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Jack Gardner
Pokémon Go released in 2016 as part of a collaboration between Nintendo and Niantic Labs, a game developer that grew out of a Google initiative designed to explore the potential uses of the technology used to create Google Maps. The mobile phone game caused an unprecedented fervor in the general public, gaining a worldwide following in the hundreds of millions. Though plagued by technical issues at release, becoming the subject of criticism for the public behavior of the player base, and botching some high profile events, Pokémon Go continues to receive updates and has maintained a consistent base of support from around 65 million people. 
Given the sweeping social impact Pokémon Go had, would it be fair to call it one of the best games period? 
Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative
Outro music: Pokémon Silver 'Lucky Coin' by Schtiffles (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03476)
Kevin Slackie can be found on Twitter @KSlackie talking about game design and meeting Ray Wise.
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it!
If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod 
New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday

Marcus Stewart
Sixty seconds. That’s how long each life lasts in Minit, a unique title that puts a spin on Zelda-esque design using devious time management. As a hero doomed to exist in one-minute intervals, players must make the most of their time to unravel the mysteries of the black and white world. Though the experience winds up being as brief as the title suggests, it's time well spent. 
Beginning each life at the hero’s house, the goal is to explore as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Once time expires, the character dies and players restart back home. Exploring far off areas only to be kicked back to the beginning sounds restrictive, but I loved the fun sense of urgency this creates. A satisfying feeling of accomplishment arises in trying to quickly map out the world. The best reward, though, comes in obtaining new equipment. 
Items such as a sword that cuts through obstructing bushes or speed-boosting shoes save precious seconds. They also open up previously inaccessible areas, creating new routes to hasten treks. Life may be fleeting, but thankfully progress is permanent; each new item becomes an lasting part of the inventory. That means that despite repeatedly starting anew, significant gains are made. The relief in finding a breakthrough tool with just seconds to spare can be exhilarating.  

Minit’s most inventive aspects directly play into its time limit. One elderly NPC takes ages to reveal the location of a secret spot. To allow time to read his full message, players must find a faster way to reach him. Another segment involves finding a character’s lost credit card by playing a cute game of “hot and cold”. Though the entire game acts as a race against the clock, I would have liked to see more situations that more directly, and creatively, challenge player speed. Minit’s puzzles are perfectly acceptable, though few stand out as anything special. 
The final boss stands as my biggest gripe in terms of not taking advantage of the timer. Though a solid fight, it ignores the game’s urgency by allowing players to restart at the exact spot in the fight that they died. Not to armchair design, but can’t help but feel the boss should instead be dropped by a single, tough-to-find weakness that you only get one minute to uncover. 
Though Minit hides a decent amount of side content that players must go out of their way to find (including a secret-laden dungeon), the critical path ends much sooner than I would have liked. In fact, there’s no indication that the end is near until the boss falls and the credits roll. Maybe this premise would lose steam in a longer game, but I can’t help but feel Minit wrapped up when it was just hitting its stride. 
This brevity does highlight Minit’s lack of a real story. The game begins, you assist random folks who sort of point the way, then then defeat a final foe you didn’t know existed until it appeared. That’s barely a complaint, though, as a narrative was the last thing I cared about with this game. 
Every bite-sized run through Minit is an engrossing endeavor. The time limit creates an effective hook that makes an otherwise solid adventure more engaging. However, the short length,  inconsistent use of the clock, and sparse storytelling sometimes makes Minit feel like a neat proof-of-concept rather than a fully realized game. Despite these complaints, I had a good time–even if it lasted as long as my hero’s lifespan. 

Jack Gardner
Look, it's not a big story, but it's not every day that a developer sends a picture of a golden toilet to your inbox. 
At Rezzed, the London-based game industry event, developer Two Point revealed the exclusive item that people who sign up for their (free) promotional Hospital Pass. That item was, of course, a solid gold bowl of glory and bowel movements. The item has been a secret since Two Point Hospital's announcement back in January. 
To unlock the golden toilet, prospective players will need to log onto the Two Point Hospital website, sign up for Hospital Pass, and buy the game at launch. After that, the toilet of dreams can be a part of your fictional hospital. 
Two Point Hospital is the spiritual successor to Theme Hospital designed by the people who made the original with more creative freedom than ever before. It takes a comedic approach to sickness and making people well with a variety of fictional maladies and treatments. The entire production has a Wallace and Gromit aesthetic that's immediately pleasing and amusing. 
Two Point Hospital will release sometime later this year for PC.

