Confessions Of An Emulator…

2 12 2009
Piracy, emulation, file sharing. Three phrases that strike fear into the hearts of video game companies across the world. Blamed by some for the high price of games in today’s market, accused by many as the downfall of industry leaders such as SNK and yet celebrated by tens of thousands of gamers the world over, the topics surrounding gaining commercially released titles for free, are as many as their advocates and critics are passionate. It seems everyone that this microcosm of the internet affects has an opinion, yet we never hear from the people who are behind the (often very shady) scenes. MLG figured that this needed to change…

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There is a Legend, and it is of Zelda.

25 11 2009

by Wayne Shayler

There are many sounds which make me smile, and a few that make me laugh out loud.  However, there is one noise that generates a response in me, like no other, and I have just heard it coming from my TV in the living room.

The sound is my old friend Link, a boy garbed in green, opening another treasure chest – the very sound that warms my heart and cradles my soul and there is a new adventure coming, just in time for Christmas.  The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and that is all the information I need to make my purchase.

I don’t know why I love Zelda so much.  I’m quite  sure that I’ve only ever finished one of the many games available, but it still resonates with me as one of the greatest games series ever created.  Sure, it could be argued that they’re all predominantly the same game, re-hashed and re-skinned.  In fact, I would argue for that very point.  Like an old friend you’ve not seen for a while, with whom you strike up a conversation, and it’s like you’ve never been apart.  That is one of the reasons why for me, Zelda is  the king of the action RPG, but how would I cut it going up against the original title released in Japan in 1986?

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Mario Bros: The Ultimate Survival Horror Series

26 08 2009

Mario Ghost Survivalby xeroxeroxero

Someone once asked me to tell them what kind of game Metal Gear Solid was. Being a self-confessed Kojima zealot I replied ‘Well, it’s a post modernist epic in the guise of a stealth action adventure, exploring the limitations of the genre in which it’s presented and the stereotypes presented therein… Obviously’. ‘So…’ she asked, with a sigh, ‘it’s a shooter’. ‘No no no’ I cried, ‘it’s far more than that, besides, it’s more action adventure than shooter’. ‘Do you shoot people?’ She asked. ‘Well, yes but…’ ‘Then it’s a shooter’ she concluded. This got me thinking; how do we define our games and is it possible that we mis-represent our most loved titles? With that in mind, I’m going to put forward that the Mario Bros. games are some of the greatest survival horror titles ever produced. Read the rest of this entry »





The Death Of Video Games

19 08 2009
In 2008 the games industry was worth an estimated $22 billion, that’s a lot of dollars! When you consider that Hollywood in 2008 could only muster (a relatively paltry) $10 billion it’s truly incredible to see how far these ‘toys’ have come. With the CEO of Activision Bobby Kotick declaring recently that he would like to charge more for video games, is he actually in any position to do so? Is the video game industry infact headed towards an early demise?
It’s interesting to equate the state of video games today to the state of video games in 1983 – 84, the years in which the great video games crash took place in. When you line up events and circumstances from then and now, disturbingly distinct parallels can be drawn. For example, one of the main causes of the crash, quite simply, was ‘too many games, not enough buyers’; Anyone could publish a title for a relatively small amount of money, with cereal company Quaker Oats even getting in on the action at one point! With the rise of digital distribution, and the subsequent lower costs involved, we may see this happen again with the online retail space, spaces such as XBOX Live Arcade. It’s already happening with the iPod App Store, the largest complaint often levied at  iPhone gaming being that it’s easy for quality products to be buried amongst thousands of fart buttons, baby shakers, light sabres and other apps created to capitalize on the overnight success story that is Apple’s mobile phone effort. The same could be said of the Wii, it’s widespread popularity being met with cheap to produce minigame collections, product tie ins and quickly produced pet games turning off the ‘core gamer’ and disenfranchising the soccer mum. Without widespread consumer knowledge, picking a decent game off the store shelf from the tides of shovelware produced is almost entirely hit and miss for a large portion of the game buying public. As with the situation in the age of Atari, you can only break a consumer’s trust so many times before the medium is seen as gimmicky and faddish, creating an economic vacuum when their money is spent elsewhere. As gamers we think it’s incredible that titles like Mario Kart DS constantly makes the worldwide top 10 sellers lists, but honestly, what else would you buy for a system that is abundant with poorly designed cash-in products? After a while, everyone who is going to buy Mario Kart will have done so, move on, and interest will begin to die out in it’s host platform unless there is a new product to take it’s place, just like the Wii is currently experiencing.
On the other end of the spectrum, as I mentioned in my previous article, many analysts believe game production costs are set to rise dramatically over the coming years. The recently bankrupted GRIN studios are testament to how, with just a handful of ill received products, these spiralling costs can destroy a companies financial standing. What with this and when the money from the lucrative and fairly new ‘casual’ market dries up, the industry sets to be a lot smaller than it currently is…
As a result of the crash in ’83, Nintendo fiercely limited companies to relasing just 5 games a year for it’s Entertainment System, wanting to avoid this situation from being repeated. Ironic then when you take a quick look at how many Guitar Hero games have been, or are being, released this year for just Nintendo’s current home platform; Guitar Hero 5, Smash Hits, Van Halen, Metallica, all published by just one company. And which company is that? Bobby Kotick’s Activision. With this amount of saturation in just one of the most popular franchise series of all time, it’s easy to see why rhythm action games are losing popularity amongst gamers. 1st person shooters, 3rd person adventures, MMOs, puzzle games, casual games; all of these and many more genres are experiencing a glut of titles, all competing for your money, in exactly the same way as music games, in exactly the same way as 26 years ago.
Right now interactive entertainment is riding a wave of popularity it hasn’t seen since the ‘Golden Age’ of home consoles, but how bright is the future of video gaming? Will the mistakes made a quarter of a century ago, that are being made now, have their effects repeated? More importantly and most pressing, can the industry survive another crash?

