Saturday, 3 October 2015
Wednesday, 23 September 2015
The NPD had some interesting stats just come out showing that kids 2-17 spend more time playing stuff on mobile devices than on consoles or PC. 63 percent of people in that age range spend the majority of their time on the platform. Moreover, they're even moving away from computers as their entry point into digital entertainment. To top it all off, the amount of money being spent on mobile by these kids is going up fast.
This brings some interesting questions as to where gaming could go in a decade from now. Will mobile remain the primary gaming platform when these kids become adults? Will they want something with more meat on their bones? Maybe they'll start making more robust mobile games to suit the more sophisticated tastes of adulthood? There are lots of ways this could go.
The writing has been on the wall for a while, though, that mobile gaming is going to be where a good chunk of society plays games in the future. Japan has already seen a huge shift there from stem to stern in their gaming industry. We have our big games here, but it feels a lot more fad-ish and a bit of a mess like the wild west, but I could see it becoming more unified and the quality of the games increasing as this cohort of kids grow up and some of them try to push the medium further.
Sunday, 13 September 2015
Looking back, it really is impressive to think just how much of a pull Super Mario Bros. had. It was a game that everyone wanted to play, and it even came packed in with the NES. Those are days long gone now where the only way a game comes with a console is for a specific promo deal. Looking back at the NES, it set the expectation for the time that consoles should come with at least one game. Nowadays, we'd have people moaning on Twitter or some such that they have to pay extra for a pack-in game that they don't want. "Why can't it be CoD or something, durr durr durr..." Back in the 80s, though, people were actually very happy to be getting Super Mario with their systems. There was a cheaper version of the console that didn't have a packed in game, but I never knew anyone who got that version of it. The game was just that much in demand.
This also makes me look back at other systems of the time and those to come later, as companies felt compelled to hop on board with the whole packed-in game trend. The Sega Master System in particular springs to mind, as I remember it coming with a few different games over its lifespan. During this time, Sega was still testing the waters in terms of what game should come with the console trying titles like Alex Kidd and Hang-On being packed with it at different times. It wasn't until Sonic the Hedgehog came along that we saw a lock for a Sega pack-in game, and even then it was pretty inconsistent with a lot of Genesis being sold without a game.
From this game onward, it's become one of Nintendo's most important and enduring franchises. Whether it was Super Mario 2 and 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario Land, Mario 64, Galaxy, or whatever, this was the game where everything got started and made people really give a damn about Mario and Luigi. Yes there was Mario Brothers before this game came along, but it was no where near the phenomenon that Super Mario Bros. became.
Now here we are 30 years later, and people still really care about Mario. The franchise has managed to stay quite entertaining with folks eagerly snapping up new games when they come along. We've seen the rise and fall of a lot of other series since the time Super Mario came along. Look at Sonic, look at Crash Bandicoot, look at Pac-Man, we could make a list as long as our arm of games Super Mario and its successors had to lock horns with, and three decades on Mario is still king of the hill. Who would have thought all those years ago when Super Mario Bros. first came out that this would be the case?
Thursday, 10 September 2015
It didn't take very long to get to level cap and start the loot farming / paragon grinding process, but then again it's been easy to do that for years in this game. Now, with a monk that is half way to being decked out in best-in-slot items, the class is really starting to appeal to me.
On the whole, monks are shaping up to be exceptionally powerful this season. Their Uliana gear set makes the Exploding Palm ability an absolutely devastating area of effect attack that can chain to kill a huge number of baddies at once. They're also doing a fantastic job as healers in group runs. Take someone who has geared for that role and it'll be very difficult to die under most circumstances unless you're pushing the absolute limits of Greater Rifts. Personally, I prefer to play solo, so have been going with the former.
Not only is it very effective, but it's also a lot of fun. There's something very satisfying about seeing a pack of several dozen monsters all with the palm icon hovering over their head, then doing Seven-Sided Strike and watching a huge explosion of bodies ripple across the screen. It makes the approach to a session one of positioning and hoping for dense packs of enemies, applying Exploding Palms, and then blowing them up.
Right now, I'm stuck waiting for gear to drop before any further progress can be made. What's needed more than anything else is a specific daibo for its legendary ability, as it will reduce the cooldown on one of my main abilities by 60%, which is huge as the thing is absolutely devastating. In that regard, it does showcase that players now have three more places that they need to worry about best in slot items so to get the most bang for their buck on a character. To that extent it means more farming while being at the mercy of random drops, waiting for just the right items, which has always been a big reason people play these games.
