Categories
Culture Gaming

HyperX Signs Multiyear Deal with JuJu Smith-Schuster

We’ve got some exciting news in the world of esports.

HyperX, the gaming peripherals team at HP Inc. and brand leader in gaming and esports, is announcing a multiyear renewal with pro football player JuJu Smith-Schuster as a global brand ambassador. You probably already know this, but just as a refresher, HyperX is the Official Gaming and Audio Partner of Smith-Schuster and is now also the Official Peripheral Partner of his esports organization, Team Diverge. This deal is now officially the longest ambassador deal in HyperX history, and Smith-Schuster is equally as excited about his growing role as a leader in esports.

HyperX
Juju Smith-Schuster

“I am so excited about renewing my partnership with HyperX, and also so happy to bring my eSports team, Team Diverge, into the HyperX family. HyperX has been a brand partner of mine since my first year as an NFL player; they’ve seen my vision and excitement about gaming and its growth and have supported me every step of the way. I’m honored to continue working with the brand and am grateful for their continued support.”

As a part of his deal, Smith-Schuster will take on a growing role with HyperX as he will step into a variety of marketing activities representing HyperX during promotions, advertising, social campaigns, events and more. Additionally, Smith-Schuster will continue his position as a global ambassador for the company, and will continue both his YouTube and podcast duties. 

As Team Diverge’s Official Peripheral Partner, HyperX will be their exclusive audio products partner on stream and the team will promote headsets, microphones, keyboards, mice, and mousepads during streams and tournament sessions. HyperX will also provide marketing activities to Team Diverge as the two continue to grow in their partnership.

HyperX
Juju Smith-Schuster

“HyperX is thrilled to continue our relationship with JuJu Smith-Schuster and expand it to include his esports org., Team Diverge”, said Dustin Illingworth, celebrity and athlete marketing manager, HyperX. “His passion and love for esports and the community is effervescent, permeating everything he does. It’s a pleasure to continue growing our brands together, both with JuJu and Team Diverge.”

Fun times are on the way for Juju Smith-Schuster and HyperX, and this is only the beginning. You can keep up with all of their latest updates on the HyperX website and Instagram.

Categories
Culture Gaming

Rich and Lonely and Team Summertime Launch Custom Trading Card

Inspired by the viral popularity of Pokemon cards, CREATE and Team Summertime launched their very own Pokemon inspired metal trading card earlier today, a collaboration with former Call of Duty player MBoZe’s clothing brand, Rich and Lonely.

The release featured Rich and Lonely’s iconic mascot “Richie”, a cartoon Shiba Inu puppy, surfing with the word “CREATE” written next to his head in a cloud. Only 200 of these cards were produced and demand was high, as they sold out in a matter of minutes.

“Our original plan was to produce regular cards and some holos, and give them away with the purchase of a shirt, but we decided to print them on metal instead,” said CREATE founder and CEO Aaron Create.

Pokemon has had quite a year, with February 27th marking the 25th Anniversary of the launch of the brand. Prices of Pokemon cards have skyrocketed in the last twelve months, hitting their peak in early February before retreating a bit of late. However, that hasn’t slowed down the brand’s popularity in mainstream culture, as evidenced by Logan Paul recently sporting a Charizard necklace on the way to the ring in his mega-fight against Floyd Mayweather.

The Pokemon-inspired cards are definitely the most unique piece of merch dropped by the OpTic affiliated crews today, but for those who want to rock something from the two crews, they also released a collection of tee shirts and long sleeves that feature the same graphics available at createsupply.com. At the time of this writing, some of the gear is still available! But supplies are limited.

Aaron Create

We’ve got our eyes on the tee with the card graphic, but they also released a more traditionally Rich and Lonely branded tee, which features a dead-eyed “Richie” and his beach ball.

Aaron Create

Esports orgs drop a lot of branded merchandise for their fans, but by incorporating the cards element as well, RNL and TST have managed to capture the attention of both esports aficionados and collectible enthusiasts alike. 

Categories
Culture Gaming

The 20 Most Memorable Video Game Rap Lyrics

Your favorite MCs do a lot of things in their leisure time. They tend to roll up & smoke some trees, get into some passionate debates over random topics with the whole entourage, indulge in some sports-based activities, etc. 

Another hobby most rappers indulge in is most definitely video games – that’s pretty evident considering the abundance of lyrics from the best wordsmiths that just so happen to be about the best consoles, characters, games, etc. On the regular, a clever bar about gaming will come across your headphones and force you to push the rewind button to catch it once more. And there are even those cool instances where a rapper will dedicate an entire song to their game of choice. It’s safe to say that the rappers we bang out of our speakers on a daily basis love to hand out L’s in the very same games we play for hours on end.

We went into our memory banks and did our Google’s to find the most memorable rap lyrics that are all about showing love to gaming as a whole.

