And so the next generation can now be seen over the horizon and it's Nintendo's turn to get the ball rolling with the Wii U. Now let me get the name thing out of the way right now. The Wii has significant brand name recognition that is now synonymous with Nintendo so to keep the Wii brand going is a smart move. We're all used to the Wii name and we'll all get used to the Wii U. I've seen people point out the view/Wii U homophonery and that makes sense given its crazy controller. But they could've renamed it something manly and cool... or super-generic. Like the WiiPad.
But trivial details aside, Nintendo's press conference was an odd bird. On one hand, they got some great 3DS software in the works and Zelda: Skyward Sword is still Zelda: Skyward Sword. On the other hand, they introduced the Wii U by showcasing its controller, ignoring the actual hardware making some people (crazy people who think Nintendo crazy enough to do such a deed) think the controller IS the console, and blurting out a handful of core games that will be coming to other consoles. It's all I need to "get hype" as the internet calls it, but the internet also invented skepticism so obviously everybody is ready to pounce on Nintendo picking at every negative aspect, no matter how minute it is. Not GameCube backwards compatible? Is this really a selling point? Name a console that is compatible with games from two generations ago.
No Wii upscaling? Is it necessary? Obviously upscaling Wii games would be an improvement in clarity on HDTVs, but I would hope most people can live with the absence of HD Wii games. One tablet controller per machine? Well you guys might have a point here, but there's also the counterpoint that rendering two screens is impressive enough and attempting to render two or more of those controllers plus the TV would be overkill. Having more than one WiiPad per console can change how we play multiplayer games locally, but it could be a lot to ask for. Still, imagine playing Madden with a friend locally and choosing your plays via the controller... hold on... I forgot nobody plays Madden on Giant Bomb.
Despite the drawbacks and concessions the Wii U will ultimately need to live with, having Nintendo reaching out to 3rd parties and core gamers can only lead to good things. We wanted online support on par with the 360 and PS3 and it looks like the Wii U may fulfill that request. We wanted HD graphics because the world left standard definition behind... so Nintendo confirmed 1080p scaling is capable. We wanted a traditional controller scheme and Nintendo is giving you two circle pads and the usual assortment of buttons and triggers. We wanted strong 3rd party support and I think Nintendo will be more accommodating to the EAs and Ubisofts of the world. Nintendo listened to us and we're getting what we wanted. And we don't have to throw away our Wii Remotes just yet, a smart move since I've invested money in Wii Remotes, Nunchuks, and MotionPlus doohickeys. I realize lots of questions remain to be answered, but we've got over a year for a response to our queries. I suspect we'll hear all sorts of details if Nintendo is planning their yearly media summit this coming winter.
Maybe it's my loyalty to Nintendo's style of gaming, but I'm excited for the Wii U. Darksiders II is an official Wii U launch game and I will definitely pick it up for the Wii U provided it comes out around the same time or before the PC version. Killer Freaks from Outer Space... I like the concept so far. Old, British guy fighting Rabbid-like aliens with a cheesy B-movie motif. That can be a pretty cool title if they use the controller to its full potential. If New Super Mario Bros. Mii is a real game, I'll be sure to use my Hitler Mii to save the Mushroom Kingdom... and then conquer Poland. What I'm probably excited about the most is the unknown. What will the launch games be? Will we see the usual suspects (Mario/Zelda/Metroid) or will it be Pikmin 3? Or something brand new? What's the online structure gonna look like? It's safe to say Friend Codes are dead, but will there be achievements? Will the Wii Channels carry over? Will there be GameCube games on the Virtual Console? Where do I strap on the Vitality Sensor?
Will there be Mario Paint? Because this console SCREAMS Mario Paint.
It's safe to say the major E3 news has come and gone so it's time to find out how my predictions turned out.
The Project Cafe (Wii U) prediction... fart noises all around mostly. Looks like I was right about Nintendo at least trying to reach out to core gamers, but little information about the actual console is available to the public and they didn't show any actual games for the thing. And were minds blown? Many were, but others were meh on the subject.
Did Microsoft tease us with a new machine for the near future? No. I was wrong. NEXT!
No Grand Theft Auto V. NEXT!
I mentioned that there will be sequels, but none of the sequels I threw out there stuck. And I was really hoping to see Borderlands 2 at least in the works. But I did say something Halo-related would be shown. Halo 4 is a Halo-related thing.
