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Malik (6/4/12)

I would love to have posted more last week. I would have loved to have something worth saying, but life's been less than friendly lately. I have been working more hours in a week that a person should unless they are holding down a second job to pay the bills. It's one thing to have nearly 60 hours of work in a week, but it's another to have nearly 60 hours and have no overtime pay and no chance for a day off in the middle of all of that. Yes, Memorial Day was free from work, but that was it for the last two weeks...and it continues this week until Friday afternoon rolls around.

I have sneaked in a tiny bit of time with Psychonauts lately and am loving the game. But when you're exhausted, this is not the game I'd pick. I mean the writing is far to witty to waste on a sleepy brain. It would be like watching a David Fincher movie when tired. You might have some fun, but you will miss the best parts as they fly past your inattentive brain.

I aim to return to Psychonauts soon. Until then, I have gotten some time with Android. When you're alone at work on a Saturday and a Sunday, it is nice to avoid reality for a few small breaks with some portable gaming. That's why I'm glad for Kemco, since they make some amazing RPGs that can let one escape reality while also being able to be played in tiny doses. Do you only have five minutes? You can at least battle a few mobs.

However, being recently initiated to Ice Cream Sandwich, I can say that Android is not my best friend right now. I mean ICS is a nice update for many features (it feels far smoother than Gingerbread did). However, with Kemco's RPGs, it feels like memory is now at a premium. I mean playing Symphony of Eternity, I actually would have to use task manager to shut down "contacts", "Gmail", and other tiny footprint apps just to squeeze out enough RAM to keep Symphony of Eternity from dropping to 3-5 FPS from time to time.

I also have to say being forced to buy a $2-$3 app is lame, but ICS does force that. I like to know when I get a text or a message of some other form, but I don't want it announced to every corner of the world. At bed time, this is especially important (very low volume messages and notifications). However, I always want my ringtone to be loud, since if I get a call at 2AM, it might be an emergency. Let a call wake me, but not me getting a new email from Amazon saying that they are stalking me ("We noticed you looking at batteries for your phone. Here are some you might like, despite how you did buy one off our site just a month ago") at 2AM. Well, ICS ties ring and notification volume, leaving you with either too low of ring volume, or being waken up with every damned email you receive. To fix this, there are some nice apps that adjust the ringtone volume after it has been set low for nearly silent notifications. Still, having to pay $2 or $3 is a shame when ICS should have not limited functionality in the first place. However, I happily do support the people who make these needed apps and was happy to pay them for help...I just don't see why I have to support a solution to a problem that shouldn't be.


Malik (6/6/12)

How many times do we have to hear it? I've heard it ever since the Gamecube came along. It was heard, once again, when the Wii was being announced. You should know the deal from Nintendo by now; will have games for mature audiences. This has been said ever since the N-64 failed to have anything to grab the so-called-serious gamers. I mean the N-64 failed to generate a mass market appeal, so it was always said that Nintendo is too kiddy. Then the Gamecube came along with talk of games like Eternal Darkness and Resident Evil 4. So, when the Gamecube failed to find mass market appeal, the Wii was announced with talk of how games would be darker, including Metroid Prime 3, and ports of some supposedly mature titles that were on the PS2 and Xbox for the previous two years.

Now the next round of Nintendo trying too hard is upon us. The Wii-U will be filled with mature games for serious gamers! Really? Ok, the Wii-U is getting Batman Arkham City (only a little over a year late, at best), Mass Effect 3 (only about 10 months late, at best), and Assassins Creed 3 (maybe not late to the party). However, while trying to bring about these so-called-serious titles, Nintendo highlights their goofy social interface, the retention of the Miis, no real word on if they will finally kill the damned friend codes (do you really want to see this system continued any longer?), and almost no real word on exclusive serious elements. Yes, ZombieU will probably be exclusive, but it will probably be something made by a group of development staff who are B-team at best.

It just feels like Nintendo cannot learn a lesson. They are like a dog that pees on the rug, gets scolded, and goes right back to the same spot to mess on the rug again. If any company needs a solid rethinking of strategy, I think it has to be Nintendo. They have lost a step...and that's after the numerous steps they have already lost. The only intelligent idea they seem to have going for them right now is they have seen that the DS was a good device. So, no 3D in sight, no Wiimotes being shoved in our faces, and a controller with a DS style touch screen (making the Wii-U a lot like a DS by having two screens, counting the TV). Of course, they still have a controller getting 3-5 hours of battery life, another lesson not learned when the dog took a piss on the 3DS carpet.

I can assure you, at the end of the Wii-U generation, Nintendo will once again be in last place for console sales at the end of the generation when compared to Sony and Microsoft. I can also assure you that the total number of non-shovelware, exclusive "mature" titles for the Wii-U will be easily counted on my fingers. I also can assure you that any crossplatform titles that fits in as "mature", like Assassin's Creed 3, will be best reviewed on the competitors' consoles. I just get too damned tired of seeing Nintendo do the same thing every generation without any thought of how pathetic it is to see the cycle that will always least until Nintendo finally just kills off their business and goes the way of Sega (first putting Nintendo franchises on Playstations and XBoxes, and then eventually forcing horrible attempted games of their mascots on whatever console will take them in, and then just being a joke...I miss Sonic...). Give them ten to fifteen years and you will see astounded faces if you mention, "did you know Nintendo used to make consoles?"


