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New Nintendo eShop releases: Layton vs Phoenix Wright, Mega Man X3

There's a good helping of eShop eStuff to tuck into this week, both on Wii U and 3DS. On the portable side, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright features two characters who were born to point together - check out our review for a more nuanced analysis. Also, Azure Striker Gunvolt pumps Mega Man-inspired side-scrolling action onto the 3DS, complete with Mighty No. 9 crossover mini-game.

Talking of the (original) blue bomber, Mega Man X3 coming to Wii U completes the Nintendo set of X games on the system. If you prefer your platforming a bit more vertical and underground, Steamworld Dig may be the Wii U game for you.

As ever, the full list of new releases is below the break. On the sales side, Capcom has a decent-sized one this week across Wii U and 3DS, and Splinter Cell Blacklist will be permanently reduced from $40 to $20 starting September 1.

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Gone Home going to Wii U, says Nintendo manager

For more on Gone Home, check out our review. (The Unite 2014 video is below the break as well as the text from the image for anyone who has difficulty reading it.)

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Twitch out-ranks cable news networks, MTV at times

Amazon certainly thinks that Twitch is a good investment, as it just spent nearly $1 billion to buy Twitch and all of its live-game-streaming accoutrement. It turns out Twitch stacks up well against a lineup of cable networks, drawing in more viewers than HLN, CNN, E!, MSNBC, TruTV and even MTV during peak hours, The New York Times reports.

Twitch's viewership has been on the rise since 2012, topping out at nearly 800,000 primetime viewers this year. However, going by hours of content viewed per month, Twitch pales in comparison with Netflix and YouTube. Netflix is roughly eight times larger than Twitch, and Youtube is 24 times larger, NYT says.

We've reported on some numbers from Twitch recently as well: In February, Twitch hit 1 million active monthly users and it replaced Justin.tv (now defunct) as the company's corporate name; 1.1 million users participated in the first Twitch Plays Pokemon event, drawing 36 million views; during the week of E3 2014, Twitch pulled down 12 million unique views.
[Image: Twitch]

PAX10 Humble Flash Bundle discounts the showstoppers

The PAX 10 Humble Flash Bundle is live for five days and offers a lineup of really cool independent games that have been featured at PAX Prime over the years. Up for any price you feel like paying is Badland Premium, Solar 2, Containment: The Zombie Puzzler and Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony Deluxe Pack, plus a DigiPen three-pack including Deity, A Flipping Good Time and Solace. Pay more than the average to add in Fez and The Swapper. Throw down more than $15 and get Cannon Brawl (Early Access version) and Life Goes On, too.

Life Goes On is a selection in this year's PAX 10, while the rest are pulled from 2011 and upward. The PAX 10 Humble Flash Bundle supports, in part, Child's Play Charity.

We'll have all the news and previews live from PAX Prime 2014 right here.
[Image: Humble Bundle]

Home dev's oddly romantic sci-fi adventure, Alone With You

Alone With You is a sci-fi exploration and adventure game that throws off creepy and romantic vibes in equal measure. Coming from Benjamin Rivers, the creator of horror game Home, this sounds just about right. Alone With You is due out in 2015 for PS4 and Vita.

You're the last living member of a terraforming party on a planet that's due to implode in a month's time. The escape pod is broken, it's the only one left, and everyone who would know how to fix it is dead. The colony's AI is still on, and with its help, you recreate the missing party members to fix the pod and get the heck out of Dodge.

"As for the romance?" Rivers writes on the PlayStation Blog. "Well, let's just say that recreating your former colleagues might not be as straightforward as you imagine; they may be interested in more than just technical details. No matter who you are, you'll be able to take a crack at love – and your choices will affect how the story ultimately plays out."
[Image: Benjamin Rivers]

Back To Bed cuddles up with iOS, Android today

Following a recent PC debut, surrealist puzzler Back To Bed is now available on Android and iOS mobile devices.

Described as a "bizarre mix of Salvador Dali, M.C. Escher and David Lynch," Back To Bed casts players as a subconscious manifestation named "Subob" as he attempts to guide his narcoleptic real-world body through a dreamscape of deadly obstacles. To aid in this quest, developer Bedtime Digital Games has crafted new controls for the mobile version, offering players a choice between standard touchscreen navigation and a virtual controller.

