Home Upcoming Reviews About
Ethos and Riddles talk about video games...
            Can you handle it?
by Ethos

Tingle! Tingle! Kooloo-Limpah! #010

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Hey, it’s been a month since this news feature, and while Riddles has a valid excuse for his absence this week, I absolutely do not, so how about we get started?

When will you get one? How much will you pay?

Nintendo Announces the Date for Japanese-Relevant Details Regarding the 3DS! How Exciting!!!

Yeah, I know, not really. But it’s not a complete complete waste. On September 29th, we learn when Japan is getting the device and how much it will cost them. This should at least give us an idea of how much the thing is going to run the rest of us in the non-Japan countries. And it’s not impossible that we’ll be getting stateside-relevant details as well, so keep your ears peeled for late September.
(IGN)

Oh no, Insomniac, you too?

Yup, Insomniac is joining in the fun and announcing that they will announce a title “sometime between now and the Penny-Arcade Expo”. Woo-hoo. I wonder if it could possibly be the basically-already-announced Resistance 3. Let’s hope it’s something more exciting.
(IGN)

But Back to the 3DS and What WON’T be Launching With It

Resident Evil Revelations and Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition won’t be! Capcom mentioned that these titles are not planned for release within the fiscal year. If you remember, Nintendo promised that the 3DS will be out in all regions by the end of the fiscal year, and thus the Capcom software cannot launch with Nintendo’s hardware. Unless, of course, Nintendo breaks its promise; something completely unheard of!

Anyway, I’m being sarcastic because I couldn’t give a flying fuck about these two titles.
(IGN)

Long time no MS Paint job

British Pirates Must March the R4 Card Off the Plank

Staying in this Nintendo vein, the company has won a battle in the UK to make the R4 card (and similar cards) illegal. So that includes importation and marketing. Sure, I’m not a pirate when it comes to games, but what does this mean for the harmless homebrew community? I’m sure they’re not happy while Nintendo giggles in their pile of money.
(IGN)

Radiant Radiata’s staff Story’s Historia

Okay, so that title was a bit of a stretch, but it almost makes sense if you know the story. And the story is that key members of the under-appreciated gem, Radiata Stories – though not tri-Ace – are working on a new title for the Nintendo DS, Radiant Historia. What’s up with this new trend anyway? People leaving their original companies and attempting to recreate their past with synonymous titles. “Final Fantasy” becomes “Lost Odyssey” becomes “The Last Story”, “Radiata Stories” becomes “Radiant Historia”. It’s not really subtle, people, and it’s pretty annoying.

But I digress, the point is that you should keep your eye on this one, especially if you let Radiata Stories pass you by. You sad soul.
(IGN)

QUICKIES:

Nintendo Loses Money - For once!

Sony Makes Money - For once!

All right, that should do it! Don’t nobody say that Ethos can’t do no news!

Guest Sunday Soapbox: Matti’s Bad Breakup with Nintendo

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

*This is a guest post written by neither Riddles nor Ethos. Still, please enjoy the writing stylings of Matti Cowan, aka Constipated Cow*

I recently updated my Facebook status to “…has officially lost interest in Nintendo”. I’ve been a Nintendo loyalist all throughout my gaming life, but I find now that I really just don’t care. Nintendo’s 2010 E3 press conference was adequate enough, but it gave me absolutely no good reason to hold on to my Wii. I was banking on Zelda to really impress me, but it doesn’t look like it will offer anything new, and I doubt if the Motion + controls will add any real depth to the gameplay. Is that what they even strive for anymore? Granted, I’ve not yet played the game but the landscapes looked uninspired, and the graphical style was underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, they looked fine, but I’m not drooling, and I’m a fucking cow – I should be drooling. Poo poo oh you, Aonuma, Miyamoto and that new director guy whose name I don’t care to look up or remember. Give a complete series overhaul. Take some fucking risks you pricks! Not just graphical Wind Waker type risks, but real, gritty, down to the bone risks. Change the series’ skeleton. Change the tone, structure, everything! It’s so tired! Unify its elements into a cohesive whole and give it emotional depth and character it deserves and is easily capable of.

My friends were, I think, shocked (and understandably doubtful) to read my status update – Ethos included. While I’ve been quite disappointed in Nintendo for a very long while, I’ve nevertheless clung to the hope that some day they would return to their former glory and awe and inspire me with epic, genre defining masterpieces. I’ve finally given up. If one day Nintendo’s eyes unglaze and they suddenly snap out of it, I will fellate them once again, but until that day comes I will be Nintendo celibate. I will definitely play, and beat Skyward Sword, it just won’t be on my own system. Ethos, I’m looking at you.

