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Keeping Nintendo Outside the PC Box

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What Game sold the best last year? Call of Duty you say? Give me more of that, just name it Titanfall or something.

The opinion that Nintendo needs to do what it can to pull itself back into booming positive sales figures by firing Iwata and putting in his place someone that better "understands" the Western market is asinine. Not because it could possibly increase sales (which is the obvious way to look at it) in the future, but what it does to the integrity of Nintendo. Nintendo is a company which has been one of the (if not the) leading innovators in video games in hardware and in software till this very day and will continue to be if they maintain their same leadership. Nothing suggests otherwise. When someone looks at anything solely in terms of profit and increasing sales, something which Nintendo has never prioritized, innovation and creativity ALWAYS fall to the background.

PC has got more leaves, more light, SAME GAME, and a bigger draw distance.

A main complaint about the Wii U is that it has lost third-party support more than any other console in the history of consoles. Low sales figures are certainly a reason for this, why produce a game for a system that nobody owns? Yet another reason, a more important reason, is because right now risk-taking in game design is at an absolute LOW. Sony designed a console that was easy to design for, one that is pretty much a PC. Microsoft did the same thing, of course. In the world of PC, Playstation, and XBOX gaming, video game design will continue on the way it was before. The developers who made games for the PS3 and Xbox 360 don't need to learn anything new or think outside the box. If you just watch any interview with developers about creating games for "Next-Gen" hardware (specifically the PS4 and XBONE), you'll find their answers to be rather deadpan and redundant. Answers like, "yea, we're looking forward to putting more stuff in our games and boosting the graphics; where we were hitting design walls before, we can bulldoze right through those now [...until we hit are next wall]".

To give third parties what they want, Nintendo needs a device that looks and acts like the other devices on the market. This way it is absolutely no pain for them to bring their game over to a Nintendo console. Now, at the end of the day, we have not two, but three video game consoles that from a hardware standpoint are virtually the same thing. For major third-parties, game design is about producing something that has been tested to work. The way they impress you (and by distinguishing it from what came before it) is by boosting the graphics, the frame-rate, the amount of crap you can do in a game. Nintendo has rarely thought this way. Video games to Nintendo are about producing a product that survives the test of time, a product that is replayable alone and with your buddies. Everything else is lower in the totem pole.

Is it a movie? Is it a game? Whatever dude! There's SPLOSIONS!!!

Sony and Microsoft exclusives are pretty much in line with what is being produced by third-parties in terms of gameplay design. Which is, visuals and a gameplay structure that has been proven to work. For example, games like Uncharted, Tomb Raider, The Last of Us and Assassin's Creed are all very similar type of games and are marketed as such. Microsoft does the same thing with Halo and Gears of War, visuals are at the helm of design. Third Parties and Exclusives on those two consoles are almost all indistinguishable (There might be an exception or two -- little big planet). While it may seem like nothing, The Wii U has a much stronger and clearer identity than both the PS4 and XBONE. The software you can play on the Wii U is vastly different, within its own library and weighed against the software on other platforms.

How do I make a game that's not just about SPLOSIONS and maxing out the consoles graphics card?

In this sense Nintendo encourages third-parties to think outside the box. To put a game on the Wii U isn't as easy as just porting the game over. Visuals can no longer be the priority. Take Zombie U: Zombie U was a struggle for Ubisoft. It required them to break from their comfort zone and put in probably the most video game design effort they put into a game since the first Far Cry. Anyone who has played Zombie U KNOWS that Ubisoft was on the brink of creating something absolutely brilliant. Far more brilliant and unique than anything they're producing today. However there were bugs, probably due to rushing it for launch, and many of them. Whatever the reason, fans of the game still scream for a second. When Watch Dogs arrives on the Wii U the impact will be far less remarkable. Sure, Ubisoft will find a few clever uses for the gamepad but at the end of the day it will still just be Watch Dogs, which is playable on all platforms.

They are always easy ways out. Nintendo could just produce a PC in a box right now and maybe see some higher sales figures. Is this is the answer though? Is this the right thing to do? I personally would love for Nintendo to keep thinking outside the [PC] in a box and keeping designing hardware that hasn't been tested before. To continue to lead innovation through software and creativity then to see Nintendo just become another "Box."

