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    • When the Companies Leave us Behind

      6 years ago


       The gaming industry recently went through the biggest event we could think of, E3. With that came the common complaints: “Where’s The Last Guardian?” “When’s Nintendo gonna announce something for core gamers?” “Why is Microsoft obsessed with the Kinect?” Now we’re all used to hearing complaints of this ilk out of E3, but here’s the one that is going to affect us in a major way in the future: “Why is Microsoft focusing on everything but games?” This is a growing trend that will become the bane of gamers’ existence in the near future. Microsoft isn’t in the business of making video game consoles anymore; they’re in the business of making a media box that happens to play games.

      People complain about how Microsoft really doesn’t care about the gamers anymore and that they keep focusing on the stuff that sells. Well the stuff that sells the most isn’t the games. More people use their Xbox for watching Netflix than even the amount of people that use it to play Call of Duty. The non-gaming features of the Xbox are becoming the most popular and the most financially successful and as American companies are known to do, Microsoft will head more and more into this direction until whatever iteration of the Xbox comes down the line in 8-10 years it will be advertised to “Watch Netflix, rent movies, TV shows, and maybe even play games if you want. We won’t make you.” Microsoft is leaving behind the people that helped them gain the audience they are currently attaining, and that audience isn’t going to like that.
      A lot of you may not think this is a big issue; that it’s just Microsoft being Microsoft and the gamers aren’t going to suffer as a result. This is not true. Think about how much time was spent on the social and media features of the Xbox during their E3 press conference. Now think about how much will be dedicated to it next year, and the year after that. It’s only going to grow and Sony and Nintendo are going to start seeing the appeal. Sony may not have gotten to the level of Microsoft just yet, but even they are seeing the appeal of adding a bunch of non-gaming features to the PS3 and I’ll bet that next E3 the about 5-10 minutes dedicated to it at their press conference this year will increase to 10-15 minutes. Hell Nintendo even spent a significant amount of time discussing casual features such as Miiverse and Wii Fit U.

      There is one thing that keeps this from happening truly and entirely, though; Nintendo. While a significant amount of the gaming public has disregarded Nintendo, think about what they were selling at E3 this year. Were they selling their movie rental service? Were they advertising their new exclusive deal with so-and-so television network? No. They were selling games. These may not be games you want to play, hell you may not even consider Wii Fit a game, but it’s a lot more of a game than the dozens of social and media features that Microsoft detailed during their press conference.

      People currently look at the Wii U with ire. They look at it with distaste and the idea that Nintendo “doesn’t understand what gamers want” but without Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony get an excuse to stop innovating. What did Microsoft and Sony make a big deal about at E3 this year? Smart Glass and Crossplay. What has been a big deal in the past? The Move and Kinect. Features that Microsoft and Sony blatantly took because Nintendo sold a lot of Wiis, and they want in on that Nintendo money. The Wii U is looking like it is going to sell less and less. If this goes the way that a lot of gamers seem to want it to go then Nintendo will become the new Sega. Now what does this mean? Well like I said before Microsoft and Sony get a free “out” when it comes to innovation. Microsoft can stop trying to push the Kinect because there’s no alternative. Sony can be secure that Nintendo’s first party development is no longer as big a worry. Microsoft will start making more and more deals with non-gaming companies for non-gaming features. Sony will see how much money they’re making and follow in their stride. Without Nintendo we will have lost the one company that puts games above all else and the two remaining get the self satisfaction of being the only options. The Mac vs. PC arguments start there.

      Now people are thinking several things at this point but there are two I would speculate are the most prevalent: “Is this a bad thing” and “Can I help stop this?” The answers are no and no. While gamers are a large community that knows how to rally against something they don’t like, this isn’t about us. They already have us. They don’t need to sell their consoles to us because we will already buy them. With Nintendo gone that just gives them more customers who will buy their consoles even if only because Nintendo is now making games for those consoles. They’re going after the casual players. The people that may pick up a casual game or turn on the Kinect, but will mostly use their Xbox for watching movies. That’s who they are trying to get, Nintendo included. Why isn’t this a bad thing you may be asking? Gaming is not going to be a niche for much longer. A lot of people may not like the casual audience, but as many a games journalist and analyst have said, to evolve we need to stop trying to convince people that we are worth evolving. Imagine coming across someone in your English class discussing the storytelling merits of the next Halo game or the historical significance of World War 2 shooters in your history class? We may not like it buy this is where the games industry is heading and gamers will fall in the same category and film buffs and book geeks.

