Monthly Archives: January 2014

#333 A Response to SUPERHEROES DESERVE MORE THAN ARCADE FIGHTING GAMES

Yesterday I was reading an interesting article on Gamemoir about the go to genre of action fighters when it comes to licensing  caped superhero games. It was a good read, and I suggest that you read it over before continuing with my blog post. My only comment is that I think the author missed the point on what Injustice was meant to be. NetherRealm Studios didn’t want to make a Superhero game but instead a fighting game with Superheroes.

My only comment is that I think the author missed the point on what Injustice was meant to be, I think NetherRealm Studios didn't want to make a Superhero game, but instead of a fighting game with Superheroes.

To answer the author’s desire to play a video game that recreates a world where it is perfectly normal for people to fly in tights. I would suggest Activision’s Amazing Spider-man game (for the sandbox) or one of Marvel’s or DC’s F2P MMOs

But it did bring up an interesting topic about the caped superheroes games focusing a bit too much on the action in videogames. I touched on this a bit when I asked where is a good Doctor Who game (Be MOP #302) but how could anyone pull it off?

Ignoring the fact that most superheroes comic books are based in and spawned from action, how can you create any other non-action based gameplay with them? Recent Spider-man games has a good way simulating the feel of web-slinging and the Arkham series perfectly captures Batman’s gliding and gadgets but what about the heroes with more interesting and extensive move sets?

The timelord only known as The Doctor is all about being the smartest person in the room and then uses his brilliance to get himself, his friends, or even an entire planet out of peril at the last possible minute. How can you properly show that in a game, playing as the Doctor, without dumbing down the conflict or the brilliant solution at the end of the episode.

Who would have thought to use a gold foil (a weakness that was revealed in 1975 broadcast) to foil the Cyberman's plans this the most recent season

Who  else would have thought to use a gold foil (a weakness that was revealed in 1975 broadcast) to foil the Cybermen’s plans besides the Doctor himself?

 

Could a game developer make an interesting DareDevil game where it’s one part action beat them up -making sure that the thugs and crimelords ends up in police custody- and one part playing as the prosecutor making an iron clad case making sure these bad guys get sent to prison.

Maybe there could be the courtroom challenge of making an argument for their crime while not using evidence that would place this New York Lawyer at scene of the crime.

That is game pitch completely ignoring that fact that DD is blind.

That is game pitch completely ignoring that fact that DareDevil’s defining characteristic is that he is blind.

 

I mentioned on my blog before but the closest thing we have to a proper green lantern game, with the ability to create any energy constructs you desire was the Scribblenauts series.  Even Scribblenauts Unmasked lets you unlock a Green lantern outfit that automatically gives you fight and the ability to shoot green lasers from the ring

 I'm pretty sure they added this cut-scene on OA because those two are almost identical.

I’m pretty sure they added this cut-scene on OA because Maxwell and Hal Jordan are almost identical power.

 

The bigger question is how could anyone even being to start making a balanced game that lets the players have all of Superman’s powers off the bat.

Batman had the plot convenience of having the newest gadgets flown in when needed.....maybe we scrap the could make a Kal -El flying simulation game.

Batman had the plot convenience of having the newest gadgets flown in when needed…..maybe we scrap idea of Superman fighting Lex Luthor and Doomsday and just make a Kal -El flying simulation game.

 

I am not saying that a good game starring The Doctor, Daredevil, or a properly balanced Superman is impossible but I think in order to make it work we need a ground breaking team, like what Rocksteady Studios did for Batman.

 

PS: To anyone that makes a good Superman videogame there is a Nobel Praise waiting for you.

 


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#332 The Woes of Playing with StreetPass Games in a Small Town

I am happy to report that I am still playing my 3DS and I am still loving it and currently I am playing through the second half of Kid Icarus Uprising. As much as I am loving the first party AAA games but my current obsession of my is the Streetpass program and minigames that comes with the handheld right out of the box.

On top of the friends list/friends code system (of anyone is interested my friends code on the right hand side banner of the site) Streetpass allows you to collect and swap Mii avatars and basic information about yourself and which part of the world you come from with other 3DS owners passing by on the street.I wish I had a suitcase to put my 3DS in as I walk around

I wish I had a suitcase to put my 3DS in as I walk around

While there is a collectible 3D puzzle quest I am currently playing through Find Mii minigame, a game where your mii has been captured and you have to rely on the help of strangers you have met via StreetPass to Find your Mii.

The problem is that I can never find fellow 3DS players in my town. I have been making an effort to bring my 3DS out with me on my errands but I have not been getting much luck. I think the problem comes from how my town is built. Where I live there is no proper sit-down-and-chat style coffee shops and my town has no widely used public transport like buses or subways to interact with the other people. Even going out of my way to go to my local comic book shop, GameStop and Wal-Mart brought no rewards, netting me one or two Miis on a good run.

