I still don’t have a next gen console.
So it’s now 2014, Microsoft and Sony have both released their next gen consoles and I still don’t have either! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want one but in all honesty my life hasn’t fell apart without them. 2013 really was a great year for gaming, I won’t condescend you with a list, as you know what games I’m talking about, and I’d probably forget to put in your favorite. Plus there’s a million sites out there with their own top 10 lists. The funny thing is I still have yet to complete many of them, and in the case of The Last of Us, I still haven’t played it! (Direct your twitter hate towards @pixelheadshot).
In the near future I do plan on getting one of the consoles, but really think I could make it right to the end of 2014 with more than enough to keep me entertained without them. I have GTA 5 in the disk tray of my PS3 and yet my girlfriend still decided that today she wanted to play GTA 2 on my PC for four hours straight!
Don’t get me wrong, next gen looks fucking awesome but don’t look down on me because I’m still twiddling my thumbs on my Dualshock 3.
It does initially seem that Nintendo have taken a step backwards unveiling their new 2DS console. Ever since the announcement this week it has been the target of ridicule across the internet with jokes about how unnecessary such a device is.
a 2DS drawback pic.twitter.com/23ZJZGcP4p— Video Games (@VlDEOGAMES) August 29, 2013
Why I need a 2DS: pic.twitter.com/uQKGgLw28e— Pokémon Master (@Poke_Doctor) September 8, 2013
Jokes aside I believe there is more potential to this console than meets the eye.
By choosing to make their console a 3D capable device, Nintendo played a risky card from the start.
Three years ago, the President of Nintendo America, Reggie Fils-Aime explained to Kotaku why the 3D feature was not suitable for children under the age of seven…
"We will recommend that very young children not look at 3D images," he said. "That’s because, [in] young children, the muscles for the eyes are not fully formed… This is the same messaging that the industry is putting out with 3D movies, so it is a standard protocol. We have the same type of messaging for the [1990s Nintendo virtual reality machine] Virtual Boy, as an example." - http://kotaku.com/5566671/nintendo-testing-healthiness-of-3ds-advising-young-children-to-avoid-3d
The potential health risk for young children meant that Nintendo had to provide warnings on their games, in turn restricting potential customers. Of course gamers are able to switch the 3D off and using the built in parental controls can restrict all 3D images from appearing on the device but this isn’t clear to the average consumer. This issue is one of the main reasons that the 2DS, in Nintendo eyes was an essential requirement to fill the gap in the market. For many the 3D feature was always a gimmick and on questioning numerous friends, most told me they never turn it on.
Another major design change is of course the new wedge design. Again people have criticised this change saying that it renders the device pointless as a portable device if you can’t even fit it in your pocket; clearly these people haven’t tried to fit a 3DS XL in their pocket. Most people seem to manage pretty well with tablets nowadays and considering most people travel with some kind of bag I hardly see this being a problem.
As robust as Nintendo products are, the clamshell design of the 3DS has its flaws. Of all the clamshell products I have owned over the years the hinge is usually the first point of failure; from old flip phones that go floppy, to laptop screens that can’t even support their own weight. As you read this you may be saying “You just don’t look after your tech well enough!”, well that may be a fair point but you have to admit that the new one piece design looks like it could withstand much more abuse in the hands of a young child.
Now aside from how irrelevant this product may be to you, you can’t deny that Nintendo have played this well. Set for launch on the same day as Pokemon X & Y. This entry level gaming device may look quite appealing to those only interested in one or two titles; such as the people I know who just bought their 3DS just to play Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
However niche this audience may be, it will be a profitable one for Nintendo and many people will make a purchase regardless of the bad press it has got on twitter.
Admittedly this device is still capable of failure, but it can’t possibly do as bad at the virtual boy… Can it…?
