[ Shihiko° × Game。]

About Games. by Shihiko°

September 14th, 2011

December 17th will be the day that Japan will receive the PlayStation Vita. It is also the date a friend of mine is getting married… So highly unlikely I will be able to be in Japan at the launch to purchase the system myself.

In other news Minna no Golf NEXT has now received a new official title and will now be known as Minna no Golf 6, this practically ensures that my prediction of the next Minna no Golf title will be cross platform and available to both systems in the future. However for the launch it won’t be happening, it is probably going to be as late as after the launch of PlayStation Vita outside of Japan.

Sony would want to use the game to bait and sell their new system… I do feel that with the amount of launch titles that they have prepared [26 titles], we are looking the system selling out at launch. Hopefully the 3G models are less sought out for and I will be able to ask a few favours to snag one in all the commotion.

June 23rd, 2011

You’ve probably guessed that I follow Sonic games every now and then as they have been mentioned on this site before. Though I am not a fan to the point that I must have everything, I do enjoy a good Sonic game when one does come around. Today is Sonic’s 20th Anniversary since his début in Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis. With it they have released a bunch of random Sonic freebies and also the Sonic Generations Demo with Classic Sonic.

The Hedgehog Engine that was originally used in Sonic World Adventure [Unleashed] is being used again for Sonic Generations. I quite enjoyed the Hedgehog Engine and how it handled the game it was running and felt that if this new game is going to be using it, then I shouldn’t be too disappointed when it comes around… Though they did not include Modern Sonic in the Demo, you can enjoy that part by just downloading the World Adventure/Unleashed Demo anyway.

The demo turns out to be very short for a 600MB+ download. It’s probably the extra trailer that was added to the Demo that gives it the extra boost. I got bored eventually and gave it a shot at speed running, however I ran out of battery power in the controller and didn’t try to beat the record I had at the time. Though it was around 0:55… I went on Youtube to find two other people have already uploaded a 0:46 and 0:47 second record. I knew I should have Spin dashed some of those areas that didn’t look too tough. I’ll give it another shot later. It will be before the demo period runs out of time.

Yeah one thing I found strange was that the demo was only allowed to be played for 20 days. Sure 20th Anniversary so we get 20 days but that’s tight when it’s only a Demo. It’s not like a trial of the final release…? The only reason to do this is if the demo isn’t as great or has some development pending aspects in it they would like it gone from the market as soon as possible so that it cannot be compared to the final product. This is what I think happened with Minna no Golf 5. There are parts in the Demo that were better or more higher quality but was later removed in the final release… Usually you’d want it the other way right?

I have to say, readjusting back to Classic style is pretty cool… You never realised how tough a speed run of the game used to be without Homing Attack saving you from everything. :P

May 27th, 2011

Tomorrow the PlayStation Network in Japan is restored and so will most of Asia’s PlayStation Network services… Despite Sony taking longer to bring back the PlayStation Network for Asia, it seems like Japan also gets the short end of the stick for the Welcome Back Package.

I still standby that Sony should have given everyone store credit and decide on what the customers want. Core PlayStation users will already have most of the things they are offering… I can’t believe the おいでよLocoRoco!! BuuBuu Cocoreccho! screensaver game is being offered as a free title. Imagine you had all the games that were being offered? The titles on offer for the Japanese PlayStation Network users are as follows:

PlayStation 3:

  • The Last Guy
  • おいでよLocoRoco!! BuuBuu Cocoreccho!
  • Echochrome
  • WipeOut HD
  • Hustle Kings

PlayStation Portable:

  • 勇者のくせになまいきだor2 PSP the Best [What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord? 2]
  • みんなのスッキリ [Minna no Sukkiri]
  • パタポン 2 ドンチャカ♪ PSP the Best [Patapon 2]
  • Little Big Planet Portable
  • LocoRoco -Midnight Carnival-

There is of course also the free 30 day period of PlayStation Plus. From the outside it doesn’t look like there is much difference between the packages offered for the Welcome Back Packages offered by the different regions. However the Asian network was down longer and when they return they are offered equal or less? Seems a little unfair… Let’s see where it isn’t so great.

