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Gaming: Google Stadia’s old-school Easter egg, System Shock 3 teaser, and more

By Benjamin Bullard
Google Stadia logo

If Google wanted to lay down some instant old-school street cred with its first foray into the world of video game hardware, it’s probably getting a big 1UP from the 8-bit gods — thanks to the Easter egg that comes stenciled onto its new Stadia controller.  

After announcing the all-new Stadia platform at this week’s Game Developers Conference, Google sat back and waited as fans discovered the system’s first new bit of viral marketing: a callback to the “Konami code” — that up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A button-mashing sequence that proved a lifesaver for countless fans of Konami titles, like Contra and Gradius, on the original Nintendo Entertainment System.

Punching in the code when you visit the Stadia website might not give you 30 extra lives, but already it yields a close-up, 360-degree photo of the system’s controller. The controller itself even sports the code on its front face, although it’s not yet known whether there’ll be more secret doors for the code to unlock in the future — or if it’s little more than a clever bit of launch-day branding.

Google revealed the Stadia’s hardware-service hybrid concept alongside some robust support from major developers and software companies, including the announcement of Bethesda’s Doom Eternal as a launch title. There’s no firm release date yet for Stadia, but it’s expected to arrive sometime before the end of this year.

Things have changed a bit since our last check-in with the ongoing attempt at a present-day revival for System Shock, the landmark 1994 dystopian game that would go on to inspire the BioShock franchise. 

Developer OtherSide Entertainment, which has picked up publishing rights for the long-developing sequel, revealed a brief teaser trailer for System Shock 3 at GDC this week, and it gives us a first glimpse at SHODAN, the sinister AI that powered much of the narrative behind the 1994 original:

Perhaps most assuring is the involvement of original System Shock producer Warren Spector, who’s already helped the new development team bring the game past the halfway point to completion, as an update revealed just last month. While we wait for a release date (and hopefully lots more game footage), there’s plenty of time to go back and check out the original game on Steam — or to track down more the more recent dystopian titles (like Deus Ex and BioShock) that System Shock helped spawn. 

If Lara Croft can do it, why can’t we? That’s the impetus for a new documentary from Square Enix that follows one pro BASE jumper who set out to emulate, in real life, her tomb-raiding hero’s in-game animated acrobatics. 

Released this week to YouTube as a free, hour-long feature, The Making of a Tomb Raider follows BASE jumper and mountain biker Clair Marie as she tests her limits by recreating some of the most iconic action moments from Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider

The whole feature is a killer case of life imitating art in truly risk-taking fashion, and comes alongside a week-long promotion that slashes the price of Shadow of the Tomb Raider by 50 percent, and the Season Pass by 33 percent. 

The sale runs until March 25, and it’s only for Xbox One versions of the game. Regardless of how you play, though, don’t let that stop you from getting your raid on: Shadow of the Tomb Raider is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.