|By PlatformPCPS3Xbox 360Wii U3DSPS VitaAndroidiPhoneiPadOther HardwareEditor's Choiceby Author||By LatestThe best and worst s : May Returns Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN- Lara Croft and the Temple of... Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX Destiny: The Dark BelowReview in Progress: Destiny: The... Ultraworld The Talos Principle Peggle Blast Secret Ponchos of Thrones: A Telltale Series:...More reviews||By GenreActionAdventureFightersFree-to-playMMOMusicPlatformShootersSportsRPGStrategyMore genres|
|Xbox LIVE:||sonic429||PSN ID:||sonic-429||Steam ID:||sonic_429||Wii U code:||sonic429|
So as you all know Microsoft temporarily cut the cost of the Xbox One down from $399 to $349 and bundled in a couple of Assassins Creed games. But better yet, black Friday sales pushed the console down to $329 and (depending on the store) gave some other goodies with it.
So here I was planning on not getting a new system this Christmas. I was actually planning on making a more informed decision next year, but for some reason I didn't. I mean I told myself I didn't need a new system, the system with the most compelling lineup for the foreseeable future was Wii U. But still, sometimes you want games made by people other than Nintendo. And those games aren't coming to Wii U.
And that's when I saw the Black Friday ads, that's when I caved. Honestly, I usually think about a system long and hard before I buy in. And while it's been on the forefront of my mind for months, it was (and frankly still is) too early to tell what the better system is. But none of that mattered, Xbox One in the span of about 17 months went from a console that I had nothing but disdain for, to a console I stood in line to pay for. Even knowing the history of how that came to be, I'm still befuddled that it actually happened. Before I knew it I was coming home to set up my new system.
Me on (Rebecca) Black Friday
So this brings me to the point of my blog. What do I think of the Xbone? Well...it's complicated. See there are things that I really like about it, and things that leave me scratching my head even more than my decision to purchase the Xbox One. So I'd like to share my thoughts, impressions, hopes, dreams, and whatnot; lets start with the good.
It's actually a really hefty piece of tech, like when you pick it up you feel the weight, that's generally a good sign when it comes to electronics. This is not a rule set in stone mind you, but a general truism, that if it's heavy, it's well built. I'm not crazy about the size or the huge vents on top, but I am about the philosophy behind them. We all remember how big the original Xbox was, and how Microsoft went out of their way to make the 360 more compact, and that they did, problem was, it was a heat box and the reason so many of them failed. Microsoft learned from their mistakes and made the system larger to allow for proper ventalation. I'm cool with that, espeically since it doesn't sound like the 360, which was like a jet engine. The Xbone is actually wisper quiet, and if it's reliable I really don't care that it's big. And think of it this way, they can always go back to the drawing board later and revise the hardware to make it smaller. I also like the 3 USB ports, HDMI in (even though I'll probably never use it), and the touch panel, all of which are nice touches.
Now I can't really talk about anything but the 2 games that I have (Master Chief Collection, Killer Instinct) but I must say these are two games that I've wanted for some time, and have enjoyed both quite a bit. The interesting thing is, they are both exclusive. Moreover, there's a few more exclusives that have my eye, Titanfall, Sunset Overdrive, Ryse (if I can get it for less than $15) Dead Rising 3 (same deal) the upcoming Quantum Break, Halo 5, the new Gears and the upcoming Tomb Raider game (even if it is only timed). Furthermore, it has the third party games that will never hit Wii U, even if they did they wouldn't look as good. They may not be true exclusives as some are coming to PC, but I'm primarlily a console gamer, it's a moot point in my eyes.
You know what the first thing I thought when I got out on the controller? AA batteries, again?!? WTF Microsoft, get with the times! But my second thought was, finally they fixed the D-pad! That has been a horrible blemish on last gen's best controller. But I do like it, it's comfortable, the triggers feel really nice, (the jury is still out on them vibrating) not too heavy, not too light, the analog sticks feel sturdy and repsonsive, and the face buttons are nice and clicky. From my understanding the battery life isn't too shabby either. It still doesn't trump the Wii U pro controller, but I didn't really expect it to either. Point is, it's well designed and comfortable for long sessions of gaming.
Okay, enough praise. I want to adress the bad, because it's the reason I'm still waffling on the system.
