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[Debate] Is Wii U Next-Gen? June 8, 2011

Posted by Giovanni in Opinion.
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Wii U, or 360 2?

I had a very strange experience at this year’s New York Comic Con. One of Sega’s developers was talking about their new Thor game, and made an interesting distinction. He explained that one version of the game would be released for the “next-gens” and another for the “Wii and DS.” In my head, when I thought next-gen, I thought of the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, AND Wii. Yet, here was a developer actually excluding Nintendo’s system from that category. Well, now that confusion is on collective gamers’ minds this E3 with the announcement of the Wii U. It seems elementary enough; the Wii U is a new console, thus it is the first in a next-generation. Yet, somehow, the logic isn’t enough for some, leading many to think that Wii U is simply catching up with Microsoft and Sony, not pushing consoles forward.

The crux of the argument is in the Wii U’s technological capabilities. The Wii was nowhere near on par with its competitors graphically speaking. While Sony and Microsoft were pushing hyper-realism, Nintendo didn’t put their focus into power. From the very little we’ve seen of the Wii U so far, it looks like they’ve stepped it up, putting its graphical capabilities up to the quality of the current generation. It’s by that logic that many feel the Wii U is merely the console Nintendo should have released in the first place.

However, there are a few flaws in that logic. This is saying that all it takes to reach the next-generation is more power. Yes, that’s certainly part of it. But the Wii is more powerful than the GameCube, and the Wii U certainly looks more powerful than the Wii. The technology was in fact updated each year, just not by the same degree Microsoft and Sony did. But what the Wii lacked in power, it made up for—or tried to make up for, at least—in innovation, and that’s the part that seems to be forgotten. Nintendo let power slide a bit so they could try to bring a new experience to gaming with the Wiimote. Sure, they may not have done a great job at it, reducing most of their line-up to shovelware, but they did try and do something different. They created a different way to play games, and reached out to the casual market as a result. Rather than compete in a graphical realm, they created a new one entirely. It was a frustrating move for Wii owners (myself included) but does that discredit their console entirely from a generation?

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Nintendo Press Conference E3 2011 Roundup June 7, 2011

Posted by Giovanni in News, Opinion.
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Wii U; console or college for geeks?

Okay, let’s face it; while there was quite a bit to look forward to going into this year’s E3, but the big focus was Nintendo’s new console. Sure, the Kinect was something to keep an eye on, and Sony’s Playstation Vita certainly turned a lot of heads, but new consoles are what really pique audience interest. And with all of the rumors about Project Café circulating for weeks now, as well as Nintendo’s reputation for raising the bar—or more accurately, creating a new bar entirely—with new technologies, this was sure to be an E3 to remember.

But of course, you can’t start your conference with the big news, can you? Instead, Nintendo began ceremoniously tooting their own horns with a montage of Zelda games, soundtracked by a live orchestra playing classic songs from the series’ history. Miyamoto eventually took the stage to point out that it was Zelda’s 25th anniversary, and that Nintendo had big plans to celebrate. Of course, they talked about Skyward Sword, showing new footage, and even debuting the game’s new theme song with the orchestra’s help. Interestingly, they didn’t demo any of the game; a smart decision considering last year’s onstage fiasco. Miyamoto also announced that they’d release a Zelda game for each Nintendo system, with Link’s Awakening coming to the 3DS eShop that same day, and Four Swords coming as a free download for the DSi in September. If that wasn’t enough, Miyomoto showed off a gold wiimote, complete with a Hylian crest, as a bonus for those picking up Skyward Sword.

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Sony Press Conference E3 2011 Roundup June 7, 2011

Posted by Giovanni in News.
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Behold, the Playstation Vita!

