Everything is official now; Hideo Kojima, the evil genius behind the Metal Gear series, has departed Konami and has started up his own game studio, aptly named Kojima Productions. This new game will be made in conjunction with Sony and debuting on PlayStation 4 as well as PC. The reaction to this has been, as expected, that of joyous rapture after Konami garnered ill will with treatment of the gaming god over recent months. All that is clear right now is that it won’t be the canceled Silent Hills, that’s it. So what Kojima will whip up is still seemingly up-in-the-air for the time being, leading to a lot of speculation.
Virtual Reality has always been a bit, well, nerdy. Prior to the Oculus Rift came around whenever the words “Virtual Reality” were muttered thoughts of bad 80’s and 90’s television and films come to mind, bad music videos, or worse -- the Virtual Boy. Yikes. So imagine the surprise when VR became the talk of the town again thanks to how our daily technology has advanced to the point where having a multiscreen headset with a proper frame rate all of a sudden was a reality. Not only was the Oculus Rift Kickstarter a success, but it showed the world that the new VR isn’t awful, it’s actually something that could change how we all consume media.
For a great deal of time games have been seen as “casual” or “hardcore.” Those classifications seemed vastly important for the past twenty years or so, with some games that require more time, effort and skill from the player seen as hardcore games, while other, less involved games would be the casual games. Casual games were, for lack of a better word, for the “casuals,” you know, those people who didn’t play games for long periods of time and just liked whatever had the shiniest features and the biggest ads?
There are, on occasion, some great games that slip and fall between the cracks for every ardent gamer. For me, one such gem was Valkyria Chronicles on the PlayStation 3. Initially released in 2008 for the PlayStation 3 it was met with rave reviews from RPG fans, but by the time that I had purchased a PlayStation 3 in 2011 and found myself catching up on all of the games that I had missed, sadly, Valkyria Chronicles was not one of those. The recent delay of Persona 5 has left me hungry for a new RPG to play through and a recent Steam sale saw a bunch of Japanese RPGs on sale, so I decided to buy up a few and go from there.
Xbox One backwards compatibility, now PlayStation 2 games being released on the PlayStation 4 and, regardless of previous ownership, costing money. This is the world that we inhabit currently, hot on the heels of the early days of this current generation of consoles being all about “remastered” re-releases of games from the previous generation. The latest announcement to cause big waves is the remake of the classic title Final Fantasy VII.
The carpet in my parent’s room was a brown shag, the kind that if you ran your fingers through it would turn a shade lighter or darker, depending on which way you moved it. That carpet became the backdrop for the warm summer nights of my childhood, occupying the space in my peripheral vision while I stared down at my Game Gear.
Shooters have been a staple in the gaming world for what feels like forever now. In fact, most games use some sort of shooting mechanic as the main means of furthering stories at this point, or for online gaming purposes. That’s fine, really, it is, but at a certain point there is only so much time that one can spend staring down the sights of a gun while ripping apart another digitized human being’s body before it begins to feel a bit ridiculous. Needless to say, I wasn’t super stoked for Rainbow Six: Siege before the open beta started up.
December looms heavily on the horizon and another year is about to be in the books. There are still a few major games set to be released in 2015, but most of the damage has been done and the heavyweights have all been released, leaving us to reflect on what kind of a year we’ve had thus far. In retrospect, the past few years haven’t been great when it comes to major game releases. Two years ago was the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, neither one launching with anything that great exclusively and one of the few “must haves” for launch being Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Think about that. Last year was a bit better, but nothing really sticks out as a game that will go down as one of my all-time favorites. Maybe it’s just that this year has been so good that is making me dismissive of 2014, but rightfully so.
Rubber Ninjas is a single or two player game made by Matteo Guarnieri of Rag Doll Software. The 3D gameplay is based on a previous title of Guarnieri’s, Ragdoll masters. This game was released in 2009 and the Rag Doll Software team has been relatively quiet ever since; however, they have recently announced development and porting of new games and the porting of their games to mobile as of this past summer.
They came in peace… He didn’t give a shit. “Get Off My lawn!” - He yelled! Step into the shoes of old man whatshisbucket as he defends his lawn from “illegal” aliens. Considering that these buggers (Formics?) showed up in their flying saucer, I’m going to assume that they haven’t stopped by the International Space Station to undergo quarantine, testing, and sterilization before entering our atmosphere and, uh, crossing our borders. They might be carrying the lethal form of that space virus that simultaneously melts and eats your flesh at the same time. That’s illegal as fuck! Just look at that spaceship and the car they’re driving onto your lawn - these aliens aren’t here for your jobs that you aren’t willing to do anyways. Don’t worry about it.
Over the past few years the gaming world has become more aware that women aren’t objects, although the debate still rages on about artistic freedom, the merit of games that do choose to objectify women and other cultural norms. Not everyone agrees with third wave feminism and many gamers are frustrated that it has spilled over into their realm, but the reality here is that this is that these discussions are valuable and worth having. Part of the cost of this new, collective conscious seems to be that Koei Tecmo has decided to not bring over Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 to the US and other western countries, confirming the fears that many gamers had in the first place. The thing is, it isn’t the fault of feminism or our new collective conscious over treatment of women, it’s cowardice.
Much like by following a few simple precautions you can prevent forest fires, you can make the game industry more honest. Or, well, you could at least make big publishers like EA waste a lot of time and money. Getting famous people to play news games has always been something up the sleeves of the game industry. Hell, back in the 80’s we got Fred Savage starring in a feature film with some of the greatest product placement of all time for Nintendo by the way of the Power Glove and making Super Mario Brothers 3 the big reveal in The Wizard. People who grew up in my generation still, to this day, remember Lucas’s line about the Power Glove and not that it was a pretty crappy, expensive peripheral.
This game, Caromble!, is Breakout with a futuristic twist. Each box (brick) that is hit releases an iota of magical pixie dust that you have to pick up to score any points at all. You can power up the bumper for a charge shot or send the ball for a spin shot to get extra points from the pixie dust. Of course, the boxes break and release power-ups and I-shouldn’t-have-picked-that-up hazards. If you pick up a white power-up you can grow your bumper or even gain an extra charge, life, or ball. If you accidentally pick up a red hazardous power-down, though, you might end up with a pixelated or zoomed in screen.
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