ALL the new Nintendo Switch games coming this year

THE Nintendo Switch has been one of the defining forces on the gaming industry over the past year. The Japanese giant's revolutionary device has become the fastest selling games console of all time and has the games to back it up. Here's everything you need to know. What is the Nintendo Switch? The Nintendo Switch has been quite the revelation for the gaming industry, changing the way we play and experience games - just as the Japanese firm did with consoles like the NES and Wii. It's essentially a high-powered gaming tablet that enables gamers to experience the same titles both at home and on the move. Nintendo's focus is very much on taking the normal house-bound gaming experience into the great outdoors, without compromising on quality, multiplayer and socialisation. Hit or miss? Read our review of the Nintendo Switch RIGHT HERE The Switch has a 6.2-inch 720p HD display with a rear kickstand, but this is book-ended by two detachable controllers. These new "Joy-Con" pads can be used to control the games like a traditional console controller, or split apart to enable instant two-player, split-screen multiplayer. Nintendo has revealed that there will also be a console bundle where you get one neon blue and one neon red Joy-Con controller, instead of the basic grey hue. The Joy-Con controllers also feature HD rumble technology, which Nintendo equates to being able to feel what's inside the pads like shaking ice cubes in a glass. For those who love amiibo, the Joy-Con R has an NFC reader built into it too so you can continue your toys-to-life action. And to celebrate Nintendo's heritage, each Joy-Con pad has an in-built accelerometer, which allows them to be used as individual motion controllers just like the old Wii remotes. This tablet portion can also be slid into a docking system that connects to your TV in order to super-size all your games and transform the Switch into Nintendo's next home console. Interestingly, the Switch will be the first home games console Continue Reading

VIDEO: Gunman robs Little Rock video game store, police say

Police are searching for a gunman who robbed a video game and electronics store near the University of Arkansas at Little Rock on Thursday. An employee at the Game X Change, 3412 S. University Ave., told investigators that the robber came in about 11:30 a.m. and browsed. He then asked for the price on a PlayStation game before inquiring about buying an iPhone, according to a Little Rock Police Department report. The employee said he showed the robber two phones. Then the male assailant asked another employee to exchange five $1 bills for a $5 bill but instead pulled out a handgun once the register was opened, the report states. The gunman took the two iPhones and the PlayStation game as well as an undisclosed amount of cash before leaving the business and heading north, authorities said. Little Rock police have not named a suspect but Friday shared a video showing security footage of the robbery on social media. No arrests had been made at the time of the report. Game X Change is in a shopping center on the west side of University Avenue north of Colonel Glenn Road and across the street from UALR. Continue Reading

Championship game X-factors: Under-the-radar players who could swing NFL playoffs

The playoffs are a showcase for NFL stars, yet overlooked players or aspects often decide which team advance.Here are two X-factors for each team during conference championship weekend. Jacksonville Jaguars at New England PatriotsGood Bortles or Bad Bortles: The Jaguars are built on defense and their ability to run the ball. That's partially because QB Blake Bortles has been wildly inconsistent throughout the season. Including the playoffs, his touchdown-to-interception ratio is 18-to-3 in victories but 5-to-10 in defeat.Jags DT Malik Jackson: Against the Steelers on Sunday, Jacksonville’s pass rush generated some big plays but couldn't apply enough pressure to prevent Ben Roethlisberger from throwing five touchdowns. The key to disrupting Tom Brady and New England’s offense is to push the offensive line — especially the interior — into the pocket and disrupt Brady’s timing. More: 20 things we learned during NFL's divisional playoff weekend More: Jaguars at Patriots AFC Championship Game preview: Three things to know More: Vikings at Eagles NFC Championship Game preview: Three things to know Been there, done that: This is the seventh consecutive season the Patriots have reached the AFC Championship Game and the 12th time overall during the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era. However the appearance will be just the Jags' third since their inaugural season in 1995. This is a stage that can intimidate young teams and force them into the type of pressure-laden mistakes New England is unlikely to commit.Quick release: Few passers get rid of the ball more quickly than Brady. When facing a Jacksonville defense that has elite speed and athleticism at each level, expect Brady to distribute the ball quickly in hopes his play makers can exploit gaps or maybe take advantage of inexperienced defenders overpursuing the play. Minnesota Vikings at Philadelphia EaglesVikings S Harrison Smith: His Continue Reading