Usually, E3 is most closely watched when the Big Three are unveiling their newest consoles. Those are the years that people consider “game changing.” But this year has proved to be incredibly important in a multitude of ways. Obviously, Nintendo’s big Project Café announcement has taken center stage for the gaming world, but it’s a massive year for Sony and Microsoft, even without showing their next-generation systems. Microsoft had to prove that the Kinect was a worthwhile investment that would truly increase their system’s shelf life (They didn’t do a good job of it, mind you). Sony, however, had the most difficult task at all. After the recent PSN fiasco, Sony took a huge hit in popularity amongst gamers. This year, they had to regain the gaming world’s trust if they didn’t want to go the way of Sega.

As a result, Sony went as all out as they could this year, short of unveiling a new Playstation, making for quite an intriguing conference. That’s mostly meant in a good way, though a few strange points came up. The main one comes from their first area of focus; 3D. Sony began the conference by showing some of their biggest upcoming PS3 titles, and each one was presented in 3D. Sony’s “unmoving” commitment to 3D is somewhat bizarre, when you think about it. At last year’s E3, the company was ecstatic about the feature, but gamers didn’t seem terribly interested. Everyone went on to talk about the Kinect, Move, and 3DS, almost forgetting about Sony’s 3D plan. Sony didn’t. And this year, they wanted to make sure the same thing didn’t happen twice.

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Microsoft Press Conference E3 2011 Roundup June 6, 2011

Posted by Giovanni in News.
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Last year, Microsoft had a lot riding on its press conference. That was the year that they were going to fully reveal the Kinect to the world, a device that Peter Molyneux was something that “science fiction hadn’t even dreamed of yet.” The claim seemed a bit ridiculous, but it built up a good deal of hype for the possibilities of a sophisticated gaming camera. Unfortunately, the press conference didn’t deliver much that year. The Kinect was used to show glorified tech demos, highlighting the voice recognition and motion control capabilities of the camera. The audience was overwhelmed as games like Kinectimals took the stage over serious triple-A titles. But, it was a new piece of hardware, so what could you expect?

So, Microsoft still had a lot riding on them for this year’s E3. Now that their hardware was out, it was time to see what it could really do. So it came as no surprise that a great deal of Microsoft’s focus this year was on the Kinect, treating it like a new console as opposed to a peripheral. The words “Xbox 360” and “Kinect” were rarely said apart from one another. It’s clear that this is Microsoft’s way of expanding their console’s shelf life.

They started the show strong, though expectedly, showing some of their big franchise sequels. Dazzling cinematic demos for Modern Warfare 3 and Tomb Raider began the show, firmly reinforcing Microsoft’s usual stance of hardcore gaming. Both games showed a great deal of promise in terms of providing exciting, story-driven action games. Seeing Lara Croft run through a crumbling underground tomb was more enthralling than either of the Tomb Raider films ever brought.

And then, the Kinectability began. Keeping in the same vein, Microsoft started by showing their big titles that would utilize the Kinect. Mass Effect 3 was demoed complete with voice recognition options for choosing dialogue and shouting commands during battle. The dialogue aspect seemed a bit slow, but the idea of getting to vocally control your teammates showed some great potential for immersing the player in intense situations. Microsoft rounded out their hardcore game announcements with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, which uses Kinect’s motion control in a mode called Gunsmith. This allows you to customize and test weapons in a Minority Report-esque fashion. It’s a neat tweak, again, ripe with potential. But wasn’t last year supposed to be the year of “potential”?

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[Review] [Analysis] “One Chance”: Breaking the Game December 8, 2010

Posted by baconsamurai in News, Opinion, Review.
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A while ago I argued that choice in games lacks impact, that decisions more often than not boil down to the superficial. I came to the conclusion that most of these choices lack emotional weight because games, by their very nature, allow you to replay and reset, thus removing consequence and, most importantly, regret.

One Chance is a Flash game made by AwkwardSilenceGames. You play as John, a scientist who discovers the cure for cancer, a gas that only kills cancer cells. It’s not until this gas is released across the entire planet that we find that it kills all cells. Humanity is now facing annihilation in six days and it’s up to you to decide how you will spend your time.