      The gaming companies are leaving us behind, but it’s not a bad thing. We have to let gaming be as universal as watching movies. We aren’t the audience that Microsoft has in mind anymore, but it doesn’t mean we’ll never be an audience. Gaming will one day have their Fahrenheit 451 or Citizen Kane and god dammit we will treat it like it is the greatest thing the world of gaming will ever see and all the casuals won’t get it. We will get that pleasure one day so let the companies leave us behind, because one day we will sprint ahead in our own way.

    • I'm sorry, what's Split Screen?

      7 years ago


       I was watching a video of the relatively new Goldeneye 007 Reloaded and in the video the question came up about split screen multiplayer and their response was "who cares". Now those that chose to comment on this greatly disagreed on this assessment, but if left me questioning where split screen multiplayer has gone. Don't get me wrong I know why split screen doesn't really exist anymore, it's more conveniant to just have one person go online than to split the screen in four and have the game not lose any quality, but what I don't get is the lack of any kind of split screen at all.

      My first question when it comes to split screen is that of Nazi Zombies in Call of Duty. Now Call f Duty is one of the rare games that still has split screen multiplayer and it's a full four players, but then Nazi Zombies limits itself to two player split screen. My only explanation for this is they know that you're only ever going to want to play Nazi Zombies with friends so they're going to force you're friends to buy at least another copy if you want to play with more than two people. That seems to be why split screen has dissolved as it has, money. Companies want you to buy more copies of their games and the easiest way to do that is to basically say: "Wanna play with your friends? BUY ME SUCKA!"

      Now I'm a rare exception in that I only find first-person shooters fun when playing with friends in multiplayer, not with random strangers. If I want to play a game like Call of Duty with all my friends, though, I can't just go to their house like I could have in the N64 era I have to go out to the store and pay $60 for my own copy to play a game that I will only play with friends. Now you are probably saying "Just wait for it to go down in price" which I have done before, and by the time I got the game my friends had moved on to a new game. This is obviously a situation of my friends being finicky and not sticking to one game for too long, which is true, but jsut because I might be a special case doesn't mean my point doesn't stand.

      Every time I write up a blog post in a hurry like I have here it makes it sound jumbled and nonsensical. So I will sum up my points here. THERE IS NO REASON NOT TO STILL HAVE SPLIT SCREEN MULTIPLAYER. Just because the majority of your consumers will never use it doesn't mean you shouldn't have it. Games like Need for Speed have completely abandoned Split Screen and new IPs just don't even give it a second thought when they choose to leave it out. LAN costs just as much money as playing online and no one can say that playing in the same room as your friends everyone having a good time is not a more fun experience than talking to them through a microphone on the opposite sides of town. This is not an anti-online blog post, this is a pro-split screen blog post.

    • My history with Sonic and why I love this franchise (Posted September 16th, 2010)

      7 years ago


      I was born in 1993, very much in between generations. I was born much too late to experience the NES and for reasons I'm not even aware of the SNES remained out of my range. According to my parents, they purchased for myself and my older brother a Sega Genesis in 1995. Now I don't know what games came with this Sega Genesis or in what order I got them in, but up until I received the N64 in '98 or '99, and well after, I was a Genesis kid and all my friends up to the point I received that N64 were Genesis kids as well. One of the games I had on my Genesis was Sonic 2. This game was beyond my level of experience at the age of 3 and I never did beat the game (hell to this day I have yet to beat a Genesis Sonic game) but I would always return to it. It's one of those games that I always enjoyed playing and would always come back to even though I never got any further.

