TIME Video Games

Get the First Look at the New Zelda’s Massive World

Zelda series creator Shigeru Miyamoto and current Zelda director Eiji Aonuma showed off several minutes of live footage of the game

Nintendo has been dropping hints all year that the next Legend of Zelda game for the Wii U would have a huge overworld. New footage of the upcoming title shows just how massive that world is.

Zelda series creator Shigeru Miyamoto and current Zelda director Eiji Aonuma showed off several minutes of live footage of the game. In the clip, the developers guide Link to the top of a high overlook, where he can look across a vast landscape. He sees a tower far off in the distance and proceeds to travel to it. They also show off Epona, Link’s famous horse, which he can use to ride across the game world. Aonuma says the journey to the tower would take five minutes, and it only covers a small portion of the world map. All signs point to this being the largest Zelda yet.

Check out all the footage in the video above.

TIME Video Games

There’s a Secret Game Hidden in Nintendo’s New 3DS

The New 3DS isn't due out in the U.S. until next year

Nintendo’s upgraded New 3DS isn’t due out in the United States until next year, but Japanese gamers have already discovered some interesting secrets on the new handheld.

After opening the device’s Internet browser, if a user taps the touch screen to the tune of the Super Mario Bros. theme song, a Breakout-style game will emerge. The blocks that have to be crushed will be in the shape of the URL currently in the browser.

Here’s a video of the game in action, via The Verge:

what happens if you tap out the mario theme in the new 3DS browser?

A video posted by sam byford (@345triangle) on

It may be a while before American gamers can see what other secrets the New 3DS may have — Nintendo hasn’t offered a specific stateside release window for the device.

TIME Video Games

More Game of Thrones Cast Set to Join Video Game Adaptation

Game of Thrones Helen Sloan—HBO

A few more of the show’s most beloved characters and their actors have been revealed as upcoming additions

Telltale Games has already enlisted a number of the big players from HBO’s Game of Thrones, like Peter Dinklage and Natalie Dormer, to join the voice cast of the video game set in the world of the TV series.

Thanks to the game’s newly released first episode, a few more of the show’s most beloved characters and their actors have been revealed as upcoming additions to the virtual version of Westeros.

(Spoilers for the first episode of Telltale’s Game of Thrones follow.)

On the menu screens of Game of Thrones, players may have noticed the faces of Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen popping up among new characters like Gared Tuttle and Mira Forrester.

EW has confirmed that Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke will be joining the ranks of their fellow cast members and appearing as Jon and Dany in future episodes of the video game series. Telltale hasn’t revealed exactly when these characters will show up, but expect Harington and Clarke to lend their voices sometime during the game’s next five episodes.

Telltale’s Game of Thrones is doing plenty to cement itself in the world of HBO’s adaptation. Opening up adjacent to the Red Wedding, the first season of Telltale’s game will span season four of HBO’s show and lead right up to the beginning of season five. To find out if the first episode lives up to its television counterpart, be sure to read EW‘s review of the first episode.

This article originally appeared on Entertainment Weekly

TIME Video Games

Look At This Gorgeous Anniversary Edition PlayStation 4

The Sony PlayStation turns twenty on Wednesday, and Sony has given it a beautiful birthday present.

Sony has announced it’s releasing a PlayStation 4 Anniversary Edition console painted in the first console’s “Original Gray.” Only 12,300 units will ship worldwide, costing $499 in the U.S.

If you pick one up, you’re paying a bit of a premium for the paint job: The same amount of money got you a PlayStation 4 with a couple games in some Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals this holiday shopping season. Still, the new PlayStation 4 Anniversary Edition is definitely gorgeous, in a retro throwback sort of way. You can pre-order one in the U.S. through Sony starting Saturday.

TIME Video Games

The First Sony PlayStation Changed Everything About Gaming

Sony's original PlayStation launched in Japan on December 3, 1994, 20 years ago today

My first experience with Sony’s original PlayStation occurred almost a year before yours: in the display window of a Babbages in an out-of-the-way shopping mall in western Iowa.