The install times
I knew that one of the caveats of both the PS4 and Xbone (by contrast to the Wii U) is that every game requires a manual install before it can be played, even disc based games. I get it, I don't like it, but PC has been that way since like the dawn of PC gaming. So conceptually it wasn't new to me and I knew that I would have that do deal with regardless of which console I chose. I had heard through the grapevine that they were longer than PS4 but I had no idea how long. It's bad, really bad. It's apparently because of the remnants of the always online DRM that was initally planned and is how the system operates. But now that it's gone, shouldn't that clear that up? Apparently not. I had to download the Master Chief collection and install a 15GB patch. That took hours! I can't even tell if it's possible to do in standby mode. Games simply take too long to be playable. I'm used to load times, patches, even DLC, but this is just too much.
An hour before a disc based game is playable?
Now I know another part of the orignal plan for the Xbone was for every system to include Kinect (don't even get me started on how stupid that logic was), and that the interface was designed around it. But why is is so hard to navigate around the system menus? The metro Xbox 360 interface was designed around Kinect, and can certainly be a little cumberson at times, but this is an all new level. To date, I'm not sure why I have to have an app to play blu ray discs, why it doesn't support 480p or 1080i, how to delete games off my hard drive, or how to download in standby. I know it's a game console and my system of choice (Wii U) can't do the multimedia tasks, but then again it was never touted as such. Microsoft claims it's an all in one entertainment device. So far it's fallen short of both the PS3 and 360 in that regard.
The hard drive setup
I can live with the fact that the Xbone isn't as powerful as the PS4, after all, the most powerful system of a generation has never been the most successful, and there will always be differences in power. But it's the little things that get under my skin. The on board 500 GB hard drive is too small, and it will need to be upgraded. While this is also true of the PS4, the PS4 will let you upgrade the internal hard drive. As it stands it won't be long before I will need to attach that 1 TB drive I have laying around, and it will perpetually be there. It's a situation I'm not to crazy about on Wii U, and it somewhat irks me that it has to be replicated on Xbox One. Yes, I'm aware that PS4 doesn't support external storage, but I feel it is the lesser of two evils. I dread having to send in my system if my internal hard drive fails, because that would brick the system.
I can say for sure that my first impressions were less than stellar. I had the hardest time having to set up wifi (for some unknown reason), the system has bugged out on me a couple of times, either temporarily freezing or refusing to turn on despite being securely plugged in. Long story short, I've never felt so unsure of a console the day I got it...not even with the Atari Jaguar.
Don't get me wrong, it's a nice system for a lot of reasons, and these issues can (and most likely will) be resolved. It's just that it's a year after launch, and there's so much that feels unfinished about the Xbone. For the first day or so I was contemplating returning it and getting a PS4. But then I thought of the reason I bought it: the exclusives, and it's the system my friends are playing. So I decided to hold onto the Xbone for the time being. If by next year at this time I don't like the direction it's taking I'm just going to cut my losses and get a PS4.
Oh and on a side note, I'd like some advice on getting things set up better on the Xbox. Any hints and tips in the comments section would be greatly appreciated.
Before I begin, I know I haven't been around much the last few days or so, vacation means less time in front of a PC and more time doing whatever. But I'll be back to my chatty opinionated self next week. In the mean time here's a blog to tide you over.
Anyway, to the topic at hand. I've been hearing rumblings from people on the internet about consoles going the way of the dinosaur. That is to say: people think consoles will no longer be a viable concept for delivery of gaming content. I've heard the arguments and I have to say I totally disagree for a number of reasons. But in order to make my argument against it I have to explain why people believe this.
This video is from a guy named Adam Koralik with Figure it Out productions. He's an old school gamer and one who talks a lot about the industry quite a bit, so needless to say we have a lot in common. I don't always agree with him, but I can usually see where he's coming from. The video below is his stance on why he feels the way he does. I normally don't like to ask too much time from people but it is necessary to discuss the topic at hand.
The first problem with this stance that I want to address is the hole in the market that this would create. See, you can't just take out a product that the market embraces and not replace it. Sure, Blockbuster is no longer a thing, but in its stead we now have Redbox, Gamefly and to a point, Netflix and PS Now. People have rented games and movies ever since the physical media has existed. For a lot of people, it makes a lot more sense to just want to borrow something temporarily. It's cheaper, its convenient, and allows access to potentially a lot more content.