Marcus Stewart
It finally happened. After almost two full seasons, the enigma once known as John Doe emerged from his crystallis as the newly born Joker. However, the context in which he does so depends on the player’s actions. Did Bruce Wayne push Joker over the edge to becoming a menace? Or did his admiration for Batman’s cause compel him to take up crime-fighting himself? Regardless of which version of the clown you wind up with, this season finale goes out on a turbulent and exciting high note. 
Surprisingly, the increased gameplay mechanics stuck out to me more than anything. Not only does Same Stitch do a fantastic job of keeping players’ fingers on the buttons, but it does so in a variety of ways. In a tense bomb defusal scene, Batman uses his x-ray to cut the correct cord before a timer counts down. Inspecting photographs for clues brings a new cerebral element on top of the returning crime scene investigations. 
Confrontations, especially against Joker, offer satisfying brutality and style thanks to the slick manner in which prompts appear. Even the relationship updates get creative, such as the humorous “Joker totally forgot to remember that” notification when Batman reminds him that heroes don’t kill. Best of all, no gameplay segment is shared between the two paths. It’s a great way of making both stories feel separate beyond their narrative content and offers further incentive to play both sides. 

On that note, I love how differently the two stories play out. Though they understandably share the some pivotal plot points (mainly in regards to supporting characters), playing twice feels justified. For example, the villain Joker route comes out swinging with a gruesome opening and jaw-dropping shake-ups. Vigilante Joker kicks off on a comparatively “lighter” note as you tag team with him him in a cool fight against the Agency’s goons. The narrative gap widens from there, with some fantastic scenes sprinkled about. My favorite segment between both tales involves an explosive dinner party hosted by Joker and Harley Quinn. The episode takes a lot of crazy turns, but they all tie into the same final note: Batman and Joker are two threads of the same stitch. 
Going toe-to-toe with Joker feels well-earned and emotionally affecting. Because of my heavy influence, I couldn’t help but feel regretful for things I said and did to him. Same Stitch uses that relationship as the thesis for making poignant observations on Batman’s adverse influence on the people around him–unintentional or otherwise. His heart’s in the right place; however when right and wrong becomes more grey, Batman’s best judgement may not be sound. Satisfying conclusions for other threads lead to big surprises that should be fun to explore in a potential third season.

Same Stitch offers two great stories that do justice to the Joker’s character as well as the long build to get him here. Gameplay feels the freshest and most fun it’s ever been (that includes all of Season 1), and the story is just as engaging. This might be the most entertaining Batman episode across both seasons and a fitting finale to Joker’s wonderful origin saga. 
In regards to The Enemy Within as a whole, it’s an exceptional follow up that begins and ends on extremely high notes. Joker’s character development is by far the highlight, but the story of Bruce’s struggle to operate within shades of grey proves fascinating as well. The plot occasionally becomes a bit messy due to the sheer number of players involved (will Freeze’s story go anywhere?) but Telltale juggles these threads well for the most part. Like Season 1, I’m impressed with how confidently the story shakes up Batman lore without mucking things up, with Harley Quinn being a shining example. The Enemy Within should be played if for no other reason than to hang around Telltale’s amazing take of Batman’s greatest foe. 

Jack Gardner
SNK Playmore has announced that King of Fighters XIV have four new characters beginning today following the release of version 3.0. The additions of both new and fan favorite characters bring the full roster of fighters up to 58. Each of the newcomers have their own intro trailer, too!
Fan favorite and classic King of Fighters character Blue Mary makes her debut. With her freelance special forces set of skills, she fights using a variety of styles from around the world as well as Sambo, her preferred grapple-heavy fighting form.
Oswald represents decorum above all else. An elderly gentleman, Oswald might not look like much, but the man can slice through almost any defense using his signature playing cards. Exactly how he gets those cards so sharp is anyone's guess, but he looks undeniably cool in action.
Perhaps the least interesting designs of the four released, Heidern serves as the leader of The Mercenary Corps. He can channel energy into his fists and has been known to throw a few incredibly flexible kicks. Also, he has an eye patch, so he at least has something cool going for him.
Finally, we come to Najd. Easily the most interesting character announced by SNK, Najd is essentially a vigilante from Saudi Arabia who wears an abaya, a traditional robe-like Saudi dress, that gives her special powers. During the day, Najd goes to college, but at night she's the bane of baddies everywhere. 
Each DLC fighter costs $5.99 separately or can be bought in a bundle for $19.99. 
On top of those four characters, the free 3.0 update adds Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, as a playable stage. The update also brings a number of balancing changes that veterans will have to adjust to - so this might be one of the best times for newbies to join in. 
The King of Fighters XIV is available on PlayStation 4 and PC. 

