6 Weirdest Gaming News Stories of 2016

Weirdest Gaming News Stories

2016 was an… Interesting year, to say the least.  Both inside the gaming industry and out, one unthinkable news story after another kept breaking.  Naturally, we’ll just stick to gaming here and take this time to look back on some of the most surreal news stories that came out in the last twelve months.  Granted, there are some major events that didn’t make this list, such as the CS:GO Lotto scandal and the controversial release of No Man’s Sky.  While those are undoubtedly important events, they aren’t exactly strange in the same way as these other tales.  That being said, these are the…

Weirdest gaming News Stories of 2016

Street Fighter V Gets Flava Flav DLC

Street Fighter V did not go over well.  Desperate to get on the stage for EVO 2016, the game was shoved out the door way too early with way too little content.  I know the lack of an arcade mode gets brought up a lot, but that’s because an arcade mode is the single most basic form of single player a fighting game can have.  If Capcom couldn’t even muster up the bare basics, that should terrify you.  Hell, we’re still waiting on it to this day.

Something the game has gotten: Costumes inspired by former Public Enemy hype-man Flava Flav.  Believe it or not, this is a picture of Ryu and Chun Li.  Drink it in.  These were released as a part of a sponsorship deal with Red Bull and my brain still hasn’t fully processed the fact that they exist.  Aside from the outfits looking hilariously out-of-character for both fighters… Really?  Flava Flav?  Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was able to get Snoop Dogg for their surreal rapper cross-promotion.  You couldn’t get someone with some relevancy post 2007?

An Anime Fan on Prom Night

Mighty No. 9 hurts my soul on every level.  I’ve been a Mega Man fan since childhood and seeing the Kickstarter for Mighty No. 9 seemed like a dream come true at the time.  Then, mid-2015 rolled around and things got very depressing very quickly.  The point where I knew things had gone off the rails was when Keiji Inafune announced not one, but two new Kickstarters for Mighty No. 9 spinoffs.  Now, let me just say that the Mega Man Legends games are two of my personal favorite video games of all time and my heart shattered when the long-awaited third entry was killed off just before it hit the finish line.  When a Kickstarter for a spiritual successor was announced, I should have been all over it.  Instead, I never put a dime towards it because I just couldn’t trust Red Ash without knowing how Mighty No. 9 turned out first.

Looks like I made the right move, because calling the new blue bomber a disappointment is an understatement.  The visuals were bad, the voice-acting was bad, the attempts at reinventing the Mega Man formula were bad, and the PC version launched with a memory-leak that caused the game to lag the longer you played it until your computer eventually crashed.  The cherry on the sundae of misery was a trailer that seemed specifically designed to mock its supporters.  Now I’m actually excited to see what happens to Mega Man next.  As bad as he’s had it in the last few years, it can’t get much worse than the not-so-Mighty No. 9.

 

Konami Vs Kojima Aftermath

The fallout between gaming auteur Hideo Kojima and his publisher Konami was perhaps the defining story of the gaming industry in 2015 and the aftermath of them parting ways still made for some of the biggest headlines of 2016.  Kojima announced the first game his new studio will be developing, Death Stranding, and has so far released two teaser trailers for it.  Both trailers were Salvador Dali-levels of crazy and apparently weren’t supposed to represent the actual games.

Meanwhile, Kojima’s former taskmaster proved to have a hard time letting things go by announcing Metal Gear Survive, a game based heavily on Metal Gear Solid V‘s engine and is an open-world zombie survival game, the single most diluted genre in the industry today.  With the year ending with gambling being legalized in Japan and Konami’s Japanese stocks being amongst the best in the industry, it looks like the company will survive without Kojima, but it’s doubtful that they’ll thrive.

Greenlight Goes Mad

Steam’s Greenlight program officially reached critical mass in 2016.  What started as a gateway for small developers to get their passion-projects into the public eye didn’t take long to be exploited by amateurs.  Last year seemed to have an unofficial contest to create the absolute worst Greenlight entry possible.

For example, there was Hyrule: Total War, a mod of Medieval II: Total War based on The Legend of Zelda series that was submitted without the approval of the people who made Total War, Legend of Zelda, or even the mod itself.  I’m kind of cheating by including this as this issue dates back to 2015, but UnitZ, a Unity asset pack designed to be a starter kit for developing zombie survival games, has been submitted to Greenlight at least 9 different times by 9 different “developers” who have made little to no changes to the original asset pack.  World of Warcraft was submitted to Greenlight by someone completely unassociated with Blizzard.  A clip of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was submitted to Greenlight.  No, seriously, someone tried to market a clip of a late-night talkshow as a video game.

