E3 Media accepted me last year, Rejects me this year

I'm not here to say it was right or wrong that E3 rejected me this year, only to point out how much I'll miss it.

Somehow, someway last year, I convinced E3 that a university radio station in the Turlock/Modesto area in California deserved to be there. I didn't expect them to admit me. I only thought that since I had nothing to lose, I might as well throw up a hail mary and see what happens. It was funny, because in my initial interaction with the staff through email, they told me I would not qualify as media. But I applied anyway, despite their initial rejection of the idea that college media is real media, and miraculously two weeks later they told me I was in.

Rest assured, attending E3 does live up to all the hype. I once wrote a long Tumblr post about it, as well as talked about the experience on my radio show numerous times. http://reinman64.tumblr.com/post/6672483363/final-thoughts-on-e3

Initially I thought this was some fluke, until I tried to see what would happen if I applied to other events. After E3, I got accepted to every single convention I applied to as press. Of course, nothing ever lived up to E3. Nothing. I won't list every event I've been accepted to, but the list is quite surprising and even includes the prestigious Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. After a while, I felt invincible. Unfortunately, I had no money to drive to Las Vegas and couldn't make it, but getting accepted into that proved to me without a doubt, that getting into E3 last year was no accident, or so I thought.

In the past year also, I joined my university newspaper as a way of not necessarily adding to my credentials for these events, but to make myself a better journalist regardless, because I truly and honestly love reporting on video games.

But, as the title of this blog mentions, E3 rejected me this year. I have argued with them about it over email, saying our station is getting a new transmitter which will expand our reach, pointing out that there's absolutely nothing different about the qualification process as last year, only to have them reply their rules have magically become stricter.

I don't know anymore if I'm just a really gifted writer to have made all these conventions believe I belong, or if my university media status legitimately qualified me for every event that I was accepted to over the past year. It does not matter. My luck ran out.

It's their event I suppose and they can do what they want. I could go on and on about how inconsistent it is for them to admit me one year, and reject me the next despite turning in the exact same application materials. It's over though. It would not matter if I wrote 10 pages about this. I'd be less surprised if a chocobo flew threw the sky than me entering E3 ever again.

I just wanted to share my story. I went to E3 last year representing a small radio station in Turlock, CA, and I will probably never duplicate such an accomplishment again. Thanks for the memories.

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Initial Impressions of the 3DS

Around Christmas time, I bought a 3DS!

As far as games, the only retail one I have is Ocarina of Time which came with the 3DS. I've bought some off the eShop though, such as Excitebike in 3D, Pyramids, Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins, Earthworm Jim, and I have some demos too, such as Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Resident Evil: Revelations. Plus, the multiplayer centered Zelda game The Four Swords was a free download.

An Improved DS Lite?

The console looks and feels similar to the DS Lite. It definitely has a similar thickness. But, the main difference of course is the large screen on top. When I play a DSi game such as Earthworm Jim, it doesn't take up the whole screen, so there is a noticeable change. Also, people might notice the Zelda design on the back. The 3DS I purchased came with Ocarina of Time as a special promotion, so I got a nifty design that will hopefully make it a collector's item one day.

On the lower half of the 3DS, the analog stick on the top left also sets this portable handheld apart from its predecessors. That leaves the directional pad on the bottom left, which makes some games slightly uncomfortable. My left thumb definitely feels cramped after playing Super Mario Land 2, which makes me try and revert back to using the analog. But once I switch to the analog, it does not feel right either. Game Boy games were meant to be played with the directional pad.

As for the four buttons on the right, they are in the same exact spot as on the DS Lite. The two triggers on the top left and right remain. The start and home buttons are right underneath the touch screen. They feel a bit cheap to press because it's not part of the touch screen, but they don't feel like regular buttons either, but rather cheap plastic. It does not affect the gameplay though, so that's good. The power button is on the bottom right. I have no problems with that. The stylus sits next to the top left trigger this time. When I first read that it moved there, I thought it would be a hassle compared to its location on the DS Lite. But I'm fine with the stylus where it is on the 3DS.

