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12:41 PM on 02.25.2014  

Dtoid Southeast NARP: Beware The (St.) Ides Of March



PLAYER ONE - ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 15th



Follow the link to the Forum thread for the most up-to-date information. I'm of the mindset to do dinner beforehand, but the night will definitely be moving over to Player One for liquor and games.

If you're in Florida and want to meet some Dtoid people, get your ass off the couch and go. Bring friends. Shoot the shit. Possibly each other. Fun.

Keep checking up with this blog space for updates. Byaah.   read


7:41 PM on 02.11.2014  

The Past: Oreos For Breakfast




I was three.  Just turned three, in fact.  Late December, 1985.

I was spending Christmas with my family at my Aunt and Uncle's house.  

My Mom was pregnant with my baby sister, and I was a criminally-precocious kid who had rocketed out of toddler status and had become a being made of very strong curiosities.  I liked electronics.  I loved my Dad's Atari 2600, we would play River Raid, Pitfall, and loads of other fun stuff.  I remember the smell of the controllers, the feel of the plastic.  But it was just a toy to me.  Video games were loud, blinky things you found in dark corners of skating rinks and bowling alleys.  They weren't something you seriously played at home, because the games you played at home just weren't as colorful, as musical, or as much fun.

But this was Christmas, late December, 1985.  And shit just got real.





My Aunt and Uncle never had children, so their enjoyment of children stemmed from being the cool Aunt and Uncle that never grew up.  My Aunt Vicky, especially.  She was the kind of lady who would let kids eat Oreos for breakfast (true story - the best days were Friday mornings).  She was the kind of lady who would take off from work to take my sister and I on bike rides and beach trips.  She was the kind of lady who would read trashy romance novels and watch classic cartoons every morning.  She was the ultimate big kid.

She showed me their new Nintendo Entertainment System.  I played Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt for hours that week.  Hours.  We all got into it, really.  But as everyone else's interest began to wane into boredom, two people were still having a blast: my Aunt Vicky and I.  And it was the start of something very profound for me.





Fast forward about six months.  My sister was a scant three months old, and it was the summer of 1986.  I was soon to be four, and was spending a hot June right on the Gulf of Mexico (I'm a Floridian) with my Aunt and Uncle.  We did the normal summer stuff, the beach, baseball games, etc. - but while my Uncle was at work, my Aunt and I would play Nintendo games. My Uncle Davis had bought a magical golden game, something called "Zelda."  I saw him playing it at night, saw the maps he had carefully and meticulously drawn on graph paper, and how he would reference them when looking for hidden objects and other things.  I knew I wanted to play it, too, and my Aunt let me use my Uncle's save file.  I played around with all of his equipment he had found, wandering the magical lands that lay before me until I had my ass kicked by a bunch of things popping out of the water (I would later find their name to be Zora).  I was dropped out of the game and back to the main screen, where I decided I would forge my own path rather than walk a trail blazed by another.

I erased his save file to start my own.  It was a mistake I would never make twice, as I was barred from ever playing someone else's save ever again.  This taught me a new sort of self-reliance, though - my progress was forever my own from that day forward, and every game had a save file reserved for my use.  We went through adventures on our own, but compared notes almost constantly.

Soon, we were playing Ultima.  Final Fantasy.  The Guardian Legend.  The Magic Of Scherezade.  Crystalis.  Zelda II.  Metroid.  Faxanadu.  Tombs & Treasure.  Kickle Cubicle.  Tetris.  Shadowgate.  Puzznic.  Legendary Wings.  Dragon Warrior.  Nobody else seemed to share my love of Megaman games, but then again, I didn't seem to grasp the charm behind my Uncle's love affair with Solomon's Key, either.  All of these games had saves or passwords devoted to my progress, and when I was there, I played.  God, did I play.  I didn't have an NES of my own, so I had to make do with what meager time I had.

But seriously, fuck Solomon's Key.





Until 1992, that is.  I got her collection as a surprise present, and she moved on to the Super Nintendo, while I burned through all the games I possibly could.  All the things I never had time to finish.  All the things I never had the chance to play.  New games that I would get for myself.  It was the ultimate in wish fulfillment.  A year later, I had a SNES, and we would trade games back and forth.  We played the Final Fantasy games together.  We played my Uncle's shmup collection (Darius, Gradius, Axelay, etc.).  Wario's Woods.  Tetris Vs. Dr. Mario.  I played Chrono Trigger with her, beat it with her, and went on a mad quest to find all the hidden endings (we succeeded).  It was amazing times, and it kept going until my 14th birthday in 1996.





She got a Nintendo 64, and when I stayed at her house for my family to celebrate my birthday, we spent all weekend - and I mean all weekend - playing Super Mario 64.  I had a blast, and when it was time to go, she told me that I could play that system whenever I wanted to, because I had to pack up the N64 before I left.  Her new N64 was my new N64, that my family had purchased for my birthday.  She didn't follow me, though - she followed Square, and thus, she picked up a PlayStation for herself.  I wouldn't catch back up with her until 2000, when I bought a PS2 at launch.





But by this time, my Aunt Vicky, the person who proudly 100%'d Final Fantasy 7, was fighting a much, much tougher battle.  And she wasn't winning.  She had already lost much of her insides to ovarian cancer, and while she was fighting it like a champ, it was a story where we all knew the ending.  She started to play less and less, and as I was 18 and owned no less than seven different consoles, I started to get more games from her to finish what I never could play before.  I played all the good stuff she had, and asked her for her advice and guidance through unfamiliar places.  I played Wild Arms, Final Fantasy 7 / 8 / 9, Chrono Cross, all the Ace Combat series (my Uncle's passion - he was a pilot in the Navy), all of her vast collection of JRPGs were mine to experience.  And I shared that experience with her.

Fun fact: I cannot listen to the overworld music of FF7 without tears.  It reminds me of my aunt and I playing it together when shit got really rough.





She saw me get married in June of 2007.  I had never seen her happier.  Ever.

She was gone that September.

She left me her entire collection.  Everything I didn't already have, she had given to me.  Every NES, SNES, PlayStation 1 & 2 game she owned, it was to be given to me.  I was the only steward capable of realizing the magnitude of the treasure trove that had been bequeathed, the only one who knew the tales of all of those worlds we had conquered together.

