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Wonkyman Blog

E3 2010 - Mucussy Predictions

With only a few days until Nintendo's big two-hour event, I'm sure anyone reading this has seen more than enough E3 prediction blogs. So let me get something out of the way right now.

Vitality Sensor, 3DS, Zelda Wii.

Done. We know they'll be there. We know they'll be interesting. Even the Vitality Sensor, even if nobody buys one, will be worth talking about. That's a given. What I'm here to do is make my own set of wild, unfounded predictions, as many of you know I like to do. One thing, before I start, I'm sick as a horse right now. So if I say something weird, keep in mind that purple monkey dishwasher.

  • Remember this? It's really gonna happen this time. No foolin'.
  • Zelda Wii aside, we're gonna see some Newer Super Mario Bros Wii. Maybe this time with turnips to throw and art more reminiscent of Mario & Luigi RPGs.
  • Scribblenauts is coming Wiiward.
  • Trace Memory 2, Fatal Frame IV, Project HAMMER, Cosmic Walker, Strong Bad's CG4AP Season 1, Tales of Graces, The Last Story, Earth Seeker, Xenoblade (Monado), Ninokuni, Retro Game Challenge 2, 7th Dragon and of course, the Earthbound Collection, are all given a North American release, under a new product line Nintendo has established along with various third parties. This product line takes games that the suits believe will be abysmal sellers, and releases them in limited quantities with a lower price point. Perhaps Wal-Mart exclusives, or Amazon only. The point is, the games are made, there are no development costs. A lower price would encourage more people to try the title and the limited quantity keeps frightened stock holders to a minimum. Of course I'm no economist.
  • On that note, Nintendo and it's third party partners will also announce Kirby Wii, Earthworm Jim 4, Bully 2, Animales de la Muerte, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future and Rabbids Travel in Time.
  • Rabbids Travel in Time is not a mini-game collection, but a game similar to Rabbids Go Home. Much better idea.
  • Nintendo announced that it has saved Cing from the horrors of bankruptcy and has taken them in as their newest second party. First order of business: Release The Last Window. Second order? Develop Little King Story 2.
  • It's revealed that, oh man, the 3DS is the successor to not only the DS but the Wii! It has an HDMI out and will run titles on your TV or on it's dual screens. Crazy!
  • Was I forgetting something? Hmm.. sure feels like it.
  • ...
  • Oh right!
  • Nintendo buys Capcom.

By this Christmas, all will be right in the world. And it was E3 2010 that made the world a better place. Thuh end.

March - June 2010 - Where's the Wonkoo?

Ladies and gentlemen, the short answer is this: Life.

Work has kept me very busy. As usual. I've extended my running schedule (I've lost 50 of a total 70 pounds I needed to lose! 20 until I reach the ideal weight. Whoa.) And I have a girlfriend now (who's mad at me at the moment for reasons I'm a bit unclear on. But that gives me time to blog.)

You know what else has freed up my shedule? I'm on holiday this week. And with my newly acquired DSiXL, I've ploughed through Mario & Luigi Partners in Time and Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2. I also finished Fragile Dreams, and because Steam is now available to Mac users, I acquired Portal, and totally pwned GLaDOS. I'm so glad I waited. Not only did I get the game without all that other content from the Orange Box I didn't want, but I got it for free!

I got Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood on blu-ray yesterday too. And holy cow. I thought FMA was incredible before. But with a bigger budget, better acting and HD visuals, this show is making me remember why I loved anime back in the day. It's worth picking up, trust me. That main theme, Again, just won't leave my head.

And of course, we're headed into the two weeks leading up to E3, which means the sudden announcements are starting to appear. The other day, it was Sonic Colors and DeBlob 2. The latter of which gets me excited. But then today Famitsu revealed a new RPG for the Wii called Earth Seeker. I love this flow of RPGs the Wii seems to be getting, even if none of them have been announced for our shores. If Reggie wants to make me a happy Nintendo nerd, he can confirm Xenoblade, The Last Story and Earth Seeker.

He could also throw us a bone about Cosmic Walker, Project HAMMER, Last Window, Trace Memory 2, and the state of Earthbound's VC status. But I'll save it for my E3 predictions post. If I find the free time to do one up. Garg, I hope so. Those are always fun.