Babbages, many have probably forgotten, was a franchise named after Charles Babbage, the guy credited with inventing the mechanical computer, that sold computer software and console games back when you could still buy stuff like Peachtree Accounting in biblical boxes from brick-and-mortar outfits. I worked there during my last year of undergrad part-time, less for the money than to be closer to my hobby.

My store manager was a connoisseur of the improbable, popping up with this or that strange gizmo months before it registered on the public radar. (this was the early 1990s, the Internet embryonic and everyone still looked to magazines for breaking info.) And so when Sony released the PlayStation in Japan on December 3, 1994, he imported one, told none of us, and dropped it in one of the store windows for fun.

I remember reporting for duty and noticing a racing game running demo laps in that window (I had no idea what Ridge Racer was at that point) and doing the equivalent of one of those cartoon double-takes. It’s doesn’t look like much now–you can see what I saw in the video below, complete with the world’s first Redbook Audio-caliber soundtrack–but pretend it’s still 1994, Babylon 5‘s just getting started, the original Jurassic Park only hit theaters last year, and the best-looking game you can play at home is Doom–a first-person shooter that’s technically only 2D with a bit of clever height fakery.

By 1994, I thought console gaming was in my rearview mirror. I’d graduated from a Super Nintendo to a Pentium computer a few months earlier, and so 1994 for me was System Shock and Tie Fighter, X-COM: UFO Defense and Master of Orion, Master of Magic and Warcraft and Wing Commander III. Many would argue gaming still hasn’t surpassed some of those titles.

But none of that stuff (including 1993’s Doom) looked half as sharp and smooth and visually grounded as Ridge Racer on that crazy little from-the-future import PlayStation. 3dfx’s Voodoo Graphics passthrough card for computers was still years away, and seeing smooth, lifelike full 3D actually working in a game felt like watching a moon landing. I’d played Sega’s Daytona USA at arcades and recognized the processing chasm that still existed between high-end arcade experiences and home computing ones: with Ridge Racer, the PlayStation all but eliminated that gulf, and it was torture waiting those subsequent nine months to lay hands on a U.S. system. (The PlayStation didn’t debut in the U.S. until September 9, 1995.)

Nowadays I take 3D in games for granted. Figuring out how to represent plausible reality spaces (or various forms of unreality spaces that take their cues from three-dimensional ones) has always been a stopgap process, a technology-facilitated march toward a kind of retinal verisimilitude that’s still underway. The medium’s only part of the message, and my interests shifted long ago from workaday graphic whiz-bangery to design facets like simulated intelligence and interactive rhetoric and the sort of compositional visual artistry so wonderfully expressed in games like Inkle Studios’ 80 Days or Ustwo’s Monument Valley.

But in 1994, we were still dreaming of the world to come, one flush with sleek roadsters and smooth-framed race tracks and arcade ports that didn’t feel like downgrades from their souped-up, quarter-chewing equivalents. In late 1994, home computers were still ridiculously expensive, Nintendo’s Project Reality was just a rumor and Sega’s Saturn was a hypothetical that had pundits twisting over its advanced but at that point developmentally esoteric architecture.

Into that space Sony poured the PlayStation, a system born of a failed add-on deal with Nintendo (the original “PlayStation” concept was to be a Sony-developed optical drive for the SNES), and the first game console to eventually sell over 100 million units worldwide–surpassed only by the PlayStation 2. Companies like Atari and Nintendo and Sega played crucial roles in gaming’s formative decades, but when it came to capturing the public’s hearts and wallets, the original PlayStation completely recalibrated our expectations.

TIME Video Games

There’s an Amazing New Way to Enjoy Game of Thrones

Most Pirated Shows
HBO

The first episode of Telltale Games' new Game of Thrones-inspired series just dropped

I admit I’m behind on my Game of Thrones watching. Has anyone else of note met an artery-opened, throat-gurgling end since the close of season one? (Wait, don’t tell me!) But I’m all caught up on appreciating studios doing solid translations of TV shows to games, and it sounds like The Walking Dead darling Telltale just added another arrow to its growing quiver.