Without headphones, the sound comes off a little soft, even at the highest setting. Some might disagree with that. When I wear headphones though, the sound comes in crisp and clear.

The battery life does make a disappointing impression. With the full 3D effect on, expect only an hour and a half worth of gameplay. However, I'm always near electrical outlets and can usually find one quickly. The battery life could be better, but it is adequate.

Extra Features

The web browser, although one of the worst web browsers I have ever experienced except for the one on the Wii, does came in handy. The browser works for checking email, reading news, or using mobile Facebook. Don't expect to upload pictures directly to Facebook. That brings me to the next fault of the 3DS.

The pixel resolution for taking pictures...it's terrible! I read that the resolution is only 0.3 MP. Yes, I know the 3DS is meant for games...but...even my non-smart phone (Samsung Alias 2) could take pictures at 3 MP. At the very least, Nintendo should make their consoles capable of beating the lowest cell phones in picture-taking quality. But it doesn't. The video quality equals the picture quality in terribleness.

But...as long as good games come...

Overall, I'm still satisfied with my purchase. I have not experienced any online games yet, and I hear the system for playing others on games such as Mario Kart 7 is much more streamlined, but I need to find out for myself. The main reason I bought the 3DS is because I'm never home and I figured it would help me as a gamer to take a portable gaming device with me, so that I could play as I stand in line doing errands. I attend lots of conventions, so it will certainly help pass time if I'm waiting in line for a certain panel or event. For now, I am overlooking the faults and will give Nintendo more time to improve the 3DS experience.

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Losing Hope in Nintendo's Online Plans for Wii U

A few weeks ago, I had high hopes for the Wii U, Nintendo's upcoming console. After all, I have a Wii. I love Nintendo characters. The Wii U looks like the Wii, and even plays Wii games. But like a lot of people, I was never completely happy with the Wii. I never felt there was anything wrong with the processing power of the Wii. However, there are problems.

Wii and Wii U, Same Name and Same Problems?


These are the positive aspects of having a Wii
  • Mario 
  • Zelda
  • Games that don't scare people who don't play video games
  • Virtual Console
  • Backwards compatibility with Gamecube discs
  • Online play exists
Yet, several negatives to the Wii have proven true  
  • Games with depth are far and few
  • Lack of quality WiiWare titles 
  • Online infrastructure is stuck light years behind Sony, Microsoft
Can the Wii U improve upon or fix the negative aspects of the Wii? Perhaps the traditional style controller for the WIi U will help the first point. As many writers have pointed out, although there was much hype over the touch screen, the controller does look and feel traditional with the analog sticks, directional pad, the four buttons on the right, and the shoulder buttons on top. This should encourage more developers that have only released their games for the PS3 and 360 to try out the Wii U as well, since the control scheme will be similar. Fighting games in particular will be helped. The only concern about the new controller are the rumors of the Wii U only accepting the use of one new controller per game. Let's ignore that point for now...
 
I have little hope for whatever online shop Nintendo puts up for the Wii U. As the 3DS and DSi have shown us, it looks like they're sticking with this once a week release plan. Maybe they will release a some cool games. Maybe they will release all the games they have ignored for the Wii's Virtual Console. Who knows? As for any original downloadable games for the WIi U, well...I have endured years of hoping the Wii's WiiWare service will improve, and it never has. Yes, there are quality games, but they are far and few in between. Maybe they will throw us a demo once in a while.    
 
As for online play within the games, there is even less reason for enthusiasm.

