I’m a 17-year-old Fortnite gamer who’s won over $646,000 in two years since going pro. I average about 10 hours of gaming daily.

Diego in front of monitor.JPG Diego Palma
Palma became eligible to play professionally at age 14 and says he practices playing Fortnite for 10 hours a day.

I was 4 years old when my papá first introduced me to my two loves, soccer and gaming.

When I wasn’t running around on the soccer field, I’d sit on his lap for hours at a time, playing World of Warcraft and completing quests together.

By the time I turned five, at bedtime, he’d read me horror fiction stories by H.P. Lovecraft that took place in a fictional Massachusetts town known as Arkham, which became the inspiration behind my screen name.

Baby Diego Palma on his dad's computer.
Baby Diego Palma on his dad’s computer.

As I grew up, I kept playing soccer, eventually reaching the varsity level. During my sophomore year of high school in 2017, I tore my meniscus while playing and had to have surgery. The doctors said I couldn’t play for at least a year.

While recovering from my injury, I started getting into gaming.

I wanted a PC like the gamers so I wound up taking a part-time job as a soccer referee at little kids’ matches on weekends. When I saved up enough money, I bought computer parts and built my own PC with the help of my stepfather, Chris.

Diego Palma before his knee surgery
Palma heading into knee surgery after his injury.

That summer, Fortnite was released and I started playing it a lot. My goal initially was to just play better than all of my friends – until I heard about the 2018 Fortnite Royale tournament at the Oakland Esports Arena.

I told my parents I didn’t only want to compete, but I planned to win.

At first, my papá was hesitant, but eventually he agreed to take me. According to him, he figured he’d shell out the $10 entry fee and I’d get eliminated quickly and we could leave.

Instead, I ended up coming in second place for North America in the open competition. But since I was only 13 and at the time, you needed to be 14 years old to qualify, I couldn’t progress any further. I ended up taking home $500 worth of prizes – but more importantly, one of the organizers told my father I was playing at such a high level I could probably go pro.

That year I started playing in a league where thousands of other players all competed through playing scrims, where it took months trying my best to work my way up the ranks to eventually make it into the pro discord.

In 2019, at the age of 14 when I became eligible to play professionally, I signed with 100 Thieves, a California-based pro-gaming organization which is still kind of surreal to me. Being part of the 100 Thieves team means representing the organization in any branding events they have, like a photoshoot or promotional video. I also have to stream a certain number of hours every month.

Diego Palma and Dr. Disrespect (1).JPG
Palma meeting popular video game streamer Dr. Disrespect.

Shortly after going pro, I had my first big career win when I took home fifth place in the Fortnite World Cup, July 17, 2019. It was an amazing experience because we played inside a huge stadium with a massive crowd. My partner at the time, Brendan Falconer, and I won a combined $900,000.

Since going pro two years ago, I’ve won over $646,000 competing.

I’ve also earned additional money through my corporate sponsorships. People often ask what I do with all my winnings but besides upgrading my PC from time to time, I don’t really spend any of it. I’m not flashy and I don’t need much. I want to ensure I plan for my future. My papá created a custodial brokerage account to invest my money in the market and I also have a financial planner for a retirement plan.

Diego and Falconer going to Sweden (1)
Fellow gamer Brendan Falconer and Palma traveling to a competition in 2019.

Before winning the World Cup my identity was largely hidden since school was already out for the summer when I signed with 100 Thieves. Things were different when I started a new school in the fall. Suddenly because of my World Cup win, everyone knew who I was and the attention was overwhelming. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without a bunch of kids following me in to ask me questions. I was stressed and miserable.

I told my parents I wanted to transition to an online school, I even said I’d pay for it with my earnings. My papá and my stepmom along with my three siblings understood how badly I wanted to go remote because they saw firsthand how unhappy I was.

At first, my mamita resisted the idea because she was concerned about how it might affect my future chances in college and higher education. It was a difficult time for my family because I had to take a stand and advocate for myself. Finally, after many discussions, it all worked out, and together we decided online school would be the best alternative for me and it has been. I’m glad because my family is the most important thing in the world to me.

Attending online school has given me a lot more flexibility in terms of my assignments and my schedule so I can continue to pursue gaming and still graduate high school this year.

Being an esports gamer is like playing any other sport in that a lot of discipline is required.

I take practice very seriously and average about 10 hours playing Fortnite daily.

The game saves everything, so it’s similar to when pro athletes watch the tape to see their performance and review their mistakes. A lot of what we do doesn’t come naturally. We have to prepare, train, analyze, and develop strategies and when you play on a team like I do, you have to collaborate.

I play in a trio for 100 Thieves along with fellow players Rehx and Epik Whale. I’m the captain of the team. No one ever officially made me the captain, it just sort of happened because I’m a very strategic thinker and a planner so I often guide the team into the best spot. I’m pretty calm, which is important when you are directing people and strategizing together.

The pandemic has stopped all live events, which I do miss. I got to fly to places like New York City and Sweden to compete and that was a lot of fun.

Diego Palma, father, stepmom and siblings (1).JPG
A younger Palma pictured with his father, stepmom, and siblings.

When I’m not doing homework or practicing for a competition, I relax by watching horror movies, kicking around the soccer ball, and playing other video games like Escape from Tarkoff, because at the end of the day, I’m still a teenager.

My advice to anyone looking to get into pro-gaming is to start with the basics.

Practice aiming and perfecting mechanics. Also, take the time to watch videos of pros playing for strategies. My brother Pablo is 16 and wants to go pro like me. The biggest tip I give him is to always make sure to review his old games so he can learn from his mistakes. That’s the most important thing you can do if you want to improve.

As for future plans, my parents want me to continue my education at some point after I graduate high school but for right now, my focus is on being the best player I can be and winning more tournaments.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Legendary investor Bill Miller sold GameStop stock before the short squeeze, missing out on a potential $800 million windfall

bill miller
Bill Miller.

  • Bill Miller’s fund sold almost all of its GameStop shares before their price rocketed in January.
  • Miller Value Partners’ 1.7 million shares would have been worth over $800 million.
  • The veteran investor’s team dumped 97% of its stake because it hadn’t paid off for years.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Legendary investor Bill Miller’s fund sold virtually all of its GameStop stock before the January short squeeze, missing out on a potential $800 million windfall.

Miller Value Partners invested in the video-games retailer in early 2014. It initially bought 1.2 million shares, then boosted its stake to almost 1.7 million shares by the end of 2015, SEC filings show. Its position was worth as much as $68 million earlier that year, when GameStop shares were trading around $43.

If Miller’s fund had held on to its shares, they would have been worth as much as $808 million on January 28, when GameStop’s stock price briefly skyrocketed to $483. Even if they declined to cash out then, their stake would be worth about $270 million at the current stock price of around $160.

However, Miller and his team slashed their position by 97% to roughly 32,000 shares in the first quarter of 2018. “We’ve owned this investment for a number of years and it has yet to work,” Samantha McLemore, Miller’s co-portfolio manager of the Opportunity Equity strategy, explained at the time. While GameStop remained “one of the cheapest companies on the market,” she and Miller ditched it to “avoid perpetual losers.”

Notably, the fund’s Income Strategy bought GameStop shares in May 2019. However, Miller and his son swiftly dumped them after the retailer scrapped its dividend and failed to lay out a clear turnaround plan.

“We cut bait so quickly that we didn’t even own the stock for a full quarter,” Bill Miller IV said in a letter to investors, describing the move as their “biggest mistake” in the period.

The third and final strategy, Deep Value, appears to be holding on. Daniel Lysik, the portfolio’s manager, described GameStop shares as “significantly mispriced” in the first quarter of 2019, and trumpeted their “significant upside potential” last October.