      Sonic was a huge influence on me as a gamer and helped influence my choice of games forever, even though I wasn't aware of it at the time. My friend, Justus, had all the other Sonic games which I would borrow and I would also never beat but would always have a blast playing. I never noticed a lack of Sonic during my N64 era and I don't recall ever even knowing about the Dreamcast sadly, but when the Gamecube era came about I picked that thing up with Super Smash Bros. Melee and was one of those suckers who tried to unlock Sonic and Tails fruitlessly for months upon end (damn you Nintendo Power!) and soon after picked up Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. This game was incredible when I played it and I always loved playing it, hell I could put the game in right now and have a fun time even during the Knuckles/Rouge stages. It may just be my eyes not wanting to see a flaw in Sonic based on my nostalgia but I also really enjoyed Sonic Adventure DX when I rented it years ago.

      Now I know I seem like a watery-eyed nostalgia freak gushing over games that in many people's eyes are considerably flawed, but Sonic Adventure 2 Battle remains to this day one of my favorite games on the Gamecube. Though sadly I eventually had the take off the Rose-Tinted glasses and reveals myself to the incredible mediocrity that was Sonic Heroes. This game was just a big disappointment for me and I never found it that fun and it just didn't sit right with me. It was the first time I felt a Sonic game was truly, truly flawed and was a huge turning point for me. This allowed me to be fully subjected to the horrendous nature of Shadow the Hedgehog, a game which I still despise to this day.

      The Sonic flame was over and done with for me and it would never be ignited as brightly as it was the first time I played Sonic 2 back in 1995. But like everyone else, when I saw Sonic 2006 for the first time I was hugely excited, but when the game finally came out I didn't get it because I didn't have a 360 and I am glad for that. The last game on the Sonic chain and the most recent one is one that lives in infamy, Sonic Unleashed. Now I do not own this game... but I do like this game. That's right, I do not think Sonic Unleashed was a bad game. The Werehog levels never bothered me and the Sonic levels were a blast. Now I think everyone may just hate the idea of the Werehog more than the implementation but that's just me.

      Sonic will never be a lost franchise in my opinion because I am a lot more excepting of the games and their flaws. Now if I look at things from a technical aspect the games are flawed, but not beyond all belief. I still remain hugely excited for Sonic 4 and Sonic Colors and whether they disappoint will have to be seen. I love Sonic and that will never change, but I do hope that one day he can be loved by everyone else again.

    • As a Sega Genesis/Shinobi fan (A tale and a question) (Posted May 30th, 2011)

      7 years ago


      I was a kid of a the 90’s. Being born in the early 90’s you wouldn’t expect me to have been a fan of the Sega Genesis considering the fact that the Nintendo 64 released before I had the ability to retain information. According to my mother I have been a player of video games since about 2 years old and one of the most prominent games I had in my collection was Revenge of Shinobi. I was very bad at video games when I was a child and when I look at my lack of progression in a variety of games ranging from Sonic 2 to Contra: Hard Corps. Revenge of Shinobi was a game I rarely passed the first level of when I was a kid and I have yet to go back and beat the game. The recent announcement of, as I will refer to it as, Shinobi 3D has opened my eyes a bit. I ordered a copy of Shinobi for the PS2 on Thursday and while it is still in the mail, I’m excited for it. I realized that I am a fan of the Shinobi franchise even though I have only owned a single game within it. Shinobi 3D is the first game on the 3DS that motivates me enough to go out and purchase a $250 system because of my inexplicable fandom for this series. While writing up this post I have decided to dedicate myself to playing and finishing Revenge of Shinobi and possibly pursuing the rest of the games of the Shinobi franchise (at least for the Sega Genesis) because although it is an inexplicable one, I bare a great fondness for this series.

      After that long paragraph of insanity I propose a question to anyone who may read this: What is a franchise that you are a fan of but can’t quite explain why? A series that you will always be excited to see a new game for even though you have only played a single game in the franchise or better yet, haven’t played a single game in the franchise. This is a topic that has piqued my interest and I would love to see other people than myself, a self admitted mad man, that share this odd accompaniment to a franchise.

