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. →  Read the rest

DS games on the go!

So you have a DS but you don’t have the time to sink into long playing sessions. Or in my case, you have the attention span of a seven year old on crack. The whole concept of the aging process bringing patience is a lie and I’m living proof. When I was ten I could sit for hours and rock Final Fantasy 2 on the SNES, now I can barely sit through a thirty minute session of Phantom Hourglass. I think I am turning into more of a casual gamer and I know for sure that my mind is usually elsewhere when I flip the switch on my black-as-my-soul DS.

This does not mean that I don’t enjoy games anymore; I just don’t get overly involved in most of the games I play. →  Read the rest

Quick Thought of the Day: Out with the old….

I’m starting to notice a trend while playing games on my Xbox 360. It’s a weird trend, one that some may not even care about. It has to deal with what games people are playing on the 360. It seems that every time I go on Xbox Live, and view my Friends List (for stats sake, i have around 30 Friends), never do I see any of them playing a game that didn’t come out in the last week or so. Right now my list is filled with RockBand and Mass Effect. Before that it was Assassin’s Creed. And before that it was Halo 3, with some BioShock thrown in there for good measure. This has happened ever since I first got my 360, almost a year ago. It seems like no one ever plays their old games. →  Read the rest

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. →  Read the rest

Xbox Live Brings it On

While everyone has been hoping and waiting for an announcement regarding Sin and Punishment on the Virtual Console, Microsoft has gone ahead and demanded you give them money. Xbox Live Arcade is going to get not only Ikaruga, but an updated, HD ready version of Rez.

That’s right. Two of the darlings of the gaming underground are getting another chance, and for reasonable prices! The only way not to be excited about this announcement is if your a smarmy collector who realizes their first print copies of these games are going to be worth a lot less.

Small price to pay to get a new version Rez for modern televisions. And I haven’t even played the damn game yet!

Many links for the news, so I’ll send you to everyone’s favorite videolamer troll to spill the beans.

Final Fantasy Tactics to be retranslated

A recent announcement by Square-Enix has left more than a few people amazed. The least surprising bit, probably, was that we would be receiving the PSP remake of Final Fantasy Tactics.

Somewhat more surprising was the fact that the game would be retranslated. Now… the original PSX translation of Tactics isn’t all bad. But it does suffer from a lack of editing (such as the mission where you were to “Kill Dycedarg’s older brother”), and is a bit awkward from time to time.

For all the game’s fans, however, this is a godsend. It’s a remake of a game that doesn’t try to go too far – it adds a few aspects, some new characters, et cetera – so if it were the same translation there would be more debate over whether or not to get it. →  Read the rest

Nintendo confirms WiiWare: Indie Gaming on Wii

This week Nintendo sent the word out that they are indeed working on a Wii channel where users can download original games, titled WiiWare. This is basically Nintendo’s version of Xbox Live Arcade.

Nintendo is working on getting indie devs to take advantage of the WiiWare channel, but it’s still unknown how developers can actually make a game on the system without open source API’s for the Wii’s architecture. It seems that indie devs may need to pony up the cash for a real dev kit. Thankfully, Wii dev kits are pretty damn cheap right now, estimated at a paltry $2000.

Now I’m sure most of you are thinking, “Yeah, Nintendo said this when they first announced the Wii and it’s online services.” You’d be right, but you must remember Nintendo rarely comes through with some of their really inventive ideas. →  Read the rest

Geometry Wars (PC) Thoughts

Earlier this week, the premier downloadable-content service, Steam, released Bizarre Creations’ Xbox Live Arcade darling, Geometry Wars for all of its PC users. If you’ve never had the chance to play this old-school romp, then I suggest you go now and click the Buy button. For $2.50 (until Friday), you can’t afford NOT to buy it.

Being a fan of the Xbox 360 original, I wanted to give my short impressions. Basically, you get what’s already on the 360 platform. An extremely hard old-school shooter that has an amazing style. Just make sure to bring your extra large balls to this affair, my dear readers. Geo Wars is not for the faint of heart.

But I wanted to focus on something else for this post. In the PC version, the online Leaderboards are not included. →  Read the rest

Virtual Console Previews/Reviews – Week of May 20th

Wii Virtual Console:

Streets of Rage 2 (Genesis): One of my favorite games of all time. So simple, yet so amazingly fun … and a great soundtrack, too. I’m still amazed that they can get music that intricate from a console less powerful than my phone. Same-screen co-op makes this game even more fun with a friend. A no-brainer in my opinion, unless you have that Sega classics disc for the Dreamcast.

The Grand Uppercut … the henchman’s most feared foe.

DK Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest(SNES): I was never a big fan of the DK series (except for the original), so I’ve never really played more than a few minutes of either DK Country games. They looked great for the time, but the gameplay felt a little sloppy to me. →  Read the rest

Virtual Console Previews/Reviews – Week of May 14th

Wii Virtual Console:

Ninja Gaiden (NES): Play as Ryu Hayabusa, a ninja warrior who embarks on a quest to avenge his father’s death. A classic, albeit frustrating game. I would hope that unlimited lives are included in this version as dying repeatedly because of wonky wall-jumping mechanics would bring back too many traumatizing memories.

