Sunday, July 31, 2011

Site chat at 6pm EST

Today is Sunday. Once again for site chat. I myself am kinda busy today so I may not chat as much as I usually do. Hope everyone can chat today.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

3DS price drop and Mario 3ds games release dates

Great Price, Great Games

An exciting message for people who own a Nintendo 3DS and those who want to:

Nintendo of America today announced plans to drop the suggested retail price of its portable Nintendo 3DS™ system to $169.99 in the United States. The new price takes effect Aug. 12 and makes an outstanding value even better.

Building on the popularity of The Legend of Zelda™: Ocarina of Time™ 3D, which launched June 19, the upcoming game calendar for Nintendo 3DS is a Who's Who of iconic video game franchises. Star Fox 64™ 3D arrives on Sept. 9, followed by Super Mario™ 3D Land in November, Mario Kart™ 7 in December and Kid Icarus™: Uprising during the holiday season.

And don't forget that Nintendo 3DS has a bunch of fun features, including Nintendo Video™, the Nintendo eShop and access to Netflix, that make it a must-have video game system.

But what about the 830,000 of you who already own a Nintendo 3DS? You're some of Nintendo's most loyal customers, and we're rewarding you for getting in on the action early with not one, not 10, but 20 free downloadable games from the Nintendo eShop! Here's how it works:

The 20 free games are available to anyone who owns a Nintendo 3DS system and uses a wireless broadband Internet signal to connect to the Nintendo eShop at least once before 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Aug. 11. These users will automatically be registered in the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program. The program contains two elements:

1. Starting Sept. 1, Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors will be able to download 10 NES™ Virtual Console™ games at no charge and before they are available in the Nintendo eShop to the general public. These games, including Super Mario Bros.™, Donkey Kong Jr.™, Balloon Fight™, Ice Climber™ and The Legend of Zelda™, are slated to become paid downloadable games, but Ambassadors get them early for free. Once the paid versions of the games are posted to the Nintendo eShop later in the year, the updated versions will be available to Ambassadors for download at no cost.

2. By the end of 2011, Nintendo will provide Ambassadors with 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games. These include games like Yoshi's Island™: Super Mario™ Advance 3, Mario Kart™: Super Circuit, Metroid™ Fusion, WarioWare™, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Mario vs. Donkey Kong™. These games will be available exclusively to Ambassadors, and Nintendo currently has no plans to make these 10 games available to the general public on the Nintendo 3DS in the future.

More details about this program will be announced in the future.

It's a great time to own a Nintendo 3DS!

--Your Friends at Nintendo of America


My thoughts on this is it is a good idea for Nintendo and consumers. It helps out Nintendo by getting more systems sold so more games can come to the 3DS. For consumers the 20 games for free is a great thing for those that may have not gotten the 3DS. I probably won't have the money to get one before the August 11th date so I will likely get one from the price drop sometime this year.
So is this making you want to pick up a 3DS soon if you haven't already? For those that have one already are these 20 games for free enough to take the early adoption of the 3DS?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How Downloadable Content Can Be Done Properly

The idea of downloadable content (henceforth referred to as DLC) sounds good on paper. It's a way to extend existing games by adding more characters, chapters, modes, etc., providing more entertainment for a small fee or sometimes even for free. What could possibly go wrong?

Like too many things in the gaming industry, publishers overuse the latest fad in an attempt to rake in as much money as possible before consumers become wise to their tactics or sick of the concept. After doing a little research, I've come to discover that DLC is being largely used to nickel and dime the game-buying public through withholding content or releasing incomplete games. I can't say I'm surprised that some publishers would use this dirty trick, but I thought it was being exaggerated how widespread it was, figuring consumers wouldn't put up with such nonsense.

DLC seems most common in shooters and fighting games. In the former case, map packs and weapons are available as DLC, and in the latter, characters and stages. This might sound like a way of expanding such titles, but a majority of this content is available since day one, indicating the content was already completed and was withheld from the final product to be sold as DLC. In a few more extreme cases for fighters, DLC characters and modes are already on the disc, and the paid DLC is nothing but one line of code that unlocks the content.