The PSVita, as far as I know, is the only new handheld to be introduced. I knew that would be a total longshot. NEXT!
No meme-worthy Leigh Alexander moments because there was no Leigh Alexander... unless she suddenly crashed the Giant Bomb haus today. Score one for me!
And that was E3 predictions. I suck at the future.
I think I'll let the air clear a little while longer before I start throwing my opinions out there about the Wii U, the PSVita, and all that Kinect stuff. Peace.
Damn the automatic paragraph break is fucking with me.
Anyway, where was I? Right, I was in Philly today, but that's not important. What's important is that many of Konami's biggest games of the past several years are getting a makeover. Also, Konami has no new games in the works. I've never been a fan of Konami's work during the past 15 or so years and going overboard with HD remixes just reconfirms my disgust with Konami. I've probably said this many times already, but I just hate the idea of re-releasing old games with new graphics and gameplay mechanics. Maybe it's just me, but I like my old games looking old... but the main reason I hate these HD remakes is the waste of resources. I'd rather have my developers working on a brand new game instead of the same game, but slightly prettier. It would piss me off more, but Konami hasn't wowed me since Contra.
This past week was one of the least productive weeks I've had in a while and I need a scapegoat. So I blame Steam and you, the general public, for making me buy Terraria. Granted, nobody actually forced me into buying it or personally recommended it to me, but as I saw Terraria take up all the time of my Steam friends (you know who you are) the purchase and eventual playing of said game was inevitable. But don't blame yourselves entirely for this sudden lapse in judgment. Terraria itself did a great job tugging at my 16-bit retro heartstrings with its lovely SNES-era looks... dashing, good looks for sure. Also my hidden curiosity with Minecraft (a game that's not Terraria officially) led me to try it out even though my experience with Minecraft can be summed up as so... walking around for a minute then digging as far down as the browser version would let me. So no real experience. Terraria, however, I gathered dirt, built a nice house in the woods for me and my gay lover, Guide, and made a lovely watch so I always know what time it is. I have a cheap watch so it only tells me when it's clobbering time or time for me to fly.
And so days would go by and I'd gather more dirt, stone, sand, and shiny things so I can create more things to use as I gather more dirt, stone, sand, and shiny things. And kill zombies... fucking zombies. And then I found some gold. But get this, instead of just living a life of luxury, monkey butlers and all, I got this insane idea to make tools out of gold. Solid gold tools. Because turning millions of dollars worth of gold into a hammer is practical. That was when I came to the realization that only the mentally unstable can enjoy Terraria... I consider myself a part of this growing demographic if you were wondering.
20 hours of my life has been lost since Sunday when I bought Terraria and all I have to show for it is a handful of cool items and a world that surprisingly hasn't succumbed to a massive mine subsidence. After experimenting with a few different worlds, I had to finally choose to stick to one world for me to explore. Then I started digging... then returning to my dwelling so I can make it bigger... then going down, back up again to build more shit, and this vicious cycle continued for hours. I'd find a chest filled with goodies, then dig some more, dig, dig, dig, fuck zombies, goddamn slimes! Go back to Dragon Quest where you belong! This world get darker? You're a pretty large worm... oh shit my money! Respawn.
And now I'm at a point where I'm looking at the Terraria Wiki to decipher different formulas for crafting and other gameplay hints they don't really tell you about in the game directly. Is this how Minecraft works except with more imagination? I have yet to build a giant penis house made of wood or recreate World 1-1, but I do have a complex system of caves underground that seemingly go fucking nowhere. And I fear there's literally no end since I barely touched the outer, more corrupted areas of this hellish world. But like any crazy person, I must continue on in search for more ore so I can get a fancy chandelier and more sand for glass that I can use to make bottles so I can turn my mushrooms into some kind of magical mushroom drink.
To be serious for one second, Terraria is not a game that you can't fiddle around with for a brief period and see everything the game has to offer. The reason I find Terraria appealing is its weird sense of wonder, flexibility, and exploration combined with enough tools to create a 2D mansion of your dreams. It might share it's core gameplay with Minecraft, but they added a Metroidvania (Minetroidvania?) element to it by stripping out a dimension and adding plenty of combat (which can be annoying or satisfying depending on the situation.) Terraria is much like Minecraft in that it's something you can't put down in 15 minutes and call it quits for the day... it's an ongoing construction project, but with skeletons and flying eyes. There appears to be no wrong way of playing Terraria since it's fairly simple to learn and it lets your imagination run wild if you so choose. In conclusion, anybody who is remotely interested in Terraria and loves building shit should pick the game up, but a word of caution. You might be declared unfit for society once you start digging deeper into the game's underworld. You may take a turn for the worse and just write incoherent blogs about retro indie games and posting links to cats that look like Pop Tarts.
