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zenszulu Blog

The Future

So with the release of the 3DS in just over a months time, am I excited?

To sum it up yes I am and it is for more than one reason, not only am I excited for the release of a new console and getting it on the day of release but I am also excited for what will mark a change in my gaming habits, with the exception of my gaming PC the next generation I intend to stick with just Nintendo.

It wasn't easy coming to this conclusion, but both time and money have certainly played a large part in it, as it can be very expensive trying to maintain and play several consoles and a gaming PC all at once let alone find time to play the biggest games on each, not to mention the amount of time I spend working and then there is sleep as well, as over rated as I see that it needs to be done apparently, but fitting life in around a gaming schedule I pretty tough so what time I do have I intend to focus it on just one company.

Now I am sure anyone reading this may see this as limiting my options as to the choices of games I will get to play, and I agree but I will ask this is it better to play a game for a very short time and then move onto the next because you run out of time because you have other games you want to try, or to focus on the smaller number of games you can get and play them more thoroughly?

To be fair the decision of what company to go with was never any doubt as my love with Nintendo is an ageless one as it is with many, and to those no I do not blindly follow them and will buy what ever they release, I am hoping for quality games from third parties too, many such titles I have admittedly missed out on for the Wii as I never had enough time or money to get them.

Hopefully I can stick by this as well as I don't want to break this promise to my self as it may get very expensive some where down the line yet again, although that will hopefully be where my gaming PC helps a bit, by allowing me to get my fix of certain sorts of games that may not appear on Nintendo's system, or that's the theory well at least it should give me access to Microsoft's own exclusive games at some point.

Maybe if I do manage this I will also be able to do some of those things I want to more often too, such as kick into gear what I want to do more online, as there are so many things I am hoping to give a proper shot at creatively.

Only time will really tell.

Okay so this Blog eventually took on a life of its own when I started thinking late and wrote a second part later in the day on a different computer and I was originally going to spread it across two blogs, but since then I have decided to add it onto the end of this one and expand so here it is.

Well I have to say I have never done two blogs at the same time but I have the other one that I have just written saved on my desktop PC and this one I just started typing while I am still awake at sill O'clock .

Why am I still awake? Well there is just so much that I want to do plans are all about in my head and hopefully I can start fitting that jumbled mes all together into something creative, and start to create a buzz about what I have been wanting to do for some time, what is it?

A website, a web blog, which I have been doing for some time just not as often as I would like, a video blog, which hopefully will be starting shortly and my tweeting which I do and will more than likely be sharing with part of my video blog.

Why? Well I guess I have always really wanted to give it a shot and get myself out there, loads of people do it so why not me?

Plus it will all be my own work so it can't all be bad, right?

Anyway I may just have to start using all of this technology I have started to get used to using, and do something with my spare time that may be productive.

rest of the year hopes

Certainly been an eventful time for me lately, life seems to be going well, at least from a professional stand point that is and I am starting to really get together enough content to know what I want to be doing with certain things so hopefully I will be putting that into action too.

Anyway from a gaming stand point it's been a great start to the year with the 3DS just around the corner, which I have mine pre ordered and an excellent bonus that Europe for once will be getting before North America, and also with the announcement of Sony's new NGP, which look like its predecessor the PSP to push the limits of what a hand held can do both from a graphical point of view and a technology point of view, but much like the PSP will it make the same mistakes? Sure having all that tech inside is nice but if it costs too much it may cripple sales from the start, I just hope in a way that they don't end up following that same path I'm sure much can be argued in Sony's favour as much as it can be against them, but entering a generation with the most technically advanced system has yet to ever work from a sales stand point as making it the best seller. As with the past though the Sony hype machine has started with claims that it can produce PS3 quality graphics. If it is anything like previous claims of what they have said their consoles can do it may become far wide of that mark, although early evidence certainly support that they may be true in those claims, although what will that do to the eventual price of the system?

Although with all this focus on the 3DS it makes me wonder if many developers will switch their focus from the Wii as has been the case with previous Nintendo consoles with the launch of a new hand held, and as it stands the Wii's line up so far this year outside of Japan doesn't read too well although here is hoping some of those current Japan only games like The Last Story and Xenoblade do make there way to other regions as they seem to be some of the best Wii games made, couple them with Zelda: Skyward Sword and the eventual possibility of Dragon Quest X and it could well be the best year for RPG and adventure fans the Wii has ever had.

