I co-host Pocketoid and I make word words on here. Some of my favorite games include: Pokemon, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 4, Super Smash Bros., Animal Crossing, Shadows of the Colossus, and Legend of Zelda: Majoras Mask.
One of my favorite things about playing video games is that they can really make you feel like a kid again. A few days back I finished Costume Quest; that game is the ultimate example of making you feel like a kid again. Costume Quest was a downloadable title created by Tim Schafer and his Double Fine studio. You play as Reynold (or his sister Wren, if you swing that way) on Halloween, you and your sister are new to the neighborhood and your mother tells you to go trick or treating around the neighborhood and make friends. Whichever sibling you're not playing as is dressed as a big piece of candy corn while you're dressed as a robot.
Monsters begin invading your town and taking all the candy they can find, including your sibling. You and the new friends you make a long they way use your costumes to turn into gigantic, over the top versions of whatever it is that you are dressed as to fight the monsters and rescue your sibling. Along the way you will use your different costume's abilities to solve minor problems and get new friends to help you save your sibling.
One of the best parts of this game is the writing, honestly if the writing wasn't so great this game might be kind of boring. There's no voice acting but all the characters have something important or witty to say. Even little details about the world are written well; there's a part of the game that finds you trick or treating in the local mall and all the stores are named something humorous, like “Husky Toddler”.
The whole idea of the game is pretty fantastic as well, when you're a kid on Halloween and you dress up as your favorite whatever or whomever you totally believe that you're that person! So the idea of transforming into these out of this world versions of robots, knights and ninjas is very appealing to the part of our brains that miss being a kid and enjoy reclaiming that feeling again even if for a short time. It's akin to the same feeling that you might get while watching a cartoon or a Pixar movie. Gives you the warm fuzzies.
The game isn't all that long, which is expected since it's a downloadable title, you can probably have it finished within 4-5 hours. Oh, but what a wonderful 4-5 hours it will be! It's a pretty basic RPG with a little customizable section involving battle stamps. You will also be collecting cards of candy that parody Garbage Pail Kids cards. Those aren't really the reasons to play this game though, it's all about the story and the dialogue between characters. The whole game is just so damn charming. If this game doesn't warm your heart and make you chuckle, then you probably need to loosen up.
Needless to say, I absolutely loved this game and really wish they would make a sequel or more games like it. I know it seems like I keep writing blogs about that but I really do feel that way! (Although, I am totally looking forward to Skyrim and Saints Row The Third!) I also have to wonder if this formula could work for any other holidays. I could see a Costume Quest sequel revolving around Easter or Valentines Day working pretty well. Have you guys played it? What did you think of it? Do you think it could work well with other holidays?
Seriously, what the hell has happened to this industry? What is the first feeling you think of when you think of video games? The correct answer is of course fun. Video games used to be all about having fun, didn't need to make sense, didn't need to be serious, didn't matter if the game was hard or easy, didn't matter if it had multiplayer or not. It just needed to be fun.
Life as an adult can be very stressful and demanding, we all need an escape. We require some sort of escape pretty much on a daily basis. Everyone has their own thing they escape into, often times multiple things. Some people watch TV, some play music, some create things, others play video games. When I get home from work and/or school and I've had a long day I don't always want to play a gritty realistic looking shooter that is filled to the brim with action and brown landscapes.
I do like playing those types of games as well, but I'd much rather play something more relaxing, or something super over the top. It seems like back in the SNES era games just didn't take themselves all that seriously. People never really demanded a game have multiplayer, we had no online pass system to deal with and original ips had a chance at surviving. People played games to have fun. I believe people still play games to have fun but that they're looking for slightly different experiences. The most popular of those seeming to be the one where they are a big manly man and shoot all the things.
I recently played through Gears of War 3 with a friend, we had a lot of fun, but I found the story and characters to be kind of generic and boring, not to mention stupid. We blasted through the game and had our laughs and had our fun but when I was done all I wanted was some color and freedom. This is why I love games like Minecraft and Katamari. They aren't linear brown wastelands filled with enemies, they're about fun and freedom, and while they may not have the best graphics they're still pleasant to look at.
