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Let’s Bring ’em Back: Games deserving of the remastered treatment

I am clearly coming off of a DuckTales Remastered high. What can I say? I liked the game. Classic level design and tight controls are what make games worth revisiting again and again. I am normally an advocate of new, original content, but solid games should always be revisited and kept in the public gaming consciousness. After all, these are the games that inspired today’s designers. Only by looking back can we really, truly see what makes games great.

So, I want more. Here are some games, in no particular order, that deserve to be remastered: Read the rest of this entry

DuckTales: Remastered – Woo-oo!

It seems to me that DuckTales Remastered doesn’t even need a full review. If you have a PS3, Wii-U (which sounds appropriate, given the property) or Steam, you should have this game. If you have a 360, you should get this game when it’s released in a month. It’s one of the best short platforming games out there. Read the rest of this entry

Why aren’t video games considered a mature medium?

Roger Ebert left us with the legacy of his insightful but sometimes misguided criticism of film. Many learned through him that film was more than just an entertaining spectacle on the screen. It’s about storytelling, acting, camera angles, etc. He peeled back layers of understanding that some might say detract from the movie viewing experience but others say enhance it. Along with that legacy, he also left us with the inspiration to continue doing what we love, no matter what. Despite his diminishing health due to cancer, he kept reviewing movies. His last blog post was literally two days before his death.

Video game fans see a slightly different man with a slightly different legacy. Roger Ebert was the most famous, loudest voice claiming that video games are not art. The video game press tried to take him to task, as did readers on his blog, but no one could convince him otherwise. Games enthusiasts view him as a stubborn old man who just wasn’t living in the present day. An old man who couldn’t see that new art is always emerging. Read the rest of this entry

X-Men: The Arcade Game – theme vs mechanics

X-Men is one of the most popular beat-em-up games to have ever existed in the arcade. It helps that the game featured one of the most well known comic book teams and was often housed in arcade cabinets allowing 6-player simultaneous gameplay, but a bad game wouldn’t have managed to muster the staying power this game had. Actually, I should say has, as the game continued on in the minds of players who encountered it in the early 90’s. When perfect translations of arcade games starting finding their way onto home consoles, X-Men was one of the ones people were most eager to see.

In revisiting it on the Playstation 3, I found myself transported back to a more simple time in video game history. While each of the six characters – Cyclops, Wolverine, Dazzler, Storm, Colossus and Nightcrawler – were individuated by design, animation and the effect of his or her power, every character played almost exactly the same way. The point of the game, for the most part, was to clear the screen of enemies and move to the right. There was a story to follow, sure, but it’s not one that needed to be followed. Save Kitty Pryde and Charles Xavier from Magneto and other characters were comically made blatantly evil. Sometimes it seems like the game lampshades just how evil it made the characters, although this is made worse by the horrible translation. Magneto spouts some very infamous lines, but none more than, “X-Men, welcome to die!”

In retrospect, that’s pretty polite. Read the rest of this entry

UPDATE: Sony makes sure everyone knows how easy it is to share games on PS4

Sony is clearly trolling Microsoft, but it’s funny nonetheless.

It’s easy to make these jokes when one of the next major pushes are for digital and cloud content. There is also no resale available for digital and cloud games. It is clear to me that the best way to avoid the drama of DRM is to make sure that consumers don’t completely own their games in the first place.

Out with the Used, In with the New Game Sales

The video game news junket has been going on quite a bit lately regarding the future of used game sales, thanks to both Sony’s and Microsoft’s mentions of the possibility that games could be linked to the consoles on which they were originally registered or some similar scheme. Game players do not like having their toys limited or taken away. To some, this is an affront to the hobby.

What no one is mentioning but should is that this is a great idea!

This isn’t me subscribing to the believe that used game sales damage the industry. If I believed nonsense like that, I’d also believe the nonsense about illegal downloads affecting entertainment sales. Those kinds of thoughts are the end result of poor analysis and obvious greed. My belief that quashing game resale is due to my being a longtime video game enthusiast and consumer. Read the rest of this entry

Metal Gear Rising’s existentialism

Metal Gear has largely been a series that waxes philosophically about life and war. It discusses the futility of war but also the question of what soldiers have left when there is nothing but peace. These ideas are not explored in any great detail, but it is nice to have a series of games that touches on them when many of the top-selling games seem to go out of their way to celebrate war and violence. Then, just to avoid the hypocrisy that plagues many violent films that ultimately are about peace, the Metal Gear Solid series of games allows the player to complete them without actually killing any of the enemies (well, maybe some bosses…) and may even provide rewards for it.

So what is there to explore in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, a game that was quite explicitly built around the game mechanic of being able to cut almost everything with a sword? Read the rest of this entry

Xenoblade Chronicles

“I’m sorry, I just got out of a pretty intense relationship, and I’m just not ready for anything long term yet. Can we just hang out and have a little fun?” – Me to most other games after finishing Xenoblade Chronicles

 

It is unexpected for any Wii game to take nearly 100 hours to complete. After all, Nintendo is supposed to be the well-marketed system for the casual crowd. The focus should be on the Just Dance and Mario Party games, not an intense and sprawling action RPG that has taken some obvious cues from MMORPGs. But earlier this year, thanks in part to Operation Rainfall, Nintendo released Xenoblade Chronicles in America. I have been playing the game on and off since its release in April, and I am happy to report that I finally finished it. Read the rest of this entry

Consoles may become a thing of the past

Check out this article on ITProPortal: http://www.itproportal.com/2012/03/13/the-consoles-are-dying-says-developer/

Looking at the current trend, it’s hard to disagree. The mainstream consumer is definitely less likely to pick up an Xbox 360, PS3, Wii or (3)DS for casual gaming if Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies can be downloaded onto a device that has functionality beyond gaming. Not to mention the fact that the games each cost less than the average console title and will likely be supported over the course of several device upgrades. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo cannot boast that sort of longevity for their $50+ games. Read the rest of this entry

Missed Opportunity

Great video game tie-ins are few and far in between. The last truly great tie-in was…what exactly? What made it such a great game? Did it add to the original property? These are the questions to ask when considering video games based on movies. Read the rest of this entry

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