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ErrolJames Blog

Super Smash Time

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Nintendo is arguably the most recognized brand in gaming. Their run through five home consoles has introduced the world to a bunch of memorable characters. These characters have had their fair share of adventures, but rarely do they all come together in a game. It seems like whenever they do come together it's to smash. Super Smash that is.

Super Smash Bros. is an interesting series. A sequel seems to appear every time Nintendo releases a console, but it doesn't seem to change much. Sure there's more characters and stages, but I've been holding forward and A to do some serious damage with a bat since the Nintendo 64. Why does Nintendo get away with bringing back old franchises? I understand Punch-out!! is a good game and all, but does nostalgia allow you to look away from the fact that it's pretty much the same game that was on the NES? Let's look at another old franchise that was remade on a Nintendo system, Resident Evil for the Gamecube. That was a classic remake of a classic game. The developers didn't stop with better graphics. The game introduced new gameplay mechanics, and added more to the original story. Sure it's a third party remake, but you can play it on the Wii.

Where would Nintendo be without their established franchises? All Nintendo has done this generation is sell units. If Mario didn't blast off to another galaxy and Link wasn't playing in the dark, where would Nintendo's adventures lead us? Do they want us all to be Wii Fit and nothing more? The Gamecube was all about the first party exclusives. That gave it an edge over both Sony & Microsoft who only published games developed by other people. Sure most of the Gamecube's 1st party games were sequels, they still introduced new series like Animal Crossing and Pikmin. Wii Play does not sound like a series. When the next generation comes will these games still exist? Probably, but lets hope Nintendo hasn't lost it's edge as a creator of original masterpieces...

The Next Step

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It's official. The PS3 Slim is coming next month for $299.99. The news might not come as a surprise to many, but what does this mean for the PS3 in the long run? Can it make a huge comeback from last place, or will this generation go down as a rough patch in Sony's history? Time will answer all of these questions, but how much time is left for the PS3? It might be less than we think...

The average life of a Playstation is about five and a half years. "Leaked" pictures of the Playstation 4 should probably start showing up by 2010's holiday season. People from Sony have been saying that the PS3 is on a 10 year life plan. This could be both good and bad. If the next 7 years show a steady growth in sales, the first 3 could be seen as growing pains. What if the competition moves forward? Is the PS3 really ahead of it's time, or would the it be the stubborn old toy that won't die?

In Sony's history, the slim version of a Playstation appears when it's life is more than halfway over. Maybe the PS3 is trying to go out with a bang. The fall lineup of PS3 exclusives is looking solid, and a cheaper PS3 in September could only help the sales of these games. The more people you get hooked on to what your doing now. The bigger your next move will be.

Flight School

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Videos of gamers unboxing early copies of Batman: Arkham Asylum have been showing up lately. The Special Edition includes special things like a straight jacket. Maybe we all are a little crazy, but exactly how crazy does one have to be for the opportunity to play an early copy of a game? If it's more than a little bit. Sign me up...

I wonder how long early copies exist before being released. The Prestige Edition of Modern Warfare 2 has been getting unboxed long before the boycott against Activision began. How does one get the privileged of playing an early copy? Rappers have been tweeting about playing Madden 2010 weeks before it hit stores. Early copies of Madden 2010 were donated to a submarine crew being deployed before it's release date. It's safe to say one must be a strong individual in order to get one. Knowing the right people must help.

If you could spend more money to buy an early copy of a game, would you do it? I'm not sure if I'd even spend $59.99 for a game that's in stores today. I just got a subscription to GameFly and my que is set for the upcoming months. Having to wait weeks to play a new release has yet to be determined, but it will in due time. I'm hoping to never have that problem...


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If you asked me if I would have bought a PlayStation Portable back in 2005, I would have laughed in your face. I feel that a portable system should have it's own identity. It shouldn't be the portable version of something that already exists. The Nintendo DS is a different piece of hardware compared to the Wii. I've always seen the PSP as a portable version of the PS2. It didn't help when Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories ported to the PS2.

