So E3 while still going on, could essentially be over right now. Watching the conferences streamed over the internet, the only real difference in experience is that I can’t get to play the games I am disappointed about.
Some companies could get away with what they showed, Microsoft and Sony for example. They are near the end of their respective consoles lives and should be keeping most of their big guns in reserves for next year. Nintendo however has no excuse.
Things looked amazing for Nintendo at the start when they revealed that there would be a Nintendo Direct, followed by a major conference dedicated just to Wii U, then lastly the 3DS software presentation as well as some roundtables. That in itself sounds like a full out preventive strike against the competitors which don’t have consoles coming out this year.
Things started to crumble down when big publishers such as EA and Activision had nothing really to show in regards to the Wii U at their conferences and of course Nintendos. Ubisoft however came into the picture with their usual expect titles.
One of the biggest revolutions for Ubisoft which makes them win E3 according to many, was their combination of game sequels, Wii U support and of course the big surprise at the end- Watch Dogs. What I dub was essentially what a video game version of Person of Interest would be like. Which is pure gold, a statement echoed by many. It is unknown what platforms Watch Dogs was going to appear on until after their conference when it was revealed the game shown was a PC build, and that it would also be heading to Xbox 360 and PS3. As well as been a next generation title, which could possibly mean Wii U- but it doesn’t.
The Nintendo Direct show was possibly the most informative when it comes to the Wii U. It gave gamers an informative look at the Wii U controllers as well as the online architecture.
When it came to the conferences themselves, little new games were revealed at all. With the big hitter new games revealed coming from the Wii U conference (Nintendo revealed nothing new at the 3DS one), and these titles include; Pikmin 3, Nintendo Land (shown to death at the conference) and then Game & Wario and P-100 not shown at all, but still been new unique IPs.
Switching over to 3DS mode for a few minutes during the conference Nintendo slammed three Mario titles into one rolodex of what was to be expected from the 3DS conference. Which dam well should have been taken at 100% reality, because the 3DS conference showed little to do with any other Nintendo IP besides the Mario titles. With the fact that Fire Emblem is heading to the 3DS in America buried as after conference material. Also Animal Crossing wasn’t shown at all. With the main third party games as well been titles we knew since forever.
Nintendo messed up especially when they are meant to be reannouncing the Wii U because of how the announcement went last time, and as well as the fact its launching this year.
Oh and the biggest blow in my mind is Killer Freaks from Out of Space becoming a generic Zombie title. At least Ubisoft did include some interesting ideas such as perma deaths, but outside of that I feel the game was patched up as a Zombie game to quickly and loses most of the charm the original concept had.
So besides Watch Dogs, the big title for me was Sim City for PC. It looks amazing. But moving on.
Nintendo should of condensed the conference they had down (and really it felt very stretched out anyway) and using the extra time have enough time to announce other titles which they forgot, as well as trying to give a clear look at the Wii U after launch. It doesn’t need footage just “these IPs will also head to the Wii U in 2013”. Gamers need to know there is more to the Wii U after launch, and right now it doesn’t seem that way.
Also Nintendo should have revealed Watch Dogs. I’m not too sure if it is going to head to a Nintendo platform, but if it is it should have been at prime centre. After Ubisofts conference, gamers were in tuned with what Watch Dogs could offer, if Nintendo had come out at some point during the conference and shown off a trailer and said “this is coming to Wii U”, it would of left an amazing dent in the overall E3 appearance.
The 3DS half also needed some other titles besides Mario. Nintendo in panic mode is horrible, they just keep pushing out the same title over and over. Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem should have been there. Also Nintendo should of revealed some games coming in 2013 to spur the pot more.
It is amazing that for a games conference, there isn’t much games.
Posted on June 7, 2012 in Games
by Trent Petronaitis.
How do you put pandas into any video game available right now and in the future? That is the question which is on everyone’s mind in some way. Not because they want pandas in their video games, but because they want the game designers to think creatively when approaching a fundamental problem of putting something like a panda into a video game. For the most part pandas clash with many games, with the major way to inject such an animal into a video game to make it an Easter Egg or other reward. So the question is how can pandas be injected into many video game types, while not been an Easter Egg- essentially how can a panda be a gameplay element in titles like Mario, Call of Duty or Halo.
While I don’t want to talk about pandas in Call of Duty or Halo, mainly because I hate those games, let’s talk about pandas in Mario. While I hate Mario as well, it is a fun and childlike imagination world which is perfect to be slapped with a fit full of panda. Pandas in Mario, how do they work? Well they work in the most fundamental way which a panda in a video game, especially games simular to Mario would work. As a key element in the title they would be a character, a race if it is Zelda. Essentially a piece of the puzzle, and in Mario they would be king of the bounce. Mario would notice this panda chilling out in the middle of nowhere and realise, he could push the panda up to the top of the hill, where he could then use the panda as a trampoline and then get to the ledge above him while collecting all those awesome coins on the way.