What Adam is proposing is that the current method of consoles would just simply cease to exist. That's like saying that they'll stop making DVD's because you can stream movies now. I foresee physical distribution, digital distribution and streaming games all being part of the future. I have no qualms about all three coexisting.
The way I come to that conclusion is by looking at similar entertainment markets. It's impossible to deny that digital distribution has been incorporated into all the markets, not just gaming, but why is it that only gaming will discontinue physical distribution, or local processing power? You don't see people foregoing DVD's, Blu Ray's, CD's, or physical books? Even the PC market still has physical releases for all the AAA games, even if it is all digital. Even then, you still have local processing power, it's not done in the clould. The physical media is part and parcel of the console and exists and will continue to exist for a number of reasons.
First off, people like them. I know it sounds like I'm over-simplifying but there will always be a demand for a physical product. People like boxes, with artwork and manuals. People like knowing that they can take a disc over to another persons house, lending, borrowing, trading, and the like, it's one of the resons consoles still exist in a world of PC's. Why else do you think the Xbox One announcement of their "plan" for used games was met with such resentment? People like the sense of ownership that comes with a physical release. This goes for music as well as movies. Those people predicting back in 2008 that blu ray would be gone by now have shut their mouths, and this is even in light of all the streaming services currently available.
The PSP go was met with very lukewarm sales. And while you could attribute that to the fact that the platform went from physical to digital so quickly, the exorbitant price tag, and incompatibility, I still think console gamers just aren't ready to go digital only.
Going digital only means a lot of things. It means you will have to have a reliable internet connection with a decent speed. It means that your console will inevitablly be a brick when the servers for that console are shut down. It means capacity for hard drives will have to be much larger than what is currently offered. And it means you could possibly be alienating a massive percentage of the population with those requirements.
In theory, a digital only console could be made and be successful, but frankly I'm not sure if people will accept it. I also think the online infrastructure isn't where it should be. There are parts of not just the US, but the rest of the world that don't have access to fast enough internet to support a digital only console. Sure, you can do things like firmware updates, download small games (less than 1 GB) and maybe stream video one at a time with DSL (2-3 Mbps). But if you want to download modern AAA games, have a smooth experience for online play, or even stream games, you are going to need something 4-5x that speed. Those without access would be unable to game if consoles took this direction.
Again, I need to reference the original plan for the Xbox one. I can see Microsoft was wanting to push a future like this, but obviously the gamers have spoken, and MS was forced to retreat from their overzealous ambitions. PS Now is in the same boat, I don't know a single person excited at the concept of paying by the hour to play games.
Obviously both Microsoft and Sony made terrible decisions with pushing towards a digital future, and perhaps if approached with more wisdom and respect for the gamer, it might have been more successful. But as it stands both attempts thus far have been an utter failure. And even if they were a success, none of that would be the death knell for physical media and local processing power.
Now as far as the big 3 bowing out, I would say that any of the three could. But I don't think all three would. It wouldn't make sense.
Nintendo doesn't do anything else but games. They have gone on record as saying that when they exit the hardware busiess they exit the gaming business. Nintendo has been around the longest and have ventured into far more than just gaming, and even now they are talking about wearable tech and quality of life products. I do wonder what would happen to the house of Mario. Those IP's are worth millions and I can't help but wonder how Nintendo would say afloat without them. Perhaps they would pull a Sega, not in the sense of making third party games, but that they would just scale so far back that they hardly exist at all. Maybe Nintendo of America and Europe would cease to exist and they would only make Japanese products. I hope to never see that day.
Sony is in a different place. I feel like if anything, they would focus on gaming only as that is by far their most profitable division. I for one wouldn't mind seeing that at all. Perhaps they could allocate the proper resources to support the Vita in the way that it deserves. Perhaps they themselves could make their own games with their own internal studios. It might actually be the best thing for the Playstation line as their exlusives tend to be lackluster.
I do agree with Adam on the Xbox in the sense that it has never been a profitable brand for Microsoft. They could possibly just drop it entirely, but it could be more of brand name for sports and entertainment. It could be a gaming box the same way the Amazon Fire is. But since the posting of this video MS has made many strides in distancing themselves from the Don Matrick era. E3 was all about the games for the Xbox this year, and thus far that strategy has been working to their advantage. So I wouldn't count the Xbox line out yet.
