Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thursday's Video Game Tunes #5

We're back to no category! Hope you enjoy these kick-ass tunes.

Doney Kong Country Returns - Palm Tree Groove

Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver - Vs. Ho-Oh

God of War III - Vs. Zeus (Heart of Gaia)

Roo & Pat The NES Punk: E3 Video Game History Museum Exhibit Tour

The Video Game History Museum is a physical place in San Jose, CA, or at least they hope to be one, that intends to be like any museum: A place to go to learn about the history of something and provide research opportunities. They also have a traveling exhibit and obviously at E3 this year. So Roo and Pat the NES Punk show us around and discuss some of the more interesting exhibits.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Seriously if I ever went to an E3 and this exhibit was there, I'd probably never leave.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Songs that should be in Rock Band: Do the Evolution

I've been in a very 'Pearl Jam' mood for the past week, so I thought I would suggest one of the songs they haven't had on Rock Band yet. They've been on Rock Band for quite a while, and have two of their albums available which include Ten and Backspacer. This song is very different from anything on those albums though and has its own very distinct sound. "Do the Evolution" is one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs, not just because I often study evolutionary biology, but because it sends a pretty powerful message about human nature.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursday's Video Game Tunes #4 (Sonic the Hedgehog Edition)

Today marks Sonic's 20th Anniversary, and as a huge fan of the franchise (though mostly of the classic games), I decided to celebrate by sharing with you guys not three, but five awesome tunes from Sonic games. Enjoy!

Sonic the Hedgehog - Spring Yard Zone

Sonic & Knuckles - Lava Reef Zone

Sonic the Hedgehog - Dreams of an Absolution (LB vs JS Remix)

Sonic Adventure - Speed Highway (At Dawn)

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 - Angel Island Zone

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Poem I wrote for Negative World

We truly have an awesome community over at Negative World; many Editors here at PK Gaming can definitely agree with that. So, one lonely night I decided to write a poem expressing my feelings toward said community. Paleo thought I should share it with you guys, and I agree. Here it is:

Negative World,
You have given my life a whirl
You're as bright and beautiful as a pearl,
Even if you only got one girl...

Every monday I'm depressed, having to work again
It's never fun, not now, not then
My day would be duller than reading IGN
If it wasn't for the Nintendo Download thread by ludist210

You have a great community, which has only grown
We share our grief, our joy; we're never alone
We review games, we share the ones we own
And we participate in the Retro Game Club, hosted by Guillaume

Secret_Tunnel has no shortage of wit
He's not cranky, not one bit
He does have bad taste in games, I have to admit
He should play some better ones, like Bit.Trip

Some of us are near, some of us are far
Warerare is from Wales, the US is home to JKR
And somewhere I don't know lives achhibbar
But no matter what, we'll never grow apart

We can't deny it, we're all nerds
Contra is the love affair of X-Pert,
Whereas platformers fill the cup drank by Casper
And Oldmanwinter games on PC... what the Smerd?!

That carlos guy, man, he rox
He was in the newest podcast, and blew off our socks,
StarWolf is here, he randomly mocks
And, obviously, he can't let you do that, Star Fox

One of the newest Mods is anon_mastermind,
What, you were expecting four lines?
Too bad, Waluigi time

Writing titles in italics, man, it's so grand
I don't see it getting much better, I just can't
No one does it, though, what a scam
Except our very own GameDadGrant

To beat the impossible Ninja Gaiden, for games you need a knack
How fitting, then, that one of the people who did it was rebonack
Scrawnton wrote some songs that took me aback
And who doesn’t love the original threads started by Fabz?

It’s always fun to talk to the great DrFink,
He’s a new Mod too, I wonder why? *wink wink *
There’s not one, but two Shadowlinks
And their posts are insightful; they make you think

Brick? That guy's anything but a prick,
sirmastersephiroth always posts news, he's quick!
Heliumsky is the one chick,
And to the woods for a week, went autokymatic

There are no trolls, thankfully we got none
There was Hiredn00bs, but he is done
And nothing is more fun
Than the comic made by TriforceBun

Pokemon to Ash is like science to Paleo,
Armadillos are to Dillo,
What Wario is to DungeonO
And somehow, in this stanza I fit Tranquilo

Anand writes so many roundtables you’d think he’s in court,
He’s almost as passionate as Mustache talking about sports
Octorockin always has an intelligent retort,
And Orbital’s pissed that we don’t get many imports

VofEscalowne is anything but a bore
He’s made me laugh on Twitter, more than once before
Hinph’s icon is cuter than the characters in Spore,
And who doesn’t love the charm of roykoopa64?

