Tag Archives: Console Games

Cross-Platform Subscriptions Increasingly Look Like The Future

A couple announcements from this past week seem to be bringing us even closer to a future where subscription services dominate video games. You’ve got Microsoft saying it wants to bring Xbox Live to non-Microsoft platforms, and EA saying it wants to bring subscription services more platforms. What is also telling is specifically which platform is being left out here. Continue reading

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Super Smash Bros. At 20: Then And Now

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The first time I heard about the concept of Super Smash Bros. 20 years ago, it immediately made perfect sense: just take all the stuff people like about Nintendo and throw it together in a fighting game. This was despite the fact that I didn’t even really know how the game was played until had the instruction booklet in my hands. Long before then, reading about the available characters and items like the SuperScope or the laser sword in Nintendo Power already had me hyped.

Japan just crossed its 20th anniversary of that initial game this week, with the North American anniversary being April I believe. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a little over a month old, and sales charts are proclaiming it the most successful game in the series just in time for us to look back on it. Continue reading

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So What Is Ace Combat? (LTTP: Ace Combat 04)

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Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown — the awaited return to glory for Namco’s fighter ace franchise, should be coming out on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One around the time I publish this post. I’m getting it on PC so I have to wait until February 1st, but I did just complete Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies on PlayStation 2 for the first time and am taking this opportunity to write a post on what the series is about for people unfamiliar with it. I’d already played other Ace Combat games before this one but went ahead and got it out of the way before Skies Unknown dropped. Continue reading

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20 Years After Dreamcast’s Japanese Launch, Where Are the Its Best Games?

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I wanted to wait until next year — the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast’s North American launch, to say anything. I know the 20th anniversary of the Japanese launch this week is technically the “true” anniversary, but I think it’s pretty widely accepted the North American launch is the one everybody really remembers. It’s still one of the highest-quality launch lineups ever, partly because SEGA waited a whole additional year for the games to be ready. In any case, I already did my personal “story” about my experience with the Dreamcast a long time ago — 10 years ago in fact. Just read that if you want a general “my feelings about this anniversary” story.

What I am writing about though is how I auspiciously started the Shenmue remaster this week and how we’ve reached a significant point when it comes to the availability of the best Dreamcast games and the console’s viability today. Continue reading

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Zelda Ocarina of Time At 20: A Legacy of Open-World Games

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Like I said in my January post about gaming anniversaries for 2018, 1998 was 20 years ago, and it bore witness to an unusual number of landmark releases. Probably the most critically acclaimed one of all turns 20 this week — The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. By many accounts it’s still the best-reviewed video game ever, and a lot of what’s in modern 3D action adventure games owes something to it.

One game from this year I can’t help but compare Ocarina to is actually Red Dead Redemption II. I see a lot in common between them in terms of both the public perception and the actual characteristics of each game. Continue reading

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The Real Difference Between Mobile And Console Gaming

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When Apple unveiled its new iPads and MacBooks this past week it boasted the new iPad Pro can get graphics performance that rivals the Xbox One S. Whatever arguments may ensue about the differences between mobile gaming and console gaming, I don’t think hardware performance is the main factor keeping what some might consider “real gaming” from appearing on smartphones and tablets. Just being able to run Xbox games doesn’t mean you’re gonna start seeing the likes of Red Dead Redemption on the iPad. I think by far the biggest factor is the standard of pricing for mobile software. Even the touch-only interface isn’t that big a deal in comparison. 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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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 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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