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Hungry_Homer111 Blog

After Christmas Blog

Hope everybody had a good holiday season, even if you don't celebrate. Christmas was pretty good for me, though not one of the best. But I did get some really good presents this year:

Videogames:

-Donkey Kong Country Returns
-Little King's Story
-Retro Game Challenge
-Namco Museum: Virtual Arcade

DVDs:

-Quantum Leap seasons 2 and 3
-Andromeda season 4
-2012

:D

Will recent advancements in videogames lead to virtual reality?

Despite the fact that I've pretty much made up my mind to stay with this generation of videogames after it's over, I've been thinking a lot about the current state of the videogame industry, what the major companies seem to be focusing on in terms of big developments, and what it means for the future. And honestly, it's all very fascinating for me. To start off, let me look at the two biggest advancements this gen.

Graphics

A big point of friction within the gaming community, specifically when dealing with the Wii's graphics. With the other two consoles going the HD route, Nintendo's decision to hold back from using HD graphics on the Wii hasn't sat well with some people. And this has made the whole debate about "graphics vs. gameplay" heat up more than ever.

So, where do I stand on the subject? Honestly, I don't think that graphics really matter much which it comes to a game's quality, as long as they reach a certain standard, which I honestly think was set durring the previous gen. I think that the whole HD element is a gimmick, but would also like to stress the fact that I don't think it will remain a gimmick in future gens, if the industry is heading in the direction I believe it is heading.

Anyway, the question has been asked, how much further can you take graphics? With HD graphics getting as advanced as they are, how far are we away from photo realism? If we look closely enough at the most realistic games, we can still see elements which make it obvious that it's a videogame, but even so, the graphics are becoming much closer than we've ever gotten. So, how do we improve them? We've been given our answer: 3D. Not exactly a new idea, but given how much focus has been placed on it, most notably with the 3DS, but also with the PS3, they may have come up with a surprising way to implement it that could actually enhance the graphics in an interesting way. I can't really say how much this improves the graphics, since I haven't experienced the PS3 or 3DS takes on 3D graphics, but I've been hearing some really good things about the 3DS' use of it.

Interactive gameplay

We've seen a few examples of this. Touch screen on the DS, and even on things like the iPod, The Wiimote, Kinect, and Playstation Move, etc. All of these things basically come down to giving gamers new ways to interact with the games they play. It's debatable how successful these elements have been, and no matter how many people accept them, there's also people who don't care for their addition. But no matter whether you like them or not, one thing that you can't argue with is the fact that it's been successful, at least in terms of how well they sell their appeal to the general public, and this is reflected in the creation of Kinect and Move, which are Microsoft and Sony's way to try to jump on the bandwagon.

Keep in mind that these ideas are fairly new to the industry, so developers are just starting to get used to them, and there can, and will be improvements to these things in the future. One such example is the addition of Motion Plus to the Wiimote, which gives it a boost in its accuracy, bringing it that much closer to what gamers originally imagined when they were introduced to the Wiimote a few years ago. As years go on, and generations pass, there will probably be more examples of this, some which may surprise us just as much as the Wiimote did when it was announced.

Bringing it together

So, with all that said, how will things go in the future? How will these things contribute to the industry as a whole? As consoles are created in order to draw you in more and more, whether it's with its graphics, or its interactive gameplay, or other elements that I don't feel like getting into for this particular blog (improved A.I., bigger and better game worlds, etc.), I can honestly say I see things going towards virtual reality. A thing which is obviously big in science fiction, to the point where it has become a tired cliche. But then, other things in science fiction which used to be considered really odd fantasies have become things which we've grown to accept as part of reality, like cloning. It may not happen next gen, and I'd actually be surprised if it did. It may not even happen for the next 3 or so gens, but I do see things heading there. The HD and 3D graphics could be a stepping stone towards the kind of technology that would be needed to create the virtual worlds, while the interactive control methods we see this gen could be the stepping stones to the technology that would be needed to control yourself in that world.

As it stands right now, all we can do is speculate. But for me, the possibility of virtual reality seems to be much closer than I've ever expected it to be, and I'm very fascinated by the possibility.

Birthday presents FTW!

:D

Yep, today was my birthday, and I got a lot of great presents. It helps that a lot of them were pretty cheap, including a few that were on sale. Anyway, here's what I got:

DVDs

-Quantum Leap season 1
-Serentity

Videogames

Wii:
-Wario Land: Shake It

360/Xbox Live Arcade:
-Assassin's Creed 2
-Banjo-Kazooie

DS:
-The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
-Metroid Prime Pinball
-100 C-lassic Books

I haven't actually had time to check them out yet, but I'm very happy to have all of them.

2 new games

Yep. I got 2 games yesterday: Red Dead Redemption and Picross 3D. So far I'm really loving both of them. Red Dead Redemption does a great job of making a Western game in the GTA style. I'd have to say I like it a lot better than Grand Theft Auto 4. As for Picross 3D, it's the first Picross game that I've played, so I can't really compare it to the others, but so far I'm liking it a lot. I'm only on the easy level, and it's already making me think hard to figure out the solutions to the puzzles.

Final Fantasy IV update: finished the Tower of Zot

About friggin' time! I was stuck in that place for a few months, and it got to the point where I only felt like casually playing the game to level-grind, since I couldn't do anything outside of the tower. Now that I'm done with that, I can actually play it on a fairly regular basis. :D

Finally finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, now reading...

