Insert Coin To Continue is a weekly wrap-up, where we take a look around the industry and give our own unique take on the current news stories. This is partially informative and partial opinion.
So without further adieu, let’s get started.
This has been a strangely quiet week for video game news. Things did happen, but there were far, far more rumors than actual events. Way too many have been predicting the death of the Xbox One and Wii-U rather than paying closer attention to what the companies are doing. It’s been quite frustrating trying to separate the facts from rumor.
- Nintendo will no longer support online play for the Nintendo DS or Wii starting on May 20th.
- Nintendo is featuring a giveaway of Pokemon X/Y on the 3DS with purchase of qualifying game(s).
- In a recent letter by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata to shareholders, he revealed his plan of pushing health-related entertainment to improve the quality of life for their gamers.
- Iwata repeated earlier statements, saying that Nintendo will not develop 3rd party games.
- Nintendo will begin selling refurbished Wii-Us for $200.
- Xbox Music now has free streaming for their 30 million song library.
- Washington Post reported Microsoft is using their user data to attract advertising revenue from the Conservative political base.
- Titanfall, an Xbox 360 and One exclusive, will be released March 11th.
- PlayStation 4 global sales passed 6 million after a successful launch in Japan.
- Jack Tretton, a founding member of Sony PlayStation North America division and CEO, will be stepping down from his position at the end of the month.
So as you can see, not much news going on. It’s sad to see Jack Tretton leave, since he did a great job introducing the PlayStation to the U.S. I’m pretty sure he had a lot to do with the popularity of the PlayStation 2 in the United States. He’ll be missed by Sony and by PlayStation fans everywhere. I’m not sure if he’ll be move onto a different project or if he’ll be enjoying a well deserved retirement, but hopefully it’s the latter.
Nintendo’s move is rather interesting, positioning themselves as a health-conscious company. What I love about Nintendo is how unafraid they are to take risks. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes it doesn’t work. Does anyone remember the Virtual Boy? Or the Game Cube? Wii-U? Nintendo has had plenty of screw-ups in the past. But that’s never stopped them from trying to do something new! That’s how we got the NES, SNES and the Wii. These are some of the most successful systems of all time. I’m not entirely sure how Nintendo will carry their vision out, but if I were to guess… it would involve games with a ton of motion like what they had with the Wii.
But that concludes our news brief.
Fact or Fiction takes a look at interesting news stories, rumors, or tidbits from the world of geek culture. Our staff will debate these for your amusement.
1. Nintendo will become a third party developer
Michael Zack: Fiction. There’s no way Nintendo will seriously consider developing games for any other system but the ones they make. Nintendo creates the consoles around their games and their games around their consoles. You cannot have one without the other. While we, as outsiders, can imagine Super Mario Brothers on almost any system, it is unthinkable at Nintendo. Super Mario Brothers was made for the NES, not the Xbox 360 nor the smartphone.
Amy Ballard: Fiction. I could never, ever seen Nintendo going 3rd party. Ever. From a business perspective, they have too many money makers. Mario. Zelda. Working in a retail location that sells games, let me tell you. These sell. Make a console that exclusively plays it. Cha-ching. From a creative stand point, I cannot see Nintendo giving up rights for its games to anyone, just for the creativity and the Artistic aspect of their games.
Jennifer Munoz: Fiction. People would like to argue that this would be a good way of expanding the business of Nintendo and maybe even a way of making up the loss they suffered in poor sales, but really, it’s not. You want your exclusives to remain just that. Exclusive. Having something available on several different console defeats the purpose of you wanting your customers to buy something only from your system.
2. Ken Levine was right to close Irrational Games
Michael Zack: Fiction. I understand why he left Irrational Games. He was burnt out and wanted to make smaller games without all the hang-ups that goes along with making AAA games. I understand him taking some of the top talent that was left at Irrational Games to start up his own smaller company. It could be a great thing for the industry as a whole: great talent dedicating themselves to making quality smaller games like the industry used to have. But none of this actually justifies him closing Irrational Games. He was the creative force behind the company, but he could have simply stepped aside rather than shutting the company down.
Amy Ballard: Fiction. I do get why he left the company. I gets it. I really do. Its human nature to get bored and want to move on. But do I think he should have shut a whole company down because he was bored? no. that’s kinda… childish.
Jennifer Munoz: Fact. This is sort of a toss up for me. This has been happening, it seems, with a lot of gaming companies where the one in charge suddenly gets the urge to move onto something else. Understandably, I don’t agree that shutting down all of Irrational Games and putting hundreds out of work was the best course. Also, it sort of befuddles me as to Levine felt that this was the only course. Irrational Games made some pretty popular and well-selling games, then to suddenly close up shop? I’m confused as anyone else. On the other hand, if this was his choice. Gaming companies come and go all the time. This is just how the industry works.
3. You are looking forward to Dragon Age: Inquisition
Michael Zack: Fact. Sure. It’s a return to the open world that I loved in the first game. The second game was way too small, forcing the player to jump from tiny map to tiny map. Dragon Age: Origins had that great feeling of exploration which Dragon Age 2 lacked. It seems like BioWare listened to the fans on this point, making the maps as large as possible. While I’m not sold on the story yet (it’s a great story, just not confident it’ll play out in a heroic fashion versus the non-stop pain and loss of the 2nd game), I’m willing to give BioWare the benefit of the doubt and give it a try.
