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GameCube wrap-up (Part 1)...

Here is my wrap-up of my second last generation console the GameCube. First I have to say I wasn't a Nintendo fan until recently, in fact I even hated it when I was a kid; at that time I owned a SEGA Genesis and my best friend had a Super Nintendo and we were always arguing on which system's the best and of course each one of us was defending his own system but the truth is that Super Nintendo was much far better than the SEGA Genesis, and at that time I haven't enough knowledge about gaming to distinguish between them, but now I do :D

Anway, nowadays the situation has changed with three different consoles dominating the market each with its own exclusives, so you have to choose the one that suites you depending on your gaming style. I really entered Nintendo's world starting from the N64; I didn't own it but my friend lent it to me along with two great games, Super Mario 64 and Donkey Kong 64. You can say that those two were the start of my fond towards Nintendo and thus the GameCube was my first owned Nintendo console.

Now to start up my wrap-up with the best games I've played on the GameCube:

Super Smash Bros. Melee: I have to say that Nintendo is the only company that cares about family fun, so if you wanna play great multiplayer games just stick with Nintendo and Smash was no exception. It is in simple words the best multiplayer game on the GameCube; fighting against your friends with your favorite characters never gets boring.

Pikmin: The legendary man behind Nintendo's best games is also behind Pikmin franchise. Pikmin is a unique strategy game that gives you control over small cute creatures to help you recollect the parts fallen from your space ship to repair it and go back home, and later Pikmin 2 was even more better with much bigger world.

Super Mario Sunshine: I know this is not the best mario game but to me, I found it very good and enjoyed it a lot, maybe because mario is my favorite Nintendo game.

Metroid Prime: At first I didn't want to play this game because I presumed it was a shooter game and I'm not a big fan of shooters, but when I tried it I figured it was something completely different. It was one of my favorites; a game with a really complex world, intelligent puzzles, great weapons, stunning visuals and unique abilities, this is simply a must play game. Even more Nintendo released the second installment Metroid Prime 2 which was no less than the first one.

Stay tuned for the second part of my GameCube wrap-up...

Zelda: Ocarina of Time stepping down...

After all this hype surrounding the release of the highly anticipated GTA IV I really didn't expect it to live up to the hype and might some say exceeded it, even the two most well-known and I might add toughest sites gamespot and IGN didn't stop from granting the forbidden perfect score which we haven't seen in years.Sure this will arise so many question but the main one is: How will this affect the gaming industry?

Ten years ago the giant developer Nintendo developed a game which was ahead of its generation, a game that stood for all these years as the best game of all times, a game that Nintendo itself couldn't top after all these years, of course it is nothing other than the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Anyway, after revealing all these perfect GTA IV scores it is obvious that a new game will be crowned as the best game of all times, at least from the critic point of view but I doubt that from the user point of view. Unfortunately I didn't play Zelda: Ocarina of Time but eventually I will as I hear a lot of praise about the game from my friends even though they played it just during the past couple of years and I believe this game will remain in gamers' hearts as the best game ever and will remain as one of the games that redefined gaming and had a big impact on gaming industry. Is GTA IV going to have the same impact on gaming industry as well?

I know many might not like the idea of how a violence game such as GTA is being praised that much and gets so many perfect scores unlike other games which remained faithful to the purpose of gaming; a clean fun that is intended for everyone, just like the games that we used to play when we were kids and still feel their warmth in our hearts. That is all true but there is an important lesson that developers must learn from Rockstar, the fact that Rockstar brought to us three great games, with SanAndreas it seemed they reached their limit and there is nothing more that can be done, but Rockstar cleverly pushed the limit even farther by taking GTA IV into a different level; by pushing the realism of the game to the limit they created something unique although the core gameplay remained intact.

We come back again to our main question which is how this is going to affect the industry? I think releasing such games will always have a good impact on the industry as other developers will try to surpass them, thus will create greater games that we will be glad to play ;) and I'm pretty sure Nintendo will eventually come up with a game that will reclaim the thrown as the best game of all times and this might be in even much less than a decade.

The last part of PS2 wrap-up...

Despite the time you spend playing games there will always be ones left behind and don't have enough time to play because you have to play the good games, but sometimes you even end up leaving good games that worth coming back for. Here I will list the games I think I missed and worth playing if possible.

ICO: Ico has been developed by the same team who did Shadow of the Colossus, and since I loved this game and ICO got high ratings as well, I'm very curious to try it out.

Culdcept: Many might argue that this game isn't that good but I have to say otherwise. My friend showed me this game, it is similar to a Monopoly board game combined with card elements and RPG aspects, and it has been done nicely. Your objective is to make your opponents pay mana by owning land until they are broke.

