It’s Great Detective Pikachu!


Apparently, it’s not just Satan who is solving crimes

Look, I’ll just be absolutely honest here.  I know next to little about Pokemon.  I neither speak nor read Japanese.  I don’t have the slightest damn idea what is actually going on in the video below but it sure is cute!

Apparently, Great Detective Pikachu will be released on Nintendo 3DS in Japan on February 3rd, 2016.  There’s no set date for a Western release.

NMY vs The World Video Game Hall of Fame Class of 2015


The Strong, an educational institution in Rochester specializing in the study of games, announced the six inaugural inductees of their World Video Game Hall of Fame yesterday. So what? Well, it made its way onto a lot of major news sites, which means it is probably going to resurface again next year and, in time, become the closest we’ve got to an “official” Hall of Fame.

My gut reaction was “my what a pretentious title”, because the “World” VG HoF looks incredibly U.S.-centric. Their game history timeline pretty much completely ignores the fact that the U.S. did not control the international gaming market for the vast majority of the 20th century. I mean, this timeline is crazy. 1982, the year that the bloody Commodore 64 was released, they feature Chicago-based Midway’s Tron instead. 1986, the year that Dragon Quest set the standard for the next two decades of role-playing games, they are at such a loss to find anything novel that they dig up Reader Rabbit by Boston-based developers The Learning Company. In spite of devoting 1992 to Las Vegas-based Westwood Studios’ Dune II, LA-based Blizzard Entertainment steals 1994 with Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. Does the invention of RTS gaming really deserve two years? Well, it’s not like it was competing with the release of the Sony Playstation or anything. Oh that’s alright, we’ll feature it in 1995, since that’s when it came to America. This list also devotes 1993 to the development of the ESRB rating system (which only applies in America), 1996 to Lara Croft’s tits (seriously, does anyone actually give a shit about Tomb Raider?), and 2002 to the U.S. Army, because uh, freedom!

So yeah, World Video Game Hall of Fame my ass. But that doesn’t mean they got the first six wrong:

Pong (1972)

“Ladies and gentlemen, you have been hand selected to choose the five games which will accompany Pong into the Hall of Fame.” It had to go something like that. Pong invented gaming like Al Gore invented the internet. Could you imagine a Hall of Fame without Pong? I mean, it’s Pong! Really though, wasn’t computer gaming kind of inevitable? Was it the first game? Nope. Did it stand the test of time? Not really. Did it usher in the age of arcade gaming? I guess it did, but the game itself had little to do with that. It was a novelty. Replace it with anything else, and that other game would be just as famous, regardless of its content. I don’t like that. There is a reason why Pong is the only game of the six Hall of Famers that I never played as a kid or else upon release, and that has nothing to do with my age. I think we get hung up on its simplicity, its catchy name, this idea that it all began with two paddles and a ball, and the desire to point to something and say “this started it all”. Pong deserves recognition in any gaming hall of fame eventually, but top 6? We can do better.

NMY gives this selection a 5/10

Pac-Man (1980)

What are Pac-Man‘s claims to fame? Well, it was the first video game to be a major social phenomenon, generating a huge market for spin-offs, toys, animated cartoons, and all sorts of other consumer products. It was the first video game with a really memorable theme song. It remains the best-selling arcade game of all time. It generated a chart-topping shitty pop song. It even destroyed the gaming industry. (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial has absolutely nothing on the devastating consequences of Pac-Man‘s abysmal Atari port.) And sure, it’s pretty boring, but it still lasted well into the 90s. I had a pirated DOS copy as a kid. Do you think anyone bothered to pirate Pong? Uh, no.