Pandas don’t work like that in real life, however in the video game world pandas can expand their abilities to the impossible. This can be true for injecting any type of animal which would normally feel out of place into a video game.
To make this article for the most part I’ve looked over my game collection and thought, “yes that would work”. Super Fruit Fall could be some kind of crazy Kawaii style video game with pandas, Rabbids could easy have pandas in their world- because they are just that crazy, and I think Rabbids would work even if Ubisoft decided to put aliens in the video game series. Even in games such as Mad World were the ability to adapt a Panda to it might seem a bit odd, I do feel it is possible. The panda could be some guy in a suit, aka not a traditional panda, but a very heavy set person. It works in that regard, and fits in the universe to a degree.
Then let’s look at games like for example Steel Diver, Steel Diver is underwater. Pandas do not go underwater. Well we could strap on a breathing tube to a panda and call it a day, but I feel that would suit games like Rayman or other simular platformers. Pandas could be in the game, but not exactly, with the world getting worse and worse when it comes to rubbish, the ability to see rubbish under the sea and see pandas on newspapers could exist. And it would fit in the universe. The player could also zoom in using the telescope and see distant lands with, pandas? Though this is starting to go into the realm of Easter eggs instead of gameplay elements.
The ability to add a panda into any game exists, it just needs to not happen for the simple fact not every game needs a panda. But if people think how can my game have a panda in it?, maybe we will see more creative thinking and magic in video games.
Posted on April 30, 2012 in Games
by Trent Petronaitis.
In 2004 I was mucking around with HTML like a little dweeb-y kid and along the line tried to make successful interesting video game websites. These of course all failed for various reasons, but the main point here is that their failure leads to me forgetting about the whole thing for a while until researching DS games I found Another Code. The title is what inspired me to create a fan site for the game and continued on dipping my hand into web based creations.
I’m going to continue this article at certain points under the assumption that Nintendo owns the IPs for Another Code and the Kyle Hyde series. I’m unsure who exactly owned the IP in this situation, and it would be great if it isn’t owned by Nintendo that someone else picks it up and continues CiNGs legacy with the IPs.
The major downfall with the DS games from CiNG was the gameplay. This is a weird comment considering for the most part, everything worked. However on the flip side, everything didn’t work when it came to the gameplay element which tied everything together, the puzzles. Puzzles were not the strong suit in the games, yes they did some amazing things especially with the original Another Code title. But these concepts soon got overplayed in many other games released for the DS soon after, and to combat this CiNG never evolved the gameplay concept. As seen in Again, a title which is almost devoid of any puzzle based interaction the games for the most part at their core are interactive novels not video games. With Again having a story quite common of an American prime time TV crime show, the overall story concept within the title was very weak. Compared to the titles they created working with Nintendo, the presentation in the game made the concept feel weaker than what it could have been. Which in return was shown sale wise and reception wise by the gaming community.
Gameplay could easily of been enhanced in later games after the introduction of core elements. For example Another Code could have had a portable Another machine which Ashley carries around and uses to scan memories or something and use it in some kind of puzzle way. Like circling inconsistencies, the whole quiz thing and maybe some basic interaction with the Another memories. This could give the player a kind of Phoenix Wright meets Layton kind of experience with the puzzles, while keeping the games core ideas and principles and expanding them. The Kyle Hyde series on the flip side always had a stronger connection of puzzles with story, however both games really did this at the end of the day, and also had times when this wasn’t the case.
Another thing the games did great was retain themselves to handhelds (except for Another Code: R). The handheld experience of these titles was much greater than the console, looking at Another Code: R it was easy to tell that the experience couldn’t really translate itself to a console game. Especially when Another Code: R retained many of the handheld ideas instead of incorporating more stronger elements console games of this type are known for like voice. Regardless of what console or handheld the games appeared, that always had the problem which would plague it regardless of what it appeared on especially when it had puzzles which are based on device design for the most part.
I liked how Another Code had the DAS. Which was essentially a DS. I really think this concept could have been expanded on much more, especially if the consoles allowed more interactivity with each other. If the ability to use the DS as a controller for the Wii existed, I could see it been one of the primary interactive methods with the Wii game. Or if the Wii allowed downloadable information to be sent to the device, it could have similar features to the DAS. Allowing people to interact with the game in other levels, by picking up their DS and for example on a place which needed a picture and it could be flipped (or simular puzzles) the DS in real life could be used instead of the in game DAS and then it could be used to take pictures of the game screen, flip them around etc. Just random stuff like that could of added an extra dimension to the whole DAS idea, especially for a console version of Another Code.