The Problem Lies with the Creator


There have been rumors that friend codes are gone for the Wii U. If that is true, then it's a step in the right direction. Friend codes aren't the entire reason people criticize Nintendo's online infrastructure though. The Wii might have been okay if it allowed us to communicate with other people online. After all, isn't the Wii supposed to make it easier to bring us together? It has done the complete opposite. If I enjoy playing against a random stranger online, I should be able to talk or add that person. There may be some EA games that are able to do this, but Nintendo games still don't let anyone talk with strangers. The Wii U will be no different, as far as I can tell. I read a recent post on another gaming site where they quoted Shigeru Miyamoto talking about this topic:
 

"A key word for Nintendo in the online sphere has been creating an experience that's comfortable for all players, so we'll still look at that and stick to our idea of trying to create an online experience that's welcoming to everyone."


This could give hope to some people that Nintendo plans to let gamers have more freedom when interacting online. However, I only see the words "comfortable for all players" and "welcoming to everyone" as code word for "No, we will not let gamers talk to each other or even add each other online, we do not want to be sued for anything bad happening."  After all, if the Wii U's goal is to piss no one off with the online experience, then the goal must be to bore everyone in the process by making it impossible to see anything that one person in the world could find offensive. They have forgotten adults play their games too. I should be able to play a random person in Mario Kart, then add that person after the race because he's a good match for me. I don't see that happening for Nintendo's Wii U games. It would be epic if Mario Kart Wii U had a hub station where you could walk around, meet players, and challenge them to a race. The longing for a real online community within the game makes Mario Kart Wii disappointing every time I play it. Animal Crossing is another game that should benefit from a more open online structure. Besides any EA title that might be more online friendly (and even then I'm certain you still can't talk to people), Monster Hunter 3 and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom are the only Wii titles where you can add random people to a friend list after playing them. With the above quotation by Miyamoto, I have zero hope the situation will get better. I used to have hope, but it's gone. This is the man who refuses to believe that Zelda games will benefit from a deeper storyline, therefore he's not the type of person who changes his mind easily. Shigeru Miyamoto is someone we should thank for many things, but not for supporting a stranglehold on the online capabilities of Nintendo's consoles. Nintendo treats us as if we are all five year olds who need protection. 

The Power of Mario


There will be nothing wrong with the Wii U's processing power itself. Most Nintendo games don't need to look realistic. Nevertheless, it would be surprising if they fixed their online problems. That alone might be enough to convince me to wait for a PS4. Maybe I'll even give Microsoft a try. My desire for an online community could prove more valuable than Mario as time goes on.
 
From a sales standpoint, the Wii U will sell enough to keep Nintendo in the top three for many years to come. However, gamers are losing trust when it comes to how they handle their online shop/online play. Any console sales lead they might have early on with the Wii U should lose steam if the mistakes remain. But I have not completely decided if I'll skip getting a Wii U. The power of Mario has that much of an effect on me.
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Cooking Mama, the woman I'd want to date

I can't help but feel attracted to Cooking Mama.  There are several things to like about her...  
 

  • she cooks
  • she is famous
  • her hair always looks perfect
  • she has big eyes
  • she smiles a lot. I like a girl who is happy
  • she has straight teeth
I even have dreams about Cooking Mama. I'm sitting on the couch, playing video games. And she is in the kitchen, making me dinner every night. Now that is the life. At the end of the day, Cooking Mama is the one for me. There is no drama surrounding Cooking Mama, all she knows is cooking. Who wouldn't want to date her?
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Super Mario World, still my favorite 2D Mario

I've probably stated this opinion somewhere on Giant Bomb before, but might as well make a long blog post about it! 
 
Super Mario Bros. was fun, and still holds up today quite well. There's a reason why the Mario franchise became so legendary, and it starts with this game.  It's amazing how happy a fire ability could make people. I couldn't wait to get the flower, as well as many of you couldn't wait to get it either. Of course, besides that and the star, Mario had no other abilities in this game. You run and jump. The levels were pretty straightforward.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Then we have Super Mario Bros. 2. Some people may knock this obscure release in the franchise, but at least it tried some new ideas. Who doesn't like throwing vegetables and riding on flying carpets? 4 different characters to choose from, each with their own abilities? Even if you didn't like the other characters, you could always choose Mario. There was a good sense of exploration in this game...it wasn't just Mario going from left to right.