For me, Metroid Prime: Corruption was the last Nintendo game that I found to be groundbreaking. Before that there was Pikmin for the Nintendo Gamecube. Metroid Prime: Corruption proved to be truly epic, innovative, and isolating. It is perfect example of the brilliance of Nintendo’s former ghost. Corruption’s design is unprecedented on Wii, and, without relying on them, the Wii pointer controls actually add a level of immersion that isn’t yet possible on other gaming platforms. Unfortunately Nintendo’s future looks bleak. Despite an okay showing at E3 this year, none of the game announcements got me wet. There was Zelda Skyward Sword which looked fine, Donkey Kong which looked almost exactly like the SNES games (indeed it’s obvious that’s what they’re going for), Metroid Other M, and Kirby Epic Yarn (the latter looking the most exciting to me). Why are all these games in 2D?

Oh I have a solution! Pick me, pick me!; It’s because they’re fucking lazy sons of bitches who will recognize allure of their big name franchises – an allure that Nintendo built slowly, over decades. Now that they are established, they can sell cluster-fucks of games without needing to make them masterpieces, by slightly modifying an element or two and calling it “new”. This is the same bullshit that Apple does with all it’s versions of iPods; “Buy this new Nano! It now has a camera, ooo!” “But I already have a camera on my pho-” “BUY IT GODAMN IT!” “OKAY SORRY!”. I guess that’s a pretty unfair comparison though. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is extremely fun, it’s just not mind blowing. Nintendo knows that it doesn’t have to do anything extravagant to wipe their asses with $100 bills. It is all about appeasing the masses, and people like my brother who were vehement gamers in the early-mid 90s and are now exuberant to see a new 2D Donkey Kong game that doesn’t push the boundaries in any way and looks classically retro.

Today I rather sadly posted my Nintendo Wii and all of my games (except for the Prime trilogy) up for auction on eBay (if you know anybody thinking of purchasing a Wii, please send them my way. I’ve got tons of other games for sale too). While some of these games have provided lots of fun for me, none have blown my mind since Corruption which was released early on in the Wii’s cycle and was likely in development for quite some time before Nintendo realized that they could get away with handing us plates full of mediocrity. With the profits of this eBay sale I plan on purchasing a PS3 Slim so that I may engage play in deep, moody games with atmosphere and call out, “COW!” in bed rather than, “GRANNY!”.

I post quite frequently over at IGN, and know first hand how blasphemous it is to criticize Nintendo in any way. The fanboys legitimately do not think that there is a problem. It’s pathetic, and depressing. They settle for less that perfection, and cling to what Nintendo was: a great gaming company that pushed the limits and delivered groundbreaking, innovative games. Their loss. It’s time to grow up.

Sunday Soapbox: A Diamond in the Rough

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

We’re wrapping up a successful week here at Riddlethos.com. I played, beat, and reviewed Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Riddles did fuck-all. Y’know, the usual. I’m more than okay with it though, I obviously enjoyed Galaxy 2 quite a bit and it was nice playing a top-notch Nintendo game again.

Ultimately, that’s what I want to talk about. How can Nintendo do something so incredibly right with the Mario Galaxy series and continue to mess everything else up? Since the release of the Wii, it’s been a constant downhill ride for all Nintendo fanboys. I’ll admit that I was still one of those back in 2006. I had confidence that Nintendo could bring the heat with the Wii and that the system would live up to its codename, Revolution. While getting HD systems and games of my own definitely helped in my disillusionment, Nintendo also worked hard to lose my vote. I actually had a lot of fun with Wii Sports, but after the novelty wore out, it was easier to notice that the Wiimote wasn’t everything the hype cracked it up to be. Sadly, the Wii Sports games still make the best use of the controller while still feeling like you’re not in complete control.

12 years ago, Nintendo paved the road in cutting-edge console software

Unfortunately, this was the first step. Wii Sports concentrated on showcasing the underwhelming and overpriced motion controls, when the actual advancement of the Wii is pointer controls. Although pointer controls are intuitive, quick, and inspire innovation, Nintendo continues to push the thought that the Wii is all about swinging your arms around in a vague attempt to make a game do what you want. It was a downward spiral after this. Mario Kart is a broken game, Wii Music is embarrassing, and the Wii interface continues to fall further and further behind while Nintendo claims that nobody wants the things that the system is missing. People don’t care about HD, they say! Who needs a persistent online ID and well integrated storefront? People want to feel completely alone with their console experience! Achievement systems devalue gameplay! Funny, then, that Nintendo includes achievement systems in some of their bigger titles like Metroid Prime 3 and Wii Sports Resort.