That's no to say Nintendo won't be showing off a better line up at some point latter this year, just because that line up is looking a bit slim right now doesn't mean it will be for the rest of the year, I am just hoping some third party developers still look into releasing some exclusive games designed for the Wii, because other than Conduit 2, which is probably considered the biggest marmite game that's coming out for the Wii as you either love it for what it is or hate it for what it's not, but other than that and potentially The Grinder from High Voltage Software there are very few games designed for the Wii in mind.

Saying that as long as it's an overall good year for games I'll be very happy as I'm sure ill be two busy with just a handful of games anyway , but still would be nice to have a decent choice, after the last year the Wii has become a real contender for my time with all the quality titles released last year, lets hope it's not just a one good year thing.

One burning obsession

As gamers there is always that one game that we will play that will take more time out of our lives than any other and we will play it and play it, as for everyone there is always a game out there that has the depth and length to keep us going.

For me that one game series that has kept me going for many years since it's release is the one Nintendo game series that has more depth and strategy than any other and not just on a Nintendo console, on just about a platform around such is the level of depth of the game mechanics, which is tweaked and improved with every passing generation of the series.

I am of course talking about Pokemon, now I am sure a few people who may read this may just turn their nose up at the mere mention of any Pokemon game, seeing it as a game that is aimed solely at young children and not being complicated in any way at all. But if you can get past the basics there is such a level of strategy and diversity that one trained up super Pokemon may be amazing in one fight but totally useless in the next, and that could be down to a lot of different factors, the Pokemons type, the opponents Pokemon having the right moves, held item or simply being able to absorb anything that can be thrown at it and counter with ease.

Many devoted trainers will breed for hours at a time to get the desired Pokemon they are after having the certain move they want that can only be obtained through breeding too, with the nature they desire so the Pokemons stats cant be trained how they want so they can execute the strategy they need with that particular Pokemon, with every passing generation it is also getting easier to breed for that desired nature and even pass on the best possible stat in one area for that Pokemon. Even training up those stats can be done in next to no time with the right item and status condition.

That is just one part of the game that keeps me completely hooked, the other being that "Gotta catch 'em all" tag line, not only can it be a challenge to get all the in game Pokemon as standard, but getting those one that are unattainable in the game you are playing involves trading or transferring from older games, in newer games trading can also be done anonymously online, but only if you have at least seen that Pokemon and it is in your Pokedex or you cant try and trade for it. Then there is collecting after the game is pretty much complete and you have them all, some people will trade for certain event only Pokemon given away around the world as special gifts, as there rarity is seen as valuable and often come with exclusive moves or ribbons attached and can be identified with their trained id name and numbers. Then there are shiny Pokemon with are very rare to come across and to randomly come across one takes a lot of luck, I have only came across five or six myself, but the lure is there for me to catch more or trade for more, in more recent games though there have been slightly easier ways of coming across them, through wild encounters and breeding, but they are still seen in my eyes at least as trophies and collectable, just adding to the collectablity in the game.

So there is my one big obsession and I plan on continuing it regardless of how old I get as I know the games will just keep getting better and better such is the way they improve and tweak the games with every passing generation, and before the question is asked I am 28 and that does not effect my love of the games, and after over a decade of playing the games I know it will take a lot to stop me loving them.

E3 2010 Blog

So E3 has pretty much left me thinking that the next generation of consoles will rely on both motion control and 3D to get their points across, as seems to be the way at the moment, although it's kind of worrying to see all three seem to be coming to the same conclusion, but that's just how it seems to be working out right now. Out of all three I would defiantly say Nintendo impressed me the most, more because, of the 3DS, and the new games they shown off all old school with a new twist which these days is how I like it, just hoping Goldeneye doesn't turn out bad or my teenage memories of the game maybe forever tarnished. It's nice to see recently too that side scrolling games seem to be coming back big time, both being rendered in 3D and with pixels, can't remember a time when so many platform games started coming out that were just the same old thing now everyone is starting to really express themselves again, things like Sonic and Rayman look like good investments too outside the Nintendo camp, and lets no forget Mortal Kombat going back to it's roots, hopefully like Goldeneye I hope it doesn't tarnish my memories.

Overall though other than the Nintendo line up can't say I was too impressed with the others, although they did keep coming out with al the nostalgia filled games you could wish for, and of course the 3DS was far more powerful than I think most were expecting, and Kid Icarus could have easily passed as a Wii game visually, so I would say they are really on to a winner there and I am highly doubting anything Sony tries to match it with will dent Nintendo's market share, and lets face it the PSP has all but disappeared from most peoples minds as an alternative system as the games just aren't coming out that often any more, maybe they should try the approach of something new and original rather than just the same old thing?

