Monday, January 30, 2012

Omastar Comics #33

He's back and more spirally than ever. In this edition of Omastar Comics. Well you'll see soon enough.

Honestly, these newer Pokemon don't even know they are born. Just wait until you've been reeled out for over 100 spin off games, merchandise and theme parks. Then you'll lose that racist attitude.

Nintendo Channel: Now Showing

Nintendo Channel: Poor Showing would be more apt. We log into the Wii's Nintendo channel every week and see what is on offer so you don't have to! This week's poor showing is:

  • Something about Resident Evil Revelations. I'm sure it is great (well reviews don't say it is that great) but I'm a little bit underwhelmed by Capcom's marketing output. Ooooooh it has a chaptered structure. Great it has a cast that is beginning to rival Sonic in terms of blandness and breadth! If I wasn't a Resident Evil fan those two points aren't exactly selling the series to me yet this is the second or third Nintendo channel clip of Capcom staff talking about those two very very dull things.
  • Another pointless Player Challenge video for Mario Kart 7. We whinged about them before
  • There's a new weekly downloads trailer. I don't know about you but Balloon Kid, Double Bloob, Successfully Learning Mathematics Year 3 and The Very Hungry Caterpillar's ABCs are really setting my world on fire. 
So, a very poor show indeed. Am I the only one watching this channel? We've said many times in the past how the Nintendo Channel is a completely wasted opportunity. It is a direct tube from the company to the consumer and what does it say when the best they can offer is the above selection of videos?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Final Fantasy VII: Revisited

As I mentioned earlier, I played through FF7 with some nice mods, to increase the quality of the graphics and such. There were some other mods to break the 9999 limit on everything, allowing you to deal over 9999 damage, and your HP could be over 9999 too. however enemies could also hit you for over 9999. and the most fun one was "Aeris Resurrection" the guys over at created a little patch to keep her in your group and to allow you to keep using her and the time you invested in her, they even added dialogue for her during the rest of the game and a hand new upgrade to her "ultimate weapon" replacing the Aeris ghost scene when revisiting the church later in the game. Done really well!

I thoroughly enjoyed replaying it, remembering 99% of the secrets and locations. I even bested Emerald and Ruby Weapon, though cheaty... I used Aeris level 4 limit break which renders you invincible for the duration of a battle, but still, I wasnt really in that game for the long haul being that I had done it before.Speaking of "the long haul" one thing i remembered being soul crushingly horrible, was chocobo breeding. But no longer! It took me no more than an afternoon of racing and breeding to get the gold chocobo... admittedly i also had the TV running to keep me going but i swear doing that last time seemed to take a lifetime.

Game is done now... whupped it's ass. What next? I'm thinking of doing FFIX, one which i missed out on or maybe X its been a ling time...

Love and W-Summon Knight's of Round, Mime, Mime,

Richie X

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

GAME: Still dillusional

Previous whinging here. Today's developments are that GAME CEO sees their continued slide into financial troubles caused by the groups overeliance on hardware and hardware bundle sales to mean consumers want more hardware. Via MCV:
"The hardware market was much more negative than the software market. That tells you the industry and the consumer is ready for more innovation there"
Here we were staring at our Wii*, 3DS** and Xbox 360*** thinking we were waiting for new decent games to come out. Apparently, what we were secretly thinking was "Gosh! I would love to splash out a couple of hundred quid on a new console that provides marginally better graphics in these times of economic shitness". And I'm sure that the millions of people with consoles sitting under their televisions are thinking the same thing. You called it CEO Ian Shepherd, King of poor retail management and myopic business sense. 

* Oh sorry I forgot, Last Story is due out this year and Pandora's Tower. Those mass market titles are bound to fly off the shelves and tide those billion Wii owners over until Wii-U comes out.

** We don't have a 3DS. Precisely because there are no new games for it worth playing.

*** Is there even anything to look forward to on the Sexbox this year? Computer says no.

Monday, January 23, 2012

That Resident Evil 6 trailer

Oh my god you guys, watch this:
 THIS IS DISGUSTING. Capcom should be ashamed of themselves. Did they not learn from Resident Evil 5? This trailer is so racist. 

 1) First of all this game is telling four year olds (everyone knows that four year olds play these games) that it is okay to shoot white men who are world leaders. Could've made the president black or a woman or a black woman. But no. A white guy. Disgusting. Don't they know that this kind of imagery (people shooting white presidents) is charged with history? 

 2) It is racist against white presidents who wear glasses. Ut oh, I'd watch out if I were you Giorgio Napolitano cos come 2012 there's gonna be a whole bunch of racist four year olds trying to shoot you up in the face/eyes. 