I ignored the PSP until the best leaked secret of E3 showed up. Pictures of the PSP Go show a redesigned version of the original. I've always felt like the PSP was too big to be a portable system. It is the 21st century. PSP Go solves that problem by going for more of a stylish approach. Stylish accessories are great for a person who is always on the go. Guess it's safe to say the war between the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP will follow us into the next decade. Will the PSP Go help bridge the gap in sales between the Nintendo DS? Guess we'll have to stay tuned to find out...

My allegiance with Nintendo's portable's probably had something to do with me ignoring the PSP. The Pokemon series is the reason why I've owned every Nintendo portable system since the Gameboy Color. That type of allegiance to a series is something I'm not sure I could find on the PSP. There's only one way to find out. I used to ignore PSP's games because they all seemed like spinoff's to popular games on the PS2 and PS3. Metal Gear Solid: Peach Walker looks like it's going to be great. Since I waited 4 years to get a PSP, there's a lot of good games just waiting to be played. If you've ignored the PSP, maybe it's time to pay attention when the PSP Go drops in October. Guess there is a perk for being patient afterall...

Don't Sleep on the 360

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There's been talk of a possible comeback for the Playstation 3. The exclusive titles coming in this fall, and the rumors of the slim model keep hope alive for the PS3. A price drop would help Sony for obvious reasons. Last place is never an easy thing to swallow, especially when your used to being in first. Does Sony still have a chance at winning this console war? It has a long way to go that's for sure.

What about the Xbox 360? Sales of the 360 have been the most steady with sales not going lower than 175,000 units all year. July 2009's hardware sales have the 360 a little less than 50,000 units away from the Wii. It's clear the fire Nintendo set around the world is starting to be put out. Studies showing it being the least played console, and the lack of blockbuster titles isn't helping the Wii's reign on top. Sure the top selling game on one console for July is Wii Sport's Resort, but it was bundled with an accessory which seems to be the Wii's inFamous strategy for video game sales. One things for sure. This war is not over...

The lack of blockbuster titles all around contributes to the decline in sales for the past few months. Gamers have shown time and time again that if you give them what they want, they will gladly pay for it. It's not like the music industry where the gamble of a blockbuster title is greater because of things like the internet, unless there's a boycott. If sales of video games were like the music industries sales, then people should be worried. The top selling album this week sold a whopping 76,000 units. NCAA Football 10 sold over 600,000 units in 17 days. Madden's out today, which kicks off the launch of blockbuster titles for the rest of the year. Something tells me sales are looking bright for the future...

Madden 2010: The Summer Blockbuster

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Madden 2010, the biggest game of the summer, is going to be available at midnight. The Madden series is the dominant football series out there. Every August fans of the series get treated to a new installment of the franchise. Madden is not my cup of tea, but I give respect where respect is due.

Madden gets my respect for bringing the spirit of gaming back. Summer is usually quiet for gamers. We'll get noteworthy games up until the beginning of June. After that it's games based off of Hollywood blockbusters and downloadable content to look forward to. What better than a game of football to get gamers ready for the fall? Let's look at an aspect of Madden's dominance.

Madden reminds me of the 3 best selling games on the Nintendo Wii: Wii Sports, Wii Play, and Wii Fit. They have all sold millions of units for starters. These games also bring out the competitive side of gamers. The purpose of these games isn't to go on a quest and experience a world of adventure, it's all about winning. Whether your standing on the Balance Board or throwing a pass to the wide receiver, you want the high score.

Once the NFL season ends, I notice a trend with my friends that own Madden. They still play the game, but not as much. They usually save it for when somebody wants to play against them. The same can be said about the Wii games I've mentioned earlier. A friend will come over, see that you have a Wii, and want to play you in a game of tennis. I don't consider myself to be a casual gamer, but that seems to be my approach with playing the Wii. Wii Sports is fun, but playing it by myself feels like taboo these days. The only 2 games I own on the Wii are Wii Sports and Wii Fit. I'm not alone in that category. I guess I'm not surprised the Wii is the least played console out there...

Slim PS3. Thick Rumors...

