Not content with unveiling the quirky L.Y.N.X. 9 at CES 2015, Mad Catz announced the S.U.R.F.R, a controller that manages to cram a full QWERTY keyboard, and mouse pointer input along with a smartphone clip for Android device.
Furthermore it includes palm grips for comfort, trigger buttons, and will be available in three colours when it retails in May for $79.99 (roughly Rs. 5,000). There are integrated media controls as well which makes the Mad Catz S.U.R.F.R extend its use beyond gaming, allowing you to surf, text or navigate media.
“Today’s living room is rapidly evolving beyond proprietary cable boxes and gaming consoles. While consumers continue to gravitate towards connected devices as their preferred platform for streaming digital media content, gaming, surfing the web and social media, current controllers just don’t deliver on the experience they desire. The S.U.R.F.R has been designed to get the most out of these different devices we are now accustomed to in our daily lives,” said Darren Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz.
In addition to this, the company also announced the L.Y.N.X. 3 (pictured above). It’s a smaller version of the Mad Catz L.Y.N.X. 9 shown off at CES 2015 sporting the same fold-out design. It retains the console controller layout and phone holder but forgoes the keyboard and tablet holder of its bigger brother. The L.Y.N.X. 3 will retail for $69.99 (roughly Rs. 4,300) and be available in May.
It’s the last week before GDC, which means all the serious news is being saved for next week. What we’re left with? A collection of the silliest news ever rounded up in Missing Pieces.
But like Vin Diesel’s Dungeons and Dragons campaign, we’ve been going strong for years and we ain’t stopping anytime soon. Fast and the Furious, adult diapers, and Kanye West—this is your gaming news for the week of February 23.
One quarter mile at a time
There are so very, very few cases where I write about console games, but this is one of them: A free Fast and the Furious game is being released as a standalone expansion toForza Horizon 2. In other words, two of my favorite things on this earth slammed together into one giant ball of awesome. Hell, I already drive a 1970 Charger in Forza Horizon 2because I’m a F&F nerd.
Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious releases March 27 and will be free through April 10 to promote the film, after which the game will raise to $10.
Humble initially made a push into browser-based gaming last fall with the Humble Mozilla Bundle , which sold a selection of games powered by asm.js.
Now Humble is expanding that push with its new Humble Widget. Originally just a convenient way for developers to drive Humble Store sales, the new widget allows developers to embed asm.js game demos or games into their sites. Pretty cool, and I’ll be interested to see how many devs take them up on the offer (since it takes a bit of porting to do so).
Resident Evil Revelations 2 is a game basically built around co-op, which makes it pretty frustrating that feature somehow didn’t make it into the PC version of the game, leaving you stuck with your dumb AI companion.
Even shadier, Capcom hid the note about the PC version lacking co-op in a footnote on the Steam page, meaning many people purchased the game without realizing the key omission. Capcom’s since apologized for the oversight and is “currently looking into the matter and potential solutions.” Updates when we know more.
Brutalities are coming back for Mortal Kombat X. Here’s the trailer NetherRealm streamed out earlier this week:
The dawn of Civilization
Another in a long line of Twitch experiments: A Reddit user is currently running aCivilization V game that consists of 42 AI players on an enormous “real-world” map.
For an idea of how it’s shaping up you can check out this Reddit post or this Imgur album, or stay tuned to the official Twitch stream.
Speaking of “Twitch Does Things,” somebody set up “Twitch Plays Halo.” It’s just as awful as you imagine.
The machine stops
All those jokes about Google creating Skynet start looking less funny when Google-owned DeepMind Technologies comes out and announces it’s created an artificial intelligence that taught itself to play video games, beating out humans in 29 different titles.
This is how it starts, right? With an AI that taught itself to play Breakout so later it could learn how to bounce artillery off the optimum number of human skulls?
Run for your life
Has playing Dying Light made you extra-conscious of an impending zombie apocalypse? Are you aware of how woefully unprepared you are for hordes of slavering monsters?
Well luckily Dying Light will sell you the solution to the fear it already induced! UK retail site Game is selling a one-of-a-kind $400,000 special edition of Dying Light known as the “My Apocalypse Edition.”