One thing that Adam has failed to mention is that just because one company would bow out, that another couldn't be there to take its place. Atari basically bowed out and Nintendo took their place, Sega bowed out and Microsoft took their place. The point is the market would be left with a gap if one of them left, and I'm sure there are others chomping at the bit to throw their hat into the ring; perhaps Apple or Samsung, maybe even another big publisher? Can you imagine if Ubisoft or Square-Enix made a system?
I do see the problem of AAA games being released unfinished and unchanged from their previous annual incarnations potentially causing a crash. I also see current gen consoles falling short on performance without unique features to back them up (with the exception of Wii U) potentially contributing to said crash. But those are other issues that needs be dealt with, and that's something I'd like to tackle in another blog.
Sorry to be so long winded, but I thouht this issue should be discussed. What do you guys think. Are consoles as we know them doomed, or are these just arbitrary setbacks that will resolve themselves?
I've tried tons of racing games over the years, everything from Forza to Need for Speed, and I have to say that a lot of them just fail to appeal to me as a gamer. I want to talk about my issues with them and what can be done to resolve the issue.
First on the chopping block: racing sims. My God these can be so utterly boring and sterile. I've played Forza 2 and 3 and they have the personality of a carboard box, Gran Toursimo is better in that regard, but it still has a lot of the same issues. All the menus are clean, the car models and tracks are detailed to a tee, but I can't help but be bored to tears by the actual gameplay/ Controls feel stiff and unresponsive, just a basic turn needs just the right amount of gas or break. You aren't supposed to bump into anyone of your car or you'll get a penalty, going slightly off road makes your car come to a hault or even spin out. Load times are horrendous for whatever reason, and the sense of speed just isn't there. What's worse is the the upgrading system. For instance, I was trying to win this cup in Gran Tourismo, it told me my curent car was incompatible. Fine, so I wanted to get another car that was, well they gave me a list. The problem with this list is that I basically had to remember what cars I can use, and they all have a make, model and range of years, with like 20 cars on the list that makes it hard to purchase without being able to cross reference it with the shop. So I closed the list remembering a handful of the makes and models and went to shop, there's like 30 different car manufactures that have to be brought up individually. Great. So I search and search and finally find a single car that's compatible. It's literally called the Midget. It's grossy underpowered, but I purchased it anyway. Much to my unsurprise, it has no chance in hell of keeping up with the pack. So I dump basically all my savings into it, and its just a little faster. At that point I gave up, there's $20 and 3 hours I'll never get back.
So how does this even happen? Do people really enjoy endlessly tweaking nuts and bolts and collecting hundreds of cars that look very similar to race the same handful of tracks over and over again? Because I for the life of me stuggle to find the appeal in this kind of game. Yes, I get RPG elements, but I need compelling gameplay to back it up.
Next we get to what I clasify as street racers. Now these games sound great in theory, you get faster paced action without all the jazz that boggs down a sim game, yet are true(er) to real life so you don't feel like your playing Daytona or Mario Kart. I can respect that, at least in premise. But these have failed to get my attention too. The worst culpurite is Need For Speed. These games tend to have a little personality, but nothing that distinctive. Now I will say I enjoyed Need For Speed Underground (GCN) and the demo to Need For Speed The Run (360), but beyond that, I feel like the NSF games never get above mediocrity. Project Gotham Racing seemed like it was a step above, but so was the difficulty, about half way though I just couldn't keep pace with the rest of the racers. I think this genre has potential, but I haven't seen one that delievers on it, at least not yet.
I suppose someone likes these games
So what kind of racers do I like? Well I got to thinking about it, and I like anything that doesn't fall under those categories. Mario Kart for instance is an absolute blast, the mechanics (post N64) are rock solid, the controls are tight, has a level of customization that's not too deep but enough to give it variety, it's easy to learn and hard to master. To top it all off the multiplayer, both local and online, is stellar. Why don't we have more racing games like this on the market? Well we do, Sonic All Stars Racing, which takes the same genre but plays completely differently. I can see where someone would like one but not the other, but I love both. My kingdom for another Diddy Kong Racing though, that game was excellent.