Read more: We asked 5 renowned growth-fund managers for their favorite stock picks. These are the 4 that multiple managers think will crush the market going forward.

Miller’s fund owned a total of 116,000 GameStop shares at the end of December, or about 7% of the amount it held back in 2015. Assuming it hasn’t already sold them, they would fetch around $20 million today.

Miller Value Partners declined a request for comment from Insider.

Here’s a chart tracking the size and value of Miller’s GameStop holdings over the past seven years:

Miller_GameStop

Read the original article on Business Insider

Sony’s PlayStation 5 remains hard to find months after its launch – here are the latest details on where to buy the next-gen console

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

PlayStation 5 PS5 Product Line
  • Sony’s PlayStation 5 launched with two models- the $500 standard PS5 and a $400 digital edition.
  • The PS5 has been consistently sold out since release, but retailers have been restocking weekly.
  • We’ll continue to update this post with purchase options and new details about PS5 availability.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyPlayStation 5 (small, Preferred: Best Buy)Playstation 5 (All-Digital) (small, Preferred: Best Buy)

Sony’s PlayStation 5 launched worldwide in November 2020, but it’s still one of the hardest items to buy in stores, whether you’re looking for the $500 standard edition or the $400 all-digital edition. Retailers have primarily been selling PS5s online, but the high demand makes them a target for resellers, many of whom use automated tools to purchase the consoles as soon as they’re available.

We’ve seen weekly restocks of the PS5 at retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, GameStop, and Sony’s own PlayStation Direct store. Walmart usually announces PS5 restocks a few hours before consoles are available online. GameStop sends emails to subscribers ahead of PS5 restocks but typically only makes the PlayStation 5 available in bundles.

Amazon and Newegg have also made PS5 consoles available, though on a less consistent basis. Newegg uses a raffle system to give shoppers a chance to buy rare items like the PlayStation 5.

In February, PlayStation President Jim Ryan told the Financial Times that PlayStation 5 consoles will likely be in low supply until the second half of the year.

We’ll keep this post updated as we get more information about PS5 restocks, but ultimately you’ll need to keep checking multiple stores and get a bit lucky with timing to secure the console. For detailed thoughts on the PS5’s performance, you can read our full PlayStation 5 review here.

Where to buy a PS5: stores and price

PlayStation 5 price
The digital edition of the PlayStation 5 doesn’t have a disc drive.

Several stores including Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Target, and Newegg have regularly restocked PlayStation 5 consoles since launch, but they typically sell out as soon as they’re available online. Some GameStops have had consoles for sale in-store, but availability depends on when they’re shipped.

The PlayStation 5 comes in two different models — one that has a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray drive and a “digital edition” with no disc drive at all. The standard model is priced at $500, and the digital edition is priced at $400.

At popular sites for resellers, like eBay and StockX, you can expect to pay between $700 or $800 for the PlayStation 5.

You can check the links below to see if the PS5 is currently available at each retailer; we’ll update this post if a specific store announces a restock.

PlayStation 5 (Standard Edition) 

PlayStation 5 (Digital Edition)

Tips for buying the PS5

Setting up PS5 console
A gamer sets up the new Sony Playstation PS5 at his home in Seoul after Sony launched the new console.

Buying the PlayStation 5 has been a struggle since release, but retailers have been making a steady stream of consoles available. If you have a preferred store, you should look into setting stock alerts with their online tools.

Third-party stock-tracking websites like HotStock.io can tell you when a store last had the PlayStation 5 in stock and let you set alerts for multiple retailers. A reseller who made more than $40,000 reselling PS5 consoles last year shared more specific tips on how to find the console online.

If you encounter issues while trying to check out with an online retailer, keep trying to refresh the product page to add the console and make sure the PS5 is available and in your cart. If possible, create an account with your preferred retailer and enter your payment and shipping information in advance to help the checkout process move quickly.

PlayStation 5 specifications

PlayStation 5 Digital Edition PS5 DE Render

The PlayStation 5 boasts much more powerful hardware than the PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro. Upgrades include a solid state hard drive and a graphics card capable of ray-tracing technology.

For detailed impressions, check out our full PlayStation 5 review here.

PlayStation 5 accessories

PlayStation 5

The new PlayStation 5 family of peripherals haven’t been nearly as hard to find as the console itself, though they’re not of much use without the main course. That said, they do complement the features of the PlayStation 5, so we’ve taken to the time to explain what they all do.

Sony’s $70 DualSense controller is a worthy successor to the PS4’s popular DualShock, implementing a built-in microphone, haptic feedback for adjustable trigger tension, and advanced rumble features while also improving the battery life and adopting a USB-C charging cable.

Wireless Controller for PS5 (small)

The $100 Pulse 3D headset is a direct successor to the gold and platinum wireless headsets Sony released for the PlayStation 4. The headset has an adjustable band, built-in microphone, and hardware buttons for mute, voice monitoring, and volume. While the Pulse 3D headset is worth the investment, PS5’s 3D audio features will also work with any third-party headset that’s been licensed for use on PS4.

Pulse 3D Wireless Headset (small)

The $30 PlayStation media remote might look appealing, but for $30 you can find a better or cheaper universal remote to control the console. Several smart TV brands also let you control the PS5 with your standard TV remote too, so it’s worth giving that a try before making this investment.

PlayStation 5 Media Remote (small)

The $30 DualSense charging stand can charge two controllers and makes for a nice stand alongside the PS5, but it doesn’t actually charge your controllers any faster than using a regular cable.

PlayStation 5 DualSense Charging Station (small)

The $60 HD camera can be used for streaming in full 1080p and even has a background removal tool, but it cannot be used as a microphone like the PlayStation 4 camera. Luckily, you can just use the DualSense’s built-in mic to communicate while playing.

PlayStation 5 HD Camera (small)

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 50 best video games of all time, according to critics

"Super Mario Bros."
  • The 50 best games of all time are a surprisingly diverse list of games spanning decades of consoles.
  • There are iconic household names, cult classics, and forgotten gems.
  • Did your favorite game make the list? Let’s find out.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

There are dozens of ways you could put together a list of the best video games ever made.

You could look to classics, like “Super Mario Bros.” You could look at impact on the medium, or highest sales. You could write down your personal favorites on pieces of paper, then throw them into the air. Where the pieces land? That’s your list!

But what we’ve got here is something slightly more scientific. Reviews aggregation site Metacritic compiles all reviews of games, then it averages those scores into an overall average. What you’ll find below is the top 50 highest-rated games of all time, based on the averages obtained by Metacritic.

One quick disclaimer!

Super Mario

We made one small change: Since there are a handful of duplicates on the list (multiple versions of the same game, released on multiple platforms), we’re using the highest-ranked version of the game to make room for a handful of games that wouldn’t have otherwise made the list.

Without further ado, these are the 50 best video games of all time:

50. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2”

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 6.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Modern Warfare 2’ continues the gripping and heart-racing action as players face off against a new threat dedicated to bringing the world to the brink of collapse. An entirely new gameplay mode which supports 2-player co-operative play online that is unique from the single player story campaign. Special Ops pits players into a gauntlet of time-trial and objective-based missions. Rank-up as players unlock new Special Ops missions, each more difficult. Missions include highlights from the single player campaign, fan favorites from ‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’ and all new, exclusive missions. Setting a new bar for online multiplayer, ‘Modern Warfare 2’ multiplayer delivers new capabilities, customization, game states and modes, including: Create-a-Class Evolved. Secondary Weapons – Machine Pistols, Shotguns, Handguns, Launchers. Riot Shields. Equipment – Throwing Knives, Blast Shield, Tactical Insertion. Perk Upgrades. Bling (Dual Attachments). Customizable Killstreaks – AC130, Sentry Gun, Predator Missile, Counter-UAV, Care Package. Accolades (Post match reports).”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, OS X

Buy it here >>

49. “Final Fantasy IX”

Final Fantasy IX

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The last ‘Final Fantasy’ for the PlayStation, ‘Final Fantasy IX’ returns to the pure fantasy roots that spawned the series. This latest installment features highly detailed characters, vehicles, and environments, and breathtaking cinema-graphics. The addition of brand new features such as the story-enhancing Active Time Event system and the return of mini-games that grant additional gameplay make ‘Final Fantasy IX’ not only a memorable gaming experience, but also a significant step forward in the series.”

