Mario’s 35th Birthday, Seen This Mysterious Red Door?

TODAY: New ESA report says 75% of US households have at least one gamer — Nintendo is rolling out a tsunami of merchandise for Mario’s 35th anniversary — New Oculus headset is ready for mass production

Top Story

Red Door appears on Microsoft Store

The mysterious Call of Duty-related title Red Door has now appeared on both Microsoft Store and PlayStation Store. But what is it?

The listing says: “There is more than one truth. If you go looking for answers, be ready to question everything and accept that nothing will ever be the same. The Red Door awaits, do you dare step through it?” The store page says it is a shooter from Activision weighing in at over 80 GB, but it requires a code for download.

Internal project: The PlayStation Store content ID says “COD2020INTALPHA1”, and there is speculation that it’s the codename for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War – but Activision is keeping mum.

Running with it: The deafening silence might well be intentional: Acitivision seems to want Red Door to stay mysterious. Originally developed by Raven Software and Sledgehammer Games, Treyarch is now in charge of the project.

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

Which Mario game introduced Waluigi to the Mushroom Kingdom?

  • Mario Tennis
  • Mario Golf
  • Paper Mario and The Thousand Year Door
  • Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today’s issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.

Daily Fact

The programmer behind SimCopter easter egg later founded The Yes Men

Whether you love or hate Simlish, you have SimCopter from 1996 to thank for it. The experimental helicopter game was originally intended for the failed Nintendo 64 Disk Drive add-on, allowing you to fly around cities built in SimCity.

SimCopter is a pretty quirky game, and featured an Easter Egg that would spawn loads of half-naked men who would surround your chopper and, well, get it on! The programmer responsible didn’t win any employee of the year awards, and was fired while the game was recalled.

The programmer in question, Jacques Servin, clearly liked messing with people’s heads, and went on to found the culture jamming group The Yes Men.

Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss today’s fact.

Game Industry Report

ESA report says 75% of US households have at least one video game player

The Entertainment Software Association has been compiling statistics about the games market in the United States, and made some interesting observations.

Their 2020 Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry report says: “More than 214 million people in the United States today play video games one hour or more per week. 75% of all U.S. households have at least one person who plays. In sum, 64% of U.S. adults and 70% of those under 18 regularly play video games.”

2020 Essential Facts highlights:

  • Average player age is 35 to 44
  • 75% of household have at last one gamer
  • Approximately 46 million gamers with disabilities
  • 214.4 million total video game players in US
  • 70% of under-18s are playing video games
  • 59% of gamers are male and 41% female
  • 75% of men between 18 and 34 game on console
  • 77% of women between 18 and 34 play mobile games
  • Most common devices among adult players:
    • 61% smartphone
    • 52% game console
    • 49% personal computer

Mind games: What’s the most common motivations for playing videogames in the US? “The vast majority of players say video games provide mental stimulation (80 percent) and relaxation (79 percent). Video games help to connect us, and 65 percent of players say they play with others online or in person,” reads the ESA report. Read the 2020 Essential Facts report if you want to know more.

Mario's 35th Anniversary

Mario-themed Monopoly and Jenga part of Super Mario 35th anniversary

Nintendo is planning a veritable tsunami of Super Mario merchandise to celebrate the rotund plumber’s 35th anniversary.

Leaks and listings from Amazon suggest Mario-themed versions of Monopoly and Jenga later this summer, alongside the LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System set and a UNIQLO collection of Mario-themed clothes. There is also an anniversary Twitter account that has yet to tweet.

Re-release plans: There are also rumours claiming Nintendo will re-release parts of the Super Mario back catalogue for Switch, including Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and Super Mario Galaxy. Super Mario 3D World is apparently also being remastered.

VR Bits

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners ‘Meatgrinder’ update stumbles online

The Meatgrinder update is finally here, promising a slew of updates for one of the year’s biggest VR games. The most important addition is a horde mode called The Trial which lets you pick an arena and slug it out with wave after wave of zombies.

There’s also a new Story Mode difficulty setting for the campaign that offers a much less strenuous journey through zombie-infested New Orleans. Finally, there’s the new katana weapon called Absolution so you can slice and dice dead meat to your heart’s content. To mark the occasion, there’s a 20% discount on Steam.

Unofficial VR mod for Outer Wilds

Members of the Outer Wilds Discord community have created the NomaiVR mod for Outer Wilds, allowing you to enjoy the planet exploring adventure in a whole new way.

The mod is compatible with both the Epic Game Store and Steam versions of the game, but you’ll need a pretty beefy PC to run it – and a strong stomach, since much of the game takes place in zero gravity. You can find instructions and download the mod from the team’s Github page.

New Oculus headset enters production

Nikkei reports a new Oculus headset is coming soon: “The new Facebook Oculus VR headset will enter mass production around the end of July.”

There haven’t been any leaks or even many rumours about a new headset, although data miners have found clues suggesting a new Oculus Quest is on the way. If the new headset is an updated Quest, expect higher resolution and refresh rate, but nothing groundbreaking.

What Else Happened Today?

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Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

Which Mario game introduced Waluigi to the Mushroom Kingdom?

Answer: Mario Tennis!

It’s fair to say that Waluigi is one of the most enigmatic Nintendo characters.

His origin story is straightforward: Wario needed a doubles partner, and what’s more natural than a bad Luigi? Like Wario, Waluigi is a pun on the Japanese word warui, which means bad. While he has been a staple of Nintendo’s sports games ever since, he has yet to appear in any other games.

He plays a prominent role in Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix, where he serves as villain and steals the four music keys to cause chaos in the Mushroom Kingdom. That’s pretty mild even by Mario standards, so Waluigi has a bit of work to do before he can compete with Bowser. But don’t worry, Waluigi – you have already stolen our hearts!

Today’s issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, Christian Vaz and Jamie Davey.