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9 video game stories you might have missed

A new Pokémon game and development problems for Call of Duty are this week’s gaming news headlines.

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Pokemon Rumble Rush video game

Development problems for Call of Duty, and new Pokémon and Minecraft games are among this week’s video game news headlines.

The House of Mario captured many headlines this week with a jam-packed Nintendo Direct showcasing the gazillion items and features included in upcoming Switch game, Super Mario Maker 2.

The Epic Store also launched its first major sale, although things didn’t quite go to plan, with some publishers delisting their games.

And if you’re excited for the series finale of Game of Thrones, make sure you read Tom’s analysis of how the HBO series has become just like a video game.

Here are nine other stories we think are worth catching up on.

Happy Birthday Minecraft

To coincide with the Minecraft‘s tenth anniversary, Microsoft has revealed a new free-to-play mobile AR game called Minecraft Earth. The game lets players add their creations to the real world and is set for release later this year. It was also announced that Minecraft has now sold 176 million copies worldwide, very likely making it the best-selling video game of all time.

Red Dead Redemption 2 updated

Take Two confirmed in its earnings call that Red Dead Redemption 2 has sold over 24 million copies since its release in October, 2018. Last week, the game’s online component also left beta with a huge update that includes new missions, new open-world events, and hundreds of items to buy and earn. There are also new settings to improvement the performance of HDR on PlayStation 4.

Studio Istolia closes

Square Enix’s Studio Istolia has closed down. Project Prelude Rune, the game the studio was developing under the leadership of Hideo Baba, has been also cancelled.

Epic Games awarded special Bafta

Epic Games will receive a Bafta Special Award next month. Tim Sweeney will pick up the award which honours the company’s contribution to the industry, both for its games and work with the Unreal Engine development platform.

Pokémon Rumble Rush announced

The fifth game in the Pokémon Rumble series has debuted in Australia. The free-to-start beat ’em up is initially available on Android devices, with an iOS release and worldwide rollout coming soon. In summary: tap, tap, tap to defeat waves of Pokémon.

Save with Nintendo Switch Vouchers

Nintendo has launched a new voucher promotion for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. Members can purchase two vouchers for $99.99/£84.00 and redeem them against a list of first and second-party Switch games. The vouchers offer combined savings of up to $19.99/£36.00.

Call of Duty 2020

Kotaku news hound, Jason Schreier, reports on the troubled development of next year’s Call of Duty game. Studios Raven and Sledgehammer have been moved to support status, with Treyarch taking the lead on what it is now likely to be Call of Duty: Black Ops 5.

Sony and Microsoft announce cloud partnership

Microsoft and Sony have announced ‘a memorandum of understanding’ to share information and technology on their future cloud infrastructure and image sensor initiatives. Although the partnership has surprised many, Sony president Kenichiro Yoshida said of the relationship:

“For many years, Microsoft has been a key business partner for us, though of course the two companies have also been competing in some areas. I believe that our joint development of future cloud solutions will contribute greatly to the advancement of interactive content.”

Full steam ahead for Octopath Traveler

Pre-orders for the PC version of Octopath Traveler have opened on Steam. Players who purchase the game ahead of its launch will receive a collection of eleven desktop wallpapers featuring artwork of the game’s heroes and locations.

This week’s new video game releases

As usual, you can keep on top of the latest video game releases with our weekly updates for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

And do follow us on Twitter for more game-related whimsy.

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Thumbsticks editor and connoisseur of Belgian buns. Currently playing: Dragon Quest XI, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and Transistor.

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Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds pledges support for Able Gamers charity

Steven Spohn teams up with that bloke from Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine to raise awareness for the Able Gamers charity.

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Aviation Gin

Steven Spohn teams up with that bloke from Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine to raise awareness for the Able Gamers charity.

You may not know Steven Spohn – though you absolutely should, and we’ll get to that in a minute – but you probably do know Ryan Reynolds. He’s a big Hollywood superstar. You’ve probably seen him hawking Aviation Gin and in such movies as The In-Laws, Green Lantern, and playing Wade ‘Deadpool’ Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

(We’re kidding, Ryan. We think you’re great. You totally redeemed Deadpool and you’re easily the second-best actor to ever voice Pikachu.)

Right, anyway, that’s the Hollywood bloke out the way. Now let’s get onto the really interesting guy: Steven Spohn.

Steven is the founder and chief operating officer of Able Gamers, a global charity that champions accessible gaming. He’s won prestigious awards for his positive contribution to the video game industry, developed numerous accessible controller options and contributed to the Xbox Adaptive Controller, and has consulted on accessibility options for numerous games. He’s a powerful voice in this industry and you really need to know who he is. He’s brilliant, and we need more people like Steven.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, Steven tweeted the following:

And to be honest, we forgot about it. The only “famous” people we know are game developers, and we had a feeling that wasn’t exactly what Steven had in mind for extended outreach for Able Gamers, so we didn’t really give it any more thought.

