Category Archives: Indie Games
Possibly the best game Nintendo has released, ever. Yeah, I know, that’s a heavy claim. But it might be true.
Now for years, I’ve been a staunch supporter of “A Link to the Past” as the best Zelda game ever. There are plenty of people that say that “Ocarina of Time” is the best. I’m not even willing to entertain those people. I will accept arguments for other Zelda titles holding spots above “A Link to the Past”, but not Ocarina. The problem with “Ocarina of Time” is that it’s a flawed game, development-wise. A Link to the Past has no flaws (we can argue that another time).
But that’s not what this is about! This is about “Breath of the Wild” being the best Zelda game ever made. Is it? I don’t know yet. But after only playing for about 30 minutes, I found myself uttering that statement to myself. I couldn’t believe the thoughts and feelings I was having. I felt like I was cheating on myself somehow; that somehow these thoughts weren’t true and were simply alien in nature, placed there by outside forces. After 25+ years, has something finally trumped the vaunted The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past? I don’t know. I’m still figuring it out. Either way, I can’t get enough of this game.
I should have expected this from Nintendo though. And now we all know, of course, that it’s officially the Nintendo Switch. I feel that no one was asking for or wanted this, but this is what we’re getting. I’m done with gimmick gaming. And I really hope this isn’t just more gimmicks. I really don’t need detachable controllers or a screen that moves away from the console. The Wii didn’t impress me nor did the Wii U. But you know what I liked about them? Playing good games. I don’t care about new and innovative ways to play these games, I just want them to be good. That being said, if this console is giving me a new Zelda game to play, I will jump in happily. As long as I don’t have to swing my arms around to attack. God dammit I hated Skyward Sword so much. At least you have other options for playing Twilight Princess. But I digress…
Nintendo always seems content to march to their own beat and I’m more or less okay with that. The 3DS has been my favorite system for years now and it’s not because of its 3D effect, it’s because it has, what I consider to be, the best game library available on current consoles. And that’s why I like Nintendo, they produce good games. Even the Wii U I would say I like better than the Xbox One or PS4 (though the PlayStation is quickly changing my stance on that), and it’s all just because of 2 or 3 games that you just can’t live without.
But what’s this hardware capable of exactly? Over the past few decades, storage mediums and the amount of data we can fit on to them has changed drastically. If you told me in 1996 that you could fit my entire PCs hard driver onto a chip that was 1/50th the size physically, but capable of holding 200 times the data, I wouldn’t have believed it (But somehow the prospect of hoverboards was still possible). So when I heard the system was going to use carts like on the DS or Vita, I wasn’t sure if I was happy or not. I prefer physical format over a download, which is a whole different discussion. Now with these tiny cards, I’m still a little worried because even though the 3DS and Vita games look great, they are still nothing compared to the Xbox and Playstation in regards to raw power. So I suppose that will come down to a combination of the hardware specs on the system, how much data they can cram into that little card, and how much of the game content will be download/streaming. I’m also not sure how I feel about using those tiny ass controllers separately, but docked together they don’t look so bad, plus they have a pro controller which I’ll most likely end up getting.
I have so many questions about the new system, but I’ll leave that to the investigators and journalists. I’m just a Nintendo fanboy that’s excited and a little afraid for their new system.
This is totally on my computer right now!
That’s all I can say.
Recently an article came up in my feed called, “The 20 Greatest Things About to happen to Your PS4.” http://www.gamespot.com/gallery/the-20-greatest-things-about-to-happen-to-your-ps4/2900-197/
Granted there were about 3 or 4 games on that list that I am genuinely excited about (the Final Fantasy VII Remake is not one of them, just in case there was any confusion). But it made me realize how completely ho-hum I feel about this current console cycle. A few of my friends have talked about how both the PS4 and the Xbox One have been big wastes of money and I’m almost always an optimist about the potential gaming consoles can have, but this is it? We should totally be in full swing of a new console cycle and I can’t get excited for more than just a few games?
I still play my old cartridge games way more than any of this next gen stuff. Luckily, there has been a huge influx if indie-developed, retro-style games released as of late. However, they always feel like they take backseat to their high profile cousins. I miss the majesty of opening a new game. Yes it’s friggin majestic! I miss not having to install a game for a half hour before I can play it. I miss not having another 15 minutes of updates and then a 5 minute loading screen thereafter. I MISS INSTRUCTION MANUALS! If you’re going to make me wait 30 minutes to play the game I just got, at least give me a manual to read while I take a dump and wait.
Some months ago I heard about the Retro Video Game System; Something I thought was a joke based on the name alone. Turns out it’s a thing that’s actually happening and they’re going to be starting up a Kickstarter campaign in September. What is Retro VGS you ask? Retro VGS is a full cartridge based console with brand new games being developed for it that the big publishers hopefully will be keeping their hands off of. I’ll repeat that again: Brand new game IPs produced in cart format.
