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05 December, 2015

Should You Buy an Apple TV as a Dedicated Gaming Device?

I’ve been using the new Apple TV for a week now; I went and bought one. And I’m here to ensure that if you want to buy one too, you do it for the right reasons.

How Much Does an Apple TV Cost?

It’s hard to recommend buying the fourth generation Apple TV as a dedicated gaming device; for the price, there are much better options. With the recent price drops on the PS4 and Xbox One, Australian gamers can grab themselves one of these two trusted devices anywhere from the low to upper $400s, depending on the bundle chosen.

With the Apple TV costing gamers in that same part of the world just under $350 for the 64GB version, and the 32GB unit around $270 - then add an MFi controller on top of that - and the cost starts to look very similar to those new generation consoles.

The Apple TV's strength, however, lies in its multi-functionality and the user-experience it provides media consumers; many of whom will also happen to be long time gamers.

I spent hours tinkering with Apple's latest offering exploring its capacity as a gaming device, to discover a simple truth - without an MFi controller, those after anything more than a very casual gaming experience will not be satisfied. With a controller connected, on the other hand, the potential is there for this new kid on the block to gain some serious traction as a quick, go-to option for mid-core experiences.

30 November, 2015

Lack of Content vs. Value for Money with Star Wars Battlefront

Grab It argues that the real problem with Battlefront is not a lack of content. Instead it has to do with the idea of "value for money."

After being out in the wild for a little over two weeks, Star Wars Battlefront is shaping up to be one of the most polarising titles of 2015. Review scores have spanned the spectrum, with respectable outlets awarding it from 3 up to 9.5 (out of 10). While most reviews have praised Battlefront for its near-unparalleled graphical fidelity and respect for the source material, a particular criticism has stood head and shoulders above anything else: a lack of content. But I don’t think this criticism gets to the heart of the problem - what people are really struggling with is the concept of "value for money." For many, Battlefront does not offer good value for money.

21 November, 2015

The Top 5 Indies on Xbox One You Might Have Missed

The Xbox One has turned two and we take a look at a handful of gems from the indie scene that went under the radar.

On November 22, 2015, the Xbox One had its second birthday. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out the crazy stats we assembled in our happy birthday message. One of those includes the fact that 170 games by indie publishers have been released on the format as of that date, which is a lot of choice when you’re browsing the Microsoft store. So we thought we would whittle it down to the 10 gems you simply should not miss.

1. Hand of Fate
This amazing mix of action-RPG, collectable card game and roguelike sees you playing a deck of cards as you move turn-by-turn through randomly generated dungeons, foiled at every turn by the dealer’s random challenges. But where things really differ from your standard indie is during an encounter, as you’re thrown into a third-person, fully 3D brawler and asked to defeat your foes in a landscape determined by the deal.

2. Chariot
If you’re looking for laughs, this same-couch arcade puzzler is a riot. You play a princess trying to take your father’s remains – held in a chariot – to his resting place underground. The 2D levels are full of obstacles to overcome and you must pull the titular vehicle without making too much noise – or you will disturb looters - by tethering yourself to one of the wheels. When a second player joins in and tethers to the second wheel, working as a team is essential, and typically results in many frustrated laughs.

3. Leo’s Fortune
A visually spectacular, momentum-based platformer where you look to get a round hairball called Leo through some intricately detailed levels. It’s a tad short as the game originated on mobile – you can find a making of interview in Episode 5 of Grab It for iPad - but it remains very charming. There is a lot of challenge and variety here making it well worth your time.

4. Super Time Force
This sidescrolling shooter uses a fascinating gameplay mechanic very much to its advantage, allowing you to rewind play after death and then start again as a second version of your player character fighting alongside the ghost of the first. However, that ghost will replay his final steps, interacting with the new version’s world as he goes. You can do this multiple times, and the level design and enemy placement work together to demand you think well ahead and get multiple versions of yourself fighting towards a common goal.

