[ Shihiko° × Game。]

About Games. by Shihiko°

February 5th, 2011

Earlier they review came through and Typ-iT was approved for sale for the App Store. What sale though? The game is Free. :)

Typ-iT


View In iTunes

  • Free
  • Category: Games
  • Released: 04 February 2011
  • Version: 1.0
  • Size: 5.2 MB
  • Language: English

Though I just looked at the leader boards, only seven people have played… but none of them tried to play the harder word list. Scores are fairly average so far, but still fun to see people try the game. I also checked twitter, but no one has tried the Twitter system yet. Which is a shame because that took time and effort to set up… Ah well hopefully it will pick up over a few days. I’ll probably play and get some high scores and tweets going on it to make it more interesting. :D

January 26th, 2011

Now with Typ-iT done with for the moment, I have some free time to write some thoughts on the PlayStation Portable 2… with the recent news that is showing up and the leaked specifications or patent submissions from Sony being analysed it seems that the PSP2 is turning more and more into what I felt the PSPGo should have been. It is also getting close to what I felt the PSPhone should have been too…

First off we aren’t going to be discussing about the specifications of the devices or any of the hardware capabilities. It is mostly about the features and ideas that I felt should be in a device such as a PSPhone/PSP2. Previously I did write about the PSPhone but that was more in relation to what it should do to succeed… Now that more information has been released we can look into this a little more.

So alright the PSPhone is now pretty much out there for us to look at and see what the deal with it is… it is an Android Phone under the XPERIA series with PlayStation controls and an application called PlayStation Pocket [Good name, brings back memories.] that connects with the PSNetwork and allows you to download and play games. Not too bad really… Though it isn’t something I as a gamer look at and think “I want this.” I look at it as being a gimmicky phone aimed at want to be gamers and people who have too much money and no idea what is good for them.

However with recent news of the PSP2, it seems like it is hitting some good potential… from my previous post which contains some discussion about the PSPhone, the points are still valid for most of the issues in supporting what would make a good device for gamers to pick up. Except this time, we are talking about a true gaming device… The PSP2 will be put up against the Nintendo 3DS which is going to be released next month, while the PSP2 is looking towards near end of year release.

With the way technology and the gaming industry is moving, I can see that the future of gaming resides in portable consoles rather than home entertainment systems. That or a hybrid… similar to how the PSP can be plugged into the television [though it was poorly implemented with requiring HDTVs]. As devices seemingly get too powerful for game companies to support them or reach their full potential because of the production costs for games it starts becoming an issue where developers spend too much time on matching the graphics quality to the systems that the games turn out not reaching their potential due to budget limitation on the development.

Anyway enough of that, so Sony will be releasing it’s details tomorrow in Japan. Before that I should outline what would probably make the PSP2 successful:

