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The CivWorld Experiment: A Preface July 29, 2011

Posted by Colin in Humor, Opinion, Personal.
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Starting on Monday we’re going to engage in a little experiment here in the Pixelation Room. If you’re not aware, Kotaku’s Civilized Game Club will be looking at Sid Meier’s CivWorld – the persistent, free-to-play (yes, that again) Facebook iteration of Sid Meier’s Civilization. I’ll be participating in the discussion about this game and posting a review here on Pixelation Room. That being said, I want to lay out some points I’ll be exploring as this experiment goes on. First and foremost,  gamers can’t really ignore mobile and browser games anymore. Zynga, the company behind Farmville and other games your mom plays on Facebook, has the potential to make over a billion dollars in the next year: Face it, mobile games are a real thing. They’re addicting time sinks that expertly play on the psychological reward system built into the brains of human beings, and they’re one of the big reasons people use facebook. As late as last year, sixty percent of Facebook’s traffic came from people playing online games. Mark Zuckerberg should probably thank Zynga for all the traffic, but his future looks grim right now:

Read more at The Oatmeal

Lastly, I want to address this game not just as a social game but as part of the Civilization pantheon. I’ve been a huge geek for the Civ series ever since my house was gifted with a computer fast enough to run Civ III, and I can already see some similarities in mechanics between Civ V and this Facebook-based social game. It’s going to be an interesting experience, and I hope we learn something.

What I’m Playing… August 4, 2010

Posted by eboku in Personal.
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This game has completely taken me by surprise. For me Sakura Wars was always that Japanese series that was seemingly beloved by all who played it on Saturn or Dreamcast but it has never, ever made it to America. So finally getting the chance to actually play one of the titles in my own language seemed like something I should do.

I’ve seen the anime’s and movies and they are good fun – I love the idea of an alternate history where everything is steam punk (Well, more on the steam – less on the punk) complete with steam powered mechs! I had no idea that Sakura Wars was a ‘dating sim’ until I realized that I spent the first hour and a half desperately trying to get these girls to like me and not seeing any kind of combat.

I now understand why SEGA was so cautious to bring it stateside, due to the fact that the game focuses you on getting these people to like you to forge stronger and better relationships so when you do actually fight – they fight better. There are no footballs, cover systems and bromances here, this is a game about feelings, conflict and resolutions that involve getting in a bulky steam powered transforming mech and screaming a lot about trust and spirit – and I couldn’t have it any other way!

The cool thing I like about the game specifically is that this game takes place in 1920’s New York City – what makes it cooler (for me) is that this is Japan’s interpretation of what the 20’s were like and it is pretty damn awesome. The game is filled with old Ford’s, bowler hats, suits and Louis Armstrong inspired music.

Perhaps the main hook for me, is while its a ‘dating sim’ – meaning that there is a heavy focus on getting to know characters and saying the right things to make them like you, is that it lets you really get involved in the story and the characters – which is one of the main reasons why I love the Persona games so much, hell Mass Effect is a glorified dating sim with guns in it  – if the developer makes it interesting it can be what keeps making you come back.

So far I’m enjoying my time with it. Sure, the girls in the game are more or less stereotypes that you would find in any kind of “Harem” Anime (Love Hina) but the English voices are actually pretty good. If you compared this game to Arc Rise Fantasia the voices in Sakura Wars is like Metal Gear Solid. Apparently the PS2 version came with Japanese voices. The only thing that bugs me is that sometimes save points are scattered to far from each other and my OCD tendency to go back and fix a conversation where I picked something wrong and the person liked me less – but I think that is more of a personal problem than a problem with the game’s design! Insecurities!

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This Has Nothing To Do With Gaming. July 22, 2010

Posted by eboku in News, Personal.
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NICKELODEON THE LAST AIRBENDER

But I don’t care, a new Avatar series has been confirmed.

