I used to be the kind of guy that rushed out to their local GameStop to trade in a game the moment they were done with it. It wasn’t too long ago that I decided this was a poor way to go about things. Not only do these kind of stores typically take advantage of their customers looking to get something new to play with minimal out-of-pocket investment, but they are also keeping money out of the hands of the developers that make the games we all love. Besides that, I have recently found myself with a small case of “trader’s remorse”, because there are games I wish I still had that I traded in long ago. Some of these games simply have sentimental value, but the others I genuinely think I could get some replay value out of.
This was one of the three games I played on my original Xbox before getting tired of the thing and trading it in. It is an action RPG set in a mythical ancient Japan. The combat was really interesting, and involved a mix of martial arts, magic, and transformations. In typical Bioware style, there was an intricate dialogue system that allowed you to develop branching relationships with the characters. There were multiple endings to this game, and I got them all but I still can’t help but want to play this again!
Star Fox 64 3D
This was a very, very short game but it was also a lot of fun! I also never had a chance to try out the local multiplayer (because I have no friends). It took quite a while after beating it for trader’s remorse to kick in, but Star Fox 64 3D definitely gave me a case of it!
The Fable Series
I’m not talking about any of the weird Fable spin-offs here, I’m just talking about the main three games in the series. They weren’t the most well-received games, but overall I found all of them to be pretty fun. The magic system was simple and easy to master, even with the changes brought in later in the series. It was a blast to be able to work through the game as both “good” or “evil”; which I really thought of as “boring” and “quickly efficient” respectively. None of them were much on story, but sometimes you just really want a game that will let you jump right in and senselessly electrocute creatures to death with magic so you can unwind from a long day of work.
The Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic Series
Knights of the Old Republic was one of the first “true” console RPGs I got into. There is a fantastic amount of depth here, several branching storylines, and a complex combat system that was easy to learn yet challenging to fully master. When the Old Republic MMO was being teased, I mistakenly got my hopes up thinking this could be the third installment in one of my most loved game series, but it was not to be. Even though the console they were made for is now incredibly obsolete, I find myself wishing I could take a second crack at these two games.
Zack and Wiki
This was an interesting and very cute point-and-click puzzle game for the Wii. It was also insanely hard! After making my way about halfway through this one, I found myself running to GameStop as fast as I could before I shattered the disc into a million pieces in a fiery rage-fueled fit. Now that I’m older, I think I have learned to be more patient with a game like Zack and Wiki, I regret getting rid of it and would love the opportunity to sit down with it again.
This isn’t intended to be an anti-used games rant, but rather an account of why you should consider hanging on to games for a little while after you’re finished with them. Sure, their “value” goes down in a used game store’s eyes and they’ll only give you $5 instead of $7 for a game for which you paid $60. Just stop for a second and ask yourself what the non-monetary value is for you if you keep it and decide to play it again a year down the road. That’s the kind of value that never depreciates.
The Wii U is out and I have to say it has exceeded all my expectations, which should have been nearly impossible with the amount of excitement I experienced while waiting to wrap my arms around it on November 18th. While this isn’t actually a review of the system, it is a bit of interesting information that I discovered this week. The Wii U appears to have a better lineup of launch games than any console. This is clearly my opinion, but one based on research and nostalgia. I won’t start too far back, I figured Fifth Generation and on would suffice for this demonstration.
Starting with the misunderstood Sega Saturn, our lineup on May 11th 1995:
• Virtua Fighter
• Panzer Dragoon
• Clockwork Knight
• Daytona USA
Out of these four games the only game I would have gotten immediately would have been the imaginative Panzer Dragoon, a fantastic on-rails shooter that really needs a reboot.