She also left a desire to never truly grow up, to never forget what it was like being three years old on shag carpet in the mid-eighties, clutching an alien piece of plastic with buttons that made the sword throw light at the things that scared you.  She instilled a sense of learning from my mistakes by doing things myself, the hard way being the only way.  My daughter has a piece of her middle name, "Lynn," as part of her own.  I tell her stories about her Aunt Vicky all the time, and as my daughter gets older, I'll be taking her on a lot of those same adventures with me.  

To me, it seems right.





And when I wake up on Saturday mornings, and my daughter asks for me to turn on "headband man," I can't help but think that my Aunt is still very much here in some fashion, laughing all the while with me as I put Street Fighter into my PlayStation, as per adorable toddler request.

If there is an afterlife, I know there's a second controller and a bag of Oreos waiting for me.

  read


4:52 PM on 01.20.2014  

New DTOID Group On Steam: D.I.C.K.S.



Or, rather, the Destructoid International Collective of Kicking Shit.  It's a group designed to do one thing, and that's to make it easy to find and play members of the Dtoid community on Steam...but specifically for fighting games.

I asked around some of the groups that were already in existence, and there's a lot of people playing a lot of different games, but finding people to play took writing cBlogs announcing playdates or asking around in the forums.  This way, you can join up and see who's playing fighting games or would be interested in quitting whatever they're in the middle of to go play fighting games instead.  

If you play any of these games, consider joining:

Injustice: Gods Among Us
Mortal Kombat
Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition / Vanilla SF4
Skullgirls / Skullgirls ∞Endless Beta∞
Street Fighter X Tekken
The King Of Fighters XIII Steam Edition

Any other titles that get released on Steam, you can bet they'll be added.
Come play with friends (or at least people whose names you recognize).

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/dtoidfighters   read


10:51 AM on 01.18.2014  

Skulltoid: Skullgirls On Steam



I will admit, the first time I heard about Skullgirls, I wasn't really all that interested in it.  I mean, I knew it was indie (which should be supported), I knew it was high-quality in terms of art assets (even if a little heavy on fanservice), and I knew it was a fighting game made by dyed-in-the-wool tournament pros.  Even with all of this at its back, it just never really did it for me.

However, I picked up the beta from a giveaway here on Dtoid, and saw what the hype was about.  So much so, that when it went on sale during this last Steam Winter Sale, I snapped it up without a second thought.  I've been digging deeper into the game itself, and it's surprisingly good.  Like, Capcom-SNK-Sammy-and-Namco-better-take-some-goddamn-notes levels of surprisingly good.  The problem is, there's not too many players that are online regularly - or, at least none on the fairly-large list of Destructoid friends I have on Steam.

As such, I'm proposing starting a regular meeting of fighting game players on Steam, and I'm starting with Skullgirls as the first game on the rotation.



Anyone else interested in playing on a regular basis?  Throwing down in KOF XIII, SSF4AE, etc.?  I'm looking to give Dtoid a fighting game home on Steam!   read


7:12 PM on 12.05.2013  

And Now, For Something Constructively Different



-*-*-*-*-*-*-R . A . N . T . . . . I . N . C . O . M . I . N . G-*-*-*-*-*-*-


So, there's been people bitching and complaining about community.  People bitching and complaining about Dtoid losing focus.  There's been forum threads, cblogs both constructive and destructive, people leaving in a huff, and all throughout, there's been two people trying to round up the community and place them in the spotlight, every single week.

I am one of those people with their hand on the spotlight.  We took it over and rebuilt it so that you could enjoy its warm glow.

There are a few of you who have really stuck around for the weekly feature we work on, and to you, I must admit that I cannot thank you enough.  To those that have participated, I cannot thank you enough.  To those who take the time to click the fap button and comment, I cannot thank you enough.

However, beyond that, I'm having a small crisis of conscience, and I hope that the community can help me resolve it.  There's something bothering me.  Seriously, it's getting at me in a fairly major way.

See, there's been lots of bitching and complaining.  There's also been lots of discussion about what sucks, who sucks, what needs to change.  Well, myself, I come from the Mahatma Ghandi school of "Be the change you wish to see in the world," hence why I started my project of Community Interviews (and came to find out that OpiumHertz had the same idea, so we joined forces).  I wanted to make things better, so I've been trying as hard as I can to make something special that would not only give me an outlet, but also give back to the community here by showcasing one member per week, three weeks at a time.  I wanted to get feedback on the process, start dialogs, get people talking about something other than "Dtoid Sucks," because I started to feel that same way, too.  So, I decided to do something about it.

And thus far, the project has been warmly-received...but I would not call it a success.  And that doesn't have to do with me.  That doesn't even have to do with site staff.  It doesn't have to do with ads.  It doesn't have to do with Huge membership subscriptions.

It has to do with the very community I'm trying my good God damndest to serve, to set an example rather than just be another dissenter.  This feature has been a weekly staple for almost four months solid, and very, very few of you out there seem to care.  To those few who tune in, those few who comment, who vote it up so it can be seen by the community we make it for - I could quite literally cry and hug you.  

I guess I just expected better from a community who claims to be so damn hungry for their own to shine.  I expected a larger turnout from people here, and that's probably got a lot to do with my biased expectations - because I would have been glad to read this every week, myself.  I'd have been glad to see more community-based, community-driven features made by our own.

Problem is, the vast majority of you don't seem to be that interested, and that makes me feel like this is all very pointless except to a golden minority.  

So, I'm going to finish out my interview backlog / waiting list from the forums. 

At that point, I'm going to begin making a call out to the front page.  Instead of taking my ball and my teary eyes home in defeat, I've decided to to the exact opposite: I'm going to take my ball into your living room, and I'm going to suggest a game to play, and anyone who wants to play is more than welcome to join me.  We will have fun, I guarantee it.  Anyone who doesn't want to, well, you probably suck anyway.  :D

I'm doubling down so hard on this that I might as well get a forum badge for it.  And if you don't get that reference, well, you should probably take a look around some of the smaller nooks of this fine site we call Destructoid.  Maybe you should start working on something to make this place better instead of setting fire to your room before you run away from home, or publicly threatening adblock to get that negative attention you desperately crave, or bitching about paid subs / downvotes / whatever Sarkeesian video is blowing up this week.