Nate38 is so great, there’s a rhyme in his own name
Marsh seems like quite the laid-back mate,
Quite a paradox is created by NoName
And I’d love to hang out with Chozoman some day

Update the Database, guys, don’t be afraid!
Simbabbad compels you, so does Dynablade
Quite beautiful is the art PogueSquadron made
And in my nightmares I saw the icon wore by Infinitywave

Posts by gamewizard always feel right
Almost as good as the humor of kriswright
Griptor’s icon looks like it wants to fight
And Renjaku is always seen late at night

Negative World, you are my hero
You’re fun, you’re smart, you’re really a freak show
It’s hard to maintain this site, we know
So all of us thank you, Zero.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Songs that should be in Rock Band: You Wreck Me

(I couldn't find the studio version of this song on youtube, weird...)

Tom Petty has been in Rock Band a few times before, but he (nor him with the Heartbreakers) haven't had a release since the Rock Band 3 launch. Don't you think it's time they got another song? This is a song I heard the other day and I had completely forgot about it in my memory, but it immediately clicked. I can't believe they haven't put it in one of the Tom Petty packs before. Oh well, at least if they release it now it will probably have a pro upgrade. I love the chorus in this song, don't you?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Zelda-Nation: Ocarina of Time's Importance to Me

Today, Ocarina of Time 3D was released for the 3DS some 12 and a half years after the original (Ocarina of Time was released Nov. 23rd here in North America) and hopefully is introducing those who never played to the classic while giving those of us who played, and loved it, another excuse to play through it. I know I'll look for any excuse to play Ocarina of Time.

I think Ocarina of Time's importance to gaming is one that is but shouldn't be excused. Nowadays a lot of people comment on the aged graphics (well I'd sure hope so) and some of the clunkier aspects of the game but forget at the time Ocarina of Time was one of the better looking and playing games of the time. Not only did Ocarina of Time bring the Zelda feeling to a 3D game exceptionally well it also provided the industry with a seemingly obvious way to avoid camera problems prevalent (and still an issue today) back then, Z-targeting. This made it much more possible to properly battle enemies in a 3D space and also made for more cinematic battles. But these things should be obvious to anyone and even if Ocarina of Time isn't your favorite Zelda (actually it battles A Link to the Past for that place for me), I'd say denying OoT's role in influencing game design shouldn't be downplayed.

But this isn't about Ocarina of Time's impact to gaming but its impact on me. The lead up to Ocarina of Time's creation in the mid-90s marked the period in time when I went from being a casual-ish gamer to a more hardcore gamer to the gamer I am today. Mind you most of what I saw back in the lead up with pictures in Nintendo Power or EGM but screenshots take up space and these videos pretty much show what I saw anyways.

This is the earliest known footage of what would eventually become Ocarina of Time. While obviously more a demo for the Nintendo 64's graphics than anything resembling the final product, this demo sparked my, and other's, imagination in 1995 about a 3D Zelda title. At the time I had little real experience with 3D games so this was really exciting. Seeing a familiar character as Link in a 3D environment fighting a generic knight was something else. As an aside, before I knew about the N64, I remember writing a letter to Nintendo Power asking about a possible 3D Zelda on the Virtual Boy and if I remember right I got something alluding to a future 3D Zelda but since I was dumb at the time I thought for sure Zelda would show up on the Virtual Boy. Consider that a bullet dodged. Anyways, while that footage wasn't a lot to go to the future of Zelda 64 it did make the wait for more concrete stuff to show up even more painful.

Now this was more like it. The game was truly starting to form into what would become Ocarina of Time. While obviously a bit early things like the triforce, stalfos and Link were all incredibly enticing and familiar. This was right about the time the N64 came out and after salivating over how amazing Mario 64 was, the two years between then and 1998 seemed to just that much longer.

This trailer showed more environments. What I remember most about these '97 videos and screenshots was that the environment was much more open. With hindsight it is obviously because of Ocarina of Time's time as a 64DD game. I'd imagine that when Ocarina of Time was converted to cartridge a lot of stuff changed so while these shots look familiar they are still were short of what the final product would be.

Now from that time on (and because I can't find more videos) I basically spent the next two years playing whatever came up on the N64 (Star Fox 64 and Goldeneye in particular) and devouring any and all information that came forward about Ocarina of Time. And then this commercial popped up:

Now by that time my anticipation had reached a near boiling point and seeing the completed game's commercials pretty much put me over the edge. Of course I had been pretty much telling my parents that this game, above all else, was what I wanted for Christmas. So I'd have to wait a month after the game's release to finally get my hands on the game.