NMY gives this selection a 10/10

Tetris (1984)

Tetris is a game that we all agree to love because it is Russian, and like Russia, it is really evil and kind of a dick. Four Z blocks in a row? Really? I didn’t double tap that button. Go back! Ugh…. Tetris annoyed the hell out of me as a kid, but I certainly did play it. It also spawned a ton of cheap rip-offs, novel improvements, and largely unrelated block puzzle games that stole its name for publicity, and a lot of these vastly outclassed the original. If I look back on all the fun I had playing Tetris Attack for the Super Nintendo, or hosting TetriNET tournaments online in the late 90s, or the amount of time my wife wastes on Candy Crush Saga, it is hard for me to pretend that Tetris was not significant. It was the mother of all “endless puzzle” games, and it deserves credit for that, even if I hated the original Alexey Pajitnov Tetris, with its never-ending tiers of frustration.

NMY gives this selection a 9/10

Super Mario Bros (1985)

This is the real shoe-in. Nintendo was able to turn Mario into (I am assuming) the most recognizable fictional character in the world because the original Super Mario Bros was so great. A game released in 1985 is not supposed to still be this much fun 30 years later, but from novel settings and mechanics to outstanding control, this game ran the gamut of what a great side-scroller was supposed to be. This, at a time when there was very little in the way of quality competition to take inspiration from. The game’s lasting legacy is so pervasive in our culture that I would feel silly even bothering to summarize it.

NMY gives this selection a 10/10

Doom (1993)

“Why an FPS, World Video Game Hall of Fame?” Because “it also pioneered key aspects of game design and distribution that have become industry standards“, according to the official induction explanation. Design-wise, they laud it for “a game ‘engine’ that separated the game’s basic functions from other aspects such as artwork.” That might be an interesting point. I don’t know much about it, though I have to imagine that anything Doom did, Wolfenstein 3D did first. Distribution-wise, they talk about how id Software marketed downloadable expansions and encouraged multi-player, online gaming. That point fails to impress me. Doom launched in 1993, which means no games before it really had the option to market themselves in this way. “First” only counts for me if the move is innovative, not inevitable. So we are left with some sort of novel modular processing system and the fact that it was the first really successful FPS. Those are fine points. I might not like FPS games, but I can’t deny that they have had a more lasting impact than say, fighting or sports games. Placing so much weight on the play style does, however, open up the doors for a lot of why nots. Why not Diablo? Why not Dragon Quest? Why not Command & Conquer?

NMY gives this selection a 7/10

World of Warcraft (2004)

I am not entirely sure why the World Video Game Hall of Fame chose World of Warcraft, because they aren’t telling. Their write-up goes into detail on what makes MMORPGs so revolutionary, but none of it is really unique to WoW. They throw out some numbers about WoW’s player base and monthly profit, and then bam, inaugural hall of fame induction. I am probably the last person to give an accurate assessment of how World of Warcraft changed gaming, because I still actively play it, but I have to believe that its enormous popularity had a lot to do with its place in time. Coming in to the 21st century, we all knew someone who played EverQuest, and we all (all of us, right guys?) secretly wanted to abandon our real lives and nerd out in 24/7 multiplayer fantasy immersion. I never played EverQuest, however, or Final Fantasy XI for that matter, because I still had dial-up internet. World of Warcraft launched right around the time that the majority of gamers were becoming equipped to play something of its magnitude. That being said, WoW is going on 11 years now, and still going strong. I’ve never seriously considered canceling my subscription. Blizzard landed on a market ripe for the picking, but they have carefully cultivated it ever since.

NMY gives this selection an 8/10

Over all, I think the World Video Game Hall of Fame is off to a good start. Pong is the only inaugural entry I strongly disagree with, but were it missing, would people still take the organization seriously? Doom is a bit sketchy to me, because its only claim seems to be “first popular FPS”. I think GoldenEye 007 was the game to push FPS into the mainstream and really reach beyond the genre, while Blizzard clearly dominated online gaming with Diablo and Starcraft, whatever id Software happened to do “first”. Doom is a good candidate, no doubt, but I feel like it belongs in another class. It would have fit in more nicely in a 2016 school that pushed genre-standardizing games like Dragon Quest, The Legend of Zelda, Street Fighter II, and Space Invaders.

