Lying around mostly. Playing games. Playing way too much Persona 4 Golden. Though really there is never too much Persona 4. I know I did a review of it, where I gave it a glowing recommendation, but really after playing through it again, I can only say better things about it. It is the best RPG ever created, Japanese or Western. The great characters, story, music, battle system; it all comes together to create something truly special. It’s definitely a slow-burn going in, but totally worth it. So much so that when I decided I was finally done with the game, I immediately hopped on my PSN account and bought Persona 3: Portable for the PSP. Bought it digitally mind you, so I could play it on my Vita. While I love my PSP and have a ton of games for it, the Vita has such a lovely screen, and feels just the right size in my hands. Continue Reading
Before I begin, I know. It has been a while since I have updated this blog. I have excuses. Just know that. I have them. It’s really just that I have had a hard time getting out of bed lately, let alone do anything productive. Really what it was is that I hit the doldrums part of unemployment, where things in general seem hard to do. However! It seems I have come out the other side and am ready to get back to writing. While I have been sitting around, staring at the ceiling, I have been thinking a lot about review scores from video game outlets. I read a few sites regularly, with what seems to be very different review philosophies. They also follow different scales, which represent different things. Some are on a 1-10 scale, some on a 1-5, some even have a yay or nay system.
It’s not odd to me differing outlets have different scales. This has been the norm for the longest time in a variety of places. Movies, TV, music; they have always had their varying systems. What is weird to me is how several places could use the same numbers in a scale, but those numbers mean something different to each outlet. Some places, a middle of the road game will score a seven out of ten, where others a middle of the road game will be a five out of ten. In the former case, where middle of the road games get sevens, it seems to take a truly horrible game for this outlet to dip into those low numbers. This does often lead to a higher sense of impact for those outlets when it comes to bad games, as those lower numbers are seen so rarely. However, this quagmire happens for the larger scales that actively use less numbers; as what really is the difference between a 7/10 and an 8/10? It’s hard to figure out as the lower numbers have less meaning. However, that other publication that will use more of the full 1-10 scale will seem harsher by comparison, but each individual digit means something more obvious. The difference between the 5/10 and an 8/10 sends a clear message about the quality of the game. However it seems to a large degree you run into a similar problem with the other type of 10 point scale as the difference between a 7/10 and an 8/10 is really murky. Both mean “good” in that case, but really what is the difference. It gets even worse as you get to the half-point issues. 7.5/10 and 8/10…what is the difference? These thoughts have been bothering me lately, and it not only affects how I read certain publications, but how I approach the idea of my own game reviews.
I recently started to assign scores to games when I actually get around to doing reviews. I adopted a 10 point scale in which I was dedicated to using the entire scale. Although I do believe stuck with that idea, I really do think maybe moving to a 5 point system would be a lot better. While the difference between a 7/10 and an 8/10 is not that large, a 3/5 and a 4/5 speaks volumes. At least to me, especially if you stick with using the whole scale. While I think I am going to do this for me, I still find myself wondering why different places do things so differently. This has led me to thinking about Metacritic, as really this is where all the scores go to die. However, my issues with Metacritic is probably the subject of a different blog. However, probably not too soon as I really struggled with writing this one. It is a lot of thought I have had on the subject, and it is a complex issue that really sits at the heart of how people write about video games.
Nintendo ate their Wheaties this morning. I am not usually one to love Nintendo, and the patronizing choices they make concerning their core fanbase. However, it seems Nintendo may indeed be taking a different road with their fans in the Wii U generation and give them games they want to play, and not Carnival Games 47: Carnie Harder. Rated E for Everyone! After letting way too many of the games that were supposed to be in the Wii U’s massive “Launch Window” slip, the house that Mario built held a Nintendo Direct today. Nintendo Direct, for those of you who don’t know, is a press conference in which we usually hear Nintendo President Iwata wax poetic about how Grandma is loving her new Wii Sports 2: Electric Boogaloo video game disc. He then will make one or two announcements, which will garner some attention and then promptly disappoint.
