It's been about 6 weeks since I last bought a game and nearly 3 months since I last bought one at full price, but I guess the moment was inevitable. There are games available soon and I will be buying at least one, if not two games on Tuesday... both on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Maybe more than two games.
I will probably buy Bulletstorm even though that $60 price tag might be a bit steep for a game that will inevitably go on sale for a more reasonable price on the PC. I've already blabbed about how awesomely stupid it will be so onto game #2.
There's de Blob 2, a G-rated platformer about blobs who love color and hate gray. This little game has gone virtually unnoticed until very recently even though the original was one of the better games to come out on the Wii. I gave the first de Blob the seal of approval so I'm pretty excited for this one as well.
And if I have any money left over, I should get to pre-ordering Portal 2 because I expect to do so at some point. I just wonder if Valve can recreate the magic of the first game even though Portal 2 looks to be a much bigger game. One of the best things about Portal was that it didn't overstay its welcome... a short, but near-perfect experience. I just don't want to see the expanded length dilute the game as a whole.
So Dead Island is still a thing... and I had no idea it was ever a thing. Didn't remember it, knew nothing about it. Anyway, just about everybody loved the trailer including me. But what about the cynical Twitter crowd? Well they're torn some "obscure" bands and artists are winning Grammys, but they also have something to say about Dead Island.
About a few weeks ago, producer Yoshinori Ono of Capcom fame was thinking out loud and said that he'd love to make a Nintendo vs. Capcom game... and that somehow translated to "They're making a Nintendo vs. Capcom game." Sadly, there is no such game and there probably never will be one. But a community can dream of a day where two of the most respected companies in the industry join forces to create a crazy fighting game with a superstar lineup of characters.
So fucking start dreaming you dreamers! Give me your ideal vs. Capcom crossover... and even some shitty ones. Family vs. Capcom anyone?
The tale of how I got my hands on Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is a short one. Chaser324 had this idea to give away a copy of Recettear during an era where everybody was feeling extremely generous. The way to win a copy was to guess how much change was in his jar of money, not an easy task and not something I have any luck with until about two weeks ago when Chaser said I won a copy of the game. To be honest, I completely forgot how I won, but gave my thanks and went on my merry way. So Chaser, if you're reading this, thanks again for the game and can you tell me how the fuck I was only a penny away from the actual amount? Because (Giant Bomb meme spoiler) I'm not a wizard, but that looks fucked up.
And thanks to Chaser, I can fulfill my dream of becoming a young anime girl who runs an item shop with her fairy partner.
Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is a tycoon game at its core. You buy swords, shields, armor, food, and various equipment from various wholesale vendors that might be useful on an adventure to slay beasts, slimes, and other creatures of the woods and then sell them to the general public for a profit... because if you don't you're out on your ass living in a cardboard box and resorting to prostitution just to support your meth addiction. The meat of the game is the art of haggling, something you're familiar with if you watch Pawn Stars regularly. You have to maintain a good price balance without driving away the customer, something that can be tricky if you don't know your clientele.
I feel like I've only scratched the surface of the game, but there's a lot to like. Eventually you can pimp your store with new floors, walls, and stuff, but the most ambitious need to hire some help in order to find treasure out in the wilderness... and that's when Recettear turns into a 2D Zelda game. Recettear does sneak in some actual sword-swinging action to balance out the occasional monotony of running an item shop. It's pretty simplistic, but surprisingly fun.
And that's the tale (blog) of a tiny, indie game from Japan that warmed my heart thanks to a dude with enough money to give away free stuff... get!
Big games means big predictions and in the world of football and everything from gambling addicts to zoo animals try to predict the outcome of the biggest sports event in the world. You might disagree, Europe, but it's true. Anyway, the fine people at EA did their annual prediction and the black and yellow will prevail according to Madden NFL 11, but it will be a nail biter. So if Madden can make predictions, why not I?
