I’ve wanted to do this post forever now, since before I even started this blog. However, I don’t live in NY anymore so it’s not like I could just go see Jim in the span of one afternoon, and even if I could, it took a lot of coercion to get him to sit in front of a camera.
You may remember awhile back I posted about Jim’s predictions on Nintendo’s new console – Nintendo’s Real Video Game System Coming Back At You Suck it. This was of course a joke based on the parody of him that arose from a letter he wrote to Nintendo Power’s Player’s Pulse, which premiered in the Dec 1991 issue. Sometime back in 2006 it was brought to his attention that this letter had caught some underground admiration. Joystiq did a small piece on him, referring to Jim as a modern-day Nostradamus. Later we learned that Sore Thumbs, a manga-style web comic, had introduced Jimmy Peterford as a character in their story who had psychic powers. Yet, to this day, the actual Jim Peterford remains unnoticed and uncredited.
I always found it funny that they couldn’t have gotten Jimmy Peterford more wrong. Fictional Jimmy Peterford is a skinny, green haired guy whereas the real Jim shaves his head and has a body builder’s physique. I’d also like to note that I actually would pass more for the fictional Jimmy Peterford, as I’ve actually had green hair in the past, and even a mohawk, which I believe his doppleganger had.
Jim also works in the video game industry, but I won’t say to what degree because I don’t want to incriminate him. Despite his career path, he definitely has no real direct power over the future of Nintendo, though I’m sure he wishes he did.
Below is a short interview I conducted with Jim in a room he fashioned out of a derelict cistern, buried deep under Syosset, where he plans to erupt a magma geyser (not necessarily a volcano) and destroy much of the surrounding neighborhood.
For those of you who doubt that this is indeed the same Jimmy Peterford that wrote into Nintendo Power, this is the best proof I can offer you.
NYS driver’s license, not fake, not doctored. Born in 1978, which would put him at just the right age for a child of the Super Nintendo era. His parents still keep a copy of that issue that their Jimmy wrote to.
Last year Nintendo revealed their next home console. The Wii U was unveiled to a less than overwhelming reception and it was pretty much unanimously agreed it had the dumbest name in console history. But it was just the project codename… or so we hoped. Nintendo is now rumored to be considering a new name for the console. When I heard this, I knew there was one person I had to contact immediately.
I had the pleasure of sitting with the Nintendo prophet, Jim Peterford. Yes, THE Jimmy Peterford, who back in a 1991 issue of Nintendo Power, predicted the Wii console. Hoping that lightning would strike twice, we united our brains together until divine inspiration bestowed us with the NiRVGSCBAYSi. That is, the “Nintendo Real Video Game System Coming Back At You Suck it” (see how I worked those two lower case i’s in there like the Wii? Clever huh?) This no holds barred approach to naming is symbolic of Nintendo’s intention to show gamers that they’re back and they mean business and they’re more than just a toy for the whole family.
Peterford came up with his own artist’s rendition of what he believed the NiRVGSCBAYSi will look like. The front panel of the console itself seems to resemble a TV remote, which probably implies Nintendo is going more towards being a multifunction entertainment unit. There doesn’t appear to be any ports for inserting external media, which hopefully means there’s a substantial hard drive inside and any data transfer will be wireless. The most notable aspect of the new console is probably the controllers. Taking a more SNES look and style, the remotes are wired, forgoing the wireless motion controllers, thus restricting any sort of motion gaming programmers would throw in. Which is fine, because flailing your arms around and dancing to video games is stupid.
I’m pretty confident Jim Peterford is right on the money with this one. If our predictions are accurate, and they almost certainly are, Nintendo will once again be the top contender in the home console market for hardcore gamers.
If you haven’t heard of Retro City Rampage yet, you either didn’t grow up with a NES or you’re one of those people that doesn’t play anything but Madden. But if your gaming library consists of more than just the past 3 years of EA sports titles, please, read on.
Retro City Rampage is a Grand Theft Auto open world style parody, but done in glorious 8-bit! In development now by Vblank Entertainment, a process which has almost reached completion after 7 long years. I had a chance to chat with Brian Provinciano, the founder and lead developer, briefly via email. He’s a busy man and has already done a handful of interviews with people far more important than myself, plus I didn’t want to hamper production of this game any further, so I kept the questions short.
