Megaman...

Why hasn't Capcom made another Megaman game? 10 was okay, but it lacked the soul of the others. Hey Capcom, here's some Robot Masters for you

Megaman 11

Treadman: Basic Weapon: Homing rocket, Charged Weapon: Rocket Storm

Tideman: Basic Weapon: Hot Geyser, Charged Weapon: Mega Tsunami

Sphereman: Basic Weapon: Sphere Shield, Charged Weapon: Sphere body

Boltman: Basic Weapon: Bolt Slugger, Charged Weapon: Bolt Uppercut

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Microsoft ditching Points currency?

Today The Verge is reporting that MIcrosoft may be phasing out their Points system by the end of the year.

http://www.theverge.com/microsoft/2012/1/24/2729395/microsoft-points-rumor-discontinue-2012

The company will replace that system with cold hard cash.

MS is no strange to criticism with the points system as it has always been rather confusing. 80 MS points = $1.00 USD. Okay, that doesn't make any sense. PSN and Wii have used much easier systems. PSN uses real money while the Wii uses a 1 to 1 relationship. $1.00 = 100 points. Those are simple. So why did MS take this strange path?

I think there were two reasons. First to get around some tax loop hole. I know it sounds weird but the company said straight up that there was some kind of credit card tax issue that they couldn't make the value 1-to-1. After speaking with my father (who has been in banking for just over 40 years) he confirmed that there was a very strange loop hole where a company could get away with paying less in taxes and credit card process chargers if the amount the company was processing didn't totally match up with what the customer was given within a specific kind of service. That loop hole has since been closed.

The other reason I believe is that Microsoft was purposefully trying to confuse the customer. Actually confuse isn't the right word. They have been doing what retailers have been doing for years. Playing with our minds. Think about it. If a product is $14.99 most folks think that the product is 14 dollars rather than 15 dollars. It's a simply psychic barrier. Not lying, but not telling the truth either. I think the points work similarly. We think we are paying less points for a product when really, we are spending more than we think we are.

Ultimately I think that the points system has just grown stale and MS wants to move away from it simply because Joe consumer doesn't understand it. It's not super simple for the everyday consumer. And with the direction Microsoft is move towards the general consumer is their bread basket.

10 Comments

What IS Final Fantasy in 2012?

What IS Final Fantasy? After finishing FF13 in preparation for FF13-2 I asked that question.

Originally, Final Fantasy was the last ditch effort of SquareSoft to remain a video game company. Back then, the company was in dire straights and only could produce one more game. Thankfully FF1 was released and it was a smash hit. Heck, I finished it on IOS a few months ago and I have to say that game still holds up really well.

I digress.

What, in 2012, is Final Fantasy? In 8-bit age it was was introduced me to RPG’s. In the 16-bit era it was what showed me what kinds of story telling video games were capable of. In the PSOne era it pushed graphics to a new level. And in the PS2 / PC era it pushed the graphics even further, explored on-line worlds and showed me lots of zippers.

Over the recent years the Final Fantasy brand has taken a few hits. Most noticeably the release of the atrocious MMO, Final Fantasy 14. That game release was marred by multiple bugs, lackluster graphics, outdated features and the ‘reassignment’ of the entire production team. But the MMO was not the only game to have troubles. Final Fantasy 13 was released in January of 2011 to an eager public, but to many the game felt only half baked.

The reasons for the 13th franchise installment’s nearly five year production cycle are varied. Bad management, the switching of consoles mid-development, multiple changes in direction and story, etc.

Again I ask, what the heck is this series now?

I think that Final Fantasy is a story. I think it is a story about characters that have been given a challenged that is much greater then they are and the journey to complete. In my eyes this is what Final Fantasy should be. But that is not what is has become.

Sure, the last several games have had that element. In 13, the characters have been given a crazy task that, if they don’t complete it, then they will be turned to monsters. But where 13 fell on it’s face was that there was no time spent on diving into what made the characters tick. Now it could be argued that some other characters in the FF universe are the same (FF7’s Yuffie for example) but the main characters usually have some time dedicated to them in order to flesh out their story (and level them up).

That didn’t really happen in 13. Yes, we got some character development, but why was Lightning so cold to the world? Why is Snow the eternal optimist? What the hell happened in the past with Vanille and Fang? And why are the all the big bads in this game giant, evil faces?!?!

Along with the characters development the series has fallen into a rut artistically. Final Fantasy 10, 10-2, 11, 12, 13, 13-2, and 14 all have the same exact art and character design. In fact, the most radical difference in the art was having a black man as a main character in 13. I realize that in 11 and 14 you can make your skin tone very dark but I don’t think you can make someone with actual African features. What I’m trying to say is that the character design style has become stagnant. I believe what is needed in this respect is to turn to some other artists and see what they can come up with.

And while they are at it, I think that (1) control of all characters needs to be returned to the play and (2) the battle/leveling systems need to be simplified greatly. You know, the materia system for FF7 was pretty straightforward, why can’t that be built off of a little bit?

