Amity is too big of a stretch. It’s well established that Nintendo chooses the characters, and I just don’t see them picking a side character from an american indie rpg.

With no Minecraft ITTL (I mean, the Pixel series is basically Minecraft, but it's Apple exclusive), Smash lacks an indie rep, and The Boiling Isles is as big an indie as they come. It's an indie, but considering its budget, hype, sales, and mainstream appeal, it's basically just a AAA game put out by an indie studio. Meanwhile, Amity is the runaway most popular character from the game, it's not even close. She's the most popular Owl House character IOTL, stands to reason she'd be the most popular Boiling Isles character, especially with her more mature storyline and appearance. By the end of 2020, Amity is one of the most popular video game characters of the past few years, and Sakurai and Nintendo have both taken notice of that (remember, Boiling Isles appeared in Nintendo's E3 2017 presser and got some timed exclusive DLC on the Reality).

Amity's basically Sans (not in terms of personality, in terms of popularity) with more mainstream appeal, and we got a Sans Mii costume IOTL. Amity's more popular ITTL than he was IOTL. It's enough to put her over the top as the second to last DLC character.
Great, now you made me imagine her saying "you're going to have a bad time" with a glowing eye

Oh, if you're playing as a female character and your character and Amity are a couple, Amity ABSOLUTELY has the potential to go berserk on certain baddies if they mess with your character too much.
Apple Quest Worldwide Launch
Apple Quest Technical Specifications

The Apple Quest is a home video game console developed by Apple. The Apple Quest is a smooth, rectangular white box with the Apple logo embossed on the top, it's slightly thicker than the Hyper Nintendo, but smaller lengthwise and widthwise, and is designed with the same philosophy as Apple's other devices and consoles, simple but clean and polished, appearing as a “premium” device while also fading somewhat into the background, putting the software at the forefront. It comes in both disc/digital and digital-only models, with the disc-only model retailing for $599, and the digital-only model retailing for $499. Part of this price factors in that the Quest comes with three accessories: an Oculus Rift VR headset device that doubles as a portable “Apple G” game console and can also stream Quest games, a pair of input/controller gloves, and a traditional controller (though the traditional controller that comes with the Quest has few frills except for wireless controls and a basic rumble functionality, if you want something more like the Hyper Nintendo's basic controller, you'll have to buy a separate Pro model controller). The Quest's CPU is an Intl octo-core setup with 3.6 Ghz per core, while the Intel GPU clocks in around 2.4 Ghz, and is capable of around 11 teraflops. This makes the Apple Quest slightly less powerful overall than the Hyper Nintendo (though it does have a faster CPU), but is functionally similar and can run pretty much the same games, similar to the difference between OTL's Xbox Series X and the PS5 (basically negligible). Like the Hyper Nintendo, the Quest has a 1TB SSD and 16 gigabytes of RAM, and unlike the Hyper Nintendo, the Quest focuses a lot of its power on an immersive virtual reality experience, utilizing the glove controllers in tandem with the Oculus VR headset and the built-in sensor devices in the Quest itself to create a functionally similar, albeit significantly enhanced, VR experience to that of the Virtua. The Quest is backward compatible with all Virtua and iTwin games, while also featuring the ability to play Sega titles all the way back to the SG-1000 via the iTunes store (and the iTunes store also has the entire Virtua library and nearly the entire iTwin library, with all purchases from previous consoles carried over).

The core of the Apple Quest experience is all about immersive VR, and the Quest's default glove controllers are intended to allow for intuitive controls while making players feel like they're part of the game. In order to do this, the glove controllers are mapped for specific inputs that would appear on normal controllers, and the Quest's introductory sequence for first time players is intended to introduce players to how the VR works. Designed via years (and many millions of dollars) of research, the Apple Quest's glove controllers are Steve Jobs' attempt to do for gaming what he did for phones and the internet, and unlike the late 1980s Power Glove device, the Quest gloves have been tested many, many, many times, with gamers of all skill levels, ages, and body types. Indeed, the gloves are also intended to aid people with motor sensory problems in playing video games, requiring much less movement and effort than a traditional controller. Players can adjust the gloves to their personal play style and preference, and with practice (but surprisingly little practice), players can use the gloves just as they would use a traditional controller, with intuitive inputs and movements replacing traditional button-based playstyles, combining the motion controls of OTL's Wii with simple finger and hand gestures and flicks to control games. While there are lots of games designed to work with the gloves, even FPS and fighting titles can be played as easily as one would play on a traditional controller. Despite all of this, it's possible to play any Quest game, even those designed for the gloves, with a traditional controller, and despite being basic to save costs, the traditional controller included with the Quest (which has all the buttons that the Hyper Nintendo controller has) is a perfectly good controller for those who don't want to use the gloves, and can even be used in tandem with the Oculus headset for less immersive VR. The Quest Pro controller (which retails for $100), is an excellent controller as well, somewhere inbetween OTL's Switch Pro controller and the Xbox Elite, and is the recommended traditional controller for players who prefer to use one. The Oculus headset that comes with the Quest console is essentially a slightly less feature-rich version of OTL's Oculus Quest, and can essentially be used as its own standalone gaming device, since it plays all iPhone G games (though, of course, if you want to play iPhone G games on it, you'll need to play them while wearing a gaming headset and obstructing your vision). Apple's strategy with “Apple G” remains similar to Google's strategy with the Stadia: they want to sell software and subscriptions, not hardware, and they don't care that packaging their “handheld” console with their home console cannibalizes iPhone G sales. The Apple Quest allows for expandable SSD storage, similar to the Hyper Nintendo, and is capable of playing games in 4K UHD, though unlike the Hyper Nintendo, it won't be able to play 8K games, with Apple believing that 4K is enough for immersive VR, and leaving the door open for a potential 8K model in the future if necessary.