And what a Christmas it was. Knowing that the game was under our tree, just sitting there was murder. When I finally got to unwrap it, the first thing I wanted to do was go to my room, stick it in my N64 and play until I was blue in the face. When I finally got my chance to play, I was hooked. From Navi's initial flight to find Link and to Link first stepping foot on the overworld I was 3+ years of anticipation was rewarded with a game that I would come to play and beat at least 30 times including a time where I beat it 3 times in a month (N64 version, GCN disc version, MQ version). Yeah I'm obsessed.

Nowadays it is a lot easier to follow anticipated games, what with the internet being pretty much a part of everyone's life now. In the '90s it was harder and I basically had to absorb all information I could as my internet access was limited at the time and magazines were my number one source. But that was a great 3 year period for me and changed how I look at gaming in general. With all the information available to us today, it is easy for us to be cynical as finding info on upcoming games is pretty much always available to us.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Retro Reviews: Conker's Bad Fur Day

Conker's Bad Fur Day was released in 2001 developed and published by Rare.

In the history of gaming there are many games that started out one way and come out much differently. Conker's Bad Fur Day is probably the most extreme example of that. In 1997 the first incarnation of Conker, Conker's Quest (and later Twelve Tales: Conker 64) was to be a cute, family friendly affair staring Conker and his chipmunk girlfriend Berri. It was to be much in the mold of Banjo-Kazooie and other 3D platform games of the era. Conker was even in Rare's Diddy Kong Racing in all his high-pitched squeaky voiced glory. There was even a Game Boy version released in 1999 that starred Conker in his cute mode. But in 2000, Conker was revamped into the form that we all know and love. While the game had the cute appearance of the early versions, the game featured swearing, gore, a ton of feces, numerous references to genitalia and more movie parodies than you could shake a stick at. This all came together to create unforgettable and hilarious experience at the end of the N64's lifespan.

Conker is in many ways a standard issue platform game from the 64/32-bit era of games. You lead Conker through the incredibly strange world he inhabits just so he can get home back to every furry's dream girl, Berri and sleep off the massive hangover he got at the bar the night before. Along the way he'll run into gangster wasps, a rather annoyed Death, a King and Queen bee in peril, a buxom & ticklish sunflower and even a giant singing blob of living poo. That is just a sample of all the character he runs into as Conker is unknowingly also trying to avoid being captured by the Panther King to be made into the fourth leg of a broken table.

Conker plays much like Banjo-Kazooie in that if you know how to play that you'll pretty much know how to play it. Conker's big differences in how you progress through levels. Unlike B&K nonlinear hub style, Conker's world is connected and linear. You rarely hang out in one area for very long, usually just long enough to complete a few tasks and collect money (kind of similar to jiggies or stars but less the main point of the game). So relatively speaking Conker is much a stripped down version of a classic 3D platform game, a step back on a ton of collectables per stage that Rare was known for. Another big game play feature is the "context sensitive" buttons that give Conker the ability he needs at that time, such as alka seltzer, throwing knives, a sling shot or beer just to name a few. The great thing about the game is the variety, you'll never do the same exact thing twice and by time you get tired of that particular stage's theme you'll be on to the next one and getting used to a new game play mode. There is even a fun multi-player mode that covers a whole bunch of different game styles, from king of the hill style to fortress defense. And they also have their own sense of humor so they are worth checking out for that.

The only flaw in the game play I'd say is the camera. It really likes to work against you especially when you trying to make a big jump as it'll sometimes go out of position sending you in the wrong direction or unable to see where you trying to reach. You can get around it most of the time but some areas may have you pulling hair out trying to figure out which way to go because the camera disoriented you.

The graphics in Conker's BFD are some of the best on the N64. Even before it's new tone, Conker impressed people especially with the facial animation of Conker. Conker displays a wide range of emotion in the game and it is all expressed very nicely on the N64. The rest of the game is also very colorful for the most part showing the game's roots as a cutesy platformer. The textures are a bit muddy but aren't bad for the N64. I'd say this is all because the N64 expansion pak let Rare do a whole lot of really cool stuff. Only problem is that the frame-rate can get a bit jittery, especially in the most hectic parts.

The audio in the game is also great, some of the best on the N64 at that. While the music is appropriately inappropriate (cute music over the depravity) the voice acting is some of the best I've ever heard. While a tad muted, the various characters and especially Conker all come across as very memorable and if you can't read them they provided us with speech bubbles for some of the harder to understand characters. Also the game features a giant singing pile of poo. Which may be humanities greatest musical achievement. Seriously, if you haven't heard this song, go here now. Your ears will thank you.

