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Sega's 8-bit universe beats itself up in Master System Brawl

If the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo Wii U and 3DS has you jonesing for a similar arena fighter featuring Sega's classic characters, you'll want to check out Sega Master System Brawl (direct download link), a recently updated homebrew release for the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive.

Kids who grew up on the Sega Master System (our own Alexander Sliwinski among them) will recognize several featured cast members, including Alex Kidd, Wonder Boy in Monster Land star Tom-Tom, and Shinobi's Joe Musashi. The latest version's roster also includes characters and backdrops from a selection of lesser-known Master System greats like Kung-Fu Kid and the Castlevania-inspired Vampire: Master of Darkness.

Creator "Bonaf" tells Sega Nerds that future updates will add playable characters like JJ from Zillion, Dynamite Dux's Bean, and Sonic the Hedgehog himself. Sega Master System Brawl is available as a downloadable ROM file, and is playable via emulation and on original Sega Genesis hardware using a flash cartridge.

[Video: Bonaf]

Hackers break Mario Kart 8, vow to not aid cheaters

The most basic premise of console multiplayer is the idea that everyone has a level technological playing field, but as the above video demonstrates, Mario Kart 8 is no longer the untouched, pristine walled garden its creators intended.

Though this clip is described as "very basic stuff" and "a proof of concept," YouTube user MrBean35000vr is able to alter the game's soundtrack, rename tracks and alter the Wii U system's menu font. According to the video's description, all of this is possible thanks to a recently-discovered browser exploit combined with new code that allows the user to alter any data the game places into the Wii U's memory.

Though this hack allows for a huge amount of control over Mario Kart 8, and may even have potential as an online cheating method, MrBean35000vr claims fans of Nintendo's latest mascot racer have nothing to fear. "None of this is in any state to be released at present, and it's unlikely that we ever will in the interest of preventing cheaters," reads a notice in the video's description, which is followed by an emoticon with its tongue hanging out - the hallmark of online sincerity.
[Image: Nintendo]

Mountain proves a hit on iOS, coming to Android, PC

Mountain, a quirky game from filmmaker David O'Reilly, has only been available for a week, but has already topped the iTunes App Store charts in numerous countries.

Mountain lacks most traditional game-like qualities. There are no enemies to stomp or aliens to shoot. Instead, the game generates a picturesque, stylized mountain based on a player's interactions within the game, then invites them to subtly influence the area while nature unfolds. Despite (or because of) this novel premise, Mountain reached the top of the iTunes best-selling charts in Germany, the number five spot in the United States, and according to O'Reilly, was the best-selling roleplaying game in "in 33 countries." Unfortunately, as O'Reilly points out, Mountain is a $1 download with no in-app purchases to speak of, so it's yet to crack the crucial top-grossing charts.

Those hoping to play Mountain, but lacking the necessary Apple device, may not be waiting much longer. O'Reilly plans to release Mountain for both Android and PC platforms, though a solid timeline of when those iterations might arrive remains absent.
[Image: Double Fine]

Cyberpunk Half-Life 2 mod, NeoTokyo, now available on Steam for free

Five years after it debuted as a fan-crafted Half-Life 2 modification, and following a lengthy Greenlight campaign, NeoTokyo has arrived on Steam as a standalone release.

Best described as an amalgamation of Counter-Strike's creeping, deliberate gunplay and sci-fi influences that fall somewhere between Neuromancer and Ghost In The Shell, NeoTokyo has earned a devoted following over the past half-decade. That should only increase, as the standalone Steam release bears a $0 price tag, and does not require players own Half-Life 2 or any other game containing the Source engine.

Full technical specs and game details on NeoTokyo can now be found on the game's Steam page.
[Image: Studio Radi-8]

Report: Classically-animated Cuphead roughly '40 percent done'

Brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, the developers better known as Studio MDHR, are making gradual progress on Cuphead, a run and gun shooter that borrows its novel aesthetic from the era of early Disney cartoons and the works of Fleischer Studios.

According to an upcoming Killscreen feature, the duo have completed "about 40 [percent]" of the game's art, and gameplay development is lagging just behind that. Though Kill Screen warns players that the game began development in 2010 and could be in the works for a long while to come, a tweet from Studio MDHR points out that proper development actually began in 2013, which bodes well for the game's late 2014 debut.

Though Cuphead is still far from complete, the Moldenhauer brothers are already plotting ways to bolster the action game. One idea involves expansion packs that alter the weapons and gameplay concepts found in the initial release to offer a wholly new gameplay experience, though the developers admit that any potential expansions for Cuphead will be a very long way.
[Image: Studio MDHR]

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd trailer showcases English subs

Image This fall on PS3 and Vita, Project Diva F 2nd will be the first Hatsune Miku game to present the synthesized singer's tunes with translated subtitles. Just in case you were worried you were tapping rhythms to some super weird lyrics, here's a new trailer to reassure you it's all appreciably poppy... Continue Reading

Destiny beta launches this month, premium editions outlined

Bungie announced that a public beta for its upcoming co-op shooter Destiny will roll out on PlayStation platforms on July 17. A beta release for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 will follow on July 23.

Publisher Activision also outlined its premium edition release plans for Destiny, including the Destiny Ghost Edition ($149.99), the Destiny Limited Edition ($99.99), and the downloadable Destiny Digital Guardian Edition ($89.99).

Destiny's Limited Edition is packaged in a SteelBook case and includes a collectible Folio and a batch of bonus in-game content. The Ghost Edition additionally includes a Letter of Introduction, a physical collection of Golden Age Relics, and a light-up, motion-activated Ghost statue featuring voice recordings from actor Peter Dinklage.