“​Phew, the new Game of Thrones game is actually good,” reads Kotaku’s review, proceeding to state what you’d imagine would be the case in any event: “Fans of the books and, in particular, fans of the show, will almost certainly enjoy the hell out of it.”

Entertainment Weekly seems equally upbeat about the game, writing that it “evokes its source material while staking its own claim on the franchise.”

Game of Thrones the game (out now for PCs and consoles), in case you’re a Thrones-the-TV-series fan but unfamiliar with Telltale’s oeuvre, involves a bunch of artfully presented backdrops and characters and narrative themes inspired by the HBO series’ interpretation of George R.R. Martin’s vaunted fantasy series. Imagine yourself moving a screen pointer around medieval backdrops and clicking on stuff, interacting with objects, playing as various characters at different points and selecting responses in dialogue with others. That’s about as complex as the gameplay gets in what’s traditionally described as an “adventure” game.

What makes it interesting for Thrones-series fans is twofold: Telltale’s been granted license to create new characters and tell their own stories, so essentially new sideline material further detailing and re-angling Martin’s world, and along the way you’ll bump into big leaguers like Cersei and Tyrion Lannister, Margaery Tyrell and Ramsay Snow, each voiced by the corresponding series actor. The game takes place between seasons three and four of the TV show.

What it’s not: a game of jumping, leaping, shooting, fighting and so forth. That’s not how adventure games work. Instead, the emphasis is on exploration, puzzle-solving and making ethical choices that can lead to divergent outcomes that’ll ripple through future episodes (this being the first of six, dubbed “Iron from Ice”).

If you’re not averse to spoilers, Wired has a terrific, satisfyingly longish dialogue about how those choices shaped its two writers’ unique experiences working through the first episode.

 

TIME apps

The Best iPhone Games You Can Play One-Handed

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Apple CEO Tim Cook shows off the new iPhone 6 and the Apple Watch during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

They're great for strap-hanging commuters

Far too many iPhone games take two hands to play, rendering them useless if you’re strap-hanging on a subway or bus. For those rush-hour commuters out there, here are the best iPhone games you can download and play with only a single free paw:

Temple Run 2

For a while, you could find several different people in a single subway car playing the first Temple Run. When the expansion came out two years ago, it made a similarly large splash, updating the much adored format. The premise is simple and based on the opening scene of Raiders of The Lost Ark: run away from a temple with an ancient treasure and make sure not to get caught.

In Temple Run, you collect coins, powerups, and cross a variety of terrains. Updates are infrequent, but greatly expand gameplay when they are released.

Temple Run 2 is available free in the App Store.

Dots

The game is as magnetic as it is simple. Players line up dots of the same color in a playing field in order to clear the space. More dots cleared in the same move yields more points. You can play in an endless cycle of dot collecting, or try to beat your score against a clock, or clear dots with a limited number of moves.

Regardless, the short playclock is great for fast train rides or brief moments of free time. Dots gets bonus points because, unlike most puzzle games, it doesn’t strain your eyes. There’s also an equally addictive sequel available.

Dots is available free in the App Store.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley is at once a simple puzzle game and one of the most complex one-handed iOS games on the market. The aim is to guide a princess through an increasingly complicated series of beautifully designed castles. Simple at first, castles soon become an M.C. Escher landscape that will lead you far from where you imagined. Trying to get from A to B has perhaps never been so frustrating — or satisfying.

Monument Valley is available for $3.99 in the App Store.

Badland

One of the best but perhaps most underrated tap-to-fly games, Badland is dark and excellently animated. Tap the screen to keep a fuzzy black urchin-like monster afloat and to navigate him around a network of natural and mechanical obstacles. Badland also includes powerups, multiplying the number of monsters players can navigate or giving the character special properties like stickiness. Although Badland is a horizontal game, it can still be played single-handed.

