Archive for the Wii Category

E3 2010 Photos Part 3: Nintendo

Posted in DS, Editorials, Industry, Wii on October 12, 2010 by Stefano Terry

I didn’t get to spend any time with Nintendo this year, but I managed to grab a few photos nonetheless! So without further ado, here they go!

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Select/Start Games Best of 2009 Awards

Posted in Editorials, Industry, PC, Playstation 3, PSN, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE with tags , , , , on January 1, 2010 by Stefano Terry

2009 now draws to a close, and for gamers, it has been one of the best years of this generation, if not the best year this generation in terms of quality software. It seemed like no matter what the genre or platform, you could find a game that simply screamed quality, even amidst the many game delays that plagued the year. These awards are by no means comprehensive, or to be taken as law, but they are certainly the games we felt really summed up 2009. Enjoy. Continue reading

Gamers: Expand Your Horizons

Posted in Editorials, Industry, PC, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, PSN, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE with tags , , , on September 30, 2009 by Stefano Terry
Gamers: Expand Your Horizons
An Editorial by Figboy
A thought occured to me while I was reading an article about Heavy Rain on fanboy central website N4G.com. A lot of fuss is raised over a percieved lack of innovation in todays gaming, but in my mind, I don’t think the majority of the gaming populace are ready for innovation, when they can’t even break out of their small, rigid thinking about what a game is.
It’s a generalization, but no less true: the shooter genre is the top dog in the industry at the moment. It’s kind of funny to me, having been gaming for nearly 30 years now, but I remember when the FPS, just like the RPG, were small, niche genres that a very, very small minority of gamers indulged. Not any longer. Both genres are quite large now, but the FPS genre is bordering on colossal.
Gamers eat it up. Single player, mostly multi-player, deathmatch, team deathmatch, they can’t get enough. And yet, like a contradiction, they spout off about the lack of originality and innovation in games while trying to frag their way to the next unlockable Achievement and Trophy in nearly every FPS that comes their way.
When a game like Heavy Rain comes along, it is met with crickets and tumbleweeds from the audience. Before I continue, I’ll briefly address what Heavy Rain is to those that are unaware. Heavy Rain is a single player “crime drama/thriller” video game that revolves around four playable characters and their connection to a mysterious serial killer dubbed “The Origami Killer,” because he leaves an ornate origami at the crime scene. Outside of this, not much is known about the story, because the developer, Quantic Dream, would like to keep it under wraps. The plot, however, sounds like it’s a perfect fit for the latest episode of CSI or Law and Order. And that’s precisely the point.
Gameplay wise, the game is a third person “adventure” game, where players control the character and investigate areas, talk to witnesses, and gather clues. If anyone has played Quantic Dream’s last title, Indigo Prophecy, they’d have a great idea of what to expect from Heavy Rain, although it is more grounded in reality, and features stunning visuals that help establish the characters and setting as something that should be taken seriously by the mature gamer.
Like a movie or TV show, there are action set pieces (like a crime investigator attempting to escape the clutches of a mechanic trying to kill him), tension filled moments (like the player trying to talk down a man robbing a store at gunpoint), and even some sexuality (like an undercover reporter forced to strip for the sleezeball she is trying to investigate). These scenes are played out in a unique way, using a combination of player controls and context sensitive button presses that affect the way the scene plays out. Depending on the choices the player makes, not all four of the playable characters may see the ending of the game, and each scenario has multiple branching paths that organically spawn from those choices. I saw the store robbery scene play out at least 3 different times, sometimes with the robber giving up, sometimes with the robber shooting your character, and so on. This level of gameplay complexity has very rarely, if ever been seen in gaming before, and when it is, it is largely shunned by the community at large.
