Nintendo Power – A Nostalgic Look Back at the Publication of my Childhood

 

It happened again…

 

That is to say another one of the video game publications from my childhood has died. First it was EGM, then it was Gamepro, and now it’s Nintendo Power. It’s strange because no matter how many times it happens, it still surprises me. I’m well aware of the current state of the global economy and that many businesses (much less ones in the business of advertisement having trouble advertising) continue to have trouble staying afloat. It’s true that no business is safe, but this is Nintendo effin’ Power. It’s probably one of the first pieces of reading material I’ve ever purchased.

 
Continue reading

What Makes an MMORPG Last?

(thxww)

With Guild Wars 2 finally out in stores and the recent rise and fall of the supposed “next WoW” that was SWTOR, old concerns regarding an MMORPG’s survivability in the gaming industry return. WoW has spoiled the gamers. It was and still is a good game to play because people who play it like it to some degree and the vast majority of people who hate WoW hate it because… they’re mad about all the people who like playing it. No really, I’m pretty sure “You play WoW? What a waste of time!” or “Wow, get a life.” has been uttered at least once by the people that religiously hate it. And when a game divides a community to such a degree like that, you know the game has substance. But yes, WoW has spoiled the gaming community. For ten years it has held its place in the dictionary definition of “MMORPG” so the gaming community already knows what to expect when it comes to playing that genre. When a game like SWTOR comes out, these expectations will carry over and people will feel it when something is missing in the game. SO Without further ado, here is what I think makes an MMORPG good enough to last at least a year:

SWTOR’s failure

Star Wars: The Old Republic was like a firecracker: its release was a huge event that was followed by about two months of successful business before its flame fizzled out. What was thought to be a cash cow of a game now has the business pining for money even going as far as making it free to play. But why?

There are several major reasons why such a game suddenly died out despite all its projected excitement: lack of re-playability, lack of exploration, and poor pacing.

Some may argue that the game had re-playability in that each individual class had its own story to tell, but do you think anyone would go through basically the same leveling area again and again just to learn the story about what a class did to become successful? For each faction there are basically two starting areas for their four base classes and each follows basically the same path save for the 5% of different story quests they do along the way. That’s 95% repetition four times over just playing a different class.

That being said, the lack of exploration becomes dreadfully apparent. There’s nothing new to experience while grinding the same leveling area over and over if the quests pretty much force you to go to most if not all the unexplored areas of the map. The game takes away the whole idea of rewarding for exploration with the exception of cleverly placed cubes to raise your stats and the random treasure chest tucked behind debris. It doesn’t have to be a physical reward of loot or stats, it could be just hidden easter eggs or a nice grove with a hidden quest that would make exploring that much more rewarding. The game doesn’t do it that much.

Pacing, in my opinion, was the biggest fault in the game. A player can reach level 50 through casual play by the end of the month and hardcore players were able to finish the grind in a week. Even with dedicated play and 8 different story lines, hardcore players can finish all the stories over the course of 8 weeks or even less. That’s two months, about the time it took for SWTOR to die out. Coincidence? No. If reaching the end of the game happened that quickly then there is nothing left to experience other than the end game raids which, by the way, seemed far too easy to get into. Sure the fights were difficult but raid formations were lightning quick and runs would be completed over the course of a night of dedicated play. The raids were somewhat difficult but it was still just too easy to upgrade to end game gear. This quickly aged the game like milk out on a warm summer day.

Ragnarok’s Success

(thxcs)

 If you’re thinking “da fuq is Ragnarok?” Just look at the picture. That’s basically it: sprites on a 3d world. A few years ago, Ragnarok became free to play. That’s after several years of it being a subscription based game. When you compare the game’s appearance to Star Wars, it’s almost baffling that you had to pay just as much a month for this game as you did for SWTOR, and yet this game remained popular for years. It even teased its players with a potential Ragnarok 2 (which was scrapped in the end). The reasoning behind this was simple: it had great pacing.

 

There was basically little-no story behind Ragnarok and the game had virtually no quests. The leveling system consisted of the player grinding monsters for hours on end. Someone could reach level 40 over the course of a few days but at some point between 50-80, the game takes a drastic dip in leveling speed. One level can take three hours of consistent grinding at a high risk leveling area, and lets not forget the punishment for dying: -1% of your experience progress. This doesn’t seem like much but around the level 90s it can literally take someone several hours just to get that 1% of progress. The climb from 1-100 will take an individual at least three months to do with dedicated play (and two months if you use bots but that’s cheating).