Badland is available for $0.99 in the App Store.

Doodle Jump

Doodle Jump takes the standard iPhone game tap navigation and introduces a different concept: players must tilt their phones to navigate a character across an adorable landscape. A long-time iTunes Store favorite, Doodle Jump is an endless game in which a character must jump from surface to surface in order ascend. Powerups come up along the way: it’s a game one can play for hours in order to beat a high score, kept fresh by the occasional introduction of a new theme or new obstacle along the way. For the already initiated, a new DC Comics/Batman Doodle Jump was recently released.

Doodle Jump is available for $0.99 in the App Store.

TIME Video Games

13 Reasons I’d Still Pick Nintendo’s Wii U Over the PS4 and Xbox One

The case for Nintendo's flagship console in 2014.

A year ago, the argument over which game console to buy went something like this: The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were shiny black spec-troves of next-gen performance assurances glossed with wishful gameplay hypotheticals wrapped around the reality of comparably anemic launch titles, whereas the Wii U had Super Mario 3D World, LEGO City Undercover, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Pikmin 3 and The Wonderful 101. The best PS4/X1 launch game, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, was on the Wii U, too, and so the choice seemed obvious, at least through December 2013.

But 2014 turned out to be a weird year. People actually bought the new consoles, despite much morbid prophesying in the years leading up to their arrival about the death of set-tops. The PlayStation 4 went on to sell so many units worldwide that by August even Sony was scratching its head in bewilderment. And while the Xbox One appears to be selling at lower volumes (Microsoft’s been reticent about its performance), it’s still outpacing life-to-date sales of its predecessor. Both companies are performing at levels they weren’t supposed to, in other words.

Nintendo, too. Pundits prematurely mourned the Wii U (including yours truly) after gloomy fiscal 2013 figures in early May, as Wii U sales slowed to a trickle. But the Wii U rebounded a week later off the arrival of Mario Kart 8, and the company on the whole rebounded in October (thanks to indefatigable Mario Kart 8 sales) when Nintendo announced a surprising fiscal course reversal. Nintendo’s Wii U has at last check sold over 7 million units, and that’s before Hyrule Warriors, Bayonetta 2, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U or the forthcoming Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker hit the books.

MORE: This Is Why Nintendo Is Crushing It All of a Sudden

So 2014 basically wants to plunder your bank account (and probably already has). And the looting’s just started: we’re now looking at a console triumvirate in 2015, each system staking out sustainable turf, and each now boasting a bevy of unmissable existing games and anticipated upcoming ones. What to do?

You could buy them all, of course, but that’s a hardcore move and financially impractical for most. You could pick two, and even if you’re dead set on owning gaming with a PC, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, there’s a powerful argument here for the Wii U as a must-have secondary system, given the caliber of its exclusive content.

But let’s assume you have none of the above, and that you’re finally ready to pull the trigger on something that isn’t a smartphone, tablet or PC. Were that my circle to square, and if I didn’t do this for a living…

I’d still pick the Wii U…

1. Because it still has the first- and second-party games I most want to play now

It’s been a good year for third-party games you won’t find on Nintendo’s Wii U. Alien: Isolation, Far Cry 4, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Dragon Age: Inquisition are terrific. But you could also argue the rest of 2014’s triple-A darlings are basically recycling bin material: Diablo III, Grand Theft Auto V, Tomb Raider Definitive Edition, The Last of Us and Halo: The Master Chief Collection look tremendous in their new digs, but they’re still remakes of games we already played, however compellingly wrinkled.

As far as standout exclusive new-IP goes, the Xbox One has Sunset Overdrive and Forza Horizon 2 (and maybe Titanfall), while Sony has Final Fantasy XIV and Velocity 2X. But that’s it. And, not that I’m complaining, the PS4 and Xbox One are basically cheap midrange PCs, parleying the lingua franca of a decades-old gaming paradigm interface-wise. Any notion of inventive holism pretty much died when Microsoft unbundled Kinect from Xbox One.