(image taken from Games Radar)
Why are we as gamers so serious now? Is it because we don't feel that we're being taken seriously? Do we have such a desire to be considered an art form that we are trying to copy film? Video games aren't films, they never will be. I think we all need to understand and accept that. They aren't films for a reason, it just doesn't work the same. It's fine to have an action packed, cinematic feeling game but do we really need so many? I of course realize that most of this is controlled by the publishers and the people pulling the strings behind the industry, but if we just bought less of all the generic brown games and more of the fun original colorful games, maybe we'd see more of them.
The future is looking bright though. We have Saints Row The Third on it's way to being released, and if you haven't been following it just know that it is exactly what I think video games need. It is completely over the top, makes no apologies, doesn't take itself seriously and is just plain ridiculous. It has a good amount of hype behind it and is being marketed well, so hopefully you all will buy it and we can start seeing some more games that are more about having fun and less about playing a movie we've all already seen.
When you're a gamer that can't get access to high speed internet, it changes things. The biggest thing obviously being that I can't play online, download DLC, access streaming apps or any of those fancy schmancy things being integrated into gaming systems nowadays. So this whole concept of integrating all these new functions into my system don't really affect me at all. Or do they? Even though I can't access any of these extra features, what happens when all those extra features gain more attention than the games for said machine?
Living with out high speed internet is bad enough, but now that so many games are coming out that have game ending bugs in them that require a patch to fix it'd become even worse. You know what happens when I encounter a bug like that? I'M SCREWED. I do from time to time take my systems to a friends house, but thats pretty rare. It's just such a huge pain in the ass to drag them all around town, and then set them back up. It goes without saying that I don't have a Netflix account or premium accounts for any other streaming app like Spotify or Hulu.
(I figured my c-blog should have a picture, so here's Godzilla)
Even though I don't use any of those extra apps on my console, I do fear a future where they take up too much of the lime light, instead of the games I wanna play on my GAME console. I understand why companies would go for this, all the extra features and apps draw in a bigger market that they can sell their product to. I can't really blame them for wanting to do that. It is scary though to think that if things keep following the trends that we've been seeing we could not be seeing many new original games, or even not as many games as we see now. Will we still be seeing games like Okami and Last Guardian in 10 years? It seems doubtful.
Imagine an E3 conference in 10 years where Microsoft is introducing their latest Xbox. “The Xbox 1080 has it all! You can stream every TV channel known to man, listen to your entire music library, shop on amazon and eBay, text it to turn your lights off, and it'll clean your room!! Oh and uh … we have a halo for it … we might release another game this year too … meh.” It's a scary idea, and obviously that example was way over the top. As long as people keep buying games we'll still have games released. I think the real question is though, will we be seeing less games in the future due to so much integration in our systems? Will we still see new series? It's hard to say, we all know how much people like change (they don't).
But maybe things aren't that bad? Look at PCs, they have tons of features and third party apps and some of the most original games to ever be made. Console games do better most of the time than PC games, but most people have a computer. If the PC market can survive why couldn't consoles? Would consoles require some sort of Steam service to be able to stick around? Would it need to be cloud based service? I'm not sure but it'll be interesting to see what all the next consoles do and don't do.
The annual Tokyo Game Show has came and gone. Many things were announced and even more things weren't announced. It seems an awful lot of people ended up being kind of pissed off at Nintendo though. Everyone appeared to be saying that Nintendo wasn't announcing anything interesting. Then there was the accusation that they were forgetting the hardcore gamer, this wasn't anything new though of course. Then there was nubbageddeon. That sparked a whole new level of hate from gamers.
The biggest problem in all of this I think is that people forget this isn't E3. In case you all forgot the show is called TOKYO Game Show. See how all the presentations were done in Japanese and not English? Thats because TGS is mainly for Japanese gamers, most of the games you were not interested in will never see the shelves in the US. They're presenting Japanese games for Japanese gamers, some of which may come to America. I just find it so odd that so many gamers were getting upset at Nintendo for not announcing things for the US, seems a little selfish guys.
