April 01, 2015 | 6:03 p.m.

Nintendo Direct showcases new ‘Fire Emblem,’ ‘Splatoon’

A new 'Fire Emblem' is coming in 2016
A release is still a ways away, but Nintendo on Wednesday afternoon showcased some footage from the the latest release in its fantasy role-playing series “Fire Emblem.” It helps if you can speak and read Japanese to fully appreciate the trailer, but here’s the gist: The game is coming in 2016 for the handheld 3DS, and players will be asked to pick one of two differing sides. The trailer was unveiled during Wednesday’s Nintendo Direct, a semi-regular promotional vehicle in which company executives detail upcoming games for the its Wii U and 3DS  platforms. Among the games showcased were Nintendo’s wacky squid-like shooter for the Wii U, “Splatoon”;  Wii U creation title “Mario Maker”; and new 3DS game “Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer.” Hero Complex has its eyes on “Splatoon,” which Nintendo premiered at last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in […]
April 01, 2015 | 8:10 a.m.

‘Dog Ace Attorney’? The April Fool’s joke we wish were true

'Dog Ace Attorney'
Advice: Stay off the Internet on April 1. It’s going to lead to disappointment. Example: “Dog Ace Attorney.” We want that video game. Overnight, Capcom unleashed a full Website and trailer for a mock game in its “Ace Attorney” series, this one starring canines. It’s cute, but also looks amazing. A dog in Sherlock Holmes gear? A ninja dog with a feline accessory? A courtroom full of dog bones? Forget “Ace Attorney” star Phoenix Wright — we want all of the above. And, with the help of Google Translate, we learned players will also get to play as a mouse. This game gets better and better. Listed under the genre “dog court battle” and available for the “Wantendo 1DOGS,” the fake game will sadly not be available today. Lesson? More games with dogs … in court. – Todd Martens | @Toddmartens | @LATherocomplex RECENT […]
March 31, 2015 | 2:21 p.m.

Turn famous movie locations into ‘Pac-Man’ maps

A new function on Google Maps allows you to turn city streets -- like those of Chicago, above -- into "Pac-Man" maps. (Google Maps)
THE PLAYER Here’s one negative about Google’s adorable “Pac-Man” overlay of its maps function: It’s not always easy to find locations for famous James Bond races. Sure, it’s cute to navigate the parking lot of Dodger Stadium with Pac-Man and his not-so-friendly pals, but we at Hero Complex wanted to relive the scenic chase of “The Spy Who Loved Me,” the one off the coasts of  Sardinia, Italy. It took a couple of tries for it to work, but we finally got the roads surrounding the Hotel Cala Di Volpe to be remade as a “Pac-Man” game (the first few times we were told there weren’t enough roads for a game). Whew. An important job, but someone has to do it. Earlier Tuesday, in what many believe is an April Fool’s joke 24 hours early (although there’s no joking around when it comes to a […]
March 30, 2015 | 4:45 p.m.

Google’s ‘Ingress’ and ‘Endgame’: What’s next?

The view of downtown Pasadena, as seen via "Ingress." (Niantic Labs)
Lord Ogre — that’s not his real name — wanted to lose weight, so he started playing “Ingress.” Silussa — not her real name — wanted to better know Chicago after relocating from Portland, so she started playing “Ingress.” They were just two of the approximately 2,000 attendees who descended upon downtown Pasadena on Saturday for an “Ingress” meet-up. “Ingress” is a game-meets-social-experiment from Google, one in which players battle for the virtual control of real-world spaces such as a church, a mural or a Metro stop. A mobile phone becomes a sort of interactive game board, pinpointing a players’ real-world location and overlaying it with a game of alien warfare. “It’s like Risk,” said Andrew Krug, who flew in for the gathering from the Washington, D.C., area. “Except in real life.” For Google, “Ingress,” born in the technology giant’s Niantic Labs, […]
March 30, 2015 | 8:06 a.m.

‘Halo 5’ gets a release date, two new trailers

Halo 5
Two new trailers, each showing similar events from a different point of view, give a peak into the potentially opposing storylines of “Halo 5: Guardians.” The bad news? They’re live-action and don’t tell us how the game actually looks. The good news? “Halo 5: Guardians” now has a release date. “Halo 5: Guardians” is set to launch Oct. 27, and all indications are that it will showcase a more human quest for its stars. The teasers premiered during AMC’s finale for “The Walking Dead” on Sunday. In one, future solider Spartan Locke is seen walking toward a statue of “Halo” hero Master Chief, but the voice-over indicates that Master Chief is now viewed as a traitor. Toward the clip’s end, we see a wounded Master Chief as Spartan Locke raises his weapon. The other, below, flips the script, as Master Chief slowly […]
March 27, 2015 | 4:26 p.m.