1. Bazooka Tooth, zoo-keep the paper route with janky funds and favors/Cradled by twelve empty Zelda heart containers

Aesop Rock, “Babies With Guns”

2. Crack mothers, crack babies, and AIDS patients/Youngbloods can’t spell but they could rock you in PlayStation

Mos Def, “Mathematics”

3. I’m PS4 in HD and the screen is plasma/You’re Atari 2600 with a weak adapter

Joell Ortiz, “Slaughterhouse”

4. Attention all haters, get off your boy’s d**k/Tell your b***h to come here, she can play with my joystick/Up up down down left right left right B, A, B, A, Start/Now tear it apart

Saigon, “Get Busy”

5. Rival Schools, Batsu, purchase you ought to/It came with one free CD, it’s like I bought two/I hope they make part two for Dreamcast/’Cause games I seen in mags, you won’t believe they have…./Yeah, I’ll admit that PlayStation improve/Come visit feudal Japan with me and Tenchu/Bushido Blade II with swordplay so accurate/Mega Man Legends, but I had to buy a map for it

Del The Funky Homosapien, “Proto Culture”

6. I’m sorry like Atari who’s the cousin to Coleco/Vision, caught a RICO, back on the streets like Chico

Andre 3000, “Skew It On The Bar-B”

7. Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis/When I was dead broke, man, I couldn’t picture this

Notorious B.I.G., “Juicy”

8. Battlin’ me is hazardous to health/So put a quarter in ya ass ’cause you played yourself

Big Daddy Kane, “The Symphony”

9. I can’t sleep like a child on Christmas Eve/Like a tender head girl in a shop gettin’ a weave/Like a woman in labor about to produce the seed/Or Method Man with PlayStation and an ounce of weed

RZA, “Insomnia”

10. Or better yet a Terminator, like Arnold Schwarzenegger/Try to play me out like as if my name was Sega

Everlast, “Jump Around”

11. I had dreams that I would blow like a Nintendo Cartridge

Anderson.Paak, “Without You”

12. I tell the cash get over here, it’s like I’m Scorpion on Mortal Kombat

A-Reece, “To The Top Please”

13. Pass me the pork roll, don’t really walk anymore/Ever since I invented a gun that shoots portals

Seth Sentry, “Reservoir Dogs”

14. All got expensive cars, won’t allow a jacker to see me/I ride with bananas and shells like Mario and Luigi

Chamillionaire, “The Game Gonna Cost a Fee”

15. Came a long way from extension cords in the window/Borrow neighbor’s power just to plug up the Nintendo

Danny Brown, “30”

16. I heard that she wanna go and party, she wanna go and party/N***a, don’t approach her with that Atari/N***a, that ain’t good game, homie, sorry

Kendrick Lamar, “Poetic Justice”

17. Hey look, my homies told me back when I was playing my Nintendo/To stay away from windows, cause bullets, they tend to hit those/My mama told when I got the PSone/To skip the BS and lead us or be as numb/As every other brother throwing up colors in my community/I knew better, but couldn’t do better but then I grew to be

Lecrae, “Daywalkers”

18. Ayo, I cop power pellets (and y’all call ’em bricks)/I make little dots (and y’all chop rocks to flip)/Before Junior, they had me out on a chas /Running from these ghost monsters y’all calling the jakes/All I do is stack loot, run around and eat fruit/And harass these lady cops named Pinky and Sue/My whole life been a maze in a chase/Can’t keep still without these monsters on my back invadin’ my space/I got two hitmen that’ll bury you brothers/They rule the underworld, you know ’em as the Mario brothers/Straight cannons, and won’t hesitate to shoot ya/And they stay goin’ to war with that Latin King Koopa/I got a worker named Frogger, when I say jump he leap/A highway boy who be runnin’ the streets/With that package, dodgin’ through traffic that’s narrow/And my n***a Donkey Kong bringin’ weed in by the barrels

Beanie Sigel, “Mac Man”

19. F**k your gun talk, play ‘No Doubt’, you ‘Gwen’ ‘don’t speak’/You ain’t shooting nothing but air, you Nintendo Wii

Rock (Boot Camp Clik), “BK All Day”

20. My new b***h, call her my PS3/You? Your b***h’s p***y, call it my Xbox

Royce da 5′9”, “Airplanes Freestyle”

Categories
Culture Gaming

Who Invented Chess? The History of the Legendary Game

With the recent re-emergence of interest in chess following the success of The Queen’s Gambit, we figured it was about time to address the history of the legendary board game. Chess is one of the most complicated games around; the current version we know and love first emerged in Europe in the second half of the 15th century, but there were similar, influential games for centuries prior. We’ll dive into all of that below:

The Origins of Chess:

The early form of chess was called Chataranga and is believed to have originated in Northwest India around the 7th century. For those keeping score at home, that’s about 1,400 years ago. Chaturanga is Sanskrit for “Four Divisions,” referring to the infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry, which would eventually evolve into modern chess’ pawn, knight, rook and bishop. The game went from India to Persia, and then the Arabs conquered Persia, spreading the game to the Muslim world and, eventually, Southern Europe. 

Fun fact about the origin of the term “Checkmate.” During the period when the game was developing in Persia, players would shout “Shah!” when attacking the king, which is Persian for “King!” They eventually started saying “Shāh Māt!,” which translates to: “the king is helpless!” As the game continued to spread geographically, those phrases went with it, eventually becoming today’s “Checkmate.”

Simultaneously, similar variants of the game were coming into shape in China, also influenced by India’s Chaturanga. The Chinese game, xiangqi, relies on similar objectives, although the board positioning is different. Xiangqi was also inspired by a separate Chinese game dating back to the 6th century, Go, which is still played competitively today. 

