Tag Archives: video games

Sense of Presence: Building Virtual Reality

In this new documentary series, Epic explores virtual reality as a new medium or entertainment and human interaction.

Miyamoto Pushing Back Star Fox Zero To Give Fans the Best Game Possible

star_fox_zero_box_artIf there’s one thing I love, it’s a new game. That moment you tear open that evil plastic shrink wrap of death, blow into your cartridge and console to clear out all of that nasty dust, pop your game in and turn on that beautiful machine, and have the game be complete. Nothing like it, right? Alright, well maybe that reference is slightly dated, but still a new game is always a special treat! What’s even better than a new game is a new game that’s amazing.

I read a post on Nintendo’s Facebook page that explained how Shigeru Miyamoto (you know, video game <insert respective diety here>), is pushing Star Fox Zero’s release date back, due to the fact that he feels the game isn’t quite up to snuff yet. He made the decision with the intention of delivering fans a game that could truly be amazing. To this, I say: “Take as much time as you need!”

I come from a time where video games didn’t have DLC, there wasn’t an online source you could rely on for video game dates, and games needed to be complete before they could be distributed. Now I’m not going to say those were better times (yes I am, so deal with it), but the standards for video games were different back then. The online market wasn’t established, as most of us were using dial-up Internet (if we even had computers…). Games needed to be completely done because developers didn’t have a second chance. There weren’t any patches they could later release that could fix a game breaking bug. If your game had an issue, it was stuck there on that tiny cartridge forever. So naturally, developers had to be extra careful not to have super big issues. A lot of time and care was put into titles in order to prevent players from raging.

One of my biggest concerns for video game developers is rushing a title to meet the masses’ demands simply because they said they’d release it when they promised. While I’m sure plenty of fans are quite upset over the delay of this title, I can’t help but feel happy knowing that it means that much to Miyamoto that the game turns out well.

For me, it’s been 18 years since I got to play a strong Star Fox title, and I only say that because the other titles, while fantastic in their own right, don’t quite feel like true successors to the series. Now I know there are some of you out there who will disagree with what I’ve just said, and for that I sincerely apologize, but I’ve always known the Star Fox series to be a healthy dose of Arwingy goodness (The other vehicles are awesome too!).

Growing up with the N64, I played the living circuits out of Star Fox 64. To this day, it’s still on of my top ten titles, so when I heard Nintendo was rebooting the series, you can imagine me jumping around like an elementary school girl when the cutest boy in school asks you to the dance. Ok ok, maybe that analogy wasn’t incredibly accurate, I was a lot more excited.

There are plenty of titles out there that have been rushed simply to meet a deadline (*cough* Sonic Boom *cough*), and in those kinds of situations everyone is a loser. Why bother releasing a title if you know it’s going to be complete garbage? Sure it was one thing in the early 90’s to see a video game or action figure line release to promote the release of a movie, but this is 2015. We’ve got standards now! Plus developing games is expensive! Why waste all that money on a crap title, right?

Miyamoto definitely has a strong passion to deliver titles that fans can really enjoy, and hearing him commit to us fans is honestly the reason why Nintendo will always be my favorite gaming company. It always pleases me to hear developers have dignity and integrity, so thank you Miyamoto, and I very much look forward to this release whenever this title feels ready!

Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games Launched by Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network has launched of the first-ever virtual reality game based on a television franchise, Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games. Based on the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning, global hit series Adventure Time, this first-of-its-kind game builds on Cartoon Network’s dominance in the mobile games space, and furthers the network’s mission to deliver innovative content and experiences to its fans in unique and immersive ways.

The stellar visual quality of the game allows fans to experience Adventure Time in a whole new way by becoming part of the narrative. The original story is fully voiced by the cast of the television series. The gameplay is inspired by classic 3D platformers, while having unique combat and movement mechanics that take advantage of the very best VR technology.

Nintendo’s New President Might Be Just The Man to Save The Mushroom Kingdom

Congratulations Kimishima-san!

Congratulations Kimishima-san!

So the Internet has been buzzing lately about the new President of Nintendo replacing the late Satoru Iwata (I’m sure plenty of you have already read this online somewhere, so I don’t think I need to add any links). I know there were people expecting Shigeru Miyamoto to take over seeing as how he’s a major face of the company, but he’s a busy man! Running a company might be too much!

So now that Tatsumi Kimishima is taking on the position as Nintendo’s President, naturally information about the guy is surfacing on the Internet (I’m sure his address will be available soon too… Please stay tuned.). There was an article I read earlier that stated how in an interview Kimishima was apparently against the creation of the Wii U, claiming that it would be a failure, and it got me thinking that this guy might be the best person for the job.