Platforms:  PlayStation, iOS, Android, PC, PlayStation 4

Buy it here >>

48. “BioShock Infinite”

BioShock Infinite (The Collection)

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Once conceived as a floating symbol of American ideals at a time when the United States was emerging as a world power, Columbia has been dispatched to distant shores with great fanfare by a captivated public. What begins as a brand new endeavor of hope turns drastically wrong as the city soon disappears into the clouds to whereabouts unknown. The player assumes the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to the lost city to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman imprisoned there since childhood. He develops a relationship with Elizabeth, augmenting his abilities with hers so the pair may escape from a city that is literally falling from the sky. DeWitt must learn to fight foes in high-speed Sky-Line battles, engage in combat both indoors and amongst the clouds, and engage the power of dozens of new weapons and abilities.

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Buy it here >>

47. “World of Goo”

World of Goo

Critic score: 94/100

User score: 8.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘World of Goo’ is a physics based puzzle / construction game. The millions of Goo Balls that live in the beautiful ‘World of Goo’ don’t know that they are in a game, or that they are extremely delicious.”

Platforms: Wii, PC, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS, Nintendo Switch

Buy it here >>

46. “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain”

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 7.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Following the prologue Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain concludes the Metal Gear Solid V experience by following the story of the protagonist of the series, Big Boss (a.k.a. Snake). The Metal Gear Solid V experience is Creator and Director Hideo Kojima’s first time incorporating open world gameplay to the groundbreaking Metal Gear franchise.”

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Buy it here >>

45. “Portal 2”

portal 2

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Portal 2’ is the sequel to the title named “Game of the Year” 2007 by over 30 publications around the world. ‘Portal 2’ promises to break new ground in next generation gaming by expanding the award-winning recipe of innovative gameplay, immersive story, and creative inclusion of music while also introducing multiplayer co-op game modes.”

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Buy it here >>

44. “Persona 5 Royal”

Persona 5 Royal

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Prepare for an all-new RPG experience in Persona 5 Royal based in the universe of the award-winning series, Persona! Don the mask of Joker and join the Phantom Thieves of Hearts. Break free from the chains of modern society and stage grand heists to infiltrate the minds of the corrupt and make them change their ways! Persona 5 Royal is packed with new characters, confidants, story depth, new locations to explore, and a new grappling hook mechanic for stealthy access to new areas. With a new semester at Shujin Academy, get ready to strengthen your abilities in the metaverse and in your daily life. Persona 5 Royal presents a unique visual style and award nominated composer Shoji Meguro returns with an all-new soundtrack. Explore Tokyo, unlock new Personas, customize your own personal Thieves Den, discover a never-before-seen story arc, cutscenes, alternate endings, and more! Even for the most seasoned Phantom Thieves among us, Persona 5 Royal is a new challenge to defy conventions, discover the power within, and fight for justice. Wear the mask. Reveal your truth.”

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Buy it here >>

43. “Madden NFL 2003”

Madden NFL 2003

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 7.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Take Your Game Online: Access an online community where you can meet, chat, and play head-to-head against other gamers. Audio Dream Team: Dynamic play-by-play and analysis by Madden and Michaels. All-New Mini-camp: Hop on John Madden’s Cruiser Tour Bus and travel to all NFL cities to complete skilled tasks. Create-A-Playbook: Customize receiver routes, player formations, and your team’s entire playbook. Deepest Franchise Mode Ever: Play 30 years of Franchise mode and draft players each season with tips from your scouts.”

Platforms: Game Boy Advance, PC, GameCube, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox

Buy it here >>

42. “The Last of Us”

last of us

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Twenty years after a pandemic radically transformed known civilization, infected humans run amok and survivors kill one another for sustenance and weapons – literally whatever they can get their hands on. Joel, a salty survivor, is hired to smuggle a fourteen-year-old girl, Ellie, out of a rough military quarantine, but what begins as a simple job quickly turns into a brutal journey across the country.”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

Buy it here >>

41. “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask”

Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Thrown into a parallel world by the mischievous actions of a possessed Skull Kid, Link finds a land in grave danger. The dark power of a relic called Majora’s Mask has wreaked havoc on the citizens of Termina, but their most urgent problem is a suicidal moon crashing toward the world. Link has only 72 hours to find a way to stop its descent.”

Platforms: Nintendo 64, Nintendo 3DS

Buy it here >>

40. “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past”

a link to the past

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In a ‘Link to the Past,’ Link travels between the light world and the dark world, conquering fierce monsters and uncovering Hyrule’s deepest secrets along the way.”

Platforms: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy Advance, Virtual Console (various platforms)

Buy it here >>

39. “Halo 2”

Halo 2

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The Covenant alien race threatens to destroy all humankind, and the only thing standing in its way is Master Chief, a genetically enhanced supersoldier. Master Chief returns in ‘Halo 2,’ which features new vehicles, weapons, environments, and more. This time, you can interact with your environment, wield two weapons at the same time, board opponents’ vehicles, and even switch sides to play the role of a Covenant Elite. ‘Halo 2’ also supports broadband multiplayer action via Xbox Live.”

Platforms: Xbox, Xbox One

Buy it here >>

38. “Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec”

Gran Turismo 3

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “With the addition of two new courses (a downtown Tokyo circuit and the Monte Carlo Grand Prix course), an impressive range of cars (from Vipers to Cooper Minis), and a soundtrack featuring everything from Lenny Kravitz to Jimi Hendrix, this highly anticipated title is finally ready to be driven.”

Platform: PlayStation 2

Buy it here >>

37. “Red Dead Redemption”

red dead redemption

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Developed by Rockstar San Diego, as a follow up to the 2004 hit game ‘Red Dead Revolver,’ ‘Red Dead Redemption’ is a Western epic, set at the turn of the 20th century when the lawless and chaotic badlands began to give way to the expanding reach of government and the spread of the Industrial Age. The story of former outlaw, John Marston, ‘Red Dead Redemption’ takes players on a great adventure across the American frontier. Utilizing Rockstar’s proprietary Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE), ‘Red Dead Redemption’ features an open-world environment for players to explore, including frontier towns, rolling prairies teeming with wildlife, and perilous mountain passes – each packed with an endless flow of varied distractions. Along the way, players experience the heat of gunfights and battles, meet a host of unique characters, struggle against the harshness of one of the world’s last remaining wildernesses, and ultimately pick their own precarious path through an epic story about the death of the Wild West and the gunslingers that inhabited it.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Buy it here >>

36. “The Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition”

The Legend of Zelda (NES)

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Receive four complete classic Zelda games all on one disc when you buy the Zelda GameCube Bundle: ‘The Legend of Zelda,’ ‘Zelda II – The Adventure of Link,’ ‘The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,’ ‘The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.'”

Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System, Virtual Console (various platforms)

Buy it here >>

35. “LittleBigPlanet”

LittleBigPlanet

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 6.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In ‘LittleBigPlanet,’ players meet on a blue and green planet scattered with individual plots – and use their character’s amazing abilities to play, create and share what they build with other gamers throughout the world via the PlayStation Network. The ‘LittleBigPlanet’ experience starts with players learning about their character’s powers to interact physically with the environment. There are places to explore, creative resources to collect and puzzles to solve – all requiring a combination of brains and collaborative teamwork. As soon as players begin their creative skills will grow and they will soon be ready to start creating and modifying their surroundings – the first step to sharing them with the whole community. Characters have the power to move anything in this glued and stitched-together 3D landscape; they have the power to design, shape and build both objects and entire locations for others to view and play. There’s no complicated level editor; all of these skills can be learned by simply playing the game. Creativity is part of the gameplay experience and playing is part of the creative experience. Players can make their world as open or as secretive to explore as they like. When it’s ready, they can invite anyone within the LittleBigPlanet community to come and explore their patch – or can go and explore everybody else’s.”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

Buy it here >>

34. “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”

Grand Theft Auto 3: Vice City

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 8.7/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Welcome to Vice City. Welcome to the 1980s. Having just made it back onto the streets of Liberty City after a long stretch in maximum security, Tommy Vercetti is sent to Vice City by his old boss, Sonny Forelli. They were understandably nervous about his re-appearance in Liberty City, so a trip down south seemed like a good idea. But all does not go smoothly upon his arrival in the glamorous, hedonistic metropolis of Vice City. He’s set up and is left with no money and no merchandise. Sonny wants his money back, but the biker gangs, Cuban gangsters, and corrupt politicians stand in his way. Most of Vice City seems to want Tommy dead. His only answer is to fight back and take over the city himself. Vice City offers vehicular pleasures to suit every taste. For the speed enthusiast, there’s high-performance cars and motorbikes. For the sportsman, a powerboat or a golf buggy lets you enjoy the great outdoors. For those that need that sense of freedom and escape, why not charter a helicopter and see the beauty of Vice City from the air.”

Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Fire OS

Buy it here >>

33. “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”

Grand Theft Auto 3: San Andreas

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Five years ago Carl Johnson escaped from the pressures of life in Los Santos, San Andreas… a city tearing itself apart with gang trouble, drugs and corruption. Where film stars and millionaires do their best to avoid the dealers and gangbangers. Now, it’s the early 90s. Carl’s got to go home. His mother has been murdered, his family has fallen apart and his childhood friends are all heading towards disaster. On his return to the neighborhood, a couple of corrupt cops frame him for homicide. CJ is forced on a journey that takes him across the entire state of San Andreas, to save his family and to take control of the streets.”

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, Mac, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Fire OS

Buy it here >>

32. “Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn”

Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

Critic score: 95/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “An epic continuation of the story that began in ‘Baldur’s Gate,’ this RPG is set along the southern portion of the Sword Coast, a detailed and rich area of the Forgotten Realms called Amn. It features 300 spells and 130-plus monster types compared to only 130 spells and 60 monster types in ‘Baldur’s Gate.'”

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux

Buy it here >>

31. “Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty”

Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (HD)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Since the incident on Shadow Moses Island, Metal Gear’s top-secret technology has been leaked into the black market through the machinations of Revolver Ocelot. As a result, countless variations of Metal Gears have sprung up in every corner of the globe, making the weapon an increasingly common component of the armed forces of nuclear powers. In the midst of all of this, Solid Snake, now a member of the anti-Metal Gear group ‘Philanthropy,’ has learned that a new prototype Metal Gear has been developed by the U.S. Marines and is being transported in secret to an unknown destination. To learn more about this new machine, Snake must infiltrate the transport, disguised as a tanker, as it makes its way down the Hudson River. Just as Snake is about to begin his mission, however, the ship is seized by a mysterious and well-armed group bent on stealing the new Metal Gear for their own, nefarious purposes

Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Vita

Buy it here >>

30. “Gran Turismo”

Gran Turismo (PlayStation 1)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.6/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Welcome to the most advanced racing game ever created! Encounter exhilarating high-speed racing in 11 stunning environments. Feel handling agility and throttle response so convincing, the car seems to be an extension of yourself. Experience the extraordinary world of ‘Gran Turismo’!”

Platform: PlayStation

Buy it here >>

29. “The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker”

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In this ninth entry in the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series, Link debuts on GameCube with a fun new cel-shaded look, but the game stays true to the respected heritage of the series. The classic mix of sword-swinging action, perplexing puzzles and stirring story lines remains intact, but the stunning cel-shaded graphics give the people and places of Link’s watery world a wildly artistic new look. And for the very first time, Link sails freely on the high seas. Join Link on his most epic and scenic adventure yet. Face unimaginable monsters, explore puzzling dungeons, and meet a cast of unforgettable characters as he searches for his kidnapped sister, Aryll.”

Platforms: GameCube, Wii U

Buy it here >>

28. “Half-Life”

Half-Life

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “‘Half-Life’ combines great storytelling in the tradition of Stephen King with intense action and advanced technology to create a frighteningly realistic world where players need to think smart to survive. ‘Half-Life’ has won more than 50 Game of the Year awards from publications around the world, and was named ‘Best PC Game Ever’ in PC Gamer’s November 1999 issue.”

Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 2

Buy it here >>

27. “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim”

skyrim

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The next chapter in the ‘Elder Scrolls’ saga arrives from the Bethesda Game Studios. Skyrim reimagines the open-world fantasy epic, bringing to life a complete virtual world open for you to explore any way you choose. Play any type of character you can imagine, and do whatever you want; the legendary freedom of choice, storytelling, and adventure of ‘The Elder Scrolls’ is realized like never before. Skyrim’s new game engine brings to life a complete virtual world with rolling clouds, rugged mountains, bustling cities, lush fields, and ancient dungeons. Choose from hundreds of weapons, spells, and abilities. The new character system allows you to play any way you want and define yourself through your actions. Battle ancient dragons like you’ve never seen. As Dragonborn, learn their secrets and harness their power for yourself.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Buy it here >>

26. “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess”

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U)

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.1/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In the next chapter in the ‘Legend of Zelda’ series, Link can transform into a wolf to scour the darkened land of Hyrule. With the help of Midna, a mysterious being, you must guide Link through hordes of foul creatures and challenging bosses using new moves and a new horseback combat system. Many puzzles stand between Link and the fulfillment of his quest, so you must sharpen your wits as you hunt for weapons and items.”

Platforms: GameCube, Wii

Buy it here >>

25. “Mass Effect 2”

Mass Effect 2

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The ‘Mass Effect’ trilogy is a science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life forms and mysterious uncharted planets. In this dark second chapter, Saren’s evil army of Geth soldiers has just been defeated, and humans, who are still struggling to make their mark on the galactic stage, are now faced with an even greater peril.”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

Buy it here >>

24. “Tekken 3”

Tekken 3

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.1/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “An ancient evil force has reawakened, attacking in secret and feeding on the souls of mighty warriors. To lure it out of hiding will take the greatest fighting contest the world has ever seen…Tekken 3. Some are fighting for revenge, some for honor. Ultimately, all are fighting for their lives and the fate of all mankind.”