Launch Title Summaries-

Sonic: The Rings Of Chaos

Sonic: The Rings Of Chaos is a 3-D open world action/platformer developed by Sonic Team and published by Apple. It stars Sonic the Hedgehog as he traverses a world besieged by Chaos and his minions, in search of eight rings with the power to stop his multiversal rampage. Along the way, Sonic must also battle the evil Eggman, while getting help from seven of his best friends as he explores massive zones of adventure. The game serves as a sequel to 2015's Sonic: The Rings Of Order, continuing the events of that game and including a number of themes and gameplay mechanics from that title while also introducing new styles of play for a new generation. It's the most open world Sonic title to date, with the seven zones (surrounding a central "hub" zone) able to be visited in any order, and once the player enters a zone, they're able to leave and come back. Sonic's controls have been simplified slightly in the game, both to accomodate the Quest's glove controller, but also to hearken back to a more old school style of gameplay, with a focus on running, spinning, and jumping, rather than punching and fighting. Sonic still has melee attacks in this game, but players are now expected to spin dash into enemies more often, and each zone has its own context-sensitive moves for Sonic, rather than the player needing to memory an extensive set of moves for the whole game. The game does utilize collectible rings and other things, which can enhance Sonic's abilities and enable him to deal more damage and survive more hits, but for the most part, item collecting is limited to cosmetic and lore-based collectibles, and is not necessary to access new areas. Instead, objective-based gameplay is the norm, with players able to access new areas of each zone for each objective they complete within. The central hub itself simply asks the player to explore, not directing them toward any zone (there are subtle hints toward a certain zone, Green Plains Zone, where Tails resides, and most players will visit this zone first, but it truly is possible to tackle the zones in any order). Like in Sonic: The Rings Of Order, zones are oriented toward running and movement, though the more open spaces of that game have been slightly tightened, instead providing the player a slightly more forgiving jump along with plenty of things to bounce off of to reach their next destination. Sonic's wall jumping ability has been refined, and each zone can be considered a fun playground, with plenty of things to see and objects to bounce off of. The game's graphics are bright and colorful, and though the plot can at times get somewhat serious and edgy, the game itself maintains its vibrant appearance throughout, with something always going on in the background, and plenty of opportunities for the new Quest console to flex its muscles. The game features a dynamic soundtrack with several dozen new tracks, along with three lyrical songs, including the opening theme song, the final boss theme, and the final credits song.

The game begins with Sonic and his friends helping out various people and relaxing, not too concerned with what Eggman's up to, until suddenly, he strikes, and is wielding a Chaos Ring, which gives him the power to scatter Sonic and friends to the various corners of the world. Sonic attempts to defeat Eggman, when Chaos appears, wielding the other seven rings. In the intense battle, the seven rings are scattered, while Chaos takes the eighth, and strange events begin occurring as Sonic and Eggman are both flung far away. Sonic awakens in a strange new area, and begins to explore, with the player able to learn the basic skills here and practice them out before going exploring. The objective is to find all seven Zones, reunite with Sonic's friends, get the ring from each Zone, and confront Chaos, while also making sure to stop Eggman wherever he strikes. As events play out in each zone, they also play out elsewhere, with cutscenes depicting the game's progressing plot occurring as each Zone is conquered. Like in The Rings Of Order, each Zone has its own main objectives, as well as side objectives that players can undertake to open up more of the story. Some objectives are mandatory, while the player must also complete at least a few of the side objectives to complete a world, open up the boss fight (always with Eggman, in a different robot or allied with a different Chaos minion) and get the Chaos Ring. The seven Zones are:

Green Plains Zone: A fairly basic zone and a tribute to all the various "Green" zones of different Sonic titles. Sonic teams up with Tails here, and must help out the captured animal friends before battling Eggman's robot to clear the Zone.
Hammer Down Zone: A factory/hip hip themed zone, where Sonic teams up with Knuckles to clear a factory taken over by Chaos, battling Eggman and a Chaos minion in the process.
Dark Oblivion Zone: A zone shrouded in darkness, where Sonic teams up with Amy to conquer both of their fears before battling a powerful Chaos minion and Eggman.
Sunlight Garden Zone: A beautiful garden perpetually kissed by the Sun, though the sunlight is slowly getting too hot and bright. Lydia and Rover are here to fix things, but they'll need Sonic's help, and they'll need to battle a powerful Eggman robot.
Hyper Market Zone: A zone modeled after an enormous shopping complex, where Corona the Butterfly is locked in battle with powerful robots, led by Eggman.
Metal Dungeon Zone: A dungeon where residents are kept prisoner by Chaos via magical rings. Tiara the Ringsmither is trying to free them, but she'll need Sonic's help.
Windswept Glacier Zone: A freezingly cold zone where Shadow and Sonic must team up to battle a powerful frozen Chaos minion and Eggman.