MAJOR LEAGUE CHANGES: MLB commissioner Rob Manfred sits down with the News to discuss the future of baseball

Baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement addresses none of Rob Manfred’s concerns about improving the on-field product, and yet after interviewing the commissioner for an hour in his Manhattan office last week, I came away convinced that major changes are coming. It’s not the first time Manfred has spoken of wanting better pace of play or more “action’’ in games, but seeing and hearing him up close left no doubt that this is more than just talk. What I found revealing was how Manfred got a bit agitated when I asked if he worried he might be messing with the fundamental nature of the sport by potentially implementing ideas such as a pitch clock, restrictions on the use of relievers, and curtailing the use of defensive shifts. “Look,’’ he said, “people always posit these questions as: do you want to change the game? The fact of the matter is the game is changing on its own. You didn’t used to see this type of activity (managers using multiple relievers to match up against hitters). “I think the issue for us is: it’s not change vs. no change. It’s change that’s organic or change that’s managed, and I do believe we need to manage the way the game is changing a little more aggressively.’’ To which I said: “That sounds like a nice way of saying you’re going to limit relievers to two per inning.’’ Manfred laughed heartily before saying: “I didn’t say that. I really didn’t say that.’’ No, but that line about needing to be more aggressive in managing the way the game is changing tells you that Manfred isn’t afraid to buck tradition in the name of trying to produce “the best entertainment product for our fans.” “Entertainment” being the key word there. In other words, baseball isn’t church. The Continue Reading

Giants defense must be on top of game, attack Aaron Rodgers if they are going to beat Packers

GREEN BAY, Wisc. – The Giants’ and Packers’ Sunday afternoon Wild Card showdown at Lambeau Field will be a matchup of Best-on-Best: The Giants’ defense, one of the league’s top shutdown units, against Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback playing at the highest level right now. Steve Spagnuolo, the architect of the 2007 Giants Super Bowl defense that toppled the mighty undefeated New England Patriots, is back in the playoffs on his second tour with Big Blue as defensive coordinator. Which immovable force will give? Who will win the mind games, X’s-and-O’s battles and the day? Here is how Spagnuolo and the Giants hope to slow down The Other A-Rod. ABOVE ALL, PREVENT THE BIG PLAY Spagnuolo delivered a veritable sermon late this week on Rodgers’ strengths and tendencies. His most unique observation was that, in his opinion, Rodgers “purposely extends downs” looking to take shots downfield. “I think it is because he likes making big plays,” Spagnuolo said with a twinkle in his eye. This is important because in Week 5, Spagnuolo’s observation was the key to the Giants holding Rodgers’ offense to nine points on three field goals and no touchdowns in the second half of a 23-16 loss. Rodgers threw two first-half TD passes to offset two Janoris Jenkins interceptions. In the second half, however, the Giants’ secondary was content to let Rodgers dance around the backfield as long as they didn’t bite on the quarterback and give up a deep pass. The Packers are a different team now due in part to Jared Cook’s skills at tight end, but in Week 5, Rodgers’ receivers barely ran any intermediate routes. Often they all went deep, and the Giants sat back and contained a potent offense. “The most important thing is you’ve got to have eye discipline,” said veteran corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who gutted through a Continue Reading

Derick Brassard should be least of Rangers coach Alain Vigneault’s concerns ahead of Game 7 vs. Lightning