Platforms: PlayStation, Arcade

Buy it here >>

23. “Batman: Arkham City”

arkham city batman

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.7/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Developed by Rocksteady Studios, ‘Batman: Arkham City’ builds upon the intense, atmospheric foundation of ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum,’ sending players soaring into Arkham City, the new maximum security ‘home’ for all of Gotham City’s thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds. Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City, this highly anticipated sequel introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Buy it here >>

22. “The Orange Box”

"Portal"

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Games included in The Orange Box compilation: The original Half-Life 2 – The player again picks up the crowbar of research scientist Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. And a lot of people – people he cares about – are counting on him. ‘Half-Life 2: Episode One’ – The player reprises his role of Dr. Freeman, who must immediately face the repercussions of his actions in City 17 and the Citadel. Freeman reconnects with Alyx Vance and her robot, Dog, as they continue their support of the resistance’s battle against the Combine forces. ‘Half-Life 2: Episode Two’ — the second installment in Valve’s episodic trilogy advances the award-winning story, leading the player to new locations outside of City 17. ‘Portal’ – a pioneering type of single player action game that rewrites the rules for how players approach and manipulate their environment – much like how Half-Life 2’s Gravity Gun reinvented the way gamers interact with objects in the game. ‘Team Fortress 2’ – an all-new version of the legendary title that spawned team based multiplayer action games. The game’s daring new art style features the most advanced graphics of any Source-based game released to date.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Linux, Mac

Buy it here >>

21. “Resident Evil 4”

resident evil 4

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In ‘Resident Evil 4’ players are reacquainted with Leon S. Kennedy, Raccoon City Police Department’s idealistic rookie cop from ‘Resident Evil 2.’ It has been six years since the destruction of Raccoon City and in that time, the U.S. government has been able to destroy the nefarious Umbrella Corporation. Fast forward to 2004 and players rejoin Leon, who is now a U.S. agent with a top-secret mission. He has been tasked to look into the abduction of the President’s daughter and his investigation has led him to a mysterious location in Europe. As Leon encounters unimaginable horrors, he must find out who or what is behind everything.”

Platforms: GameCube, PlayStation 2, Microsoft Windows, Wii, Zeebo, iOS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Android, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Buy it here >>

20. “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves”

uncharted 2 among thieves ps3 game

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Fortune hunter Nathan Drake returns in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, a third-person action-adventure/shooter created by award-winning developer Naughty Dog. Down on his luck, Drake is lured back into the treacherous world of thieves and mercenary treasure-seekers he had sought to leave behind. When a mysterious artifact propels Drake on an expedition to find the legendary Himalayan valley of Shambhala, he finds himself embroiled in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse against a fugitive war criminal who’s after more than just the fabled riches of the lost city. Caught in a web of deception and plunged into an increasingly deadly pursuit that tests the limits of his endurance, Drake will be forced to risk everything – but has his luck finally run out?”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

Buy it here >>

19. “GoldenEye 007”

"GoldenEye 007"

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.1/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “You are Bond. James Bond. You are assigned covert operations connected with the GoldenEye weapons satellite. M will brief you on your mission and objectives from London. Q Branch will support your efforts with a plentiful supply of weapons and gadgets. Moneypenny offers you light-hearted best wishes and you’re off! Your mission begins in the heavily guarded chemical warfare facility at the Byelomorye Dam in the USSR. Look and shoot in any direction as you navigate 12 interactive 3-D environments. Use stealth and force as you see fit in matters of international security. Consider the military personnel expendable. You are licensed to kill!”

Platform: Nintendo 64

Buy it here >>

18. “BioShock”

bioshock

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 8.9/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Going beyond ‘run and gun corridors,’ ‘monster-closet AIs’ and static worlds, BioShock creates a living, unique and unpredictable FPS experience. After your plane crashes into icy uncharted waters, you discover a rusted bathysphere and descend into Rapture, a city hidden beneath the sea. Constructed as an idealistic society for a hand picked group of scientists, artists and industrialists, the idealism is no more. Now the city is littered with corpses, wildly powerful guardians roam the corridors as little girls loot the dead, and genetically mutated citizens ambush you at every turn. Take control of your world by hacking mechanical devices, commandeering security turrets and crafting unique items critical to your very survival. Upgrade your weapons with ionic gels, explosives and toxins to customize them to the enemy and environment. Genetically modify your body through dozens of Plasmid Stations scattered throughout the city, empowering you with fantastic and often grotesque abilities. Explore a living world powered by Ecological A.I., where the inhabitants have interesting and consequential relationships with one another that impact your gameplay experience. Experience truly next generation graphics that vividly illustrate the forlorn art deco city, highlighted by the most detailed and realistic water effects ever developed in a video game. Make meaningful choices and mature decisions, ultimately culminating in the grand question: do you exploit the innocent survivors of Rapture…or save them?”

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Mac, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iOS

Buy it here >>

17. “Half-Life 2”

Half-Life 2

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “By taking the suspense, challenge and visceral charge of the original, and adding startling new realism and responsiveness, ‘Half-Life 2’ opens the door to a world where the player’s presence affects everything around him, from the physical environment to the behaviors — even the emotions — of both friends and enemies. The player again picks up the crowbar of research scientist Gordon Freeman, who finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. And a lot of people — people he cares about — are counting on him.”

Platforms: PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac, Linux, Android

Buy it here >>

16. “NFL 2K1”

NFL 2K1

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 6.3/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “In the end, NFL 2K1 is a deeper, more refined version of the original game.”

Platform: Dreamcast

Buy it now >>

15. “Halo: Combat Evolved”

Halo: Combat Evolved

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 8.6/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Enter the mysterious world of Halo, an alien planet shaped like a ring. As mankind’s super soldier Master Chief, you must uncover the secrets of Halo and fend off the attacking Covenant. During your missions, you’ll battle on foot, in vehicles, inside, and outside with alien and human weaponry. Your objectives include attacking enemy outposts, raiding underground labs for advanced technology, rescuing fallen comrades, and sniping enemy forces. ‘Halo’ also lets you battle three other players via intense split screen combat or fight cooperatively with a friend through the single-player missions.”

Platforms: Xbox, PC, Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Buy it here >>

14. “Super Mario Odyssey”

Super Mario Odyssey

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Mario embarks on a new journey through unknown worlds, running and jumping through huge 3D worlds in the first sandbox-style Mario game since ‘Super Mario 64’ and ‘Super Mario Sunshine.’ Set sail between expansive worlds aboard an airship, and perform all-new actions, such as throwing Mario’s cap.”

Platform: Switch

Buy it here >>

13. “Grand Theft Auto III”

Grand Theft Auto 3

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 8.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Players are put at the heart of their very own gangster movie, and let loose in a fully-realized 3 dimensional city with a cast of hundreds, 50 plus vehicles, ranging from sports cars to ice cream trucks and from boats to buses, 3 hours of music, including opera, reggae, house, drum and bass, pop and disco, and a huge array of street ready weapons.”

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PC, Xbox, Mac, Android, iOS, Fire OS

Buy it here >>

12. “Metroid Prime”

metroid prime

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.3/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Samus returns in a new mission to unravel the mystery behind the ruined walls scattered across Tallon IV. In Metroid Prime, you’ll play the role of this bounty hunter and view the world through her visor, which displays information ranging from current energy levels to ammunition. Equipped with a Power Beam and Gravity Suit, you must shoot locked switches, solve puzzles, and eliminate enemies. It’s up to you to explore the world and recover more power-ups and weapons, which gradually open more gameplay areas.”

Platforms: GameCube, Wii

Buy it here >>

11. “Perfect Dark”

Perfect Dark (N64)

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Step into the Dark… As Carrington Institute’s most promising new Agent, Joanna Dark must uncover the truth behind the dataDyne Corporation’s recent technological breakthroughs – breakthroughs which could have serious consequences for mankind.”

Platforms: Nintendo 64, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Buy it here >>

10. “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3”

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 7.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Challenge up to four friends in online competitions over a LAN or the Internet. Take them on in both Trick Attack and Graffiti modes.”

