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The Problem With Gamers and Graphics

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Now let me start off by saying that graphics are an integral part of gaming, obviously without graphics, we could not visually see the game we are playing. While amazing graphics are not necessary in crafting an amazing game, they most certainly can be the icing on top that can further immerse the gamer into the experience. The problem is that graphics now, compared to every generation beforehand, no longer have the same impact. Every generation prior to this one, a leap in graphics not only meant better visuals, but also more possibilities in gameplay, now, better graphics just means better graphics for the most part, yet for some reason the obsession gamers have with graphics still largely remains the same, despite the less significant role graphics has in gaming today, this video explains this situation perfectly.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Gg9vQne6K9c

It's clear why many gamers put a lot of emphasis on graphics, primarily due to the fact that that's the first thing that you'll notice about any game. Obviously if something looks better, it gives the impression that it's better made or of higher quality. We know that there's no direct correlation between the quality of graphics and the quality of the game, but as gamers, as much as some of us say we don't care about graphics, we all do to a certain degree. The major issue is when gamers start allowing that desire for great graphics to either prevent them from supporting great games that might not have the best visuals, or allowing subpar graphics ruin an experience of an otherwise amazing game. I had a conversation with someone a while back who loves to bash on Nintendo, and he said that "Nintendo should make an open world RPG" but when I asked him if he played Xenoblade Chronicles (which many of us would agree is easily one of the best RPGs and arguably the best JRPG of this generation), he said he passed it up in favor of Kingdom of Amalur: The Reckoning (which is still a great game that you can get fairly cheap now, as opposed to Xenoblade becoming a rare game) and his reasoning was "It's a better looking game on a better looking system." While this is only one person, I have no doubts that millions of other gamers share this same thought process.

I don't know about you guys, but aside from resolution, the visual quality is not that big a difference

96120_ReckoningDemo_2012-01-19_18-21-49-

xenobladechronicles1.png

This generation has seen an increase in the amount of visually stunning games that are subpar in everything else, and due to Nintendo releasing the Wii as well as Sony making huge advancements with their handhelds compared to Nintendo's, we've also seen a great deal of games that are amazing, but have been overlooked simply because their graphics can't compare to your average AAA title. Many gamers love to whine and bicker about why many major developers are putting such a huge emphasis on graphics over everything else, yet they don't realize that these developers are doing it because they know gamers will buy it just because it has great graphics. Developers are not going to spend a great deal of resources into something that won't sell. I mean no offense to anyone reading this but the online gaming community is largely made up of shallow people who place graphics and power above everything else and developers see this and take advantage of it, despite the consequences it can have on the game as well as the developer.

As a gamer, you'll always have a certain expectation when it comes to graphics, but to everyone reading, I challenge you to do your best to not allow graphics to ruin a game you purchased or hold you back from what you are positive is an amazing game. I know I'm rather unique as a gamer and that my viewpoints, expectations, and preferences are not widely shared by the gaming community. Apart from loving videogames, I'm also an artist which allows me to appreciate the beauty and effort put into anything, regardless of how the final product looks. Also my older brother is a graphics junkie, I don't know how many times he said he wouldn't play a game if the graphics aren't good and even when I was a kid, that reasoning sounded stupid to me as I was playing games that had rather horrible graphics, but were still flat out fun to play. I'm hardly what you call a retro gamer, yet I have no issues jumping between generations of games and not being bothered by the differences in the graphics (although other things such as controls and voice acting do affect me more). Right now I have Ni No Kuni in the closest not being played, why? Because I'm too busy playing the original Grandia and loving every moment of it.

My point is is that the moment you stop allowing yourself to be overly affected by the graphical quality of games, you'll enjoy more games in general, and not only that, you'll still enjoy these same games for years to come, even if they don't age well. If we want developers to stop putting such a huge emphasis on graphics above gameplay, story, music, and replay value, then we need to send them the message that graphics will not sell us a game. Yes there are developers who actually can craft a game that excels in every department including graphics, but that's becoming more the exception rather than the rule and I'm pretty sure we don't want that to happen.

Why Nintendo didn't go HD in 2006

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This blog will be mainly my thoughts and what I know about why Nintendo didn't put out an HD console in 2006. I do believe pretty much everything I say is accurate and do not feel the need to share actual sources as I will be using info that pretty much every gamer should know but use it to support the topic. If I am wrong with anything I share, please let me know so I can make the necessary corrections. 

It actually bothers me whenever I see someone hating on Nintendo saying that the the Wii U should've come out in 2006 or that Nintendo not coming out with an HD console in 2006 was them "abandoning the core gamer" when it's pretty clear why they didn't do it and why it was a smart choice for them.

First off, let's look at Sony, leading up to the PS3, Sony had the 2 most successful home consoles of all time, which obviously generated a great deal of profit for them since these consoles weren't overly powerful, therefore weren't highly expensive to manufacture. Yet when the PS3 was released, within the first year the PS3 wiped out all the profits that Sony had earned from the PS1 and PS2 due to the high cost of the system how much of a loss Sony was selling it at. Even Microsoft with the less powerful 360 was taking heavy losses with each 360 sold.

