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The best games are simple to understand and quick to start. Within five minutes of downloading Cannon Brawl you’ll understand the basic concepts of building mines to bolster your economy, deploying territory balloons to expand your territory and dropping cannons to ensure military superiority over your opponent. New concepts are introduced throughout the campaign, but the core concept is immediately available and understandable. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing solo or with others: those three base units are going to be integral to victory. READ MORE

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No Goblin’s debut title, Roundabout, is about navigating tricky paths in an unorthodox fashion, and so, it seems, was the game’s development. It tries to balance the dumb fun of its world and narrative with some truly exacting mechanics, and it succeeds if you’re willing to approach each aspect in its own time.
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The Mystery Machines series looks at platforms that didn’t stay around quite long enough for most to know their stories. For more, check out the archive.

Portable gaming has always been an anomaly when compared to the rest of the industry. While technical prowess is prized above all else on consoles and computers (for better or worse), handhelds rely on their own set of rules. Long battery life and a compact design are far more important than processing muscle when gaming on the go. When these machines were new to gaming, these unspoken criteria were still developing. Nowhere is this bewildering reversal more apparent than in the Atari Lynx, the former console titan’s only major handheld system. READ MORE

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Until this point, the Super Smash Bros. series has been almost entirely defined by its local multiplayer experience. Sure, there have been single-player modes, and sure, Brawl had online play, but the true focus has always been on jumping in and battling it out with a friend or three on the couch. Almost out of necessity, this new 3DS entry of Super Smash Bros. shifts that focus to something more personal, something more customized and about reaching goals on your own.
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It feels as if the world of games is catching up with the Multitap vision lately. It’s great, right? Games are just more fun if you can play them with friends in the same room, and more and more developers are taking advantage of this by making titles specifically designed for this context. This is especially true with games that support more than four players. A niche that was previously catered to only by a handful of games over the years has seen a full batch of interesting, fun titles in the just over two years since I wrote about them the first time. Let’s take a look at the best of them! READ MORE

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Vertical shooters these days are largely something we see as part of the past, or as super-difficult PC games from Japan. Velocity 2X is neither of those things. The original Velocity was a typical vertical shooter that started as a PlayStation Mini, designed for the PSP, though it eventually received a PS Vita and PSP port called Velocity Ultra. In addition to taking the series to the television, Velocity 2X adds varied level types and increased accessibility. READ MORE

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Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for the second season of Telltale’s The Walking Dead.

Telltale’s The Walking Dead was my top game of 2012, so my expectations for the sequel were about as high as they could be. After finishing it and letting the impact settle, I can safely say it met every expectation I knew I had and surpassed expectations I didn’t know existed. This will land a spot in my top ten at year’s end for many of the same reasons its predecessor did: top-notch directing, excellent pacing, professional voice acting and brutal choices that force your inner moral compass to show itself, one way or another. The Walking Dead: Season Two retains much of what made the first game successful, but deviates so far from the story arc of Season One that it becomes a totally different experience and is richer for it. READ MORE

This week marked 15 years since the Sega Dreamcast’s U.S. launch, so we decided to celebrate by returning to the little white box! We play Crazy Taxi, ChuChu Rocket!, SoulCalibur and San Francisco Rush 2049, and chat about The Walking Dead‘s divisive second season, the excitement of Smash Bros. news, Gang BeastsProfessor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright and more.

To watch the show and chat with us live, check out this page every other Thursday at 8 p.m. Eastern and follow us on Twitter for special streams.

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Ever since the release of Mario’s Picross on the original Game Boy, Nintendo handheld systems have been fertile ground for quick, level-oriented puzzle games. The original Tappingo, released in the 3DS eShop earlier this year, was a short but fun experience, offering an original take on puzzle design that felt right in line with this legacy. Tappingo 2 follows the original template very closely, with the only new feature being a zoom function for the larger puzzles. I had a good time with the game, but in the end, it leaves that unsatisfying feeling that it just doesn’t do enough to improve on its predecessor.

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Everyone does Top 10 Games lists. The problem with those? Usually, they’re full of games that earn a place because of nostalgia or industry significance. Here at Snackbar Games, we like being a little more practical: if you’re looking to just have fun, what games should you pick up and play today? This time, we remember the days before Steam with a look at pre-2004 PC titles.

System Shock 2

Can a game made 15 years ago still be scary? Yes, very much so. System Shock 2 is still just as terrifying and sinister as it was when it first released back in 1999. Best of all, the gameplay holds up surprisingly well, providing you with a tense shooter that may surprise in more ways than you might expect. If you’re curious about the predecessor to BioShock or just want to check out an exciting shooter from a team that made them best, you won’t be disappointed. - Andrew Passafiume
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