March 2021

How M2 went back to the Game Gear for its magnum opus

1 year 3 months ago

Modern games based on the perceived technical limitations of vintage systems are not uncommon. However, it takes a certain kind of courage - maybe even a tiny little bit of madness - to not only emulate the look and feel of yesteryear's classics, but to produce games for systems long past their prime. While such endeavours do happen in the indie- and homebrew-sector, it's unheard of for bigger companies to dabble in this sort of development. Nintendo, Square Enix or SNK might happily re-release their back catalogues in various physical or digital formats, it's unlikely they would ever go back to their old devkits.

Enter M2, a fascinating publisher and developer located in Tennodai near Tokyo, mostly known for producing conversions of classic games to modern hardware. M2 always goes the extra mile in order to deliver a product that not only immaculately represents the original games, but also improves them in many regards - always optionally of course. M2 is the kind of company to take the plunge into the technical depths of vintage hardware, as it has shown in the past: For one of its earlier Sega Ages projects, Fantasy Zone for PlayStation 2, the team programmed a port of the Master-System-exclusive Fantasy Zone 2 for Segas System 16 arcade-board; for the Namcot Collection in summer 2020, they helped produce impressive NES-conversions of Gaplus and Pac-Man Championship Editions.

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This Early Bugsnax Idea Sure Is Alarming

1 year 3 months ago

Despite Bugsnax's adorable art style, cute characters, and catchy theme song, the whole game has a mild undercurrent of body horror, as you transform characters' body parts by feeding them Bugsnax. An early concept posted by developer Young Horses shows the studio almost leaned right into that horror element, requiring players to peel and prepare the adorable Bugsnax before feeding them to characters.

The video is more than a little alarming, showing the player pulling the wings off a pair of flying olives and yanking out the creature's long tongue in order to plate it up. The video also shows the capture of a Pinkle, with preparation requiring the player to pluck off its pickle legs one by one.

It's not surprising that the developers decided to can this mechanic, as reviewers would have been far less likely to recommend the game for kids with dismemberment as a core part of the gameplay.

Author
Hayley Williams

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The Sims Releases New Player-Designed Items To Celebrate Its 21st Anniversary

1 year 3 months ago

To celebrate 21 years of The Sims, players are getting gifts of 21 new items for The Sims 4, including delicious new dishes, chic new furniture items, and a whole lot of new clothing and makeup styles. All the new items were created by members of the Sims community, who submitted creations that were meaningful to them, and useful to the wider community.

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The new furniture items include a dining table and kitchen set designed to fit in with any décor style, as well as a Mid-Century inspired trio including a console with drawers, bright red wardrobe, and a funky wall mirror. New makeup has been added including a new set of natural brows, a highlighter designed to complement all skin tones, a new style of dark, matte lipstick, and even a cosmetic item that will add crow's feet for ageing Sims.

Author
Hayley Williams

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Genshin Impact Finally Reveals Next Banner Character, Hu Tao

1 year 3 months ago

Mihoyo has confirmed that the final character banner for Genshin Impact's update 1.3 will feature 5-star Hu Tao, a pyro polearm user who is the director of the Wangsheng Funeral Parlor. While Hu Tao was expected to arrive during update 1.3 after being revealed by dataminers, her character banner wasn't announced with the others when the update was released.

Update 1.3, Mihoyo's latest big content drop for Genshin Impact, hasn't followed the formula players have come to expect from the game. Instead of two character banners it featured three, shorter ones, and the last one has been kept a mystery until now, only a few days before it's due to launch.

Hu Tao has mostly been mentioned as part of other characters' voice lines until now, though her artwork, character model, and idle animation had already been unearthed by dataminers. Hu Tao's abilities include a HP-consuming stance that converts all her damage to pyro damage and marks enemies to deal extra damage, while her Elemental Burst restores HP based on the number of enemies hit by its AOE attack.