September 9th 1995 gave way for the Sony Playstation which launched with:
• Air Combat
• Battle Arena Toshinden
• ESPN Extreme Games
• Kileak – The DNA Imperative
• NBA Jam Tournament Edition
• Power Serve 3D Tennis
• Ridge Racer
• Street Fighter: The Movie
• The Raiden Project
• Total Eclipse Turbo
As you can see, there were many more options, but was there anything that really enticed me back then? I really don’t think I was excited about the Playstation with these titles. Battle Arena Toshinden looked neat, but it definitely didn’t sell me on the system.
Finally on September 29th 1996 Nintendo came back swinging with the N64. With the only launch titles being Pilotwings 64 and Mario 64, the choice was easy. Mario 64 was certainly a system seller. I remember being so delighted to see Mario PUNCH THINGS! Percentage wise Nintendo can literally say that half their N64 launch titles were must buys. Still, the fact remains is they only released with two of them.
The Sixth Generation is certainly an interesting one that starts off with a bang. On September 9th 1999 the Sega Dreamcast launches. The system launched:
• Sonic Adventure
• AirForce Delta
• Blue Stinger
• Flag to Flag
• The House of the Dead 2
• Hydro Thunder
• Monaco Grand Prix
• Mortal Kombat Gold
• NFL 2K
• NFL Blitz 2000
• Pen Pen TriIcelon
• Power Stone
• Ready 2 Rumble Boxing
• TNN Motorsports Hardcore Heat
• Tokyo Xtreme Racer
That’s a lot to choose from, but I wasn’t excited about many of them. Of course, I HAD to have Sonic Adventure, that was a given. Power Stone looked pretty awesome, so I had to have that. SoulCalibur could also be seen as a must buy. So there were at least three decent launch title choices.
On October 26th 2000, Sony repeated greatness with the Playstation 2. No doubt, this was one amazing console, but how did it fair on launch?
• Armored Core 2
• DOA2: Hardcore
• Dynasty Warriors 2
• ESPN International Track & Field
• ESPN Winter X Games Snowboarding
• Eternal Ring
• Gungriffon Blaze
• Madden NFL 2001
• Midnight Club: Street Racing
• NHL 2001
• Orphen: Scion of Sorcery
• Q-Ball: Billiards Master
• Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2
• Ridge Racer V
• Silent Scope
• Smuggler’s Run
• Street Fighter EX3
• Surfing H3O
• Swing Away Golf
• Tekken Tag Tournament
• Unreal Tournament
• Wild Wild Racing
Wow! I look at that list and I think about each game and what I was into back then. Honestly I can’t come up with many choices that would have enticed me. Dynasty Warriors 2 could have been on my list for sure. Incredible, I am drawing a blank as I stare at them. At the time I wanted Kessen, but I remember hours into the game I turned it off forever. Thinking back, that’s kind of depressing. Interesting.
Nintendo wasn’t going to go quietly and on September 14th 2001 the GameCube was released with this lineup:
• All-Star Baseball 2002
• Batman: Vengeance
• Crazy Taxi
• Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2
• Disney’s Tarzan Untamed
• Luigi’s Mansion
• Madden NFL 2002
• NHL Hitz 20-02
• SSX Tricky
• Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader
• Super Monkey Ball
• Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3
• Wave Race: Blue Storm
A modest list of choices, but a couple of gems can be found. Luigi’s Mansion is definitely one because hey, who doesn’t want to fight ghosts as Luigi? Then the biggest no brainer was purchasing Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. That game was so freaking amazing. It was the number one reason I bought a Gamecube.
A challenger approaches on November 15th 2001, as Microsoft launches the Xbox with these games:
• Halo: Combat Evolved
• Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee
• Dead or Alive 3
• Project Gotham Racing
• NFL Fever 2002
• AirForce Delta Storm
• Mad Dash Racing
• Cel Damage
• Arctic Thunder
• Fuzion Frenzy
• Jet Set Radio Future (Japan launch)
• Double S.T.E.A.L. (Japan launch)
• Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2#Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2XTony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2X
• 4×4 EVO 2
Top of the list is really all that matters. Halo was a system seller for sure.