We knew a Darksiders 2 was in the works for some time, but information has been scarce. We knew War was taking a backseat to one of the other horsemen, but we officially got our new fauxpocalypse scapegoat.
That is Death, your typical horseman with Nathan Explosion hair intact. Also, there's a large winged creature on his left, more piratey shoulder, most likely a crow or raven... meaning he's a fan of Baltimore's football team. He's big on skulls and he looks like he may be in a band... either Band of Skulls and Band of Horses, although the bands don't embrace his metal roots. Overall, a clusterfuck in design... but so was War. The biggest issue I have is Vigil Games using up their two big draws early. War and Death are the obvious cool horsemen while Famine and Pestilence sit on the sidelines making people hungry and sick. Now Darksiders 3 and 4 are really gonna be the oddballs of this tetralogy.
Between this and Judgment Day over a week ago, I've been thinking about finishing up Darksiders and as always I procrastinate. Maybe the Darksiders 2 hype (the little hype it will get for the moment) will be enough to finally finish the job. Now if I can get away from Terraria... and I have words to type about Terraria tomorrow.
Back on May 25th, 2011, I made some E3 predictions and promoted it by promising bacon and more of it. I realize this act was despicable and totally uncalled for so here is your bacon fix, fellas.
This is the classic bacon sandwich. It's a very simple recipe that consists of two pieces of bread and as much bacon as your imagination can handle. There is a direct correlation between the amount of bacon on a sandwich and the awesomeness of said sandwich and the sandwich above is just above Vinny Caravella on the awesome scale. Because eating it might kill you. But just look at it. It's what Picasso would've made if he made donuts for a living. And you got chocolate in my bacon. Peanut butter is very jealous right now, but does it have to be that expensive? I'd eat a whole pound of chocolate covered bacon in one sitting if chocolate covered bacon was available in my area. And my bank account would be transferred slowly into my bloodstream. Bacon. Battered. Deep fried. The fat American stereotype will live on for years thanks to this monstrosity of goodness.
And that was bacon.
And now the question of the week. How do you enjoy this beloved pork product? Show us how you eat bacon in everyday life and proclaim your love to this food of the gods. Send your videos to this blog via the comment box below. See you next week for more "Dalai's Blog."
Well this is highly unusual. It's been almost a month since I've blogged about anything and so much has happened this month. We had Judgment Day... that was quite a day, right? The multiple 10.0 earthquakes, the giant asteroid that destroyed France, the Baconalia, the futuristic cyborgs, and the rivers of blood... oh the rivers of blood! The cleanup was difficult, but we pulled together and managed to survive. Nice work, planet Earth. And Sarah Connor.
Anyway, there's an E3 coming up in this post-rapture future and I think it's time to embarrass myself with some predictions as to what the video game industry will throw at us to see what sticks next. We know there's at least one new Nintendo console to be farted out, one new Sony handheld to be spewed out, and games games GAMES! So let's cut to the chase and predict away, me!
Project Cafe shown, hardcore game porn, minds blown.
Nintendo's very own Iwata, Satoru Iwata, has been on the record commenting about the Wii's shortcomings including its lackluster online service and its stubbornness to work with others. I think they learned valuable lesson with the Wii and despite its success with a significant population of casual fitness enthusiasts and people who want to just dance, just relying on them and lifelong Nintendo fans won't be enough this time now that Sony and Microsoft have copy/pasted their motion control strategy. That's why I think Nintendo is going to reach out to us, the Giant Bomb community, and make a console a bit more appealing to our collective tastes. That doesn't mean Nintendo itself is going to start making first-person shooters, but maybe we'll see more 3rd party support in that department. I predict Project Cafe will be a much more powerful system than anything else on the console market and will feature many of the bells and whistles we have become accustomed to on other systems like a more robust online presence, some type of achievement system, HD technology, a more traditional controller to complement the Wii Remote, and a fairly large hard drive... at least 120GB, maybe bigger if they're smart. So yes, I think Nintendo is getting back in the hardware race and dragging us along with it for now.
