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Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes… Probably


Look at how much fun they’re having! It’s all lies! No one maintains this much of a relaxed demeanor with a timer quickly cycling to zero. Today we’re going to take a fresh look at the newly released bomb defusal game, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.

So, what exactly is Keep Talking? Well thematically there’s not much going on. You’re in what looks like a military bomb-testing facility with a suitcase-sized explosive device wired with all manner of devilish puzzles to solve. It’s intended to be a multiplayer experience with the bomb technician viewing the device and giving information to assistants who have access to a manual. I’m sure it could be played single player but what are we, psychopaths?


So, like any normal person, I teamed up with two buddies on stream and decided to save the world over and over and over again.

The puzzles are intuitive in their design giving you the classic “which wire should I cut”, symbols and ciphers, enticing buttons, and freaking Morse Code! Yes, if you’re a sailor or were born in the 1800’s, please contact me, we need help with that part.

Don’t even get me started on the alarms that blare, the gas ventilation, and the lights that turn off at every opportunity. Granted, it’s only for higher difficulties, but the challenge is graciously accepted. I couldn’t help but feel that the room was trying to kill me, and in some cases perhaps my own team was trying to kill me. It was funny, to me at least, when you hear a string of numbers and out of nowhere the deafening cry of an alarm clock shocks you into a state of disarray. It was like calling the ISS inside a herd of elephants, something I would totally do over and over again.

The fantastic heart-pounding action track from the blast end of the timer was even more invigorating as it gave you a solid minute to relinquish fear through your steadily evacuating sweat glands.

Modules on top of your modules

It’s all in good fun though. On several occasions we had never dealt with a particular module and decided to wing it. We found, through trial and error, that the instructions are articulated in a way that makes them fair but punishing to those who don’t pay close attention. It can get confusing at times, but perfect play with practice and the ideal adage “Keep talking” both ring true for anyone who plays this several times.

After awhile the initiated quickly develop a shorthand and the vocabulary becomes secondary. At least that was our experience. We love puzzles and couldn’t help but fall victim to KTaNE‘s enticing throes. Perhaps the biggest draw is getting multiple people together and developing a multi-tiered operation. We traded information at everything less than lightning speed all to one source who had to process and execute each order with impunity or else, you know, we all die. It was the people who made the bomb interesting, who added the element of imperfection to a very by-the-numbers experience.


For being a mechanically technical game KTaNE utilizes abstraction and the necessity of interpersonality to do what party games do best: create an atmosphere of raw enjoyment. Time is the enemy, the bomb is the obstacle, and together the engagement of friends or family steps KTaNE above other couch co-ops. One screw up might lead to death, but everyone is responsible. The resets are easy and the time it takes to disarm a bomb is nearly microscopic, so if you fail then there’s no hard feelings. You just move to the next challenge and keep on trucking.

The immersion grows

Denying this game any modesty, I can say without a doubt that I’m seriously excited for the next step in Steel Crate Games’ IP. And given that I have yet to master all the puzzles and permutations, I can’t even imagine how many hours I’m going to kill(pun intended) inside that cold and dark concrete-padded room, but at least I know I won’t be alone.

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is developed and produced by Steel Crate Games and can be purchased on Steam for $14.99, additional platforms pending.


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Daydream Blue gives players an open-world exploration game on Gear VR

Samsung’s Gear VR’s marketplace is slowing growing and Ralph VR is bringing it’s first title to the platform today. Early adopters of the VR hardware can now play Daydream Blue — an open-world exploration game.

The game is coming just two months ahead of the Gear VR’s full November release and will offer those who grab the tech a nice VR world to get lost in right away.

The project was initially launched by Richie Hoagan — the lead designer for Ralph VR — and his desire to look up at the sky and watch clouds go by in virtual reality.

The game has grown and is now a Gold Prize winner in the 2015 Oculus Mobile VR Jam and is positioned to give first time VR players a solid experience on the Oculus/Samsung Gear VR releasing in November.

The world is highly stylized, low-polygonal environment and simply offers a pleasant world for players to relax in. Players can craft some basics items as well, but development will continue to go on to expand the things players can interact with in the game.

Currently, players can reshape their environment with a malleable world. A few select mini-games are also available like golfing and fishing.

While there isn’t too much to do yet, the atmosphere has been set very well with wildlife roaming the wilderness and the time of day progressing as you play.

Ralph VR is promising two updates each month to Daydream Blue to keep a steady flow of content.

The title is available to current Samsung Gear VR owners for $9.99.

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The Platinum Achievement Podcast | Episode 2

Episode 2

We’ve found Brian! Episode 2 of the The Platinum Achievement Podcast introduces your fifth co-host and includes an extensive discussion of virtual reality amid the recent Oculus Rift news. Also hear our thoughts on our potential game of the year candidates and what it’s like talking video games with non-gamers.

