The next gen consoles then and now

Folks, it has been some time since the “next gen” was actually the next. I think it is about time to call it the current gen, and on that note, I think it is time to re-evaluate the three major players in the race. Much has changed, and my opinion of each console has changed wildly. Note that this is not an attempt to analyze who is going to “win” the console war. I think that it is quite clear that so long as there are games like Wii Fit and Wii Sports released at the right times, Nintendo is going to be unchallenged in total sales numbers. Meanwhile Sony and Microsoft will claim the Wii is not a true competitor, and then spin the numbers to make it look like they were the true winners. →  I’ll read you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!

Review – Grand Theft Auto IV **

Grand Theft Auto IV is the greatest game in the history of electronics. No game since GTAIII has revolutionized digital entertainment this awesomely (ok — maybe since Halo 3). I bought my copy the night it launched and have already put in over forty hours of play, merely enough to scratch the surface of this diamond in the rough.

For those of you who don’t know, GTAIV was made by Rockstar Games, a company made exclusively of the “who’s who” of game developers. Everything they touch turns to solid gold and the innovation they bring to the table is easily enough to drive dozens of smaller developing studios. I think their true brilliance lies in the fact that they’ve managed to keep all of that innovation from leaking out and diluting their unique IPs. →  Did I do that?

Finished with the Next Gen — A jumble of an article

I have had an Xbox 360 for about three months. Under normal circumstances such a short period of time would never be enough to wear down the novelty of this fantastic new toy. However, about three weeks ago tragedy struck. (No red circles were involved, the box works fine). I accidentally deleted about 25 hours worth of progress in one of my all time favorite games: Culdcept. The second I realized what I had done, I almost vomited from grief. I had gotten more than halfway through the game collecting about 300 of the 500 available cards, and all of it went up in smoke with a simple misclick. For the following week I could not bring myself to play another game. I could not even look at my Xbox without feeling a pang of regret. →  Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Bore me and I sleep.

All you ever need to know about Japan

After spending 10 nights in Japan I am now qualified to make sweeping statements about the Japanese culture. The following are immutable truths (told in a convenient pros and cons style) about this wonderful and bizarre country:

Pro
Suntory Boss is the boss of them all since 1992.

There’s no use denying it.

Con
Japanese people seem as pro-Japan as Americans are pro-America. I was asked by one of my gracious host’s fathers why we came to Japan. He was an awesome guy but really pushed hard for an answer he found satisfactory. I think the question was probably just mistranslated and he actually asked, “How awesome is Japan?” The same day, a man on the street approached us and told us in English that “Japan is number 1.” With proof like that who was I to argue. →  Fire Post Wrestling Returns

Gaming Meccas of Japan Pt. 2 — Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan

Every hobby and every religion has their sacred place. Baseball fans have Cooperstown. Gamblers go to Las Vegas. Catholics go to the Vatican. Maple syrup lovers go to Canada. For us, the nerds, the geeks, the otaku, we have Akihabara. It is here that we can fulfill our wildest, dorkiest dreams. If we feel like buying the newest video game, Akihabara. If we have a craving for that awesomely drawn manga, Akihabara. And, if we just must be called “Master” by a cute little maid while we have our morning coffee, you got it, Akihabara. There are very few places in the world where a video game lover can come anytime of the year and feel at home. And just like home, Akihabara also has plenty of porn.

The downside to the place also called Akiba is that it is in an inconvenient location for most of the world’s electronically inclined. →  Readius III and IV

Review – Rune Factory

Game flow usually follows a straightforward path. In any Zelda game, you adventure, find items, speak to an odd character like Tingle, then adventure some more. The adventuring itself is compelling because it is great fun and the items you receive for adventuring often add a new play mechanic and unlock new areas for adventuring — it’s a very simple loop that has worked well for 20 years.

A game like The Sims is significantly more complex but the game flow is still easy to understand. The players micromanage their Sims in order to gain skills and keep their various meters high. In turn, they are rewarded with job promotions because they are skilled, socially relevant, and come to work with full stomachs and empty bladders. With the promotion money, players extend their homes, plant bushes and buy new furniture and electronics. →  Video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about huffing paint.