After these seven Zones are cleared, and Sonic has the rings from each one, he'll need to go to Chaos Castle and defeat Chaos once and for all... but after Sonic supposedly defeats Chaos, Benedict Solaris appears and takes the Rings of Chaos for himself, merging with Chaos to become Chaos Solaris, and literally flipping the world upside-down, creating new Chaos Zones that Sonic must explore, completing new objectives in each one, along with twisted versions of prior objectives. This isn't the halfway point of the game, more like the two-thirds point, as each trip to the Chaos Zones is significantly shorter than the first trip to the normal Zones. As Sonic explores these zones, he must team up with his friends again, but they're chaotic, dark versions of his friends, and he must defeat Solaris' minions to free their minds from chaos. After these zones are cleared, Sonic must next confront Eggman, who is cursing himself for not seeing through Solaris' plans, and for not being able to defeat Sonic. Sonic knows he needs Eggman's help to beat Solaris, though after everything Eggman's put him through, he's reluctant to do so... it's only when he talks with Sally that he's able to put his differences with Eggman aside for one mission, to break through the shell surrounding Solaris' Chaos World. Sonic eventually reaches Solaris, who explains his motivation: to separate Order from Chaos, by trapping everyone within Chaos World and allowing a world of order to flourish outside of it. Sonic says that it's wrong to trap everyone inside a chaos prison, and Solaris tells Sonic that nothing is right or wrong anymore, that there's only order and chaos, and he wields both. Sonic defies this by tapping into the power of the Rings of Order and the Rings of Chaos, becoming Super Sonic ABSOLUTE and battling Solaris and Chaos in a spectacular final boss battle. After Chaos is defeated and Solaris wounded, the multiverse starts to tear apart, and Solaris finally realizes the error of his ways, using the last of his life force to pull the world back together and return order and chaos to their proper balance. Sonic and his friends escape the calamity, and the world is saved, though Eggman has escaped once again. Sonic and his friends can finally enjoy their well-deserved peace, and the world gets to rest easy for a while.

Sonic and the Rings of Chaos is released on November 20, 2020, day and date with the Apple Quest. It's not a Quest exclusive, as there is a version for the Virtua, though the Quest version, with its superior graphics and support for the game's intuitive glove controls, is the superior version. Both versions are praised heavily by critics, and though the game doesn't get quite as good a reception as The Rings Of Order, it's still an extremely good game nonetheless, with reviews averaging in the 9/10 range, and easily the strongest launch day sales for the new Quest console. Both versions together combine to sell over three million copies on the first day of release, making it one of the fastest selling Sonic games ever, and proving to be another enormous success for the series.

Pixel Quest

Pixel Quest is the third game in the Pixelworld series, developed by the same team who produces OTL Minecraft, and published by Apple as an exclusive pack-in title for the Quest console. Like the previous two games, it's an online world builder/simulation title/game creation suite that allows for players to create their own worlds, characters, and games, and to explore the creations of others in a massive virtual setting. Whereas Pixelworld focused on 8-bit graphics and Pixelworld 2 focused on 16-bit, Pixel Quest allows for the creation of advanced sprite-based/polygon worlds, similar to the graphics of the Sega Saturn/Ultra Nintendo (perhaps a BIT less graphically impressive than those, perhaps closer to OTL's Playstation 1). Creativity and interactivity are the key, though a huge part of Pixel Quest is the ability to use the glove controller to create with a swipe of one's hand, even easier than what was allowed for with Pixelworld 2. Players can lift up towers and physical features with a swipe of their hand, and can destroy with a pinch of their fingers, with more precise movements also enabled by the glove's input. Players are also able to explore each other's worlds in full VR, allowing for the creation of some truly incredible experiences, with the game creation suite allowing for interactive FPS adventures, RPGs, board games, fighting games, and many other different types of games, and even artistic creations. Players can also communicate with one another, allowing Pixel Quest to become a full-on virtual world/social network (though Pixelworld 2 already explored this concept, Pixel Quest takes it further). Steve Jobs personally participated in the conception and design of the game, wanting it to embody what he saw the Quest as representing: the ability to explore virtual worlds and to go on adventures, with players even able to participate in live role playing sessions with one another. It's possible to, for example, host a Dungeons and Dragons campaign entirely within Pixel Quest, and Apple would partner with Hasbro to create official Dungeons and Dragons toolkits for the game. Like OTL's Minecraft and previous Pixelworld titles, numerous other third parties include their own content in the game, and the game is also brimming with Sega/Apple first party content as well. Pixel Quest represents a continued advancement of the world creation and exploration themes of the previous two games, a technological leap for both the series and gaming in general, and also represents a significant killer app for the console. Reviews are outstanding (the game averages in the mid 9s, becoming a Game of the Year contender in numerous publications), and would be included with the Quest console, all models of the console, throughout the console's lifespan.

Ecco Evolution

Ecco Evolution is an adventure title for the Apple Quest, and the third major launch title for the system. One of three launch exclusives for the Quest, along with Pixel Quest and the FPS title Stalker Elite, it's the latest game in the Ecco the Dolphin series, and is intended as a showcase for the console's graphical and gameplay tech, with Ecco's movement through various open ocean environments made quite a bit easier thanks to the fluid controls of the Quest's glove controllers. The game's plot is fairly simple, with Ecco needing to collect six Pearls of the Sea from six terrible monsters in order to restore magic to the ocean, but where the game really shines is in its realistic water graphics and extremely fluid movement for Ecco. It's never been easier to maneuver the dolphin through various undersea environments, and as he battles various denizens of the deep, he'll gain their powers which will help him move faster and live longer. The game's campaign is fairly short, only about 4-6 hours total (though first time players can get lost quite easily, stretching the game's length a few hours more), but the player's journey is bolstered by the beautiful (and sometimes haunting) music and the incredible visuals they'll encounter along the way. Ecco will occasionally meet some friendly creatures or mermaids to talk to that will give him clues (or sometimes abilities), but for the most part, the dolphin is on his own, while bosses are tough and terrifying and will require all the player's skills to proceed. The bosses are meant to be fought in order, giving the game somewhat of a Metroidvania feel as players will need to gain certain abilities to progress. It's definitely somewhat of a return to the series' roots, but with modern gameplay advancements and some truly gorgeous presentation. Critics like the game, though its review average is only somewhere in the low to mid 8s due to its short length and due to the occasional tendency for many players to get lost. Sales are brisk, though obviously nowhere near those of Sonic, and it becomes a charming addition to the Quest's launch lineup, a fun tech demo for the adventures ahead.

