My name is Naia (pronounced either Nay-a or Neye-a, like yay or like eye) I am I'm a starving artist in LA trying to keep my sanity. I do mostly freelance stuff and I'm always looking for people (even on DToid) to do fun projects with in entertainment. That can be either in theater, film, TV, or video games. I want to be like Kermit the Frog and be part of a group that entertains. I also love blue slimes, puppies and Sprinkles Cupcakes.
I've been playing computer and video games all my life. My dad's a programmer so we got an IBM PC very early on in the 80's. For Christmas in 1989 my parents surprised me with a Nintendo and it's been downhill ever since. I have/had an NES, gameboy (of all flavors) SNES, Sega Genesis, Sega Gamegear, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2, PS3, Gamecube, DS, PSP, Wii, and 360. Whew!
I am a HUGE Dragon Quest Fan Girl. I did NOT buy an R4 to play Dragon Quest 4 in broken beta-english. I also do NOT play ROMs because I did NOT want to play Dragon Quest V and VI ten years ago in english, not knowing if I would ever see those games in the US. ROMS are bad :P Squenix can shit in a bag and if the bag has a cute slime on it, I'll buy it. I know it's a problem.
Also, Rydia is my hero.
I like games with colors in them aside from brown and black, even if most of the world calls those games "kiddy." Screw that! I play RPGs, Action/Adventure, Platformers, Puzzles, and Point-n-Click Adventure games. I will play fighters and shooters, but they have to be the right kind of game.
I'm such a nerd, I like to keep track of all the games I've completed in an excel file (it's around 300 something). Now that my backlog is out of control I have a word document for that too. My goal is to for once and for all eliminate the backlog, or at least keep it to a number in the single digits.
I have a lot of things to say about the game industry, it's something I care deeply about and love giving my opinions. I like to rant about shit. I'm here just to share what I have to say, in hopes someone is willing to listen. If I'm not here, I'm most likely wasting my life on IRC.
Also for the record, my Top 5 Games of All Time
1. Chrono Trigger
2. Final Fantasy 4
3. Super Mario 3
4. Dragon Quest 3
5. Phantasy Star 4
I apologize for the delay in getting out my final thoughts on E3 and my last day on the show floor. Day 3 was spent catching up on games I missed (despite still missing out on a lot of titles) and meeting up with the guys at Epiccenter Studios playing Real Heroes: Firefighter.
I snuck into one of the closed door sessions to watch Shadow Complex on XBLA. I hadn't heard anything about this game until I saw it and it looks like a neat adventure game. They promise the game will be about ten hours long, which is pretty substantial for an XBLA title. Hopefully it won't be a $20-30 game, which concerns me knowing Microsoft's business practices. It reminds me of the 2D Metroids; in fact the map screen looks like a replica of Super Metroid's map.
I played another round of Super Mario Bros Wii to try another one of the levels available. I also hoped that if I played the game with friends, it would be less chaotic. Unfortunately I was wrong. The game is still chaotic and I still have problems with the delay that occurs when every player is grabbing a power-up. I do hope Nintendo fixes this.
Finally I checked out Real Heroes: Firefighter. The games controls take some getting used to, but they work similarly to the controls of Elebits (for the five of you that played Elebits). It looks like it has shaped up to be a pretty decent game.
My trip to E3 was a bit unexpected, and a life long dream for myself. I have to admit though that attending as industry is quite different from attending as press. I was limited to where I could go and what I could see. As a result, there were a lot of things that I missed on the show floor. Some of the smaller titles I completely missed despite combing over the show floor multiple times. In a sense, I found E3 disappointing. Obviously I'm greatful to have had the chance to attend E3, but the show floor is overwhelming, and it's easy to miss a lot. In a sense, the coverage is better for the readers who can access everything at will.
The highlights of E3 for me were the Metroid: Other M trailer, and announcement of Monkey Island. Both announcements came out of left field, and as an old school gamer I'm excited for not only a 2D Metroid, but a new Monkey Island game. Unfortunately neither title was playable on the show floor, but I have high hopes for the games.
The biggest surprise for me was Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers. I mostly ignored this title but found the demo to be fairly substantial. The Wii-mote capabilities do not feel gimmicky. Another surprise for me was the improvements in dialogue I saw in Dragon Age Origins. While it's not to the degree of Mass Effect, it is a huge leap from Neverwinter Nights.
If there was any disappointment, it would be White Knight Chronicles. The combat is almost identical to Final Fantasy XII, which I didn't care for. I love Level 5 as a developer, and thought I was supposed to be playing an Action RPG. The game is great for those who didn't mind the combat of FFXII, but it was not what I was expecting.
E3 was a long and tiring week, but an exciting week. It's difficult for one person to take it all in, but it's an experience I won't forget.
