Today in the Rundown, we find out how Nintendo might be entering a new era with the release of their first big mobile game Super Mario Run. We also get the latest from the Star Trek and Star Wars universes, continue the battle with the controversial space exploration game No Man’s Sky, find out what were the most googled words in 2016, and finally, have some very honorable new announcements about For Honor!
Today is the first day in what might be a new era for Nintendo. The gaming giant has begun rolling out their first big mobile game Super Mario Run on iOS devices. At the time we’re filming this, it’s available in most but not all countries, and comes in two different versions: a free demo that includes a handful of levels, or the much bigger complete version that costs $14 in Canada. Unfortunately, it won’t be out on Android devices until next year, and Nintendo says you’ll need a constant internet connection in order to play. The good news is that Nintendo promises there won’t be any pesky in-game microtransactions, so if you buy the full version, they won’t ask you for more money. Getting a big Nintendo icon like Mario onto mobile devices has been a long time coming. Nintendo had been holding out against the rising tide of mobile gaming for years, but finally relented last year after disappointing sales of the Wii U. Since then, they’ve made the social app Miitomo, and now that Super Mario Run is here, they’re working on mobile games based on other iconic franchises like Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing. So why might this be the start if a new era for Nintendo? Super Mario Run is expected to make a fortune, with some analysts predicting that it will even make more money than Nintendo’s traditional console and handheld games, something that could dramatically change the direction of the company. Thankfully, Nintendo says they’re committed to console gaming, and we hope that doesn’t change. Their latest system, the Switch, hits stores in March.
The new Star Trek TV series has recruited its lead. Variety reports that the main character in the new series Star Trek: Discovery will be played by actress Sonequa Martin-Green, best known as Sasha Williams on The Walking Dead. Even though she’ll be the lead in the new Trek show, she won’t actually be playing the captain. She’ll instead star as a lower ranking lieutenant commander on the starship Discovery, making this the first Trek show not to focus on the highest ranking officer on its ship or space station. The show is expected to begin shooting soon, with a premiere slated for Spring 2017.
It appears that the strange rivalry between Star Trek and Star Wars is still going strong. The location based mobile app Foursquare has found a unique way to compare and contrast the fans of the two big science fiction franchises. The app looked at users who loved the recent films in both franchises, and then analyzed the places that each group is more likely to visit than the average user. For example, Star Wars fans are 26% more likely to visit a Six Flags theme park, while Trek fans are 118% more likely to visit a Lego Store. Star Trek fans go to bookstores 52% more often than other people, while Star Wars fans are 24% more likely to go to a hockey game. Most curiously, Trekkers are 68% more likely to go to a gay bar than average users, with Star Wars fans 26% more likely to visit a dive bar. I guess they do serve their kind there. Unfortunately, Foursquare doesn’t mention users who love both franchises, and as we all know, there are a lot of us.
The controversial space exploration game No Man’s Sky is getting a few more star wars of its own. Developer Hello Games has released another free update for the game in a bid to give players more content. This one overhauls the space battles, making them much bigger than they were before, and they’ll also vary in size so you’ll never know how many other ships you’ll be up against. Minor bug fixes and tweaks are also included in the update, and it’s available now through the game’s Steam page. The biggest problem that people have had with No Man’s Sky is that, when it launched, it didn’t have nearly as many features as players were expecting. Hello Game is hoping to change that with this new update and others that they’re working on, with more slated to follow in the coming weeks and months.
The year is almost over, and here’s what people were interested in the most. Google has announced the most searched terms of 2016. At the top of the list, the most-searched word of 2016 was Powerball, thanks to the fact that the Powerball lottery had the biggest jackpot in history back in January. Next up, people searched for Prince after his tragic death, with the devastating Hurricane Matthew coming in at number 3. The breakout augmented reality game Pokémon Go caught enough attention to be number 4. Way down at the bottom of the list, Trump, Election, and Hillary Clinton are numbers 8, 9, and 10 respectively. Every year, Google gets trillion of searches (that’s trillions with a T), and most of them coincide with international trends, news topics, and big announcements. Hopefully that means Half-Life 3 will be a big search term in 2017.
Ubisoft feels honor-bound to give players some free DLC. All of the DLC maps and modes for their new combat game For Honor will be free for all players. The developers say they’re doing this because they don’t want to split the online community between those who have all the maps and those who don’t. They’re still planning to release paid DLC and expansions for the game, which may include extra characters and weapons. There will also be in-game microtransactions where players can spend money to buy new gear, but you’ll also be able to earn the same gear the old fashioned way by actually playing the game. For Honor will launch on Valentine’s Day. If you can’t wait until then, Ubisoft will hold a closed beta test in January, and you can register now by clicking here.