I have to battle WHAT now?! 5 ridiculous retro gaming bosses

Star Fox's slot machine in space

Hooray! What do I win? ‘Death’? Ah, crud

It’s hard being a retro gaming villain. There you are, ruling your kingdom with all the power and evil henchmen you could ever wish for, when some upstart comes along and ruins everything.

That’s bad enough. But what if the game designers made you… different? If those infernal tormentors gave you a ridiculous body or put you somewhere you don’t belong (like in space – more on that later), then your misery is compounded. It can be hard being evil.

Retro games feature some of the best, wackiest villains out there. In a time when developers were less concerned with incredible realism, there was more room for characters, plots and bosses that were just plain weird. So here’s our homage to 5 of our favourite ridiculous retro gaming bosses.

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Our most anticipated games of 2014

Tom Clancy's The Division

Titanfall, Dying Light and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter are among the ones to watch in 2014

There’s no denying 2013 was a great year for games, but with the release of the next gen consoles and a whole raft of developments afoot, 2014 is set to be pretty special in its own right.

Join us as we take a look at six games to be release this year that everyone’s talking about. From the breathtaking visuals of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter to the innovative gameplay of Dying Light and Tom Clancy’s The Division, in no particular order here are the games we can’t wait to get our hands on this year.

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Five things that will rock the gaming world in 2014

Image credit: Sergey Galyonkin

Image credit: Sergey Galyonkin

As we look ahead to the new year and all that it will bring, it’s time to ask ourselves: what can we expect to see making gaming headlines 2014?

We saw some pretty awesome developments in the gaming world in 2013. From the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One to the release of groundbreaking titles like GTA V and The Last of Us, there were some pretty exciting and important changes that went down.

Now that we’re on the brink of 2014, we thought it was a good time to cast our eye over what we think will be some of the major players in the coming year. Let’s get started. Continue reading

We wish you a Mario Christmas

What games are on your Christmas list?

What games are on your Christmas list? Image credit: Bryan Ochalla

Apologies for the terrible pun.

With the festive season well underway, we want to know what your retro wish would be. If you could find one retro game or console under the tree this Christmas, what would it be?

A retro classic like Super Mario 64, Secret of Mana or Sonic the Hedgehog? Or a super rare collectible like Clay Fighter 63 1/3, Eliminate Down or Pro Sport Hockey for the NES? Or maybe even something fiendishly difficult like the infamous Battletoads?

Whatever your dream choice, let us know in the comments below.

And don’t forget to give us a like on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Could it be a SNES?

Could it be a SNES? Image credit: Hades2k

Game on: retro classics live on in the modern console era

  • Despite the release of a new generation of consoles, retro gaming continues to thrive on platforms such as Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network
  • Though the nostalgia of older gamers plays a role in this, much interest comes from younger gamers eager to explore the games of the past
  • And although some remakes of retro games are disappointing, they raise awareness of classic games and gaming culture as a whole

Power up with useful links, check out The Next Level Gaming’s exclusive interview with Thomas Amato of Cardiff retro gaming store Super Tomato, or take the poll and tell us your thoughts: is there a future for retro games on next gen consoles? Don’t forget to share your favourite!

Nintendo 64 controller

Retro game Banjo Kazooie, originally made for the Nintendo 64, is one game to have made the transition to modern consoles. Image credit: Alex Blake

Picture this. A boy sits in front of a TV screen, a controller gripped tightly in his hands, his games console humming away in his peripheral vision. On the screen is a bear clad in yellow shorts, the sharp angles and garish colours a world away from the slick experience of the modern game. An orange bird emerges awkwardly from the bear’s backpack as a yokelish cry escapes his lips, piercing the unsettlingly vivid blue sky.

This is a scene from the iconic adventure game Banjo Kazooie, a staple on millions of Nintendo 64 games consoles in the 1990s. The difference? The boy is playing it on his Xbox 360.

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Should video games be released annually?

As fans and critics become less tolerant of minor changes and overhyped developments from yearly releases, is it time we asked whether the practice should be scrapped?

Take the poll and tell us what you think: should some video games be released annually?

EA recently announced that it would not be releasing its major title Battlefield on an annual basis. According to IGN, EA Chief Financial Officer Blake Jorgensen asserted that the company did not have the resources to release the game annually without an accompanying drop in quality, arguing: “The challenges are you’ve got to most likely do it out of two studios because it’s hard.”

Speaking at the UBS Global Technology Conference on 19 November, Jorgensen stated: “Battlefield takes us about two years to develop and so you want to make sure that you’re sharing talent across studios… You also want to be really careful that you don’t destroy the franchise along the way.”

See below for the IGN video announcing EA’s decision not to release Battlefield annually:

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How are mobile devices shaping the gaming industry?

Smartphones and tablets have revolutionised the way many of us live. When it comes to gaming, the changes are profound.

Check out The Next Level Gaming’s introduction to mobile gaming:

The rise of the smartphone and its tablet cousin has been remarkable. Google’s Our Mobile Planet research suggests that 62% of UK adults own a smartphone today. What’s even more amazing is that this has more than doubled in just two years. Meanwhile, Yahoo has reported that by 2015, the number of people worldwide who own a smartphone is expected to rise to two billion.

But this isn’t just about the numbers. In just a few short years we have gone from seeing our phones as just that – phones – to so much more. Nowadays, we send emails, we browse the web, we listen to music. The term ‘phone’ almost feels redundant. Continue reading