As a culture, gaming has barely been around for 30 years. It’s still young when compared to even the film industry, let alone ancient forms of media like literature, music, and even art. Being the young culture we are, we cling to what we know, what is familiar to us, and we are afraid to move onto the next stage of our growth. This isn’t just the gamers fault, though we are a part of it, but the developers themselves.
Developers are afraid to take chances on risky gameplay like Heavy Rain, because they know that their target audience will not be very receptive enough to it, and the group that will be receptive, are too small to make a dent in the costs it took to produce the game.
Gamers can be very closeminded when it comes to new gameplay elements. Gamers are also very presumptous. They see a two minute trailer of a game, and they think they’ve figured out exactly how the game will play and feel. They see the button prompts fly up on screen during the first trailer of Heavy Rain, and they immediately think it’s nothing different from God of War, or Resident Evil 4, or any other game that has used buttons to help convey a sense of epic scope in the game that the game’s natural gameplay mechanics wouldn’t be able to do (for example, Kratos from God of War battling the gigantic Colossus of Rhodes).
Even more troubling than a gamer’s presumptous attitude is their indifferent attitude to anything that is not the status quo. They see a trailer for Heavy Rain, or Flower, or The Last Guardian, and they shrug dismissively and ask “What’s the big deal? It’s just some lame people talking about love, or a bunch of flower petals flying across the landscape, or a stupid little kid and his weird giant bird/cat/dog creature running around. Why should I care? It looks boring.”
That’s the attitude that is the most damaging to the gaming industry’s growth as a creative medium. If the first look at a game isn’t pulse-poundingly catchy, filled with explosions, tits, and ass, they dismiss it as “boring,” “lame,” or “I don’t get what’s so special about that,” or “that game has button prompts, so it’s not a game.” This attitude needs to change, or we will be swimming in the muck of uninspired, heartless video games and never be able to grow beyond our teenage years, so to speak. Considering how long mediums like film, theatre, art, and music have been around, the gaming industry still has acne and cracking vocal chords. And each time the gamers at large dismiss a game like Heavy Rain, or The Last Guardian, the more and more game developers will shy away from creating such creative works of art, and the more the masses at large will dismiss the gaming media as anything more than mindless fodder for kids and teenagers, despite the average age of gamers these days being 25-30.
Yet all the while, gamers get up on their soapboxes (yours truly included), and complain about a lack of fresh ideas and innovation in the industry. We won’t see any innovation if we can’t even accept varying interpretations of our medium. Games like The Path, Lucidity, Heavy Rain, Indigo Prophecy, etc, are few and far between, and they don’t need to be if we, as a culture, grew up and expanded our view on what a “game” is. A video game is not just pointing a gun at an enemy and pulling the trigger, or using a sword to disembowel a ninja, or shaking your controller vigorously to get a female characters tits to bounce. Those are certainly aspects to gaming, but they are not the only aspects to gaming. Like the various entertainment mediums that have come before gaming, it, and it’s fanbase have grown to accept a broad spectrum of content and interpretations of what the medium is.
We need to do the same to gaming, or it will never grow. I embrace games like Heavy Rain, The Path, Lucidity, etc, in the same way I embrace a game like Mass Effect, Uncharted 2, and Metal Gear Solid. We need to be more open to game ideas and concepts that may be foreign to us, and stop being so jaded, cynical, and presumptous when that new idea shows it’s face.
Once we can accept that gaming is not just one thing, we will begin to see more innovation and creativity, because we will have shown the powers that be that we are mature and able enough to handle different interpretations of our medium, and respect them for what they are, and they will strive to produce more. Not everybody has to like the same things, of course, but we certainly need to open up and at least consider that there are more ways to enjoy a video game than what we have been used to for 30+ years.