Here's to another Nintendo console that's more baffling to Western consumers than the Wii U!

Where is your 3DS and Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

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If my gaming career has a core, something that all other games revolve around, that core is probably the Zelda franchise. While I don't just buy Nintendo consoles for Zelda, seeing that I usually buy Nintendo consoles far before Zelda is released, it certainly is a mammoth contributor. This isn't to say I've loved every Zelda installment, because I haven't. But let's just say that no game in the existence of gaming combines so many of the gameplay aspects that I love so well like Zelda does.

When I was a kid I could complete a game in one sitting no problem. I had the time and ability to shut my brain off for extended periods of time. Now I'm 27. For the last few years no single player experience has really grabbed my attention for that long (I say single player because I've been guilty of playing Day of Defeat and Torchlight 2 for over 4 hours online and with friends here and there), including Skyward Sword. If I can recall right, I'd say the longest contenders have been Dark Souls, Red Dead Redemption, and Knytt Underground; playing each of those games for 2-3 hours straight on a few occasions. Woah dude, big deal. Well, as a 27 year old with bills up the butt to pay, a full-time job and yes, other hobbies, that's a long time.

I'm saying all this because Zelda: A Link Between Worlds came out yesterday and I played it for 2 hours the first night then 6.5 hours the second night. This game is that good.

Letter from PS4: Come back in six months

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Got my hands on the PS4 for a hot second. I gripped the controller like the behind of a babe. Caressed it. Got to know it. Yes. It is better than the dualshock 3. The triggers and the sticks especially. The center pad is a nice touch (and a nice pun). And it still feels like its in the dualshock family, which may be a good or bad thing depending on who you are. Wait. Who are you anyway? Why I otta…

Knack was the only exclusive to play. Got in game and took a look. Isn’t this the ps4? Where are the better graphics? Hm. We’ll never mind. I don’t get all hussy fussy over graphics so I scratched my nads then started gaming. Doesn’t take long to notice when a game is crud. With knack it took about five seconds. Crap controls, sloppy animations, generic everything. Is Sony serious? I put the controller down, took a deep breath, and told myself to come back in six months.

Every Now and Then I Enjoy Something.

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My roommate asked me if I was a cynic the other day.  I told him I wasn't.  Critical, yes.  Cynical, no.  At least I hope I'm not.  I don't want to dislike things just to dislike them.  My hipster days are long behind me (though I still own a pair of tight, black jeans).  These days I want to like things.  I even push myself to like things that aren't even good.  Yet, I can't help but see my roommates point.  Lately I have been trashing on a lot of video games.  Is it possible the hipster of old is still with me?

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Clothes from Goodwill, Salvation Army, American Apparel or Urban Outfitters

I'm not really sure how to answer that.  Today I played the beginning of Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2.  And guess what?  I liked it.  It gave me a sigh of relief.  It confirmed that I'm not just hating on things just to hate on them.  I hate on things, or dislike on things, because quite frankly they're just not that good.  Sigma 2, on the other hand, is quite good.

I'm not here to get into the game.  That's what my review will do later when I'm ready to write it.  What I will say is that I'm more confident than ever about how I analyze and critique other games.  When I give GTA V or The Last of Us or Splinter Cell or Bioshock Infinite what most people would consider a low score, I know I'm sticking true to my honest opinion.  To me there are many other games that are better than those former titles, by a lot.  Within five minutes of playing Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 I knew I was playing a way better game than most of what my PS3 has been loading up these days.  On the other side, I knew I wasn't playing a perfect game, or the best game either.  

Over the past few months I've played my fair share of PS3 games.  Most pretty bad, some decent, and two really good ones (Dark souls and now Ninja Gaiden Sigma).  Dark Souls is probably the more objectively acceptable example, since I'm sure not everyone is going to agree with how much praise I'm giving Sigma 2.  

At this point I don't even know what this blog is about.  I'm sort of just rambling.  But I will ramble on about one more thing.  Sigma 2 feels like a video game.  Which, by all meanings of that phrase, is an awesome thing.  I think a lot of you out there know what I'm talking about.  Some video games feel like video games, and some don't.  I'd recommend Sigma 2 like I'd recommend Dark Souls (though, obviously I'd recommend Dark Souls first) and I have no problem saying that.