And when Nintendo finally does play catch-up, it’s way too little way too late. SD Card support for WiiWare and Virtual Console titles should have happened at least 12 months earlier than it did, and Wii MotionPlus charges you to fix your Wiimote to be (still a little less than) what it promised to be 4 years ago!

Instead of releasing games that would showcase the system’s “capabilities” like a Pikmin or Pilotwings sequel, they release New Super Mario Bros. which plays like a Super Nintendo game and Super Smash Brothers which is best played with a Gamecube Controller.

To “fix” this problem, apparently the answer is to “simplify” the controls for a “complicated” game like Zelda. I’m sorry, but the controls for Mario are just as “complex” as Zelda’s but Galaxy 2 chose to cleverly include ways for new players to not feel overwhelmed while not holding back advanced players. That, of course, is my main point, but I’ll get back to that in a second.

Even the most dedicated fanboys couldn't defend this one...

I’m sorry, Nintendo, but you have enough software for the casual audience to not take steps backward in your prize franchises. Why not incorporate a skill level rating on your games? LEGO does it, I’m sure you could too. The point is that Nintendo is just confused. I actually think that Wii Fit is a fine piece of software. But it requires a whole new peripheral to even function. They want to bring everything to everyone, and in the process, it has resulted in the complete isolation of their original fanbase. My grandmother will never want to play Zelda, why cater to the audience that has proven will not buy the software anyway?

But I could rant like this all night, the point is that why – amidst all this confusion and watering-down – has Nintendo also come out with their strongest software of the decade? My gushing review says it all. I think Nintendo did very little wrong with their latest release. Excepting the lack of HD, Super Mario Galaxy 2 radiates all the care, effort, and production values from the Nintendo glory days. They were able to make a game that actually is appealing to lots of different people, not the sort of “all ages” that caters to the lowest common denominator. Although Zelda’s structure isn’t exactly built for the same sort of intuitive multi-tiered difficulty levels, it stills seems like Ninty is going the lazy route as they’ve done with everything else. Just compare Nintendo’s philosophy with Mario Galaxy to the other extreme, Wii Music. Both are games “everybody can play”, but one doesn’t treat the player like an idiot, and the other – frankly – does.

Admittedly, even Nintendo seems to regret Wii Music, but that doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t represent a magnified version of their still current stance.

Ultimately, although the Super Mario Galaxy games are good signs that Nintendo is still capable of producing excellent software while managing to also coddle their precious casual crowd, it’s been too long to expect any of sort philosophy change in the near future. E3 very likely won’t bring the death of friend codes or the birth of a Wii HD. For every Metroid: Other M announcement, we’ll have 10 Wii Vitality Sensor announcements. Nonetheless I’m happy to enjoy a game like Galaxy 2 that will hopefully one day no longer just be a diamond in the rough.

Sunday Soapbox: DRM and Public Relations

Monday, March 8th, 2010

drmAs you may have gathered “This Week is Copy Protected” was more of a gimmick than an actual “theme week” – regardless, I hope it made some sort of statement to… someone. And if it didn’t, maybe a little soapboxing will.

Ubisoft’s anti-piracy measures for the PC version of Assassins’ Creed II have been widely publicized, widely discussed, and widely lambasted. For good reason, too – People don’t like that they have to be connected to the internet to play. People don’t like the idea of losing progress due to an internet crash. And, more than anything, people don’t like the idea of a multi-million dollar corporation penalizing their consumers needlessly, in a desperate scramble to protect their aforementioned millions of dollars.

We’ve seen stupid gimmicks like this before. Remember back in the day when record labels like Sony BMG would release CDs replete with software that was required to play the disc on a PC?

Remember how well that worked?

If you had to choose between paying your hard-earned dollars for a CD that you couldn’t even use properly on your own PC, or downloading that same CD for free, sans limitations, what would you choose?

Using that rhetorical question as a springboard, I’ll go out on a limb here and claim that, if anything, Ubisoft’s new DRM method has made people want to pirate Assassin’s Creed II even more. Hence why it has – supposedly – already been cracked. Ubisoft is denying it, but there are plenty of people on the internet claiming that they’re playing Assassin’s Creed II, in its entirety, on the PC, without being connected to the internet. And the game just came out three days ago.

drm2People like to rebel against authority, particularly when they feel the “authority” in question is being tyrannical. To date, Ubisoft has sold over six million copies of the original Assassin’s Creed. When the console versions of Assassin’s Creed II were released back in November, it sold almost two million copies in a single week. So, when they roll out an intrusive new DRM measure, do they expect to look like anything less than a bunch of rich, paranoid asshats desperate to protect their millions?