Nintendo’s playing a very different game with its very different-looking console, where, absent robust third-party support, it’s doubled down on first- and second-party properties, as well as banking on the fact that no one else (on consoles, handhelds, computers, or mobile devices) has the sort of franchise cross-demographic appeal it does. You could call that requirement to self-propel a liability — or an opportunity.

Thus on Wii U, you now have a small library of standouts, like: Bayonetta 2, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Hyrule Warriors, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, LEGO City Undercover, Mario Kart 8, New Super Mario Bros. U, Pikmin 3, Pushmo World, Super Mario 3D World, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and The Wonderful 101. It’s an enviable exclusive lineup by any measure.

Nintendo’s also been making something of the fact that on Metacritic, eight Wii U games (Super Mario 3D World, Rayman Legends, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2, Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and Pikmin 3) currently hold critic scores of 85 or higher and user scores of 8.5 or better, compared with just two games all told across rival consoles. I’m ambivalent about score aggregation sites (and scores in general) as quality arbiters, but it is interesting to note that rare confluence of critical and public appraisal.

2. Nintendo doesn’t need third parties the way Microsoft and Sony do

The point in any for-profit business is, by definition, to be profitable. If Nintendo can figure out how to stay in the black, given the company’s first- and second-party software attach rates, I’m not sure how much unit sales matter in terms of who’s first, second or third, so long as there’s steady growth.

No, you’ll never see crazy Grand Theft Auto V figures on the Wii U, where you’re selling tens of millions of copies of a game across platforms with a combined install footprint of over 150 million units (for that matter, it’s hard to conceive of Mario Kart Wii sales levels). But at 2 or 3 or 4 million units a piece, the bestselling Wii U titles are selling at perfectly respectable levels given the number of systems in the wild.

And if the Wii U continues to make install base inroads and its first/second party attach rates remain high, Nintendo may be all the support Nintendo needs to make good on its platform for at least the next several years, while at the same time being able to plausibly brag that the Wii U has the best games per capita.

It’s a shame Nintendo hasn’t been able to lure more third-party bigwigs, but whether that’s the development environment (the Wii U lacks processing headroom, contrasted with its peers) or the chicken-egg install base conundrum, it’s also ironically turning out to be a bootstraps referendum on a company’s ability to singlehandedly revitalize its flagship platform.

3. Nintendo just opened a massive new game development center in Kyoto

An addendum to the last point, Nintendo of America president and CEO Reggie Fils-Aime confirmed in a phone interview that the company’s focus is now squarely on Nintendo-delivered content.

“We have to use our first-party and increasingly second-party content to grow our install base, that’s our mission,” Fils-Aime told me, then qualified this by noting Nintendo just opened a research and development facility in Kyoto, right next to the company’s global headquarters.

“This R&D center will be the home to 1,500 game developers,” Fils-Aime said. “Companies would be thrilled to have that many game developers working on their business. We have these game developers creating content exclusive to our platforms.”

Again, the key phrase here is doubling down. It guarantees nothing, but to the extent educated guesses matter when making buying choices, I’d say it means we’ll see a lot more Nintendo-led content emerge from Kyoto in the years to come–content designed to justify the kinds of idiosyncratic holistic experiences that Nintendo specializes in.

4. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is already buoying the system (as Mario Kart 8 before it)

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U sold just shy of half a million copies in the U.S. alone from November 21 to 23, making it the fastest selling Wii U game to date. That’s not a surprise, given the franchise’s appeal and the game’s unanimous critical plaudits. But looking at how much Mario Kart 8 alone did for the platform, it also undergirds the argument that Nintendo may be able to sustain the Wii U simply by delivering compelling Nintendo-incubated experiences rolling forward.