Greg – Clearly there were many influences you had going into this game; Mega man, Duck Tales, Metal Gear, Grand Theft Auto, Bionic Commando, Jackal. You didn’t seem to stick to just games either, I see Back to the Future* in your logo. Did I miss any? What else was on your mind?
Brian – I got into games because of the games I loved growing up. Retro City Rampage is an homage and celebration to pretty much everything that I’ve held a controller to and enjoyed. I’ve lost count!
Greg – How did you find ways to fit all the parodies* in? Was there a massive brainstorming sessions or just work them in as they came to you? I feel this is a pertinent question because every time I watch a video, I notice another little easter egg.
Brian – There were some brainstorming sessions, mostly in the beginning, but otherwise it’s mostly me. Maxime (the other artist on the project) has some great ideas though too when we’re adding some extra cherries on top.
Greg – I know Grand Thefttendo was the original title. I hear it was even originally supposed to be on a cartridge. What other major changes have taken place since? Are there things that have been taken out of the game that couldn’t fit?
Brian – Grand Theftendo was an entirely different game, but same end goal –an 8-bit Grand Theft Auto style open world game. I developed that on the NES, whereas Retro City Rampage is running on current platforms and does far more than an NES actually could. It still retains the same feel but packs are more punch, fun and is dosed with more sprinkles.
Greg – I guess with the cost of production, I can see why you chose to go digital, but will we ever see a physical copy?
Brian – It’s possible, but I wouldn’t expect something like that to happen for over a year if it did. Digital is far better in many ways. It costs 6-7 figures to release a retail game. Some XBLA games gross less than that. We may sell retro boxes/manuals with download codes though. It’s still up in the air.
Greg – Can you make just one? Or two. One for me, one for you of course. I’ll pay for both.
Brian – Unfortunately you can’t just start the presses for a couple copies of a console game.
Greg – The soundtrack fits perfectly with everything I’ve seen so far. What kind of direction, if any, did you give to your composers? It all seems to be very reminiscent of NES Konami games.
Brian – Konami’s been a great influence, but they’ve been very focused on experimenting with every style, from those of different NES games to music genres that didn’t even exist in those days. The soundtrack covers everything! Some of the songs were designed to be specific homages or fit specific missions, but I also told them to just have fun and play around for many others. In both cases we ended up with amazing tracks.
Greg – I remember last year hearing that Retro City Rampage was coming out holiday 2010. It was then set to release this summer. Any final words on a release date?
Brian – Likely mid-late January 2012. For business reasons I need to wait until the AAA and holiday season craziness is over.
Greg – This has clearly been a labor of love, taking you 7 years to complete. How do you feel? What are your plans afterwards?
Brian – It’s absolutely a labor of love. I’m very happy with how it’s turned out and all of the extra time I spent polishing it makes all of the difference. I was just playing it last night and a cutscene happened which I’d polished last month. I stopped for a moment and said to myself “Wow, those little extra touches really make it feel extra special”. I’m still polishing things as we speak. That’s what makes a game great.
I have a half dozen ideas for games I really want to make, but we’ll see which ones come to fruition, as games take a long time to make.
Greg – Do you still have a classic gaming collection of your own?
Brian – I do. I think I collected about 1/3rd of the NES library. However it’s all in boxes at my parent’s place. I don’t have room for it at my place, or money to continue collecting. Every last penny these days goes directly into funding RCR.
This game is parodies within parodies. They really threw everything into a blender with this one. My personal favorite I’ve seen so far is when the player gets bitten by a radioactive plumber and gains the super stomp ability. This is the type of genius you’ll encounter throughout the game.
Retro City Rampage, coming out early first quarter 2012 for XBOX Live Arcade and Wii Ware. You can check out Retro City Rampage‘s homepage for updates as the game nears its final stages, check out the developer blog, and watch some trailers. Being a big chiptune fan myself, I really dig the soundtrack. If you like that old 8-bit style of music you can download the tracks from the game there as well. The artists do an awesome job putting together a soundtrack that feels completely retro yet altogether something new. I strongly recommend checking out each of their own sites for some rockin’ tunes.
As always, don’t forget to share this post. And don’t forgot to drop Brian and his crew a line as well. They’ve put a lot of work into this game. Let them know what you think.
Thanks for reading!
*I know Back to the Future was a game too, but does anyone really care about that awful thing? Let’s forget it existed, ok?