Stalker Elite- An FPS exclusive to the Quest at launch, another fairly short game that's more of a tech demo for the Quest than anything else, but unlike Ecco, it's not quite as good in terms of music or presentation. You play an elite spy tasked with hunting down terrorists and their financial backers, though the game's voice acting and story leave a lot to be desired. It is quite fun to use the glove controls on this FPS game, but the multiplayer is bare bones and the campaign is short, so you really don't have a lot to try out, and it's better just to get the new Call of Duty if you want an FPS to play.

Phosphere- An anime-styled action JRPG with gameplay similar to the Tales series, this game comes out for both the Quest and the Virtua, and there's not a lot of difference between the two except for slightly prettier graphics and dramatically reduced load times on the Quest. In Phosphere, you're tasked with hunting down a strange but scarce energy source as a maniacal villain attempts to claim it before your heroes. Along the way, there's twists, turns, and romance. A fully-voiced game with anime cutscenes, Phosphere is a decent RPG and a fun little niche title, but there's no reason not to just grab it on the Virtua unless you really like saving a few seconds every few minutes.

Combo Grabber- An intense puzzle game exclusive to the Quest and Virtua, where you literally snag and smash together pieces in mid-air to create combos, the harder you smash the pieces together, the more points you can get. It's quite fun to play and very colorful, and multiplayer can get pretty intense, but it's no Tetris, and it doesn't sell all that great despite strong review scores.

From The Skies: Bomber Assault- A war game in which you pilot a bomber to strike targets from above. Utilizes the Oculus VR to provide realistic first-person views of aerial combat, and is one of the more intense VR experiences on the Quest (it can also be enjoyed on the Virtua, where the VR is nearly as good). It's the sequel to an earlier Virtua indie digital title about fighter jets, and those return in this game too, allowing the player to switch in mid-combat. Gets some of the best reviews of the Quest launch exclusives, though its sales leave something to be desired.

Never Forget A Face- A mystery/visual novel title in which you play as a detective who must interrogate suspects and solve mysteries. Plays like a somewhat simpler and less gritty version of LA Noire, utilizing impressive facial capture to make for a unique and fun VR experience (and also a cheap one, this game retails for $19.99, making it the cheapest launch exclusive for the Quest/Virtua). Though it gets decent reviews, a lot of critics say it's too short and simple, limiting its potential but proving to be a decent tech concept.

Like the Hyper Nintendo, Apple Quest launches with a number of popular third party titles, including nearly every major third party multiplatformer of the holiday season, giving it a strong line-up at launch.


November 20, 2020

The Apple Quest launches worldwide, with an MSRP of $499.99 for the digital only model, and $599.99 for the disc model, with games for $59.99 each. Apple ships less units to stores than Nintendo shipped for the Hyper Nintendo, but first week sales are significantly less: the Quest would sell a total of 1,516,970 units, less than the first week sales of the Virtua, though still a successful launch overall. Japan would actually see slightly more units sold than North America: 720,050 in the first week, compared to 696,817 units sold in North America, and less than 100,000 in Europe, where the Apple Virtua had also seen only mediocre performance. The console itself would be highly praised by journalists, who lavish praise on the glove controllers for being extremely intuitive and easy to learn, though players themselves are skeptical, and many Quest Pro controllers would be sold along with the console. As word of mouth for the Quest and its unique controllers and strong VR setup spread, sales would pick up in the coming weeks, but would continue to lag well behind those of the Hyper Nintendo.

Software sales would also come in slower than those of the Hyper Nintendo, with only around 2.5 million software units sold worldwide in the first week. Here are the sales figures for the top ten best selling games:

Sonic: The Rings Of Chaos- 1,126,816
Call Of Duty: Nightfall IV- 305,381
Final Fantasy XV-226,083
Ecco Evolution-181,442
Madden NFL 21- 127,354
Stalker Elite- 85,618
Fallout 4- 61,287
Phosphere- 58,824
Never Forget A Face- 47,289
Futureshock 2- 41,360

With the higher MSRP and unorthodox controller, the Quest was simply the tougher sell, and Apple expected slower sales at launch, hoping to make up the gap with the Hyper Nintendo as more and more people learned of the console's capabilities and as more and more killer apps were released. The Quest's first test would come in December with the release of console exclusive Flare: Princess Of The Caldera, but Apple brass knew that they'd have to wait longer than a month to get a clear picture of whether their experimental VR console would be a success, or a failure.


Julie Ivers: Apple's newest game console, the Quest, is hoping to be what co-founder Steve Jobs says will be a "revolution in gaming". Its controllers take the form of gloves that can be worn on the player's hands, which can then be moved and manipulated to play games as one would on a controller with buttons and triggers. The gloves work in tandem with a virtual reality headset and sensors built within the console itself to give players a VR experience unlike any previously seen in video games. We spent some time at a Gamestop store where the console was being exhibited to potential buyers, and nearly everyone who played with it came away impressed.

*A 17-year-old boy is shown taking off the Oculus headset with a stunned look on his face.*

Boy: It's like it's real, you know?

*Footage from Call Of Duty: Nightfall IV is shown on the screen, with the boy using the gloves to move his character around, to aim, and to fire, with as much skill and accuracy as a player on a traditional controller.*

Boy: I was skeptical at first, because I've spent my whole life on a controller, but this is really easy and really fun.

*Two girls are shown playing Pixel Quest, working together as a team to climb a tower and fight monsters. One of them is laughing, as the other one doesn't say anything and seems to be concentrating intensely. They're both progressing through the tower quite well, flicking and moving their hands very subtly.*

Older Girl: It doesn't take much to move around, you just move your hand like this and you can jump or climb.

Younger Girl: It was so cool, um, I could look around and see everything, it was like I was there.

