Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wii Need To Talk...

I just read a report that says Nintendo's sales are down. Then I read further and noticed a continued trend. The article proceeded to bash Nintendo instead of reporting what was going on. Nintendo has been blamed for poor console sales as of late and while things like the 3DS price point are on them, the lack of 3rd party support is a major factor in why the Wii and 3DS are both doing as poorly as they are at the moment. Couple that with game selection decisions by Nintendo and you have a recipe for major backlash. For example, Operation Rainfall was initially a joke, but Nintendo realized what a disaster it would be if those three games weren't released here. The question is raised though, if they localize it, will you buy it? Gamers have a bad habit of begging for things then turning their backs on it once it's released, they turn on it. Rewind a few years to when gamers were complaining about wanting Nintendo characters, namely Samus Aran, to deal with more mature situations. Other is released with a storyline that depicts such a storyline, and it gets bashed by gaming journalists, yet they never complained about any gameplay issues. When the Wii was released, publishers talked about how they could integrate motion control into these games to great effect, what we got from them were watered down ports with motion control smeared on them like jelly on toast. In most cases the motion control was unresponsive and the games were flops. Somehow Nintendo got blamed for these offenses by the press and gamers, who were jaded by garbage like Carnival Games and mySims. Nintendo has screwed fans over the years with the lack of really good games they didn't bring to the US, but in the end, would we have bought them? Major developers have abandoned the Wii in favor of dumping the same shovelware onto Kinect and PS Move, and bandwagonning has made people steer clear of the 3DS in favor of Sony's upcoming PS Vita, this leaves me feeling like Nintendo has to do something major with the Wii U. If this current trend continues though, Nintendo may have an intense uphill battle on their hands.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Has Been Announced...You Knew This Was Coming

So, I just saw the confirmation of a rumor that I saw floating around the net a few weeks ago, and I'm not surprised. For those out of the loop, Capcom decided to treat their latest big budget fighting game, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 a roster update, but instead of making this update merely DLC, Capcom has done what they've been doing since the release of Street Fighter II in the early 90s and they're making a completely new game. This new disc, entitled Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 has pretty much pissed off everybody who bought the first game on day one. Capcom has confirmed that there will be 50 characters in the final build of the game, which will silence that complaint, and it will also resolve balance issues that gamers had with the initial build of MVC3. According to an article on IGN.com, the final list of new characters has been leaked and it is: Firebrand, Strider Hiryu, Phoenix Wright, Frank West, Vergil, and Nemesis on the Capcom side while Iron Fist, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, Dr. Strange, Nova, and Rocket Racoon will be representing Marvel. The initial 2 playable characters, Jill and Shuma Gorath, will also be playable on day one. Again, I'm not surprised by this move, but apparently some gamers are. Capcom just did this with Street Fighter IV, so I'm not at all surprised by this. So for all the extra frugal gamers out there, be informed that very inexpensive copies of Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 are about to pop up at your local used game store.


Yeah...there's a major backlash on message boards, but those same people are going to buy this game once the hype machine really starts.




Monday, July 11, 2011

Portal: The Cake Is Amazing...Even Though It Is A Lie




Puzzle games have existed for centuries, and in the digital arena, they have been around for almost as long as video games have been. Some are pretty straight to the point, like Columns or Klax, while some are a bit abstract, like Zoop. One thing holds true though, and that is if a publisher releases a quality puzzle game, gamers will flock to it. Over the last few years, one such puzzle game, created merely as an add on for Valve's Half Life 2 expansion known as The Orange Box eventually became more popular than it's source material. That game is Portal, and while the Half Life series has been seemingly in limbo while Valve released it's incredible co op zombie apocalypse game Left 4 Dead, they did recently release Portal 2. Some gamers may look at the Portal games and not see the greatness contained within, but rest assured it is there, and it may be one of the best brain teasers you will try to solve with a controller.

Both Portal games put the player in control of Chell, a young lady trapped in the Aperture Science testing facility. Her progress is monitored by a sarcastic and sadistic artificial intelligence known as GlaDOS. During the course of this game, you are charged with completing a series of puzzles or "tests" as GlaDOS calls them. These tests can range from reasonably easy to frustratingly difficult, but they never feel unfair. There are also instances in the first game that hint at something much more sinister going on in the testing facility.These bits of conspiracy theory help to flesh out a story where one may not have existed. There are handprints and incoherent scribblings about the cake being a lie. These don't necessarily take away from the game, but again they offer a minute bit of calm in the constant storm of trap laden puzzles offered up by GlaDOS. The first game ends with Chell being able to shut down GlaDOS and allegedly leave the facility. However, as the single player mode in Portal 2 begins, you learn that isn't the case.

Portal 2 is seen as a much more story driven game in the sense that the narrative is much more involved than the first game, and the relationship between Chell and GlaDOS takes a very unexpected turn. We are also introduced to the founder of Aperture Science and given insight into a major part of GlaDOS' personality. Portal 2 also gives players a new wrinkle in the form of local and online co op play. Each player is given a portal gun and they have to work in concert to complete each puzzle. Both the single player and the co op are both very rewarding experiences that can't be compared to other puzzle games.




Some of my favorite films contain deep, engrossing dialogue. The great thing about video games is that dialogue sometimes only needs one character talking. This is the case with the Portal series. I mean, for two full games, you never hear one solitary syllable from Chell, the series' protagonist, but you hear a lot of barbs being thrown by GlaDOS. In Portal 2, you also hear pre recorded messages from Aperture Science founder Cave Johnson, and from another AI named Wheatley, but it's still a deliberately small cast of characters, and the fact that a player can complete 2 full games and never hear a word from Chell is a throwback to several classic games. That dialogue isn't what makes Portal as a group of games so good, but it most certainly helps. For my money, Portal might be one the most engrossing experiences I have experiences in quite some time.








Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cartridge Cleaning...The Uber Nerdy Way

This video is a quick demo of how some folks clean their NES cartridges...it also contains a few "that's what she said" moments. Enjoy...




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