The only way I have been able to get through most of the Find Mii game has been relying on my 3DS playing younger brother who I see almost every night.

Fortunately Nintendo did plan ahead and had a way to hire NPC Miis to help you with the Find Mii game adventure and complete the other Streetpass games. While I am happy they added it, just is just something missing from the experience when you complete the task with a few hired mercenary  Miis instead of finding ‘real life’ Miis to complete the area.

But I guess that is what to expect when living in a small cozy town, rather than a big bustling city, this is all the more incentive to bring my 3DS out next time I have to take a trip down to Boston or another major city.

I wonder if anyone else out there is facing the same frustration with finding a spot to StreetPass with other 3DS users and if you do have that problem where are some of the places you go that has the highest chance of trading StreetPasses with strangers.

Leave a comment below I’m interested in your solutions to this problem.


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#331 Another PAX East 2014 Post

As I looked at my phone this weekend I realized that Penny Arcade’s PAX East is less than 75 days away.  I would be lying if said that I am hyped for the event and counting the days until April 11th.

I’m also writing this because I’ve been following both PAX and PAX EAST WordPress blog and the last entry on the feed was one month ago. I will not stand for that

I’m also writing this because I’ve been following both PAX and PAX EAST WordPress and the last entry on the feed was one month ago. I will not stand for that so close to the expo date.

 

This will be my fourth PAX East convention and it became a bit of a traditional family outing with me, my dad, and my gaming brothers. Between everything on the Expo floor, the freebies, the internet personalities  the multiple panels running at the same time, and the PAX scavenger hunt that takes place over the three days  you almost need three or four people wandering around, being in constant communication, to get the full experience.

It’s a convention that is so massive in the amount of activities you can do that the only way you know you did a good job was when you get the flu from your compromised immune system that following Monday.

The PAX XP scavenger hunt reminds me of the time my brother and I forced our dad to stay long after all the panels and expo halls has closed down to solve the 2011 scavenger hunt puzzle just to get a little plastic key chain tag.

The PAX XP scavenger hunt reminds me of the time my brother and I forced our dad to stay around the lobby’s front desk long into the night, desperately trying to solve the 2011 scavenger hunt puzzle because the reward was a  little plastic key chain tag and the stratification of solving the really difficult puzzle.

 

But the Convention is only as good as the people there, and while the panels and flashy booths on the Expo floor are a major crowd pleasers, the best part is the people you meet and the activities you do after the expo hall shuts down. Like the time when I was able to meet and causally talk with some League of Legends developers at a Riot bar crawl.

say what you will about being youthful but the best time of playing videogames is with a cold drink in hand.

say what you will about being youthful but the best time  to play videogames is with a cold drink in hand.

 

So I will ask this now, and further down the road, but who is going to PAX East? Feel free to leave a comment below if you are attending, we might be able to create a makeshift blogging meetup.

 


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#330 Living on Cloud(9)Berry Kingdom

Recently, as you might have guessed by the topic of recent blog posts, I have been playing a lot of Pokemon Y and Kid Icarus Uprising in between my regular dose of Team Fortress 2.

With all the easiness of the challenges and the handholding throughout the Nintendo levels I was starting to worry about succumbing to the casual games, losing my hard-earned hardcore gaming edge.

Binding of Issac is just not cutting it after the 300th hour of gameplay

Binding of Isaac is just not cutting it after the 300th hour of game play. I mean there is only so many times beating the true final boss before the excitement is gone.

 

With all that being said, Thank goodness for Cloudberry Kingdom for providing me with type of fun that you can only get with a hardcore precision platformer. Cloudberry Kingdom, created by Pwnee Studios, was fully funded on Kickstarter by promising legendary difficult 2D platform game and it does exactly that.

What sets this game apart from say, the platformers of Super Meat Boy and They Bleed Pixels is that Cloudberry Kingdom has a set path (that’s highlighted by the floating collectible gems) that will get you to the end of the stage, and then the game randomly generates dangers around that path that is timed just right that you avoid everything within a hair of your character’s hit box if you just follow the path.

Not shown: my character falling off the same platform for sixith time in a row

Not shown: my character falling off the same platform for sixth time in a row

The two problems I had that the game has that at the game has a bit of a slow boil between when you start the game and when you get to the level of difficulty that was advertised. While that first complaint problem get fixed after you breeze through the introductory stages second problem I saw when playing through the game was that because the levels are randomly generated the difficulty can be in flux in the later stages and become incredibly easy because the dangers are placed in areas that can not hit you.

that comes with the RNG levels, same way I can't fault Binding of Issac for giving me the Mega Fetus item in back to back runs.

but that comes with the RNG levels, same way I can’t fault Binding of Isaac for giving me the Mega Fetus items in back to back runs.

