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Xbox Cloud Gaming is Unofficially Accessible on Windows

Chris Rausch

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To many, streaming games is the future. The continued improvement of internet connections means that in many cases, games can be streamed as fast as they could be read off of a hard drive (or even solid state drive). Plus, the combination of accessibility and affordability means that users don’t have to spend hundreds on a new gaming PC or the new console release to play new titles at peak performance.

Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly Project xCloud) is the Microsoft and Xbox program for streaming games. The project, which requires an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription to access stream-able titles, is still a work in progress despite a beta launch on Android devices in 2019. But if you can find it, there is a Windows 10 program available that (roughly) brings the future of gaming to your Windows PC.


In the Spanish Microsoft Store, there is an Xbox Game Streaming Test App available for download, but if you try to download it through this link, you’ll be prompted to redeem a code for access. Instead, using a parsing tool you can find the “.appxbundle” file for the program which allows for direct download.

The program presents as a test kit for developers, which includes tools and advanced analytics that likely won’t exist on the frontend in the final build. It also requires a verified Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription to access the titles in the library, and most will only work with a controller. However, you can get a 1080p resolution and play with tolerable latency (better based on your internet connection), which is an exciting preview of what is to come when the project officially releases a Windows app.

In my 4+ years as a professional tech copywriter, I've written about everything from laptops & routers to the software that facilitates billions in online sales each day. If it relates to, connects to, or belongs on the Internet, I'm in. Equipped with my Associate's in Computer Science and a computer I assembled myself (no big deal), I write about all things hardware, software, gaming, and digital tech to keep you up-to-date on important news, releases, and tips & tricks.

Nintendo

Pokémon Unite Gets a Release Window for Switch and Mobile

Colin Edge

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The Pokémon company announced a release window for its new MOBA game, Pokémon Unite. And it’s soon. The company also debuted an epic theatrical trailer for the game.


Unite will drop for the Switch in July, then in September for mobile devices (likely iOS and Android). The five-on-five battle strategy game was created in partnership with Tencent’s TiMi Studio Group, who developed Call of Duty: Mobile. Unite was originally announced last year.

The game will be free to play, with in-game purchases optional. Crossplay between console and mobile will be supported, and you will also be able to save your progress from one device to another with a Pokémon Trainer Account or Nintendo Account.

And if the trailer is any indication, the game looks like a heap of multiplayer fun. Unite takes place on an uncharted island called Aeos. When striking blows to the opposing team and capturing free-roaming Pokémon, players gain Aeos energy. With it, players can upgrade their Pokémon throughout the course of a battle. 

Aeos energy apparently translates to points when delivered into the other team’s goal. That would explain why the trailer shows Lucario slam dunking like Micheal Jordan in the ‘90s. Naturally, when time runs out, the team with the most points wins. Battles take place in several different stadiums, with unique landscapes and rules specific to each locale.

In true MOBA fashion, Unite’s characters will have varying strengths and abilities. Some will be faster, others stronger, etc. Use these abilities strategically to your team’s advantage! The game’s cast of Pokémon is also diverse – we’re all happy Mr. Mime made an appearance in the trailer.


Some hardline Pokémon fans might argue that a mobile device game cheapens a brand with such a rich history and deep loyalty. Fair point. 

But Pokémon has shown without a doubt that it can successfully branch into essentially any type of media (cards, movies, consoles). And it does this without losing touch with the lovable, familiar identity of the franchise. A franchise that’s worked its way into the hearts and hands of kids of all ages – decade after decade.

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Nintendo

Game Builder Garage Gives Programming Some Nintendo Magic

Colin Edge

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When I was a kid, I learned how to type on a computer keyboard by playing Mario Teaches Typing on my family’s PC. I had so much fun making Mario bounce off goomba’s heads with the keys that I didn’t even realize I was learning how to type. Almost three decades later, Nintendo is still using games to teach valuable technology skills in diverting, imaginative ways.

Game Builder Garage has been out for almost a week. If you haven’t gotten it already, you may be wondering whether or not you should. Overall, it’s a wonderful game, about games. 


The new programming game sprinkles Nintendo magic over the otherwise onerous process of programming, and makes it fun. But depending on your level of interest in how games are made, Garage might not be worth the money for you.

Garage shows the basic concepts behind game design, with its own system of lovable little characters called Nodons. Strewn across colorful graph paper, you can connect an object to an action, for instance, by joining two Nodons with a line. These charming creatures can be arranged in an essentially unlimited number of ways to create all types of landscapes and outcomes. 

