I'm a 23 year old artist/teacher. While in University I experimented mostly with Animation, Video, and Games.
The lovely [dearly departed] Anthony Burch* featured the fruits of my experimentation here on Destructoid as part of the Indie Nation Series Which probably is one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me! One of many reasons why I love Destructoid.
*The [formerly] Resident Person Named Anthony Who Isn't Anthony Perri.
My first console was the SNES. It remains my favourite, and I've been playing games ever since without pause. Recently I've been a little burned out on the modern sensibilities of a suddenly overwhelmingly Western market. Most of the HD games don't appeal to me.
I currently live in Korea where I teach english and avoid Starcraft [and the north].
Follow 'anthPerri' on Twitter!
Header photo by Dario Ayala, 08
Edited by Anthony Perri, 09
This is not a sensational post, I am not going to forecast the end of anything. This post is simply an opinion based on an observation.
The 3DS is selling. It isn't the instant hit Nintendo thought it would be, but they had their sights set pretty high. There are various well documented factors that could have attributed to these average sales but for the purpose of this blog I'm going to focus on missed opportunities rather than stiff competition.
If there is one thing I know about the 3DS it's that Nintendo continues to mishandle it in this new market. While they have been successful in creating momentum they have failed to capitalize on it in a meaningful way and they have nobody to blame but themselves, they are creating their own missed opportunities.
Nintendo captivated mind share in the months leading up to e3 2010 with a bland press release stating that their new 3D enabled handheld would be shown off at the upcoming conference. They delivered the goods and most ate it up. The 3DS was the story of e3, being the only new hardware at the show. They had everybody excited for Zelda, a new Kid Icarus, Resident Evil, Star Fox, and Mario Kart.
Months later Nintendo would price the system, admittedly, based on the positive reactions of the press, but they grossly miscalculated what consumers were willing to pay for the system. While the device was maintaining decent sales figures, Iwata and Co. understood that they needed to slash that price within mere months of release. A sizable drop in price proved to bolster sales of the 3DS but early adopters had mixed feelings. Nintendo offered free games to owners of their new handheld in hopes of retaining a positive relationship with their most faithful consumers.
Nintendo failed to capitalize on a head start, and hype generated right up until launch by pricing the system too high and not delivering enough incentive [games, eShop] for potential customers.
The Latest Potential Opportunity
Citing a lack-luster launch line up as a possible cause for slow sales Nintendo vowed to improve the situation by bringing big titles to the system, first party or otherwise. A recent scan from the latest Famitsu magazine has revealed that one of Japans biggest franchises is coming to the 3DS. Monster Hunter, a game that, time after time, caused tremendous leaps in Japanese PSP sales, is coming to the 3DS. Nintendo will be hosting a pre-TGS event, to show off 'new products'. Monster Hunter will, presumably be one of them.
The Potential Miss
Along with Monster Hunter will come a second analog slider attachment. The monstrous peripheral, seen in the same Famitsu scan, is cause for concern. Besides being unwieldy and ugly, this may indicate that a revision of the 3DS is coming sooner than previously believed. This is more bad news for those early adopters, but what really makes this a missed opportunity [possibly] is that while Nintendo is getting a huge franchise on the system they may also be forcing players to adopt this new, huge, peripheral control method to play it.
My Two Cents
To fully take advantage of the new price, the new controls, and a new Monster Hunter I believe the best course of action would be to reveal the redesigned 3DS at the upcoming conference, including a special edition Monster Hunter bundle. They would have to all but forget about the original 3DS and cut their loses [~4million burned customers]. It could still happen, but, unfortunately, I don't think Nintendo is in a position to do that.
This may be the most publicly flustered I have ever seen Nintendo. They are dropping prices, they are handing out games, and they are bringing out new hardware, and all within the 3DS's first year. It's as if somebody hit the panic button. The Monster Hunter/Second Slider ordeal has not played out yet so it remains to be seen what sort of impact this will have on the 3DS. If you ask me though, it really does seem as if Nintendo released a prototype for testing. As horrible as that sounds though I don't think it's too late to turn things around. This blog is only about missed opportunities after all, not complete failures. There is plenty more to come.
