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-Wheels- Blog

Farewell GS

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It's been a good run. I'm afraid I can't say I have the time to keep myself updated here on GS anymore. I'm moving my blog over to my new site: SterlingAnimation.com. You can see my animation work and various other projects there as well. I'll be delving more in depth into game industry related topics and technical ones as well.

Thank you for being interested, reading and commenting here on gs. Hope to see you at my new blog everyone! :)

Gamespot Endorsed "Game Industry Network"

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I started going to gamespot in junior high, near the turn of the millennium. I always knew I wanted to do something in games, but didn't know exactly what. I became infatuated with game journalism because of this site (and Game Informer). Now years later I'm still following the same path, but this time as a Sr. Animator for Zynga Boston. Who would of thunk it?

I could just keep posting fragments of my own experience here in this blog month to month, but I honestly don't think this is the best way to really achieve what I'd like to. I've come across a lot of people here on GS wanting to get into this industry but just not knowing how to do it or what to do. Finding and harnessing the skills someone has to bring to the game industry is a much more complex process than staring at a few motivational pep talks. People need to network, gather resources and start getting their hands dirty as early on as possible. The fact of the matter is, this biz ain't no fun and games. It's cutthroat, hard to break into, and much smaller than most people think. I know the staff of Gamespot knows this.

That is why I am making a proposal. An official Gamespot endorsed Game Industry Forum, Union, or possibly an entirely new section of the site. A place within Gamespot where people of varying experiences can help each other in finding, obtaining, and maintaining their dream of working in the game industry. Believe me, I know this is a very tall order in the web development world. We all have busy lives and deadlines to meet in this industry. I am willing to work with Gamespot in doing whatever we can to bring this idea to fruition with whatever resources it has to devote. Even if those resources are very limited.

I do realize that there are places on the web suited to working in the game industry already. I believe GS has a chance to really reach those interested in a game career path while also getting others re-invested in the GS community at the same time. I wouldn't be proposing something this outlandish if I didn't truly believe Gamespot was the best place to make it work.

I know this is a long shot...but if anyone at on the GS staff reads this and is interested, please just send a pm my way. Thanks for your time.

-Wheels

GS Unions Reboot.

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I've posted a topic in the Site Enhancements bargaining for a Unions reboot. Please voice your opinion here and help support a much overlooked feature.

Perhaps GS is already starting the ball rolling. Aparently badges and leveling up has started working again for Unions. Considering the years of neglect this is a small victory. Hopefully we can get full surfacing of Unions here on GS once again.

I don't think I'm alone here. What do you guys feel about a Unions reboot?

The results are in: Get the 3ds this year.

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I'm just going to come out and say this, the 3ds is the best handheld system...ever. For those of you that are still waiting, I've decided to entice you with my thoughts on the device. I've been skeptical over the last year (see previous blog posts), but after finally taking the plunge and spending the last two weeks with one I do not regret this purchase for even a second. This handheld is so much more than its unfortunate name suggests. The "3D" part of 3DS represents a small fraction of what it really is.

I can't speak for non-Nintendo titles thus far, but I haven't really had problems viewing the 3d like other countless players suggest. I've actually left the 3d slider in the on position for most of my time with the machine and only turned it off to give my eyes a break in moments of great fatigue. While I feel some people way overhype the 3d effect, it is a really nice and subtle touch that makes the experience stand out from any gaming experience I've ever had.

**NOTE: My eyesight is 20/20 and I have noticed that the 3d is harder to play with for people with bad eyesight.**

Also I have not encountered weak battery life as many suggest. I'm actually am getting about 5 hours out of it with the 3d effect turned on and brightness all the way up. I'm sure after I've played the sucker for a while that battery will eventually wear down but I really am surprised people are complaining about this so much. The screen is beyond vibrant, the graphics are on par or better than Wii graphics, the sound is crystal clear and surpisingly loud for a handheld unit, and there's glasses less 3d to boot. The 3DS battery is helping push much more power than all previous Nintendo handhelds combined at this point and that in itself is quite impressive.

