February’s Focus

I’ll keep this short and simple. The primary focus of gaming articles for February will be the creation, progression and growth of the Gaming Industry. 

People made games because hey, games are fun. Arcade machine’s became the first mainstream face of video games and were superseded by the consoles that followed them. Originally the consoles were for playing arcade games at home and in some cases tinkering and development. Eventually Game Console’s became their own thing and began to grow. We now have this hybridization of Arcade and PC gaming on Consoles. This is a very fascinating subject, I look forward to discussing it more with all of you this month.

Sega, Release Your Games On Gog.com

Or at least on your own site without drm. I don’t really care if it comes to gog.com, I just want to get them without the drm attached. I’ve bought them so many times, do you not trust me with the game? I trust you with my money! Then again I know that you trust me, you promised to release Alpha Protocol from its’ DRM within a few years of its’ launch with a patch and you came through – EARLY! Why not test the waters and just sell that game directly from your site without drm or toss it onto gog.com, a good pc game store that like-minded gamers frequent? You have nothing to lose and only money to gain right? Call up Obsidian and tell them that you’re publishing Alpha Protocol one more time to test another outlet for cash.

 

 

 

Weekly Humble Bundle Debuts With Bastion

I’ve been a major fan of these bundles, I try my best not to miss them. The games can be hit or miss but you usually have at least two games that are just spectacular. Even so, participating in the bundle is a bit like buying a music cd. You get to buy what you want but still get to try out other content that you may have never tried before. I would have never played Superbrothers Sword and Scorcery if it wasn’t for these bundles, I’ll keep participating in most of offerings that support linux.

Each bundle usually involves 5 or more games but may start out with less than what it ends with. You pay what you want to get drm free versions of the games. Pay more than a dollar and you’ll get a steam key, in some bundles you’ll also receive Desura and Ubuntu Store keys. Beat the average and you get the extra games. If you donated before they showed up you’ll get them anyway without beating the average.

Your money can go towards the developers, two charities that have roots within the gaming community and to the host of the bundle itself. The other special part about the bundles are that the games are multiplatform titles, they are all set to work on Windows, Mac and Linux. In some bundles they even offer Android versions. There’s usually soundtracks available for most of the games offered too, awesome!

The change with the weekly bundle actually appears to borrow from Gog.com quite a bit. They will focus on a single game and extend the quality items included with the purchase. So in addition to the soundtrack you will also receive art, sheet music and phone ringtones. You’ll only get it if you beat the current average of $2.58. Pay $25 and you’ll receive a Bastion branded bandana, sountrack cd, a Bastion post card and post card based upon their next game (Transistor).

Despite all of the nice bonuses here I’m going to pass. I’ve bought Bastion twice now but I would suggest that anyone the slightest bit interested check out this bundle. I may just gift this to a friend, they would love the idea of a gift that they received benefiting charity and hard working people. First via Steam then second via the fifth Humble Bundle. I do like the idea of the Humble Weekly Sale, I just wish that it could last for two weeks. Maybe after the first week could be limited to only paying for the older bundle at the average donation level or higher while a new bundle is launched. That would make it easier for people with jobs that may want to contribute but just may not have everything in order yet.

If you’re cutting it that close than maybe you shouldn’t donate but I’ve had close situations where the order of money spent or keeping a certain amount in my account mattered greatly. Even an expenditure as small as $0.01 can be the difference between experiencing a fee in your bank account for the monthly tally if you’re just keeping the minimum amount to not be charged (this is an issue I’ll tackle later – future tl;dr switch to a credit union).

Nintendo, Return To Greatness

Please do so. It’s like they know exactly what we want before we want it and decide that they will either go all out and give it to us or flip us the bird and go the other way. They just don’t care, they don’t care not one bit. You’d never believe that they were one of the first gaming companies to experiment with the internet in a meaningful way from their actions. They just don’t care or if they do then they have a hard time showing it.

Let’s take a look at their most recent Nintendo Direct, a video broadcast whose purpose is tell us Nintendo’s intentions directly.

Miiverse crap, boring.

TVii crap, boring

Oooh, free updates are coming! System updates will allow for a more responsive system since they’re focusing on launching games faster and returning to the main menu more quickly. Wait, is it slow now?

Virtual Console is late to the party, it will come in a few months. You do have the “opportunity” to beta test it for 30 cents a month. No, Nintendo didn’t call it a beta test but they will be granting you access to an unfinished service while charging you for it. Hey, they sold you an incomplete controller and sell incomplete handhelds so don’t be surprised.

I am a gamer. Very simply, I play games. I enjoy other mediums but when I decide to play games I go to a device that can handle them very well. I prefer to pick up a controller or a mouse or whatever it is I’m using and start playing as soon as possible. That’s a primary function of gaming consoles, getting us into the game fast and at home.

Somehow Nintendo decided that it was fine to start their broadcast off by telling us about an actively censored and invasive social service, video streaming on a dumb-tablet that’s tethered to your tv and updates to their software that honestly shouldn’t have been needed this soon in the game. As awesome as the concept of the Wii U is it does seem like it was released prematurely. Nintendo usually handles their first impressions much, much better than this. I guess that when you can update and iterate as often as you like, the quality incensed by Shigeru Miyamoto’s saying of “a bad game that is released is bad forever” much seem restrictive. Just get that crap to a “good enough” level then toss it out there!