Chess reached Western Europe and Russia by the 9th century. There’s a Medieval Latin poem, which dates back to around 1,000 AD, titled “Versus de scachis.” It’s often considered the first European reference to chess. The contemporary form of the game wouldn’t arise until a few centuries later, however. By the 15th century, Christian prohibitions and other regulations had fortified the game into something very much resembling modern day chess. 

The short answer? Chess and many of the variants that contributed to the modern game were based on the Indian game Chaturanga, which dates back to the 6th century.

The World Chess Championships:

Now we have to fast forward a bit. From the 15th century to the late 19th century, Romantic Chess prevailed, emphasizing fast-paced, tactical maneuvers rather than long-term strategic playing (from David Shenk’s, The Immortal Game: A History of Chess). The second half of the 19th century is considered to be the beginning of the modern era of chess; 1886 saw the first official World Chess Championship, which is the premier chess tournament to this day. 

Austrian (later American) Wilhelm Steinitz was the first official World Chess Champion from 1886 to 1894. Steinitz’s game evolved considerably throughout his career; early on, he was a deeply aggressive player, but ultimately developed into a much more positional player, which was controversial at the time. 1886 set off a frenzy of development in chess theory, continuing to evolve the game into something more similar to what we see in the contemporary era. Steinitz lost his crown in 1894 to German Emanuel Lasker, who was the champion for a whopping 27 years, from 1894 to 1921. He is still the longest-reigning champ in history. 

The FIDE (World Chess Federation) was founded in Paris in 1924 and initiated the practice of awarding titles like Grandmaster to elite players. Some trace the genesis of Grandmasters to earlier in the 20th century, but those claims are disputed.

Modern Day Chess:

After World War II, the Soviet Union reigned supreme in the chess world for decades. The only non-Soviet chess champion during the time of the USSR was American Bobby Fischer, who was champ from 1972 to 1975 and is widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time. 1985 saw the rise of the man who is potentially the most well-known and highly regarded chess player in history, Russian Garry Kasparov.

The latter half of the 20th century saw the burgeoning of chess computers and analysis. A computer finally beat a world chess champion in 1997 in the legendary matchup between IBM’s Deep Blue and Garry Kasparov. This watershed moment ushered in an era of computer domination in the world of chess, and capabilities in improving chess theory and analysis have exploded since the beginning of the 21st century.

The current world champion and most dominant player of the 21st century is indisputably the Norweigan Magnus Carlsen. A grandmaster by the age of 13 and World Champion by 22, Carlsen is easily considered one of the greatest players in history. He holds the highest peak Elo rating in history with 2882 and has been the Champion since 2013. 

Aside from Carlsen, the 2010s have seen a reemergence of chess culture on the global scale. Players like Garry Kasparov are internationally-known celebrities and shows like The Queen’s Gambit, films like Pawn Sacrifice and the growing esports community have launched chess back into the public spotlight. Chess.com has a whopping 62 million users and is still constantly growing. Carlsen has even managed to convert his chess prowess into some modeling gigs

Take a look at this graph to get an idea of how interest in chess has absolutely exploded in the past year or so. The Queen’s Gambit is obviously one impetus, but also the explosion in popularity of chess Twitch streamers, such as Grandmaster Hikaru, has further emphasized the popularity of the game in contemporary popular culture. Beloved Grandmasters like Maurice Ashley are becoming full-on cultural icons, with merchandise lines, catchphrases and more monetization opportunities than you could shake a stick at. 
As we continue to watch the esports scene increase in popularity, it only makes sense that chess and chess viewership will increase commensurately. Check out GM Hikaru’s channel and all the incredible chess streamers on the platform if you’re looking to get into the game.

Categories
Culture Gaming

Inside Twitch’s Redesign

If you checked in with Twitch recently, chances are you were taken aback by what appeared on your screen. Your eyes were instantly greeted by a familiar layout, but what probably made you tilt your head to the side in amazement and confusion were the distinctive changes. The designers behind Amazon’s popular live streaming service—millions of people watch Twitch streams daily, making it one of the most-visited sites in the United States and globally—let the world know about Twitch’s first major redesign in nearly a decade. Eight years after its 2011 launch, Twitch has undergone a welcome refresh, strategically revealed during TwitchCon, to match the vibrant community that keeps the platform alive. 

So What’s New with Twitch?
Twitch
https://blog.twitch.tv/en/2019/09/26/nice-to-meet-you-again-for-the-first-time

The classic purple color that the brand is synonymous with has been replaced by a visually stronger shade of the same color. The new Twitch purple is brighter, which has been put in place to match Twitch’s livelier energy. The new lettering font has been changed to “Roobert,” which happens to be based on the Moog synthesizer typeface. And now the old wordmark has also been updated with “bold, blocky letterforms that are strong, playful and inspired by a retro gaming aesthetic.” As for the iconic logo (commonly referred to as the “Glitch”), it’s been given a fresh touch-up that still retains the DNA of its former design. Ultimately, the designers have maintained the familiarity while also trying to make everything appear more striking.