Looking at how much these two major corportations suffered, what would make anyone think that Nintendo could afford going HD at the time? Also look at how their previous two consoles performed, the N64 and Gamecube, while both were profitable for Nintendo, neither were phenominal successes like the NES and SNES. Add in the fact that a great deal of Nintendo's revenue is generated through hardware sales and it becomes pretty clear that Nintendo was in no position to be releasing an HD console. 

Next let's look at the business perspective of it. Nintendo has almost never been about cutting edge tech, and HD was extremely cutting edge at the time and Nintendo (for better or for worse) has stayed away from using technology before it was ready and had mainstream appeal, the Virtual Boy being one example of them ignoring this philosphy and look how it turned out for them. By 2005/06, HD TVs were still fairly uncommon and for those of you who played HD games on a standard TV, it's horrible and barely looks better than what you can get on the XBox and Gamecube. My family's pretty well off and we didn't even get our first HD TV until 2009. Now that HD is the standard and the tech is much cheaper (albeit still expensive) obviously Nintendo is going to join in and even then, they're not going nuts with the tech because they want to make sure they put out an adequately powerful console at an affordable price. History has proven time and time again that the most powerful console never does the best overall (even though the PS3 is arguably the best console of the 7th generation, it was still a financial disaster for Sony and the Vita is continuing that trend) so why would Nintendo do something that's only proven to destroy companies rather than help them? 

There's a reason why Nintendo has been around for as long as they have and are still in a very healthy state. When you look at the pacing of the videogame industry after the crash, it's been going Nintendo's pace until the 7th generation. Those companies that have followed Nintendo's pacing (in terms of timing and tech) have had successful systems like SEGA with the Genesis (and to an extent, the Dreamcast), and Sony with both Playstations. Companies that have ignored this and have gotten ahead of themselves have suffered greatly and tended to fail like Atari, SEGA with the Genesis add-ons and Saturn, the 3DO, Nintendo with the Virtual Boy and even the PS3 and right now the Vita (I hope it does well though since I don't want Sony failing). The only company who's done this and came out reletively unscathed and successful is Microsoft, primarily due to the massive success of XBox Live and the fact that they're the wealthiest company yet to have entered the gaming industry so they can afford to take these initial losses. 

So it's not like you have to dig around to find out why Nintendo does things their way, for the most part, it's proven to keep them alive and well. When you think about this generation, we heard of studios closing left and right but for some reason, Nintendo didn't close down any studios, instead they accquired a new 1st party and not only that, have been consistently expanding their development teams. While it may please all gamers or give them what they want, I would much rather have a company I love give me enough of what I want so they can remain in business for a long time than a company who tries to give me everything I want but at the cost of the company going down in shambles. 

How to Effectively Debate/Argue

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When you're an active member of any kind of community revolving around a hobby or major interest, there are bound to be debates and arguments, especially between two opposing parties. Also trolls/haters tend to try to make stir up as much heat and frustration as possible. 

With videogames, this blog is going to be more focused on what to do against haters/trolls with advice on debating/arguing in general. 

Take note that I do not believe I'm 100% correct, however, I've typically received good feedback from not only others spectating but on some occasions, even the opposing party so I'm going to share my experience in hopes that it will help you effectively deal with others who simply want to cause trouble.

First off, flat out haters and trolls who just spout out nonsense are typically easy to deal with and for the most part should just be left alone and can usually be easily delt with with facts invalidating whatever they're saying, even if they refuse to accpet those facts. It's when you encounter those who are actually intelligent and for the most part, know what they're talking about that things can get ugly or frustrating for the defending party. Here are the most important things to remember when dealing with such people.

-Facts-

Facts are crucial in any debate/argument. Ensure that whatever evidence you are using is 100% backed up by a credible source. Try to avoid using rumors or speculation and such can and will be taken as such. Also you are online so there's really no reason why your evidence can't be accurate as you can pull up info on the spot but even more importantly, so can the other person if they feel the need to validate your evidence. Always back up your facts with sources, that way they have no excuse to say that they can't locate the piece of evidence you are presenting. Even if the person may come off as intelligent, the moment they refuse to acknowledge any valid evidence you've presented pretty much invalidates anything they say from there on out so all you have to do is recognize their fault and back away. 

 

- Avoid assuming/generalizing - 

I know I'm sometimes guilty of this but yeah, whenever dealing with someone, ask questions to try and find out things about them to figure out why they behave the way they do, it will give you more insght on them and will allow you to more effectively deal with them. One thing I've noticed about haters/trolls is how much they love to generalize and assume that they know the kind of person you are. This does give you the upper hand. If you feel the need to, share a bit of history about yourself if it serves to invalidate a claim they make. For the most part, assuming/generalizing only serves to make you look ignorant, something you really want to avoid.

 

- Opinions =/= facts -

You especially as the defending party must recognize this, as strongly as you believe in your opinion, so does the other person. Yes there is such a thing as having a more valid opinion, but make sure their opinion is just as valid. Sometimes a hater is someone who legitamately hates on a certain company because they've felt burned by that company or simply did not have good experiences with that company, making their opiniion every bit as valid as yours. 

 

- We are all human beings with different backgrounds/interests/preferences - 

Just because you like a certain group of games does not mean the rest of the world does, just because you dislike a company doesn't mean the rest of the world agrees. Do not try to enforce your preferences onto someone else, especially if they are opposing you and do not insult them simply for having a different perspective even if they're coming off as a hater. You can call out someone on ignorance (like when people call out Nintendo for only doing rehashes or Sony for always copying, that's ignorance). Remember that you like what you like because of the way you were raised, along with the environment and culture you grew up in. Most people I encounter online never take into consideration that I'm Asian and have a strong affinity towards Asian culture compared to Western, which heavily affects my interests in gaming. 

