Archive for April 24th, 2013

, | Games podcasts

Yamatain_stand-off

McMaster, Nick, Tom, and Vickie discuss whether to bring the monkey in Monaco, who is and isn’t a villain in Tomb Raider, action RPGs that are and aren’t Diablo 3, and some tower defense game McMaster can play at work. Also the latest on whether there were elves at Helm’s Deep, advances in pizza delivery technology, and Lombaxes in cinema.

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, | Games

iwata

Is there anything more predictable than executive moves after an underperforming fiscal year-end report? Nintendo published their disappointing FY2013 report today, but in a surprise move, rather than following it with firings and replacements, they announced promotions. Yay!

Tatsumi Kimishima, current chairman and CEO of Nintendo of America, will become Nintendo Co. Ltd. managing director and will assume the roles of general manager of Corporate Analysis and Administration, and general manager of the General Affairs Division. The current general managers are retiring as previously scheduled.

Global President Satoru Iwata will be promoted to take over as CEO of Nintendo of America and Reggie Fils-Aime will continue in his role as president and COO of NoA, reporting to Iwata.

The move will support the company’s unified global strategy, allow streamlined decision making and enhance Nintendo’s organizational agility in the current competitive environment.

There is speculation in the Japanese media that Iwata might resign from his position if Nintendo’s goals aren’t met in the next year-end report.

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, | Games

the_squid_and_the_whale

I made the mistake of not knowing enough about Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine before playing it and therefore thinking it was just a game where you move dudes around levels to collect coins, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. I’d played one of those recently on Xbox Live. It was pretty awful. I don’t even remember the name of it. It had bank robbers. You could give them hats and costumes and whatnot. I figured Monaco might be like that, but hopefully not awful.

Little did I know Monaco is the game I had hoped Introversion was going to make before they cancelled Subversion, their ambitious heist game about characters with different abilities getting into levels and then getting out again. And now here it is, but not from Introversion. It’s like Hotline: Miami, but with more gameplay and nearly just as much style.

I love how differently Monaco’s characters play. You’ll probably think any given character is overpowered at some point. At first, it was The Cleaner who I thought was overpowered for how he can sneak up behind guards and bean them. Most of the other characters need to find a weapon. Now it’s The Hacker, who can get a swarm of viruses crackling along the level around him without even hacking computers. Just get him to the wall outlets and he’s good to go. He’s a pet class! Speaking of pet class, maybe The Collector is overpowered for how his monkey Hector will automatically collect coins in the area, which directly pumps up your score. The scoring system records the time it takes you to finish the heist, but it adds a time penalty for all the treasure you didn’t get. That’s where Hector takes up the slack. Yeah, I’m going to say The Collector and his monkey Hector are overpowered.

But what I think I love most is the sense of discovery with the various missions and levels. Introversion’s game was going to feature procedurally generated office buildings, which sounds like about the most boring heists you could ever have. But Monaco’s imaginative locations are so lovingly built, with so many affectionate touches, and their own sense of flow. Take a look at that oceanographic museum above, which is rendered as a drawn map when it’s not in your line of sight. You know you want to see what’s under those labels.

Monaco: What’s Your Is Mine is out today for the PC. The Xbox 360 release has been delayed for an unspecified reason.

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, | Games

next-xbox

Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb sends word that Microsoft will hold the next-gen Xbox press event on May 21st at 10 AM PST on the Redmond campus. The event will be livestreamed on Xbox.com, through your Xbox 360 console, and Spike TV.

On that day, we’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future. Then, 19-days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, we’ll continue the conversation and showcase our full lineup of blockbuster games.

This is it folks! Will the rumors be true? Is the future of Xbox gaming an always-online required, no used games, TV streaming, mandatory Kinect hellscape? Will the console still require a Gold subscription to get anything done? Time to find out if I’m going to become a PS4 owner for the next-gen.

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, | Games

incoming_patch

The patch that Playstation 3 owners have been enjoying in Skullgirls since last November is finally impending for those of us whose fightsticks are for the Xbox 360. If you have any intention of playing Skullgirls in the next few weeks, don’t read these patch notes. It’s basically a list of “well, no point playing until this stuff is implemented” changes. Of particular interest to me are reworked character-specific tutorials with strategy advice. Of particular interest to anyone playing is the dramatically tweaked gameplay.

That said, I really wish Skullgirls had more single player oomph. As much as I love the characters — Peacock was my pick for favorite character design of 2012 — it’s going to be a tough transition jumping back into vanilla versus matches againt the AI after spending time with Injustice’s generous bag of single-player shenanigans.

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, | Games

stadium-events-

One of the most valuable videogames ever made was purchased in a North Carolina Goodwill store over the weekend for $7.99. An english copy of Family Fun Fitness: Stadium Events was found by an anonymous woman that was bargain-hunting. Only about 200 of Bandai’s 1987 NES Stadium Events cartridges were ever sold making it one of the rarest games on the market. In fact, the North American run of this game was so small that it was only ever shipped to Woolworths in the North-East part of the United States.

Unopened cartridges of the game have been valued at $38,000. The North Carolina copy of Stadium Events is currently up for auction on GameGavel for $12,000 because it shows signs of use, although a more worn copy was auctioned on the same site for almost the same amount so it is expected that this will close with a higher final bid.

I love old-school videogames, but $12,000 for Stadium Events? Does this even give you any cool Achievements? Where’s the DLC?

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, | Games

nintendo-DS

Pour one out for the Nintendo DS. The dual-screen powerhouse is being put out to pasture by Nintendo. Retired. In Nintendo’s most recent year-end financial report, it was revealed that production has been stopped and no new units will be manufactured. 153.87 million units were shipped over its total lifetime! That’s a lot of hand cramping!

We’ll always have Pokemon, little guy!

In related news, the fiscal earnings results were a bit grim. Nintendo posted a $366 million operating loss for the year citing slow sales and the depreciation of the yen. The 3DS and the Wii U missed sales projections. In both cases, Nintendo cited scheduling gaps of compelling software in overseas markets as a factor that hindered sales.

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, | Games

here's_looking_at_you

The RPG/shooter E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy might be best summed up as “What if Deus Ex had an even worse interface, full co-op, a metaphysics-punk setting, and required twitch skillz?” It’s vast and weird and often inscrutable. The fact that it’s made in France might have something to do with it. There’s nothing quite like it.

It’s also nearly two years old and now getting DLC. Blood Games adds four new single-player/co-op areas and a capture-the-flag mode that, uh, looks a bit overwhelming. So basically you respawn a lot? Since the scoring is based on each team having a limited pool of resurrectors, that makes sense. You can apparently hack away some of the other team’s resurrectors. More capture-the-flag games need hacking. If only there were terminals on the bottom floor of the Facing Worlds towers! More info here.

Also, Blood Games is free.

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