Retro Game Friday: Nintendogs

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a title that was launched with the Nintendo DS. It’s Nintendogs!

Gameplay: This is a basic game in that it’s purely a pet simulation game. You interacted with the various breeds and picked one to play with. It used the various gimmicks included in the Nintendo DS, from the touch screen to the mic. Frankly it was purely a game made for showcasing the various gimmicks, rather than any meaningful gameplay.

Art: The art has aged incredibly poorly, but that’s to be expected from a game made purely in 3D.

Music: Not much to talk about here, it’s all very bland.

Overall: A skippable game, who’s only noteworthiness is that it was a launch title for the Nintendo DS.

For those who like: Dogs, Pet Raising Sims.

Not for those who don’t like: Either of the above.

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Video Game Tuesday: What’s Going On With F/GO?

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’ve got an open question to the people at both Aniplex of America and Delightworks. I’m asking What’s Going On With F/GO?

Huh?: So for my readers here’s a brief explanation. In the past few months, the Fate/Grand Order community in North America has been growing more and more upset with the handling of the game by Aniplex of America. In particular Albert Kao, the Localization director for the NA Client has been getting a ton of flak, not least of which occurred very recently when he handled the Anime Expo panel incredibly poorly and unprofessionally.

If you want some proof just go to the Grand Order subreddit and look at all the posts complaining about Albert and his absolutely unacceptable behavior at that panel. In addition many fans are upset at being treated like crap compared to other servers, like China, not to mention the blatant favoritism shown towards the JP players. The latest insult in a series going back to Thanksgiving is the fact that the playerbase was screwed out of 20 Saint Quartz, the in game currency that you can pay real money for, for the recent Anniversary. The issue with this is that the anniversary was pushed back from the actual anniversary date of June 28th to be announced at the Anime Expo panel. Another inflammatory move that makes no sense to many players of the game, including myself. There are possible reasons, but those reasons all come down to a series of events that could have been easily avoided if they didn’t do a certain thing. And that was announcing things at Anime conventions. But that’s a topic for next week.

So here’s my question to Aniplex of America, what the hell are you doing? Many people understand how poorly Japanese companies can treat foreign markets, the whole Gaijin bigotry plays a huge role in this. But this has gone on many times and frankly it’s insulting to not only the playerbase, who you ought to be keeping very happy, but also the people who you invited to your panels who were subject to a man who looked like he had just shown up after panhandling for a day in the seedier neighborhoods of Los Angeles heading the panel. Do I expect an answer to my question? Nope, because at the end of the day I’m just a small time gaming journalist who can be very acerbic at times.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Retro Game Friday: Tenchu

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m covering a game that I didn’t get to play quite a lot. It’s Tenchu: Stealth Assassins!

Plot Synopsis: In feudal Japan, a pair of ninja: Rikimaru (力丸) and Ayame (彩女), are members of the Azuma Ninja Clan since childhood. The two ninja serve the heroic Lord Gohda, and work for him as his secret spies to root out corruption and gather intelligence in his province. However, the evil demonic sorcerer Lord Mei-Oh seeks to destroy Lord Gohda, and using his demon warrior Onikage who wreaks havoc throughout Lord Gohda’s province.

Plot: The plot was okay from what I remember. Honestly I didn’t get a whole bunch of time to play this game as my cousin only rented it once or maybe twice. That and I didn’t get to play much as I was rather young at the time and my parents didn’t want me to play it.

Gameplay: The game was really unusual for the Action/Adventure games of the time in that it included a sense of verticality that wasn’t present in many of it’s counterparts. This was done through the grappling hook that the player could use. In addition it had two playable characters who were quite different. Rikimaru who is slower, but more powerful and Ayame who is faster but less powerful. My favorite to play was Ayame, as I’ve always preferred the speed archetype and the fact that she had more combos was awesome.

Art: Sadly the game is very aged, and the artwork is very polygonal.

Music: I don’t remember it at all, sorry.

Overall: This was a fun game at the time, but I’m unsure if it’d be satisfying to players now.

For those who like: Action, Adventure, Stealth, Ninjas.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Video Game Tuesday: Alignment

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m here with a quick explanation on a subject I’ve been asked about recently. It’s Alignment!

Alignment?: This tends to be specifically for Characters, but it can be for organizations or religions or even companies in a game. There have been 9 archetypes that these fall under, and it’s determined by how they act and perceive the world as a whole. The above picture has two axes that you can place just about anyone or anything and determine their Alignment.

Starting from Top Left they are Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Evil.

Give me an Example!: Superman would be a Lawful Good character, where as Batman would be Chaotic Good. Both are people who believe in doing things to better the world, but the ways they go about it are completely different. Superman follows the law, as far it can go for him at least, while Batman doesn’t really care as long as he can solve the problem while sticking to his beliefs.

This system of character alignment has been around forever, but was really codified in Dungeons and Dragons. This system has lasted ever since and is used in all sorts of games today. One recent example that you might be playing is Fate/Grand Order on a mobile device. That game actually has an alignment for every character and sometimes during the weekly “Master Missions” you’ll be tasked with defeating certain aligned characters.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. What sort of alignment would you say your favorite game character is? Leave your answer with the character name in the comments below!