    • Modern Distractions ( Posted May 31st, 2011)

      7 years ago


      I am currently reading The Kite Runner for class and I must admit I am thoroughly enjoying it. I have never been a very active reader but I have always enjoyed reading. It allows me to expand upon my imagination and think of things differently than other people, such as a character’s voice or even their appearance to an extent. My main problem with reading has always been that I get easily distracted. I will be halfway through a good book and then I’ll discover a new TV show and just throw the book aside and never think about it to any real extent until many months later. This has always been a problem with me that I cannot seem to evolve past.

      This problem with myself has always been a detriment to the things that I enjoy doing. I will be in the middle of a 30+ hour long RPG, a genre of games I enjoy quite a bit, and then I’ll start watching a series of videos and just leave the game by the wayside. I hate that I have this habit and just wish I could commit to one thing and leave everything else alone.

      I realize that I am whining about a problem that very little people will actually care about, but I have the feeling I’m not the only person. I don’t believe I have ever taken a test for ADD or ADHD, but I am fairly sure I don’t have either conditions. I can only imagine how bad this problem would be with people who do have either of those conditions.

      In conclusion (this became a very bad essay, didn’t it?), the distractions of modern day prevent me from doing things that I enjoy. It’s not so much a problem with the media available to me as it is a problem with my own psyche. I feel the need to absorb as much media as I can, even though there’s no reason I should. I would like to know if any of you have this problem with being unable to focus on a single task. It would please me to know if you do cause then I wouldn’t feel like a low IQ moron who can’t focus on a single task because he’s too busy watching porn… wait a minute, ignore that text that I could delete if I didn’t want you to see it but am keeping in for the sake of a bad joke.

    • Nintendo, I apologize (Posted June 13th, 2011)

      7 years ago


      Last week was the video game industry’s possibly most important event, E3. This convention was especially notable for the fact that Nintendo decided to announce and release a brand new console, the Wii U, while the competition hasn’t even thought about the name’s of their next systems (I bet one will be an Xbox and the other will be a Playstation. I know, crazy). While this new console mostly intrigued the gaming populace, it was met by distaste from a select few (many of which had not even had the opportunity to have it in their hands) and the show just ended up bringing out the Nintendo haters in the video game community.

      Completely disregarding various people saying that the Wii U is “too little, too late” and the egregious speculation that Nintendo will fail (based on stock prices, investors seem to believe this) entirely from this new console„ let’s address the Nintendo haters. The people who will call every Nintendo game “more of the same” and that they need to innovate before they will get their money. These are the people I wish to address. It is well known by many that Nintendo’s lack of new intellectual properties during this generation is unwelcome, but we cannot say Nintendo has never once tried to innovate.

      Let’s address this problem by addressing the most prolific example: Zelda. Many will claim that Zelda games (for the sake of the argument let’s just pretend the handheld games don’t exist) haven’t changed since the days of Ocarina of Time, and people disapprove of this. Let’s not remember back when Zelda II came out and people were raging that it was so different and some to this day dislike the game for this fact, let’s just stick in a post-Ocarina world. The next game in this series was Majora’s Mask. A game with fundamentally the same game, but if you were playing Majora’s Mask, could you honestly say it felt identical to Ocarina of Time? Majora’s Mask kept gameplay the same while changing the formula, and this was once again looked at with distaste by the so-called “fans”. Let’s look at Wind Waker now. Combat is still pretty similar, but the overall game just feels so different and puts you in such a different world that no one could ever say that “this feels exactly like Ocarina of Time”, of course this is in reference to everything but the combat. Now let’s look at Twilight Princess. This is the only game in this post-Ocarina world that I have yet to play, but from what I’ve heard, this game is basically Ocarina of Time but with a wolf. Now if you look at the general responses to these games. Majora’s Mask, met with great distaste. Wind Waker, met with even greater distaste. Twilight Princess, praised as if it were the next coming of Christ. Do you see why Nintendo would think you’d want more of the same?

      Now let’s look at some other reasons why people claim they dislike Nintendo, they haven’t developed any new IPs in at least 15 years. Let me answer this question by providing you with a list of a few of the new IPs Nintendo introduced post-SNES and when I say introduced, I’m saying games they have published). Blast Corps, 1080 Snowboarding, Super Smash Bros (to an extent), Custom Robo, Sin and Punishment, Paper Mario (once again, to an extent), Animal Crossing, Pikmin, Luigi’s Mansion (to an extent, yada yada), Eternal Darkness, Geist, Chibi Robo, Odama, Endless Ocean. Now post-Game Boy Color. Advance Wars, Golden Sun, Drill Dozer, Nintendogs, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (or Elite Beat Agents for North America), Rhythm Heaven. This isn’t even all of them.