Cinging the Blues, Waiting for Tomorrow

Funny how the world works.

This week, one of my favourite developers, Cing (Hotel Dusk, Little King's Story) filed for Bankruptcy. I think Last Window (Hotel Dusk 2) is safely complete, and North American localization is in Nintendo's hands and not Cing's. But this leaves the chances for Little King's Story 2 even slimmer than they once were, and any new and interesting things Cing might have made are now out of the question.

So, that sucked and left me feeling a little bummed out. But then I sawthis.

The World of Goo creators and the Henry Hatsworth mastermind have founded World of Goo Corp. I mean Tomorrow Corp. Their press release is actually a riot. You should read it. I love World of Goo with a firey passion and Henry Hatsworth was gold, Jerry. Gold! I'd heard they were working on a project together, but never in my wildest dreams did I think they would create a company together.

I'll still miss Cing, but Tomorrow Corporation's existence is doing a good job of filling that hole in my heart.

I Love the Bit.Trip Series! Lalala!

When WiiWare first launched, I didn't have high expectations for it. I'm an old man, set in my ways. I believe that games should be packaged software, bought in a store (or online, I'm not -that- old), and kept on a shelf. And I still do believe that. I'm stubbornly fixated on the idea that download services like WiiWare should exist as elaborate demos. You download, and if you like what you play, you buy the compilation disc that arrives 6 months later.

I would buy the compilation disc for Lost Winds, I'd buy one for Strong Bad's CG4AP, and after seeing this trailer, I would buy a Bit.Trip compilation disc on day one.

[video=6252990]

Bit.Trip Beat, Void and Core were all each unique in their own way, but they all took on an Atari-2600-meets-rhythm-game sort of vibe. Beat was Pong, Void was Asteroids maybe.. and Core.. well, regardless, Bit.Trip 4 seems to be adding another dimension to the mix. Now it's rhythm-game-meets-high-speed-platformer, all in quasi Atari 2600 stlye.

I can't get enough of this sort of thing. You know, there's a movement out there for games to be recognized as art. And the people pushing for that recognition are citing games like Heavy Rain or Metal Gear Solid 4. But those games aren't being artistic in their own medium, they're only art in the same way film is art. They use the same storytelling methods and direction tricks that film uses. And that's fine, I'm more than happy to include new genres to gaming. But mirroring one art form doesn't establish a new art form.

I'm not saying Bit.Trip Runner is the Sistene Chapel of gaming, far from it. What I'm trying to say, I guess, is that for gaming to become art, it has to go through a long journey to find it's legs, it has to take chances, it has to be independant and most importantly, it has to recognize it's history. The Bit.Trip series, and Runner in particular, seems bent on mixing old graphics with new, old gameplay with new, and being a downloadable game, it's already indie (so indie in fact, Super Meat Boy is an easter egg in the trailer. Go look.) I think Gaijin is heading in the right direction.

Regardless though, art or not, doesn't this game look like fun on a bun? I'd buy that compilation disc.

Media Summit 2: Electric Boogaloo

So! How does reality match up with my crazy predictions! I got three of them right.

These two:

  • DSi XL gets a release date for North Americy
  • New info on Super Mario Galaxy Twice and Metroid: Other Moo, probably release dates

The XL is pretty much in line with when I expected we'd get it. So is Metroid. What kind of shocked me was the May 23rd date for Galaxy 2. I know Nintendo tends to put out a strong title that time of year, last year's being Punch-Out. But Galaxy is kind of a huge deal. One I thought we'd be seeing in time for Christmas. Not that I'm complaining.

Something else that shocked me was that Nintendo will be publishing Dragon Quest IX in North America. What is up with that? Square is a big boy now, can't they handle the localization and promotion of their second biggest franchise? And what does this mean for Dragon Quest X? Nintendo and Square announced it together, does that mean Nintendo will be publishing that too? It's all so puzzling to me.

Other than that, interesting tidbits included release dates for several of my more anticipated WiiWare titles, Max & the Magic Marker, And Yet it Moves and of course, the Wii's first posterchild for internet whining since Brawl, Cave Story. It'll be nice to see Cave Story actually release, so people can stop complaining that it's not out yet.