The Seventh Generation starts off on November 22nd 2005 with the release of one the most popular consoles, the Xbox 360. It launched with the following titles:
• Amped 3
• Call of Duty 2
• Condemned: Criminal Origins
• FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup
• Kameo: Elements of Power
• Madden NFL 06
• NBA 2K6
• NBA Live 06
• Need for Speed: Most Wanted
• NHL 2K6
• Perfect Dark Zero
• Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
• Project Gotham Racing 3
• Quake 4
• Ridge Racer 6
• Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06
• Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland
Here’s a fun fact, my roommate at the time and I were discussing whether or not to go halfsies on one. The biggest drawback each time we talked about it was the lack of games we were interested in. Looking at that list, nothing captures my imagination.
November 17th, 2006, the launch of the Sony Playstation 3 gave way to these titles:
• Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII
• Call of Duty 3
• Genji: Days of the Blade
• Madden NFL 07
• Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
• Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire
• NBA 2K7
• NHL 2K7
• Resistance: Fall of Man
• Ridge Racer 7
• Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
• Tony Hawk’s Project 8
• Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom
Another underwhelming list, except for maybe Resistance: Fall of Man. That was a pretty great game. That list is just as unimpressive as the Xbox 360’s.
Nintendo let us play with our Wii on November 19th 2006, and had these games as launch titles:
• Avatar: The Last Airbender
• Call of Duty 3
• Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2
• Excite Truck
• The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
• GT Pro Series
• Happy Feet
• The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
• Madden NFL 07
• Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
• Monster 4×4: World Circuit
• Need for Speed: Carbon
• Rampage: Total Destruction
• Rayman Raving Rabbids
• Red Steel
• SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab
• Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz
• Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam
• Trauma Center: Second Opinion
• Wii Sports (bundled with the Wii console)
This selection seemed a little more promising, and comparatively it was. Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was for sure a must buy. I was also pretty pumped to get Red Steel which was a small display of what the Wii could do.
I find it interesting that in the seventh generation, the three consoles had unimpressive launch titles as a whole. Perhaps they were going for “Look what our system can do!” Perhaps these are tastes of things to come.
Bringing us back to the present, on November 18th 2012, Nintendo made history with the Wii U.
• Assassin’s Creed III
• Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition
• Ben 10: Omniverse
• Call of Duty: Black Ops II
• Chasing Aurora
• Darksiders II
• Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
• ESPN Sports Connection
• FIFA Soccer 13
• Funky Barn
• Game Party Champions
• Just Dance 4
• Little Inferno
• Madden NFL 13
• Mass Effect 3: Special Edition
• Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition
• Nano Assault Neo
• NBA 2K13
• New Super Mario Bros. U
• Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
• Nintendo Land
• Rabbids Land
• Scribblenauts Unlimited
• Sing Party
• Skylanders: Giants
• Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
• Tank! Tank! Tank!
• Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition
• Transformers: Prime – The Game
• Trine 2: Director’s Cut
• Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper
• Wipeout 3
• Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013
That’s a big list, but is it any good? Currently I have five of these titles. Nintendo Land came with the system, but you had to buy the deluxe version so I think it still counts partially. The other ones include New Super Mario Bros U, Scribblenauts unlimited, and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. These are all fantastic games. So much so that when I want to play my Wii U its difficult for me to decide what to play. The other thing is, I don’t have a whole lot of money so there are still launch titles I absolutely need like ZombiU, TANK! TANK! TANK!, Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition, and Assassin’s Creed III. That’s four more titles. All together that’s NINE Launch titles that I consider must haves. That is more than half of the other systems’ launch titles all together. Granted, this is just about launch titles. What really matters is how they hold up in the long run and that’s still a way off, but at this point, from this perspective, the Wii U is kicking some serious butt.
You’ve seen the games launched on each system over the years, which games did you buy at launch and how did you feel about them? Let us know in the comments below.
Here are some of the highlights of what Microsoft has revealed so far. Enjoy!