Author
Hayley Williams

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Monster Hunter Rise Is Officially Coming To PC

1 year 3 months ago

Monster Hunter Rise, which until now had only been announced for the Nintendo Switch, was said to be coming to other platforms in documents that were part of a massive Capcom data leak late last year. Now, thanks to reporting by Fanbyte, Rise is confirmed to be coming to the PC in 2022.

The new information was revealed in an interview with Monster Hunter producer Ryozo Tsujimoto and director Yasunori Ichinose. The developers said that Monster Hunter Rise was very much made for the Switch, saying that the team "were aware of [the console's] shortcomings and abilities" while developing the game.

This may explain the long wait for the PC version of the game, due out next year, which the developers cautioned was "still very much in development." It'll be interesting to see how the PC port stacks up against the version made for Nintendo's less powerful hybrid console, though it's unlikely we'll see footage of the port until the Switch version has released.

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Author
Hayley Williams

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Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War Patch Notes -- Outbreak Bugs Squashed

1 year 4 months ago

Treyarch has released a new update for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and almost all of it addresses issues players have encountered since Outbreak launched with Season 2. The ambitious new mode is a large-scale spin on Zombies, complete with its own story, so it's hardly surprising that some rough edges needed to be fixed.

Outbreak received a general stability improvement as part of the update, particularly regarding objectives and both the Krasny Soldat and the Dragon Relic. You also shouldn't see Mimics teleport away after they're spawned from loot chests, nor should the HVT Megaton split when it's hit by a vehicle.

A few other fixes were also included in the update, such as UI and tooltips not showing up correctly, and a player's Operator model disappearing. It's not the largest update we've seen in Call of Duty, but we got one of those just a few days ago. In fact, the file sizes for both Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Warzone have gotten so large that players with 500GB PS4 systems may struggle to keep the games installed. This is especially true if they're interested in playing anything else, as some of that 500GB is needed for the console's operating system and can't be used to store games.

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Author
Gabe Gurwin

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Valorant: New Agent Astra Arrives With Battle Pass On March 2

1 year 4 months ago

Riot Games has revealed a new agent for Valorant, Astra, and she's poised to change up the game with astronomy-themed abilities and a move that will let you truly control the battlefield. The agent, originally from Ghana, acts as a controller in matches and should help to keep the other team from making coordinated strikes. She'll be live in the game on March 2.

One of the most unique aspects of Astra is her ability to soar above the map in order to get a better perspective, though you'll be leaving her actual, physical body at risk of being attacked while you do so. Using her Astral Form, she's able to place down stars that can then be turned into a Nebula, powerful Nova Pulse, or a Gravity Well that traps and damages those caught inside.

A new battle pass is also on the way, giving you more cosmetic unlockables for Valorant's characters. It costs 1,000 VP, with the paid track giving you a Prism III Axe melee, Cavalier Vandal, Cavalier Operator, Make Some Noise spray, and Versus // Sova + Cypher card. A few freebies are available, too, including a Prism III Classic pistol and a Dumpster Fire spray.

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Author
Gabe Gurwin

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Is Getting A Board Game

1 year 4 months ago

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is on just about everything now. Well, almost everything. Modiphius Entertainment sees one more platform it can be on: cardboard. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - The Board Game is in the works, and it appears the company will be seeking crowdfunding to make it possible.

In a listing on the crowdfunding site Gamefound, Modiphius described The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - The Board Game as an "epic cooperative board game" that will be playable by one to four players. It's honestly baffling that it took this long for a Skyrim board game to be made at all. Presumably, the game will involve one of the quests we saw in the video game, as well as dragons. We could do without any "arrow in the knee" jokes.

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Author
Gabe Gurwin

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E3 2021 In-Person Event Canceled, City Tourism Board Says

1 year 4 months ago

We were certainly hoping things would change enough for it not to be the case, but it seemed largely inevitable. E3 2021 has been canceled, at least in its traditional form, with the Board of Los Angeles Department of Convention and Tourism Development Commissioners planning some sort of digital replacement to be broadcast from the city.