Even though I'm not all that interested in Monster Hunter 3, I was quite impressed with how Capcom and Nintendo are treating it here. It's coming bundled with the Classic Controller Pro, a controller I didn't think we'd ever get here. And it's online mode is going to be free. From what I understand, Monster Hunter titles are by and large online games (which is why I'm so meh about them.) That's really great to hear.

I also think it's interesting that Capcom was present at the Nintendo Media Summit. Wouldn't you agree, Pierst179?

Oh, I did say that I got three predictions right and I've only mentioned two of them. The third of course, speaks for itself. For those of you who haven't seen any footage of this event, as there was an embargo, I'll let this contraband photo explain.

You all have a pleasant evening.

Nintendo's Media Summit 2010 Is Tomorry! Psag!

Ladies and gentlemen, as is tradition, here are my rational and irrational predictions for Nintendo's Media Summit tomorry.

Rational! (aka boring)

  • DSi XL gets a release date for North Americy.
  • New info on Super Mario Galaxy Twice and Metroid: Other Moo, probably release dates
  • Also, Last Window: Midnight Promise.
  • Maybe word on XenoMonado Blade and the Last Story.
  • Probably some sort of news on the Vitality Sensor, and maybe even, surprisingly, interesting software to go with it.
  • Maybe... news on that weird patent. The Virtual Boy 2. The one that's not a system, but a Wii peripheral?
  • Think that last one should be filed under irrational?

Irrational! (aka lemon custard)

  • Kid Icarus Wii. Kirby Wii. Smash Bros DS. Earthbound VC.
  • Nintendo. Buys. Capcom. Seriously, how many times do I have to predict that before it happens??
  • The Last Story is revealed to indeed be a project helmed by both Final Fantasy's Sakaguchi and Mario's Miyamoto, and will eat your first born baby.
  • Nintendo apologizes about the whole Fatal Frame IV/Trace Memory 2 BS, and releases them in special North American editions, ala Tatsunoko vs Capcom
  • Next Mario Kart revealed to have less Funky Kong and more Link, Sonic, Samus, Rabbids, you know. Other series.
  • Reggie announces that he is, in fact, Bert from Sesame Street.

I wanted to call this blog Media Summit 2010 Douchebaggery, in an homage to Greg Benson. Oh well.

Wind Waker Wii

What could this mean?

Official Nintendo Magazine recently printed an article in which they take a tongue-in-cheek stab at the Zelda timeline. It's an entertaining read for longtime fans, even if nothing new is actually brought to the table.

What caught my overly suspicious eye was this one snippet, when they were discussing indisputable facts.

Could we be getting a pointer-control remake of Wind Waker on our Wiis? Or should I apply for work as a magazine editor?(Please don't take me seriously, oh ye commenters. I like finding mistakes in print. It's what I do.)

Move Over Tiger - 2010 is the year of the Wii RPG

If there's one thing I've missed this generation, it's good, traditional console RPGs. I say traditional because the RPG moniker is being slapped onto pretty much anything these days. And I say console because the traditional RPGs seem to mainly appear on the DS. Say what you want about the DSi XL being for old people, I need that big screen for RPGs. All those stats and numbers and tiny little characters running around the screen. An old high school friend of mine celebrated his 30th birthday last week, and I'll have that same pleasure by the year's end. If being 30 makes me old, then I'm happy to be an old man who plays RPGs on his DSi XL.

In the meantime though, the hunt is on for console RPGs. I know you kids are playing Dragon Age these days and seem to love it. Let me fill you in on a little secret. Being old also means my mind is stubbornly set on the idea that RPGs have fluffy and often cheesy stories and are full of anime protagonists who have ambiguous genders. Dragon Age that ain't.

So on that topic! I will now talk to you about the goodness that is 2010 when one is a Wii-owning RPG dabbler.

Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon (http://fragile.namco-ch.net/)

I got a gift card for the Rogers store at our staff Christmas party (Rogers, for you non-Canucks, is a cable, mobile, internet and telephone provider up here. They also sell movies and games in their stores at overblown prices.) And so I dogeared that gift card for Fragile. A game I've been anticipating since Muramasa and Little King's Story were nothing but whispers and rumor.