      Another major argument, they should try to revive their older series. We got a new Punch-Out a couple years back, we’re getting a new Kid Icarus, hell we’re even getting a new Luigi’s Mansion and that game is almost ten years old. And to go a bit off topic, don’t you people remember Metroid Prime? You know, the Metroid game that was a first-person shooter? I mean, there were only three of the so I could see why you would forget. Even Other M was a change of pace when it comes to gameplay.

      This ended up turning into a rant at some point so let me try to conclude before I get too crazy. I just want to say to Nintendo that I’m sorry. I’m sorry that fans ask so much of you when it comes to innovation but when you do it it’s met with hatred. I’m sorry that people refuse to believe that the Wii was worth playing. I’m sorry that people still don’t think that you are trying to please us with the Wii U even though so far you’ve given us almost everything we asked for. I apologize to you utterly and sincerely. Now stop listening to whiny fanboys bitch about video games and do the thing that makes us love you, making awesome games.

      EDIT: I also just thought of the most innovative series up Nintendo's arsenal, Kirby. How many Kirby games are entirely similar to each other? Maybe two? Three? I mean, look at Kirby's Epic Yarn. That game even changed what made Kirby Kirby, sucking up his enemies to use for some offensive purpose. How could Nintendo not be innovating at all when they have this series up their sleeves?

    • Dragon Nest First Impressions (or my opinions of MMOs in general)

      7 years ago


      Nexon has relatively recently started an open beta for their new free to play game Dragon Nest in North America. The game itself is very reminiscent of their other 3D action MMO Vindictus. You attack using the mouse and keyboard, moving around with WASD, skills with the number keys, and physical attacks by clicking the mouse buttons. What separates Dragon Nest from MMOs like World of Warcraft is that every button press directly associates with an attack as opposed to you just saying attack and a pseudo turn-based system goes into action.
      The game is entirely instance-based and most of your quests will result in you just beating a particular dungeon. I’ve been playing a cleric which is not as healing-based as you might think in the early levels. Hell, I didn’t even gain a healing spell until about level 10. Mostly the cleric’s gameplay consists of beating monsters with a mace or flail and electrocuting them. I plan on trying out the other classes soon enough and with that will also be attempting to play with other people.

      Something that caught my immediate interest was a somewhat strong emphasis on the story of this game. The dialogue for quests are exceedingly long and your character has responses to each bit of dialogue. There are also several cut scenes and there was some voice acting near during the opening sequence. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s no Persona 4 when it comes to storytelling, but it’s just something that caught me off guard.
      I’m having a lot of fun with this MMO and can’t wait to see the other kinds of things it has in store for me. Now I’m going to take a moment to infuse some personal opinion into this shit-out first impressions blog. When it comes to MMOs I find it hard to get truly into them. I’ve tried out games like WoW, Runes of Magic, Champions Online, etc. with little success. I just find them not very fun. WoW created this pseudo-turn-based combat system that everyone tries to implement, but that combat system is just not fun. The reason I enjoy Dragon Nest is because I feel directly responsible for all my actions and I feel as if I have a good and true impact on the result of any confrontation I have. Even Maple Story, one of the most successful free to play games in the world, is hard for me to get into because of the slow combat that is required for the game to work.

      Now while Dragon Nest and Vindictus have combat that makes an MMO fun for me, the MMO I have most been able to get into is Dungeon Fighter Online. DFO has gameplay like classic 2D beat-em-ups, and is probably one of the flashiest and most fun MMOs I have ever played. I can’t quite explain why I like DFO so much, it just does something for me.
      Now while I have given a general opinion on MMOs, there’s still more detail I could go into, but for now all I can say is go out and play Dragon Nest, because it is, honestly, a lot of fun.

    • 2018 years ago

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