Twitch
https://blog.twitch.tv/en/2019/09/26/nice-to-meet-you-again-for-the-first-time

In another visual shift, Twitch has added 24 new colors—“nicknamed after iconic games and pop culture characters”—that give streamers more freedom to define their personal brand. A newly added tool called “Creator Color” allows content creators to adopt one of those 24 colors to represent their likeness and branding. As a streamer, you’ll notice your signature color as they “show up in hover states over thumbnails, on browse pages, and even message notifications in the chat.” This decision has been done in accordance with “Twitch Purple,” the striking word logo that sports gradient effects underneath it. Streamers now can use any of the 24 colors to change that effect to fit their personal branding as well. This color alteration can also be applied to the updated wordmark and Glitch logo.

Twitch
https://blog.twitch.tv/en/2019/09/26/nice-to-meet-you-again-for-the-first-time

From a visual standpoint, Twitch has taken all the right steps to make sure its typeface, colors and logos pop off the screen. Everything you’re used to seeing on your go-to streaming site/app is still in the same place it was before, although having the option of turning on/off dark mode is a notably worthwhile alteration. What’s been put in place for longtime streamers and loyal viewers is a design that gives Twitch a more powerful mission statement because we all know boldness and flashiness is key in marketing.

“You’re already one of us” is Twitch’s new slogan. It signifies the platform’s welcome mat for incoming streamers who are ready to produce the type of content that helps differentiate Twitch from other live streaming services. With the stable framework put in place and the fresh changes made to the classic design, Twitch’s 2019 facelift is a win-win for everyone involved.

Categories
Culture Gaming

PlayStation 5: Sony Confirms Name, Release Date and Controller Features

The end of 2020 sounds like it’s going to be quite the assault on gamers’ wallets. We finally have confirmation from Sony that the PlayStation 5 (we’re glad it’s a simple name) is arriving during the 2020 holiday season. Microsoft had previously announced its plans to launch the Xbox One successor, code-named Project Scarlett, during the same time span. 

Sony Interactive Entertainment President and CEO Jim Ryan and Wired magazine sent the gaming world into a frenzy on Oct. 8 when they dropped two more important bits of information about the anticipated PS5. Those two slices of breaking news happen to be all about the next-gen console’s controller.

What’s New with PS5 Controllers?

Sony is doing things a bit differently for its evolved controller by leaving the “rumble” technology behind and adapting haptic feedback. This innovative piece of tech has been promised to offer gamers “a broader range of feedback, so crashing into a wall in a race car feels much different than making a tackle on the football field.” It sounds like the PS5’s controller will alter the usual game-playing experience in a major way by producing a wider range of responses to everything happening onscreen. The impact of melee combat, skydiving through the air or trudging through a pile of snow will be felt in a more realistic manner thanks to the new haptic feedback implementation.

As for the second piece of PS5 controller news, Sony is incorporating an “adaptive triggers” feature. Adaptive triggers are tied to the way the trigger buttons (L2/R2) will act and feel. Developers will now be given the chance to “program the resistance of the triggers so that you can feel the tactile sensation of drawing a bow and arrow or accelerating an off-road vehicle through rocky terrain.” The adaptive triggers tech will be a huge boon to developers who want to further pinpoint the feel of their games by accurately portraying the actions tied to the trigger buttons. First-person shooters and racing games in particular will likely take advantage of this feature the most.

So there you have it, folks. The PS5’s controller will increase the feeling of immersion and onscreen feedback tenfold. And we’ll finally be able to take it for a spin once the weather gets a bit chiller in 2020.

Categories
Culture Gaming

‘Final Fantasy VIII’ Creators Should Remaster These 7 RPGs

Square Enix is in the middle of the comeback arc of the company’s storied run. The Japanese gaming publisher and development studio lost its way on several occasions, but Square Enix is notching more wins than losses nowadays, including 2019’s acclaimed Kingdom Hearts III and 2020’s much-hyped Final Fantasy VII Remake. Oh, and let’s not forget about the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers, the epic developed by Crystal Dynamics/Eidos-Montréal. Simply put, Square Enix is on a roll again.

One of the cooler trends Square Enix is adopting these days is the art of quality remakes and remasters. Just like the FF7 Remake, Trials of Mana is set to introduce the 1990s RPG to a new audience and longtime fans with a fully 3-D paint job. Then there’s the remake of a remake in the form of Star Ocean: First Departure R. And as far as remasters go, Square Enix has released a satisfying lineup of spruced-up versions of several Final Fantasy games, with the most recent one being a remastered edition of Final Fantasy VIII. Future remasters to look forward to from Square Enix include Romancing SaGa 3 and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition, plus a Western localization port of SaGa Scarlet Grace: Ambitions is on the horizon.

Square Enix’s RPG remasters trend seems as though it’ll pick up even more steam in the near future. We just so happen to have a wishlist of important and sorely missed titles that would bode well with a current-day remaster.

1 & 2. ‘Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth’ & ‘Silmeria’
tri-Ace
“Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria” from 2006

What made the Valkyrie Profile series stand out so much was its unique battle system, clever mix of 2-D/3-D exploration and attachment to Norse mythology. The first two entries in the series allowed players to control fearless Valkyries who set out to gather powerful souls for an impending struggle between the gods and humanity. 