I do love a lot of things about this system, but the actual design does have its hits and misses. One miss is the glossy paint job. I don't know why they went back to this, but get ready for a very smudgy system. Plus if one happens to have clamy hands it gets a little slippery and greasy feeling, not too pleasent. Also back from the DS lite era is the anolog volume control. This means expect to adjust the volume many a time after taking your DS out of your pocket. Something they got right on the other hand is the circle pad. At first it'll get caught on an edge a few times during intense games of Mario Kart, but quickly after sorts itself out and becomes a joy to play with. A couple curious changes would be the placement of the pen holder and headphone jack. Contrary to every handheld device ever made Nintendo decided to put the headphones at the bottom of the unit so that your wires point in to your body instead of out and away. The movement of the pen holder to where the headphone jack should have been is even weirder. No longer can I quickly slide the pen in and out at will during a session. I am now forced to smudge my bottom screen because it's easier just to use my fingers instead of reaching around the unit over and over. Overall it's a pretty standard DS design, nothing too crazy different from previous models. It's got a little bit of every DS model in it, including the size and internet connectivity of the DSi. Hate it or love it as you please.

If you particularly don't care for the DS or Nintendo in general the 3DS probably won't change your mind. But with downloadable gems of the past, DS backwards compatibility, and new experiences along the lines of full console releases at $40 a pop, it's really hard not to recommend the 3DS to Nintendo fans or even fans of years past. Zelda, Mario Kart, and Mario Land alone are worth it, not to mention virtual console games, Star Fox, Sonic, Cave Story, Pushmo, and upcomming games like Kid Icarus, Luigis Mansion, Paper Mario. Great system, glad I took the plunge. :)

Finally casting my vote on the 3ds.

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It was over a year ago when I became giddy with excitement over Nintendo's 3ds (more specifically its launch lineup). I should have been concerned when Nintendo announced their initial offering as a "launch window" and not launch day, but I thought nothing of it. We all know how the story played from there, launch window came and went with only a few of the initially announced titles back at the 3ds's first showing. Kid Icarus was nowhere to be seen, Starfox slipped to later months, LoZ:OoT barely made it in the launch window and Pilot Wings played more like a Wii Sports side expansion than a fully fleshed out game.

Now as we come into the holiday season, after a massive price cut, the launch of several key Nintendo titles, and many classic gameboy/NES titles coming to the download store, the 3ds feels like a completely different system. This is what I was waiting for. While Kid Icarus still remains absent, this is what I expected the initial 3ds launch to feel like, and that is why I'm finally taking a stand voting with my wallet on a new 3ds.

I know what you're thinking "Come on! What are you a fanboy?You know they're going to release a redesign!" The answer is yes, I am a fanboy of sorts. I really can't help it, my passion for video games was dirrived from Nintendo on the NES/SNES and there's something about their games that always brings me back to those times when I was a kid. I can't wait to relive and experience some new childhood memories come this Christmas! Thank you Nintendo for listening to the fans despite the interest of your investors, you finally earned my vote.

Going digital.

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I've finally done it! I packed away the last of my old systems. The NES and Genesis. They now live on through the Wii and classic controllers. Long live the golden age of gaming. :)

Is the 3ds worth it?

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So my DSi is kicking the bucket. I'm faced with the decision to either trade it in and get a DS Lite, or getting the 3ds. I mostly play my DS on the train going to and from work during the week, and since I don't get to play my consoles often this next purchase is a pretty important one.

I want to stick with the DS brand mainly because I have a built up library of games already and plenty more I still need to get. Also saving money is a big factor in this as well. My biggest fear with the 3ds is that after this holiday season it will wither out and die, just like its more gimmicky 3rd cousin, the virtual boy did shortly after its release. My other fear is that Nintendo will decide to fix everything wrong with the system and release a sleaker version next year and drop the price of the current model. There hasn't been a portable yet that Nintendo hasn't done that.

So really I'm kind of at a cross road wether to wait this out and stay with the tried and true, or to jump in like I always have for a chance to get burned once again. I really don't know...what do you guys think?

Back with a vengeance! Facebook, Flash, and beyond.

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It's been a while. Just spent a year of my life helping to launch Adventure World on facebook. It's been a wild ride...overall I am very proud to have worked on this project, and I'd consider it the first facebook game I actually enjoy playing. That being said, it certainly has been a very real experience. It's almost surreal to think tens of millions of people have seen my work, but at the same time it's a double edged sword that also comes with a ton of preasure. The most important lesson I learned in this whole process is that at the end of the day, you cant let all the little things stress you out. Not only will you eventually go insane and burn yourself out, at the breakneck speed at which industry moves you have to accept that it's just a part of the bussiness.