This game widens the scope of its predecessor Super Mario Maker titles by offering a more vast array of games you can build. Whether you want to make a side-scrolling shooter or a 3D fighting game, you have a plethora of choices.

But you’ll need to learn some skills to navigate those choices. That’s why the Garage includes guided lessons that teach you how to make seven basic games to get you started. There’s also a free programming mode, but Garage strongly suggests you take the lessons first.

This is where your personality could determine how you feel about the game. I enjoy learning in a dummy-proof, structured way. The lessons are designed to accommodate that. But if you enjoy bending rules, you may feel annoyed by the lessons.


Garage’s affable teachers,  Bob and Alice, walk you through step-by-step instructions to build the tutorial games precisely to their specs. They even show you exactly what the game will look like before you set out to build it, so there’s little imagination in this part of Garage. If you want to go off script, you can’t. But then again, that’s what the free programming mode is for.

I’m not too interested in learning actual coding, so Game Builder Garage’s system of Nodons works for me. But if you are an amateur programmer, or you want to learn something more technical like C++, you don’t get that from this game. 

Maybe you’re on the other end of the spectrum – you don’t want to get technical at all. In that case, heads-up: this game does take you to school in certain ways, making use of math and logic. You may feel like you’re back in class. But this game makes class almost as fun as the Magic School Bus.

While somewhat limited to the game’s built-in tools, the amount of freedom and complexity you are able to explore completely satisfies the itch to create. The game is warm and fuzzy, with the cuteness of titles like Snipperclips. The scripting and character creation of the Nodons is genuinely entertaining.

You can also share your game designs with friends via a user code. Naturally, programmers have already created astounding worlds using this game’s palette, including recreations of Nintendo classics like Mario Kart and Zelda.

If you enjoy playing video games more than creating them, you may want to pass on this one. But even for non-programmers, Game Builder Garage makes game design simple and charming with classic Nintendo style.

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Consoles

Nintendo’s Big Reveals From E3 Direct

Colin Edge

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Nintendo’s long-awaited Direct broadcast aired today as part of the annual E3 gaming conference. As promised, Nintendo made big announcements and revealed exciting trailers about its upcoming games for their flagship Switch console.

However the Japanese gaming company did not make any announcement about the highly rumored “Switch Pro” console. The absence of this news likely disappointed fans who were almost sure of the upgraded console’s imminent release.


Nonetheless, news from Nintendo is always cause for celebration! Here are some games we have to look forward to:

BotW 2

Nintendo shared an exciting update on Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2. The sequel to 2017’s smash success has been given a release date. Well, more of a release year. The game will be arriving sometime in 2022.

In a trailer that opens with Link free fallin’ like Tom Petty, we see a wider span of Hyrule, walking boulders, and our hero passing through solid matter. It’s an exciting update on a game that’s already highly anticipated. 

Creators said the sequel will explore the skies above Hyrule, the fabled Legend of Zelda kingdom. Makes sense, since we see plenty of falling/gliding in the trailer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi-MRZBP91I&t=5s


Metroid Dread

While BotW 2 is exciting, its announcement was still quite nebulous, with few details. But another major announcement of the day provided much more concrete info: Metroid Dread, the latest in the fan-favorite Metroid series, is coming to Switch on October 8 of this year.

The official title and release date are welcome announcements. Creators even shared details on the deluxe edition, featuring a case, booklet, and collector cards.

According to producers, “The series has chronicled the uncanny relationship between Metroid and the heroine Samus, but this game will make an end to that story arc.” Woah.

Nintendo’s Treehouse presentation following the Direct also exhibited gameplay from the upcoming side-scroller, showing off its thrilling play and intricate design.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NjCICl7dDo&t=100s

Mario Party Superstars

A bundle of Nintendo announcements just has to include the company mascot in some way or another. The game giant announced Mario Party Superstars as another major release. 

With the success of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, it seems Nintendo has found “greatest hits” collections valuable to the fans, and the company itself. Sample gameplay for this title was also shown in the Treehouse presentation.

The video board game includes five boards from the N64 era and 100 mini games. Every mini game is compatible with button controls and every game mode works in online play. Play on your Switch Lite. Play with friends online. It’s a party.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Erdq0kiako4

…And Lots More

Nintendo also announced a commemorative Zelda Game & Watch handheld game to celebrate the franchise’s 35th anniversary. We can also look forward to an Advance Wars 1+2 remake, a two-player WarioWare game, and Tekken’s Kuzaya joining Smash Bros ultimate. 

For updates on these (and many more) Nintendo Switch projects revealed today, stay tuned to Byte News!

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