As promised, the update on Square Enix’s press conference. Since I wasn’t man enough to stay awake and get the information from Square Enix as it unfolded, I’ll just give you all a link right to IGNs report on Dragon Quest X. If clicking on that link is too much work for you, I’ll break down the key important elements here.
- Dragon Quest X will be coming to the Wii and Wii U
- It will be a MMORPG
- There will be 5 playable races along with a job class system
- Player crafted items
- Turn based battles
- There will be an offline mode as well
- Release date set for sometime 2012
Considering there’s an offline mode I wonder how this will work as an online game. Will it be like Final Fantasy XI but in a Dragon Quest setting, and I have to pay $15 a month to play? Or will it be like Diablo, where I can experience the whole game at home by myself and then if I choose, play online with others but at no additional cost? I prefer the latter and hopefully that’s what they decide. Actually, there’s a 3rd possibility I suppose. Phantasy Star Online. Same deal as Diablo, except you still had to pay money if you wanted to play online. Let’s hope that’s not the case, I’d rather it be more like your standard MMO if I have to pay money.
Will there be multiple factions with a PVP system? Will there be a raid system with huge dungeons? If they go with the Phantasy Star Online paradigm, I suspect that won’t be the case. My personal speculation is that it will be PVE heavy and will probably allow you to form groups of 4 -6 people. I base that mainly on the fact that you can play through the game offline. I don’t see a 20 man raid happening with 19 NPCs. I suspect that towns will be hubs where people can gather, then once venturing out into the field, it will act like an instance and only those in your party will be present. Since the battles are turned based, this is the only way I can think of that makes sense.
I am excited by Dragon Quest becoming an MMO. When Dragon Quest IX came out with multiplayer support I thought that was a great idea, but it was too limited by it’s lack of an infrastructure mode. I am worried though. A console MMO hasn’t really “worked” yet. You can argue that Final Fantasy XI was successful and then I’d argue that game was trash. Perhaps excitement with a tinge of nervous anticipation.
The Wii U really didn’t impress me initially, but now that I know this is coming out for it, I guess I’ll have to get one. I am a little disappointed though that they didn’t make any solid announcements for a 3DS game.
I leave you with some gameplay footage from the press conference. Sorry there’s no subtitles, couldn’t find one with any.
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Dragon Quest, my favorite RPG series of all time, celebrates its 25th anniversary with oodles of goodies. This is the best Dragon Quest news I’ve heard since they announced they were finally porting Dragon Quest VI to America. Much of the 25th anniversary information is already common knowledge with fans, but apparently on Monday, Square Enix is going to be dropping a bombshell. This Monday, September 5th, Square Enix will be unveiling a new entry into the Dragon Quest Franchise! Popular speculation believes this will be the big reveal of Dragon Quest X, which has been in development for the Wii for some time. With Nintendo publishing the last few Dragon Quest releases, this makes the most logical case. It’s also no secret there is a 3DS Dragon Quest title in the works, so maybe even both will make a showing.
The press conference begins at 2pm Japans time, which is 1am eastern for us. You can watch the action unfold live on Square Enix’s USTREAM Channel
Other Dragon Quest releases on the way:
Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker 2 – Like Pokemon, but with Akira Toriyama‘s monsters. Release Date: Sept 19
Dragon Quest Collection – Containing both the NES and SNES versions of Dragon Quest I, II, and III, unmolested and unchanged, in their original form. Set to release this Sept. in Japan, but still no word if it will ever hit us stateside.
Fortune Street – Not really a Dragon Quest game per se, but it has Dragon Quest characters in it. Itadaki Street in Japan, this series has never been released in America before. Plays like the bastard child of Monopoly and Mario Party. Release Date: Holiday 2011
There’s also a handful of Dragon Quest swag to pick up, including this cute little guy; a 1/1 scale of a King Slime. Unfortunately you’ll most likely have to end up importing these as well. Check eBay because these will probably never show up on our shelves.
I’ll be sure to drop an update once Square Enix makes their announcement.
Finally, I leave you with the Japanese trailer for the Dragon Quest Collection.