  • Integration: Sony’s devices from the PSP and PS3 along with their views on integrating with their products should be using the PSP2 to integrate everything as a personal Sony device control panel if they want their electronic consumers to pick up the PSP2 for market share, with a touch screen panel this should not be a hard task to enable especially with everything moving towards network connectivity etc.
  • Games: No this isn’t a joke, no matter what; the games determine the success of a gaming device and at the same time the devices capabilities determine the success of some games. Some games succeed with physical buttons while others succeed with a touch screen or motion… What ever is included in the PSP2 should be used to create games that need them, not just use it for an arbitrary part of the game and never use it again.
  • Network Connectivity: This may not sound like much, but the PSP lacked serious PSN connectivity. Despite we were allowed to connect to the PSN Store to purchase and download games we weren’t allowed to view our PSN Friend list even as a simple function in the XMB [Cross Media Bar Menu]. You could argue that there was no need because we aren’t able to access the XMB in-game anyway, but you can’t deny the fact that on-the-go PSN connectivity and portable social gaming is awesome. This being possible with the announcement of 3G connectivity with the PSP2, apart from that it is also a feature that Sony will have over the N3DS as Nintendo tend to want everyone to play games together in the same room [not that it is a bad thing just catering a different target audience].
  • Applications: Sony and most large companies prefer to have control over their devices, but one of the reasons these devices get hacked or jail broken is because there are people out there that enjoy programming and making these devices do things that they weren’t created to do. In most cases these people just want to test these devices or give it more functionality than the first party developers allow. Rather than prevent these people from making these extra functions and releasing one or two poor additional features every few months, companies should create an environment that encourages these people to add features to their systems to improve it without even costing them any firmware development resources.
  • Price: This is a questionable one. Portable devices especially current generation of smart phones are getting quite expensive, at the same time these are also the devices that portable gaming devices such as the PSP2 and the N3DS have to compete with for the casual gaming market. Of course the direct rival for price is the N3DS, it would be interesting to see the price matched this time or lower… However being Sony chances are slim. ;)
  • Communication Connectivity: Strangely despite the PSP2 will be getting 3G features, it does not feature the ability to make phone calls. Understandably this is to allow the PSPhone to enjoy an exclusive feature to it’s name… whether this is the right move or not, we will know as time passes. This is a real miss of opportunity though because in my opinion, as if Sony had the engineers work together to make a device that combines both of the devices it would make it simpler for their consumers in choosing a device. Though as this is the path they have chosen in their market strategy, the PSP2 can make up for this with the 3G and Skype capabilities as with the original PSP featuring Skype. As a bonus, Skype needs to be able to run in the background while gaming so players can voice chat while gaming… [This kills a few birds with one stone: Lack of Phone feature, No cross game voice chat and Connectivity or Communication with PSN friends who use Skype while not being able to log on from a PlayStation Device.]

Well that seems like enough from me for now, it’s probably best to sit back and watch as the events unfold… I could write more but this is getting too much to think about. I would like to hear about anyone else’s opinion of the PSP2 potential… Feel free to share or discuss. :)

January 26th, 2011

So here goes… A game that I have been working on for the last three months has now been uploaded and sent to Apple’s App Store for review and approval. Figured I should post about it and get the word out so people can try and give it a go when it is approved… It’s free so it’s not like you need to pay to play it. :)

What is Typ-iT? Well if you can’t guess what it is from the name or this picture here, then maybe you really need to play it haha… It is a simple typing game for the iOS devices with Game Center support along with Twitter posting. Despite it doesn’t sound like anything special, it was designed for the game play/points system, educational benefits and for those who want to improve their typing skills on their new iOS device.

Thanks to those who supported this project and ideas throughout the development. Also thanks to David for development support, though if anyone is complaining why this is iOS only… he’s the guy to blame too. :P Anyone who wants to see this on other mobile devices will have to wait and see… Probably not happening, unless someone wants to join me and port it to the other mobile devices.

Some people ask me if it is exciting to see the game get submitted… Probably should be, but I guess I’m more excited about prototyping and designing the next game. Game design is in my nature… as is playing games and analysing them haha… ;)

January 1st, 2011

2010 was an interesting year. I know this site began started up again during that time and then things slowed down after my trip to Japan. As a new years resolution I will try to maintain the site more and actively post new thoughts and discoveries from my gaming curiosity and ideas…

A few things I did plan to post about and didn’t find time to I may return and write about them… as an addition to the new year the site will be open to user registration so those who follow or read this site can make comments and opinions to my posts. On top of that YouTube recently allowed me to upload videos longer than 15 minutes… which is a really nice plus for me for uploading game recordings from the consoles… ;)

Hope 2011 is a much more exciting or challenging year for new games and game designers. :)

October 10th, 2010

A game that aimed to break the “Sonic Cycle” was released a few days ago… Sonic 4. I tested it out on the iPhone so far… might also try the PlayStation 3 version. And how was it…?