Malik (6/8/12)

I don't mean to make it sound like the only thing I can say about what I've read and heard from E3 is how much I loathe Nintendo...but...well, it's more of a fact that Nintendo has announced something at E3 and Microsoft and Sony just aren't doing anything revolutionary or innovative. I mean Microsoft has smart glass or whatever, but until anything is really presented on it, it's just another gadget. Sony...well...there are games coming and no real explanation on why anyone should care about the Vita (getting original Playstation games is too low on the news radar to even be on the news radar).

Nintendo, while they are not giving anything really new, since Wii-U has been known, the controller hasn't really changed (a slight redesign is nothing unexpected when a system is still in the pre-release stages), and they are giving the same talk they give every time a new console is getting ready for launch ("we'll have mature games, we'll revolutionize gaming, we will be where all the cool kids are at, we will...blah, blah, blah"). However, they sure do bring the comedy in how hard they try and just seem to fail at the concepts of why they are failing pretty badly for the last few generations.

No matter what Nintendo claims, they are failing to get "mature" games to their consoles. Ever since the N-64 came along (when Nintendo decided to become far more family friendly), they created a great divide between the bulk of gamers and the casual hobbyist style gamers. The bulk of gamers don't want mature games, or sports games, or any other single style of genre. The bulk of gamers want games in quantity and quality. Nintendo has tried to bring "mature" with the Gamecube (Eternal Darkness) and with the Wii (Red Steel) and that was about it. Yes, the games were mature in content, but they were not really all that great and they were representing the system launch and not much else. Where were the mature games after the launch window? I can't answer that because they mainly disappeared. However, where were the other styles of gaming that were not party games and family friendly games? Where were RPGs? Where were sports (besides Madden with so many issues due to Nintendo being the only company who understands their hardware enough to make good use of it)? Where were the weird games? Where were the action games? Where were the games in general?

The large problem Nintendo has put upon themselves has really tied in to just failing to give a console that developers want to work on. The Wii was interesting, in theory, but no early game developers knew how to handle the motion and pointing aspects of the wiimote. So, original broken shovelware was made, or poorly attempted franchises came along that failed compared to the alternate versions on the PS3 and 360. On top of that, Nintendo always kept things too simple with no HD on the Wii, no real disk format on the Gamecube, and a cartridge based N-64 when the rest of the world had moved on to larger and cheaper optical disks (CD/DVD).

True, it sounds like the Wii-U is at least trying to avoid being entirely backwards in technology when it finally launches, but it still will be weird to developers. At least the DS has given a decent template of how to utilize the Wii-U. However, after failing to entertain developers and gamers for three entire console generations, it is hard to bring the trust back in house. While some developers seem interested in jumping on board, I've yet to see enough games to really show that gamers will follow. I mean when you have no word of the big hitters, like Call of Duty, coming aboard, it looks bad.

When you instead offer a year old Batman game and try to hype it, it looks very bad. Just because the Wii-U will supposedly offer exciting new ways to play Arkham City, it doesn't mean anyone will come back for another round of a game like this. It's been a year, the game is somewhat long, and if you went for Riddler trophies, then you probably never want to touch the game again. You had your fill and are ready for the next game, not the previous game. In an age when new games come along every month, and all games are equally fighting for your money and for space on a shelf, we as gamers just don't have a reason to pay full price for something old.

Of course, this is pretty close to the typical Nintendo launch style. Talk about how the gamers will come back, how the developers will stick with the console for the entire generation, and how you will now fix the mistakes (without calling them mistakes) of the past. Instead, the cycle just repeats.

If I sound bitter, I don't think I am. It's just a little annoying to see that this can keep happening. Yes, I can look away. In fact, that is what I aim to do. Ever since I had buying power (read: once I started to get an allowance as a kid), I have bought every single major (no to crap like or N-Gage) console I could (not counting portables...although I only missed on the Vita on that, so far). I missed the Sega Mastersystem. I also missed the 32X. Sometimes I'm late to the party (only got my PS3 after LittleBigPlanet came out). Besides that, I have them all and continue to acquire them all. I honestly get excited, even when lame ducks are getting released. I didn't think the Wii would be all that good (and I was right), but I had one right after launch. I didn't think the DS would be good (I can also be wrong) but I had it at launch. The reality of the Wii-U is simple; it will be the first Nintendo console I actively just put out of mind and never look back at.

If not for portable systems, I would honestly just look away from Nintendo forever more. I already stopped looking at Zelda (didn't get Spirit Tracks and didn't get Skyward Sword, and I don't think I will ever play either of these). I really am starting to wish Nintendo would just go away so I can stop feeling so torn up inside about missing a console (my passion) but also missing a failure (my greatest source of annoyance).


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