 
 
 
 
 
 
In it's time, Super Mario Bros. 3 was perfect. The power ups are what made this game for me...The raccoon tail was fun, it gave me the sense of freedom unseen in the previous two Mario titles. There was the usual fire and star abilities as well. But then there was also the tanooki suit!  Who could forget Kuribo's shoe? On the one hand, you're thinking "WTF," but on the other hand, it's so much fun to bounce around! The frog suit and hammer bros. suit only added to the fun. In addition, the liked the way Mario interacted with the map. He could use the hammer to break down rocks, use the whistle to warp to another zone...It felt like there was so much to do and see in this game. I will say the graphics seem a bit outdated now...
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
Now Super Mario World. I love the world map in this game! So many paths to uncover. So many secrets. But not only that, but the map is aesthetically pleasing to look at, as well as large. If this game came out for the first time tomorrow, with the same graphics, it would fit right in. I don't feel the graphics have aged at all.

 


 
 
 
 
The gameplay itself was a logical progression from Super Mario Bros. 3. I loved using the cape to fly. Yes, perhaps Super Mario Bros. 3 had more suits you could put on. However, Super Mario World made up for this with Yoshi! Each colored Yoshi had different abilities...The puzzles in the haunted houses could be a bit tricky, but that's good because it only means they put thought into the game. This remains my favorite 2D Mario.


 
 
 
 
 
 
So it was a bit surprising that each Yoshi in New Super Mario Bros. Wii was the same. I don't understand people who rank New Super Mario Bros. Wii ahead of Super Mario World. I admit, the power ups in New Super Mario Bros. Wii were cool, except for the omission of flying (although the helicopter suit comes close...). I always felt like New Super Mario Bros. Wii just wasn't all it could have been...
 
For one, the map looks simple, and doesn't give the impression that Mario is in a gigantic world to explore.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This is all opinion of course, but the levels felt lazily designed...

  
 



 
 
 
 
 
Yes, there are different power ups, different suits Mario can wear in the New Super Mario Bros. Wii, however it feels geared towards those who only remember the first Super Mario Bros...the only part for me that's ahead of Super Mario World is the multiplayer aspect. If we're talking graphics, I actually prefer the look of Super Mario World. If we're talking sound, I could listen to the Super Mario World soundtrack all day. I can't say the same about the music in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. 
 
Even with the multiplayer, the game felt like it took a backwards progression for me.
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Does anyone think the music in Mega Man 10 is terrible?

I do.  I was disappointed in the overall lack of melodic tunes that I could hum along to.  The difference in quality could even be seen in the shop music...
 
 

   
Does anyone think that music is better than this...
 
 
 
The Mega Man 10 shop theme sounds like something pasted together at the last second.  The Mega Man 9 shop theme sounds like a glorious supermarket filled with loads of Mega Man goods just waiting to be purchased.  Maybe I am looking too deeply at this though.  
 
The only Mega Man 10 theme I truly enjoyed was the one from the Solar Man stage
 
 
  
Out of all the stages, I could only barely say Solar Man's stage reaches Mega Man 9 quality.  The rest just was not memorable at all.  At best, the music was okay.  Maybe Mega Man 9 set the bar too high.  
 
Also, I miss the Roll dress option in the shop, even if it was just for laughs. 
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Minami-ke...why?

Well I am extremely new to anime.  On a completely random whim, I decided to stop by my university's anime club last fall to check things out, despite having very, very little to no knowledge of anime.   In the club, they didn't just show comedies, there was a bit of each genre.  But for some reason, the show with the least hopeful premise on paper won me over.  It didn't happen at first.  I came away from the first meeting thinking most of the shows played were average to not interesting.  I even skipped a few meetings over the next month, unsure if I wanted to continue with the anime club.  One of the shows though that I considered "average" at first, Minami-ke, stuck in my mind more as time went on.  I found myself re watching the episodes over YouTube on my own time.  Eventually, I became a bit addicted (obsessed) with an anime starring 3 cute sisters who live on their own.
  