Well after playing Sonic World Adventure [Unleashed] I can see that Sonic was slowly getting back in his speed shoes… but we would all like to see more than just well made stages and great game play. We needed to see Super Sonic in game levels, flashing all the Chaos Emeralds in Golden Glory. Sonic 4 – Episode 1 brings this back to us and more depending on what you enjoyed about the classic Sonic games.

The concept was good. Bring the original 2D game play of Sonic back and continue the story from Sonic 3 & Knuckles… Which didn’t exactly happen yet…? If you haven’t noticed from screen shots the level designs and art style has been quite similar to that of Sonic 2. So I guess they can’t ruin anything by doing that… it does however for me make it feel that it wasn’t very original, but at the same time brings some nostalgia which is what Sonic Team wants I guess.

Though I played the iPhone version, the look and feel of the game was quite good. It was also interesting trying this version first, because we are so used to Sonic being a control pad game it seemed stupid if we were to play without buttons. I cleared the Final Stage and all of Episode 1 with Tilt Controls… I did attempt to use the touch controls at one stage for a more precise control, but there was no point since I was already used to the tilting.

Getting the Chaos Emeralds was a huge chore though as the bonus stage gets annoying with the tilting, I guess when you are used to playing Labyrinth type games it doesn’t really help. It is the same type of bonus stage across all the consoles… thought it does look like a rip out of Sonic 3′s check point bonus game, it works because we are tilting the stage… though I could have gone for a cooler new type of bonus stage but no big deal, we get Chaos Emeralds that work on something other than the Final Boss… [Oh how true that is... 36 Rings really?]

It’s good to see Super Sonic back. It’s still too early for a review though as this is the first episode of the game… Sonic Team are doing this so they can slowly reel back in those who were hurt by the Sonic Cycle and are confident that they will get Sonic fans to buy all the episodes this way. So far it seems to be working, it is mostly positive reviews from various sources…

September 30th, 2010

Of all the Survival Horror series, one I enjoy most is the Project Zero or Fatal Frame series… if I were to make a website for a game it was either that or Minna no Golf.

Project Zero Work in Progress.

That would probably have been the case if there wasn’t already a nice website out there for the game and also if the game was more true to it’s original feel. With some game series or franchises, things get a little stale or game play or design go backwards instead of forwards. Project Zero is probably one of those who have fallen into this area of progression, with the game starting off to a great start with Zero, then topped by Crimson Butterfly and then holding it’s position with The Tormented… while the latest release Mask of the Lunar Eclipse on the Wii wasn’t improving it seemed the series was heading sideways.

With basically a drought for news on anything to do with the series and Nintendo holding the localised release of the game in western countries… you’d think that maybe the series might be dead. Well yesterday there was a few articles and press releases which contain visuals of the new upcoming work in progress Project Zero featuring the characters from Crimson Butterfly. This could be signs of a remake or Mio and Mayu have matured, but why is it for the Wii again…?

Seeing as with the previous version, Nintendo had rights to the publishing of the game… and their decision was to hold the release of the game in western countries [due to chances the game will not sell well in western regions]. Eventually it lead to fans creating a English patch for the Japanese game. Tecmo did also say that they would try not let this happen again in the future as they are quite sorry the game was unable to reach the western fan base of the series. So what are they doing now…?

I’ve always looked forward to a HD version of the game to play. Looks like that may not be happening, though I don’t see why if they are already remaking it anyway… Also if the motion controllers are what they are after, that doesn’t mean much as the PlayStation Move is now available so that doesn’t make sense. The only reason this could be happening is that Nintendo maintains the license to the series or franchises now as Tecmo may have sold it to them for a set number of years. A move which may have cost the series it’s progression and success.

Anyway here is what the original Crimson Butterfly looked like… comparing with the new graphics up the top there is clearly a noticeable difference. Mio and Mayu have had their costumes modified a little and some other enhancements… really? One thing that was irritating about the Wii release was that in Lunar Eclipse, there wasn’t much difference between the look of the girls you were in control of. Most of them were given enough polygons to emphasize their face and chest while the rest of the body was pretty much left for awkward moments when stretched or animated. The original PlayStation 2 releases of the game seemed to have done a better job… it just seems like they wanted the game to look better than the originals however decided that they would need to cut corners else where [such as straight and stiff looking limbs that fold awkwardly] to maintain that effect.