You have to understand, this is how pirates justify their piracy. Pirates are convinced that the big rich game companies are only getting richer, and because of that, they’re perfectly justified in downloading games for free. Subconsciously, they view game companies as “enemies” – enemies that have more money than them, and charge too much for their games.

And, frankly, a lot of companies do a good job of fitting that bill. Take a look at, say, Activision. Easy to pick on, yes – but legitimately so.  When their CEO, the infamous Bobby Kotick, admits outright that he’s only interested in games that can be “exploited every year on every platform” and have the potential to become “$100 million dollar franchises” that makes him look like a cash hungry douche. That makes him and his entire company appear to be out-of-touch with everything other than the bottom line. That makes Activision look like the stereotypical big, rich corporation that’s after a gamers’ wallet, and nothing else. Subsequently, that makes people not give a shit when they illegally download Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

And they give even less of a shit when they find out that the game generated over a billion dollars in sales anyway.

DRM3Activision’s one of the more obnoxious examples, but they aren’t the only one. One of my personal pet peeves happens to be everyone’s favorite Nintendo, and I’ll tell you why: they’ve abandoned every customer who made them what they are today. They promise “hardcore,” and they give us Wii Music. They built a gimmick that resonated with non-gamers, (or “suckers” as I like to call them) found out that there’s a virtually limitless supply of these suckers, and left the rest of us to rot. And they don’t give a shit, because god knows they don’t need to. I don’t like giving Nintendo my hard-earned dollars anymore, because a) they don’t care about me, and b) they don’t need it anyway.

At this point, you might be asking: “What, then, Riddles? Should rich companies become less rich?” No, of course not. The issue I’m alluding to here is simply that of public relations. If game companies want people to stop downloading their games, a good first step is to make gamers like them. Instead, like the music industry before them, the game industry seems convinced that the best way to combat piracy is to do the exact opposite: antagonize, inconvenience, and in some cases, criminalize the consumer.

James Burt is an Australian man who uploaded a copy of New Super Mario Bros. Wii to the internet. It was downloaded over 50,000 times. So, Nintendo sued him for $1.5 million dollars. Reportedly, an agreement was reached in which Burt will pay a lesser amount, but the actual amount was not disclosed. And one has to wonder how much “lesser” than $1.5 million they would agree on.

Back in 2008, five different U.K.-based videogame companies announced their intentions to slap lawsuits on 25,000 people. One of these people was a woman named Isabela Barwinska. A company named Topware dragged her to court and forced her to pay them $30,000 for illegally downloading a game called Dream Pinball 3D.

Remember back when Napster was a big deal? Like, such a big deal that everyone’s favorite group of thrashers, Metallica, filed a big stupid lawsuit against them? Remember how bad that entire ordeal made them look? Remember how much respect they lost amongst their fanbase?

Remember when Blender magazine ranked them #17 on their “biggest wussies in rock” list? I actually don’t remember that part; I just read it while doing research for this article and thought it was funny.

drm-is-badThese are mistakes that the game industry must learn from. What do you think Topware gained from their lawsuit? In all likelihood, they did nothing more than bankrupt a hapless pinball fanatic. And, in the process, they made themselves look like assholes. The same can be said for Nintendo and their crucifixion of Mr. Burt. Granted, Ubisoft’s DRM method for Assassin’s Creed II isn’t nearly as cruel or offensive as these lawsuits, but unfortunately, it has the same negative effect on the all-important relationship between game companies and the consumer.

The disturbing thing is that these draconian methods seem to be on the verge of becoming a trend. Take Sony and their ridiculous “entitlement” system for the recently-released SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Fireteam Bravo 3 for the PSP. In order to play the game online, you’re required to register your copy online, which requires a special code. Thinking about picking it up used? Well guess what: a new registration code will run you an extra $20. But hey, at least those nasty pirates won’t be able to play online, right?

Again: won’t this only encourage piracy? Imagine yourself as Average Joe Gamer. You don’t have a whole lot of extra cash on hand, so you decide to wait a few months and pick up a used copy of SOCOM 3 when the price drops. You visit your local GameStop and walk up to the desk with a copy of the game, only to be informed by the kind and knowledgeable clerk that, in order to play the game online, you’ll be forced to shell out twenty more dollars.

If I was Average Joe Gamer, I’d probably walk out the store, direct a silent “fuck you” towards Sony, go home, and download a cracked copy. For free. And the same goes for Assassin’s Creed II. I’ll take my copy sans internet-requirement, please. I mean, come on… aren’t games one of the first things we gamers reach for when the internet goes out?

And what about when Ubisoft’s servers go kablooey?