Moving on from this in general, I feel that any sequel should retain themselves on the 3DS and not on the Wii U (or whatever Nintendo ends up calling it?). I also feel that it should consider other types of distribution methods. Another Code and Kyle Hyde based eShop titles as a premier way to show how eShop games work with various game types could be good for it, especially with the games overall low sleeper hit style sales in the first place. The games could also show how episodic type games could work on the eShop as well. With the good thing about Another Code and Kyle Hyde games is that they don’t need to be a big long title, they can be short and still pack a punch story and gameplay wise. Also with the increase in popularity of simular genres on both the DS and on other platforms it wouldn’t be silly to look into expanding the IP offerings of the company.
Posted on April 30, 2012 in Games
by Trent Petronaitis.
In the age of digital distribution, and the general retail market in general its surprising that such an idea hasn’t been proposed before. I’m not talking about flat out removing languages from video games, no I’m talking about picking a universal language, such as English as the global version and working from there.
Games will always take some time to be translated into another language. Whether this happens during the development of the title or a delayed release is a different story, but the ability to push games aside for months and years because resources are limited is quite evident. By picking a universal language as the default development language, it allows once the product is finished to be distributed quicker to a range of consumers with little to no translating.
The core universal language version could be released worldwide, regardless if markets don’t speak the language. It will allow for markets which might not be able to get the game for quite some time to experience the game in their third or second language while still retaining a solid understanding on what the title is about and how to complete it. Gamers could be given a warning that the title isn’t translated into their primary language and then if desired be able to download the title in the chosen universal language.
However the idea shouldn’t stop there, with the game obviously been translated by the publisher over the years into other languages, what about the languages which they just don’t get around to doing? Or can’t do because of strained resources? The rise and popularity of fan translation projects as well as the marketing strength which a community generates when translating a title would be beneficial to an ecosystem which supports the ability for fans to easily upload the translations to the world.
By allowing games to have a resource and system built in which allows easy translation and patching, it would grow the region availability of a title in native languages as fans involve themselves for games they want which might not necessary be translated by the publisher. In combination with the original idea of increasing the market reach of titles by allowing a chosen language version to be accessible worldwide as soon as a title is published in a market.
This system could also be useful for smaller games published in foreign countries which wouldn’t necessary reach the western world. Games which wouldn’t normally be published from say Japan could be released worldwide once they launch in Japan to allow international gamers to purchase and experience the title prior to a translation. The influx of money from international users could spur an official translation or the generation of an international user base could create a fan translation which could be easily patched to the users game.
Fan translation patches could easily be approved by the publisher of the game and put up onto the consoles digital distribution platform for all users worldwide to access. Games could also have language based items in a more accessible and changeable global system which would allow less experienced fans to create their own translation patches. They could even create translation patches which change the tone of the game and in return make a new experience which could be approved by the published to be put onto the digital distribution ecosystem. These changed translations could be for example an XXX translation of your favourite game.
Posted on March 20, 2012 in Games
by Trent Petronaitis.
The Rabbids are having a lovely day flash backing to when they first met Rayman and decided to go on a picnic. What a grand idea, Rabbids running around hunting down other characters, until they find this crazy scientist guy. Who kidnaps all the Rabbids and puts them into a machine which transports them into other games.
So what games would the Rabbids travel to, and more importantly, what would be great games themselves? Digging up some game titles I remember playing and trying to convincingly pitch a Rabbid title with those themes, here they are, the list of crazy Rabbid games.
First up is an interesting mash up, Rabbids and Luigis Mansion. Deep down, Rabbids are scared of anything. So its amazing that Ubisoft hasn’t paired them up with some ghosts yet. Ghosts are fun, ghosts are interesting- and the same can be said for Rabbids. Imagine Rabbids going around been scared of ghosts, and vacuuming them up for an evil scientist. It would be awesome.
Next the Rabbids go to Forza. Our Rabbids find themselves inside a big fast car. After their initial inquisitive stage the Rabbids hit the accelerator by mistake and go flying. They then figure out how to drive the thing, spin it around look at another Rabbid whos having trouble- stick their finger at them and speed off. You then take control of the other Rabbid and race after them in a dragstrip race.
Rabbids are at it again in Lost in Blue. I think Rabbids trying to surivive for their life would be awesome. If not Lost in Blue- Ubisofts I am Alive. It just needs that raw grunt of surivival with Rabbids. Them running around hunting and all that would be a laugh and a half. Rabbids wouldn’t have the survival skills, and while a person in Lost in Blue doing nothing is stupid, in Rabbids Survival it would be hilarious, can’t go to water? What are you a Rabbid. They would then try and go to water, but they will hit things and fall over, and eat and all that random stuff Rabbids are known for.