That aside the Wii never seemed to do the game much justice. Ignoring that Suda did change the way the game play and system works a little, there are times where the game would lag uncontrollably when travelling between rooms or sections of a building. Why does it happen? I even tested it with USB loaded version of the game and it still had the same lagging performance at the same area of the game… this wasn’t a bug that just happens to be on the game because we are running it off a disc. It happened even when the developers were probably testing it off the Wii SDK… which means they should have fixed it in the testing phase. If they were struggling with resources and performance in the first place, why announce another release for the Wii when there are clearly better alternatives out there where the series can succeed on?

Well I look forward to the release of this game… but there is always going to be that thought of how much better this series could have been if they weren’t crippling their ideas and development teams just for a little bit of cash. With the PlayStation Move now available, there is no excuse not to make this in HD if they wanted the motion controllers… Also atleast if they released it on the PlayStation 3 the game would be region free and not force legitimate people to hack and modify their consoles just to play a game they would have gladly purchased if it were released in their respective regions. [Also more exposure for the game if people were playing it online on the PSN or Live with the Trophies and Achievements systems.] In the end I could move over to Biohazard for my Survival Horror gaming… too bad the horror factor in that is pretty low.

September 20th, 2010

Going to the Tokyo Game Show was quite interesting. This was my first time to such an event, so it was an all new experience to see how things work at these exhibits. I was actually not in Tokyo at the time the event started, so I needed to travel a few hours to reach the location which this year was at Makuhari Messe in Chiba.

Upon arriving at the station near Makuhari Messe there is many people walking towards the exhibit. You can follow them or listen to the people who try to guide you there with signs or gestures. Anyway, as you get closer to the building there is already a huge mass of people gathered outside lining up to enter… If you have a pre-purchased ticket you can move along to join the line, otherwise you need to line up to obtain a ticket. [Pre-purchased tickets are cheaper but you need to print it out yourself.] Even so, it turns out the line you are lining up at after the tickets is a security check line… After that it is actually straight into the exhibit.

It was packed. One thing that means is, you’re not going to be able to see everything. So prior to going I would probably recommend knowing where and what everything you want to look at is located. It is also probably much easier to do everything you want to check out if you were alone… I wasn’t. So I mainly hung around the Sony, Capcom and Level 5 area. I did drift to the other parts but mostly just to eat lunch and look at what else is on offer at the event.

Almost everything has a line… either that or you need to line up somewhere else before you can line up at a popular game. An example was most of the 3D or PlayStation Move booths at Sony required you to line up at another line to obtain a coupon that gives you a time slot so you can try the game you want to play. The other case was you could be lining up at a up coming game that also gives you some limited goods for trying the game, which was the case for Ni no Kuni… of course you could also try it at the Sony booth without a 30 or 60 minute line to wait in.

The real nice thing about going to these events is you can see and experience the games rather than base your judgement on the videos and pictures or content offered online. Truly some games need to be seen to be enjoyed or appreciated… since some games or media content are staged. This explains why without a press license we are unable to take pictures of videos of any games at the event as they are mainly all work in progress of concept demonstrations. Mavel vs Capcom 3 did look much nicer than the online videos show it to be. Little Big Planet 2 was nice to see too.

It’s probably a good plan to also try things that will probably be too expensive to experience at home or concept games that probably won’t make it to any platform in the near future. Since I was there with two of my online friends, we decided to try play Minna no Golf 5 in 3D because we probably can’t afford the set up at home or it might not even be released for the current version of the game. It was an interesting experience which you can read about here. I didn’t try the PlayStation Move as it was already released elsewhere in the world so it isn’t exclusive, also it was good enough to watch the booth assistants demonstrate it as it gives a good idea of how responsive it is.