The news, shared by VGC and available as part of an 84-page presentation on the city's official website, lists E3 2021 as a "canceled live event in 2021," with potential broadcast options at LA Live and/or the Los Angeles Convention Center. The same update says the city is still working on the license for the next two years' conferences.

We did already know that the ESA was considering doing a very different sort of E3 for 2021, per a statement it gave to GameSpot earlier this month. The organization said it was "transforming the E3 experience for 2021" and added that it would share details on publishers' involvement in the event soon.

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Author
Gabe Gurwin

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Island Gets Opening Cutscene Trailer Ahead of Nintendo Switch Release With English Subtitles

1 year 3 months ago

Today Prototype released a new trailer of Frontwing‘s popular visual novel Island, which will soon release for Nintendo Switch.

The trailer showcases the opening cutscene and theme song, proving a look at the characters that we’ll meet in the game.

You can check it out below.

Island will launch on the Nintendo eShop for the Switch on April 8, with Japanese audio and subtitles in both English and Japanese. It’ll cost $59.99/€59.99.

The game is already available for PC via Steam and PS4. Below you can read an official description.

“ISLAND is an intricate visual novel with multiple routes and endings. Through use of the game’s flowchart system, players navigate through the story and uncover clues to unravel the mysteries of Urashima, the titular island.

Author
Giuseppe Nelva

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Inevitably, it seems that E3 2021 will not be a live event

1 year 3 months ago

It will hardly come as a surprise to anybody at this point, but it appears that, for the second year running, the 2021 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) has been officially cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While the event failed to take place last year - one of many industry events forced off-calendar by coronavirus' impact - the organizers remained optimistic that the show would be returning to the L.A. Convention Center for its 2021 edition of the annual gathering of developers, publishers, and fans. But, as reported by VGC, recent documents from the Board of Los Angeles Convention and Tourism Development Commission clearly list E3 2021 as a "cancelled event".

There have already been rumblings this year that E3 wishes to transition the show to an online affair, presenting a long weekend of near non-stop live streams, interviews, reveals, and other online presentations. For this, it would require the backing of an army of major industry publishers from around the globe, many of whom may simply choose to host their own live-streams as and when they respectively deem appropriate, similar to the seemingly endless glut of streams that ran throughout the summer (and into the fall) of 2020.

Undaunted, E3 organizers The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) have confirmed to VGC that its plans go ahead to host a substitute digital event. "We can confirm that we are transforming the E3 experience for 2021 and will soon share exact details on how we’re bringing the global video game community together," said an ESA spokesperson to VGC. "We are having great conversations with publishers, developers and companies across the board, and we look forward to sharing details about their involvement soon."

Author
Chris Moyse

E3 2021 live event cancelled, LA city says

1 year 3 months ago

E3 2021's live event has been cancelled, according to paperwork filed by the Board of Los Angeles Convention and Tourism.

Last month, we heard that E3's organiser the Electonic Software Association (ESA) had plans for a digital-focused show, though a live or hybrid event had not been ruled out.

Now, documentation dug up by ResetEra (thanks, Twinfinite) lists the show as a "cancelled live event", though with a potential license to return in 2022 and 2023.

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Pokémon's 25th celebrations include an album featuring J Balvin, Katy Perry

1 year 3 months ago

Pokémon has detailed the musical component of its 25th anniversary celebrations, following a well-received virtual concert starring Post Malone.

The franchise will release an album of music in autumn 2021 featuring Post Malone, the previously-announced Katy Perry, recent Fortnite collaborator J Balvin and a fourth "surprise superstar artist".

Each of the four will release a single for the record, along with a presumably-Pokémon-themed music video and an exclusive merch range.

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Xbox boss: Elden Ring news is 'not happening' on March 23 Xbox event

1 year 3 months ago

Elden Ring was announced nearly two years ago at E3 2019, and since then, the wait has been unbearable.