Ivers: I even got to try out the technology for myself, and while it was disorienting at first, I was soon playing games like a pro. Watch me in the opening stages of Fallout 4, as my character escapes from a prison camp and fights a mutated scorpion.

*Julie is shown navigating through a tunnel under the camp, following a companion character.*

Ivers: *as she continues to play* I'm getting a little claustrophobic...

*We then see her outside the tunnel, pointing and shooting at a radscorpion. She winces as the scorpion stings her, but manages to finish it off.*

Ivers: *laughing as she takes off the headset* I feel like I should check myself for stings... is there any antivenom nearby?

Clerk: *laughing*

*Ivers is then shown sitting down with Alex Stansfield, interviewing him about the Quest and its potential in the gaming market.*

Stansfield: We've had VR consoles before. The Nintendo Reality was the first one to really lean heavily into it, and then Apple sort of copied off them, but it turned out that Apple was a lot better at it than Nintendo. Nintendo sort of won the VR wars the first few years, and then Apple once they came out with the Oculus, which was a much better headset than what Nintendo was offering, they sort of took over the last few years. Meanwhile, Google, they sort of offered up some options for VR, and they're doing some neat stuff with the Stadia, but Apple's leaning full-on into it this generation with the Quest.

Ivers: You've been playing games for a long time.

Stansfield: Oh yes. *nodding and smiling*

Ivers: So, from your perspective as a lifelong gamer, what's your take on the Quest, and where do you think it's going?

Stansfield: I was... very surprised at how well the glove controller works. I had the old Power Glove, in college, and I regretted that purchase almost immediately.

*Footage is shown of the scene in "The Wizard" where Lucas shows off the Power Glove, complete with the "it's so bad" line.*

Ivers: That was, kind of a flop, wasn't it?

Stansfield: It was, but we've had... 30 plus years since then to work on the technology, and it seems like Apple's figured it out. They've figured out how people tend to move their hands and their fingers, and they've mapped the inputs to those movements in a way that it's very, very easy to learn, and I think once people realize how well the gloves work, they'll want to hop on board. The thing with the Quest is, can Apple get the price down? Because right now, you can buy the Quest for 500 dollars, and you can buy the Hyper Nintendo for 500 dollars, but you can't play your Blu-Ray movies on that model of the Quest, or your old iTwin or Virtua games, you can't buy disc games at all, whereas with the Hyper Nintendo, you can play discs on it for the same price, AND the games look a little bit better because it's a slightly more powerful console. So... even though Apple is all about providing premium products, and people don't care what price they pay for Apple tech, I still think they need to find a way to bring it down 100 dollars or they'll have a tough time convincing most people to buy it over the Hyper Nintendo, even if the gloves keep getting rave reviews.

Ivers: Who are you pulling for, do you have a favorite?

Stansfield: It's no secret that I favor Nintendo, but I'm hoping the Quest can be successful too, because I want this VR tech to succeed. It'll advance gaming significantly if it does.

-from a CNN news report on the Apple Quest, which aired on November 21, 2020


"Steve Jobs has been noticeably absent from most of the Apple Quest launch events, and many close to the Apple co-founder say that it's due to deteriorating health, following Jobs' reveal that his pancreatic cancer, which returned in 2018 and which he's been undergoing treatment for ever since, has progressed to stage 4. In the few pictures and videos we've seen of Jobs since that reveal in September, he has looked noticeably more frail, and despite Jobs' enthusiasm for the Quest, it's clear that his energy has started to decline in these recent appearances. His work at Apple during the past few months has been almost entirely focused on the promotion of the new console, as he has taken a backseat from iPhone and computer development, and has also delegated nearly all of his remaining business duties to the company's current CEO, Tim Cook. Though Jobs' progressing cancer has kept him from openly promoting the Quest as much as he perhaps would have wanted to otherwise, he does continue to occasionally post on Twitter, extolling the virtues of the new device and even showing some footage of himself playing the Quest at home, with his preferred game to play being Pixel Quest. Jobs has revealed that he hasn't tried creating his own worlds as of yet, but that he is exploring worlds created by others, and that some of them have made him 'very happy'. The news that Jobs' cancer has progressed to this stage follows the news of numerous other high profile individuals with stage 4 cancer, including Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, who has been undergoing treatment for the illness since last year, and who also looked to be quite frail in his most recent public appearance. He just finished another round of filming and has gone home to rest with his family, though sources close to Trebek say that they haven't seen him looking this ill since his first round of chemo, and that he may finally be losing his battle with the disease. Finally, there's the tragic diagnosis of pop superstar M.S. with laryngeal cancer, which has also progressed to stage 4, the singer announced earlier this month. She's currently undergoing treatment, but it's claimed by numerous sources close to the singer that she's almost certain to lose her voice, and that the disease has progressed rapidly in recent months. Jobs recently sent out a tweet showing support for the singer, and claiming to be a fan of her music, while posting a picture taken with her at an Apple Virtua launch event in 2013."
-from a Kotaku article, posted November 30, 2020
neither the Vitura or the Quest had an exclusive RPG this year. However they both had Phosphere which didn't appear on any other console so Apple home console had an exclusive RPG.
It’s kind of surreal that this timeline is almost over.
That is all your blame dudes, you were so goodfellas the timeline got overextended twice(first the 2013 end date, them the 2016 one) all of you were so good partners we got ideas to be here with you, yeah the end will be a long goodbye but one worthy this one of a hell of a ride
December 2020 - Not With A Whimper
The lines continue to blur when it comes to handheld gaming platforms, with the Game Boy Zero focused most on "traditional" games with longer, more involved campaigns and less on online gameplay and microtransactions, and mobile platforms more keen on providing bite-sized, touchscreen experiences to the widest possible player base. The iPhone G and its fellow Apple G devices find themselves somewhere inbetween: on the one hand, Apple's G gaming platform is intended to provide the same type of in-depth, complex game experiences that one would find on a more traditional handheld such as the Zero. On the other hand, the huge variety of available Apple G devices has given birth to a wider range of games, especially when one considers that Apple's G platform exists alongside and separate from iOS, which has its own slate of mobile games. G devices can play all iOS games, but not all iOS devices can play G series games (in fact, many can't), and that's led to a bit of confusion amongst Apple customers, with some expecting a fully G-compatible device when they purchase a cheaper iPhone or iPod Touch, only to realize that it can't in fact play G-series games (or it can, but with slowdown and sometimes overheating).

