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Joystiq's got a new home! As of February 4th, Joystiq and Engadget are teaming up on a new project that will live on Engadget: 'Joystiq X Engadget.' There's a new logo and everything! Our focus is on the intersection of life and games: what, why and how we play. Expect more streams, more reviews and more news, but also expect a renewed focus on the way games intersect with our world. This is just the beginning.

Report: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U to be released November 21

A photo of a pre-order card for the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros., supposedly from retail store Fred Meyer, has allegedly pegged the date that Nintendo's brawler will arrive in North America as November 21. Twitter user BluesDriveBuster shared the photo last evening, accompanied by text reading, "Official Smash WiiU release."

It should be noted however, that this is not an official release date, at least not one formally announced by Nintendo; we've yet to hear such a date from the big N itself. Even the pre-order card states that the release date supposedly printed on the label is subject to change.

Still, considering that Nintendo hasn't yet backed off of its previously-announced "winter 2014" release window and that November 21 is a Friday - a day of the week which Nintendo is fond of releasing major games on - there's enough substance here to make this supposed leak at least somewhat believable. Not enough that you should take it at face value of course, but enough that it's worth acknowledging.
[Image: BluesDriveBuster]

Spider-Man: Unlimited is an endless web-swinger

Face front, true believers! Or rather, face your smartphones and tablets, because that's where you'll see your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man sprinting, swinging and wall-crawling in Spider-Man: Unlimited, a new endless runner from Gameloft.

The game is more inspired by the Marvel comics than the recently-released movie, and features a cel-shaded art style to compliment the webhead hero. Gameplay is divided into virtual comic book "issues," each centered on a member of the Sinister Six - a supergroup of Spidey villains. So far, players can face down Green Goblin and Vulture, with more issues to be released in the future.

Spidey is bringing his trademark style and jokes to iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices, meaning he'll swing (just about) wherever a spider can.
[Image: Gameloft]

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Dragon Quest now squashing Slimes on iOS, Android

Furthering its efforts to ensure you're never stuck commuting without a lengthy, time-killing RPG, Square Enix has launched its mobile version of Dragon Quest on Google Play and iTunes. Regardless of which shop you bring your bag of gold to, you'll need $2.99 to set out and stop the peace-destroying Dragonlord once more.

Dragon Quest's arrival falls right into Square Enix's Slime-plagued porting schedule, which involves ports of DQ2 and DQ3 in the coming months. Dragon Quest mobile producer Noriyoshi Fujimoto has expressed concern over the feasibility of a pocket-sized adaptation of DQ7 however, largely due to its heaps of text.
[Image: Square Enix]

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Report: Oculus Rift consumer version due by summer 2015

The virtual reality future is now! ... is what you'll be able to say next summer, according to TechRadar. The site reports that VR start-up Oculus will launch the first consumer version of the Rift VR headset sometime in mid-2015.

We say "first" because according to TechRadar, Oculus will be launching the consumer version of the Rift as a public beta, with limited quantities available only through the company itself - no retailers. Oculus co-founders Palmer Luckey and Nat Mitchell told Eurogamer earlier this month that the consumer version will mark a significant upgrade - higher resolution, 90Hz or higher refresh rate - at a price somewhere between $200 and $400.

We've reached out to Oculus to find out more, and will update what we hear back.

Elder Scrolls designer ventures into The Long Dark

Ken Rolston, lead designer of Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind and ES4: Oblivion, has partnered with Hinterland Games for The Long Dark, the studio's first-person, apocalyptic survival simulator. Rolston's high-profile credentials add to Hinterland's portfolio of experience, which includes Far Cry 3 Narrative Director Raphael van Lierop, lead writer for the PS3 God of War trilogy, Marianne Krawczyk, and Sascha Dikiciyan, who scored Mass Effect 3 and Borderlands 2.

Regarding whether Rolston will remain with Turbine, the team he joined one year ago as its director of design, Turbine has shared a statement with our friends at Massively: "We don't normally comment on personnel issues, and we definitely can't comment on work Ken is doing for other studios, but I can confirm that he continues to consult for us."

Fans won't have to wait much longer to test their aptitude at surviving the frozen wilderness – The Long Dark's Sandbox mode will welcome Early Access patrons into the cold on September 22, though beta members began reducing themselves to snowy corpses a few weeks ago.
[Image: Hinterland Games]

Rumor: Microsoft testing browser-connected Xbox games

In the future, you may not need a big black box with Xbox branding to play Xbox games, according to tech news blog Neowin; the site reports that Microsoft is currently testing the ability for users of an as-of-yet-unannounced service to play Xbox games via their web browser. If details are accurate, the service will function similar to OnLive, the cloud-based platform that renders games via its own hardware before streaming them to users at home.

According to an unnamed source, Xbox 360 titles and the 360 dashboard will both run in-browser, with games outputting at about 60 frames per second. Neowin reports that Xbox One games are also in the works, but cautions that - like many tech research projects - the service may never make it into the public's hands.

Joystiq has reached out to Microsoft for comment. In the meantime, we'll keep an eye on this rumor and let you know if anything changes.
[Image: Xbox One Dashboard/Microsoft]

Lode Runner creator Douglas E. Smith passes away

Douglas E. Smith, creator of 1983 puzzler Lode Runner, has passed away. Tozai Games, the current holder of the Lode Runner license, tweeted its condolences yesterday and asked for fans to reflect on their personal highlights with Smith's iconic classic.

