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Red Dead Redemption II

So... have you played it yet?

Rockstar is back in our gaming lives with another highly-anticipated, massively open world choose-your-own-adventure game: Red Dead Redemption II. The game has been on fan radars as far back as 2016, but its debut officially marks the start of what's typically high-profile release season for gamers. Even without Sony firming up dates for the likes of Death Stranding or Last of Us II new iterations from beloved franchises like Super Smash Bros. or Halo are on the way. (And have we mentioned Valve made its first new game in five years? Artifact arrives in late November.)

This all means some big name games will likely be on our minds (and our site) frequently in the last two months of 2018. So for this week's Orbital Transmission, we want to highlight a few of the other bits of recent gaming news to be aware of before all that video game brain capacity gets devoted entirely to gameplay hours. (As always, remember to enjoy all the upcoming screentime responsibly.)

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Orbital Transmission 10.30.2018
A screen from the new Assassin's Creed game

The new Assassin's Creed, a revelation beyond the browser

Assassin's Creed, stodgy old predictable game, may be a thing of the past. The latest edition (Odyssey) has become a gameplay pioneer by partnering with Google for in-browser streaming gameplay, but it's now also being praised for its extreme, Mr. Robot-esque obsession with detail. Historians have even taken to Twitter with a hashtag (#ACademicOdyssey) to praise the dev team's historian and their dedication to things like distinctions between Athens and Sparta art.

Abandoned CPU hardware

Library of Congress gives abandoned MMORPG fans new hope

We see it all the time: some gaming company shuts down game servers unexpectedly to leave current fans (and future gaming historians) out in the cold. Sony did this just last week. Well, last week the Library of Congress announced its latest batch of approved DMCA exemptions, and it includes a limited legal right for video game preservationists to restore online games that have been "abandoned" by their creators to a playable form. The news isn't all good (boy, are there hoops to jump through!), but it's a step in the right direction for Habitat diehards and their ilk.

A Wii remote made for GameCube

It's a Wii-mote, but for a GameCube(?!)

Last weekend, a Japanese auction site revealed an incredibly rare version of Nintendo's Wii remote: one designed for the GameCube. At least one game developer has already attested to its legitimacy. The previously unrevealed remote controller sold for ~$663 at auction, and it looks incredibly similar to what eventually launched for the Wii. The button layout and shape of the remote looks quite similar, and it includes a paired "nunchuk" controller and sensor bar. But unlike the wireless Wii controller that eventually launched in 2006, this one is hardwired—and includes a GameCube controller connector at the end of its apparently long cord.

Concept art for gaming classic, Star Control II

Star Control II remains the GOAT (srsly, trust us)

Curious about the age of some Ars staff? To put it in perspective, a not insignificant amount of us think Star Control II remains one of the greatest games of all time. It's the last title in the sorely missed Starflight-style space exploration/RPG genre that flourished in the 1980s and '90s. So when we recently got the chance to sit down for extended session with creators Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III—listening as they walked us through dev War Stories or ideas that landed on the cutting room floor—well, we freaked out. And then they shared the freakin' original concept art. O_o

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