Today appears to be a new day for Nintendo. Today’s Nintendo Direct was so packed full of video games that it was unreal. Nintendo was going through a checklist of their best and brightest, and even confirming that whatever was not announced today that people care about, will be spoken about at E3. Is this the same company that released no games on their newest handheld for so long that they actually had to apologize and give the early adopters a load of free old games? It’s the same name of that company, but they couldn’t be acting any differently. Today’s presentation was confident and I think it is genuinely a positive turn for Nintendo. With the games from the launch window eventually coming around before E3, and the stuff that was announced today, we may be able to get excited for this company again. Let’s go over some of my personal highlights of what was announced.
The Wii U Virtual Console: It appears this will only be having NES, SNES and eventually GBA games on it to start. However, because of the promise that these games will be able to be played entirely on the Game Pad, I am totally fine with that. The N64, and Gamecube both had really odd controllers that may not compare favorably to the more standard button layout on the Game Pad. Also, if you own any of the games on your Wii VC that you are downloading to the new Wii U service, it receives a heavy discount. I find it unfortunate it is not free, but I get that a lot of tech probably had to go into making these games Game Pad accessable. On top of this, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the NES, Nintendo will be making certain classic games available for a month. The first is Balloon Fight, it’s available now, and it’s 30 cents. I have no idea if the other games on the list will be too, but Super Metroid is on that list. If you can get that game for 30 cents, thank Nintendo.
New Trailer for The Wonderful 101: This Pikmin/Viewtiful Joe-ish type game looks really good. The trailer shows off some great mechanics involving the Game Pad, and the game itself just looks really polished. This game seems like it may be one of the main reasons to own this system. Just watch the trailer.
New Yoshi game made by the people who brought us Kirby’s Epic Yarn: This game looks cute as hell. There’s not much in the way of details right now, so we’ll leave it at that.
Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem: What the hell? This is probably one of the weirdest things I have heard of in games for a while. We have no gameplay details yet for this odd cross-over game, nor do we even know what kind of game it is going to be. My guess is a Tactics RPG; it seems to be the best fit for the companies. I just recently fell in love with Shin Megami Tensei thanks to Persona 4, and I have liked Fire Emblem for a long time now. This game has great potential.
New game by Monolith Soft: This looks like it has the same art direction as Xenoblade, only in HD. However the gameplay looks like Monster Hunter with mechs that turn into motorcycles. With how well Xenoblade was (finally) received in the west, I don’t think Nintendo is going to hesitate localizing this title for Western audiences. The most interesting part of this video; at least to me, comes at the very end. That red X. It looks very similar to the X featured on one of my favorite games of all time: Xenogears. If this is meant to hint at the idea that this could in some way tie in to the events of the PS1 classic, I will be overjoyed.
The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker being remade in HD- This is big news. It was announced that a new Zelda was being made, that is trying to shake up the conventions of Zelda, but it is taking longer than originally planned. However, in the meantime, Wii U owners will be getting the pretty Zelda: Wind Waker with an HD coat of paint. Now, after seeing screens, this is not a simple port. It seems Nintendo is redoing the graphics, top to bottom to give an experience that will feel new.
Now on top of the stuff described above, which is honestly a lot, there is more. Bayonetta 2 trailer, Lego City: Undercover trailer. Also we will be getting information at E3 about the next Wii U Mario game, and the next Mario Kart game. What makes me really happy about all of this is the amount of quality third party content. Nintendo has always delivered on their own titles, at least when they make them, but the love from other companies was not there so much for the past decade. However this seems to be changing, at least in the short term. Add this on top of the new Pokemon X and Y announcement made recently it honestly it seems Nintendo is realizing they were a giant in video game content generation for decades, and there is absolutely no reason they cannot be again.