CapCom is the worst offender of DLC; their content in games like Mega Man and Resident Evil are simple things like a Hard Mode or a character that cost an extra $2-3 each, and in most cases are already stored within the game. Didn't we used to get rewarded with this stuff by simply completing a game? Microsoft isn't much better. As I just discovered today in my research, Microsoft actually requires a specific fee for most types of DLC. Even if the developers wish to offer the content for free, Microsoft will not allow it to be released as such.

These kinds of practices should not be accepted by gamers. It's one thing for publishers to use such dirty tactics, but ultimately it's the consumers who decide which methods of distributions are best. Complaints mean nothing if DLC is purchased anyway, so the only thing companies will listen to is the almighty dollar. Stop buying bogus DLC, and it will no longer exist.

Looking around for legit uses of DLC, I didn't find much, but there are some out there. One such case is Fallout 3, where the main game is complete and packed with content, and the additional DLC is sidestories that are not necessary to enjoy the game but are available for those who want a little more for a modest fee. It isn't the best usage of it, but it's at least content that wasn't withheld. A couple other large, open-world games appear to have followed this as well.

Now, that isn't to say DLC has no place whatsoever, people just need to recognize what is legit DLC. There actually aren't many cases where DLC is necessary, so it isn't something that should be used in a majority of games. Only a specific few where it makes some sense. Here are some of my thoughts on how I believe DLC cold be used to benefit consumers:

1. Fighting games. How many versions of Street Fighter II did we see on the SNES? How many versions of Street Fighter IV are we going to see? How many Marvel vs CapCom's are being made? Since fighting games don't change much from version to version, DLC seems like the perfect way to offer new content for fighters without charging full price for a new game. New characters and stages can be offered for modest prices, and things like balancing fixes should probably be free. This seems a lot better than CapCom promising DLC for Marvel vs CapCom 3, some of which was to be free, then announcing the DLC will not be released but instead put into a new retail versoin, Ultimate MvC 3. Which sounds better?

2. Sports games. There is really no reason to release yearly editions of football, baseball, etc. when more often than not, the most significant change is the updated roster. Instead, roster updates could be offered for a fair price, and a new version could be released every few years or so, when lots of new and updated features are added into the game. Unfortunately, this will never happen as long as millions sports fans are willing to pay $60 each year.

3. Music and dance games. This is perhaps the genre where DLC makes the most sense. Do we really need to see a new Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Just Dance, etc. every nine months? Especially when individuals are likely uninterested in at least half of the ~50 songs included in each version? A better way to distribute these games is with DLC. Instead of coming with pre-loaded songs, a music/dance game disc should be blank, and come with 50 song download tickets. Musical taste is highly subjective, so let the consumers decide which songs come with their game. Then, if anyone wants more than 50 songs, additional song downloads should be $1 each, which I believe is comparible to iTunes pricing. Perhaps if Guitar Hero and Rock Band followed this strategy, the rhythm game genre wouldn't have been a fad that is currently fading into a mere footnote of the “don'ts” section in gaming history.

And there you have it. Three fine examples of how DLC could actually be beneficial to consumers instead of a pathetic cash grab by publishers. There may even be a couple more; if you have any ideas, let me know by commenting. As far as combating bogus DLC, note that it's largely the publishers, not the developers, who implement the DLC. In most cases, developers are not the ones who make distribution decisions, it's the financial backers, the publishers. So if blame is to be placed, make it on the CapComs and EAs of the industry, not the folks who create the games.

Site chat at 8pm EST

The weekly Wednesday has come along. About half of the year is done so we can talk about how the year has gone for them not just gamewise but in real life too. And look to the future.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dang it

I just realized I won't be back in the site chat until Wednesday, August flappin' 10th!