TAMPA - Two days before his franchise's biggest Game 7 since 1994 and the second-largest Game 7 of Vigneault's decorated NHL career, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault was sharp and unrelenting when others might have relaxed the reins or breathed in the satisfaction of winning Game 6. He was in a surprisingly unenthusiastic mood Tuesday night despite his team's 7-3 thrashing of the Lightning to stave off elimination. Then on Wednesday morning at the team's Tampa hotel, Vigneault couldn't hide his irritation over varying issues. BONDY: FOR RANGERS-LIGHTNING GAME 7, EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED There was his unsatisfied reflection on Lightning captain Steven Stamkos' boarding of Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh in Game 6, which Vigneault referred to as "the non-call." And Vigneault also engaged in some light but constant chastisement of hat-trick scoring and five-point center Derick Brassard. The coach was bothered by what he considered Brassard's tardy arrival to the 9:30 a.m. media availability, and he was disappointed his player had shared details of the coach's private motivational Tuesday meeting with Brassard and Derek Stepan. "I would always prefer that those conversations stay between a player and a coach," Vigneault said. "Sometimes players get a little excited after a big win and they share things." On Brassard's whereabouts, Vigneault quipped: "Guy gets one good game and he's late." All in good fun, but it was also a direct message from the coach: Don't take your eye off the ball for one second. Don't forget for an instant the focus required to win on Friday night. Vigneault's command of this team is fascinating to watch. He is the boss. What he should be worried about, though, is not whether Brassard is in the right frame of mind. The center of the Rangers' Blue Chips line of former NHL first-round picks is - as linemate Rick Nash said Tuesday - a "premier center." Vigneault instead should be concerned about the lopsided Game 6 shot Continue Reading

Mortal Kombat X gives fans of fighting video game franchise a real kick: Review

To borrow the great Scorpion: “Get over here, and get Mortal Kombat X now!” They just don’t make fighting games better and more well-rounded than this. Four years ago, developer NetherRealm Studios rebooted the Mortal Kombat series, essentially pushing the beloved fighter into the modern era while fully maintaining its unique, Fatality-driven soul. And here in 2015, we get Mortal Kombat X, and it’s easily the finest Kombat yet. Simply put, this is fighting game nirvana. In-fight, the game is beautiful, a fully next-gen fighter that looks the part. NetherRealm doesn’t push the cutting edge with lighting and shading effects, but it does do an exceptional job of maintaining a clean and detailed visual style, with detail that shows up in every battle. The highlight is the new character Ferra Tor, a gigantic hulk creature controlled by a tiny girl sitting on its head; during the course of a battle, the girl will frequently get thrown off, then hustle her way back to the beast and be tossed back into position. All at once it’s distracting enough to take your eye off the battle, and quirky enough that it’s worth watching. The fighting, meanwhile, is sublime. Once, this game seemed like it would forever sit behind the likes of Street Fighter in the fighting-game pantheon, but with X, Mortal Kombat shows off more polish than it’s ever had. Move sets feel complete and fair, and no brawler feels unfairly matched. Environments are rarely stagnant, either, large, detailed areas in which you can leap off an elephant in the center, or utilize flames in a corner to your advantage. Mortal Kombat always keeps the action moving and little tweaks to its formula, such as a stamina meter, help balance gameplay further. The game straddles that perfect fighting game line between easy to pick up and play and nuanced enough to be worth learning, and the tone strikes that perfect balance between painfully bloody and campy, with Continue Reading

Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh, elevating his game again, observed accountability aspect of captaincy in predecessor Ryan Callahan

In Game 7 of the second round against the Washington Capitals, Ryan McDonagh was beaten to the net by Alex Ovechkin off a faceoff battle on the boards for a goal. Later in the game, McDonagh encountered the same situation and was confident enough to make the same read – the exact same one-on-one challenge off the face-off – to clear the puck from the zone against one of the NHL’s most dangerous forwards. BONDY: HENRIK LUNDQVIST, MATT HARVEY SHARE CENTER STAGE MONDAY McDonagh is a lead-by-example captain. He and Ryan Callahan are different people, but McDonagh certainly learned an aspect of that “do as I do” demeanor from the former Ranger captain who now wears an “A” for the Tampa Bay Lightning. “Just that accountability, that trust-ability of your teammates, really, making sure you do your part and you don’t try and extend and do too much,” McDonagh said of what he took from Callahan’s example from September 2011 to March 2014. “Obviously a few guys are expected to play a bit more of a role here and there, but you need everybody to pull their weight and be prepared to play the way they need to play.” McDonagh, who turns 26 on June 13, is one of those “few guys” of whom more is expected. In Game 7, he logged a team-high 29:02 of ice time with the Rangers’ season on the line. On Saturday afternoon in Game 1 against Tampa, he and Dan Girardi kept the top Tampa “Triplets” line of Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov off the even-strength score sheet. In the aftermath of the Blueshirts’ Game 5 win over Washington to overcome a 3-1 series deficit, MSG reported that McDonagh had addressed the team during the second intermission and told his teammates simply to trust the system and themselves. Most often, though, McDonagh doesn’t use words to Continue Reading