Let's leave Miyamoto to do what he does best. Be a badass for Nintendo.

Let’s leave Miyamoto to do what he does best. Being a badass for Nintendo.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Wii U and everything about it (aside from the fact that it never had a built in internet port…). I’ve even playing Super Mario Maker (and crushing it!) and am practically unable to put it down.

Let’s not forget Star Fox Zero! Needless to say, I’ll be in my hermit cave of a game room for a while stewing in my own filth. With how life can be essentially lived from behind a computer screen, I can just order food from my laptop or phone, so who needs to leave?

Between Final Fantasy XIV, Metal Gear, Mario Maker, Fallout 4/Battlfront(coming this Novermber), and writing my blog, this picture pretty much defines my current physical state.

Between Final Fantasy XIV, Metal Gear, Mario Maker, Fallout 4 and Star Wars Battlefront (coming this Novermber), and writing my blog, this picture pretty much defines my current physical state for the next 10 years or so. Good bye world…

Anyways, rant aside, it’s really nice to hear someone with a strong common sense about Nintendo’s business development is going to be at the helm of Nintendo. While I’m biased towards everything Nintendo, I do understand that the Wii U was a huge commercial failure. It has plenty of hardware and software limitations, the library is only now starting to get good despite the new system slowly approaching, and overall it’s not a worthwhile investment compared to the competition, or even Nintendo’s handheld product. Kimishima definitely hit the nail on the head, and that’s important to see. While video games are definitely about providing people with entertainment (and the Wii U has definitely done that for me) it’s also a business that needs to function properly in order to succeed.

When I was growing up (because let’s face it, I’m 26 and I’m only growing downwards now), Nintendo was one of the biggest competitors going up against Sony and Sega! (Alright, Sega is dead now, so that might not be a good analogy…) But even so, Nintendo used to make big waves before the Gamecube came into existence, and it was a force to be reckoned with. Nowadays, Nintendo isn’t necessarily known for their strong games so much as party-style fun kid titles and maybe it’s time to change that.

One of the big things Nintendo did right, that other companies haven’t really accomplished, was creating strong icons that they specifically own. Sure Microsoft has Halo and Master Chief and Sony has Sackboy/anything Naughty Dog produces, but none of these icons are as well known as Nintendo’s. And I’m pretty sure unless you’ve been living in a cave without any human contact for the last 30 years or so, you know who Super Mario and Link are. So with powerful icons at their disposal, Nintendo has an advantage they’ve only begun to tap into.

I might not be a fan of Domino's but ordering with an emoji also saves me time having to speak to anyone on the phone. Yes please...

I might not be a fan of Domino’s Pizza but ordering with an emoji also saves me time having to speak to anyone on the phone. Yes please.

Let’s not forget that Nintendo paved the way for video games! Mario 64 was one of the first titles that dived into 3D world on the Nintendo 64! While there are certainly other titles that have a place in the video game hall of fame, nothing has truly come close to what Nintendo has accomplished with our favorite Italian-Japanese hybrid plumber and several other legendary titles.

So I’m hoping that Kimishima will be a strong force that can help Nintendo hop back to the top where it belongs! While fans and players don’t necessarily see the business aspect, it does reflect the overall stability of the company, so I have a feeling Kimishima will be just the person Nintendo needs right now. No offense to the lovely Iwata-san! Please know you’ll always have a special place in our hearts. Only time will tell where Nintendo will go in the future, but I think things look promising!

Besides, my character on Final Fantasy XI was also named Kimishima. So I can’t help but be happy about that!

Any thoughts on Tatsumi Kimishima’s new role? Still think Miyamoto should be at the helm? Maybe neither? Feel free to leave a comment and thanks for reading!

Review: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4)

MGSV_The_Phantom_Pain_boxartGuns, ninjas, giant robots, weird goth themed psychic characters, and lots of military soldiers. I don’t know who in Japan ever thought it was a good idea to combine all of these elements together, but someone at Konami gave this the go ahead and it led to a franchise that blew people’s minds. Since then, The Metal Gear Solid series has stood up there with the very best of games to deliver fans a title that could bring home the bacon. From the hidden genius of Hideo Kojima comes a masterpiece that has revolutionized the gaming industry as we know it.

Since it’s critical success on the Playstation 1 with Kojima’s first project (because let’s be honest, how many of you have actually played the previous titles?), the franchise has become such a huge hit that even people who don’t play games seem to reference these titles in some form or another. Be it the iconic alert sound that’s used in almost everything, or the large exclamation mark over someone’s head, the Metal Gear series is definitely a title that is known by plenty across the planet.