Day 2 started a little sooner than day 1 since there were no conferences. Since I spent yesterday in the West Hall, I spent today in the South Hall. It was busy, and almost as packed in the convention center as yesterday.
I began my day exploring the Square Enix-Booth. Many of the games they "showed" were only in trailer form, but looked beautiful on a 100 inch screen. For the first time since the game has been announced Final Fantasy XIII has peaked my interest. If it was playable, it was behind closed doors. The trailer for Final Fantasy XIV was also quite beautiful. I should make note that the display case of Dragon Quest toys was the only mention of the entire franchise at the show, which was very disappointing.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 covers a part of the story while Sora is in suspended sleep and Namine reconstructs his memories. The story moves over to Roxas and the rest of the Organization. The game plays like other KH games, but the movement isn't quite as smooth due to the lack of analog stick on the DS. The d-pad works fairly well though. If you enjoyed the other KH games, you will enjoy this one.
Dissidia Final Fantasy is Street Fighter meets an RPG. The demo put me in one-on-one battles against other playable characters. Unlike Street Fighter, the characters have HP and a bravery stat that affects certain attacks. I played as Terra and then as Cecil. What I particularly liked about Cecil was his ability to switch between Dark Knight and Paladin in battle. Like Zelda/Sheik in Smash Brothers, Dark Knight and Paladin Cecil have different skills. Terra has some unique magic attacks that make her pretty badass. I'm not sure how much of a story there is, but it still seems like a fun game.
Finally at Squenix, I played Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers. The demo was about forty-five minutes long and showed how the wii-mote is used in game. I played as a character who through the power of the crystals has magical powers. These power include the ability of telekinesis which is controlled via the wii-mote. The player gets to move objects and shake items out of people. The small amount of combat involved aiming and shooting chocobo knights. While I didn't mind some of the wii-mote based aiming in combat, but I I hope there will be options to fighting that don't include excessive waggle.
I had the opportunity to get a sneak peak of Dragon Age Origins, Bioware's next fantasy RPG. The dialogue tree is much more sophisticated; it looks like they took a page from Mass Effect's book. Bioware has taken a lot of care in polishing Dragon Age up a lot since this game in 2005. More importantly, they revealed the first playable build on consoles. As a veteran Neverwinter player, I can't imagine playing this game on anything other than the PC, but once you get used to the interface, it may be a nice option for console owners.
Finally, I played Katamari Forever. I originally thought it was a straight up "best of" port from previous Katamari games, but they have added a few small features that reinvigorate the Katamari series for me. The first is the ability to have the katamari jump by pressing L2 and R2 together. I frequently find myself trapped in an area, so being able to jump out saves a lot of time. The second, while I didn't see but was told by a Namco-Bandai rep that powerups will appear in the stages. The hand-drawn art style in 1080p also looks gorgeous.
Sorry this is up late. I spent my evening with some of the DToid staff at the Scratch Ultimate DJ party. Quincy Jones showed up! Who knew!
(not Quincy Jones)
I will be giving my final thoughts on E3 tomorrow!
E3 has been filled with some interesting news so far. I spent a good deal of my first day staring off into space with a "dear in the headlights" face. i devoted the day to one of the halls and tried to play as many games as I could, while also taking breaks to eat and sit down for a bit. Here are some highlights of games I played today. Day one was about taking it all in.
I played an overlooked Nintendo RPG on the DS called Glory of Heracles. The art style reminds me of the recent Fire Emblem remake. The characters are 3D but feel like sprites. The animation is also fairly fluid. You play as Heracles before he becomes Hercules. The demo started with Heracles waking up with no memory (boy that plot NEVER gets old!) and must find a ship at the end of town. Once Heracles boards the ship, the screw join him in a battle against some enemies. The player can use touch screen controls or traditional buttons, and the turn-based battle system is fairly straightforward and traditional.
Golden Sun had a teaser movie that allowed the player to control the main character briefly. The elemental spirits are the same as in past games and move around on the top screen while combat happens on the bottom screen. I look forward to find more information on the game and understand how the alchemy mechanics work in this game. Either way, this was one of the biggest surprises to come out of Nintendo's press conference for me.
New Super Mario Brothers Wii suffers one tiny flaw: whenever players get the mushroom power-up, the screen freezes for Mario to change size. This was fine in single player, but when there are four people changing size at different times, it becomes chaotic. I'd like Nintendo to find a way to fix that, but at the moment I'm not sure how. Otherwise it's wonderful to see a 2D retail game. Yoshi also makes a return and he plays exactly the way he did in Super Mario World. This includes multi-colored Yoshis with different abilities.
Mario and Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story plays the same as the first two for the most part, with two "phases" of the game. The first one controlling Mario and Luigi inside of Bowser, and controlling Bowser on the outside world. Some of the new skills the characters have are more stylus based this time around, but aren't too gimmicky. The humor is just as great in Bowser's Inside Story as the previous two.