Now note: I don’t typically use this blog to talk about things outside of my gaming knowledge. I hate getting personal online, especially transmitting it out there to whoever, but what I want to talk about actually affects this blog, my goals for it, and what I plan on doing going forward. This isn’t one of those things where an author promises something then cannot deliver due to laziness. This is more me kind of opening my eyes to what I have to do to make myself a better writer, maybe one day make this more than a hobby. I know that it’s a tough road that I have to walk in order to make any want of this site being good a reality. Or the possibility of me moving on, writing for some sort of publication someday; be it online or print, maybe both.
The year 2012 was not a good one for me. It started bright, with a new relationship that quickly showed itself to be less than awesome. That was then coupled with a job situation that unfortunately did not work out at the end of the year. It was a stressful year; it was one where I found myself sick a lot, happy very little of the time, and doing nothing to better myself as a person. As a result, the writing fell off, my passion died. I played some video games that I didn’t write about, played too much WoW while not getting anything accomplished.
I don’t want that for this new year. I do not normally indulge in making resolutions, as it seems odd one makes these promises that it seems okay not to keep. However, this year I made a few. Most of them normal, lose weight, get healthier, etc. But one did not go up where my normal friends will see it, mostly because they do not all play video games. This year I want to be able to improve my writing. To what degree? I really have no idea, but I know I want this space, or any space I plan on writing on a regular basis to be more than just a passing fancy.
As such I need to become something approaching a professional about my writing. How does this get done? First write like a pro, no more cursing in my reviews and articles. Cursing often packs a punch in writing; but at the same time it feels like a cheap cop-out. Also I need to write more, as in every day. Even if I am not writing for this site, writing is something that requires practice to maintain and excel in. So really it’s all about being more regular in content generation, which if I am writing more will be a natural offshoot.
I also want to play more video games. More, and get myself playing games of genres I normally wouldn’t play. Maybe buy a racing game, there seem to be great ones out there. Hell, I don’t normally play games like Trials, but I downloaded the new one this year and completely loved it. As a by-product of this want to play more games, I need to quit World of Warcraft. For good. Erase my credit card history from Blizzard’s mind and leave those characters to rot. It’s been a great run for me, but has been petering out for a long time now. I think I keep coming back to it because it’s there, familiar and so easy to jump into. However it is an enormous time sink without end. It has kept me from playing countless other games, probably keeping me from new, more fun experiences. Right after this article goes live, I am canceling my account and I hope to whatever is out there that I never re-activate it.
Those are my blog resolutions for 2013. Writing resolutions really. This place matters to me, and I need to show it more love. I want people to see my writing, enjoy it and talk about it with me. As I said before, it is time I take what has been a fancy and turn it into real passion. I love doing this and 2013 needs to showcase that. Now time to go cancel my WoW account. Oh also, expect some reviews soon for that Vita I got for Xmas. I honestly love the thing.
God I normally suck at stealth games. They require a patience that I usually lack. It’s actually a little sad. Keeping myself perched in one position and waiting is typically so hard for me. Studying patrol routes and waiting for that perfect moment was something that always eluded me. It was never satisfying, I never got the how it could be. Being raised on faster affairs certainly did not ingratiate me to the rigors of stealth gaming; I basically resigned myself to it never being my cup of tea. That is until Klei came along and decided to drop Mark of the Ninja in front of the masses. Continue Reading
Yes…this is a WoW post. I am sorry, but it was something I was thinking of earlier. I was trying to figure out what to do with my day, and when I do this, WoW is always one of the first options that comes to mind. However, only a fraction of the time do I actually logon, let alone stay on for any length of time. Lately when I sign onto WoW it’s just to do the daily Inscription cooldown. Then I quickly sign back out and do something else. This used to not be the case. I used to sign onto this game and stay on…for way too long, doing a variety of things, often on a variety of characters. So what the hell happened? Has the game gotten less fun? Has it changed so much that I no longer want to play it? Really none of that is the case, it is something a lot more subtle; the treadmill is lonely. Let’s talk more about this treadmill. Join me, won’t you?