Finally Rabbids find themselves in a little trouble in Pokemon. Our Rabbids find themselves in a field and find of course a Pokeball. Hitting it like they usually do and then becoming angry when it doesn’t open- well it obviously opens from there and a big scary Pokemon is looking at them. They then run away to find a Pokemon trainer who goes “wow I never seen this type before” then tries to catch them. Gameplay could be like hide and go seek, with a bit of Pokemon thrown in. Rabbids could be able to pick up Pokeballs and use them to defend themselves etc.
Posted on February 24, 2012 in Games
by Trent Petronaitis.
There are two series which as the years go on I keep thinking they would collide. The Lost in Blue line of games from Konami, and the Harvest Moon series from Marvelous AQL. I’ve talked a bit in the past and recently of series which I think need fixing. In my mind these series don’t need fixing, they are more incomplete. While the resent console Harvest Moon are riddled with increasingly longer loading screens which made me stop playing one of the resent titles I picked up in the series, the games are quite well built, and the most recently announced Harvest Moon which just released in Japan; Harvest Moon: The Land of Origin, is at the top of my list when it comes to waiting for a 3DS game worth a dam.
However I believe these series will one day collide, a big bang of sorts to make a new series. I don’t think the series could learn from each other, while Lost in Blue could have elements from Harvest Moon Incorporated into it, I believe that doing so to either series would drain from the core experience of the titles which still have a considerable market and strong concept. With this in mind, the only logical outcome is a new series in its own, or a spin off by both companies. Regardless of who makes it, I believe one day a title like this would release, and be one of the leading simulation games on the market.
The series would separate itself from Harvest Moon at the start and be quite frankly more Lost in Blue than it can handle. With the basic washed up on shore principle, followed by salvaging to survive etc. However once the player is at a certain point the player should be able to grow fruit, food etc. This is where the game becomes like Animal Crossing in customization and Harvest Moon once the general populace is called into the island. The sudden realisation that it is good to grow things increases the population and allows the player to have one awesome farm. Sustainable gameplay, sustainable population. A simulation game which grows from this premise and into a fully operational survival game.
The question then becomes, what would such a game do to the other series similar to it, especially ones which its copying ideas from. Which in this case seems to be it becomes a completely different game, the introduction of Animal Crossing ideas, and possibly other ideas if it was a fleshed out idea would cause it to evolve from the primary games which it borrows inspiration from. Like other games which have recently came out which have had inspiration from other franchises, it wouldn’t stop gamers from buying the other product because it would have given itself a new world to play with. It would be a concept which changes the way the other franchises think as well as giving birth to a new parallel genre.
The question also becomes, if such a idea could work along side previous franchises, would it also work for consumers? I believe this is where it gets tricky and starts to disappear from a worth while idea into a vibrant explosion into the void of nothing. While the two franchises can move into been one concept, its obvious that it lies on other games such as Animal Crossing and concepts from that league of social and simulation worlds instead of the key original franchises. The issue also occurs when Harvest Moon is a simulation game based around farm life instead of a survival game. While they can be combined, they clip together unsuccessfully around the edges, and feel more forced together then they should be.
The end result should be from growing the other franchises with ideas, instead of trying to mash them together. While this can bring new and interesting games, in this case its colliding natural evolution of the titles with forced ideas from other franchises to create its own instead of standing on its own to feet. While its an interesting concept, it bases itself around the logic that Harvest Moon players and Lost in Blue players are one in the same, and would buy into a game which combines those ideas. The only thing good which could come out of combining the franchises is starting fresh with new concepts and ideas to build a solid title, instead of the commercial and uninteresting concepts which have started to fester onto the franchises. Specifically Harvest Moon which is getting more and more titles closer and closer together. These titles are starting to become less, instead of more.
So if instead of moving them together, we rip them apart and focus on the two series concepts instead of combining them, it then becomes a world still filled with possibility. Harvest Moon could become more social, as well as allowing much more farming options compared to the traditional options expected in the title. Which the series has started doing in recent years, it could also expand these ideas further. On the same token games like Lost in Blue could become more series when it comes to survival methods, such as finding abandoned towns and villages which the player can find food in, as well as simple things such as introducing the ability to grow food around the players camp. While these ideas would work well in a new series, when they would work perfectly fine with their current series, why not expand the world of the games they originate from instead of trying to make an outlandish concept right this momment.
Posted on February 15, 2012 in Games
by Trent Petronaitis.
