The goose, star of the mega-popular Untitled Goose Game, is now ready to honk and annoy the stars of Resident Evil 2. Thanks to talented modder Alister, the goose is on the loose in Raccoon City. God help us all.
The mod is not yet finished, but the final version will include honks. Also, you might have noticed that the goose is wearing Mr. X’s famous fedora. According to the modder, this won’t be changed when the mod is finished.
“He’s keeping the Fedora because he is just so Fancy like that,” said Alister. I agree. Besides who is going to actually try to take that hat from that giant goose? Not me, that’s for sure.
The version of The Witcher 3 that exists on the Nintendo Switch works, which is a miracle in itself, but it’s far from the ideal version of the game. Those with a modded Switch console, though, can play something that looks a lot nicer.
The game by default runs at 720P and 30FPS while docked, and that’s as good as it gets. Modders have however found that the Switch version is just a port of the PC edition running at very low settings, and that by sliding in a patch file they could unlock the PC version’s graphics options.
By overclocking the system and then disabling the game’s dynamic resolution, along with increasing other settings like the foliage density and post-processing effects, you get a version of The Witcher 3 that looks a lot better, and sometimes even gets to 60FPS.
It’s also cooking a Switch alive from the inside.
Here’s some footage of a modded copy of the game in action, to give you an idea of the improvements (it gets better, but don’t expect it to magically start looking like the PC version):
I’ve played countless mods for countless games over the years, and few have been as comprehensive or enjoyable as Kaiserreich, a reimagining of the 20th century that takes everything we know about history and politics and throws it right out the window.
A long-running mod for Paradox’s Hearts of Iron series, Kaiserreich’s latest iteration (for the excellent Hearts of Iron IV) drops the player in 1936 to confront a world unrecognisable from our own, one in which the Germans won the First World War, the political spectrum has no space for words like “fascist” and “communist”, the United States descends into a second civil war and the red menace is rising in Western Europe, not the East.
It’s Britain, just not as you know it.
I realise that by saying “Paradox” and “Hearts of Iron” I’m already losing some of you. It’s a game that will alienate a lot of folks, as it is complex, unfriendly and definitely not for everyone in the way that gentler strategy games like Civilization or Total War are. But I honestly think this mod is so good that it makes the game worth learning, if not for the fun of just playing Hearts of Iron IV, then at least for exploring the world that the mod’s creators have built.
Despite the mod’s age, I’m relatively new to it. The basic premise, of exploring what the world would look like if the Germans won the Great War instead of the Allies, didn’t really interest me at first, especially given the reputation Paradox games have of inspiring mods that…well, let’s say might enjoy that setting a little too much.
How wrong I was. Kaiserreich takes the idea that Germany won a World War and, instead of using it as the foundation for a Nazi fantasy, uses it as a means to see what a world looks like where Nazis never existed in the first place. Without the collapse of the Weimar Republic, and with Italy divided, the conditions that led to the rise of first Mussolini then Hitler have been taken away.
That’s not to say there aren’t bad guys. The major powers can all be taken in directions that aren’t exactly savoury, especially the USA, whose Second Civil War sees the creation of the Christian-Fascist American Union State. Kaiserreich also features a simmering threat from a movement called “Totalism”, which attracts many of the game’s 20th century actual fascists (like Oswald Mosely) who, instead of being drawn purely toward the far right, are proponents in this fictional universe of what’s essentially a grassroots Stalinism instead.
The most important deviation from our own history is in the rise of Syndicalism, Kaiserreich’s most expansive and divisive force. While it’s obsession with the imagery of factories, the working man and the colour red initially has you subconsciously figuring “oh these are just communists”, the reality is that they’re actually a fascinating combination of classic Marxist theory and the democratic heritage of Britain and France:
Syndicalism is the leading Marxist revolutionary ideology which promotes democratic federations of collectivised trade unions as the basic political and economic units of the socialist state. Trade unions are equally owned by its members, have complete economic and political control over the workplaces they organise and are given great amounts of autonomy from the central government. On a larger scale, the various trade unions elect members to regional and national trade union congresses which form the legislative and executive powers of the central government.