Gears of War: Judgment
Resident Evil 6
South Park: The Stick of Truth
Fable: The Journey
The Splatters is a wonderful little Xbox 360 Arcade game from SpikySnail. Initially, it’s hard to find a genre to associate with this slime-slinging simulator. However, if you’ve ever wondered how to bust out some tricks with a goober, look no further!
The Splatters puts you in charge of a handful of colored globs of goo with the sole intent on making as much of a well-spread disaster as you can. Your multicolored phlegm friends are used to make bombs explode of a similar color. If, for instance, there’s a pile of red bombs on the floor and above them is a handful of spikes, the ideal solution is to coerce one of the wads of goo into shattering its frail life on the stalactites, raining its leftovers all over the bombs to get them to blow up. However, in this game, “ideal” does not always mean “most points.” And trust me—this is a game about points.
As you toss your way through the courses of The Splatters, there’s definitely signs of influences from other games. Sure, you could make another Angry Birds clone. No one’s ever done that before. But SpikySnail took the “throw organism, break things” genre in a new direction by incorporating physics and the most baffling mechanic of them all: time. Yes, you can rewind time. I can’t begin to tell you how confusing this is initially to try to figure out. You basically undo whatever was going on to reverse physics and fling yourself to extraordinary speeds and lengths in addition to using your new-found ignorance of Isaac Newton’s laws to dislodge bombs from inconvenient locations around the screen. The more events you can chain together, the larger your multiplier bonus, and the more points you score. Scores are conveniently uploaded to a main scorecard where you can gawk and feel terrible about yourself.
My personal favorite part of this Live title is the addition of replays. You can hop on the leader boards, see who did the best, and hopefully that poor chap uploaded his replay to the server, which you can then download and watch immediately to see just how dumb you can feel in a short period of time.
I’ll admit: The Splatters is not a game for everyone. I can’t quite pin who it’s right for, though. It’s too complex for casual gaming, and way too simple for the CoD smack-addicts in the audience. Even I felt a little dumb at first. When you’re still trying to get the hang of combos and beating the level without feeling stupid, the game can be frustrating. I had to quit and leave my house at one point, but the entire time I was out of the house, my mind was on those grinning sloshes and the fireworks that surrounded their very demise.
|Pros||Puzzle, skill, and physics, all rolled up into a little ball of slime!|
|Cons||If you aren't a fan of Doctor Who, you may want to steer clear. Time is kind of confusing.|
|Verdict||If you hate having free time and self-respect, sign onto Xbox Live right now and purchase this.|
On February 22nd, Remedy Games in conjunction with Microsoft Game Studio will release Alan Wake’s American Nightmare exclusively for Xbox Live Arcade. This stand-alone title pits Alan Wake against his evil doppelganger, known as Mr. Scratch. Check out the teaser trailer below for a look at the game’s villain.
Be sure to keep your eye on RoboAwesome for more coverage of Alan Wake’s American NIghtmare, and check it out when it hit’s Xbox Live Arcade.
Likely being unveiled at E3 2012 if it happens the next generation of Microsofts gaming console would be the third system from Microsoft.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see this especially given the recent announcement of Halo 4 being “a new trilogy” in the Halo franchise and with Halo Anniversary coming at the end of this year that would certainly be a good milestone of celebration for the original XBOX and XBOX 360 consoles life cycle. When it comes to XBOX and Halo you’ve got a pretty sentimental thing on your hands.
Not to mention now that the WiiU has been revealed and all these next-gen handhelds are also on the way or have been released it would make sense that Microsoft is going to want to stay in the competition. My only concern is that the XBOX 360 redesign has only been out a year or so and they have Kinect that they’re trying to promote. How will that affect Microsoft’s “movement control” efforts if they begin marketing a new console so soon after everyone laid down cash for a Kinect? Or will they abandon Kinect all together and just go with XBOX 3 complete with integrated motion control?