Ask any gamer about Sonic in the early 90s when the console wars where just kicking off once more and you will learn about a mutral respect between both competitors while they tried to announce their console is better. However as years went on Mario became successful, and Sonic became more and more in the dumps. What happened if often asked by everyone who remembers the series, and more importantly how to fix the series always comes up in some way or another within the community. The official series with a tacked on Internet meme which describes the cycle from loving the game to ending up playing it and hating it forever, verses fan games which just aren’t as good as the series they clam to fix.
The series also has another major problem besides the fan stigma which is that fans don’t know what they want from the series. This is much more evident then many other series, even ones like The Legend of Zelda series. This problem causes fans and the developers themselves to pick and choose what they think makes a Sonic game. Is it speed? Graphics? Characters? Story?
So the question is, how does a series like Sonic get fixed? Especially when the series world is filled with inconsistencies, bad ideas and blind nostalgia. Quite simply, one of the least preferred, but most discussed options of giving the series a rest for a while is the only way the series can return to its highest points and possibly even further. While there are some Sonic titles of resent which hit the mark of acceptable, such as Colours, the majority do not.
I feel one of the major reasons the series has so many misses compared to the few hits, is due to that the developers and publisher must be just sick of the series and in a creative hole. They tried to do the whole “old school” thing to please the fans, and even that failed, not because the concept was bad, but because of execution and design choices which ultimately is the primary cause of many of the series short comings. There is a strong concept there, however the design choices are lacking and pushing the games down. Also another reason could be target market and style of game choice. It’s not necessary a good observation, or a bad one- but does Sonic have to be a big budget title like Mario for example? Can’t we see just a streamlined version which adapts itself more for the mobile gaming emergence and feels more like Angry Birds then Call of Duty? In terms of target, concept and design? The simplified ideas and targeting a specific area of the industry such as mobile gaming could primary save the franchise by allowing the developers to rescope what makes a Sonic game and get the core elements into an easy pick up and play title. Then once the idea works and becomes successful, they could consecrate once more on making it big budget, console and adding the more detailed stories/concepts.
However the problem with streamlining Sonic and putting it on the back burner for SEGA is a big one. The publisher barely has any key franchises which have a strong fan base backbone, which means financially, while they do produce other games which sell well, the success that Sonic still lies even in its shattered self gives SEGA the cash flow which allows them to stay alive as well as relevant in the eyes of gamers. Moving one of their key franchises to a mobile ecosystem which while the ecosystem has its ups, it has many downs which are the key reasons why many there is still a considerable diversity in the industry when it comes to options and strategy for releasing games.
So if SEGA can’t put all their eggs into one basket and mobilise the series for a period of time just to get the fundamentals which they have long forgotten, actually I will stop myself there, forgotten isn’t the word which should be used, as they haven’t forgotten anything, they remember quite well what Sonic was, is and will be, what the problem is that many of their ideas have collided with that they see as key functions of the series. The idea of streamlining the series for mobile would be more to make a basic quick to develop title which would encapsulate small pick up and play worlds which has Sonic just running and collecting coins, with no catches. No escalated story plots, no crazy concepts, just the core game play principles which are still the fundamentals to many of their games today. The game wouldn’t be for gamers, while it could be a success, its fundamental purpose would be to reteach the core concept of the title.
Even if a big budget title needed to happen, SEGA shouldn’t rush into it. What they need to do is something a bit unorthodox, they need to research the series. Look into what the series was, from the original releases and detailing every pixel and what it represents to the game, as well as controls and then look over the newer releases. Even unsuccessful Sonic games or bad Sonic games have a good concept at the core of them, the craziness does have some method, that needs to be researched and it needs to be outlined why the various concepts never worked. I’m not saying to a game based on what the consumers interests are and successful titles are at the time, last time that happened we got Shadow and Sonic 2006. What needs to happen is the reverse, they need to look at themselves and see the series from a developers point of view, as well as looking at the concepts and direction which went into the titles over the years. By looking at their mistakes and as well as their successes, they should be able to mold the two.
For me what a Sonic game in the future should explore if it is a big budget title is to move the camera to a more over head view. As well as making the world filled with voxels and that pixel style which looks super awesome. That and make the world ever moving and exploding, make Sonic be able to effect the world by running into a hill really fast and just make voxel dirt fly everywhere. Give the feeling of speed, breakable objects and gold coins. It might not be a fan favorite idea, nor where the series should head, but its an interesting idea which for me is the direction which I want to see Sonic go.
Posted on February 15, 2012 in Games
by Trent Petronaitis.
No doubt if you are a fan of the Pokemon series you would of had the choice during your play through of which fossil out of the two the game has do you want. The toughest choice the series would ever propose to you, and one which rattles your mind once you choose if you made the right choice.