Fragile, for you new kids, is an Action RPG (yes, I realize, non-traditional, shush you) about a boy who seems to be the last person alive on earth. He probably isn't, but who knows. There's a girl in the trailer, but maybe she's a figment of his lonely mind. You use the Wiimote as a flashlight (Silent Hill didn't do it first, this game game out in Aught 8 in Japan.) and you fight crows and creepy wall-arms that try to grab you and giant floating masks of evil. It looks great, I can't describe things.

Arc Rise Fantasia (http://www.arcrisefantasia.com/)

You want traditional? Take a gander at this, jack! The team behind Tales of Symphonia (not the sequel, which stunk like a block of cheese in a heating shaft, the original for the Gamecube. You know, the cult clsasic) and music composed by Yasunori Mitsuda (my favourite composer and the man behind the music from Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross and Xenogears) and if this means anything to you, character designs by Kenichi Yoshida (I had to look that up, but he's a Studio Ghibli vet and did the designs for Eureka 7, in case anyone wants to wax nerdilly about anime with me.) And guess what else. It's a new IP! You kids are always like "Everything's always sequels, waa waa." Well here's a game that doesn't come with a number. It's new and it's got some serious talent behind it.

Oh and Fragile is new too. Just thought I'd point that out.

Monado Beginning of the World (Or Xenoblade, depends on who you ask) (http://www.nintendo.co.jp/wii/sx4j/index.html)

Granted this game has more of a been-there-done-that sort of vibe. But it's being created by the Xeno guy, hence the name Xenoblade (even though I think that's only it's name in Japan) and it's being made by Nintendo's newly acquired Monolith Soft. I like it when Nintendo makes RPGs. They're generally Mario RPGs, so seeing something like this is very encouraging. Funny thing though is how much it reminds me of Final Fantasy XII. The main character looks like a blond haired wimpy boy, like Vaan. And the battles seem to happen in real time, like in Final Fantasy XII. Let's just hope the game is more fun than Final Fantasy XII. (Oh snap, no he di'in't!)

Epic Mickey (http://gameinformer.com/mag/mickey.aspx)

He won't stop talking about it!

I was hesitant to put this on my list of RPGs, because it's not fluffy and ambiguous. But where does a game like this go? Until someone convinces me otherwise, I'm clumping it with the RPGs. Oswald the lucky rabbit demands so. But if you kids want to chide me about criticizing Dragon Age for not being fluffy and ambiguous and then featuring Epic Mickey in a list of true RPGs, well then please do so in the comments. I'll gladly consider having my secretary reply to them.

By the way, Epic Mickey appears to be websiteless. I used Game Informer, because the art is cool.

The Last Story (http://www.nintendo.co.jp/wii/slsj/index.html)

This one gets me really excited. The music is beautiful and I love that logo, the Final Fantasy creator turned Mistwalker founder, Hironobu Sakaguchi, is working on it, making it his sole focus, putting what sounds like a lot of heart into it. And then just recently, GoNintendo made a suggestion that made my ears perk up even more. It seems Sakaguchi is working on the game with someone he refers to as "Mr. M". They suggested that since The Last Story is being created with the help of Nintendo, that M could very possibly be Miyamoto. Which would turn this from Hironobu's Wii project, into the first collaboration between Final Fantasy's creator and Mario's.

It's all speculation. But damn!

Oh Snap! Take That, Wimpy Boys!

You may be among the section of gamers that I just called wimpy boy. They're the ones who complained so loudly and consistently about Mega Man 9's difficulty that Capcom created an easy mode for Mega Man 10.

Well wimpy boys, take a look at this video and tell me something. Are you proud of yourselves? Well, are you?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8fpLem2-ho

Little Sequel's Story

I was feeling a little low, but this nugget helped put a smile on my face.

The director and producer of Little King's Story said this in a recent interview:

"I am very pleased with the positive scores everyone has been giving us and very glad that the hard work we put in paid off. I would love for more users to play and experience the game. I would love to do a sequel! I already have ideas for it too!
We already have a game concept ready but...unfortunately, haven't gotten the "go" sign yet. With everyone's support we may be able to create a sequel."

That would make me very happy. To anyone reading this who hasn't yet played Little King's Story, I have one question for you. Go play it now!

.. I'm aware that wasn't a question.