Delving into the backstories of both Lenneth and Silmeria was a fascinating affair. It was fun to travel to realms inspired by Norse tales and to come to grips with impending doom. Square Enix should go out of its way to remaster the enhanced PSP port of the first entry and do the same for the PS2 sequel. Valkyrie Profile may be an obscure series to many, but it still deserves a chance at garnering mass appeal with current-day remasters.

3. ‘Vagrant Story’
Square Product Development Division 4
“Vagrant Story” from 2000

Vagrant Story is best remembered as one of Square Enix’s (then known as Squaresoft) more unorthodox RPGs. Instead of commanding a party of traveling heroes, you were only responsible for one. As Ashley Riot, you set out to fulfill your duties as a “Riskbreaker” and attempt to figure out the connection between a cult leader and a high-ranking member of the Valendian Parliament. 

The game was an untraditional experience that did away with many RPG stalwarts. Players were entrusted with learning a complex combat system that emphasized targeting limbs and utilizing “Chain Abilities.” Vagrant Story was highly applauded at the time of its release and is certainly deserving of even more fanfare in today’s gaming landscape. Remastering this original PlayStation RPG is a must because today’s RPG fanatic needs to relive the dark and dangerous journey of one Ashley Riot.

4 & 5. ‘Parasite Eve’ & ‘Parasite Eve II’
Squaresoft
“Parasite Eve II” from 1999

While Capcom was revolutionizing the survival horror genre with Resident Evil, Squaresoft opted to enter the field with its own mutated monster–filled franchise. That franchise was Parasite Eve, an action RPG that followed Aya Brea, a strong-willed officer who battles against the mitochondria disease. 

Both Parasite Eve games were immensely entertaining experiences filled with survival horror elements and real-time battles against vicious creatures. Watching Aya’s story and connection to Eve unfold in the first game was a blast, plus her Los Angeles venture as a MIST member was equally gripping. A remake of the original Parasite Eve would make our day. We advise easing Square Enix’s workload to make time for remastering two of their finest survival-horror titles.

6. ‘Xenogears’
Square Enix
“Xenogears” from 1999

These days, most fans associate the word “Xeno” with Nintendo and Monolith Soft’s collection of JRPGs. But gamers who played anything and everything during the 32-bit era have another connection to the term “Xeno”: Xenogears. The 1998 JRPG gained a cult following that’s still strong to this day thanks to its amazing story and “Active Time Battle” system that even threw in a few giant robots for good measure. 

One of the main complaints lobbied against Xenogears was the rushed pace of the second half of the adventure. We think that issue can be remedied with an often-requested remaster. In a perfect world, Square Enix would find a way to turn the montage-heavy portion of the second disc into a more involving experience that would satisfy longtime fans. A remade version of Xenogears’ second disc segments combined with a remaster of the engrossing first disc’s adventure is a tall task, for sure. But it’s something that would please a huge swath of Xenogears’ ardent fan base.

7. ‘Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions’
Square Enix
“Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions” from 2007

During Squaresoft’s legendary late-’90s run, the company produced many of the games we’ve already mentioned here. Another one of those classic games is Final Fantasy Tactics, a more tactical take on the traditional battle mechanics seen in the series’ mainline entries. Players eventually found themselves addicted to the game—plenty of love was thrown at the FF spinoff for its excellent plot, intricate battle system and clever job system.

Back in 2007, the game received an enhanced port for the PlayStation Portable with the release of Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions. Somehow, someway, Square Enix managed to make a bona fide masterpiece even better. That unexpected improvement upon a highly lauded strategy RPG needs to return with a home console remaster. We’re sure Square Enix can find a way to get rid of the PSP version’s slowdown issues and high difficulty with the right implementation of development engine improvements and new modes. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions definitely needs to make its home on today’s gaming devices.

Read Next: 8 Best Underrated Games of 2019 That You’ve Slept On

Read Next: PlayStation 5 Wishlist: 5 Games We Need on Launch Day

Read Next: Xbox Project Scarlett Is Coming: Our 5 Dream Game Releases 

Categories
Culture Gaming

8 ‘Marvel’s Avengers’ Characters We Want on the Game’s Roster in 2020

It’s already been quite the rollercoaster year for Marvel Comics. Marvel has stayed in the public eye more than ever with magnificent highs such as the cinematic release of Avengers: Endgame, the announcement of Phase 4 films, the reveal of Disney+ shows and the comic book run of House of X and Powers of X—not to mention the devastating lows such as Spider-Man’s shocking exit from the MCU and the onscreen demise of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man.

In the world of gaming, the most iconic superhero team assembled for an exciting reveal in their upcoming title: 2020’s Marvel Avengers. While the unveiling pleased some and disappointed others, follow-up footage of the game has managed to drum up more positive feedback. Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal are clearly doing everything in their power to do right by Marvel’s iconic ensemble in video game form. Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor and Black Widow will unite to do battle with Taskmaster and other Marvel villains. 

The most revealing bit of news about Marvel’s Avengers is the ways in which it will deliver downloadable content (DLC). Along with paid DLC in the form of alternate costumes for each hero, free updates packed with new locations and new characters are planned. That whole “new characters” part gets us frothing at the mouth about who else could be added to the game’s roster. The Avengers have accepted the membership of a who’s who of Marvel characters (some of the most stylish MCU characters at that), which means there’s a daunting collection of do-gooders we’d love to play as. We’ve narrowed our character DLC wishlist to these eight individuals who’d make for an awesome gameplay experience in Marvel’s Avengers.