I answered the call.  I stepped up.  What the fuck are you gonna do?

Oh, and before I forget - please take the time to tune in every Wednesday to go read our Dtoid cBlog Community Interview series.  It's fucking GREAT, we work our fucking balls off for it, and it stars the people who you argue / high-five every day here as a pure labor of love.  Much like The Simpsons, the cast only gets larger as time goes on.  And if you feel like you have something to say, step up and ask to be interviewed!  PM me or Opium, we'll be glad to get you into the rotation.

Try actually supporting community-driven efforts, rather than just sitting around and bitching about the state of things.  Listen to the community podcasts, like (the soon to be rebranded) Communitoid, The Lower Tier, Scary Granules or any other creative efforts spearheaded by your own virtual neighbors and friends.  Shit, I've even begun to attempt to resurrect the fabled NARP in the southeastern United States, because DESTRUCTOID! Join the Forums.  Start writing better cBlogs.  Start being the community you want to see.

Because until you do, all your silly bitching means nothing.  
Not when the power to truly direct change is in YOUR hands.

  read


7:10 PM on 11.22.2013  

SoulCalibur II HD Online Has Broken Everyday Legend's Heart





I don't review games often, if at all - I apologize for the long intro, but this has to be said so that you can have a very specific frame of reference for this review.  I'm going to get this out of the way right now: 

SoulCalibur II is one of my favorite games of all time.  Ever.  Like, I have been playing videogames for twenty-eight of my thirty-one years, and out of all those experiences, out of all those systems and platforms, out of all the games I could possibly play, SoulCalibur II still stands as one of my absolute, near-and-dear, desert island, you-can-keep-your-(insert title here) games I have ever played.  Period.  Outside of genre.  Outside of theme.  Just as a game alone, it stands on high.

I've played each new installment as it came out, from Soul Edge in the arcade to SoulCalibur V, and everything in between.  And sadly, nothing ever touched SCII in my eyes.  Sure, there was better mission modes and content in SCIII, there was better character customization in IV and V, but to me, the core gameplay has never felt better and more tightly tuned than in SCII.  I don't look at SoulCalibur games for extra content just like I don't eat a cheeseburger for the ketchup - the meat is the most important part, bar none.  It makes the sandwich, so to speak.  Everything else, like great vegetables, gourmet cheese, artisan bun...it all goes to waste if the meat sucks.  

SCIII had no arcade playtest to precede it, so there were glaring gameplay problems and glitches in the mission mode (I've lost saves numerous times, to the point where I simply gave up).  SCIV tried to take steps into being 3D Guilty Gear, with a focus on combos and instant-kill attacks.  SCV added Street Fighter-style meter management into the mix.  Everything past II seems to have lost more and more of the "core gameplay is the focal point" ethos, which is a shame, because nobody else was doing what SoulCalibur was doing in terms of gameplay, even ten years after the original SoulCalibur.  Nobody copied their formula.  Nobody did it better.

Imagine my joy when I heard that SoulCalibur II would get an HD re-release, the full home version of one of my all-time favorite games, complete with online play. 

Imagine my sorrow when I see glaring problems and many, many missed opportunities that completely mar an otherwise competent port.

Now that you've read that, you know where I'm coming from, and hopefully my point of view can remain as objective as it possibly can be considering my abnormally high level of fandom for this very particular entry in the franchise.







SoulCalibur II HD Online is upon us.  The gameplay itself hasn't changed from 2003, and that's a great thing.  This is classic SoulCalibur, where awareness of your positioning, proper reactive defense and fake-out mindgames are the true keys to victory, with no meter management aside from your very own lifebar.  Attacks are the same as they were, tactics are the soup du jour, and the controls might take some readjusting to get your sea legs back, but once you've acclimated, you'll find that it's the same game you loved way back when.  And what's best is this - no more arguing about which guest character was better.  Now you get to fight them to the death in order to settle the score for sure.  Or, at least 2/3 of the score, since Link isn't in this game, while PS2's Heihachi (Tekken) and XB's Spawn are.

This brings up plenty of fanboy ire on news stories, social networks, comment sections and message boards.  And truthfully, it's understandable.  However, if Nintendo didn't want to release Link to other consoles via a licensing agreement, or Namco didn't want to support Wii U for whatever reasons, there should have been no reason why they couldn't have modified the character model, called him "Kiln" and called it a day.  You'd have had your I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Link version of Link, and some people would have been made extraordinarily happy by this inclusion, because something always beats nothing, hands-down.

As a side note - the Japanese voice option has been removed.  Not a dealbreaker, but sad, as I liked their dub far more than the ham-'n-cheeze English one.







With that said, this port is made from the PAL version of SCII, which has a few bugs and glitches in gameplay that allow for specific character infinites and a few nasty properties on certain moves that make for unblockable attacks, etc.  Namco really screwed the proverbial pooch here, because using the NTSC version wouldn't have had these problems, but we're stuck with this version, and no casual player will have their experience shattered over these things.  Only eagle-eyed vets and serious competitors will take note of these changes, but I feel that they are worth mentioning.

This version also brings the same modes as the 2003 home versions. Weapon Master is back, and needs to be played in order to unlock the characters, costumes and weapon sets, just as it used to.  I have to applaud their decision to do this, as they could have done the standard Namco practice and easily offered a "Unlock It All" pack for an undisclosed sum as paid DLC.  However, I can't shake the notion that this is the reason why they're charging $20 for this game instead of $15.  I mean, sure, they did add an online component and upscaled the texture models, and there are two out of the three system-specific guest characters (one of which is licensed), but with the state of the online netcode, I'm not sure $20 is justified.







Online play isn't necessarily bad in SCIIHDO, it's just not good.  Matches are playable in the sense that you are able to play with other people online.  That's it.  The netcode simply isn't good enough to hang with the split-second timing required to execute Guard Impact parries, or shift stances with proper timing with Ivy, or even block Taki's rising B=>B (knife goes up into the face, knife goes down into the foot - good luck with guarding your foot in time).  Even on top of this, joining online games is nothing short of a joke, and playing with friends is practically nonexistent.  There's no lobby system at all, something that's a standard of all online fighting games.  Here, you just search, and join.  Once it's done, back to the main menu you go to repeat the process.  Whatever "3-4-5" means as far as connection quality, it doesn't matter - I've had better, smoother matches of online checkers. 

