March 28, 2018

Nintendo hosting Super Smash Bros. Invitational, Splatoon 2 World Championship at E3

Posted on March 28, 2018 by Jason Nason

While we don’t know when we’re going to learn more details about the upcoming Switch iteration of Super Smash Bros., we know for sure that we’ll see the game in action at E3.

On June 11-12 in Los Angeles, an invited group of players will gather to play Super Smash Bros. as Nintendo hosts an event featuring gameplay for the upcoming Nintendo Switch title. This will be the first-ever exhibition tournament featuring the recently announced Super Smash Bros. game coming to Nintendo Switch in 2018.

Qualified teams will also compete in the first world championship for Splatoon 2 since the game’s launch.

Both competitions will be livestreamed.

The event will be just one of Nintendo’s activities at the E3 video game trade show, which runs June 12th – 14th. Additional details about Nintendo’s E3 plans aren’t yet known.

Prior to the Splatoon 2 World Championship, Nintendo will host U.S./Canada online qualifiers. The U.S./Canada qualifier will be the Splatoon 2 U.S./Canada Inkling Open 2018 hosted by Battlefy. Open qualifiers for teams of four ages 13 and up will take place on April 21 starting at 2pm ET, and finals will take place on April 28 at 11am ET. Teams will compete in Turf War during the open qualifiers and in Ranked Battle modes during the finals.

Players can learn more about the qualifiers at

“Nintendo always takes an original approach to video game competitions, and the portability of Nintendo Switch enables unique gameplay possibilities,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We’re looking forward to watching some of the best players in the world test their skills against each other in these two uniquely competitive games.”


Here’s A Look At All of The Elaborate Booths of GDC 2018

Posted on March 28, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

The 2018 edition of the Games Developer Conference has come to a close but there is still a lot more for us to show including gameplay videos, developer interviews and exclusive hands-on with several AAA and indie titles.

In this post I’d like to take a quick jaunt through some of the cooler booths on display at this year’s show. By “cooler” I don’t necessarily mean “elaborate” or “expensive” but visually impressive or booths that offered attendees a unique experience.

Epic Games Booth

A booth with a ride-able Fortnite llama in place of the traditional riding bull is a win in my book. This tough looking llama was a draw for the entire conference, sadly I didn’t get a chance to go for a ride.

Above said conquerable llama was a large screen that showcased the Fortnite live-stream that Epic had going during the entirety of show-floor hour.

Folks check out the PlayStation 4 Pro version of Fortnite Battle Royale.

Not to be left out, the mobile version of Fortnite was fully playable on a large TV.

Day of the Devs

Double Fine’s indie focused Day of the Devs event took place off-site as per usual but this elaborate skull themed display greeted attendees when taking the escalator down from the South Hall. In addition to playable demo stations you could also catch some of the developers behind featured games like Exo One, Minit and Knights & Bikes.

IGF Pavilion

The 2018 Independent Games Festival awards took place alongside the Game Developer Choice Awards on the Wednesday of GDC week. Throughout the show-floor days (Wednesday – Friday) all of the nominees could be played at a single station in this circular configuration. Games like Night in The Woods, Baba is You, Cuphead and Shenzen I/O were playable by attendees. In years past it wasn’t uncommon to actually meet the developers behind these games while playing them at the IGF booth – sadly I didn’t get to meet anyone from the excellent Night In The Woods team this year ☹.

Train Jam 2018 Booth

Over 80 independently created games & experiments were playable over at the Train Jam booth. I was lucky enough to take part in this year’s 52 hour game jam and our game Emotional Support Cat Girl was also playable at this booth as well. Creators from the Train Jam are also GDC Attendees for the most part so it wasn’t uncommon for creators to hang out at the booth and walk folks through their creations.

I didn’t have much time to go  1 on 1 with folks to show them Emotional Support Catgirl in person but I will have an exhaustive blog post outlining our amazing cross-America journey later on in the week.

Microsoft Azure Services Booth

A large Azure Services booth greeted attendees when taking one of the two main elevators down to the expo show-floor. Microsoft had a large floor presence this year aimed squarely at game developers and the cloud based development services that can help devs collaborate, test and deploy their upcoming projects.