 3)All the zombies are white ironically, including a jumping zombie. Don't they know that this kind of imagery (white people shooting jumping white people) is charged with history? Capcom just assumes all gamers are asshats who sit F5ing Kotaku. We've read the history book and the American Civil War, London Riots and the Syberian-Croatian war when white people had a fight in a genocide is still fresh in our mind. Here's an image from Wikipedia showing how horrific it was:
Yeah, now you see how sick and charged with history the imagery in that trailer is. 


 5) All the main characters are white guy douche bags with douche bag jackets (except Chris and Ashley). Is that the message we want to send out to four year olds? Don't they know that this kind of imagery (douche bag clothing) is charged with history? Not to mention that this is also racist. Don't the black guys get to wear douche-wear? 

 6) SPOILERS okay we all know that Sheva (that nude cheat again is here) dies at the end of Resident Evil 5 but why isn't she in this one. Aside from the colour of her skin she is basically a white woman so that's extra racist points for Capcom. Don't they know that this kind of imagery (non-returning confusingly accented female characters) is charged with history? 

 7) It should be RESIDENT EVIL 7 ALREADY. Jeez. 

 I don't know about you but I am pirating this game right now. After I pirate it, I'm going to print it out and then burn it in racist disgust. Word on the forums is that N'Gai Kroal is coming out of retirement specifically to get outraged at the historically charged content in this last trailer.

Friday, January 20, 2012

That's How You Do A Black Out

No new posts for nine days. None of this half arsed one day business. Take that SOAP. 

In other news: ALL GAMES ARE THE SAME. Totally homogenised. There's nothing to even be excited about anymore just mindlessly going through the motions of playing new game X which is exactly like all the games you already played last year. Not even a 'trailer' for Resident Evil 6 can get us excited considering that only 1/3 of us played RE5 and none of us have a 3D(NO GAMES)S to play the other two Resident Evil games. Fortunately there is star shuttle to tide us over.  

Tsssssssssshhhhhh (bottom thruster) 
Tsssshhhhhhh (right thruster) 
Tshhh tshhh tshhh (Left, top then right thruster) 
Tsshhhhhhh (top and front thruster) 
TSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHH (All thrusters in thrustration) 
Tsh (Top and back thrusters)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Resident Evil Operation Blah Blah Blah

Okay so we're a teensy bit worried that REORC is messing with the Resident Evil format but this video is kinda cool. I'm just a bit disappointed that it wasn't the Nemesis who appears at the end but what you gonna do? Oh and German subs so might learn some German.

Game continues to slide...

If you live in or have traveled through London you will have no doubt encountered discarded newspapers on tubes, in the street and in lunch and common rooms across the capital. If you are lucky you might find yourself with the Evening Standard or the Metro to help lunch/train/bus journeys fly by a bit quicker. If you are unlucky it will be City A.M. a boring newspaper about the city and stocks and graphs and FTSEs. However, recently I've not minded flicking through City A.M if only to follow the slip slide of GAME group into liquidation (possibly). In today's City A.M some goon from GAME group was blaming the lack of a new console cycle as a cause of their poor success. Okay, so I know very little about economics and markets and stocks and shares but I'm going to go out on a limb to say that it is pretty retarded to rely on the console cycles in order for the business to stay afloat. In the same week that sales of the Wii have topped 30 million across Europe you'd think somebody at GAME might have clocked on that actually selling games to all those with consoles in their home might be a lucrative business.

It doesn't help that consoles are still quite expensive. At retail Wii bundles are £100, Xbox360s are £150-200 and the PlayStation 3 is still over £200. So if, as purportedly is the case with GAME, you know that new consoles might not be coming around as quickly as they have done in the past (five years per generation is often quoted but actually it isn't as straightforward as that) then as a retailer you need to do your upmost to encourage people to buy games. For the Wii that's encouraging people to buy an extra three full price games a year, the same for the Xbox and up to six games for the overpriced PS3. I don't know about the attachment figures for each of the consoles but I suspect that 3 is way too high. Six is definitely too high and even then GAME would be having to offer a hell of a better retail experience than they are at the moment to encourage people to unload already stretched wallets on games. Especially as it seems that most people are getting their gaming kicks (albeit shallow gaming kicks) from their smart phones. 