(YouTube / MP3)

Check out more episodes here!

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Phil Spencer comfortable holding out of the VR market… for now

Despite what little the Xbox division has done to progress any piece of Virtual Reality hardware, head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, sees no immediate rush for the company to enter the VR market. The lead man with Xbox certainly believes that the time is coming though.

In a recent interview with Edge Magazine, Spencer reitereated the company’s dedication to improving the current Xbox experience — like the slow UI.

“it’s just been about technologies and things that I think we need to do on Xbox One to make the experience better, and that’s where our focus has been.” – Phil Spencer (Edge Magazine)

Spencer went on to explain that VR isn’t vital for Xbox right now, but suggested five years from now it could be a much greater component within their plans. For now, the next innovative tech that may be implemented into the Xbox One is Microsoft’s HoloLens, but even with the potential that has the future of it as an
Xbox One peripheral is still unknown. “well, we haven’t announced it as an Xbox accessory, but it sits within one team, and we have the conversations.” For now the HoloLens will be worked on as its own independent project.

Though there are some ideas buzzing within Microsoft it seems that they will continue to stay as a spectator on the market. “So even from a content perspective there are a lot of conversations about VR, and I think it’s a very interesting tech for us to watch on the console side as well as the PC side.”

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No virtual reality for Xbox? Not so fast.

The Virtual Reality industry is just beginning to take off, and amid recent news of a Valve/HTC partnership that is spawning a virtual reality headset, and PlayStation’s Project Morpheus virtual reality that will also be hitting stores, Microsoft has been left out with little buzz regarding a VR headset of its own.

Head of the Xbox Division, Phil Spencer spoke with Eurogamer and assures that Microsoft isn’t “locked out” of any potential first party or partnership ventures into the VR industry. Spencer mentions HoleLens as being a comparable new tech that Xbox could utilize in the future as well.

“We’ve looked at a mixed reality space that we could do with Hololens and think about it as a unique set of features and technologies to enable, that doesn’t preclude us from doing anything in the VR space either from a first-party or partnership perspective.” – Phil Spencer (Eurogamer)

With major expectations for Valve to intrude on the console market Xbox still does not seem them as a direct competitor, but instead Spencer refers his great past work between Microsoft and the PC gaming platform. To them Valve’s VR headset is seen as a great opportunity for both parties.

“The conversations we have on a regular basis with Valve – I consider them a critical ISV… er, that’s independent software developer – on Windows, and very open to the feedback that they’re always active to give. Are they a competitor? I see it as upside opportunity now.”

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It’s been 18 years. Will the love for Pokemon ever die down?

Over 18 years since Pokemon's initial Japan release, will Game Freak and Nintendo's franchise ever slow down?
Over 18 years since Pokemon’s initial Japan release, will Game Freak and Nintendo’s franchise ever slow down?

Over 18 years ago one of the most definable games of all time, one that would extend to multiple generations of gamers and quickly turn into a billion dollar franchise, was released.

With a total of 30 pokemon games,  and nine of them taking in $10 million or more, one may think there would be some sign that time would be running its course on the love of Pokemon.

But it hasn’t. Pokemon is proving the test of time with their highest selling games being relatively identical products. The most recent installment, Pokemon X/Y, has made over $12 million and is right on track with the sales of its predecessors. With the first generation of gamers who grew up with Pokemon Red/Blue in their early 20s, Nintendo finds ample support in the franchise for nearly every release.

With the older generation remaining loyal to the franchise and the consistent influx of children to adore the game as well, Nintendo has created a system in which they can consistently dominate two generations of gamers.

As the gamers who grew up with Pokemon Red/Blue get older and perhaps less attentive to the Pokemon franchise, there is an entire generation of gamers from Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire to take their place. This makes it incredibly hard to envision how the company’s support will ever waver.

The game itself has shown little need to change as well. The entire base of the game is no different than it was all those years ago. It wasn’t until the most recent release that a truly 3d world was even introduced.

While most games’ mechanics grow stale after a few years, Game Freak’s mantra to keep the core gameplay simple and similar to what has worked in the past is exactly the reason their franchise has thrived for so long. Nintendo as an entire company has shared this same outlook on gaming.

The gaming world is coming to a tipping point though. With the popularity of video games in general sky-rocketing, a massive push for higher resolutions, innovative features, and unique ideas raises the question if the beloved franchise will fall behind.

Nintendo has shown love for innovative ideas like the gamepad, motion sensor controls, and dual-screen interfaces. It’s certainly not an absurd idea for Virtual Reality to become the next step for Nintendo’s creative minds.

The main question is would Game Freak follow suit though? Could it at all be possible in 10 years for a virtual reality Pokemon game to exist?

Speculating the future is rather difficult. All that can really be said is that crucial decisions for the path of the franchise on the part of both Game Freak and Nintendo are sure to soon exist.