The only barrier to entry for Greenlight is a $100 fee and Valve just trusts their user-base to police the service for them.  Fortunately, much of the community has been fairly eagle-eyed and most of these attempts were shut down, but there are still plenty of cracks to slip through.  The floodgates have been opened wide enough that 40% of all games on Steam were released last year.

Everything About Pokemon Go

Oh, Pokemon Go, you could have easily filled a top 20 list of weirdness all on your own, couldn’t you?  Just the game itself was enough of a bizarre phenomenon, drawing millions of otherwise secluded people to wander the wilderness on the hunt for imaginary monsters.  That alone sounds like Nostradamus predicting the end of days and it only got weirder from there.  People found dead bodies while playing the game, thugs used the game to bait people into muggings, people abandoned their cars en masse to catch a Vaporeon, et cetera.

The folks making the game had their own share of bedlam, as well.  A big part of that was that the game didn’t have a dedicated community manager when it launched.  When major problems like the three-step glitch happened, there was nothing but radio silence in response.  As a result, the surprise hit of the year also saw a massive drop-off in players.  I doubt Nintendo was too torn up about it, though, considering they only signed on for a microscopic cut of the profits of one of the most anticipated titles of last year.  Everything that Pokemon Go touches becomes wailing insanity one way or another.  Are we sure that Niantic isn’t secretly some eldritch incantation?

Digital Homicide Sues Everyone

Digital Homicide will probably go down in history as the single worst video game developer to have ever existed.  If anyone is actually able to top them, I will partly be impressed, but mostly terrified.  Digital Homicide first garnered infamy as a shovelware developer for Steam.  Now, shovelware has been around since the Atari 2600 and Steam in particular gets A LOT of it these days, so that’s not such a big deal on its own.  What makes Digital Homicide special is that they were outright psychotic about it.

It all started when Youtuber James Stanton, better known as Jim Sterling, uploaded a first impressions video of one of DH’s earliest games, The Slaughtering Grounds, back in 2014.  The developers than released their own video titled Review the Reviewer that openly mocked Stanton for his criticism.  Animosity between the two parties continued to grow until it all came to a head in 2016 and Digital Homicide filed a lawsuit against Stanton claiming that his videos were damaging their business.  Then it got even crazier and Digital Homicide decided that they would just sue everyone.  I think they even tried to sue me around this time and that is not even a joke.  My name could very well have been on their litigious hit-list.  I honestly don’t know.

What we do know is that a lawsuit was filed against 100 Steam users for the crime of speaking ill of Digital Homicide’s precious garbage heap.  We’ll probably never know the full list of names that DH tried to take to court, but it did include such stellar monikers as Demonsword, Toon Vlux, and JDude330#HaeisBACK.  That case was ultimately dismissed after Valve pulled DH’s entire catalog from their service and left them without a source of income to fund their court case.  At the time of writing, the case against Stanton is still ongoing, but seems to be on the verge of being thrown out as well.

Those were the weirdest gaming news stories of 2016. Got any other bizarre news stories from 2016 that we missed?  Can 2017 end up topping last year in terms of insanity?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

 

PS Plus, Games With Gold Freebies For June 2016

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With May coming to an end, it is once again time to celebrate free games with the latest batch of PlayStation Plus and Games With Gold picks for the month of June. However, I think the celebration this month might be a bit hampered as the offerings are possibly the least interesting that they’ve been in months.

These are your PlayStation freebies for June – this time without a trailer because reasons.

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  • NBA 2K16 – PS4
  • Gone Home: Console Edition – PS4
  • Echochrome – PS3
  • Siren: Blood Curse (Episodes 1-12) – PS3
  • God of War: Chains of Olympus – PSP, PS Vita
  • Little Deviants – PS Vita

While I don’t want to come off as overly negative, this month is quite lazy from my perspective. For huge sports fans, most of you will probably already own NBA 2K16, but as it is a very solid game, it’s cool for those who missed it. Gone Home, while entertaining, failed to capture me as it divulged into preachy territory, abandoning what I considered to be the most interesting aspects that it began with.

None of the other titles are bad per se, it’s just that they’re games most of us already have. Little Deviants was one of the only launch titles for Vita, and Echochrome was one of the most interesting PlayStation Network titles when it arrived years ago.

That said, if you missed the boat you should feel entertained with such a diverse offering.

And without further adieu, these are the Games with Gold freebies for June.

    • Goat Simulator  – Xbox One
    • The Crew  – Xbox One
    • Super Meat Boy  – Xbox 360
    • XCOM Enemy Unknown – Xbox 360

For those of you who felt that Grid 2 from last month lacked a huge open world to explore with friends, The Crew should feel right at home if you don’t already own it. I’ve neglected it for far too long, so this is actually my favourite freebie from Microsoft this month.