About all the games offered for the PlayStation 3 are non-disc based games. This means they are games that are already distributed digitally… The only games that are probably worth picking up based on their replay value is WipeOut HD and Hustle Kings as they have Online mode. LocoRoco on PS3 actually isn’t a game either, I remember when I first got it I read it was supposedly a screen saver… The reality is it is a screen saver. Takes forever to beat the game and there is no saving your progress for next time.

Other regions have on offer mostly disc based games instead of a small handful of downloadable games. Not saying that disc based games are better, but will likely give more content than a downloadable game. Dead Nation, inFAMOUS and LittleBigPlanet are all great disc based games. Even the downloadable games on offer are better… WipeOut HD + Fury and Super Stardust HD. WipeOut HD + Fury? Notice that the Asia pack does not contain + Fury?

The PSP Games on offer however, I would slightly lean towards the Japanese package as Patapon series is a great game and has good replay value. Other than that the PSP packages feels evenly matched with what is on offer for the other regions. So moving along… PlayStation Plus… not good enough.

At the end of the day, does having PlayStation Plus really matter? Logically speaking, those who had PlayStation Plus would have had probably 2 months of service that was unavailable for them to collect their Plus content from. Since each month a Plus subscriber needs to go Online to collect some free content… On top of that, some Plus subscribers who had subscriptions expiring during the down time meant that their content would stop working and they wouldn’t be able to play those games until they are able to renew the subscription.

The free Plus service feels more like a marketing gimmick that makes us think we are gaining, but instead it is a Plus trial for every PlayStation user to let them try out what Plus is all about. This can work both ways for Sony as they may be able to sign up more people on Plus. At the same time if the service doesn’t feel as if the customers are gaining anything they may lose more potential future subscribers than they are expecting to return…

From my previous Plus Experiment and hopes for the service, there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly special about Plus at the moment. All the talk about XMB Cross-Game Voice Chat when Plus was announced, never has come around right? I always expected Plus to be beneficial to customers who were willing to spend more on the PlayStation Store content… Except that every month was always disappointing titles for free and more old games on discount offers.

Personally I reckon the way Sony has done this has been very poor. It started out poorly handled, then went well when they started announcing the issue which I was willing to let that slide if they were willing to make up for it… Which is great of course that they are trying… Then I find out all the good games they offer are practically games that I already own, so it really doesn’t do the job of making up for others who maybe in the same boat as me. I still stand that they could have gotten away with less by offering us a an small amount of PSN credit in our accounts.

Case to point. Hopes for a great come back from Sony has been shattered… Guess it’s time to face the facts that Sony really does hurt themselves by holding back their own potential. :P

Source: 日本のお客様向け「感謝とおわびのパッケージ」詳細

May 20th, 2011

Updated Typ-iT to 1.1… Now has Achievements and a bunch of other neat functions. I fixed a few bugs I found while on holiday and also put some new things in to make it work better. Hope custom tweeting allows people to enjoy it a little more. Seems like only a small selection of players use the twitter function…


View In iTunes

What’s New in Version 1.1
- Achievements Added.
- Custom Twitter Tweeting Added.
- True Random Word Selection Mode Added.
- Word Chain Mode Added. (Old Word Selection Method.)
- New Sounds and Sound Toggle Added.
- Bug Fixes & UI Improvements. AdWhirl Enabled.

Download it Free! It’s on the AppStore.

May 17th, 2011

Anyone else think the packages aren’t so great? I mean sure, if you’re not a regular PlayStation customer these packages maybe good enough to win you back. However for those who already own some of these games being offered in the package the only real thing that is of value is the free Plus subscription.

I think if you already have Plus you probably have the best value in the deal which is great. Though I some how feel that if Sony had just given everyone some credit in their wallet this would just smooth over. Again I guess this goes back to the thing I was talking about back when I was doing the Plus experiment… If they had just given you more options to select for the package then everyone would feel a little more satisfied. According to articles on other sites, the price Sony thinks you’re worth as a customer is somewhere around a hundred dollars. Oddly enough I reckon 50 dollars in PSN credit would have probably done the job for most people.

