Putting The Blog Back Into The Apple TV Gaming Blog

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When I started this, well, for now let’s say website (although that may be the last time I call it that, for reasons which I’ll hopefully manage to clarify and qualify by the end of this post) back in December 2016, I had two main focuses in mind.

The first was the more ambitious of the two – to create a site that comprehensively covered all things Apple TV gaming. Something like the once-great Toucharcade used to do for iOS.

The second was to carve out a corner of the Internet for myself in which to post random nonsense, with the main guidepost being Apple TV gaming, while allowing myself the freedom to wander aimlessly to other topics if and when they sprang to mind, and somehow corralling those wandering posts back toward the realm of Apple TV gaming. And not even always.

This secondary, more blog-oriented focus was where the From The ATVG Bunker posts tried to fit in.

For reasons I’ll get into past the beloved continue button, I feel I’ve never fully succeeded in either of the above aims, although at the same time, I feel I’ve not fully failed.

And it’s for those as yet unexplained reasons that I’m ditching one of the two focuses, in order to allow the other a better chance at success. And by success, I really just mean enjoyment for both myself, the writer, and hopefully you, the reader, mainly due to the fact that past this point, your expectations will be met.

As usual, the headline has spoilt the reveal, but if you’re interested in more words strung together to form sentences and ultimately paragraphs which ideally as a whole form a coherent yet rambling stream of consciousness [inhale], then hit the continue button.

Continue reading “Putting The Blog Back Into The Apple TV Gaming Blog”

While ATVG Slept, Hyper Light Drifter & Oddmar Hit Apple TV

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As a gaming platform, Apple TV can easily be described as having a quirky charm.

Something about the strange mix of games, the unpredictable nature of those games arriving out of the blue, and the obscurity of the platform, hiding in plain sight from mainstream gamers despite the giant household name behind it, all combine to generate this charming quirkiness.

The games that exist on Apple TV outside the safe, newly built walls of Apple Arcade are nothing if not diverse, both in quality and genre, with the only real triple A offerings available being those of the ‘Triple Indie’ variety. It’s the occasional and surprising arrival of these ‘Triple Indies’ that also lends Apple TV much of its personality.

There’s some big-hitters – Barbearian, Inside, Evoland 2, Teslagrad, Dandara, Transistor and Dead Cells to name a few.

As a shortlist, Apple TV gamers would do very well to start with those.

For most of January, all of February, and the bulk of March, The Apple TV Gaming Blog made like a woodchuck and hibernated, concentrating on non-gaming related hobbies, and while this blog slept, two big indie titles snuck onto the platform, ready to be discovered and enjoyed by Apple TV gamers.

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No New Apple Arcade Games – But Loads Of Free Content Updates

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My Saturday morning routine is now set.

Out of bed and over to the coffee machine to put on a brew. The pot takes about fifteen minutes to do its thing, filling the apartment with an aroma soon to be tasted. And drunk. Taken in, imbibed, absorbed. Nay, worshipped.

While the machine is doing its thing, grab the iPad and check for new Apple Arcade games. A pleasant little anticipatory buzz as the Arcade section of the App Store loads, to reveal . . . this morning . . . nothing.

That’s okay. The upside is it makes next Saturday a little more exciting, knowing the odds are even better. The other upside this weekend was discovering a bunch of content updates to existing Arcade titles, one of the most notable of which was the conclusion to Shantae’s adventure.

Actually, it felt like Part 2 of Shantae and the Seven Sirens was released in lieu of new Arcade titles this weekend, which seems like a fair compromise.

The last few weeks have seen a slew of notable content updates to Apple Arcade titles, and as stated in today’s previous post, your Apple Arcade subscription is like a season pass to all the games on the service, granting players instant access to future content at no extra cost. Love it.

Hit the continue button below for a look at a handful of Arcade titles that received some big, fat content updates in the last 24 hours or so.

Continue reading “No New Apple Arcade Games – But Loads Of Free Content Updates”

Shantae And The Seven Sirens – The End Is Now

Okay, maybe that headline was a little melodramatic, but it’s hard not to be at the moment.

When studio Wayforward – now in its 30th year of making games – released the long-awaited fifth title in the Shantae series as an Apple Arcade launch title in September 2019, it didn’t actually give players the whole game. Only Part 1 was released,  with Part 2 set to come at an unannounced later date.

Well that unannounced later date has arrived – Part 2 hit your Apple Arcade collection as a free update to Shantae and the Seven Sirens today, along with a whole raft of improvements.

PC and console gamers were also treated to an announcement today by Wayforward, with the studio revealing the release date for those platforms.

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The First Coronavirus Lockdown Apple Arcade Twitch Stream By Screentimes

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You missed it. It’s over. But there will be more.

I woke this morning and was prompted into action after seeing a post on Twitter by Sigmund Judge – head honcho of Screen-times. Judge was about to go live from London with his first-ever Twitch stream during the Coronavirus-induced mandatory lockdown, beaming Apple Arcade games out into the void.

