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OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console

At first I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about the OUYA, but it’s starting to look like a pretty legit system. What’s OUYA? So glad you asked.  It’s a console in the making that breaks away from “The Big 3”, using an android based, digital download format, that will be playable on your TV.

I’m still a little conflicted though. I suppose it really depends on where the video game market goes and how well they execute their format. Will this be a commercial success? I really don’t know. But I wouldn’t necessarily want it to be either. A “commercial success” can often feel soulless and cheapened. It also kind of feels like they’re trying to sell us something that we already have. It runs on android. If I really wanted to I could hook up my android tablet to my TV and a controller to that. Granted not all games could work this way, but this is one of their main boasts. Well I can already do this. I’m also not the biggest fan of digital download. I prefer to own a physical item. If they’re going to be selling console class gaming, I’m sure they’ll be more expensive than your typical app store game. And then you’re locked in. No returning it, no selling it when you’re done, no lending it out to a friend.

On the other hand, Brian Fargo is absolutely right. Console gaming is where REAL games are (I totally agree. I’ll be the first person to tell you iPhone games are trash), however, you need to be a big name to make any sort of money. Actually forget that. You need to be a big name to even be considered for making a game for a console. Unless your game is going to make $4mil in it’s opening week, EA and Activision don’t want to know you. And this is why I most certainly will be getting an OUYA. Indie developers of all kinds will have easy access to releasing their games on the OUYA format. And since it’s a console you play on your TV with a controller, not a clumsy, on-screen, touch-sensitive pad, it will feel more like a real gaming experience.

Most recently OnLive and more importantly, Square Enix have jumped on board. That was the moment I was sold (trying so hard not to be a Square Enix fanboy). I had already put my backing into the project, but it was when I got this news that I no longer felt like it might have been an iffy decision. They’ll have available at launch, a remake of Final Fantasy III. Not the American III, which is really VI. But the one that was only released on the Japanese Famicom and had the DS remake back in 2009. Don’t expect a straight port either. Apparently it will be a full HD console remake from the ground up.

You don’t have much more time to get in on the ground floor. They have about a week left for backers to get on board. It’s only $99 for the console and a controller when it releases. They’re already well over their goal, so this is happening. The OUYA could very well change the face of the console gaming market. We’ll see what happens.

OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console  <—– The OUYA Kickstarter page

Impossible Threesome

Issue #3

I figured since this was my third review, I would do three games at once. They’ll be short though so that I don’t take up too much of your time. All 3 are what could be considered impossible games.There’s really not too much to say about these type of games other that they never end and they’re impossible and they’re impossible because they never end. For the most part,  they follow basic platforming principles. You go right and jump over or onto things that are in your way. The main difference between these and a traditional platformer is that you don’t stop moving. The game progressively gets trickier and timing becomes more and more precise. There is no respite like a normal platforming game. You just go until you lose.

The Impossible Game

Released in ’09, I think it might have been the first game of its type on XBLA.  It might have been the first of its kind in general, but I’m not sure. I can’t find evidence of one and my memory fails me aside from maybe Adult Swim’s Go Right, but that one was hardly impossible. Even if it wasn’t the first though, The Impossible Game  is one of the the most notable, jumping from XBLA to iTunes and Android, making it the namesake of the genre.

This is the most basic impossible game. The “characters” consist of triangles and squares. You are a square and you can use other squares as platforms to jump onto, but if you hit them sideways, you die. You don’t get along with triangles at all. Any contact with a triangle and you die. You jump over triangles, or jump onto squares to give you extra height to clear a gap or jump over more triangles. That’s pretty much it. I know that sounds really simple but you need to be super precise with this one. There is very little margin for error.  Your timing and reaction skills get severely taxed even just 30 seconds into the game.

I have reason to believe that, despite what I said earlier, this game does have an end. It is perhaps also the most rewarding since, even though you might never reach the end, you at least get the feeling of making some progress. There’s a pattern to the shapes that come at you, so through patience and memorization you at least accomplish a section which you will then have to repeat when you die moments later. The fact that they have released a level pack for it further lends credence to this theory. But I’ll never know for sure. I certainly don’t have the patience to find out.

Techno Kitten Adventure

For a mere 240 Microsoft points you can be harassed by obnoxious techno music!  I refuse to spend much time on this game. I feel I was swindled by my love of kittens. Just look at that cute, fat, smushy, little thing. Yup, that’s what drew me into this one. Kittens, I love ’em. I would be that crazy old cat lady if I were old… or a lady.  Anyway, this game isn’t a writhing mass of cuteness like I thought it would be. Instead it was a hated impossible game wrapped up in a flashing, seizure-y, techno-infused, package. Yes I’m aware that “techno” is in the title, but the kitten blinded me of its existence.

Positive points for this game: It has the widest variety of options, stages, kittens, etc, that I’ve ever seen in an impossible game, which would give it significantly more replay value. Also, all the menus make kitten noises.

Negative points for this game: Everything else.

Instead of playing this game, you could easily just go to a rave and pretend your a kitten and randomly rub against strangers. But you shouldn’t, because raves are for idiots.

Zombie Accountant

The most memorable part of video games, for me, is the music. There’s a reason why 20 years later we still hum the Sonic the Hedgehog theme. So if a bad game has good music, it might still be worth playing. Zombie Accountant isn’t necessarily a bad game but I really can’t stand these impossible games and my thoughts of, “Ugh! Another zombie game?!” almost had me passing this one over completely. I’m glad I didn’t. If for nothing else, it was worth it for the music alone. It’s got a pretty rockin’ chiptune soundtrack that comes from “The Factory” by Multifaros, whose website can be found here.

Zombie Accountant was developed by Going Loud Studios, and it follows your basic impossible game formula. Things are in your way, you have go jump over them, all while it continually gets faster. However, they’ve injected a fair blend of humor to give this game its own flair, the fact that you are an accountant that is also a zombie for starters. There are a few other details that make this one stand out in the impossible game crowd. For example, there are actually TWO commands rather than the ubiquitous jump button; you can also duck!  You must duck under the other accountants. DON’T JUMP! You have no idea how many times I keep trying to jump over them. It’s just a reaction. It seems like you would be able to, but don’t bother, you can’t. The sooner you learn that the better.

Your job is to collect files which are haphazardly floating around for some reason. The more you collect and the less filing cabinets you bump into, the faster you go and the higher your score multiplier gets. I don’t seem to be able to get more than a x3 multiplier, so good luck. Score enough and you can get a promotion, which negates one of the brains you’ve accidentally removed from an accountants cranium. After your 3rd infraction, you are awarded with your Termination of Employment scorecard. Apparently eating too many brains can get you fired.

Whether you were hired by this accounting firm as a zombie, or being an accountant turned you into a zombie (which could be an intended pun), is never revealed.

END

I hate these games. They’re so mindless and I find they’re hard to walk away from once you’ve started. They’re quick enough where you can jump into a 2nd, 3rd, 76th, playthrough before you realize how much you hate yourself for sucking at it. I find parents complaining about their kids playing “mindless” games like Call of Duty, but I bet there’s a bunch out there that have downloaded these or games like this that are far more mindless, but they don’t think that way because there’s no violence in it. Ok, off topic a bit…

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