Letting the customers buy what they feel would satisfy them is better than saying what customers are allowed. Example would be that not everyone wants the Plus service, which essentially is worth around 5 dollars for the 30 days and 10 dollars for the 60 days of pre-existing Plus users. Then the price of 2 PSN games being around 20 dollars each seems to add up to around 50 dollars right? So really if we were to choose what we wanted, instead of 2 PSN games we could have bought some add-ons for games that we already own. Example Little Big Planet is already a game I own, I could use that money and buy more costumes right? I already have WipeOut HD so if I had the money I could use it to buy the Fury add-on if I wanted to right?

It would have been a lot cheaper for Sony and probably more satisfying for customers if they were to do it this way. At the same time they wouldn’t need to also offer a package to PSP owners as the credit would be shared on the PS Store. Then again the way this offer is set up, I think we are lead to believe it is worth up to 100 dollars but really the base value is around 50 dollars as Sony is the publisher for the games on offer… Well either way the offer is nice, but could have been better for less is all I’m saying… Seems to be the case with most of Sony’s attempts at these things.

Also the whole deal with Japanese Government not letting Sony restore the service for Asia is quite interesting. Hopefully Asia will receive a more interesting welcome back package for us…

May 16th, 2011

I wanted to write about this a month ago, but I didn’t really know if other people felt the same about the game. Anyway let’s begin since I have time and haven’t really written anything interesting about gaming for awhile… Here is a video of Jill DLC for reference to what the game looks like.

So Marvel Vs. Capcom 3… I played it a month or two ago shortly after it was released. I also saw it at Tokyo Game Show 2010… My first impression then and my impression now is unchanged, game does look absolutely beautiful and well styled in terms of graphics or aesthetics. Now that’s not how we are supposed to judge games, but Capcom really did do a good job in that department…

Coming from a background of playing a few of the older and original Vs. series from Capcom and even the SNK ones I have had quite a good sample of the games and know what it is all about. Sure each one had it’s faults or bugs but that isn’t what we should be complaining about, since good players will always figure out loop holes and bugged combos in these games. With that aside what are these games about? I’ve always felt the game seemed to be all about outrageous super combos and character combinations that you have always dreamed of in a fighting game.

When it comes to outrageous super combos, Gouki/Akuma is not short of them of course… Well in MvC3 the problem doesn’t lie in the amount of outrageous super combos we have in our arsenal to use, but actually it’s the character combinations… MvC3 has too few characters to be offering 3 on 3 teams, it isn’t long before you start repeating combinations or using characters you have no interest in for the sake of achievements or trophies.

Just to clarify, I’m not saying that 3 on 3 teams is bad… but in the current case it is where it lets MvC3 down. Let’s rewind a little and see why… before MvC3 there was Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom which offered 2 on 2 instead of 3 on 3, this may have been more of an issue with the Wii not being able to handle it but that’s probably not the case. TvC also had a different system that is probably closer to the SNK Vs. Capcom style where some characters can have their vitality split with other characters taking up one or two slots or even all slots. Of course the SNK Vs. Capcom style was more of a KO rotation system instead of a tag team system that Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom and Marvel Vs. Capcom series uses.

Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 however had 3 on 3 yet it wasn’t a problem right? That’s because the roster for MvC2 is so big that if they didn’t have 3 on 3 you’d never get through all the characters anyway. This also definitely played a part in making MvC2 a great classic and also a great game in the series… I remember unlocking characters in MvC2 was such a chore and the closer you are the finishing the roster the harder it was to gain points to unlock the characters, so you would unlock all the characters you like first and then finish off the rest when you eventually got around to it. However playing MvC3, well there is so little characters you unlock them without even trying and also the idea that the rest of the characters or future characters maybe DLC only really does kill the game.

If they were going to limit the number of characters we will be able to play as then they should have limited the size of the teams as well. Even with the possibility of more characters in the future, the fact that it is DLC means that you’re going to have to pay up if you ever wanted the complete the roster. As a game with a main selling point which is about random characters and probably fan service [Remixed Jazz Track was a nice touch though.] rather than a fighting game, selling your characters separately really does let down the game… on top of that the DLC characters currently offered aren’t completely new characters to the series but old characters that existed in previous versions of the game. Jill of course is a variation but she is still a character that appeared in the previous games.