 

- Be civil - 

Like I stated earlier, don't hate on someone (or call them fanboy/troll/hater) simply because they dislike what you like. You can call out people for acting like one but only after they've exhibited the traits of a fanboy/troll/hater. This goes along with not assuming/generalizing. Even if they are clearly being rude and obnoxious, be the better person and don't give into their baiting because they clearly want to get a reaction from you. Remember you are online so these people only have your words to go off of so it's really easy to hide any emotions you're feeling. I admit that I do get annoyed or even a bit angry at some of the stuff people post but I almost never show it in my responses. Sometimes people legitimately have concerns but might come off as pompous or trolling, those people will usually thank you if you address their concerns in a civil manner (happened to me several times already). 

 

- Use some critical thinking/logic - 

There are undisputed facts to back up your logic, but sometimes that's not enough, sometimes you have to go as far as connecting some of those facts to make sense of the gray areas or any rumors that would support your claims. For example, I'm sure many of you have noticed how many people like to hate on the Wii U because it's not getting Crysis 3, Dead Space 3, Tomb Raider, GTA V, and Tomb Raider and while I'm not saying they're not at least worthwhile games, something I've noticed is how many people at like these are the best games ever and that everyone is supposed to want to play these games. So what I did was bring up the fact that not everyone cares about these games (or games similar), and the sales of some of the games reflect that. The gaming community is roughly around 200m people, yet if these games (except for GTA) are games that "all gamers want" then why aren't the sales anywhere near 20m? Even if you consider that the "hardcore gaming community" is roughly around 15-20% of the entire gaming community, that's still around 30-40m, yet the sales of these games don't reflect that, so clearly these games aren't as "must have" as many believe they are. 

Utilize the information you have access to to come up with effective points that do refute what the other person is trying to claim. Also make sure you point out any faulty logic the other person is using, the most common mistake they make is employing a double standard. 

 

- Always address all the points they bring up -

Most haters will usually come up with a laundry list of reasons why they hate a company/console/game, you should always address all of the points and if some of them are correct/valid, recognize that. Never dodge anything because that makes you look bad and gives them more leverage on you. This also works the other way around, you know you've caught them in a rough spot when they start dodging your points/questions. They will rarely ever acknowledge that you are right in any way so they'll instead ignore anything that proves them wrong.

 

- Find common ground - 

This usually happens outside of the debate, but many haters (not trolls though) are more willing to accept your views if you share a common beliefe or interest with them, and no saying "I own all systems" is not an effective response> If you're someone who acitively participates in discussions, usually haters who are debating against you will track your posts (since they want to take advantage of any opportunity to "expose" you) but they could very well stumble upon a post you made that they agree with, giving them more insight about you because to them, you're just this fanboy who doesn't care about anything else but the company you're defending. 

 

- Know what your goal is - 

I'm going to tell you right now, against haters/trolls, if your goal is to convince them to take your side, you're fighting an endless battle. These people are already completely convinced and believe firmly in their views (whether it be built upon experience or just what the community around them has shaped them to be) so no amount of facts or quotes/reviews from credible sources will change their mind. The best you can hope for is for them to understand your point of view. For me, my goal usually with haters/trolls is to either reach an understanding with them or to get them to ignore your responses. Obviously you know you've succeeded if you've reached an understanding with them and those who I was able to do that with actually reduced the amount of hater posts they made or backed off. However I was only able to do this on this site, on IGN, the best I've got was the hater flat out ignoring my posts, that's the other sign that you know you've succeeded because they know they can't respond to you in a way that makes you look bad and/or doesn't exposes themself. 

The best way to achieve this (especially against the more stubborn ones) is to firmly establish that you do recognize/respect their opinion and explain why you don't agree with them. Ask them thought provoking questions. One question I ask that I've never gotten a legitimate response to was "Why do you spend so much time hating on this company?" because when you think about it, how incredibly immature is it to decidate yourself to hating on something? This is something most haters/trolls don't want to accept so they dodge it. Usually facts are not the most important factor in order to succeed againts a hater/troll, it's your ability to reason and poke at their logic and behavior. You need the facts to show that you know what you're talking about, but more than that you need to show them that your preferences are not the same as theirs, neither are your demands/needs. You enjoy what you enjoy because that's who you are, same way the other person enjoys the kinds of games they play. Once they've realized that they have nothing on you, they're going to leave you alone (or in some rare cases, acknowledge you).

 

If all else fails, just ignore the foo, we're all pretty much anonymous and honestly, if they can't accept that you're just another perfectly healthy (mentally) human being that likes something they hate, there's really no need to waste your time on them, let them frustrate themselves obssessing over a company/console/game that they have the complete ability to ignore. Remember, it's just videogames, unless you're a pro gamer or (aspiring) developer/designer, at the most this should only be a passionate hobby of yours, not something to revolve your life around and get frustrated over. Ignore what you don't like and focus on what makes you happy, there's always a wide selection to choose from (even if you have to do a bit of digging) so if one company fails you, move onto another.