Dreamcast Mania!: What did we miss? – Headhunter

What Happened?: Headhunter was supposed to come out at the tail end of the Dreamcast’s life. It still did – in Europe. Its US cancellation was a big enough deal for IGN’s Dreamcast channel to review the import, meaning it was as important to them as Shenmue 2. Eventually Americans got a chance to play it on the PS2.

The Game: Allow me to get bold and assertive for a minute. 1998 was the beginning of a new little period in which a flurry of Important Games were released. They reinvented series, changed genres, and refined 3d game design. It ended with the release of Halo in 2001. It isn’t that innovation or good games ended there, its just that, six years later, we’re still copying Halo’s formula. Where we once only had Metal Gear Solid for stealth and Medal of Honor for WW2 shooters, we now have countless games in each genre. →  I'd rather die than not read this article!

Review – Dungeons and Dragons Tactics

Finally, a Good Original Game for the PSP

The PSP has always befuddled me. Here you have a visually excellent system with pretty decent processing power and storage capabilities, yet one of the biggest electronics companies in the world can only manage to wrangle a handful of good titles for the system. No kidding, I can count the number of PSP games that I enjoy playing for extended periods on one hand. Now I need to add one more finger because Dungeons and Dragons Tactics is a pretty sweet game.

Beware the forbidden forest of split pea soup!

This review is going to be pretty simple: if you like Dungeons and Dragons and you like turn-based tactical strategy games, you will like D&D Tactics. I, for one, am not a fan of D&D but that is due mostly to the people who have played and run the games I have tried to enjoy. →  Post of Tsushima

65 reasons to own a DS

Recently, PSP Fanboy began a series of articles called “60 Reasons to own a PSP.” They may only be up to reason 45 despite the series beginning a month ago, but today we are showing you everything we’ve got. Yes, 65 reasons to own a DS, but here’s the catch — they’re all games.

PSP fans (we have some at this site) and savvy readers may be quick to point out that PSP Fanboy could have taken the same approach. Forget that it’s debatable the PSP has 65 good games because that’s not the point. The PSP crowd may like games, but we believe the PSP Fanboy article shows what is important to that fanbase.

Features, a lot of features. Nubs, wireless, movies, browsers, messengers, waffle irons. Games are number one on their list, but they still get one sixtieth of the list, like free VoIP (in Britain only) and adjustable screen brightness. →  Readalations: Persona

Behind the names of our favorite companies and consoles

Gamers speak the names of companies and systems on a daily basis, but many of us don’t know what these words actually mean nor their origin. And so here is a list of many of the biggest companies and consoles and what information is openly known about their names. I speak absolutely no Japanese and have no new information to add to this planet, but I have not seen all this info neatly compiled in one spot before. Thanks to Japanmanship and others who had already done much research on the topic.

Companies


Microsoft – Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems created the microcomputer Altair 8800 and Bill Gates offered to implement BASIC on their system. Micro is either from the Micro in the MITS company name or the micro in microcomputer, or both. →  What can change the nature of a post?

TV in and Out

While waiting at home to hear back from employers, I’ve been spending time fiddling with the electronics in my room. I finally attempted to put the S-video out on my video card to use, and got my TV set hooked up to the PC. It has become something of a revolution for me, being able to play the multitude of arcade classics on Gametap on a big display with decent sound instead of from my computer stool. I’m trying out all sorts of games that I never gave a chance before now that I have an opportunity to play them from a more comfortable position. Perhaps I’ll utilize this to do more reviews of old school games!

More importantly, I’ve discovered that there is some use for this old TV after all. →  Article Hominid

Console logos throughout the ages

This year, 2007, marks the 30th anniversary of the Atari 2600 release, which is what many consider to be the very first commercial video game console. And since then, the gaming populace has been privy to 21 major home consoles. To celebrate this momentous year, I have painstakingly researched and categorized each of the 18 home consoles’ logos. Yes, I have nothing else better to do with my time. So, with that in mind, let’s take a quick stroll through history, shall we?