If the above has piqued your interest, you can purchase Back To Bed from either the iOS or Android app stores. Regardless of which platform you prefer, the dreamy puzzle game is priced at $4.
[Image: Bedtime Digital Games]

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Amazon Digital End of Summer Sale: Half off Civ 5, Titanfall

To celebrate the waning summer months and the return to temperatures that won't cause small children to burst into flame, Amazon has instituted massive discounts on a huge number of gaming items in what it has dubbed the "Digital End of Summer Sale."

Highlights of the promotion include a 50 percent discount on hyper-addictive strategy game Civilization 5: Complete Edition which reduces its price from $50 to $25. Respawn Entertainment's flagship giant robot shooter Titanfall has also had its price cut in half, from $40 to $20. Not content to solely discount games, the Digital End of Summer Sale also offers deals on in-game currency for various online worlds. Star Wars: The Old Republic players can grab 5500 Cartel Coins for $35 while EVE Online fans can add 2 Plex to their accounts for $31.50.

The above discounts only represent a small fraction of the 339 items available in the Digital End of Summer Sale. For more, visit the sale's Amazon page. Hurry though, these discounts expire on September 1.
[Image: EA]

Nidhogg takes the duel on the road in upcoming Vita version

Developer Messhof has announced that its cult-hit, minimalist fighting game Nidhogg will soon coat Sony's Vita handheld in a thick layer of pixelated blood.

Nidhogg drops players into a high-speed duel between two sword-wielding fighters rendered in simplistic pixels. Despite its humble appearance, the game boasts tight controls, acrobatic moves and intuitive physics, which make combat a frenetic, tense experience. The combat mechanics are easy to learn, but difficult to master, and they're perfect for multiplayer combat, especially with a large group taking turns murdering the pixelated duelists. Happily, the Vita version of Nidhogg allows for both local and online multiplayer combat.

While there's currently no word on when we can expect Nidhogg to reach the Vita, Messhof notes that the handheld game is being developed in conjunction with its PlayStation 4 counterpart. The two versions of Nidhogg should be released simultaneously and both feature Cross-Buy compatibility for those with a surplus of Sony's gaming devices.
[Image: Messhof]

Dust: An Elysian Tail swishes to PS4 in 1080p, 60fps

Dust: An Elysian Tail is getting a second shot at console stardom in the near future when Dean Dodrill's anthropomorphic action exploration game jumps to PlayStation 4. Dodrill announced the new port via the PlayStation Blog on Thursday, allowing Fidget, the game's lovably freaky cat-bat character thing, to cover the pertinent details.

"Imagine a 2D side-scrolling platformer, with crazy-fast swordplay and screen-clearing MAGIC supplied by yours truly. There are power-ups! Special abilities! Hidden passages! A whole world of STUFF to find!" says Fidget, clearly still enthused about her first project as a freaky cat-bat thing.

"Now, if you can, imagine all this awesomeness is hand-drawn like an old animated movie from the 80s and 90s, but with art at crazy high resomolutions! Like, 1080p! People tell me that's pretty darn good! Also, 60fps. I'm guessing that's some sort of speed? Like, the speed of awesome? I don't know much about these things, though. I mean, look at my hands! I'm not plugging anything into expensive TVs with these ham-hocks."

Dust was originally released on Xbox 360 in 2012 to critical acclaim, after Dodrill built the game largely on his own starting in 2008. The Metroid-style quest eventually released on Windows, Mac, and Linux as well.
[Images: Humble Hearts]

The scoop on Elder Scrolls Online's Dragonstar arena

ESO
When The Elder Scrolls Online's fourth update arrives next month, a new type of content will open to players: themed PvE arenas. The first of 10 such arenas, Dragonstar, is the subject of a new developer essay on the official site today.

The Dragonstar Arena is located in Craglorn and will pit a group of four players against five waves of monsters with "escalating intensity," though not necessarily escalating numbers; ZeniMax promises there will be no "cannon fodder" to waste your time. Hazards inside the arena -- like poisonous clouds, lava flows, and immobilizing blizzards -- will further impede groups' progress through the challenges.

ZeniMax says that arenas are intended to provide difficult combat encounters and elite rewards to small, highly skilled groups, but more casual players can skip Veteran mode for normal mode if they choose. We've included the brief Dragonstar arena trailer below.

