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    Welcome back to My week in gaming. I'm aware that I've been M..A. for about a month but I've been busy and shit happens. But in the mean time I have gotten in a little gaming here and there. So let's get to it.

    Let's kick this off with A Fading Melody. I finally finished it and I was right. It wasn't what I wanted out of the ending but it was good, just not what it absolutely good have been. I won't spoil anything for anybody but suffice it to say that it's well worth the 200 points.

    Next up is Castle Crashers. I took some time to work on getting my King leveled up. I still love the hell out of it and I've finally got a few other people into it and hopefully soon will have a good group of four to play with.

    Now on to Rez. Yet another game that I finally finished off. I loved the game from start to just before finish. And at the encouragement of Zex I finally finished it and wished that I hadn't because the end of that game is absolute bullshit. I still loved playing it but the way it ended was in fact complete crap.

    Now onto my next fixation. I've been working on Dead Space and it's fantastic. I'm flat out impressed. I like the fact fact that story spans multiple mediums. I love the sound design. I haven't felt compelled to actually set up my surround sound system since Metroid Prime 3 came out but this game has compelled me. I love the lighting too. I have great respect for a survival horror game that ops for good lighting as opposed to shit lighting where you can't see your own hand in front of your face. Respectable lighting doesn't just mean being able to see someone running up on you but it also means that the developers have to put real care and detail into your surroundings because the player will actually see it and you must be able to maintain the illusion and EA has done a fantastic job of putting this world together in such a manor that you feel like you are absolutely trapped and alone in this completely fucked mining station.

    And there's Hexic. It always come back to Hexic. It makes for a great game to play when I can't be fucked to hold a controller with both hands. It's that game that I can come home from work and play it until I fall asleep and when I wake up I don't wake up looking at it feeling like it's been waiting impatiently for me to get back to it. I like that.

    I've been suffering way too much downtime at work due to my boss' inability to procure the stuff my coworker and I need to do our job so I've been killing way too much time with Clubhouse games. It's a whole lot of game in one neat little package. I can dig it!

    Yay Big Bang Mini! The score attack mode is about the most addictive thing on the planet. Plus I'm almost done with the campaign mode as well and it's still pretty spiffy.

    Also making the list of stuff I've been playing is Metroid Prime. I couldn't tell you why but I just had a hankering to play some good old Prime. There is no substitute for some things. Metroid Prime is one of those things.

    Last but not least, there's Chrono Trigger. I want to like this God damn game but it keeps making it real hard to do so. I put it down for some time hoping I would be able to go back to it with a fresh face and get through that damn fight with the golem sisters but it was not to be. So in frustration and fury, I handed my DS to Zex and said, "here, you do it." So he plowed through i since he's done it before and now I can finally continue to enjoy my game.
    Photo Photo Photo

    Welcome to Fanboy Weekly: Once More With Feeling Edition. For those that haven't checked it out yet I have been writing a new weekly feature for Game Observer. I thought I would repost the older issues so that those that haven't scoped it out yet can enjoy them and that hopefully you will all like it enough to head over to Game Observer to check the newer and current issues of Fanboy Weekly.

    Welcome back once again to Fanboy Weekly. This week I would like to draw your attention to the upcoming E3 event. First and foremost, E3 the last two years have sucked big floppy donkey dick. Now that weíve gotten the obvious out of the way letís take a look at the question at hand. Given the last two years worth of conferences from Nintendo, should we even keep paying any attention to Nintendo at E3? The short answer is, yes.

    Nintendo needs ďDigital PowerĒ

    The long answer is yes, but, if they keep going the way theyíve been over the last few years, not much attention. Thatís not to say that Nintendo canít turn it around, because they can. There are a lot of things that they could do. Even if itís just one or two things from the whole to-do list, it would still be enough to merit our attention. Some of these things would include an easy way to watch the conference this year. Between the release of the Nintendo Channel and the fact that it would not be that hard to set up a channel that taps into a live feed of the conference, I would be far more inclined to watch it intently if I could watch it on my Wii.

    The next thing that would get me to take heed of Nintendo at E3 this year would be the announcement that Nintendo Power will be going into digital distribution. Given that in the past year or so Nintendo Power has become very bare bones in its presentation since U.S. Publishing took it over, I really donít get that excited to see it in the mail anymore. In fact Iím not even planning on renewing my subscription since I can just as easily go out to the book store on an evening excursion and thumb through it and get everything I want out of it. Digital distribution would be fantastic, though. To pay ten or fifteen dollars worth of points and be given access to a channel that is updated with Nintendo news weekly or even daily would be well worth it to me.

