Discussion Review – Super Smash Bros. Brawl

Smash Bros Brawl is no doubt the biggest game to hit the Wii yet, and if history indicates anything, it very well could be the best selling Wii game by the time the console retires. Such epic expectations seem daunting, though we know that many fans are already more than pleased with the results. With experience in all three games, videolamer’s Chrises explore the world of Brawl.

Christian: Alright Chris, we’ll get right down to it. As a “love letter to the fans”, how does Brawl stack up? Personally, I am impressed with the sheer amount of content, but am shaky on the execution. The music is abundant, but too many of the tracks are straight out of the game they came from, and the newly arranged tracks are often a little too conservative for my liking. →  Virtua Poster 4: Evolution

Something old, new, recycled and blue

I’ve decided to condense two potential blog posts into one topic, as they are both somewhat similar in nature. I should do this more often, as it seems to force me to take my almost article length ramblings and cut them down into something readable. A win for all.

Some time ago Jay wrote a discussion on Mario and how he is anything but a throwaway character. Interesting then that a “games editor” at Softpedia (a site which I have only known before as a place where I failed to get working drivers) has claimed that mascots like Mario and Sonic should be locked up in a museum and never put into another game, starting right this minute. His reasoning is that they are old and stale, and offer nothing new to the gaming table, hurting the industry more than helping. →  Postsona 3 FES

A Portrait of the Guitar Hero as a Young Man in a Rock Band

I started playing my mom’s beat up guitar when I was about nine or ten. At the time I thought it was fun solely because a friend taught me to strum and sing the Oscar Mayer wiener song, and I did so – often publicly. In middle school, I found a few others who for various reasons could play an instrument mildly well, and we did so — publicly. Our first time out was the school’s talent show. We were probably there for the sole reason of showing the assholes who beat us up in the locker room that we could do something better than they could. We chose to perform, despite my lobbying for the wiener song, Sweet Child O’ Mine. As I opened up the first few riffs – girls screamed. →  Words are the towns and cities of letters.

Mario Galaxy Non-Review

Not long into Super Mario Galaxy, the player will become quite accustomed to, maybe even fond of, seeing Mario enter each level with his arms spread as he flies around and lands on a safe spot, shouting “yes!” on his success. About 20 stars in, it dawned on me; the next time I entered a level, I really wanted to see Mario scream “yes!” as he performed a greased landing, hitting the ground running at top speed, not stopping until he got to the end (or came up to some tricky group of hazards).

This might sound like I am really looking for Sonic the Hedgehog Galaxy, and I suppose that is the point. Back in the day, it was always Sonic who was considered cool and edgy, while Mario was the gentle goofball. →  Now you’re reading with power.

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 12.21.07

PSP sales explode in Japan
Sony’s handheld has been selling very well lately, this last boost thanks to a new red model. If Sony simply releases a new model and/or colored PSP every other month they may be able to seriously compete with Nintendo. At least on the hardware front.

Games simply don’t appear to sell on the PSP. The leading theories as to why this is are:

If you cut yourself while playing you won’t even notice.

1. The PSP is a successful multimedia machine. A significant percentage of purchasers are using it to listen to music and watch movies. Reports of people not particularly interested in games buying the system are common, and even dedicated gamers (see Christian of this website) are very interested in all the multimedia aspects of the PSP. →  All this can be yours, if the read is right.

Yaris: Bad Advertising and Leveraging Synergies

Remember the Burger King games on the Xbox? Everyone made fun of them for being completely goofy, poor, and representative of the consumer society we live in today.

But dammit, I think the King is hilarious, and by mimicking three of the safest genres out there (racing, minigames, and stealth), they managed to be competent enough for a couple of dollars worth of entertainment. The games sold a hell of a lot, and you knew it was only a matter of time before someone else gave it a shot.

I don’t have to tell any of you how bad this could turn out. The reason BK has done so well with their marketing over the last few years is that they put some effort into how they latch onto trends. Their games were competent enough, and stuff like Subservient Chicken was at least well made Web 2.0 attempts. →  Jet fuel can’t melt videolamer.

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 9.21.07

PSP outsells DS in Japan
Square’s Final Fantasy VII spin off for the PSP, Crisis Core, sold half a million copies last week. It also sold PSPs. Possibly not all of the 95 thousand Sony sold in the week, but likely around 80 thousand, which is how many more units were sold than the previous week. Sony’s business strategy should be clear – simply release a spinoff of one of the most beloved games of all time once a week and the PSP will handily outsell the DS in Japan 1.2 to 1.