And gear? Gear isn’t expansive but building it is tedious. As your grinding your levels, monsters have a .1%-.001% chance of dropping special upgrades known as “cards” which you can insert into a slot in your weapon/armor. Weapons typically have 2-3 slots with the max of four, I think and armor can have 0-1 slots with the similar max of four. How can you get four? Have a Blacksmith with max DEX and max LUK and all the luk/dex gear they can possibly have on forge the slots for you. You could do it yourself but that’s three months of leveling up a blacksmith purely made to simply do blacksmithing to be moderately successful. I believe the maximum success rate of adding a slot is… 30-40%? If it doesn’t work, the item breaks and you lose everything from the rare cards to your +9 upgrade. Oh well, time to regrind everything. At this stage one would argue that the speed of the game is incredibly slow and actually harms the game’s appeal. I would agree but I’ve never gotten that far into the game to say that. Pacing, everyone: it makes a game tediously addictive.

Expectations for GW2

(thxww)

With the game newly released the biggest concern I have for it is whether or not it’s going to last. Sure it has no monthly subscription which is a huge encouragement for repeated play but how long will it take before the game begins to lose its audience? Will its pacing be sufficient enough to hold a crowd for more than two months and will the rewards in the end be worth the time and effort a player puts into it? Personally, I think it’ll do just fine. With five different races, that’s at least five different quest lines. I believe it will be a good half a year before the game starts to fall off.

An Xbox Live “Cock Block” for the ages! *PLUS* Update on the Gamevain Girls!

Welcome back gamevainers… your friendly neighborhood Chatterbox back with another tale from the online gaming world… this one is entirely in-game communication between a male gamer, a female gamer, and a failure of a wingman.

I was online playing Modern Warfare 3 in the Gun Game section with no parties. It all started off with a younger sounding female talking through the voice chat. About a minute later, a male gamer was overly “good sporting” towards Miss Female Gamer…

Nice shot CherryR3d! (not the actual gamertag) and then in the same game tear into another gamer for camping. So then in between rounds, male gamer and female gamer chatted it up…

Dude Gamer: So where you from Cherry Red?
Chick Gamer: I’m from Dundee Michigan.
Dude Gamer: Holy shit! We go to Dundee all the time for Cabella’s. How far are you from that?
Chick Gamer: Uh, I’m about 10 minutes away from Cabella’s
Dude Gamer: That’s awesome! I should take a trip there and maybe we can hang out.
Chick Gamer: That’d be cool!
Wingman Gamer: Creeper Alert!
Dude Gamer: Dude, shut the fuck up!
Chick Gamer: ..::laughs::..
Dude Gamer: So anyway, yeah. I’m free next weekend if you’d like to set something up. I’m in the Flint area.
Chick Gamer: I’m actually busy this weekend.
Wingman Gamer: Ooooh, shot down! Wa-wa-waaaaaa!
Dude Gamer: Fuck you, dude. I’m not even talking to you. Stay out of it.
Wingman Gamer: ..::Laughs::..
Dude Gamer: Yeah, so let’s set something up!
Chick Gamer: Yeah, that sounds cool.
Wingman Gamer: He’d love to, but that would involve him getting off of his piss soaked couch.
Dude Gamer: Fag, what is your problem?
Wingman Gamer: This isn’t the place for it, Jarred.
Dude Gamer: My name isn’t Jarred, asshole.
Wingman Gamer: Oh it’s not Jarred just like you’re not a 15 year old kid that goes to Flint Middle School, needing your Mom to drive you around places… who farts when he sneezes. CherryR3d, Jarred and I go to school together and he’s a complete nerd and a creeper. I would not get wrapped up with a guy like him. He’s a biggot and is mean to his older sister.
Chick Gamer: You guys are weird.
Wingman Gamer: I’m not weird, I have a girlfriend who’s sitting right here… it’s Jarred’s sister.
Dude Gamer: What the fuck is wrong with you? I don’t even have a sister!
Wingman Gamer: And you’re also a compulsive liar?

CherryR3d left the room.

Dude Gamer: Man, fuck you! What is your problem?
Wingman Gamer: It’s all part of my quest for peace on xbox live. In-game chat is not the place. Go to Craigslist like and adult if you want to meet up with a lady.
Dude Gamer: You’re such a fucking queer. Thanks alot.

Dude Gamer left the room.

Wingman Gamer: Ahhhhh peace… and quiet…
Random Gamer: Dude, did you know that guy?
Wingman Gamer: Hell no… I just wanted him to shut up.
Random Gamers: ..::laughs::..
Random Gamers: That’s wrong, dude but that shit was funny.

