Weekly News We care About Wrap Up – 3.31.06

Must miss
I did my part to support UMD movies by buying 25 copies of this classic story about a girl who wakes up a slut.

UMD movies failing
Is it possible Sony somehow is responsible for a failed format? Of course it is, they love failing, and I love to see their new formats fail. This is a good sign for those of us who want game systems to focus on playing games. To read more complaining, read this.

Blizzard sued by some guy who wants to sell Warcraft guides on the internet
This is a very interesting and possibly important lawsuit. The guy suing Blizzard sold his guides on eBay until Blizzard complained and they were taken down. They say he is trying to make money off of their good will and recognition they’ve built with their games, whatever that means. →  Postsona 3 FES

A falling Star(craft)

So it seems that Starcraft: Ghost, has been put on “indefinite hold” (meaning “canceled”) after four years in development. An interesting turn of events to be sure, but what is even more intriguing is the community’s reaction, or should I say non-reaction to the news. I expected message boards to light up with threads and comments, but instead it seems that very few gamers are troubled by the loss. I gave it some thought, and I came to a few conclusions that might explain why no one cares (or has ever cared) about Ghost.

1 – *Blizzard Fans are like Enix fans*

And by saying this I mean no insult. It is simply that Blizzard’s fan community is much like Enix’s in Japan; they are used to certain kinds of games with certain kinds of features from their favorite developer, and anything outside of that realm may not be greeted kindly. →  The Read Star

World of Warcraft Endgame Analysis part III

Parts: I | II | III | IV | V

Casual Instance Running

Thousands of gold in epic gear… and I’d trade it all for a can of raid.

For those not inclined to PvP (or to augment their PvP activities), the bulk of their end game is spent in casual instances. These instances are capped at 5-15 players (about to be reduced to 5-10 depending on the instance in the upcoming 1.10 patch of World of Warcraft). One thing to point out about World of Warcraft, is that initially, dungeons can take quite long to clear out, especially if the group is not competent. An adventuring group needs to learn how to the “trash monsters” (non boss monsters in a dungeon) as well as the bosses. Due to the age of the game, the process to beating most encounters and dungeons in the game are already well known. →  Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 5: Golden Post

Review – Super Princess Peach

Super Princess Peach
Developed by Nintendo
Published by Nintendo
Released 2.27.06

Waaa

“Why can’t I have more than one line of dialogue in my own game? Hey look a vine… neato!”

I have to admit I wasn’t too excited when I first heard about this game. I mean, of all the characters in the Mario universe I’d want to have there own game, Princess Peach wasn’t at the top of my list. My girlfriend, on the other hand, bought it the day the game came out and I haven’t given it back to her since. This game is seriously addictive.

The story starts with Mario, Luigi and Toad being taken prisoner by Bowser’s hench-turtles using their newfound Vibe Wand. The wand’s vaguely-explained powers are related to emotions, and allows the normally bumbling koopas to take down an entire castle of Toads and subdue our usual heroes. →  Now you’re reading with power.

World of Warcraft Endgame Analysis part II

Parts: I | II | III | IV | V

PVP

Player versus Player (PVP) primarily occurs through three “instanced” battlegrounds: Warsong Gulch, a capture the flag game that features 10v10, Arathi Basin, a king of the hill game that is 15v15, and Alterac Valley, which is an objective based wargame which is 40v40. There is some “world PvP,” on PvP servers, but for the most part, PvP grinding is accomplished via these three PvP games.

Players
PvP

PvP advancement occurs in two ways. The first is the honor system. As you win PvP games and kill other players, you are awarded “honor points.” Every week, your honor points are totaled and compared against the rest of the server’s grisly accomplishments. Depending on your performance, you are promoted or demoted in rank (or more likely stay the same). →  Ikari Warriors 2: Postery Read

Weekly News We care About Wrap Up – 3.24.06

PS3 to be region free.
Woohoo. Now I can buy RPGs I can’t play without getting the system modded. I expect this will increase the number of gamers who import titles from Japan, but also eat into sales of Western releases by a little, which is part of the reason console manufacturers always used region encoding.

GameStop makes huge profits.
Buying your competitors and selling used games as new really works.

Errrr
This pic of Representative Keeley is really a stronger argument against her position than anything I could write.

Jack Thompson and Delaware Representative try to brand violent games as obscene, thereby getting around that pesky First Amendment.
According to them games are not speech so they shouldn’t be protected. Since when did artistic expression need to be in the form of spoken words? →  Tony Hawk's Pro Reader 3

Best Game Ever – Dragon Quest

Developed by Enix

Published by Nintendo for the NES

Released 1989

What more can be said about the original Dragon Quest? As the story goes, it was Enix’s attempt to bring American style Role Playing Games like Wizardry and Ultima to Japanese consoles (a game called The Black Onyx introduced the genre to Japanese PC’s a year earlier). This attempt gave birth to a cultural phenomenon, as well as the most popular franchise in Japanese gaming.

