Posts

Showing posts from January, 2013

Musings of a Gamer XXII

Image
1. Nintendo Direct - E3 in January
Last week, Nintendo confirmed what we have long suspected: E3 is rubbish and mid-January Wednesdays are where it’s at. In the latest Nintendo Direct, Iwata-san gave us an unseasonal helping of announcements, though little news of the immediate kind. The first half of 2013 is short on Wii U releases, lacking the first party games that have traditionally been so vital to the success of Nintendo consoles. Iwata must have apologised half a dozen times for the “launch window” slim pickings, and the overall message was clear: we have plenty to offer, but almost none of it is ready yet, sorry.
The Wonderful 101 offered some near-immediate gratification for Wii U owners, so long as you don’t mind that grating style of voice acting. Platinum had very little to show of Bayonetta 2, other than leather trouser textures, which makes you wonder when exactly it’s going to be ready. There was very noncommittal talk about a new Zelda, which will arrive at some point…

Where ya Buying, Stranger?

Image
"Video game retail has changed. It's an endless series of price battles, fought by supermarkets and Amazon. War, and its consumption of the high street....." Old Snake, retail analyst

Last week, HMV, one of the last remaining high street retailers of music, games and movies here in the UK, went into administration. Although stores remain open, their website has been shut down and until yesterday they had been refusing to honour gift vouchers. While HMV's future may be uncertain, it's clear that the shopping centre with two or three entertainment stores and duplicate video game specialists is a thing of the past. The GAME group may have survived administration last year, but it remains the same clueless peddler of used games and overpriced new titles, and you wonder how long it can survive in its current form. If shops like HMV and GAME were to vanish, then there would be little choice for consumers outside of online retailers and supermarkets.
This predictable…

Shelves and Lollipops

Image
The ritual of the shelving ritual is reserved for games that really disappoint. It's not always enough to simply evict a game from the disc drive in favour of something more pleasing - sometimes you need to go further and make a spectacle of your distaste. A disappointing game that is just put to one side can expect another opportunity to prove itself, with its continued presence on your coffee table proving that you are not fully committed in your disappointment. My ritual involves sealing the let-down back inside the correct case, saying a few derogatory words then returning it to the gaming shelves. To ensure absolute finality, it must be slotted alphabetically amongst completed titles, removing any need for future reshuffles and potential redemption. This lets the world know that I am done with the game in question and that it has exhausted all of its continues. With the exception of Demon's and Dark Souls, games do not bounce back from the ritual of the shelving ritual.�…

Musings of a Gamer XXI

Image
1. Farewell to the PlayStation 2
Sony has confirmed that production of the PlayStation 2 has come to an end after twelve hugely successful years. The PS2 was a global phenomenon, building upon the PlayStation brand and achieving a level of success that will never be seen again in a home console. With Nintendo slipping, SEGA all but finished and Microsoft just starting out, the market was Sony's to dominate in the early 2000s, and that's exactly what they did to the tune of 150 million units sold worldwide. The PS2 is far and away the most successful home console of all time, selling over 50 million more units than the second place PS1. It had a staggering number of games, over 10,000 individual titles, ranging from the sublime to the atrocious. More than 1.5 billion PS2 games have been sold since 2000, some of which weren’t FIFA. It almost made it to a third generation and is the success that all future Sony consoles will be measured against.
Looking at sales figures for the P…

Persona Who?

Image
What is a Megami Tensei and how exactly does it differ to a Shin Megami Tensei? What about Devil Summoner? That's something too, right? Fuck knows where Persona fits into all of this. I doubt even Atlus knows, whoever they are. Until recently, I assumed that メガテン was a type of burger and thought 女神異聞録 was a stop on the Sobu line. What on earth is a Megami Tensei and how exactly does it differ to a Shin Megami Tensei? My head hurts.

Thanks to the internet, I have found answers to some of these questions and have gained a basic understanding of MT, SMT, DS and more specifically, Persona. I had always made a point to avoid the series, something that required a great deal of effort when living in Japan, where it is hugely popular, but far easier back here in the UK. I continue to insist that Japanese animation is not my cup of tea, and Persona has always struck me as being interactive anime in style and narrative. Besides, I like my RPGs full of dragons, steam punks or Asari, and am …

Extinction Averted - Potential Highlights of 2013

Image
No apocalypse, no magma, no meteors and no John Cusack hanging out on a massive boat. Fortunately, no one told the video game industry that the world was supposed to end last month, so while the rest of us were building bomb shelters and stocking up on hand wipes, developers continued to work tirelessly on the games that we'll be playing, celebrating and moaning about in a year that wasn't meant to exist.

Thanks to a influx of titles that were originally scheduled for last year - a number of the games below were featured in my Potential Highlights of 2012 - and a final rush of quality before the next generation starts proper, 2013 has the makings of a memorable year. The first half is brimming with potential blockbusters, the kind that are usually reserved for autumn and winter, and the hype for what should be an eventful E3 2013 is already through the roof.
Grand Theft Auto V will generate headlines and huge profit when it’s released this spring. Rockstar, the master of b…