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Jack Gardner
Bandai released Tamagotchi to the world in 1997 where it became one of the biggest crazes of the 90s. The small digital pet raising game was unlike anything anyone had experienced before in the time before mobile gaming had really taken off on anything aside from Nintendo's Game Boy. Since its initial release, Bandai has reworked and improved upon the concept of Tamagotchi for numerous different handheld iterations as well as full video game and feature film adaptations. While many fondly remember the tiny aliens as a 90s nostalgia fever dream, new versions are coming out all the time - in just a few weeks, a color version of Tamagotchi will release in an attempt to bring a new generation into the weird world of digital pet-rearing. 
 
Is it possible that Tamagotchi stands as one of the best games of all-time?
 
Each week on The Best Games Period, 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: Puyo Puyo 'I Just Skipped Time Yesterday' by Rexy (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03941)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well!
 
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
 
One of the common misconceptions about Extra Life is that someone can only participate if they play video games. Not true! Extra Life supports and encourages all kinds of play. To that end, we have been supporting Tabletop Appreciation Weekend for the past few years. This year, the event takes place August 24-25th and will be a time for players to gather together and play board games for the kids. Learn more about Extra Life Tabletop Appreciation Weekend and be sure to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Talitha
This week, Mixer will be joining forces with Extra Life at San Diego Comic-Con 2019!
 
We’ve heard from our friends at Mixer that they’re huge fans of the Extra Life and our journey to help heal kids through the power of gaming. Last year, the Mixer community raised over $100,000 on their 24-hour stream! Gamers around the world have consistently given their support to Extra Life and to their local medical institutions through the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. That’s why Mixer is so excited to partner with Extra Life for an awesome charity stream that also happens to be during one of the coolest events of the year, San Diego Comic-Con 2019!
 
Starting Thursday July 18th – Sunday July 21st (10 AM PT – 5 PM PT each day), Mixer will be hosting the Mixer x Extra Life: San Diego Comic-Con Charity Stream live from the eSports Zone in the Marriott Marquis on Mixer.com/ComicCon. Over the course of four days, the stream will play host to streamers and influencers from across the industry playing a variety of your favorite games. By watching the stream, Mixer viewers can donate to Extra Life by spending Embers on exclusive stickers and skills to use throughout the official Comic-Con stream!
 

 
For those of you who will be at San Diego Comic-Con, please feel free to stop by the eSports Zone in the Marriott Marquis to cheer streamers on in person or to compete in games yourselves. This event is also the perfect time to learn more and even make a donation to Extra Life at the booth!
 
The Mixer community is proud to amplify the life-saving work of Extra Life! See you on Mixer.com/ComicCon.
 
90% of donations will support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and 10% of donations will support the San Diego Comic-Con Museum.
 

Jack Gardner
Each year, thousands of people descend upon Austin, Texas to experience RTX, a convention dedicated to the incredible Rooster Teeth community. It provides show-goers with an experience full of anime, games, and laughter. The event puts faces to the internet communities to combat the often isolating environment that the internet can foster. Of course, Extra Life had to be a part of the festivities, so last weekend we set up a booth and got to work for the kids.
 
Rooster Teeth and Extra Life have a long-running partnership. Last year alone, the incredible Rooster Teeth community came together to raise over $1.4 million USD for kids across the country. That money makes a genuine difference in local communities. The Rooster Teeth team personally attended the opening of the Rooster Teeth Healing Garden, an outdoor recovery space for kids at Dell Children’s Medical Center made possible by the Rooster Teeth team’s fundraising efforts. The passion of the people who make RTX possible to help was tangible during our time there.
 
The fine folks behind RTX were kind enough to provide us space to set up a booth and talk with their amazing community. Things got a bit goofy when Rooster Teeth’s Wheel of Vengeance (who could forget the time Elyse broke it?) was brought over to give RTX attendees the unique experience of feeling the silly spirit of vengeance for themselves. Rooster Teeth's own Barbara Dunkleman came by to support the booth! 
 