Microsoft whips up something really quick, closes with an Xbox 360 successor announcement.
We aren't expecting Microsoft or Sony to come out with new hardware for at least another 2 or 3 years as they're pushing their 10-year cycle initiative, but I don't think Microsoft wants to play second fiddle to Nintendo this year, especially now that they're gaining some momentum with Kinect. Oh they will show lots of Kinect stuff, but at the end of it all, they'll be a short 2 minute video with something pertaining to the next Xbox system. It won't really explain anything other than its existence, but we'll all be speculating from that point until the next E3.
Grand Theft Auto V will be announced, Vice City revisited.
It's been 3 years since Grand Theft Auto IV and even though Rockstar has been hard at work shedding it's image as a one-trick pony with Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire being as awesome as they are lucrative, Grand Theft Auto brings in Scrooge McDuck money. And so Rockstar will give us a Grand Theft Auto V teaser and a projected release date of 2012. Also, you'll see Vice City in all its glory. Neon lights, ladies in bikinis, and other stuff you might see in Rockstar's version of Miami Beach. We might even get to see the next protagonist doing what they do best, shooting dudes and running over innocent pedestrians, but this time with that fancy L.A. Noire facial tech. One final note: Grand Theft Auto V will be available of 360, PS3, PC, and Project Cafe. Yes, I'm totally going there.
But wait, there's more! Sequels that is.
Assassin's Creed III, Borderlands 2, Final Fantasy XV, Fallout 4, and maybe something Halo related? We're already saturated with sequels and if I know the video game industry, there will be many more than I mentioned. Personally I'm hoping for a SimCity sequel (as I do every year) and No More Heroes 3 for Project Cafe, but I'm satisfied with all the sequels announced already. Zelda is still a 2011 game and Mass Effect 3, Darksiders 2, and Bioshock Infinite will hurt my wallet next year. But yeah, those 4 still fictional titles I mentioned in the beginning of this paragraph, I believe they will be official at E3. Assassin's Creed III should fall in line with the typical franchise timeline so that game is to be expected. Borderlands 2 will likely be there despite Pitchford's denials. Final Fantasy XV... going out on a limb here, but this might be damage control for its fumbling of Final Fantasy XIV. Fallout 4? I'm just pulling that one out of my ass, really. Bethesda is busy with Skyrim and Fallout: New Vegas is still pretty fresh so that's my longshot pick of the week.
Sony won't be the only one with a new handheld gaming device at E3.
We see this every so often. An electronics company other than Sony and Nintendo will announce a new handheld at E3. Do you guys remember the Panasonic Jungle? Okay that wasn't announced at E3, but just bear with me here. Every few years, somebody believes they can make a portable console that can be part game console, part internet browser, part GPS device/panini maker and we're due for another failed attempt to crack the handheld market. I'll take a wild guess and say... Philips. Yep, the CDi peoples. They're way overdue.
No more meme-worthy quotes from drunk Leigh Alexander.
After two consecutive years of making an ass out of herself, she will attempt to be on her best behavior for reals this time. And that will be E3.
Now that Portal 2 is out of the way for the moment (except for the duel robit part) I'm thinking about dipping into a few of those small indie games I've seen on the Steam lately. Since there's nothing of the AAA title variety coming out that I want right this instant... or in the next few months... at the full retail price, I've decided to spend my hard-earned (prostitution) money elsewhere.
So you guys have any recommendations? Just to help, here are a few games I'm looking at.
SpaceChem: A puzzle game that's about chemicals... making chemicals. Looks like it's got some promise.
The Tiny Bang Story: It's a point and click adventure. I get this Machinarium vibe when watching the trailer. Which reminds me, play more Machinarium.
NightSky: I've been following this one for a while, back when it was called Night Game and a WiiWare game. Still looks pretty cool.
Cities in Motion: Wait, what? A transportation simulator? How did that get in here?
Am I missing anything in the hidden gem category? Should I just finish what I have and save my money? And finish Machinarium? Recettear? Puzzle Agent? Bob Came in Pieces? Blueberry Garden? Lucidity? Yes, the backlog has been upgraded from "quite large" to "immense" thanks for asking.