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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.

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!

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.

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.

Once you’ve slogged through Wolfenstein: Youngblood, go find the new widgets!

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Bethesda Softworks has launched a major update for Wolfenstein: Youngblood. The 1.0.7 update adds new endgame content sure to please the teen twin Nazi-stompers.

Once you’ve finished the main campaign, the new “Da’at Yichud Artifacts” mission will open up to give players a treasure-hunt going back through Nazi-occupied Paris. Twenty treasure maps will lead hunters on a backtrack journey for bits and bobs that give finders money, XP, and ability points. You’ll need those new points, because the update adds a new ability for each character tree. If you need new ways to high-five or flip the bird to your cooperative or A.I. sister, there’s new pep signals, too!

We Happy Few falls down in its final expansion

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We All Fall Down, the last bit of announced DLC for We Happy Few, will launch on November 19th. In this story expansion, players will take on the role of Victoria Byng, last seen in the main campaign as a side character. This DLC slims the game down to stealthily avoiding guards by swinging over environments and striking from the shadows. It also cuts out the survival mechanics to concentrate on action and story. Come see the last gasp of Wellington Wells.

Get banned from Red Dead Online, and you might make some money

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Rockstar is offering a $10,000 bounty to anyone that can prove they were banned from Red Dead Redemption 2’s online mode in error. The catch is that you have to prove to Rockstar that the ban came as a result of a “false positive” and you were innocent of whatever charge caused your ban. Go here to register for the studio’s bounty program, and get to it. Just don’t cry if your ban sticks and you get nothing.

A warning for cowpokes looking for an easy payday: Rockstar has been offering a similar bounty for years in Grand Theft Auto Online, and they haven’t paid out yet. Plenty of other hacks have been reported, and the participants have gotten relatively small ($100 to $1,000) rewards for helping out, but the ban jackpot remains safe.

If you want to feel sad about Mass Effect, check out what’s new in Anthem

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November 7th, remembered as “N7 Day” for the Mass Effect franchise, hasn’t really been a thing since Mass Effect Andromeda crashed and burned in 2017. This year, Electronic Arts and BioWare are celebrating N7 Day by offering cosmetic goodies for sale in Anthem. For about $8 each, you can get skins for your Javelin suit that look like better characters from the other game.

There are Asari Storm, Quarian Interceptor, Turian Ranger, and Krogan Colossus skins for sale that correspond to the different Javelin types. You can also buy an emote that mimics the “Shepard Shuffle” dance. I’m Commander Shepard and this is my favorite store in the game!

World of Warcraft’s world finally includes other people

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Buried in the avalanche of BlizzCon announcements like Diablo IV, a tepid non-apology, and Overwatch 2, Blizzard unveiled another expansion for World of Warcraft. But wait! World of Warcraft: Shadowlands doesn’t just revamp the game’s whole leveling system and present some new lore. It also add a dash of sorely needed color to the game. As in people of.

It may have taken 15 years to get here, but Shadowlands will feature more diverse options in the human side of the character creator. Up until now, the options for humans included Caucasian faces and tanned Caucasian faces. You couldn’t really make a human avatar that reflected many of the world’s diverse racial characteristics outside of different colored hair, and a slightly browner skin tone. Shadowlands changes that. When asked by Eurogamer why it took so long to offer these options, Blizzard said they wanted “to get it right” and not just slap black skin onto Caucasian faces. Fair enough, but 15 years? Hey, we’ll get more options for trolls and orcs, too!

Everyone’s favorite Korean cook started in City of Heroes

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Emily Kim is a wildy popular chef on YouTube. She goes by the online handle “Maangchi” and has built a devoted global fan base by cooking Korean dishes, wearing amusing clothing, and generally acting like all the good stereotypes of a Korean mother. She’s published two cookbooks and turned herself into a brand worth millions by showing people how to make kimchi and babimbap.

“My job was usually Attacker. I just always wanted to be wielding my sword and hammer.”

What most people don’t know is that “Maangchi” was also the name of Emily’s avatar in City of Heroes. It means “hammer” in Korean. Before she blew up the world of YouTube cooking, she spent her nights trouncing MMO bad guys as a sexy superheroine. Her son saw all the late night gaming and told her to try her hand at YouTube for a creative outlet.

Emily Kim doesn’t play City of Heroes any longer. She’s too busy with her foodie empire, and City of Heroes officially closed down in 2012. Has she seen the unofficial servers that recently popped up? Maangchi could be the hero Paragon City needs!

Take a chance on this League of Legends spoof

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Har har. Those crazy esport kids and their gaming. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, or jungling in a one-lane. Chance the Rapper plays Lazlo Holmes, the befuddled basketball correspondent sent to cover a League of Legends tournament, and he doesn’t understand gaming! It’s mostly the type of humor you’d expect from the outside looking in on esports, especially for the general audience of Saturday Night Live. These “athletes” just sit there! People pay to watch them do this? These kids and their dang games! I’ll at least give them credit for not trotting out another Fortnite skit.