 
The people attending RTX readily embraced Extra Life. We were, and still are, blown away by how welcoming and receptive everyone was to our presence at the show. We were able to talk with so many friendly attendees and make meaningful connections. However, we still weren’t expecting to sign up over 350 people for Extra Life 2019 while living our best lives at RTX.
 
That’s a frankly astounding number! Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by and showed their support for us and for the kids. A special thank you to Rooster Teeth for giving us the space to meet their community. You are all making such a big difference in the lives of kids in the hospitals near you.
 
Let’s go forward together and keep fighting…
 
For the Kids!

Jack Gardner
With some downtime before they begin the plan to rescue their companions from South Gate Prison, the party visits the local library to investigate additional possibilities for their upcoming raid and learn more about the history of Nevarrone. They also travel back to the potion shop before visiting the sketchiest establishment in town. 
 
We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory. If you've never listened to the show before, here's a handy playlist to get you caught up.
 

 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! 
 
New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday
 
One of the common misconceptions about Extra Life is that someone can only participate if they play video games. Not true! Extra Life supports and encourages all kinds of play. To that end, we have been supporting Tabletop Appreciation Weekend for the past few years. This year, the event takes place August 24-25th and will be a time for players to gather together and play board games for the kids. If that sounds intriguing, learn more about Extra Life Tabletop Appreciation Weekend and be sure to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Zak Wojnar
The Sniper Ghost Warrior series has always played second fiddle to Rebellion's Sniper Elite series, but developer and publisher CI Games is keen on making each entry better than the last. After Ghost Warrior 3 stumbled with a large open world devoid of content, the latest sequel aims to go in a different direction. Contracts has the ambition to be the best title in the series, but is that enough to stand alongside the best in the genre?
 
In a behind-closed-doors preview at E3 2019, I witnessed a developer demo before getting the chance to go hands-on with the title myself. From the outset, it's clear Contracts is taking to heart the lessons learned from Sniper Ghost Warrior 3. That game featured a single expansive setting, but didn't benefit from its square mileage the way a game like Far Cry 5 does, and players generally spent way too much time driving to and from objectives rather than actually sniping targets. For Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts, the open world setting has been jettisoned in favor of dense, linear levels with sandbox elements. In the level we witnessed, the developer had to go from the starting point to the base, and there were a number of options for infiltration, from sniping guards along the road to platforming across treacherous gaps. The level, set in a Siberian research base, had strong Cold War vibes, with a windy blizzard limiting visibility and camouflaged guards patrolling while bickering with one another.
 
After using a debug menu to warp to the main objective (no time for dilly-dallying at E3!), the main hook of Sniper emerged. Pulling out binoculars to mark targets works much the same as any number of stealth games from this decade, but Contracts has a few tricks up its sleeve to mix things up, in the form of different bullet types. In addition to standard sniping ammo and armor piercing bullets which can take down multiple targets with a single shot, Contracts also features "tagging" bullets, which can find enemies outside of line-of-sight and mark them for the player. Meanwhile, surveillance cameras can be taken out one by one, or the linked electrical box can be taken out with an EMP bullet, shutting down a whole network with a single pull of the trigger. Based on the presentation and our hands-on time with the game, the main theme of Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts hinges on the difference a single bullet can make.
 

 
As the developer demo neared its apex, a large majority of guards had been marked, the cameras had been disabled, and the main target had been spotted. The developer lined up his shot and pushed a button to hold his breath. In this focused mode, a red dot appears onscreen, indicating where the bullet will actually land when taking into account wind and distance (though it is possible for hardcore players to disable this helping hand). The developer fires his shot at the precise moment the target leans to go through an idle animation, and the bullet misses its target by mere inches – an unforeseen circumstance. Rather than reloading the checkpoint, however, the developer attempts to hold off the nearby guards alerted to his presence. One, he takes down with barrage of silenced pistol fire, while the other is dispatched with a slow-motion melee takedown. Unfortunately, another guard sees him and mows him down with several bursts from his assault rifle, an unceremonious, but still exhilarating, end to the demo.
 
