Monthly Archives: April 2013

Opinion: A Link to the Past 2

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of my favorite video games ever made, and for good reason. Back when it was released, it was the pinnacle of action/adventure games and is still wonderful to play today. During the Nintendo Direct earlier this week, I wasn’t expecting anything past the virtual console Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons information in terms of Zelda.

I was so, so wrong.

Nintendo surprised everybody by unveiling The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 2 coming THIS YEAR for the Nintendo 3DS. The game takes place in the same Hyrule as ALttP did but will feature new dungeons and is indeed a new game with a new story. I am going to list my top three wants for what may be my most anticipated sequel of all time.

1. New Areas

A Link to the Past Hyrule is a wonderful land filled with secrets to discover, enemies to fight, and caves to explore, and truly the only way to improve upon it is by increasing the size. I want to see past the boarders, I want to adventure to the worlds beyond Hyrule that I dreamed about as a child. Introducing new locations outside or in an expanded Hyrule will make me completely and utterly ecstatic.

2. New Villain

I’ll be honest, I love Ganondorf. I love fighting him and always will, it never gets old for me (especially when they mix it up like in Wind Waker) but I would really love to see an entirely new villain. I mean, other than Skull Kid and Vaati, we still haven’t really passed Ganon as a villain. Demise was cool, but he was pretty much the preincarnate of Ganon, seeing as his entire speech in the end is saying that his hate will live on through another (Ganon). I want a fresh, new villain completely unrelated to Ganon in anyway.

3. Don’t forget about Link’s Awakening

A lot of people are seeming to forget that Link’s Awakening is a sequel to A Link to the Past. Formerly, this was the direct sequel to ALttP and according to the official Zelda timeline, the Oracle games come before that. I am very curious to hear whether this sequel comes before the Oracle games, after the Oracle games or after Link’s Awakening. I’ve love some throwbacks to those games in there if at all possible, Nintendo!
So as you can see, I am quite excited for A Link to the Past 2. I am still in shock from them announcing it. Be sure check back for a full review when it launches!

Bonus Round: EA is the Worst

Geeks, gamers, nerds, whatever you prefer to call us… we’re one of the most powerful driving forces for what we believe in. We’re such an influential group we have been able to name Electronic Arts, a greatly-despised video game publishing company, “Worst Company in America” two years in a row. No company has ever achieved this award twice until now. 

A game publishing company who is accused of overworking employees, selling incomplete games, making poor development decisions, etc beat out companies like Bank of America, Walmart and AT&T.

It’s just amazing to me, to look at a community I’ve been apart of my whole life and see us all working together despite our differences to show a company that has a hand in the creation of things we love that they’re doin’ it wrong. 

Obviously Electronic Arts is NOT the worst company in America, it’s probably Bank of America, Comcast, Walmart, or BP. You know, people who have done things like repossessed homes via faulty mortgages, attempt to censor you on the internet, imported their products from sweatshops or spill 180 million liters of oil into the ocean ruining ecosystems and killing animals.

Sadly when companies like the ones listed above get the award, nothing changes. Nobody cares. When EA won it last year their stocks took a hit, and us voting again is another attempt to wake them up. Sadly, voting in an internet poll can only go so far, and if we want to truly wake them up, we need to do so via our wallets.

It’s hard for some people to consider video games art, especially when the most powerful people in the field are throwing annoying DRMs, day-one DLC, always-online requirements and microtransactions in your face.

TL;DR
EA sucks, Bank of America is probably worse, geeks will inherit the earth ;)

Opinion: Remakes, Yay or Nay?

Lately I’ve been playing through The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, the remake of 1998’s timeless classic and the reason many of us bought Nintendo 3DS’s so early. It’s got me thinking, are remakes good or bad? What remakes are done better than others? I’ve played plenty of remakes in the past decade. Are enhanced remakes, HD ports/remakes or full remakes the way for a series to go? How can you determine this? I had so many questions, so I decided this week it would be a good idea to bounce my ideas around. Let’s get started, shall we?

As I mentioned, I’m currently playing the enhanced remake of Ocarina of Time, but how does it fair against the original? Well, honestly, it’s almost exactly the same, it’s primarily a graphical enhancement. With that on the mind, does this make for a good type of remake, one that doesn’t change or improve the core gameplay and is instead a graphical enhancement. I think this is the perfect kind of remake for those “timeless classic” type games such as Ocarina of Time, Halo: Combat Evolved, and Super Mario Bros. It’s not really “Selling out” or “Milking” especially if they’re released for a lower amount of money than they originally went for and have a large gap of time in between. Enhanced remakes are the perfect way for a new group of gamers to experience a game us older gamers used to play without the aging looks.

One game I absolutely love is the God of War series. I almost never get enough of Krato’s rage and often get lost in the Greek mythos. So of course, when the God of War Collection launched in stores I was on it day one. Popped it into the disc drive and away I went. But how does the brutal killing compare to the original? Well, the HD was really just in the rendering. The gameplay was unaltered 100%, the textures were almost exactly the same, and it was mostly designed to just play on an HD TV. It looks fine, yes, to ME, someone who has played the game many times in the past, but to someone new who is just now picking up the experience? It might be unappealing and give them a taste that leads them to not like the game as much as they should. Gamers today have higher standards when it comes to graphical looks; HD ports are more of a fan throwback and not an audience grabber.