You know what else I enjoy, futuristic racers. F-Zero was probably the first racing game I ever fell in love with. It's not an easy game by any means, but it does have tight controls, excellet graphics, a ton of personality, and enough content to keep you busy for a good long while. They aren't so great for multiplayer, but I would still do just about anything to get a new entry for Wii U. But F-Zero isn't the only game like that, we also have the Wipeout games and the Extreme G games, plus there's some clones out there. That's the thing they all have in common though, great mechanics, fast, frantic gameplay, and have memorable gameplay. I just can't play these racing games where all the tracks look the same, and the music is just there to fill the background noise over the humming engines.
Tell me this doesn't look more fun than your boring racing sims
I also like "other" racing games. And by other I mean non traditional racing games. I still want a legit sequel to games like Jet Moto, SSX Snowboarding, 1080 Snowboarding, and Waverace. These are games that don't fit the traditional bill of what people think of when they talk about racing games. The nice thing about these games is they incorporate a trick system into the racing mechanics. With SSX its an integral part of the gameplay, no tricks, no boost. Jet Moto more or less adds it on the side, and that works, its fun to fool around with. The last two just separate them completely, it's either tricks or racing. And frankly, I'm cool with that. Whatever works.
And then there's Burnout. Burnout is or rather was, amazing. I remember my friend showing Burnout 3 to me and just being blown away. I picked it up shortly thereafter for $6 new (best $6 I even spent on a racing game). The graphics were phenominal, the controls were flawless (somthing more racing games need to address) the game was blazingly fast the soundtrack to this day is my favorite licensed soundtrack for any game. You not only can run other cars off the road or into traffic, its encouraged and you are rewarded for doing so. Burnout Revenge and Paradise are excellent too, not quite as good as 3 but still great. Why that franchise has been abandoned is beyond me. It is quite literally a racing game for those who don't like racing games.
Burnout: Bring it back
But there's so much more than can be done with the genre. I want to see more racing games incorperate elements like weather effects and track editors. Let me have more features like Crash mode in Burnout (where you compete to cause the biggest pile ups) I want anti gravity sections like Mario Kart 8 and maybe even bring back combat like Twisted Metal. Point is, I don't think we need more games like Forza, they've been done to death, it's time we made the genre a little more interesting.
You know what I think is sexy? Gaming consoles. Maybe I'm just weird, but I can't help but get excited when I see a sexy looking piece of hardware. It just makes me connect with the system somehow, like I want to play games on that system just because it would look cool on my electronics shelf. So I decided to make a top 10 list of consoles that I think look awesome.
Okay some ground rules, when I talk about the system, I'm (obviously) including the hardware itself, but also specifiying which version of the console and color viariant. I generally dislike white consoles and won't buy one unless I'm hard pressed and have no other option. Also, I'm factoring in controllers, and box art into the list. I am however, not including graphics, but I will include UI (if applicable) because sometimes that can attribute to a consoles sexiness. Moreover, I'm leaving off game specific or decaled consoles. So, no Modern Warfare Xbox 360's or Net Yaroze PS1's, alternate colors are fine.
#10 Game Boy Advance-Original model-Indigo color
Oh the GBA, now that is just a sexy as a handheld from back in the day can be. Okay so this model lacks a backlight, and I knock it for not being as portable as subsequent models, but look at it. How many electronics come in purple? Not many. But even if you don't like purple it comes in a myriad of colors including the 90's style transparent colors! (Yes, I'm estatic that it's back with 2DS) It's got the best shoulder buttons of any handeld I've ever used (with intents for your finger to rest), I love the small LED light for power, and a fairly nice layout for the face buttons. I also knock it for having a tiny D-pad (the same one the Gamecube controller uses). Still quite sexy, I need to run out and buy one again, just because.
#9 Genesis Model 2- With 3 button controller
As much as I love purple, I don't like white, particularly off-white. Genesis is clearly a sexier console than the SNES. We all know black should be the default color for any electronics, it just blends in with the rest of the equipment. I love the red power lights on the Genesis 2, it's a bit lighter than the model 1, but does a better job at hiding those unssightly ridges. And you may be wondering about the controller choice. Why not go with the 6 button? It's far more functional. Yes it is, but we're taking beauty, and frankly, the original Genesis controller feels great in your hands, I just love the hard plastic and girth.