An Editorial by Figboy

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A thought occured to me while I was reading an article about Heavy Rain on fanboy central website N4G.com. A lot of fuss is raised over a percieved lack of innovation in todays gaming, but in my mind, I don’t think the majority of the gaming populace are ready for innovation, when they can’t even break out of their small, rigid thinking about what a game is.

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Faceoff Retro! Super Mario Bros. 3 vs Super Mario World

Posted in Editorials, Wii with tags , , , , on July 1, 2009 by Stefano Terry
Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario World

Super Mario World

For this week’s edition of Faceoff, I decided to rewind the clock and pit two classic titles against each other in a head to head battle. Both Super Mario Bros. 3, and it’s sequel, Super Mario World are two of my favorite games of all time. But out of the two, there is only one that I consistently play and still get that feeling of wonder and amazement I felt when I first popped the cartidge into my system. Retro Faceoff starts now!

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E3 2009: Nintendo Press Conference

Posted in DS, Industry, News, Wii with tags , , , , on June 2, 2009 by Stefano Terry

Here we are again to bring you all the breaking announcements from Nintendo’s Press Conference at this years E3! And here we go!

New Super Mario Bros. Wii announced. The game is done in a classic, 2D Mario style, but with 3D character sprites. It also features four player multi-player with Mario, Luigi, and two Toads. You can play the main storyline with other players co-op, jumping in and out at any time.
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Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 Announced

Posted in DS, Game Videos, News, PC, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, PSN, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2009 by Stefano Terry

Fresh from the E3 show floor is the news that Warner Bros and Travelers Tales are cooking up Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4.

Outside of covering “the boy who lived’s” first four years at Hogwarts, not much else is known about the game. There is a snazzy trailer, however, which I’ve linked to below.

The game is set for release sometime next year.

Source – Kotaku

Madden: If It Sells… Don’t Fix It

Posted in DS, Industry, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, PSN, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE with tags , , , , , on April 5, 2009 by mcnast

madden2010

I have been playing Madden football since ’92 in the Sega Genesis days. Madden has always been one of the best if not, the best place for gamers to ball on the gridiron. Yes, there have been some stumbling blocks along the way, but Madden has always recovered and gotten back to glory. That is until now. Since the jump to the now current gen systems, Madden has done just enough to get by. Riding the coat tails of its former greatness like Freddie Prinze Jr. does with his father, Madden has skated by on past glory and the deep pockets in which it helped create at EA. As many of you know, EA has the rights to all NFL properties, including player names, likeness and stadiums until at least 2013. With the lack of competition, Madden has become a shell of its former self only improving enough to silence casual critics with their smoke and mirrors.

The gameplay of Madden, while functional as of recent, is still half of what it used to be. The graphics are also substandard. It is a sad day when the biggest sport in America has arguably the worst graphics in sports gaming at this point in time. As a matter of fact, Madden 09 had the worst graphics of any game that came out last year that got a rating of 75 or higher in Metacritic excluding RPGs and downloadables, which would make Madden the ugliest non RPG, disc based game to be in the Metacritic green zone. Casuals have no idea or don’t care how the game has lost its former greatness and some hardcore fans have adjusted to its mediocrity. I fall in to the category of neither, and this is my reason why.

Ever since Madden and NCAA 98, you could transfer players leaving to the pros with your memory stick on the PS1. It has never been perfect, some players would be black in college and end up white in the pros and vice versa, but it was pretty much a working system. However, since the jump to the current gen, Madden has not been able to get it right. Since Madden on the new current systems has been out, graduating players have vanished into thin air, players have their speed ratings dropped 15 points, and worst of all, players are not editable in season mode. I understand not being able to modify every Florida Gator graduate to be unstoppable, but to not even let the user modify name and jersey numbers is ridiculous. Instead of playing with Michael Crabtree #80 for the San Francisco 49ers, I’m stuck with first name “BLANK,” last name “ WR #5,” wearing #5 instead of the normal numbers for wide receivers in the NFL. I know that this is a tiny part of a game, but it is a vital part to gamers like me and these are the attentions to detail that are missing from the game.

Madden sells like gangbusters for a reason. It has built a pedigree for many years and has overcome stiff competition from Sega Sport Football, Gameday, and the 2K series. Ever since EA’s monopoly over football, however, the quality has dipped significantly. It’s funny that EA in collaboration with the NFL has taken away what fans enjoy most about the sport; competition. Without a worthy competitor, Madden can overlook intricacies like player transfers, spotty online tournaments, frame rate issues, graphical progress, etc. Fans of virtual football are being repeatedly kicked in the shins by EA because their love and loyalty to the game of football. It’s like being a fan of 3rd person shooters and only having Army of Two to choose from. Decent game, but given the option I’d rather play Uncharted or Gears. EA and the NFL have left us no option, so gamers have Madden or nothing. I know that if the NFL had nothing but the Detroit Lions to offer, the league would not be such an entertaining way to spend a Sunday.  So I ask, why would EA and the NFL do the same from it’s virtual counterpart?