5. Submerged
With no combat, Submerged is remarkably different from the other games on this list. You are one of only two people in this tropical, yet desolate land, and the other being is your dying brother. It’s a game focused on exploration and survival, and one that sticks with you thanks to its atmospheric and unique take on gameplay.

If you are wondering who we are, we're primarily a digital magazine for the iPad focused on the coverage of indie video games. Run by the former editor of Game Informer, you'll find worldwide exclusives, but also an interactive media experience unlike any you have seen before. If you have an iPad, you should check out the free sample issue at the very least, or enjoy one of our other episodes as listed below.

Get Every Episode:
   - Episode 1 - Includes The Making of République (*free sample issue*)
   - Episode 2 - Includes The Making of Oceanhorn
   - Episode 3 - Includes The Making of Monument Valley
   - Episode 4 - Includes The Making of Last Inua
   - Episode 5 - Includes The Making of World of Tanks Blitz
   - Grab It Episodes 2-5 Bundle
   - Episode 6 - Includes The Making of Magic the Gathering
   - Episode 7 - Includes The Making of Tiny Troopers Alliance and Midnight Star
   - Episode 8 - The PAX AUS edition
   - Grab It Presents Nihilumbra - Classics Collection
   - Grab It Presents Ultimate Indie Game Reviews Vol 1.

19 November, 2015

Class of 95 – 20 Years On, Where Are These 11 Gaming Legends Now?

In 1995 a number of iconic game series and heroes emerged for the first time, each adding an essential chapter to gaming’s history. But do they continue to thrive 20 years later.


2015 has been a stellar year in gaming, but it perhaps can’t quite match the feat of 1995. Twenty years ago, the gaming world was forever changed by the launch of the PlayStation and – in less positive ways – the launch of the Virtual Boy. But Sony wasn’t the only icon making waves in gaming, and a number of beloved game series appeared for the first time in that fateful year. We remember them fondly, but where are they now? Let’s take a look.

18 November, 2015

Should the Term "indie" be Abandoned?

Indie games. What are they? Pensive affairs like Dear Esther, or sprawling epics like The Witcher 3? What does the term really mean, and is it time we dropped the term entirely?

The indie scene is booming. Over half of all current-gen games come from independent studios, built by small teams driven more by passion than profits. It's heartening to see our industry embrace creativity from sources both big and small, but there's one notion it clings to that prevents it from truly evolving: the term "indie." What does it actually mean, and what value is there in trapping games in its net?

12 November, 2015

How Capcom Exploited Fans to Greenlight Resident Evil 2 HD

The news of an official Resident Evil 2 remake might be music to many ears, but it's coming at a steep cost to one poor group of loyal fans.

Capcom understands the business of fan service. From building its own gaming-themed bar in Tokyo, to releasing Dead Rising 3 DLC that transformed the game into an arcade beat-em-up, the company is not ashamed of trading on nostalgia. With the unexpected success of Resident Evil HD, a remake of a remake of the 20-year-old survival horror game, Capcom has openly declared its intent to focus on its past, promising a Resident Evil Zero remake for early next year and just recently confirming that Resident Evil 2 will see the same HD treatment. In short, it's a good time to be a Resident Evil fan.

Unless you happen to be Invader Games. Back in 2013, the independent studio embarked on a mission to create the RE 2 remake fans had been clamouring for since the original's GameCube remaster. Now, two years later, the nearly two dozen volunteers comprising the outfit have received the most disheartening of news: Capcom has issued a cease-and-desist letter demanding the immediate termination of their passion project. Two years and uncountable man hours late, with a playable release on the imminent horizon, Capcom only now deigns to declare its disapproval. Why wait so long?

02 November, 2015

The Bloody Guts Inside Our Games

Making games is a messy business. From a lone idea, the journey they take to reach our hands is fraught with blood, sweat and a whole lot of tears.

The games industry is a business. There is no getting around it. Money is a crucial component of its operation, whether we're talking AAA blockbusters or home-brewed indie titles. Even games made purely as a hobby need to be supplemented by a tertiary income to feed, clothe and shelter the people sacrificing their precious time to it. The substantial costs of the big, slickly-produced experiences that many gamers have come to expect are simply too steep to be funded out-of-pocket by all but the richest philanthropists.