According to Tozai's timeline for the series, Smith's development of Lode Runner began during his time at the University of Washington, where he created a prototype called "Kong." The interest and support of his peers pushed Smith to work full time and submit a finished version called "Miner" to publishers, with Broderbund distributing it as Lode Runner for the Apple 2, Atari 8-bit, MSX and Commodore 64 in 1983.

Lode Runner's legacy of ports and successors includes a 2012 release of Lode Runner Classic, which added features to the original version that Broderbund Software distributed.
[Image: TozaiGames]

Report: Super Smash Bros Wii U playable via 3DS connection

The Wii U doesn't typically support remote play with the 3DS like the PlayStation 4 does with its handheld cousin the PlayStation Vita, but Smash-ing times call for Smash-ing measures.

After spending some time with a preview build, GameSpot reports that the Nintendo 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. features a menu that claims the device will work as a controller when playing the Wii U version of the game. If the menu is accurate and remains in the final version of Smash, it also looks like you'll be able to transfer your characters' progress from the 3DS to Wii U.

Lest you think people are reading too much into things, the menu reportedly reads: "Connect to a Wii U - You can exchange custom fighters or use your Nintendo 3DS as a Wii U controller." Not a whole lot of room for misinterpretation there, but we'll find out for sure when Super Smash Bros. comes to 3DS on October 3 and Wii U on ... uh ... hey Nintendo, just when is the Wii U version coming out, anyway?
[Image: Nintendo]

Risk of Rain, Jazzpunk among IndieCade 2014 finalists

Juried game event IndieCade has announced its 2014 finalist picks, revealing a lineup of standout independent works that will be featured at this year's festival in Culver City.

Featured picks include recent releases like Jazzpunk, Hack 'n' Slash, Risk of Rain, and Mountain, along with upcoming games such as Elegy for a Dead World, Classroom Aquatic, Hyper Light Drifter, and Never Alone. All finalists will compete for a spot in the Closing Awards ceremony on the event's final day for the Festival Audience, Developer, and Media Choice Awards.

IndieCade kicks off this year on October 9, and runs through October 14.

[Image: IndieCade]

Divinity: Original Sin moves half a million copies

Throwback PC RPG Divinity: Original Sin has sold over 500,000 copies since its launch in June, developer Larian Studios announced today.

Pitching its project as a return to the genre's roots, Larian surged past its Kickstarter goal last year, more than doubling its initial funding target. Founder Swen Vincke notes that Divinity: Original Sin buyers "mostly" arrived via Steam, with 10 percent of sales coming from retail channels.

"'Break even' has been reached, our debts have been paid and we are now in the profitable zone," Vincke wrote. "While not all of the money is for us as we had private investors on board, the game did sufficiently well for us to envision funding our next endeavors with it, meaning we're pretty happy about its performance."

[Image: Larian]

Sony UK boss: Vita sales are 'robust,' banking on Minecraft

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Sony has been fairly low-key on Vita recently, with little mention of the device at its Gamescom press conference this year, and just a little Vita love during its Japan & Asia conference. However, Sony hasn't forgotten Vita – its sales are "robust and consistent," Sony UK head Fergal Gara claimed in an interview with Eurogamer.

"It's trucking along," Gara said. "It's currently in year-on-year growth and enjoying a healthy year, and it's about to hit its biggest and potentially most powerful release of the year, which is Minecraft. That could be an extraordinary release for Vita."

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Barely Related: Alan Moore's million, James Franco's Rant

Welcome to Barely Related, a conversational Friday column that presents the non-gaming news stories that we, the Joystiq staff, have been talking about over the past week. And no, we're not stopping our focus on industry and gaming news. Think of this as your casual weekly recap of interesting (and mostly geeky) news, presented just in time to fill your brain with things to discuss at all of those weekend shindigs.

Grab a fresh drink, lean back in your armchair, and get ready to talk nerdy with us.

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WRUP: With great interest

Destiny's first full weekend after its mega launch is upon us. Reception to the FPS/MMO has certainly been mixed, but if you're playing, how are you liking it? (I'm really enjoying the co-op.)

What's everyone playing?

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Earn Pokemon Alpha, Omega rewards in upcoming demo

Nintendo will offer a demo version of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire prior to the games' launches, according to its official site. The "early visit" to the games' Hoenn region will include "gameplay that you won't experience anywhere else," as well as a familiar Pokemon that is capable of Mega Evolving. Those that play the demo will be able to transfer said creature in addition to reward items to the full version of the game.

Nintendo did not specify when the demo would be made available, but did mention that fans will be able to play it as many times as they like (some 3DS demos are limited in the number of times they can be accessed). The demo will also feature "special scenarios that occur if you play every day." Nintendo will reveal instructions on how players can obtain a code in the near future. The Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire remakes will launch November 21 for 3DS.

Super Joystiq Podcast 112: Danganronpa 2, Azure Striker Gunvolt, downtime & future games

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This week's Super Joystiq Podcast is a secret unlockable character in Super Smash Bros.!

A big game came out this week, and we have plenty of coverage of Destiny, but are here to talk about the other games, because this is the Super Joystiq Podcast, and that's what we do. This week, Ludwig, Susan, Richard, and Anthony convene to talk Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Azure Striker Gunvolt, what to play when not hitting the big releases, and the exciting titles still on the way this year.

Listen to the Super Joystiq Podcast: Podcast timestamps and relevant links are available after the break.

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 009: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, Spelunky, Gaikai

Latest episode: Friday, July 6th, 2012


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