My guess is no console reveal in 2012. These rumors are just that.
Each generation of gaming, specifically console gaming, has tried to give us something new. Whether its new graphics or new technology, it really comes down to the games. The games we remember and get all nostalgia-y about and have fond memories of are really what make us look back at these generations with varying opinions. Let’s take a look at them.
Really the NES was pretty much all on its own in this generation. Unfortunately, being the only real console choice for its time, there was a lot of crap. Everyone was making games for the NES, often games that shouldn’t have been made. Despite the overabundant amount of crap, there were solid gaming experiences out there. While it would be easy to give the NES an A for being the first step of gaming for many people in my age bracket, I am really just trying to focus on the games and the consoles themselves. History aside, The Nintendo was a solid system, yet you still found yourself having to blow on that cartridge to get it to work. There are a lot of classic games that still hold up to this day and are often much more difficult than current generation games. Nintendo marketed the heck out of the system too. Magazines, TV shows, and even an entire movie about the games were all over the place. Granted, The Wizard was pretty bad-ass, though it was still slightly embarrassing. Many failed peripherals were also made for the system that really served no functional purpose other than piss off the player. Nintendo was young and trying new things so you can’t really fault them too much. Overall, I have to give them a Solid B+.
SNES VS GENESIS
Console Wars began to creep up around this time. We then had Nintendo and Sega competing for your gaming buck, which obviously made the games better. Gamers didn’t want to shell out the cash for bad games anymore. Sure, they still got made, but with the competition, the two companies didn’t want to lose out on your money. This era saw some great plat-formers and RPGs, especially on the SNES. Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy III(US), and Secret of Mana all showed great success. Super Mario World was a platforming favorite. Sega gave birth to a fast running smooth talking Hedgehog. All was right in the world. Nintendo seemed to hold off on the wacky peripherals too. Sega decided to take a different route entirely by adding extra cartridge slots, CD players, and games that stacked on top of each other. The graphics were improving, the sounds were getting better, and the gameplay was still fun. This was a great time to be a gamer.
Rise of the Playstation
Nintendo had quite the run and they were looking to push the envelope once again with the Nintendo 64. The N64 had some great titles that made the system worth having without any real consequences. This time, however, a new opponent surfaced. Sony showed up to the gaming arena with their fabled Playstation. Sony laughed at the thought of using those wacky grey cartridges and instead looked to the stars for the future of gaming in the form of compact discs. This time around Sony was doing the innovating while Nintendo just gussied up the graphics. Still, the two companies battled long and hard and we as gamers were rewarded with great games like Mario 64, Starfox 64, Shadows of the Empire, Ocarina of Time, and Majora’s Mask for Nintendo. Sony did us proud with three solid Final Fantasies, Metal Gear Solid, and a plethora of wonderful RPGs and action games. These two systems gave many gamers great memories and may very well be the highlight of gaming history. The gaming world was discovering a new dimension, and the reactions to this were all-important.
Sega wanted back in so badly. I really miss those guys, and they sure made one hell of an effort back then. The Dreamcast stepped up to the plate almost a year before Sony. They had the ball in their court and somehow fumbled. Sure, outstanding hits like the Sonic Adventures and Shenmue series can take you so far, but Sony sat in the bushes waiting. The Playstation 2 was born and tore the little white box to shreds with its might. Featuring full backwards compatibility, the system came fully locked and loaded with thousands of gaming options right off the bat. A year later Nintendo would jump on the disc bandwagon with the Gamecube. And let’s not forget the elephant in the room, Microsoft, who stepped into the ring with the Xbox gaming system. All three of these consoles were pumping out great games. Truthfully though, The Playstation 2 had it in the bag. Despite disc read errors and a next to useless hard drive, the PS2 simply had more games. They still had Microsoft and Nintendo on their back, though, so they couldn’t back off on the quality, thus producing some amazing games. Even still, a cloud was forming.
