Posts Tagged ‘Nintendo’

That’s right folks, it’s that time again! I always look forward to E3, although in a different sense than when I look forward to GamesCom. It’s not exactly cheap to get out to America, and I’ve yet to actually attend the Los Angeles show, so E3 for me is hunkering down with some snacks and a lot of caffeine, watching a live stream, and joking about it with friends virtual or otherwise. Twitter is especially legendary during these times. It’s different for GamesCom because I can actually get out there, and it involves a lot more hardwork but a lot more socialising and hanging out with my friends, so they’re both unique experiences for me at the moment… I’m sure that will change when I finally get to go to E3.

Anyway – Nintendo has already gotten a headstart with the pre-E3 demonstration video they aired last night, which focused solely on the WiiU hardware. It was an understandable move, considering there seemed to be a fair amount of confusion regarding the WiiU coming out of E3 2011, and not a lot of real news since then… you could almost consider this a refresher. Whilst the console itself wasn’t really shown, a lot of attention was given to the new gamepad (along with a ‘pro’ gamepad they are releasing that looks a lot like the 360 gamepad), as well as the social features and integration with the TV – Nintendo has had a habit of setting trends in recent years, and I personally think the TV features are going to be what catches on.

The only thing that really disappointed me about the presentation – apart from that god awful marketing video – was the lack of games. Now, granted, getting this out of the way now leaves them plenty of room to talk about games during their main conference on Tuesday, but I really need to start seeing examples of what this machine is capable of. Both in terms of the supposed HD-quality graphics, and games that take advantage of the WiiU’s unique features. Also, it needs to not be called the WiiU, as that’s a silly name, but that probably isn’t going to happen.

As an ex-Nintendo fanboy, I’m officially intrigued though, so I’ll be paying closer attention to Nintendo this year than I normally do. For the moment though, looking forward to Microsoft and Sony later tonight.

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Well, a 3DS price drop eh? That was rather quick. As I’ve mentioned before, Strategy Informer doesn’t cover the handheld portion of our industry so on a personal level I only keep a casual eye on what’s going on over there, especially Nintendo. Still, this is a surprising move, even with the recent news that their share price has also dropped, so something must not have gone according to plan. Personally, I question the 3DS’ relevance on the market at the moment – it’s too little too soon, and at the price tag that was being asked for it, I wouldn’t be surprised if it hasn’t sold that well. Not sure what the software is like for it – are there any games that make the 3D part worth it?

I fell out of love with my DS years ago when I realised there wasn’t that many decent games about – so I traded in nearly all of them for 360 games instead, keeping only Advanced Wars: Days of Ruin and my handful of old GBA games (I’m still rocking the 1st Gen DS’s with GBA compatibility). I just felt like there was too much crapware – and the few decent titles were getting buried. Sure, re-releases like Final Fantasy III & IV were welcome, and I’d bought… III I think before The Great Purge, but in terms of new and interesting IP’s there wasn’t a lot that I could find. Things haven’t changed much from what I can see, but I’m starting to play my DS more and more thanks to youngest brother – he still has faith. Now I’m armed with Final Fantasy III & IV, along with Pokémon Platinum and I got my Breath of Fire II (GBA) game back.

I also bought Infinite Space, by the same guys who did Vanquish and Bayonetta, which is kind of weird, and cool. It’s a space-based RPG with a little bit of strategy involved. As Yuri, you fly out among the stars, gaining in experience and getting a fleet together. Main selling point is the fleet customization, which covers everything from crew, to ship type, to load out and a whole host of other features, or some I’m told. Reading some reviews there  were a few things that put me off – design choices that don’t break the game, but can get on your nerves over time. Still, I had a voucher so I decided to give it a go in order to try and revive my handheld gaming. I’ll let you know how I get on.