In the end if you like N64-era platformers and appreciate a surreal and funny gaming experience chock full of memorable scenarios and references, you cannot go wrong with this classic game. If you want a pleasant reminder of what Rare once was, it is even better.


+ Extremely funny with plenty of movie parodies
+ Classic but streamlined 3D platforming gameplay
+ Great N64 graphics
+ Very good voice acting
- Twitchy camera
- Sometimes suspect framerate

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wake Up, It's the Weekend

Well, perhaps not just quite. It is early friday and some people have to work. However, it is SUMMER and farmer's markets pop up all over. Same with garage sales. So with that said, I just wanted to share with you all, this nice rendition of the Ocarina of Time Market Theme. I mean, plus, the 3DS version of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is releasing Sunday. So with that, listen to lonlonjp's rendition and enjoy the weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursday's Video Game Tunes #3 [Remixes Edition]

For the third installment of the beautiful act that is me sharing cool video game songs with you, I'm changing it up a bit and adding awesome fan-made remixes instead! Enjoy!

Pokemon Gold/Silver - Kanto Gym Leader

Castlevania 2 - Bloody Tears

Metroid Prime Metal - Tallon Overworld

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Zelda-Nation: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Q & A

Mases of interviews a person from Zelda Informer who got a chance to play the demo of Skyward Sword. Some interesting hands-on info.

Also as we are only 4 days from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D's release, I thought I'd change how I'd do these posts. Instead of finishing with the release of OoT3D I'm going to do these periodically throughout the year as to celebrate Zelda's 25th Anniversary.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Songs that should be in Rock Band: Collective Soul

I don't know what it is about this band, but I just love their sound. I started listening to Collective Soul a few years ago, and they have quite a few hits. The two I'm showing here are a couple of my favorites, though they have even more recognizable hits like "December", "Shine", and the ever-popular "Run." (Now that I listen to "Run" again, I remember it's also another favorite of mine, just by songs in general, not band-specific.)

Collective Soul is popular, but not quite popular enough to have shown on Rock Band yet, apparently. Like with Live, I hope to see something from these guys on the music store sometime soon.

Songs that should be in Rock Band: Twilight Zone

This is Golden Earring's other big hit, "Twilight Zone." I like that they included "Radar Love" in Rock Band 3, but I like this song a lot better. There's just something about it that makes it seem so awesome. I suggested this on the Rock Band forums waaaay back before Rock Band 3 released... but I guess they thought "Radar Love" would be more suited for the Rock Band 3 setlist. Ah well... there's always hope that it will come later.

Monday, June 13, 2011

One of my requests for 'Songs that should be on Rock Band'... is on Rock Band!

That's right!

Tomorrow, Rock Band will be releasing two tracks from the band Live, which are "I Alone" (I didn't mention that track, but it is one of my favorites) and "Lightning Crashes." Remember when I told you that they should be in rock band back in March? Well, turns out, Harmonix listened. Well... not really, but I'd like to think that my article series has helped somewhat with suggestions of songs and bands to put in the game. I'm just excited that one of my requests came true! Hopefully some of my other requests will be answered this year as well.

Also, I didn't do a 'Songs that should be in Rock Band' article last week because of the E3 madness, so tomorrow, I'll be doing two of them! For those of you who actually follow this article series, thanks for the views!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Vlogging & Thoughts on E3 2011

So... I started posting videos on youtube again. This time with a new account and making videos talking to the camera. There's only two videos on there right now, but there will be more coming up very soon.

One of the videos is an introduction and the other is about my thoughts on E3 this year. Since it's related to gaming, I thought, why not put it on PK Gaming! So here it is:

If you have a youtube account, please subscribe, rate and comment! Remember, I'll have a lot of content coming up pretty soon.

If We Weren't Exactly Certain that Capcom is a Japanese Company:

I present new evidence:

Yes that is Rebecca Chambers of Resident Evil fame in a Goth/Lolita nurse outfit. Why did you ask?

What Other Games Could Get the 3D Classics Treatment?

With Nintendo releasing remakes of classic games on the 3DS that utilize a 3D effect into them to give them a feeling of depth, aka Excitebike, I've got to thinking what kind of games would also be neat to have this effect. A general conclusion I've come up with is that games with isometric 3D perspectives (think Super Mario RPG) could use this to great effect but what other games could really make a fun use of the 3D Classics treatment. Mind you this is just speculation on how the 3D treatment would actually affect a game and may have no basis in reality.