Capcom maybe getting way ahead of them selves trying to milk their customers, but maybe try not to ruin the games in the process if parts you are are trying to milk with is a vital aspect that makes the games unique. Another strange approach is that they are trying to sell CPU AI teams as a challenge or some kind of DLC… What? Is there something I’m missing here? Selling an AI team combination? Seeing as we have Online Mode, why would anyone in their right mind buy this… I’m sure I’d rather more characters even if they were going to be charging for it at least there is a chance of seeing characters that I might be interested in using. Kobun/Servbot for example?

One last thing, I have yet to buy the game after playing it… It’s not that I don’t like it, but it is the fear that this game doesn’t seem complete enough and we are going to get a Super Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 later this year which has double the characters. :P Or better yet, Super Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Arcade Edition Remix HD… You get the idea. ;) Though Capcom may actually know their audience better and these points maybe proven wrong with their return on investment.

May 15th, 2011

So with the PlayStation Network coming back, it’s interesting to see what will happen from now. Personally I didn’t have any Credit Card details in my accounts and I was on holiday so mainly not too affected by this whole incident. I do wonder what happens to people who have extra accounts or multiple accounts created for the purpose of having another alias… There will be a Welcome Back Package given to all PSN users, does this mean even dummy accounts will receive free PS+ Service and free games? Will this mean out of the few games you are able to choose for free you get to collect them all if you had multiple accounts?

I bought a new PS3 for a friend during the time the hacking and downtime happened. Do they receive any of the services if we create a new account for them? It would be interesting if that is the case, but from a business point of view if you didn’t have an account before the hacking then you probably shouldn’t be eligible for the Welcome Back Package. Since you aren’t a returning customer…

One last thing I do think maybe an issue is the Secret Question and Answer. Though we maybe prompted to update our passwords and some details, the original PSN didn’t let you change your Secret Question and Answer… So if they don’t allow us to update this, then wouldn’t hackers or people who buy the information of customers from the hackers have the answer to the question and still be able to access your account? Also I forgot the answer to one of the accounts I made since I gave it a really stupid question… it would be nice to have that one changed haha… Well here is to a good PSN rebirth and Sony to have everything working right for their customers as soon as possible. :)

I watched this video earlier… felt different seeing Kazuo Hirai do this well rehearsed speech from a office desk… though yeah I guess better than seeing a Kevin Butler spin off. :P

February 9th, 2011

This was one of the recent headlines going around lately. News has it that Konami has gained enough shares of Hudson Soft and is now taking over or absorbing the company into Konami. This is a sad thing to see because during my primary to high school years I was a fan of Hudson Soft games… Especially the Super Bomberman series, special mentions to Super Bomberman 4 [Super Nintendo] and Bomberman SS [Sega Saturn] as they were the probably the most outstanding Bomberman games in terms of game play and design before the experimenting started and the series started to lose it’s edge.

Sure Konami is probably taking over Hudson because they aren’t doing so well in the recent years, and Hudson has quite a few great valuable intellectual properties in their treasure chest. Hopefully Konami does a better job with Bomberman as for a classic party game it just isn’t as fun any more with the broken game play, network play lag, poor graphics quality for simple looking characters and lack of good mountable creatures. Bomberman wasn’t the only franchise that was losing it’s edge in the games being made, anyone remember Bonk?

Bonk was one of those unique platform games that Hudson had in it’s arsenal. You had this prehistoric cave man or boy that goes around the world smashing things with his gigantic head and eating chunks of meat, fruit and candy for power ups. Well for some odd reason when ever Hudson makes something from 2D to 3D they don’t have very good 3D lighting or textures and the game just looks ugly compared to the classics. When you think about it, if it wasn’t the game play that was ruined from the series it was the look and feel that ended up taking the blow.

Although these are Hudson game examples, they aren’t the only ones who have released new generation versions of their old classical games only to have it play poorly compared to the originals. One I can think of is Taito’s Bubble Bobble series, though in the PSP version that was made which wasn’t by Taito it was obviously licensed by them and allowed the PSP title to be created… It wasn’t the end of the classical style, but it was still a poor implementation of 2D in 3D of a classic game. Another Bubble Bobble was released on DS which sticks to the classic style and really works well with the Dual Screen of the DS.