Star Wars Battlefront is EA’s New Hope for video gaming at E3

“The Force Awakens” seems to be a fitting way to describe the recent resurgence in excitement about the Star Wars brand. So it isn't surprising that Electronic Arts decided to make their two Star Wars games a major highlight of their E3 press conference. And the video game publisher seemed to follow Disney's lead by bringing “Star Wars” back to its roots and putting it in the hands of the most successful creative people working in the industry today. For Electronic Arts, those artists and storytellers came in the form of two in-house developers that had a hand in some of their most successful IPs to date. The biggest draw for EA this year, Star Wars Battlefront, puts players on the frontlines of some of the biggest battles of the original trilogy as either an Imperial Stormtrooper or a soldier for the Rebellion. The demo shown at E3 revisited the Battle of Hoth from “The Empire Strikes Back” in stunning detail. Developer DICE painstakingly recreated all the game's assets with technology that three-dimensionally photographed the actual props and models used for the original films in order to capture the look of the game as faithfully as possible. Even some of the explosions look more like 1970's cinema effects, rather than the more realistic firestorms of modern video games, just to make sure that everything in Battlefront was authentically Star Wars. Battlefront doesn't attempt to reinvent the wheel when it comes to normal shooter mechanics, opting for more of a streamlined, accessible feel. The controls are tighter than any Star Wars action game before it and the interface is more user friendly than any of DICE's previous Battlefield games. The class system is gone and every player has the choice to customize their own weapon loadouts. DICE also does a great job with the vehicular combat. Flying is easy to pick up, the controls are smooth and responsive. The new Continue Reading

System Update: 10 observations about video games in 2015 before the Electronics Entertainment Expo

The always-seismic Electronics Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles is just a few short weeks away, and until then, all is quiet (well, relatively) in the land of video games. And that makes it the perfect time for me to reflect on the ever-growing video game landscape as a whole. So here are 10 things I think about the gaming industry at this very moment. 1) I think some people are destined to miss the greatness of Nintendo's Splatoon over the next few months. It's an absolutely terrific shooter, built on a new paradigm that's about so much more than bodycount, and it forces you to rethink how you approach a team, err, deathmatch. But I wonder how many gamers are simply conditioned to blindly worship at the Call of Duty and Battlefield and Halo altars. Those franchises deserve plenty of respect, yes, but no shooter is quite as unique as Splatoon. Every gamer should spend at least six hours playing it — somehow — before making a judgment. 2) I think a case could be made that Nintendo's next console shouldn't lock itself into a unique brand of gaming. Yes, have motion controls, or a touchscreen controller, or anything else that Nintendo wants, because, hey, Nintendo is incredibly good at reinventing the gaming wheel. But, on some level, it wouldn't hurt to deliver the horsepower and core experience to drive, say, the next Assassin's Creed or Madden. As terrific as Nintendo's first-party lineup is (and from Smash Bros. to Mario Kart to Splatoon, it's been out of this world over the last few months), the lack of mainstream titles and sports games forces gamers to either buy two machines, or choose between Call of Duty and Super Mario. Not an easy choice. 2) I think the classic two-thumbstick, four-face-button controller form still rules, and that's not changing. Sure, there's chatter of a new Xbox One controller on the way, but will it really change that much? We've seen some attempts to revolutionize, but Continue Reading