#8 3DS Orignal Model-Cobalt Blue
Sorry about the lens flair (J.J. Abrams would be proud). The only color I like better than purple is cobalt blue. I've loved it ever since I got my hands on a blue N64 controller (which is the best cobalt blue ever) I've loved the color. But I also love the glossy pastic, layre cake look when it's closed, and general clickyness of the buttons. I have to knock it back because the screen gets marked by the pastic ridge at the bottom, the Start/Select/Home strip which doesn't work as intened, even if is nice looking.
#7 Wii Original model-Red
You can tell I love my colors, eh? Yeah, I was never that fond the original model Wii stylings But man when they announced the limited edition red Wii, I could wait no longer. Of course mine doesn't look like this, the plates are removed for fear of breaking, and it's laying flat because I use the Gamecube aspect quite a bit, but that doesn't detract from the appeal. I'm particuarly fond of the blue light around the optical drive when it's reading a disc, the slot loading drive and how damn quiet it is, like it doesn't want to bother anyone, just sit there, be awesome, and play awesome games.
#6 PSP Model 3000-Black
Yes, I know this model comes in cobalt blue, but I actually prefer the black version. Why? I suppose it's because it's just so slick. The menus in particular are fast loading, the system loads up a game specific background when a UMD is inserted just like the PS3, and allows you to do a search or update. Long story short it's very console like. But I also like that it has a tiny, well hidden memory card slot that allows you to load and play media easily. There's volume and backlight buttons right on the front, and feels built like a tank. Everything about this system feels high end, the UMD's included (even though I despise the format).
#5 Saturn-Model 1
Okay, this or more like a glamor shots photo, but I do love the stylings of the the Sega Saturn. I love the access lights and the buttons right on the front. Vents are well hidden on the side and it runs fairly quietly. The menus are particularly nice, it's kind of a space ship cockpit of sorts, with tons of options for music playback. You can play the soundtracks from Saturn games here, and it even has a built in visualizer with a spaceship. It may seem hokey now, but I think it was a nice touch. The controller (not pictured) model 2 is the best fighting pad ever made. Not too shabby.
#4 PS3-Model 2 (slim)
I like the aestheics of the PS3 for a lot of the same reasons I like the PSP, the menus are slick and responsive (well outside of the storefront) the media friendly nature, and the black plastic. I would have gone with the original model for the glossy as opposed to matte finish, but it's just too big to blend in. And also, this is one of those rare cases where I feel like mattle actually looks better. I also love the slick little laptop hard drive it has, and that it can be upgraded rather easily. I would like a couple more USB ports (maybe a couple in the back?) but it's hard to complain.
#3 Xbox 360-Model 2 (Matte Black)
Again, I'm breaking my own rules, but I think the matte finish of the 360 is just a tad nicer than the gloss finish. But what really won me over was the touch sensitive open and on "buttons" (even though they aren't buttons) The 5 available USB ports, the very well cocealed but still accessable internal hard drive, and the wisper quiet fans. I think what really works well is the indented top and bottom, no other system I know does that. The lights look nice too. Just all around this is a super slick system that's only held back by the ejecting tray and less than stellar menus. The controller more than makes up for that though.
#2 N64-Charcoal Black
I've always love the stylings of the N64. Those curves make it feel more modern than it actually is. The 4 controller ports, the simple but elegant power and reset buttons, and the expansion port on top makes you realize this thing was built for real time 3D graphics. I also like that they planned ahead for the N64DD as the power cord was designed to supply power to both (unlike the Sega CD). It's a shame, the add on never made it here. I also love the color, I was half tempted by the retro transparent colors, but I think charcoal looks the best. Options are hardly a bad thing though. Even the box stylingss look great. Just stellar all around.
Gamecube is just flat out amazing looking, it comes in purple or a couple of other colors if you aren't weird like me, but I adore the mini discs. The controller is as comfortable as it is odd, and the memory cards are super tiny. I love the top loading tray, the ports on the bottom for the modem, the Game Boy player accessory, and the menus are just about perfect. They carying handle and 4 controller ports just lets you know this was meant to be taken to a friends house to play local multiplayer. Everything loads quickly, nothing is superflous. In my mind more consoles should stive for both the build quality and uniqueness that the Gamecube offers.