Nonetheless, it's proving to be an entertaining season thus far. While monks, witch doctors, and barbarians seem to be at the top of the heap right now, there's a lot of fun to be had across the board. My personal goal is to get the achievement for beating a level 60+ greater rift solo. The season has just started, so there's still plenty of time, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that I can pull it off.
Monday, 31 August 2015
|I think Chun-Li's been working out since the last game...|
With the release of the next major installment in the Street Fighter series approaching, that means hordes of special edition and pre-order bonus announcements. The PS4 version has the typical stuff like an artbook and a big ol' statue, but what caught my eye were the costumes folks will get depending where they pre-order the game from.
First of all, I hate when this happens and stores all wrestle for position with these things. As a consumer, I'd rather just get all of the stuff no problem. It's fine if I have to pay for it, just don't subject me to these shenanigans. In any case, some of these have turned out to be quite the alternate outfits.
|A newer, more rugged Ryu.|
By contrast, M. Bison and Cammy's costumes look downright sensible when compared to these two. Hopefully, the other costumes will just get tossed into a DLC pack down the road so people can enjoy what they like, but whatever the case, the Ryu and Chun-Li ones really stood out to me. Guess I'll have to start getting used to giant-thighed Chun-Li since I'll most likely be pre-ordering that version of the game...
|M. Bison looks downright sensible in that trench coat.|
|With her arm positioned like that, I'm not sure if Cammy is wearing any pants...|
There isn't a whole lot to go on so far with just a single web page saying this is all happening in the Winter. So, now is the time for speculation. Which games will we see appear on there? I'd assume we'll get Death Smiles, probably a Dodonpachi, maybe a Mushihimesama, and what about Akai Katana? I'm sure a lot of people would kill to see Ketsui come to Steam. On top of this, if the initial batch of games do well, will Cave consider porting some of their older titles? It would be nice to see Espgaluda, Dangun Feveron, or Progear get release, though with some of those games, they had outside publishers like Atlus or Capcom, so I'm not sure who owns the rights to the games and if any sort of legal wrangling would be in order if they were to get ported to PC.
In any case, something shump fans on the PC have wanted for a very long time is finally about to come to fruition. It took a while, but it's better late than never. All we can do now is wait and guess which games will get released first.
Saturday, 29 August 2015
Now Arena Net are dialing things back a bit. Anyone who is interested in playing Guild Wars 2 will no longer have to buy the core game. You could mosey on down to their site right now, create an account, download and install the game, and you're off to the races. This is probably in no small part because the game is getting a major expansion in the fall, and that players will still need to actually pay for if they want to experience it, but it's not a bad way to generate some hype for the game.
Making the core of GW2 free will in the very least revitalize the low level zones. If there's one thing that bugs me when hopping into an MMO late, it's plowing through all of the early areas and finding them dead. I may see the occasional other player wonder by but on the whole, it's tumbleweeds as I steamroll through content telling myself that things will get better at level cap a month or so later. Of course, that's assuming I make it that far, and don't just say, "Screw it" and stop playing because I've lost interest in the lifeless world sprawled out before me. With what Arena Net is doing here, it'll help alleviate this problem.
I was pleased to see that some limitations will be placed on the free version of the game, but not in an annoying, "If you want more, head to our in-game shop!" kind of way. These roadblocks are being implemented to make things difficult for RMT folks from spamming free accounts and bombarding the real player base with tells, as well as making it difficult for assholes to make a slew of smurf accounts then proceeding to troll higher level areas. I guess for the latter, if they're really dedicated dicks they can slog through the levels and do it anyway, but at least they're being slowed down a bit.
On the whole, I think it's not a bad way to go three years into the game. When an expansion comes along in an MMO, the core game's value declines as late comers largely want to get to the most up to date, relevant content as soon as possible. Why not just make the core game free, and charge for the expansion instead? It's taking things to an extreme, but it's perfectly viable. All the while, new players may well spend money at the in-game shop. There is tons of cash to be made from folks buying mounts, pets, cosmetic gear, and the like when it comes to MMORPGs.
Even today Guild Wars 2 is well worth a look. I haven't played it in a few months, but it's a game I do still like to pop into periodically. The sheer amount of exploration in each zone, platform puzzles, and departure from the trinity of tank, healer, and DPS have always appealed to me. If making the core game free will draw in more players, and maybe even retain them, so much the better. I'd like to see this game succeed well into the future.