There’s no easy answer to the issue of piracy. I recognize that. And by all means, the game industry should continue to take measures to discourage illegal downloading. But it can’t be at the cost of sacrificing good relations with gamers. Intrusive measures such as those employed by Ubisoft and Sony will, inevitably, accomplish the opposite of their intended effect. People will rebel because of the inconvenience, and people will rebel because they feel like the companies deserve it. And, given the way they’re all acting about it, who knows – maybe they do.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

HeyLookListenLogo1

Yes, it’s me. And yes, it’s Sunday. I’m not going to make this a “Riddles is a Lazy Jackass Edition” because I was also one of those things. Anyway, I was feeling nostalgic and decided to check news on the Nintendo Wii for the first time in weeks and weeks, so that’s what you’re getting today. Old Nintendo news. Excited? Let’s do this.

Looks cool, sure, but also like Twilight Princess...

Looks cool, sure, but also like Twilight Princess...

Nintendo spills the beans on some e3 plans
Woo, big surprises here. Mario and Zelda. While Galaxy 2 will very likely be a blast and I’m curious to see if Nintendo can save the slow death of the console Zelda, it’s not enough to get me giddy like it used to. But although it should be expected, it’s very hilarious that Nintendo plans on spending a hefty portion of their press conference showing off the Wii Vitality Sensor. I just mentioned this on the Megaphone’s Ahoy! Podcast, but why the hell would anybody want a device for gaming that literally requires you to stay as still as possible. I believe we had all hoped this had quietly disappeared into the terrible idea ether, but Nintendo seems intent in pushing forth. Oh well, we all need a good laugh. (IGN)

Major RPGs hitting up the Wii
Hmm… I don’t know what to make of this. Xenoblade, the supposed – but not confirmed – next title in the Xenosaga series will make an exclusive appearance, and a brand new Mistwalker brainchild, The Last Story will also be exclusive to Nintendo’s confused little console. While these strike me as potentially high quality titles, The Crystal Bearers and Tales of Symphonia 2 also had my hopes up. Dragon Quest IX on the DS makes sense to me, but I don’t think epic RPGs make sense on the Wii. Or at least they absolutely haven’t yet. (IGN)

Seriously, Mistwalker? The Last Story? You’re not even trying anymore.
At least “Lost Odyssey” tried to hide the fact that its title was a Final Fantasy rip-off. It also sounded cooler. Even if the game rocks, that name never will. (See: Kingdom Hearts: Dumb Name)

Metroid: Dumb Name seems to still exist.
Just like the Wii Vitality Sensor appeared to be a gimmick to make Oprah fans happy during the e3 press conference last year, hardcore fans were beginning to think that Metroid: Other M was a stunt to stave off angry fanboys who were finally beginning to crack under Nintendo’s heavily casual new direction. But, just like Nintendo’s stupid pulse checker, the newest game with the dumbest name has popped back into the news. There’s a Japanese teaser website that, of course, says nothing, but Nintendo did say that they’re aiming for a Summer 2010 release. …also just for Japan. Anyway, I’m not a massive Metroid fan, but I’ve got a casual eye on this game. (IGN)

Harder to keep in your pocket...

Harder to keep in your pocket...

iPad not scaring Sony and Nintendo.
Or not according to Sony and Nintendo, anyway. But what else would you expect? John Koller of Sony tried to make Apple’s success their own by stating,

“Apple’s entrance into the portable gaming space has been a net positive for Sony, when people want a deeper, richer console, they start playing on a PSP.”

Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata instead went on the slightly ironic attack by simply stating,

“It was a bigger iPod Touch”

I miss the fighting. Come back to us, Nintendo. (IGN)

Anyway, that’s that. Better than nothing, right? No? Piss off.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

HLLfinal

Good… uh, early MORNING everyone, and welcome to yet another edition of Hey! Look! Listen! As per always, I’m your host Oliver “Riddles” Motok, and I’m here with a smattering of news stories and oddities that managed to catch my eye.

In case you haven’t guessed already, I’ve failed at playing any Wind Waker this week. However, the week is far from over, so there is time. That game happens to be my second favorite Zelda, hot on the heels of the immortal Ocarina of Time. So naturally, I’m pretty excited about re-visiting it.

Shall we?

PrinceofPersiaWarriorWithinUbisoft Announces New Prince of Persia Game

I don’t think I’ve ever been so simultaneously thrilled and terrified by a game revelation in my life. Ubisoft has recently announced that Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands will be released for both consoles and handhelds in May, coinciding with the upcoming film. Reportedly, the game will feature “fan-favorite elements from the original series,” as well as “new gameplay innovations.”