So there it is, do you agree with my list? What console do you feel I left out? Sound off in the comments below. I'd love to hear what consoles you think look great.
So I couldn't just pick one topic be be thankful for, so I decided to address all the big things that make me happy about the current state of the industry.
Last gen consoles
So little story here, my uncle recently went though a divorce (which he should have left her 10+ years ago) and started a new life. He has a new girlfiend now and she has a granddaughter she's caring for, she's 14 and wants a Playstation. So they came to me for advice, what should they get a PS3 or a PS4. Now to me there's not a clear cut answer, but when I asked how she was going to use it, it became pretty appparent that PS3 was the better choice.
What I'm getting at is that I'm thankful that the PS3 and 360. Not only have seen an unnatural long shelf life, but are still kicking and relevant almost 10 later. Even with other consoles with long shelf lives, like the 2600, and the Game boy, they didn't see the kind of attention that the 360 and PS3 are, it was more like a sporadic release that may or may not be good. But the PS3 and 360 are still getting quality digital and retail releases, sales, and updates. Not only that, these systems are pretty affordable, you can go into a Gamestop and pick up some amazing titles for $10-$20, and with a subscription, get some digital games on top of that.
I feel like Link opening up a treasure chest
After we discussed the Playstation, my future Aunt asked me about a Wii for herself, where I made a suggestion for Wii U. Fact is, Wii U has been a really nice system as of late, yes the third party is still pretty bad, but it's hard to deny the first party is as strong as ever. Nintendo has been hard at work on their software and it shows. With the Wii U, she doesn't have to make a choice between current and last gen, she can get both in one. I've already written in length about the system, so I won't gush on about why I'm thankful for the Wii U, besides someone else has already written that blog for me.
I've been playing a lot of 3DS as of late, between Smash Bros, Pokemon SoulSilver and some downloadable games, it's been getting regular use. It's just a nice all around system with a lot to offer. The fact that we'll be getting a refresher on the hardware next year is exciting too. It doesn't even bother me that we're getting it later than Japan, my 3DS XL is in tip top shape, I can't see parting with hardware that's not even a year old yet. Still, the future looks bright for 3DS.
Could cross play be in the future?
This was my biggest gripe with the last gen, specifically between 2006-2011ish. It just seemed like we were getting a lot of brown shooters. Not that I mind mature themes, or shooters in general. In fact, it's quite the opposite, shooters are one of my favorite genres, and last gen proved how much could be done with them, but they milked the genre dry.
Call of Duty took the gaming world by storm, and every other developer started getting dollar signs in their eyes. Capcom made Resident Evil lose its identity, Sony jumped on the bandwagon with Killzone and Resistance, Halo started taking on CoD traits, and Gears is probably the best example I can give of a brown bro styled shooter. I'm not saying these are bad games, it's just that they start looking pretty similar after a while.
Just looking at the preview section on Dtoid I can't help but feel happy with the direction gaming has been going. I see Japanese gaming starting to become more prominant, retro 8 and 16 bit indie games, games like Sunset Overdrive which reminds me of Jet Set Radio, Bayonetta 2 which is an M rated Nintendo published game, games like Minecraft and Costume Quest 2 that kids seem to like, and we still have survival horror making a comeback with The Evil within and a new Silent Hill.
I believe the fuel the fire that created these more diverse themes is undoubtedly the indie scene. For far too long we have bought the games that AAA developers said we should have, now we have the power to say what kinds of experiences we want. We can vote with our wallets, we can go on kickstarter and tell the world that we don't need another annualized entry in a long running series, we want unique expereinces. We want new takes on classic genres. Shovel Knight is easily the best indie game I've ever played, I usually feel intimidated by difficult games, but it was just so good that I had to keep playing. I can't wait to see more of that.
It also gives me hope for the future. My two most anticipated indie games are A Hat in Time and 90's Arcade Racer. I want to see indies have the backing to be able to make 3D games, so they can appeal to us gamers that love and remember the 5th generation. So I can't help but love the indie scene, it's the grass roots movement that the gamers here on Destructoid should be able to appreciate.
I've rambled on enough. I hope you share my sentiments.