That’s a lot of money, but you’ll receive a “custom-built Dying Light zombie home” from Tiger Log Cabins, “zombie avoidance parkour lessons,” a trip to Techland’s HQ, and “Dying Light branded night vision goggles and adult diapers for the night portions of the game.”
Yes, you spent $400,000 on adult diapers. It’s good to be king.
Sid Meier’s Starships comes out on March 12, which isn’t that far away. As such, I don’t really want to delve too deeply into the game because, well, I’m going to have to write the whole thing up again in two weeks when we review it.
But I did spend about an hour tooling around with a pre-release build earlier this week, and it only seems right to give you an idea how this spin-off strategy game (of sorts) is shaping up.
You know that absurdly-complicated board game Ben Wyatt comes up with in Parks & Rec? “The Cones of Dunshire”? If you don’t watch the show, here’s a clip. If you don’t feel like watching the clip, know this: It’s identifiably a board game, except there are so many rules it’s rendered practically unplayable in a normal tabletop setting.In many ways, Sid Meier’s Starships is its own Cones of Dunshire. And I don’t mean that because Starships is hard to figure out. It’s not, actually! As a video game it’s surprisingly easy to grasp, especially if you’re coming over from Civilization‘s time-consuming, multi-tiered strategy.
Starships is identifiably a board game though—just one you’d never want to play manually a.k.a. on an actual board. There are too many moving pieces, too many factors to each encounter (line of sight, 100+ point damage calculations, et cetera) to really make it feasible. But it still feels like something designed for a tabletop environment and moved over to digital space.
Like Civilization, you’ll start the game by choosing a faction leader. These have various buffs from “Gets an extra starship” to “Starts with two random tech upgrades.” Of course, the first time you play you’ll probably have no idea what any of this means or what’s most useful.
Next, Starships presents its basic rules in five steps:
1) Travel to neighboring star-systems to complete missions and gain influence. 2) Complete missions to gain influence (two blue ring sections) and receive resources from that system. 3) Earn four influence ring sections and make the system part of your Federation. 4) Expand your Federation. Control 51 percent of the galaxy to win the game. 5) Be sure to use the advice and SpaceOPedia buttons at the bottom of the screen for more information.
Easy, right? I mean, that last one isn’t even a rule.
You start with one owned planet—your Homeworld—and one other visible planet. This strategic layer is the primary board of play, and more planets will be revealed as you begin exploring. Moving to an undiscovered planet will bring up a mission, such as “Marauders are attacking!”
Any amount of preparatory work is allowed. You can upgrade your ships, for instance, or examine the likelihood of victory. Eventually you’ll either decline the mission and flee or accept the mission and transfer to a secondary map—like a board game glued onto another board game.
This map is all about tactical play, directly controlling your fleet of ships on a hexed plane and trying to outmaneuver the enemy.
Missions have various goals, though most involve straight combat. Winning then liberates the planet and brings 50 percent of its populace under your domain. You need to control 100 percent of the populace to control a planet, and (as mentioned) you need to control 51 percent of the planets in the galaxy to win the game. You can complete missions on multiple planets each turn, but your crew will become steadily worn out and eventually need to rest.
How the late game works, I’m not sure. Our preview code is currently turn-limited, so I basically get to complete a handful of missions before the game stops. There are all sorts of things you can do on each planet—build cities, build improvements—but I’ve barely touched any of that.
I’m also not sure yet what happens if you take over an enemy’s Homeworld. Does their entire dominion fall under your control at that point? Another question to answer in our review.
And if there’s one thing I think could use an upgrade, it’s the UI. Like Civilization: Beyond Earth, the user interface seems oversized and kind of artless, which is still baffling to me when compared to how gorgeous Civ V looks.
I’m enjoying Starships, though. Unlike Civilization, which seems to take fifty or a hundred turns to get going and then can take upwards of 300 turns to end, Starships seems like a (relatively) quick strategy burst—maybe an hour or two per match. I’ll verify that when I get the full release, but that’s the impression I get so far. That could be great for those who want some of the basic feel of Civilization without the implied “thirty hours of your life” time debt.
We’ll have a more in-depth look at the game in a few weeks when the game releases. For now, I think I’m going to play through the preview code one more time. Current verdict: Strangely addictive, even unfinished.