WoW, despite being about the swords, sorcery and loot, is a social game. I know this term has come to be associated with the landfill of fucking terrible social media based games. Facebook unfortunately has taken a monopoly out on this term, and that is really a shame, as these games are almost universally bad, and more chores than games. I have enough chores to do, I don’t also need Facebook to present me with more. However I digress; I am not here to talk about those garbage games. At least not now. Continue Reading
Way back in March, I wrote an article about some weapons that I always remembered in video games. These weapons always stuck with me for varying reasons, but all were worth remembering, at least for me. I have long wanted to throw out a second batch of weapons to talk about, so why not today? Right here, right now. Let’s fucking do it.
Fire Flower (Super Mario Brothers series): Only Mario could turn a pretty flower (with a face) into an evil mushroom immolation machine. This power-up has been around since the start, appearing in I think every core 2-D Mario game, with the only exception being the US version of Mario 2. If I am wrong, tell me, but I think I am correct in saying that. This power-up is really the only true projectile launcher in the series, and is typically used with game-easing results. Changing Mario to white overalls (bright freakin red and orange in Mario 3), this weapon allows Mario to basically make any boss mechanic trivial. Where the other power-ups still require you to pay attention and make sure to avoid the bosses, the Fire Flower allows Mario to stand there, while the player spams B and watch the enemy die. This has especially been the case in the New Super Mario Bros. series, where the focus has left more insane jumps and environment traversal; and has since become more of a enemy placement based game. Think of how good the Fire Flower is in any water stage in an older Mario, and apply that philosophy of enemy placement to every type of level. Continue Reading
I probably should not lie. I stole this screenshot. Stole it. Flat out. Google images for the win. Really though I needed a shot such as this. Look at this dude’s money. It’s insane. Far more than anyone should rightfully get in the game. At least I hope so. I hope this because I am going to play GTA 3, Vice City, San Andreas, and GTA 4 on Steam, with reviews. What the fuck? Are these not old as fuck games that are not even worth reviewing? Well…probably. But really, while I played all these games, I did not play all the way through any of them. I cheated through these titles, and had fun with whatever chaos I could sew throughout the landscape, but something has now since changed. I think it is really that I am older. I read Game Informer’s insane coverage of the upcoming GTA:V, and really it keeps me thinking I did not give the series the chance it has deserved. So starting tomorrow, GTA: 3 Will be what is on my mind, with an eye to completing the actual story without cheating. God it is so fucking tempting. Best of luck to me.
More time to write. A lot more time. With that, output on my end should increase. Assuming I don’t become a lazy bum. Who knows. Let’s not get into that, instead let’s talk a bit about something I was hinting at the other day, switching mains in WoW. One of the parts at least, but probably the most important part: preparation. I am sure WoW would be a very easy game for everyone if we were just able to switch who we raid with on the fly, no penalty, no time needed in the newer character. WoW is pretty easy compared to other, older MMO’s, but not that easy. There is a lot of time that goes into the cultivation of an alt, especially if you want to get them raid ready quickly. This issue is especially made more time consuming if you’re sure you want to play a new class you do not have at the current level cap, or even close. However, knowing what you’re going to do, and how to go about it can help avoid confusion down the road. Help from the people around you will greatly expedite the process, known to you or not, really doesn’t matter. Also there are a ton of great little helpers that can really ease any transition from zone to zone on that steep climb to 90. Trust me, the claim isn’t so steep. Continue Reading
It’s a tough thing. Changing mains that is. While I have always had alts in WoW, some I played a lot, I always came back to the class that started it all for me, my Paladin. When Cataclysm was winding down and I was considering whether or not I would still be playing WoW in Mists, I had thought maybe my interest would be kickstarted by switching to another character, give my focus a fresh face. I am still trying to come to terms with this possible change, and it is coming with mixed results. However I am enjoying playing my Priest more often than not, and it is still possible this may bring about a long-term change in my play. However my circumstances shake out with regards to continued play, Mists of Pandaria has made things easier than ever when you want to change who your main character is. I wanted to go over some of the key elements that make this so easy, some functional, some ease of life, but all adding to a better time for you if you’re sick of that character. Continue Reading