Then today, imagine our surprise when we saw the following tweet on Steven’s account:

That is big Hollywood celebrity actor man Ryan Reynolds going into bat for Steven Spohn and Able Gamers, which is amazing to see. Well done to everyone involved, it’s quite the collaboration. (We’re also reliably informed that Ryan still hasn’t blinked.)

You can find out more about Able Gamers – and, of course, donate to the cause – on the Able Gamers website.

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Four more games added to the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle

There’s over $300 of cool stuff in the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle.

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Double Fine / Humble

Update: August 6, 2020

Four additional games have been added to the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle. They’re in the “pay more than the average” tier and we’ve added them into the list below.

Original story: July 30, 2020

There’s over $300 of cool stuff in the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle.

We love Double Fine. Don’t you? Everybody does. They just seem like a really good bunch, so it’s heartening to see the developer and publisher celebrating its 20th anniversary.

In order to help you all get in a celebratory mood, Double Fine has teamed up with charity bundle flinger Humble to bring you the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle. In it, you’ll get games (and more) from Double Fine’s 20-year history. Yes, it’s exactly as the name suggests.

Highlights include, of course, the wonderful Psychonauts, and Double Fine’s classic remastered adventures, Day of the Tentacle, Full Throttle and Grim Fandango. Those four games are worth the price of admission alone.

But there’s more: Brütal Legend! Massive Chalice! Gang Beasts! Costume Chest! Gnog! Everything! (That’s the game, Everything, not literally everything. Though you do get quite a lot in this bundle.) Plus a whole bunch of soundtracks and the three Amnesia Fortnight events, which include videos recounting Double Fine’s legendary game jams, and all of the prototypes that were produced.

Here’s everything (including Everything) that’s included in the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle.

Everything in the Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle

Pay £0.79 or more to unlock

  • Psychonauts
  • Double Fine Adventure! Complete Series – Deluxe Edition
  • Amnesia Fortnight 2012
  • Amnesia Fortnight 2014
  • Amnesia Fortnight 2017

Bonuses in £0.79 tier

  • Gnog Soundtrack
  • 140 Soundtrack
  • Thoth Soundtrack
  • Everything Soundtrack
  • Escape Goat 2 Soundtrack
  • Gang Beasts Soundtrack
  • Grim Fandango Remastered Soundtrack

Pay more than the average (currently around £6.22) to also unlock

  • Day of the Tentacle Remastered
  • Broken Age
  • Brütal Legend
  • Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin
  • Massive Chalice
  • Costume Quest
  • Iron Brigade – new!
  • Stacking – new!
  • Hack ‘n’ Slash – new!
  • Spacebase DF9 – new!

Pay £7 or more to also unlock

  • Rad
  • Gnog
  • 140
  • Thoth
  • Mountain
  • Everything
  • Escape Goat 2
  • Gang Beasts
  • Kids
  • Full Throttle Remastered
  • Grim Fandango Remastered
  • Headlander

Bonuses in £7 tier

  • 1 Month Free of Humble Choice for New Subscribers

The Humble Double Fine 20th Anniversary Bundle is on sale right now and runs for the next fortnight. It ends on Thursday, August 13, at 7pm BST. And as ever with Humble bundles, the money raised all goes to worthwhile charities.


We may receive a small commission on purchases made from online stores.

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Wilmot’s Warehouse is free on the Epic Games Store

Wilmot’s Warehouse and game dev-focused “playable sitcom,” 3 out of 10, are free on the Epic Games store.

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Wilmot’s Warehouse - Epic Game Store

Wilmot’s Warehouse and game dev-focused “playable sitcom,” 3 out of 10, are free on the Epic Games store.

Wilmot’s Warehouse is this week’s headliner as people have played it and know what it is. The puzzle game, which tasks players with “keeping a warehouse running in tip-top shape,” released last summer to positive reviews. So, check that out if you haven’t.

Wilmot’s Warehouse - Epic Game Store

But, what I’m personally intrigued by is 3 Out of 10. This is the first episode, titled “Welcome to Shovelworks,” of a series that plans to release new, free installments each week through September 3. It’s a wacky workplace comedy that splits its runtime between animated story-focused sections and varied gameplay. The action follows a team at a game studio who, you guessed it, aren’t that great at making games. It just vaulted to the top of my list of games I want to check out in 2020.

