Category Archives: Opinions And Editorials
Nintendo enthusiasts now have a menu of portable hardware options to choose from: they can go 2D, 3D or XL. Each unit has their pros and cons, but as for whether or not their newest unit, the 2DS, will fly hinges on the upcoming Christmas shopping season.
The unit is essentially a stripped down version of the 3DS. The third dimension is being tossed out the door since medical experts are saying that can hinder the development of young eyes. But the big question is if the MSRP of $129.99 the right price? Maybe, in a nearly tax-free shopping zone of Alberta (Oregon for American shoppers) or a weekend when sales tax isn’t applied to purchases. Within Canada, the electronics tax may well be a hindrance than a god-send in select regions that have implemented this measure to deal with electronic waste.
$150 is an approximate total of this pint-sized unit, and it will give young hands a portable console to play old and new games from Nintendo’s vast library of old (DS) and new games (third-party included).
Not even the 3DS and XL counterpart did as well as it could have. The problem laid in how restrictive the end product was. A couple of system upgrades later, this device became acceptable as features became enabled. Now if the next iteration of the 3DS only sported a 5.1 megapixel camera instead of a 0.3 megapixel one, then it can easily compete with 3D cameras. That technology was a brief fashion statement of the last decade. The fact that 3D video recording was not enabled until later even put the nail to the proverbial coffin. The operating system limits the clips to 10 minutes and there is no method to display the content elsewhere than on the 3DS or XL unit. Also, the parts from the clam-shaped 3DS look like they are being co-opted to be used in the 2DS.
These days, the company seems to be struggling with the Wii U not making the dent it should. Clumsy physical design than lack of good games may be at fault here. But as for how well it will fare in the epic battle between Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, sometimes simplicity is what some consumers want. Nintendo has always been known for creating family friendly products and that’s their saving grace. With great characters like Mario, Luigi, Zelda and Donkey Kong, they will always be part of the video game culture that emerged from the 80′s and 90′s along with Pac-Man.
But it is Pokémon products that are keeping company afloat these days. He may not be like Wreck-It Ralph, but movie-goers knew that this movie was a tribute to Nintendo. Even though this video game company worked with the production team to have some of their flagship characters appear, not every icon made it to the screen, intentional or not. But at this film’s core was a movie that could easily have been Donkey Kong. Ralph’s physique is exactly like that of the big ape and Fix-It Felix is Mario. The familiarity between what this movie could have been to what it is not is all too close, even though not many of the film’s production crew will admit it.
At least with the consoles that are out there, Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Zelda and Link show that they can be enjoyed on any gaming device Nintendo is selling. It is just a leap of faith to keep this company going strong than anything else.
— Ed “The Vintage Tempest” Sum
Sony’s PS4 has some impressive specs and interesting features like using an iPad for a second screen, but that’s not enough to convince me to own a unit yet. The Xbox One has an improved Kinect but that’s not a huge selling point. The videos of various games demos for both look great in high-def, but the list of games available during launch week are scant. They are not as wide and varied as I hoped.
The current line of exclusives are not all that interesting, and there will no doubt be some hardware and software kinks that need to be ironed out. There were reports over the weekend about the PS4′s ‘blue light of death,’ an analogy that brings to mind Microsoft’s infamous ‘red ring of death’ back when the Xbox 360 released. At least .4% of the people who bought the system were affected. I suspect the figure is larger but when considering the number of units that flew off the shelves in stores on launch day. That is not a good start. Read the rest of this entry
Neural interfaces are an idea of science-fiction, and over at the University of Washington’s Neural Systems Laboratory, the concept has moving one edge closer to reality. A direct brain-to-brain communication in humans is part of a pilot study by Rajesh Rao and Andrea Stucco where one human can influence the actions of another through electro stimuli.
If that sounds too complex, then consider the analogy from the movie Pacific Rim. Two pilots are required to move one of those Jaegers. The reason is because there are too many mechanisms to make the robot fight, run and jump. Two minds are better than one when coördination is required to handle all the variables that happen when this robot is fighting it out with a Kaiju. But in order for two pilots to be able to work together, they have to be compatible in more ways than one. Read the rest of this entry
(This article is republished from the pop culture blog Otaku No Culture. While it is not specifically gaming related, the technology it discusses is.)
If keen observers of video game cinematics and CGI films think the computer graphics look great now, especially in how cloth material and hair are rendered, the next wave is going to be amazing.
