Over a year ago, I did a small piece on the game here, and finally, after years of waiting, it’s out! Notice the release date on the banner? Yeah, been waiting a long time.
Now the sad part – I haven’t received my download code yet! I had this thing pre-ordered forever ago. I was supposed to get a steam code, but I haven’t gotten it yet! I’m so friggin anxious to play this game, I’m about to just pay for the damn thing again and download it right away.
So the Vita is almost available for retail consumption.
I think this is a device that the consumer population does not need. Am I going to get one? Absolutely, but it’s not necessary. Think of all the other devices out there already that do more than what the Vita does. The only thing the Vita has going for it is that it’s a dedicated portable gaming system. But let’s break this down a bit more. Portable? Maybe in the sense that it doesn’t have to be plugged into the TV, but it’s hardly something you could fit in your pocket. Although, the 5 inch OLED screen is the most beautiful thing these eyes have ever seen – it actually makes me feel like my vision has gotten better. But still, the system is just too big. Like Sega Game Gear big, but skinnier. It’s basically a small iPad or a large iPod touch, either of which serve as a multipurpose device to a much greater degree. It does however answer my main complaints about those devices. I always felt that gaming on apple products and tablets was a waste of time. The games available for it are largely casual and can never really be considered viable for the core gamer audience. In addition, the lack of button or a control pad of any kind hinders gameplay. The onscreen control pads are awful. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need my large, obtrusive thumbs getting in the way of the action. And without the direct tactile sense of control, they never are as response as an analog stick.
Now since it is a dedicated gaming system, what does it offer in games? There will be 16 games available on the 15th and another 6 by the 22nd. But are any of them a system seller? Uncharted is just about the only game that would be a must buy, and Sony knows it since Uncharted is the only game with a $50 price point. All other games falling somewhere between $30 – $40. Sony wants to cash in on the one game they know everyone’s going to buy. Here’s the list so you can make up your own minds:
- Asphalt: Injection
- Virtua Tennis 4 World Tour
- Lumines Electronic Symphony
- FIFA Soccer
- F1 2011
- Dungeon Hunter Alliance
- Michael Jackson: The Experience
- Rayman Origins
- ModNation Racers
- BlazBlue: Continuum Shift
- Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
- Wipeout 2048
- Hot Shots Golf World Invitational
- Ben 10 Galactic Racing
- Uncharted: Golden Abyss
- Little Deviants
- Ridge Racer
- Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen
- Touch My Katamari
- Army Corps of Hell
- Dynasty Warriors NEXT
- Ninja Gaiden Sigma PLUS
Sony has thrown in a few goodies with the $299.99 3g version, most likely due to the poor reception of the system in Japan. An 8gb memory card and a free game download will be bundled in now, making my earlier prediction on the US getting a price drop on the system shortly after launch seem less likely. I still believe it’s a waste to get the system at launch.
I’m surprised at myself that I’m not giving in to my usual, “I WANT THAT!” impulse when it comes to a new console. The last time I’ve cared so little for a system launch was when the Atari Jaguar came out. But I would never insult the Vita to compare it to the Jaguar that way… even though I kind of just did.
So the PSVITA released in Japan this past December to less than even good sales. It’s underselling anything Nintendo has out and even the older PSP is still selling better. Not even a full month after launch and the price has dropped by as much as 20% by Japanese retailers for the 3G version of the Vita.
In America, the Vita will launch on 2/22 with a wifi version retailing at $249.99, and a wifi/3G version at $299.99. Considering that the PSP has NEVER had good sales figures in America, and their game support for the system has been terrible, and add now that the price has already dropped in Japan, I’d say wait to get the Vita. Pre-orders for the system are far below what the 3DS had and Nintendo dropped the price of their hand held by $80 within the year of its release. Logically we’ll see a rather rapid price drop in the Vita after it’s American release as well.