That is why many indie games adopt two dimensions instead of three, utilise simpler art styles and procedural asset creation, and opt for dialogue text over professional voice acting. It's why the race to the 99c price point on the App Store has spawned countless clones and innumerable games relying on murky microtransactions just to make back their production costs. It's why the Kickstarter darling Broken Age had to scrounge up additional investment from external sources despite skyrocketing past its initial funding goal. The fact that games are a source of entertainment often blinds gamers to the fact that they are products too, and just like cars, concords and computers, what you see on the outside bears little resemblance to what's under the hood.

Recently, Double Fine, the developer of the aforementioned Broken Age, released the documentary series chronicling the point-and-click adventure game's development for everyone to watch on YouTube. Showcasing the highs and the lows that the game went through over the course of the three year development, the series doesn't paint the prettiest picture of a game's life cycle. That, of course, was the impetus behind filming the whole thing. Double Fine wanted to show people just how complicated making a game was, especially from the business side of things. With its project being the first big, crowdfunded game, it wanted to maintain complete transparency in order to ensure backers knew what their money was being used for.

The series definitely achieves that.

01 November, 2015

"Dark, Bloody, Gritty and Grim" - Interview (Part 2) with Richard Morgan on Dark Fantasy Gamebook A Land Fit For Heroes

Grab It caught up with veteran video game writer Richard Morgan to find out some world exclusive details on his upcoming digital gamebook, A Land Fit for Heroes

Yesterday we posted Part 1 of our interview with Richard Morgan on the upcoming digital gamebook adaptation of his widely esteemed dark fantasy series A Land Fit for Heroes. Today, in Part 2 of our interview, we have even more juicy details including some world exclusive information on how the trailer blazing multiplayer component will work. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

01 November, 2015

"A renewal and expansion of the world you left behind" - Interview (Part 1) with Richard Morgan on Dark Fantasy Gamebook A Land Fit For Heroes

Grab It caught up with veteran video game writer Richard Morgan to find out some world exclusive details on his upcoming digital gamebook, A Land Fit for Heroes

It was only a few weeks ago that we lifted the lid on one of the most exciting upcoming digital gamebook projects, A Land Fit for Heroes, from veteran video game writer Richard Morgan. You can read our preview of the game right here. Morgan has penned a number of well known video game narratives including Crysis 2 and Syndicate. But more than that Morgan is held in very high esteem for his dark fantasy trilogy A Land Fit for Heroes, which is getting the digital gamebook treatment.

In hot anticipation of the first entry in the series releasing soon, we managed to catch up with Richard to chew the fat about what both long time fans and newcomers can expect to encounter. Enjoy.

29 October, 2015

Revenge of the Nerds: You're Making Virtual Reality Look Bad!

Does Time Magazine's notorious cover really bode so ill for the future of VR?

Stereotypes have been dying a painfully slow death throughout the ages. From the accusations of witchcraft levelled at any woman who dared stand up for herself in the 17th century to the lingering assumptions that Asian heritage comes pre-packaged with superintelligence, people have long sought to homogenise the things they don't understand in an effort to consolidate their world view. It made sense back when we lived in caves, where the shapes in the shadows really were out to kill us, but in civilised society such a heuristic approach is no longer applicable. Books can no longer be judged by their covers alone. Well, that's the mentality we strive for. Evolutionary traits are hard to shake, though, and there is still plenty of prejudice alive and kicking the world over.

Many gamers are no doubt intimately familiar with the preconceptions of those to whom games make no sense. Despite its growing acceptance, gaming still suffers from a slew of generalisations that cast it in an unfavourable light. Whether it be the Nintendo effect and the belief that games are only for kids, or the equally absurd Grand Theft Auto controversy and the claim that games are turning us all into murderous villains, the public perception of video games has a ways to go before it reaches the normalcy of the other mediums in the entertainment industry.

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