Or, to quote someone from a forum I read:
“If DS stopped selling and PSP continued at this rate, it would catch up in 139.7 weeks (May 21, 2010).”

Does anyone else feel nauseous?

Home delayed till Spring
Good for Sony. →  Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty article.

Dreamcast Mania! – Great games you can’t get anywhere else

Videolamer noticed that in our attempts to keep Dreamcast Mania! alive, so very many of our articles were about the things we missed out on, rather than a celebration of what we had. That changes now. Today we will be going over some of the absolute best games the DC (and only the DC) has to offer. These are not only the reasons why we loved it, but while we still do. These are the games that make it a system still worth owning and playing (meaning you won’t find games like Third Strike, which has a superior PS2 port).

Oh, and I only have a paragraph to describe each game. Prepare for distilled glory.

Soul Calibur – As far as I am concerned, the only game in the Soul series that you can argue was better than this one (and have me actually listen to you) is Soul Blade. →  Virtua Poster 4: Evolution

A death in the family – Sega leaves the hardware business and I rediscover video games

Towards the end of highschool I stopped gaming. For the first time, I had a girlfriend, was preparing to go to college, and had a wicked meth habit. Beyond these time wasting activities, something about video games seemed to have changed. Though I had been a Sega faithful since the Master System, my highschool days marked the first console generation I spent in bed with a Sega competitor. I loved the PS1, but it didn’t carry me through to the PS2 by any means.

More fun than games?

I don’t even remember the launch of the Dreamcast. Murmurs of Sega’s new system made their way through school but I knew it was destined to failure and didn’t have the time to care. Freshman and sophomore years of college were spent playing Diablo 2 with roommates, hanging out, surfing the web and strung out on heroin. →  Lose belly fat now!

Second helpings of the DS list article

Yesterday we covered 65 DS games as something of a jesting response to a PSP Fanboy article. Some readers decided to ignore the point of our piece, which was that games are, at least by our standards, the real reason to buy or not buy a system. For those people, we now present a second reason (in their view) to buy a DS — backwards compatibility.

The entire GameBoy Advance lineup is available to a proud DS owner. While a majority of games on that handheld were licensed kiddy garbage, it was still home to some excellent titles you should make sure to play.

After some GBA games, we will then take a look at 10 upcoming DS games that look promising. Like the GBA games, it didn’t seem appropriate to include these yet to be released games on yesterday’s list. →  Today I consider myself the luckiest reader on the face of the earth.

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. →  Eh, I've got nothing better to do.

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 6.18.07

Sony announces 9,648,319 games by March 08
Unfortunately, they counted each individual household a game would end up in as a unique game. If you don’t count your copy of God of War 3 as a different game from my copy, then 145 or more PS3 titles are coming.

Sonic RPG on DS being developed by Bioware
Funny, whimsical RPGs can be cool. Mario’s Super Star Saga and the whole Paper Mario series attest to this. Cute, colorful cartoon characters in RPGs can hold their own, too. Kefka may look silly this day in age, but he is still insanely evil. So what is so horrendous about a Sonic RPG? I’m glad you asked.

Sonic is uninteresting in every possible way. Running fast makes for a subpar to decent action game (or awesome 2D platformer) but is not solid foundation to build a character on. →  I’m readin’ here!

Fillet Mignon with a side of Pork Rinds: Awesome games and their stupid minigames

The average gamer supposedly plays 7.8 hours a week. That’s an ESA study so I think they rounded down to make gamers seem less crazy. Other studies show more like 20-30 hours a week, which makes more sense to me. For us hardcore gamers, I’m sure the number would be even higher.

So while we waste our life away playing video games, it has become painfully apparent to me that, like most products in our corner cutting capitalist society, video games have a lot of filler. A video game, especially an RPG or MMO, is graded on how much of your time it takes to beat. In most cases, a game with short playtime is over quickly and generally unsatisfying (much like sex with me). Longer games are considered better. One of the first questions people ask about a new RPG is “how long is it?” →  Postsona 3 FES

Weekend post 5.26.06

Random thoughts to occupy you after Memorial Day weekend (none of you are reading this during the weekend, I can assure you).

– I’m finding it harder and harder to dispute that Street Fighter 3: Third Strike is not the greatest fighting game ever made. I’ll still give that to SF2 for now, but no matter how much I suck at Third Strike (and I do), I never load up the game without having fun, and I honestly feel like I play it smarter than most other fighters (prob. because it forces me too). I’m even starting to warm up to its poorer backgrounds. Who else wants to give this one some love?