Doomsday Zone July 15, 2010

Posted by eboku in News, Personal.
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I was a Mario kid growing up, in the battle of the Nintendo Vs. the evil forces of Sega, I was always loyal to the Nintendo side. I dabbled with Sega products once in a while at friend’s houses and one time rented a Sega CD unit from Blockbuster and discovered the absolute bliss of Lunar: The Silver Star, however one Christmas my parents surprised me with a Sega Genesis. Soon after I realized that outside of shrewed 90’s marketing, its all about the games. Sonic and Mario coexisted in my world since then and it did not involve the Beijing Olympics.

Sonic 3 And Knuckles, Carnival Night Zone aside, is a favorite game of mine, I remember finishing the game with all the Super Emeralds collected on a New Years Eve, finishing the epic-ness of the last 3 acts of the game finishing with Doomsday Zone. I felt like when the neighbors set off their fireworks they were doing it for me.

Nostalgia aside, check out the above video. It was a side project to re-create the last zone in Sonic 3/Knuckles where you are flying through space as super sonic trying to bring down Dr. Eggman (Get over it.) by guiding his own missiles at him. It was amazing then and its amazing now. It’s unfinished and ends abruptly but well worth the watch. Sega! Bring me Sonic 4! Bah!

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game Music July 14, 2010

Posted by eboku in News, Personal.
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Hello There, Pixelation Room. I have neglected you. I still love you, don’t worry. Been uber-stressed out of my personal life, I forgot I had this to fall back on!

It looks like super-awesome chip tune band, Anamanaguchi released a new track for the upcoming PSN timed exclusive Scott Pilgrim game, check out the track over at Bryan Lee O’Malley’s (The Dad of SP) site Radiomaru!

Yes, one of my top games this summer is a PSN downloadable game, next to Sonic 4 (whenever that finally comes out!). Summer seems a bit dry now that Persona 3 Portable and Dragon Quest IX have been released! I can’t really think of anything awesome outside of BlazBlue Cont. Shift and Valkyra Chronicles 2 and of course, Metroid: Other M. However that feels so far away…

However, there are a ton of games I haven’t even touched yet and mean on finishing – Such as Sky Crawlers and Trauma Team! Hell, I need to go back and actually finish Final Fantasy XIII and 3D Dot Game Heroes!

OCRemix: Mega Man 2 ‘Coiled Copper Wire’ June 1, 2010

Posted by eboku in News, Personal.
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Mega Man 2

I like a lot of what I hear on OC Remix, I could never do what these guys achieve. That said, I found a new mix that I find myself having on repeat for nights at a time. This is an acoustic rendition of Metal Man’s stage from Mega Man 2 by Level 99!

The original track is immediately recognizable and immediately engraved into a newcomer’s ear because of how damn catchy the song is, as with any good Mega Man song.  With this rendition, titled “Coiled Copper Wire’ we have a slow, melodic piece that captures a dramatic feel – I personally imagine this in a game where Mega Man actually revisits old stages and is haunted by his past adventures. Yes, Just like in Metal Gear Solid 4.

 

Well, here is the preview – enjoy.

 

Like it? Download it here!

[Rant] JRPGs vs. WRPGs May 15, 2010

Posted by baconsamurai in News, Opinion, Personal, Review.
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When I posted the first TPR Debate, about the state of RPGs, I made the bold claim that I do not consider Mass Effect 2 to be an RPG. I also said that was an argument for another time. Well, it seems now is that time.

In an interview with Strategy Informer (full text here), Daniel Erickson, writing director for Bioware, gave us several cool tidbits about upcoming MMO The Old Republic. He also was asked about Final Fantasy XIII. He said:

“Well, before I address the main point I just want to take a slightly more controversial route: You can put a ‘J’ in front of it, but it’s not an RPG. You don’t make any choices, you don’t create a character, you don’t live your character… I don’t know what those are – adventure games maybe? But they’re not RPG’s.”

