In 1983, there was a crash. Not a stock market crash or a car crash involving someone noteworthy. But a crash in the videogame industry. People got tired of playing the figurative whack-a-mole of “Find The Good Game”, with the all too common chance of picking up a bad game, and simply gave up. Videogames to the common people became a fad, and like many fads, it came and went. However this event was mostly situated in North America, and more specifically within the console market. In Japan, videogames were just as healthy as ever. Arcades and consoles saw use and playtime everyday. Nintendo had released the Famicom home console in Japan. But North America would prove to be a different beast to conquer. However once that beast was tamed, it became a formidable ally. On this Retro Weekend, we reminisce about the Nintendo Entertainment System.
In what could be be described as sudden and profoundly saddening, Nintendo has announced that its current president, Satoru Iwata, has passed away. They explain in a very short message that his death was due to a bile duct growth. He had surgery to remove this growth last year, which concerned many since it meant that he would skip out on last year’s E3. Upon his return, it seemed like everything was fine and that the surgery was a success. That is until today when Nintendo told us the news. According to their “Notification of Death and Personnel Change of a Representative Director (President)” (PDF) document, Iwata had actually died last Saturday, July 11th, and waited until today to fully confirm the news and relay the message to the public.
The moment many among us saw that “Store For Rent” sign under Game Champ’s sign, we knew the end was near for the store. The question was “when?” Well, that end came yesterday when Game Champ announced it was the last day to shop at the store. The store underwent many changes inside throughout the years, with its beginnings having a cellphone side. Eventually that side was removed to stock more games, and eventually used games. They then added on to inventory by having anime DVDs, wall scrolls, figures, and skateboards. On the game side, the store stocked new games as well as retro games dating as far back as the NES. Quite a few times during my college years, I’d recommend people go there if there was a retro game they were looking for. One of them managed to find a Dreamcast game that had eluded him for a while. One of the best things about the place was the convenience of having a game store right in our own back yard. For many living in the southern Mott Haven section, myself included, the only place you could get your gaming fix was at the Game Express and GameStop both located at The Hub of 3rd Ave. That required either hauling ass up there or taking a bus. Once Game Champ opened, it was only a matter of walking around the corner.
So far news pertaining to Persona 5 has been pretty scant. The first trailer used chairs with ball & chains attached to them, with only the tagline “You are a slave. Want emancipation?” to go along with them. The second trailer showed a lot more, this time showing the main protagonist in a train heading towards the main city. Still, there wasn’t much we could go on except that whatever enemy was there showed up in the real world. So now we come to this, the first trailer to show gameplay as well as a lot more info than what the previous trailers were willing to let out. The quick cuts might be too much to take in or outright miss. So let’s break this down bit by bit.
Ever since its inception, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, or ESRB, has had the AO rating in its repertoire of ratings. AO, short for Adults Only, is a relatively rare rating to get with only 27 games ever getting the rating (now 28 with Hatred’s inclusion). Most of them get it for essentially being porn games, with very few getting it for violent acts and one getting it for real-money gambling. Unlike other rating boards around the world, the ESRB does not ban a game for having certain content nor does it refuse a rating (like the BBFC and Manhunt 2). However the AO rating is pretty much a kiss of death in the U.S. as no major retailer will carry an AO game (except maybe GameStop) and all three console manufacturers and Valve’s Steam (from what I’m guessing) don’t allow such games to be sold nor played on their respective services. This was back then when the only way to get your games was in brick and mortar stores.
But with the rise if digital storefronts, it’s now possible to release games with content that could be considered AO. On PC at least, while not rated, games like Katawa Shoujo and Monster Girl Quest probably wouldn’t see the light of day on Steam. And yet they have gained something of a healthy following. On top of this, those games are available directly from the developer’s/publisher’s websites. So in exchange for exposure, they get the freedom to sell whatever they want on their own terms.
So how exactly would games like these find a way on major storefronts like Steam or major consoles?
What transpired this week has been nothing short of chaotic and, personally, further enlightening of how I feel about the state of affairs regarding the gaming community and gaming journalism. As I write this, I’m still afraid of the repercussions that might be imposed on me, my staff, and everything we’ve worked on since 2011. So much so that I’m even afraid to name names. I’m not even tagging this article with the terms that it should be tagged in. Never before have I seen a single article be enough to take an entire website offline, and self-hosted no less. I expressed my concerns when this whole thing started blowing up, and that’s exactly what happened. Thankfully, the site has returned, but I can’t imagine how stressful it must be to see everything you worked on disappear because of something you said on a single article. This is the kind of thing the SOPA fiasco warned us about, where criticism and reporting, even at its most objective, would simply be wiped away because the subject(s) didn’t like what was being said.
There’s a steady pattern when it comes to 2D brawlers. You walk forward, some dudes show up, you bust some heads, and then told “GO”. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s been like this since the beginning, and almost unchanging. Sure you got the occasional extra move, super power, or RPG elements, but the core gameplay remains the same. Enter Senran Kagura Burst, a game that aims to deliver with fast-paced action and and bountiful plot. Does the game deliver a well-rounded experience, or does it deflate from the genre it is? Hit the jump to find out!
Some time after Nintendo’s Digital Event ended, they showed off the another contestant that’ll be joining the Mii fighters and Palutena. That contestant was Namco’s very own Pac-Man. Since Namco-Bandai is aiding in the development of SSB4, many suspected that Pac-Man’s inclusion was likely. In the trailer that followed the announcement, we saw that he’s not quite alone as he’s also bringing in tow few of Namco’s assets as well. So go ahead and refresh your memory with the trailer above, then hit the jump as we analyze some of the smaller references that you might’ve missed.