This broadcast lasted for about 36 minutes, why did it take about 9 minutes to start getting to anything related to new games? Nintendo decided to focus on gimmicks instead of depth. No, I’m not calling the Game Pad a gimmick. I communicate from the context of a gamer and about gaming. In gaming, anything that doesn’t add to the actual gameplay experience is a gimmick. Doesn’t necessarily make it bad because it’s a gimmick but did they really need to get some over-anxious fans and reporters up at 6 in the morning to tell them they can post drawings from Scribblenauts on their social network? Why couldn’t they have just blown us away with the games first and then tell us that in order to complement these awesome experiences that we could use Miiverse features X and Y to do Z? Nintendo is too focused on non-gaming things now. I appreciate that you want/need to diversify but please don’t do it at the neglect of your core market. People were crazy over the Wii but with the U it’s like some insult was directed at someone before getting to “U”.

The Virtual Console is a thing of beauty – for Nintendo. They have monetized roms and an inferior packaging and access for them. Sure, we can backup game saves and will eventually get GameBoy Advance games but why wasn’t this available at launch? Hulu was ready. We’re only getting NES and SNES games this spring. The NES alone should not have been placed on the backburner to get something like Netflix going.

To make matters worse, you still have to manually transfer games from your old Wii to the Wii U via an SD sard. Nope, we still don’t have a Wii Channel to just add all of our games to a Nintendo Network account so that we can redownload them. Games are still tied to the console and not to the account. If you want to play the game in Wii U mode, not Wii mode, you will have to pay $1 for NES games and $1.50 for SNES games as long but only if you’ve already bought them.

Nintendo, please tell why I should spend $349.99 for console with a tethered tablet controller when I will be able to buy a Wikipad Tablet that can go anywhere in the world for as long as its’ battery lasts? A tablet that runs Android and powerful enough hardware to play all of your released and unreleased Virtual Console games via emulators without trouble? I can take this anywhere in my home, on the bus, in the car and have my game saves backed up too. Tell me, please.

Nintendo Says:

Bayonetta 2: “The scale of the game is completely different this time so it feels like you’re fighting the last boss from the very beginning.”

Nintendo didn’t say you could speak yet.

I need that right n-

 

NINTENDO SAYS SHUT UP!


BU-

SILENCE! THAT IS ALL YET TO COME!

BEHOLD, WHAT WE OFFER NOW!

And this Atlus game too!

WHY DID YOU MAKE ME WAIT?!

Nintendo: Because I hate you!

That is all completely messed up. Nintendo is capable of bringing content to its’ platform that gamers care about but they are increasingly trying to screw with access, player experience and console focus. Nintendo, make games. Focus on the games, focus very hard on the games. Solely Microsoft and Sony customers don’t care much for you because you usually target different portions of the market or fail to bring very serious challenges to them in their bloody section of it. Apple, Android, PC and other customers don’t care much about your efforts to diversify when you try to offer them a poor value proposition with what should be the nuclear bomb of your arsenal – video games. Sometimes it seems like the people of the company are so deeply entrenched in an insular culture that they have disconnected from their customers. Right when I’m ready to flip the bird completely you announce initiatives that show that you’re somewhat going in the right direction or at least show that you have talent.

Beautiful. It’s not the Zelda that I want but your talent graphically and technologically is there. You’re promising us that the next real entry in Zelda will be a return to basics. I will hold you to that. I’d rather receive games closer to the quality and craftsmanship of the 90’s than the general public masturbation of some you N64 and beyond work entailed. That’s not to disparage you Nintendo, I just want consistency in your quality and focus. I honestly don’t know how we went from games like Link’s Awakening and Ocarina of Time to Phantom Hourglass and Skyward Sword. There is obviously something wrong there and as a fan and a person that loves to play games I’d like it if you would fix it and return to greatness. That’s it. I don’t hate you, I just want the greatness that you’re capable of Nintendo. Do it. Do it now.

Can Wii U Players Haz Zombi U Patch?

Based upon a tip sent in to Gonintendo, ZombiU players will be forced to play their game without adequate support. If this forum poster is to be believed, Ubisoft won’t expend any resources on fixing glitches in their Wii U game. Just as a crack in a table is a defect that can take away from its’ use and enjoyment, a glitch in a video game can ruin an experience. Not that people don’t sometimes have fun making games do things that they weren’t designed to do but when a bug impedes player enjoyment completely it is a problem. Let’s take a look at this bug.

Continue reading

GOG.com Is A DRM-Free, PC Gamers Delight

Good Old Games (GOG) is another platform for buying games for the PC. What differentiates it from the largest incumbent, Steam, is the lack of being corralled into a game launching client designed to control how players game. You just buy a game, install it like any other piece of modern software then click the icon to get into your game. You can do this online or offline without any premeditated thought going into your online status. There’s no need to sign into an account after the initial download of any game and you’re not forced to download any game updates before being allowed to play. It helps to make PC gaming as straightforward as launching Solitaire in Windows but with the focus of the content being classics from yesteryear like Sim City, self-titled “Indie” games like the Giana Sisters and even a few more recent releases like The Witcher.

It does lack the integrated online community and communication features that users of Steam, Xbox Live and PSN may be used to but before Steam a popular choice for pc voice chat used to be Xfire. There’s nothing stopping people from using it now along with the wealth of other options available for anyone with a pc and an internet connection. GOG Games don’t have auto-update features but many of them wouldn’t be receiving updates anyway. I haven’t experienced any need for software updates but I’d like to believe that developers would either integrate that option or update the installer at GOG. In addition to being able to download games, most purchases include digital versions of manuals, soundtracks, maps and other goodies. Every account is loaded with a base set of free games that every user of the site has access to and some of them, particularly Tyrian 2000, are still great ways to entertain yourself.

Continue reading