A sight so beautiful it almost hurts.

Yet while most know about the Dragon Quest series in general, not many people ever discuss the original game. It may get a few paragraphs in “history of RPGs” or “NES classics” articles, but it is often overlooked by its biggest competitor of the time: Final Fantasy 1. →  Read or die.

World of Warcraft Endgame Analysis part I

Parts: I | II | III | IV | V

So, you’ve made it to 60 th level. Good, Blizzard claims that World of Warcraft truly begins at 60 th level (or so someone once told me in my guild). But it’s also a shame because there are a good number of instances (dungeons that are personal to your group) that get passed up or breezed through… but that’s a discussion for another time.

Cute but deadly
This kid’s undead rogue will pwn you.

Meanwhile, you’ve arrived at 60th level. One important thing to know about WoW is that character advancement is predominantly determined by items. Up until the most recently added pair of dungeons, Ahn Qiraj (a 20 and 40 man version), there was no way to update your character’s core skills at level 60 (AQ lets you get “books” for new character abilities). →  Final Post VII

Yuji Naka to leave Sega?

Word on the street is Yuji Naka may leave Sega to start his own company. Naka is Sega’s most well known employee primarily because he was behind the success of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. His programming wizardry combined with Naoto Oshima edgy and xtreme character design and Hirokazu Yasuhara’s excellent level design (hold right to win) created a game that arguably made Sega what it is today. Naka also programmed Phantasy Star, a technical marvel for an 8-bit console and the first game to include an enemy who vomits on you.

body language tells all
Smug as smug can be.

Perhaps the most beloved game Naka produced is NiGHTS into Dreams, which was both one of the Saturn’s best game’s and an admission that the system could not pull off 3D like its competitors. →  Read more? No, I’ll read it all.

Best Game Ever – Secret of Mana

Secret of Mana
Developed by Square
Published by Square for the SNES
Released 1993

Evil Cult
Our three heroes find themselves at the gate of the Scientology compound.

Before I finished grade school, my older brother had taught me that Sega was superior to Nintendo. For nearly a decade I took this as gospel. I enjoyed playing the NES at friends houses but I always believed the Master System was better. I even convinced my best friend of this and got him to give up his Nintendo for a Master System and eventually a Genesis.

It was with this supreme confidence I first played Secret of Mana. We played all night and I left my friend’s house the next morning disillusioned. SoM was so good I needed to get an SNES, which until that point had been my sworn enemy. →  Onimusha 2: Samuread's Destiny

Weekly News We care About Wrap Up – 3.17.06

OMG itz a remote control!11111

Miyamoto confirms the new Zelda will use the Revolution controller.
Though in what regard, we are still not sure. If it’s simply for mini games or something silly like that, many fans may pissed off. I think Nintendo painted themselves into a corner with this new Zelda game. They wanted to release it as a GC game but then there are no other big games coming out on that system… possibly ever. So instead of supporting their own dead system they decided to launch it with the Revolution. Making it a Rev launch title makes sense, but then Nintendo would just alienate more fans because the game was originally promised for the GC. So now they’re trying to dress it up like a Revolution title to sell the system. →  In all ages, hypocrites, called producers, have put crowns upon the heads of thieves, called publishers.

Aborted game autopsy 2: Suspicions confirmed

Besides learning some valuable lessons while working on my game, some things I already thought to be true were reaffirmed.

Suspicions Confirmed:

Kierga
The cliched plain female archer nearing a mid life crisis.

Games take zillions of man hours to make. Any game of substantial size cannot be completed by six people. Any game using more than a few 3D models requires more than one guy who knows how to do 3D modeling from classes he took. Any game with a few hundred characters needs more than one talented conceptual artist. And any game that has a 150 page plot and also wants to have dialog should have more than two writers.

Since I already mostly understood why development teams are so big and games cost so much, we’ll say that now these facts are burned into my brain. →  The Adventures of Cookie and Read

Aborted game autopsy 1: Lessons learned

One day during my junior year of college I decided to design an RPG. I was surrounded by friends when I announced this and they all responded with enthusiasm. It’s now about four years later and I have little to show for my effort. Luckily, working on my game led me to some truths about game design, most of which are obvious or irrelevant. So, here they are.

Lessons Learned:

Seizure Soft
The most important part of designing a game is making a cool company logo.

There is a positive correlation between dedication and salary. Finding a team of people who are willing to put in the long hours to make a game is a significantly harder undertaking if you cannot afford to pay them. As Pat explained to me, sticks work best when there are carrots hanging from them. →  A reader is you.

Videogamers Against Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence

In my daily effort to find affiliates for this site, I stumbled upon Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence. It was just ridiculous enough that I decided I should spend a little time reviewing the site. Maybe one day they’ll post a review of videolamer and tell the world how evil we are. Not because we are important, mind you, but because they think everything is evil.