Jack Gardner
Fortnite has been consistently gaining popularity in recent months. The free-to-play Battle Royale game mode has captured the attention of  streamers and celebrities alike. That led to the surprise team up between rapper Drake and Twitch streamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins. The two have streamed together on multiple occasions while racking up huge viewership numbers. 
In a recent stream, Ninja encouraged Drake to include references to Fortnite in his next album. Drake responded saying, "It has to happen, it's just gotta be the right way. Someone's gonna do it. Someone's gonna pull it off. I say when Epic gives me the emote, when Epic gives me the Hotline Bling emote, I'll do it." He added a bit jokingly, "Until then, I'm on strike." 
So, there you have it! Epic Games' lack of a Hotline Bling emote is the only thing standing between Drake and a Fortnite themed rap or album. Would a Fortnite album be something you'd listen to or is it too strange? 

Jack Gardner
Ninja Theory's epic descent into mythology and psychosis has made its way to Xbox One after having limited exclusivity on PlayStation 4. Players take on the role of the Pict warrior Senua as she journeys to a strange land filled with shadows, giants, and monsters to save the soul of a man named Dillon. It focuses on Senua's struggles with her curse, a chorus of voices that speak doubts and encouragement to her and sometimes directly to the player, too.  
Because of the game's heavy emphasis on Senua's curse, her struggles with psychosis and the social stigma associated with it, Ninja Theory worked heavily with mental health experts and facilities to better understand their hero. Through those learning experiences and encounters, the team was able to shape the game into something that resonated with many players. It also led the team to use the game as a platform to help dispel some of the stigma that still clings to mental health. To that end, Ninja Theory donated all profit from the sale of Hellblade on World Mental Health Day in 2017 to the organization Rethink Mental Illness. 
With the Xbox One release, Ninja Theory wants to continue that spirit of giving. If they can sell 50,000 copies of the game by April 18, they have pledged to donate $25,000 to Mental Health America. If they manage to hit 100,000 sales of Senua's Sacrifice, they will donate up to $50,000. So far, they've manage to sell roughly 12,000 copies. 
If you want a really unique game that tackles interesting subject matter in a thoughtful and mesmerizing way, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice is a great choice and could contribute to helping those who need mental healthcare. That's a pretty neat deal.    

Jack Gardner
We've known four player co-op has been on its way to Stardew Valley for a while now. Back in January, Eric Barone, the game's developer, tweeted out that he had been experimenting with a co-op build of the game with friends and found it a really great time. The reveal of that potential feature coming in the near future was exciting, but there wasn't any general timeline of when to expect the feature to make its way into the game. Now we at least have an idea.
Eric Barone, who tweets under the handle Concerned Ape on Twitter, announced that development of the co-op update has been going well and that if squashing bugs continues at the current rate the update should release in about a month. That's by no means a hard timeline, but it at least gives us all an idea of when we might expect to see our friends in our digital fields.
The update will bring a bunch of additional features, too, though what all of those might be remains unknown. At the very least we will get the ability to put hats on horses. That's right. Hats. On. Horses. And that's pretty awesome. 

Jack Gardner
Capcom aims to hit 2018 with all the nostalgia it can muster for the Blue Bomber's resurgence. Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2, which we reported on last year, will be hitting the PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One this summer as part of the 30th anniversary of Mega Man. Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 will include Mega Man X, X2, X3, and X4 while the second collection will feature X5, X6, X7, and X8. 
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 and 2 have received something of a remaster treatment from Capcom. The retro games all have cleaned up sprites with or without smoothing and CRT filters that the developers have included. X7 and X8, games that took the X series into 3D, have been given a new coat of paint to provide the best visual experience while remaining true to the original games. Each game can be played in its original resolution, full screen with the original aspect ratio, or in widescreen.  
Both collections contain a slew of goodies that fans of the series might find really interesting.  Both collections include The Day of Σ, a short video that was shipped with Maverick Hunter X (a remake of Mega Man X for the PSP) and details the origins of Sigma and his chaotic legion of robotic Mavericks, serving as something of a prelude to the events in Mega Man X. Each collection also includes a digital museum full of Mega Man X history including hi-res trailers for each game in the series. Each collection also comes with a soundtrack that encompasses the soundscape of each game in the series (along with a few Collection specific tunes and remixes).
A challenge mode called X Challenge will also be included in the X Legacy Collections. The mode tests the mettle of Mega Man fanatics by putting them up against two bosses at a time armed with up to three bonus weapons. The boss rush mode will include online leaderboards for players to compare times and vie for high scores. 
Both Mega Man X Legacy Collections will release on July 24. A retail bundle that includes both will be available on Xbox One, PS4, and Switch. The version for Xbox One and PS4 will include discs for both collections while the Switch version will have a cartridge for the first collection and a digital code for the second. 
All of this will help Capcom build hype for Mega Man 11 which releases later this summer. 