It's also worth noting that it's just one-on-one versus.  No Team Battle.  No online Tournament mode.  Nothing like the legendary (and I mean LEGENDARY) Conquest mode from the arcade version of SCII.  Just join, fight, and drop.  Because of all these deficiencies, I can say for a fact that SoulCalibur II HD Online only carries the right to have the word "Online" in the title on sheer technicality alone, and the pieces currently in place are shameful for anything besides an internal test build.  Project Soul should be ashamed of themselves for letting this out into the wild, and Namco should be mocked for putting it out with a smile on their face.

I feel like a little more deference should have been given to this re-release, especially for an inflated price point of twenty bucks.  The graphics are nice, the gameplay is still solid (minus the few annoyances present due to picking the wrong damn version to port), and the original game is 95% intact (no Japanese voice option bugs me a bit).  However, there's nothing new outside of the shinier coat of paint, and nothing extra added onto the original package to justify its asking price.  It comes equipped with an online mode that functions without functioning well, and has none of the creature comforts of current fighting game offerings, like lobbies.  It's the equivalent of saying that doors are optional in a house - front door, privacy doors, all of them.  All optional.




(Yes, I know, it's SCV, but it expresses my disappointment perfectly.)


This leaves me with a very bittersweet feeling, one that I can't quite stomach.  I can't honestly recommend this game to anyone, and it's the game I've been evangelizing for a decade.  I finally understand what my father meant all those years ago when he looked at me after doing something terribly stupid and said: "Son, I'm not angry at you - I'm simply disappointed in you."  That's the exact feeling I have for Namco Bandai at this present moment, because such a high-water mark for the franchise deserved so much better of a treatment than the one they gave.  This is the videogame equivalent of a job done by a high school volleyball team car wash - half-hearted and content in the fact that they already have your money, leaving you driving away with something unfinished and full of obvious spots.

With zero hyperbole, I can honestly say that this is one of my saddest days as a videogame player.  Nice job, Namco.  I can only imagine how good this game might have been if it were given more care and attention, and I know there are lot more people than just myself waiting on patches to help the situation...but considering this is a re-release, I won't get my hopes up. Especially so after you've raised them with the mere announcement that one of my absolute favorite games was returning, better than ever before.

Next time, if there even is a next time, try actually focusing a little more on the "better" part.   read


2:04 PM on 11.20.2013  

Hey, DTOID! The Southeast is planning a NARP (No Apparent Reason Party)!



So, there's that.

What I need to know is this - who would be likely to come to a Dtoid community weekend event in Florida during the late spring into full-blown summer?

A few of us are trying to kick around ideas down in the forums (which you should totally join and discuss things just like this over there) and we need to know how many people would be interested in coming.  We want to throw the best videogame party imaginable over the course of a weekend, and we really need to gauge interest in how many people would ABSOLUTELY, MOST DEFINITELY SHOW UP AND NOT BAIL OUT AT THE LAST MINUTE, among other things.

So, anyone in the area up for this?  Everyone's invited, but you'll have to make the trip, so closer is better unless you've got the cash to do whatever you want, when you want - at which point, you should TOTALLY pay for this, anonymous rich Dtoid benefactor!  Think of what good you'll do for the community!

NARP's used to be a really big thing here, and I think they need to make a comeback.  A real-life meet and greet with your like-minded neighbors is never a bad idea, so comment, or better yet - join the actual conversation.

http://forum.destructoid.com/showthread.php?34369-Dtoid-Southeast-NARP

Let's make something awesome happen.   read


2:40 PM on 11.08.2013  

Nasty Dtoid Advertising Part II

I always try to catch these and repost them when I see them.
Nasty unintentional innuendo?  I'm on the case!



That just sounds dirty, especially with that dude's eyes staring at you like that. Eesh.


Click on the picture for a link to the larger original.   read


11:24 PM on 09.23.2013  

Is It True, Rockstar?: Will GTAO Require Real-World Money For In-Game Money?

A Reddit post last night confirmed something I had been dreading - Grand Theft Auto Online may involve a bit of pay-to-win.  

---------------------------------------------

This is (reportedly) an XML file taken from the game code itself.

Now, this is worrisome on multiple levels - why on Earth would a game that just finished selling a BILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE in a mere seventy-two hours need further monetization?  I don't care about what your server costs are, or the $250M dev budget that went into it, the game has already broken every record in every book that has ever been written, and still, they're planning to milk players by using real money to buy game money?  I was always wondering why money was so goddamn scarce - now we might have found out why, and the reason is more than a little sinister considering what the game has already grossed in profit alone.

Secondarily, better cars, armor, guns, hangouts, they'll all be bought with this in-game currency, which means that the people who can afford to drop more real money into the game will have a distinct and unfair advantage, which will risk leaving people who are actually wanting to play the game outright in the cold against overwhelming opposition or far more powerful teams / elements simply because they could afford it in real life.  This basically breaks the community before it even solidifies.

Also - if you kill a player in GTAO, and they drop money they purchased with real funds, and you collect that money, you're stealing their actual money. That's pretty heavy territory.

I don't know if this is true or not.  I don't know if this is how it will actually work.  But all I can say is this: if it is the case, Rockstar done fucked up.  BAD.  And people need to flip their shit over it if this is true, because they already became the most successful videogame publisher of all time, and those sales are still climbing.  There's no motherfucking reason to do this to customers who shelled out that much money.