- 3D World Runner and Rad Racer - NES

I'm putting these two games together for two reasons: they are both Square made games and also had 3D modes with the classic stereoscopic (blue and red glasses style) 3D. They are also fun games in their own right that have gone forgotten in the 20+ years that each were released. 3D World Runner could make some of the trickier jumping sections easier with 3D and Rad Racer could make it easier to judge distances between you and the cars.

- R.C. Pro-Am - NES

This is one of the first games I thought of when I thought of the isometric perspective thing. 3D could make the cars seem to pop out like you are actually controlling little RC cars.

- Star Fox

This one should seem obvious to anyone. Of course this presumes that Nintendo is going to try this for Super NES games and we haven't even seen Star Fox on the Wii VC yet. But with Star Fox 64 3D coming out Nintendo may give Star Fox the treatment and give a classic game the respect it deserves. That would be a great thing to do to coincide with the release of Star Fox 64 3D.

- Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island - SNES

Another Super FX game that would use it in a different way than Star Fox. While Yoshi's Island does have many polygonal objects the use of the SFX chip on the sprites would be even cooler. You know those chomps that jump from the background to the foreground at you? Think how cool that could be in 3D? The last fight with Bowser? Awesome. There are many possibilities for this criminally not already on the VC game.

- Super Metroid - SNES

This isn't as obvious as Star Fox or Yoshi's Island but a game as atmospheric and moody as Super Metroid could really increased with some subtle implementation of the 3D effect. Since the 3D Classic treatment seems to include adding new sprites to help, maybe adding more background and foreground sprites as well as putting 3D on Samus' weapons and abilities. Who knows?

These are only a few ideas I've come up with and I'm sure there are even more, better, ideas than mine. So if you got any, say what. Could be cool.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Overlooked DSiware games you should get now the 3DS has the eShop.

If you're like me, you probably bought a DSi at launch. If you're also like me, you probably thought DSiware was gonna be big. Now that the 3DS can pretty much buy and run any DSiware game, some of the lesser-known titles that were launched on the service should get some recognition.

Escapee Go! - 200 points

Escapee Go! plays sort of like Pac-Man. Only you're psychic. And the game has a plot. Features multiplayer, but no download play option as far as I know. It's a good game with a nice, pixelated art style. Give it a try.

Pop Island and Pop Island: Paperfield - 500 and 200 points respectively

Pop Island is pretty much the best, cheapest multiplayer experience you're going to get from DSiware. It's essentially Capture the Flag with cute animals and vehicles. The main draw to these games is that they have DS download play with up to seven other people. Get some friends together and it becomes insanely fun!

Spotto! - 200 points

This is a small game from Intelligent Systems. It's also adorable as hell. You play as Spotto, tossing bombs into the mouths of ghosts to save the daughter of the President, Chickie Wowwow. It's better than it sounds, trust me.

BlayzBloo Super Melee Brawlers Battle Royale - 500 points

Blayzbloo got a bit of flak when it was released, since it wasn't exactly very deep. It's still a very nice Powerstone-lite, especially if you can convince your friends to get it as well. The worst thing about this game is no DS Download Play, so everyone's going to have to pony up five bucks if they want multiplayer battles. Still highly recommended if you have friends who want to get it or are a Powerstone/Blazblue fan.

Go Series: PicDun - 500 points

PicDun, standing for Picture Dungeon, is seriously unique. You have the old-school dungeon crawler game with a little twist of Picross added to it. As you explore the dungeons, you solve puzzles and complete the map of each floor. Battles are a simple affair, either slashing or thrusting your sword at opponents as you block their attacks with your shield. Highly recommend it!

Dark Void Zero - 500 points

Better than the actual Dark Void game. It's a retraux side-scroller that's sorta reminiscent of Metroid and Blaster Master. Bosses are pretty cool, but the game is tough.

Dragon Quest Wars - 500 points

Intelligent Systems. They made Advance Wars and Fire Emblem. They also made this. No DS download play option, but online multiplayer makes up for it. Plus, it's a turn-based strategy game, so there's really no point in Download Play if you can just pass the system around.

There might have been some other games I missed, but these are some of the most entertaining that I have played. I know I didn't include any WayForward games like Shantae or Cave Story, but this is a list about lesser-known games. I think.

Zelda-Nation: Zelda: OoT 3D E3 Trailer

I'm sure we've all seen it already but man I love this trailer.

Brings me back to 1998 and how much I loved that commercial.