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Games with Gold in September: Super Time Force, Halo: Reach

Xbox Live's Games with Gold rolls into a new month with Super Time Force and Crimson Dragon free on Xbox One starting on September 1. Super Time Force takes the place of August's Strike Suit Zero, and Crimson Dragon carries over into another month of high-flying, scaly action.

Xbox 360 Gold members get Monaco: What's Yours is Mine for free from September 1 - 15, and Halo: Reach for free from September 16 - 30. Happy shooting, flying, sneaking and reaching this September!
[Image: Capy]

Ska Studios shifts to Sony after 6 years on Xbox

Ska Studios has been around for seven years, and during six of those it's had a close relationship with Microsoft. All of its games, from The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai to Charlie Murder, have launched on Xbox 360 or Windows Phone only. Dead Samurai won the Dream Build Play competition in 2007, serving as a catalyst for Ska's tight partnership with Microsoft.

"I've said it before: XBLA literally made all of my dreams come true," Ska founder James Silva said in 2012.

And now for the twist: Ska's first next-gen game, Salt and Sanctuary, will launch exclusively on Sony's PS4 and Vita. James and Michelle Silva, Ska's artist and community manager, made the announcement today.

"There were a bunch of factors that led to us deciding to publish Salt and Sanctuary with Sony, but it really came down to an overwhelming amount of enthusiasm from them," James told Joystiq in an email. "They loved Salt and Sanctuary, they loved our previous work, and maybe most importantly, they offered us Pub Fund support; after a bit of talking it became apparent that working together just made an insane amount of sense to us as both a business decision and a creative decision."

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Madden NFL 15 review: Getting defensive

For years, EA has presented its flag-bearing sports series as an attempt at a pixel-for-pixel simulation of professional football. It has consistently billed the latest game in the annual series as "the most authentic Madden," leaving the door open a crack for anyone outside its PR department to point out all the ways Madden is not a mirror image of the sport that dominates America's Sundays.

As the NFL continues its slide towards a future where defenders that side-eye a star receiver may very well be tagged with an illegal contact penalty (it's okay folks, it's just the preseason), Madden stopped at the fork in the road this year to do a little soul-searching. The man on Madden 15's cover, Richard Sherman, made headlines for calling out the league's mandates after his team's defense shut down a league-best offense in the Super Bowl, and he's emblematic of the game's renewed focus on defense.

Madden 15 is a big step in carving out the series' identity as a video game first and a football simulator second, driving a much-needed wedge between the game and the sport, while retaining what fans crave from both sides.

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Harmonix's dreamy PC shoot-em-up, A City Sleeps

The newest game from Harmonix doesn't involve dancing or guitar peripherals – instead, A City Sleeps is a classic, twin-stick shoot-em-up starring Poe, a dream exorcist and part of The Silk clan. Dream exorcists enter people's dreams to dispose of demons, and everyone in the city of SanLo has fallen into an endless slumber, so there's plenty of work to go around.

The game is music-driven because that's still Harmonix's thing. "Level design and song authoring is done in parallel, insuring a hand-crafted and utterly unique audio-experience that only Harmonix can provide," Harmonix says. "Music drives player projectiles, enemy spawning, movement, and bullet patterns."

A City Sleeps is due out for PC and Mac on October 16 via Steam, and it's available for pre-order now for $12.75, a 15 percent discount. Harmonix recommends using an Xbox 360 gamepad (keeping that Microsoft relationship alive).

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Pre-order Destiny on Xbox One, pre-load it before launch

Building on a trend set by the recent launch of Madden NFL 15, those who pre-order the Xbox One version of Bungie's open-universe shooter Destiny will be able to download the game's data prior to its September 9 debut.

Earlier today, Microsoft unveiled its digital Xbox Live Marketplace listing for Destiny, which offers prospective players a choice of two versions of the game for pre-order: the relatively spartan $60 "Destiny Pre-Order Edition" which features the game and Vanguard Armory access, or the $90 "Destiny Digital Guardian Edition" which includes the game, a reservation for two upcoming expansions and a host of other bonus items.

Regardless of which version you choose, your pre-order will allow you to download Destiny to your Xbox One console at some nebulous point before the game's official release date. You won't be able to play it early, but you'll have everything ready to go the moment the game's servers open to the public.
[Image: Activision]

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Super Joystiq Podcast 109: Madden 15, Akiba's Trip, PS Vita

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