Upon finally going hands-on with Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts, we were impressed and perturbed by the game's unforgiving difficulty curve. For better or for worse, Contracts remains equally challenging and rewarding, and a single misstep can swiftly lead a Game Over screen. First, we attempted to platform across the outer perimeter of the base, entirely bypassing enemy patrols. We were almost successful, but misjudged one of the leaps and promptly fell to our doom. Our second attempt involved sneaking behind enemy lines, stealthily taking down stray guards. We found a small encampment on the outskirts of the base, some type of vehicle fueling station loaded with guards. A single shot to a fuel container caused the whole area to go up in flames, killing most of the guards in the area, at the expense of putting the main base on alert, though our position remained hidden... Until we came across a patrol who gunned us down while we fumbled for our throwing knives.
 
Based on this early look at the game, Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts looks like a sizeable improvement over its predecessors, though it doesn't seem particularly interested in bringing new players into the fold. CI Games knows its audience, and they are more interested in satisfying their cravings than making Sniper Ghost Warrior a series that anyone can just pick up and play. At the very least, one has no choice but to admire this approach.
 

 
Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts does not currently have a release window, but is scheduled to come out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games

Jack Gardner
Extra Life has always been about helping kids through gaming. Many people support their local children's hospitals by playing and streaming video games, but a not insignificant portion of the Extra Life community does the same with tabletop gaming. Tabletop Appreciation Weekend exists to celebrate the people who take up pen and paper, miniatures and dice, cards and tokens to raise money for the kids. We here at Extra Life endorse and encourage all gaming, whatever form that might take.
 
To that end, Tabletop Appreciation Weekend approaches! This marks the third year Extra Life has set aside a weekend in August for our tabletop gamers to gather and play their favorite games to support the Children's Miracle Network Hospital of their choice. This year, Tabletop Appreciation Weekend will take place August 24-25. Tabletop Appreciation Weekend serves as a reminder that Extra Life is driven by you. However you play, you can use that to fundraise and make a difference in the lives of children in your community.
 
Magic the Gathering? Dungeons & Dragons? Risk? Whatever you enjoy playing with your friends and family can be both fun and help those in need. The event also serves as a springboard to get people thinking about Game Day, which is coming up on November 2. Consider Tabletop Appreciation Weekend your chance to experiment with things before our main event. See what works and what doesn’t before jumping in for the long haul gaming marathon.
 

 
Last year, we put out a flurry of content on the community site like an interview with an indie board game developer, a primer on how to get into tabletop role-playing, and even a humorous take on how to set up a game night with Monopoly. Heck, we even put out a liveplay podcast series, Dragonguard, which will conclude during this year’s weekend. We’ll be doing something similar this year as we ramp up to Tabletop Appreciation Weekend.
 
We plan to be rolling out features spotlighting members of our amazing tabletop community as we near the upcoming weekend. On top of that, we have a number of fantastic partners in the tabletop gaming space that we will be working with to put some intriguing things together. We’re really excited, and we hope you will be, too.  
 
Expect to hear more about Tabletop Appreciation Weekend as we go through July and in the lead up to August 24. You can learn more about it on our dedicated landing page, which includes some tabletop-specific streaming overlays if you happen to be interested in broadcasting your role-playing, board gaming, or rules-wrangling.
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Jack Gardner
Supergiant Games' Pyre released in 2017. It presented a bold and exciting new world created by the people behind the brilliant Transistor and indie darling Bastion. The title offered conflict filtered through the lens of sport mixed with religious undertones, the theme of loss, and a fantastical imagining of purgatory, where the unworthy vie for the chance to return to the "real" world, the Commonwealth, as reformed champions. While a fantastic title, we might never get the chance to talk about it on the main show, so here's a shorter (not by much) monologue about how great it is and what might have kept it from achieving the same popularity of the studios' first two titles.
 
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: Escape from Monkey Island 'Rum Barrel' by Yffisch (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03921)
 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available, as well!
 