    The next thing that would go a long ways towards once again garnering the attention of the core Nintendo audience would be to lay out release dates for the rest of New Play Control games so that we know whatís coming when and can plan appropriately for the games that we want, because letís face it, everyone wants at least one of those games in their hands sooner rather then later.

    Again, revive the great franchises

    Next would be to unveil some new entries into some of the assorted series I discussed a few weeks back. At least tell me that thereís more F-Zero and star Fox on the way. Show me some Pikmin 3. Or God forbid they even go so far as to tell us some thing about some new upcoming A list series like Zelda on the Wii, or to even drop me a hint or two about whatís in store for Samus would thrill me to death.

    Lastly, I would love to see them do what most of us would consider it to be rather obvious: tell me how the Wii Motion Plus is going to be implemented in new Nintendo games. At least tell me that the New Zelda game will use it to control one-on-one sword fighting, or that they will be using it in the new Kid Icarus games, which they might then finally announce or even show since itís been all but confirmed for over a year now.

    Or they could top all of that by saying that they understand that their E3 presentations arenít bringing us the news we want and that in order to alleviate this issue they will announce the return of Space World and will be bringing us their truly megaton announcements then. I do not hesitate to say that I would cream myself at the unveiling of the return of Space World and that it would be kept a show for gamers like you and me. Well, now that Iíve laid out my hopes and dreams for E3 this year so that they can be likely crushed or possibly fulfilled, Iíll catch you all next week.

    The Fanboy has spoken.

    Welcome to Fanboy Weekly: Once More With Feeling Edition. For those that haven't checked it out yet I have been writing a new weekly feature for Game Observer. I thought I would repost the older issues so that those that haven't scoped it out yet can enjoy them and that hopefully you will all like it enough to head over to Game Observer to check the newer and current issues of Fanboy Weekly.

    Welcome back once again to Fanboy Weekly. This week I would like to take a look at a movement that has been working its way into the games industry and in the last year or so really hit its stride: the ďretrovivalĒ. You all may be asking why I am talking about the retrovival here on Fanboy Weekly. Simple, because looking back Iím pretty comfortable attributing this movement to Nintendo.

    I think to see where this movement first started we need to look to the DS. Here is a system that when it came out it promised to push the limits of handheld gaming. And for a little while it did. Then came along the PSP which was sporting considerably more powerful hardware. So whatís a DS to do? Find a niche. And find a niche it did. It started with games like Nintendogs and Warioware Touch. When we started buying up games like New Super Mario Bros. and Tetris DS developers started to look to the other extreme. They realized that they didnít need to be on the bleeding edge of graphics to sell.

    And so came Lo-Fi gaming, and hardcore players rejoiced. It took time but what happened at first glance might be considered a devolution or regression of gaming, but those would be inappropriate terms as they tend to carry a rather negative connotation. Instead, consider it a simplification of what has become an extremely complex medium. It was exemplified by the release of games like Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Sonic Rush, and even Kirby Canvas Curse.

    Then came along the Wii, and with it, the Virtual Console. What the Virtual Console did was continue to remind us why we love our old games and simultaneously put a template to making good 80ís and early 90ís styled games in front of developers. Then the news came and floored everyone. Capcom was developing Mega Man 9 as a NES Mega Man for the Wii. While, yes, when it released it released for all platforms, but most consider the Wii the catalyst for the creation of Mega Man 9. In fact, consider this, if you heard word that Capcom was making a new 8-bit Mega Man and was only going to release it on the Playstation 3 or on the Xbox 360 you would have been skeptical at best. But to hear that it would only be made for the Wii would simply invoked joy and happiness and you wouldnít even begin to question the news; you would just get excited and piss your pants with joy. It just made sense.

    Now the retrovival has truly hit its stride. In fact the retrovival has simply exploded on the Wii and the DS. With the DS we now have games like Retro Game Challenge which just exemplifies 80ís gaming culture, and thrills me to death every time I turn it on. On the flip side of that coin we have games like Big Bang Mini, that while they couldnít be done on old school hardware because of the nature of the gameplay, managed to retain the simplistic gameplay sensibilities and mechanics that you expect from your favorite old school ďshmupsĒ.

    Then thereís the Wii which has brought us retro gems like the Art Style games and Bit.Trip Beat that when I play I feel like Iíve just jumped back to the early 90ís and I just want it to be midnight on some summer night so I can turn off all the lights, open the window and just listen to the insects outside and catch glimpses of fireflies on the window out of the corner of my eye while I bask in the glow of the TV as I sit on the floor cross-legged and wish that summer vacation would last forever.

    The Fanboy has spoken.

    Ladies and gentlemen, E3 has come and gone and there were more then a few news bombs dropped. The biggest for me personally was the last one I would have expected, a new Metroid game. I saw the trailer for Other M and my mind was reeling from the sheer awesomeness but after the elation subsided which took countless hours I started re watching the trailer and began to pick up on details which has for the most part only led to more questions then answers.