Platforms: PlayStation 2, PlayStation, Game Boy Color, GameCube, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, PC, Nintendo 64, Mac

Buy it here >>

9. “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 8.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Forget everything you know about The Legend of Zelda games. Step into a world of discovery, exploration and adventure in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a boundary-breaking new game in the acclaimed series. Travel across fields, through forests and to mountain peaks as you discover what has become of the ruined kingdom of Hyrule in this open-air adventure. Explore the wilds of Hyrule any way you like.”

Platforms: Wii U, Switch

Buy it here >>

8. “Grand Theft Auto V”

grand theft auto v

Critic score: 96/100

User score: 7.8/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Los Santos: a sprawling sun-soaked metropolis full of self-help gurus, starlets and fading celebrities, once the envy of the Western world, now struggling to stay alive in a time of economic uncertainty and cheap reality TV. Amidst the turmoil, three very unique criminals plot their own chances of survival and success: Franklin, a street hustler looking for tangible opportunities and serious money; Michael, a professional ex-con whose retirement is less rosy than he figured it would be; and Trevor, a violent dude driven by the opportunity for a cheap high and his next big score. With options at a premium, the crew risks it all in a myriad of daring and dangerous heists that could set them up for life.”

Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC

Buy it here >>

7. “Red Dead Redemption 2”

Red Dead Redemption 2

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 7.7/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): ” Developed by the creators of ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ and ‘Red Dead Redemption,’ ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ is an epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland. The game’s vast and atmospheric world also provides the foundation for a brand new online multiplayer experience. America, 1899. The end of the Wild West era has begun. After a robbery goes badly wrong in the western town of Blackwater, Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang are forced to flee. With federal agents and the best bounty hunters in the nation massing on their heels, the gang has to rob, steal and fight their way across the rugged heartland of America in order to survive. As deepening internal fissures threaten to tear the gang apart, Arthur must make a choice between his own ideals and loyalty to the gang that raised him.”

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4

Buy it here >>

6. “Super Mario Galaxy 2”

Super Mario Galaxy 2

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.1/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Super Mario Galaxy 2, the sequel to the galaxy-hopping original game, includes the gravity-defying, physics-based exploration from the first game, but is loaded with entirely new galaxies and features to challenge players. On some stages, Mario can pair up with his dinosaur buddy Yoshi and use his tongue to grab items and spit them back at enemies. Players can also have fun with new items such as a drill that lets our hero tunnel through solid rock.”

Platform: Wii

Buy it here >>

5. “Super Mario Galaxy”

Super Mario Galaxy

Critic score: 97/100

User score: 9.0/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “The ultimate Nintendo hero is taking the ultimate step … out into space. Join Mario as he ushers in a new era of video games, defying gravity across all the planets in the galaxy. When some creature escapes into space with Princess Peach, Mario gives chase, exploring bizarre planets all across the galaxy. Mario, Peach and enemies new and old are here. Players run, jump and battle enemies as they explore all the planets in the galaxy. Since this game makes full use of all the features of the Wii Remote, players have to do all kinds of things to succeed: pressing buttons, swinging the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk, and even pointing at and dragging things with the pointer. Since he’s in space, Mario can perform mind-bending jumps unlike anything he’s done before. He’ll also have a wealth of new moves that are all based around tilting, pointing and shaking the Wii Remote. Shake, tilt and point! Mario takes advantage of all the unique aspects of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controller, unleashing new moves as players shake the controller and even point at and drag items with the pointer.”

Platform: Wii

Buy it here >>

4. “SoulCalibur”

SoulCalibur

Critic score: 98/100

User score: 8.6/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “This is a tale of souls and swords, transcending the world and all its history, told for all eternity… The greatest weapons-based fighter returns, this time on Sega Dreamcast. Soul Calibur unleashes incredible graphics, fantastic fighters, and combos so amazing they’ll make your head spin!”

Platforms: Dreamcast, iOS, Arcade, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Buy it here >>

3. “Grand Theft Auto IV”

Grand Theft Auto IV

Critic score: 98/100

User score: 7.5/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “What does the American Dream mean today? For Niko Belic, fresh off the boat from Europe. It’s the hope he can escape his past. For his cousin, Roman, it is the vision that together they can find fortune in Liberty City, gateway to the land of opportunity. As they slip into debt and are dragged into a criminal underworld by a series of shysters, thieves and sociopaths, they discover that the reality is very different from the dream in a city that worships money and status, and is heaven for those who have them an a living nightmare for those who don’t.”

Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

Buy it here >>

2. “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2”

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2

Critic score: 98/100

User score: 7.4/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “Hawk’s back – with new technology, new pros and new tricks! ‘THPS2,’ the legend rides on! Skate as legendary Tony Hawk or any one of 12 other pro skaters. Create your own custom skaters. Multiple play modes including 1-Player, Career and Free Skate modes, as well as 2-player modes such as Trick Attack, Graffiti Tag and Horse. Build your own custom skate parks with the real-time 3D park editor”

Platforms: PlayStation, PC, Game Boy Color, Dreamcast, Mac, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, iOS, Xbox

Buy it here >>

1. “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Critic score: 99/100

User score: 9.2/10

Plot summary (from Metacritic): “As a young boy, Link is tricked by Ganondorf, the King of the Gerudo Thieves. The evil human uses Link to gain access to the Sacred Realm, where he places his tainted hands on Triforce and transforms the beautiful Hyrulean landscape into a barren wasteland. Link is determined to fix the problems he helped to create, so with the help of Rauru he travels through time gathering the powers of the Seven Sages.”

Platforms: Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, Virtual Console (various platforms)

Buy it here >>

Read the original article on Business Insider

GameStop just made its third hire from Amazon as the game retailer continues poaching new executives from the tech giant

gamestop store ps5
  • GameStop is reshaping its executive suite around former Amazon leaders.
  • The company’s latest hire is Elliott Wilke, who will serve as chief growth officer at GameStop.
  • Chewy cofounder and former CEO Ryan Cohen is leading a committee overseeing the changes at GameStop.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Yet another former Amazon leader is joining GameStop’s rapidly changing C-suite: Elliott Wilke will serve as the company’s new chief growth officer starting in April.

Wilke, who oversaw a variety of initiatives at Amazon, joins former Amazon fulfillment director Jenna Owens (COO) and former Amazon Web Services engineering lead Matt Francis (CTO) on GameStop’s executive team.

The executive shakeup at the ailing video game retailer comes amid a company-wide “transformation” overseen by board member and activist investor Ryan Cohen.

After taking a 12.9% stake last year through his investment firm RC Ventures, Cohen has made major changes at GameStop. First, he oversaw a string of C-suite departures and hirings. Then, he was appointed leader of a new committee overseeing a company-wide “transformation.”

That transformation has led to major changes in the company’s executive suite and its board.

CEO George Sherman is the only remaining board member from before Cohen got involved with the company. Jim Bell, the company’s CFO, is said to have been pushed to resign by the company’s board. Soon after, CCO Frank Hamlin resigned.

Similarly, the board has seen major changes – Cohen and two of his former colleagues from Chewy, the company he cofounded and ran, occupy three of the board’s five seats.

Ryan Cohen - Chewy
Ryan Cohen.

Alongside the hiring of Wilke, GameStop announced two additional hires from Cohen’s former company: The former Chewy VPs of merchandising, Tom Petersen, and marketing, Andrea Wolfe, are joining GameStop in similar roles.

Cohen himself has kept quiet across the last several months, but he’s taken to Twitter to share GIFs and images. His most recent tweet is a GIF from the movie “Ted,” of the titular character smoking a bong. On the most recent GameStop earnings call, Cohen did not appear.

Representatives for Cohen did not respond to requests for comment as of publishing.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Wall Street darling Ryan Cohen is clearing house at GameStop, bringing in e-commerce experts to transform it into the Amazon of gaming

ryan cohen millennial activist investor 2x1
Chewy cofounder and former CEO Ryan Cohen.