Muramasa: The Demon Blade was another pleasant surprise for the afternoon. I wasn't crazy about the controls, but I was using the Wii-mote and nunchuck. The game has classic and gamecube controller support, so I'm not concerned.
I ended my day playing some PSN games and testing out the PSP Go! It's a nice little machine, and was surprised how much smaller it was than the PSP 3000. I like how the L and R buttons feel, but I'm not sure its worth $250. Perhaps when the price drops and such I'll eventually pick it up. I played Critter Crunch, a puzzle game on PSN which involves clearing rows of animals by feeding them lower food on the food chain before they reach you. I also played Trash Panic. Announced at TGS last year, Trash Panic is Tetris with trash but also relies on physics to compact the trash.
While it may be uncool to say this, I'm pleasantly surprised by the number of games I want to play on the Wii. This has been an unexpected turn of events.
I will be visiting TellTale, XSeed, and Square Enix tomorrow!
As people are learning about the new surprises up Microsoft's sleeve, I'm at the LA Convention center. Someone thinks I'm enough of a part of the industry to qualify for an industry pass so I'm infiltrating the center. Since I'm not press, I don't have a set schedule, so it's mostly squeezing in some networking while mostly playing the games I want to play. I will be giving my perspective on the games I care about and logging my experiences for my first E3.
I'll be posting through out the next few days with some hands on, which you can look at as just another opinion, but hopefully a little more insight than the people viewing at home.
So does anyone have any questions for me? Is there something I should be looking for?
The DSi is launching this weekend. It looks nice, and Nintendo knows how to sell a portable. In fact, I don't go anywhere without my DS. I wasn't sure what to think of the DSi, especially given the $170 price tag, but Nintendo invited me to a preview event a few weeks ago due to my Club Nintendo Platinum Status. Since I registered everything I've ever purchased from Nintendo and will never have this many coins again, I may as well enjoy the perks while it lasts. I went out to Universal Citywalk and played around with a DSi. I figured some people may be on the fence, or just curious as to how it looks/feels, so I am here to share my experiences with the DSi.
For starters, the system is a little bit longer than the DS Lite, but not quite as thick. My guess is due to the lack of GBA slot. The matte feels really nice compared to the glossy finish of the DS Lite. The buttons feel pretty similar to the Lite, but the D-pad is much nicer.
The interface looks a lot like a miniature version of the Wii in terms of how it's set up. You can check the firmware, manage data, etc. You use the stylus to navigate through the menus which include the game menu, camera, and music player. I played around with the camera a bit and messed with my face. Like a simple version of Photoshop, one can change the picture to be in black and white, sepia, distorted or split the picture into multiple mirror images. It was fun, although I can't imagine myself using this very much unless it is incorporated into future games. Since Nintendo has said there will be some games in the future with DSi exclusive features, this is a possibility. The people at Nintendo were nice enough to print one picture per person and gave us a spiffy magnetic frame to go along with it. Overall the whole setup was pretty easy to use.
(That's me in my new glasses)
I didn't do too much with the music player, mainly because I didn't have any AAC files on me. I use either mp3s or snobby raw WAV files for my music, but from watching other people test out the music player it does what the other sites say it does. One can play around with the speed of the music and reverse it. It's basically a very watered down version of audio editing software. Again, this is a feature I wouldn't really use, unless it was incorporated into future titles.
Unfortunately there weren't any DSi ware titles to try out and was one of the main reasons why I decided to attend. On the bright side, I did bring some of my own DS games to try out and compare the DS Lite screen to the DSi screen. I put in Puzzle Quest Galactrix (yes I'm still enjoying the game), into my Lite and then into the DSi. The screen is bigger on the DSi and actually made things easier for me to see. While the resolution is the same, there wasn't much of a visual downgrade due to the screen being small as it is, and with the extra brightness level, it made everything look much more vibrant to me. It was kind of nice being able to take the cartridges out without having to completely shut down the system.
Now this brings the magic question: is it still worth getting? My answer is yes and no. The Nintendo rep was very nice and tried to answer my questions, but unfortunately it's not clear yet if we will be able to play DSiware directly from the SD card or if we will have to do some fridge cleaning. That concerns me, although a little less now than before with the 4.0 firmware update on the Wii. The upgrades are really nice, and once there is enough DSiware out that interests me, I will gladly trade in my lite. Until then I'm not sure it's worth it as a DS Lite owner to upgrade. I would say for those out there debating on picking up a DS for the first time, or those who still have a DS phat should get one without hesitation. It will be much easier to see things and with the DS's library, there's TONS of amazing games to play (unless you hate fun. You don't hate fun, do you?)
I kid about that last comment, but this should give people an idea on what the DSi has to offer.