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5:05 PM on 08.01.2012

Mind = Blown Over Project Giana

Retro enthusiasts, a miracle is upon us. Gamers of all ages, pay attention. What do you get when you combine a retro game with music from both Chris Hulsbeck and Machinae Supremacy? You get one a huge bundle of awesome that I've been obsessing over non-stop since I heard about it. Really though, I'm excited.

It may have been easy to skip over this one because it's either before your time, or the better reason, it's simply a "Mario clone". Well, it is. It never tried to hide that, but it became something of it's own. Now take that all for what you will, for me it was mostly the music that dragged me in. Those C64 tunes are great! Now, for the game's twenty-fifth anniversary, Black Forest Games (originally Spellbound Entertainment), this game, with the help of a Kickstarter of course, will be released and be something that is definitely going to be something you want to get your hands on. The Kickstarter has had crazy progress already, and continues to grow.

Anyway, enough on all that, I'll include the video to likely explain it better than I did. Let's get to the game. The game will stay true to it's retro platforming greatness, but with a twist. Games obviously have evolved over time, and the twist is the transition between "Cutie" and "Punky" Giana. For those still wondering who Giana is, we shall just call her female Mario...except way cooler.

Giana has the ability to transform, and can do so at will. When doing this, the entire scenery and music changes instantly, or at least that's what I gather from the trailer. The changes made to the background are a dream world of sorts that Giana is going through. You go instantly from things looking cute and cuddly to dark and mysterious at the simple press of a button. On top of this, there will be a bit a strategy involved in the scene changes. With these changes, it will add depth to the platforming aspect of the game. Somewhere you jumped, clearly into the air in the cute world, may actually have a platform waiting for you to stand on when you instantly change to punk world.

Perhaps I'm making this sound like it's the first time it's done, and maybe certain aspects of it have been. However, I have a good feeling about this one, and I'm personally extremely stoked to get my hands on it and play it. As someone who believes a gaming experience is further enhanced by music, this game essentially takes two things I am passionate about and combines them into one. Words can't describe how excited I am for this game, but I sure tried. You don't have to take my word for it though. Check out the video below, and if that perks your interest, consider donating to the cause of this game through the Kickstarter link I will place below the video.

Minimum $10 gets you a DRM-Free (no worries PC Elitists) digital copy of the game for PC. The game will also have future releases on XBLA/PSN, but do you really want to wait? I don't! Just support the cause, you won't regret it, because let's be honest here. In a world where games cost $60 and not all of it is stellar material (looking at you Duke Nukem Forever) you spend a mere sixth of that for what I promise you is going to be a quality product.

Click here to see the trailer!

This post was originally featured on:

- Victor Max Vellon   read

10:57 PM on 07.13.2012

Next-Gen: Is Nintendo's Wii for U?

The question one needs to ask themselves when deciding if they want to purchase the WiiU is this. How willing are you to forget that Nintendo has this "flawless plan" of putting out great game, after great game, after great game? If you can forget that Nintendo isn't as perfect as they once seemed, and walk into this with an open mind, then by all means, with some fine tuning, I think the Wii U can turn out to be great.

Let's be honest here...Nintendo is not on the pedestal it once was, and I think they have even noticed this. Wii declined after the first two years it was released, and the latest 3DS didn't have such a great launch. Nintendo dropped the price of the 3DS and now has less focus on 3D, along with releasing a console in the future, which for the sake of this review or rant of sorts, I am going to call the Wii 2.0.

While the retro side of me wishes Nintendo would just do away with the motion stuff already, I found myself slightly confused, but mostly intrigued. My first experience with the Wii U was "Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition". Using the gadgets, as shown at E3, was pretty fun. At times, it became disorienting though. I think part of what will make or break the Wii U is people's ability to be able to make the transitions between what they are doing on the TV screen and what they are doing on the controller screen. Yes, I said controller screen. It's a tablet controller. Didn't you get the memo?

Going right into the controller...I honestly thought it would be heavier than what it was. To be perfectly honest, it was pretty light, and while that normally turns me off, it simply felt right. The controller was designed well. I will definitely give them that. This makes me happy, because I got used to the N64 controller, and really didn't like, but tolerated the Gamecube controller, and basically the same deal for the Wii, but this was mostly dependant on the game, and if it had me using both the Wii-Mote and Nunchuck or not. You can tell I'm mostly a retro guy.