I honestly didn't think the presentation was bad at all. I will say I do have a little bias seeing as I've been a Nintendo fan all my life, but even if I wasn't I think I'd still say it didn't go as bad as some seem to think it did. While the presentation wasn't anything mind blowing, it had it's moments. We saw a lot on the new Mario Kart, loads of new information and screens/videos for Skyward Sword, we had a new Fire Emblem game announced, Mario Tennis 3DS, Monster Hunter Tri G, that new Square RPG with a ridiculous title, and Monster Hunter 4. Thats not even mentioning all the other games that were announced that were much more Japanese oriented.
One thing I think people need to understand is, every time Nintendo has a conference it doesn't mean were going to see a new Zelda/Metroid/Mario game. Nintendo has their fingers in a lot of pies, we shouldn't expect to see new big name games so soon. It's my personal belief that a lot of this anger and expectations come back to the idea that so many gamers have this unearned sense of entitlement. So many gamers feel like they're owed something, and when they don't get exactly what they want they throw a big online hissy fit.
I'm not here to just kiss Nintendo's ass though. When you really love something you should start finding faults with it. Nintendo has plenty of faults. While I don't find the second nub to be that big a deal, I do find it annoying. It has become perfectly clear that the 3DS was not ready for release, theres tons of things that point to it (studios saying they didn't have enough time to add features, the price drop, the lack of games, the second nub itself, launching without an eshop, ect.). The fact that Nintendo released the system when it wasn't ready yet, just so they could please their investors is kind of infuriating.
As a business move I totally can understand why they made the decision, however, think about it Nintendo, Where does your money come from? It comes from people buying your games, if you drive away your market one step at a time there won't be anyone to buy your games anymore. Another problem Nintendo obviously has is that they have two drastically different markets to play to, you have the East (Japanese gamers) and you have the West (American gamers). Both markets like different kinds of games and it can be pretty challenging for companies like Sony and Nintendo to play to that.
The last problem I think Nintendo has right now is that they're so damn Japanese and out of touch with the rest of the world. They seem genuinely surprised when gamers want to play games online, or when they really want a messaging system on something like the 3DS. I think really need to sit down and look at what they're doing in the way of researching what gamers want and what to do to make their consumers happy again.
All this being said, I do still love Nintendo, they're gonna have to do a whole lot more than all this to drive me away. Right now I think theres a lot to be mad at Nintendo for but theres also plenty of things to make you still love them. I love you Nintendo, but you are far from perfect. So do any of you feel the same as me? Any counter points? What Nintendo game can you not wait for?
For those of you that don't know (which is admittedly most of you) I co-host Destructoid's community driven handheld podcast, Pocketoid with Jackal27, so when I saw this weeks Bloggers Wanted post I knew I had to jump in and make my own. One subject we've discussed a bit on the show is the rivalry going on between Nintendo, Sony and Apple. On one hand you have the manly Nintendo 3DS who gets along quite nicely with the ever so lovely Sony PSVita. 3DS and PSVita love each other very much but something is up in the bedroom, it just hasn't been how it used to be for them. Fearing their sex life is in trouble they welcome a third person into their bed, but will they steal them from the others partner?
Obviously Nintendo has been at this the longest and therefor should be the best at it however, what the hell are they doing with the 3DS?! I love Nintendo more than any other company which is why I am so upset and confused at they way they're going about the 3DS. Other than the fact that there are very few games worth playing on the 3DS right now I think their biggest problem is their marketing, or lack of marketing I should probably say. Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought as a company you were supposed to promote your products? Yes there have been some 3DS commercials but there were very few and the ones that they did put out didn't do a good job of explaining to the public that the 3DS is a successor to the DS system line and more than just a simple gimmick.
That being said Nintendo does seem to be heading in the right direction, finally. At E3 they showed off a great deal of 3DS games that should be out by the end of the year. That should solve the biggest problem that the system faces. Nintendo also recently announced a price drop, and a major one at that. At $170, lots of great games finally coming out, and more than likely having the holiday season to themselves, I think they will finally be able to make a pretty decent recovery. They still need to do some major work with the e-shop, but thats a whole 'nother blog.
Then theres Sony, the sexy lady who everyone loves to hate, they're still relatively new to the handheld market and are still testing the waters if you ask me. The PSP did fairly well but nowhere near the level the DS performed at. Then there was the PSPGO …. but we don't talk about that anymore. Sony hopes to triumph over Nintendo this time with their PSVita, it looks like it will be a close fight but my money is still on Nintendo.
