Thursday, January 8, 2015

Nintendo Needs a Subscription Service


It's great news that Sony took the first steps, out of the Big 3, to take PlayStation Now into subscription territory. The current pricing for digital rentals/purchases just doesn't justify spending the money on it. Full price for games that have been out for months? Classic games that you've already bought for full price, now just $39.99? You gotta be kidding me! But now, for only $20 a months you'll have access to over 100 titles that require no hard drive space, just pure streaming with decent quality. Initial impressions of the service say that there is some resolution downgrade in order to maintain FPS, but when you're playing Street Fighter IV what's more important?

Two weeks ago, before Sony's announcement, I wondered why Nintendo hadn't already mimicked the Netflix business plan and started their own Club subscription. I mean it's a club for christ sake! With Nintendo's already extensive catalog, you'd think the subscription service would be a no brainer...but instead they continue to stick their head in the sand, and I end up paying $5.99 for a port of MegaMan 2.

How many people are going to do that though, when you can easily emulate the thing for free on any PC?...Just like HBO, and Game of Thrones. People were begging for a subscription, but were forced to pay hundreds of dollars to use prehistoric cable company services just to watch it. In situations such as this, I am pro-emulation or pirating if a company is stubborn or choosing to shoot itself in the foot. Especially for a product that I've already purchased many times! Not to mention, rented many times also. I wonder how much money I've spent on MegaMan 2 in my lifetime!? Well add another $5.99 to the tally.

If any company has the means or reasoning to make this happen...it's Nintendo. Just imagine what a reasonably priced subscription service would do to the WiiU's floundering sales? The struggling console has it's niche and also it's decent library of exclusive titles, so why not make the package even more enticing by opening up that Nintendo Vault!? Maybe they're scared that we'll find the frozen head of  Hiroshi Yamauchi?

Let me know what you think! I've finally added Disqus to the blog....if you're not seeing it you need to click the title of the post you want to comment on. It will appear after that. I'll be fiddling with the format in days to come.

Like always, Thanks for reading!
@devoinz
devoinxyz@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Prophets: Magus & Muhammad


Yet again, we're dealing with another fanatical attack against free speech...Yet again, political cartoonists are the "offenders" for depicting Muhammad...And yet again, people are dead in the streets for being brave enough to express opinions, even under the threat of violence. Blind sensitivity and petty self righteousness made them resort to violence over a cartoon...How cowardly and pathetic. Is their ideology so weak they cannot defend it with reason and logic? They make me sick.

This is a blog about games, so I'm not going to get too political about things, but acts of violence such as this effect us all whether we want to acknowledge it or not. Matt Stone and Trey Parker famously had to censor their depiction of the religious figure in South Park, The Onion made one of my favorite satirical pieces of all time about the issue, and the recent blow up with Bill Maher, Sam Harris and Ben Affleck only further pushes a narrative that we need to talk about Islam.

I wanted to see if this issue had any parallels to the gaming industry. Have there been any threats against developers for depicting the historical figure? The first thing I came across was an internet flash fighting game that depicted both God and Muhammad. The Daily Mail only shows a picture of God in the article about the game being taken offline. The next thing was a complete shock to me. I found out that one of my favorite video game characters of all time may actually be based on the prophet, Magus. 



Chrono Trigger's complex anti-hero has much in common with the Islamic prophet. 

  • Muhammad founded Islam in the early 600s AD/ Magus became leader of the Mystics around the same time
  • Muhammad founded the first Islamic State, Medina/ Magus founded the first home for the Mystics, Medina Village
  • Magus' theme song, "The Black Wind Howls" and his quote, "The black wind howls...one among you will shortly perish" may be a reference to a middle eastern omen about death
  • Both Muhammad and Magus are referred to as "The Prophet". Magus' ending for the game is even titled "What the Prophet Seeks"


I had absolutely no idea. It's incredible that you can love something so much and spend so much time with something (I've played it 3 times) and not know such an interesting fact about it. I think it's pretty safe to say that the writers of Chrono Trigger took some inspiration for this iconic character and I'm glad they did. It's crazy to think that not only have I seen a depiction of Muhammad...I've played one. 

My thoughts go out to France and all of those involved in the tragedy today. Let's find justice and peace, not fear. 

Like always, Thanks for reading...
@devoinz
devoinxyz@gmail.com

Tuesday Breakdown: Dispatches from the Web


I've often thought that if I'm going to spend all this time writing and talking about games, that it would probably be a pretty good idea to learn how to make one. Now more than ever, it's possible to just dive in and get completely soaked in game development. Recently a writer for Destructoid argued that a criticism that many games writers face, "Make Your Own Game", is illogical and impractical. I agree with his main point that you shouldn't expect any random game critic to compete with a AAA dev team, but today there's really no excuse to not at least get your feet wet. So why not just take the jump?