So back to Hudson, in the recent years I don’t ever remember hearing a title that was successful that came out from them… but I do remember when they were trying to market and make that Bomberman Act: Zero game saying how it was going to be a reboot of the Sega Saturn version of the game and I thought Wow that is going to be such an awesome game! and then when it came out I was wondering What the? That’s nothing like Bomberman SS. Funnily enough the game was published by Konami. :P

One last example that shows something is wrong… that is when the original franchise’s game play loses to a the spin off’s game play. When playing Bomberman Portable on the PSP it was full of disappointments with the same issues mentioned in the beginning… poor game play, adhoc network play lag issues, poor graphics and texture quality… it’s as if all the 3D objects in game used the default texture: Lambert in Maya and they just stuck one light source in the game. Then comes Bomberman Land for PSP… I mean sure the game isn’t really Bomberman, but it also supports the classical multiplayer battle mode… Sadly it was much better than the franchise release. Bomberman Land had better adhoc network play and the simple 2D graphics does the job right while the main game may not be about blowing things up, the battle mode game play was acceptable to the series standard.

Now days classical franchises get rebooted or remade all the time… it is hard to keep track of how all of them are doing, but it can be assumed that if we aren’t hearing about them in the news then they are probably not doing well. Nintendo seems to be the rare type able to keep their franchises’ reboots or remakes up to scratch… or are just more successful at keeping the quality, look and feel of their games at a representable standard. We will see what happens with Hudson’s franchises with Konami’s take over… Everything goes Act: Zero?

Edit: An insider story to the downfall of Hudson was posted recently, it gives more in-depth details to what I was talking about also some nice information that I didn’t even know about… especially the development environment of Hudson being interesting and the origin of the name. You can read it here.

February 7th, 2011

Of course that isn’t the official name, it is the code name for the PlayStation Portable 2. The Neo Geo Pocket… Umm Next Generation Portable, was announced last week at the Sony press event in Japan. Though I did mention a few things in the list of potential the device has… I did not expect size to come into play. The NGP is actually quite large, as in larger than the original PSP and has the same style of look and feel of the original.

Technically I am really into the device specifications, makes me really want to design and develop games for it… However the size and the product so far doesn’t sit right with me when it comes to the controls. Anyone else feel that the size seems too large to be portable? Sony might be putting this up as a device that is going to be up against the iPad and the 3DS, so actually it is smaller than the iPad but it is powerful and more capable than the 3DS. While the PSPhone [XPERIA Play] is put up against the iPhone… If that’s the case I’m all in for it being large, but then why design it to look similar to the original PSP?

I can see the design of the PSPGo being more suited for the idea, as it means some games can just utilise the touch panels to play… Think of a game similar to LocoRoco with only the L and R buttons exposed while also having the touch panels on the back and front of the NGP along with the Gyro, Sixaxis and Accelerometer… These are plenty of inputs for a intuitive game don’t you think? Also means the device will be more balanced for when you are to stick your finger out to touch the screen. When holding the original PSP, if you were to let go of one hand and try to press buttons while touching or poking the screen you notice that the hand still on the device actually needs quite some energy to support the weight of the device while pressing buttons. NGP being a larger device might be more strain on the hands during touch gaming and may ruin the experience.

Also if the result is a thicker device so they can fit true analog sticks, I’m sure people will still be fine with it when slid open as the thickness will probably be the same as the current design with a less wide approach. Even if they decide not to go with the slide design on this iteration, hope the future slimming designs will receive the PSPGo treatment because I quite like the idea of being able to sit down the device in a cradle and connect up the Bluetooth DualShock 3 and play a game with that mini-console feel. Again this goes with my theory that future game consoles should all go mobile as the more powerful home consoles become, the more expensive it is to develop for and high good quality games will be out of reach to small developers and big developers won’t risk the investment anyway so it just becomes a huge waste to the industry.

Alright back on topic… Design aside, if they were to sell the device as it is now… I would probably still buy it because I would want to play Minna no Golf NEXT [Development Title]. Which you can read about at the Mingol Community site. Though the price would still be an issue… I am speculating the cost of the device to sit around 45,000 yen at the moment. However maybe by production or release it will be around 40,000… or the 3G version will be 45,000 while without it will be 40,000 yen. A little steep to sell if it is at that price, but if the future of home gaming consoles end here… then the price may not be too bad.