Is that what we have to look forward to in 2016? Well, based on the runners-up from 2015, maybe not. The list did include Space Invaders and The Legend of Zelda, along with worthy contenders Pokémon Red and Blue and The Oregon Trail. Beyond that, it got a bit dicey. It is hard to imagine that Angry Birds, for instance, almost made the top 6. Sonic the Hedgehog would be long forgotten if not marketed as Sega’s response to Mario, yet it was a contender. FIFA International Soccer was the only sports entry–an odd choice, given that I have never heard of it, it only came out in 1993, and Tecmo Super Bowl exists. The other options were Minecraft–a bit young yet, don’t you think?–and oddly, The Sims, which I am sure was quite fun to play and left no lasting impact on gaming whatsoever. Well, they’ve got another year to straighten things out.

AMV of the Day: Warriors (Various)


warriors-mep-960x540

The latest “AMV of the Day” is one of those rare, but impressive anime music videos which happens to have a several creators working together to make one video. These are called MEP which stands for Multi-Editor Project.

“Warriors” is a video collaboration between nine video editors by the names of Mycathatesyou, Kireblue, Xophilarus, Shin (aka tehninjarox), Obsidian Zero, Warlike Swans, Warlike Cygnet, PieandBeer and Rhianic. I always found it impressive that so many imaginative and creative individuals could work together to make one product. While collaboration between such people are not rare I’ve found that sometimes ego plays a huge part in making such things fail more than succeed.

As this video shows they’ve definitely succeeded in creating an anime music video which sticks to the theme of the Imagine Dragons’ song “Warriors”.

Anime: Kill la Kill, C-Bu: Stella, Women’s Academy, Kara no Kyokai, Attack on Titan, Fullmetal Alchemist, Pokemon, Slayers Evolution-R, No Game No Life, Fate/Zero

Song: “Warriors” by Imagine Dragons

Creator: Mycathatesyou, Kireblue, Xophilarus, Shin (aka tehninjarox), Obsidian Zero, Warlike Swans, Warlike Cygnet, PieandBeer, Rhianic

Past AMVs of the Day

AMV of the Day: Ash vs Gary (Pokemon)


For the first AMV entry for 2013 and the latest in a long series I’ve decided to go for nostalgia to dictate my choice instead of quality (though I will say the video does it’s job well in matching the song used). Anyone who grew up during the late 90’s and early 2000’s have heard, seen and/or obsessed over the Japanese pop-culture phenomenon simply called Pokemon.

I was already an adult and I was caught up in the hurricane that was Pokemon when it swept through the West in the late 1990’s. Hell, I pretty much played most of the different color editions of the game on the Game Boy and it’s subsequent handhelds. I’m even proud to say that my two favorite Pokemons were Pikachu and Togepi. But that’s a different matter altogether. Today it’s all about the AMV titled “Ash vs. Gary”.

The video uses the very fight-like song “Remember the Name” by Ft. Minor to highlight the Pokemon battle match between the two rivals. As we can see in the video the two use many different Pokemons in their collection to battle it out. Their battle lasts until they each just have one Pokemon left and it’s a sudden death match that many fans of the show fondly remembers. In one corner is Gary’s fully evolved Blastoise (which is the final evolved version of the starter Pokemon Squirtle) and in the other corner is Ash’s tempermental Charizard (the final evolved form of the starter Pokemon Charmander).

Really, there’s nothing left to say other than enjoy the video and take a glimpse into a nostalgic trip down my own memory lanes.

Anime: Pokemon

Song: “Remember the Name” by Ft. Minor feat. Styles of Beyond

Creator: Logan8703

Past AMVs of the Day

AMV of the Day: Azumanga Daioh 1985


I believe this is the third Azumanga AMV to be posted here, but what can I say?  The series lends itself nicely to being made into AMVs.  This is an older AMV, and I really don’t know if it was ever entered into an AMV contest at a convention or if it was just done for fun.  Either way, this was created by Suberunker Studeosh and it mixes scenes from Azumanga Daioh with the Bowling for Soup song 1985.