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Rumors about a slim PS3 have been going around for months now. Today a "leaked" picture from a future Best Buy ad was posted online showing the PS3 Slim being available September 6th for $299.99. I believed it at first, but the closer I look at it, the more I'm starting to believe it was Photoshopped. The white outline around the PS3 slim get's me for starters. The biggest red flag for me is the description. 160 GB hard drive, 4, USB Slots, and backwards capability. My PS3 only has 2 USB slots, and Sony got rid of backwards capability (Good Riddance) like a year ago. Why bring it back? If that were the case Sony should just give away the PS3 Slim it'd be so under priced.

Do you think the latest rumors help or hurt the PS3's chances of catching up in this war? The PS3 has been overpriced since day one, and the overall sales of the PS3 show it. It has an edge over the Xbox 360 because of it's Blu-Ray Player, but $399.99 for a console that's almost 3 years old is ridiculous. Especially when it's closest competion, Xbox 360, is $199.99. If you wanted Blu Ray with your 360, you could buy an Insignia Blu Ray Player for $149.99. You could use the extra $49.99 to buy a decent game. Even if Sony is real about their intention of using the PS3 for 10 years $399.99 is still a ridiculous price for hardware, especially when it's software is $59.99 a piece.

We all know one day the PS3 will get slim and have a lower price, but what does that mean for the bulky PS3's that would still be available? Do their prices stay the same, or do they drop as well? Wouldn't it be cool if they were available for a smaller price than the slim PS3? We all know the PS3 Slim will be the new hotness when it arrives, if I meant saving money I would go with an older PS3. The rumors should be cleared up next week in Germany at GamesCom. Guess we'll just have to deal with the rumors until then...

Do Winners Ever Cheat?

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If you use a strategy guide to help you through a game. Is that considered cheating? You had to put in the effort to finish the game, but does knowing extra information make you a cheater? Would you rather enter cheat codes to finish a difficult game, or struggle your way through it? Does it matter if somebody cheats their way through a single player experience? To each their own if you ask me.

I've used cheats in the past, but none to the extent that I took Pokemon Blue to. I was determined to find me a Pikablu, or any Pokemon that was outside of the original 151 listed in the game. To do that my first step was to buy a GameShark for my Gameboy Color. When you turn on the game with the GameShark attached to it, the first screen you see is a warning saying that this a bad idea. I didn't care I played anyway. After about a month I "caught" all 151 pokemon. It was time for me to find a Pikablu. I would go from forum to forum looking at rumors as to how to catch one. There were stories about Bill's secret garden, Underground Caves, and Secret Gyms that were to be discovered with a GameShark. After trying each and every code I could find I will say that none of the rumors are true for Pokemon Blue...

The cheat codes finally caught up to me on the day I needed Pokemon Blue the most. I had been talking to a friend of mine at school about battling him and how he had nothing on me. All of my pokemon were Level 100 thanks to an unlimited supply of rare candy. How could I lose? We went back and forth for months until the day came where we finally set a date to battle each other in school. I didn't sleep much the night before. I was too busy thinking about what Pokemon he would use, and the moves I would use to destroy them. I woke up excited the next morning ready to win a Pokemon battle. I get out of bed, turn my Gameboy on, and find that my file had been erased. I stayed home sick that day...

Ever since then I've kind of lost my mojo when it comes to cheating in games. Don't get it twitsted, I definitely cheated my way through last generations Grand Theft Auto trilogy, but the extent of how I cheat has changed. I haven't bought a GameShark since the Gameboy Color and I don't plan on doing so. I don't think there's anything wrong with cheating in a game. I just think it takes away from the overall experience. What do you do when you run out of bullets and your low on health? You wouldn't know if you had unlimited ammo and health. Cheating makes a game too easy for me. It's kind of like being in the passenger seat of a nice car. Yea your along for the ride, but the best you can do is tell the driver to turn left or right.