Each title in the series has a fossil range in it which you can acquire at a certain point in the game and then get them turned into a real Pokemon. Once you get the Pokemon you will notice one major thing they are not cute and fuzzy Pikachus, no they are big mean fighting machines. They are ancient beasts which more often then not used to rule the world. What did these Pokemon do in their past life, where they trained by the humans of the time? Questions like these are what make you think, why hasn’t there been a Pokemon set in the past or distant future yet? One which shows a different league of Pokemon, one which shows the evolution to our favorite new Pokemon, and ones which show the prime time of the ancient fossil Pokemon.
A Pokemon set in the past would show a new era of Pokemon, we will see the prime life of the various Pokemon from fossils and the evolution to some of our favorites, as well as even some which we haven’t even heard of. There could even be ancient humans training and collecting the Pokemon. Gameplay could either be the same as the current line of Pokemon games, or be similar to Ranger- or even drastically different with trust and companionship been what attracts the Pokemon and makes them stay with their owner. The evil team would obviously take the Pokemon by force and beat them into submission, and the good guy would have the goal of teaching them about love and harmony with their fellow Pokemon.
The game could also feature some of the “legendary” Pokemon of the series as simple low grade Pokemon, it could be a story which shows how these Pokemon become “legendary”. The level system could also be changed to hold much higher level Pokemon which once they go over 100 gain “legendary” status. Some “legendary” Pokemon could even be starter Pokemon for the title. Maybe even an introduction of actually killing Pokemon instead of stunning them could be introduced which would trim down the amount of Pokemon which are around at the end of the game as well as make sure the legendaries are all powerful. It would be sort of like its own mini mass extinction in the world of Pokemon. Heck maybe you are the evil guy in this game- maybe by setting Pokemon in the ancient past can a story which fits the series lore be made which the main character could be evil. Or at least turn evil after the slow increase of power which drives them mad once their legendary Pokemon are level 200 and kill everything in sight.
Pokemon like Mario is the one of the only series which Nintendo can attach to anything they dream up and it would sell like hot cakes. The series has a large amount of spin off games which are various genres. There is even a new spin off coming out soon which clashes the series with another series by introducing Nobunaga characters to the world of Pokemon. The Mystery Dungeon and Ranger spin off series are also resent attractions in the world of Pokemon, so it is clear that Nintendo wants to expand the series to more then the traditional titles which it has been putting out for so long. With this in mind, how long is it until Nintendo starts expanding the lore of the series themselves instead of putting out “Pikachu is Missing” titles for the next twenty years. The expansion of the series lore and one itself which puts it into a more darker world could be what the series needs to keep the older fans who have long since left the series. While Nintendo was able to bring back many fans with the remakes of Silver and Gold as well as Black and White, the series doesn’t have a continuation with the fanbase as much as it used to, with no doubt this new install base of original customers feeling that they don’t need to buy any new titles because they would not be any different to the titles they have previous played, just with more monsters and a crazier story. A spin off which puts the series into the past would put a more series tone to the series, as well as making the spin off titles have some level of reputability and must have for fans.
While this idea does have the stench of a crazy fan idea, it does have merit and is the type of concept Nintendo needs to be pitching themselves to bring the series forward in the next coming generations. Unlike Mario which has the appeal to everyone, Pokemon has a stronger demographic attachment to the younger players and collage kids. Which with the ever changing market of video games, shows that the series doesn’t attach to the blue ocean which has now become the red ocean, which has become the blue ocean again- which I’m pretty sure somewhere along the line became a green murky ocean filled with Call of Duty remakes and Just Dance with Guitar Hero attachments. Or a mix of all three games, shooting lasers out of a plastic guitar controller while dancing. Now that is a type of game I would buy.
Posted on February 8, 2012 in Games
by Trent Petronaitis.
There is a game which exists were more fish or bugs compared to the previous titles in its series is a feature which can be slapped on the back of the box. A game which is filled with talking animals which tell you about their day a hundred times over. A game which is often associated with a particular animal which runs a monopoly on the general store and retail business.
That game is Animal Crossing, and it is returning this year for the 3DS.
For me the series is an interesting one, I like it because for every different person their goals in the title are slightly different. It is one of those games which you can either do one particular thing instead of one other particular thing with both choices been the correct way to play. Animal Crossing does this with its array of activities which the player can preform. At the end of the day the game is a relaxation title, which isn’t changed with the 3DS irritation.
The key change in the 3DS title is now you are the mayor. Which is quite unusual that this hasn’t happened before, because really you pretty much do everything when it comes to the town while everyone else just sits around. However that isn’t the point, the point is this time you have the “badge”, your the mayor- BAM! While it is unknown how detailed the mayor integration within the title will go, it is known you get to put buildings and objects where you want them in the town. Quite similar in some ways to how the next Harvest Moon title is approaching the game world. While I don’t know if you can move buildings once placed like in said Harvest Moon title, it is an interesting feature which will no doubt expand the games world. You also have an assistant which follows you around. The previous mayor, that turtle dude is probably still rocking it around your town- but as the event planer, which is pretty much what he did anyway, well that is just speculation but it is popular belief.