Though Korean-made online games were easily the most common on the show floor this year at G*STAR, there was also a few big international booths. Notably, Sony and Microsoft. Both were there in typical fashion, loud, bright, claiming prime real estate, and brandishing motion controls. Move and Kinect were their major show pieces but there was other stuff there too. We didn't have time to check out Microsoft's booth unfortunately but the Sony booth was pretty awesome!
There was a bunch of released stuff there like the Sly Cooper collection and Sonic 4 [probably not released in Korea] but they also had 3D displays of Gran Turismo 5, Killzone 3 and MARVEL VS CAPCOM 3!!!
We didn't play Gran Turismo because we were busy getting in line three times for MARVEL VS CAPCOM 3!!! It was everything I was hoping for. First of all the graphics are just right. The models are fairly simple but the graphic shading against the vibrant character colours is a beautiful imitation of traditional comic book art. The animation is also spot on, everything is super fluid, and every attack has a great sense of weight to it. I found myself no longer missing Udon's 2D sprites.
The game itself plays very similarly to Tatsunoko vs Capcom, but it's a bit more straight forward. In TvsC playing with a Wii remote on its side will have you playing with a simpler interface. Moves are much easier to pull off in a Smash Bros. style of play. On the PS3 though, there is only one control method and so the game allows you to select what mode of play you'd prefer.
My fiance and I choose NORMAL mode. But simple is an option.
The game three on three is still intact and as fast paced as ever. The build we played had a rather limited play list, most notably it was missing Spider-Man. I'm assuming it was the same build from e3. Basically this game is everything you want it to be.
I played Killzone 3 the way I play every Killzone game, briefly. The demo had a 'Pre-Alpha Code' tag in the top left corner but what I played seemed competent. The snow level was atmospheric but didn't wow me visually. There wasn't much to do but shoot the odd enemy behind cover. The controls were sort of weird, there didn't seem to be a grenade button and the movement was a bit floaty. I got used to it and it actually felt sort of nice, not as jerky as other console FPSs [when I play an FPS with sticks its a disaster] and the take downs were well animated and useful. I can't really offer up any meaningful sort of impressions here as I haven't given Killzone much playtime in the past, if you like shooting things that hide, you will be pleased but the demo didn't include any multiplayer, jetpacks, or story so it was nothing new.
This Thursday marked the beginning of the four day extravaganza that was G*STAR 2010, The Korean equivalent of e3. It did not disappoint! The BEXCO Convention centre was engulfed by an almost uniform mass of Korean nerds. DSLRs, and Bubble jackets seemed to be required dress code. My fiance, our friend and I were let in despite our lack of the aforementioned gear. It was great fun!
At the door an old friend greeted me.
It was a magical moment.
We waited in line for just under a half hour to play Mega Man Online [Rockman for the Asians] and I have to say that I've come away with some mixed feelings.
The graphics looks very vivid and crisp from a decent step back but while playing I couldn't help but notice that the animation was a bit stiff and environments were a little flat and empty. The signature high energy Mega Man music was also a disappointment. Sort of in the way that being stood up is a disappointment. That's right, it never showed up. Ambient, environmental soundscapes and generic effects were all I heard. Let's hope that the music is still being composed!
So as you may have gathered the game seemed to be missing a certain sense of Mega Man, and it got worse before it got better, but that isn't to say that there isn't hope.
