The Eternal War: A Look at the Repeating Console Cycle

Sega Logo

I’ve been reading Console Wars, a new book by Blake J. Harris that chronicles the rise of Sega during the 90’s. It’s a delightful book, full of endlessly fascinating details, such as how Target’s lenient return policy allowed customers to return years-old NES’s in order to get credit towards a SNES. Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with Nintendo and it led to Target pulling Nintendo products from the stores for a time. I lived through this era and reading the behind the scenes drama that went on has been very enjoyable. My nostalgia bones are all tingling right now. Continue reading The Eternal War: A Look at the Repeating Console Cycle

Skyward Sword Comes Crashing Down

Link Skyward Sword

I couldn’t finish The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. In fact, I could barely start it. I played for 3 hours, entered the first dungeon and then paused the game while I consulted a walkthrough just to see what was in store for me. The thought of enduring all that I read made me recoil in horror. So I traded it in, which is a historic moment for me. The first console Zelda that I didn’t finish. A dark day for Anthony and a dark day for Nintendo.

You see, Zelda was always my second favorite video game franchise after Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy was the barometer for which console I would buy, but Zelda was the mark for WHEN I would buy my inevitable Nintendo console. I got a Nintendo 64 so I could play Ocarina of Time. I got the N64 Expansion Pak solely for the purpose of playing Majora’s Mask. I bought a GameCube one month before Wind Waker was released and I jumped for joy when Twilight Princess was released on GameCube AND the Wii because that meant I didn’t have to buy a Wii yet. Continue reading Skyward Sword Comes Crashing Down

Nintendo Asserts Ownership Over YouTube “Let’s Play” Videos

nintendo you tube ad revenue

With all the buzz about the Xbox One over the past week it’s possible that this bit of news slipped under your radar. Nintendo, having recently become a YouTube Partner as of February, has flexed their legal muscles and claimed control over its copyrighted content on the popular video sharing network and that includes “Let’s Plays”, a type of gameplay commentary/walkthrough that a lot of YouTube channels use.

What this means is that Nintendo is using YouTube’s copyright algorithms to analyze videos and if there’s a certain percentage of Nintendo content in those then Nintendo monetizes them and receives that ad money. This cuts the video makers out of the ad revenue loop and any Let’s Plays will forward the money to Nintendo instead of the person(s) who made the video.

This has led to a bit of backlash from the YouTube Let’s Play community, with a lot of well-known personalities claiming that they won’t be playing Nintendo games on their channel anymore. A lot of smaller game developers have come out saying that Let’s Play videos are great forms of grass-roots advertisement, and a few companies have gone out of their way to give YouTube channels special permission to make money by playing their games and making videos of that.

What do you guys think? Is Nintendo right to claim the ad money from these videos? Are people correct in the backlash? Go!

Source – PA Report

Skyward Sword and the Middle of the Road

legend of zelda skyward sword

So for this week’s “What We’re Playing” Monday, I’m taking us back to the Before Times, the Long-Long Ago, to November 2011 and the world of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Because the release schedule between December and now is a bit dry, I decided to go back and actually try and beat the latest entry in Nintendo’s fantasy series. While reviews for Skyward Sword were pretty phenomenal across the board back in the day, I’m finding the game to be a rather middling experience.

That’s not to say that Skyward Sword is bad, per se, and it’s certainly a small step up from its predecessor, Twilight Princess. While the motion controls do work well on occasion, most of the enemies are a little too stalwart in their defenses with very little room to get a strike in, leaving you waiting for an opening that you won’t hit if the controls decide to go wonky on you. The boss monster design is pretty comical, especially the man-boobed tentacle monster, which is a shame because Zelda bosses have typically been memorable and intimidating. The secondary bad guy, Ghirahim, seems to indulge in certain design tendencies that Zelda has previously managed to avoid. Perhaps one of the most annoying small things the game does is to do the introduction of crafting items every time you pick them up when you load a save. Continue reading Skyward Sword and the Middle of the Road

The Last Disappointment

The Last Story Cover

There will be no review of The Last Story.

No, it’s not because I am too lazy to write it. It’s because I played 10 hours and couldn’t take another minute. It wasn’t a terrible game, exactly. It just wasn’t fun. I wasn’t having a good time and one of my promises to myself going forward is not to feel obligated to play something if I am not enjoying it. The second I turned off the game and drove to GameStop, I felt better. Justified. Like a new person. That’s how I knew I made the right decision.

I’m sure you are asking what was so wrong with The Last Story? What could be so bad coming from Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy? Well, let’s start with the story: it’s pretty bland. You play as Zael, one of a group of mercenaries who dream of becoming knights and gaining a higher station in life. Zael is a standard RPG hero: compassionate and boring. His comrades are far more interesting, even if they all fall into easy to categorize descriptions: the drunken woman who parties too much, the womanizer, the emo mage…I didn’t hate any of them and the British accents made what they said pleasant to hear. The problem is, it was all so mundane that the second the screen went black indicating a cut-scene was starting, I was checking my phone to see if anyone made a Hero Academy move. Not a good sign. Continue reading The Last Disappointment

Nintendo Thinks Gamers are Insatiable

nintendo thinks gamers are insatiable

Gamers, why you gotta be so mad, bros? At least that’s what Nintendo seems to be wondering if this interview with Reggie Fils-Aime over at Kotaku seems to be any indication.

With E3 (and Nintendo’s baffling parade of press conferences) behind us, most of the negative fan reaction has been forgotten about, but the bad feelings towards Nintendo’s showing still lingers. We’ve known for a long time that we’re a hard bunch to please, but this little quote from Reggie kind of puts it in a publisher perspective:

One of the things that, on one hand, I love and, on the other hand, that troubles me tremendously about not only our fanbase but about the gaming community at large is that, whenever you share information, the perspective is, ‘Thank you, but I want more.’ ‘Thank you, but give me more.’ I mean, it is insatiable.

And so for years this community has been asking, ‘Where’s Pikmin?’ ‘Where’s Pikmin?’ ‘Where’s Pikmin?’ We give them Pikmin. And then they say, ‘What else?’

For years, this community have said, ‘Damnit Reggie, when you launch, you better launch with a Mario game.’ So we launch with a Mario game, and they say, ‘So what’s more?’ I have heard people say, ‘You know, you’ve got these fantastic franchises, beyond what you’re doing in Smash Bros., isn’t there a way to leverage all these franchises?’ So we create Nintendo Land and they say, ‘Ho-hum, give me more.’ So it’s an interesting challenge.

While I think that Reggie is right on the money with a couple of his comments, you can’t deny that Nintendo rightly deserves some stick for a lack-luster E3 press conference and following it up with some big WTF announcements like a new, bigger 3DS. What do you guys think? Are Reggie’s comments justified? Are we really that hard to please or is that the vocal minority talking for us again?

Source – Kotaku, Polygon

Review: Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade Bionis vs. Mechonis

Hardcore games on the Wii have been few and far between lately. Despite Nintendo’s proclamations that their next system will focus on hardcore games before casual, it still took a massive online campaign to get the Big N to release Monolith’s epic JRPG, Xenoblade Chronicles, in the United States. Now that they have, was it worth the wait? Continue reading Review: Xenoblade Chronicles