Services like Azure Application Monitoring– which gives developers real-time reports on the use of their games and applications, Visual Studio Enterprise – Microsoft’s premium integrated development environment and the Xbox Live Creators program – which allows independent developers to publish on the Xbox One platform – were all on display.

By visiting four of the available demo stations developers were able to score both $2500 USD worth of Azure Credits for virtual machine testing and a free Xbox One controller. Disclosure: as a member of the Microsoft Developer Network and Bizspark Program I was not the intended audience for these workshops, I already have access to all of these services. The free controller will definitely be useful for my development work, however.

Google Booth

Google uses its presence in the mobile space with Android and its real-world presence in Silicon Valley to attract Android developers to GDC.  Not only do they host a keynote focused on the future of their mobile platform but also full day workshops for developers on pre-launch and post-launch support of their mobile games.

Aside from the giant G logo and familiar Google Employees in blue shirts there wasn’t much on display at their booth to speak of. At GDC Google did announce the interesting “instant app” addition to the Play Store which allows customers to download a small 10MB trial version of a game and play it within seconds without needing to install anything on their device. Given the size of some Android Games 10MB could be as small as a 30 second sample of the gameplay, while other smaller games have the chance to offer players a much more feature complete experience within those confines.

PlayStation Booth

Sony always has a huge display at conventions like PAX East, E3 and PAX West but did the development focus of GDC stop them from bringing some of the latest creation on their platform? Of course not!

Playable games at the PlayStation Booth included the recently released Shadow of the Colossus remake, Monster Hunter: World, Gran Turismo Sport and Ni No Kuni: Revenant Kingdom.

Sony also held a number of developer talks and workshops across the five days of GDC focusing on the visual arts achievements that Sony has made on the PlayStation 4, how devs can help fight fraud in an online gaming space and a Final Fantasy Collaboration focused workshop.


Unity has quickly become the darling of indie creators and the engine that powers some of the most notable AAA releases as well.  Upcoming titles like Escape From Tarkov, In the Valley of the Gods, Praey For the Gods and Hollow Knight all use the suite of tools made available for free by Unity Technologies.

While Unity might not offer the complete beginner friendly experience of something like Game Maker or Clickteam Fusion but it does offer a great gateway to full fledged game development. Alongside a whole range of professional grade 3D, 2D and lighting tools – developers also get access to some of the most exhaustive documentation systems around. Also the Unity community has probably answered almost every question asked about the engine at this point.

I’m not trying to come off as a paid Unity shill or that this section of the post is an advertisement – it’s not. But I’ve been personally making games in Unity for the past 2 years as my full time gig and it has been such a rewarding experience. What you lose in easy prototype-ability you gain in coding experience, game making fundamentals and probably the most beneficial to me personally – learning how to properly debug a game from conception through to post launch support.

In terms of what was on offer for newly budding developers and experienced veterans – Unity offered a quiet lounge space for Unity devs to hang out, grab a coke and just relax from the high stress environment. This space wasn’t entirely ultrisitic however – staffers from the engine developer were also on hand to inform visitors about upcoming Unity focused events like their Rendering Bootcamp, Keynote, Work Flow workshop and also to recruit for Unity Europe. Also on the floor of the West Hall (where most GDC panels take place) was a large “Made With Unity 3D” booth which gave folks the chance to check out multiple games made in Unity 5.

Ark: Survival Evolved Mobile

Lastly I’d like to highlight something I spotted at Unreal’s massive booth. Sandwiched in-between all of the Fortnite chaos, live engine demonstrations and AAA games was the mobile version of ARK Survival Evolved that had just been announced days prior. I didn’t get a chance to snag any off-screen video of the game running (tho I wish I had) but I did manage to snag a few interesting stills that I’ll post in the coming days. Suffice to say that the upcoming mobile conversion for ARK looks and plays rather faithful to the original – oh and there’s also the upcoming Nintendo Switch port of ARK, which was not on the show floor.


The Alliance Alive | REVIEW

Posted on March 28, 2018 by Jason Nason

I had a lot of trouble getting into The Alliance Alive, which by all means has all of the elements of a great RPG.  The trouble with the game doesn’t come from any issues with the game itself, but comes with the presentation. While all of the elements are there, and the game is a solid title to be sure, when you stack it up and compare it with similar titles, The Alliance Alive feels very underwhelming.