The way I’ve had to explain all that is a big part of what makes Kaiserreich so entertaining. It manages to create a world that somehow feels alien, in that the labels and movements we know from history have been deformed, and yet once you’re in it also strangely believable, since these fictional forces are still vulnerable to the same human impulses that shape and distort our own political alignments.
Everything I’ve described so far is just the absolute basics of the world of Kaiserreich, the foundations upon which each game is built. As much as it is to take in as background reading, the truly remarkable thing about it is how breathtaking in scope the mod is once you actually start playing.
In true Hearts of Iron fashion, as soon as you take control of the game, you can begin shifting the fate of your chosen nation by moving down Hearts of Iron’s “Focus Tree”, a series of policy decisions you make that can alter your politics. In the vanilla Hearts of Iron experience, these changes are incremental, and their consequences are fairly limited, since the rest of the world is still carrying on in a historical fashion. Make America fascist if you like, the war is still probably going to involve the Nazis invading Russia, and Japan overreaching in the Pacific.
But in Kaiserreich, you’re setting off what feels like an infinite number of sliding doors moments every time you move. Every nation has a fictional backstory (or at least one from 1917-1936), and every time you play these coalesce and collide in different ways, so Kaiserreich’s past is much more malleable than our own. Each time you play the focus of the war can be entirely different.
The last three games I’ve played have featured radically different World Wars. The first, playing as Japan, saw my fledgling democratic state drawn into a massive land war in China against a reborn Mongol Empire, which would eventually drag the other major world powers into a conflict raging from the Himalayas to Thailand. The second, playing as Britain, saw a German invasion of France rebuffed, only for the Syndicalists to spend the next five years bogged down in the killing fields of the Italian Alps. And the third, as Canada…well, I don’t know if I can describe it better than “everything from South Africa to Argentina went to shit after the South won the Second American Civil War”.
Every time anything happens in Kaiserreich, there are volumes of news briefings and event reports that are generated, detailing the political climate and the results of your actions. Whether you’re invading Ireland as a Syndicalist Britain or crushing Totalist reactionaries in the Australian outback, it seems like every possible outcome has been prepared for, written and fleshed out to provide maximum immersion for the player.
The world-building even extends to Hearts of Iron’s weapons, aircraft, leaders and celebrities, some of which are actual historical objects/figures repurposed for this alternate universe, others simply made up to suit the needs of the story.
Yet the sheer scale of Kaiserreich’s story-telling and creativity transform the original game. To call Kaiserreich a “mod”, or even the more comprehensive “total conversion” is an injustice, because they both imply this is a tweak here, a graphics pack there, a fan’s casual attempt at reworking Paradox’s game to be slightly more to their liking.
Kaiserreich is so much more, as reflected in the fact the mod’s creators are able to sell merchandise based on their efforts, have their own cinematic trailers and are given pride of place at Paradox’s annual conventions. It’s a world, built from the ground-up, and through Hearts of Iron IV we’re given the tools and the space to let us explore it to its explosive end.
While the breakup of the German Empire in Europe and Asia is the focal point for much of Kaiserreich’s action, the Second American Civil War is in many ways the more important flashpoint, since American support can determine the fate of the factions fighting elsewhere.
Jurassic Dream is a fan-made CryEngine project that imagines a Jurassic Park where the catastrophic events of the novel/movie never happened, and everything is just fine. It’s beautiful, with the only catch being that there are no dinosaurs.
Being a fan project handled almost entirely by one person (LifelessTapir, who started it when he was only 14), that’s understandable, so just imagine that instead of escaping and wrecking the place and eating everyone, the dinosaurs all escaped and just…got the hell out of there.
Plus it’s still really cool to just take the time to explore the park. The hotel is there to rummage through, the lab, you can drive around in a jeep, shoot up fountains…
Fallout 4 first came out in 2015, and it shows. In the base game, you can only pet a single dog—your dog, Dogmeat—and you can only do it once, during a cut-scene. 2019, emboldened by the Can You Pet The Dog Twitter account, will not stand, sit, lie down, shake, or roll over for that. Thankfully, modders have once again corrected developers’ sins against canine kind with a mod that lets you pet all dogs.