The science behind how these surfaces are rendered have been restudied and restructured in such a way, where if there was a real world analogy: the way any type of thread is weaved on a loom in specific patterns is what the team of computer engineers from the Jacobs School of Engineering/UC San Diego looked at, but at a microscopic level. What they have discovered is a simpler method which matches this real world analogy and the ‘virtual threads’ are more cylindrical. Read the rest of this entry
The Oculus Rift is getting plenty of press lately. Many are calling it the next big thing in video games. The device is a large piece of eyewear that can comfortably fit over glasses (which is a good thing) to give players a sense of being in a 3D virtual world. Despite all appearances, the device is light; it weighs roughly 380g. Don’t worry, you won’t feel like Ray Charles at the piano. But with excitement building over the pairing of this device with motion sensors and treadmills, immersive virtual reality environments are nearly here. There are still a few hurdles to overcome — namely replicating every single movement a player can make like jumping and making him believe he can fly — but that’s only a matter of time for an innovator to invent neural interfaces.
For the time being, the devices being offered are exercise machines in disguise. Virtuix’s Omni is a treadmill product that offers players the sense of walking through a virtual space. When the Rift or similarly styled products are worn, a user can get a fuller immersive experience. The only thing missing is an interface suit with built-in pressure pumps to let players know that they have been hit by a bullet, slammed into a tree or brushed at. Added stimuli in games are good, and they are essential for becoming part of that virtual environment. All of the five senses really must be considered instead of three or four. In a talk with Ray Latypov of VirtuSphere Inc., he hinted that an olfactory sensor is in the works. This pioneer has been in the field of developing and testing VR products for at least 20 years. Read the rest of this entry
By Tristan Rivard
In today’s casual player oriented market, Dark Souls stands as a monument to the unforgiving, unnerving, unrelenting games of earlier generations. Prepare to die. Over and over.
From Software’s title, a follow-up to 2009′s Demon’s Souls, is sort of an anachronism in an age where game difficulty is often suited to the broadest audience possible. You can kiss goodbye to manual saving, contextual tips, button-mashing, regenerating health and the likes. Dark Souls makes no concession to the player, whom, in the face of ruthless enemies, is left to rely solely on his wits, reflexes and adaptability. Even then, death is inevitable. Read the rest of this entry
Augmented Reality (AR) may have come of age with its implementation in Pedigree Books coming line-up of comic book annuals for 2013. Readers can access new content and activities through their smartphone or tablet. Now the big question is will it catch on? The money is currently with this company’s acquirement of video game licenses Angry Birds, Angry Birds Star Wars and Sonic the Hedgehog. Hopefully, players will be able to toss virtual birds around and have them bounce off walls and ceilings of the real world with pool-table geometry just to knock some pigs around.
In video games, the use of AR has been a complete novelty. With games like Face Raiders on the Nintendo 3DS, Wonderbook: Book of Spells on the PS3 and Skylanders on the Wii, the limitation is what programmers are realizing with AR. And depending on who you talk to in the entertainment industry, the application varies from talking to an imaginary figure to manipulating graphic displays a la Iron Man. Read the rest of this entry
Too many naysayers and analysts are saying that 3D is dead. Even within the video game industry, folks are saying that 3D gaming is headed towards the way of the dodo. But in what these people and manufacturers are not telling the consumer is that the hardware will always be around. Sony revealed that the option will exist in all their new televisions, and other companies may well follow suit. While 3D is no longer the rage, customers are getting the technology whether they like it or not.
Sadly, if the technology was not rushed out the door when the craze was at its height, then maybe time could have been spent to make the 3D work right, especially for gaming. The problems often addressed has been considered and glasses free 3D viewing is developed. The problem is that it has not arrived in North America in force. In Japan, Toshiba’s Regza line of 3D displays are available for purchase and development into this technology is ongoing. The only unfortunate problem is that nobody really cares these days. Read the rest of this entry
The post-E3 news has been all about the new consoles, the Xbox One controversy, DRM, just what the heck Nintendo execs are smoking, and, of course, how painful the wait is going to be. Most of the big news came from differences: how each company plans to distinguish itself from the others and make their product the one you want to drop big bucks on day one. If there’s one thing they could all agree on, though, it is this:
Open worlds are totally sweet.
Seriously. A HUGE chunk of what was announced or shown off at the expo is planned to be “open world” — to the point that I’m not totally sure what it even means anymore. See if I figure it out after the break.
Like many of you, I recently finished Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. I found myself involved, affected, and taken aback; it moved me in a way few games have this generation. It’s probably the most emotional I’ve felt about a game since Red Dead Redemption.
Looking back, however, it’s not difficult to see the faults in Naughty Dog’s storytelling. It is derivative of a lot of post-apocalyptic/zombie fiction, but worse than that, it gives in to some of the worst habits of this genre.
But I still can’t deny the game’s strength. I’m going to break down a few of the issues I found, and then explain why I think Naughty Dog manages to overcome them.
*Major spoilers for The Last of Us follow the break*