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NoctisDragonGamer's blog

12:25 PM on 10.10.2012

Nintendoom: A Tale of Three Companies

*Dusts cobwebs away and shoos away spiders*

I’ll be the first to admit that at my gaming blog, whenever I can get round to updating it, there tends to be something of a Nintendo friendly vibe here. Anyone who read any of my one of few articles will notice that I do tend to favour the big N. Funnily enough, it’s not because of any sense of loyalty or devotion to the company (at least not entirely).

I can easily quantify what it is about the company that I like so much. I’m fan of many of franchises, which continue to be a high calibre and standard. I respect them as games designers and experience crafters (in much the same way I respect Valve). I also fully understand that Nintendo were a core part of my childhood and adolescence as they were for many other lucky children. That being said, I also fully understand how my relationship Nintendo is one of pure, cold, capitalistic business. They make products I want; I give them money for those products. I may express disappointment if the product is not up my standard, but then I am free to do what I wish with it.

That’s it. Nintendo aren’t my friend. I’m not going to get a “get well” card from them, nor am I going to get present from them on my birthday (unless it’s possibly part of a marketing scheme or a means for them to deal with some loose assets).

That all said, I do feel somewhat compelled to offer some defense for Nintendo, if only to offer a counter point to usual anti-Nintendo vibe of the internet. This industry, particularly its journalistic side, is not only brimming with double standards, but is also openly hostile to one of the most venerable and oldest companies.

There are also certain people who are never satisfied and seem sustained themselves on whining. Perhaps they were never cuddled enough?

Cast in point, Nintendo shows it’s committed to reaching all audiences with its new console. Yes, they’ll offer games to the “DREADED CASUALS” and the loyal Nintendo veterans, but now they’re trying to offer another kind of products to the gamers who might not like the company’s first party offerings like Zelda or Mario. That's perfectly fair right? In doing so, they try to address some of the major criticisms against them. So, they save a franchise like Bayonetta, put money behind it and support it and what do they get? People pissing, moaning, crying, and even death threats not only against themselves, but against the developer of game as well. Oh gamers...

Yet, I suppose a weak defense could be offered. If the internet is constant in one thing above all else, it is showing that video game fans can be incredibly stupid, illogical, and petty. But, at the end of the day, they are only fans. Many of them will either leave gaming when real life starts demanding they make tough choices, or grow up when they realise they were acting like children (optimistic, I know). And for those who don’t, may I offer you this cyanide coated biscuit?

However, while the fans could be excused, the same defense may not be offer to the “professional journalists” of this medium. I’ve lost count of the number of articles that claim Nintendo is doomed, or that the company should go third party, or that because the company's stock dropped they are doomed to be like Sega.

Much like creationists and other religious zealots, no matter how much evidence keeps pointing to the contrary, they march onward, wearing ignorance as badge of honour. It’s got the point where fans of Nintendo, having become so used to seeing such articles, have begun to openly mock them, ironically throwing the “Nintendoom” around in comments or saying “Nintendo, doomed since 1987”. Even Sterling, and a lot of Destructoid, laugh at this mantra.

That is what I want to focus on for this entry in my often neglected blog. However, in doing so, I will also be looking at Sony and Microsoft, partly so I can attempt to put industry as a whole in context, but also point out the hypocrisy of apparently “respectable” and “honest” gaming sites.

Before I press any further I’d like to offer a warning for the sensitive fans of Sony. This article is going to point out a lot of unpleasant facts about your brand. I would ask you to be mature, to approach your favourite company in much the way I do with Valve and Nintnedo. However, if all you’re going to do is screech, cry, pound your greasy fists on your keyboard, may I propose the radical idea that you leave?

Keep in mind, I’m not criticising anyone for preferring a certain brand or product (unless it’s a Michael Bay movie) over another. If you like Microsoft over Apple, or Sony over Samsung, or Valve or Bethesda, that’s no skin of my teeth, but I would ask that don’t you scream like a howler monkey when someone offers fair and reasonable criticism (that also applies to Nintendo fans).

With that all said, let us begin. A few weeks backs, Nintendo finally unveiled the price of the Wii U. Predictably the gaming pressed did what it did best, immediately nay say Nintendo’s latest product. In his article entitled “The Wii U Melt Down” writers Mike D begins his piece with a line I think basically summarises where most of the gaming press stands in regards to Nintendo –

“I suppose it was inevitable.”

The article in question then goes on to detail some of the head scratching complaints against the system, with my personal favourite being Slash Gear claiming that because the games on the Wii U now cost $60, you shouldn’t buy it.

“Chief among those concerns is how much the Wii U’s games will cost. Nintendo has said that its console will have about 50 games available to customers between launch day and the end of March, and it has even said that a new Super Mario game will be available, but those titles will cost $60.

[i]That’s a problem. Nintendo customers have been conditioned to pay less for games for the last two generations.

(Noctisdragon: Really? Though it’s been a while, I’m pretty sure my Gamecube games were the same price as Playstation 2 games. Speaking of which, does anyone remember how expensive N64 games were?)

Now they’re paying the same as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 customers for graphics that really don’t seem all that much better than what we’ve seen to this point? That’s a problem if I’ve ever seen one.”[/i]

Let’s not dwell too much on this boneheaded statement, or fact that it doesn’t make a lick of sense, instead let’s move onto some wonderful cherries of gold from IGN.

[i]“Mitch Dyer, Associate Editor says Nintendo’s done little to win me over in the last six months. Everything about Wii U so far has been predictable. It’s hard for me to get excited about another Mario game, charming and entertaining as they always are, because they do very little to shake up the gameplay. Third-party stuff like ZombiU is interesting, but hardly alluring when Xbox 360, PS3, and PC have considerably more games I’m interested in.

This week's big press conference did two things: First, it convinced me the Wii U finally has substance; second, that I absolutely won’t be buying one. Oh, and theTekken characters look awesome in Mario costumes.

Greg Miller, Executive Editor of IGN PlayStation says - Zombie U is a really cool survival game, The Wonderful 101 looks like this DC Comics fanboy's cup of tea, and Wii TVii's live sports integration seems interesting. All of that is cool, but not $300 cool

(Noctisdragon: but a console, which you’re the editor of news for, retailing at $599 on its launch wasn’t a problem, right?).

I'm letdown with this price point. Nintendo has been so guarded about Wii U information, but what has leaked out hasn't been the best buzz builder -- the machine is only slightly more powerful than the PS3 and 360, so when Sony and Microsoft's new consoles come out next year, this will already be an out of date system.

(Noctis: Because you have the specs of those systems and can make such a claim, right?)

When the Wii was announced, I was floored, hooked, and ready to pick my console up at its midnight launch. But as the years have gone by and I've seen my Wii age into a PS3 controller charger, I've lost my Nintendo faith. It's a great company with amazing exclusives, but it's not one that speaks to me. The Wii U is going to sell and Nintendo fans are going to love it, but I'll wait for the inevitable price drop and Mario Kart, Mario Golf, or Zelda.[/i]

An interesting point of note about this article is that the editor for Nintendo on IGN tweeted

“There’s also this Wii U opinion article, in which many of my co-workers predictably act insane.”

Now you might, rightfully, point out that these are just opinions. You know what? I can buy that... to a degree. Look, healthy scepticism, backed up with reasonable data, is one thing, but these comments reek of genuine bias, from apparent professionals within industry. Most of these comments, opinion or no, smack of excuse making. I also have to wonder... what if this was the new Microsoft machine, would we be seeing the same kind of comments?

In fact, when Nintendo unveiled the Wii U and its tablet controller most of the gaming expressed their “professional scepticism,” many dismissing it as a “gimmicky”. However, when Microsoft unveils something like Smartglass, then there isn’t quite the same scepticism within the professional circles.

Even Sony's Move and Kinect were met with more positive buzz then the Wii was. It's worth remembering the Wii was openly mocked and spat upon by large sections of the gaming press; remember when Gamespot wrote that satirical article where they claimed the Wii would be a runaway hit? Incidentally, the editors of Gamespot learnt the meaning of irony that day.

That’s the thing that gets to me, and one of the reasons I tend to write largely pro Nintendo articles. Perhaps it’s just me, but there does seem to be an insidious undercurrent behind a lot of story regarding Nintendo, a desire to see them fail.

Now, let me just stress that I do fully understand that the word “bias” is often thrown around without any real substance. Having said that, I do feel in Nintendo's case it’s a little hard to shrug it away.

As I've already mentioned, within the press and community, there seems to be a rather curious fantasy where Nintendo collapses and becomes 3rd party like Sega. Let's look at another example of this.

When the 3DS encountered slow sales and had to be given a price drop, there was almost a savage glee within certain strata of gaming journalism. IGN wrote an article claiming that history says the 3DS is doomed. They weren’t the only ones.

However, surprise, surprise, Nintendo recovered and is now selling the unit at a profit. Furthermore, the software library for the 3DS has become more robust, and even its online service is getting some strong titles.

What is interesting to note, in contrast to this, is that Sony own portable, the Vita, is currently selling below expectations, yet the press seems very reluctant to run articles in the same manner that they did with the 3DS. It was something that Kotaku’s Domini N pointed out, prompting him to write an article asking that very question.