The Topic of Rip Offs In Gaming

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*Take note that this is the first blog I ever created which was published on ScrewAttack in June. Since I'm realizing that my blogs on that site aren't getting that much attention, I'm bringing them over to other sites that I'm active on. I wanted to edit it to make it up to date for today but realized that I would have to do a lot of editing and I'm feeling a bit lazy so I'm just going to post the original article, plus the article made more sense to share back then than it does now so imagine it was June 2012 when you read this, lol. 

Now this is my first article EVER so it's really not something I'm used to, and I don't see myself as an encyclopedia of gaming history so if any information I posted is incorrect, I would most certainly appreciate it if the correct information is presented to me, but as much as possible I will only use info that I'm positive about. 

With E3 coming up and a lot of new information is being revealed, especially with Nintendo revealing a lot of new info on the Wii U's capabilities, and its Wii U Controller Pro, I'm beginning to see a lot of negative comments about Nintendo ripping off other companies, like with MiiVerse ripping off Playstation Home and the Controller Pro ripping off the 360 controller. Obviously this leads to fans of Nintendo defending Nintendo by saying how companies like Sony have ripped off the Wii Mote and more recently, Super Smash Brothers with their upcoming title, Playstation All Stars Battle Royale.

For the most part, many gamers are seeing all of this "ripping off" as a negative, especially since most of us are probably thinking "Why can't these companies come up with their own ideas?" I actually felt the same way last time I saw all this discussion about companies ripping off each other, but today, especially with the reveal of the Controller Pro, it got me thinking "Why is this such a big deal?" and more importantly "What if gaming companies never "ripped-off" from each other?" 

I'll start with my impressions on the Controller Pro and why it changed my thinking about companies taking direct inspiration off each other. I own an XBox 360 and really like the way it feels when playing. I played Xenoblade Chronicles in the beginning of April and even a month later, I was still getting used to the Classic Controller for the Wii. Seeing the Wii U Controller Pro looking similar to the 360 controller, especially in shape kind of got me excited because that means I won't have to familiarize myself with a new controller (maybe the button layout but the shape is always the first thing I need to get used to).  

The feeling of familiarity is what sold me on this controller, plus the fact that I wouldn't want to overuse the Wii U Game Pad

Plus if companies always tried to make unique looking controllers, most likely gamers won't like what they see. Best example would be Sony's original design for the PS3 controller, which was met with such negativity that they ultimately just decided to go back to the original design, and why not?

Yeah, this did not look comfortable or appealing (to me at least)

Yeah sure they're not really innovating with the controller design, but always having that sense of familiarity with the controller, I feel, is a good thing. I know there's a ton of Nintendo fans who wished Nintendo would go back and stick with the GameCube controller, I know I would.

Next is the MiiVerse, I've seen discussions on how it seems to be copying ideas from Playstation Home and while I've never experienced Playstation Home, the thing is, no one has experienced fully the MiiVerse so in a way it confuses me on how there are people who are already claiming that something is a rip off before they know everything about a certain product which leads me to my next topic.

I know I'm not the only one excited for this

I know I'm not the only one excited for this

The reason why companies like Nintendo and even Apple have seen huge success on products that they've been credited for inventing even if they necessarily weren't the first ones to create it (e.g. motion gaming for Nintendo and touch devices for Apple) is because they were the first ones do create such products correctly and make it appealing to a mass audience. From how I see it, when it comes to technology, it ultimately doesn't matter as much who do what first, it matters who did what first right.

Apple saying "Bite Me" XD

Apple saying

We can go all the way back to colonial times with Thomas Edison. To most people, he created the light source, but actually others have invented a source of light before Thomas Edison, the thing was that these lights could not shut off and were so bright that it drove people who had to live under those lights crazy because of the fact that it could not shut off. Thomas Edison was the first to create a practical light source in the form of the light bulb, it also was the first to be able to be used indoors. One can say that he ripped off those inventors since they created a source of light first but what he really did was take an idea and make it better and more appealing and this is something that we are constantly seeing in the video game industry.

Wouldn't this drive you nuts if you had to constantly live under this?

Wouldn't this drive you nuts if you lived in that area and it NEVER shut off?

Yes other companies tried their hand at motion controls before Nintendo, but the Wii was the first system that did it right and made it appealing. Same thing with the analog stick, it wasn't that Nintendo made a better analog stick, it was that they offered an experience that showed off why gaming needs an analog stick now. I feel like I'm talking a lot about Nintendo and I do want to focus on other companies, especially Sony since they tend to also get a lot of heat for the products they release.

I want to start with the dual shock. A lot of gamers say that Sony ripped off Nintendo because not too long after the N64 was released and the rumble feature became a huge success, Sony came out with this controller, but you know what? What if Sony had never took inspiration from Nintendo and left the Playstation controller the way it is? This thought process can be applied to many companies and many games. What if Ed Boon and John Tobias never created Mortal Kombat in fear of being accused of ripping off Capcom? Sonic because of Mario? Call of Duty because of GoldenEye? (Actually, that might've been for the best, lol).