All special editions include a copy of the game and the Destiny Expansion Pass, which grants access to two expansions planned for future release. Players can also purchase both expansions as a $34.99 bundle, or individually for $19.99 each at launch.

Destiny will launch on September 9.

[Video: Bungie]

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PSA: Xbox Live service limited, video apps hit hardest

Xbox Live is currently issuing a service alert to notify subscribers that Microsoft's online gaming hub is having issues with a handful of video apps and even the company's own Xbox Video service.

According to the alert, some Xbox Live members are unable to download Xbox Video items that they've already purchased. Microsoft claims to be working on a solution, but so far no fix has come to light. "We appreciate your patience during this process and will update you again when we have more information," the alert states.

Additionally, the alert notes that both the Xbox Live Twitch app and its PBS contemporary are experiencing playback issues, while the Netflix app is having trouble on Xbox One. Microsoft likewise claims to be working on solutions for these issues, and assures customers that more information will be coming shortly.
[Image: Netflix]

Midna lends Link a hand in new Hyrule Warriors trailer

Image Twilight Princess' lovable imp Midna headlines the latest gameplay trailer for Koei Tecmo's Zelda-fied brawler Hyrule Warriors, showcasing an array of powerful attacks using gigantic phantom hands and summoned creatures. Midna is the latest in a string of Hyrule Warriors character profiles,... Continue Reading

Oculus announces Oculus Connect conference, acquires RakNet

As the latest Oculus Rift development kits begin shipping, Oculus VR has made a pair of important announcements for up-and-coming virtual reality developers. First, the company will be hosting a new VR development conference later this year. Called Oculus Connect, the conference will feature "sessions and workshops led by Oculus engineers and industry pioneers," as well as keynotes from Oculus founder Palmer Lucky, CEO Brendan Iribe, chief scientist Michael Abrash and, of course, John Carmack. Oculus Connect 2014 runs September 19-20, and registration begins July 10.

Alongside Oculus Connect, the company also announced the acquisition of RakNet, a C++ networking middleware system for game development. Essentially, the system provides developers the essentials for implementing online multiplayer (voice chat, object replication, etc). The system is currently used by companies like Sony Online Entertainment, Mojang and even Lockheed Martin. More important than the acquisition, however, is Oculus VR's decision to make RakNet open source, starting today. Interested developers can snag it right now from Oculus' GitHub.

If you decide to develop any online-enabled, virtual face touching, let us know.

Have you been downloading your free PS Plus games?

Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida recently discussed the continued dissonance between the audience's perception and reality of independent games and AAA titles. In particular, he mentioned the download rates of games available for free to PlayStation Plus members.

"I hear complaints [about the lack of AAA games]. I do realize that some people are only interested in big-budget AAA games. I don't really understand those people. I don't know if they've tried some of the indie games and decided they're not interested," said Yoshida to

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Halo 2: Anniversary 'Gungoose' is Mongoose with top gun

This past weekend at RTX 2014 in Austin, we learned that the "Gungoose," the Halo universe's Mongoose ATV with a big gun welded to the front, will make it into Halo 2: Anniversary. Halo 2: Anniversary, for its part, will come bundled in with Halo: The Master Chief Collection when it's released later this year.

"One of the best things to do with the Gungeese is to play a new game variant for Halo: The Master Chief Collection. It's Gungoose [Capture the Flag] and our favorite map to play it on is ... Coagulation," according to Halo Waypoint.

The Master Chief Collection will be available November 11 for $60. Check out the Gungoose after the break.

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Pokemon Trading Card Game chooses Europe's eShop this week

The Game Boy Color's Pokemon Trading Card Game shows its hand in the 3DS eShop this week in Europe, but there's no word on it coming to North America. The Virtual Console offering is priced £4.49/5 euros and is due for release on Thursday, July 10.

To recap, the Pokemon Trading Card Game is based on the physical trading card game which is based on the video games which aren't based on the anime series but vice versa.

We've reached out to Nintendo and The Pokemon Company to see if it's also headed to North America, but we suspect if it's not this week, it can't be too far off. After all, the news arrives just ahead of the new XY - Furious Fists expansion for the physical TCG, which will add 110 cards to the mix when it hits on August 13.

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Japan's new Bravely Default demo offers four free chapters

There are demos, and then there are demos that make half the game free. Step in a new Bravely Default demo out July 28 in Japan, which will let 3DS owners play chapters 1-4 of the Square Enix game without spending a single yen. So that's something like 30 hours at least of high-quality, old-school JRPG action for free. That, Square Enix, is some demo.

Of course, you don't get that kind of offer without a catch, but it's only the exclusion of voice acting. Japanese audio is added back in with a 2,000 yen download (around $19.62 converted), which also adds the rest of the game with saves carried over. A multilingual alternative with English audio will be available starting August 7, priced 2,500 yen ($24.52.)

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Watch Sunset Overdrive's intro cinematic, 8 minutes of gameplay

The opening cinematic for Sunset Overdrive underlines three life lessons:
  1. Always read the ingredients before consuming energy drinks
  2. When a haircut is asking for trouble, trouble will come answering
  3. Apocalyptic fires and high-speed trains are worth listening to.
The vid was recorded at this year's Rooster Teeth Expo, which took place over the weekend and where Insomniac Games showed eight minutes of gameplay from its Xbox One action adventure. Check that out below the break, and the full presentation from the RTX stream.

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 001: Black Ops 2, Elder Scrolls Online, The Walking Dead

Latest episode: Friday, May 4th, 2012

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