Atari 2600: Here we have the granddaddy of them all: the Atari 2600. I don’t really understand what this logo stands for, but it must mean something cool, as it can still be seen on t-shirts and stickers everywhere. If you’re trying to convey the fact that you’re a retro gamer, you probably have the Atari logo somewhere in your gaming bordello. →  You lost me.

Can gaming magazines survive?

Super corporation Ziff Davis has seen better days. Both Electronic Gaming Monthly and 1Up are being sold because they have been losing money, which the ZD accountants claim is bad for business. Forget that 1Up is also failing for a moment and think about the printed gaming magazine. Has the internet replaced the need for EGM and Game Informer much like literacy replaced the need for PSM?

It’s almost hard to believe that at one time EGM was popular enough to sell two magazines.

Once upon a time, game mags were the only place to get video game news. The concept of waiting for your mailman to bring you breaking news is comical today; speed of communication is the internet’s forte. Similarly, attempting to contact a writer or respond to an article by writing a letter is almost silly, especially for tech savvy gamers. →  Phoenix Write: Just Posts for All

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 12.15.06

Wii breaks records in PAL territories
American developers tend to focus on American gamers. Japanese developers are more split, but many still focus primarily on local customers. Do Australian and European developers give a shit about gamers in their own countries or do they instead focus on North America because that’s where the cash money is?

The answer to this question may have a large impact on this generation of consoles. If the PAL developers focus mostly on Americans, these record breaking sales are good news for Nintendo. If, though, these territories developers do care about the local gamer, this means that the Wii should be getting a good number of Australian and British developed games. This could be bad news for Sony and Microsoft.

Nintendo: Did we say one million Wiis? →  All you need is read.

Like, totally super cool shopping recommendations

It’s becoming somewhat of a rarity to find a video game store that actually knows what they’re doing. Most of the time, you go into a store and get hounded to death by a caveman who just got hired off the streets. And no, they’re not even the cool Geico cavemen, either. Other times, a store has a complete lack of selection, believing Madden is the only game ever made, and proudly advertising their ignorance.

With two new consoles being released this year, videolamer is here to survey the battle field by detailing many stores that sell video games. We’ll break them up into categories of stores, and work from there.

Specialty Retailers
These are your EB Games, GameStop’s, GameCrazy’s, and what have you. These stores are the absolute best for selection. →  Ring of Read

A rant about rampant stupidity on the internets

Uh oh. By the looks of the cover this magazine is going to have a lot of words in it.

By now I hope you are in some way familiar with Penny Arcade’s Internet Fuckwad Theory. Time and again it has proven to be accurate, but I can’t for the life of me understand why. What exactly is it about anonymity – or near anonymity at the very least – that causes people to behave in illogical, rude, and just plain baffling ways? There are times when the gaming community amazes me with how well spoken or well organized it can be. Mostly however, it just causes me to pound my head in frustration. Everyone wants to know why gaming isn’t being taken as seriously as it could be. I’m beginning to wonder if this is such a mystery after all. →  Hell is other gamers.

SOS from Japan!

The following is an email I received yesterday in my shiny new lamer mailbox.

In the beginning, I am sorry to write suddenly long sentences.
As victims’ representative of it, I dare to write that here.
… to inform lots of people all over the world about that …

The consumption cultures of Japan are facing a serious crisis by The PSE Standardization (Electrical Appliances And Materials Safety Law) now to
prevent the ignition accidents of consumer electronics, it is enacted.
Though RoHS looks like this, there are large problems in ruining the
Japanese economy!

Buying and selling consumer electronics with built-in power supplies
which were made before the year 2001 (3DO・PC-FX・Sega Saturn・Dream Cast・Play Station 1000-9000・Neo-Geo CD etc. correspond in the game machines) will be impossible by this law in April 2006!

 →  All your posts are belong to us.