Ending the list with a game as phenomenal as XCOM or a game as crushingly difficult as Super Meat Boy, you should be in for a treat if you somehow them thus far.

PS Plus, Games With Gold Freebies For May 2016

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With May upon us, it is once again time to dust off the PS4 and Xbox One and prepare yourself for a new batch of free games from Microsoft and Sony respectively. PS While last month was a glaring success for Microsoft, it seems they’ve taken a step back with some indies and games that, to be frank, most people already own.

Sony, while still not meeting the expectations set by Microsoft last month, has a few interesting titles for all of us loyalists at least.

Here are the PlayStation freebies for May.

  • Tropico 5 – PS4
  • Table Top Racing: World Tour – PS4
  • Switch Galaxy Ultra  – PS4, PS Vita
  • Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 – PS3
  • LocoRoco Cocoreccho! – PS3
  • God Of War Ghost Of Sparta – PS Vita, PSP

You have to hand it to Sony. They’ve been really trying to diversify the offerings of each month. After what felt like a year of nothing but 2D indie platformers, it’s refreshing that we will be getting something like Tropico 5, a fantastic strategy game that I didn’t even know existed on the platform.

It’s also nice to see Switch Galaxy Ultra, which is a game I’ve never heard of. I  think my favourite part about PS Plus is the idea that I’m constantly getting free games I’ve never heard of, just to find out that they’re mostly games I enjoy enough to buy them. Whether this is the case with Switch Galaxy Ultra remains to be seen.

For you equally loyal Xbox patrons, here are the games you will receive for the month of May.

    • Defense Grid 2  – Xbox One
    • Costume Quest 2  – Xbox One
    • Grid 2  – Xbox 360
    • Peggle – Xbox 360

What a random month for Games With Gold. After Microsoft blew it out of the water with the wonderful Sunset Overdrive, it is strange to see the headliner being a little tower defense game from 2014. That said, Defense Grid 2 is really tight and well, despite being a list that is not exactly a home run, every game is solid and well worth the download.

If you somehow neglected Peggle for all of these years, grab it, as it is potentially one of the most addictive arcade games available right now.

Next Call Of Duty To Take Place In Far Future

While it is absolutely no surprise that there is another Call of Duty title on the horizon, it is interesting to hear that it might be set in the far future with such features as space combat.

NeoGAF user Shinobi, a trusted industry insider, has shared fragments that might hint at the type of game we will be receiving this fall.
“Very far future.

Space combat.

Full on sci-fi.”

Considering we have nothing as far as what to expect from CoD 2016 beyond this and the Eurogamer report on the matter, this opens the floodgates as far as speculation goes.

Will it be a sequel or spiritual successor to Ghosts? Will we embark on missions set entirely in space, in the vein of Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica? Who knows, but the notion of ‘full on sci-fi’ suggests that this year, Infinity Ward wants to step away from Ghosts, which upon release, received less than brilliant reception from both critics and the community alike.

Despite that reception, I fancied Ghosts quite a bit and was, until this point, anticipating a more polished and creative sequel. I am now not too sure if I want space ships and blaster rifles or more Riley with his adorable military outfit.

I guess it will be up to Infinity Ward to demonstrate why we should get excited again.

PS Plus, Games With Gold Freebies Of April 2016

April is nearly here, and with it comes another great batch of free games from both Sony and Microsoft respectively. While Sony seems intent on offering indies and older games that you might’ve missed, Microsoft seemingly wants to demonstrate how you tackle April in style, as their offering might be the best I’ve seen in months.

Before we get to Microsoft though, here are the freebies for April.

 

  • Dead Star – PS4
  • Zombi – PS4
  • I Am Alive – PS3
  • Savage Moon – PS3
  • A Virus Named Tom – PS Vita
  • Shutshimi – PS Vita

Although there is nothing spectacular here, I’m quite pleased to see Zombi make the cut, as I was debating picking it up a few weeks back. Although it received mix reception, I can’t help but get the urge to jump into a never-ending zombie nightmare.

It’s also great to get another interesting space game, as I refuse to get tired of them. Dead Star eluded me and so I will be going in completely blind, but it certainly looks promising!

For Xbox owners, here are the games you will receive for the month of April.

    • Sunset Overdrive  – Xbox One
    • The Wolf Among Us  – Xbox One
    • Dead Space  – Xbox 360
    • Saints Row IV – Xbox 360

 

Wow. One of the biggest games on Xbox One is now free for anybody with a Gold subscription. I have wanted to play Sunset Overdrive for as long as I’ve owned an Xbox so again, this is a fantastic freebie. Ridiculously over the top action in an open-world full of actual colour!