Jack Gardner
In 2010, renowned RPG developer Level-5 released Ni no Kuni: Dominion of the Dark Djinn for the Nintendo DS in Japan. The game received a huge wave of attention due to the unique collaboration between Level-5 and the famed film animation studio Ghibli. The game saw a worldwide release a year later for the PlayStation 3 under the title Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. Though the two games had much in common, including storylines and cutscenes, the games were developed by different internal teams within Level-5 and played very differently. With the extra year of polish and additional content, the PS3 version wowed critics and audiences alike with smooth visuals, a fully orchestrated soundtrack, and an awful lot of heart. 
Is Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch one of the best games period? 
Each week we will be tackling a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative.

Outro music: Super Mario Land 'Welcome Goombo Probably' by Suzumebachi (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03708)
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it!
If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod 
New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday

Jack Gardner
Pyre, the supernatural mash-up of fantasy and NBA Jam, released last year to an overall positive reception. With a colorful cast of characters, players were sucked into the world of the Downside and the stories of its inhabitants. One character really seemed to capture hearts and minds: The indomitable Ti'zo.  
The imp king of the Downside seems to possess more cunning and skill than his brethren. This is demonstrated by his ability to join the rest of the cast in the ritual games of Pyre for a shot at freedom from the prison universe of Downside. He also possesses a freaking adorable design courtesy of Supergiant Games' Jen Zee  and Camilo Vanegas. It's no wonder that the little fella now has his own official plushie line from Supergiant's online store. 
The plushie is available beginning today, but won't begin shipping around the world until April 17. If you're a bit impatient to get your hands on him and happen to be attending PAX East 2018, you will be able to purchase the venerable imp's likeness at the Supergiant Games area at booth 19091. The stuffed Ti'zo retails for $34.99, but those who purchase it this weekend will be able to use PAX2018 at checkout to get 10% off of that price.

Jack Gardner
The route to an official announcement of the Spyro Reignited Trilogy has been long and confusing. Back in February, Kotaku sources revealed that the game would be coming with an announcement in March for a release in late 2018. Then a Target PR rep accidentally dished on the title just two weeks ago. We now have an official reveal and trailer along with a release date. 
It turns out that the manager of the Ask Target twitter account didn't have the most recent information on the upcoming trilogy dubbing it the Spyro Treasure Trilogy. It could be that was the working title for Activision's remaster project or it may have been changed at the last minute which led to a delay in the official reveal to early April. 

Spyro returns in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy which remasters Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. The games have been given an entirely new set of assets based on the original characters and locations from the PlayStation 1 classics. The collection honestly looks like a completely different series of games in the best way possible. As a nod to the original Spyro reveal, players who have the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy on the PS4 can input the following code on the title screen for Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → square) to watch the trailer for the Spyro Reignited Trilogy (or you can just watch it below).
The trilogy was remastered by Toys for Bob and includes revamped environments, modernized controls, and fully recreated cinematics. The team even managed to bring back Tom Kenny, who voiced Spyro in Ripto's Rage! and Year of the Dragon, to rerecord his roles as well as the dialogue for the first title in the series. “We’re deeply passionate about staying true to the legacy of the original three Spyro games with the Spyro Reignited Trilogy,” said Paul Yan, the chief creative officer at Toys for Bob. “We’ve poured a lot of love into making the personalities and worlds feel just like fans remember them, while also keeping the game collection surprisingly fresh with lush, high definition detail. We’re bringing back the Spyro we all fell in love with 20 years ago.”
The Spyro Reignited Trilogy will release on September 21 on PS4 and Xbox One.