Devil May Cry 3: After a big failure of the second installment Capcom made sure to come with a much better third installment. Since I played the first one and loved it I guess I ought to play the third one.

Okami: This is one of the best games on the PS2 that I should play but since I own a Wii and the game is out there, the answer is obvious.

Tomb Raider: I know it is not one of the best games on the system but after lots of disappointments the game has finally come back from the dead with the latest two installments, Legends and Anniversary so I might give it a try.

Tales of the Abyss: My brother annoyed me with this RPG, I have to say I'm not a big fan of action RPGs but the high user rating and my brother's nagging might work on me.

Dragon Quest VIII: Dragon Quest series is the most popular RPG in Japan, even more popular than the very famous Final Fantasy. It has been recommended by many of my friends. I'm ashamed to say that I bought this game because of the demo included with it for Final Fantasy XII, so I will put Dragon Quest as my PS2 top priority game.

My coming blog will be the same but about my second last generation console the Gamecube...

PS2 wrap-up (Part 3)...

Shadow Hearts Covenant: Is one of the few games that have a special place in my heart; I love every aspect of this game from the interesting and touching story, lovable characters to the unique battle system. It is definitely one of my favorite RPGs.

Tekken 5: I played many fighting games, 2D and 3D but I think Tekken 5 can beat them all. It is deep, has a large character roaster with very different moves. If you got real skills and some friends to play with then that is the game for you.

God of War: God of War I and II are simply the best action games on the PS2. they have got top notch action, excellent graphics, great music, great voice acting, enormous bosses and strangely clever puzzles which makes them almost the perfect actions games.

Shadow of the Colossus: This is a game that I cannot take out of my mind, controlling a young man to kill sixteen gigantic bosses where you have to find their weak points and take them down to help your beloved one. You will fight everywhere, on land, in the sky and even underwater. Just ride your horse, draw your sword and point it to the sun to find your destination and go, I promise you that you will experience epic battles and different feelings with each of the sixteen bosses.

Guitar Hero: I played them all, I, II, Rocks the 80s and III and I still can't get enough of them. In other words Guitar Hero is the best rhythm game ever created.

Now I'm done with best games I've played on the PS2, next coming part and final one will be about games I missed and should play on the PS2.

PS2 wrap-up (Part 2)...

Kingdom Hearts: This game isn't the best RPG on the system but it is my favorite action RPG on the PS2. Specially with the release of Kingdom Hearts II which was way better in terms of gameplay and story and I think composer Yoko Shimomura composed her best soundtracks for this series. Merging Square's characters and Disney's into Disney's charming worlds was really fun and in addition to that Square created new characters for the series and I believe they succeeded in creating an interesting cast of villains forming a group called organization XIII, each with his own special abilities and personality with still remaining mysteries surrounding them that can be used to create more Kingdom Heart titles.

Ratchet & Clank: This game and later installments Going Commando and Up your Arsenal stand tall next to Jak and Daxter as another great action platformer game on the PS2. It may resemble Jak and Daxter in some ways but overall it is a different experience with more concentration on the action side. What really is likable about this game is the crazy weapons it provides and the ability to upgrade them to being extremely more destructive and there is a humorous side also which is resembled in its lovable character Clank the small robot accompanying hero of the game Ratchet.

Burnout: Burnout started as an ambitious racing game but stayed in the shadows until the release of Burnout 3, the game that flipped racing games upside down to the point of claiming that it even created a genre of its own. Despite all that, there is no denial that Burnout series will remain one of the best racing games ever created and should be taken as an example to create better racing games.

Katamari Damacy: Katamari Damacy isn't a stunning looking game, nor has a gripping storyline and it is definitely not a triple A title, but still it is a must play game as this game has one of the strangest ideas I've ever experienced in a video game that will flip your mind upside down and might change the way you look at the world. It is simple, short but addicting and personally it has one of my favorite video game soundtracks.

To be continued...

PS2 wrap-up (Part 1)...

As I said earlier I'm going to start with the Playstation 2 and because I got a big list of games I will split them into parts not to bore you with them all in one entry.

Final Fantasy is the closest game to my heart and that is why I bought a PS2 where at that time Final Fantasy X was out and it was the first Final Fantasy in the sixth generation, but I will list the games chronologically so I will start with Grand Theft Auto.

Grand Theft Auto: GTA III was one of the early releases on the PS2 but I didn't play it until a while after I bought the console and I was shocked how Rockstar North did a great job moving the game from 2D to 3D and later on I played GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas. I can simply say that GTA is the best sandbox game available in the market and it is one of the main reasons for me to buy the PS3.