This video in particular has a bit of a checkered past if you will.  Perhaps this is a recent development, but for the longest time these videos were either taken down or had their music blocked because Bowling for Soup, or most likely their producers, objected to the use of their song in the video.  Mainly this was an issue with it being posted on YouTube, but as you can now see, they don’t seem to have a problem with the music being played these days.  Either cooler heads prevailed and they realized that no harm was being done, or they figured the song was old enough to where its monetary value was sufficiently decreased so it didn’t matter anymore.  At any rate, it’s good that people can now see and hear this video as the creator intended.

At any rate, this video features the somewhat jaded and a little immature teacher of the series, Yukari Tanizaki, and the majority of the scenes were taken from Azumanga Daioh, but there were a few quick snippets from other anime shows too.  It’s a really well put together video, and fans of the series are sure to enjoy it, as well as people who just appreciate a good AMV.

Anime: Azumanga Daioh, Naruto, Fruits Basket, Pokemon, Full Metal Alchemist, Neon Genesis Evangelion

Song: “1985” by Bowling For Soup

Creator: Suberunker Studeoh

 

Past AMVs of the Day

BlizzCon 2011: Mists of Pandaria Overview Part 2


I left off yesterday having discussed Blizzard’s initial overview of the Pandaria zone, the race of Pandaren, and the new Monk class. As with any expansion, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria will feature much more than simply new quest and raiding content, however. Here is a look at some of the major additions and changes:

Talents 2.0

First of all, the talent system is getting a major overhaul, far beyond the changes it received in past expansions. There will now be only six talent points. That’s it. Blizzard made a big to do about Cataclysm’s failure to revamp talent builds, resulting in only 1-5 realistic choices out of 41 (the rest being pretty much mandatory for any given spec.) The idea in MoP will be to do away with every mandatory talent and instead create a system which should cater to a variety of playing styles without drastically influencing your dps. Or as I understand it, if you use them correctly every possible talent combination should peak for about the same overall benefit.

If that seems like high expectations, note that there will only be six talent points per class, not per spec. Your options will be the same whether you’re healing, tanking, dpsing, pvping, or whatever. Here’s a look at the tentative paladin talent screen:

If you are hoping to load up on all of the healing talents, think again. Your six points are not to be spent as you please, but can only be used once per row. If you get Blessed Life, Sacred Shield and Ardent Defender are gone, no getting around it. Don’t expect to waste thousands of gold checking them all out though. Talents will now function like glyphs, and rather than having to start from scratch you will be able to reset any particular row at any point in time outside of combat. Blizzard suggested this would be necessary for raiding, certain talents being more beneficial for certain bosses, so expect opportunities to put them all to a bit of use. As for those “ability” talents necessary for your spec, they will now just be given outright like other abilities.

Scenarios

Scenarios seem to me the most dubious of the new additions. They will be very short queuable events designed to replace the group quests of old, and they will not have any specific role requirements, so queues will be instant. They will be available at various levels, each should have a level 90 version rewarding a few valor points, and you will be able to queue for them while in dungeon queue. So far so good–it sounds like a pretty nice way to collect extra valor while waiting for those tedious 40 minute queues to pop. Here is a basic example of what the objectives of a Scenario might look like:

But aside from the fact that something that short could get really old really fast, here is the major drawback: Blizzard described a number of them as “pve battlegrounds.” What does this mean? Well, WoW Game Director Tom Chilton was fairly explicit in talking about them as battleground for people afraid to pvp. Does that mean they’ll reward honor? Does that mean the more sheepish players who don’t know what they’re doing–the ones I love graveyard camping oh so very much–will be able to get geared through these? Or even if they don’t, will this actually succeed in keeping bad players out of real battlegrounds? That, to me at least, would be a terrible disappointment.