  • Chewy cofounder and former CEO Ryan Cohen is bringing big changes to GameStop’s leadership.
  • By June, Cohen and his colleagues will control the majority of the company’s board.
  • Cohen has also overseen major changes to the company’s executive suite.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The co-founder and CEO who convinced Wall Street that pets are big business has a new pet project: Turning GameStop into the Amazon of gaming.

After taking a 12.9% stake last year through his investment firm RC Ventures, Cohen has made major changes at GameStop. First, he oversaw a string of c-suite departures and hirings. Then, he was appointed leader of a new committee overseeing a company-wide “transformation.” Now, he’s taking over the company’s board.

A whopping eight board members are stepping down, GameStop said regulatory filing on Wednesday. That leaves only Cohen, his former Chewy colleagues Jim Grube and Alan Attal, kindred spirit/activist investor Kurt Wolf, and current CEO George Sherman as board members.

From a board that currently has 13 members, the new GameStop board of directors will have just five. And at least four of those five members are working together: Cohen, Grube, Attal, and Wolf.

Notably, former Nintendo of America president and well-known video game personality Reggie Fils-Aimé is among the board members stepping down in June. He lasted just over a year in the position.

Reggie Fils Aime Nintendo Switch
Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé.

As for the executive team, CEO George Sherman is the only remaining member from before Cohen got involved with the company. Jim Bell, the company’s CFO, is said to have been pushed to resign by the company’s board. Soon after, CCO Frank Hamlin resigned.

Cohen openly criticized Sherman, his c-suite, and GamesStop’s directors in a letter to the board about the company’s overall direction in late 2020.

Sherman, “appears committed to a twentieth-century focus on physical stores and walk-in sales, despite the transition to an always-on digital world,” Cohen said. He added that the board lacks “the type of strategic vision” necessary for GameStop, “to pivot toward becoming a technology-driven business that excels in the gaming and digital experience worlds.”

In his letter, Cohen said the company, “needs to evolve into a technology company that delights gamers and delivers exceptional digital experiences – not remain a video game retailer that overprioritizes its brick-and-mortar footprint and stumbles around the online ecosystem.”

Since Cohen joined the company’s board in January, taking charge of a “strategic” committee soon after, the company has made a string of high-profile hires from the likes of Amazon and – you guessed it – Chewy.

  • Former Amazon Web Services engineering lead Matt Francis was hired in February as the company’s new chief technology officer.
  • Former Amazon fulfillment director Jenna Owens was hired in March to serve as the company’s new chief of operations.
  • Alongside Owens’ hiring, Chewy’s former ecommerce lead Neda Pacifico was hired on as senior VP of ecommerce in March.

Cohen himself has kept quiet across the last several months.

He has repeatedly declined interview requests, and his Twitter timeline is primarily GIFs and images. His most recent tweet is a GIF from the movie “Ted,” of the titular character smoking a bong. On the most recent GameStop earnings call, Cohen did not appear.

Representatives for Cohen and GameStop did not respond to requests for comment as of publishing.

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

Read the original article on Business Insider

With GameStop’s stock price still exploding, the ailing game retailer is considering selling new units to fund its future

WallStreetBets logo
WallStreetBets is the name of the popular Reddit forum where the initial GameStop short squeeze began.

  • GameStop’s stock price is still wildly inflated at just over $180 per share as of Tuesday afternoon.
  • The ailing retailer may take advantage of that inflated price by selling new units, it said Tuesday.
  • Those sales would fund the company’s ongoing “transformation” led by activist investor Ryan Cohen.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Ailing video game retailer GameStop has yet to cash in on the ongoing stock bubble impact its stock.

As of Tuesday afternoon, GameStop was trading at just over $180 per share – a tenfold increase over where it was before the bubble. But that could be about to change, according to a new SEC filing from GameStop.

“Since January 2021,” the filing says, in reference to when the stock bubble emerged, GameStop leadership has been “evaluating” whether it should “potentially sell shares.”

Read more: These are the kinds of charlatans who show up when Wall Street gets weird

One major issue with GameStop selling its own stock during a bubble is, of course, perception: GameStop leadership knows the current stock value is massively inflated, and selling stock right now could look pretty bad.

The filing acknowledges as much with a list of factors that are impacting its decision, including “capital needs and alternative sources and costs of capital available to us, market perceptions about us, and the then current trading price.”

Any money the company made from those sales could be used “to fund the acceleration of our future transformation initiatives,” the filing says. GameStop is currently amidst a “transformation” led by activist investor, board member, and former Chewy CEO Ryan Cohen.

As the leader of a new committee at the company, Cohen is attempting to do for GameStop what he did with Chewy: take on and defeat Amazon in a specific category of ecommerce.

At Chewy, it was pets. At GameStop, of course, it’s gaming.

ryan cohen millennial activist investor 2x1
Activist investor Ryan Cohen, of RC Ventures, owns 12.9% of GameStop’s shares.

Just over two years ago, in early 2019, GameStop’s stock value fell off a cliff: It dropped from about $16 per share to under $4.

And it stayed in that range for just shy of two years.

Even in 2020, while the video-game business (including GameStop) had huge gains during coronavirus lockdowns, GameStop’s stock price remained in the gutter. As recently as last August, the largest video-game retail chain in the world had a stock value of less than $5 per share.

But in the second half of 2020, with big financial names like Cohen and Michael Burry buying up shares in the ailing retailer, things started looking up. The company’s share value gradually increased until it outright surpassed its pre-collapse value in late 2020.

And then things got really weird: Between January 20 and January 26, GameStop’s stock value leaped from just over $35 per share to north of $140 per share. By January 27, it hit new highs of over $325 per share – an over 8,000% increase from just a few months ago.

Two months later, it’s late March and GameStop’s stock value still hasn’t returned to pre-bubble levels: As of this afternoon, it was trading at just over $180.

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GameStop reports $215 million loss in fiscal 2020, misses fourth-quarter expectations

gamestop store ps5
  • After a huge year for video games, GameStop reported its Q4 and fiscal 2020 earnings on Tuesday.
  • The company missed estimates, with $5 billion in revenue and a $215 million loss for the year.
  • GameStop has struggled over the past few years as consumers increasingly turn to digital storefronts.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Ailing video game retailer GameStop reported its fourth-quarter 2020 earnings on Tuesday afternoon, which also included the company’s fiscal year results ending February 1, 2021.

The company’s report came in shy of analyst expectations for the year, with $5 billion in revenue – a decrease from the previous fiscal year revenue of $6.4 billion dollars. For the fourth quarter, GameStop similarly missed expectations, with $2.1 billion in revenue.

The company lost $215 million in the 12 months ending February 1, 2021.

Here are the key numbers to watch from GameStop’s Q4/FY 2020 earnings:

  • Q4 2020 revenue: $2.1 billion. Analysts were expecting $2.2 billion.
  • FY 2020 revenue: $5.08 billion. Analysts were expecting $5.27 billion.

Despite the massive impact of the pandemic on video game sales in 2020, GameStop failed to reach analyst expectations.

“Our emphasis in 2021 will be on improving our E-Commerce and customer experience, increasing our speed of delivery, providing superior customer service and expanding our catalogue,” GameStop CEO George Sherman said in a press release.

The company previously highlighted supply constraints with new game consoles from Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox as a mitigating factor.

GameStop stores “experienced unprecedented demand for recently launched gaming consoles,” the company said in January. “While consumer demand far outpaced constrained supply,” the statement said, “these products will drive sales well into 2021 as console availability from our suppliers improves later in the year.” Sony has said it expects to have a more steady supply of its wildly popular PlayStation 5 console by some time in the fall.