In this era of gaming, we have witnessed many things. Nintendo came out swinging nun-chucks as they planned on innovating the way games were played. They also gave us backwards compatibility and a virtual console to buy classic games. They got labeled a machine for casual gamers, kids, and grandparents. They’ve done little to try and change this, but let’s face it, they really don’t have to. The bad press was a little unfair and they did have a good library of games, unfortunately they opted out on high definition. Microsoft pushed out the Xbox 360, and while it was a quality system, it has been plagued with red rings of death as well as several other issues that can potentially brick your system. Great games don’t do much when your system is always breaking. They’ve claimed to have remedies for these issues, but many still pop up. Sony kicked the door down with the Playstation 3, but the starting price was ridiculous. They boasted backwards compatibility as well, but after many issues were found in the system, future systems were not given this function. The games in Sony’s lineup were not very impressive at first. A few key titles gave it hope, but it took them a little while to start cranking out goodies. Unfortunately, as of late, Sony’s network was the target of a serious hack attack, crippling many PS3 gamers’ ability to game for almost a month, as well as stealing valuable personal information. This problem has since been rectified, but you would have thought this kind of attack could have been prevented. This generation has seems to be all about the graphics and not about the gameplay, though there have been good games, no doubt. I’ve enjoyed gaming on these systems, but nothing really holds me by the balls. Technical issues that hinder the gamer’s enjoyment are also a huge downside.
With E3 bearing down on us, Nintendo is already in the batting cages with information about “Project Cafe”. I hope they start the trend to fix what went wrong with the last generation and bring gaming back to what made it so enjoyable. We want our memories back. I might sound like an angry bitter old gamer shaking his walker at the flashy new thing, but I just want what’s best for gamers. I just want to have fun, and not have shit break every week.
It’s been a fortnight of years since Quake III Arena hit shelves for the PC market. Now available for download on Xbox LIVE, Bethesda’s Quake Arena Arcade thoroughly emulates the classic PC title in all it’s fragging splendor.
Featuring 15 classic weapons and power-ups, with over 30 classic arenas, 12 Xbox-exclusive arenas, high definition and widescreen support, a new single player campaign, up to 16 player free-for-all or team death matches, and custom bot-matches; Quake Arena Arcade is fully loaded.
Not known for being a single player title, Bethesda’s take at Quake Arena will feature six gameplay modes for multiplayer including the timeless Deathmatch and Capture-The-Flag. However, new modes, such as Harvester, have been added zest in the arena.
For Quake fans on the box, the 1200 Microsoft points for this title will be well worth it.
To find out more about Quake Arena Arcade, click here.
SEGA® America, Inc. and SEGA® Europe Ltd. announced the development of a new squad-based first-person shooter today. Under the watchful eye of senior Sega designer Toshihiro Nagoshi, creator of Sega’s acclaimed Yakuza series, Binary Domain™ will pit the player and two squad comrades against a robot invaded Tokyo circa 2080.
“We are excited and proud to have Toshihiro Nagoshi working on Binary Domain,” said Gary Knight, Senior Vice President of Marketing at SEGA of Europe and SEGA of America. “The game is being developed in Japan yet it is designed for a global audience and will take players into an exhilarating story wrapped into a unique, action-packed shooter experience in a fresh new setting.”
Fighting on the streets and lower levels of the sprawling and spiraling Tokyo, the player will command a 3-person international peace-keeping squad tasked with eradicating their robotic invaders.
“What I wanted to create this time was a dramatic and energetic sci-fi shooter. When you hear sci-fi you may think of cold, clinical environments but with Binary Domain I wanted to combine this with a deep human drama,” said Toshihiro Nagoshi, designer for Binary Domain.
With highly advanced AI and a massive futuristic Tokyo urban-sprawl, Binary Domain™ is sparking with potential.
Binary Domain™ will release on the Playstation 3® and Xbox 360 with a tentative release date.
For more information on Binary Domain™, click here.