a sore loser at checkers, the game just quits when you’re about to win. Thankfully, there’s a workaround while 2K Games figures out a fix.

“A discovered known workaround is to declare war on the Civilization that is causing the crash right before you end your turn.”

There’s your solution for now. Crash out, then reload and declare war on the civ that caused the crash. You’ll feel the sting of the AI’s tantrum, but you’ll get to rub it in Civilization 6’s face eventually.

Qt3 Boardgames Podcast: Marvel Champions, Claustrophobia, Reavers of Midgard

, | Games podcasts

Hassan’s new game, Manaical, is out! If you missed the Kickstarter, you can get it from eaglegames.net. In other news, Tom Chick fights the dumbest villains, Hassan Lopez spelunks with demons, and Mike Pollmann pillages some villages.

Marvel Champions at 6:03, Claustrophobia at 28:15, and Reavers of Midgard at 43:56.

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Battleborn rides into the sunset

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Battleborn, the ill-fated 2016 character-driven shooter from Gearbox, is finally retiring. 2K Games has issued a notice on their support site warning everyone of the impending drawdown. As of today, the publisher is removing Battleborn from all digital stores. If you already have it in your library, you’ll still be able to play for as long as the servers remain up, but that will eventually end too. 2K will be turning off the game completely in January 2021. Fare-thee-well Montana, you teeny-noggin galoot! We hardly knew you!

Pretend the darkly cynical Spinnortality has a name that doesn’t make it sound wacky

, | Game reviews

And who by avalanche, who by powder
Who for his greed, who for his hunger
And who shall I say is calling?
        -Leonard Cohen, “Who By Fire”

It’s the summer of 2114.  South America just collapsed into anarchy due to, I’m told, “cataclysmic heat stress”.  It joins North America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Russia, Europe, and Oceania still stand, each shoved closer to chaos by this year’s heat stress.  The world will probably end next year. It might hold out until 2116 if it’s lucky. There’s nothing I, or the board of directors, or our company, or the European government, or anyone else can do.  Which is especially disappointing, since my new body would have lasted until 2120. Those are four years I’ll never see. I paid dearly for them. 200 million for the body, 400 million for the tank it grew in.

Did I mention that we just launched a new Autoposter into the Russian market?  Just Russia. Europe and Oceania have banned Autoposters. To appeal to the Russian predilection for privacy, we called it Never Bare Again.  “Do we really have to bare all on social media?” our messaging suggested to shy Russians. “Do we have to share our deepest secrets, confess our truest selves?  No. With Autoposter, we’ll fill your feed with content that has zero personal info.” A $30 million launch that will only make $6.36 in its first year. Minus whatever losses are caused by next year’s cataclysms.  It’s not easy to turn a profit as the world burns.

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Only some of you have the vision to play the next Half-Life

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Valve announced Half-Life: Alyx, the next “full-length” chapter in the saga. It’s not Half-Life 3, or even Half-Life 2: Episode 3, but it’s probably the best we’re going to get. Unfortunately, it’s exclusively a VR game, so fans of City 17 and The Combine will need to own hundreds of dollars worth of extra hardware to play it.

For those that do have a PC-based VR headset, Half-Life: Alyx will take players on a prequel story to Half-Life 2. Alyx Vance, armed with groovy “gravity gloves” and chatty quips, swats leaping headcrabs out of the air like a champ.

Owners of the Valve Index headset will get the game for free when it launches in March 2020. If you’re in the mood to see more, Geoff Keighley of The Game Awards has already posted a behind-the-scenes video.

How have we all not made fun of the Stadia launch trailer?

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Less than stellar launch reviews aside, Stadia, Google’s game-streaming boondoggle has at least brought us this amazing ad. It may now be my favorite example of “How do you do, fellow kids?” It’s so gamer marketing tryhard that it circles almost all the way back around to nerd cool. Almost.

Counter-Strike needed a little character, so now it has almost two-dozen

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Rainbow Six Siege has them. Overwatch has them. Apex Legends has them. Now, Counter-Strike, the competitive shooter with maybe the least detailed lore or personality, has characters. Honest-to-gosh characters with unique looks, voice lines, and ‘tude. These Master Agents come with the latest update to the hoary shooter, and the inject a little chutzpah into the proceedings once you unlock them through whatever operation coin upgrading shenanigans are afoot. There’s Two Times, Buckshot, Commander Ricksaw, Osiris, Agent Ava, Maximus, Blackwolf, and other appropriately hooh-rah sounding nicknames. Imagine how envious everyone will be when they’re using plain old T’s or CT’s and you’ve got some guy called “The Doctor” sporting a faux-hawk.

Qt3 Boardgames Podcast: Agents of Mayhem, Palm Island, Fantasy Realms

, | Games podcasts

What if you have to learn wargame rules to play a wacky superhero game? What if you don’t have a table? What if the unicorn gets a princess? Tom Chick, Hassan Lopez, and Mike Pollmann consider these and other hypotheticals.

Agents of Mayhem at 5:06, Palm Island at 36:27, and Fantasy Realms at 45:40. But first, an update on Maniacal, Hassan’s new game, now available from eaglegames.net.

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You can get a better Grid by not owning it

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Grid, (just stylized as “GRID” and not “GRID Reboot” or “GRID 4”) launched on PC and consoles last month from Codemasters. It’s supposedly a “return to roots” for the franchise. It certainly looks like a fine racer that virtual gearheads should like. It’s also coming to Google’s Stadia streaming service, and when it does, the game will have something there you can’t get on any other platform.

The Google Stadia version of Grid will have a 40-car racing mode. According to Codemasters’ Mark Green, this exclusive mode “just isn’t possible” without the tech giant’s streaming technology. Speaking to WCCFTech, Green also says controller lag isn’t an issue – a prediction that many commenters have had for streaming tech.

“I mean racing games are particularly sensitive to controller lag and yet I can’t feel any when playing on Stadia, the experience is fantastic.”

While Grid will not be part of Google Stadia’s launch lineup, it will be available later this year.