I mean on paper, this is one boring show!  Three sisters, who live on their own for some reason, go to school, go home, and that's it!!!  I mean yes, the contrast in their personalities sets up interesting situations, but one would have to look past the description to figure that out.  That saddens me, because it's for that very reason Minami-ke will probably never come to the United States officially.  
 
People say that because this is a slice-of-life comedy, that Americans will not be able to understand the humor (see Lucky Star).  However, the situations in Minami-ke do not necessarily rely on any knowledge of anime or Japanese cultures.  In fact, it requires almost none.  I mean all the funny scenes are based on sister rivalry, their cross-dressing friends, a psychopathic stalker who hallucinates whenever he thinks of Haruka, and the old fashioned love triangle (Fujioka, Kana, and Riko).
 
Anyone can understand any of those situations and find humor in them!  It's just that these tried and true situations are put into a Japanese setting, that's all.  I once read a blog where the writer described my feelings on this show perfectly.  He or she said something to the effect that the characters take their perceived solutions to their problems to such absurd lengths that one can't help but laugh.  
 
How is it that an episode where the entire first half is spent on hoping the rain disappears is made funny?  Why by Kana tying up her little sister, hanging her from a pole, and making her beg and plead the sky for sunshine, that's how!
 


So it's strange that not being into anime before I saw this, and being given a variety of anime to watch in the club, that I chose the obscure Minami-ke, so ignored outside of anime circles that it cannot even convince an American company to license it.  
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Will Nintendo ever catch up in the online gaming landscape?

Nintendo does a lot of things differently than Sony and Microsoft.  Many of their actions, although questionable, are defensible by the Nintendo faithful.  
 
However, I do not see how anyone can defend their online system.  It completely detaches you from the experience of playing against real people.  I own Mario Kart Wii, and yes it is still an excellent experience, but it could be so much better.  For one thing, if I am in random mode and find someone I like playing against, because Nintendo does not allow any form of communication, not even written text, I cannot even get that person's friend code!  Of course, that may not be the case for ALL online games on the Wii, specifically EA games which have slightly more freedom, but Nintendo games that are capable of online play are definitely crippled.  
 
I hear the argument that some gamers do not want to be bothered hearing little 12 year olds curse on the headphones during a game like Mario Kart.  Well then, why not just make it an option to be able to turn off the headphones, so those that want to hear voices and feel the full online experience can enjoy talking to people, while those who do not like it can just hit the off button?  I believe that solution would satisfy everyone.  
 
At the very least, let us write some text on the screen so that we know we're talking to real people!  It's frustrating when the same track is picked over and over, possibly by new racers who have not realized that specific track was picked already.  Maybe with some form of online communication, racers can be convinced to pick a different course so that those who have already played Rainbow Road ten times in random worldwide mode can experience a new course. 
 
Just get friend codes online you say?  I thought the Wii is supposed to a streamlined experience though.  Yet, Nintendo makes it difficult by forcing gamers to search the internet for friend codes.  
 
My hope for the next generation is, that at the very least, Nintendo games like Mario Kart, Smash Bros., and all other Nintendo online capable games require only one friend code across the board for all games, so that someone on your friend list for Mario Kart will automatically be placed on your friend list for Smash Bros.  I mean really Nintendo, is someone I play Mario Kart against on a daily basis, suddenly perceived dangerous if I play the same person in Smash Bros.?  I hope Nintendo lets their guard down a bit in this subject, because although I seriously do love Mario games, I cannot stand Nintendo's convoluted way of setting up their online experience.    
 
I think they eventually will catch up.  Hopefully it will be in the next generation. 