I can assure you I willst not suck.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

E3 2011 Recap - Conference Thoughts + Who Won

As of Tuesday, June 7th at 10:30 AM Pacific, all Press Conferences of 2011's Electronic Entertainment Expo are over. Of course, we'll be seeing tons of game demos and interviews starting there, and continuing all through Wednesday and Thursday, but we already know all the major announcements, reveals and games we can look forward to. So, with that information in mind, join me in my E3 2011 Recap, in which I'll be giving my personal thoughts of the show, entailing my in-depth analysis of all three major Press Conferences (sorry for discriminating, Ubisoft and EA, it's just that... well, yes, you are less important), and ending off with a conclusion saying who won and why. I hope you enjoy!

Microsoft's Conference

E3 kicked off with Microsoft's press conference at 9:30 AM Pacific on Monday. Overall, not only was I not impressed, but I was also disappointed and worried with what Microsoft continues to choose to focus on, a trend that started at last year's E3 and seems to continue. In fact, my impression of this year's show is pretty much the same as last year's. There were some cool games I already knew are coming out, and I already know are cool; like Gears of War 3, Mass Effect 3, Halo: Combat Evolved HD, Tomb Raider, and Forza 4. During the last 10 seconds of the show, the spotlight was taken by a Halo 4 Teaser, which, like all teasers, revealed absolutely nothing except the announcement of the game. Which was smoothly ruined earlier in the morning. All that took up 15, maybe 20 minutes of the show. Everything else was Kinect and software which supports it.
You can't floor an audience with this.

At last year's conference, I was excited to learn about Kinect's awesome-sounding technology, only to be later disappointed by the games available for it, such as Kinect Adventures, Kinect Sports and Kinectimals. Therefore this year, going in, I expected Microsoft to show off more interesting software, which caters to the core gamer a bit more, especially considering the feedback they got last year. What I ultimately got was, the reveal of awesome features like the ability to scan-in any object and have the peripheral recognize it flawlessly, and the ability to draw in 3D. Awesome! And then... on-rails Fable, on-rails Star Wars, Sesame Street and Disney (also on-rails, by the way). Does that make me want to buy Kinect, which I still haven't? No. Is that enough to satisfy a hardcore audience at E3? Definitely not. Perhaps Microsoft was blinded by the numbers moved by their casual software last year, but even then, Kinect's potential is going to waste.

Sony's Conference

Also on monday, at 5 PM Pacific, after EA's and Ubisoft's Conferences, came Sony's showing. I already knew before going in that Sony's Next-Generation Portable was going to be talked about in detail, so coming off of Microsoft's Conference, I was willing to bet my house Sony's would be better. As expected, it was. After a brief apology about the PSN fiasco (which was handled well, I thought), Sony showed some PS3 games. Resistance 3, Starhawk, Uncharted 3, among others. What initially struck me as odd is that almost the entirety of their lineup supported 3D gameplay; not only that, but they made a big deal out of it. I was thinking, "How can you make such a big emphasis on 3D when only a small portion of the market owns a 3D-capable TV as of today?". Apparently they thought about that too (which is not surprising, it doesn't take a genius), because they announced a 24" 3D-Capable Monitor from the Playstation brand, which comes bundled with a pair of 3D glasses and Resistance 3 for $499. It's a good deal.

They also showed a few Move games. They announced Bioshock: Infinite (which looks awesome) will be supporting it. NBA 2K12 was there, which looked alright, but the real surprise for me was Medieval Moves. This is a game developed from the ground-up to take advantage of Move, and it actually looked fun. There's a variety of weapons you can use in the game, and they change in the fly depending on the gesture you make. No weapon select screen is needed. There's also puzzle-solving, and of course, combat with enough variety for a demo. It looked all-around good, and aside from that, I liked that a lot of more hardcore-oriented games are supporting Move as an option. Emphasis on option. That's how you do it. Not with Disneyland Adventures: On-Rails Flying Edition.

And also, of course, we were treated to Sony's new portable system, now officially called the Playstation Vita. As we already knew, the system features a touch screen and a rear touch pannel, not to mention Wi-Fi and 3G. They announced a lot of Playstation 3 favorites are coming to Vita, like LittleBigPlanet and Uncharted, and they looked like fun. They also announced the system will retail for $249, and $299 for the 3G-enabled model, which is a great price point and actually raises a threat for Nintendo's 3DS. Unfortunately, it won't be out this year. My only gripe with the system (and it may prove to not be one as the future draws nearer) is most of the games they showed looked like console games on a handheld. I think handheld gaming is different from home gaming, therefore requires different types of software. But they still looked fun.

