Gaming

[State of Play] Nintendo Plays Their Own Way

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[State of Play] Nintendo Plays Their Own Way

Welcome to State of Play, an editorial column from Pixelated Geek. In State of Play, we’ll be dealing with major issues in the gaming community, and we’ll be reaching out to our community for feedback and interaction. Our goal with State of Play is to create a respectful, professional, and insightful dialogue within a group of serious interested parties. Games are serious business, not just the largest moving part of the entertainment economy, but a form of expression where emotionally impactful stories are told throughout communities that grow and bond, and they’re an important educational tool. We take games seriously here, and the goal of this article is to seriously analyze the serious business of gaming.

The interactive entertainment industry is a particularly sensitive, complex, competitive and trend-driven market, as has been evidenced by the last six months of brutal back-and-forth jabs between console giants Sony and Microsoft. The hype-machine is the army of the console war, forty-second trailers stuffed to bursting with sound bites and dub-step and carefully-edited ‘game-play’ the infantry. The war is waged in every corner of print and electronic media, from the dingiest of basements to the grandest halls in the greatest of convention centers, and on almost every available scrap of space on the internet. The biggest moments of the year in interactive entertainment are those brief hours of biggest conferences when the biggest of companies announce what we get to be excited about next year.

It’s all so unendingly corporate, it’s all such a ordered, structured machine and once you start seeing through the layers of clever packaging down to the core product it’s all so very tiring. The console wars, the endless fanboy-dom, the intensity of argument and attack and the vehemence with which the sides declare their undying hatred of the competition has always seemed small and strange and pathetic to me, especially in an industry that’s about . . . games.

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Will The Circle Be Unbroken?

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Will The Circle Be Unbroken?

A surprise open letter to the public from Ken Levine (creator of the Bioshock franchise) today has announced that Irrational Games will be “winding down” and will be forming a smaller entrepreneurial endeavor over at Take-Two. In the letter, Levine details his plan to take “all but around 15 members of the Irrational team” to his new, smaller creative group, along with his plan to create games for a “core gaming audience”.

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TITANFALL – Hands-On Beta Impressions

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TITANFALL – Hands-On Beta Impressions

im·pres·sion

noun \im-ˈpre-shən\

: the effect or influence that something or someone has on a person’s thoughts or feelings. … 2.C: an especially marked and often favorable influence or effect on feeling, sense, or mind.

We’ve had several teeth-jarringly intense hours to get our feet wet in Respawn‘s high-profile FPS-Hybrid Titanfall. And boy, are we impressed.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re heard of Titanfall. Its origin story alone is news-worthy, the mass exodus of Jason West, Vince Zampella and other crucially important artists from Infinity Ward after Herr Kotick’s controversial MW2 “business decisions,” the founding of Respawn (and my word, what a thumbed nose THAT constitutes), and the amiable(?) departure of Mr. Ward. Then, finally, the long, tactical, and silent development of Titanfall under the controversial publisher-ship of the monolithic EA umbrella. In the interactive entertainment industry, that sort of story usually ends in tears, or worse still in a tragical farce like Duke Nukem Forever.

Somehow, against all odds and hope, Titanfall reeks of polish, potential and promise.

Investors Call For Microsoft To Drop Xbox

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Investors Call For Microsoft To Drop Xbox

The CEO of Microsoft is being pressured by investors to drop the company’s Entertainment & Devices division, which produces the Xbox gaming system and the Surface tablet. While the Xbox business is several billion dollars in the red, investors are less concerned with the Xbox and more with the search engine Bing, which is currently making a loss. Investors argue that the company should focus on software and services only.

This latest development has been a long time coming. Entertainment & Devices was losing money until 2008, and while Microsoft has yet to release a detailed report of what is responsible, it’s now making profits (presumably thanks to the Xbox). However, the aforementioned profits have been negligible compared to Microsoft’s other divisions (see the graph below).

According to the Washington Post, even the co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, thinks the Xbox should be sold to another company so that Microsoft can focus on its declining Windows business. And compounding this is the fact that current CEO Satya Nadella does not have a hardware background.

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Player Two Has Entered The Game!

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Player Two Has Entered The Game!

Are you and your partner tired of the Valentine’s frivolities? Already drunk off the champagne? Have you been pricked by too many rose thorns this year? Sick from the boxes of chocolates? Fear not! You can settle down with your loved one and play with each other for a while… No, not like that!

Get yourselves settled on the couch, relax, and get ready to blow brains out, solve puzzles, and perform surgery, together.

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Hideo Kojima Defends “Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes”

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Hideo Kojima Defends “Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes”

Addressing concerns about the short play time of Metal Gear Solid 5‘s prologue chapter, Ground Zeroes, series director Hideo Kojima has released a statement defending the game. The latest issue of Game Informer reports that the game could be completed in two hours, but Kojima stresses that clear time is not the same as play time and argues that there’s plenty of material in the game to justify its $40 price tag.

Kojima notes in his statement that there are five side missions in GZ apart from the main mission, as well as a multiplayer element.

“This is not a linear game like the past,” Kojima said. “GZ offers freedom of approach & play style, which we hope players will enjoy over & over without boring [sic]. I believe people will be satisfied with the ‘Play Time’ of GZ and will not stress the ‘Clear Time,’ which is a standard for linear games.”

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Pokémon Bank Goes Live

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Pokémon Bank Goes Live

After a month-long delay, the Pokémon Bank is finally available on the Nintendo eStore.

The Bank allows players to store up to 3,000 Pokémon online -essentially a pocket monster storage unit – and even move them between Pokémon X and Y. Until March 14 the app is free to download. After that a modest $4.99 annual subscription fee will apply.

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Review: “Tales of Phantasia” for iOS

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Review: “Tales of Phantasia” for iOS

The classic RPG Tales of Phantasia has long been revered by those in the know. Released for the Super Famicom in 1995, it boasted incredible graphics, a not particularly original but still entertaining story, and an innovative real-time battle system. Sadly, the original version never made it to the U.S.. Over time it built a following. In 2003 readers of the renowned Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu crowned it as the best Namco game of all time. Finally a port for the Game Boy Advance saw an American release in 2006. The port received mixed reviews.

Now the game has found its way onto the App Store – for free, no less, and longtime fans – and many such as myself who’ve never played it – were quite excited. But as it turns out, there’s nothing free about this game.

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