Now I would be lying if I said that Wingman Gamer wasn’t me, but let’s try to keep this annonymous, ok? Lol I love a good trolling when the opportunity presents itself. Guys that try to pick up chicks over in-game chat are only opening themselves up for humiliation. Am I right?

Time for a Gamevain Girls update…

As expected, the ladies have failed… EPIC fail. After about a dozen e-mails in response to my posting, I received 0 follow up. I don’t know if I used too many “big words”, but for whatever reason, no reply. Yes, I’m picking on intelligence. Prove me wrong, ladies! So as it stands now, there is no Gamevain Girl for August… anybody have any tips on a potential interviewee(s) for September? Keep me posted by e-mailing me at brad.creates@yahoo.com!

Dante is in Playstation All-Stars, and This is How it Happened

So over the last few days, I’ve been trying to figure out how exactly the new look Dante made the cast of Playstation All-stars.  After some deliberation, I’ve come up with one scenario that fully explains how it went down.  I find it extremely hard to believe Ninja Theory could sum up the courage to explicitly request the commercial rights to the new-look Dante character from Capcom.  No, Capcom went to them, and this is exactly how it happened… allegedly.

 

I picture a bunch of suits in a sprawling conference room all huddled together, when one guy says aloud.

Continue reading

Gamescom 2012

Ah, I love the smell of a convention floor with a tad mix of gaming frenzy. That is Gamescom for you. Alright, I can hear you ask yourself “What the heck is Gamescom?” I can answer that for you. Think of Gamescom like the Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3. Instead of in the US, Gamescom is held in Koelnmesse in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. An annual event that started back in 2009 whose promising cult followers(if you can already establish a cult following just being its 3rd year) have gathered from all over the world. Don’t forget the exhibitors, almost every game developer from 39 different countries have signed up for this year’s Gamescon. All sorts of news, trailers, and inside reports are in store. Come and join me as we uncover all the details Gamescon has to offer.

Continue reading

An Open Letter to Gamestop Regarding The 3DS XL Launch

Dear Gamestop:

Today, I went to my local store to pick up a preorder of the 3DS XL. Thanks to your trade in incentive of $100 extra towards my purchase with the trade in of my existing 3DS, this much desired product was within my price range. I couldn’t be more excited to get my greedy little mitts on it either; however, after I got my product, this is where the trouble began.

As you may or may not know, Nintendo does not – at the time of writing – have any unified account system that stores all purchase data like Sony Entertainment Network or XBox Live. As a result, in order to trade in my unit, but retain my purchases, I would have to perform a system to system transfer of my data. According to your employees, you knew this in advance and sent them instructions on this process. What you failed to understand was in order to do this transfer, open wifi is REQUIRED. With absolutely no Gamestops in my home area (four in total) with open wifi, in order to purchase my 3DS XL, I had to trade in my unit and lose a significant number of dollars worth of Nintendo software due to your negligence to provide customers with the necessary means to transfer.

This would ordinarily be a customer problem and not something that would demand corporate attention, but your trade in policy encourages the customer to trade in their unit without providing the customer the ability to fully utilize the 3DS transfer process. I believe this is a failure of your company to recognize the needs of your customers. After spending over an hour on the phone with Nintendo customer service, they have directed me to speak to you regarding this problem with your trade in process. Call me cynical, but I personally believe there is literally nothing to be gained from talking to you directly, so I am putting this open letter on a public games blog in a blind hope that someone takes this seriously. I respect your company and the service you provide to gamers, but I feel in this instance, and many others, you have placed your need for used product for profits above the needs of your customers and feel this is something you must rectify.

If you feel the need to respond directly, you can email me at tom@gamevain.com.

How Real is Too Real for Video Games?

(thxfw)

Some of you may be familiar with the Youtube user Freddie Wong and some may also have seen his series “Video Game High School” (or VGHS for short). If you’re not, then here’s a video from his archive that gives you a general idea of the kind of movies he makes:

Pretty sick. I recently caught up with his videos as the rest of his circle of movie makers and with all this editing to live footage I’ve began to wonder: how real is too real in a video game? Of course the better the graphics the more visually appealing it is and the more immersed the users will be in the game. But it’s not just simply graphics that I’m trying to focus on. What I want to focus on is the gameplay aspect of it.