What’s more is, there aren’t any slackers this month, as Dead Space is a phenomenal horror game, Saints Row IV is open-world zany madness, and The Wolf Among Us is Telltale at their absolute best. You really cannot go wrong.

 

PS Plus, Games With Gold Freebies For March 2016

With March swiftly approaching, both Sony and Microsoft have detailed their free games of the month.

From the zany hit that is the original Borderlands, to the excellent Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments, this month is definitely one of variety and a welcomed great change of pace.

Without further adieu, here are the freebies for PlayStation patrons.

 

  • Broforce – PS4
  • Galak-Z – PS4
  • Super Stardust HD – PS3
  • The Last Guy – PS3
  • Flame Over – PS Vita
  • Reality Fighters – PS Vita

A lot of past PS Plus line-ups consisted of mainly 2D platformers, yet this month we’re graced with not one, but two space shooters! Galak-Z is a game I’ve been eyeing up for a while now, and Super Stardust HD is one of the best shoot-em-ups on PS3. While I personally voted for Assault Android Cactus during last month’s Vote To Play, Broforce seems to be quite fun.

For Xbox owners, here are the games you will receive for March.

    • Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments  – Xbox One
    • Lords of the Fallen  – Xbox One
    • Supreme Commander 2  – Xbox 360
    • Borderlands – Xbox 360

March is certainly a good month for Xbox users with Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments leading the charge. The game failed to gain the popularity it deserves, so anyone who missed out definitely needs to jump on it, as it is a very polished and consistently entertaining adventure.

And while I can’t say the same about Lords of the Fallen, having an RTS like Supreme Commander 2 is such a breath of fresh air that I think we all might need.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out the video above for the dates of availability, as Microsoft has a tendency to throw off the best of us with their strange schedule.

PS Plus, Games With Gold Freebies For February 2016

Now that I own an Xbox One, I feel that I can adequately cover news related to that specific platform, which has, unsurprisingly, opened up many new avenues for me.

I’ve decided to start doing the freebies of the month again, now with the added bonus of Games With Gold to sweeten the deal.

With that said, here are the freebies for PS Plus.

 

  • Grid Autosport – PS3
  • Helldivers: Democracy Strikes Back – PS4, PS3, PS Vita
  • Lemmings Touch – PS Vita
  • Nom Nom Galaxy – PS4
  • Nova-111 – PS Vita
  • Persona 4 Arena Ultimax – PS3

I’m loving this line-up. While the last few months haven’t been outstanding, receiving the absolutely bonkers Nom Nom Galaxy and the ultra tight Helldivers seems like a pretty good deal. I wanted to spend 20 minutes learning Nom Nom Galaxy, and I ended up playing for twelve hours straight. Seriously. It’s that addictive.

And for Games With Gold, here are the games for the month.

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  • Hand of Fate – Xbox One
  • Styx: Master of Shadows – Xbox One
  • Sacred Citadel – Xbox 360
  • Gears of War 2 – Xbox 360

From the revered Gears of War 2 to the underrated stealth action game Styx, this is probably the best month for Games With Gold that I’ve personally seen in my short time as an Xbox owner.

Remember, you can download the 360 games on your Xbox One via backwards compatibility, so don’t miss out!

 

Nathan Drake: Hunk Of Hero VS Cunning Villain

The typical moral-based fight between good and evil is one that sneaks it’s way into most genres throughout a mass of differing medias. Usually righteousness will prevail, leaving the good guy/ girl triumphant, with their foot on the defeated villain, fist held high and proud. Now, with this stereotypical timeline of events that is used quite commonly, you’d consider it easy to predict a story line in most circumstances and find it much easier to identify good and bad characters, right? Wrong. In Naughty Dog’s widely acclaimed action-adventure series Uncharted, it has become apparent that the ability to distinguish between good and evil isn’t always as easy as it seems and we have Uncharted’s protagonist, Nathan Drake to thank for this.

The Makings Of A Bad Guy 

Although Nate partakes in a great deal of saving and other heroics throughout the Uncharted series, he is actually a renowned thief that snatches up historic artifacts and treasures using his seemingly bottomless knowledge of the past. In most cases, the purpose of stealing such objects are for the means of pride or to sell on for money, usually to pay of his companion, Victor Sullivan’s debts. However, it is apparent that right from the start, Nathan had the typical beginning and makings of a bad guy.