I know a lot of you would be sad if this game never happened

Where would gaming be if companies never took the chance of taking an existenting idea and putting their own twist to it? Even with Playstation All Stars Battle Royale. Sure it clearly takes heavy inspiration from Super Smash Brothers and even though I don't own a PS3 (my brother does though but I almost never play it) and have no intention on getting this game, I see this as fanservice to major fans of Sony and the Playstation, same way Smash Brothers was and still is to Nintendo fans. Sony has a rich history of games, why can't they create their own cross over fighting game? I'm sure there are plenty of you, especially those who don't own Nintendo systems but like Smash Brothers or the idea of it and wished that Sony would create their own version. Should they be condemmed for giving the fans what they want or praised? I say praised, especially since it's clear that Sony is working hard to make it an amazing experience and digging deep into their gaming history to provide Playstation owners with the definitive cross over experience. 

Pappa the Rappa in battle! 

Rip off or not, this looks bad ass

 Of course, not saying every company that has ripped off other companies should be given praise. What I believe is ripping off is when a company clearly takes an existenting successful product, does a half-baked version of it just to capitalize on the success of that product. It's like back in the day when countless companies tried to capitalize on the success of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Mario, Zelda, and Sonic by creating horrible versions hoping that gamers who didn't know any better would buy in.

Oh the horror DX

Oh the horrors

Right now people are hating on the PS Move because not only does it look very similar to the WiiMote, but right now it still pretty much lacks any game worth owning, which is why it's still a target for discussions like these. Microsoft's Kinect tends to not be meantioned because at least they took the motion gaming a step further and integrated your whole body and removed the need of a physical controller (which sometimes I wish I had a physical controller) and there are Kinect games worth owning (Child of Eden, Gunslinger and Dance Central 2 are probably the best examples) and other games that utilize it well like Mass Effect 3 and now Skyrim. 

"FUS RO DAH!" All the way!

How many of you ever wanted to truly yell

So ultimately, I hope through this article that you the gamer now see (if you already haven't) that it's not a big deal if companies "rip off" or as I would like to say, take direct inspiration, from other companies, if anything, we should embrace it because if they're clearly putting work, thought, and care into their products, then who are we to mock or diminish what they're trying to create for us? If what they create ultimately leads to a better gaming experience or a line of amazing games, isn't that so much more worth it than worrying about ripping off another company?

10 Wii Games You Should Definitely Try Out

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From what I gather, most gamers who own a 360 or PS3 usually also had a Wii but for those who never purchased one or never dove into the Wii's library and with the Wii U kind of lacking any major games right now, here are my top 10 games I feel that are worth checking out. 

Before I start, I'm going to leave out the obvious 1st party titles that are always associated with Nintendo like Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Donkey Kong and Kirby because pretty much for any Nintendo system, those titles are always worth checking out. A couple of games that I feel like I SHOULD be recommending didn't make it onto the list simply because I've barely had a chance to play them such as Red Steel 2, MadWorld, and Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbados's Treasure. For the most part, I will only cover why the game is great as opposed to describing what the game is about (maybe a brief summary).

10) Boom Blox Bash Party

The ONLY party game entry, it is arguably the best the Wii has to offer. For those who've never heard of this game, it's basically a physics based puzzle game that takes you through a vareity of challenges that require taking down a huge structure of blocks (think Jenga but way crazier). What also sets this game apart from other party games is the robust single player mode the game offers. I was never able to finish every single challenge (the games gets extremely difficult, especially if you want to get a Gold Medal in every challenge) but I do believe there is around 100 puzzles in the single player mode alone, co-op doesn't have as many but is still loads of fun to play with others to see who can make the best shots and gain the most points. The controls are easy to grasp but takes time and skill to master. There's no "waggling" involved as the game can detect the strength of your toss by how fast you flick the WiiMote. 

The game used to offer the ability to download user generated content for free but the servers were taken down on April of last year. Regardless, it's a challenging puzzle game that'll test your wit and precision and is a super fun game to play with friends and family.

 

9) Tatsunoko vs. Capcom

Love fighting games? Tatsunoko vs Capcom was Capcom's one and only fighting game to appear on the Wii and was an exclusive on top of that. Compared to the other entries in the series, the game is obviously more obscure since Tatsunoko is a series only popular in Japan. But once you get past that, you'll find an excellent fighting game that plays just like Marvel vs Capcom 3 (but with only 2 characters to choose from), great visuals, and the whole package (no DLC!). I never tested the online but reviews have stated that it works well. If you love fighting games, this is a game that should not be overlooked, especially if the Wii U Pro Controller can be used for it (since no more Gamecube controller slot). 

 

8) A Boy and His Blob

I wouldn't be surprised if many passed up this game thinking it was shovelware, the title doens't sound captivating (most probably wouldn't have remembered the original game that this one is a reboot of) and the cover of the game itself doesn't look like it'll be that fun. Pop in the disc and what you'll find is a beautifully drawn, charming (and heartwarming at times) yet challenging puzzle platformer that requires fast reaction, precision (especially in the challenge stages), and lots of puzzle solving. 

The game wastes no time getting you into the action, the moment you see the title of the game, it immediately starts up. This game uses no words or text to tell the story, everything is experienced. You're basically a young boy who finds this blob and helps his return to his home planet and to activate its abilities, you feed it jellybeans. 