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m the only person on the planet that loves Final Fantasy XIII, so this isn’t about that. It’s about that last part. He more or less says that if a Role Playing Game does not offer character creation or choice then it just isn’t an RPG. I can see where he is coming from, he’s Bioware after all, the company that’s leading the charge for in-game choice, but he is showing a narrow-minded view of the genre, it’s history and it’s games, that is just plain ridiculous.

Logic and reasons after the jump.

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Games I Want: Super Mario Galaxy 2 May 6, 2010

Posted by eboku in News, Opinion, Personal.
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If I had to pick one of my favorite games for the decade of 2000, Super Mario Galaxy would be in the top 3. Perhaps that’s an idea for a future post, but Mario Galaxy – for me, is my top “core” Mario game, followed by Mario 3, World and Yoshi’s Island. Not to say that I didn’t like Mario 64, Sunshine and the others – I love them all. Except Mario’s Time Machine. That game can go to hell in a hand basket.

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Mario Galaxy delivered what I wanted in a Mario game. It had the game play, stunning graphics, an epic musical score and brought back elements that made Mario great to begin with. In addition, they brought in an optional story that unfolds as you progress through the game that tells a touching tale about Rosalina and why everything was happening to begin with. I always enjoy a good story in my Mario games, I feel that there is a lot to explore in that universe. I mean, look at the quality of just about all the Mario RPG games, but that is a post for another time.

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When Nintendo first announced Galaxy 2 at E3 last year I was very surprised that Nintendo would release a direct sequel to a core Mario game. It makes sense though, the game was popular. It has a powerful game engine and while the game was fantastic, there is always more that can be done! For what seemed like forever ago (1 year), the release of Super Mario Galaxy 2 is almost upon us on May 23rd.

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For the past few weeks, Nintendo has been letting go bits of information on the game. When first announced, the trailer showed new power ups that were absent from the first game -  A corkscrew that lets you drill through planetoids to attack polar opposite baddies, a cloud power up that lets you create platforms to jump on and a rock suit. I can only hope the rock suit will be like when Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender covers herself with rock armor and hurts people – People with families.

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So far my favorite addition to the game is the the re-appearance of Yoshi. This time as a real starring role that doesn’t involve eating fruit and throwing up – Sunshine, I’m looking at you. Back as a riding vessel just as he was introduced back in Super Mario World, it looks like Yoshi is useful again outside of looking cute for the girls. He’s equipped with a tongue that appears to act as a grappling hook of sorts. It also looks like he can consume helium and float to higher platforms and eat bad guys. Bad guys with families.

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Oh, and Luigi is playable from the get-go it looks like. Luigi looks to have slightly slippery-controls with his running but have a higher jump. Oh well, the game looks epic. I can see losing myself in it. You can bet that I’ll post a full review. Let’s just hope I’ve completed 3D Dot Game Heroes by then!

 

I really want a Bowser game. I find him the most relatable Mario character and it’s time he gets his own starring role where he confronts his issues. Nintendo, make this happen.

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[Debate] The State of RPGs May 2, 2010

Posted by baconsamurai in News, Opinion, Personal.
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NOTE: We here at The Pixelation Room don’t want the site to be just another gaming blog. We’re not going to be only news or editorials that state x is blatantly better than y and leave it at that. We want this to be a springboard for you, the reader, to weigh in on the most pressing issues facing our beloved industry. We’re all nerds. We’re opinionated and passionate by our very nature. If you’re up for a healthy debate, you’ve come to the right place. You have entered The Pixelation Room.

Welcome to our first debate. Let’s start with a bang, shall we?

Here at TPR, we love Role Playing Games. It’s safe to say that RPGs are our genre of choice. If you’re an RPG fan, especially if you’ve been playing them since the Super Nintendo days (the arguable golden age), then you’ve probably noticed an interesting paradigm shift in the genre. Yes, the Final Fantasy XIII reference was intentional.

Logic and reasons after the jump.

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