Cheat codes helped shape my perspective on life. I feel like if everything came too easy, I'd find myself pretty bored. Sure I would have plenty of things to do, but my sense of accomplishment wouldn't be there. I take pride in the things I've accomplished. I don't think I'd enjoy as much as I would if I took my time and played by the rules. They say cheaters never win, but do winners ever cheat? Maybe...

Is Nov. 17th the Beginning of the End for Tony Hawk's Ride?

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1999. The year I was introduced to the art of skateboarding. One of my friends had bought Tony Hawk's Pro Skater for the PlayStation. I was blown away by the half pipe in the first level. I spent hours there trying to land a 1080. The series was in a league of it's own, and proved it's dominance by releasing a new Tony Hawk game every fall.

As each Tony Hawk game was released the formula started to become stale. I stuck with the series until Tony Hawk Underground 2. I returned to it for Tony Hawk's Project 8 because it was the first one that was ready for the new generation in my opinion. While I enjoyed the better graphics and the faster loading times, the game had felt like it had run out of ideas a long time ago. That became apparent in Tony Hawk's Proving Ground. This game included missions where you have to knock out bullies by running them over with your skateboard. Not a lot of fun if you ask me. It's sad because you would think that on the year where they had some real competition, Activision would at least try to show that they wanted to win.

EA released the game Skate in September 2007. a month later Activision releases Tony Hawk's Proving Ground. Tony Hawk's series gave mainstream appeal to skateboarding games. Skate capitalized on that by making skating more realistic. Tony Hawk always had an arcade approach to skateboarding where it valued landing ridiculous tricks and the high score, while Skate values the simulated experience of skateboarding.

With Skate being the new king of skateboarding games, Tony Hawk went back to the drawing board. They didn't release a new game in the fall of 2008 which had some people wondering if the franchise was done. Not at all as Tony Hawk: Ride is due to be released November 17, 2009. They decided to go the route of the Nintendo Wii and add motion sensing to the series. A new skateboard peripheral is used instead of a regular control which raises the price of the game to an estimated $119.99.

I'm starting to think Tony Hawk is out of touch with gamers. I understand the craze about motion sensing right now, but motion sensing up to this point has been directed more toward the casual audience. The casual audience is the biggest group of consumers right now for the gaming industry, and if sales are all you care about over making a good game then good luck with that one. If Tony Hawk: Ride is aimed toward the casual audience then way to turn your back on the die hard fans who helped keep the series alive...
and what's up with adding a skateboarding peripheral? Did the success of all of the Guitar Hero games make Activision think that is exactly what the Tony Hawk series needed? If I wanted to skate I would go outside, ride a skateboard, bust my ass, and go back in the house. If this peripheral makes me fall and get hurt, it better be fun. The higher price tag is not the way to go for a game trying to make a comeback these days. Maybe Tony Hawk should retire happy at the fact that his series led the way for something new and fresh.

Boycott Activision?

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Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is going to cost £55 in the United Kingdom. That converts to $91.81. That's a lot of money for a video game. Activision Blizzard's CEO Robert Kotick was recently asked about this and said something along the lines of if it were up to him he would make the price higher. That has caused a bunch of gamers to get upset, and talk about a boycott against Activison has been going around ever since.

We all know Modern Warfare 2 is going to sell millions of units regardless of whether you buy it or not. If I were going to protest it I wouldn't buy it right away. I probably wouldn't buy it at all. It's not like it'd hard to find it on the internet. I know people who only play Call of Duty, and I bet they wouldn't mind paying extra for it. Even though paying $91.81 plus tax is serious these days. As far as I know, the price increase only affects the European Market.

As far as the CEO's comment, I'd say he's not feeling the brunt of what's going in today's economy. Activisions stock is feeling pretty good these days. We should ignore his judgement for reasons that seem pretty clear to me. He's probably not the only CEO who feels this way. Don't let it bother you too much. He's entitled to his opinion just as much as you are. If you don't like it. Don't listen to him. It's simple. At the end of the day, it's up to you to decide whether or not your going to buy Modern Warefare 2. It's not my cup of tea, but it's probably going to be an excellent game. An overpriced excellent game if you live in Europe...