So in the spirit of the game we in the states call football, here are some predictions.
For the pregame interview, President Obama and Bill O'Reilly will end in a tie with 9 interruptions each.
The Puppy Bowl will be adorable.
Doritos will defeat Anheuser-Busch in the number of unique ads 6-4.
Troy Polamalu's hair and Clay Matthews' hair will become entangled during the coin toss. There will be delay the game 45 minutes until the situation is resolved.
The Black Eyed Peas will suck during the halftime show until Will.i.am's nipple slips out.
It will snow in Dallas. Again.
I will consume at least a half a bag of Tostitos, an entire jar of queso, 5 slices of pizza, a dozen wings, a 6-pack of Magic Hat #9, and about 8 shots of SoCo. John Madden will consume that x4.
And the big prediction, Pittsburgh and Green Bay will each score several points.
Have a safe and wreckless Super Bowl weekend, everyone!
It's no secret that I like Nintendo. I did once pledge my allegiance to some force that defends the Wii, but it's not just the games that make Nintendo great. See, there's this dude in a suit named Satoru Iwata. He's kind of a big deal at Nintendo and he often makes the credits of their video games. He also loves to talk about Nintendo and its games after their release. He even has his own little spot on Nintendo's website called Iwata Asks.
Some of you may know about it already.
Iwata Asks, for those who don't know, is a series of interesting discussions about the inner workings of the company and its developers. There's often a lot of (laughs) and some interesting tidbits about how certain game elements were considered, what parts of the game did or didn't make the final product, and the early moments of game development. It's pretty cool to see somebody as high up in the ranks as Iwata go more in-depth into the whole process and brainstorming that goes on behind the scenes.
For example, Kirby's Epic Yarn didn't start out as a Kirby game, but Fluff was actually the star of the game. However, at some point during the process, there was a suggestion to make it a Kirby game and the rest is history. Of course Fluff kinda looked Kirby-like. (laughs)
So if you ever wanted to know how Wii Music came to be or their opinions on Snake and Sonic's appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, ask Iwata.
Hmm... never noticed the red eyes. Oh shit, he's sentient!
After weeks and months of stalling and procrastination, I finally got the courage to play Mass Effect. Perhaps you've never heard of it. Mass Effect is a small video game made by Bioware, a tiny, independent group of ragtag nerds with a love for speaking and the occasional action. It's about aliens and spaceships and going pew pew pew with your fancy space gun. But it's not your ordinary space shooter, it's a game with a grossly expansive universe with lots of attention to the tiniest details. For example, did you know the Salarians live relatively short lives due to their metabolism? Did you also know the average Krogan can bench press 600 pounds? And that the SSV Normandy was not named for the World War II battle, but after Normandy Mining, a former mining company based in Australia? Well when you talk to people like I do in Mass Effect, you can find all sorts of useless information on various alien species, class hierarchy, eating habits, hygiene, favorite color, and more. I've played through several hours of the game and I feel I've barely scratched the surface not just because I take my fucking time sightseeing like I always do in games of this scope, but because I have to talk to everything that moves. It's an unfortunate side affect of my completionist syndrome. Of course the game doesn't help since conversations can last a really long time. I'm expected at one point in the game to run into one of the maintenance workers at the Citadel and ask him in detail about his race, job, favorite football team, and last sexual encounter because I would not be surprised.
But I do exaggerate just a smidge... or I'm playing it wrong. Mass Effect is a very talkative game with the inability to shut up when I'm in control. I guess if you're trying to build a universe from scratch, one way is to have it in your face all the time, and people totally dig that. From my point of view, as long as the dialogue is good and in no way hokey, go ahead and talk my ear off because getting to know the various groups, races, and their history will undoubtedly help understanding the entire story when it's time to blow up the Death Star or whatever happens at the end. There's an entire universe to explore filled with some odd creatures that all speak English. Star Trek, much?
