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W. Virginia isn’t for mutants, but its tourism board doesn’t mind if you think so

Fallout 76 – Official In-Game Intro

Fallout 76 paints a picture of a destroyed West Virginia, irradiated and left as a shell of its former self after a nuclear apocalypse hits. In reality, of course, West Virginia offers beautiful rural vistas and plenty of sightseeing opportunities, and to show Fallout 76 fans the real West Virginia, the state has partnered with Bethesda on a new tourism promotion.

“It’s finally time the rest of the world sees what a gem West Virginia is,” said Governor Jim Justice in a press release. “For years, I’ve been saying we have it all: beautiful scenery, the best people you could ask for, and more. And now, we get to share a piece of that with people all over the world through the unique lens of this video game.”

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The partnership will primarily focus on Fallout-themed advertising for West Virginia tourism, with specific information on the program coming at a later date.

Currently, the West Virginia Tourism website has a map showing locations where the Fallout series’ iconic Vault Boy figure can be found. These include Mothman and Charleston — both southwest of Pittsburgh — and Harpers Ferry, which is just west of Maryland.

The website also includes side-by-side shots of real West Virginia locations versus their video game counterparts. As you can imagine, the real thing looks quite a bit more colorful and has significantly less radiation and fewer mutants to worry about. The architecture, however, is remarkably similar, and much of it was fortunate enough to make it out of the nuclear apocalypse intact!

“Our goal is to welcome each and every one of the game’s players to Almost Heaven,” tourism commissioner Chelsea Ruby added in the press release. “Bethesda has been a terrific partner since day one. They’ve really embraced West Virginia and its beauty. We believe this partnership has tremendous potential to bring folks to the Mountain State.”

Fallout 76 will take players to West Virginia on November 14 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The beta test will begin for those who pre-ordered for Xbox One on October 23, and it will then release for other platforms on October 30. Progress from this will carry over to the full game.

April’s PlayStation Plus games include a PS5 launch title and a new release
Sackboy: A Big Adventure

Sony has revealed the games that are going to be part of April's batch of PlayStation Plus Essential titles, and it includes a game that was a PS5 launch title, as well as a brand new game from the developers of Dead by Daylight.
Specifically, the three games that will be available starting April 4 are the PS4 and PS5 versions of Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Meet Your Maker, and Tails of Iron. Sackboy: A Big Adventure is a 3D platformer spinoff of Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet series that launched alongside the PS5 in 2020. Unlike other LittleBigPlanet games, Sackboy: A Big Adventure doesn't rely on user-generated content. Instead, it's a tightly designed cooperative platformer that functions much closer to something like Super Mario 3D World. If you are looking for that user-made content kick this month, then the other PS Plus Essential game, Meet Your Maker, will be more appealing to you.

This game from Dead by Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive is a postapocalyptic base-building game where players both build and explore player-created outposts full of deadly traps and guards. I called Meet Your Maker one of the "most original multiplayer games launching this year" after playing its open beta during Steam Next Fest. Finally, there's Tails of Iron, a fantasy side-scrolling action RPG featuring rats that should appeal to indie game and Soulslike fans. Overall, April's lineup of PlayStation Plus games feels quite diverse. Hopefully, we can say the same for April's PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium titles when they are revealed.
Sackboy: A Big Adventure, Meet Your Maker, and Tails of Iron will be available through PlayStation Plus from April 4 until May 1. If you haven't already, it's also a good idea to download March's PlayStation Plus Essential games -- Battlefield 2042, Minecraft Dungeons, and Code Vein -- before these three games replace them. 

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Netflix may bring its gaming service to TVs, with iPhones serving as controllers
The Netflix Games section.

Netflix is working on a feature that will bring its games to smart TVs and allow players to use their iPhone as a controller, reports from Bloomberg and MacRumors' Steve Moser said on Wednesday.

The move would take Netflix’s gaming service beyond only smartphones and tablets, giving subscribers more ways to play. And for iPhone owners, it also eliminates the need to buy a dedicated controller, making it more likely that people would give its games a go.

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For content creators, ‘cozy games’ have unlocked an unexpected career
Donald Duck walks through a town in Disney Dreamlight Valley,

It’s safe to say that the cozy game genre has come into its own in the last few years. Also known as wholesome games, the emerging genre typically offers a slower story pace and a more relaxed style of gameplay, dropping the fast action found in other genres. More low-key and self-guided games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Harvest Moon, and Spiritfarer have always existed, but they’ve only really established themselves as a separate genre recently. There’s an entire cozy tag on Steam and even an entire industry event, Wholesome Direct, dedicated to showcasing new games annually.  A quick search on Google will reveal a number of game developers who have happily taken up the mantle of creating these chill games for players.

But cozy gaming has blossomed beyond just the games themselves, much as the larger video game space has over the last 15 years. Players have begun to take their love for gaming and channel it into other forms, making use of platforms like Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram to create a variety of unique content. Content creators have taken to streaming, video making, and other forms of content such as sharing photos on Instagram to discuss, play, and share their love for the genre.

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