Late to the Party: Star Wars Dark Forces

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Next up on my list of classic shooters after finishing Hexen was the first Star Wars: Dark Forces game. I went in knowing very little about it, pretty much expecting a Star Wars-flavored Doom clone. What I got was a shooter oddly ahead of its time, incorporating aspects of different eras of first person shooters that would follow it. Continue reading

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Will 2019 See A Nintendo Switch-Lite Or A Switch Pro?

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Supply chain rumblings suggest Nintendo’s getting a hardware revision for the Switch ready for late next year. The suggestions for what kind of revision it might be are immediately apparent, but this is also interesting because 2019 is going to be an interesting time for Nintendo’s relationship with its competition. Continue reading

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Me And Pokémon At 20 Years

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Someone might notice I already did a 20th anniversary post about Pokémon in 2016, which was 20 years after the franchise’s original Japanese debut. Well, people seem to be making a bigger deal out of the 20th anniversary of the North American release of Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue. Sites like Polygon and USGamer are doing a whole lot of features about it. It got me thinking about what got me into Pokémon in the first place, why I haven’t touched it in years, and what it would take to bring me back. Continue reading

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Why Do The Classic Mini Console Games Have To Be Locked Up In More Pieces of Plastic?

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Sony has jumped on the classic console bandwagon with the PlayStation Classic that includes 20 games from the original PlayStation for $99. Look man, I just want to play those same games on the PlayStation 4 already sitting under my TV, I’d happily pay the same price. Or better yet let me transfer the ones I already bought to play on my PlayStation 3 and PSP.

Microsoft is absolutely right to jab Sony with that “Play 500+ classic Xbox games on Xbox One today” tweet, even if it they didn’t perfectly word it. The point is you don’t have to put another plastic box under your TV to play a handful of games exclusive to it. That’s the whole problem with console gaming. At the same time though I see why console manufactures are making these nostalgia consoles and why Microsoft probably won’t, I’m just asking for some more options here, which SEGA and SNK have been happy to provide. Continue reading

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[iPhone September 2018 Keynote] What Matters To You When Upgrading iPhones?

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As Apple unveils its new iPhone models this week, the iPhone XR, Xs, and Xs Max, I find myself once again thinking about what’s going to affect my hardware purchasing decision the most — the software.

My decision on when I’ll want to upgrade from my 6 Plus is going to depend a lot on how iOS 12 performs on my current phone when it drops next week and throughout the fall. I actually could’ve sworn I’d posted something here about that when Apple unveiled it in June but according to the search on this site I haven’t, so I guess I can go over my hopes for that too. Continue reading

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Late to the Party: Heretic and Hexen 1

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I’ve been on these games for the last few months but I recently finished the first two parts of Raven Software’s “Serpent Riders” series, Heretic and Hexen: Beyond Heretic. In my journey through old first person shooters, these two feel like an interesting milestone in FPS design. Continue reading

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Console Gaming Has An Amnesia Problem

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I’m very late to post here about the latest discussion over emulation and the distribution of video game ROMs. If you haven’t heard, a little while ago Nintendo sued a couple well-known distributors of pirated classic games — LoveROMs and LoveRetro, both of which are gone now. Soon after that another big one — EmuParadise, decided to shut itself down after 18 years, out of fear of the same fate. Downloading ROMs from places like that pretty much is piracy, and Nintendo is absolutely within its legal right to do what it’s doing, but you may have seen a lot of people recently either defending the ROM sites or criticizing Nintendo’s approach to fighting piracy.

Let me say this: The shutdown of those ROMs sites is such a big deal because the console video game industry is uniquely bad at preserving its history. I say “uniquely” because gaming console manufacturers ignore their history in a way no other entertainment medium or software industry does. Literature, film, music, even PC gaming and mobile gaming, all do a better job than console gaming at keeping legacy works easily available on modern hardware and services. Continue reading

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What New Shenmue Players Can Expect

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The remastered collection of the two Shenmue games is out now and I’m sure many are going into it without a clear idea of just what to expect. Shenmue is a kind of game that isn’t really common at all, at least not in the space of traditional console games. I was really into the first Shenmue when it originally came out in 2000 but haven’t played it in years. I thought I’d take this opportunity to give my own impression of what made it so special at the time and why it remains unique, and divisive, today. Continue reading

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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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