On the other hand though, the 3DS price drop means that it will now be significantly cheaper than the upcoming PS Vita, although that at least has games and hardware to back up the price point, without relying on gimmicks. I’ve said this to others whenever it comes up, but I think the Vita, despite sounding like a health biscuit, will have a better time of things than the PSP will. The support just wasn’t there from the third parties, and then there was the PSP Go incident – that was a bad idea if ever I saw one. It wouldn’t have been as bad if there was an easy way to convert games bought on UMD onto the PSP Go. It’s why I’m uneasy about buying a kindle – all my favourite books I already have in paperback form, and I refuse to buy them again just so I can have them on the kindle.

Of course, Nintendo wasn’t the only company whose shares have dropped recently – THQ took a hit as well. Apparently Red Faction: Armageddon didn’t sell that well, which is a shame because I kind of liked it. EA’s Bulletstorm didn’t sell well either, now that I think about it. Child of Eden didn’t do great either… I remember one marketing person (who seems like he knows these things) commenting that the games industry is “so fucked right now”.

Maybe he’s right.

Oh wow, it’s been over a week since I last posted. Whoops – yeah E3 was as hectic as I thought it would be, although overall I was kind of disappointed by this year. There was no ‘Wada’ moment, as I like to call it, no “out of left field” surprise, which I personally think is the whole point of E3. Game demos are all well and good, but there’s so many public events that do them (and then there’s press tours for us lot), that those in itself don’t really make E3 all that special. The conferences however, with all their showmanship and grandstanding, is not something you really find anywhere else.

Of course, this is the opinion of one who’s never been – I suspect my view might change when I finally get out there.

Microsoft’s was hard to judge because it was all pretty much leaked before hand – although Halo 4 was pleasantly unexpected, and I’m glad to see official confirmation of the Halo CE Anniversary Edition. Assuming I don’t get it for free, that’s probably going to be a day-one purchase for me. More Kinect stuff as well, although it wasn’t all that impressive. Apart from side-features like the Ghost Recon customisation interface, or Minecraft, the sleuth of kid games or on-the-rails action games was kind of disappointing.

Sony’s was perhaps the strongest, opening up with an apology of the PSN fiasco (although, cheekily, Tretton didn’t address the security breach, just the fact that PSN was down), and then launching straight in with the likes of Uncharted 3 and Resistance 3. A lot of their presentation was given over to the PS Vita, which I didn’t pay that much attention to because one, we don’t cover handhelds, and two, I’m not much of a handheld gamer myself. From what I could gather though this seems to be getting a much stronger launch than the PSP, and better games as well and not simple ports. Their 3D package as well was also a surprise, perhaps confirming that 3D really isn’t taking off as well as they and others hoped.

Nintendo I guess had the biggest surprise in the form of the Wii U. Despite the console’s existence all but confirmed for months now, the real show came in them revealing what that entailed, and the kind of games they were going to produce. IT was nice to see them getting a strong third-party backing in terms of core games once again, and the new controller seems kind of nifty, I guess. The most frustrating thing though was that not only did they not talk about the console itself at all, but for a while there it wasn’t clear if there even was a console. Not to mention that there wasn’t any actual Wii U footage present… and from a personal stand-point I’m not sure if it’s going to be in HD or not at the moment.

Apart from the big 3, there were of course the publisher press conferences too. There’s not many of these, usually – EA and Ubi always seem to do one, Konami too. Activision seems to have stopped bothering altogether, for obvious reasons. EA’s was ok, although their The Old Republic demonstration was really disappointing, and pointless. Ubisoft’s again was ok, but their presenter was diabolical and some of the more boring presentations ran on a bit. Good line up coming up though, and they win the ‘Best Trailer’ award for Assassin’s Creed: Revelations:

The backing song is called Iron, by someone called Woodkid, and I have listened to it over 300 times now. I think I have a problem. A problem with AWESOME.