It ended up being a coming together of Apple TV gaming Avengers – with the extended universe of MrMacRight and yours truly from The Apple TV Gaming Blog chatting complete nonsense in the chat box, while our host Judge held forth on vocals and trying not to get shot in the face in Butter Royale.

For the uninitiated – MrMacRight has the best YouTube channel for all things Apple gaming (across all devices), while Screentimes is currently building a new site, soon to relaunch and dispense wisdom on all things Apple, with a big focus on entertainment (think Apple TV+) and Apple TV gaming.

But wait. Before we go any further. Where the hell has ATVG been the last couple of months? Gone fishing? Again?

Continue reading “The First Coronavirus Lockdown Apple Arcade Twitch Stream By Screentimes”

ATVG’s Top Ten Most Clicked-On Posts Of 2019

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Welcome to the ’20s. How much easier will it be to verbalise the new decade in conversation, now that we’re past the noughties (ugh!) and the…tens? Is there even an option for a simple one word summary of the 2010-2019 decade? There certainly wasn’t one that caught on.

The ’20s. Rolls off the tongue. We’ve got another 80 years before we have to deal with that head-scratcher again.

It’s time for one last look back at 2019 before we start marching inexorably forward yet again.

These annual Top Ten Most Clicked-On posts are one of my personal favourites, as they practically write themselves. Pop them in the oven for 12 months on a slow burn, and ding, out comes a pre-written, golden-brown article that tells the last part of the story from the year that was.

Here’s a couple that ATVG prepared earlier, for those playing catch-up:

ATVG’s Top Ten Most Clicked-On Posts Of 2017
ATVG’s Top Ten Most Clicked-On Posts Of 2018

In the list below you’ll see a couple of familiar faces, and a couple of unsurprising new ones. I always find it a fascinating insight to see what creeps in over time and what gets relegated.

Read on to see what’s what, and that will then put some closure on 2019, with ATVG ready to put its best foot forward into the ’20s.

Continue reading “ATVG’s Top Ten Most Clicked-On Posts Of 2019”

Gone Fishing: The Apple TV Gaming Blog Will Return In 2020

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Okay Apple TV gamers and dear readers, you’re on your own for a bit.

It’s been a big year, and ATVG has just posted its Best Apple TV Games of 2019. You really should check it out if you haven’t already.

Very quick news roundup before I sign off:

Apple Arcade was made cheaper recently as there is now an annual price rather than monthly, and of course if you pay out in one lump sum, you save. Easy.

Also, today Apple Arcade hit 104 titles with the release of LEGO Builder’s Journey, and I’ll be checking that out over the break no doubt.

If you haven’t heard, Oceanhorn 2 will be extending its universe by releasing a manga in 2020, and those of you signed up to studio Cornfox’s newsletter will have received chapter one in your inboxes recently, with chapters two and three to come next year. It tells of an adventure had by Trin prior to the events of Oceanhorn 2, and I’ll be writing more about that after the break, but it looks nice.

Sneaking in before the App Store freeze this coming week, a whole truckload of content updates just landed on a bunch of Apple Arcade titles, such as PAC-MAN Party Royale, Grindstone, Red Reign, Stela, Various Daylife, and Frogger in Toy Town.

I’m sure I missed some but check out your updates and you’ll find some of the games you’ve been digging now have even more to dig.

And with that I think I’m done.

Keep an eye on the social feeds (mash them in the banner up top) as that’s where I’ll chime in on any holiday news while not posting here on the site.

Oh yeah, did you know you can follow along on Apple News now as well?

I’ve had an absolute blast this year, and can’t say how much I appreciate your readership. I know you’re out there, I can see the site’s stats. Keep on keeping on and I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings to the now not so undiscovered country of Apple TV gaming.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and to all of you who are not of the Christmas-celebrating persuasion, I wish you all peace, love, and all good things.

Onwards and upwards.

Cheers!

The Best Apple TV Games Of 2019

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My apologies to anyone getting sick of the above photo.

Soon after Apple Arcade’s launch, I discovered that when connected to your Apple TV, a PS4 controller’s light bar would go the signature colour of Apple’s gaming subscription service. Straight away I shot a quick happy snap on my iPhone, and have been using it whenever a story warrants it.

For me, the image has become superfluous with Apple TV gaming in 2019 – the Year of Apple Arcade.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week leading up to today’s Best of list, during which I’ve celebrated the last three years of Apple TV gaming since starting this site in December 2016.

For those who missed out, here’s some links to this week’s coverage:

ICYMI: Recap – Celebrating 3 Years Of Apple TV Gaming – Year One (2016)
ICYMI: Recap – Celebrating 3 Years Of Apple TV Gaming – 2017
ICYMI: Recap – Celebrating 3 Years Of Apple TV Gaming – 2018

Prior to The Apple TV Gaming Blog, I was posting occasional stories about Apple TV gaming over at Grab It Magazine, and eventually decided to start a site dedicated to the platform, given that I couldn’t find one to follow myself. And here we are.