On the topic of Sony, this is the part of article I have feelings of trepidation for. I feel I should state for the record that I, unlike certain Nintendo and Microsoft fans, don’t take any pleasure in seeing Sony in its current state. Nevertheless, facts are facts, and its somewhat hard to ignore the elephant in the room, especially when it stumbles in drunk and starts swearing at you. In her article entitled “The Ten Year Decline of Sony”, Emily Rogers explores the problems that the company is facing. All in all, it’s pretty bleak reading all around, but there are interesting pieces of info in there, such as -

Since total assets include everything that Sony owns (cash, buildings, divisions, intellectual property, etc.)…Sony would have to sell over 80 percent of their total assets (Total Assets = Every single thing Sony owns including cash) just to pay off their total liabilities.

As I said, I find that quite sad, and I don’t relish such news, however, this does beg the question, where are all the articles asking if Sony's games division should go third party? Where are journalists wondering if Sony IPs such as Killzone, Uncharted, God of War and Little Big Planet should be appearing on Microsoft, Apple, and Nintendo products? In fact, why are there not more stories on sites like IGN and Gamespot wondering about Sony's future?

By contrast, Nintendo's own finances are in better shape, pretty impressive, considering that they are company dealing only in games. With £6.7 billion sitting in the bank, and little to no debt, they’re in a better position than Microsoft’s gaming division, considering that Nintendo is making a profit on their hardware. Yet, the nay saying and insistence that they should go third party continues.

As it happens, Iwata had predicted that the beginning of the next fiscal year will be rough for the Nintendo, simply because of the how expensive the Wii U will cost to manufacture. Keep in mind, they’re still making a profit on the system, just not a massive one. However, I can bet that within a few months of the Wii U’s launch, or at the first sign of sales slow down, we’ll see the articles saying Nintendo is doomed, blah, blah, blah, same old story, same old song and dance, my friend.

Now, contrary what you might think, none of the above means that I think Nintendo should never be criticised, or is somehow above criticism; not at all. Like every corporation, Nintendo should be examined and scrutinised. If they screw up, or pull a huge anti-consumer move, then they should be called out and held accountable for it. I will also acknowledge that many Nintendo fans need to get a clue and realise that Nintendo is not their buddy, nor should they delighted in the news of Sony's difficulties.

There are plenty of genuine points that can be made against Nintendo. Its 3DS software at launch was tepid. It might have been wise for Nintendo to consider creating some new “core” (for lack of a better word) IPs for the Wii. Also, they should have done more to counter the droughts that Wii owners were met with (though lazy 3rd parties can also be blamed for that one), and not localizing games like Xenoblade, Last Story, and Pandora's Tower was stupid.

Furthermore, there are some reasonable concerns for their new console. A lot of 3rd party titles seem like quick and dirty ports, with token touch pad gimmickry thrown in. It would also be fair to wonder how well Nintendo will handle its online service. Also, companies like Bethesda and 2K saying they’re not interested in the console (at least at the moment) doesn’t help and does throw shadow over whether or not Nintendo has done enough to woo the 3rd parties.

All of that is true, and even reasonable, but baying for the company’s blood, and ignoring its software and hardware, and meeting its efforts to take its critics head on with cynicism you will not show to others, is, particularly if you’re a paid gaming journalist, just disingenuous and foolish.

I guess what I would like it for people to be a little more even in their approach. Don’t be so quick to dismiss, or turn your nose up. I mean, I can’t be only one that gets tired of hearing “Nintendo is doom” right? Look console wars are kinda of cute when you're six to twelve years old, but when in your twenties and thirties, perhaps you need to consider your life choices?

There is reasons for doubt for Nintendo's new machine, but it's far to early to honestly tell.

Regardless of what the future might hold, I’m still getting the system (Zombi U pack, with Mario in case you’re wondering), and I’ll enjoy it and I hope you will to.


8:49 AM on 06.28.2012

Let's Compare Project Zero/Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly

Hey, can you guess what came in the post today? Well, I would hope so considering you read the title. So, I'm now the proud owner of Project Zero 2: Wii Edition. I much as I would like to own the 4th game, this is still a fantastic treat from Nintendo and Temco and will sit nicely along side my copy of Shattered Memories, Obscure 2, and, I guess, Resident Evil 4.

This was actually my introduction to the series. At the time me and best friend were going through a massive obsession with horror games, which I'd always enjoyed anyway (Resident Evil 2, Dino Crisis, and Silent Hill in particular), so when saw this with it's cover we were curious and brought it - or rather I brought it and my friend came over that night.

You two are going to haunt my dreams aren't you?

My god, it was glorious. Genuinely scary, fantastic atmosphere, great and engaging story that makes you want to keep pressing on, with some nice twists. However, it did have issues, overly dark environments, very stiff controls (even by survival horror standards), confusing level design, which wasn't helped by the fix environmental camera, and some bullshit puzzle which had you pressing X on everything before you found the right item to solve it.

So, anyway, now Nintendo (whom it turns out actually co-owns the right to the franchise) has released the Project Zero 2: Wii Edition. I was thought, since I had it a day early, it might be fun to go through it and see how it compares to the original. How does this remark improve (or perhaps ruin) the Playstation version. So, consider this another test blog - so without any delay - enjoy this read!

Project Zero 2 Compare

Playstation 2/Nintendo Wii

Cover art – Playstation version is better, simple and striking. It’s ominous and intimidating – those twins freak me the fuck out! The Wii version and generic and boring – poor show designers! Japanese version isn’t too bad, but that’s only because it comes in a black box – speaking of which – where the fuck is the special edition version? You let me down Nintendo! That all said, the back of the box has a terrifying face staring at you – which is freaky – remember that pant-wetting scary cover of the Japanese ring? Sort of like that.

best cover, hands down Striking and unnerving!

Come on guys, you can do better than this!

Not bad, but not great either.

Manuals (fuck you, manuals are awesome!): Nice and full in the Playstation version, with 19 pages for the English instruction. The Nintendo version is sparse, but coloured. From a presentation and layout stand point, Wii is better. From a content stand point – Playstation version is better – though it does give some minor spoilers – bad Playsation!

Wii version of the game has a new mode, the Haunted House Feature – that’ll be fun :P

Graphics /Presentation

• FMV Playstation has an odd glow over the faces and screen – too bright, with a weird haze quality – some might prefer it this way, but for my money is give an odd, surreal quality to the game, rather than offering a contrast.

• FMV Wii muted, looks natural, no flitters. Animation is also much better. The contrast has effect when you enter the Village.

• Nintendo version breaks the game into chapters with a style not too dissimilar from Resident Evil 4. Playstation version has a little title appear in the lower left hand corner.

• Text boxes are presented in the same way.

• Little prompt telling you the name of each house for the Wii version, which is a nice touch considering how much back tracking there is.

• First major cut screen is much grainer and the dirtier on the Playstation version. I prefer it that way, Nintendo version is a little too clean and crisp. Also, the Playstation version has fantastic shot of the Mayu’s face as she having the version. Half her face is covered in shadow, save for her eye which it far more striking. This is work really well and comes across as quick unnerving. Good stuff.

• As far as character animation goes Nintendo Wii version wins hand down. It’s the little touches, like seeing Mio and Mayu drawing her arms around herself and slightly crouches in a fearful motion. Facial animations are also better, conveying more emotion – you can see when the characters are scared. The character movements are also more natural, giving a great juxta-potion to the unnatural movements of the ghost, making them feeling more intimating.

Game Play

• Oddly the camera zooms in really closely to the player character on the Wii version, thankful this is fixed when you start moving. Still odd mind. Scratch that – Camera is control by the point. Moving it up or down with adjust the position. Actually, this grants an excellent level of depth and freedom when scanning the environments. Definitely a plus.

• Opening door in the Wii version requires you to make a little motion as if you were opening the sliding door. Oddly enough though, this really affective. There is a feeling trepidation as your character places her hands on the door and waits for you to open it. Because of the excellent sound design you can hear something on the other side. I can’t really put this into words, you need to play it to understand it. On the Playstation version, you press the button and that’s it – it’s a disconnected motion. Not so on the Wii version. I think I can put it best like this. Happy Video Game Nerd once said

“A great horror movie is when you shout at screen – “What are you fucking doing? Don’t go in there! A great horror game makes you realise you have to go in there!”

That’s what this game does, but that little detail of physical movement from you, it suddenly has so much more impact. However, if you think this might get tedious, you’d be wrong. Once it’s been done once, then it will automatically open. It’s the first time that game smile and waits for you. Fan-fucking-tastic.


• So far the voice acting for the Playstation 2 version is much better, sounds more natural

• Lip synching off on both versions.

• Voice acting much better in Playstation version.

• Music and sound is stellar on both version, really helping create a creepy and tense atmosphere. Hearing the soft frighten cries and whimpers in the house is genuinely unsettling and creepy; the Wii version seems to slightly more presence in the sound department but not by anything major.

• Seriously, the sound design in the Wii version is fantastic, so very oppressive and foreboding.

Intro and Game Mechanic Conveyance

• Instruction prompts on the Nintendo Version, giving you a run through the basic controls. You have new moves, including the ability to side step. A flick either the remote or nunchaku will cause your character to turn 180. The controls in the Wii version are, unsurprisingly better, offering more control. On the Playstation, square and triangle are the only real buttons compares prior to getting the camera.