What I'm trying to say is that while the choices aren't detrimental to the game, maybe games should consider cutting some unnecessary branches on some of those dialogue trees or even streamlining some of the options. Too often I go to a crew member or complete stranger and we chat for a second... and then Shepard gets all inquisitive. And so 6 different questions show up. Sometimes I wish there was an "all of the above" choice where the morality portion is not involved just to save my mouse a few clicks. The alternative would be to avoid everyone at all costs and just stick to the essentials, but I fear there's something I'll be missing if I say nothing at all so will continue to speak to the most trivial members of society gaining as much knowledge as I can.
So that's my Mass Effect experience in a nutshell so far, but you might be wondering if I have some vendetta against dialogue trees. Well, not really. The whole point of a dialogue tree is not just to inform or decide between a good and bad outcome, but also to increase the replay value of a game. In the case of Mass Effect, Bioware's goal was for the player (that's me... and probably you) to try out every possible scenario and choose Shepard's past, present, and future. It's like reading a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book over and over reading every possible outcome. Right now I'm attempting to create a good Shepard because that's how I always roll, but a part of me wants to create asshole Shepard for the hell of it.
Now with that out of the way, I was trying to find out what the last game I played at length that had dialogue in tree form. The Sam & Max games come to mind, but that's typical of that genre. Before that, I believe it was Persona 4... and I remember their dialogue trees making a huge difference in how Charlie Tunoku's year would turn out with all the intimacy, popularity, and Social Links. Unfortunately that also means 98% of normal gamers will never get a unique experience due to the 60-100 hours of actual game... that's a lot of JRPG to swallow. That means parts of the game will forever be unknown to me because I doubt I'll touch Persona 4 again.
I think I'm finally out of things to say so I guess this is the part of the blog where I ask a question about what you think about dialogue trees.
What's your opinion on dialogue trees?
Is there a game out there with the perfect dialogue tree construct?
Do you love having dialogue trees as a means to make decisions?
Are you indifferent towards them?
Do you hate them with a passion because you think it's a poor way to tell a story or because you think predetermining your own fate is stupid?
Well this is a marketing tactic I haven't seen in a while. I can remember the days where I'd browse through my latest Nintendo Power and see some advertisement boasting a game's cutting-edge graphics or its extreme attitude. One of the more interesting marketing tactics was to portray said game as too extreme or too gross for parents. And now, Dead Space 2 brings back that ad trick.
Your mom hates Dead Space 2? Maybe this worked back when the majority of gamers were teens and young adults, but what is the Dead Space 2 demographic? People who are old enough to buy video games on their own. This ad is clearly aimed at people who aren't old enough to walk into a Gamestop on their own and buy Dead Space 2. Unless you're 15 or younger, that tagline is downright stupid. And I think the young teens on this site might find it just as dumb. And does that mean your mom might like the upcoming Gears of War 3? Bulletstorm? Actually in the case of Bulletstorm, that might be dumb enough to work.
I just don't see this advertising gimmick working in an industry where violence and scary shit is fairly commonplace. Now if this marketing ploy makes it to the cable news networks, maybe I will eat a little crow since everybody knows news coverage is free advertising, but EA fucked up this time, in my opinion.
Yet the worst advertising I've seen this week goes to Mario Sports Mix and its creepy Mii mascots. YOUTUBE CLIP GO!
I guess it's great to see Nintendo actually recognizing that Miis still exist, but they couldn't have picked a creepier way to use giant life-size Miis. The whole SportsCenter vibe is pretty corny as it should be. It is just a Mario sports game after all. Yet they had to use Miis here? I think they could've went with a fake Stuart Scott/Scott Van Pelt combo yet they go with a stoned Mii with a pedophile mustache. And at the 0:08 mark, I think the lady Mii is flipping the bird.
So Dead Space 2 ad... seriously? Is this the best they can do?
And Mario Sports Mix ad... really? Big Mii head mode? Thoughts?