(thxkt)

Take this game for example. You got bullet drop, gigantic, destructible maps, explosions, etc and it’s all fun because it’s arcade-y. It’s fast paced. It feels REAL in the most arcade-like way you can imagine. But because it’s so fast paced it takes away from that realism. You don’t have people running up to tanks to plant c4′s, blowing it up and dying only to be picked up by a medic nearby who just happened to carry around defibs wherever he goes and then they go on their merry way shooting up the rest of America or Russia or whatever part of the world that’s significant. It doesn’t work like that in real life. But that’s what makes it fun, right?

(thxbs)

I’ve went over this game two weeks ago and this is the complete opposite of BF3 but still has that “real” feeling to it. It’s very slow paced. In fact, it’s so slow paced you have to worry about your hunger and thirst  while you watch the day go by in real time. The single life you live (not really single but you know what I mean) rides solely on your tactical planning and if you die, no one’s going to run over and defib you. The only thing defibbing you is the server when it brings you back to life with none of your stuff at some random location along the shore line. It isn’t a gigantic battlefield and yet the map is easily twenty times bigger than the map BF3. People operate in small squads of 2-4 usually but they don’t go charging in. In fact even in squad formations you have to worry about watching flanks, having spotters, you have to take turns crossing a street one by one, everything you take for granted in short 3-10 minute life spans is amplified by 100 when your average life span is 45 minutes in the game. Obviously this is less arcade-y but at the same time the number of players of DayZ is steadily growing.

On the left: DayZ. On the right: BF3. Not exactly a comparison but it gives you an idea.

So with a growing fanbase for the ArmA 2 mod (they’re making a standalone DayZ game which is AWESOME), what is this saying about what gamers expect from a shooter? Are they looking for realism? Like REAL combat simulating realism? And if so, where is the line drawn when adding more and more of the smaller details that comes with engaging an actual firefight? America’s Army had a steady aim meter that degenerated when you were being suppressed and was buffed when a CO stood next to you. Using medikits in America’s army also only stopped the bleeding and nothing more. In DayZ you can break your legs and in BF3 you have bullet travel time and bullet drop. In Metal Gear Solid you had footprints, hunger pangs, smoke, camoflage, etc. There’s a LOT of realism in games that other games don’t have. Imagine combining all of this together into one game. What would you have then? Obviously it’d be slower paced but would it be any good? You have so much to consider in a game that you’d be worrying more about yourself rather than the enemy… which I suppose is realistic, too since any normal person would put their own personal safety over killing someone… right?

But seriously, how realistic would be too realistic? Would you like shooters to look into more camouflaged oriented play? Would it be cool to have “bleeding” and medkits only fixed that? Bullet drop stays, right? If not slower respawn times would strategically placed respawn points in designated start zones of a giant map be better? Should there be a more realistic suppression system like BF3? Food and water… why not pee and poop as well? Sleep deprivation? Hypothermia and hyperthermia due to times of day? Sore muscles? Exhaustion? Where should the line be drawn?

Are You Ready for iGaming?

A document recently surfaced containing several new patents from Apple. Among these patents were plans for a dual shock controller. The controller, which holds a striking resemblance to the Playstation 3 controller, is fairly unimpressive. What’s intriguing; however, is what this might mean for the gaming industry.

Early rumors and speculation are pointing to the possibility of the controller working with Apple TV, which has not been as successful as the company had hoped, but that’s not coming from Apple and neither is any other info about the game pad. The picture also seems to show the controller somehow interacting with an iPhone.

So is it possible we could see console gaming hit iOS? Do we want that? (Yes, I do. Very much.) Maybe, but if that’s the case Apple needs to hurry with development and production because a few experts are already forecasting this coming generation to be the last console generation.

What do you guys think? Is the pad for gaming? Apple TV? A really lame way to use your iPhone/iPod/iPad? Do you want to see Apple enter the console gaming market? What kind of exclusive titles would Apple have? Leave your comments below.

 

How to properly talk trash against online gamers…

In a world where 75% of the online gaming community is using Mods or Glitches, you, the gamer needs to learn how to defend yourself properly when it comes to trash talking. Here are a few things you need to take note of when participating in an online trash talking match.

1) Refrain from swearing!
If it turns out you actually get the better of a trash talking match, chances are you’re going to get reported. For myself, I always tend to keep my jabs and insults clean. The majority of the insults you hear are “fag” or other gay slurs. Those will get you suspended and potentially reported by bystanding players too.