The catch is, as the name implies, that you only have one chance. You can only play the game once and you have to live with whatever choices you’ve made. It’s an art game whose execution is questionable and pathos heavy-handed, but regardless it’s an interesting thought experiment and there are much worse ways to spend 15 minutes.

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[Review] Vanquish October 27, 2010

Posted by baconsamurai in News.
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Whether you love or are indifferent to Vanquish depends on one thing. If you view the word “ridiculous” as a compliment or an insult. If you’re the former, my friend, you are in for a real treat. The latter may need some cajoling, but if like a challenge, speed, or are looking for something unlike anything you’ve ever played, you can’t go wrong with Vanquish. Now if only the level of nirvana the game transcends you to wasn’t so brief.

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The Future Is Now! New SNK Merch! September 10, 2010

Posted by eboku in News.
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 100910-ng-1 

To commemorate 20 years of the Neo Geo MVS and brand existing in some form of another, professional underdog game developer SNK is celebrating their long time existence with fancy merchandise at the Tokyo Game Show. Attendees that want to pay their respects to the people that brought us Fatal Fury, King of Fighters and Metal Slug can pick up a selection of hoodies, t-shirts and cups branded with the classic Neo-Geo logos and marketing phrases!

Check them out!

 

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Review: Metroid: Other M September 8, 2010

Posted by eboku in Review.
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Metroid-Other-M-Box

The Metroid series is generally heralded by the hardcore gamer as something very precious. The original trilogy, which was on the NES, Game Boy and Super Nintendo, broke the rules of what a 2D platformer was. Nintendo established that in Mario Bros, you are supposed to go to the right of the screen and jump and avoid obstacles. When Metroid came out for the NES, the game was all about throwing the player into a big, open environment scattered with power ups and monsters giving the player a sense of isolation – to demonstrate this the game designers had the player go to the left of the screen to get that first morph ball power up. Nintendo had Mario, Zelda and Metroid and all 3 franchises demonstrated completely different schools of thought in game design that have evolved over the past 25 years. But what happens when you change something fundamental about the series?

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OC Remix: ‘The Quick and the Blue’ September 7, 2010

Posted by eboku in News.
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get acoustic

I’ve covered Mega Man 2 songs on here before but I’ll stop once the great songs stop coming in! Last night a new song was posted, it is a track from a Mega Man 2 fan album by a group called “The Megas”. Turns out in 2008 they released an album called “Get Equipped” where they acoustically played through the soundtrack of Mega Man 2 and added lyrics to all the songs. Cheesy in theory? Absolutely, but what about the execution? Brilliant!

The album is a retelling of the events of the game, but it goes into different perspectives of the robot masters and Mega Man himself, the lyrics delve into the personas and make you think about what the characters are going through, such as Mega Man questioning and demanding justification for what he is doing, and what the robot masters are going through when they are on the verge on the death.

Check out this rendition of Quick Man’s theme, it paints an epic picture that kind of sends chills down my spine.

This is the original chip tune mix…

 

And here is the rendition!

Did you like it?

Download it here!

Another Metroid Post! Deal with it. August 20, 2010

Posted by eboku in News.
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Video Game - Metroid Wallpaper

I have Metroid Fever and I am burning up.

And now that I have lost the last ounce of self-respect that gave me the energy to even get out of bed in the morning I want to share Nintendo latest piece of marketing for Metroid: Other M!

 

I love it. The video captures it all – from showing Ridley wrecking her childhood as shown in the japan-only Metroid E-Manga, to showing her in the academy which is what Other M will touch upon to the climax of Super Metroid – It’s awesome. I love the Prime games a lot, Retro Studios did a wonderful job crafting their own Metroid games but I will say I was a little disappointed about how little the Prime series had to do with the overall canon of the franchise (save for the Aurora units in Prime 3, those better come up in Other: M).

Lost about Metroid? Have no idea what is going on? Check out this recap they made that chronicles what happened in Metroids 1-3.

 

Enjoy the Halo-esque commercial, read the translated e-manga, watch the recap because things going down on August 31st.