Archives for category: Gaming

Nintendo has always been big on “innovation.” While the 3DS is not, at this point in its lifecycle, a success, the 3DS also has no great software. Or currently, and let’s hope that changes. Nintendo – more than any other developer –  should know that it is software that sells a system. The original Halo is the reason the Xbox 360 exists: without that game, the Xbox probably wouldn’t have sold enough units to make Microsoft stick around, considering Microsoft’s attitude towards abandoning things (for example the Zune HD). Think about it: what would the game industry look like had Microsoft pulled out of the running?

So Nintendo needs to bring guns. And this E3, I believe they have. Nintendo’s press conference was confusing, and focused too heavily on their new hardware, but they – albeit passively – made plenty of major software announcements, especially for the 3DS. And I think this will sell the system much more units than the Playstation Vita (PSV), Sony’s new weirdly-named handheld. Here’s why: universality. Look at the 3DS’s new lineup of games:

  • LoZ: Ocarina of Time
  • Super Mario 3DS (which I want to call Super Mario 128)
  • Paper Mario
  • Star Fox
  • Kid Icarus
  • Luigi’s Mansion 2
  • Mario Kart
  • Cave Story 3D
  • Pokemon 3DS (inevitably)
  • Super Smash Bros. 3DS (tentative title)

And for the Japanese market:

  • Dragon Quest
  • Final Fantasy
  • Kingdom Hearts: DDD
  • Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney

What does the Vita have so far?

  • Uncharted
  • WipEout
  • LBP
  • BioShock
  • BlazBlue

Most of the Vita’s games have the same PSP feeling to them: yes, there’s analog sticks and touchscreens, but there is still a focus on 3D realistic adventure games, stylistic racers and overly-detailed Japanese fighters, save for LBP (which suffers from inaccurate controls). This works for Sony’s market, but they aren’t as universal as Nintendo’s games. Anyone can play Zelda, anyone will enjoy Mario, Luigi’s Mansion, Star Fox, Pokemon, and even hardcore gamers have Cave Story, KH, FF and DQ. But there isn’t a Mario for Sony, which is why the DS sold much more units than the PSP worldwide.

Do I have numbers to support that claim? Regrettably, no. But I saw a kid in Palestine – Palestine – playing Pokemon on his DS, I saw people by the pool in Santorini playing Picross, I’ve seen multiple kids playing DS’s together in diners, at dinner, at the park. What haven’t I seen? PSPs. Anywhere. I’m sure Japan is Sony’s biggest buyer, but that isn’t enough to make up for the rest of the world.

It boils down to this: Sony needs a new software hit, or the Vita will suffer the same problems as the PSP.

Here’s what the new (?) Nintendo console looks like:

And here’s the controller:

To me, it just seems like Nintendo stuffed everything they could possibly think of on that controller, and up-rezzed the Wii graphics to HD to bring the system up to date. I’m sort of surprised that Nintendo didn’t show any actual game footage demonstrating the usefulness of the Wii U, which makes me wonder: Does Nintendo even understand their new system yet?

Hours ago at the Microsoft E3 Press Conference, Halo 4 was unveiled, along with the news of an entirely new trilogy of Halo games, confirming Halo 5 and 6 as well. Check out the trailer above, and below we’ll break it down for you.

The trailer starts with a beating heart. Cortana’s muffled voice can be heard in the background, urging the Chief to get up. The camera pans to his brain – he wakes up, realizes what’s happening, and jumps out of the cryo-chamber. For one of the only times in the series, Cortana calls the Chief by his first name, John, suggesting that their relationship is a lot closer considering the loneliness they faced at the end of Halo 3. The ship they’re on is exploding, presumably under attack, but from what? The Covenant are largely gone, with most of their religious drive gone after the events of Halo 3, and the Elites and Grunts have partnered with the humans. Then the Chief makes his escape, grabbing what looks to be a pistol – but then fires a grenade, blasting the door in front of him open. As he looks out, we see a closer view of the gun, which looks similar to the Halo 1 pistol but with a grenade attachment on the barrel of the gun. When the camera pans back, we see what is most likely the ship the Chief and Cortana were on at the end of Halo 3, and then – in the background – an enormous artifact (ship? the planet at the end of Halo 3?), whose center (loading bay?) opens up, and the trailer ends abruptly.

There are a number of questions this trailer raises, but most importantly: What will we fight in Halo 4? Since the Covenant have nothing to fight for and the Gravemind has been defeated, Halo 4 has to introduce a new enemy, a new plot arc, and answer deeper questions about the Forerunners and mythos of the Halo universe.


