December 2018

Inside One of the Best Arcades in Japan – Game Center Mikado

Arcades may have died out in much of the world, but in Japan, arcades are still a huge part of gaming culture. One of my favourites is Game Center Mikado in Tokyo – it’s a great place to dive into legendary fighting games and retro classics in a relaxed atmosphere.

Mikado is a couple of stops from Shinjuku in Takadanobaba, a district that’s famous for being the place that Osamu Tezuka chose for his iconic character Astro Boy to be “born.” JR trains play the theme song when they stop at this station, and there are a couple of large murals of Tezuka’s work outside the station.

Game Center Mikado is just around the corner, on an unassuming alley that runs along the train line. This two storey arcade has been one of the central locations for Tokyo’s fighting game scene for more than a decade (it was opened in 2006 but has been in its current location since 2009), playing host to regular tournaments and known for high level play. It’s also – unlike the many Taito Game Stations and Club SEGAs around the country – privately owned.

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Tencent left out as China approves the release of 80 new video games

Chinese internet giant Tencent has been excluded from the first batch of video game license approvals issued by the state-run government since March.

China regulators approved Saturday the released of 80 online video games after a months-long freeze, Reuters first reported. None of the approved titles listed on the approval list were from Tencent Holdings, the world’s largest gaming company.

Licenses are usually granted on a first come, first serve basis in order of when studios file their applications, several game developers told TechCrunch. There are at least 7,000 titles in the waiting list, among which only 3,000 may receive the official licenses in 2019, China’s 21st Century Business Herald reported citing experts. Given the small chance of making it to the first batch, it’s unsurprising the country’s two largest game publishers Tencent and NetEase were absent.

The controlled and gradual unfreezing process is in line with a senior official’s announcement on December 21. While the Chinese gaming regulator is trying its best to greenlight titles as soon as possible, there is a huge number of applications in the pipeline, the official said. Without licenses, studios cannot legally monetize their titles in China. The hiatus in approval has slashed earnings …read more

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Last Year: The Nightmare Review

The title of Last Year: The Nightmare may be short on inspiration, but its take on asymmetric survival horror multiplayer has plenty. Those who have played Friday the 13th or Dead by Daylight will be familiar with the premise of one powerful player hunting down several weak ones as they try to escape, but Last Year: The Nightmare introduces a couple new twists that make it among the best of this burgeoning sub-genre thus far. Whether you play as the killer or one of the hapless teenagers, its action is tense and strategic to the end. That said, with only three maps, no progression system, and intermittent glitches, it does have an air of early access to it at the start of its 90-day exclusive period on the Discord Store.

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17 Games to Watch in 2019

As 2018 winds down, we’re looking ahead to 2019 and some of the games we’ll be keeping our eyes on – and think you should too. This isn’t a comprehensive list of all of 2019’s big games, by any stretch, but it’s a fun sampling of some of the stuff we’re most excited about. Keep checking back on this page all month long, as we’ll be debuting new videos and features almost every weekday in December.

Happy Holidays, we hope you enjoy this special edition of IGN First, and look for our January IGN First to kick off on Friday, January 4!

Crackdown 3

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

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The Best Role-Playing Game Releases Of 2018

Thanks in part to new avenues of discovery, role-playing games are experiencing a surge in popularity that is frankly astounding to players who’ve enjoyed the hobby for decades. After many years during which the hobby was a niche experience, the arrival of streaming gaming groups and increased community building through the internet has meant millions of new players entering the fold.

While much of that growth has been fueled by Dungeons & Dragons, other games and publishers have been also seen a Renaissance of creative output.

In previous years, this list of role-playing releases served as the second half of our larger article on the best board, card, and miniature games. This year, we’re splitting into two separate articles for ease of reading, but you should feel free to check out whichever interests you. Click here to read the sister article on the best tabletop board, card, and miniature games of 2018.

Even after separating out the two topics, you’ll discover that this list includes both traditional and non-traditional role-playing releases. In most cases, the games on this list skew toward player-driven storytelling and character progression, but the waters are muddy these days, and in the end it often simply came down …read more

The Best Tabletop Games Of 2018

Another banner year for board games brought us dozens of remarkable projects that meld art, design, and strategic depth to bring friends and families together around the table. From ancient Japan to the Wild West and out into the depths of space, this year’s best releases offer options for veterans and newcomers alike.

In previous years, this article has offered separate sections for traditional tabletop games and role-playing releases. This year, the latter has been split off for ease of reading. Feel free to click over into our list of the Best Role-Playing Releases of 2018 after you’re done here.

In the sphere of board, card, and miniature games, this year offered no shortage of excellent products, exhibiting the ongoing innovation and flexibility that has characterized the tabletop world in recent years. Below, you’ll find ten selections that represent some of the most fun and engaging products that hit shelves in 2018. If you’d like, you can also click over into lists from previous years, with our selections from 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012.

Entries below are listed alphabetically. Where available, you can find links in many entries to more extensive write-ups from throughout …read more