Do you ever get a friend over to play your favourite platform game but get frustrated that they just aren’t good enough? Do you wish you could just play as their character and your character at the same time? If so Super Time Force may be the game for you…
Super Time Force in a nutshell is a tough Contra style, time travelling, side-scrolling shooter, where the aim of the game is to complete each level with the 30 lives you have been given. The game’s main gameplay mechanic ‘Time Out’, although difficult to explain, is easy to get to grips with after seeing it in action. The mechanic gives the player the option to pause and rewind time, for example in the event of their death after being shot by an enemy. After deciding where on the timeline to start from, the player can choose a new character and replay that part of the level alongside their past self. With the hindsight of how their previous self died, the player is able to save their own life. (Still with me?) With a number of character classes to choose from this can be a achieved in a multitude of ways. They can spawn as Lassie Sniperz for example and shoot bullets through walls killing the enemy before they get a chance to fire. Another method could be to spawn as Shieldy Blockerson and get in the path of the enemies bullets and act as a physical wall, then using Time Out again spawn as the Bazooka wielding Jef Leppard and fire a rocket from behind the safety of Shildy.
This wacky time travel mechanic combined with the unique powers each class has, opens up a world of possibilities of how to get through each level. Based on the 30 live system you are able to play quite literally with an army of you.
The game as you can probably already tell is bonkers; from fighting a giant T-rex with a flame thrower strapped to it’s head and a rocket launcher on it’s arm, to battling an astroid while riding a pterodactyl. This game pulls no punches and is an relentless joy to the senses.
The release date is still to be confirmed but will be before the end of the year. Keep your eyes open for more.
MCM Comic Con 2013
MCM Comic Con is one of London’s biggest gaming, comics and cosplay conventions. Hosted at the ExCeL centre near the Royal Victoria Dock many unsuspecting members of the public may have been a bit surprised by the thousands of cosplayers making their way through London. Some of them tweeted their confusion…
"Just saw a man on the tube with a drawn on beard. Like a suit, a tie, and a drawn on beard."
"Just seen a Jedi with a light sabre on the tube, standard"
"Is there a cosplay event in london? Lots of weirdly dressed up people walking about. #disconcerting"
It is clear that even though this is regular biyearly event, it is still targeted at a niche audience and unknown to much of the the general public.
As a gaming and anime fan, cosplay is definitely one of the biggest draws to an event like this. Even if you are not familiar with the characters being cosplayed, you can still appreciate the workmanship and dedication that goes in to the costumes, often planned months in advance. The important difference between a cosplayer and fancy dress that many over look, is that the cosplayer embodies the character they play as. Its not just a costume, it is a role to take on and this is where much of the general public just don’t get.
A great example of this would be the rather round bellied Darth Vader I met. With a highly detailed costume accompanied by a voice changing device that mimicked the dominant bass heavy rasp Darth Vader is known for. He was approached by a shy fan asking for a picture with him. As he moved closer Vader replied with a menacing, “Get on your knees”. Rather funnily the guy, a little confused, crouched a little. It was a cross between a bow and a kneel, with one hand on the floor. “Do not question me on this matter. Don’t make me destroy you.” Vader demanded. The look of horror on the man’s face was priceless as he yielded to Vader’s demands while his friend took the picture. It’s moments like this that make the day worth it, and really give you the essence of what cosplaying is about.
With nearly 70,000 attendees over the course of the weekend you can imagine that queueing over two hours for tickets is not the most exciting experience. A game of ‘name that cosplay’ certainly helps pass the time, although it can get repetitive after realising that you’ve sprotted at least 20 Deadpools and 15 guys all dressed in Pickachu onesies. The Joker is another common costume, but my favourite version was one guy who complimented the usual Joker face makeup and hair with a full nurses outfit, complete with tights and dolly shoes like the hospital scene in the Dark Knight Returns. Another pleasant thing about the Expo was how friendly the crowd was. Groups walk around offering high fives and one guy in the queue brought a bag literally filled with custard creams offering them out. There would also be random moments where a cheer would break out near the front of the queue and it would echo through to the back like a mexican wave.
I find MCM ComicCon an interesting event and there is a buzz in the atmosphere filled with people geeking out. It’s genuinely nice to see people so comfortable in their own skin and having fun with like minded people. You can spot them everywhere posing for pictures with complete strangers, who are merely fans of the character they are cosplaying. I discovered many cosplayers seem to become mini celebrities of the MCM world and a few even participate in judged competitions around the world.