The “Pet Any Dog” mod, created by Fallout 4 fan Sagittarius22, is not the first to let you voluntarily pet a dog in the game, but it is the first to let you pet any random NPC dog, of which there are many. Some are mangier and more mutated than others, but they all deserve pets.
There are, however, a few stipulations. First, you need at least the first rank of the “Animal Friend” perk. Second, you cannot pet your dog with nuclear arms, nor any other kind of armament, for that matter. If you have a fist or weapon out, no fluffy fistfuls of fur for you. If you’re wearing power armor, you also can’t pet dogs, which is good, because if you tried, you’d probably crush them.
All of this means that if you’re in combat with a dog, you cannot pet it. This makes me sad, because I feel like gentle physical affirmations followed by immediate friendship should be a viable solution to all video game combat scenarios involving dogs.
If you ever wondered what it’d be like to play through Super Mario 64, only with Cappy doing his thing, here’s your chance to (hopefully) find out.
Super Mario 64 Odyssey is a new project being worked on by a team of Mario modders that’s trying to rebuild every level from the 1996 classic inside the world of Super Mario Odyssey.
Which means you’d get to tackle the same old levels, only now you could use Odyssey’s powers like taking possession of enemies and using Cappy to get extra length on a jump. The team are also looking to expand some of the original Mario 64 levels as well, in order to give them the same scale (and present themed challenges for the new powers) as found in Odyssey.
Maybe they’ll manage it, maybe they won’t. Maybe they’ll be left alone, maybe they won’t. While we wait to find out, here’s a progress demo showing some of the work done so far (don’t be put off by the static images and art at the start, there’s actual gameplay as well).
Red Dead Redemption 2 is a game that can be chill, but eventually, somebody pulls a gun on you, or a coyote attacks, or you wander into a whinnying horse fire hell zone. To achieve true chill, you must rise above it all. Thanks to mods, you can.
YouTuber Jedijosh920 (via Polygon) used player model mods to swap out grumpy old Arthur Morgan with a series of different birds. He then soared over Red Dead Redemption 2‘s gargantuan landscape, heedless of the petty cares of cowboys, coyotes, and burning horses—at least, until the former started shooting at him after 13 minutes or so.
By and large, though, playing as a bird seems to be just about the most calming way to experience Red Dead Redemption 2. You can also do a bit of boundary breaking, as Jedijosh920 was able to make it to Mexico, which is not currently accessible in the normal game. Birds, however, have no concept of country, nationality, or unannounced DLC that could take place in Mexico. They simply fly where the wind (and migratory paths) take them. Perhaps we can learn from their example. Or, failing that, we can at least hope there’ll be an official bird mode included in whatever DLC Rockstar decides to release in the future.
Swedish designer and craftsman Love Hultén transforms existing gaming hardware into dreamlike pieces of functional retrofuturist art. His latest work, the FC-PVM, combines a Japanese Famicom console with a Sony Trinitron monitor to create a self-contained retro gaming system with an old school terminal vibe.
The FC-PVM is a Japanese NES in a box, with its own monitor and a pair of original controllers modded to have wireless functionality. It’s also much more than that. It’s what the Famicom might have looked like if the modern age that technology futurists imagined in the 1950s and 1960s had come to fruition.
Love’s designs are always as utilitarian as they are striking. The wireless controllers store inside the unit behind a removable panel when not in use. The power and reset buttons are a pair of keyboard-style switches topped with red keycaps. In this photo of the set, the teal color of the Japanese Rockman 5 cartridge complements the retro design. The top of the unit has several cartridge storage slots, integrating the quirky Japanese cartridge colors into the design.
The FC-PVM is a piece of custom hardware that my fingers ache to touch. I want to place it in a room with corn-colored wallpaper and brown shag carpet and play with it while sitting on the floor, my grandmother’s cigarette smoke hanging in the air. As it’s not for sale and my grandmother passed away when I was 17, the best I can do is watch Love fiddle with it on video.
Check out Love’s Instagram and website for more of his glorious retro tech creations.