Retro Game Friday: Gex

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with the first in a series that most people have forgotten. It’s Gex!

Plot Synopsis: Gex, a young gecko, was born to a family of geckos on the Hawaiian island of Maui as the oldest of 3-and-a-half other siblings. His father, who worked as a researcher at NASA, is killed in a rocket ship explosion during a zero-gravity mission. In the wake of this tragedy, Gex turns to the comfort of watching television in order to provide an outlet for his grief, eventually becoming addicted. After several fruitless attempts to get Gex to leave his TV set (including moving the family away from Hawaii to Encino, California), Gex’s mom eventually gives the TV away to a band of gypsies in order to get him to live his life. Gex, frustrated with his mother, runs away and vows to never return to her house again, living in a friend’s garage and making petty money by doing errands for other people.

One day, when Gex is riding his skateboard through the streets of California, he happens upon his mother, driving a black limousine, who informs him that his great uncle Charlie, a rich entrepreneur and the creator of a famous T-shirt brand logo, had died three days after Gex’s departure, leaving them with over $20 billion. The entire family goes on a massive spending spree, whilst Gex takes a small sum of the inherited money and opts to leave the family and retreat back to Hawaii in order to pursue his lifelong dream; using his riches, he buys a giant house in Maui and fills it with a massive television set, vowing to spend the remainder of his life secluded from the rest of the world only watching TV.

After a few days, Gex has fully achieved his desire, sitting solitary in the confines of his mansion and watching TV and eating snacks. One day, while looking for a good show to watch, he consumes a passing house fly. This insect turns out to be a small drone, being controlled by Rez, the overlord of the Media Dimension. Rez uses the small droid to “bug” Gex, and pulls him into the Media Dimension, intending to use him as the network’s new mascot character. In order to escape, Gex needs to traverse the Media Dimension and find remote controls which he could use to destroy the TV sets…

Plot: Don’t remember most of that plot? Me neither, as it was included in the game manual rather than the game itself like so many other games did back in the day. It’s a fairly ridiculous story, but considering that it’s a game meant for kids, that’s not too surprising.

Gameplay: The game was pretty tough, although I found out why when I was looking up the Wikipedia of the game. Only the 3DO version of the game included the ability to save, the other versions requiring the use of passwords to start up again. If you lost all your lives you had to restart the game, and if you didn’t have a pen and paper handy to record the passwords you’d be screwed if you died.

Art: The art is okay, but has aged a bit poorly. It’s not too bad though as it’s mostly 2D and that stuff ages pretty well.

Music: Don’t remember a whit, sorry.

Overall: A tough game for those not playing on the 3DO.

For those who like: Platforming, Action, Adventure.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Video Game Tuesday: Product Placement in Games

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering a topic that often annoys me. It’s Product Placement in Games!

Product Placement?: So real world brands, like Coca Cola or Subway. Sometimes in games you’ll find parodies of real world businesses, like Up and Atom for In and Out Burgers in Grand Theft Auto V. But other times you’ll find actual brands in the games you play. Sometimes this is amusing, like in Final Fantasy XV where not only was there a helmet for Noctis to wear proudly proclaiming Cup Noodles odd placement in the game, but there was an entire side Quest where you hunted an incredibly difficult monster in order to find a good topping for it. It was beyond bizarre, but it didn’t feel immersion breaking. Almost, but not quite. Considering that American Express, and Coleman were also prominently featured in the game that is quite a feat. Other games that have done it well are games like Skate, which features tons of different brands.

But not always?: Right, sometimes it’s just plain annoying. Like the Subway products in Uncharted 3. That was just immersion breaking, and just out of place.

The odd: Some of them are just plain weird though, like EverQuest II having an in game spot where you could order a pizza and get it delivered from Pizza Hut.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. Are there any games which feature Product Placement that you feel I should’ve mentioned? Leave your answers in the comments below!

 

Retro Game Friday: Wario Land

Hey all I’m back with a Mario Spinoff that’s grown rather obscure in the past decade and a half. It’s Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3!

Plot Synopsis: After being ejected from Mario’s castle in the previous game, Wario resolves to get his own castle, one even bigger and more impressive than Mario’s. To fund this extravagant dream, he travels to Kitchen Island, where the Brown Sugar Pirates have hidden many treasures and coins, including a golden statue of Princess Toadstool, stolen from the Mushroom Kingdom. Wario intends to retrieve this statue and sell it back to Mario for the price of a castle.

Plot: The plot is rather ridiculous, but that’s where the next part comes in.

Gameplay:  Wario Land was fun to play and is one of the few Game Boy games I can remember having multiple endings based on player actions. In addition it’s a markedly different type of game from previous Mario games. Coins weren’t used to get additional lives, but to improve your final ending. It was also fairly tough to play from what I remember, although admittedly I was quite young at the time.

Art: The art has aged really well, but that’s to be expected of pixel art.

Music: I don’t remember it because I probably never listened to it due to it being a portable and me using my GameBoy pretty much only on plane flights when I was younger.

Overall: A fun game, and while not a must play, it’s not far from being one.

For those who like: Platformers, Portable Games, Mario Games, Hard Gameplay.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.