From Software, Hidetaka Miyazaki in the director's chair, and George R.R. Martin handling the lore? Folks are already excited for the successor to Dark Souls III, much less any combination of those two individuals. The game has been in development for roughly four years at this point, but alas, we aren't hearing about it soon, it seems.

Following up on rumors that Elden Ring would show up at Microsoft's March 23 Xbox event, Microsoft marketing GM Aaron Greenberg came out on Twitter to deconfirm the entire outing. Here's what they plainly had to say: "Just to set expectations: this is not happening. There are always things we have in the works, but nothing coming soon that would feature game announcements or world premieres like this."

As we all know, Elden Ring seems to have a connection with Microsoft, as news for it has arisen out of various Microsoft outlets and streams; and Phil Spencer has personally played Elden Ring. Guessing that any given Xbox event would be the one to share Elden Ring news is studious, but it could feasibly show up anywhere.

Aaron Greenberg [Twitter]

Xbox boss: Elden Ring news is 'not happening' on March 23 Xbox event screenshot

Author
Chris Carter

Overwatch: Tracer Cuts Loose in 'London Calling' Graphic Novel

1 year 3 months ago
Overwatch has always stood out in the online shooter arena for offering a surprisingly deep world and diverse cast of characters. But if you haven't been reading Dark Horse's Overwatch tie-in comics, you haven't been getting the full story on this colorful, hyperviolent universe. Fortunately, the latest digital-first Overwatch comic, Tracer: London Calling, is finally making its way to print. IGN can exclusively reveal that Overwatch: Tracer - London Calling will arrive in bookstores on September 28, 2021. This 112-page hardcover collects all five issues of the series, along with a new cover by artist Bengal. If you haven't yet experienced this dynamic Overwatch spinoff, get a closer look in the slideshow gallery below. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=overwatch-tracer-london-calling-graphic-novel-preview&captions=true"] London Calling not only features one of the franchise's most popular characters, it also boasts quite an impressive creative team. The series is written by Mariko Tamaki, who wrote 2014's critically acclaimed graphic novel This One Summer, as well as Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass, the IGN People's Choice Winner for Best Graphic Novel of 2019. Babs Tarr, best known for her bold new visual take on Batgirl and the Image Comics series Motor Crush, handles the interior art.
Author
Jesse Schedeen

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Snoop Dogg Streamed Madden, Ragequit After 15 Minutes, and Left His Stream Running for 7 Hours

1 year 3 months ago
Legendary rapper and entrepreneur Snoop Dogg had an interesting time streaming Madden on Twitch over the weekend. After roughly 15 minutes of airtime, he quit out of a frustrating game of Madden 21, walked out of the room, and left his stream on for several hours. As noted by PC Gamer, the rapper switched his Xbox off after the opposing team scored a touchdown and walked away, clearly irritated. We've all been there! You can see it all go down below, as Snoop heads out without switching off his stream. Due to the use of licensed music, a lot of the VOD is muted, but those who were there live could enjoy the lovely view of Snoop's game room as funky tunes like Lovely One by The Jacksons blared through the speakers. After seven hours and 37 minutes of vibes, Snoop came through in a sparkly hoodie, switching the stream off for good before walking away. The VOD has been viewed by 250,000 people as of writing. In other Snoop Dogg-related news, Microsoft sent the D O Double G a massive Xbox Series X fridge for his birthday in October 2020. We reviewed Madden NFL 21 upon its release in August 2020, scoring it a 6 and noting a "lack of innovation across the board." [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2010/07/19/ign-originals-snoop-dogg-is-in-your-videogames"] [poilib element="accentDivider"] Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.
Author
Jordan Oloman

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Xbox Marketing Boss Says 'Nothing Coming Soon' for Game Announcement Events