The demo was presented on laptops without controllers and playing Mega Man with a keyboard felt a little worse than awkward but it was doable and the control scheme probably seemed comfortable for their target audience - MMO addicted Koreans. That said, the controls felt sluggish. X moved about a bit slowly, and his buster, instead of being able to shoot three shots in rapid succession [PEW PEW PEW] was limited to a single shot. These issues put me off quite a bit until I was told about the upgrades system. Armour upgrades will make a difference in this game affecting your speed, shot, defence, etc but the coolest addition to this system has to be what I'm going to call 'specialty parts'. Pressing Tab will cycle through an inventory of helpful tools and I was able to increase X's speed by equipping a thruster part. I was also able to summon a little companion who would fly ahead and take out enemies for me. Only one add-on could be used at a time. These specialty parts seem to be enough to tame my fears about the sluggish experience.
Combat has also been given an upgrade. In addition to the standard shoot, dash, charge moves a total of four 'skills' can be assigned to the QWER keys. I was able to perform a devastating multi charge shot, a tornado kick and a fire punch in the demo which really helped, considering the slow fire speed.
One lingering problem I have though is reserved for a technical limitation of the controls, one that neither the skills or specialty items can alleviate. It seems that you are limited to two actions at once. so I can walk and jump, or walk and shoot, or dash and jump, etc. BUT I CANNOT dash while charging and jumping. This caused some discomfort. That is how I play Mega Man X! I am ALWAYS charging and so it was really jarring to me once I figured out what was happening. It was especially troublesome when wall jumping, while shooting at enemies and trying to get to a platform that required I air dash. It's a limitation that wasn't even present on the SNES and really takes away a certain fluidity from the controls.
I played through a rather straightforward and simple jungle level that unfortunately didn't include anything noteworthy. The final boss which seemed to be based off of MMX's Sting Chameleon didn't really do anything. It was huge, went back and forth and stuck out his tongue at me but it was easily destroyed without any real need for strategy- oh and it ended with a QTE.
There was no 'Online' to speak of in the demo and I have a hard time seeing how it would enhance the experience. I wasn't shown any sort of hub, trading center, lobby or anything. It was pretty much Mega Man X7...
The game, as it is, has a lot of potential, I think the Specialty Parts mechanic is really smart in a Mega Man game, and the skills were helpful but I'm not sure if this is enough to help gamers get past the poor controls and bland level design. I really wanted this to blow me away as a Mega Man MMO is something I think could be brilliant. This isn't it sadly.
As a young boy in the early 90's I often swooned over my older cousin's NES. I can't recall how many hours I spent watching them play Super Mario 3, and I can't quantify my need to own one either. What I can tell you though is that receiving a Super Nintendo for my birthday in 1994 was one of the most influencial events of my childhood and definitely of my life. My parents played it safe most of the time buying me a few games I asked for, it wasn't much, we rented a lot and purchases were a real treat which is why only 'the best' games I had rented or played at a friends house made it on my 'buy' list. There was one exception to this rule though, that game was Super Metroid.
Super Metroid was a game I had never played and I needed to have it.
My SNES, like all of yours, came with a giant poster full of screenshots and art from games that were available on the system. I'll never forget my first encounter with Ridley- It was on that poster in 1994.
I wouldn't see him again until much later, in Canadian Tire of all places... Back in the mid-90's Canadian Tire was COOL! they sold toys and games, not many, but I always looked forward to looking through the shelves while my dad looked for some new powertool or part for his car. The red dragon was burned in my brain and I made the connection- This was something I was supposed to play.
You know some time passed. It's hazy now and I don't even remember finally getting the game. I'm going to assume that my cousin who worked at Canadian Tire at the time picked it up for my parents. But I really have no idea how it came into my possession. Interesting what we remember isn't it?
Now to make this short story long...
I had Super Metroid for a few years before I sold it, tragically, with all my other SNES games inorder to buy Ocarina of Time the year I got my N64. Ignorance doesn't last forever and neither does bliss. Anyways...
I recently bought the game again on Virtual Console and had an epiphany of sorts. When I was a kid I did not understand this game. I played it for hours and hours. Power ups seemed few and far between and it would seem that my memories of boss battles were all lies, existing only vicariously through box art or the internet. I did not play this game. I ran through doors I could open and did not progress beyond the 20 minute mark. Again- I played this game for YEARS. I was in awe, I was dumbfounded when I passed my 9yr old progress in about half hour.