But it gets worse. I first started to think Blizzard hated pvp servers when they updated village guards to prevent camping. My glorious days of sitting outside Grom’gol Base Camp picking off lowbie horde like flies are dead and gone; may they rest in peace. Scenarios seem to be further pushing towards refusing to reward dedicated pvpers for getting gear. The biggest catch though, really the biggest disappointment in all of Mists of Pandaria, I might as well throw at you now:

Resilience will be a base stat.

No, really. If you stand outside of your enemy faction’s city naked, you will have resilience. Oh, there will still be pvp gear, giving you more resilience, but I’m going to propose right now it will be useless. Right now going up against a raider in world pvp, my 4500 resilience means I win. And it should, because I joined a pvp server to pvp, and the guy I am fighting apparently didn’t. Narrow the gap to say, a 1000 resilience difference, and do you really think my measly Ruthless set is going to hold up against a full Firelands-equipped player?

As a hunter, I am well familiar with the lack of balance in WoW pvp. I win 1 on 1 because I am geared to the hilt. You take that away from me, and I’m just a fish out of water, dying to anyone who actively plays the game whether they care about pvp or not. Part of the idea is to make it so that players can jump into arena sooner–to prevent a block from progression. But isn’t honor already dirt cheap? Doesn’t it only take what, a week, to get fully geared for arena? Maybe it makes no difference, if you play on a pve server, but for me all this is doing is ruining world pvp–my favorite aspect of the game. Low blow Blizzard.

People have been complaining about how it’s too easy to get geared for raiding for ages now. I guess the idea with Scenarios and an overwhelming nerf to resilience is to give us pvpers something to gripe about too. Anyway, enough of that, let’s look at a more positive addition:

World of Pokemon

Lord only knows what has compelled me to so desperately seek out that 150 vanity pet achievement (I’m sitting around 135 at the moment), because I don’t even like the damn things. But it’s all going to pay off now in an addition sure to be both cheesy and addicting: vanity pet arena (I believe Pet Battle System is the official working title). You will now be able to level your pets (up to 25), form teams of between 1 and I believe 3 pets, and square off in turn-based battles both against other collectors and against new world pets that you can catch and add to your collection by defeating.

It’s looking to be a pretty complex process. You can visit trainers all over Azeroth to learn new abilities for your pets, you can trade them, you can auction them at high level, and they will be shared across your account. Imagine a pimped out White Kitten selling for 20k. I will be that man robbing you.

Without going into too much detail, pet stats will be randomly generated, so you might have to catch one multiple times to get the build you want. Pets will be seasonal, so certain ones might only appear in the summer or winter, and some will only appear in the day, at night, in the rain, in the night in rain in September, you get the idea. It’s going to be a whole game within a game, and it might sound silly right now, but I suspect this will soon stand alongside raiding and pvp as a third way to play World of Warcraft.

Other Features

* Dungeons will have a third form: “Challenge Mode”. They will consist of time trial runs in scaled-down gear, so they will never get easier as you gear up. There will be Bronze, Silver, and Gold times to beat, with different gear rewards (including statsless transmogrification sets) depending on your time. There will also be an in-game stats keeper showing your best time for each dungeon compared to other players on your server. I’m not sure how to take this. I play on one of the lowest population servers in Warcraft; we are pvp, and everyone knows everyone, so the competition to be on top is personal. I could see myself getting a bit obsessed over this one.

* Raids will also have a third form: Raid Finder. Breathe a sigh of relief; DF Raiding will be a tier below regular raiding. You won’t be able to just pug your way into a cross-server 25 man heroic run. It’s more a means to learn the mechanics while getting geared for normal raids, and I’m pretty excited about it. On servers like mine where low population means frequently bringing along one to two inexperienced players for progression attempts, there will be no more excuses. If you haven’t downed the boss through Dungeon Finder 10-man, you aren’t coming. I like it.