At first I was a little skeptical, and still am to be honest. There are 3 things I can see as hurdles for this system really gaining traction.
1) I’m still worried about price. Not of the console itself, but the games. Cart games cost more to physically manufacture than disc games. But we’ll see. I’m sure they know that in order to be relevant, they can’t have restrictive pricing.
2) Retro and cart gaming is really a niche market. I’m not sure I see this really gaining mainstream success. Even those that consider themselves retro gamers tend to download and emulate the software.
3) It’s modeled after the Jaguar. To be more specific, they actually acquired the tooling from Atari for both the console and the game shells. This saved money and explains why it looks this way. But modelling it after a failed system is like asking a known sex offender to babysit for you – it might turn out OK, but why take that risk?
Either way, I’m super excited for this console. There’s already been a handful of games announced and it’s even going to get a pack-in game – another long dead tradition. Barring an absurdly Neo-Geo-like price tag, there’s nothing that would keep me from hopping on the Kickstarter campaign. The only way to get one of the custom colored consoles mind you. You can head to the official web page here: http://www.retrovgs.com/ to check out the systems specs and get a look at some of the games planned.
About a month ago I stumbled across something called “My Retro Game Box” on my friend’s Facebook feed. It was another one of those box-a-month subscription programs where they fill a box with random goodies and send it to you, except this one was specifically retro video games. Obviously I was immediately interested. I did some research and found out that it’s a relatively new, small mom & pop operation run out of Scotland. Now my collection has gotten to the point where the games that I am missing are very specific, so I was a little skeptical about signing up for a subscription where I would be sent random games. But I was curious enough to see how it all worked out, so I signed up for 1 month just to check it out.
They’re very friendly and right off the bat they send you a questionnaire asking you to list all the games you have for NES, SNES, Genesis/Mega Drive, N64, Sega Master System, Game Boy, and Game Boy Advance and then even asked what game preferences you had and said they would strive their best not to send you things outside of your personal tastes. One of the things I found most intriguing, is that they give you the option to get PAL or NTSC games. Doubtful it would ever reach me, but I’d love to see Probotector, the PAL version of Contra where everything is a robot, arrive in one of my boxes. They give you the option to do subscriptions by 1 month for £23, 3 months for £65, 6 months £125, and a year for £230. All those prices are in British pounds sterling btw, for those who didn’t understand what they funny symbol was. I was glad they single month purchases for those who wish to remain noncommittal and it allowed me to take just a taste of what they had to offer.
A few days ago, in my mailbox was a unassuming, nondescript, small, rectangular, brown box. And I never would have known it was from a subscription service if it didn’t have a little round sticker on it from, “My Retro Game Box.” To add to the mystery of what games you are randomly sent, they place them in these delightful little striped paper bags. I ended up getting Wrath of the Black Manta and Defender of the crown, both for the NES and both rather ho-hum games. But I also got Dr. Mario for the Game Boy and it was the PAL version, so I was happy about that. I’d actually rather get PAL games. Feels more exotic.
Overall, I’m pleased with this service. I decided to go for another month more out of curiosity than anything else. There’s something exciting about random video games. With ebay, Craig’s List, Amazon, etc, the thrill of the hunt is gone. I don’t expect to ever get Earthbound, or Chrono Trigger or anything of course, but there’s almost 800 games for the NES alone and I don’t even have half of them. My only complaint with My Retro Game Box would have to be their website. It’s rather bland and unintuitive. I understand that they are just starting out and it’s only like 2 people working on it, so I can look past it.
Ok, so this is totally like over 20 years of relevancy, and I know it’s kind of like an accepted joke, but what’s with the Mega Man American box art? Specifically Mega Man 2. Did the art designer even play the game? Was he denied very important information? Aside from moving far away from the original art design – whatever, I’ll accept that; there are two things done terribly wrong.
1. Dr. Light is hiding behind Crash Man, pointing at Mega Man, as if to say attack. Dr. Light would not be doing this, Dr. Wily should be there instead.
2. Mega Man is using a pistol. When, in the entirety of the game does he fire a pistol? No, Mega Man uses the Mega Buster, an arm cannon that extends from his forearm.
Yeah, this is something I think about regularly, today, it just got to the boiling point I wanted to talk about it….these are the biggest concerns in my life….not my newborn son or paying my mortgage or anything. Cuz, ya know, that’s not important…
On a somewhat related note, why was Clash Man, in the Japanese release renamed Crash Man in the American release? I can’t imagine it’s for any sort of infringement or special interest groups reasons. The only thing I can come up with is that Clash Man pronounced by a Japanese person comes out sounding like Crash Man.