Don't get me started on the lack of originality with controllers either, and the claim that it's different and better than anything else on the market, at least Microsoft went the original route and totally removed the controller. Either way I will stick with the controllers each system was designed for originally, since you know most games on that system will be using it.

The evolution of gaming??

Is gaming becoming a victim of the fast paced technological world we live in, or is it just simply natural progress?

There was once a time when, a console came out and that was how it remained pretty much through it entire life cycle, no changes to the hardware either internal or external, or internal to an extent of maybe making it run better overall but nothing that made it work any different to the original model that came out.

These days it seems to be the motto if it ain't broke fix it anyway, as a console can go through many number of internal and external changes in its own life span, from as simple tweak in it overall appearance to completely removing half the features from the very first models, and then including different ones in later models, the PS3 is probably the first console to go through so many major changes both internal and external in such a short space of time, and I am sure many would agree that the very first model had far more functionality than any of the later ones with pretty much full PSone and PS2 backward compatibility and even built in card reader.

Of course changes these days no longer just include simple hardware alteration but ever evolving software updates to the systems firmware, just looking at the X-Box 360's original navigation screen it has now been completely replaced by a much newer version and with new features making it a completely new experience, thus changing the system not only in hardware from it original model but the basic software of how it runs too.

Even handheld systems are not safe from hardware updates both the newest DS and PSP models offering far more features than their original models, the latest PSP even requiring no form of external media to play games on just an Wi-Fi connection, and much like the home counterparts the PSP is also evolving on the internal software front with regular updates to the firmware too.

So is this just the simple evolution of games consoles or just a part of the ever expanding fast moving technological world we are living in now?

Well personally from the updating of new firm ware to add new and better functionality to the system I am certainly all for that as I believe that is just a progression of making things better in most electronic devices, but as for the continual hardware changes, well all I will say is I want to be able to purchase something early on and it to have all the hardware features that any later models are going to have, not suddenly add a new HDMI output all of a sudden giving it better video output and better picture quality or a bigger hard disc because they suddenly realised the one they put in the model I got wasn't big enough to actually hold enough data to do more than a few things. I don't want to have to consider buying a second console just so it has better hardware than the one I brought to begin with because it may not be able to play game X how it was meant to be played. From that point I think they really need to take a look at it from the consumers point of view, updating the firmware is one thing but completely changing the hardware every year can be very frustrating and make you wonder if it just not worth waiting for the next model, incase it just that little bit better.

I can't imagine this changing now though as I am sure it will continue with the next generation of consoles as manufacturers keep trying to stay ahead of the competition.

Gamespot and future Raptr integration

Recently as many people may have seen Gamespot will soon be partnering with Raptr to use the application on the website, if you aren't sure what Raptr is it is a site that tracks your gaming times on both the PC and X Box 360, both with complete accuracy and also all achievements you earn, although you can track all games you play on any system too as long as you are honest, with how long you are actually playing them.

I used to be a user of Xfire but since I found out about this I switched right to it, since it also integrated all my hours from Xfire as one of the many things it does, what will this mean for Gamespot?

Well more than likely just fully integrating the two profiles together perhaps, it may make Gamespot profiles much better though to fully include all that information, just interested to see where it all goes.

2009 the year that Wii exclusive games failed to deliver or just got over looked

It's been a very long year for gaming and as far as the Wii goes one that failed to deliver on the promise in many ways of last year hype that promised a load of quality thirsd party games for Wii, with few delivering critically or commercially like many times in the past for a Nintendo console. Personally as far as critically goes I feel too many sites or magazines tend too rate Wii games too much on what it doesn't have than whats's in front of them, but that's down to personally opinion, as for commercially well it just seems most people still are just buying the Wii for first party games, or those mini game collections that people love to hate just for existing. Just thought I would list a few games that I feel highlight the Wii's odd year of games.

Mushroom Men: The Spore Wars Platform game one of many released on the Wii

Deadly Creatures Maybe one of the most original games of the year

The House of the Dead: Overkill One of three good on-rails shooters for the Wii this year

Mad World One of the most over the top violent games you may ever see

Klonoa Remake of a PSone game and another good Wii platformer

Little King's Story Blend of RTS and RPG with a great visual look for the cutscenes

The Conduit The marmite Wii game of the year you either love it or hate it for what it does or doesn't offer

Cursed Moutain Survival horror with great atmosphere

Muramasa: The Demon Blade One of the most stylish and best look side scrolling ARPG's

Dead Space Extarction Second on-rails shooter for the Wii seems to be the place to be for those

A Boy and His Blob One of the most stylish hand drawn puzzle-platormers you will ever see

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles Seconds in the series and perhaps overshadowed by other on-rail shooters this year

That really concludes the exclusive first party games i feel were over looked or probably just wont sell as well as they should, but with all those games there you will certainly have plenty to do and the list doesn't include third party non exclusive which are mainly sports games that are worth getting for me, with maybe the exception of COD: MWRE, and the slightly empty first party releases with only three really worth getting four if you include Metroid Prime Trilogy if you don't already own all thre games. So it may have been a lackluster year for first party games but not for third party ones if you look hard enough and not just go based on reviews that look for whats not there more than what is. If you can add any games i seem to have missed let me know and I will say if I left it off for a reason.