You give me a free iOS app, it's fun, you want to drop $5 on it, that's one thing - that's their entire profit margin.  Applying this ethos to games that cost $60 or more, however...that's just fucking deplorable.  I pray to every god in the book that this ain't the case, because this sets a bad example for the rest of the industry. For a game that makes a billion dollars in gross sales in less than half a motherfucking week to sell in-game money piecemeal for real-world cash like a game that cost a hundred-thousandth of the money to develop, that's just flat-out wrong.   read


5:31 PM on 09.23.2013  

Simple Mathematics: Why Attach Rate Of Third-Party Titles Doesn't Mean Much



There's been a lot of back-and-forth in the comment sections of frontpage stories even remotely mentioning the Wii U possibly getting a version of SoulCalibur II HD Edition.  There have been people unable to provide any solid point of reference to sales numbers of the game in the past outside of a quick jaunt to vgchartz.com, which while not the most reputable source for numbers possible...there's no other sites that compile these sales numbers and figures, so we must work with what we have.  There have also been a lot of people mentioning "attach rates" when arguing the point that the GC version, while incredibly popular, was outsold globally on the PS2 by over a half-million copies.

See, here's my logical quandary: attach rates don't mean shit unless it's a first party-title on their platform.  You're not looking for attach rates in third-party development and publishing, just pure sales.  Attach rates aren't an indicator of success at all, because you can hit a 50% attach rate on a hundred consoles and fail miserably, as opposed to only hitting a 10% attach rate on ten thousand consoles and it being a much greater success story.




You make a game.  In this argumentative case, it's SoulCalibur II HD Edition.

You have the choice of selling it on three consoles:
You can do the port work for the 360, with a seventy-five million install base.  You can do another port for the PS3, with the same install base of seventy-five million.  You can do a third with the Wii U, which only has a current install base of around six million.  Now, true to the title of this blog post, let's crunch some numbers and see what we get when we take a closer look at gross hypothetical numbers.




Let's say that the third is a wild success, and one quarter of those system owners buy it.  That's a 25% attach rate.  Now, let's say that the consoles with the larger install bases sell one tenth (10%) on the 360, and one twelfth (12%) on the PS3.

That means that the game is selling more than twice as well on the Wii U than it is on the other two systems, and one out of every four system owners is picking up this game.  This also assumes that over 10 percent of all console owners will buy this game, and while it's incredibly unrealistic to assume this would be the case, for the sake of scenario let's go with it and see what we come up with.



Wii U: One million, five hundred thousand copies.
360: Seven million, five hundred thousand copies.
PS3: Nine million copies.


That's eighteen million copies in total.  That is insane success for a digital title, especially for a ten-year old fighting game given a facelift and online play.


But the question remains: will one quarter of all Wii U owners actually buy this game? Digitally? I highly doubt it (and I also doubt the success rate on the other two consoles as well), so skew those numbers to a more realistic and less generous level of success.  Let's assume that the Wii U has the largest take yet again, and the other two consoles are getting the crap beaten out of them in terms of that all-powerful "attach rate."


Let's set the bar here:
Wii U @ 13%: Seven hundred and eighty thousand copies sold.
360 @ 5%: Three million, seven hundred and fifty thousand copies sold.
PS3 @ 7%: Five million, two hundred and fifty thousand copies sold.

So, let's add up the total of the PS3 and 360, and compare that to the Wii U, since both of their attach rates by themselves don't crack double-digits, and when combined don't equal the Wii U's singular take.



  3,750,000
+5,250,000
-------------------
  9,000,000

Nine million copies sold.  Versus 780,000.  That's not even one tenth, and those are still incredible, fantastic, wildly successful numbers to be posting.  So, please understand that when this game drops, it's probably not going to sell nine million copies off the bat.  It will probably sell a fifth of that.  

And you can go ahead and apply the "fifth of that" rule to the Wii U version, as well.  Considering the development costs to make that happen, what soft of profit margin do you think there is to be made on such an expenditure?

Be honest, now.  Don't let your love for a manufacturer tint your perspective.


Why go through the work of coding and working with old assets to make a product that may not be worth the expenditure?  I mean, sure, if the other two are done and you can just work on it to complete the set, then yeah, why not?  But looking at the sheer numbers makes for a pretty compelling argument to do the exact opposite.  If the Wii U had a ten-to-fifteen million unit install base, I could see this being a thing.  But as of now, there's simply not enough there to warrant splitting attention span away from the other two system versions, considering that there's a vastly larger amount of money to be made by just focusing on those two platforms.


Attach rates mean absolutely nothing at all when the install bases are this disparate.  And they're not going to help anyone but the system manufacturers, which while it can indirectly help third-party publishers, it's not a requirement for them to move systems.  This ain't difficult math to do, and I hope this has shone some light on what the software sales business actually looks at from a third-party point-of-view.  Please take a cue from me and do the math yourself sometime.

Also, if you can find a better source to use than VGChartz, I'd really appreciate it if you'd fill me in on that.  I'm at a loss for the internet being good to me like that.   read


5:25 PM on 09.19.2013  

A Eulogy For A Man Behind The Ones Behind The Scenes



He was a man who changed more than a landscape.
He changed an entire world, was largely responsible for making an entire entertainment medium the force it is today, and on the same week a video game earns more money than any other entertainment release ever in a twenty-four hour period, we lose the man largely responsible for the current industry that it was released in. 

If Shigeru Miyamoto is the father of Mario and Zelda, Hiroshi Yamauchi is undoubtedly the one responsible for creating the universe in which they existed.  He is the being who made the platform possible, the driving force behind the entire company whose name is still spoken with loving reverence by all of us who hold controllers: Nintendo.  He was the driving force behind hiring the talent who created these characters and these systems that have provided us with joy and fun for the past thirty-plus years.  And our world is far more than a little bit happier for it.

Yamauchi-san, you will be deeply missed.  Your legacy reaches far more than your company's arms could encompass, and your echoes will continue to inspire this very young industry.

ご冥福を祈ります。   read


8:01 PM on 08.28.2013  

Community Interviews: The Way Things Usedtabe

Welcome to the second entry in the Community Interviews series!

You'll notice a slight tinge of formulaic formatting throughout these interviews as you read through them, and that is that there are repeated questions that every person must answer.  The reason for this is simple: those questions are what form the foundation of the interview.  Once those questions have been answered, other questions are asked that are tailored to respond to the answers given.  What you will be reading is the end result, conversationally compiled.

Without further ado, let's get started.