Amy Ballard: Fact. As much as BioWare hurt my soul with Mass Effect 3’s ending, I really have to say I am excited for Dragon Age 3. Why? Well two reasons. I have devoted a ton of time into Dragon Age like Mass effect. So I won’t give up that easily. And two: I wanna see how it ends!!!
Jennifer Munoz: Fiction. Call me bitter. Call me close-minded. But I’m not completely sold on the next Dragon Age game just yet. Yes, the story looks intriguing and I’m praying to the Maker above that it’ll answer some of the questions I’ve had for the past couple of years. The maps look impressively huge, much larger and fuller than the two previous games. However, I am one of those fans who is always cautious about a new video game coming out. I have my reservations on whether or not it’s going to actually good. Nothing against Bioware for once! I’m just airing on the side of caution.
4. Breaking Bad would make an amazing video game
Michael Zack: Fact. I’d love to play the story of Walter White and his gradual descent into criminal empire building. I can see the game using the Telltale Tool engine since that engine seems to be phenomenal with storytelling games (Walking Dead, Fables, etc). The game would take hours upon hours to play, depending on how much detail the developers go into. Or, if the programmers want to go in a different direction, imagine playing an investigator trying to crack the Heisenberg mystery. No, you’re not playing Hank, but another investigator (maybe a PI, or a Fed) who was assigned the case. I’m telling you, it’s like a licence to print money.
Amy Ballard: Fiction. Why? Cause I haven’t watched the show *ducks from thrown objects* Its on my to watch list but I can’t say a TV Show would be a good game without watching it!
Jennifer Munoz: Fiction. There are just too many underlining factors that a fan of both the show and of gaming that needs to be taken into account of. It would have to depend on the company making the game, who is in charge, the team writing it, the story; so many things. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be interesting to play but this is one of those series that has to be handled with care. With such a dedicated fan base, there is no room for failure.
5. Attack on Titan is one of the greatest animes ever
Michael Zack: Fiction. It’s a perfectly fine anime, but hardly one of the greatest ever. It seems to fall back on anime tropes when the animators need space to fill, like when Sasha Blouse becomes ravenously hungry. As stories go, it is good. The art is in line with plenty of other animes out there. Character designs, especially for the titans. is genuinely disturbing and breath-taking. The reliance on the tropes breaks the mood for me, keeping me from getting really into it.
Amy Ballard: Fiction. Why do I say this? Honestly, from what I have seen its not a bad anime. Its not. I like the art, its good. Its got a nice, dark story line. But it just does not hold me like I want it to. But I also must say: I am VERY picky on my anime, and I understand how…critical I can be.
Jennifer Munoz: Fiction. Now this is a very dangerous question to ask me since I’m such an Otaku. It is very easy for someone like me to go off into a rant as to why this is such a great anime, and it is. It’s one of those animes that comes along that you’re grateful for to break up the monotony of seeing the same thing over and over. It was a breath of fresh air for me whose been stuck in ‘anime limbo’ and it was great to finally see something that registered some kind of emotion with me. The story is intriguing and involving and the characters of the kind that you get close to (even though that chance of them not making it to the next episode). Now does all this praise warrant the show as the greatest animes ever…meh. I can’t say for sure since the series isn’t over yet and the series creator has reported that he had to rewrite the entire series given the swell in popularity. I would definitely say that Attack is Titan is one of the greatest anime to come along in a long time, but not just reached the levels of all time. Yet.
It’s always hard to get anyone to agree on video games. But it’s nice to see the Press Start To Begin team on two of the five. Who do you agree with? How would you have answered these questions? Feel free to leave your answers below in the comment section! I’m really looking forward to seeing some answers!
The final section here is the Soapbox, where I rant about something. Hopefully it’ll be insightful.
Nintendo isn’t goddamn dying. They aren’t. Oh no! The Wii-U is doing terrible! Guess what? Nintendo had some pretty crappy systems before, and they are still around!
Anyone remember the Virtual Boy? That one was dead out of the gate! I played that system when it was brand new. And let me tell you, it sucked. It sucked a lot. Sure, the headset was an interesting idea. But everything in there was all red! Red! Someone at Nintendo had the bright idea that going red would be a huge improvement over the Gameboy’s black/white/gray combo.
The Gamecube? That’s another failure. Outside of the Virtual Boy and Wii-U, this is their worst selling console. 21.74 million units moved. And the games really didn’t move that much at all. Roughly 209 million games total sold. And you know what? Nintendo survived it, launching what is arguably the most successful console in history.
Nintendo has dealt with failure in the past. Hell, their entire history is littered with failed games and consoles. The thing is, Nintendo isn’t afraid to try new things. Maybe some of the ideas will work. Maybe some of them won’t work. Nintendo won’t stop trying something new in order to stay unique and ahead of the curve. So maybe the Wii-U is another one of their failures. That’s no reason for anyone to expect Nintendo to throw in the towel with consoles as a whole. And it’s no reason for them to jump to micro-transactions.
Just my thoughts on it.