1. Wasp
Marvel

It would be pretty heartless to leave out one of the founding Avengers members on the cutting room floor. She’s the heroine who gave the Avengers their name. Janet Van Dyne’s shrinking powers and penchant for shooting stinger blasts make her a fine choice for a playable character. Ant-Man has already been teased for the game, so it’d make sense for his comparable sidekick to join the fray. Co-op missions that let us take down evildoers as Ant-Man and the Wasp is definitely needed.

2. Shang-Chi

On Feb. 12, 2021, the MCU will play host to a super powered martial arts adventure. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will place the Master of Kung-Fu on the big screen and hopefully turn him from an obscure oddity into a household name. Before he makes his cinematic debut, Shang-Chi needs to begin his promotional run via a playable appearance in Marvel’s Avengers. This little known Avengers team member is nasty with the hands and can also down his foes with nunchaku and jian weaponry. Add on to the fact that he can create duplicates of himself and you have someone who’s tailor made for Marvel’s Avengers epic battles.

3. Wonder Man

At first, the man known as Simon Williams was far from a good fellow. His evil actions put the Avengers in constant peril and made him a formidable threat. But he eventually came around and became a purveyor of good alongside the team he once tried to eliminate. Wonder Man is the superhuman alter ego of Williams and an individual we’d love to command in battle. His powers may not be all that original, but the simplicity tied to his moveset still makes him an intriguing prospect for the game. Wonder Man can take flight, utilize his amazing strength, emit energy blasts and perform other powerful abilities. 

4. She-Hulk
Marvel

To no one’s surprise, Iron Man has taken to his position as the team’s resident wisecracker quite nicely. The first bit of gameplay footage for Marvel’s Avengers featured a few funny quips from the wisecracking genius, which is incredibly on brand for the guy. The Avengers can’t just have one humor-filled hero though. There’s room for Bruce Banner’s cousin Jennifer Walters, who is better known as She-Hulk. There’d be plenty of fun to be had with She-Hulk as she jumps high and smashes everything in her path while simultaneously uttering hilarious quotes. She-Hulk is getting her own Disney+ series in the near future. She also deserves more time in the gaming spotlight.

5. Doctor Strange

Minds were blown across every movie theater during Avengers: Infinity War. There’s one particular fight scene from the film that truly had our jaws on the floor. When Doctor Strange attempted to defeat the mighty Thanos, he brought out the magical kitchen sink and then some. If Marvel’s Avengers includes a new area that caters to the more mystical side of the Marvel Universe, then we hope the Sorcerer Supreme comes along for the ride. His mastery of the mystic arts and use of assorted magical artifacts would look and feel amazing in playable form in Marvel’s Avengers. There’s a collection of in-game baddies we’d love to introduce to Strange’s Bolts of Balthakk.

6. Captain Marvel

This pick is a given, right? The smashing success of Captain Marvel’s MCU origin film and welcome inclusion in Avengers: Endgame has placed her firmly in the public eye. With an upcoming movie sequel in the works, it’s pretty apparent that Carol Danvers is going to become an even bigger force on the big screen. Captain Marvel happened to be one of our favorite characters during her starring roles in the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance series and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. She’s perfect for inclusion in Marvel’s Avengers. Taking flight with Captain Marvel and shooting off tons of energy blasts in the game’s expansive world sounds incredible.

7. Black Panther
Marvel

T’Challa—Wakanda’s proud king and chosen protector—is tailor made for Marvel’s Avengers. His combat prowess, parkour maneuvers and ability to emit kinetic energy bursts are the exact reasons why. The armored savior has appeared in numerous Marvel games and showcased his full repertoire of superpowers in every one. Marvel’s Avengers has made the promise of introducing extra locales to its universe, so we’re hoping and praying that it’ll take us on a trip to Black Panther’s glorious kingdom. And of course we’d be more than pleased with a set of co-op missions that allow us to command the powers of the Black Panther. There’d better be a taunt button that lets us pull off the “Wakanda Forever” hand salute too.

8. Scarlet Witch

There’s a point during the closing moments of Avengers: Endgame where Thanos downplays Scarlet Witch upon meeting her. Mere moments later, the Mad Titan is on the verge of defeat by the Fine Sorceress and is forced to call for backup. Wielding such powers sounds like the type of experience we’d love to inherit in Marvel’s Avengers. Wanda Maximoff is one of the most powerful members of the Marvel Universe and one of the more underrated members of the MCU. Scarlet Witch’s Chaos Magic is nothing to play with, but in this case, that’s exactly what we want to do. A co-op experience that pits Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange against a flood of magical villains is the type of DLC we’re craving.

Read Next: The 8 Best Fight Scenes in the MCU, Ranked

Read Next: The 10 Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time Has a New No. 1

Read Next: Diversity in the MCU: Marvel’s Evolution Since 2008

Categories
Culture Gaming

Xbox Project Scarlett Is Coming: Our 5 Dream Game Releases

Microsoft is clearly prepared to rebuild the sullied reputation of the Xbox brand in 2020.