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I disagree with those who want a Final Fantasy 7 remake

Hello again!  Well I am sitting here in geography class at my university and thought I'd make a second blog.  I picked a random topic, and that topic is...Final Fantasy 7.
 
A Final Fantasy 7 remake for the PS3 would be a bad idea.  I mean, there are boatloads of remakes out there already, not just in Final Fantasy but in other franchises as well.  Out must wonder, if there is a team that Square-Enix could put together to make a PS3 remake, could not they make a new game with new ideas instead?
 
I like the way Final Fantasy 7 already is, even with the graphics.  The blocky graphics give the title its own unique personality.  For example, whenever I think of the Midgar train scenes with Barret or anyone else holding his head in hands and shaking it, all I could think of is how absurd his frustration looks in his block form.  But I start smiling and listening to the music accompanying the scene, and the blocks make sense.  I do not need to be listening to incredible voice acting for Final Fantasy 7, because the music helps tell the story.  Plus, without voice acting, the script has to be much stronger in order to hold the attention of the gamer, and the script does rock.  
 
With realistic graphics, those simple scenes would come out much darker and wouldn't fit the music in some areas.  
 
Plus, I just believe remakes set a bad precedent overall.  If a company can make millions of dollars focusing on remakes, then why would they put out new games faster when they could just cash in on remakes?   These are companies after all, not our friends.  
 
What MIGHT interest me is an HD release of FF7 on the PS3, but with absolutely everything else in the game remaining the same.  Maybe that would not require too much effort either, so they could work on newer games.   I understand having a clear picture is important.  But again, I like the blocky graphics.  They are an art form to Final Fantasy 7, just as much as the 8-bit graphics are important to Mega Man 9. 

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I fear a future where retail game stores do not exist

Hello!  Well I am new.  From what I have seen, the structure of this website looks superior to anything I have seen from other gaming websites.  I am very used to Gamespot, but the mods there are a bit harsh on me, so now I am here!
 
I would like to take the profile I have on here seriously, maybe write some reviews on games, and update this blog frequently as possible.  
 
My first gaming-related topic will be the future of how games are purchased, and how this will affect the industry.  I believe a time when games can only be downloaded from the official Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft store will be the death of video games.  Okay the use of the word "death" might be harsh, but this will be a mistake if it ever gets to the point that all games are downloaded only.  Yes, I realize the used game industry is the anti-Christ to game companies who work hard on their games.  But to eliminate the used game market just because some companies are angry they are not getting new game sales is crazy!  
 
First of all, without the used game industry, some people would never be able to afford video games.  The PSP Go has proven that game companies are willing to rip consumers off by offering games on their store that should be at least $10 cheaper.  That takes me to my next point, having one official store to buy all your games for a certain console eliminates all competition!  So Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony would have monopolies on their game prices.  You HAVE to buy the game at their price, whether or not you think the game is overpriced, because it is only available online and there is no competition from the used game market to offset the price. Most casual gamers will not consider that certain games should be a lower price for what they are getting.
 
Notice that Nintendo never lowers the prices on their online shop.  I mean, must EVERY VC game stick at the same price point always on the Wii?  Couldn't there be some sale to attract new buyers?  Even a Christmas sale where certain Super NES and N64 games become 500 points for two weeks would be great in terms of promoting the service.  
 
 I am not a Wii hater.  The only console I possess is a Wii.  But I am worried.  Are all those WiiWare and VC console games going to transfer over to the next Nintendo console?  If not, then if I want to keep those games, I must never get rid of my Wii?  I like to keep one console at a time, as it keeps things neat and organized in my room.  If I end up buying $200 worth of downloadable titles that cannot be transferred to the next Nintendo console, it might discourage me from upgrading early on.  
 
At the very least, I am hoping for a gaming industry where retail and download co-exist peacefully, even if my games do not transfer over.  I do not want great places to buy games, like Amazon and eBay, to not exist as an option anymore.  
  
Thanks for reading my first blog!

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