It's also important to note that Nintendo has yet to dip its toes into the mobile gaming market, though the temptation has been there, with franchises such as Pokemon or Mario Kart seemingly lending themselves well to the platform. Nintendo has done market research on mobile gaming, and has worked with Sony on mobile games for the Android platform, but none of those games have used original Nintendo characters, and the company still has no plans to put Mario, Zelda, or Pokemon on mobile any time soon, instead electing to maintain the exclusivity that Nintendo consoles and handhelds have on these beloved characters. As for Apple, the company has brought nearly all of its major IPs to mobile, with some, including Shining Force and Chu Chu Rocket, enjoying new lives on mobile devices in recent years. We certainly wouldn't be getting Shining Salvation on the Quest if Apple's Shining mobile spinoffs hadn't brought in billions of dollars in microtransaction revenue over the past decade, with Japanese gamers making the Shining series one of the biggest mobile IPs. Sonic, Phantasy Star, and Valkyria Chronicles have also seen prodigious success on mobile platforms, with Sonic endless runners and ring collecting games proving to be game changers in terms of how developers program twitch controls for mobile, and Phantasy Star and Valkyria Chronicles both seeing some of the best tactical RPGs on the platform. These popular games have helped sell iOS devices to millions of players, and though Android retains a higher market share, Apple's iOS platform has hung in there, in large part due to the success of exclusive mobile games based on these popular gaming IPs.

We've seen less and less popular games stay exclusive to mobile over the past few years, in large part thanks to the success of line-blurring platforms such as Google's Stadia and Apple's G. Google and Apple have both been aggressive in recruiting some of the best mobile developers to make games for their platforms, and the result is that the mobile gaming space has increasingly been taken over by these two companies. Despite this, there's still plenty to love on mobile for those willing to spend a little cash or invest a lot of time. Token Tower is a popular mobile game blending casino mechanics with dungeon crawling, as players climb a massive tower, tackling challenges along the way and earning tokens that can aid them in their progress. The tokens can be purchased with real world cash as well, with the game's gacha system using a slot machine to divvy out tokens to paying players. Phoenix's Wrath is an SRPG in which players raise up an army of birds to battle opposing armies, and though the game also uses gacha mechanics, it doesn't lean on them, allowing diligent players to amass a powerful army. The game's development company, Featherquill, has resisted efforts by Google to absorb them into the Google fold, and have made enough money off the game to remain independent. They've even launched a line of merch, including stuffed phoenixes and thunderbirds, and other collectibles that players can buy to show their support for the game. Murder Room is an interactive mystery game intended to be played by a group of people in the same room, and while it has similarities to Among Us, which became somewhat of a craze in 2019 as well as earlier this year, Murder Room requires deeper involvement from its players, including real-time politicking and an affinity for roleplay, as players try to determine who among them is the murderer. The game allows players to create their own glamorous avatars, and most notably, it requires no microtransactions whatsoever: you pay 10 bucks for the game, and that's it, it's yours, and all you need is a group of people who own the game to play it with. The game does feature an online mode intended for streamers, though you still need to be able to communicate via webcam to play.

As handheld gaming devices become more and more powerful, mobile gaming companies are increasingly being pushed to change the game to keep up. Whether it's through creativity in game design, the use of lucrative microtransaction schemes, or a little bit of both, mobile gaming is being pushed to the limit, not just by Nintendo's powerful new Game Boy, but by Apple's willingness to keep one foot on both sides of the blurry line between traditional and mobile gaming. There's no doubt that gamers will continue to play on the go in the years ahead, but what form their preferred method of play takes will depend on just how far the makers of mobile games are willing to push the envelope.

-from a report on Games Over Matter, posted on December 11, 2020


Jeopardy Producer Ted Crosley Won't Guest Host The Show, Takes Self Out Of Consideration For Hosting Job

The death of Alex Trebek last Monday sent shockwaves through the entertainment world, even though it had been expected for some time since the host announced his cancer diagnosis two years ago. Condolences poured in from all across the world after the hosting legend's death, and though many fans of Jeopardy are still reeling, the question of who will replace Trebek has been circulating around the web as speculation grows. While Trebek filmed episodes that will run all the way through Feburary, after that, the show will be hosted by a succession of guest hosts who presumably are auditioning for the chance to replace Trebek as the host of one of the most iconic game shows of all time. One person who has already taken his name out of the running is executive producer Ted Crosley, who explicitly denied that he was being considered to host the show, and who will not be one of the guest hosts next year. Crosley said that as one of the people who would be helping to select the new host, it would be a "conflict of interest" for his name to be in the running, while he also didn't believe himself to be able to fill Trebek's shoes. Crosley has been a television presenter before: back in the late 90s, he was one of the main hosts of MTV's popular video game news show GameTV, where he rose to prominence alongside fellow hosts including Alex Stansfield, Lyssa Fielding, John Walden, and the late Brittany Saldita. Crosley's fellow GameTV host John Walden is the ongoing host of The Price Is Right, so there is precedent for the hosts of GameTV going on to host a legendary game show, but Crosley says that he prefers the production side of things now, and wants to give others a chance at the spotlight.