At the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo—aka E3—the tech giant gave the gaming world a sneak peek at the next piece of gaming console hardware. Even though we weren’t treated to an actual visual representation of the console, we still grew excited once the machine’s tech specs were unveiled. Microsoft’s run with the Xbox One faltered from the start, mostly due to the PR disaster known as the E3 2013 Microsoft Press Conference. In the years since, the Xbox One has experienced praise-worthy triumphs and a few devastating failures. All in all, though, the Xbox One still managed to garner plenty of hardware sales and dedicated fans along the way.

Come 2020, we’ll all be treated to the next Microsoft gaming juggernaut that will take over our living rooms: the machine code-named Project Scarlett. Once that console hits retail stores everywhere in the fall of 2020, there needs to be a slew of exclusive titles that will make our purchase feel well warranted. The dream games listed below are exactly what plenty of diehard Xbox fans are hoping for.

If the PlayStation is more your speed, check out our dream PS5 releases.

1. ‘Halo Infinite’
343 Industries
“Halo Infinite”

On November 15, 2001, the first Xbox arrived in North America. The three games that defined the new console’s launch were Project Gotham Racing, Dead or Alive 3 and Halo: Combat Evolved. The Halo first-person shooter revolutionized the genre on home consoles and gave the Xbox brand its most recognizable mascot in the form of Master Chief. Copping an Xbox also meant you needed to come home with a copy of Halo.

In 2020, we all know that the green armor–wearing soldier is returning for another round of alien blasting and universe saving. Halo Infinite is said to be a return to the tried-and-true days of pushing Master Chief through an epic struggle against a universal threat. Debuting Halo Infinite on the very same day that Project Scarlett launches is a win-win situation. A quality entry in the Halo franchise being available on day one of the next Xbox’s lifecycle guarantees Microsoft the system seller it needs.

2. ‘Fable 4’
Lionhead Studios
“Fable III” from 2010

Can you believe that not one mainline Fable RPG came out for the Xbox One? Fans were left questioning the future of the franchise once Fable Legends got was canceled. Even more questions arose once Lionhead Studios, the primary development studio behind the series, shuttered. A Fable collectible card game is fine and dandy, but we’re sure everyone is ready to get back to navigating mythical locales and weaving their own fate in the world of Albion.

It’s been rumored for a while now that Playground Games (Forza Horizon) has been secretly working on the fourth mainline game in the Fable franchise. And by the sound of things, it seems like the series revival Fable so desperately needs. Recent leaks have pointed to town building, multiplayer mode, a more robust character creator and even time travel. All we know is this new Fable sequel would make for an exciting adventure on the very first day the next Xbox arrives.

3. ‘Killer Instinct 2’ (a sequel to the 2013 reboot)
Double Helix/Iron Galaxy
“Killer Instinct” from 2013

Round of applause for Double Helix Games and Iron Galaxy. Both studios managed to bring back a ’90s fighting-game staple and turn it into one of the best fighters of the current-gen era. The 2013 reboot of Killer Instinct may have started out small, but it eventually morphed into an immensely entertaining fighter with one of the best rosters we’ve ever seen. Ken Lobb’s crucial directorial work helped KI retain its best elements and add new mechanics that made its combat a gloriously good time.

Now we’re ready for another round of combo breakers, ultra combos and ultimates. Project Scarlett’s beefy features could do wonders for Killer Instinct’s flashy hit sparks, booming soundtrack and outlandish stage fatalities. A full-fledged sequel to the 2013 KI reboot is a must-have at this point. New characters, new mechanics, new modes, new guests and new everything else. Jago and the gang need to be fully prepared to demand everyone’s attention on the next Xbox’s launch day.

4. ‘Amped’ reboot
Indie Built
“Amped 3” from 2005

It may be hard to believe for today’s younger gaming crowd, but there was a time when snowboarding games were all the rage. Franchises such as Cool Boarders, Snowboard Kids, 1080° Snowboarding and SSX were everyone’s go-to games for digital snow shredding and trick pulling. The Xbox brand was once linked to its very own line of snowboarding titles in the form of the Amped series. Over the course of three games, gamers were treated to some extreme ventures throughout wonderfully crafted snowboarding courses.

Nowadays, it’s hard to find a snowboarding title as good as the ones from past generations. Microsoft needs to revisit such a sorely missed trend in gaming and bring back the Amped series in a major way—a full-on reboot that mashes up the best parts of the previous three games. Add an online multiplayer suite and plenty of gamers lamenting the loss of snowboarding games will be overjoyed at Amped’s return to greatness.

5. ‘Brute Force 2’
Digital Anvil
“Brute Force” from 2003

What else could fill out the launch lineup for the next Xbox? How about the return of another forgotten Xbox title that fits right into the role of a squad-based third-person shooter? The franchise we’re alluding to is 2003’s Brute Force, an Xbox exclusive that was all about blasting baddies amongst a squad of AI/player-controlled badasses.

The original game definitely had its faults, but it still managed to entertain thanks to its multiplayer component and competent gunplay. It’s been a good while since we’ve seen Flint, Brutus, Tex and Hawk in action. Now is the perfect time to bring them back into the Xbox fold and deliver a sequel that drastically improves upon everything seen in the first game. A second Brute Force would be legendary if handled correctly by a first-party studio that knows a thing or two about co-op squad shooters.

