Started a new web series out of my music room called My Corner of the World. It’s about reaching that point in life when you give up geek real estate in your home, in order to make way for the all consuming young life you brought into this world. In my case, my daughter Maya Ariel. It’s about sifting through the mountain of new releases and old classics and picking and choosing carefully what stays and what goes. It’s also an awesome way to have fun with my daughter and wife.
First Episode is below. New episodes premiere at Nerd-Base.com twice monthly on Thursdays at 6PM.
LA Noire is a selfish little bastard of a game. It invites you over to its home and suggests that you play cops and robbers. For a while things are great and everyone is having fun but then wouldn’t you know it, LA Noire doesn’t like your ideas or the choices you make so it ignores them and suddenly you’re just a player in a very elaborate overwritten play. But man does it start out like the goddamn second coming (editor’s note: of Police Quest.)
So, everybody’s talking about what the Japanese creator of Mega Man *ahem* pardon me Rock Man, Keiji Inafune, said over the weekend as it pertains to the Japanese gaming industry. Take a look:
In a nutshell (a very bitter nutshell of a very sour nut,) he said roll the credits, the Japanese gaming industry is done. Judging solely from what we’ve seen from the Tokyo Game Show, I’d say he’s probably right. Albeit in an exaggerated, broad-shouldered-Space -Marine American sort of way.
Japan’s been losing a grip on their games industry for quite some time now. Their core gamers have been dragged kicking and screaming into the next generation even as Nintendo’s Wii has brought in what I loathe to call hoardes of new “casual” gamers uninterested any software that doesn’t say Sports somewhere on it.
Could a PS3 pricedrop and the imminent arrival of their only bonafide original blockbuster app Final Fantasy XIII (its roman numeral indicating number of years in the making?) be the answer?
In short, no.
The issue is a far more pressing one and it’s a matter of soul. Now this is just my opinion but I tend to think even the coolest most well executed games that come out of our games industry here in the West tend to be more muscle than soul (exceptions granted.) Japan’s approach to gaming has, in the past, been more spiritually engaging. We all know the problem of this console generation is that the boost in graphics (which is fast approaching photo-realism) and sound has put development costs through the roof and increased development time as well. This jump in technical splendor has not translated to a jump in the quality of the gaming experience. Quite the opposite for Japan where companies can’t compete with Western development houses and have yet to adopt a Hollywood like assembly line for their games. Not to mention Japan’s relative disinterest in online gaming.
Hell, the man in the above video who is saying “Capcom is still making good games” implies that Capcom is still Japanese when in actuality the game he is pimping “Dead Rising 2” has been shopped out to a Canadian developer. Irony.
I know this post has been a jumbled mess, but the point I’m trying to make is that Japan can’t compete with Hollywood and that’s what the gaming industry outside Japan is now.
They either need to start working within that system (even more than they currently do,) or find a reasonable way to deliver soul quenching experiences on a smaller scale as they have with the Nintendo DS and to a certain extent the Wii. I grew up on Japanese games, and it’s sad to see them in a slump. Maybe the answer is something like the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live Arcade, where cheap fun games with unique ideas are having a renaissance.
Right now. Looking at Japan’s release slate, it looks like they just gave up.
They say you can’t go back. You can’t go back to a time when you rushed home from school to play Street Fighter II on the SNES until you wore off your fingerprints and had to tape your blisters over with duct tape to continue the fight but a new deal over at Game Stop begs to differ. Street Fighter IV… Yay or nay? I subscribe to PLAY magazine and my homegirl Heather thinks it’s the second coming of our wasted youth. What say you gallery of peanuts? Yatta?
True story. The U.S. Supreme Court once referred to Resident Evil as The Resident of Evil Creek when attempting to scapegoat video games for the rise in teen violence.
This was back when Survival horror was still kind of… horrorful. These days it’s all about the circumference of your meaty neck, the array of firepower and those little bluetooth thingies in your ear that let you speak with your squad mates when deciding how many native scalps to claim.
If anything, video games these days all seem to be preparing us to be squad based commandos. I think the Senate Subcommittee would be glad to have us. They certainly wouldn’t be offended, shocked or frightened by any part of the strictly middle of the road Resident Evil 5. I bet they’d be too sleepy to raise an objection.
Ever play Katamari Damacy? Well the loopy designer of that game has a new game called Noby Noby Boy out now on PS3 and downloadable for $5!!!
In the game you play BOY, who, in his original form, looks more like a gummy dog than a “boy.” BOY’s body is split into two orbs each with two legs that are controlled individually by the two analog sticks. It’s very slick. When BOY’s two halves stretch beyond their elasticity limit he grows into a kind of multi-colored worm-like tube sock. The designers have provided you a constantly shifting playground in which to run (or fly) your BOY around; wrapping his lengthy torso around trees or steeples while snacking on pigs, cows, over-sized basketballs, or school girls and then pooping them out your rear all in an effort to increase the length of your body. If it sounds crazy, that’s because it is. There is no end game and no way to die, although if you break or shrink it can drastically alter the way BOY controls in subsequent play sessions.
This is yet another charming game built around a fun play mechanic and little else but I’m not here to harp on that again.
I’m here to praise the element which elevates this game to a grand romantic gesture:
As in you ought to plan on buying Scribblenauts for the DS when it releases this Fall. A game in which you solve point n’ click like graphic adventure puzzles by writing words which then materialize as usable objects in the game. Skeptical? Think this thing will have a third grader’s vocabulary and nothing else? From the developer’s interview with Joystiq:
Here’s the obligatory question: are these five items (basically just five nouns off the top of my head): Library, tailor, nutria, ebelskiver pan, pantsuit, summonable in-game?
I thought nutria was some kind of food, but I looked it up in our list and it’s there. Alternatively, it’s called a coypu. I mean, honestly we have so many words in the game now, without checking our database, there’s no way I’ll know what’s in there. But everything you said is in the game already. Though ebelskiver pan is a great try!
Think of all the great puzzles that can be solved with an ebelskiver pan? Click on more to see WTF an ebelskiver pan looks like and continue reading.
I knowingly purchased a game in which the sum total of the experience appears to be blowing petals over a virtual lawn (albeit with rolling hills.) I bought a big steaming plate of hype.
Not that FLOWER is a bad game, the art direction and fluid intuitive controls are top notch. It’s just… it’s more like one mechanic of a much more interesting game. I’ve played this before (including the interactive musical cues) when it was called Rez, and it was better. To use the parlance of our times, restoring greenery to a fertile land is quite satisfying, but between Prince of Persia and Okami, I think I’ve done this enough too.
… I purchased both FLOWER and the vastly superior World of Goo (but can they even be compared) out of an allegiance to the creative spirit, however misguided it may sometimes be.
For those looking for a Karmic realignment following marathon murder sprees in Grand Theft Auto IV, FLOWER‘s relaxing escape to paradise may be just the thing.
Also, not to spoil but the game really gets compelling in its later portions.
Enter the world of roomisodic gaming. Just imagine what bountiful jewels room #2 might hold? Maybe it’ll be a warehouse? With boxes… for climbing, pushing and unnaturally blocking the way to logical exits!