    The first of these many questions is where in the time line does this sit? For anyone that knows their Metroid the immediate response would be that it takes placed before the original Metroid. This detail could bee gleaned from the fact fact that Adam Malcovich is shown as alive and giving orders to Samus. This would imply that Other M takes place while Samus was in fact still enlisted with the Galactic Federation. This premise is laden with potential to provide answers to an entire array of questions in regards to Samus' history including why she enlisted and why she left as well as what happened to Adam. Other M looks as though it may even delve into the relationship between Samus and Adam. In fact I would go so far as to say that I can guarantee the events leading up and including Adam's death will be revealed being that the trailer shows Samus standing over what appears to be a dead Adam.

    The thought the Other M will be strictly a prequel falls apart as soon as the gameplay footage starts though because upon further inspection one will see a gorgeous rendition of the death of the metroid hatchling at the hands of Mother Brain from Super Metroid. Not only that but for the truly investigative such as myself you'll also notice the scene with several of, what appears to be Federation troopers, being targeted by the huntress herself as though she is being hunted which would imply that that scene is post Fusion being that the end of Fusion saw Samus being a fugitive from the Federation. Not only that but there is an additional scene that sees Samus seemingly snooping in a Galactic Federation lab and accessing a screen that says, "Living Body Arms Development," which would imply organic weaponry. Now if you'll recall that was a major story crux in Fusion that the Galactic Federation was in fact working on a program to mass produce and rapidly grow metroids for weapons use. That screen also reads, "Attestation Success," from which one could also infer that whatever the Federation has been working on has in fact been fruitful and if it is a metroid rapid growth program then what we saw could in fact be Samus trying to bring this program down from the inside.

    The final couple of unanswered questions raised from this trailer include a federation trooper who asks Samus if she remembers him. Now a few things can be gleaned from this one snippet. The first is that this man is someone that she served with while enlisted in the Federation. Second, the question, "remember me," says that it's been some time since she has seen him which leads me to believe that this scene takes place post Fusion. This depiction also suggests that he may in fact be her inside contact that gets her into the Federations lab in order to shut down their bio weapons program. The other unanswered question is who is the woman in the lab coat seen throughout the entire trailer that Samus introduces herself to. She was seen both in the beginning of the trailer while Adam was alive and watches Samus as she stands over Adam's dead body which implies that she at the very least knew Adam or may have even been involved with Adam romantically. Seeing her catch Samus snooping in the Living Body Arms Development lab also suggests that she is also working on the rapid growth program as well or may have been responsible for the upload of Adam's consciousness after he passed away.

    Last but most certainly not least is the gameplay. Everything I saw told me several things. First off, terrain traversal appears to happen on a 2d plane with some very dramatic camera angles. What I mean by this is that even though there are shots of Samus running either into or away from the camera she doesn't seem to shift left to right which tells me that the focus for terrain traversal remains about classic platforming. Where this appears to break from the norm in regards to Metroid style gameplay is in the combat. While there was what appeared to be some classic shooting things out of the sky gameplay there looks to be much more melee style combat. Case in point being the scene where Samus takes down a creature by the neck, keeps it in a headlock on the ground, and shoots it in the head point blank. This is where you can truly see Team Ninja's influence on the series bleeding in and somehow it doesn't seem wrong and that's a pretty tough feat to pull off. Retro Studios pulled it off and I still think that's only because a first person game always seems to make sense because everyone at least once has wanted to get behind the visor of the huntress at least once. This in fact appears to remain in Metroid Other M at least in a few instances.

    In the end, as I stated at the beginning of this analysis, this trailer has simply provided more questions then answers. The upside to all of this is that we have until the game drops in 2010 to speculate all we want but at the end of it all we will finally have a Metroid game that delves into the untold history of the first lady of gaming.


    It has been brought to light via an interview with the director that Metroid Other M is set in the time line between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion. This however does not shatter the theory that the Living Body Arms Development program is the Federations metroid rapid growth research. This may in fact be Samus getting a glimpse at what the Federation is working on and not knowing all the details. There is also the possibility that it is the Federation trying to duplicate Samus' power suit.
    Photo Photo Photo

    While listening to an old episode of Podtoid, something was mentioned that made me really stop and think. Anthony Burch mentioned that after a game has been out for three weeks most people don't tend to even care about it any more. That really took me aback for a minute until I really thought about it and realized he's right. The question that this brought to light for me is why is this given that this didn't used to be the case. It used to be that when a big game came out or that when we as gamers got a new game we fixated on it for quite some time.