Nintendo delays the release of the Wii U’s ‘Zelda’ game

Legend of Zelda
Early footage of the Wii U’s take on “The Legend of Zelda” franchise has wowed fans, showing the game’s hero, Link, riding off into the wilderness on a horse and then soaring into the air to fire a magical bow. Fans, however, are going to have to wait a while to go adventuring with Link. Nintendo of America late Friday revealed that the game is no longer on target for a 2015 release. After stating in December that the game was to be available this year, Nintendo reversed course and said the title needs more development time. “I must apologize to you all that were expecting the game by year’s end, but we are no longer making a 2015 release our number one priority,” said the project’s leader, Eiji Aonuma, in a video posted to Nintendo’s social networks. “Instead, our priority is to […]
March 27, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.

‘Bloodborne,’ where death becomes a comfort

Death lurks at every step in "Bloodborne." (From Software/SCEA)
THE PLAYER There are some games I simply cannot play. That sentence is one that is unique to the interactive medium. There are certain genres of movies and TV shows I like less than the other – scary things and I don’t always get along – but I can watch them. I was never a fan of the Faulkner books forced upon me in school, but I can read them. But the work of Japanese game design master Hidetaka Miyazaki? I’m pretty sure I can’t play it. I’ve spent better parts of the last four days with “Bloodborne,” a Gothic fantasy epic with lots of human-like ghouls getting slashed to bits by a blade. I thought, at first, I would review it, but reviewing it has turned out to be impossible. I simply cannot advance far enough in “Bloodborne” to […]
March 25, 2015 | 4:10 p.m.

Steven Spielberg will direct pop culture thriller ‘Ready Player One’

Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaptation of Ernest Cline's novel, "Ready Player One." (Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images)
For a lot of people, Steven Spielberg, the director of “E.T.” and the Indiana Jones trilogy, is an integral part of the pop culture of the 1980s. The Hollywood mogul’s mark is everywhere on the decade. So it’s either a no-brainer or a head-scratcher that the Bearded One is directing the film version of “Ready Player One.” Based on the novel by Ernest Cline, “Ready Player One” is set in a dystopian future where the majority of humanity spends its time jacked into a massive online simulation known as the Oasis that is heavily influenced by the ’80s pop culture obsessions of its creator: Dungeons & Dragons, “Star Wars” and old Atari games, among them. Spielberg will produce and direct the film for Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow. Donald De Line, Dan Farah and Kristie Macosko Krieger are also producers on the film, which […]
March 23, 2015 | 5:30 a.m.

SXSW 2015: The gaming world tries to get inside our heads

"1979" (ink stories)
THE PLAYER AUSTIN, Texas — Discovery at South by Southwest isn’t what it used to be. More than 2,000 bands make it hard to cut through the din here, and it doesn’t help when cellphone providers and beer companies are making some of the loudest noise. Having attended SXSW now for 12 years, I can safely say that excitement happens on the fringes, far from whatever brand is hoping for a slight edge in attracting the attention of more than 30,000 attendees. The gaming portion of SXSW is entirely on the fringes. Though the industry is a powerhouse that’s estimated to bring in more worldwide revenue than the film business, a brief Miley Cyrus appearance at SXSW showcase sponsored by Converse shoes appeared to generate more attention than anything the gaming portion of the fest offered. FULL COVERAGE: South by […]
March 18, 2015 | 6:00 a.m.

SXSW: ‘Flame in the Flood,’ ‘Jotun’ draw inspiration from history

Early renderings for Scout from river-set game "The Flame in the Flood." (The Molasses Flood)
THE PLAYER Quotes from T.S Eliot and Theodore Roosevelt aren’t the texts one expects to see in the middle of a video game, but “The Flame in the Flood” has literary ambitions. Set in the American South, “The Flame in the Flood” is a journey of survival on a river. It takes place in the future – probably. The look is a bit timeless, with an art style that appears crafted from construction paper. The colors are muted, the world is rural and boney wolves are lurking in the darkness, their red eyes flashing in the shadows. The game, the first from six-person indie studio the Molasses Flood, was shown at the South by Southwest games festival in Austin, Texas. It wasn’t the only game at the conference to boast a backdrop of cultural exploration. Whereas “The Flame in the […]
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