With titles spanning over several consoles, Hideo Kojima and Konami teamed up once again to deliver one last game to quell the hunger fans have had since the last installment that came out, which was nearly a decade ago (Who feels old now? I know I do…). While we’ve had a spin-off series that proved to be somewhat of a decent title, fans weren’t given a real Metal Gear game for quite some time, and it pained plenty of people (myself included) to wait this long for a new game that could satisfy us. I preordered the game the moment I heard it was available over the PSN, and have been patiently waiting for the countdown timer to finally hit zero, so I could tear this bad boy apart. Needless to say, I was left pretty speechless…

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain continues where MGSV: Ground Zeroes left off. For those of you unaware, Kojima released a prologue back in early 2014 that set up the story of The Phantom Pain. One of the biggest things I was against was the fact that Konami and Kojima had essentially broke off the intro to this game and charged $40 for it. With this being nothing more than a glorified demo, I was hesitant about even playing Ground Zeroes altogether. In fact, one of the only reasons I actually did play it was because Sony allowed Playstation Plus members to download the game for free back in July. While I enjoyed Ground Zeroes, I definitely would have regretted purchasing the game as it wasn’t worth the money, despite all the extra side missions.

I’ve never been one to care too much for the story of Metal Gear so much as the gameplay, as Kojima tends to go a bit overboard on writing the overall story. Most of the Metal Gear titles tend to be convoluted, feature way too many references to government, military, and historical figures that more often than not make me hover over the skip button during cutscenes. Some of the cutscenes are just so brutally long that I’ve actually fallen asleep through them. All this usually keeps my expectations pretty low for the plot simply because I just don’t care about the content very much. Metal Gear Solid 5 has a better grasp on the overall story. With a heavy emphasis on foreshadowing, this title serving as a prequel, fans of the series tend to have a general idea what’s going to happen to our lovable Snake (voiced by the lovely Jack Bauer Keifer Sutherland) simply because we know the fate of Big Boss already. Sort of… Wait, do we?

Either way, as I’ve said, I don’t play these games so much for the story as I do the gameplay and graphics, and boy oh boy (or girl, depending on the reader…) do these games truly know how to entertain. While the Metal Gear games have been known to be pretty linear, in terms of plot and content, the amount of possibilities to go through the game are pretty varied. While there is always the standard murder-everything-in-sight-because-nobody-will-see-you-if-they’re-dead method (Which I’ve been known to dabble in this style during moments of pure rage and frustration…) the player can also go through the game like a silent ninja, avoiding all confrontation and relying solely on stealth and tranquilizers to subdue your enemy rather than kill them, you know, hard mode. Mmmmm nothing beats that final moment when you’ve reached the end of the game and have that clean record (Well, I wouldn’t know. I’m still working on it…).

Metal Gear Solid 5‘s core gameplay is truly amazing. Kojima boasted about his the Fox Engine back at E3 of 2013, and it doesn’t disappoint. The game is as smooth as a baby’s bottom, as beautiful as that fake model girlfriend you lied to your friends about, and as efficient as the Borg from Star Trek. The powerhouse combination of those 3 elements aims to give players a fantastic experience in being either the ultimate assassin or a silent fart in the wind. Needless to say, I’m very pleased with it.

While I’ve always known the Metal Gear series to be riddled with fun Easter Eggs, I’ve never been one to play the series again immediately after beating as it’s a lot to take in. With how linear the game is, I usually need a break before diving back into the game. Metal Gear Solid 5, on the other hand, changes the dynamic of the game altogether by allowing you to free roam your maps to do plenty of side quests. There are so many side quests in this game, that I’m pretty sure you’ll be spending more time doing those than the actual story campaign. The side quests, while a bit repetitive at times, are both unlocked through main scenario campaigns or through interrogating enemy officers who will disclose extra locations on your map. This gives players a near endless amount of content to go through as they’re forced to interrogate every enemy soldier if they want that sweet 100% completion achievement.

I don’t know who decided adding a Sims-like system into this game was a good idea, but it’s been one of my absolute favorite features so far. Players are given a Mother Base they can upgrade over the course of the game. This allows the development of new and more powerful weapons that can really give you an edge on the field. Be it simply upgrading your tranq gun like I’m using it for, or giving yourself a bazooka to blow up bases and tanks, the list of weapons is also pretty enormous.

While I’ve yet to dive into it, MGS5 also has two online modes (one getting released in October) that allows players to combat one another. The current one that’s up now, involves you sneaking into another player’s mother base in order to steal their supplies, or simply wreak havoc and be the worst person in the world, ever.

