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SYFY WIRE Castlevania

Gaming: Castlevania whips out anniversary collection; Minecraft Earth blocks out AR game

By Benjamin Bullard
Castelvania Bloodlines gameplay

Konami may not have been around as long as Dracula (yet), but in honor of its 50th anniversary, the company’s been rolling out commemorative digital bundles for some of its most iconic games — and it’s just raised the coffin lid on its darkest nostalgia trip yet: the Castlevania Anniversary Collection.

Packing in no fewer than eight of the early console titles that helped establish Castlevania as an equal contributing partner in popularizing the addictive "Metroidvania" style of 2D side-scrollers, the bundle is “designed to be a collection around the origins of the historic franchise,” according to Konami. 

Check out the launch trailer below for a dimly lit stroll down retro gaming’s dark corridors:

Here’s the rundown for the bundle’s eight classic titles, which also are accompanied by The History Castlevania: Book of the Crescent Moon, an eBook filled with Castlevania tidbits “provided by developers, artists and other inspired by the Castlevania legacy,” Konami teases.

Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
Castlevania: The Adventure
Super Castlevania IV
Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge
Kid Dracula
Castlevania Bloodlines

While there’s sadly no physical release planned, all eight games plus the eBook clock in at $19.99, and Konami’s giving us tons of ways to get our retro vamp on: Castlevania: The Anniversary Collection is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam.

After mysteriously teasing an intriguing new Minecraft AR game project a few days back, Microsoft has now revealed what it is: Minecraft Earth, a mobile game that will let you reshape your landscape via your smart phone, one virtual building block at a time.

More than just a diversion that lets you use AR to round out your scenery with blocky objects, Minecraft Earth also will come with the same crafting features, strategic defense objectives, and even collaborative play you’ve come to expect from previous installments. Check out the trailer to see it in action:

Microsoft hasn’t set a firm release date, saying simply that a closed beta version is rolling out sometime this summer and the game will go public sometime after. The game will be free to play when it arrives for smart devices — but when you’re finally out there on the sidewalk living out your virtual architecture fantasies, just be sure to look both ways before crossing the actual street.

Finally, Blizzard is about to take fans on a different kind of nostalgia trip — although you won’t have to go back to the late 1970s for this one. The World of Warcraft maker has taken the wraps off its plans for World of Warcraft Classic, a present-day reboot of the immensely popular MMORPG that powered similar titles (including Blizzard’s own later Warcraft and Overwatch releases) to the levels of popularity they enjoy now.

Made to evoke the familiar team raiding look and gameplay of the original World of Warcraft, which first debuted in 2004, this version is something close to a ground-up rebuild of a game whose technical assets have long since been eclipsed by more modern gaming tech. Via Engadget, Classic will represent the original version of WoW “at its most refined form, around the ‘Drums of War’ update from August 2006.”

Anyone with a current WoW membership will be able to play World of Warcraft Classic for free, while everyone else can buy into the game just as with any conventional MMORPG. Although a select few current WoW subscribers are being directly invited to a limited beta ahead of the game’s official launch, Blizzard will debut the full game on Aug. 26.