Getting into retro...what to say. Donkey Kong's Crash Course, is a game I am terrible at. I will say though, as far as the whole motion aspect goes, this game does it well, and is a good way to practice with the technology and what it has to offer with "tilt motion". This is comparable to SIXAXIS on the PlayStation 3. With DKCC, I liked it, even though I was terrible at it. With Batman, I felt like I was playing a PS3 game, and it wasn't a "Ratchet and Clank" one. With those games, SIXAXIS actually works well. Instead, in Batman, I felt like the motion controlled more like most PS3 games with SIXAXIS that simply don't make the controls accessible enough to enjoy. Now it's not "Lair" bad, and perhaps this also a case of me being terrible, but it's something that would turn me off to a game, if at critical points, I have to experiment with motion controls.

In between these two things, my friend Jeremy and I were dragged into "Sing". I think that's what it was actually called. The things people listen to these days. I tried getting into it, but it wasn't my thing, so I payed more attention to how the game actually works. Lyrics for the singer on the controller, people dancing in the background, following both dance moves and singing lyrics on screen. Other directions would pop up for vocals too, but I didn't know what I was doing. Given VGHC's latest primary focus, every time the controller screen would tell me to "Hype the Crowd" or whatever it was, I would say "Get Hype!". The FGC is so gonna hate on me for this...

Anyway...moving along, I played New Super Mario Bros U. Won a competition with my friend Jon, while a mutual friend, Chris watched us smoke the competition. Jon played the main role, in control, and I played support. What I mean by support, is that you can have up to four people playing, but for the sake of the competition, it was one. You then have one other person who can make platforms to perhaps aid the player in...well...platforming. We won that. I won't say much more about Mario, because it controls as well as it always has, and there isn't much to explain about how a Mario game plays. If I have to explain this, you probably should just turn away right now, and reconsider your interest as a gamer, because clearly you've lived under a rock in the gaming world.

My final experience is where it's at. Batman is a action game as well, but the instructions on how to do things with the controller and look down, then look up, then look down, ect, took away from what likely be a more enjoyable experience, once I knew what I was doing. This experience I speak of, was Ninja Gaiden III. Now, I know what you all are thinking, but I gave the crappy game a shot anyway. I gotta say, perhaps the reviewers were a bit too harsh on it. This of course is talking about the other versions, but this one also controls differently. Now, I didn't use the tablet all that much, but what I did use it for was to swap between weapons, and doing that on the fly, without having to pause the game, or enter a menu to do it, was pretty awesome. You may be able to do this in the PS3/360 version somehow too, so don't quote me on that. I enjoyed myself, and made it further than I thought I would before suffering my inevitable death, but because of that is how I can tell they made the game easier, and turned up the blood and gore for show, making it overall weaker than the previous two Gaiden games, in my opinion.

The controls are good. The motion, takes getting used to...but all motion does. It's safe to say though, that while it will take getting used to, it's no Kinect, where if you don't have enough sufficient space, it flat out won't work. This event which is called the Wii U Experience, is just that, and describes better than words my overall feelings on the situation. Because I'm trying to make this a somewhat formal review or rant of sorts, I won't get into the many reasons I see this as being a real problem, but this goes back to how I started this whole rant in the first place. Let's take Nintendo off the "perfect" pedestal they were on before. They lost that some time ago. I look forward to seeing what this new experience has to offer, but furthermore, to see what the lasting effect would be. If I could, I'd go back, and try it all again. I would. The question is though, how many times would the consumer feel the way I do right now, before they put it down and dismiss it as a toy.

Hopefully, Nintendo has this thought out, and the Wii 2.0 doesn't suffer from what it's original model did. Also, some idea on what they are doing with the online service would be great too. Congrats guys, for finally getting with the times and giving us HD graphics, and a online network. This sounds great on paper, but if it doesn't deliver, I'm afraid Nintendo is in trouble. If E3 was a indication of anything, they have lots of stepping up to do, even with the good that they do have to offer, and the interest it can still spark. It all boils down to launch day, and the days before then, where Nintendo will have to prove quickly that they are in it to win it, otherwise we won't "get N, or get out", we will be telling N to get out. For now though, I'm pretty proud of my "Badge of Honor" and "Competition Mario Hat".

Original post with pictures here:

- Victor Max Vellon   read

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