I’m starting to ramble now so let’s try and bring this to a close.

In 2012 Final Fantasy is, sadly, over complicated. What I mean by that is I believe that SquareEnix has lost site of what has made the series great. Meaningful and complex characters that are on a fantastic journey to stop evil from destroying the world. That and Chocabos.

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Kirby's Epic Yarn...

At the time of this blog post I am completely in love with this game.  There is a charm here that I have not seen in many video games in a long time.  It is hard to explain, but there is a sense of whimsy and wonder that Epic Yarn has managed to obtain that keeps me coming back for more.  This is not a hard game at all but it is so damn charming that I can't stop playing.  Okay, that was a lie.  
 
Even though the game is beautiful and charming, it's easy.  Very easy.  Maybe I'm not that far into it, but I blew through those first levels in about a half hour.  I do not know if the rest of the game is this easy, but I don't really care.  I have a very limited time to play games and having something this easy is actually a god-send.  
 
Oh, and when I went into the mode to decorate my in-game apartment, my cats love the dangling string that Kirby became.  I'll see if I can get them on video chasing virtual string.

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One of those very fail days...

Have you ever had ones of those days where you fail a pretty much everything (gaming wise that is).  I tried to play my 360, but it over heated and shut down.  No red-ring, just shut down.  Tried to play the Wii and the batteries in all four controllers are dead and we are fresh out of AA batteries.  Attempted to play the PS3, but the damn thing's display was "mode not supported".  Man tonight just sucks.
 
So I decided to give my PC a work out and get some Civ 5 going.  Steam won't load, at all.  *sigh*  You know what? Screw it.  I'm going to bed.  Maybe this hell will be over after a nice long sleep.

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Art style of MvC3

 When Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 was announced I was extatic. After playing dozens of hours of MvC2 my little fan-boy brain was having a meltdown over thoughts of what could be in the next installment.  Megaman vs. Havok?  Thor vs. Dr. Wiley?  The possibilities were endless.

Sadly though over these past few months my feelings for the new game have cooled down a bit and I think I know why.  I'm not going to talk about any of the character choices.  Most of them I am happy with.  What bugs me is the art style.  After giving it some hard though I know what has been bothering me.

While the characters look fantastic. Ryu, Chirs, Cap America, Doctor Doom and look amazing, but from what has been shown so far there is something missing.  These character models lack the brightness that MvC2 had.  All the of models and stages shown are dark and gritty.  While that is due to the Street Fighter 4 engine, it has taken some of the magic out of the characters.  

Each character is supposed to be bright and colorful, like they are jumping out of the screen. The characters that have been shown have a much darker tone that doesn't fit well with the crazy pyrotechnics on screen.  The attacks are colorful but pull your eye away from the fight which isn't good.

Maybe I'm showing my age here but I missing the bright cheerful MvC2.  I don't doubt that 3 will be a good game, I just wish that there was a little less realism in it and a little more whimsy.

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Bacon...

My wife just cooked up delicious bacon that came from pigs from a local natural farm.  How would you suggest we consume said bacon?  Sandwhich? Straight up? In a salad?  Ice Cream?

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Xbox is a wee bit loud...

I am currently on my third Xbox console, the first two red ringed and I have a concern.  My disk tray is very, very loud.  So loud in fact that I it interferes with gaming.  Also, the drive sounds like it is spinning even when nothing is in it.  Has anyone else run into this?  Is there a know way to minimize the volume of the hardware that won't void what little warranty is left?

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GiantbombMan Masters

 I'm bored.  So here's are the boss enemies for the GiantbombMan game.


Shoe-man
Weapon - Southern Quake: these deep, sultry tones are enough to cause localized earthquakes.  Earthquake shoots straight ahead and destroys enemies on the floor.  +1 damage to all vegans

Davis-man
Weapon - Double Durger: They are the twin weapons of destruction.  Shower your enemies with bullets of delisousnous and they will die with a smile on their faces.

Jeff-man
Weapon - Da'bomb: Thows a giant bomb. It explodes, things die.  Tap the button for instant detination or hold down the button to delay the carnage

Drew-man
Weapon - Dark Slice: Slices enemies in twain, and they never saw it coming. Instant kill on anything (except bosses) if you hit the target from behind

Vin-man
Weapon - Epic Confusion: Whole screen effect.  Causes enemies to think they are in a different titled game and start attacking each other.

Norm-man
Weapon - Tasty 5000: Ball of rainbow energy (that controlable) that changes whatever it hits into a box of Pocky.  Pocky is then eaten by the player for energy.

Rory-man
Weapon - Sonic Seranade: "IT'S BEEN A LONG ROAD, GETTING FROM THERE TO..." ememies kill themselves.

Willex-man
Weapon - Kung-fu destrucion: pure physical attack. Using amazing Kung-fu the player disassembles enemies.

Dr. Whiskey
-Creator the Wiskey Men.  

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