Sony's new handheld: The Playstation Vita.

Overall, Sony delivered. There weren't major "wow" moments, but it was more than enough to satisfy fans, and get new people to jump in on the Playstation brand. Can't wait to hear about more Vita games (Where's LocoRocco Vita where you tilt the screen? Seriously).

Nintendo's Conference

Finally, on Tuesday at 9 AM Pacific, Nintendo took the stage. As was the case with Sony, we knew beforehand Nintendo had the showing of a new system under its belt: the successor to the Wii, which was known as "Project Cafe" until today, when it became known by its official name: Wii U. Doesn't sound much dumber than Wii, if you ask me. The controller was confirmed to have a 6.2" screen, which will be able to play Wii U games, via a wireless signal received from the system itself. This wireless signal allows for games to be played without using a TV (assuming you are near the system for the wireless to work, of course. This is not a handheld system), or to play games that utilize both the TV screen and the controller screen together in unique ways. The system is also fully backwards compatible with Wii software and controllers. We saw some concepts of these games, and they looked interesting to say the least. It's also possible to browse the web on the touch screen, and share whatever you desire with the big screen. It's a neat idea, and I'm sure there are tons of things it can do we don't know about, and more even Nintendo doesn't know about. The controller also has a camera, a gyroscope, two sliders, etc. It basically looks like a 3DS sans a top screen, 3D and with one extra slider. No real games were shown, aside from a Lego game (what?), a new Super Smash Bros was announced, which will also come out on 3DS (YES), and a New New Super Mario Bros. Nothing too concrete, though.

Nintendo's Wii U. Above: System. Below: Controller.

Half the show was given to the Wii U. The 3DS stole the spotlight for the remainder of it. Tons of games were shown, some previously unknown, and all complete with new trailers (though some of those absent from the conference itself) - Paper Mario 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Ocarina of Time 3D, Mario Kart 3D, Star Fox 64 3D, Super Mario 3D, and, the big surprise - Luigi's Mansion 2. It was good, and most of them will release this year, which is definitely nice.

The beginning of the show addressed Zelda's 25th Anniversary. Basically, to celebrate, neat Zelda items will come out throughout the year. Ocarina of Time 3D in September, Zelda Four Swords for free on 3DS, Zelda: Link's Awakening on the eShop today, two music CD's (Ocarina of Time 3D's Soundtrack, and an orchestral CD with music from the entire series, based on live performances that will be happening in all major regions throughout the year), and finally, Skyward Sword on Wii this holiday season. Much better than the mediocre celebration Mario got for his 25th Anniversary.

Overall, Nintendo delivered and then some. The only problem (though it's a significant one) I had was that Wii U doesn't come out until around November of 2012. And they showed one (I repeat, ONE) Wii game at the conference, and that's The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, which thankfully comes out this holiday season. We know about a couple others (Kirby Wii being the most interesting), but they didn't mention them at the show. The 3DS is nice, but a handheld system and Zelda can't sustain Nintendo for two entire years (you have to remember nothing very interesting has released on Wii since November of last year). I sure hope there's more announcements coming for Wii. Even so, it was a nice showing.


Who Won?

This is no real surprise, but it's a big toss-up between Sony and Nintendo for me. Sony showed some awesome stuff, with no huge setbacks, but nothing insanely impressive. Nintendo actually wowed me a bit with the Wii U and what they're thinking about doing with the controller, and the 3DS line-up for this year alone looks very nice. But there's far too little for console gamers until fall of next year. But, after much consideration, I have to give it to...


Even though I'm a huge fan of the company, I was as objective as possible (I do realize I can't be entirely so) when deciding this. The fact of the matter is, Nintendo's killer software wins once again for me. Don't get me wrong, Sony's games look nice, even Microsoft had some potential killer apps in there, but Nintendo really came through showing an impressive line-up for 3DS in 2011, and laying the groundwork for amazing Wii U titles (the huge third party support shown for that definitely helps). So, just like last year, The Big N does it again for me in 2011.

I know it's common place for writers to say this at the end of articles, but I mean it: I'd love to see your comments regarding the winner for you, and whether you agree or disagree with my comments. Thanks!

Bonus: Zelda for Wii U.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What I Am Looking Forward to From E3

Admittedly I don't get too excited about E3, most of the stuff that is shown is usually a year or so away but there are always a few things to get eager about prior and I thought I'd make a list of the 5 things I'm very eager to see more of this year.