Among those who will be hosting Jeopardy is the only person that Alex Trebek mentioned during his lifetime as a potential host for the show: CNN journalist Laura Coates, who currently hosts the newsmagazine Your World on the news-focused Pulse streaming service. Coates will be hosting the show for a stretch in April, and though Trebek's comments will be taken into consideration, Crosley has said that ultimately it will come down to who would be the best fit for the show. Other future guest hosts include former Jeopardy 15-time champion and Tournament of Champions winner Buzzy Cohen, actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik, former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, actor and comedian Orlando Jones, television host George Stephanopoulos, and former X-Play co-host Elisa Melendez. Another person frequently requested by the show's fans is actor and longtime Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton, but Burton has already said that he won't be seeking out the Jeopardy host position, due to his work as executive producer of the ongoing PBS Reading Rainbow revival, but that he thanks fans for thinking of him. Though Crosley himself is said to have had "minimal input" on the guest host selection, he did say that he put in a good word for Melendez due to her work on X-Play, and while he doesn't think he himself would be a good host for the show, he would have recommended another of his fellow GameTV hosts for the job.

"I absolutely think Brittany (Saldita) would have been a perfect host for the show. She'd have been my pick if she were still here," said Crosley, remembering his old friend.

-from a Yahoo! News article, posted on December 15, 2020


Game Spotlight: Flare: Princess Of The Caldera

Flare: Princess Of The Caldera is an action/adventure game exclusive to the Apple Quest. It's the spiritual successor to the popular Aerio series, and while it features many of the same gameplay and storyline tropes as that title, the major difference is in the setting: unlike Aerio, which took place in a fantasy world original to the game, Flare takes place in our real world, sometime in the near future, shortly after a future eruption of the Yellowstone caldera wreaks havoc and puts the world on the brink of destruction. A teenage girl named Flare emerges from the boiling caldera with no clue about her true identity, only that she has the power to help people and must do so if she is to save the world from the monsters crawling out of the lava-filled crater and the evil humans seeking to gain control over the remaining survivors. Flare has the ability to leap great distances and fly short ones (she can fly longer as the player progresses through the game and finds more power-ups), and can toss fireballs and use other powerful fire attacks to destroy obstacles and defeat foes. She can also create weapons out of fire, including mighty fire swords and fire fists which she can use to battle enemies as well. As the game is designed to make players feel quite powerful, Flare has a lot of skills and movement right from the start, though there's still plenty of power-ups to collect and skills to learn. Basic enemies can be wiped out quickly, though there are still plenty of larger foes that present a significant challenge, and the player will also be given lots of challenges where Flare must save people from a variety of different situations that just burning and smashing things may not work for. Progression through the game isn't limited by what obstacles can be traversed (usually), but by how many people Flare has helped in a given area: Flare herself won't move on until she's saved enough people that she feels comfortable progressing, but players are usually free to select the challenges they want to take on, with only a few storyline challenges required for progressing in each area. Though the game can be played and is quite fun with traditional controls, it's designed for use with the Quest glove controls, which are extremely intuitive for this game and which allow the player to utilize many different powerful techniques. You can freely switch between a third and first person view, and in VR mode, it's recommended that you play in first person, to truly allow yourself to feel Flare's powers in your hands. Controls feel just like you imagine they might, pointing your hand at the screen and flicking your hand results in blasting something with fire, and you're rarely ever made to feel powerless or weak (usually it's only in cutscenes where Flare is rendered powerless, though she usually overcomes it quickly). As a showcase title for the Quest, and a full exclusive to the platform, the game's graphics are beautiful, while the soundtrack, composed by Austin Wintory, combines the feelings of ruin and power, providing a poignant but also heroic accompaniment to Flare's quest. Flare is voiced by an actress in her early 20s who is original TTL (born after the POD), her voice sounds light and innocent but also powerful and defiant, and grows slightly more mature as she progresses in her journey.

The game begins with Flare emerging from the lava field that was once Yellowstone National Park, in the aftermath of a massive supereruption that's left 90 percent of humanity dead and the rest struggling to survive amidst an ice age. As she departs the lava field, she notices powerful and strange creatures emerging from it, with some of them attacking a group of survivors. She defeats the creatures, and the survivors tell her about more people who need help, thus beginning her journey. Flare's primary enemies are the demonic-like creatures crawling from the lava field, known as Magmorts, and the icy creatures stalking the survivors in the cold areas, known as Glazers. She must also battle against a group of survivalist humans seeking to carve a fiefdom from the ruins, known as the Protectors, whose leader, Vance, is voiced by Michael Rooker, and who has a cruel and sadistic streak but also a tragic past, as he lost his family in the cataclysm. As the player progresses through the game, and as Flare traverses the ruined North America,, rescuing more and more people, she becomes a target for Vance, who has stumbled upon an ancient rune describing the prophecy of the volcanic eruption, and is using the rune's power to augment his troops, making them resistant to Flare's magic. Flare learns that many of the survivors are beginning to worship her, which she doesn't want, as she doesn't feel herself worthy of being worshipped, and fears failing these people. Flare also learns that she was seemingly descended from a long line of powerful magical beings who could traverse worlds, aiding others in time of great need. She learns that her mother, Miriam, was one of those people, who came to Earth 20 years before the Yellowstone eruption to warn people and help them prepare for the blast, but was largely ignored by everyone except for one person. Flare later finds out that Vance is her father, and that he was the only one who believed Miriam's story, but that even though she fell in love with him, he was always a cruel and abusive man. Miriam believed she could change him, but he killed her, which caused Flare to run away, where she was eventually engulfed in the Yellowstone eruption which caused her latent powers to awaken. Eventually, Flare confronts Vance, who tries to convince her to join him, but she says that she can never forgive him for killing her mother, and the two have a ferocious battle. Flare eventually defeats Vance, then is forced to do battle with a massive being comprised of both Magmort and Glazer parts, presenting as an enormous being of fire and ice. Flare defeats this monster, ending the ice age and saving what remains of humanity. She mourns her fallen mother, while resolving to forget her father, though she does find evidence among his notes that her little brother may have survived and may possess elemental powers like her. She resolves to find him as the game ends.