If Apple TV gaming ever grows to a stage where someone is driven to write its history, March 25 2019 will go down as the day the platform was saved from the brink.

Between January 1 and March 24 2019, nothing much happened, and I’d even considered letting this site wind down and die a natural death.

There were two posts on this site during that time. The first was January 26 (Australia Day) when I wrote about studio Four Fats, posting a video the team had released detailing its history. Worth a watch, considering Four Fats has a bunch of games available on Apple TV.

The day after, January 27, Cornfox & Bros. revealed Hero, Trin, and Gen, the main characters to star in Oceanhorn 2. This was before Apple Arcade was even revealed to the public.

And then nothing until March 25, and bang, we were back in business.

But then the long wait began until more news. We knew the basics: subscription-based, downloadable games (as opposed to streaming), and no ads or in-app-purchases. It was a pretty exciting package. But what about the games?

That too was pretty exciting, as you’ll see from the long list in that story.

As I mentioned earlier this week in the recap of 2018, the Steam Link app arrived and went straight to number one on the App Store, and I haven’t really heard much news of it since. I don’t know how many actually use it to stream their Steam library to their Apple TV, but the option exists, for better or worse.

The story continued to unfold at WWDC 2019, during which Apple CEO Tim Cook announced to the world that along with the arrival of Apple Arcade, compatibility for PS4 and Xbox One controllers would be along for the ride. Big news that opened up the service to many more, given that as long as players were equipped with an Apple TV, their existing console controller of choice would give them access to Apple’s upcoming world of gaming.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, Rush Rally 3 and Horizon Chase: World Tour kept us entertained while we waited for AA to drop in ‘The Fall.’ Quality games too, all three.

Hovercraft: Getaway managed to sneak through the door just before AA’s release, and then boom, Apple hit the big red Go button on Apple TV’s launch of Apple Arcade a week early. It was announced as coming to Apple TV September 30 but arrived September 24, and all of a sudden I was frozen by indecision. Where do I start? No doubt I was not alone, as Apple TV gamers around the world who pulled the trigger on their month long free trial were wondering which game to try first?

In case you’re wondering, here are the first four Apple Arcade games I played on Apple TV.

Batches of freshly baked games were delivered golden brown straight to our TVs in successive weeks following AA’s launch, and today as I write, the count sits at 104.

Just this morning, the 104th game – LEGO Builder’s Journey – came to the service, and the trailer looks like it promises some real LEGO fan service mixed with a poetic narrative. Can’t wait to check it out.

Apple Arcade is not perfect. Fans of first-person-shooters have no offerings for example, but apart from that little hiccup, ATVG is absolutely gobsmacked at the consistently high bar of quality that AA titles keep holding up. That, combined with the modest price of entry, the fact that there’s no IAPs or ads, games can be played offline, and there’s universal play across iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV makes it a must-have for anyone sporting an Apple ecosystem of devices.

Will Apple Arcade’s success bring non-Apple Arcade games to the Apple TV platform? That remains to be seen, but ATVG suspects the answer will be yes, although at a slow burn. While 2019 will go down as a formative year in the history of Apple TV gaming, 2020 will be a fascinating followup to watch unfold.

The success of Apple TV+, which no doubt will drive some Apple TV sales might also lead to some more adopters of Apple TV gaming. I’ve long suspected that many lapsed adult gamers are finding their way back to their hobby after having bought an Apple TV box ostensibly for streaming media, only to discover that coupled with a controller, it also games rather well. And there’s 104 high quality games they can pull the trigger on instantly. Are you one of them?

Just after Apple Arcade’s launch, Dead Cells – a non-AA title – launched on Apple TV and made trying out all those AA titles even more challenging, given that I couldn’t tear myself away from Dead Cells. Check the Best of list below to find out if Motion Twin’s offering found its way in.

In other non-AA news, Formula 1 racing came to Real Racing 3 six-and-a-half years after launch. That game just keeps on giving.

Shadowgun Legends – ATVG’s Best Apple TV Game of 2018 – was brought back to life on Apple TV via the 1.0.2 update from Madfinger, and it now has more content than ever, with a current Christmas event going on as I write. If Apple TV gamers are starved for a quality FPS, there is always Shoadowgun, and it does not do things by halves.

More AA releases, a big raft of content updates, and that pretty much brings us up to date, ready to take a break and log some quality hours of gaming. Maybe even kick back with a few whiskitoes.

All that’s left is for you to scroll on down and check out ATVG’s Best Apple TV Games of 2019, which at the very bottom is revealed the absolute Best Apple TV Game of the Year.

How has your year been Apple TV gamers? Mileage varied? Hit up the social feeds (see the banner up top) and chime in with your thoughts. Where do you see the platform heading? I look forward to hearing from you.

Okay? Okay. Did I miss anything? Probably.

Not to worry. That’s what the update button is for.

Alright.

Read on!

Continue reading “The Best Apple TV Games Of 2019”