5 Things I Want to See At E3

- Upcoming 3DS games both carts and downloads

With the 3DS Virtual Console and Ware service due to come online this week (I believe), we could see the 3DS start shifting into gear as far as games goes as the system so far has started slowly. Not only that I want to see more information on new games that like Paper Mario 3D as well as brand new titles. We'll probably see more of Star Fox and Metal Gear Solid 3DS.

- Project Cafe

Despite posting that speculative spec sheet I'm taking everything with a grain of salt until we actually get to see the thing. It'll be interesting to see what is true and what is false and hopefully Nintendo can give us something we can all love.

- Skyward Sword details

I must know when this game is going to be released. The wait is killing me.

- The Last Guardian and Ico/SotC HD info

I'm a big Team ICO fan and their follow up to Shadow of the Colossus has me itching to get to play it. But information has been sparse, especially release details. I was hoping that by now the Ico/SotC HD Collection would already be out but that was also indefinitely delayed. Sure I have both on the PS2 but playing them up scaled will be fantastic.

- American releases for The Last Story and Xenoblade

The one thing that has really frustrated me and Nintendo fans is NoA's apparent lack of interest in at least bringing over games that the, for the lack of a better word, hardcore fans would appreciate. With the Wii obviously on its last legs having these two games and Skyward Sword would make the death at least a graceful one.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Featured Artist: Raul Henrique

I found a great video game cover artist from Brazil on youtube recently, and he's critically undersubbed! I'll show you a few of the songs that he's covered to give you an idea of what he's capable of.

Donkey Kong Country - Fear Factory
(This is the one I found when searching to listen to this DKC song, excellent isn't it?)

Earthbound - Pokey Mean Business
(Hooray! An Earthbound cover!)

Chrono Trigger - Tyrano's Lair

Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow - Champion Battle

Super Mario World - Castle Theme

Well, what do you guys think? He has some growing musical talent, that's for sure. Like I said, he's critically undersubbed, so if you have a youtube account, go subscribe to him!


He thanked me for making the article about him and asked if I wanted him to cover any video game music, so I suggested the title theme to Ecco: The Tides of Time, check it out!

He told me not to expect much, but I think he did pretty well, don't you think?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Trailer Thursday: Metal Gear Solid 3DS

Metal Gear Solid 3 was one of my favorite PS2 games and, like OoT, it'll be great to have a game like this portable. Plus the little something extra at the end is fantastic.

Also I plan on actually putting up a post that takes effort this weekend. I promise.

Thursday's Video Game Tunes #1

The only good thing about Thursday is that tomorrow is Friday. So to make the wait for the seemingly-so-close weekend, every Thursday starting today, three random video game songs that I like will be shared for all to see. There's no category or restriction for these songs; except that they have to be awesome in my opinion. Enjoy today's batch!

Metroid Prime - Result Screen

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition - Scumm Bar

Donkey Kong Country Returns - Golden Temple

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Songs that should be in Rock Band: Everclear

Crap! Sorry guys! I forgot about this week's 'songs that should be in rock band' article for Tuesday! (I also forgot about a couple of assignments I needed to turn in yesterday for my online college classes... I'm so forgetful this week!)

This week's article is featuring the band Everclear. There's not any real particular reason I'd like to see them in Rock Band, it's just... well... it's another band that I thought I would see more support for by the Rock Band community. I mean seriously, Green Day gets their own freaking game and we get nothing from these guys? I know I'm mixing genres by saying that, but still! Sigh... anyways... Everclear gives me a sense of well... being in California. I do reminisce often about the times I've had there when I was a teenager... sigh...

So yeah, the two songs I chose to feature in this article are 'Father of Mine' and 'Santa Monica.' I don't have much to say about the lyrics in the first song because I have a great relationship with my dad, but I do love the way the song sounds. As far as 'Santa Monica' goes, you can probably tell why it reminds me of being a teenager in California. I've actually been to Santa Monica too. It's a pretty beautiful place.

Zelda-Nation: Zelda Parody starring Taco Man

Okay I admit it, I'm a tad obsessed with Taco Man and his wacky antics but this was brilliant. Plus it gave me an excuse for to do another Zelda-nation post. So score. It also doubles as a Captain N: The Game Master parody.

Wednesday WTF: Taco Man Plays Rise of the Robot

Who is Taco Man? He is a And he plays video games. Sometimes they are good, most of the times terrible. Seriously Club Drive for the Jaguar? Ewww. In this one he plays the terrible mid-90s fighter Rise of the Robots. It garnered hype for its graphics and the most foul of hatred for pretty much everything else.

After watching Taco Man play this video game watch him play other games. And have fun fun fun!