2) Have fun with it!
People take things too seriously. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve been called gay or a fag, but when I’m playing a game like Call of Duty, I rarely have the patience to sit and camp. The very few times I have, I’ve been called out on it. Rarely do I indulge these people, but I always enjoy schooling somebody with a 10 year old voice and a badass name like DarkL0rd456 asking his Mom if he can stay up for another hour. He was talking too much trash on me and so I took him up on the challenge. Here is how the conversation went…

DarkL0rd456: Hey Chatterbox, quit camping you fag! That’s all you’re doing is camping. Get some skills!
Me: I’m also eating some Salt n’ Vinegar Chips while I wreck you.
DarkL0rd456: Whatever, Fag! Just fuckin’ leave the game if you’re not playing.
Me: I’m doing just fine where I’m at! 10 kills and counting!


Meanwhile, I move from my normal camping spot and said the spider to the fly, here came DarkL0rd456 going HAM on the spot where I had camped to sneak up behind him and knife him in the back!

Me: Tee hee! How you like it, Dark Lord?!?
DarkL0rd456: Man, fuck you! You’re so gay.
Me: You better watch your tone in how you speak with me before I marry your Mom and set your bed time to 7PM.
DarkL0rd456: Whatever, fag. You’re a fag!
Me: Okay, so I’m gay. I’m going to date your father and set your bedtime to 6! You want to press your luck and go for 5?
DarkL0rd456 has left the game.

That is what I call ubber ownage. Also, if he decides to report me, I have really done nothing wrong aside from being an asshole. Nothing to get suspended from.

3) Play off of the other online players reactions!
If you make a comment and get the room laughing, keep it going. Chances are, you’re going to throw off the tryhard that is putting a damper on the game. Be original and make simple observations about player’s voice, username, and or game skill. Words like Fag and Noob are never good to use. It just makes you sound like a dick.

So now that I have layed the groundwork for online trash talking, go forth and own some tryhards! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing and remembering.

Magneto Combo Video and Input Guide for UMvC3

 

 

This is an input Write-up for my Magneto Combo Video for UMvC3 above.

As always, the titles given to these combos are for fun, and are not official.

 

1 – “900K”

The first part of the combo is just a random BnB, the second part is really where the damage comes from.  The only thing this really requires is an uppercut assist to set up the opponent for the Up-fly combo in the top corner. You will need an OTG assist in order to get a Magnetic Tempest off at the end.  The timing on the up-fly part is rough, but do-able with practice.  I can see this becoming commonplace for getting higher damage from Magneto.

Fly, float down, H, S, H, launch, super jump, H, air dash forward, H (slight delay), L Magnetic Blast (slight pause), land, H, L Hyper Grav, H, launch (slight pause), super jump, H, air dash forward, H (slight pause), L Magnetic Blast (slight pause), land, H, L Hyper Grav, H, launch + assist (slight pause on both), super jump, H, fly, H, up air dash, H, up air dash, H, up air dash, H, up air dash, H, up air dash, H, S, land, call assist, M Hyper Grav, H, L Magnetic Disruptor, Magnetic Tempest.

 

 

2 -  Yeah, It Reaches Up There

Just another BnB with the help of Hsien Ko and Rocket Raccoon assists.  It took me a while to figure out a decent way of landing a Magnetic Tempest off a wallbounce that high up in the air.  I tried a lot of Disruptor and Hyper Grav setups, but this one seemed to be the easiest one, by far.  Also, I never realized how much damage that Hsien Ko DHC did.  Holy crap.

 

Super Jump, air dash down, H, crouching H, launch, super jump up, H, air dash forward, slight pause, H, slight pause, L Magnetic Blast, jump forward, H, L Magnetic Blast, land, H, slight pause, launch, super jump up, H, air dash forward, slight pause, H, slight pause, L Magnetic Blast, land + call assist, jump forward, H, L Magnetic Blast, assist hits, land, H Hyper Grav, super jump up, air dash down-forward, S, land, H + assist, slight pause, launch, super jump up, H, (assist hits), air dash down and back, heavy pause, Magnetic Tempest, DHC.
Continue reading

Going Overboard With Your Man Cave

We’ve all dreamed of having our own man cave. Whatever our hobby was, we wanted an entire room just dedicated to the very thing we find fascinating. Be it comic books, video games, dvd or blu-ray collections, weapons, hunting animals and putting their severed heads up on your wall, whatever it was you liked you wanted a space for it to store and/or display and show it off to your buddies. Some people are average joes whose guest rooms or attics are turned into their personal “Room of Doom” ( A little nudge to those who watched Morgan Spurlock’s Comic Con Episode IV: A Fans Hope). Some are those nearing the 1% and has over $2 million as chump change to spare.
Continue reading