Hopefully if Sony is smart (and unfortunately they aren't always) they'll learn from their past mistakes and will apply that knowledge to the Vita. Most people would agree that the Playstation 2 had one of the best game libraries of all time, which proves that Sony has it in them to make the Vita a huge success. What I personally think they need to do is listen to what the gamers are saying and less to what their investors want. I realize that's pretty unlikely though, Sony is a company like any other, they want to make money which means they will listen to their investors more than they will the fans. I'm not mad at them for that, its completely understandable, I just wish the world worked differently sometimes.
Finally we are at Apple. Apple being the horny teenager that Sony and Nintendo invite into their bed to spice things up. Apple is the newest to the gaming market and are going at it a lot differently than Sony or Nintendo. Mainly by not actually selling physical games for their phones and tablets, but instead being strictly digital distribution. I think it's time we all agree that cell phone games can be real games. Just look at games like Sword and Sworcery and Infinity Blade, these games are much more than just chucking birds at junk or fingering some fruit. Those games contain story and depth not found in cell phone games in the past.
These games still aren't as immersive as they should be though. While Infinity Blade and Sword and Sworcery are both fantastic games they really limit your level of exploration and freedom within the world. Apple still doesn't have any games like Ocarina of Time or Persona 3 running on their machines. Those games of course would have to cost more than most of the iOS games out there though, which would be a big hindrance. The whole reason Apple is able to compete with Nintendo and Sony is because all the games available are so cheap! That and the fact that pretty much everyone has a cell phone. (Note: it is my opinion that gaming on the iPhone and the iPad are too similar to justify differentiating between the two for this blog) I believe that Apple needs to bring us bigger and better games than we've seen from them thus far. Obviously Apple isn't responsible for the games found on their service, other developers put them there. I just think Apple should reach out to bigger and more experienced developers for bigger games.
So who will ultimately win this battle of the giants? Money wise it's hard to say, but probably Apple. Overall though I still have plenty of faith in Nintendo and expect to see them do very well with the 3DS despite their poor start. As gamers though, I say we all win. You have a pretty good amount of portable games to choose from nowadays. Who do you think will come out on top? What is your handheld of choice? Do you think Sony will do better this time? What would you like to see Apple or Nintendo do differently?
Some of us are known to do it from time to time while others find the act contradictory and absurd, listening to music while playing video games. To be honest with you, I only do it on very rare occasions but I started thinking about it the other day. What music would go well with which games? It was then that I decided to start this blogging series where I can suggest music to listen to with certain video games. I think of it as being very similar to the way in which some people have cheese and wine together to compliment their separate tastes. Todays game, L.A. Noir.
L.A. Noir has been a pretty heavily discussed game within the last few weeks, and for good reason. Once I was out of school for the summer I began playing my copy and like most people I was amazed! They really nailed the atmosphere of the city. The storytelling in the game is also another huge success in my eyes. It's by no means a perfect game, it has it's flaws and all, but what it does it does well.
It was also around this time that I began listening to a great deal of Dave Brubeck. Brubeck, for those of you that don't know, is a very popular Jazz quartet leader and pianist from around the same time that L.A. Noir takes place in (well, maybe a little bit after L.A. Noir). If you have already played L.A. Noir then you also already know that the game contains a lot of Jazz in it, so this was a pretty easily made connection for me.
Brubeck's most popular (and possibly best, depending on who you ask) album was Time Out and is an excellent album choice for the game. Listening to this nice cool Jazz while driving to a crime scene where some whore has been beaten to death with a lead pipe, stripped naked with obscene messages written across her tits is just so soothing.
The one track I chose to share with the class is entitled, Take Five. This song sounds like it came right out of an episode of Cowboy Bebop. Which makes me wonder, am I the only one that when driving at night likes to listen to Jazz and pretend their car is a spaceship? Take a listen to the song and be the judge. I think it would sound perfectly at home if it had been placed at some point within the game.
That wraps up my very first Taste Test post! What did you think of it? Would you like to see more? Do you ever listen to music while playing video games? What games would you like to see me do Taste Tests of in the future?