Why is this awesome? Because it’s a) Prince of Persia and b) a return to the Sands of Time universe, which is INFINITELY preferable to the cel-shaded universe of the recent series reboot.

Why is it terrifying? Well… because it’s a movie tie-in. While I can’t imagine that Ubisoft would mar the integrity of one of their most respected franchises, it’s still an unpleasant thought, given the quality of most film tie-ins. Secondly, Ubisoft DID NOT announce if this was a return to the Sands of Time videogame universe, or a game based on the film itself. (i.e, featuring the likenesses of the actors and such). If that turns out to be the case, no corner of the internet will be safe from my wrath. Let’s just say I’m tentatively both stoked and enraged. (Kotaku, 1UP).

Final Fantasy XIII Boxart, Length Revealed

The fact that Final Fantasy XIII will be mine in four months still hasn’t quite hit me yet. Not sure why, but regardless, the internet isn’t going to rest until my anticipation has reached the breaking point. Have a look at the game’s recently-revealed boxart:

FFXIIIboxart

My verdict: not bad, though extremely simplistic, and the Xbox 360 version wins for showing more leg.

While I’m on the subject: Final Fantasy XIII director Motomu Toriyama has gone on the record stating the the game will be a whopping 50-60 hours long. “For XIII, the size of the entire game is considerable,” said Toriyama.  ”Just running through the main story takes experienced players over 50 hours. For the first time, I think it’s possible to play through in full in about 60 hours or so.”

Good to know some things never change, I guess. Lord knows I’ll be punching in every hour and then some. (Kotaku, 1UP).

ac2screen2Assassin’s Creed II DLC Forthcoming

I rarely give a shit about downloadable content, but Ubisoft might change my mind with what they have planned for Assassin’s Creed II. Two different DLC packs have been announced, scheduled for release in January and February of 2010. They are entitled Battle of Forli and The Bonfire of the Vanities, respectively.

Those who have played and finished Assassin’s Creed II know that late in the game, the story skips a rather large chunk of time. (11 years, to be precise – it jumps from 1488 to 1499).  Also, it skips two chapters – jumping from “Memory Sequence 11″ to “Memory Sequence 14.”

Perhaps you’re picking up on something here? If  you need further proof, the Bonfire of the Vanities is an actual historical event that took place in Florence during the year 1497. Fits right in the aforementioned 11 year gap.

Oh, and Ubisoft is telling gamers to keep 1 GB of space available for each DLC, meaning these additional chapters will be quite lengthy indeed. (Kotaku).

Check Out Mass Effect 2’s New Asari Babe

I’m sorry, but Liara will not be making the cut as long as this chick’s around. All I can say at this point is damn.

Yakuza 3 Listing Found on Amazon Germany

It’s easy to forget that Yakuza 3 isn’t ACTUALLY confirmed for release outside of Japan. However, Sega’s persistent “no comments” and now this Amazon listing act as a sort of de facto announcement if you ask me. Apparently the game is set for a March release. I’d give you the link, but it’s apparently (and unsurprisingly) been taken down. Yakuza fans rejoice; I know you’re out there. I’m not one of them, though… seeing that I’ve, uh, never tried the series out. (1UP).

Nintendo Scales Back Wii Production

A report from Nikkei states that two Japanese companies, Mitsumi and Hosiden, are facing staggering losses in profit due to “declining fortunes” of Nintendo’s Wii. In case you’re slow on the uptake, Mitsumi and Hosiden are companies that assemble, among other things, Wii systems. Fewer Wiis being sold means fewer Wiis being assembled. All said, both companies are reportedly looking at net profit losses of over 50 percent. Ouch.

I find it rather humorous that, after years of keeping Wii production low, (likely for the sole purpose of stirring hype) Nintendo ramps it up, only to cut it back again with startling quickness. Or… maybe it’s all part of their evil plan. I don’t know. They’re devious little bastards like that. (Kotaku).

And that, as they say, is that! My goodness it’s late. Early. Whatever. Good thing I have to work for 10-11 hours tomorrow! Time to grab my four hours of sleep. Catch you on the flip side.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

HLLfinal

Greetings, and welcome to the Thursday edition of Hey! Look! Listen! I’m your host Oliver Motok, and last Tuesday, I spent nine straight hours playing Modern Warfare 2.

And I plan to play more tonight, so let’s make this hasty, eh? We actually have some decent news to cover tonight, though, so I promise you it’ll be worth your time.

MW2screen1Modern Warfare 2 Sells Nearly Five Million Copies in 24 Hours

Yep, that’s what I said. This, of course, is according to “internal Activision estimates,” so nothing’s OFFICIALLY official until November’s NPD numbers are revealed. But honestly, this isn’t too difficult to believe.