Tomorrow: Out of town.
Wednesday the 27th: Extended rehearsal (12 songs instead of the usual 5). Might be able to make it very late in the evening.
Sunday the 31st: I'll be in Chicago
Wednesday the 3rd: Still Chicago
Sunday the 7th: Still Chicago

Mop_it_up - We'll play Echoes of Time on the 10th, k?? Btw, how many characters can one bring in to the online? Is it just one per person? I was thinking about creating a White Mage.... might be fun for online. Either that or my usual Selkie archer. Thoughts?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Site chat today at 8pm EST

Another site chat has come and there has been some interesting things happening with support for the 3DS and developers.Among that and other things we will talk about in the chat today at 8pm EST.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hidden Gem In Plain Sight

In the wake of the “Wii has no games” stereotype, there is a term I see used a bit too often. A “hidden gem” is a game that was overlooked at release, and then later discovered by enthusiasts to be a game of rather good quality. There have unfortunately been a number of titles on Wii that are underappreciated, but that doesn't make them all hidden gems. It depends on the circumstances for each individual game.

As an example, I've witnessed No More Heroes be labeled as a hidden gem. From what I recall, this game received some hype around its release, as well as favourable reviews from many sources. It may not have quite reached a million copies sold, but it did receive a sequel, indicating it was not only a profitable venture but performed well enough to warrant a second outing. If you ask any Wii enthusiast for game recommendations, chances are, this one will be listed. In fact, I'm sure the lot of you have at least played it. Does this sound like a game that nobody heard of and later discovered?

Compare that to a game like, say, Tornado Outbreak. Ten bucks says you never heard of this game and think I'm making it up. It released quietly onto shelves without anyone taking a notice, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a review of it anywhere. Its packaging probably didn't help matters either; the cartoony artwork typical of shovelware titles belies the excellent game underneath. No one bought this game and no one ever mentions it in the same breath as recommendations. It's a shame that this game still remains to be discovered.

No More Heroes is not a hidden gem because, even if it didn't reach its sales potential, lots of people heard about the game, regardless of whether or not they bought/played it. Tornado Outbreak is a hidden gem because, even today, I haven't come across anyone else who's so much as heard the name, besides the one Wii enthusiast crazier than I who pointed it out to me. Now, games don't need to remain unknown to be hidden gems; the status is typically past tense. Some examples of that include Little King's Story and A Boy And His Blob, both of which received little attention around launch but soon became known as quality games.

“Hidden gem” is not synonymous with “underappreciated” as it is sometimes used. While the game can't still be hidden if people know about it, it was once largely unknown to a majority of people, then later attracted a following. The term refers to where a game originated, and though that means it was underappreciated at launch, it doesn't make it the same thing; even games that receive some attention can be underappreciated, but they were never hidden.

Site chat at 6pm EST

Me and Sage are in the chat right now and among other things we are talking about the Operation Rainfall and what we are doing for it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Are You Part of the Operation?

Well, it's mid-July. Operation Rainfall's mail-in campaign is in full force. I've started sending mine and used my own twist on the mail-in items.


It's not the best photo (I took it on my DSiXL), but what we have hear is a plastic knife with "XENO" written on the blade. Then the page of a Nintendo Power (that I had doubles of) which talked about next month's story, so I made it "the last story." And finally, my pride and joy, I made a fold-out Eiffel Tower out of a cracker box and wrote "Pandora's" on it!

On my letter, I told Reggie about our site and how we've had less to talk about and play lately. I also traced the GameStop/Best Buy giftcards I received for my birthday and told Reggie that they are waiting for these games when/if they get localized!