Ninja Spirit (TurboGrafix): Play as Moonlight, a ninja warrior who embarks on a quest to avenge … his father’s … death … wait a minute! So yeah, expect more of the same here but with better graphics.

I pitty the fool who plays Battletoads!

Pac-Man (NES): I don’t think I need to say much about this one.

XBox Live Arcade:

Double Dragon: With new and improved graphics but the same gameplay you know and love. A great game that got a much needed facelift, plus it allows for two players on the same screen or over Live. →  Read the rest

Best Game Ever – Lumines 2

When deciding upon which system to purchase next, many people will look for that one game to satisfy their needs almost immediately. Xbox had Halo and GameCube had Smash Bros. Melee. Well, you can add Lumines 2 for the PSP to that list. I’m here to tell you that you should buy a PSP for Lumines 2. Even if you never play another PSP game, you would still have spent your money wisely.

You’re probably asking yourself, “What makes Lumines 2 so special?” Well I’ll tell you, smartypants. Lumines 2, although somewhat of a Tetris clone, does some amazing things with its sound design. Things that I can say, without hesitation, are perfect examples of art within games. There are moments in Lumines 2 that I did not think could be created in a video game. →  Read the rest

Virtual Console Previews/Reviews – Week of April 16th

Wii Virtual Console:

Glass Joe, you were so misunderstood.

Punch Out!! (NES): Not Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, but I actually liked this one better anyway. Quite possibly my favorite NES game of all time. At 500 points, this is a complete no-brainer. Go get this … now. Japan has had this on the VC for about a month and a half now, I wonder what the hold up was? We have it now so I guess it doesn’t matter.

Virtua Fighter 2 (Sega Genesis): The reason I purchased the infamous 32X for the Genesis was for Virtua Fighter 3D and it was well worth the money (at the time). This, sadly, is not the 32X version but the pseudo-3D version for the Genesis. Still fun, but I don’t know if I’d recommend it. →  Read the rest

Virtual Console Previews/Reviews – Week of April 9th

Wii Virtual Console:

30000 high score? n00b.

Galaga (NES): I don’t really need to explain this one to the people who would be reading this article. Galaga was an awesome arcade game and the NES conversion was good enough to recommend this purchase to any fan of classic shooters.

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle (Sega Genesis): A horrible game. I have no idea who is deciding what titles are released for the Genesis, but they should be fired. Seriously … Alex Kidd?!? Before Earthworm Jim, the NHL series, Road Rash, etc.? This game is worthless.

Bravoman (TG16): Another good game for the TurboGraphix this week. Bravoman is a platformer that moved between classic side-scrolling play and pseudo-3D shooting levels (think 3D World Runner for the NES) with some great level design and perspective tricks. →  Read the rest

The Best Offense is a Good Opening: SOTN

Probably the biggest release for Xbox Live Arcade ever is this week’s Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Geomety Wars can blow me, and UNO is for “teh kiddies.” Nothing can best that which is Alucard. I’ve been day-dreaming about SOTN all day, and I’ve come to realize something about Konami’s opus: it has possibly the greatest opening to a video game ever.

I won’t spoil anything for the players that have not gotten a chance to play the PS1 version, but just know Konami designed the first sequence amazingly well. It ties into the game before it, it’s extremely epic, and it sets the tone for what’s to come, in terms of scope and plotline. It even had some wonderfully cheesy dialogue to go with it. Take a look at this little tidbit of Machiavellian literature from my boy Richter:

“Your words are as empty as your soul. →  Read the rest

To buy or not to buy?

The Xbox 360 is now abundantly available at whatever retailer you choose to support.

What I’m saying is, right now, you can walk into your local wherever and purchase a brand new Xbox 360. No eBay, no scalpers, no friend of a friend. Just plain old retail. The question right now, is of course, should you buy an Xbox 360? Is availability enough? Do you climb Mount Everest just because it’s there?

That’s a question you’ll have to answer.

Also, there are a few things you need to consider before you buy your 360.

Look at the games, first of all. Is there anything there that you have to play? Anything there that isn’t already multiplatform. Will you no longer possess the will to live if you cannot play RockStar Games presents Table Tennis? →  Read the rest

Weekly News We care About Wrap Up – 4.14.06

Video game skills do not usually transfer to real life skills
Man in his 30s attempts to outrun cops in a car because he did it in GTA. Instead of putting age restrictions on games, there should be an IQ test. Is anyone else waiting for the guy who played too much Trauma Center to show up in the news?


Too good to be true?

Two Revolution games announced
Red Steel is coming to the Revolution, and check out the fake screen shots. Maybe they’re not polished, who knows. The game seems to be another attempt by Nintendo to convince gamers that they can appeal to an older crowd. The choice of a FPS is slightly odd, though. They tend to do terribly in Japan and if the Revolution is to stand a chance, my guess is that it’d have to repeat the DS’s and Allied Forces strategy of dominating the homeland. →  Read the rest