The world is also much bigger then previous Animal Crossing games. The beach for example isn’t just a pit of sand on the edge of the map, it has its own section as well as been one huge beach which wraps around the town. You can also swim too! As for the town there is a shopping area which is over the train tracks and a display home area behind that. Display Homes come from street pass and spot pass which means you get to check out what other people have done to their homes in that area.
Speaking about homes, did I tell you that you start off in a tent for some reason? Yeah. Also there is heaps more customization added which includes modification down to the mailbox.
Also when it comes to customization there is almost no bounds, furniture can be modified much more then previously, as well as clothes can be modified. There is even no gender limits on what your character can wear, so if you want to spruce your boy character up in a skirt- you can.
The general theme of Animal Crossing is that for some reason you are moving to a town full of animals, as the only human per town it will make you scream for more interaction. So the game puts you through the place of building up your home, teaching you responsibilities as well as forcing you to interact with those animal creatures. The AI for these animals are questionable, but in the 3DS iteration it seems so far from footage seen that the game will improve on this slightly.
Your town itself has various limits to what exists, there are expected buildings however which will remain in the 3DS version such as the museum, town hall etc. With buildings like Nooks been questioned if it will be in the town or the shopping center. Nook is also just a pompous real estate agent as well, so no doubt his cusions or children or what ever they are will be running his chain of high priced low end good supermarkets.
So overall there are much more features which have already been announced for the game, as well as features which haven’t been announced.
For me Animal Crossing 3DS will be a major player in game of the year, especially when just counting 3DS games. With the release date expectation been late Q2 all the way to Q4 and the fact that many of the major 3DS games which are game changes might not just make it this year in the west means that this will be one golden game. Even then if it was up against major game changes for the system, it could still be near the top. The overall aspects of Animal Crossing are perfect for a handheld ecosystem and after many of the games in the series just copied each other one which on the surface seems to change it all is a good thing. With everything banking on the mayor feature, as well as the online interaction which the game will deliver on- will this game be a game changer in itself? Find out when it launches later this year.
Posted on January 29, 2012 in Games
by Trent Petronaitis.
Did you know Nintendo has released a new handheld? Well they did back in early 2011, called the 3DS, you know that DS which does 3D. What you never knew that it was a new system? You thought it was just an upgrade? Oh my. Well while this missguideded fact is thrown around through the publics mind thanks to Nintendos way of advertising it, and similar effect happened for the Wii U- the system itself has managed to sang a good amount of sales. The thing is though despite that, I’ve never seen or heard of someone owning a 3DS besides me. Now I know your about to say “but trinest, your a hermit”, however I have to retaliate with the simple observation that I do go outside sometimes, and even then all I see is people with Lites and the i series of consoles.
Now you probably read my blog for the laughs, or the misspelled words and horrible grammar. I don’t blame you, that does give a few laughs- but listen closely my dear subscriber, as I’m about to bring a point to this article. Especially with such a degrading and controversial title such as the one this article has.
The 3DS might be selling a good number of consoles, and it might have a few more games since launch, however the simple fact is these games are not been picked up by gamers and the system is left alone in many peoples minds once it has been bought. It’s like the Wii again, without the horrible “dusting off our Wii” puns. At the end of the day there are not many titles so far which can be given the “dusting off the 3DS” tag line. With 2012 showing some promise in good games arriving finally for the system, it lacks the great games which will define the system for generations to come.
Let’s look at when the original DS launched. Lots of gamers seem to be forgetting some facts, that there were games. Many people have slammed the originals lineup has worse then the 3DS and that people who think otherwise are misguided. In fact it is the opposite in this case, the 3DS line up was poor and even when games did start coming out, like Steel Diver and Pilotwings at the end of the day they where just tech demos. Then the remanding year of 2011 was quite weak and filled with ports and at the end of the year Mario Kart finally came out. However Mario Karts problem was that it was a mixture of the Wii and DS games, which in theory should be good however presented major problems when they took the bad stuff from each game instead of the good stuff. However if we look to the original DS, yes the lineup at launch was weak, but it was enjoyable, titles such as Project Rub (Feel The Magic) brought dare I say- a little magic to the systems launch. There was also big hitter ports such as Mario 64 DS at launch. Even the chat game Ping Pals got some love by some gamers. With the year (2005 for those playing at home was the AUS launch) just getting better, Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Another Code to name a few. Yes you heard me right, Another Code the game which inspired me to make serious websites instead of playing around in Geocities, was a 2005 game. No game so far for the 3DS could be said as inspiring or magical, and titles which come close such as Good People Die and Layton vs Phoenix are miles off the first year of the system been out.
