Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Greatest Game Ever

I would like to emphasize that the game I'm about to describe is real. It was published and sold for profit. It is not some Flash game made by a 15 year old indy developer. I swear before Xenu that this is true.

The greatest game ever has the eerily accurate title "Vinnie Vole's Existential Nightmare." In it, you control Vinnie the vole. At the start of the game, you are given the controls and told what button starts the game. Starting the game informs you that your actions have damned Vinnie, which is technically true (you monster). If you hadn't pressed start then Vinnie wouldn't be in this mess. Anyway, Vinnie is trapped in some kind of box/oubliette/thing and cannot escape. Within the first thirty seconds you will realize that there is no way out of the box. Vinnie will also realize that you can't help him (Hell, you're the reason he's here) and will stop being controlled by you. He'll glare menacingly at you (again, you're the reason he's here) while trying to think of a way out of the box. Unfortunately, Vinnie can't think of one and ends up bouncing off the walls in frustration. After this little fit, Vinnie will crawl into the corner and cry. Unbeknownst to the player, Vinnie has an inventory that you can't access (it's Vinnie's, not yours). Having reached the final extreme of destrudo, Vinnie goes into his inventory and pulls out a gun. He places the barrel against his temple, and pulls the trigger. And a giant flashing "Your Fault" screen appears to let you know the game is over. Why don't more mainstream developers pick up on this breed of meta-gaming?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Because Americans Are Retards"

I haven't been following E3 that much. I'd complain that Nintendo continues to disappoint (let's make our hardware ridiculous to cover up that we're re-releasing a 15 year old game due to a lack of creativity!), but they always do. And I'm not sure Microsoft was even there.

So instead, I was reading Doctor Sparkle's (the Chrontendo guy) revisionist history of Super Mario Bros. 2. The traditional story about SMB2 was that the Japanese SMB sequel showed up in the Nintendo of America offices and was declared too hard for stupid American gamers. Then an idea was hit upon to take a game, Doki Doki Panic, and swap out the character sprites for Mario Bros. characters. And we'd all be none the wiser because Americans are retards.

Doctor Sparkle took issue with that theory. First, the development team for Doki Doki Panic was effectively the development team for Super Mario Bros. So the game had that pedigree to its name. And secondly, a heavy dose of the game's characters were instantly added to Mario Bros. canon (such as it is), giving us Bob-ombs, Shy Guys, and Birdo. If you doubt the canon thing is an issue, look what Sega did to Sonic the Hedgehog. They had a kind of split-canon where America and Japan had entirely different stories for the games. Then when technology meant that much of the story was in-game rather than in-manual, they effectively declared the American canon invalid. Despite the traditional story about SMB2, Mario never had this split-canon issue.

Chrontendo has linked to a recently released interview that adds greater weight to the idea that Japan was already planning to embrace the American SMB2 as a canonical Mario Bros. game. The original prototype that would become Doki Doki Panic was originally designed as "Super Mario, except vertical." Seriously, SMB2 was a lot of climbing and directed falling. In fact, the games horizontal sections were added at the request of Miyamoto specifically to make the game more Mario-esque. The game was, by design, aggressively Mario. Then Fuji TV cut a deal with Nintendo to release a game as part of this big hoopla they were doing. This aggressively Mario game was still using placeholders for the player-characters, so Fuji TV's mascots of the year were tossed in. Nintendo of Japan had already designed the game to be Mario-esque and, tying in with Doctor Sparkle's original theory, they couldn't hope to sell Fuji TV mascots to an American audience. Fuji TV may have owned the characters, but Nintendo owned the game. So sprite swap the characters and congratulations, instant best-seller. So yeah, everything you knew was wrong.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Weather: Snowfall Predicted for all Circles of Hell

Dynasty Warriors 7 has free DLC for Japanese Voice Actors.

I can hereby report that even after rigorous hours of play my XBox 360 is still working wonderfully. Also, Dynasty Warriors 7 so far is basically 3 but better. Seeing as how 3 is my favorite in the entire series, this is a good thing.

I'm also convinced that the reason all these reviews are decrying DW7's "presentation" is because playing with the English voice actors is like watching Lord of the Rings dubbed over by your local middle school drama club.