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SYFY WIRE video games

Gaming: Star Wars podracing classic rerelease; Crysis remaster coming to Switch; more

By Benjamin Bullard
Star Wars Episode I Racer game

Who’s down to show Sebulba what they’re made of once again? Fans of the Star Wars podracing adrenaline rush that kept a generation of would-be Anakins glued to their Nintendo 64s will have a crack at reliving the whole experience in HD, when an updated version of Star Wars Episode I: Racer crosses the finish line next month.

Tasked with putting a current-gen refresh on the 1999 speed classic, developer Aspyr (the studio behind both Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy) revealed the release date this week for Racer, now “modernized" to play with current game controllers, and look good on your TV screen while doing it.

Star Wars Episode I Racer on Nintendo Switch

Speaking with, Aspyr’s James Vicari said Racer makes for an obvious choice for reviving a blast from the past.

“[G]ood games should never be forgotten and great games deserve to be revisited as much as possible,” he said. “I think Racer, like Jedi Academy and Jedi Outcast before it, has two crucial qualities: it’s a great game and it has emotional resonance. Those are very important to us. We really believe in reuniting fans with something they cherished, or connecting a new audience with something they may have missed.”

As the images show, the new version is less a full remake than a faithfully-curated HD update of the original, expanded for widescreen display and reworked with higher-resolution full-motion video. But that’s all the convincing we need to strap in for another ride through one of the most compelling gaming thrills to emerge from the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Best of all, the update is already rounding the final turn. Star Wars Episode I: Racer speeds to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch on May 12.

Back in 2007, PC gamers who could afford it went out of their way to customize their systems to handle what was, at the time, the most graphically-impressive game in existence: Crysis, the soliders-versus-aliens sci-fi shooter that pushed players — and their gear — to the limits.

Fast forward 13 years, and developers Crytek and Saber Interactive are about to make Crysis a whole lot more accessible, thanks to the announcement of Crysis Remastered for all major consoles (and, of course, PC). Fans had been buzzing for weeks over internet rumors that the game could be making a comeback, and this week Crytek made it official with a brief but sweet-looking new trailer that reminds everyone what a critical smash the original game was.

Reviewers and fans alike tripped over themselves in the rush to praise the original Crysis for its lavish environments and graphics card-straining visual details, and the short glimpse at the the updated version hints players can expect more of the same. Crytek hasn’t revealed a release date yet, but when it arrives, it’ll land on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch — the first time any version of the game has shown up on a Nintendo console.

Well, if you’ve lost all hope of ever paying off your house, at least you can adorn it with timeless works of art. Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the Getty Museum are teaming up to bring virtual masterpieces from the Getty’s open-access collection into your Animal Crossing living room.

Getty Museum Animal Crossing art

Thanks to the museum’s new “Animal Crossing Art Generator,” you can impress Tom Nook with a spruce-up that includes painted classic’s from Van Gogh and Renoir, all by scanning a QR code through the Nintendo Switch Online app. According to the Getty, its open-access collection is entirely searchable so you can transport pieces like Van Gogh’s Irises right into your game, “where it can be used on clothing, wallpaper, canvas, and more,” according to the museum.

You know you’re never going to clear that bank note, so you might as well settle in and make your island paradise look a little more presentable. For full instructions on how to class up your Animal Crossing: New Horizons digs, head on over the the Getty’s step-by-step instruction page.