 

What cool about it is that in the heat of the moment you have to trust that the gems will lead you through the correct way through the crazy mess of lasers, spinning flames, and spikes, which is the closest thing I have ever had a game simulating a faith in a higher power in as I played through it.

it really tests your faith when it comes to those disappearing/reappearing blocks

it really tests your faith when it comes to those disappearing/reappearing blocks

 

It was in those tight turning moments, on the edge of my seat jumps and dodges where I had some of the best excitement I had in ages, much more than playing with angels on rail shooters or farming eggs to finish my Kalos Pokedex.

Still going to do it through I'm almost a third done with the regional pokedex.

Don’t get me wrong I’m still going to collect them all. I’m almost a third done with the regional pokedex, I can’t stop now.

 

Also, since we are one the topic of hardcore videogames I could not fulfill my blogging duty if I did not mention the most recent Humble Roguelike Bundle that are full of the needlessly hard games with permadeath.

humble bundle rouge

 

Same rules apply. Pay what you want for charity, most of the games are DRM free, and if you beat the average get three extra games to the cart. While I have never played any of the other games, Binding of Isaac and the Wrath of Lamb DLC is plenty of enough reason to pay above the average.

 


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#329 The Price of being Advertised to (XB1M13)

One of the biggest gaming news this week was a leaked email of a secret deal that Machinima and Microsoft had with their YouTube partners. The deal was that the Youtube content providers would be given a bonus of three dollars per every one thousand viewers on their videos if the YouTuber;  mentions the Xbox One console by name, has no negative opinions about the Microsoft console or any of their games, has a 30 second clip of Xbox One gameplay and the tag, “XB1M13”.

While paying for YouTube celebrities, or any celebrities, is not new the uproar over this promotion was that in the deal no one could say that their Xbox One XB1M13 video was a sponsored video. Since we are talking about being advertised to I want to talk about a local gas station in my hometown.

There is this gas station in my hometown that sells gasoline somewhere between ten to twenty cents cheaper than any other station in the area. As you might expect, it was the most popular gas station in the area, with the only gas stop I ever see with a gas line.

This wonderful local gas station does come with a catch, to offset the drop in price, the moment you roll up in your car ads starts playing on the screen at the gasoline pump, sometimes the ads are for services and other are for products that are currently on sale inside the gas station mart.

While I do have very low tolerance for unnecessary ads I still go that particular gas station because

A.) I know I am being advertised to

B.) I get a discount from the product

The station makes up the financial loss by having the companies pay for screen space, making up the difference for the low gas price (which is my problem with Microsoft asking people to pay for their Xbox Live account and then putting dedicating places on the Xbox Live Dashboard to the most recent ads for games)

The problem I and many other people have with the Machinima and Microsoft was hidden by the public and trying to stealthily trying to inject opinions into the public. I would -and have- support other online people and productions when they came out and said this show was sponsored by another company and while I may discredit their opinions on the product that they sponsored I do respect the people enough be honest with me.

It seems that on top of this secret deal being illegal, it also cost them and the personalities that participated in this deal, a lot of respect and legitimacy in the online world.


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#328 An Open Letter to Nintendo

Dear Nintendo,

I saw the recent bad news of the current state of your company, the financial loss of the WiiU, the adjusting of your forecast goals, and having your top men come out and admit that he ‘misread the market‘.

It would not be too far off to say that you want to turn around your current situation, move away from the red and return to the black in your books.
I am sure that with all of this bad press about your company and the recent news reports saying that that exclusives at Nintendo are busily working behind closed doors putting in effect games and projects that you have been holding off for just this sort of occasion. But may I, a person who is teetering in the fence about buying a WiiU for the new year, put forth a few suggestions on how to get out of the current storm your are in.
The first tip is probably the easiest to get started,

Advertise your backwards compatibility feature to the public

The WiiU has the ability to play the previous generation of Nintendo games and especially following the public opinion backlash of the Xbox 1 and PlayStation 4’s inability to play any of their games you should have jumped on board the band wagon and boosted about how people who bought the WiiU can still play all their favorite games like Brawl, Zelda, and the Warioware series.
To avoid more brand confusion between the Wii and the WiiU it should not be the major selling point of the console but instead more of a ‘oh and one more thing’ tacked on to the end of the sales pitch.

need help? get this family again and during the kid's little power point presentation have the parents pop the question "but what about our old Wii games" and then deliver a killer response.

need help? get this family back together and during the kid’s little power point presentation have the parents pop the question “but what about our old Wii games” and then deliver a killer response.

