Posted on: April 18th, 2009 Bleep, Bleep, Bloop, Bloop. Video Games.
Hello readers of the Squid, I’m the new guy around here and I’ll be posting the weekly going’s on in the world of video games. This week is about Will Wright, DSi Ware, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, and OnLive. Without further adieu, here’s the take away of the past week in video games.
Will Wright, the guy that does the Sim games (Sim City, The Sims, Spore, etc.), has left EA. He went to run an “entertainment think tank” company called Stupid Fun Games, to work on more creative projects. Maybe robots/more traditional toys, maybe smaller stupid but interesting games. Microsoft made a deal with Mr. Wright to get first dibs on publishing rights, similar to the deal they worked out with Bungie.
The Nintendo DSi is in its second week of life here in North America. Other than the two built in cameras and bigger screens, the big feature that has people most interested is the built in downloads store. You know, the one that uses Nintendo points, but not the Nintendo points you may already have for your Wii; these are different Nintendo points. The ones you’ll be buying for your DSi. But they share the name. …
Anyway, first week of DSi Ware games were hit and miss. There was a magic game, Master of Illusion Express ($2), where Nintendo took one of the magic tricks from the original release of the game and repackaged it as an express version. Wario Ware Snapped ($5) which is really more of a tech demo (think Sony’s eyeToy, but simpler). Bird and Bean ($2), a game that was an unlockable from the WareWare Inc. game for the Gamecube, but still kinda fun. Aquia($5), a Tetris style puzzle game were you’re a little diver dude and you push blocks from one side and they pop out the opposite side and you make lines and they disappear. Probably the best of the bunch and one I’d be interested in playing, if only for the fact that you can drown in this game which is terrifying. And the final release of the launch pack was the math component from Brain Age ($8), which was, again, repackaged as an express version. (Starting to see a pattern?) No real system sellers in there, but an effort none-the-less.
Games you can look forward to this week is another magic game and a Pictochat clone from Activision. Ok, since this is a new system they’re dealing with, you’d think they’d stack the releases a bit better to encourage some buzz about how great the service is. But since they’re giving 1000 points (10 bucks) free with systems for a couple of months, they don’t want you to buy something you’d actually pay for normally. Buy your dumb magic tricks now, then when you’re out of points, they’ll release something you actually want and now that you’ve become accustomed to how to use the store, you’ll be comfortable buying whatever.
There are some tweaks to the DSi hardware, they lost the GBA slot, added two cameras, slightly bigger screens, slimmer profile, but it’s still the same 5 year old technology and they’ve raised the price to $170US/$200CAD. Its become the 4th fastest selling hardware ever, so what do I know. I’m cool with my DS Lite for now so I’m going to skip this and look forward to the true successor to the DS platform.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena came out this past week which is a remake of the version that came out for the original Xbox (Escape from Butcher Bay). The new content they added makes the game into more of a shooter which is alright, but sort of defeats the purpose of the combat/stealth they originally built the game around. I was a big fan of the original, which was a rare example of a movie licenced game done well, and recommend you check it out. The original is also one that hasn’t been added to the backwards compatibility list on the 360 due to how the game was actually coded. The developers used so many hacks and trickery to make it run and look gorgeous on the original Xbox that it can’t be shoe horned onto the 360. That’s kind of neat and explains the remake.
Since this is my first post, I’m going to cover some older news. GDC happened a little while ago and that brought details on a new project that OnLive has been working on, called…. well, OnLive. The deal is that they are targeting people who don’t have the dedication or cash to upgrade their pc every six months for the latest and greatest in gaming. So instead of you having a powerful pc at home, the powerful pc is provided by them but lives over at their place and they just stream video and controller inputs back and fourth to the user. Sounds cool right? Well, ya, provided your proximity to ‘their place’ and what kind of lag issues you have. Maybe a little pie in the sky for now, but in a few years, should be fairly feasible. Just look out for bandwidth caps IP providers have been implementing.
Since OnLive is basically a video stream, you’re free to check out other gamer’s stream or your friends or you can pause your game at home and pick it up later somewhere else because all of this is happening from some server that you can access from most anywhere. This also means no more buying games at the store or downloading them or getting off your chair/couch to put in a new disc, just switch games in the menu and go.
The console itself is about the size of a radar detector and has the audio/video jacks in the back that you’d expect. Right now they’re selling the service as something people can use on inadequate computers, but you know that if it catches on, it will eventually find a home under your tv. There is a lot of coverage all over the place if you want to know more, but there’s a quick summary. This is potentially the biggest evolution in games since the analogue stick and I’m excited to see how things turn out. Phantom eat your heart out.
Dale can also be found over at www.8bitcyclops.com, looking at design, photography and old video game magazines.
2 Responses to “Bleep, Bleep, Bloop, Bloop. Video Games.”
April 18th, 2009 at 4:17 pm
Welcome to the fold Dale, liked the post, and lok forward to hearing and seeing more.
Dale Pidlisny Says:
April 18th, 2009 at 8:58 pm