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I would like to take this moment, before you dive into this post at length, to warn you that this is a post of unbridled anger. I’m not reviewing anything or giving my opinion on anything. Call this social outrage if you will, but I am one who believes America is getting dumber. Being what this blog is about though, I’m staying clear of politics and economics, budgets, and what have you, it’ll simply be about business as usual: video games.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was just released this Tuesday and it’s fueled the burning hatred inside me that’s been building for years. Oh, no, I have no problem at all with Deus Ex. I think it’s a great game. It’s the rape of language that’s related to the title that I have a problem with. There seems to be a mysterious collective group out there that promotes the mispronunciation of various video game related terms. I’ve heard the same mispronunciation from many people in various different parts of the country, so this is far from an isolated event, which leads me to believe that this is an insidious intentional spreading of incorrectitude. Now is incorrectitude a real word? No. But I made it up and I can do that. Making up words in fine, at least I’m not butchering the pronunciation of a word that already exists.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the culprits comparing their correct and incorrect pronunciations, starting with the most recent.
How I’ve been hearing it: Deuce. And if you can’t pronounce that either, it sounds like GOOSE but with a D. It’s not deuce, that’s a slang term for pooping, which also means number 2.
Correct way: Day-us. Which is Latin for, God or Deity. As in, “Thank Deus that the game isn’t called “Deus Ex Machina” because then we’d have everyone calling it “Deuce Ex Masheena”
Now this one I haven’t heard in a while but every now and then it creeps into my world and it causes me to regurgitate in my mouth a little bit. It’s mostly parents to blame for this one and I just don’t understand what their problem is. Kids will say it the right way right in front of their parents and then the parents still say it wrong. This is why I said earlier that these are intentional. Someone is purposely spreading these verbal crimes. I hear this one pronounced po-ke-MAN. Man?! Where is there an ‘A’ anywhere in that word? Granted it’s a foreign made up word, but we can’t just go injected and omitting letters as we see fit. New England, you are the worst perpetrators of this crime. You know what I’m talking about….
At its worst, I’ve heard this one called La Noyer. Sometimes it’s half right and someone will know enough to at least realize there are periods after the ‘L’ and the ‘A’. But then I also get, L.A. No-ire. Noire i’m willing to forgive to an extent. It’s a a french word which means black. Most specific to the game, it would refer to the genre of film called, film noir, which is what the theme of the game is supposed to be. If you don’t understand, think of the movie, L.A. Confidential. It’s a film noir style movie. Hence the game, L.A. Noire. Now you understand the meaning behind the title. Now let’s say it correctly. L.A. should be easy enough to figure out. Noire can be tough, I admit, because we really don’t have this exact sound in our dialect. Don’t think of is as a monosyllabic word like noise, where the ‘O’ and ‘I’ flow into the rest of the word, think of it more like two syllables. It should almost sound like “new-are” but slurred together.
Grand Theft Auto IV
This is simple and quick. This is not Grand Theft Auto Eye Vee. IV is the roman numeral for the number 4. So this is Grand Theft Auto 4. You would hope only young kids would get this wrong, but no. Adults are just as at fault here as well. If you feel your roman numerals are a bit spotty, you can check out Nova Roma‘s website.
In this instance I’m referring specifically to the Wii Nunchuk. Nothing is more like nails on a chalkboard than this one. I hate hearing people call this a NUMBchuck. There’s no ‘M’ or ‘B’ in this word. Even after hearing the correct pronunciation and seeing the word spelled on packaging, people still refuse to say it the right way. Ignorance at its finest. Maybe I’m spoiled because I grew up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Michelangelo wielded the nunchaku. Which leads me to another point. Maybe I shouldn’t be so annoyed by this. I mean it’s officially nunchaku anyway and not nunchuk, though both are accepted. The nunchaku come originally from Okinawa, and I don’t know exactly how it went from that to nunchuk so maybe we made that up and it doesn’t matter anyway. No! You know what, it’s spelled Nunchuk right there on the box. So they can say it that way.
That’s enough anger for now. If anyone else has got some they’d like to share, please feel free.
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Most of us have fond memories of NES games. Games like Ducktales, Mario Bros., Zelda, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Castlevania, Contra. I could go on like that for hours, but you get the idea. I’ve heard the term “shovelware” get tossed around rather loosely when referring to the Wii, but I think we forget that the Wii wasn’t the first perpetrator of such an offense. We either were too young to remember, or have chosen to forget about these video game dung heaps. I’ve pulled together what I feel are the worst games ever made for the NES. Yes there are some other really awful games out there, but I decided to set it at 8 and I think these are the worst of the worst. If you don’t recognize the names of some of these games, then trust me, you’re better off. Let’s see what you think.
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!