There.  How's that for a fart?

GTA V and The Shift in What's Important in Gaming

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From Carylon's review to Movie Bob to Jim Sterling to the review on Escapist (to more I'm sure) there's a lot of hot-topic discussion about GTA V.  What I find funny about all this is while everyone is off discussing things like misogyny, sexism, the villians, the violence, the story, the politics....nobody seems to be talking about how bad the gameplay is.  

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Yea that's right, we stole all your money baby.

Jim Sterling went on a rant this week in his Jimquisition (check it out on Escapist if you want) about how he relishes playing as the "Villain" for reasons like: The "villain" is typically a more interesting character than the stock "hero."  This is all fine and dandy and I actually agree with Jim on this point.  Call these three dudes in GTA V the villains, call them the anti-hero's, call them the source of satire, call them the opposite of the classic gaming protagonist, call them whatever you like.  It doesn't change the fact that the gameplay is as boring as watching my grandmother make bread from scratch.

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Could you scoop that thing up today hunny?  I ain't gettin' any younger.

Even if the gameplay isn't as bad as I'm making it out to be, you'd have to be blind to not notice that it's far from perfect.  Maybe it all has to do with what game journalists are after these days, or what lights a fire under their rump.  Maybe now that they've outgrown their NES days, they're starting to have this notion that games with more "creativity," more "innovation," more of a provocative and original story, more of something that can be called "art" are the most important aspects of gaming and the industry.  Frankly (and I've said this before), developers, both big AAA developers and Indies alike, are after this conquest too.  It's gotten so bad that nobody is talking about how silly the gameplay of GTA V is.  Like, if this game had done far less with the story and was not under the GTA franchise, I'd find it hard to believe it would have scored much higher than what I reviewed it at.

 

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Someone told me once (Yes, people talk to me on occasion) that if these opinions of mine were taken seriously, for instance if game jouranalists didn't find those aspects of gaming mentioned in the former paragraph important, then gaming would never make any progress.  Instead it would be stuck in the golden age forever, the age of saving the princess and jumping around on platforms.  On the contrary I feel the gaming industry has taken more steps backwards, and more steps in the wrong direction, because of this new found praise of the more modern elements of gaming (the elements that essentially makes games look like movies).   GTA V, to me, is a step in the wrong bloody direction.  Not because of anything related to the story or the content, but how the darn game actually plays and gets away with being called "perfection."  No.  This isn't perfection people.  This isn't Half-Life.  This isn't even close to Super Mario Galaxy.  This can't touch Shadow of the Collusus with a 500 mile pole.  This isn't a 9.0 or a 10.    In GTA V it's too glaring how terrible the controls are, how stupid the A.I is, how boring the missions are. 


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I'm sorry you had to live to see this.

I don't mean to pick on people who like any particular game that I don't like very much.  I'm mainly just writing this because of how certain things are highlighted over others and how there is a serious shift in how people analyze video games today.  A good example is The Wonderful 101.  Review scores are all over the place because game critics don't know what to think of these types of games anymore.  Games that have classic, fun gameplay, cool colors and tacky dialogue.  But games like GTA V and The Last of Us, you'll notice that all critics review them alike.  They all have the same opinion on them.  Because the games were designed with the same paradigm of the people who were reviewing them. 

Social Gaming: Where it Went and A Place You can Still Find It.

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I've always wanted video games to be a viable option for something to do at a party.  When you got 8 or 10 people hanging out, it should be socially cool to crank out a gaming console.  The console shouldn't be seen as something that's just played during the dark moments when we're all alone and nobody is around.  The problem with this is not too many games on the playstation and Xbox support this kind of idea.  The majority of their games are these major one or two player games that are just way too serious for their own good.  It would most certainly be awkward to play them during a social situation.  2 people at most would be playing and the other people would just be standing around wondering what they're even doing there in the first place.

Don't get me wrong.  I love a good single player experience.  I absolutley love games like Half-Life, Zelda, Shadow of the Collusus.  Love them.  But let's face it.  The industry is dominated by big, major single player and massive online games.  If you do decide to play them during a social thing, you're sort of just flexing your muscles and showing off how "cool" the game is.  This isn't exactly fun.