– Jay has the staff working on a super secret project that, get this, no one is actually working on! →  Tony Hawk's Posting Ground

Review – Sonic and the Secret Rings

Here is perhaps my most controversial review ever. Not because of what I have to say about Sonic and the Secret Rings, but because of the context in which I say it. I was unable to finish Sonic, not because of time constraints (it was a rental), but because I gave up on an increasingly frustrating game and control scheme. I have much to talk about, but the question is whether it means anything at all.

Secret Rings attempts to redo Sonic in 3d by limiting your movement capabilities in order to emulate, ironically, the 2d Sonics of yore. Sonic always moves forward (he can move backwards, but its only meant for backing up a few paces to retry something). All you have to do is jump and steer left and right. →  And so it games…

Is Wii screwed?

Amidst all the recent articles on how the Wii is creating gamers out of grandmas and still out of stock around the nation, there are murmurs of doubt. Few people doubt the control scheme; it works well and is a lot of fun. But it remains unclear if Nintendo will be able to satisfy either their hardcore fans or their new casual gamer audience. Detractors are already labeling the Wii a repeat of the Gamecube; a platform for Nintendo games but little else.

As expected, the Wii will have a solid lineup of first party games:

Animal Crossing
Battalion Wars 2*
Big Brain Academy
Disaster: Day of Crisis*
DK Bongo Blast*
Fire Emblem
Mario Kart (not officially announced)
Mario Party 8
Mario Strikers Charged*
Metroid Prime 3*
Kirby
Pokemon Battle Revolution
Project HAMMER
Super Mario Galaxy
Super Paper Mario
Super Smash Brother Brawl

* Published but not developed by Nintendo

This move looks unfair.

 →  PaReader the Reader

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 1.26.07

Wii games channel coming…some time
Nintendo has confirmed that they will offer new games for download on the Wii, no doubt inspired by Microsoft’s Live Arcade. Since the Wii is already being positioned as the console to develop for if you have a small budget, it should be interesting to see what kind of games are distributed through the games channel (not the official name). Will it be home to crappy Flash games or is this the beginning of the 2D renaissance on home systems? I’m hoping for the latter but won’t be surprised if it’s the former.

Gears of War sells well in Japan
Well enough to break the top 10 list, in fact. Now American developers know breaking into the Japanese market is possible; all they have to do is make one of the best games of the year. →  These are the games I know, I know. These are the games I know.

The results of a gaming experiment

Before the holiday season, I made a blog post about a little experiment I planned on undertaking over the break. I was going to be very choosy about which games I played, and the rules were something like this:

1. Nothing with too much story or too many cutscenes
2. Nothing with too much unlocking hell
3. Challenging is okay
4. Skill based is preferred

Essentially, I wanted a holiday break where the gaming was filled with old skool sensibility. It was quite a learning experience too, both about gaming in general and my own tastes.

Here are some of the titles I ended up playing, and what I thought about each.

.

Twilight Princess: Zelda is the only game I pardoned from the first rule, not because it was the only story heavy game I was playing before the experiment, but because it was the only one I wanted to continue playing. →  You do not simply walk into reading more.

Best Game Ever – Pinball Quest

Genre blending is a splendid little thing. Diddy Kong Racing, one of Rare’s greatest Nintendo 64 games, is a wonderful mix of racing and adventure. Mario & Luigi Super Star Saga is a clever RPG with platforming elements thrown in. Games that stick adamantly to a certain form run the risk of getting stale, and introducing elements from other genres is a great way to keep things fresh.

I don’t get it.

Video game pinball is no stranger to this phenomenon. I remember the high hopes I had for Odama when I first heard about it sometime a few years ago. A pinball-based tactical wargame? That sort of thing just sells itself. Mario Pinball Land, similarly, had you explore typically Mario-esque worlds with a peculiar ball-shaped Mario. Interesting concepts, and rarely seen, too. →  Article Hominid

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 1.5.07

Crappy developer buys crappy developer
Traveler’s Tales, the awesome company behind such classics as Sonic 3D Blast, Crash Twinsanity and Muppet Race Mania has purchased Embryonic Studios, which is responsible for the all time great Looney Toons: Back in Action. Traveler’s Tales aren’t too bad, really, I’m just bitter over their multiple attempts at killing excellent franchises (Super Monkey Ball Adventure came from these guys).

I’d rather see a headline that reads, “Boring studios who make predominantly licensed crap go out of business due to the general public’s lack of interest in Disney for the past decade.” It’s always possible these companies are consolidating due to a shrinking market, much like the Great Abacus Consolidation of 1174.

Rare founders leave their company
The Stamper brothers, reportedly media shy partly due to their ugliness, have left Rare. →  Read more, before it’s too late!