1 year 3 months ago
After rumours that Elden Ring would be shown at an Xbox event this month, Xbox Marketing Boss Aaron Greenberg has said that there is "nothing coming soon" with regards to Xbox events that would "feature game announcements or world premieres like this." Greenberg made the comments on Twitter while rebuffing reports that claimed a new trailer for Elden Ring - the hotly anticipated collaboration between From Software and George R. R. Martin - would be showcased during a rumoured March 23 Microsoft event. Fans have been clamouring for more Elden Ring information to follow-up on the tantalising clip shown during E3 2019. "Just to set expectations: this is not happening," Greenberg said, before going on to explain that while "there are always things we have in the works," there are no events coming soon that would feature 'world premieres' or game announcements of a similar calibre.
Author
Jordan Oloman

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Scientists Teach AI to Beat Tricky 1980s Platformers

1 year 3 months ago
A team of scientists working as part of Uber AI Labs has taught an artificial intelligence to complete 1980s platformers, such as Pitfall. The scientists have created a series of algorithms that are able to create archives of their previously explored areas, allowing the AI to effectively remember where it has been in a level. It can then use that knowledge to further explore new, not yet investigated locations. [ignvideo url="https://www.ign.com/videos/2015/07/10/history-of-awesome-pitfall"] This method differs from the traditional AI approach of intrinsic motivation, which rewards an AI for finding new areas. But this system can result in the AI effectively forgetting about places it has already been and potential avenues branching from those areas that it has yet to take. By using this new method, the team have been able to teach the AI how to beat games such as Montezuma’s Revenge, Freeway, and Pitfall; all tricky gaming classics from the Atari era of gaming. "Our method is indeed pretty simple and straightforward, although that is often the case with scientific breakthroughs," said scientists Adrien Ecoffet, Joost Huizinga and Jeff Clune in an interview with BBC. [widget path="global/article/imagegallery" parameters="albumSlug=best-platformers-of-2020&captions=true"] Key to how the new design, known as Go-Explore, works is that it is able to separate the process of exploring new areas and returning to old ones, and uses different methods to achieve those two goals. As is often the case in science, this research is being done with a much larger goal of just teaching a computer how to play video games.
Author
Matt Purslow

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Digital Foundry explains how a clever programmer cut GTA Online load times by 70%

1 year 3 months ago

GTA Online remains a popular (and incredibly profitable) game seven years after launch, thanks to the steady influx of new content, but one thing Rockstar seems unable to improve is the game's famously long load times. Over the weekend, an enterprising developer called t0st finally discovered why GTA Online takes so long to load - even on machines with fast processors and storage such as the PlayStation 5 and PC - and fixed those issues, reducing his load times by 70 per cent.

The blog written by t0st explaining the issues and fixes is brilliant, complete with excellent MSPaint illustrations, but it's a little hard to follow if you don't have programming experience. I'll try to summarise it as best I can!

So: after struggling through a six minute load for GTA Online on his mid-range PC, t0st opened Task Manager the next time he loaded up the game and noticed something odd: after the one minute mark, his computer's CPU usage spiked up dramatically, but storage and network usage were nearly non-existent. That suggested that the lengthy load times weren't caused by Rockstar's servers or data being read off a drive - instead, something was running on the CPU. Something that required a ton of processing to complete, and only used a single thread.

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Why yes, Onion Games, I would like Rule of Rose and Chulip ported to modern consoles

1 year 3 months ago

Last year, Onion Games' Yoshiro Kimura announced he was beginning work on what might be the final RPG of his career. But that's probably months or even years away from completion. In the meantime, Onion Games needs something else to work on and is asking fans what they want to see from the developer in 2021 and beyond. While the idea of physical versions of more of its games does sound enticing, it's the mention of two specific titles that prompted me to write this post.

In the tweet below with a link to the survey, Onion Games mentions the possibility of porting Chulip and Rule of Rose to new consoles. Given its track record, that means Nintendo Switch. Kimura worked on both titles, serving as the director of Chulip and working on the planning draft and cut scenes for Rule of Rose.