I bring this all up because I got my hands on NintendoLand for the first time the other day.  I have to admint, this is probably the most underrated gaming experience right now.  Playing two of the mini games with five friends was a ridiculous amount of fun.  It brought me back to the days when I was a kid with my friends playing Halo or Mario Party.  The mini games are simple to understand and simple to control.  

The gaming industry needs more of these games, not the big budgted AAA crap.  Even Indie developers need to start producing more games that include 4 or more players.  With all these leaps in technology, you'd think you'd see a console that has the capability of hooking up 8 controllers to it, instead of sticking with just four.  

 

Shoot In and Out (Favorite Gaming Memory 4 of ?)

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Ok well let's get this one out the way.  Had this one in mind out of the gecko so if I don't do it now then it's just going to be bogging my mind down.  Like a bunch of other gamers I'm sure, I was awesome at Mega Man.  That game came naturally to me.  While I didn't record any speed runs (wtf are speed runs?)  I can tell you with a straight face, and with a drunk face, I could even tell you when I'm wearing a mask if you'd like, I could beat Mega Man 2, 3 and 4 like a champ.  In college I used to beat those games just to take the stress off.  There was something therapeutic about it.  It felt good because I was good. Though no one else gave two shits.  Quit wasting you're time kid! 

 

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My armpits itch like all day

I got a bunch of Mega Man memories. Unfortunately not any while getting dome from a hott chick.  Anyways, though I'd say I have a lot of awesome memories from Mega Man 3, my favorite level/boss to kick the shit out of is most certainly Quickman and his hellish stage from Mega Man 2.  Actually, it probably isn't the biggest pain in the ass compared to some other Mega Man stages, but it certainly looks cooler than hello kitty underpants.  

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Quickman gets down Saturday Night Fever style

As you'd expect, Quickman's level isn't for the gamers with slow reactions.  The level must be completed fast.  Not because there's a timer, but because one of those beams of energy that plague half of the level will fry you into smithereens.  Quickly escaping death by energy beam is a great feeling.  One wrong step, or maybe there's too much grease on your fingers from all those potato chips you've been eating causing your thumb to slip off the d-pad, will give you a one-way ticket to deathville.  Time to start again buddy.  Time to get a life buddy.  Time to find a new hobby buddy.  Time to get a watch buddy.

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Smells like somethings cooking

 

When you finally do get to quickman you have two choices.  Use Flashman's power to drain half of his life away...OR you could beat him like a man with just your regular shot.  Which is what I do, because I'm a baller like that.  Mega Man can actually become quite an easy game when you know what powers to use against which bosses.  If you stay classy and just use your regular shot you'll be eligible to enter the Mega Man Hall of Fame I've set up in my parents basement.  

Patience and Timing is the Key to Any Good Fart (Favorite Gaming Moment 3 of ?)

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I went through about eight NES controllers.  Out of pure rage and fustration I'd throw those suckers against the wall, the ground or just try to bend them with bare hands.  It just sucked failing, and I wanted the controller to feel my pain.  As I look back on those childish moments, I think.  Wow, I was an idiot back then, too.  Now, I don't remember the exact games and the exact moments of those games where I really tried to damage the controller, but I could make a really good case for the title below.

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Relax, Free Your Mind, Become the Beast, Become the Chest Hairs.


Whether or not you asked me when I was kid if a level from The Karate Kid was considered one of my favorite gaming moments I'm not sure what I would have said.  Probably something like, "Dude, all I need is gummy bears and a glass of coke with crushed ice."  Today the memory of playing The Karate Kid holds a nice spot in my brain.  I don;t think I can ever forget much trouble I had with the level where the rain is coming down and the wind is blowing like a mother chucker.

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That's a fart bomb


While I like all of the levels of The Karate Kid, the one pictured about was a beast.  It came early in the game and tested the size of your nuts.   If randomly changing wind speeds wasn't enough to make platforming difficult, it was what the wind was blowing that added to your souless life.  Time a jump just right while factoring in the weather (like Ninja Gaiden) wasn't enough.  Sometimes a chair or some other debris blow onto the screen and ruin your life.  Go the high route or the low route, doesn't matter.  Both ways are as dangerous as the other.  

Like any great karate master, patience and timing are the key.  So don't look for any power-ups.  And if you haven't played this game before, I'd recommend putting some padding around the controller so it doesn't break on impact.  And if any loved ones enter the area where you game, make sure they're wearing a helmet.    

