Otakon 2018 Photoblog (And Late To The Party: Taiko no Tatsujin)

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Last weekend I attended Otakon 2018 in DC, and amidst the screenings, panels, shopping, and gaming, a highlight for me was getting to play the arcade version of Taiko no Tatsujin (also known as Taiko Drum Master) for the first time. A bit auspicious seeing as western countries are finally getting another one of those games this fall. Continue reading

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Will Discord and Twitch Succeed Where Origin and UPlay Failed?

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I had a blog post about Discord and its competition with Steam (along with other PC gaming services) ready to go that I’d written on Tuesday… and then on Thursday Discord went and announced it’s actually going to sell games.

Back in 2014 I did a post comparing Origin and UPlay to Steam, primarily through why each PC game launcher was created in the first place, and how that affected the current status of each one. Steam started as a way to facilitate the installing and patching of games, Origin as EA’s personal game launcher, and UPlay as Ubisoft’s customer loyalty program. To this day, people primarily install Origin and UPlay just to boot up EA’s and Ubisoft’s games respectively. That in itself is fine. Blizzard’s Battle.net gets away with it, Fortnite gets away with it, Minecraft gets away with it. Those services juts aren’t ever going to come close to competing with Steam.

Discord found another way to get onto millions of computers: as a chat app and a universal game launcher. Continue reading

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No Man’s Sky NEXT is Slightly Less Sci-Fi. That’s Good.

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Most people seem to agree No Man’s Sky is good now, after the massive “NEXT” update that added multiplayer and more or less rebooted everything else. I’ve only had a few hours with it post-update and messed around on a handful of planets, but there’s one changed element I’d like to point out, and it deals with how the game generates planets now. Continue reading

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What Actually Makes For A Good Old School RPG?

Octopath Traveler, a JRPG for Nintendo Switch.

Octopath Traveler is out now, critics are receiving it well, and it’s even doing well commercially, as Nintendo Switch owners wax nostalgic about Japanese RPGs and hail the coming of them to another Nintendo handheld. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about the genre. Some of my favorite games are JRPGs, but it’s actually been some years since I’ve played one to completion.

The common criticisms some people levy at JRPGs might center on things like turn-based combat being obsolete, or shounen anime tropes, but my issues with them are a little more complex. There are games where those things will get on my nerves, but at the same time some of my favorite JRPGs feel very old and traditional. I think it’s less about specific features and more about a general feeling each game tries to impart upon players. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Kingdom Come Deliverance

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This past week I finished the main story of Kingdom Come Deliverance from Warhorse studios and found it pretty absorbing, but I also think it absolutely isn’t a game for everyone. It’s structurally very similar to Skyrim but Warhorse didn’t make it for anywhere close as mainstream an audience.

Probably the most important distinction which does the most to set Kingdom Come apart and might be a main reason I enjoyed it so much is that, well… it’s a detective adventure game. Continue reading

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The Nintendo Switch And The 3DS User Base

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I think for about the last two or three years I’ve been writing posts about how resilient Nintendo’s 3ds has been. Now we’re midway through 2018 and the thing refuses to die. Nintendo is talking about keeping it going, even in the face of its portable/console hybrid — the Switch.

In an April financial briefing interim President Tatsumi Kimishima said Nintendo actually has plans for the 3DS in 2019 — the system’s seventh year. At the June shareholder meeting, new president Shuntaro Furukawa said the company hasn’t even let go of the possibility of a 3DS successor aside from the Switch. Continue reading

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Multiplatform Gaming Is Coming Down To Switch or PC

 

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Lumines Remastered probably couldn’t have come out at a better time for me — going live less than 24 hours before I had to take a road trip. You might be thinking I bought the game on the Nintendo Switch, but right now basically all my purchases of multiplatform games are still going to PC. Still, every single new release starts a new internal struggle the likes of which I’ve never really experienced before. Continue reading

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The Fortnite Cross-Play Controversey Is Indicative Of The Console Business Itself.

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The reason Sony isn’t allowing people playing Fortnite on PlayStation 4 to interact with people playing the same game on other platforms, given by a former Sony executive, is pretty much a microcosm of why Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo are in the console business to begin with. It’s all about walled gardens, and when a game gets as popular as Fortnite, it starts to push the envelope of the entire console video game business. Continue reading

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Microsoft Ran Its E3 2018 Media Briefing Like A Streaming Service Would

Microsoft's studio acquisition announcements from E3 2018

One overarching subject came to my mind during Microsoft’s E3 2018 media briefing when the company was revealing the video game studios it had acquired for the purpose of making exclusive games. When people were cheering these acquisitions I realized you’d probably never see reactions like that in other entertainment industries, not for a platform holder or service provider locking up future content exclusively to its platform and services. E3 has almost always been a vehicle for platform wars, and that’s one of the things that’s still really peculiar about console games. Continue reading

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