• Because of the over the shoulder view, it much easier to see where you are going, moving path finding not as tedious.

• The Playstation screen is too dark – making it very hard to see things. No prompts what so ever, must press the buttons and find out how the game works.

• Nintendo Version has a save point at the beginning and a prompt to tell you pick up. Do think a prompt is needed, considering the object glow should be enough indication that it is of interest – still this is but a minor gripe. Playstation plays a small ingame cut screen. Oddly in the Playstation you find a handbag with the news paper cutting inside. In the Wii game you find a news paper cutting and no handback.

• Playstation environments are very, very dark – it’s a very hard to see anything.

• News paper cutting click in the Wii version is 2 text boxes, Playstation 2 has 2, but they are separated into two sections with an image of the cutting as a dividing point. Here is what they say –

Wii: - Newspaper Cuttings – P1

Fears Mount for Missing Surveyor

Concern was growing yesterday for a surveyor who appears to have gone missing while visiting the proposed site for the Mizukami Dam.

Masumi Makimura, 26, is believed to have gone to survey historical landmark die to be flooded by the construction of a dam. It is now five days since he was last seen.

Wii: - Newspaper Cuttings – P2

The search for Masumi Makumura (26), the surveyor who has been missing since the 4th, was abandoned yesterday. Yesterday marked the ten days since Mr Makimura went missing while surveying the proposed site of the new Mizukami Dam.

Playstation 2 – Newspaper Cutting 1 –

With start for All God’s Dam approaching, Masumi Makimura (26), a geological surveyor dispatched to the area, has gone missing. Mr Makimura went to the area to investigate the site that would be submerged once the dam was built, but hasn’t been heard from for five days.

Playstation 2 – Newspaper Cutting 2 –

The Search for Masumi Makumura (26), the surveyor who has been missing since the 4th this month, came to a close yesterday. Mr Makimura had been helping to conduct a deological survey for All God’s Damn. As of yesterday, he has been missing for the ten days.

After reading these papers extracts you get a picture of a couple, which the Playstation version identifies as “Couple” the Wii Version Indentifies them as a “Young Couple”

• If you leave the game, Wii version, running and not do anything you get a cool little static effect over the screen. Same with the Playstation version. Once you’ve entered the village you’ll get a freaky face appearing and disappearing. In the Playstation version is a women face staring briefly at you. In the Nintendo version you get glimpses of what looks like the face from the original Project Zero box.

• Another prompt from the explaining the menu. Bring up map toggle by pressing, brings up the menu by pressing -.

• Playstation version by pressing triangle for menu and select for map.

• Slight Dialogue chance after reading the extracts, nothing too major though.

• When character sees a scare sight, a slight static filter goes over the screen. If this increases, similar to Eternal Darkness and their sanity effect, I don’t know.

• More Dialogue chance – so far, Playstation dialogue and script seems better.

• Playstation has fantastic atmosphere, but Christ I had forgotten how hard it was to see... anything. These environments are darker than Eric Cartman’s soul!

• Osaka house, Wii version has a new cut screen.

• Wii atmosphere is also very good and it’s also nice to be able to see where I’m actually going. Actually, I never how nicely designed this house was on the Playstation version, but I guess that’s fixed cameras for you.

• Difference again, in Playstation version you find “Women’s Notebook 1” in the main room for the Osaka house. Not so in the Wii version.

• The touch is found really early on Wii version, this should be very helpful – in fact, it used to find
hidden items. Considering some of the later puzzles in the game, this could add a nice dimension. Touch is found with the Camera on the Playstation version. However, I still got there yet, meaning more dark environments for me – how the hell did I navigate these levels way back when? Curse you fixed environment camera, CURSE YOUUUUUUU!!!

• Enter new room on Wii version, new prompt. Investigating Objects – press A to Investigate curious points! Oh really? I’m glad you’re here to tell me these things – because, you know, it’s not like it’s fucking obvious. A little common sense dear designers, it’s all I’m asking – I’ve been pressing A to interact with objects – in fact there is no read why you couldn’t have had this prompt when I was back in the forest and found the new paper cuttings.

• Okay, find designers you win! So this is a little bizarre. Turns out you have to hold A and watch the character reach out for the object. This might seem odd, but given the animation, I have a suspicion that this will be used later on to try and make me jump – geez, looking forward to that!

• Find Woman’s Notebook 3 – slight chance in what’s written but nothing too major.

• Find I can investigate a mirror in the Wii version. Sure enough, I was right. Actually, to the games credit, this does form tension really nicely. Again, I have to give props to the excellent sound direction.

• In the Wii version, we get a brief cut screen. By this I mean, we see one of the ghost pass in front of us. The character stops and back off, slightly. We have no control here. That might sound annoying, but it really isn’t. Mio and Mayu are scared. If you were in a cursed village I highly doubt you’d be rushing forward to investigate that apparition. Okay, perhaps you would if you Jonathon Holmes – but that’s only because there is nothing in existence that will want to hurt Holmes – he’s too nice!

• Hmm, okay, this is odd. Go to a door where Mayu said she saw a figure go into the room (see above). Rather than flee madly in opposite direction, I go to investigate. However, I get the hold A prompt? Perhaps, it’s because I know there is something there? Too early to say yet, but it’s an interesting choice.

• Door opens to reveal that.... nothing is there – however, I’ve played and beaten this game in the past so I know what’s coming next...

• Playstation version get stuck behind Mayu and can’t more, talk about annoying. Find herbs and camera. Jesus Christ on a Raptor is it dark – I cannot see for shit. I have to say, this was biggest compliant when I played it way back when and I’m glad Nintendo and Temco have fixed this problem, while retaining the important atmosphere.

• On the Wii version I enter the room and have cut scene play also immediately. However, this might be wrong. Since I’m writing this as I play it, both games at once, I’m having to pause the Wii game and take it to the home menu (static get annoying when you trying to write). Once I continued, the game seemed to think I was still holding A down – so it’s possible that that’s what triggered it. Cut scene was great and dramatic. I now have the Camera Obscura –Bring it ghoesties!

• Finally get free from Mayu on the Playstation version find Touch and Camera together (thank you!) cut scene play. Little change in dialogue, nothing major. But once again, the grainer and dirtier look of the Playstation game seems better – but I’ll agree that’s a subjective point – some might prefer the Wii cut scenes. Anyway, find herbs and Lady’s Note Book V.

• Camera controls are easy enough on the Playstation, press Circle, get into focus then tap R1 or X depending on which you prefer. Time to rumble with our first Ghost “The Door Lady!”. One snap dead.

You're going to be complete bitch, aren't you?

• I may now leave the room and Mayu says the smartest thing she’ll say all game, “Let’s get out of here!” – No shit Sherlock, do you have any other profound revelations for me? No? Okay then.

• Camera controls are bit odd for the Wii. Okay, see if can follow this. Hold B to bring Camera up, so far so good, use Wii point to move up and down, sounds standard. Okay to turn the Camera left or right, you need to use the analogue stick on the nunchuka. However, this is also how you move your character backwards and forward in Camera mode. Again, not a deal breaker just a little odd. Let’s see how that holds up. Tangle with the ghost (again the graphic are much, much, much better in this game). So is the interface for the camera. I can also hold Z to have lock on, smart choice by the designers there.

• Damn these whispers and this eerie are annoying as I'm writing right this... Hold on a second. Why is it still playing this music and those creepy whispers? I killed the ghost....


Yep, you're a complete bitch.

• Ghost goes down with 2 shots. Fuck you Nintendo, that was mean, but well played at the same time! So you’re ghost encounter is changed. Bastard.

•Here is a good place to end I think.

Well there you have, seems Nintendo and Temco are serious about this remark. So far it’s very good. The controls feel fresh, the environments are much better and easier to navigate. Combat also feels nice and hectic. However, this only the beginning, what about those diaries I’ve been finding? Hmm.

If people want more of these kind of blog regarding comparing this remark to the original let me know and I’ll continue. In the mean time I hope you’ve enjoyed this. Till next time dear reader.   read

12:21 PM on 06.25.2012


*blows off the cobwebs and dusts down the blog*

Recently Reggie Fils-Aime stated that he felt that gamers were “never satisfied” citing the reaction from the Nintendo’s E3.

Without going too much into details, I tend to mostly agree with Reggie on this issue. Nintendo fans, and gamers on a whole, are extremely bias (myself included of course), often highly irrational, and displaying the uncanny ability of totally missing the point on any given issue. They are also overly self-entitled, whiningly obnoxious, fantastically hypocritical and contradictory – okay, okay, I’ve made my point.

I touched upon this with my, totally mature, parody of Nintendo fans in a past blog post. Of particular note was my exasperation of the Nintendo fan bemoaning the lack of Zelda, despite having only been given a game last year. I can only conclude they must be suffering from a tragedy case of JRPG Amnesia, in which case we shouldn’t make too much fun of them.

Having said all this, putting aside my fangs and venom, it doesn’t mean that I don’t kind of get where the fans are coming from. I have a few things I’d like to see Nintendo do. I have a few demands that could be seen as unreasonable. The fact is, even if you are proud member of team N, you can deny there the thing the company does that are, well, shitty.