Where We Going From Here, GTA?

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It isn't hard to notice that the latest GTA is mainly just a bigger game than its predecessors.  It also isn't hard to notice that this is what Rockstar has been doing all along with GTA, just trying to make the next one a little bigger and better than the last one.  The maps get bigger, more people on the streets, more accessible buildings, more missions...You get the picture. So when GTAV screens and videos appeared, I guess I wasn't that impressed since I sort or know what Rockstar is up to.  And I'm sure when GTAVI is released in 5 years for next-gen I won't be that impressed either since I could tell you right now what it's going to be like:  Bigger, more people on the streets, more things to do, maybe go to space and the deepest parts of the ocean.  Essentially just more stuff.  

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Look!  More water to swim around in. 

This goes nowhere for me since I'm not a gamer who cares much for simulators, which is what GTA, in my mind, stands for.  A game that ultimately tries to become more lifelike with each entry.  And it's not just about mimicking realism, but more about simulating a "fantasy realism."  In other words, giving gamers a chance to pretend like they are some other person in a world based off of our world.  However this world has no rules.  They are free to do, and not do, what they want.  All of our brains desire a type of experience like this.  A place where we can mess around a bit, fulfill are latent motivations.  GTA certainly plays off of this.  Maybe not doing it consciously, but connecting all the dots of our subconscious nonetheless.  

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Maybe we'll be able to play GTAIV in GTAV?

Maybe this is why GTA feels like less of video game than ever to me.  It is maybe the most popular video game for Westerners and sort of defines to the rest of the world (and our world) what video gamers like to play out here.  Which to me is disheartning, but also helps me realize why gamers typically get the short end of the stick.  It's hard to defend your hobby when the best selling games of your area involve more violence than any other medium could ever imagine.  Not only that, but trying to explain why GTA (or Wow) is great without sounding like your secretly just trying to live in an alternate reality.

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Could you stop dropping the paint everywhere Charlie!?  Christ...

I guess my final thoughts on GTA is how diverse the gamer base is (Well, probably not sexually diverse considering that 95% of gamers who play GTA are most definetly men).  Jocks, Bro's, Retro Gamers, Kids, Dads, Businessmen probably all like GTA.  This is probably because of the different things someone can get out of GTA.  For instance, GTA can feel like playing an action movie, it can feel really RPGish with all the side-quests and customization, it can feel really competitive with its online modes, it can be a graphic spectacle for your new television, it can be the center for humor at a party, it can be really absorbing and steal your day away.  Am I suggesting that Rockstar is just trying to appeal to a wider audience?  No.  This is just the nature of a GTA game, which explains how Rockstar is sitting on such an obese cash cow.

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I love milking this one.

Of course I hold my final reservations until I play it, though in my head I feel like I already have.  And that goes for GTA 6, 7 and 8.

 

 

Blue Ring Jazz (Fav. Gaming Moment 2 of ?)

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Well I just posted a comment about cancer that absolutley BOMBED.  So why not move on from the catastrophe by posting a blog on another one my favorite gaming moments.  I think what I'm trying to do with this is start from the the earlier memories and work my way up to the present day.  This could take awhile.  Maybe you want to consider heating up a baked potato, grabbing a economy sized bag of sunflower seeds and gobstoppers, and getting your snuggy.

 

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I referenced my brother in my last blog and and I'll mention him again now.  He taught me the locations of half of the items in Zelda for the NES.  This saved me a lot of time and a lot of money.  Well, not money.  I was like 9 years old.  I didn't have a job at the time.  Though I did try taking out the recycling on occasion, cleaned the Lego's off the floor too a few times.  

My favorite part about Zelda for the NES doesn't have to do with a boss or a dungeon, but an item you get.  Yes, many of the items you get are pretty awesome.  One in particular though, is cooler than all the rest.

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Finding and buying the blue ring is epic.  After wearing this badboy you changed from your green, noobish attire into the WHITE KNIGHT!  The real benefit, of course, is that you're able to take more damage but let's be honest.  You looked more bada$$ and when your friends came over to watch you play they were like....How'd you turn white bro?

I'll leave it at that.  And I'll leave you with this:

 

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