If you plan to hang around from the start to the end, then another good idea would be to prepare your own lunch. You can hang around in lines and eat your lunch instead of lining up and paying for a lower than standard quality lunch which saves you time and money so you can play and view more games. I guess the same case goes for if you want to buy some limited goods at the place, you need to be there early so you can insure that you will obtain the goods you want… I had no interest in that part of the show, but my friend was lining up two hours before the event in order to get his hands on a Moogle plushie.

To wrap it up, I quite enjoyed the event except there shouldn’t be a need to line up to reserve a spot just to try a game. Also it would have been nicer if we were allowed to take pictures of the event instead of only the area between the buildings that had cosplayers getting their photos taken… That area would have also been nicer if it wasn’t where we needed to walk through to get to the other areas of the event, as in they could put it in another area away from the people who are trying to navigate around the exhibit. Some freebies would have been nice too… :)

September 16th, 2010

So the Tokyo Game Show 2010 started today… I haven’t been following the news and press release closely, but I do see a few things I look forward to trying this weekend. Ni no Kuni, Patapon 3, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, GranTurismo 5, Little Big Planet 2, PlayStation Move and also up coming 3D games. I don’t think they will be awesome but might be a good experience and enlightening to what 3D may or may not be capable of.

Minna no Golf 5 had a short 3D display… I wonder if that means they are planning to patch the current game?

Anyway doesn’t seem like an awesome line-up of things to come but it is interesting none the less. :D

August 20th, 2010

So today’s about a month since my PlayStation Plus Experiment… How’s it going so far? Well I have received three months worth of premium avatars and a few games which I already have or aren’t that fun. Quite dissappointed with the service so far, still no news about cross-game voice chat and no premium dynamic themes to keep.

Continuing on however… According to next month’s schedule they don’t look all that great at all. For the Japanese PSN The next free title will be Warhawk… A game that is over two years old. Also there is no premium dynamic theme or avatar lined up to collect so I maybe skipping next month’s subscription.

Now what have I learned about this so far? First off the experiment works of course… I have received three months worth of avatars and games for only one month’s payment but none of the games were that interesting or worth my time or I already have it.

Subsciptions need to be unsubscribed once you have started it otherwise it will automatically renew and charge your credit card or PSN wallet at the end of the period. The service can to be unsubscribed from the Account Manager menu.

Once it reaches the end of the period you will automatically lose your Plus icon from your online status. Apparently there is a bug that allows free PSone games to continue to work even after the subscription period. However there were no PSone games for free on the Japanese store for me to test this.

As for the service so far, well there really is no benefit for power users so far… It seems you’d probably get or benefit out of this service if you were a casual PlayStation gamer and didn’t own that many games because you’d be getting essentially a new game that you have never played before. Since the service also offers automatic update, it basically allows you to set and forget your system and whenever you boot it up you’ll be ready for and game or any online networking since it would have kept your system up to date for you no matter how much you neglect gaming on it.

Well that’s the report on the experiment so far… More to come as time goes on… Hopefully they will improve the service alot more but I really done see it as a service that makes users feel they are missing out on something special…

August 14th, 2010

Looks like all the predictions and talk in the past is finally coming to fruit. Sony are really going forward with the PlayStation Phone. This can work out really well for Sony if they play it right … Rumour has it that the design is quite impressive and is a sliding touch screen with the PlayStation buttons featured like the PSP Go. Since there isn’t much to go by other than that, let’s see what points could make or break this phone for the hardcore gamer.

Games

No doubt this is the most important part of the phone and it is the selling point that will be pushing this device out to the consumers. It will be important that games created for the device are well supported and fully functional console quality games… No gimmicky games that people release on the other phones just to make a few bucks and bloat the online store or system. Keeping the system catering to more polished games will give it a more exclusive and upper class feel so that games purchased are well worth the money and there won’t be a top ten lists populated with dollar deal games and more quality games.