The Great Windows 7

By now many people would have been maid highly aware of Microsoft's brand new Operating System and will either be early adopters like myself or wait a while to get it for future updates and even the price to drop, although since it didn't cost me a penny I would be foolish to pass it up,so which ever you are you have your reasons, my reason is simply because I tried the Beta and loved the new interface much easier and more organised than it was before.

If I want to be fully honest all it is really is Vista with a slightly new look and a few new features, but it does load a lot faster even on my older system, although saying that after Windows XP upgraded to service pack 3 it took an age to load or do anything when starting up, so if you have XP now would certainly be the time to consider an upgrade.

The only real issue I seem to have right now is on the games front and any I have installed that are based on disc don't load at all so I am in the process of reinstalling them to see if that sorts out the issue, other than that all my old programs work fine with it and have yet to have any serious problems, although I will update as soon as I reinstall the games to see if that fixes the issue, which I am hoping it does.

I think I am addicted

Has there ever been a game series that you have played far more than any other but have never realised until you have actually sat back and thought of it? Well oddly I have done this recently and realised I have played the Pokemon series a lot more than I realised more so over the past two generations of games, I will have to admit having to collect all these creatures has became addictive, more than I had realised in the past. Having purchased no fewer than five games myself in order to get as many Pokemon as I possibly could even if it was just a single Pokemon, I purchased Pokemon Channel just for Jirachi, so it probably proves one thing that no matter how trivial the content in a game in that series if you are really addicted to it you will more than likely get the games just to get the most out of the series itself. So yes I am far more addicted to one single game series than I would have ever thought.

The Conduit - Final Thoughts

Well after a week now of playing The Conduit, and while impressed by certain aspects of the game other psrts just seem un finished and rushed for release almost, in many ways it seems HVS wern't fully up to the task of finishing the game in the time they had. While the controls are arguably the best ones for any FPS I have used in a long time, in no small part down to the huge ammount of customisation that they put into them, that alone does not make a great game. The Quantum 3 engine also seems to either not as good in places as HVS claim or they really got lazy in certain places on the environments as to me many look very unfinished often with blurry textures, more seems to have been put into making the character models and wepons than anything else. Sound wise it's a bit hit and miss for me while the voice acting it pretty good and does add to what is an alright plot line for me the overall music and sound effects are pretty average and not very memorable, again feeling rushed in places.

The design of the overall single player game is average at best while at times there is plenty to search for and destroy and finding the hidden messages and discs can take a little time, never do you feel the levels are all that big despite some going on for a while, since the whole time it's just a single set route through the whole game, making the whole game seem shorter because of that, and the out door areas feel just as closed in as the buildings, which is a shame, but i guess the kind of story it is going for most of this isn't going to happen in huge open areas, although a huge city battle would have been nice with multiple routes through. One of the other design problems on the later couple of levels is the respawning enemies that seem to apear from no where, early in the game there are at least reason the enemies respawn from either egg sacks or conduits so no complaints with that reason as its a simple case of taking the source out. So why later choose just to make infinite respawning enemies out of thin air?

Overall the single player games is ok just not great could certainly use a better achievment system though, although good to have one in there, they are all far to basic ones and can all be done on the lowest difficulty setting just playing through the game multiple times, which I am currently doing just in order to fully get my moneys worth from the single player game.

Multiplayer in my opinion is actually fairly generic and in many ways not complete as I find it full of glitches, I am not saying it is awful but like the whole game it just seems rough around the edges, if anything the whole game shows HVS still doesn't know how to program their own software engine as well as you would thing they should, the whole game just seems to show promise and doesn't quite deliver on that promise and while fun it's certainly not as good as it could have been.

Despite all this I will certainly be watching HVS's other in development Gladiator A.D. and The Grinder hopefully will help them really get used to the Quantum 3 engine and actually concentrate more on game design since if they can't start getting really good with it by then by the time it comes to making a sequal to The Conduit, which there pretty much will be one based on how the story end, then I can imagine it being more of the same just looking better by then.