I don’t think the biggest problem is the lack of games, like I’ve said there are games, however the games are pretty b grade compared to previous generations. No I think the biggest issue would be the 3D. The 3D was meant to be the biggest selling point of the system, and probably is the reason why so many systems have been moved so far, the curiosity and ideas which 3D could be used for do sound like a great time. However the 3D was marketed too much as the systems focus instead of what else the system can do, it was also because of the difficulties on how to show 3D to gamers quite limited to how it could be approached. Before launch there was heaps of opportunities for gamers to try the system and experience the 3D. I didn’t go to any of these sort of events, however if I did I would of seriously reconsidered buying the system at launch. I would of had say the taste of what the system could do in my mouth and I would of been able to look with much clearer eyes towards the lineup and say “yes I can wait for that”, instead of “oh wow, new hardware I must have that to see what the fuss is”. You see 3D is horrible, for a few reasons. The main reason why I don’t like 3D comes down to it gives me headaches, I’m one of the few people in the world which isn’t bullshitting when it comes to saying that 3D gives me headaches and I know there must be heaps more then just me. In fact I can play with 3D on for a bit, but I do have to turn it off after awhile, my brother on the other hand can not look at 3D on the system for longer then a few seconds. It also isn’t because of poor setup, sliding the slider just changes it depending on the title from eye raping to eye murdering. Moving off from that fact which not many people will experience anyway, I think the biggest issue is how it is implemented and designed. Each title for one will have a different level of 3D as its base level, with most of the games having the highest level been double vision. Even then, just look at games which are meant to use the 3D great- Mario Kart for example was hyped before launch has been one of the titles which really make use of the 3D. Well if make use of the 3D means that the slider works properly instead of going from a little bit of 3D right into double vision 3D, then yes- Mario Kart uses 3D great. If using 3D to the best the system can offer however means sections which use 3D amazingly and want you to use it over just using 2D, then no- Mario Kart doesn’t have any of these. The main problem with 3D is that it when it works enhances the playing field so insignificantly, that without it, it doesn’t seem like a big deal.
My final dislikes with the 3D can easily be seen by anyone, which is how the eShop runs, the quality of applications and the general service etc. These problems are not an uphill battle to make people see the light that they exist, these problems are quite clearly there and that is just great.
Back to the title, it’s as clear as day “Nintendo should say Sorry for the 3DS”, you want to know why? Because it has no charm, no magic, no soul- it doesn’t sell the Nintendo brand to the mass market and isn’t the same level of design quality which made the Game Boy range and the original DS range win. This device is what I’d expect Sony to push out after seeing the success of the original DS and wanting to do better back when the original DS was out. It would of launched along side the original DS a year later and be rushed to the market with design faults and imperfections just so they can have a device which does what the competitions does. The 3D would be added just because it is a “one up” in their mind, as well as their high level of pushing 3D in many devices.
Gamers don’t want 3D and Nintendo learned that the hard way if it doesn’t pick up steam and make this puppy fly. There might be sales now, but that is only off the back bone that it is a Nintendo device and the inquisitive nature as to what 3D is and how it works. That will ware off and if Nintendo doesn’t have the marketing push and games to support the system it will end up failing in the next few years. However like I said before the system does have some games slowly popping up over the next year for the system, but none are from Nintendo (okay Animal Crossing is, but even then fans know to expect just Animal Crossing 64 upgraded for the 4th time).
These problems happened when the Wii U was revealed, but for different reasons, but are still the same core ideology which could result in failure with such a system. That is why Nintendo is consternating on a re-reveal, they need to make sure the market knows what their next console is, what it does and what makes it special but have the backing of quality games behind it, which the 3DS missed out on.
Personally I’d go back to the design of the Gameboy Micro, and make a speciality retro styled handheld. With all the big technology advancements which would benefit such a console, while retaining the charm the original generations of older handhelds brought to the table. Like it or not, I do believe that mobile phones will take over the handheld gaming space. However I also believe that the style of games which are currently on the devices and what gamers expect from handheld titles will change as well. I believe that the phones will end up getting more social interactive titles, which a title such as Animal Crossing would find a great home on. Along side the smaller quick and easy titles which currently exist on the phone platforms, I also believe that there will be some big hitters in the more traditional genres however these games if copied by others will not receive similar success due to the type of market and how it is evolving. Handheld consoles should take a few generational spaces back so they become much cheaper and disposable, and if there is a high quality of gaming, interaction and marketing behind the change it would be a viable change in industry policy.
Posted on January 7, 2012 in Games
by Trent Petronaitis.