 

7) Sin & Punishment: Star Successor

Think the Wii has no hardcore titles? Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is as hardcore as it gets. An on-rails shooter, even on the easiest difficulty this game is no push over. In order to obtain the highest score, you must raise your multiplier by destroying enemies but once you're hit, your multiplier drops (I forgot how much, I think by x2 whereas every enemy defeated raises it by x0.1). Each boss requires a good deal of strategy and fast reaction and of course as the game progresses, it'll only get crazier and more challenging. 

You play as either Isa or Kachi and I actually never understood what the story was about but in a game like this, the story shouldn't be the highlight, its the gameplay that takes center stage and if you're up to challenge, give this game a go, I do suggest you only play one stage at a time as this game made my hands hurt a lot after each stage. 

 

6) Muramasa: The Demon Blade

One of the most visually stunning games on the Wii, Muramasa is an excellent 2D hack 'n slash adventure. Both playable characters are distinct from each other and feature their own story line. Battles are fast furious fun and bosses are especially epic. While not terribly difficult, it's super fun with lots to do and a massive amount of swords to forge, although there is a lot of backtracking involved, especially when you want to explore newly unlocked areas, it almost never feels that bad since the visuals are always a sight to behold and the music accompanies it well also.

 

5) No More Heroes (1 & 2)

The only other motion based game on here, No More Hereos is some fast paced, bloody hack n slash fun. The motion controls are used well to not make you feel like you're simply waggling the WiIMote along with being accurate since it's used sparingly instead of being the only way to attack. You play as Travis Touchdown, an otaku who won a beam kanata (light saber? Please!) through an internet auction which runs him dry. Trying to earn more money, he is tricked into fighting his way up the United Assassins Association and must kill all other aspiring assassins to make his way to the top (and finally be left alone). 

The story of both games is solid and full of outlandish bizarre moments. Gameplay is fun and doesn't get old and boss fights are especially epic, the one time where you actually have to use skill to win :P While the visuals are a bit grainy, the art style is pretty cool and allows you to look past that. 

 

4) The Last Story

Quite possibly the last amazing game to hit the Wii, The Last Story takes a great step forward for the JRPG genre, even though some aspects of it are hampered down by hardware limitations. The story itself is amazing and engages you from start to finish, following the story of Zael, a young mercenary just trying to get by on life with his group of friends when he stumbles across a mysterious girl, Lisa, from there the fate of the main characters changes. Sounds typical but the direction the game takes is quite different from other games I've played and when it comes to Mistwalker Studios, the stories of their games tend to be some of my favorites (Lost Odyssey being one of the best in my opinion). 

Gameplay is pretty solid although you'll notice the limitations pretty early on (framerate drops when action gets crazy, and enemy AI can easily be exploited) but it's a good blend of JRPG and WRPG elements that can only become much better when done on more powerful consoles. Although the shortest JRPG I've ever played on a home console (30 hours when I finished it), the adventure is pretty awesome and voice work is spot on also. I grew up with British television so it's something I quickly grew accustomed to and tends to be far less annoying than American voice work in gaming.

 

3) Sonic Colors

In my opinion, FAR superior to Sonic Generations, Sonic Colors was the first step to bringing Sonic back to being amazing in 3D. Compared to previous 3D Sonic titles, controls are much tighter, gameplay is more varied and replayablity is high. Also the story for the first time isn't cringeworthy. This time Eggman has apparently learned his lesson and has used his resources to create an intergalactic theme park. Sonic being the wiser, knows that Eggman is still plotting something and surprise, he is, enslaving Wisps (the cute little aliens you see around Sonic) and harnessing their energy for Eggman's use. 

A pretty huge game, Sonic Colors primary campaign has around 40 levels with around 40 more challenge stages that can be unlocked. Boss battles aren't that great which is a disappointment considering how Sonic games usually has pretty awesome boss battles. The wisps are what make Sonic Colors unique, giving Sonic different abilities throughout the game, and as you unlock more wisps, the game gives you incentives to go back and play previous stages (to grab hidden Red Rings). This is also the first 3D Sonic game that freely lets you play as Super Sonic (but you must grab all the red rings and beat all the challenge stages). 

 

2) The Little King's Story

I love this game, so much that when I was about to beat the game, I decided to just replay the whole thing over again before I see the ending, that's how much I love it. One of the Wii's best hidden gems, The Little King's Story is pretty much like a more battle type version of Pikmin. You play as King Corobo, ruler of the Kingdom of Alpoko on a conquest to unify the world. To take over other kingdoms and free areas of UMA (the name of the monsters in the game), you must raise an army to take down these monsters/kings. 

To create an army, you train your citizens to become what you need them to be, from a grunt soldier (primary warrior), farmer (digs holes, uncovers hot springs for healing), carpenters (building bridges and stairs), to hunters (long range fighters) and much more. The game requires a good deal of strategy and planning as bringing the wrong set of classes could easily lead to defeat. It's a charming tale with vibrant visuals that are pleasing to the eye. 

On a side note, if you listen to their speech, they're actually talking in different languages. So far I've heard Latin, French, Spanish, Japanese, and German. 

 

1) Xenoblade Chronicles

Okay this one might've been pretty obvious but need I say why? A MASSIVE JRPG (100 hours clocked in when I beat it and I didn't even finish everything) with a great deal of sidequests that are not a pain to complete, beautifully crafted enviroments, one of the best soundtracks I've heard in an RPG, memorable characters, spot on voice work, an addicting battle system, and one of the best and most unique stories I've experienced in an RPG. If you do not own a Wii and plan on getting a Wii U, this is the first title you MUST pick up and will easily carry you over any dry spells that may occur. 