Hardware

Looking around at what other devices are out there that this would be competing with, this smart phone-portable console hybrid will need to ramp it up a little in order to catch the market that it needs to succeed. Firstly the hardware must support the current collection of PSP/PSone games, this isn’t an option it must be done… However this is not good enough, the device apart from featuring the ability to play PSP/PSone games also needs a refresh or update. The PSP Go failed because of this, people don’t want to pay more for a device that actually does less while despite having a nicer design and some software features. If they say they have learnt their lesson from the PSP Go, then I expect to see a brand new series of hardware that can possibly be a new type of PSP. Clue: Dual Analogue Sticks, L2 + R2 buttons, Camera, Capacitive Touch Screen, Accelerometer, Compass, GPS, Gyroscope, High Resolution Screen… pretty much anything and everything that it needs to stay on par with a high end smart phone. It would also need an awesome battery life… another thing PSP Go failed at despite the new chips and removal of the UMD drive, they decided they will reduce the size of the battery so that you end up with the same battery life as a standard PSP Slim. There is clearly more that can be said about the hardware, but I think if they wish to keep the phone competitive, they will have to have base hardware requirements for the series and refresh and update the hardware over time. However only changing the appearance, design, memory and storage so that games are designed for all systems throughout the system’s life cycle.

Software

Now this is where Sony usually struggles and dies trying. Rumours have it that the phone will be using Android 3.0, most likely skinned and modified to work how Sony wants it… similar to the Xperia X10. I’ve used an Xperia before, and well it ain’t no iPhone, even the new Samsung smart phones are nicer to use with Android 2.0. Sony needs to get the software for this right or it will crash and burn. No one wants to use a device that lags and struggles to respond no matter how beautiful it may look. A new and improved XMB would work, especially with a multi-touch screen should provide a good combination between using the directional pad and selecting icons on screen quickly. A quick example would be using the XMB menu then selecting the Photos menu on the PlayStation 3 then seeing it tile on screen which allows you to scroll with the directional pad or touch each tile for viewing. Being an Android phone, apart from supporting Android games it should also have it’s own propriety format so the games stay exclusive and will only work on the PSPhone. I’m sure this part is already thought of and clearly separates the system’s abilities from a normal Android phone… if not well then this will clearly be another lost cause.

PlayStation Network

Really, who is the market that will be buying this device? PlayStation owners and hardcore gamers. A fully functional and always connected PlayStation Network client on the phone would mean a lot to these people. If Sony wants the device to keep these people gaming, the community must be there and even though mobile devices isn’t the best idea for staying connected as connection dropping is or can be expected, it should not mean this shouldn’t be included. Most people are in the hardcore category with their portable consoles usually spend the majority of their time playing their games at the comfort of their own homes and usually have a stable internet connection there anyway. Just provide a warning that they may lose connection if the player chooses to play their games over the mobile network. The PSP had the PlayStation Network added later in it’s life cycle which meant it was slightly limited, however not being able to communicate with your friend’s list while on the PSP version of the PlayStation Network kind of defeated the purpose of signing in. So a fully functional PSN could turn it into a must have device for the daily PlayStation gamer.

Marketing

Lastly, probably another place where Sony tends to over look or do weirdly is the marketing of their devices. All I can say is, keep it simple and make sure you cover the market targeted and also the related markets such as multimedia audience and the casual gamer smart phone market. Show what it does… I think the recent advertising teams are doing better, but really that’s comparing it to what was already considered bad advertising. They will need to push this one hard if they want it to expand beyond just the gamer that doesn’t like having to carry a phone and their portable console.

Summary

I’m all for this idea, and it seems the general online feedback for it is quite positive as well… the downside is Sony has done this sort of thing in the past and failed to live up to the hype and advertising of some of their products which is why they don’t pick up as well as some of the other products and devices out on the market. Hopefully they will get this right and actually innovate again instead of only improving technology and hoping people will buy it on the specifications alone.