There are many options to get going, but in my research it looks like GameMaker: Studio is a great place to jump off. Also the creator of Gunpoint has just started a new series that will help teach you the basics.

A lot of us are afraid to get going because we don't have the knack for good design, but my final dispatch has a great idea to solve that problem. Why not use public domain art to create your game? Check out their blog here and also the kickstarter for Aviary Attorney here.

That's it for Tuesday!
@devoinz
devoinxyz@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Ikkicon: Keeping Austin Weird


The slogan, “Keep Austin Weird” didn’t spring up as organically as one who’s witnessed the weirdness first hand would suspect. Far from just an observation of the wacky and eccentric, the motto was actually a marketing tactic put together by Austin’s Independent Business Alliance to promote the local economy. Yet the slogan rang true with many of the denizens of the lone star capitol and has found its way onto thousands of t-shirts, Volkswagen bumpers and even expanded to other cities, like Portland, that also resonated with the phrase.  

In recent times it’s become more of a reminder for me of how much this city has changed in the 8 years that I’ve called it my home. Austin isn’t a secret any longer. As more and more people come to this hidden Texas oasis, the less laid back it feels. The rent continues to rise and SXSW becomes more corporate. The town that used to be known for its slacker philosophy has been overrun by faux hipsters and LA yuppies and the more time that goes on here, the more I feel like I’m living in aggrandized version of Austin pretending to be what it once was.     

I think that’s why Ikkicon was such a shock to me this weekend. This is the second time I’ve attended the conference. The first was in 2008, when it wasn’t much to speak of, in a small hotel far from downtown. My how Ikkicon has grown! Now the convention resides on 3 separate floors of the Hilton, in the heart of ATX. It's a gathering of nerds in their true form. It’s a space for the truly weird and wacky to be surrounded by others such as themselves.

Anime itself is a peculiar medium to begin with, and an Anime convention attracts even more peculiar people. Furrys, Bronys, all types of Cosplayers, Ren Fair people, models, voice actors and huddles upon huddles of kids who’ve just given up on walking all together; find a home here. They may have their differences, but everyone shares a commonality: a passion to share their love of nerd culture with others.

It was extremely heartwarming to see thousands of people laughing, smiling, dancing and giving zero shits while doing it. I can count the people on three fingers who I can have a serious talk to about gaming or anime in real life, and here at the convention you’re surrounded by people just like you who share that passion. It’s a safe place to be yourself…even if “yourself” happens to be someone you’re not.

It’s as if the whole current nerd culture war was on display right in front of me. I was explaining this concept of a “safe place to express yourself” to a friend, who told me I was sounding very SJW about the whole thing.  I think this is where people are bumping heads a bit…but It’s a big topic that I want to talk about more in the future.

Not that the convention wasn’t chock full of its cringe worthy moments. The larping battle ring, the nightcore rave, anime skits, aisle after aisle of useless trinkets and junk…but fuck it! It was fun. Now I like to poke fun of the furrys and the bronys and the weeaboos just the same, but of course, who’s to be the judge of anyone? Me being a nerd myself, sure as fuck not me.

I was sure that I was going to find a lot of gaming stuff to talk about at the con, but besides this really awesome Smash Melee mod that had Billy Mays and Vegeta, I spent most of the con just people watching and forcing myself to participate, which turned out to be a lot of fun. Let me tell you, if you ever want a culture shock go to a nightcore rave at an anime convention, that shit made me feel old.



Have you ever been to an Anime Con? How was your experience?
Thanks for reading!
@devoinz

devoinxyz@gmail.com

Things I Learned About Star Citizen


First off, I've discovered that Vivian James not only has one of the sickest battle stations I've ever seen, she's also one of the 2% of females who are currently playing Star Citizen. About 4000 members of the game's community participated in a survey to "gain a better understanding of Star Citizen's fan base". The survey shed light on the massive sausage fest space flight simulator in a number of ways:


Holy damn! That's a lot of dudes...If I can get a decent PC soon, I will be one of them


15% have spent over $1000!? If true, that's incredible.


Looks like we may be seeing plenty of space boobs. I'll be leaving that filter off.


48 hours!? These guys aren't fucking around. Haaaha


Firefly wins out for the most similar sci-fi universe...cause who the hell doesn't want to fight the Revears or transport space cows!? 

The game looks fantastic and gigantic! I just need a battle station that can play it...Vivian is making me jealous with that thing. If you wanna know more about Star Citizen, watch this video:


@devoinz
devoinxyz@gmail.com