From my experience, customer service borders mediocre/awful in terms of friendliness, knowledge and the atmosphere (broken demo pods, smell of boys in the morning, dirty shops and GAME radio) in the shops. The range of games is also very poor, the red carpet is rolled out for the big releases but I've been into GAME on launch weeks of less renowned franchises to find they don't have the games. On occassion, like some kind of caveman I have walked to a physical shop with a hard copy list and some real money in my pocket looking to buy not-obscure highly acclaimed games and been forced to walk away empty handed. Not because the games were to expensive (I'm happy to pay a bit more to be able to play games straight away rather than wait for them to ship) but because they weren't stocked. And I'm a hardcore gamer who knows what they want. If GAME can't even serve a customer like me I'm sure most 'casual' gamers are left confused or disappointed with Carnival Games and the like. Furthermore, Amazon almost always beat game on price and has a significantly broader selection particularly for games older than a month. As far as I can make out, GAME hasn't been in the PC market since the late 90s and has done nothing to combat the spread of Steam (Steam hitting over 5 million concurrent users just last week). Another strategy of insidious- limited/collectors/special game editions hardly appeals to the masses either by bumping up the price of games by double or even more for an extra piece of gaming tat .
It could have been different IMHO. Game could have cottoned on to the expansion of the gaming market and made their stores more of an 'experience' like the Apple stores for example. For those who don't live and breath video games discerning what is good or bad can be an incredibly daunting task. This is something almost universally taken for granted in the video game online community. Sadly, some people turn up to a GAME store thinking they are the best placed to find great gaming experiences. We all know it isn't. I think GAME could have completely rethought their stores to cater to the wider market and helped match people who picked up a Wii for Wii Sports or an Xbox for Kinect or a PS3 for Singstar/Dance Party etc with other games that they might really enjoy but otherwise weren't aware of by retraining their staff,  reorganising their stores and especially rethinking how they stock games. HMV also seems to be struggling at the moment and they have a near comprehensive range of music and movies (younger readers might not remember the days when you'd have to specially order music from virtually any act that wasn't currently in the charts). 

As I've said before, I will be sad if hard copy physical video game shops drop off the high street. Partly because I like the feeling of being an upstanding citizen and buying things in a shop that might help our every growing and healthy economy. I also struggle with believing that gaming is legitimate, this won't help if we have to resort to using online retailers all the time (think of the other things you can only order online- sex dolls, dungeon equipment, dodgy pharmaceuticals). It somewhat buries the culture again, doubly important considering that arcades have virtually disappeared too. Lastly, whilst games continue to be boxed products at least, I am particularly fussy about the quality of a boxed game (new or preowned). If I buy it in a store, if I am not happy I know where to go to uphold my rights as a consumer. Online, you aren't always guaranteed these rights particular in the second hand market. 

-----THE END-----

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Windows 8 and Gaming

I have been messing about with windows 8 recently. Just to see its compatibility with older games and just the general feel of it.

Windows 8 upon start up presents you with a slide-to-unlock screen akin to the Windows Phone, though entirely pointless if you are not using a touchscreen (though a simple tap of the space bar works just as well, if not faster) you are then presented with an "app" screen. Its not too dissimilar to the windows phone or 360 interface, and feels a little iOS too, though it's debatable as to whether this is a good thing on a desktop/laptop:

As you can see this is your typical workspace, undoubtedly designed for a touchscreen interface. You have apps (which when clicked on/tapped expand into their own fullscreen versions) as you can see, there is an inbuilt twitter/RSS/Weather and the Facebook app "Socialite" doesn't work currently.

Those with keen eyes will also see Final Fantasy VIII! Well I just dug out my old copy of it and installed it to see what it ran like. And it's fine, its no different from windows 7 in fact, upon clicking it you are taken to windows 7 desktop for it to launch. And there in lies my grumbles with Windows 8. It is just a wrapper. the desktop is just Windows 7 and given this is an OS for Laptops and Desktop PCs, the desktop is where you will spend most of your time, with one crippling annoyance; NO START MENU. That's right if you are working on the desktop and you click the "start menu" button in the bottom-left, or press the windows key you are taken to the app menu screen. Which is annoying, say you want to get to 'My Documents' you click start then from the app screen you select Windows Explorer, which takes you back to the Desktop. Don't get me wrong it's seamless, and instantaneous, even on older hardware, but feels long winded.