gametombstone

by xeroxeroxero

In 2008 the games industry was worth an estimated $22 billion, that’s a lot of dollars! When you consider that Hollywood in 2008 could only muster (a relatively paltry) $10 billion it’s truly incredible to see how far these ‘toys’ have come. With the CEO of Activision Bobby Kotick declaring recently that he would like to charge more for video games, is he actually in any position to do so? Is the video game industry infact headed towards an early demise? Read the rest of this entry »





Oh Miyamoto, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

18 06 2009
Nintendo's Wii, currently the best selling console of this generation.

Nintendo's Wii, currently the best selling console of this generation.

by xeroxeroxero

Nintendo takes a lot of flack these days for their Wii wand waggling efforts, criticised by the gaming enthusiast for not having enough ‘real’ games, panned by critics for recycling old IP and ideas, and finally, even the Ninty die-hards are beginning to turn their back. Now I’m not going to try and tell you about how wrong everyone is, or how Nintendo is actually the saviour of gaming by cornering the casual market, but instead I want to put forward that in actual fact, Nintendo’s outlook on the industry has never changed, and perhaps we should look at how we now perceive games as the key factor in our disenchantment with the house that Mario built.

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Turning Japanese, I Think I’m Turning Japanese (or why I can’t play Call of Duty)

16 12 2008

by Wayne Shayler

japan

I like to think that I have a varied games collection, but as my hair gets greyer, my gaming tastes seem to be changing.

When the technical leap was made, from 2 dimensions to 3 dimensions, there was no longer any need to be able to see the character that I was playing.  We had arrived at the stage known as ‘First Person’ gaming where you saw through your character’s eyes. 

I had become the hero and I loved it.

It gave me a sense of immersion that I’d never had before.  Doom, Quake, Half-Life and of course, Goldeneye.  All classic ‘First Person Shooters’ that redefined what video games could be and are all quite rightly, highly revered forms of the genre.

The Japanese have always had a problem with shooters, especially the first person style, which is why Halo hasn’t taken off as a franchise in the Far East. They’ve always preferred third person games where you can see, and identify with your character.  I’ve never quite understood that philosophy, until now.

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The Way of Nintendo

13 12 2008

by Wayne Shayler

nintendo_gamecube_silver

These days, it is widely accepted that Nintendo has a licence to print money, but that hasn’t always been the case.  Even they couldn’t have been this optimistic with their sales forecasts for the Wii and DS.  After the Gamecube ‘failure’ of the last generation, which was a machine that I loved, I would want to wish them every success in this generation’s campaign.

Except they don’t need my good wishes.  They don’t need me to add to my massive collection of Gameboys, in every iteration.

In sales figures alone they have chewed up the opposition, spat them out and left them to survive on scraps by the wayside, and we may be approaching the third Christmas in a row with Wii shortages.  That amount of dominance is unheard of.  If anyone does deserves it though, it is my beloved Nintendo.  We have been through so much together.

So why do  I feel so down about it? 

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