Why yes, Onion Games, I would like Rule of Rose and Chulip ported to modern consoles screenshot

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Author
CJ Andriessen

I'm digging Genshin Impact's new spooky gal, Hu Tao

1 year 3 months ago

Genshin Impact might only have been on the scene for a few months, but it already has a surprisingly large roster of characters just waiting to gobble up your Fate (read: Cash). Despite my soft spot for Fire Emblem Heroes, I'm yet to fall prey to miHoYo's take on the Lure of the Gacha. But things are about to get a little tougher for me, with the arrival of brand new character Hu Tao. I am a simple man: I see Spooky Gal, I click.

Like myself, Hu Tao "walks the line between life and death", whilst somehow holding down a position as the 77th director of the Wangsheng Funeral Parlor. Known as the "Versemonger of the Darkest Alleys" Hu Tao can most likely be found in some of Liyue Harbor's creepiest locations, hanging out with her spirit pals and practicing her pole-arm skills. A teasing trailer has Hu Tao introduce herself, complete with a light-hearted jump. I have to admit I think the voice is a little too cutesy, but I love her design.

I'm digging Genshin Impact's new spooky gal, Hu Tao screenshot

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Author
Chris Moyse

Valorant Prime 2.0 Skin Line Revealed in New Trailer

1 year 3 months ago

Valorant’s Prime skin line launched in tandem with the full version of the game back in June of last year, and they’ve remained one of the most popular ever since. No surprises, then, to see that Riot is bringing them back again for the start of the game’s next Act with the Prime 2.0 skin bundle.

They won’t launch until the Act kicks off tomorrow, but we’ve got our first glimpse of them in action today via a new trailer that introduces their design.

The bundle costs 7100 VP (about $70) and features five weapons, as well as the usual gun buddies, cards, and sprays. The weapons are as follows:

  • Frenzy
  • Bucky
  • Phantom
  • Odin
  • Karambit (Knife)

Valorant’s senior weapons artist Chris Stone said of the new skin line’s design:

“We want players who own the Prime Vandal to feel like the Prime//2.0 Phantom offers something new but still feels cohesive with their collection as they play. In terms of color, originally in development, Prime//2.0 was rich dark blue, gold, and white, but after looking at it with the team for a while, it didn’t feel premium enough. I ended up going back in to adjust the textures and I’m happy where it landed with black, gold, and white.”

Author
Alex Gibson

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Capcom Arcade Stadium Is an Arcade Lover’s Wonderland

1 year 3 months ago

If you love old arcade games and specifically ones made by Capcom, then the Capcom Arcade Stadium is an absolute must-have title. It has titles from multiple genres each with its own detailed control manuals. It’s a fantastic bundle, though a few odd decisions dull the luster of this shiny new release.

But first, let’s break down the logistics. Capcom Arcade Stadium is a carefully curated list of 32 fantastic classic games spread across three packs of downloadable content and two free games — Ghosts ‘n Goblins and 1943. Each pack is $14.99 or you can save about $5 and buy all of them simultaneously for $39.99.

This is certainly a hefty price for someone who doesn’t care a bit about arcade games. But it’s a steal if you’re trying to feed your need for some old-fashioned arcade goodness.

As we’ve seen in past arcade ports on Switch, Capcom Arcade Stadium gives you tons of visual settings to tweak to your liking. Scan lines, portrait mode, landscape mode, a green frame with a cow sitting in the corner, and so many more options are at your fingertips.

And each game will save your personalized settings for that specific game. The only problem is that there is no option to set global settings. If you only play games that display vertically instead of horizontally, then it would be nice to be able to set that as the default. Or better yet, have separate global settings for vertical and horizontal games.

It’s fairly easy to jump into the settings menu for a game and pick your preferred display options, but it also becomes quite tedious when you have to do it over and over again.

Author
Omar Banat

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