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
 
One of the common misconceptions about Extra Life is that someone can only participate if they play video games. Not true! Extra Life supports and encourages all kinds of play. To that end, we have been supporting Tabletop Appreciation Weekend for the past few years. This year, the event takes place August 24-25th and will be a time for players to gather together and play board games for the kids. Learn more about Extra Life Tabletop Appreciation Weekend and be sure to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

Marcus Stewart
I don’t own a virtual reality headset and have little familiarity with the Sniper Elite series but Sniper Elite VR made me consider diving into both. The upcoming game, a collaboration between developers Rebellion and Just Add Water, uses the immersion of VR to enhance the already tense thrill of sharpshooting. 
 
This reinvention on the popular series is a standalone entry set in World War 2 era Sicily. Nazi forces, specifically German U-boats, occupy the Italian city. Players join up with the local resistance force to help drive them out. Story specifics are scarce, but author Tony Schumacher, known for his John Rosset series of war novels, lends his writing chops to the campaign. Rebellion boasts the adventure will take players across a variety of locales, from wartorn villages to airfields and bunkers. 
 
I spent a brief time with Sniper Elite VR at E3 where it had been officially unveiled. Rebellion had the game set up for PlayStation VR, though it’s also compatible with Oculus Rift and available through SteamVR and Viveport. On Sony’s headset, players can control the game using either PlayStation Move, PlayStation Aim, or the DualShock 4. The Aim became my weapon of choice;  it’s gun-shaped form lends to the most authentic sniper experience. 
 

 
The demo began by dropping onto the rooftop of village warzone. Shots whizzed perilously towards by my head from an enemy on the ground which forced me to quickly grab a weapon to retaliate. As I brought the the Aim controller to up my eye the view transitioned into a sniper scope for realistic aiming. It’s an awesome mechanic that effectively sold the idea that I was holding an actual sniper rifle. 
 
I took the shot which then entered into Sniper Elite’s famous slow-motion x-ray kill cam, which has been rebuilt from scratch to suit VR. The bullet tore through his sternum, graphically displaying every shattered bone and ruptured organ as it exited his body. I dashed across makeshift bridges to other rooftops and took down foes hunkered in adjacent buildings and on the street. At one point a tank entered the fray and unleashed a barrage of cannonfire. The explosions looked and sounded great. The well-tuned controls impressed; I never had an issue with performing an action. Popping in and out of cover, physically dodging incoming fire, then peering into the scope and nailing a clean headshot felt unexpectedly thrilling. 
 
Movement and camera control can either be the standard smooth transition like in regular shooters or the staple VR teleport. I opted for the former and used the sticks to run and look around as normal. Though functional and familiar, that smoothness came at a price: a mild spell of motion sickness that forced me to wrap things up sooner than expected. 
 
 
Still, as I hobbled out of the demo room, I walked away pleased with what I played. Rebellion has done a lot of work to make VR a natural fit for Sniper Elite and it should be a unique treat for fans. Unfortunately, the game has no release window as of yet. We’ll have to wait and see when we can engage in this brutal and immersive fight for liberation. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games

Marcus Stewart
Jetpacks sit high among the list of awesome contraptions many of us will likely never use. Fortunately, Ascend is a virtual reality title that simulates that experience while adding a competitive wrinkle. Team Newspaper Hats’ upcoming game pits competing headset users against each other in clashes that combine aerial dogfights with Capture the Flag-style gameplay. At E3 2019, I strapped inside of an Oculus Rift to take to the skies in, quite literally, high-stakes combat. 
 
Ascend takes place on an abandoned, dystopian world where its remaining warriors engage in aerial contests in the name of glory. The demo features two characters: Mufid the Inventor and Gloriana the Highborne. The former wields plasma blasters while the latter uses twin holoswords. Ascend’s multiplayer supports up to three players so I imagine at last one more warrior will be added in the future. Since I have more experience using guns in VR than melee weapons, I opt for Mufid. 
 