No, I’m not talking about daring to show things like Wii Fit or Brain Training at a trade show with their inventors watching (my god, it’s almost as if they’re a business!). The people who complain out those things are idiots – that’s a fact. The world of gaming does not solely revolve around you fictional gamer, and your tastes.

So, what are some of my demands from Nintendo? Well, conveniently, I’ve spend a few hours thinking and jotting down some things I’d like from Nintendo. These are my demands – eh, I mean – requests.

1: Grant more creative freedom to your studios and Designers. Without a doubt Nintendo has some of the finest and best creative minds and talents in the industry. They have a wide catalogue of IPs, many of which are gold standards of their genres. That all said, that doesn’t mean that they minds and talents should always be working on the same games. I’ll concede that not every one of them is mad genius like Miyamoto, but it would great if Nintendo wasn’t so constraining. For example, take this segment from Industry Gamer’s interview with Zelda Director Eiji Aonuma.

IG: Speaking of the personal side, do you wish at times that you could work on something other than Zelda? You’ve been sort of the go-to guy for the Zelda franchise for a long time now. Do you have a creative desire to maybe work on a brand new Nintendo franchise?

EA: Yeah, the truth of it is I always want to work on something new. It just turns out that as I’m coming up with these ideas along the way, I realize, “Y’know, this could really work on aZelda game.” And it sort filters back into it and in the end, we come back into another Zelda project. So in some ways, it’s a bit of a challenge for me personally that Zelda ends up becoming this pool of my ideas and it keeps absorbing the ideas I have and they get integrated back into Zelda games. But that’s just sort of the way it’s flown for me.

It would be nice if Nintendo would allow Aonuma and people such as him to develop these new ideas. Sure, one of the reason Nintendo games are usually as polished and complete as they are is because of how efficient Nintendo runs its business, but that doesn't mean every idea has to go into an existing property.

The one of the left has lots of freedom, why not the one on the right?

2: Be more willing to take chances with franchises. This sort of ties back with point one, but there is a difference that needs to be addressed. Before I go any further, let me state that there are few in this industry that are willing to innovate to the level and depth of Nintendo. In an industry where shameless ripping off is all too common place (Hiya Sony, how the hell are you, you little rascal?), it’s refreshing to see a company trying to push the envelope, seeing what can be done with gameplay and mechanics.

Sure, they stick with beloved franchises, but each game within that franchise has something distinctive about it, particularly from a mechanics stand point. Majora’s Mask is a very different experience to Windwaker and Twilight Princess, and Mario 64 is a very different experience Sunshine and Galaxy.

Now granted there is familiarly there, so if you’ve played it before you can jump right in, but there always something new to learn – a new way of interacting with the game, and I’m not just referring to motion controls.

So what do I mean by take chances? Well, I’m talking about taking chances from a narrative and setting point. Now, don’t misunderstand me, the last thing I would want is Nintendo to become “hardcore” and “mature” as prescribed by hugely insecure and childish individuals who have yet to understand what irony means. No, I don’t want that, but I would be willing and wanting to see Nintendo expand their characters and flesh them out.

To be fair, we began to see this with games like Other M, Pandora’s Tower, Xenoblade, the Last Story, and Skyward Sword, which had a more complex narrative than previous instalments and other Nintendo games. But I’d like to see Nintendo explore it more.

Now, I’m sure many of you would rightfully point out and cite games such as the Mother series and odd ball games like Majora’s Mask for past efforts. While you are absolutely right, let’s not kid ourselves, those titles are few and far between, and they’re really not on the same narrative level as say, the Ultima games (particularly Warriors of Destiny) or Deus Ex. I would like to see Nintendo go further with such things, and not withdraw their hands because of fanboy whining.

Perhaps explore concepts in style and setting to something akin to Grim Fandango or Beyond Good and Evil or Okami or Portal. Those are the kind of games that would be right house with Nintendo’s “games everyone can play” image.

If you have a new idea in the work, don’t feel as if you have to staple Mario, or Kirby, or Fox McCloud into it because you’re afraid it’s not going to sell.

I would like a balanced Nintendo, a Nintendo that can give good, unapologetic fun games like the Mario RPGs, Mario Party, Kirby and most the games into Nintendo’s considerable library. But I also like to start seeing games that seemed more in line with the likes of Terranigma or games by Ico.

Yeah, I love Fire Emblem, Golden Sun, Eternal Darkness, the Advance War series, Mario RPG/Paper series, and of course the Earthbound/Mother series.

Be a bit more like Valve, just without the whole not releasing games part.

Yes, I mad, I very, very, mad!

3: Release Earthbound/Mother. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen this begged and pleaded for. Really there is no reason to not release these games. Earthbound is translated, so is the first game, and the 3rd game, thanks to the dedicated team of fans. Why don’t you, pay those fans for their hard work, which would net you some great PR, and release the games. Mother 3 had an excuse when it was first released, however, with 3DS’s online store that excuse no longer holds up. Speaking of releasing games...

Do want, god I want.

4: Stop being so damn stingy about your overseas releases. I’m not just referring to Operation Rainfall, but to titles like Project Zero 4, Mother 3 (though I do sort of see your point on that), and Monster Hunter G. Those are just some of the titles that spring to mind, I know there are more.

Want... again.

I know video games are a business, but it's unreasonable to ask and expect every single game to million seller (or five million seller – EA). Also, sometime good will is worth more than money. People still talk fondly about Eternal Darkness, and games like Psychonauts and Baten Kaitos still have their fans, and let’s not get started on Atlus and Xseed’s catalogues. Even if the game is just a released on a limited run, with some advertisement, that fact you released those games and gave them a chance is worth something...

A great, but sadly largely forgotten, RPG from the Gamecube era.

Having said that, they did release charming and imaginative games like Little King Story, Sky Crawlers, Fragile Dreams and Lost in the Shadows, games which few people bothered to buy... hmm, on reflection I’m starting to see Nintendo’s point of view... hmm...

Be honest, now, how many of you brought and supported this game? Or Zack and Wiki?

Okay, let’s try this. If there is an audience demanding the game, as in the case of Mother 3, Project Zero 4 (Fatal Frame 4), and Pandora’s Tower (for you guys in the states), then release it, even if it can only be purchased through your website. Sure, you might lose some money, but the very fact that you listened to your consumer's request and provided them a service will often net good will point. Also, if you’d prefer it in my business way, it’s great PR.

Well, I think that’s enough for now, I’m sure I have more demands think that’s enough for the time being. I don’t want to seem too self-titled.

Till next time dear reader.

Noctis   read

8:04 AM on 06.20.2012

Noctis Jukebox

Well, I’ve got some stuff in the pipe lines at the moment of which you guys should be getting to glimpse very soon, once I’ve work a few bugs out. In the mean time let’s listen to some great video game music with the Notics Jukebox.

Title: Liar of the Blind Ones
Game: Turok 2
Console/Platform: Nintendo 64/PC

Eerie dread is probably the best way to describe this first piece of music. The thump of the drums and the beat of the bass do an excellent job of currying this piece. That underlining current, is probably the most noticeable thing about this, though that slow, and spine chilling, fill really bring this piece together. This is a surprisingly complex piece, with many little touches in it, such as the tub. Around the 2:40 mark, the song shifts, adding another dimension to the composition and keeps the listener engaged. Near the end it just builds and builds creating a great tension then, sudden, it just rolls out into dramatic march. An excellent piece of music, so sit back and appreciate.

Title: Pray, Pray, Play
Game: Ristar
Console: Sega Megadrive/Genesis



Ah, Ristar. A criminally underrated game that was release near the Megadrive’s end, Ristar has quite the catchy soundtrack. While perhaps not too memorable, compared to say Mario, there are still plenty of tracks that are worth a listen; such as the piece given here.

I love absolutely everything about this piece, the rolling drums fills, the bouncy chorus that makes it impossible to stay still, that great 16bit horn arrangement. It’s just unapologetically fun piece that could really do with an overclock remix or something (What do you say Dale?).

There are two version here, the original and then the fifteen minute version. Take your piece and enjoy!

Title: Track 5 (couldn’t find proper name :P)
Game: Mirco Machines 2: Turbo Tournament
Platform: Sega/ Super Nintendo/PC

Satch Boogie:

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Noctis, you handsome devil, this sounds a lot like the Satch Boogie from Surfing with Alien!

Well of course it does, it was composed by Joe Satriani! Yeah – what now bee-ytch! Huh! HUH! Joe Satriani, that guy who taught Kirk Hammit and Steve Vai.... Yeah, YEAH... okay, fine, it wasn’t actually composed by Satriani but by Tim Bartlett. I have to admit it is bit hard to overlook that fact. Nonetheless it’s still a great little instrumental, if a little typical and a bit unremarkable. Sure it’s a basic balls to the wall, typical rock music you’d get with a racing – but that does mean it’s bad. It’s still got a good groove and that are some guitar chops on the display.

See you all next week.   read

12:59 PM on 06.13.2012

Noctis Jukebox

Well, I promised it would return and I stand by that. Noctis Juke box is back, bringing to you a collection of great videogame tunes you might not have heard of or wouldn’t mind hearing again.