On top of that, I’d wait to see what other options their 3G service might have to offer. As it stands right now, AT&T has secured exclusive rights to manage their 3G network. And it appears they’ll have data plans that run just like their iphone plans – $14.99 a month for 250MB and $24.99 a month for 2GB. Personally I don’t see the need for having 3G on a gaming device. Where are you going to be playing that doesn’t have wifi? Seriously.
Lastly, their only reasonable launch title is Uncharted and they KNOW it’s the only game they’ve got going for them because it’s the only one with an MSRP of $49.99, all the others are $39.99 or lower. So unless you MUST have the new Uncharted game, wait to get the Vita.
I’ve heard of some homebrew and emulators working on the Vita already and that’s probably the main reason I would eventually end up getting one, but I’m not going to spend 250 bucks to play games from 20 years ago.
Being that this is my first official posting, allow me to explain what the intended purpose of this blog is going to be.
At the very least, a weekly (hopefully) posting of indie games from wherever I can find them, though they will primarily come from XBLA (xbox live arcade).
Sure most of you that are gamers on the 360 have at least checked out a few games from XBLA, but have you ever checked out the indie games tab? I find most of my friends, or just anyone I’ve talked to about it for that matter, don’t bother, and since they’re indie, there really isn’t any advertising for them. Aside from word of mouth, knowledge of these games really doesn’t get out there. And maybe this is going to be a redundant blog, and I’m sure other people could probably do it better, but I haven’t seen more than a handful of blogs out there honoring these works of passion. Probably because there’s no money to be had in it. And sure indie means that there’s really not much of a budget to speak of, but lack of budget doesn’t mean lack of quality. Yeah, a lot of them are complete stinkpiles, but there quite a few gems out there. So that’s my plan, get some groundswell going for these unknown and potentially rockin’ indie games. Oh yeah, best of all, most of the indie games you find are less than 5 bucks!
Also you may have noticed I started with issue #0. And if not, then you did now. So yeah, that’s how I’m gonna do this. I like comics and I’m going to number my blogs as if they were comic book issues. Games and comics seem to go well together. The nerd communities generally intermingle and are often one in the same anyway, usually some Magic the Gathering thrown in there as well, but we’ll be leaving that out of these posts as much as possible. (evil, deadly, addition….) I have no intention of actually reviewing an indie game in this inaugural post. It’s really just more of a prequel and info-packet if you will. So that’s mostly why I decided to label is issue #0, kind of like how comics get an issue #0 just to showcase some art or some such.
And now for the showcase! So I just got back from E3. One of my lifelong goals has finally been achieved. You can’t imagine how many points I feel I’ve just unlocked. This industry only event has been just out of my reach for years and I’ve always wanted to go ever since I first remember reading about it in the early days of Game Informer. It was more amazing than my fondest memories of Disney World as a child, though waiting in the lines seems about the same. Everyone’s been asking me how it was and what I thought of all the upcoming splendor we shall see this holiday season and early next year. Well here are my thoughts as organized as I can get them, but in no particular order.
Holy dicks. Nintendo… WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! Look, we all love Nintendo, and I’m sure they will continue to produce absolutely amazing 1st party content, but Nintendo, you are making it really, really difficult to appreciate your direction. Nintendo is pretty much shitting all over my fondest childhood memories. Ok, so maybe this is a little hyperbolic, but there are a million better ideas that were probably floating around the Nintendo offices and this was the best they could come up with?! First off, the name. Wii U? Out of what I’m sure were a plethora of other splendid console names gathered during extensive brainstorming sessions, someone at corporate Nintendo actually decided that Wii U was the best choice. What happened to the Nintendo HD? That was a fine title. It’s straight to the point and lets us know EXACTLY what they intend out of the system. Even the revolution (the codename the Wii had before it’s release) would have been a better choice. Hell, even the Dolphin! Didn’t anyone else heart break when they heard Nintendo announce their new system? From a strictly retail point, customers had a hard enough time asking for and pronouncing the Wii accurately for the first few years it was out. I wonder what kind of verbal abortions will be imagined this turn around.
