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Cult Classic, Star Wars Episode 1: Racer, Announced For Switch During Latest Nintendo Direct

Strap yourselves in, because Star Wars Episode 1: Racer is coming to the Nintendo Switch.

We just had a Nintendo Mini Direct, and while there’s definitely lots we could talk about like the new Xenoblade Chronicles trailer, the free Animal Crossing: New Horizons updates for Easter and Earth Day, or the 2K Games franchises that are coming to the Switch (including the Bioshock, Borderlands, and XCOM 2), the thing we’re going to talk about is far more important than any of that.

Star Wars Episode 1: Racer is coming to the Switch.

The Mini Direct gave us basically nothing except that it would be based on the original cult-classic for the N64. We have no release date, no info on updates to graphics or sounds, and we have no idea who’s doing it.

Thankfully, StarWars.com seems to have much more information on this momentous news. The game will be coming courtesy of Aspyr, a developer that specializes in ports, and based on the teaser images we can likely assume that this will be based on the PC version of Episode 1: Racer. Expect crisper graphics and better resolution than the N64 version, although likely not by much.

Other features include 25 playable racers including Anakin Skywalker, Sebulba, and Ratts Tyerell; 8 unique worlds including Tatooine, Baroonda, and Malastare; upgradable pods that are tooled by adorable pit droids; and split-screen and LAN multiplayer.

Also, Star Wars Episode 1: Racer is not just going to the Switch. It’ll also be available for download on the PlayStation 4, just to really drive home how bad the N64’s graphics look compared to today’s modern consoles.

What’s really a shame is that we’re not getting a port of the Episode 1: Racer remake that this guy made in Unreal 4. No updates since last year from this guy, but you can still download the demo in the video description.

We still don’t have a date for when Episode 1: Racer will arrive on either the Switch or PS4, but it’ll likely be out sometime later this year.

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News

N64 Cult Classic Shadow Man Is Getting A Remaster For Modern Platforms

Developer Nightdive Studios has announced that it will be remastering the N64 cult classic Shadow Man for modern platforms. In an exclusive on IGN this morning, the company showed off a bunch of screenshots and confirmed that the title will be coming to PC (via Steam and GOG), PS4, Xbox One, and Switch sometime later this year. In addition to some redone textures, the game will output in 4K resolution (on applicable systems), feature new shadow maps, have a redone lighting engine, and include anti-aliasing.

Stephen Kick, CEO of Nightdive, told IGN, “Our goal with the remaster is to give today’s generation of gamers all the features that they expect from a modern title while preserving the qualities that made Valiant’s iconic character and the original Shadow Man game such memorable classics to begin with.”

The remaster will be powered by Nightdive’s in-house KEX engine. This has powered similar remasters from the studio, including Turok, System Shock, Forsaken, and Blood. The release of Doom 64 this week will also be powered by the same engine, which was developed by Samuel “Kaiser” Villarreal years ago for a Doom 64 source port.

For years now, Nightdive Studios has been doing the Lord’s work in preserving older video games. Working to secure the rights for digital distribution on long-forgotten games, the company made a huge splash with its remasters of Turok and Turok 2 on PC. Those eventually made the jump to consoles, but the company didn’t stop there.

Even if you aren’t familiar with these ports of older titles, Nightdive will likely ring a bell because of its recent System Shock remake. One of the most ambitious projects by the company, that title will be redoing the entirety of the 1994 classic in a more modern light. The demo released in December wasn’t all that promising, but numerous delays and setbacks show that Nightdive is dedicated to getting things right.

For now, we have a ton of classic titles available on digital platforms that I never thought would happen. If Nightdive can continue just doing that, then I’ll absolutely be a happy player.

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VR

Dr Seuss AR App Brings Classic Characters To Life

A new AR app brings a classic Dr Seuss book to life like never before.

Dr. Seuss’s ABC – An Amazing AR Alphabet! adapts the 1963 book of the same name (minus the AR) to smartphones. The app recreates images from the original in 3D and then projects them into the real world using your smartphone’s camera.

It comes first and foremost with a story mode in which users trace out letters of the alphabet and then interact with the characters for each. You can also jump directly to letters with a chapter select option.

There’s also a sandbox mode which lets you pick from any of the characters in the app and bring them into the world to play with. The cast includes names you really couldn’t make up by yourself, like Aunt Annie’s Alligator, David Donald Doo, Fiffer-Feffer-Feff, Little Lola Lopp, Vera Violet Vinn, Young Yolanda Yorganson, Zizzer-Zazzer-Zuzz. See what I mean?

It’s a pretty interesting rendition of educational AR, even if the app doesn’t feature some of Seuss’s more iconic characters. Hopefully if it’s successful we could see more of these types of experiences from the wonderful world of Seuss, though. Grinch AR, anyone? Cat in the VR Hat? We can think of some really trippy ideas for them both.

You can get the app on iOS and Android now for $3.99. Got any other cool AR storybooks we should know about? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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Atari Bringing Back A Classic With Missile Command: Recharged

Atari is bringing back Missile Command for your phone.

Once upon a time, Atari was the world leader in video games and not some weird company making even weirder hotels. They were on the cutting edge when cathode ray tube televisions were still considered the epitome of visual fidelity and knobs were considered an acceptable form of user input.

Today, things have changed somewhat. The vast majority of gamers now play on their phones, so Missile Command’s knob-and-button-based gameplay doesn’t really work. But you can tap, so Missile Command: Recharged lets you do just that.

Atari announced the new mobile game yesterday on Missile Command’s 40th Anniversary. The gameplay is the same as you might remember (or not–the original Missile Command came out in 1980, after all) but with updated graphics, sound, power-ups, and even an augmented reality system that lets you play it from a “virtual arcade cabinet.”

In case you’ve never even heard of Missile Command, the game is simple. You are in command of three anti-missile batteries tasked with taking down wave after wave if incoming ballistic missiles. Things start out simple with merely one or two missiles at a time, but then the game escalates with multiple ballistic missiles, smart missiles that evade your interceptors, and MIRVs that break into multiple projectiles at once.

Along the way, there will be enemy bombers and UFOs for you to take down for extra points. It’s considered one of the classic games from the golden age of arcades, and you can find plenty of copycats with just a quick Google search.

From what we’ve seen, Missile Command: Recharged updates the classic formula with a power-up system that lets you upgrade your arsenal as you play. Instead of using a knob and a button to aim and fire your interceptors, you just tap on the screen. The objective is to keep your three anti-missile bases alive and shoot down all incoming missiles in order to achieve a high score.

Recharged adds global leaderboards and achievements to keep things fresh. We have no idea how the augmented reality virtual cabinet works, but we assume you’ll need some sort of headset to pair with your phone.

As with many mobile games, Missile Command: Recharged will be a free download with ads, but a one-time purchase in-game will disable those ads so you can play in peace. The game arrives sometime this spring.

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