Underwhelming – that’s how I felt while playing through the game, which I’ll admit I still have a ways to go. I must have been spoiled with Atlus’ previous RPG entry and its nearly fully voiced dialogue because The Alliance Alive doesn’t have any. Like an old fashioned RPG before there was the capability or budget to have voice actors speaking for the characters in a game, there aren’t any voices in the game.

Another element which left me feeling underwhelmed was the music in the game. Overall much of the music was very soft and relaxing. It wasn’t uncommon for the music, which felt muted and passive, to remain unchanged into and out of a battle. The expected energetic music you would associate with a role-playing battle wasn’t there much of the time, mostly for battles on the world map. Battles should be events but they didn’t feel very eventful much of the time.

I know, it sounds like I’m harping on the game already. It’s amazing how much you take the audio aspect of a game for granted until it misses the mark.

Despite the lackluster sound design in the game, The Alliance Alive is a pretty deep game once you get yourself into it.

The way your characters progress in The Alliance Alive is different than I’m used to in most traditional RPGs. The characters don’t have levels in the traditional sense to level up so as you battle through the game you don’t really earn XP. Rather as you play, your stats will grow organically and will gradually increase after battles. Your HP or SP may rise a little bit after some battles.

Since you don’t earn experience in battle and level up stats, your strength and defense are reliant on the equipment you have equipped.

What you do earn after battles is talent points, which you can spend to upgrade your talents. The game has an interesting Arts & Spells and Talents system. As you attack with weapons equipped to your characters you will randomly “awaken” new abilities (or arts) for those weapons. The more advanced abilities you learn will cost you SP to use, but you can use some of the talent points to advance your skillset with a specific weapon. Doing so will lower the SP cost to use those abilities.

Another interesting deviation from tradition is the usage of items. Unlike traditional RPGs where you have a deep pocket of items to use in battle, in order to use items in The Alliance Alive you’ll need to equip them first outside of battle. That means you’ll have one or two items per character to use in battle. Of course this means you’ll have to unequip a potentially useful item. It’s an interesting balance and adds a level of strategy to battles.

Battles themselves are also pretty interesting.

Prior to battles you can set the formation of your team, with characters up front or at the back. As you might expect you’ll do more damage from the front lines but you’ll also take more of a pounding. Conversely, your attacks won’t pack as much of an impact from the back row, but you’ll also take less damage. So it pays to station characters which use ranged attacks or magic a little further back.

Now it feels like a bit of a handicap that are limited to the number of items which you can use in a battle, but something that is pretty interesting is that you will actually recharge your SP points during battle. Added to that, if one of your characters is KO’d during battle, you won’t need a special “revive” item to pick them back up. Any normal healing spell or item will do. Of course if all of your characters are KO’d that will end the battle. BUT, you should still try not to have a character knocked out. If one is knocked out they will be penalized with a reduced maximum HP until you rest at an Inn.

Battles in the game aren’t random and are instigated with monsters which roam around the dungeons and overworld. When the spot you they will change colour and will chase you. If you manage to garner the attention of more than one monster you’ll initiate a battle chain in which you’ll fight the monsters in succession. Doing so may net you a bit of bonus TP.

The Alliance Alive also has a variety if vehicles for you to use on the world map, which is a fun element to the game.

The look of the game is somewhat reminiscent of what I remember of the look of Final Fantasy IX. Not quite chibi characters but very close to it. The style of the characters and the environments as a whole have the same simple look. Dungeons are camera locked but in the overworld you van rotate the camera around. It’s too bad there’s no 3D on the world map.

There is very little 3D in the game. The 3D is limited to the menus when you have your character model displayed on the top screen and during the zoomed out view in towns, which you’ll only see if you wait for the game to pull the camera back.

I’ve always said that you should review a game based on its merits alone and not as a comparison to other games. With that in mind The Alliance Alive is a good RPG. While the audio is a bit lacking, the game is fun to play.


Get the latest articles and news from BrokenJoysticks and a selection of excellent articles from other sources.

Simply fill out the form below and you’ll be on your way to getting our upcoming newsletter.