This’ll be somewhat bittersweet for European fans. Shin Megami Tensei IV was released in Japan and North America last year, and in both regions it was released in a long-box with a tribute CD containing prelude remixes of past mainline SMT games, a concept artbook with liner notes to said CD, and for — NA fans — a mini strategy guide that came part of the artbook. European fans were hoping for some sort of announcement about a release, sometime taking to the European Miiverse community for Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers. It was announced for Europe last year during a Nintendo Direct. Fans suspected that Nintendo of Europe would be publishing the game. Others thought it would be NIS America doing it due to a partnership between Atlus and NISA. But it looks like Atlus will be doing it themselves, and the only way to go is digital.
While they’re finally getting the game they’ve been asking for, they’ll be missing out on the extra goodies the other regions have gotten. On the bright side, most of us on the staff liked the game a lot, pretty much cracking into the top 5 games of 2013 for anyone that happened to play it (there were top 5s for each staff member). We don’t want to spoil much, but to our European readers that know their SMT, you still gotta know your buffs and debuffs, and early on learn to like the hell out of Blight. And watch out for “David”.
It’s been a long time coming, but Final Fantasy Type-0 is confirmed to be heading our way on the PS4. Previously known as Final Fantasy Agito XIII, Type-0 was released on the PSP in Japan only. Many fans asked for a localization, organizing a OpRainfall style campaign called Operation Suzaku. However due to the western market for the PSP being a virtual ghost town (among other, shady reasons), Square Enix didn’t budge. Fans soon came together to try and translate the game to English, and were successful in the endeavor. So far details are scarce as to what new feature this HD version will have. But fans can rest easy knowing that they can finally play the game.
The plot of Final Fantasy Type-0 is a lot darker than its earlier iteration when it still had its Agito name. The world, Orience, is divided by four nations. They are Rubrum, Milites, Lorican, and Concordia. The story follows Class Zero of the Fiefdom of Rubrum as they try to deal with the ongoing conflict between the nations. The gameplay is action based and played similarly to Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. The flow of gameplay is mission based, with Story missions to advance the story, and side missions for extra items, experience, and side stories. The game also has larger battles where you can control a whole army.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is set to released on the PS4. A release date is yet to be determined.
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Coming to PS4 [Playstation Blog]
In a move people may or may not have seen coming, Nintendo has announced that the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros. 4 will be playable via Gamecube controller adapter, revealed at the end of a trailer detailing the Smash Bros. Invitational tournament. Let’s talk about that first. The tournament will take place on June 10 in the Nokia Theatre and will go from 4:00PM – 6:30PM PST (7:00PM – 9:30PM EST). They’ll be streaming the tournament live through Twitch. The announcers for the tournament will be Wynton “Prog” Smith, Bobby “Scar” Scarnewman, and D’ron “D1” Maingrette. Geoff Keighley will be the host of the show. As for the rules, the character a player chooses will be the character they stick with for the whole tournament. Not all the characters revealed so far will be playable at the tournament. The matches will be a 4-player free-for-all, 4 stock, will run for 5 minutes, with top 2 advancing. For the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round, the items will be on. But for the grand finale, the items will be off. The last battle will take place on Battlefield and will be 1-on-1.
Earlier this year we were warned by Nintendo that their Wi-Fi Connection online multiplayer service would come to a close. Well, today is the day. From today onward, all games that used Nintendo Wi-Fi connection for online multiplayer will be going offline. All of these games were released on the original Nintendo DS and Wii. Wii U and 3DS games will be unaffected as they use Nintendo Network for their online infrastructure. Nintendo has a list of games on their website, but it only cites games they themselves have published. There’s a bigger list of all games, both first and third party on both Wii and DS, that show what is affected. There is a there is also this list of games affected, but you’ll see that it goes way beyond Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and further explains why this is happening.
After many teases and inklings, we finally have confirmation that Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus will finally make it’s way westward, once again by XSEED. This entry of the game is a sequel to Senran Kagura Burst, and this one is a Vita game. First let’s talk how this will be sold. Not only will it be digital, there will also be a limited print run of Shinovi Versus. This edition will come with a soundtrack CD and a Shinobi Syllabus, a book containing illustrations, profiles, and strategies. I’m guessing it’ll be similar to the book that came with Shin Megami Tensei IV. XSEED hasn’t announced yet how one will be able to get a hold of these copies, though fans believe it could be through online shopfronts like Amazon. Pre-order methods have not been posted yet as of this writing.
Photo by Larry Hyrb
This past week the public was invited to help out in digging up a location in a New Mexico desert where unsold copies of the the Atari E.T. game were buried. Microsoft’s Larry Hyrb was among the diggers. Things got very interesting when they dug up an Atari joystick in shambles. “A bit of evidence that we’re digging in the right place… ” the tweet reads, with accompanying picture. Then came the picture of the unearthed E.T. cart, confirming the urban legend to be true. Larry then posted another picture showing that E.T. wasn’t the only game buried in the landfill.
To newcomers, Retro Weekends is a personal recollection of all things retro, from games, to toys, to shows. Readers are encouraged to share their own memories in the comments below. So sit back, relax, and let the nostalgia flow.
After the crash of 1983, Nintendo appeared on the scene to revitalize the industry. Nintendo was the new kid on the block, and he had all the cool stuff. It had more defined graphics (compared to Atari and its ilk), a simple controller, and a boatload of cool games to play. But behind the scenes, a Nintendo factory worker-turned-head honcho was working on the next big thing for Nintendo, one that would not only bolster Nintendo’s library of games, but all be its back-up plan when their home consoles faltered. This weekend, we celebrate the Game Boy’s 25th Anniversary.