Nathan Drake was deprived of his parents from a young age. After his mother committed suicide, his father turned young Nate into an orphanage where he was raised there for a while. Nate eventually ran away from the orphanage and made his way to Columbia where at the age of 14, he managed to acquire Sir Francis Drake’s ring from which point, the story of Uncharted, meeting Sully and all his thieving antics transpires.

Nathan Drake undertook an awful lot of stress during his upbringing; quite rightfully to be fair to the guy and in doing so, had what we can nowadays consider the makings of a villain,  hellbent on getting his own back on the world. However, is he truly a fully-fledged villain?

 

Nathan Drake 1

 

Naughty Dog’s Naughty Boy

It is evident that throughout the proceedings of the three, soon to be four part video game series of Uncharted, our dear Nathan Drake has stacked up a credible list of bad deeds to have him placed quite firmly on Santa’s Naughty List. During the series we see him break into several museums and then proceed to steal numerous historic artifacts from them, steal various vehicles, break into historic sites, steal historic documents, cause unimaginable amounts of damage, not to mention the countless henchmen and mindless mad-men he murders. Fact is, Nathan Drake has done his fair share…well, quite a few people’s fair share of bad things that could easily have him considered a villain. So why given this, is it still relatively difficult to class him solely as a villain within the Uncharted series? Does Nate’s good deeds really outweigh and rectify the many terrible ones he has committed throughout the series?

 

Nathan Drake 4

 

You’ll Get No Sympathy From Me…Oh Wait. 

Granted, Nathan Drake has committed many dark deeds throughout the duration of his adventures however it is difficult to pin him as a distinct villain purely because among all his dark doings, his adventures have entailed a fair share of heroics on his part. He’s saved the damsel in distress on numerous occasions, whether it be Elena Fisher suffering a bullet wound or Chloe Frazer needing an unnecessary rescue from a madman (both having important roles in the series). Regardless of circumstance, the fact remains that nowadays doing such a thing is considered something a good guy would do as opposed to cunning villain. He has overcome his own greed and pride for the better of mankind and in all respect the people he has killed, have been at least somewhat more villainous than him. So is it at all possible to suggest that perhaps Nathan Drake is a hero after all? Furthermore, there is the matter of villains usually being disliked whereas Drake, you can’t help but love. This love for him is unquestionably enhanced during the third installment to the series, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception in which we experience a small snippet of Drake’s unruly childhood. Although his childhood may have been the beginning of his stealing and wrong doings, it is also what makes him so lovable through means of sympathy. On a final note, as we learn throughout the events of the Uncharted Series, a lot of the time Nate is purely after his own heritage. Yes, he doesn’t go about getting it the right way but regardless, it is his to take surely?

 

Nathan Drake 3

 

The Better Of Two Evils

So, seeing as Nathan Drake is hard to distinguish as either a hero or a villain maybe it’d be best to consider him as the better of two evils? I mean yeah, he steals, lies and cheats all for his own greed but at least all he is looking for is riches and pride whereas, the more easily identifiable baddies throughout the Uncharted series are after something more sinister and truly evil, world domination. Furthermore, Nathan proceeds to take down these power-hungry lunatics. So yeah, he may be a bit of a bad guy, but he isn’t really the baddest-bad guy or a real villain if you think about it.

 

Nathan Drake 2

 

We Love You Nate

Good or bad, fans have taken to Nathan Drake over the years, a fact very evident in the sales of the Uncharted series. In the upcoming finale to the series Uncharted: A Thief’s End, i’m sure Naughty Dog will throw in plenty of new red herrings to prevent us fans from distinguishing Nate as either a hero or a villain but regardless, the millions of fans of this series we’ll be eager to have him back, as a hero or a as villain.

Playstation Plus – Games of January 2016

As the year comes to a close and we open our arms to welcome 2016 and ultimately fail to meet our New Year’s Resolutions, we can take solace in the fact that Sony will be handing out another batch of free games to those subscribed to their monthly service, Playstation Plus.

While this month isn’t going to blow the pants off most of us, it’s nice to see some of these titles get some much-needed love.

Here are this month’s picks.

Hardware: Rivals (PS4)

Grim Fandango Remastered (PS4)

Dragon Age: Origins (PS3)

Medal Of Honor Warfighter (PS3)

Nihilumbra (PS Vita)

Legends of War: Patton (PS Vita)

Hardware: Rivals in particular, piques my curiosity. It’s almost as if we’re getting access to the baby that Rocket League and Twisted Metal created. And, for those of you who never got the chance to play Dragon Age: Origins or Grim Fandango, you should check both of them out, as they’re excellent games. Can’t say the same about Warfighter, however.

As always, check this link for the full announcement, courtesy of PlayStation Blog.