Now that things have settled down a bit, I've decided to start learning some Flash Action Scripting. My first game will be a remake of an old Apple Plus game I can't quite remember the name of. The goal is to drop men out of a helicopter in an attempt to have them safely land in a runaway, hay-filed caraige pulled by horses. Figured the idea is just simple enough for me to get my feet wet and have fun with it at the same time. We'll see what happens. For years now I've been pushing off projects, but this time I'm serious about really getting back into my original passion of designing and programming games.

Until next time! Hopefully my next update wont take so long. Thanks for reading!

Saying goodbye to some old friends....

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There comes a time where we all must say goodbye. As we get older, the increased demand for our time forces us to reach down deep and decide what is truely important. I look upon my entertainment center, consoles of old ask me with yearn, "Why? Why don't you play with me? Look at us, we're dusty." And unto them I say, my heart has not forgotten, but my destiny has. I must continue on and cast you down among other consoles of years past. I am grateful, for I would not be where I am today without your gracious gifts of flaming basketballs and dragon punches. Thank you, I am forever indebted to you, N64, Super Nintendo, Dreamcast and Game Cube. May your memories live on through our hearts, remakes, xbox live and virtual console.

My E3 Big 3 conference reaction...for what it's worth.

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From what I gather, Microsoft's new strategy moving forward is turning their six year old hardcore gamer console into a $450 family friendly HD Wii. Aparently they've come to the conclusion that families around the world long for motion capture on-rails games, because Microsoft's conference only made it more abundantly clear that Kincect is the one trick pony they are willing to bet on. And what does Microsoft's lovely fan base get to keep their apetites occupied for the time being?...Halo, Gears, Forza....wait what? Is this 2011? Because I feel like I was just blasted back a few E3's. I was honestly expecting a lot more from Microsoft. The only shining light of the entire conference for me was their streaming content strategy. They are being very smart to bypass the whole Blu-ray media wars altogether and move right into streaming content. That's obviously where the entire entertainment industry is moving and Microsoft has shown they will continue to be the leader on that front. Still though, after it was said and done, Microsoft's conference left me quite dumbfounded. How could they suddenly put content for their fanbase on auto pilot?

As always, Nintendo gets a little crazy for yet another E3. While they certainly didn't show that they really understand what the hardcore gamer wants, they did show that the potential is certainly there...and have about a year and change to prove it. As soon as I saw the abillity to bring a game from the tv screen to the controller, a lightbulb went off in my head. For any gamer competing for tv time, this is certainly a game changer. A true console experience in the palm of your hand. I'm actually really glad they didn't make it completely portable, thus forcing companies to still make full sit down console experiences. Another lightbulb went off after seeing the Wii U controller extend the game environment beyond the tv screen in a full 360 degree motion and even provide multiple perspectives at the same time. It's innovations like this that keep me coming back to Nintendo time and time again. I was really worried Nintendo would try and play follow the straggler on Micrsoft's Kinect, but instead they showed me exactly what I didn't even know I wanted.

Of course, the giant question before E3; what will Nintendo do to make the 3ds relavent? While I wasn't completely surprised, between Kid Icarus, Paper Mario, Mario 3ds, Luigi's Mansion 2, Mario Kart and ****c remakes of old I think all the content people expected on launch and more will finally be there by the end of the year. Myself however have gotten burned by Nintendo handhelds too many times in the past. I'll be waiting until the better redesign of the 3ds comes out;which given what happened with the DS will probably some time next year. Overall, while I'm still skeptical of the Wii U and future of the 3DS, I'm excited by their potential. They just have to work out the kinks over the coming months to really win me over.

Sony had a lot to prove this year. While Nintendo and Microsoft both choose straddle the hardcore/casual line, Sony has decided to take the biggest risk of all, to stick to its guns. Nintendo sure does talk a lot about how software makes the system, but Sony actually shows how software makes a system. They came out guns a blazing with Uncharted, Resistance, Metal Gear, Sly, Twisted Metal, and The Last Gaurdian exclusives. There's really something there for everyone in that batch of games. PSP Vita was just the icing on top of all this, and with the game lineup and price point it looks like Sony is serious about battling Nintendo this go around. If Nintendo doesn't hurry up I might actually have to buy the Vita instead of the 3ds at this point. While some might be not happy about the PS3 Move support, Sony isn't really forcing anyone to use it, but rather offering it as another way to play games available. I don't see why they'd stop supporting that despite how jaded gamers are about motion controls. Sony seems to be in the best position for the time being. Guess we'll have to wait a year and see how this all plays out to know for sure.

Until next time my gamer friends!

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