Title: Wacky Workshop: Present (US)
Game: Sonic CD
Console: Sega CD

The Sega CD, while a ballsy gamble by Sega, isn’t too fondly remember. Sure it has it fans, but when gamers think of its catalogue of games not too many up (excluding some of the games available in Japan). However, there are a few noteworthy title including Snatcher and Sonic CD.

Today’s piece of music comes from Wacky Workshop: Present. Now, to all those who don’t know, there are two different soundtrack, the US version and the Jap/Euro version. While most people say the Jap/Euro is better, there are more than a few cuts I think American soundtrack did better.

Personally speaking I prefer this version of the song. Perhaps it’s groovy, funky rhythm of guitar accompanied by the swell of horns, or the sudden shift to the very ska-ish progression before swing back into driving funk. Whatever, it’s easy going and foot tappingly good.

Title: Phantom and a Rose
Game: Secret of Mana
Console: Super Nintendo

An enchanting piece from one of the greatest games on the Super Nintendo and, some might argue, one of the greatest games of all time. Phantom and a Rose showcases Square soft abilities to arrange a fantastic and soothing piece of music.

There is a sincerest and warmth to the piece that seems to make it glow. Perhaps it’s just the legendary sound chips of the Super Nintendo, but when those organs sweep in, the song suddenly gain a volume and presence that is both atmospheric and yet memorable.

Close your eyes and enjoy.

Title: Empire
Game: Gunstar Heroes
Console: Sega Megadrive/Genesis

You know, people often give the Sega’s 16bit champion at lot of grief for its soundtracks. I mean, sure, there are songs do tend to sound tinny and buzzy, but sometimes that works. Take this next piece for example.

Empire has a thumping bass gallop and melodic lead that combine together to create surge that player can feedback off as they blast their way through all the cannon fodder. While a somewhat simplistic piece, it nonetheless conveys the feeling of the game to player – something that most videogames nowadays tend to avoid for most part. Damn shame that...

Title: Police Station Hall (Front Hall)
Game: Resident Evil 2
Console: Playstation/Nintendo 64/PC/Dreamcast/Gamecube/Playstation Network

Goddamn, does this game ever get around... Anyway, taken from my favourite RE game, this particular piece is something of a curiosity. While clearly a mainly ambient piece, there are enough little ascensions and flurries of music within to make it stand out. While not very long, this piece beautiful sets the haunting and tense mood of the game. Its foreboding, it’s eerie, and that drone throughout the piece just crawls up your spine.

Title: The Uggas
Game: Conker’s Bad Fur Day
Console: Nintendo 64

To be honest there isn’t too much I can say about this piece that Conker himself doesn’t say from the intro. Just listen and enjoy 

Title: At the Gates of Doom
Game: DOOM (duh!)
Platform: PC

Yes? What? You want me to tell you about this piece? What can I say? Driving, pulse pumping rhythm, totally metal guitar flurries that are both bass arse and very cheesy – shut up, grab a shotgun, and kill everything that moves – such as it was back in the day...

Anyway, that’s it from me, catch you all next week.

Noctis   read

9:03 AM on 06.08.2012

E3: WiiU, Mii and 3rd parties

Well, well, looks whose back? For the two of you that actually care, I’d like to offer a sincere apology for my absence. University and life can have a tendency to get on top of you and not let you go. That being said, I’m now back and this blog of mine should start coming back to life, so expect to start seeing a return to things like Noctis Jukebox and that articles I promised way back when, along with some news series I’m looking to start.

Anyway, now that E3 is wrapping up, I want to take this moment to reflect on one of the key conferences, partly because of how interesting I found it to be. I am of course referring to... Microsoft and their spellbinding, award-winning presentation. I mean how could I not be in awe of such new and interesting titles, like Gears of Wars, Halo 4 (So much for finishing the fight, eh?), Fable the Journey... ergh... ergh... that other game... yeah one... totally that one... okay, I’m fooling nobody, I’m actually talking about Nintendo.

It’s safe to say that once again all eyes were focused on Nintendo and the WiiU. The presentation got off to a brilliant start with unveiling of Pikimin 3. A part from the fact that the game looks fantastic and, if the reports are to be believed, plays fantastically, it should also be a key titles that shows the potential of WiiU as a house for RTS’s. I wouldn’t be surprised, given the nature of the tablet controller and the console’s power, if companies Blizzard were looking to see if they could bring something like Starcraft 2 or, better yet, a proper Warcraft to the system. Warcraft 4, now there’s something I’d buy in a heartbeat, that how about you?

To be fair, I understand where the fans were coming from. Nintendo has not only one of the best catalogues of IPs in the industry, but they also have one of the most extensive and varied. As I sat watching the conference I could see people begging for F-Zero, Eternal Darkness 2, Metroid, Starfox, and, oddly enough, Zelda... really? Did you forget you got one last year? You know, one of the best games in years. You know, the one with masterfully designed levels, the moving and touching narrative that didn’t required a shit-ton of exposition and overly done cut-scenes (hat-tip’s Mass Effect and Uncharted). You know that game? No? Really? Okay then...

As for me, I was hoping for a Fire Emblem game (I know there is one coming for the 3DS), or Golden Sun or, though I doubt I’ll ever see this considering Sega still owns the rights, A Shining Force Game.

Of course we didn’t get any of that. What we did get was Nintendo Land, a title that will most likely come free with the console and looks like it will be fun in small doses or for parties where it will be a star attraction. However, many people weren't, and aren't, happy. Some of it is just the usually stupidity and hypocrisy I’ve come to expect when Nintendo do... anything, and, in all honesty, I've long given up expecting rational thought from gamers on the internet - so I shall a total level of maturity that this subject warrants.

*Warning Satire Ahead*


Nintendo: Were you not watching? Okay, since you have a memory of gold fish, here.

Mario Bros U
Pikmin 3
Assassin’s Creed 3
ZombiU (don’t worry, wii know it’s a dumb title)
Aliens Colonial Marines
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Ninja Gaiden 3
Batman Arkham City (with expanded game play)
Rayman Legends
Trine 2 Director's Cut
Darksiders 2
Mass Effect 3: The Good Edition, where all your choices (as advertised) actually matter and the established lore isn’t contradicted and actually make Bioware do some actual fucking work rather phoning everything in*

*disclaimer: that will not happen, sorry :(

By the way, most of that will available at launch so you have a nice selection to pick from – and don’t get us started on what we have for the 3DS – do you feel better now?


Nintendo: Well, you know we’re just starting out with a new system, Retroware is working on something, rumour has it that Blizzard working on something, and there are talks that might see things like Watch Dog making an appearance. Also, don't forget games like Project P-100. Just give us a little time. You know can count on us, except for when you totally can’t.



*End of Satire*

Okay, childish jokes aside, the fans do something of a point. I know shocking right? But there is a question I find myself asking, where were the big guns? Mario is a star attraction, but we knew Mario was coming. Pikmin was, as I said, a brilliant opening but let’s be honest, it’s something of niche game. Where was the big wow reveal? You know sort of like when Nintendo announced Donkey Kong Country Returns, or Golden Eye, Metroid: The Other M. That oh my fuck GAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW moment?

While I believe probably true or at least a factor, I can’t help but wonder if there is another element we’re over looking. Isn’t it interesting how much Nintendo giving their time over to 3rd parties, allowing them to promote their games? For me, this is what people are missing about this E3 and Nintendo’s E3 of last year. Nintendo is very much trying to show 3rd parties that they are willing to work with them, rather than against them.

What needs to be remembered is that to 3rd parties Nintendo, unlike Microsoft and Sony, is as much a rival as they are a partner. Let’s engage in some fun, I know some recoil at that word bare with me, role play fantasy for a second.

Imagine at this E3, Nintendo revealed not only a squeal to Eternal Darkness, but also two brand new IPs. One of this IP is... an open world game, similar to likes of Shenmue, GTA, and Sleeping Dogs, but with shades of Prototype, Infamous, and craziness of Saint Rows – how would that even work? It’s been designed by Suda51 okay?

The other IP can be an FPS series that seemed to be spiritual successor to games like Timesplitter’s, Perfect Dark (original one), with shades of Metroid prime series and the Thief series.

Now imagine if Reggie came up and said, “These games will available on launch, and can be played right here at E3, at the Nintendo booth”. What do think the press and the fans would be doing?

We’d be ecstatic, we’d be foaming at the mouth, we’ve be on forums raving about it, reviewers on sites Gamespot, IGN, and Blistered Thumbs, would be rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of being paid to give 9.0 and 10.0, rather than actually review games (only joking guys... partly).

All our thoughts would be on that. News reports would be focusing on that, we’d be waiting for the reviews to come in, ears pressed down to hear any silver of news.

Do you know who wouldn’t be raving or ecstatic? 3rd parties, in fact I’d wagered they’d be pissed off. Not only would that be the buzz and focus of E3, pushing aside all their efforts to promote their own properties, but effectively Nintendo would be stealing their thunder.

Ubisoft revealed their new IP “Watch Dog” (which does look really good), and that’s what buzz is about for most part. But imagine Nintendo had done that reveal similar to what I’ve mentioned above, where do you think most of the focus would be? On the game that just had a trailer (cool as it was), or the brand new IP from Nintendo, that’s seems to show them branching out into a totally new and unexpected direction?