* There will be 9 new dungeons: six completely new ones, a heroic version of Scholomance, and a heroic version of Scarlet Monastery condensed into two dungeons. There will be three launch-ready raids, similar to Cataclysm.

* Blizzard failed miserably in Cataclysm by creating a lot of compelling world raid bosses and giving none of them any gear worth a damn. MoP is supposed to reintroduce world raiding proper. You can look for me ganking your healer half way through the fight.

* Expect 2-3 new battlegrounds, tentatively titled Stranglethorn Diamond Mines, Valley of Power, and Azshara Crater. If Twin Peaks and Battle for Gilneas were my two biggest disappointments in Cataclysm, these look to compensate thoroughly. Stranglethorn Diamond Mines is going to consist of transporting resources out of a mine down a whole mess of different passageways–the first team to successfully transfer the required amount wins. That means a lot of hiding, sneaking around, scouting ahead, and outsmarting rather than overpowering. It seems perhaps too complex to be 10 on 10, but I’m going to be disappointed if it isn’t, because it sounds perfect for rateds. Valley of Power is much more simplistic–a small square room with few opportunities to evade combat. Yet Blizzard managed to make it refreshingly unique. There will be an orb in the center of the room which any one player can hold, and so long as a faction is holding it they gain points, scaled to go up faster the closer you are to the center of the map (and thus to your enemies). But I don’t expect this to be a 2 minute fight followed by a 10 minute wait like Battle for Gilneas. There is an additional mechanic: whoever holds the orb will take periodic damage increasing over time. If there are no healers, it will eventually drop even if your team never touches the carrier. As for the third proposed battleground, Azshara Crater, Blizzard has said nothing.

* There will be a new arena: Tol’vir Proving Grounds. It looks identical to Nagrand Arena except the four pillars are diamonds rather than squares. Really? For as long as we’ve been waiting, it looks downright pathetic.

* There will be valor from daily quests. Thank god. Daily quests will also give you buffs that allow you to gain extra loot in dungeons. I’m not quite sure what to make of that.

* Many achievements will be account bound. They did not go into too many specifics on this, but I’m pretty damn excited. Achievements are my gig in WoW, even more so than pvp. I’m pushing 11,000 without hardly any from raids, and if this means I can roll a level 29 twink hunter and knock out all of the more insane pvp ones I’m going to be in the money. Not all achievements will be account bound however, and whether that means obvious ones like say, the level 90 achievement, won’t be, or if not all raid/pvp accomplishments will be either, is still up in the air. There will also be multi-toon achievements, like maxing out every profession.

* A few major class/stat changes were mentioned. The epic resilience nerf stands out as the worst, and maybe the worst idea Blizzard have for all of MoP. They will also be doing away with the range weapon slot. Relics will be gone, rogues and warriors will throw their main hand, and hunter bows/guns will become the main hand. Wait, how will hunters survive without a melee weapon? Ah, the most relevant buff of all for me: hunter minimum range is gone. Gone! No more frost mages locking me in place and taking me down without ever so much as taking damage. Hunters will finally be a viable dueling and 2s pvp class. Warlocks will also get a major overhaul to better distinguish the three specs, and the way they described Destruction I suspect they’re going to be pretty op, with a stacking damage buff that hopefully resembles Arcane Blast. Hopefully because I have an idle 85 warlock, that is. Shamans will no longer have buff totems, and lastly, druids will finally be recognized as officially having four specs.

There was one major question left in my mind when all was said and done. I play on one server exclusively. There are ten classes and ten toon slots, so I am full. As it stands, I will never actually get to play a monk. Will that change? Will they finally add an eleventh slot? WoW lead producer J. Allen Brack was asked this in the post-presentation interview, and his answer wasn’t promising: They’ve thought about it, but they’re not quite sure.