5. Speaking of, the Wii U’s 2015 lineup looks terrific

Some of the games I’ve personally been waiting for longest on any platform arrive next year: Splatoon (a cooperative anti-shooter in which teams attempt to slime swathes of a base with paint-guns for points), Yoshi’s Wooly World (the followup to Kirby’s Epic Yarn for Wii), Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (the followup to Kirby: Canvas Curse for the Nintendo DS), Xenoblade Chronicles X (a spiritual sequel to the best open-world roleplaying game I’ve ever played), Star Fox (the behind-the-scenes E3 demo I played was a little shaky, but some of the ideas and related “Project” mini-games were intriguing) and of course the enigmatic new The Legend of Zelda (you can take “enormous high-def world” for granted–producer Eiji Aonuma’s plans to subvert classic Zelda tropes is far more interesting).

6. Off-TV gaming still rules

Yes, Nintendo hasn’t made the second screen as novel and vital an interface as the Wii Remote and Nunchuk were for the Wii, and yes, the system’s meager wireless range (about two dozen feet) can be prohibitive. But if you want to yield control of your TV to someone else, the Wii U GamePad is the perfect size and interface to game off-screen, and an indulgence I’ll miss if the Wii U’s successor nixes the option.

7. It’s the only portable game console

The Wii U remains the only game system you can readily shlep around like a handheld, and one with friendlier ergonomics for longterm sessions than either Sony’s PS Vita or Nintendo’s own 3DS. The PS4’s slender enough, but you’d need to lug a screen with you, and it’s the screen that’s probably the biggest hurdle here. By folding the screen into the gamepad, Nintendo has essentially designed the first portable gaming platform that doesn’t in some fundamental way (think the tiny thumbsticks on the Vita) compromise the interface to said platform.

8. It’s powerful enough…

No, the Wii U can’t run games like Far Cry 4 or Assassin’s Creed Unity (looking as good as they do on PS4 or Xbox One, anyway), but that’s also the wrong reason to buy a Wii U. Look at the right reason–the system’s unmatchable first/second-party lineup–and the Wii U shines as a high-def platform in its own right.

For the record, several Wii U games on the system run at native 1080p (including Super Smash Bros. for Wii U). But even the ones that don’t–those running at 720p or some sub-1080p variant, say Mario Kart 8–look fantastic on a 1080p screen.

9. …while not at all power-hungry

Relative to the PlayStation 4 (137 watts) and Xbox One (112 watts), the Wii U sips just 34 watts of power on average when playing games, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. When streaming video, it employs less than half as much power (29 watts) as the next-worst console (the Xbox One at 74 watts). Its standby power is less than 1 watt (versus 8.5 watts for the PS4 and 15.7 watts for the Xbox One), and in annual energy use, it rates 37 kWh/y, versus 181 kWh/y (PS4) and 233 kWh/y (Xbox One).

10. It has the Virtual Console plus Wii backward-compatiblity

The PS4 still plays PS4 games and the Xbox One, only Xbox One games. The Wii U plays Wii U games, but also the entire Wii library (over 1,000 and counting), as well as NES and Super NES classics via the Virtual Console, from Super Metroid to F-Zero and Earthbound to Super Mario Bros. 3.

Sony is tinkering with its PlayStation Now streaming service, now in open beta, but the service forces you to make compromises, chiefly visual ones related to streaming inconsistencies derived from the intrinsic fickleness of the Internet.

11. It’s an unabashed games console, not a media player

Nintendo makes no bones about this, and that’s actually kind of nice. The PS4 and Xbox One are either too cumbersome or thermally challenged to nestle in cramped entertainment centers, nor are they as versatile as something like an Amazon Fire TV or Roku (or even an Apple TV, if you’re after iTunes library streaming).

You can access basic streaming services like Amazon, Hulu, Netflix and YouTube on the Wii U, and I’ll grant that Nintendo would benefit from adding music alternates like Spotify or Pandora. But I don’t miss Blu-ray or DVD or music CD support, because I don’t use physical media in set-top boxes anymore (and haven’t for years). That’s just a way-the-wind’s-a-blowin’ thing.