If you follow me on Dtoid you probably know I'm not the biggest supporter of Sony, I'm more of a Nintendo guy. It's not that I consider the Playstations bad systems, it's more that they come from a different place, Sony has a different philosphy than I do. With that being said though, I end up getting every platform because I feel like they all have something to offer. There are things that I really like about the Playstation brand, and I feel should recieve praise. Here, I want to talk about my favorite of the Playstations the PS1, and my history with the machine.
Let's roll the clocks back to 1998, I was well into the N64 which I had recieved the previous year as a Christmas gift (a story which I had already detailed in another blog). I was enjoying games like Banjo Kazooie, Diddy Kong Racing, and Ocarina of Time. And while those were undoubtedly amazing games, I began to feel that itch to want to branch out. See I have this thing called wonderlust, in essence I always want to reach out and expierence something new, this is why I'm always buying new games and rarley finishing them.
At first I was totally against Sony even entering the market, after all, what did they know about video games? They were a electronics manufacturing company for Christ's sake! But slowly, I began to get exposed to the Playstation. My friend had one, he was showing me stuff like the original Diablo (which initally I found to be boring and ugly) Jet Moto, and Twisted Metal. I'm not sure any of those actually won me over. They were like most other of my inital experiences, just a seed that would later grow. It wasn't till later that I played a demo of Tekken 3 in Best Buy that I started to entertain the notion of buying the system.
I'm not sure what that is but demo kiosks have some kind of effect on me. It seems one postive expereince on a console is enough to put that idea in my mind. But I remember what struck me about Tekken 3: the fact that there was nothing like it on the N64. It's not that the game couldn't be made for the system, it's the fact that it wasn't. The idea was that Playstation offer a more "edgy" kind of gaming experience, for lack of a better word. Back then consoles were more distinctive, if you wanted JRPG's the PS1 was your system of choice, if you liked arcadey games, then Saturn was the better way to go, and N64 was all about the platfomers.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. That year I saved up some money, ran up to the outlet mall and bought a refurbished Playstation from the Sony store. It came with a non dual shock controller (even though they were out at the time) and of course no memory card. I didn't even scrape up enough money to buy any games with it. I was a 14 year old boy, I didn't think things though, cut me a break. But what it did come with was a demo disc. And what a demo disc it was, it had the first level of Crash Bandicoot, it had a couple characters of Tekken 2 to fool around with and videos of Twisted Metal 2 and Jet Moto. I played that demo disc for forever, it only made me want those games all the more. My first two games were Crash Bandicoot and Tekken 2.
I still have a soft spot for this controller
Later I picked up a copy of Final Fantasy VII, which left a lasting impression. I still consider it the best RPG I've ever played. I cut my teeth on survival horror by picking up the original Resident Evil, I had no idea what the game was about when I first bought it, but I remember the dog jumping out of the window was the first time I was ever scared by a video game.
In fact I think that's the most defining feature of the Playstation for me, it was the first time experiencing a lot of things I consider to be everyday occurances in games. Die Hard was the first time I had ever heard profanity in a video game, Tekken 2 was the first time I had seen a really well made CGI cut scene, Duke Nukem Time: Time to Kill was the first intentially offensive game that I had ever played, and Diablo 1 was the first dungeon crawler that I had ever played.
Long story short it felt like it was a system that wasn't afraid of offending my parents. (I'm actually surprised that my parents gave me free reign to explore this new world.) It was okay that Barret told me to get my spikey ass over here, or that Solid Snake smoked a of cigarette. The system just treated me like an adult, where I had to keep discs clean, and manage my own memory instead of letting the cartridge do it for me. I loved the demo discs that went out, where it let me play unfishinshed demos, import demos, give me free cheats, and even download saves with everything unlocked. This is stuff that Nintendo would never do, and I loved Sony for doing it.
To this day, that is what I still love about the Playstation platforms. If I want to upgrade my hard drive, it lets me be a big boy and get the hard drive I want, not the ones they sell you for an exorbiant rate. I can open up the sytem and get access to it. They don't lock down features like communication because they are afraid that I might talk with a convict, or lock out apps behind a paywall. Something about a device that let's me game the way I want to and provides me the tools to do it just seems nice. That's an aspect of the Sony philsophy I can get behind, and that's why I still enjoy gaming on my PS1.