Since the last post I’ve fixed a lot of the bugs that came with going completely underwater, and now the first 3 levels of the Resort World are complete! I’ve got 3 more levels to go, then the boss, and then on to testing to make sure the difficulty isn’t too high. Also, the graphics will need some more oomph, so once all the levels are pretty much set in stone I’ll go back and add the finishing touches.

Today I take a look at Chillingo’s latest game, Storm in a Teacup for the iPhone, which goes for 99 cents on the App Store.

Storm in a Teacup is a physics-based platformer (what a surprise from the creators of Angry Birds) with polished graphics and sound design. In terms of art direction, the game tries its hardest to feel stylistically whole, but the style feels a bit off, like the game was thrown together in Photoshop. Plus, there’s annoying stickers everywhere, presumably desperate attempts at subliminally teasing the player into collecting more trinkets. In addition, if you take a look at the player’s character you’ll see it isn’t very consistent with the rest of the game. Here’s the low-down:

What to Like:

  • Physics puzzles
  • Smooth gameplay
  • Cuteness
  • Simplicity
  • Perfect for perfectionists
  • 99 CENTS MAN!!

What to Dislike:

  • Simple physics puzzles
  • Relies on pixel-perfect jumps a little too much
  • Cuteness
  • Conflicting art style
  • No story

While it was fun while it lasted, physics platformers are getting a little stale as of late. Chillingo seems to be experimenting here, just releasing small games with undeveloped (almost alpha-level) art styles in a search for the next Angry Birds.

The Rotting Cartridge gives Storm in a Teacup a THREE…. out of five.

Wow. All I can say is, “Wow!” Battlefield 3 is starting to look like a top tier game. Battlefield was always known as a great multiplayer experience, but here comes one that looks like it could have an entertaining campaign to compliment it. The graphics are absolutely out of this world. While I was quite unsatisfied with Battlefield: Bad Company, Battlefield 3 looks like it could revive the series for me. I don’t want to give away any spoilers for the video (so make sure you watch it!), but I will say that it’s the definition of action packed. It also looks rather realistic (whether that’s good or bad, we won’t find out until release).  Make sure you don’t let this game go under your radar, it’s almost definitely going to be a contender for Game of the Year. It’s supposed to hit shelves late 2011, no definite date as of yet.

Today’s Gaming Video of the Day is the trailer for Modern Warfare 3. It’s full of action, but possibly too much. Call of Duty is known for overdone campaigns with dull stories, but they’re always full of plenty of explosions, WHICH IS WHAT WE LIKE, RIGHT? Wrong. For once it would be nice to see someone actually spend some time on a Call of Duty campaign with a compelling story that people would actually want to follow and be a part of. Instead you get the same run of the mill story with predictable endings but plenty of BOOM! which is apparently all gamers care about. Who knew? But most people aren’t concerned about the campaign, the majority of Call of Duty players are in it for the multiplayer. Rest assured, I can almost guarantee you that this game will be loaded with the same mind numbingly dull multiplayer that the previous titles have had. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

This is part two of an x-part series summarizing the design of one of the greatest games of all time, SOTC. Part 1 can be found here.

Welcome back to Design Theatre! Today, we’ll take a look at how Shadow of the Colossus (SOTC) was designed in its first major sections of gameplay.

There are sixteen bosses in Shadow of the Colossus, each with a unique twist on the “stab its vitals” formula. The first boss, a giant wandering colossus with a club, is by far the easiest, only requiring the player to climb up its leg and stab its head to defeat it. However, at this early point in the game, the player doesn’t yet know they have to do this, and since the player has likely never faced something this large in a game before, they panic. The battle serves as a tutorial, teaching the player the fundamentals of how to defeat a colossus, without giving them all the answers. For example, it is hard to imagine that the latter bosses of the game require the player to utilize their environment in creative ways to defeat them, yet the goal – climb the colossus and stab it with your sword – remains the same. From this section we learn:

#5. In the beginning of a game, introduce a short-term goal that shouldn’t change for the duration of the game.

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A preview of RAGE, a first person shooter set in a post-apocalyptic world, finds its way on to our Gaming Video of the Day. RAGE looks like a fantastic game that really reminds me of Borderlands. The game features some devastating looking weapons, as well as some incredibly intelligent AI. I will let the video do the rest of the talking as I hit the replay button on my screen. This is sure to be a hit for gamers everywhere. It will release on September 13, 2011 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC. Enjoy and be sure to come back for tomorrow’s Gaming Video of the Day!