The free-for-all mode Fracture stands as the centerpiece of Ascend. This contest tasks players with collecting objectives and then delivering them to the top of a tower at the map’s center. The first person to deliver them all wins. Objectives are represented by glowing orbs scattered across the area. Since VR still hasn’t been widely adopted, a multiplayer game runs the high risk of having a shallow user pool. Thankfully, Ascend supports cross-play across its three platforms: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows MR. This should hopefully help bolster the player count. 
 

 
Flight is executed by Ascend’s Lean Motion System. Leaning your head forward allows players to soar in that direction. Designated buttons on the Oculus Touch controllers operate upward and downward propulsion. While it does emulate the sensation of a using a jetpack, I also couldn’t help but feel like I was piloting Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit. As I load into the tutorial area  the somewhat sensitive head-tracking takes adjusting. I repeatedly wiz headfirst into walls (the virtual kind, thankfully) until I figure out the right degree to lean in for smooth flight. Once I do, I’m able to zip around the world with relative ease and it feels great. Best and most importantly of all, I don’t feel a hint of motion sickness. 
 
Fracture begins and I immediately notice the in-game markers indicating the general locations of the objectives. I spot the first orb, collect it, and then race upwards towards the top of the tower. Just when I figure out how to correctly stick the landing in this zone, my opponent and demo partner discovers and eradicates me. If nothing else, the setback reminds me of my own offensive arsenal.
 
In addition to shooting lasers Mufid has a neat special ability. Holding the controllers sideways charges her Bullet Hell technique. Upon release Mufid fires a spherical barrier that traps and ricochets any bullet fired inside of it. This is great for capturing foes and then tearing them to shreds with a single shot. After respawning I locate my opponent, now clutching an orb, racing to the tower. I see this as a great chance to try my special move. Miraculously, I catch her inside of the sphere on my first attempt and watch in glee as my follow up shot annihilates my adversary. 
 
 
I collect the now free orb, fly up to the tower unimpeded, and, after waiting for a timer to deplete, score the first point. I have my bearings by this point so I proceed to go on the offensive, relentlessly chasing and blasting my opponent before they can locate the last two objectives. Shooting feels good and it’s genuinely thrilling to take someone down. My aggressive strategy pays off; I capture the remaining two orbs with relative ease, giving me the 3-0 victory.
 
Ascend plays well and definitely has its thrills, but I worry about its longevity. Fracture seems to be the only mode it has going for it thus far, and playing the same thing will eventually get old. Hopefully some more destinations will make their way into the game. But if jetpacks + sports + combat sounds like a winning formula, look for Ascend to launch on PC this summer. 
 
Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games

Jack Gardner
Drawn in by some discrete and dubious markings on the side of a local inn, the party enters an inn and becomes acquainted with a reckless thief with a bold plan. The enigmatic rogue possesses grand ambitions that might somewhat align with the group's mission to save their captured companions. Pribi begins concocting a scheme to unleash chaos upon the city of South Gate and distract the guards during their upcoming infiltration.
 
We Wanted Adventurers is a liveplay Dungeons & Dragons podcast that follows a motley trio of unlikely heroes as they bumble into adventures both big and small across the fantastical continent of Nevarrone. For the uninitiated, a liveplay podcast features an unscripted recording of a traditional tabletop roleplaying game, with all of the goofs and drama that comes with the territory. If you've never listened to the show before, here's a handy playlist to get you caught up.
 

 
You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. You can follow the show on Twitter for updates. Let us know what you think of the show! 
 
New episodes of We Wanted Adventurers will be released every Wednesday
 
One of the common misconceptions about Extra Life is that someone can only participate if they play video games. Not true! Extra Life supports and encourages all kinds of play. To that end, we have been supporting Tabletop Appreciation Weekend for the past few years. This year, the event takes place August 24-25th and will be a time for players to gather together and play board games for the kids. If that sounds intriguing, learn more about Extra Life Tabletop Appreciation Weekend and be sure to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!

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