    What changed though? When did the consumer electronics mentality of throw away technology begin to apply to gaming and what caused this mindset shift to occur? To find the beginning of the answer we have no further to look then the gaming press. With the press constantly demanding we focus our attention on the next big thing their constant need for new things to put up on their front pages that need for the newest, biggest, baddest thing has started to bleed into our own brains. That in and of itself is not bad because we as consumers should constantly demand a better product.

    But the press is not the only group on which blame can be laid. We must also look to the publishing companies that whore their products out to no end. Publishing companies have gotten so bad about pushing and promoting their new game that not only are they getting gamers to forget about whatever any other publisher put out but they are even stepping on their own toes. EA for example, managed to do this to themselves as an example when they were pushing Dead Space, which had a brilliant cross media campaign that I greatly respect, so hard that they managed to over shadow Mirror's Edge and in the end both games suffered, some of that financial failure can also be attributed to bad timing as well.

    The third culprit in the case of the disappearing attention span is major chain second hand stores such as Game Stop and Game Crazy. These chains have one goal in mind, make money. Now speaking from experience as having both worked in and run a Game Crazy I can tell you that they will push you so hard to trade in your new release games as fast as humanly possible. For them, used games is where the money is, and new releases are easy money for them. They give you half back on your sixty dollar game, give or take, and sell it for fifty or fifty-five bucks is great for them and the best part is because it's new they know some body will come looking to buy it and will have no hesitations buying it since it's a few dollars cheaper.

    But in the end the biggest factor in all this is both the games and the gamers. Games on the whole in the last decade with a few very blatant exceptions simply don't have the replay value that gives them the staying power required to convince us to keep them for more then a week after we've finished it. And then there's us, the gamers. Our attention span has dwindled on the whole as we've gotten older. We have become fickle as we've aged and are constantly looking to be playing the next big thing so that we can remain relevant in our online gaming circles and not end up months behind the gaming trend and must always have the latest and greatest that everyone else is playing.

    All in all it comes back to the need to stay part of the herd. And while I have an appreciation for that need there is also something to be said for sticking with a game for more then a week and really getting you money out of it.
    Photo Photo Photo

    Welcome to Fanboy Weekly: Once More With Feeling Edition. For those that haven't checked it out yet I have been writing a new weekly feature for Game Observer. I thought I would repost the older issues so that those that haven't scoped it out yet can enjoy them and that hopefully you will all like it enough to head over to Game Observer to check the newer and current issues of Fanboy Weekly.

    Something is missing. In fact, there are several things missing. And you know what? Most of us have forgotten that something is missing. Whatís missing? Our second string series on the Wii. Where the hell is my Star Fox? Where is my Pikmin? And most importantly, where on Godís green Earth is my f***ing F-Zero?

    Why have all these series that either debuted or released their best iteration to date fallen by the wayside and have been forgotten about while we continue to bitch about not having another Zelda title or demanding why we havenít heard anything about another Mario game? Pikmin for example has premiered on the GameCube and in the life cycle of a single system became a beloved member of the Nintendo family of series. Not only that but as if to rub it in our face we get the New Play Control Pikmin and Pikmin 2 yet we stopped demanding to know where is our Pikmin 3?

    What happened to Star Fox? Here is a series that both bottomed out and pinnacled on the same console with its appearances on the GameCube. I would be willing to suffer a terrible Star Fox game like Star Fox Adventure again if it means that Nintendo uses that game as an opportunity to figure out what elements to strip out and put into a great Star Fox game like Star Fox Assault.

    Most importantly, why has F-Zero seemingly been abandoned? We got F-Zero GX almost six years ago, which to me is the definition of the F-Zero series, but I still want to see an attempt to push it even harder than GX, whether or not I rationally believe it can be done. But at the very least we would get new tracks, characters and machines. Not to mention the fact that I have a hard time believing that Nintendo would put out a new F-Zero without any online multiplayer, which that series deserves far more than the likes of a ridiculously random game like Mario Kart.

    Last but not least I would like to visit a Nintendo property that has been dormant since the Game Boy: Kid Icarus. This is a series that I am considerably more optimistic about. Nintendo at the very least admitted that they have, or at least had, it in the works and were sad that it wasnít ready to show at E3 last year. So this year Iím holding out some hope that we will finally get to see what theyíve been cooking up for Nintendoís little winged boy wonder.

    With any luck Nintendo will even be kind enough to throw us another bone or two in addition to Kid Icarus come E3, whether it be one or two new IPs like what Project H.A.M.M.E.R. once was before it was canned, or maybe even something like a successor to Eternal Darkness that with the right dev crew could truly milk the Wii for all itís worth. Iíll catch you all next week.

    The Fanboy has spoken.

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