Flare: Princess Of The Caldera is released on December 7, 2020, and is considered to be one of the year's best games upon its release. It's particularly praised for its use of Quest glove controls, which some reviewers compare to being in a lucid dream with the full VR enabled. Though a somewhat ordinary (if beautiful and well crafted) adventure game on its own, the VR elevates it to a level few games have yet been on, and many consider it to be as big a game changer for VR as Gran Turismo Real was on the Nintendo Reality. Initial sales are quite brisk, though the game wouldn't fully catch on with people until 2021, when many Quest players are looking for a game to escape, and when many first time purchasers of the console are looking for a game to justify their expensive purchase, which Flare does on both counts.


Other Significant Titles For December 2020:

The Ravening:
December 2020's only significant new release is The Ravening, an adventure game that releases for both the Game Boy Zero and Apple G devices. The game features a heavy horror motif and focuses on a young man who gains the ability to transform into a raven and to summon ravens to his side. He learns that this is part of an arcane ritual and that he is being pursued by a coven of witches seeking to capture him for their own dark purposes, and the gameplay blends elements of Dark Souls and the Zelda games (perhaps the closest comparison is OTL's Darksiders III). While an excellent showcase for the capabilities of the handhelds, it is somewhat limited by the medium, the campaign is somewhat short, and the controls can be somewhat frustrating and confusing. It's still a solid adventure game, and sales prove to be decent, mostly on the Game Boy Zero, where it looks absolutely fantastic for a handheld game.


December 31, 2020

It was the end of 2020, a year that had been quite eventful, but not especially bad or especially good, absent anything like a worldwide pandemic or political chaos to spoil everyone's daily lives. As more than a million people gathered in New York's Times Square, and millions of others gathered all over the world to ring in the joyous new year, there was plenty to celebrate, and plenty to look forward to. The ball began to drop, and the final countdown to the new year began, as everyone began to shout out how many seconds remained until the new year began.

"38... 37... 36..."

President Kennedy was at Martha's Vineyard with his family, watching the live footage from ABC's Rockin' New Years Eve celebration, as the president himself enjoyed a vacation away from Washington and all the troubles of his office, which he knew would resume when he got back to the White House. He was only halfway through his time in office, having beaten Marco Rubio for a second term, and though he was glad to be re-elected, glad to serve the American people and hopefully advance his agenda, a part of him envied the Florida senator, who he knew had a lot more time off than he did.

"15... 14... 13..."

Back at Times Square, revelers prepared to celebrate, watching the glowing ball intently.

"10! 9! 8! 7!"

Various celebrities and reporters lined the square, most of them perched high in the buildings above, watching with the cameras on them to record their own jubilant celebrations.

"6! 5! 4!"

In the crowd, a man stood ready, saying prayers of gratitude for his good luck, and to steel himself for his final task.

"3! 2! 1!"

And as millions prepared to scream "Happy New Year!", they were suddenly given a different reason to scream, as a tremendous explosion went off amongst them.

As "Auld Land Syne" began to play its pre-recorded tune over large speakers flanking the square, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people screamed and panicked as chaos began to overtake the jubilation of before. Smoke rose high over the square, and in the air hung a terrible scourge. Those survivors closest to the blast, whose ears were ringing but who had survived, now felt an uncomfortable tingling sensation all over their bodies. Some could taste metal in their mouths. The smoke continued to drift over the square as hundreds, thousands of first responders rushed to the sight of the blast.

Hundreds had already been killed.

In the coming hours and days, the invisible scourge would kill many more.

One era had just ended.

Another had just begun.


Anderson Cooper: And in addition to this apparent horrible bomb attack on Times Square, there has been a large explosion, reportedly a truck bomb, in New Delhi, the capital of India. And we're already hearing of eye witnesses reporting the same strange... pins and needles feeling, that Ryan, you and I felt moments after the explosion before they rushed us to this shelter we're now reporting from.

Ryan Seacrest: This is, um, this is a nightmare, Anderson.

Cooper: We're being told that Geiger counters are going off all across Times Square and now... now even outside Times Square, blocks from the explosion, so speculation is that this bomb and quite possibly the other one in India, they were what counterterrorism experts and others refer to as "dirty bombs", that there may have been some nuclear material in these explosive devices, and... and if that's the case... *looks a bit worried* We've actually got a Geiger counter here in the studio, and we're picking up increased measurements right now, but compared to the measurements down on Times Square, they're quite low.

Seacrest: They're actually testing people who were nearby us, Anderson, and really, I don't feel anything other than.... well, all those people we saw caught in that blast down there... it's terrible. I don't feel sick from the radiation, but I absolutely do feel sick from that.

Cooper: They're telling us that everyone up here is likely fine, but I don't want to imagine what's going on down there with all those people who were close to the blast... there are usually a million people or more gathered at Times Square for the New Years celebration, and now we're getting word that there may have been tramplings and crowd crushes down there as well. I don't have any word on the death toll, but I can speculate that it's going to be massive and I just hope that the radiation isn't as severe as what some sources are telling me from down there.

Seacrest: God help all those people.

Cooper: Um, I'm getting more news about the explosion in New Delhi, so I want to quickly go to our correspondent in India because I'm hearing that that was a much larger explosion, and certainly...

-from ABC's live coverage of the 2021 New Year celebrations, which then became ongoing coverage of the 2021 New Year's Day terrorist attack, at 12:08 AM on January 1, 2021