4.7 million copies sold, amounting to $310 million. In 24 hours. And that’s only counting North America and the UK.

Blowing the horn for all it’s worth, Activision is billing this as “the biggest launch in history across all forms of entertainment.” And frankly, that may not be far from the truth.

MSNBC Tackles Modern Warfare 2’s “Terrorist” Level

With Modern Warfare 2 breaking sales records and whatnot, it’s obviously caught the eye of non-gaming press as well. MSNBC recently aired a segment featuring Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo, in which the now-infamous “terrorist” level of the game is discuss. It’s actually a pretty decent segment; the two chicks manage not to sound entirely ignorant, and Stephen makes his points nicely, while not coming off as overly-defensive. Watch the clip on Kotaku, but beware of spoilers.

500x_uncharted_2_salesUncharted 2 Sells Over a Million Copies

Sure, this story may look a little puny compared to Modern Warfare 2’s 34287 units in a single DAY, but seeing that Uncharted 2 is still currently my Game of the Year, it always has a place in my column. Phil Rosenberg, SCE’s Senior Vice President of Business Development, boasted the game’s commercial and critical success at today’s BMO Capital Markets Digital Entertainment Conference. According to him, Naughty Dog’s masterpiece crossed the one million mark last week.

More power to it; the game deserves every copy sold and every penny earned. Now how ’bout they hurry up and fast-track Uncharted 3?

Nintendo’s Wii Back on Top in October

Ugh. It pains me to report this, but apparently that $50 price cut did Nintendo some good after all. After being defeated by the PS3 in September, the Nintendo Wii was back on top for the month of October.  Here are the NPD hardware numbers, with data being gathered between 10/4 and 10/31:

  • Wii – 506,900
  • Nintendo DS – 457,600
  • PlayStation 3 – 320,600
  • Xbox 360 – 249,700
  • PSP – 174,600
  • PlayStation 2 – 117,800

The Wii sold only 462,800 units in September, while the PS3 sold 491,800. Fairly drastic month-on-month drop for the PS3, but I imagine we’ll see a similar drop for the Wii this month. As for December? That’s anyone’s ball game.

popUbisoft Claims that Prince of Persia Could Surpass Pirates of the Caribbean

Here’s a classic example of a corporate figure promising too much: Ubisoft CEO Yves Guilmont also spoke at the aforementioned BMO Capital Markets Digital Entertainment Conference. Unsurprisingly, he mentioned the upcoming Prince of Persia movie. Here’s what he had to say:

“What we hear is that I could be stronger than Pirates (of the Caribbean), which did $2.7 billion dollars. I think this will really help our brand to become a major brand in this industry.”

Yeah… while I’m fairly sure at this point that Bruckheimer’s vision for the Prince will be a profitable one, I can’t quite see the movie bringing in over two billion dollars. Perhaps he was referring to the inevitable film franchise as a whole? Who knows, but anyway around it, he’s talking out of his ass.

That’s all for now, folks! Have a lovely evening, and don’t count Modern Warfare 2 Week out yet. I have an editorial brewing that I’m dying to share with you, and word on the street is that Ethos now has his hands on the game.

‘Till next time!

Hey! Look! Listen!

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

HeyLookListenLogo

Hello, and welcome to Riddlethos.com. More specifically, welcome to the Thursday edition of Hey! Look! Listen!, the prized centerpiece of our site.

Okay, that might be a BIT cocky on my part, but it’s my column (and my site, too) so I can say whatever I want. Quite a liberating feeling, in all honesty.

By the time you’re reading this, I doubt it will be Thursday, but you know better than to expect timeliness anyway. Curse the necessity of working for one’s living.

Onward and forward!

Announcement of Final Fantasy XIII North American Release Date Coming Soon

This almost seems too… easy? I dunno. It’s not a leaked document or a sketchy rumor, it’s simply a casting call from Los Angeles based ad agency. They’re looking for someone to read a script during a “never bef0re seen” look at Final Fantasy XIII, and according to the slide, during this exclusive look, the release date will be announced. Don’t believe me? Look down.

ffxiiislide

For posterity, I’ll make the same obvious observation that every other site has made: if this is going to be a “never-before seen” look, then it will LIKELY take place BEFORE the Japanese release of the game, which is December 17. Why? Because as soon as the game is out in Japan, every last second of it will be documented on YouTube.

HAHAHAHA: Nintendo Finally Sees a Decline in Profitsnintendo_logo

HA HA HA HA HA

Sorry. Um…

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Erm. So sorry. Anyway. Everyone’s favorite Nintendo is reporting, for the first time in six years, a decline in profits. For the six months ending September 2009, they reported a 34.5 percent drop in net sales compared to the same period last year, and a 53.4 percent drop in net income.