There are moments in life that define you in small ways, that shape who you are, who you become. You look back on these moments, and you can’t help but feel their significance, feel the way it changed you… this probably is not one of those moments, but I like telling the story anyway. A fellow games writer recently had some trouble with his Xbox Live account, which basically ended up with him having to create a new one and starting again – he has to replay all his games, get all his achievements back… that would be too much for me, and I’ll tell you why:

I dislike repetition, or at very least, I dislike having to go back over something I’ve just done due to some problem that’s meant I’ve lost everything I just worked on. Who doesn’t, right? I generalise it into repetition though because I generally don’t like repeating myself as well, in anything. The story I’m about to tell you kind of sums this up perfectly, which is why I like telling it – not sure if it ‘defined’ the behaviour though.

Anyway – before I migrated over to the 360 (and eventually, the Playstation), I was a Nintendo fan. My PC gaming was sort of a constant in my life, since I used my PC for a lot of things and so gamed on it as well, but in terms of ‘console’ gaming, I was a Nintendo boy, and the first console that I truly owned and loved was the Nintendo 64. Naturally, that meant I was a Zelda fan as well – Ocarina of Time was amazing. Then came Majora’s Mask.

Now, on the whole I liked Majora’s Mask, but the save system… oh the save system! You all remember it right? How crazy it was? Basically, the way the story was set out meant that you couldn’t save the game until you travelled back in time to the first day. Major accomplishments were kept when you did that, but not the minor stuff, so you really didn’t want to save unless you were in-between important zones. I believe the pacing was set so that you could complete one zone, per three-day cycle, at which point you simply travel back in time and then move onto the next zone, as it wouldn’t matter then if some stuff hadn’t been sustained in a completed zone.

Fair enough, it was a bit weird, but it made for some interesting gameplay, and you could do a ‘quick save’ if you really needed to, but you needed to go back to the central hub I seem to remember in order to do it. Most of the time, I didn’t have an issue with it and got through the game fine. After many an hour, I was on the last area, fighting the last boss you have to face before you go on to fight the main bad guy of the game. I was just about to finish it off when… what? It Froze? My Nintendo 64 actually FROZE on me? I couldn’t believe it –  It wasn’t like the 64 was known to have issues like that that I can remember, unlike some modern day consoles (*cough* 360 *cough*), and to my knowledge it had never frozen before, nor ever did again.

What it did do though, courtesy of Majora’s weird saving system, was wipe my progress for the *entire* area. That was hours upon hours (I’ve never really been a hardcore gamer, especially back then, so everything takes me longer) of gameplay lost because of an odd set-up and a random freeze. Suffice to say, I (placed) the controller down in anger, stepped away from the 64… and never touched Majora’s Mask again.

Honestly – every time I thought about going back, I thought about everything I knew I had to do and I just couldn’t quite bring myself to do it all again. To this day, I’ve never completed Majora’s Mask, and I doubt I ever will. So yeah, now you know: Don’t do drugs.

Until next time.

I… What… The Wii? I mean… how… WHY!?

In all seriousness though, whilst this is not that… surprising an idea for a party videogame, I think the thing I’m most surprised about is that it’s a Wii party game. The Wii being the console that brought families and the typical non-gamer stereotypes into gaming and helped created that whole ‘casual gaming’ thing. Are Nintendo trying to widen their market? Change their image? I know this is being made by Ubisoft, but their portfolio is diverse enough to allow for an out-of-the-box game like this, but the big-wigs at Ninty would have had to have approved ‘We Dare’ (Interesting that it’s not Wii Dare), which is why I wonder what’s going on here.

I was a teenager once, I think, and I remember going through that phase where every party game had to have that touchy-feely twist to it if girls were involved. I imagine this is that in a videogame form. It will be interesting to see what their target market really is. I mean you’ve got ‘trendy’ (white) young adults in the trailer, someone on Twitter alleged that this game has been approved for ages 12 and up… I don’t see this being anything but a little weird until things are clearer.

I see this being oddly fascinating, in the way that things that try to push social boundaries and taboos tend to be, but yeah… I… Wow. I did not see this coming.

Until next time.

P.S. I’m told that this game is also coming to the PS Move, which makes a hell of a lot more sense. It also explains the lack of ‘Wii’ in the game’s title.