He's thirty-one.  He's a father of a four-year old that loves being adorable and attempting to kill squirrels with rocks.  He took the same path to Destructoid citizenship as he did with his wife - lurk and stalk for a few months, then jump in and never leave.  He's been here since 2006, and is one of the longest standing active members of the community.  He works with medical billing, and helps in getting people financially covered for things that insurance doesn't catch.  He is Destructoid's Lord Of The Gym And Protein And Shit.  And when he has a cold drink in his living room, he doesn't want to see it resting on the floor - he wants you show some damn class and USE DA TABLE.

Same as the previous interview, I sent him a questionnaire, he answered the stuff on it, I asked him questions about his answers, blah blah.  And I gotta say - he's living proof that brains and brawn can coexist harmoniously.

Give a warm welcome to our very own Usedtabe.




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What drew you to videogames as a hobby, and more importantly, what has kept you there?

I started as a five-year-old kid, after my parents divorced. My mom found a way to afford a NES for us (no easy feat for a single mother), and we played the hell out of it. From there it just grew and grew, moving onto the SNES and then the N64.  After that, I moved in with my dad around age 16. I quit gaming for a few years due to school, a 32-hour work week and working on our five-acre garden. I had spurts where I would game for a few months (Tekken 3 / Bushido Blade all-nighters where you reset the match clock because it didn't count past 99), but it was still a passing thing. 

It wasn't until I got injured from lifting that I really got back into gaming. Halo was the big thing, so I got an Xbox and had a blast. Fuzion Frenzy, Def Jam: FFNY and Dynasty Warriors games were my other jams. Got a Gamecube as well, and beat RE4 more than 20 times because it was so much fun. I think it really sunk in with the 360, though. Oblivion took my life, then Dead Rising, then Gears of War, which I played almost nightly for 2 years.  Gaming was a way to not think about being out of the gym and a stress relief from work as well. It was also a way to hang out with friends who now lived in other states, and due to online multiplayer it was a way to compete in something, even if winning never amounted to anything tangible. 

What keeps me here is the ruination of other entertainment by my love of video games. Don't get me wrong, I love movies, music and books, but none of those hold my attention like a good game. 


I find games to be in a unique position, where they can be the combination of all of these forms of media you just listed all at once - they can have the writing of a great novel, the cinematography of a great movie, musical compositions that transcend the time period they're released in and episodic plot delivery like a television show.  Because of this aspect, do you think that games are poised to make that turning point into becoming an entertainment medium that finally becomes far more than the sum of those parts?  Does it still have a ways to go, generally speaking?  Or have we already touched that level?

They have a long way to go in the writing department.  They're not even close to the level of books, and even lag behind most films.  But I do believe the interaction delivery will poise games to be the biggest of all the entertainment mediums.


Do you think that gap is able to be bridged with traditional storytelling mechanics, or will we have to find and employ new ways of effective storytelling due to the unique nature of the medium?

I think the possibilities are already there.  Some games have good enough stories for the medium, it's just that most don't.  If anyone really wants to compete with books and movies on story they have the idea of video games wrong.  The delivery is gaming's strong point, therefore the story needs to take advantage of the immersion games afford.  Don't try to be Hollywood or Twain, beat them with the tools available.


So it's more of a situation where you feel that the industry is trying their damnedest to slam that square peg into the round hole, then?  Like they're forcing something unnatural for the medium itself, and that creates the dissonance that prevents true immersion, which is something only games can provide on that level?

Pretty much.  Craft your great story but make it as fun as possible to enjoy through the interaction delivery.  And please never sacrifice the gameplay for the story.  I can't think of any situation where good has come of it. *winks at David Cage*





What do you consider to be the most important aspect of a videogame?

Gameplay.  I know a lot of people harp on story in games, and with a few gems like Bioshock and Dark Souls I can see their point, but overall the game has to be fun to play.  Other mediums tell better stories with better presentation, so I don't need that type of stimulation from a game, though I enjoy it when it's there. 


I would tend to agree.  Do you think that people make justified concessions when the gameplay is weaker for the sake of a stronger story or graphical showcase?  Or is it something where developers end up "cutting off their nose to spite their face," so to speak?

I think it's sad and almost pathetic to lessen the strongest point of gaming, which is gameplay, to tell a story or show off tech.  Last of Us seemed this way to me.  A great game, but it sacrificed a lot to tell its story.  The gameplay was predictable and became mundane before you even hit the half-way point.  You were just dragging along to get the rest of the story, not having any fun with the game itself, in my opinion. 


So your thoughts on the matter are as far as games are concerned, strong story means nothing if the ability to play through it is an afterthought, correct?  Do you object to QTE events as prescripted stopping points in setpieces, and if so, how would you like to see the narrative move towards something more naturally immersive?

Exactly.  I don't come to gaming to watch a story unfold.  I come to gaming to experience a story through interaction.  Cutscenes (when drawn out) and QTE's are lame as they take away the main reason for coming to gaming, the gameplay.  Pressing a button or sequence of buttons is not gameplay either.


Are you waiting for that era of true situational immersion? Are you looking for something with persistent effect due to actions undertaken, or are you looking for an ability to actually engage with the story as it's happening, instead of being presented to you with your position being one of an invisible observer?

Why can't we have both? 
But seriously, either is great.  I don't even mind being an invisible observer, as long as it's not too time consuming and threatens breaking the immersion of the game. For me, a lot of cutscenes shatter my sense of immersion. I'm drawn in and focused when I'm in control of the character, and as soon as I'm not, it jolts me back to reality.




Do you think that controversy (sexism, violence, etc.) helps or hurts the medium?

Hurts.  The idea that it makes the insdustry "grow" isn't wrong, but the assumption that "all growth is good" is wrong.  Controversy forces growth much in the way cancer does, it's unnatural and can kill it's host if left unchecked.


If it introduces a oft-neglected viewpoint or a stance left unconsidered, is the rabble-rousing worth it?  There's bound to be voices of dissent no matter what point gets brought up, and while some of them are grounded in reason, a vast majority of them are based in purely emotional reactions and cherry-picked facts and figures.  Are we better off with the point being left unstated and unresolved, or is the price worth it in the end?

I don't think so.  Those who find something lacking will create the things missing, that's the natural process.  Forcing creation for satiation is unnatural and leads to shitty games and shitty gaming culture.  It won't be left unresolved just because your tumblr social justice post wasn't highlighted by all of gaming media.  People will create and fill a need, just not on your timetable.