The only way I can even think of explaining the feeling I got returning to Zebes is by comparing it to Ms.Doubtfire. When I was a kid that movie was awesome, why? Because Robin Williams was dressed as a woman. THAT'S IT! That gag was enough to keep me watching over and over. It was entertaining. Years later I'd watch it again only to realize the movie was pretty heavy. Dealing with adult scenarios like divorce and laden with innuendo. It was also still pretty funny to me years later. Now, I don't know if my affection for Ms.Doubtfire has anything to do with the fact that it was part of my childhood and maybe it isn't that great a movie, maybe I'm blinded by nostalgia but I know how I felt watching it later in life. I felt like it was a whole new movie. I felt like I was watching something new. It's a perfect example of experience informing our level of understanding. This phenomenon occurs over all artistic media and games are no exception.
Come back once you've got the Varia Suit!
Super Metroid is Ms. Doubtfire [which,unsurprisingly, was not a prequel or sequel to Citizen Kane]
Originally I had planned to break the game down and analyze the aesthetics, the music, the gameplay and what not but I think that would be a waste of our time. All I can say is the in Super Metroid is a special game in which the gameplay is satisfying enough to entertain in spite of progress and that progress is a truly rewarding event. The games vague nature makes solving the terrain a reward in itself, new power ups act as reward for traversal and traversal acts as a reward for finding new power ups. It is a rare cycle that is more compelling than most games I've played in this generation because my motivation became less about "finishing the 'story'" or getting to point B and more about my own curiosity which is something that has been missing from games since the inclusion of tutorials and cutscenes.
Hey. So it seems the only blogs I do on here consist of me saying 'LOOK I'M BACK! AGAIN'.
Well, I'm back, again.
Anyways- this time I have a pretty good reason, I was busy getting ready and actually moving to Korea, South Korea, to be clear.
My Girlfriend and I are teaching English over here and it's been pretty awesome so far, about a month.
I'll be keeping all my gaming related thoughts here and other things like photos of mountains and whatnot over on facebook and our blog; http://heatedfloors.tumblr.com.
Anyway- we've been to a few arcades down here and it is awesome. These aren't like the cheesy win some tickets and a few light gun game arcades we have in Canada these are the real deal. Dim red lighting, low ceilings, smoke filled classic gaming goodness is what it is. Being only 22 I never really saw a real stand alone arcade, we've got the 'midway' at home but there aren't enough games outside the carnival variety for me to consider it an arcade, plus its a tourist trap and playing anything decent will cost ya 2 'tokens' which is about a buck...and for that much you used to get 4!
Ya, in real arcades, you use real money. Rows of cabinets back to back; fighters, rhythm games and shmups for the most part, but we did find House of the Dead 4 which is actually pretty awesome!
That said there are some stereotypes I must address, confirm even. YES Starcraft is on TV like professional sports are back home. YES there are at least 2 channels dedicated to it after 8pm. YES they hold a giant tournament on giant screens on the beach once a year. YES. Korea is Starcraft. Seeing it on TV really made me realize how old it is, which made the fact that they still play it so vigorously even more...hm. Hilarious? I've been told it's because it's one of the most perfectly balanced games ever made- I don't know, never played online, couldn't really play it for more than a few hours.
Before leaving I bought Tetsunoko vs Capcom. Not really a huge fighting game fan, but typically end up with 1 per generation, my girlfriend and I get really competitive. Well, I think these arcades are going to make that a whole lot worse...
So this is pretty cool. A while back I was contracted to do some work promoting local new media initiatives. I was given two days, and this is what I came up with.
It was a full-bleed page and will appear in the October issue of EDGE. Pretty cool for a kid from Niagara Falls! It was a lot of fun and gave me a chance to do a few things I don't typically do. Client was happy with the work and it's getting published. Pretty sweet! Thought I'd share.