The potential of the device still stands. I don’t have much to add from the previous points other than what I mentioned here… but over all the impression Sony has given to the gaming industry from the press conference seems to be a positive one and seems to have brought a large portion of attention to their side. With the 3DS release coming later this month, I would say they played this one well.

[I'll come back and edit this with a few images.]

February 7th, 2011

Not sure if this would work or how such a system would start up… but imagine if the game industry was made up of a community where the companies that make games post up their concepts to the consumers and have people bid on the ideas. Some times as a consumer I feel that it is hard to make a difference or see potentially good ideas for games go to waste because the newest first person shooting clone game came out the other day because they are low risk and sell well to the market.

So the idea is that we have a system where ideas for games are posted in simple concepts and detailed game design documents for consumers to read, and they then put money into the production of the game… Example: Level 5 posts up that they will be making a new type of RPG game and will be looking to get Ghibli to create the art and design for the game world and characters. Consumers then look at it and can consider putting money into the idea because many people enjoyed the quality of their previous collaboration… This then gives the company an idea of how many people want this game to be made and also gives them an extra amount of funds to help start the project. It can be quite flexible with small bids of a dollar and larger bids of even a hundred dollars or more…

What is even possible is that companies can out bid a game that they want part in creating. This may seem a little strange when you think about it… but it can also be a good thing. There are many cases where a great idea ends up in the wrong hands and results in a poor quality game that tarnishes a franchise. Example: Sonic… yeah poor hedgehog gets reborn as everything these days but recently there have been some exceptional fan base remakes or concept works that seem more fitting to the franchise than what the big companies are pushing out. In this case, these fan made projects can also receive bids and support from consumers to have these ideas pushed to completion. Though this case maybe a little tricky as there are intellectual property and licensing issues that maybe involved, then again with the money and interest generated… a company such as Sega might see that if they were to license the game created by these fans it would actually be doing their franchise good and they don’t really have to do squat? Hence they could bid/donate support by granting the license for free…

Episodic game development becomes possible with this system… features to games can be bid on to help improve future iterations or versions of the game. Some game ideas sound great and all, but they might not work out when they are completed, rather than release a game and risking it all for a experimental concept the games can be developed in sections with consumers bidding on the next features before the wrong decisions are made. Developers can then take these risks without it being a huge blow on their budget as it is the consumers who are bidding are putting cash on the line for experimental features that could break the game. I think recently I read about a game which might be doing this business model… another plus to this model is that the developers receive instant feedback before the game is completed, so any experimental routes can be salvaged in the worst scenarios. This system potentially works well for making MMO games, as they require a lot of resources to develop now days especially with Blizzard still holding that genre at their disposal.

Now wait a second, you might wonder what the bidders get from the game or company for bidding on the game proposals…? Well the system is also similar to looking for investors. These people who contributed whether it is a little or more will be rewarded by the developers with either a free copy of the game, beta testing opportunities or extra content for when they purchase the final release. So those who only contributed a little still receive something, while those who contributed more may receive a collectors edition of the final product.

Let’s try to put this concept to work…

  1. A game proposal is posted up for consumers to read, discuss and bid. The proposal asks for 20,000 dollars to begin prototype development.
  2. Everyone can see the title of the game, genre and basic information of the idea. Non-Disclosure Agreements are placed on detailed game design documents.
  3. Consumers who approve of the idea and would like to see it become reality can bid and invest on the game proposals.
  4. The initial development budget is acquired and the game goes into development. If the original developers back out, the money returns to the consumers and the project stops here.
  5. Prototype is completed, the consumers or investors are invited to review the concept and play the prototype…
  6. A video is made of the prototype to drive more interest and the game goes into the bidding cycle again
  7. With enough interest and investors the development reaches the end of the project… The game is published and released to the market.

Ideally this is what would happen if the game was successful, but there will be cases where the game doesn’t get past the prototype stage and the investors will feel like their time was wasted. I guess there is ways around this problem, but then again if the developers were to have some penalty for experimenting or taking a risk with an idea that people actually bid and voted for then there would be less interesting proposals and more first person shooting clones and we will be back to square one.