Bonus: A new AAA title

Xbox Game Studios has a ton of talented development studios under its umbrella. During the past two E3s, the company announced the acquisition of Ninja Theory, Playground Games, Undead Labs, Compulsion Games and Double Fine. Alongside all those studios are two new internal ones, plus Obsidian Entertainment and inXile Entertainment. With so many development arms in their midst, we’d be more than happy to see any (or all) of them produce a fresh franchise that would see its debut on the next Xbox. The coming-out party for Project Scarlett needs to be exciting, and the best way to do that is by showcasing the power of the new console with a new title that defines the future of the Xbox brand.

Read Next: PlayStation 5 Wishlist: 5 Games We Need on Launch Day

Read Next: 8 Best Underrated Games of 2019 That You’ve Slept On

Read Next: 6 Video Game Crossovers That Need to Happen ASAP

Categories
Culture Gaming

6 Twitch Streamers Worth Watching to Fill Ninja’s Void

The unthinkable has actually happened.

Ninja, one of Twitch’s most prominent and profitable Fortnite streamers, shockingly left the live streaming service, where he had accumulated 14 million followers. Ninja, born Richard Tyler Blevins, grabbed a new bag full of blue faces and fruitful endorsements when he announced his move over to Mixer, Microsoft’s streaming platform. Ninja pretty much pulled a Snoop Dogg by moving from one major company (Twitch = Death Row Records) to another (Mixer = No Limit Records). Judging by the video views tied to Ninja since moving to Mixer, his fan base hasn’t abandoned him.

If you’re still an avid watcher of Twitch streams and need someone new gamers to fill Ninja’s void, we’re here to help. The following lineup of streamers offers everything from intense Fortnite matches with hilarious commentary to moments of fighting game mastery backed by, well, even more hilarious commentary.

1. DrDisrespect

If you don’t know DrDisrespect by now, then you must be taking refuge underneath an oversized boulder. When Herschel “Guy” Beahm IV dons his alternate personality’s attire, he transforms into the gaming rebel everyone knows and loves. DrDisrespect enjoys hourslong gaming sessions spent in a nice variety of battle royale games and all the while chatting it up with fellow streamers. Watching him tear through the opposition while dropping fire quotables (“I’m on top of the mountain and I’m only halfway up!”) is always a good time. If you have a battle royale live stream itch that needs scratching, DrDisrespect should do the job.

2. Bugha

Kyle Giersdorf aka Bugha is a pro gaming prodigy. In Fortnite, he performs at an extremely high level alongside his team, the Sentinels. The 16-year-old pro Fortnite competitor recently displayed his dominance by winning the 2019 Fortnite World Cup and netting more than $3 million in one sitting. When Bugha’s not claiming cash prizes during major tournaments, he spends his time live streaming his masterful Fortnite play for the world to see. Watching a teenage master of his craft put in work in Fortnite is beyond fascinating.

3. NICKMERCS

The bodybuilder/esports personality known as NICKMERCS is legit—so legit that he once notched a Fortnite world record when he and his team garnered the most squad kills in a game. Watching his live streams always provides the possibility of him pulling off another amazing feat during hotly contested Fortnite matches. Nick Kolcheff can teach everyone how to dominate in Fortnite and work like a well-oiled machine with fellow players. NICKMERCS’s FaZe Clan affiliation and partnered streams with other popular Fortnite players easily makes him entertaining to watch.

4. Maximilian_DOOD

If you’re an avid fighting game player, you’re probably a devoted follower of the online exploits of Maximilian Christiansen. If you don’t know who Maximilian_DOOD is, you’ll most certainly become a fan after this. Max’s claim to fame is his adoration of fighting games such as Killer Instinct, Marvel vs. Capcom and Soulcalibur. When he’s not handing out Ls online, he provides commentary on the games he loves most and hangs out with his YoVideogames crew. Max’s wild personality is endearing, his live streams are engrossing and his best friends are equally entertaining. Oh, and his dog Benny is just so darn cute too.

5. AvoidingThePuddle

Aris is a well-known member of the fighting game community and an avid Tekken player and commentator. But that’s not all that he’s known for. His AvoidingThePuddle brand is tied to the man’s live streaming get-togethers with his passionate fan base. You can find Aris delving into random topics while smashing fools in Tekken, running the slot machines in Grand Theft Auto V or “flushing” any other game that piques his interest. Aris is a live streaming gem who is full of wisdom and 3D fighting game wizardry. 

6. TheBlackHokage

Our final pick is the realest of them all. TheBlackHokage goes out of his way to drop quotables and push his fans to become better versions of themselves. His live streams are full of sage advice on how to approach women, how to stay healthy and how to avoid getting duped by Snapchatters. Gameplay streams of NBA 2K, Apex Legends and other popular games are backed by TheBlackHokage’s humorously blunt rants. When he’s not streaming by himself, he enjoys funny streams alongside his Gaming illuminaughty crew. Just make sure you don’t say anything stupid in his chat—the threat of a “six hunnid” ban is not to be played with.

Read Next: PlayStation 5 Wishlist: 5 Games We Need on Launch Day

Read Next: 8 Best Underrated Games of 2019 That You’ve Slept On

Read Next: 6 Video Game Crossovers That Need to Happen ASAP