However I digress a little. Look at me talking about operating systems and such... This is a gaming site, and not only that, the second greatest gaming blog of all time. What will this mean for games? Well in all likely-hood 2-3 days extra development time to create prettier animated icons on the app page which show character stats etc. And well for those of you who are keener eyes, from the pic above you would see "Store" button. The windows 8 store is not open yet, but when it does you can bet most of the Windows Phone games will be there, Plants vs Zombies, Angry birds etc. But what about the 360 ones? Will we see RE4 HD remake? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say, No. These are games designed for the 360 with a controller in mind, I highly doubt they will be converted/ported for PC and PC controls (and I appreciate that RE4 did come out for the PC, this may have been a bad example, but well, fuck you, we are a resident evil site at heart) And similarly, you would think it would work both ways? If you could somehow buy Diablo III through the windows store, would you be able to play it on the 360? Nope. As much as these systems are homogenizing their will be different platforms (for now... Who knows what wonders the new MS console will bring)

Love and Chocobo World,

Richie X

Sunday, January 08, 2012

2012 Nintendo Channel: Now Showing

It's our first look at the Wii's Nintendo Channel in 2012 (here is all the previous Now Showings). What will the hit-and-miss Nintendo channel bring this year? Our money is on- inconsistent videos, series that inexplicably end after one or two videos and in general poor use of an otherwise extremely well placed marketing tool. So what do we have?
  • Bizarrely, Nintendo TV the monthly show from the Official Nintendo Magazine, has been reset back to episode one again for the new year. There's now a woman presenter rather than that Welsh chap but sadly it seems the script writer hasn't changed. Expect cringey dad-joke "humour" in spades. One improvement in this awful ONM vehicle is that the episode is now divided up into different sections. Hopefully this means we won't get quite so many Mario/Zelda retrospectives/love letters.
  • There's two tutorial videos up for Boom Street, Nintendo's odd Dragon Quest/Mushroom Kingdom/Monopoly game. The trailers are very boring and the games looks hugely complicated. I don't know if these trailers will have the same effect on everyone else as it did me but actually, the slow tutorial videos have endeared the game to me a bit more. There seems to be a bit more depth here than in say Wii Party or Pac-Man Party (both fine party games in their own right).
  • Once again, there's a new oddball series that has appeared on the channel. We'll see how long it lasts. There are currently nine Player Challenge videos up, videos showing high scores (quite who has decided they are high scores is a mystery. Are they the world's best bona fide Guinness World Records? ONM's best? Or the best they could do for this series?) for games ranging from Wii Play Motion, Mario Kart 7, The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword and Xenoblade Chronicles. Each video ends with the words "YOUR TURN" but this doesn't seem to be an official competition. There's no submission details, however, this week a second Daisy Cruiser 2 Mario Kart 7 video has popped up suggesting that it is a competition so perhaps there is somewhere that viewers can submit their times (although not everyone has access to video capture technology). Some of the videos are quite cool. In particular, the Xenoblade Chronicles videos offer challenges that are a bit different but we'd be surprised if this series of videos didn't just end in a couple of weeks like so many of the Nintendo Channel series have done in the past. 
Whilst you're on the Wii there's still plenty of other regular features to check out:
  • Mario Kart Wii competitions continue to keep going and there's always time trials to compete in. Once again we'd like to take this opportunity to bemoan a good idea that Nintendo have had that nobody else seems to have bothered with. Only a handful of Wii games including Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit Plus have implemented the feature of having their own special Wii channel, I don't know if this is because Ninty doesn't let other companies have their own channel or what. However, I feel compelled to take part in the competitions and time trials because little icons appear on the Mario Kart channel as little reminders/devices to guilt trip you into playing. It's a tiny thing, but without those little reminders I probably wouldn't have taken part in quite so many competitions of TTs. My current TT record is 130 wins- 28 losses and it is crazy how many new lap and race records I'm still getting after all this time. 
  • Everybody Votes I very much doubt if everyone does vote but the quircky polling continues with surprising surveys that I think somebody somewhere should be archiving. For example did you know that Japanese people are four times more likely to be carrying tissues with them than Americans? Or did you know that the majority of people form Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and the Shetland Isles think that the end doesn't always justify the means but in the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man Wii owners resolutely think that the ends do justify the means? You don't see this kind of ethnographic insight on the Xbox 360 now do you?
  • Contests are still rolling on the Mii Contest Channel. A testament to the design of Miis that five years after launching there's still a huge community of people still tinkering with miis and creating some  truly amazing designs. Without fail every time I visit the posting plaza I end up importing a couple of miis normally so I can play around to see how some of them were created. A couple of months ago some idiot from ONM was complaining about games that still let you play as miis because this feature is "old". I think the appeal of miis to the mainstream market shouldn't be underestimated.
  • Wiiware demos. It isn't clear whether demos are or aren't being actively promoted on Wiiware or not and frankly the easiest way to find demos is not the most obvious. I'd like to see the figures for demo downloads because they are completely hidden on the Nintendo shop channel. Currently, the demo for FAST-Racing League is still up and there's new demos for Gnomz, MotoHeroz and Paint Splash which is probably exactly how I'm going to spend the rest of my Sunday. Peace.