Seeing as how I’ve only given decent to negative reviews for the previous titles I’ve posted on here, it pleases me very much to finally review a title seriously worth recommending to other gamers out there. While I’m sure the sales for this title are already off the charts and many of you probably already own this game, I highly recommend Metal Gear Solid 5 to add to your arsenal, if you haven’t yet. It’s the very definition of what a gaming experience can be. While it breaks my heart to see that Kojima will no longer be working on future titles, I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors and know he’s got a bright future ahead of him. You know, so long as he doesn’t use vagina bombs again…

Story: 8 Gameplay: 10 Side Quests: 9 Re-Playability: 9 Overall Score: 9

Around the Tubes

It was a bit quiet yesterday due to Labor Day, but there’s some interesting stories below you might find interesting.

It’s new comic book day tomorrow, and we’ll have our picks for the week in a few hours. Check out the news below while you await that.

Around the Tubes

The Outhousers – Guest Op/Ed: What’s Wrong With Comic Book Journalism? – A very good read.

iO9 – The Alternative Universe Of Soviet Arcade Games – Very cool to see.


Around the Tubes

We’re getting our gaming on at NOVA Open this weekend! If you’ll be there, try to find us and say “hi.” We’ll of course have coverage, and some live coverage on Twitter.

While you await that, here’s some news from around the web.

Around the Tubes

CBR – Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Adds Two Entertainment Execs – Congrats!

Kotaku – Arkham Knight PC Patch Briefly Appears, And Early Reports Are Promising – Good news?

Koatku – Batman Arkham Knight DLC Still At A Drip-Feed, Still Needs Something Great – Guess the above doesn’t matter…

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone getting? We’ve got lots of reviews going up if you haven’t decided.

While you decide, here’s some news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

ICv2 – Perlmutter Loses Marvel Studios – Where’s all the articles about Marvel collapsing/some dysfunction?

The Beat – “Mind MGMT” Editor Brendan Wright Leaves Dark Horse Comics to go Freelance – Good luck, we wish you the best.

The Beat – Garbage Pail Kids Painter Programs His Computer to Create Comics! – This is interesting.

Broadway.com – Fun Home Announces Graphic Novel Giveaway For College Freshmen – We really want to see this.

CBR – Suspects in alleged Pokemon plot will remain in jail – Good.

Kotaku – Deadpool is coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this fall – Interesting and not shocking considering the movie. Bet it does better.

The Independent – Marvel villains are now quoting David Cameron – Bwahahahahaha.


Around the Tubes Reviews

ICv2 – The Definitive Betty Boop: The Classic Comic Strip Collection HC

Relaxing Flow-based Adventure Game, Lumini Coming to Steam September 3 From Rising Star Games

Rising Star Games and Speelbaars is set to release the relaxing, flow-based adventure game, Lumini on Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux on September 3. A deluxe edition of Lumini, featuring the game and soundtrack will also be made available on Steam at launch.

In Lumini, players take control of a swarm of the titular creatures – an ancient race that has been missing for thousands of years – and grow, evolve and keep the swarm safe during their challenging and perilous journey. Sail your Lumini through beautiful, time-worn landscapes, encounter mystical and bewildering creatures and solve ancient puzzles to discover why the Lumini vanished, while trying to restore peace and harmonic balance to their home planet.

Lumini Key Features:

  • Discover the history of the Lumini and their mysterious home world
  • A mesmerizing flow-based experience with accessible controls and gameplay
  • Divide your Lumini swarm and control both groups simultaneously to solve puzzles and unlock the mysteries of the Lumini home world
  • Evolve your swarm into different species with unique abilities
  • Immersive and fully adaptive audio score
  • Deluxe edition packaged with soundtrack also available at launch

Watch the Lumini announcement trailer.

Pax Prime 2015: Mad Max and Uber Team Up

Mad Max UberThe upcoming open-world action game Mad Max from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and developed by Avalanche Studios will be bringing The Wasteland to Seattle at PAX Prime, where Uber will be offering Mad Max game-inspired vehicles for riders to select from in the area.

Uber riders will get a chance to ride in vehicles inspired by the Mad Max game at PAX Prime in Seattle from Aug. 28-Sept. 1. The convention takes place at the Washington State Convention Center from Friday, Aug. 28-Monday, Sept. 1 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. PDT

The Mad Max video game introduces an original story set within the universe of Mad Max and features deep car customization that impacts its handling, metal-grinding vehicular action and gives players a vast arsenal of mobile weaponry within The Wasteland.  Players become Max, the lone warrior who must fight to stay alive by engaging in vicious on-ground fighting, as well as physics-based vehicular combat, against savage factions who are fighting for domination and survival in this gritty, dynamic open-world.

The game will be released on Sept. 1, 2015 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.

We unfortunately won’t make it to PAX, so if folks have photos, post them in the comments or send them to us!

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