MAVAVAVAVAV
MAVAV just rolls off the tongue.

The MAVAV site opens with a hyperbole about how video game addiction and violence are the fastest growing threats to children’s health and way of life. But before they went on about how video games are a problem rivaling drugs and alcohol abuse, I noticed their logo is a Play Station controller with a red line through it. →  Read, I am your father!

You never forget your first one

PSO Ver 1 case
The future is colorful.

I really enjoyed Phantasy Star Online (PSO). I was there when it launched on the DreamCast. I was there for the DreamCast launch as well, but that’s a different story. There was just “something” about PSO that grabbed me. I’m not sure if it was the lineage of the earlier games, the sci-fi rpg trappings, or the Diablo II elements. Knowing me, it was a combination of all three.

I got hooked when I started playing the online component of the game. Initially, I was dialing in using the DreamCast’s integrated modem. When I first started playing, it was fine. Then I wanted a bit more.

After savagely beating a roommate for picking up the phone during a run of Caves-2, I ordered an ethernet adapter. I could play without any interruptions. →  Read like G did.

Flash game review bonanza 2

Continued from yesterday’s Part 1

Gogo Happy & Smile

Author: HAPPYandSMILE
Genre: Beatemup

Yo yo yo wazzup?!
Justice has taken on many forms throughout history, but never one so fierce, or furry, as in Happy & Smile.

Synopsis: This game is an unabashed rip-off of Alien Hominid, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can play as either Happy or Smile, a cat and rabbit who fight a group of evil bears that drop lots of cash money. For those unfamiliar with Alien Hominid, Happy & Smile plays as a side scroller/beat-em up, pitting you against an unending onslaught of foes as you move across the city.

Style (9/10): The game is wonderfully themed, the art and orchestral music coming together to make the game seem like an old school gangster movie (albeit one about cats, rabbits and bears).

 →  All you need is read.

Flash game review bonanza 1

There are a lot of flash games on the internet, and most of them suck harder than a hooker on Christmas. So, in order to avoid having to write six angst-riddled reviews of six horrible games, as well as give the set of games I review some feeling of cohesiveness, I’ve decided to provide reviews for the top six rated games at the infamous flash portal at www.newgrounds.com. Enjoy!

Raiden X

Creator: Go0gley
Genre: top-down shooter

Water attack
Laser of Doom- $5000. Futuristic air force jet- $20000000. Getting your neighbor’s kid to draw your backgrounds – Priceless.

Synopsis: Raiden X was developed as a tribute to the Raiden games. It is a garden variety vertical shooter. Certain enemies will drop power ups that allow you to upgrade one of three types of weapons: a blue laser beam, red machine gun fire, or a purple lightning type energy.

 →  Now you’re reading with power.

Learning from Japanese Synergy

Synergy is not a word to be recklessly tossed about. It is a seriously proactive relationship between outside of the box marketing and paradigm shifting branding that can result in untold of revenue for your company. The video game market has created new opportunities for the realignment of business models in this post category killer Ted spread. Tracing this synergy to its roots leads us across the Pacific.

The Japanese consumer will buy anything. Despite saving more than Americans, the Japanese are extremely hardcore in their loyalty. People who follow an anime will buy any worthless product tie in, people who like school girls will spend money on used school girl underwear, and people who like a game series will buy food and drinks as long as it has the series logo on it. →  It’s not you, it’s me.

Review – Galactic Civilizations II

Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords
Developed by Stardock
Published by Stardock
Released 2.27.06

Ships duke it out in deep space.

4x Space Strategy fans, your prayers have been answered. Although Gal Civ 2 isn’t quite what Master of Orion 3 should’ve been, it has a wonderful balance of the detail fun fans of the genre crave without the tedium that can be overwhelming. After that teaser trailer, how couldn’t you want to read on?

First off, let me say I never played Galactic Civ 1. So from that standpoint, I was a neophyte to the series, which greatly contributed to my learning curve issues. One of my biggest frustrations is it took me a solid five or so hours to figure out what the hell was going on in the game, but eventually it all gelled together. →  Holy crap, show me more!

Review – Jade Empire

Jade Empire
Developed by Bioware
Published by Microsoft
Released 4.12.05

Blue crap coming out of the hands is a serious medical condition.

Bioware is one of my favorite companies because I bow to the altar of Baldur’s Gate. I played both games in that series and both expansion packs. When I read the third installment was canceled I nearly wept. Knights of the Old Republic is a great game but I’m not really into Star Wars, Neverwinter Nights was good but there wasn’t enough focus on having a sweet party of adventurers. There will never be another Baldur’s Gate and I have to accept it (by mentioning it in every other article I write). First, an immediate comparison: Jade Empire is not as good as Baldur’s Gate. Ok, now I feel better and can begin the review. →  Go ahead, read my day.