What seems smartest about this release is the planned launch schedule. Episodic games often get bogged down in protracted development cycles. For example, I loved Life is Strange 2, but had to wait over a year to see the story’s conclusion. If developer Terrible Posture Games, Inc. — creators of Mothergunship — really manage to get all five episodes out in under a month, they’ll be blazing new trails in the episodic games space.

Both Wilmot’s Warehouse and 3 Out of 10 are featured through next Thursday, August 13. And, now that these games are up for grabs, Epic has lifted the curtain on next week’s freebies. Remnant from the Ashes, a Soulslike with Gears-style third-person shooting, and The Alto Collection, which includes Alto’s Adventure and Alto’s Odyssey, will be free next Thursday.

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Save on classic games with August’s My Nintendo rewards

The latest batch of My Nintendo rewards features savings on games from the Animal Crossing and Mario Party franchises.

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Nintendo

August’s crop of My Nintendo rewards includes savings on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

The world has (rightly) gone crazy for Animal Crossing: New Horizons this year, but if you still have a Nintendo 3DS and haven’t played Animal Crossing: New Leaf, it’s available as one of August’s new My Nintendo discounts. We love new Horizons, but it has a long way to go to equal New Leaf‘s vast collection of content and items to collect. It might be an old game, but it’s still magical.

Other European rewards include two Zelda classics in Ocarina of Time 3D and the Game Boy Color’s Link’s Awakening DX, plus there are new 3DS themes based on Super Mario and Splatoon’s Squid Sisters.

An Animal Crossing: New Horizons Dodo Airlines Reusable Bag is also available in exchange for 400 Platinum Points, and some expensive postage.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons - Reusable bagNorth American discounts include a 30% saving on the mighty Rhythm Heaven Megamix, which is still one of the best music games ever created. Another highlight is a stylish 3DS theme based on the Nintendo Famicom Console.

Here’s the full rundown on August’s new rewards. We’ll likely have another update for you in a few weeks.

New My Nintendo rewards – August 2020

EU Gold Point Rewards

  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Welcome amiibo – 40% discount – 80 points
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX – 50% discount – 80 points
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D – 40% discount – 80 points
  • Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon – 30% discount – 120 points
  • Super Mario 3D Land – 40% discount – 80 points
  • Tomodachi Life – 50% discount – 200 points
  • Wario Land II – 50% discount – 25 points

EU Platinum Point Rewards

  • Kirby’s Blowout Blast – 40% discount – 70 points
  • Metroid: Samus Returns – Samus Aran Theme – 100 points
  • Tank Troopers – 80% discount – 40 points
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf: Isabelle in the Town Hall Theme – 100 points
  • Mario Characters Theme – 100 points
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: The Open World Theme – 100 points
  • Splatoon: Squid Sisters Theme – 100 points

US Gold Point Rewards

  • Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn – 30% discount – 90 points
  • Mario Party : The Top 100 – 30% discount – 90 points
  • Rhythm Heaven Megamix – 30% discount – 70 points
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf: K.K. Slider at Club LOL Theme – 20 points

US Platinum Point Rewards

  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons – 30% discount – 50 points
  • Pushmo – 30% discount – 50 points
  • Tomodachi Life – 30% discount – 200 points
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf: Isabelle at Town Hall Theme – 100 points
  • Famicom Memories Theme – 100 points
  • August Calendar – Animal Crossing: New Horizons – 50 points

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Littlewood is a cosy RPG set after the battle is over

Littlewood knows there’s nothing finer than a game that gives you a nice little epilogue.

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SmashGames

Littlewood knows there’s nothing finer than a game that gives you a nice little epilogue. (No, not yours, The Last of Us Part II.)

But those games that let you go back to the world after the battle is over, to visit with the townsfolk, and just generally chill out are something special. The first game I really remember it from is Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon’s Trap where, once restored to human form, you get to wander the village, chatting with the locals, before going to bed. That’s literally how the epilogue ends; you go back home for a well-earned rest.

It’s just so wholesome. Which is why Littlewood, a new RPG from Sean Wood and SmashGames, is so appealing.

“The world has already been saved. Now it’s time to rebuild your town, learn new hobbies, and forge lifelong friendships in this peaceful and relaxing RPG.”

It’s like Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing, then, but set in a world that was in peril – until the player character saved it. But the trick is, you can’t remember anything about your life before or what happened in the great battle to save the world. In order to restore your memories, you need to build up a welcoming town, encourage people to live there, and hope that spurs your recall.

But a game like Littlewood isn’t about the destination. There is an overall plot, of course, but cosy management RPGs are all about the micro-activities. And in Littlewood, you’ll be gathering, crafting, building, fishing, farming, bug catching, cooking, trading, and more – everything that people love about the genre.

Littlewood is out now on Steam.

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Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.


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