What need is being created and filled, and is that the right need?  Do we need to be looking at something else, something completely different than what people are usually bitching about?

The "we" is where I think gaming gets things wrong, at least in the current environment.  This is supposed to be an industry of art, individuality and expression yet we talk about things as if there should be some hive-mind who agree on certain principles.  So, no, I don't believe "we" should be looking at something else.  I believe "we" should step back a little and let creativity run it's course.


There seems to be a lot of hive-mind mentality these days in every facet of media...but then again, that also seems to be the way things have been for a long, long time - possibly forever.  Considering the power of the internet age, and the speed of sharing genuine information and also opinions disguised as facts, what would be necessary to break the hive-mind spell?  Is it a question of having a greater ability to critically think on an individual level?

Sometimes a lot of nerds just agree on the same thing.  There's nothing wrong with that, as long as we understand that agreement does not equal a force to change things.  Obviously, I'm not talking about stuff that needs to be changed like shitty business practices, but more subjective things like how a game should play or not play, along those lines of thought. 

Dead Rising is a perfect example.  A lot of people got their vaginas hurt because they assumed it was going to be a sandbox zombie murder game.  When it turned out to be a survival-horror-esque story driven game with some goofy elements to it, they didn't like that it had specific rules you needed to follow.  But what they didn't like is what set the game apart from anything else before it, or even after it.  The rules the game made you adhere to made it special.  You can see how when the formula was changed in Dead Rising 2 just a little to be more accommodating it wasn't near as unique or, in my opinion, enjoyable.  And this totally ignores the retarded nerds who never understood you could just ignore the story and you had your shitty sandbox zombie murder fest.  Anyone who believes a serviceable story can be delivered by just racking up zombie kills obviously never played the Wii port. 





Let's go outside of videogames for a moment - what's the most important thing in the world to you as a person?

My daughter, hands down.  That little shit-bird is a blessing.  Having a 3 year old scream at you to play Dark Souls because she likes it is something special.  I always thought I wouldn't want a daughter but now it's hard to want a child that isn't one.


Right there with you, dude - my daughter just turned two, and she begs me to play "headband man" all the time, which is her name for Street Fighter.  Let's dig into your personal life, if you don't mind - how has fatherhood changed you as a person?  I know that becoming a parent changes you, and it teaches a lot of people similar lessons, but no two adventures are anywhere close to being the same.  What have you learned from that ongoing process?

Patience.  A lot of patience.  Which is hard for an impatient man.  I've also learned why people care so much about their family.  Growing up I never understood the need for family due to shitty personal situations, but having one of my own hit me like a bag of bricks.  I also learned to become a sociopath, easily willing to trade a million innocent lives for my daughter if need be.


Well, here's hoping neither of us get put into that situation.  Again, not meaning to pry into super-personal territory (tell me that I am, and I'll strike this question), but what's the major difference between your previous family experience to the one you're creating now?  Does / did that experience forge your decisions and desires in the present?

When you come from a family that takes away your security at a young age, it's hard to think of "family" as being important. And certain sides of my family would rather compete against each other and help complete strangers than each other.  So seeing that a family can be a good thing and something to be nurtured definitely hit me hard.





I find that music is a fairly accurate baromter of an individual's personality. What music makes your day?

My tastes are so eclectic it's hard to pinpoint a certain piece or genre. One day it could be a Death-Metal-spliced-with-Hardcore-Techno song about licking shitty diapers or it could be something by the Ink Spots. Or Aphex Twin. Or any Acid Jazz. Or anything. My "mix" cds/playlists stretch that word to its boundaries. 


If you had to pin down one unifying quality between all forms of music that operates as a "love it / hate it" switch, what would that be?  What common factor do all of these forms of music share that keeps you interested?

Another hard question.  I don't have a "hate it" switch, because I find that just about anything I listen to long enough I start to like.  Except for Bruno Mars.  Fuck that bitchmade, white-knighting-wish-someone-would-throw-a-grenade-at-his-girl-to-save-us-from-him motherfucker.






Do you feel that the videogame medium is evolving, and if so, is it going in a positive direction?

The only evolution I see is from the Indie Market.  Everything else looks like it is cannibalizing itself and ready to implode at a moments notice.  I have no fear of this though, as a video game world without publishers doesn't scare me.  I welcome the Indie overlords and their crazy new game ideas. 


As crazy as it sounds, I'm right there with you.  Do you think that the underdogs will eventually take over, or do you think that the current corporate overlord culture will start feeding money to successful small fries in an attempt to buy their "magic formula?"  I see it happening all over the place now, and I can't help but wonder if even that will be turned upon itself by the bloated AAA publishing system in place - do you see some sort of Apubcalypse on the horizon?

They've already taken over in the court of public opinion.  I'm sure corporations will pull a Budweiser and start trying their own microbrew games, but it will only slow the fall.  But it's going to be a slow fall anyway, so no, I don't see any defining moment happening.  It'll be like making a statue, slowly chipping away at the shitty rock that is the industry until we have a nice work of art.


Do you see the current glut of freemium and casual / mobile titles to be evidence of this already taking place?

Not really.  But I do see them as where experimenting is going to help the older forms of gaming.  People like to take stock of the negatives of those two but look what it brought to the limelight: a gaming business where self-publishing is not only a possibility but the norm and publishers who control artistry from the safety of boardrooms and guaranteed salaries are the rarity.






If you said that someone just had to play a particular game before they died, what game would that be?

A game called "DON'T DIE". 

For a serious response, Dark Souls.  Praise the Sun and never go hollow, brother.


There's been a lot of people saying that in these interviews.  Seriously, it's like that answer is fucking rehearsed in a conspiratorial committee. The praise is evidently universal, but why does it stand out for you?  What keeps you coming back for more, even though it's an experience primarily designed to punish the player for even daring to pick up the controller?

Not saying that's a bad thing at all, but I'm curious as to why you chose that above anything else.

Because it's only designed to punish you if you refuse to follow its rules.  It's one of the few games out there where you cannot cheap your way out of everything by learning a few combos or moves and patterns.  It requires patience with every encounter.  It requires you learn its system.  It requires you to play the game and not just game the game. 