Full remakes are a dime a dozen, but there are some really golden experiences out there. Super Mario 64 DS is the perfect example of a full remake. It includes the original game with graphical enhancements, three new playable characters, new stars to collect, a few new areas, mini-games and multiplayer modes. It takes the original game and not only improves it, but adds tons of new gameplay mechanics and modes of play. If you’re a fan of the original, it gives a reason to go back. If you’ve yet to experience Super Mario 64, this is one of the best ways to introduce you. It’s wonderfully appealing every way around and nobody can argue with what it’s done.

Enhanced remakes, HD ports and full remakes are all ways for people to re-experience or experience at a later date, a game that has long since passed. I’ve never had a problem with most games being remade/ported to a new console and I hope in the future we see more of these wonderful experiences re-mastered in a way that will appeal to the audience it’s aiming for. I’ve played many games in my career, and it’s always a wonderful feeling playing through a once loved game with a prettier coat of paint, new items to collect and new friends to experience the game with.

Enhanced remakes: Yay
HD Ports: Nay
Full remakes: Yay

The only thing I think rival remakes in terms of controversial releases are… reboots.

[Stay tuned for part 2, “Reboots, Yay or Nay?”]

Opinion: Always Online

It’s been a while since I’ve done an opinion post, and this week we’ve got some frustrating news about the possibility of an always online Xbox console. For some people, this isn’t a big deal. For many, many others, it is. Always Online is NOT something that works. It’s not something that has worked many-a-times, and it’s something that not only isn’t worth it, but it’s a big hassle for everyone. Even if you don’t care too much about it and are always online anyway, I can almost guarantee there will be a time where you can’t connect for one reason or another. Earlier this week, Adam Orth (Microsoft Studios creative director) shared his opinion on Always-Online devices. This has led many to believe the Nextbox will be. Here is how the conversation inspiring this post went down (courtesy of NeoGAF):

OEY5yp8 Microsoft apologizes for employees Xbox Durango always online tweets, claims customer centric approach

The first thing I would like to say is this: I have the internet. I have had the internet and I love the internet. However, I offer three major reasons why no video game console should EVER be always online.

1: It will potentially destroy local gaming parties.

I am a tournament organizer for the biggest fighting game community in Maine, and I will say that out of the several events we have hosted over the past two years, maybe one or two had internet. Keyword, MAYBE. Running a tournament or an internet-less LAN will be a nightmare. No tournament organizer, event host, or even big conventions and organizations will want to use the Nextbox to run tournaments, simple.

We have run many fun, successful and memorable community sessions without the internet, and it should BE that way. If they require us to connect to the internet in order to play a local game of Street Fighter, I just won’t have it. At big conventions such as PAX and E3, the internet is horrendous because of the amount of people connected at all times. You think that trying to get a few games playing in Console Free Play or during a tournament will work when you have 75,000 other people connected with their phones, laptops, iPods, tablets, other consoles, and even DESKTOPS? You’ll be lucky if you can even get it to play at all.

2: Not everybody has internet all the time.

But if someone buys this console, they will have access to the console all the time. In the twitter discussion, you can see that they talked a bit about how they discussed how vacuum cleaners require electricity to function, and relates spotty internet to the power going out. The difference here is that the vacuum cleaner REQUIRES electricity to run. An Xbox console should not REQUIRE internet to function. It doesn’t NEED internet. A vacuum cleaner literally will not function without some form of electrical power.

Not only that, but some people have jobs where they move around, travel, or are stationed somewhere. We have troops overseas that LOVE playing Halo when they have downtime. Some of them DO NOT have internet. Not only does it help them relax, and if anyone deserves to unwind after a long day’s work it’s a soldier who had been in an extremely stressful moment of his life while on duty. Some people move around a lot and bring their Xbox from place to place. It would literally be a useless paperweight if they stayed anywhere without internet, with internet they could not access or with spotty internet.

3: SimCity, Diablo III

This was also mentioned in the twitter conversation. These are two PERFECT examples of why this is a terrible idea. SimCity is published by Electronic Arts. Diablo II is published by Activision. Both companies are major publishing companies and if any third party developer could get servers to handle first-week launches, it’s them. Guess what, they didn’t. Both games were complete and utter disasters when they launched. They literally didn’t work for the majority of players. This is what could and probably would happen if Microsoft actually did decide to take the Always-Online route.

Imagine getting home after waiting in line outside your local game distributor waiting to get your hands on the next Xbox at launch with a slew of exciting new software to play. After waiting all night (possibly longer if you’re insane) you finally get your impatient little fingers on this slick new piece of hardware you’ve wanted for the past year and a half (or more if you’re impatient). You rush home going 50mph in a 25mph because the risk of getting pulled over is TOTALLY WORTH the reward of playing that new console just a few minutes earlier. You bust into your house faster than you ever have before, fumble the wires around while plugging it all in, toss in Halo 5 and get ready to have the time of your life…

And then the servers just aren’t working, so you can’t actually play the device you just spent $500 on. You try again tomorrow, same problem. Three days from then, same problem. A week later you’re finally able to play the campaign for Halo 5! The campaign. SOMETHING YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO PLAY OFFLINE, BUT YOU CAN’T BECAUSE OF THIS STUPID AS SHIT REQUIREMENT.

Conclusion:

This summarizes my feelings for Always-Online devices that don’t need it to operate. It’s just a bad idea and will ruin things for many, many people. Over 50% of America lives in rural locations, many of which have spotty internet at times. It’s even a bad business idea for Microsoft since it’s such a massive turn off for so many people.

Adam Orth really needs to remember: when you’re an important figure in a massive community that is generally always watching (Gamers in the gaming community), you cannot, and I repeat, cannot do this kind of thing in social networking. It’s immature, irresponsible, and completely in bad taste to joke when people are anxiously awaiting your next product.

Always Online = Tragedy.

End of story.