Port more N64 and GameCube games to the Virtual Console (and sell it cheap!)


Still continuing on the backwards compatibility trip, have a library of N64 games and GameCube games to your Virtual Console eShop. Nintendo is the only company compatible with Nintendo games, no other company can boast that, and with some moderate work, in a few months time, you could have some of the best collection of the past two generation of your games on Wii U and then you can go back to the marketing department and truly say that the WiiU is the all in one console for any and all Nintendo games.

But be wary if you do intend to put relatively old school Nintendo games on the WiiU the price of said games must to be inexpensive enough not to warrant a second thought from the paying consumers, Gamecube games should be around the ten-dollar mark and everything should be that or lower.

Talking from personal experience, I would go out and buy and WiiU if Nintendo ever made the announcement that they would be bringing Mario Kart Double Dash to the virtual console.

Mario_Kart_Double_Dash

some day I will dedicate an entire blog post to why this game is one only the best Mario Kart game in the series but one of the best racing games of all time.

The price for these old Nintendo games must to be low enough in order for it overcome the temptation of going through the hassle of just emulating the game on our smart phones. You should not be making major profits from these almost 30-year-old games, instead they should be the bait to get players to sign up for the Virtual Console service. On that note, bridge the 3DS and WiiU accounts closer together, I should not need to pay twice for a Virtual Console game on my 3DS and WiiU.

I can tell you now that it is way easier to go through the hassle of finding an emulation service than paying $5 for the original Mario game.

I can tell you now that it is way easier to go through the hassle of finding an emulation service than paying $5 for the original Mario game.

The last one is the most obvious but….

 

Produce more first party games and bring back the older IP and for the Wii U.

Nintendo, we both know that you never really relied as much on third-party games for your success as Microsoft or Sony have. To compensate you need to start pushing out exclusives and then beyond the Zelda/Pokemon/Mario formula As much as we can not wait for the newest Zelda game and that secret Pokemon project we need you to give the Kid Icarus: Uprising revival treatment to your older titles to cover a wide range of modern gaming genres.

F-Zero could provide entertainment to the hardcore racing enthusiasts that might not be satisfied with the slightly more casual Mario Kart series. Star Fox has not had a game since the GameCube, and a proper spaceship fighting game since the N64, and Matroid can easily fill out the Space shooter for a full library of games.

I am aware of this game but you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and hold every future game to the same quality level as the Mario 3D world game.

I am aware of this game but you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and hold every future game to the same quality level as the Super Mario 3D world game.

Nintendo, I do love your company and work ethics about videogames and whether or not you see this I hope that your find a way out of this mess you are in and regain your place as one of the best heavy hitters of the gaming world.


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#327 The Touchy Subject of Steam’s Newest Controller

The one of the more interesting bit of news to from Valve’s during Steam Dev Days event is that the Steam controllers will be dropping their touchscreen in favor of more physical buttons below the two track pads.

a side by side of the new design compared to the prototype

a side by side of the new design compared to the original

The developers say the change was from the feedback they received from their beta test  and the new design was for the best option for backward compatibility with the older games in Steam’s Catalog.

When I heard of the announcement I was a bit sad because the Steam Machine was the only next-gen controller that looked different and unique, rather than a slightly updated model of the previous console controller that was just based off of the perfectly designed Super NES controller.

My current USB controller is starting to show its age (the poor thing has a mashed in ‘A’ button from my playthrough of Telltale’s The Walking Dead along with some other dents and scratches)  and soon I will be looking around the electronic stores for a replacements.  I was interested in the PlayStation 4 controller because Sony was the only company that thought that it was a good idea to release PC drivers on the same they release their product but the new trackpad seems to be a bit of a risky gamble right now, since we have not seen many how many non-PS4 exclusive titles will be incorporating the new trackpad into their games.

I know the console is only a few months old but the gamble comes from paying for the a feature on the controller I might not use in multiplat or pc exclusive games

I don’t want to pay for a feature on the controller I might not use when I’m playing PC exclusive games

What kills me is that Valve could have help start a new wave of controller design with Sony, by keeping the infinite possibilities of the touchscreen on their controller  and then both companies could encourage the third-party game developers to use the track pad and touch screens into the core mechanics of future products.

As much as it is to want and dream about the future of videogames, the people at Valve received way more data from their internal focus test groups and their Steam Machine beta tests then I could ever imagine of and the people in charge of the Steam Machine product are much more qualified to make the final decision of what stays in the final version of the Official Steam Controller than this blogger.

It is still nice to dream about what could have been.


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