I chose it for a dying person because the lore. Death is going to come, but that doesn't mean you have to go hollow because of it.





With so many sites in existence, and the internet having no shortage of places to hang one's virtual hat, why Destructoid?

Because of the community.  I have a lot of people I consider friends here even though I haven't met most of them.  I wish I could say the content but the days of great originals and the "rebels of gaming" attitude seem to be long gone. 


How would you get that original feeling to return?  Is there some sort of magic formula or spice that is no longer present, an attitude, something intangible?  How can Destructoid get its groove back?

I don't think it can to be honest. The amazing talent that created that feeling has all been driven away or moved on.


Do you think that there's enough amazing talent latent in this community to restore what's been lost, perceived or otherwise?  Or is it that a particular time period passed and things are just too different now to ever go back?

I think there could be, but it would never be tapped in the current environment.  Dtoid is more worried about who it's offending and busy trying to please everyone so much that anyone with a different take on things would be maligned.  It doesn't help that the support for people who made mistakes or held an opinion not accepting of everyone isn't there.  If you don't fit the current narrative and ruffle too many feathers, you're gone. The Jim Sterling of the past would be fired on the spot today.


Why do you think that is?  Is this a "mo' money, mo' problems" scenario?  Or just the price that the site has to pay for rising to such levels of visibility?  Do you think there's a way to ride a line between publicly acceptable and unapologetically irreverent?

Definitely "mo' money, mo' problems."  No one's gonna hate on someone trying to make more money, I just hope or wish every other option was exhausted before trying to become another cookie-cutter gaming site.  Destructoid had big fucking balls and a huge "we don't give a shit" attitude for a long time. Now, it's all about the feels.


I'm sure there's got to be some sort of "code of conduct" that has to be followed in order for the mainstream gaming press machine to let you in the damn door.  Destructoid was really lucky that they broke in the way that they did, because now, shit is a whole lot more stringent and controlled, and perhaps that's not a good thing.  However, I'm fairly positive that the reason why Dtoid maintains the level of visibility and access they do is because they know when to bow.  With that said, is there any way of reconciling the two halves - the Destructoid of old and the Destructoid of now?  Can they truly not give a shit and walk around with those big fucking balls without someone trying to take shots at what may be an obvious weak point, and a sensitive one, at that?

Furthermore, can they go back to their old ways and still keep that press pass, and if not, should they continue on being safe or go pack to pushing envelopes, before someone else does and takes away what they used to do best?


I'm sure there is a way to carry the aura of the past and not piss off the advertisers who pay the bills.  I'm assuming that's what most of the current and coming changes (that I'm sure are happening) are going to be about.  The Dtoid of before didn't care that someone took shots at their brazen attitude.  I left Kotaku even though I was a "star commenter" twice-over due to being banned for behavior that was considered "more appropriate for the likes of Destructoid."  Now, look at the shit-hole that site has become due to them trying to accommodate everyone and everything. You can't talk about gaming journalism without Kotaku being the pussy at the end of the joke. 

I'm not on the inside, so I can't know for sure if they can go back, but I don't know why anything they did before would cost them their press pass now.  But, I am quite sure that some other place will take up the mantle they've left behind. This is the internet, we love our assholes. See Phil Fish.


Does Destructoid have the power to become self-sufficient?  By opening the floodgates to the community and asking for funding instead of relying solely on advertising, do you think this would encourage a higher level of, for lack of a better term, brutality in honesty?  Sort of like how you can watch a cop show on broadcast television, but if you watch the same show on HBO, shit is going to be, get and keep things at least 600% more real?  Do you think that they should look at the community as its true source of power in more ways than they already do, and if so, could it realistically work?  Is Dtoid on the verge of becoming on the lines of a Penny Arcade, something that could be basically sustained by its level of fandom and the dedication of its community?

Or, am I just talking out of my ass, and it's all going to go Kotaku 2.0?


Self-sufficiency is a gamble.  I would like to think the community could fund the site, but I also know plenty who wouldn't give a dime due to some of the changes that have been made over time.  As far as Dtoid looking at the community as it's source of power, I'm sure they already do to an extent. They used to do it more so than now, but Niero isn't dumb and I don't believe he would abandon us all in the hopes of more money.  However, the problem with all of this is that I'm answering questions with less than a full percentage of the details needed.  The site definitely feels like it's going into the Kotaku 2.0 area, but I could be very wrong and these new ideas they've been talking about for the community could be everything we've been wanting.  I'm still here, and so are some of the other "old timers," so we're obviously hoping for the best.


I'm glad you said that - here's my last question on the subject:

I understand that this place is a business.  People get paid here.  There is a form of livelihood for some, a place of solace for others, and advertising revenue makes it all happen.  With the desire to move away from that established model being vented in some form, would the community (or at least the portion who gave a shit about it, which I would imagine to be fairly significant) benefit from transparency of either the more or more often varieties?  Would a lot of these discussions become null and void if we just knew something that wasn't intensely debated over for a day, then dropped for at least a third of a calendar year?  Would more contact about these plans and more community involvement make for an easier pill to swallow?


Transparency only hurts when the deeds are sinister in nature, hence why the government doesn't like us knowing shit (lol).  I say yes to knowing what's in the works behind the curtain.  One only needs to remember the time Destructoid tried to rebuild the entire site as one unit and make their own forums to realize how bad something can be when it's just simply implemented, sight unseen, with no community feedback first. 





Is there anything you would change about Destructoid?  Anything you'd preserve at all costs?

I'd bring back Ron Workman. That man embodied community. He invented the NARP. He would visit random Dtoiders just to party with them. He was the attitude incarnate the site claimed to have. The only thing I would preserve is the forums. 


Do you believe the community to be fragmented due to its sheer size?  Is something like this impossible in scale, or should we all just be attempting to be the change we wish to see on this site?  Do you feel that this should be something we take into our own hands, or should we seek the blessing of the men at the mountaintop first?

I would say it would be something to take into our own hands, but unfortunately, the drive to be "everything for everyone" means it's not possible.  There are so many restrictions on everything now compared to then in an attempt to please everyone.  I hope it works out for them.




One last question: Who do you think you are?

An enigma playing a role.  Sometimes the role changes.


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