Just imagine it for second -

Capcom and Komani are showing their games off – who cares? Did you not hear about Eternal Darkness 2? OH FUCK GOD THAT LOOKS SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAT!!!

Oh what that’s, EA and Activision are promoting their games – don’t give a shit – tell me more about that Nintendo FPS that lets me travel through alternative histories, times, and dimensions, letting tackle the problems as I see fit and lets me create my own weapons.

Jim Sterling – I don’t care about your Jimpressions on Aliens – I WANT TO KNOW YOU’RE JIMPRESSIONS ON THAT OPEN WORLD GAME NINTENDO REVEALED!!!

Is it true that I get to have jet pack and bomb crime syndicates with explosive wind-up mechanical penguins, and what was that that about rocket launcher that fires Great White Sharks? There was also something about a magically power that transforms my character into a bear? Hmm...? Oh sorry, my mistake. A magically power that transforms my character into a bear, with Gatling guns for arms and chainsaws for legs.

I doubt we’ll ever see those games, which is shame – because I really want a bear with Gatling guns for arms and chainsaws for legs. Oh well.

Anyway, let’s rope this wandering entry back onto topic. My point is, if Nintendo were to do something like that, that’s where all the hype and attention would be, leaving 3rd parties and their efforts largely forgotten. Considering that some of these companies are finding themselves in difficult positions this is would not desirable. Furthermore it would leave the impression that Nintendo isn’t serious about working them and looks to upstage them and take their audience, leaving them in a dire position.

It worth remembering that Sony and Microsoft still rely heavily on 3rd parties, Microsoft moreso than Sony, granted, but they both still need the likes of EA, Activision, THQ, and Ubisoft. Nintendo, on the other hand, have gone for nearly 3 gens without serious 3rd party support and have managed to turn a profit, mainly because of their first party titles which are the best in business and often the gold standard for many genres.

To condense everything I’ve just said, Nintendo still needs to woo and convince 3rd parties that they are willing to work with them, in much the same manner as the likes of Sony and Microsoft. As a result Nintendo has to walk a fine line and do a hell of a balancing act, appeasing their fans (often a thankless task), courting and continuing to cultivate the new audiences they brought in, and convince 3rd parties and very bias press that they are in it for the win.

Finally, Nintendo isn’t stupid – though it may seem like it sometimes.

They are well aware that Microsoft is getting prepared to reveal their new system. Sony is also talking about their next system – though how far that’s going to go is anyone’s guess. Most importantly, both of those companies are going to looking at the WiiU – so they know what to rip-off for their new gen-systems (Fanboys, stop, I don’t want hear your excuses. You know it’s true, let’s leave it at that).

The point is this; a good company never shows all their cards. This is a fact Nintendo knows all too well. Why give your competition time to prepare and counter attack? It just doesn’t make sense.

This is what I imagine will most likely next. Next E3, Sony and Microsoft reveal their systems (complete with tablets and motion controls...). They get the first buzz of the week.

Nintendo’s presentation rolls around. They reveal that Starfox and F-Zero’s next instalments are coming to WiiU, also they show a trailer for Eternal Darkness 2, there is also talk of working with Sega to bring a new game in the Panzer Dragoon saga (yes, that’s fanboy’s dream! LET ME DREAM!).

They also welcome EA (spit here) and Activision representatives on the stage and let them talk their games. Before the end of the show, Nintendo reveals their true hand. Retroware has been working on a brand new IP, a spiritual successor to the cancelled Gamecube game, Raven Blade .

Bang! Nintendo is now the talk of the town, Microsoft and Sony find themselves rushing to bring up IPs at the next E3 to compete (though if Microsoft recent performance is anything to go by, perhaps not – what’s that? Gears or War and Halo, but now with better graphics? Oh you spoil us!).

Here’s the thing. Nintendo can start playing and revealing those big guns, however, can still can have the support of the 3rd parties. Nintendo has, and still is, giving them a stage and platform to market their work. They restrained themselves allowing the 3rd parties to feel comfortable and to feel that the WiiU (this joke is never going to get old!) is a platform they can make large profit on.

Oh course, this double edge sword and Nintendo must careful and not allow 3rd parties to hold them and their machine to ransom. Also, 3rd parties are a fickle thing, pretending to best friend on second, then processing to jam a knife in your back – but hey, such is business. Nonetheless, if Nintendo plays its cards rights and remains grounded, they can enter and leave generation 8 as champions, and possibly headed into the 9th as champions.

My, oh my, how nice it is to be back.

Noctis.   read

8:12 AM on 01.25.2012

Noctis Jukebox

Well since Desturctoid was down last week, there was no Noctis Juke Box! So you know what that means? That’s right! 6 pieces of awesome gaming music was you to enjoy! Because at this blog we remember that great video enhances the playing experience!

Title: Stage 1: Colony Ruins
Game: Journey to Silius
Platform: Nintendo/Nes

A piece from a rather unknown side scroller is our stating piece for this entry. The Colony Ruins is an adrenaline pumping rocker that perfectly complements the pace of the game. The spacey of the lead synch helps maintain the sense of being on another world, playing well the imagery in the game. The bass thumping keeps the follow of the song and the gamer blood pumping, while the drums keeps the gamer’s heart a beating!

Title: Lamenting And A Promise
Game: Wild Arms
Platform: Playstation

Now for this jukebox it’s time to head out to the west, or rather the fictional west. Wild Arms is the game I’ve only being able to play a little of, but it has quite the soundtrack. The piece is rather sombre affair, and rather interesting in its arrangement. Starting as a slow piano that morphs into an acoustic ballad, before shifting in a when the strings come in. Its oddly memorable piece that just grows and grows until it reaches its climax.

Title: Intro/Title Music
Game: Panzer Dragoon Saga
Platform: Sega Dreamcast

Now here’s an RPG I have fond memories for. Panzer Dragoon Saga was one of the only games that made me seriously consider buying a Sega Saturn. The intro invokes the image of a mighty creature soaring through the skies, the crash of the symbols the beat of its powerful wings, where as the flute suggests a beauty to the animal. Its great piece that certain gets the player pumped up to play the game. The title score is suitably sweeping score, with the orchestra and choir convey the sheer majesty and epicenes of the game. This is who you use an orchestra well, take note game designers!

Title: Zoness
Game: Star Fox 64/Lylat Wars

Ah, memories... Anyway, magnificent Star Fox series has always been well known for having excellent soundtrack. But under the great tune like Corneria or Venom, there are some nice little pieces that are worthy of another look, such as today piece! Lylat Wars had something of an odd soundtrack, not quite as rocky or metally as Snes classic Star Wing, however, it did offer great atmosphere for certain levels that was still memorable and core to the experience. The water planet of Zoness, starts with a simple intro, which plays very fittingly with the aquatic theme of the world. Then it horns come in and the piece begins to swell, building up and up into its release – which is perfectly timed in the game’s level to show the player the full extent of Andros’s damage to this once thriving planet.

Title: Conditioned Reflex
Game: Sega Rally Championship
Platform: Sega Saturn

Speed, dirt, roaring motors, and tight arcade racing, those are but a few things sega racing games are known for delivering. On the surface Conditioned Reflex may seem like a typical rocker, which is certainly true, but it captures the intensity and thrill of the race. The blazing solo and thundering rhythm really provide a head banging pulse that is perfect for racing!

Title: Aquamarine Bay
Game: Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future
Platform: Sega Dreamcast

The Ecco games have always had gorgeous soundtrack, but song for the first level is particularly noticeable. The strings accompanying the keyboards, creates a powerful score that is relaxed, yet playful. It’s impossible to not jump in and out of the waters in the game, a weave between the coral beds. This truly was a wonderful game, with some truly excellent music. This is one of the more angelic piece, so sit back and relax and think of the ocean.   read

10:52 AM on 01.12.2012

Objectively Subjective Part 1

This is a blog I started a while back, but I’ve been slowly gathering data and doing a few re-writes, as well as trying to do my uni work. I hope you enjoy it.

The debate around the credibility and quality of game reviews and the critics that write them as well as the fans that lap them up. It's been discussed by Jim Sterling, Patrick Garrattt, and even mocked by Mega64.

I’m going to ponder a little bit on current games reviews and why reviewers need to be more critical in the way they look at games and evaluate them, and why fanboys need to STFU. This is going to be quite extensive, so extensive in fact, that I won’t be doing it all here, but over several vlog/blog (vlog coming soon). For this first article what I’m going to be discussing is the idea of approaching reviews in an objective. In the next one, I’ll be expanding upon thoughts and point discussed in this blog. The next one I’ll be looking at the importance of critics, and why the state of any entertainment industry would be a worst place without them. In the final one, I’m going to tackle the fans and why they need to be more critical in their enjoyment of a game. But that’s not for today, no for today I want to discuss the idea of objective reviewing.

As I alluded to in my article concerning Destructoid’s own Jim Sterling, gamers tend to be far too precious about reviews and, ironically enough, probably care about them far more than the companies which made the games do. If you’ve spent enough time on the internet you’ve probably run into the phrase “(Insert subject here) is serious business” - this is sometime that a lot of the more obnoxious, not to mention loudest, member within any community take very much to heart. However in regards to our preferred medium, “Vidya games” are serious business and there is nothing more serious than bragging rights to your favourite console.

