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”

Ultimate Rivals: The Rink, Game No. 103 Hits Apple Arcade

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Those looking for futuristic sports kicks on Apple Arcade have a couple of good options following today’s latest release.

Ultimate Rivals: The Rink, joins HyperBrawl Tournament on Apple’s subscription gaming service for players after a hyper-realistic, Tron inspired neon battler.

And in an interesting turn, the 103rd game to hit Apple Arcade is actually the start of an exclusive franchise.

Continue reading “Ultimate Rivals: The Rink, Game No. 103 Hits Apple Arcade”

Tim Cook Visits Mistwalker, Studio Behind Upcoming Fantasian

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Fantasian would have to be one of ATVG’s most highly anticipated upcoming Apple Arcade titles.

Fantasian is being cobbled together by the team at Mistwalker – helmed by Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series.

Sakaguchi’s creation featured back in March in a fascinating slice of video, in which the games veteran is seen bent over obsessing with real-world models being created for the upcoming game.  As you’ll see in the video, and in the character design from the screenshot above, there is definitely a Final Fantasy flavour going on here.

Apple CEO Tim Cook toured the studio earlier this week, and photos from his visit give a sneak peek at some of those models which will be used as environments in-game.

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Sakaguchi narrates the video, bemoaning how many models the team will need to fashion to complete the project, and the narration almost reads like a beautiful Haiku.

The full dialogue is as follows:

Fantasian is a game that shouldn’t exist.
Every day is a challenge, creating game worlds by hand.
We are building dioramas, photographing them and adding 3D characters.
I’m a little scared of how many sets we are going to have to build in the end.

The Fantasian portion of the video kicks in at 1:15, and it’s a must-watch to see these
dioramas being carefully crafted, and then gameplay footage shown implementing them.

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Does the fact that Cook visited Mistwalker during the week mean that Fantasian is readying for release? Remains to be seen.

Whether it finds its way to the service in 2019 or 2020, Fantasian is an exciting prospect.

Roll the video.

If you’re new to The Apple TV Gaming Blog (ATVG), or just new to Apple TV gaming in general, or both, then the best place to get acquainted is our Best Apple TV Games of 2019 article. You’ll find a great collection of games to play, and a bunch of useful links to our previous site content. Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride. 

10 Apple Arcade Games That Have Already Had Free Content Updates

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No ads, no in-app-purchases (IAPs).

These were only two of the bullet points promised back in March 2019 when Apple unveiled Apple Arcade, its disruptive gaming subscription service. But those two bullet points add up to a whole lot of value for Apple Arcade gamers.

No IAPs also means no paid downloadable content, meaning that any content updates that come to Apple Arcade games, will be free.

Have you ever opened up the App Store to check for updates and noticed one of your go-to games has had a free content update? Now you can love that game you already love even more. And as we know, love is all folks.

An excellent example is the recent 8.0.0 update that came to Real Racing 3, bringing Formula 1 racing to this six and a half year old game, and getting me playing again.

With 102 games currently available, ATVG expects to see a lot of Apple Arcade games receiving free content updates over the next 12 months, but even now, with the service only having launched in September, many games have already received additional goodness to enjoy. And there is more on the way.

In this recent piece, ATVG had a look at studio Cornfox’s 2020 roadmap for excellent JRPG Oceanhorn 2, noting that there’s a big content update brewing. I guess I’ll have to get in and finish the game before then. Work to do.

Over the page you’ll read about 10 Apple Arcade games that have already had content additions in the last couple of months. Some are small, such as additional achievements, and some are big, adding whole new levels and worlds.

Let’s dig in.

Continue reading “10 Apple Arcade Games That Have Already Had Free Content Updates”

An Evening With Sayonara Wild Hearts – 2019 Apple Arcade Game Of The Year

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Of the 102 games currently available (at the time of writing) through Apple’s gaming subscription service – Apple Arcade – The Apple TV Gaming Blog has not yet dipped its toes into Simogo’s latest release, Sayonara Wild Hearts.

As I said in my recent article detailing an evening spent with Stela, I am but one man with two hands. One game at a time it must be.

But ’tis the Season of Lists in the games industry, and Apple kicked things off recently by handing out some awards and announcing its various picks of the year. With all the hype and fanfare surrounding Sayonara Wild Hearts – which featured as a launch title for Apple Arcade – I thought what better time to spend an evening with Simogo’s newest creation?

So I fired up the telly and the Apple TV 4K, powered up the Nimbus, cranked the stereo and dimmed the lights. If you’re going to do something, you may as well do it properly.

Continue reading “An Evening With Sayonara Wild Hearts – 2019 Apple Arcade Game Of The Year”