You play as Shulk, a young researcher who is studying the Monado, a special blade that is capable of destroying mechon, the habitants of the Mechonis, the enemy of the Bionis (where Shulk lives). After learning he can weild the Monado, he sets out on a journey of revenge against the Mechon. And like The Last Story, it sounds cliche, but the journey this game takes you is filled with twists and surprises and breathtaking moments.

 

So there you have it, I hope you check out these games because many of them have been overlooked and really don't deserve to. I'm aware that some of these games I haven't reviewed myself so I will get around to it when I have more time. If there are any requests for me to review a specific game on this list, let me know and I'll write a review of that game first.

Understanding my review process

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If you've been following my reviews (thank you very much) but wonder how I determine the overall score as well as the weight each category has, here's the order of what's the least important to the most important (to me).

5) Visuals

While I do enjoy great visuals (art style more than graphics) like most gamers, if the visuals are not up to par, it ultimately does not bring down the overall experience provided everything else is strong (see my review for The Last Story). Visuals are important, yes, I wouldn't want to be looking at something ugly when I play, but being an artist and someone who's grown up being able to appreciate the whole package rather than just the cover, I can easily look past the bad visuals of a really fun game.

 

4) Sound

I am, however, less forgiving if the music is terrible or voice acting, but like the visuals, I've taught myself and am able to get used to music and voice acting that is not up to par. I guess when you grow up watching anime (especially English dubbed), most videogame voice work is masterful by comparison. I do think the music of a game tends to have more impact than the visuals and will stick with you longer, which is why I place more value in the overall sound quality of the game than the visuals.

 

3) Story

Story can easily make a seemingly bland looking game one of the best experiences you've had. Many of the best story driven games barely have noteworthy gameplay mechanics (some like The Walking Dead and Heavy Rain are more like interactive movies) but one thing I believe a lot of us love about gaming is being able to have those amazing interactive experiences. For the most part, I don't care about western games, but those games that I did end up getting and loving, I enjoyed primarily because of the story (like Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed) and it's also one of the reasons why I love RPGs more than most other genres. Finally, a mindblowing story can easily heighten the whole experience of a game for me (see Ghost Trick Phantom Detective). The only reason why I wouldn't place as much value on the story is because once you've experienced it, it kind of loses its impact and is really not as great the 2nd time around.

 

2) Gameplay

No brainer right? While the story, visuals and sound all serve to engage you, the gameplay is ultimately what makes the game fun and if that's terrible, for the most part the game fails. I play games for fun above all else, so I always need good gameplay in order to get into it. Doesn't always have to be innovative or the most unique, as long as it works and it's fun. Many reviews and gamers (myself included) can forgive a convulted story, mediocre graphics and bad voice acting if the game itself is a blast to play. Of course the problem is people are typically exposed to the story, visuals and voice work of a game before the gameplay.

 

1) Value

I'm a baller on a budget so when I'm spending $40-$60 on a game, I want to make sure it's a great value. I cannot justify spending $60 on a 10 hour game, even if it's the best game ever (but only during that first playthrough). I grew up playing games that I would easily clock in 40-100 hours on so the idea of spending $60 on a 6-10 hour game is absurd to me, especially since I can barely afford gaming as it is so I'm more likely to give a good a game a higher score that lasts me around 60 hours over an excellent game that only lasted for 10 hours. Another reason why the RPG genre (more specifically, JRPGs) are my favorite genre and also why I favor Nintendo games, because I get the most value out of those games. Nearly every JRPG I've played in the past 2 years has given me well over 50 hours (on consoles, except The Last Story) and more than 2 dozen hours on handhelds. Nintendo games also do not lose their impact when I've beaten them, allowing me to replay them constantly while still being just as fun as the first time around. 

 

So there you have it, I hope that clarifies some things as to why I'd give certain games a higher score than others (even if the general consensus is that the game I gave a lower score to is superior). 

Haters

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I understand that we all have our preferences and that we're bound to "hate" a company that we feel like offers nothing to us or that we have felt "burned" by. What I don't understand is why would someone feel the need to dedicate themself to hating on a certain company. I'll admit, I can't stand the way EA, Activison and even Capcom have been operating lately, especially EA (I refuse to buy any of their games, and if I do, I buy it used same with Capcom's fighters), however, I can't imagine dedicating part of my day trashing these companies because I know me simply not purchasing their product (brand new mind you) is more damaging to them than me spouting out hate about them all over the web.

I know that many consider the term fanboy an insult, hell I don't even like being called a fanboy because I'm not, it's mainly haters who use that term against others and I would much rather be called a fanboy than a hater becuase to me, while being a fanboy tends to be frowned upon, it's still pretty normal for someone to side/defend with someone/something they love. Having a slight obsession over something you love is still pretty natural, however, having an obsession over something you hate, that I find unnatural and speaks a lot about the person making the hateful comments.

Think about it this way, what kind of self respecting successful adult would dedicate a part of their day hating on something? Especially when it's for a company whose sole purpose is to bring us entertainment or make our lives easier. Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft are not drug dealers, they're not terrorist organizations, they don't do anything that could damage our livelihood so why hate on them? If you don't like the products they put out, simple, don't buy it, like I stated earlier, you not purchasing their product is far more damaging to them than spreading a bunch of hateful comments online.