So, after owning the book for about 3 years, I finally got around to reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was very different from the other books, and because of that, it did lose some of the charm of those books, since it focused less on the magical world that was created within the first 6 books and all that, shifting the focus over to Harry's search for the Horcuxes and moving things towards the final showdown. I do, however, completely understand this shift in focus. The books are named after Harry Potter for a reason, and it was great to see how he grew throughout the book. So, overall, it was a nice way to finish off the series, though I don't know if I'd say it was my favorite.

Anyway, now that I'm finally done with that, I've decided to go back and read another book that I got a while ago but never finished: Dune. I actually got the book along with its sequel, Dune Mesiah a long time ago, and read a fair amount of the book, but that was so long ago that I've decided just to start over. Right now I'm only on the second chapter, but I'm already really enjoying it. One thing I liked about the book when I first started reading it was the way it set up the world of Arrakis, and now that I'm reading the book again, I'm already getting a better appreciation for this aspect than before. If I really get into this book and its sequel, I may end up getting into the rest of the series as well. :P

Finished Super Mario Galaxy 2, Now playing...

I was able to beat Super Mario Galaxy 2 100% yesterday. I would have been finished about a week ago if it wasn't for the last star. Great game overall, even if it did wear me out durring the last star. I think it's a very fitting final Marioplatformer for the Wii.

And since I'm done with that game, I've decided to start another one. The first thing that came to my mind was The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, through theLegend of Zelda Collection on the Gamecubesince it is the only 3D Zelda game that I haven't beaten. Unfortunately, my Gamecube controller has stopped working for some reason. So I'll have to get a new one, maybe for my birthday.

Instead, I've decided to play through Twilight Princess again. Right now I've just gone through the first bug section to restore the light, and am about to go into the Forrest Temple. So far I'm liking it. It does make me excited to use the new controls in Skyward Sword though. :P Right now, I'm considering taking my time, and doing most of the stuff on the side, but I guess that will depend on if I still feel like it later on.

E3 conferences

So, E3 has come again, and the big three have had their conferences. Here's what I think about each of them:

Microsoft

I was pretty disappointed in Microsoft's conference. I wanted to keep an open mind about Kinect, and was hoping to see some good games for it, but nothing I saw, except for Forza, really caught my eye. I can understand spending a lot of time on Kinect this year, but if they wanted to focus so much on it, they could have at least had decent games for it. As for the non-Kinect games, there were a few decent ones at the beginning (with some of them being multi-plats :P), but still, nothing good enough to make up for the rest of the conference.

Nintendo

It's too bad about the controller interferance in the Zelda demo. From what I've heard, the people who have actually played the game do think the controls are much more responsive than what it seemed to be durring the conference. Still, that did hurt what would have otherwise been a pretty nice way to kick off the conference. Of course, there were some other really good moments as well. More footage of Metroid Other M, which is looking better than ever, and even showed off some more traditional Metroid moments, along with the more action-packed moments. There was the new Kirby game, which really caught be off guard at first, but it seems like a great idea, and has a lot of that Kirby charm. There was also a new Donkey Kong Country game, which may not have as much originality as games like Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Other M, and Kirby's Epic Yarn, but it does seem to be Donkey Kong's equivalent to New Super Mario Bros. Wii, in that it has a lot of polish, and is a lot of fun. And there were a few other interesting titles as well, like the new Golden Sun game, Epic Mickey, and a few others. I also liked what I saw from 3DS. It isn't something that I plan on getting, but it seems like a nice update, with a strong supporting library of games.

Sony

This is what Microsoft should have done. They showed off very good support for Playstation Move, and showed of quite a few good looking games for the PS3 and PSP. Honestly, I didn't think that Sony could top Nintendo's conference, but despite a few weaker moments, I think that they pulled it off.

... I want a PS3. :(

Super Mario, times two

This Monday, I went to the store to get Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Trauma Team. Unfortunately the store I went to didn't have Trauma Team, so I made a last-second decision to buy New Super Mario Bros. for the DS instead. :P

So far, I'm really loving SMG2. At first it did seem a bit too much like the original (which isn't neccessarily a bad thing, but nothing really stood out). However, the game gradually expanded upon itself, with its use of items, and other level gimmicks. Right now I have a little over 70 stars (I forget theexact number), and so far, I may not agree with all the perfect scores it has gotten yet (except maybe on Gamespot, simply due to the .5 rating system), but I think it's fairly safe to say that this game is easily better than the original.

As for New Super Mario Bros., I just beat world 2. I'm trying to go slowly with it taking it half a world per day, though I'm not really trying to get the Star Coins yet (I'll wait until after I beat it). So far it's a good game, but honestly not as good as it could be. I know it's not really fair to compare it to a game that came out after it, and on a different system, but I think that if you compare it with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the main problems are pretty clear. The level design isn't reallythat imaginitive, and while it may be too early to be mentioning this, I have found the levels to be fairly easy. But as I said, I do think it's a good game in its own way, I'm just more drawn towards Super Mario Galaxy 2. :P

Red Ring'd Xbox 360...

:(

Turned on my 360 a few hours ago, and was greeted by 3flashing red lights. Since then, I've tried doing everything I could do. I registered my 360 online, to try to get the warranty, but it says that it expired. The thing is, I got my 360 well after it was actually manufactured, so it should still be under warranty. The problem now is proving it. I have to find my receipt, and then try contacting them, and only then will I be able to send it in to get repaired.

*sigh*