So, I'm doing my best. What are you doing to help?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Site chat at 8pm EST

Once again Wednesday has come along. So it is time for another chat. Only real major thing that happened has been the EA purchase of PopCap.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Site chat at 6pm EST

Well another chat day has come and I kinda want to talk about the gaming media and its problems. I found a blog post yesterday and posted it on the forums in the Culture of gaming section. Main points is makes is how the gaming media can be hypocrites and just look out for themselves. Main think I want to talk about is the things that need to be changed.Mainly for the page hit articles and the way they use peoples comments to go towards their own agenda.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Greetings from The Berkshires

Hey gang,

Just wanted to drop a line and say "hello!"

Check out that awesome panoramic shot I made using my DSiXL! ... and Photoshop, obviously.

So, I'm still in the Berkshire's with Amy's family until tomorrow evening. I probably won't be back in time for Sunday's site chat but I'll certainly try to be.

All I have to say for now is ...
  • I love the DSiXL ... it's so bad.
  • I hope these rumors from Operation Rainfall are true!

Talk to you all soon!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Xenoblade and The Last Story heading to the US?

Well according to a source at Nintendo according to Operation Rainfall the localization of Xenoblade is complete while The Last Story is being worked on for release. The Xenoblade localization was finished about a month ago.Operation Rainfall has noted that NOA hasn't officially announced these titles yet for North American release yet.No word on the final of the 3 games Pandora's Tower about getting to the North America shores yet.

Also in other Xenoblade news the European release has been bumped up 2 weeks from the previous September 2nd release.So now it plans to be released on August 19th.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Site chat today at 6pm EST

Well once again a Sunday comes and it is nearing time for the Sunday chat. Probably the most newsworthy thing that happened this week was that Pandora's Tower is coming to Europe in 2012. So at this time there has been Xenoblade Chronicles,Pandora's Tower and The Last Story is heading to European territories. So far there hasn't been any announcements for the three titles for North America yet. Other then that topic I think we will play some games in the chat and just kick back and relax.It is the weekend after all.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Odds 'n' Ends

  • It's my birthday on Monday. The rumors are true; having fireworks each year on your birthday doesn't suck. Today, I used some birthday checks that arrived early to purchase a shiny, Bronze DSiXL! I've wanted one for a long time but didn't have the disposable income to justify it. I know it's just a big DS (I don't much care for DSiWare or the camera), but the screen is so nice! And it fits it my hands better. And I flippin' love the location/style of the volume and power buttons. Also, the d-pad, shoulder and start/select buttons feel better too.

    So, yea, I guess it is a major upgrade for me!

    I kept my black DS lite because I don't think the $40(?) trade in is worth the sentimental value. We've been through some good times together! ... so very many Pokémon.

  • I know one of the employees at a nearby GameStop. I brought him 10 copies of this flyer from Operation Rainfall. He said he would cut 'em up and leave 'em out for people. It's one of the busier GameStops in the area so hopefully it helps just a little bit! You should do the same in your area!

  • In the early days of this website, I used to spend a lot more time pointing out the faults of mainstream gaming media. An easy source for media faux-pas has always been Eventually, I was able to break the cycle and just stopped visiting that cesspool all together.

    However, some respectable sites I frequent still relay Kotaku's "stories" for god knows what reason. So recently, I came across these two gems and wanted to give my quick responses ...

    "Gamers, Let's Stop Hating Each Other"

    You know, I completely agree with the underlying sentiment of this article. Too bad it comes from a site that has spent years cultivating the very hatred discussed in the article!

    Which Wii Game Did GameStop Refuse to Accept for a Trade-In?

    This next article comes from part-time (very small part) journalist and full-time moron, Stephen Totilo. The article is only one paragraph so, go ahead and give them a hit and read the thing.

    Back? Good.

    So, the story was about a GameStop's incomplete computer records, right? Then how come Stephen closes by inviting his readers to "Insert your own jokes about Wii games below...." ?

    Looks like his position as full-time moron won't be jeopardized any time soon.

    I know I'm preaching to the choir, but we need to get the word out that gamers deserve more mature, unbiased journalism!! If you frequent sites like those, speak up! The silent majority just needs brave souls to lead by example. So, any small thing you can do is a big help!!