Metal Gear Solid: It is funny how I didn't play Metal Gear until the release of the third installment the Snake Eater. At that time I decided to play all metal gears one after another and I started with the GameCube's Twin Snakes; the remake of the first Metal Gear on the original Playstation, then I played Sons of Liberty and immediately after that played The Snake Eater. I thought at first that I might get bored playing three installments continuously but on the contrary the more I played the more I enjoyed the series. With Snake Eater I think Hideo Kojima created his masterpiece which I doubt will surpass with the 4th installment "Guns of the Patriots" but soon enough we will know about that as the 4th game should put an end to the series.

Jak and Daxter: This game was a new platformer developed by Naughty Dog the creator of the Crash series but this game is far superior than Crash Bandicoot. Upon releasing Jak II and Jak III the series evolved into a mixture of action, shooting, driving and platforming which took the series into another direction that is even better than the first game. Jak and Daxter with its great looking visuals, funny plot and great gameplay will introduce you to one of the best couple in video games.

Final Fantasy X: As I mentioned earlier this is the game I bought the PS2 for and it truly stands as one of the best installments of the series. It was a huge jump from Final Fantasy IX and was great in every aspect from the game visuals, to the story, music, gameplay and not to forget the first time to include voice acting in a Final Fantasy game which became a standard for any RPG now-a-days. Unfortunately Squareenix didn't please fans enough with the release of Final Fantasy X-2 the first sequel to a FF game and Final Fantasy XI the first online game in the series, but after a long wait fans finally put their hands on another great Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy XII took the series into another direction with a gameplay similar to MMORPGs and finally discarding the random encounters. Visually the game looked even better than X and provided even better voice acting. The storyline was more linear than previous installments but still enjoyable with a very touching ending and the best theme song in the series.

to be continued,

Moving on...

Three years ago Microsoft started what we call the next generation gaming with the Xbox360 release and a year later Sony and Nintendo followed by releasing Playstation 3 and Wii respectively.

From a history perspective those consoles are part of the seventh generation era, and the Nintendo Wii is the only one I own from them. Most people argue that Nintendo didn't provide a true next generation console but it did introduce a revolutionary control mechanism that changed the way games are played on the other hand Microsoft and Sony provided advanced technological beasts boosting graphics and processing power. Now to complete my move to next generation gaming I need one of those beasts beside my Wii and since Grand Theft Auto and Final Fantasy are my favorite games then my choice is obviously the Playstation 3. On top of that Sony is releasing a perfect bundle on June with 80 GB harddisk, dual shock controller and the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid 4, so after a long wait I can easily go for that bundle.

Those three years of next generation provided gamers with big hits that might've made them forget how great were the last generation consoles which provided us with great experiences, so I decided to wrap up my next generation move by listing the best games I've played and games I've missed and should play. I will be posting three blog entries later on with each one talking about one console and I will start with the Playstation 2 as it was my first console from the last generation.

New Banner...

Hello, check out my new banner celebrating the very soon release of the forth installment of my beloved Grand Theft Auto.

The survival of Final Fantasy ...

20 years ago Squaresoft's newly born baby "Final Fantasy" gave them hope and helped them survive bankruptcy hence they took good care of it for 20 years now but will Squareenix keep good healthy enviroment for their kid to grow up and mature for many years to come.

Since the merger of Squaresoft and Enix in 2003, Squareenix has gone through many changes and difficulties. The absence of great talents such as "Hironobu Sakaguchi" the creator of Final Fantasy and "Yasumi Matsuno" the creator of Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy Tactics. The demanding next generation systems for huge funds and long development time. The pressure put onto employees to satisfy fans expectations. The loads of games in development. All those factos must have affected the development of Final Fantasy one way or another but if the trend continues things will get really bad as Final Fantasy is the most valuable asset the company should keep an eye on. Of course we would like to see other great titles from Squareenix as long as the company maintains the quality of a Final Fantasy game.

I just did some reading about the development team behind Final Fantasy XIII and it was a relief. There are still good talents working on the title such as "Motomu Toriyama" who worked on all Final Fantasies from VII to XII and the director of Revenant Wings. "Kazushige Nojima" the writer for all Final Fantasies except IX. "Yoshinori Kitase" a director and scenario writher for Final Fantasy VII and VIII and worked almost on all other Final Fantasies and Chrono Trigger as well. "Toshiro Tsuchida" the director of Front Mission series and the battle director of Final Fantasy X. "Testsuya Nomura" the mastermind behind all characters' designs from Final Fantasy VII till now. "Masashi Hamauzu" the composer of Unlimited Saga and Final Fantasy X.

We will have to wait and see what will Final Fantasy XIII unfolds to be, and I hope the company takes good care of its employees so that Final Fantasy series prospers for many years to come and lives up to its name.