12. Amiibo adds gameplay wrinkles no one else has

Amiibo–Nintendo’s take on the toy-game market dominated by Skylanders and Disney Infinity–was designed from the get-go to work with each Nintendo game uniquely. And while current Hyrule Warriors and Mario Kart 8 functionality seems superficial (either daily bonuses or costume unlocks), its integration with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is all but essential.

In the latter game, your amiibo becomes your sparring partner, leveling up as you train it and “feed” it stat boosts and mold it into something that’s uniquely your own. You can then use it in battles against other players’ amiibos, or–and this is a crucial idea-seller for me–as a way to study your own strengths and weaknesses: if you’re great at a certain maneuver, your amiibo will be too, but if you’re not doing something you ought to be, say raising your character’s shield, neither will your amiibo.

13. It’s still the cheapest current-gen console

$300 plus two pack-in games (Super Mario 3D World & Nintendo Land), versus $400 for Sony’s PlayStation 4 and $350 for Microsoft’s Xbox One (until $50 off deal expires in early January). That $50 to $100 differential adds up to additional games and accessories.

There’s also no annual subscription fee to access Nintendo’s online services, which, contrasted with Sony and Microsoft’s all but mandatory fees, saves you another $50 to $60 per year.

And while games like Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Hyrule Warriors and Mario Kart 8 have made the leap to $60, the Wii U still has the most non-indie sub-$60 games today, from Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, New Super Luigi U and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD to LEGO City: Undercover, Nintendo Land and Wii Party U.

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TIME Video Games

Some PlayStation Vita Owners Will Get Refunds After FTC Settlement

Either a $50 voucher for select merchandise or a $25 cash or credit refund

Sony Computer Entertainment America will issue refunds to customers who bought its PlayStation Vita handheld video game system before June 2012 to settle false advertising claims brought by the Federal Trade Commission, the agency said Tuesday.

The FTC claims that Sony misled consumers about “game changing” features of the Vita, including the ability to seamlessly begin playing any PlayStation 3 game immediately on the handheld Vita. That feature only worked as advertised for certain games, the FTC acknowledged.

Customers who bought the Vita before June 1, 2012, are entitled to either a $50 voucher for select video game merchandise or $25 cash or credit refund. Given sales of the PS Vita in the U.S. at the time, total refunds paid out could reach $14 million. Sony will notify customers who qualify for the refunds via email.

The FTC also claimed that Sony’s advertising agency, Deutsch LA, deceived consumers by having its employees try to generate hype for the gaming system on Twitter without disclosing their association with the product. The agency is banned from such practices in the future.

Sony is the latest in a growing list of tech companies that have been accused of misleading customers by the FTC. Apple, Amazon, Google, AT&T and T-Mobile have all had to contend with FTC settlements or lawsuits this year. A Sony spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

TIME Video Games

Halo: Master Chief Collection Developers Apologize for Xbox One Problems

Experience: HALO by Xbox 360
Master Chief stands guard at the Liechtenstein border during the HALO 4 launch by Xbox 360 on October 29, 2012 in Balzers, Liechtenstein. Getty Images—2012 Getty Images

"We will make this right with our fans."

The game developers behind Xbox One’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection released a public apology to gamers Tuesday for a multiplayer glitch that has left fans fuming over social media.

“Please accept my heartfelt apologies for the delay and for the negative aspects of your experience to date,” wrote Bonnie Ross, 363 Industries studio head, in an open letter posted to the Xbox website.

The glitch became apparent shortly after the November 11 release of the Master Chief Collection, a package of remastered Halo games for Microsoft’s latest console. Some gamers queueing up for a multiplayer game waited for minutes to upwards of an hour for matches to begin. Gamers vented their frustration over Twitter under the handle “#halomcc.” Some tweeted demands for refunds.

Halo’s developer, 343 Industries, acknowledged that the glitch would take a series of fixes to the game’s back-end servers and patches for the game itself to fix. The studio vowed to keep gamers in the loop about their progress through a running blog.

“Once we’ve done that, we will detail how we will make this right with our fans,” Ross wrote.

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