The number of actual Wiis sold during that six months amounted to 5.75 million –  a 10.1 million decrease from the same period last year.

Nintendo’s reasoning for this decline? Get ready, it’s pretty rich: “appreciation of the yen and the price cut on ‘Wii’ hardware.”

…price cut? Um. Are they possibly talking about the price cut that was enacted, y’know, a MONTH ago?

They never, ever cease to amaze.

mw2Modern Warfare 2 Will Feature Skippable Scenes of Brutality

You’ve all seen the airport massacre scene from the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. (If you haven’t, refer to the previous HLL.) Pretty brutal stuff, eh? Well, apparently there’s more where that came from. In a statement to Kotaku, Activision stated that many scenes in Modern Warfare 2 are designed to “evoke the atrocities of terrorism.” Makes sense, seeing as it’s a game about, y’know, Modern Warfare.

However, if you find the massacre of innocents at an airport (by terrorists, mind you!) just a little too distasteful, you can choose to skip it altogether. From the statement:

“At the beginning of the game, players encounter a mandatory “checkpoint” in which they are warned that an upcoming segment may contain disturbing elements and they can choose not to engage in the gameplay that involves this scene.”

Hrm. Well, I’ll refrain from comment until we tackle this NEXT story.

Modern Warfare 2 Could be Banned in Australia

SPEAKING of that oh-so-brutal, entirely skippable airport scene, word of it has reached our friends in Australia, and they aren’t happy. The Sydeny Morning Herald has a headline that says: “Outrage as Terrorist Game Lets Players Massacre Civilians.”

Hooo, boy.

The Australian Council on Children and the Media is calling to have the game’s MA15+ rating re-considered. This, of course, would effectively ban it from the country, because there’s no higher rating to give it. Jane Roberts, the apparent spokesperson for this organisation, had this to say:

“The consequences of terrorism are just abhorrent in our community and yet here we are with a product that’s meant to be passed off as a leisure time activity, actually promoting what most world leaders speak out publicly against,” said Roberts, who is also the principal policy officer in Western Australia’s Department of Premier and Cabinet.

“We understand that it’s a game but … we’re not far off when you look at the images that you could actually put it on a Channel Nine news report and you’d think maybe that is real.

“If that material was on the internet about how to become a terrorist, how to join a group and how to wipe out people – that would be removed because it would not be acceptable.”

Yes, I had to include ALL of that, because it’s all… so… stupid. It’s SO stupid, in fact, that I’m not even going to waste time explaining to you why it’s stupid. Instead, I will simply say this: Modern Warfare 2 is a piece of interactive (note INTERACTIVE) fiction that tells a story about (you guessed it) Modern Warfare. A film would show a pre-recorded segment of terrorists gunning down civilians and nobody would bat an eye.

Although I must once again note: I HIGHLY doubt that Activision finds this excess media attention undesirable.

First Epic Mickey Screens Revealed.

After weeks of staring at gorgeous concept art, I was almost afraid to see what Epic Mickey would actually look like as a game. However, now that the moment of truth has finally arrived, I admit to being pleasantly surprised. There’s a touch of Kingdom Hearts here to be sure, but by and large, this is Disney magic in a way we’ve never seen it before. Anticipation = through the roof. My favorite screen is below; check ‘em all out on 1UP

epicmickey

Hugh Jackman to Play Nathan Drake?drake

Let it be clear that I do NOT want to see Uncharted turned into a movie. It’s a game that delivers an experience that only a game could deliver, and to see it converted to a modern-day Indiana Jones ripoff would hurt my heart.

Regardless, this is pretty interesting. Nolan North, voice actor for the infamous Nathan Drake, spoke a little about the Uncharted movie on PlayStation Magazine UK’s podcast:

“Jackman is who I’d like to see. I think the producers would like to see Jackman too, because he has that tough guy exterior, but [...] there’s also a lot going on behind his eyes. A lot of emotion and sensitivity on that brusque exterior, and he has great comic timing. He’s a phenomenal actor. I just hope I get a part on the movie so I can work with Hugh.”

The only way I could possibly, POSSIBLY get behind an Uncharted movie is if North himself played the titular role of Drake. However, Hollywood being what it is, I know that will never happen.

Alright, enough is enough. That was monstrous. In case you care, (because I certainly don’t) Nintendo has announced yet another DSi with a screen that’s 93% bigger. So, all you “size matters” people can rejoice. The rest of us, I’m sure, will be perfectly content in not giving two shits. One shit, even.

Goodnight, folks. It’s been fun.