Having said that, however, it’s worth noting that the fans are only part of this problem, the other part of it, stems from game reviewers, and supposed critics. The alleged critics of this medium rarely help matters, often displaying surprising abilities, such as only being able to count from 8 to 10 when certain exclusive franchises are brought into the mix, having little to no understanding of gaming history, its processes, and, worse of all, a low expectation of this medium that they supposedly love. It’s quite sad to see that there isn’t really much difference between paid, professional reviewers, working for sites like Gamespot, IGN, and Blistered Thumbs, and the fanboys who write reviews on sites like Amazon, with the possible expectation of the former having a better grasp of basic English and higher production values.

Now I’ll admit that comes across as confrontational, I have basically just stated I believe that most games site/”critics” (finger quote) are hacks. Perhaps, but honestly, with the exceptions of sites like Gamecritics , and certain writers such as Simon Parkins (who wrote one of the only honest reviews of Uncharted 3), and Destructoid’s own John Holmes and Jim Sterling (most of the time), most videogame reviewers are not that good at their job.

When I say this people response with the following rebuttal, “it’s their opinion”. This is a phrase that has become very potent on the internet. Ironically enough, “it’s my/his/hers opinion,” is often used as means to deflect criticism. While I will concede in some cases that this is true, within creative disciplines such as movies, literature, theatre and games, it isn’t quite so simple. There are methods and theories formed through empirical data that go into the principles of the craft, defining that craft and its creative process.

Let me put that another way, if it really were just case of opinion, then everything would count as an excellent example of any given medium. There would be no gold standards, there would be no laws or principles, nor would there be countless books written on the process or the elements that go into making any creative venture. There wouldn’t be university courses teaching the factual principles, nor would there be any discussion, there would be no need for them. There would be no rules, no metrics, or data to draw factual conclusions from in order to create the foundation which are then passed onto the next generation of creative minds.

Yet there are rules, standards and metrics to everything, which precisely how we build things and progress. Look at it this way, if it were just a case of opinion, then movies like Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, The Room, Cool as Ice would be comparable to movies such as Se7en, Alien, China Town, Jaws, Star Wars (original trilogy - unedited), Citizen Kain, Casablanca, Clockwork Orange, Godfather, Akira, Ghost in the Shell, The Taxi Driver, Bladerunner – you get the idea: and if you really don’t Snake on a train would be comparable to Snakes on a Plane.

We know that isn’t the case, we know that the latter movies are better than the former movies. The stories are better, the characters, the pacing, the cinematography, the mood, the atmosphere, the tone (very important) are all vastly superior. These movies do what they set out to do, either really well, or raise the bar of the collective medium. They do this by presenting their visions with their own unique voice, which is why they’re held up, studied, and discussed in academic ways.

Finally, there is such a thing as a misinformed opinion and an ignorant opinion; we acknowledge that. Remember opinions are formed though experiences and knowledge: put simply the more you’ve experienced, and the more knowledge you’ve gain, the more you are able to reference when forming new opinions or re-evaluating existing opinions.

This is why I disagree with people like Jim Sterling and other reviewers who say can’t be objective; you can be, it just might require a bit of knowledge. I realise that might sound dismissive and I’m not going to pretend that personal tastes and influences don’t colour ones opinion or perspective. However, regardless of that inescapable fact, the dissection of a video game, can be handled in a largely objective way. Of course this would require some reading and understanding theories. But for now, let’s break it down to simple elements: genre, mechanics, visuals, story and innovation.

First off, what’s this game’s genres and how well does it compare to other games within that genre? Is it an RPG? A Shoot em’up? An FPS? Is it a blend? Once that’s been established, think to what you know of that genre. For example, if it’s a colourful, cartoony, platformer, either 3D or 2D, it’s going to be compared to certain Mario games. Why? Because Mario is the gold standard, it’s the benchmark; it does everything that needs to be done and has been the primary innovator in that genre. If it’s a modern FPS, set in contemporary times, usually dealing with world conflict, then Call of Duty is the gold standard (regardless of how you feel about it). By doing this you have a point of reference and comparison is, and should, happen. After all, that’s how any creative medium evolves and grows.

Once that’s been established, let’s look at the mechanics, how the games is put together and functions. What are the mechanics of this game? How different are those mechanics from other games? How are they similar? How well do they compare? How well are these mechanics represented through game play? How tight or precise is the game play? Its feel and flow? How does the game present these games? How well to keep with the tone? Remember, games, being an interactive medium, use their controls and mechanics as a means to convey mood and story (we’ll get to that later). How’s the game set out. What are the levels like? Are they well layout? Are there puzzles? Are the puzzles engaging? How well put together are the puzzles? Are they even needed?

What’s the artistic style of the game? Does it complement or detract? Does it convey the tone of the game? Look at a game like Gears of Wars. It’s trying to go for a broken, bleak, hopeless, oppressive mood. The world is in ruins. This is a grim place. The visuals of the game complement that beautifully and convey that... though the story fails to do so, for the most part. By contrast, games like Donkey Kong Country, or Psychonauts, or Little Big Planet, are going for a light hearted, abstract, and playful mood.

Is there a story? For games like Mass Effect and Uncharted, for whom the story is met to be a big draw, this is very important. What’s story about? How well is the story? Is the story told well through the game play, through the characters? Does the narrative make sense? Are there plot-holes? Is the story interesting and original or does it does it just shamelessly steal from other sources (tips hat to Mass Effect and Uncharted). Is it taken in a new direction? What is the story exploring? How well is it exploring those elements? Does a game like this even need a story? Is its tone consistent? At any point does the game play contradict what’s happened in cut scenes, something that the Uncharted series is notorious for. How well does the story measure to other creative mediums such as movies, theatre, and literature (spoiler about 95% of gaming’s narratives don’t).

Side note. Because I’m sure that last sentence probably pissed quite a few people off, allow me to expand. The reason why stories in games need to be, or should be, compared to other mediums, such as films and books, is because stories the binding aspects of which all creative work share. While there are certainly abstract and expressionist works, most creative works are means to tell a story. Ever since our ancestors painted pictures on the cave wall, we have always used what every tool with have to create, document, and re-count stories. Orally, visually, or written, we’ve always done it. Our stories, their structures, and make up are always the same: and I’m not just referring to Joseph Campbell’s “the hero with a thousand faces”. Beginning, middle, end, dialogue, character arch-types, and familiar tropes (which exist within every medium) are there because of studying and years and years of honing the craft. We love stories and legends, both as a means to pass on information or to inspire. Having said that most stories in video games are hopelessly mediocre, which just steal from better material without trying to improving or expand upon it, hiding behind the term “it good... for a video game”. Hope that clears it up for you.

Finally, does this game innovate; is this game going to change the landscape? Does it bring anything new to the table? Does it raise the bar of a genre or gaming as a collective whole? Does this game have interesting new ideas or new approaches to existing mechanics? Remember, not every game, needs to innovate, but the ones that do, and do it successfully, consider that. And I’m talking about meaningful innovation here, not just above average voice acting. I’m talking about something that is going to be studied, referenced, and incorporated into future games: like Ocarina of Time with its context-sensitive actions or lock on targeting.

Those are just some of the basic questions reviewers should be asking themselves. All of those are objective critical questions with baseline and gold standard of which to compare. The funny thing is, truly great games, like most of the Zelda games, actually blend all these aspects together, and yes, I will be playing through games and writing blogs about them showing you how these elements are used in both the best and worst cases.

There are other factors, what consoles it’s on, how well its using that’s console’s power and resources, the time that was spent on it, the budget, its development history etc. But the list above are some of the key universal principles.

I think it would be useful if all reviewers read books like “Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals” or “David Perry on Game’s Design” or “The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell” just so they have a baseline and grounding in understand some of key principles of games design, in much the same way that a majority of movie critic have high level of understanding movies, its history, its culture, its process, the overall craft, and the overall effect: in fact, quite a few of them are amateur directors/actors themselves. The games industry could stand to learn a lot from them – and it would help the medium genuinely mature. If they could take a university course to become very familiar with process and theories behind games design, you’d probably see a totally different calibre of review.

As it stands, however, the quality of videogames reviews for the most part, is pretty poor. I’m not going to dwell on the horrible double standard in the review of videogames in general, or the fact that 10 are given out way to easily and with little thought, to the point of becoming almost meaningless. I will also acknowledge that there are pressures from companies. Nevertheless I will say, that critics need to start being more critical and start approaching the games they review in more critical ways, comparing, contrasting, and analyzing. As I said at the beginning, I’ll concede that certain fans, with their sense of over-enticement, do not help. But the critics, who are paid to review games and the watch-dog for quality, are just as culpable.

Now some might say “how do you know critics aren’t doing this right now?” Honestly? Because if they were, games like Dead Space, Uncharted, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Brutal Legend, Killzone, Red Steel 2, and many others wouldn’t be walking away with nines and tens, nor would we be seeing the abundance of tens that we are. Most of those games would be walking away with six, seven and eight – which is still above the average, in some cases (Mass Effect/Uncharted) well above the average.