People rag on Activison a lot concerning Call of Duty but if you're still buying their games, all of the effort you put into hating on them was for nothing because in the end, you supported them by purchasing their game because they won't stop until no one wants it anymore. Happened with Tony Hawk, then with Guitar Hero, until it happens with Call of Duty, Activison will never stop making those games.

So in the end, if you are one of those people who come onto these websites nearly every day to hate on companies and to rag on those who support them, ask yourself this, why? What do I get out of this? Why am I spending time focusing on a company I hate rather than supporting a company I love? You think Microsoft cares if you hate them? No, but do you think Sony cares if you love them? Pretty much.

It's fine to have an opinion and to share it, many companies do pay attention to these sites to see consumer feedback. If you're someone who used to love Nintendo but don't like the direction they're going in now, let your voice be heard, but I'm pretty damn sure that the moment you start coming off as a hater, your voice will most definitely be ignored.

Prejudice among Gamers

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I'm a gamer, that part about me is obvious considering that I'm an active member of this site. As much as I do not care for the term, by definition, I am a "hardcore" gamer, I constantly keep up with gaming news, am well aware of nearly every major game coming out within the next few months, enjoy nearly every genre of gaming and own multiple systems.

What if I told you some of my current favorite games were Theatrhtyhm: Final Fantasy, Zumba FitnessRush, and Bejeweled: Blitz? Would you question me as a gamer and say I'm not hardcore, just a casual gamer? Now if you that I'm also a musician, dancer, and have always loved puzzles, would those games now seem acceptable for me to like?

I'm sure most of you reading this are not bothered by what kind of games other people like, but I'm sure many of you have seen times online and even in real life where others, myself included, get ridiculed for the games we like or even the companies we support. I hate it when I get generalized because I tend to support Nintendo online (since they usually get the most uneccessary hate) and I'm sure each of you have been categorized simply because you like a certain company.

From what I noticed, this is what many think when they find out which console we prefer:

Nintendo - childish, blind, ignorant and ever since the Wii, unfortunate

Microsoft - "hardcore", only plays COD/Halo, trash talker

PC - arrogant, elitist, graphics whore

I actually couldn't think of how Sony fans would be categorized as so feel free to comment on that.

It's funny that we're supposed to be living in a society where tolerance and acceptance is the norm yet for many of us, we can't even accept that someone else likes a certain company/game that we hate. If you can accept that your friend likes to listen to Rap music while you prefer Rock, why is it any different than accepting that someone prefers FPS games instead of RPGs?

Each of us grew up differently and have our own culture that shapes who we are. For me, I grew up as an American citizen but as a Filipino, I've always had strong Asian influences so I tend to not prefer what Western audiences are drawn to, instead I'm more towards Eastern games so it's unfair to judge me for preferring Japanese RPGs compared to Western RPGs since I grew up loving Japanese culture.

There is a saying that who you are online is a reflection of your true self because online, you're free to be who you want to be and if you're a prejudice jerk most of the time online, chances are, that's the kind of person you truly are. If you find yourself constantly judging others because they prefer a specific company or like certain games, even if they're being fanboys, ask yourself this "Why does this matter to me?" I understand defending what you like, I do it all the time because while I absolutely do not care if the person I'm debating with hates Nintendo or whatever game I'm defending, I respond to comments that are rather baseless accusations or false/inaccurate info that usually stems from the fact that the person is being a hater.

So before you judge someone else because of what console they play on or what kinds of games they like, think about why they have those preferences, especially if it's someone you know, what about them shapes those preferences of theirs, because I'm pretty sure none of you want to come off as a prejudice jerk because seriously, it's those kinds of gamers that are giving the community a bad name and I for one do not want to be associated with such people.

Shovelware

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What exactly is shovelware? Quickly looking on Wikipedia, it's defined as "a derogatory computer jargonterm that refers to softwarenoted more for the quantity of what is included than for the quality or usefulness"

This term seems to have become a popular term to use this during this generation of gaming, primarily when descirbing the gaming library of the Wii and while I don't argue with the justification of that, it's becoming a dangerous term in that it's beginning to be used for basically any game that doesn't look like a AAA title (or at least a well known title).

Because the Wii is ridiculed for having a shovelware library (which is actually true of all of the most popular systems of each generation) a lot of truly great games have been buried and even worse, grouped together with shovelware titles.

Even now that the Wii U is coming out soon, I'm seeing several comments from users already labeling the launch line up as full of shovelware and being someone who is actually aware of all the launch games, I can honestly say that I would only consider 4-5 of the overall launch titles to be shovelware, everything else needs to prove itself. To these people making these quick assumptions, I ask you, how would you feel if you're a developer putting a lot of your time and effort into a great and unique game that automatically gets written off as shovelware just because it doesn't look like your typical AAA title?

There's really no excuse to not know which games are great, with a quick search online we can find out how well recieved a title is and whether or not it's worth our attention. If you missed out on what the Wii had to offer, I just finished writing up an article on ScrewAttack.com of 10 games I feel any gamer should give a try, especially with the Wii U being backwards compatible.

http://www.screwattack.com/news/10-wii-games-you-should-definitely-try-out