Anyone who follows me knows how excited I am about the upcoming River City Ransom Underground, from Conatus Creative. They’ve been sending out some of their backer gifts lately in preparation for their full game launch. Anyone who was a backer from Crate Expectations on up was set to receive a replica NES cart featuring RCR: Underground art. Well as it turns out, it’s way more than a mere replica. After opening the box, I noticed that there was in fact a board inside the cart. And as I was debating on whether or not it was just a dummy board for looks, or it actually did something, I saw on the back that it had standard NES security screws officially used by Nintendo on all their carts. So I took out my bit, opened it up and lo and behold, there was an actual board in there with EPROM chips on it. Curiosity piqued, I threw it in my NES and was playing the original classic River City Ransom, which was made using all new hardware, chips, boards, shells, etc.
These carts were limited to only 300, but apparently Conatus Creative does have about 30 left. So if you weren’t a backer but you are still interested in getting this cool replica, there’s still a chance. I don’t think they’ve officially announced out how to get them yet, so keep your eyes open.
For the past few hours I’ve been trying to figure out how to get the trial of Dragon Quest X to work on my PC. Download it and install it. Right, sounds easy enough. But too bad the whole friggin thing is in Japanese and I had to create a Japanese Yahoo account, which itself took around 2 hours. You know those, ‘captcha’ things they use to authenticate you’re a real person when creating an account for something or posting on a forum? Well I had to do one of those in Hiragana and I spent way too much time staring at symbols that mean nothing to me. Anyway, I finally got it to download and install and now the updater is at…5%…
So I happened to have a NES cart of, “Where in Time is Carm Sandiego” sitting on my desk in front of my this whole time and I had my daily epiphany (I don’t really have daily epiphanies). That’s supposed to be Carmen stealing the crown from some olde tyme aristocracy. Why, throughout my entire youth when this game was relevant (was it ever relevant?) did I not realize what this picture was SUPPOSED to be? I always thought it was just a bunch of people dressed up in periodic clothing to let you know the game was about time travel. Never did it dawn on me that Carmen had uncrowned a noble and absconded with the treasure while armed guards do NOTHING. And is she even really trying to get away? So let’s analyze this picture:
Woman in red – She’s actually dead and not really there. That’s why no one noticed her dismay and calls for help when Carmen came in to take the crown. This is where M. Night Shyamalan got his idea for the 6th Sense.
Man on Left – he is a dandy fop and unable to act
Pregnant Woman – initially I thought she had just fainted, but by her body language and angle of leaning, you can tell she’s beginning to go through contractions. The placement of the gentleman’s hands behind her lends an idea of her condition as he seems to be gently holding her mid torso, making sure to not wrap fully around her stomach. Also, it’s obvious her water broke and is evaporating from the heat given off by Carmen’s time machine
Man on Right – he’s attending to the pregnant wench
Guard on Left – Is posing for a picture. Since the first cameras took 10+ minutes to take a picture, he has to stand around looking assertive until it’s finished. Also, they’re not invented for several hundred years later.
Guard in back – May or may not have Downs Syndrome. It’s typical of those with such a disorder to become confused easily under stressful situations and are ill equipped emotionally to deal with them appropriately. Hence this man’s fearful, yet menacing gesticulations. BTW, who gave him a sword?
Carmen Sandiego – What the hell is she riding? I would want to say it’s some sort of motorcycle, but I’m not sure there are any wheels. It looks as if it’s got some sort of Knight Rider-esque front frame, but instead wheels it appears to be mounted on a roman column. As a kid, being a fan of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and having knowledge of their method of time travel, this method seemed no less strange to me. But recently I noticed that her legs are actually placed up beside her like riding a bike and now it doesn’t make sense. How is she supposed to make a swift get away when her vehicle of choice doesn’t appear mobile. I suppose it doesn’t matter when you under assault from guards of this nature.
7% update complete…. Ok DQX I guess you can wait until tomorrow.
Apparently it’s already started. Thanks to my last post, it was brought to my attention there IS a petition to bring DQX to America. So what are you waiting for? Get on it! Go sign!
If for some reason that link doesn’t work, go directly to their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Operation-Hero/324420011042007
They were already toying with the idea of bringing this game to our shores, so if they see that enough people are willing to buy it, it’s more likely to happen. Nintendo of America had already been talking about the possibility of porting Xenoblade when the petition for that began. Reggie Fils-Aime claims that although they were aware of the petition, it had no impact on Nintendo’s decision stating that, “100,000 signatures does not mean 100,000 sales”. So what does that mean? We have to double, no, quintuple that? Well we’re a bit behind. At not even 2,500 signatures, there’s quite a bit to go. So go sign it. Let Square Enix and Nintendo know that you’ve got $60 set aside for them when the game is released here.