I’m going to kick myself for saying this, but critics could do well to take a note from Yathzee’s and Spoony’s book. When the former isn’t trolling or fan-base pandering, he is able to make excellent critical observations and points about the games (though, by god, when he has a bias, he has a bias). Spoony’s much the same, watch his reviews of the Ultima games where he really get into the meat of what makes the games work and where they fail.

Here’s another example. If you haven’t watched them, here are two videos by Egoraptor. Now listen to what he’s saying about the design of both these games, in particular look at what he’s says about Simon’s Quest. He draws attention to its strength and then weakness, look and examining its tone, feel and design. This is the kind of thing more critics should be doing, really analyzing the game and the way it’s constructed.

Of course the experience is important. At the end of the day games are meant to be fun and entertaining. You can have the most beautifully designed game in the world, but if it isn’t engaging or enjoyable then you’re going it: same for movies, music, theatre, and literature. But what I’m saying is that reviewers need to raise their standards and have a deep understanding of what they’re are reviewing and stop pandering to fans or stir up emotions for web-hits. However, fans need to also learn to stop being so damn precious.

But those are all blogs for another time. What I’m going to do next is upload a comparison where I’ll compare two games, and discuss in greater detail, subjectivity versus objectivity. But for the sake of this sake blog, I’ll close with this. For this medium to expand and grow, the critics need to step up and deliver, they need to able approach this medium in the way other critics do. Just imagine how much richer this medium would be, if critics were able to discuss and analyze games in the way that egoraptor, yathzee, and the guys from extra credits do? We’d all be better for it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this read and I’ll see you again with the next part.   read

8:00 AM on 01.11.2012

Noctis Jukebox

I may be busy with uni work and trying to get the prototypes to function, but don’t think that means I’ve forgotten about the about all that great video game music. Though most of industry may have forgotten about providing memorable or moving scores to their games, this blog certainly hasn't! For this week I thought I would reach back with some classic that I’m sure everyone remembers. There will be no obscure or niche games this week. No, this weeks is a classics week!

Title: Bomb-omb Battlefield
Game: Mario 64
Console: Nintendo 64

The music within most Mario games is a little bit like the keyboard hook to “Funky Town” – once you’re heard it, it will never leave you and you’ll start humming it. Taken from the revolutionary and groundbreaking 64 game, Bomb-omb Battlefield kicks things off with a grooving trumpets intro with then leading to one of the most incredibly catchy jiggles ever. Seriously, after hearing this, let’s hope that Nintendo music composers never start writing music adverts, otherwise we’d be doomed! DOOMED!!! NINTENDOOMED!!! I dare you try not to hum along.

Title: Lake of Rage
Game: Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal/Heart Gold/Soul Silver
Console: Gameboy/DS



In many respects Pokemon is an outstanding example of a perfectly crafted gaming experience. From the surprisingly deep game mechanics to satisfying adventure, it’s little wonder why it’s so beloved. However, one of the best aspect of it, is the music. Beautifully arranged, the music within the Pokemon games are able to effortlessly capture the mood of the player. From playful, to sombre and creepy, from stirring and majestic, to intense, they are always memorable. If people, I’d be happy to do a top ten for Pokemon soundtracks, as they are some of my favourites pieces of gaming music. However, for today, I’ve decided to leaving you soothing, yet stirring Lake of Rage theme.

Title: Dr Willy’s Castle
Game: Mega Man 2
Console: Nes

What’s this? Me pandering to the gaming community with one of the best known pieces of gaming music ever? Of course not - no, no, no, no, well yes actually. But who can blame me? The theme to Dr Willy’s Castle is well known from its adrenaline pumping riff, catchy lead melody and that delicious flurry. This pieces never fails to psych players up to give Dr Willy a well deserved beat down.

On a side note. I'm looking for an editor to proof read some of my essay and reviews. With the dyslexia writing can be a bit of a problem, so if anyone would be interesting in giving me a hand, I'd be really grateful :)   read

8:47 AM on 01.09.2012

Noctis Dissertation

Well I’ve made mention of my dissertation (still looking for testers and interviewees) but I thought I would share a little bit of what I’m building at the moment for the prototype test, so you know I’m not wasting my time. If you haven't answered the questionnaire please do, I'd be very grateful to you, and for those who have, thank you so much :)


8:54 AM on 01.04.2012

Noctis Jukebox

Noctis Jukebox is back. To make up for the lack of updates last week I’ll be giving six pieces of music for this week and then we’ll be moving back to regular program of the past weeks. On a side note, I would like to say, I’m really sorry about not updating, I’ve just been really busy and I’m looking to turn this into a v-blog.

Title: New York
Game: Atomic Runner
Console: Sega Megadrive/Genesis

A game I recently discovered when I and a friend brought a collection of Sega game from Ebay. On the surface Atomic Runner seems like another typical shoot em’ up, similar to games such as Probotector (Contra), Gunstar Hero, and Sunset Riders. You’d be right, but is that really a bad thing? It’s certainly a fun little game, with a fun bouncy soundtrack. These might be a little too jingly for some, but for me, I’m fine with them. This piece catches the pace of the game; the thumping bass carries the theme tune, while the melodic lead grips your attention.

Tile: Filmore
Game: Actraiser
Console: Super Nintendo

A track from one of my favourite games, this piece’s pounding bass line with the soaring organ come together to celebrate the triumph return of your character, the avatar who is basically god. I really don’t feel like there is too much to say on this piece, just listen to it, listen to the epic tone is has and unstoppable feel it conveys.

Tile: Smiles and Tears
Game: Earthbound
Console: Super Nintendo

As I mentioned in my first blog post Eurobound, Earthbound had a fantastic soundtrack that many people remember fondly. Smiles and Tears is a very sombre but beautiful piece. There are so many layers to this piece that all draw it together, creating a soothing melody. The warmth of the horns, the waltz-like lead, merges seamlessly into this gorgeous song.

Title: Opening Theme
Game: Spyro: The Dragon
Console: Playstation

Back in the days when Sony weren’t trash talking, trying to play catch up with Nintendo, they had a magically little system called the Playstation. With Nintendo acting like a bunch of stupid, overly entitled children, Sony was able to offer huge amounts of freedom to developer resulting in some great games (and some shit one, but isn’t that always the way?). One of those games was Spyro the Dragon. Forgive me if I get a little nostalgic as I lost myself for a second. Before Spyro succumbed to “serious” story-lines, he starred a series of fun (look it up) games where he ran around the world rescuing his dragon brothers and kin who had been turned to stone. Then there was a sequel, with really annoying characters. But the music was still good and that’s what we’re here for. The intro theme is a catchy little tune that is just pure, un-apologetic fun. This theme captures that mood and feel.

Title: The Blue Mountain
Game: Rayman
Console: Playstation

Recently I was able to have a little go with Rayman origins and with that I was reminded of the classic original. After finding my old playstation (when I play retro, I play retro!) I brought this little gem out. What struck me, other than the perfectly tight consoles and the beautiful, timeless visuals, was the soundtrack. The Blue Mountain is a funky oriented piece with a slight disco overlay (sounds odd, but it works). The stab of the flutes and the pulsing bass work with the layback guitar rhythm, creating a piece that is hard to not tap your foot to.

Title: Wild Wabbit
Game: Jazz Jackrabbit
Platform: PC

Other than looking like the freak love child of Bucky O’hare and Sonic, Jazz Jackrabbit is probably well known as being created by Cliff Bleszinski – yes, that Cliff Bleszinski, as in Gears of War. While fair unremarkable games, they do have some fun little tune in them. I used to play this on the PC way back in the day round a family friend’s house, it was an enjoyable enough time waster, though nothing truly memorable. However, this little tune with its sample from “The Good, the Bad, The Ugly” has enough of a groove to make it worthy of a listen.

Okay, I’ll see you all next week. By the way, if you miss it I need help for my Uni Dissertation, if you could follow this link and help me out, I’d be very grateful.   read

9:21 AM on 01.03.2012

Uni Dissertation

Sorry, I've been absent, I've been very busy with real life issues and uni come back with vengeance, speaking of which. I have been writing post - speaking of which, would anyone like to be a proof reader/editor?

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to do this, though I couldn’t see anything stating against it in the rules section. As you many, or many not, know, I’m a university student currently in his final year and working on a dissertation. On my course I study videogames, in both design and theory. I’m looking for data for my dissertation and possible testers/interviewees. No personal data is recorded or used in the data set or its’ analysis.

What I’m looking for is for gamers, who are 19 or older, willing to fill in an online questionnaire about aspects of their gaming experience. All submissions are anonymous. Please answer honestly. Your data will be greatly valued for my dissertation. They are mainly simple multiple choice questions, unless you want to expand on any points.

At the end is a part asking for e-mails. Let me stress that that is not obligatory. It’s there for possible testing and interviewing – meaning if you are fine with it, I may contact you and ask if you’d like to conduct an interview and play some game prototypes I’ve developed and created.

I hope you’re able to help out and I look forward to your answers. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

Contact me at:

If you are interested, please follow this link:

• informed consent tick box (online) signature with statement of use limitations
• UEL details re ethics considerations (statement about ‘guided by’ & contact if complaint etc.)
(include on questionnaire page)

If you could give any help, I'd be very grateful.   read

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