The controller: I don’t know entirely how I feel about this. I’m torn at the moment. My limited engagement with the device left me intrigued, yet highly concerned. For starters, this could easily be another gimmick and there have already been far too many gimmicky games for the Wii. I do like the idea of a touch screen on my controller, but I don’t like the idea of a tablet-like device. It’s about the size of an iPad and I think the iPad and iTouch, and all that other apple crap is terrible for gaming. Yes there are tons of games you can get from iTunes and tons of people play them, but they’re mostly garbage. People that play games on an iPad aren’t gamers. The iPad makes a poor gaming device and would be an even worse gaming controller. The first game I ran to when I got my chance to play the new Wii U after my nearly 3 hour wait in line, was Ghost Recon Online. I was more excited about the controller than anything considering it’s the only part of the system that I would really consider new hardware. The size itself isn’t a problem; I was a fan of the original Xbox controllers after all. The problem is that it’s not contour friendly to hands and it’s analog sticks are terrible. It’s nice and lightweight and there is a ledge (for lack of a better word) on the back that rests on your fingers so you don’t feel like you’re holding it up, but it’s a square. They may have worked 25 years ago with the original NES, but the controller then was a fraction of the size. Some contoured grips on the side would have been nice. As far as the analog sticks, they feel like the analog sticks on the PSP or 3Ds. They don’t move as smoothly as as a PS3, 360, or even an N64 controller. If they were going for the flat look, then they got it, but if they were going for dual analog sticks that felt natural, then they fell flat on their asses and failed. There are many things I like about this controller, but the crappy analog sticks make it worthless for real gaming. Lastly, turning to retail again; how much is this thing gonna cost? Seriously, a Wii remote/nunchuck combo it 70 bucks. I can’t see this thing costing under 100. And how’s that gonna fly with parents? And obviously kids are gonna break this thing. I can see an irate parents face already when they have to replace one of these because of a cracked screen.
I think they revealed the Wii U too soon. I don’t think they had enough to show and they shot their wad before it was time. On display were 2 separate tech demos, one of which had an exciting looking Link vs. a giant spider fight scene. But that’s all it was for: looking. The best piece of eye candy they had and all you could do was move the camera around. They had this absolute rubbish game called Measure Up, which could have easily been on the DS since all it was was drawing lines and shapes more accurately than your opponent. The best things they had to show were another Mario Bros. game, Battle Mii, and Chase Mii. The Mario game would have been great, but it’s really nothing different so far. I’m not even sure if it was any different than the one from Wii, but maybe with some new features. I dunno, I really didn’t pay attention to that one. Battle Mii and Chase Mii were the best they had to show, but they were both mini games! It’s a slap in the face. If Nintendo really wanted to excite people about their new system, after much of the gaming community has already completely turned their backs to the Wii, they shouldn’t have shown up with a couple of mini games! Granted they were really fun, but when Nintendo posed the question to themselves, “What would we like for people to take away with them after playing the Wii U?” The answer shouldn’t have been a couple of mini games! In Chase Mii one person plays are Mario using the tablet where the screen displays the location of all the players on the map and the other 4 players use the regular remotes to find and chase him down; basically it’s a glorified version of hide and seek. Battle Mii had a little bit more merit. One person pilots Samus’ ship while the others are on the ground and from then on its pretty much a standard death match. No new concepts really except the cross-style gameplay, yet still not enough to showcase a new console. Bottom line Nintendo, with a release date and pricepoint both still TBA and no discernible line-up yet, the announcement of this console should have waited.
All right, the Wii U has got me a little agitated right now. I’ve got more to say about E3 and I’m sure maybe 3 or 4 of you are interested, but you’ll have to wait. More to come tomorrow.
Thanks for reading!