Cosplay aside there are many other parts of MCM to enjoy. It can be overwhelming at times as you really are spoilt for choice. There is a large selection of gaming booths showcasing the latest and upcoming releases, as well as old retro classics such as Capcom arcade machines and NeoGeo X machines. It’s pleasant to attend these booths and see the passion of the people running them. The community managers are knowledgable and to tell you what’s great about their game.
Of course it could not be a comic convention without comics. Comic Village is home to the interesting world of independent comic artists as well as the bigger known publishers such as Marvel and DC. With about 120 tables laid out in rows each artist displays their work for sale ranging from small ten page micro comics to large graphic novels. Comic Village also hosts an area for well known names from movies, TV and the comic world for book and print signings. One of this years big names making an appearance was movie director Edgar Wright well know for Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and his latest movie At Worlds End.
To sum the weekend off I would say this is unique experience that I would highly recommend. The atmosphere is buzzing and there’s a lot to see and do. One word of advice however would be to bring a bottle of water at it gets pretty hot with the thousands of cosplayers, gamers and comic buffs everywhere venting their inner geek and excitement to their hearts content.
Microsoft has received a lot of stick in the past week from many people online disappointed with the Xbox One reveal. Bloggers and Twitter users rushed to complain that there was not enough information about games for the new console and claimed they could not care less about the console’s new gimmicky features.
In case you are wondering what the features are and want to find out about the new console check the following link…
Personally I believe a lot of the critics are jumping the gun. The fact of the matter is that the current generation of consoles are not bought solely for gaming, and statistics from March 2012 show that the Xbox 360 was used more for online entertainment than for gaming. Although there is a large gaming community online, they make up a small portion of the 48 million Xbox Live users. The purpose of the Xbox One reveal was not to showcase games, but to present the technology and convince the public that it would be a worthy investment. Microsoft even stated in advance that the reveal would not show many games and that those interested would have to wait until E3 for more announcements.
For those uninterested in the gimmicky features I think they fail to realise that in the next 10 years technology is going to change a lot. Looking back to how Microsoft adapted their console from it’s first iteration and started to cater for people who wanted to use their Xbox as an entertainment hub, I can confidently say it was a sensible step. The Xbox One just takes this concept further.
At the end of the day the market is no longer for just hardcore gamers. It’s for movie buffs and Skype lovers, for fitness and yoga fanatics. The 12 year old Call of Duty fan will not be the one buying the next generation console, it will be their parents. They will be the ones having to make a decision about which console is the worthy investment.
Microsoft and Sony are businesses at the top of the food chain and companies like Apple and Google are stepping on their feet. It is innovative ideas that will keep them ahead of the game and concentrating on the gaming market while ignoring other opportunities does not make business sense.
As I discussed in my post about the PS4 this is a marketing war and it is business. Many rumours are circulating with people speculating too much, when we need to wait to see what more is revealed at E3. I am not ready to make up my mind and you shouldn’t be either.
It’s come to that time of the decade where the big contenders Sony and Microsoft fight to market their next generation consoles.
Sony managed to get the upper hand back in February by making a surprise early announcement of their upcoming PS4 and showcasing some of the games they have in development. To many eager fans disappointment Sony did not have a console to exhibit, although they did have the controller. It seems clear that the purpose of the announcement was to get ahead of the competition and start creating hype for the PS4 regardless of how far in the development stage they were.
Today marks the announcement of Microsoft’s new console and while many fans eagerly await the news, Sony have again tried to steal the lime light and yesterday revealed a teaser trailer with flashing images of what the PS4 will look like. Admittedly the advert is laughable with macro shots of metal and blurry silhouettes, however the video raises the topic for discussion in attempt to draw attention away from Microsoft.
As much I may dislike the fanboy/girl culture for what console is better, they are undoubtedly the biggest assets to the big corporations. They are passionate about the products and pledge their lives to always buy the brand, much in a similar way that a true football follower will always support their team, even when they loose. Long before anyone gets their hands on either of these systems people will be making decisions on what they plan to invest their hard earned money on.
The war will rage on but at this moment in time, Sony are winning the battle.