GameStop’s ongoing “transformation”

Before becoming a “meme stock,” GameStop was at the early stages of a “transformation” led by activist investor, board member, and Chewy cofounder Ryan Cohen. Cohen’s investment firm, RC Ventures, owns 12.9% of GameStop – making Cohen the second-largest single shareholder.

The company announced in early January that Cohen and two of his former Chewy lieutenants would become new members of the board. Pending a vote in June, the trio will make up one-third of the board’s membership.

Soon after Cohen joined the board, major c-suite changes began as part of the “transformation.”

Amazon vet Matt Francis was hired on as the CTO in early February. A former Amazon Web Services engineering lead, he’s tasked with, “overseeing e-commerce and technology functions” for GameStop.

Then, in late February, CFO Jim Bell was suddenly forced out of his role at the company. The board of directors “lost faith” in Bell, according to a person familiar with the decision who spoke with Insider. This morning, ahead of the earnings release, another executive departed the company. And on Tuesday afternoon, another former Amazon exec was added to the company’s c-suite: Jenna Owens, who previously worked for Amazon and Google.

Developing

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Get used to playing 2020’s biggest video games: The pandemic is devastating this year’s lineup

Gran Turismo 7
Upcoming PlayStation 5 game “Gran Turismo 7” is among the group of games that have already been delayed out of 2021.

  • In 2020, the video game industry enjoyed explosive profits with more people than ever stuck indoors.
  • In 2021, the game release calendar is slimmer than ever and several major games are being delayed.
  • For many of these games, the difficulty of development during a pandemic is the cause of the delay.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

When the COVID-19 pandemic caused millions of Americans to shelter in place starting in early March 2020, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” was just days away from launch.

The combination of the game’s charming atmosphere, its busywork, and a sudden infusion of free time for millions of people turned “Animal Crossing” into one of Nintendo’s biggest hits in years.

It was one of several games that had especially strong sales in 2020 – the benefit of accidentally lining up launch with a totally unexpected global pandemic. But with 2020 rapidly fading into the past, the other impact of the pandemic on the video game industry is starting to emerge: Several of this year’s biggest games have already been delayed to 2022 due to development struggles related to the pandemic.

The developers of a marquee PlayStation 5 game, “Gran Turismo 7,” directly cited the impact of the pandemic for their delay.

Gran Turismo 7

Making the game was, “impacted by COVID-related production challenges,” Sony told GQ in late February. The game’s launch was moved from 2021 into 2022.

“With the ongoing pandemic, it’s a dynamic and changing situation and some critical aspects of game production have been slowed over the past several months,” the statement said.

For a game series like “Gran Turismo,” which intends to simulate real-life racing, pandemic-related development challenges abound: There is no way to capture the sound of an engine, or to model a real-life car, or to track a race, without being there in person.

But even without the added complications of creating a racing video game, several other major video games have been pushed out of the 2021 launch window into next year.

Hogwart's Legacy
“Hogwarts Legacy” takes place in the 1800s.

A long-in-development game based on the “Harry Potter” book franchise was scheduled to launch in 2021: “Hogwarts Legacy” will have players creating their own wizard and progressing through a unique story set long before the events of the books.

Though the game has been cooking for at least the last three years, WB Games announced a delay to 2022 back in early January.

“Creating the best possible experience for all of the Wizarding World and gaming fans is paramount to us so we are giving the game the time it needs,” a statement published on Twitter said.

It’s one of two major games from Warner Bros. that have been pushed back into next year.

Gotham Knights

“Gotham Knights,” a Batman spinoff game, was also just recently delayed into next year.

Instead of playing as the Dark Knight, players control Nightwing, Batgirl, Robin, and Red Hood in a Gotham City that has no Batman. Players will have to wait until at least 2022 to give it a shot.

“We are giving the game more time to deliver the best possible experience for players,” the statement said.

Notably, it’s still March – there’s a lot of 2021 left, which means these games likely have a long way to go before they’re ready for publishing. That’s especially notable right now, in early 2021, when new owners of new consoles from Xbox and PlayStation are desperately in need of new games to play.

This isn’t a surprise problem: Xbox leader Phil Spencer even warned about the impacts of the pandemic on 2021’s game lineup in an interview with Insider back in May 2020, as did Nintendo leadership in a May 2020 investor call. Though all three major console makers have a handful of major games on the horizon, 2021’s game release calendar for each is looking slim.

When Nintendo laid out its plans for the first half of the year in a recent video presentation, fans largely balked: Aside from a new “Mario Golf” game, there are next-to-no heavy hitters scheduled for launch on the Switch in the first six months of 2021.

As coronavirus vaccines are distributed worldwide, and work on video games returns to some semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy, the cadence of game launches will assuredly return.

For now, though, 2021 is looking light on major games – and the pandemic is largely to blame.

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It’s not just you: It’s still nearly impossible to buy a PlayStation 5

PlayStation 5 purchase
A customer buying Sony’s PlayStation 5.

  • It’s been over five months since the PlayStation 5 launched, and it’s still very difficult to buy.
  • Despite regular restocking, PS5 consoles sell out instantly through Sony and major chains.
  • Supply of the console isn’t expected to meet demand until this fall at the earliest, Sony said.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

When the PlayStation 5 launched in fall 2020, it was nearly impossible to find.

Five months later, with spring just days away, Sony’s wildly popular game console remains as elusive as ever.

Though resupplies have been frequent, demand for the PS5 continues to vastly outstrip supply. And when the resupplies do go live, people overwhelm digital storefronts in a mad dash to maybe, hopefully, finally get a PlayStation 5.

More often than not, they are met with disappointment.

During a three-hour PS5 resupply marathon that Walmart spaced out in ten minute intervals on Thursday, Insider repeatedly encountered errors or crashes while trying to purchase the console. The item couldn’t be added to the cart, or the website would hang while trying to load, or it simply did nothing after clicking an input.

Each time, even when the website did technically “work,” the same result: The resupply sold out instantly.

Walmart websites, PS5 restock, March 2021
A restock of the PS5 was made available at 3:00 pm. By 3:01 pm., supplies were exhausted.

Those issues were echoed by other people attempting to buy the new console.

“I was able to add the PS5 to my cart, get all the way to the payment method, and then it said item out of stock,” one Twitter user said.

“None of it is working,” another Twitter user said. “I keep trying and it [doesn’t] want to let me get it in the cart.”

Those same errors and near-instant sellouts persisted in ten minute intervals throughout the three hours of PS5 stock resupplies on Walmart’s web store.

Beyond the technical issues retailers are having, and the overwhelming demand from consumers for Sony’s latest PlayStation console, many are still being swept up by resellers – some of whom are using bots to beat out human buyers.

A quick look at resale websites like StockX demonstrates why: Resellers are offering the PS5 for about $730 as of this week – just shy of a 50% markup over the $500 retail price of a PlayStation 5 model with a Blu-ray disc drive. Over on eBay, both versions of the PlayStation 5 are going for $700 and up.

eBay PlayStation 5
The top results for PlayStation 5 consoles in the “Buy it Now” section of eBay.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like Sony will be able to catch up with demand anytime soon.

In several interviews in late February, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan warned of an ongoing supply issue continuing through the second half of 2021.

“By the time we get to the second half [of the year], you’re going to be seeing really decent numbers indeed,” PlayStation boss Jim Ryan told the Financial Times in February. Though the company has, “been relentless in terms of trying to increase production,” he said, some obstacles are out of the company’s hands.

The global microchip shortage and the ongoing global pandemic are both impacting Sony’s ability to produce more PS5s, for instance, but Ryan said the supply situation, “will start to get better hopefully quite quickly.”

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