PC Gaming is NOT dead!   Leave a comment

A response to the Game Overthinker. A link to his video is here: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture/2911-PC-Gaming-Is-Dead-Long-Live-PC-Gaming

Posted October 4, 2012 by positivejosh in PC Gaming

Why I still love Nintendo   Leave a comment

When I was younger, I almost exclusively played games on consoles. But that all changed when the fire nation attacked I discovered Team Fortress 2.

When it comes to system preferences, I’ll take the PC every time EXCEPT WHEN NINTENDO. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that the Xbox 360 and PS3 don’t usually offer unique experiences from the PC, while the Wii, by virtue of its wacky controller and first-party Nintendo games, did. It’s a dichotomy that I expect will continue with the Wii U.

Posted October 4, 2012 by positivejosh in Nintendo, PC Gaming, Wii U

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic   Leave a comment

(NOTE: As it has nothing to do with video games, this should not count as one of my 20 posts for my Multimedia Class. However, I do post all my Geek Critiques here.)

It all started on a late night in the dead of summer, when I decided to peruse my Netflix recommendations, and noticed a show that hadn’t been there before.

The program was suggested based on my extremely high ratings of “Doctor Who” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” two brilliant shows that my girlfriend introduced me to.

I suppose what happened next may well be her fault.

I decided to give this cartoon a shot. Right from the opening teaser, the animation was striking and charming. It already showed flashes of character depth. This show was trying. This show had heart.

I found a smile on my face 20 seconds in.

Then it faded to the theme song. And I realized what I was getting myself into.

“My Little Pony, My Little Pony, ahh ahh ahh…”

I cringed. This couldn’t happen. This show shouldn’t be worth the time it takes to watch it, let alone something you’d voluntarily subject yourself to.

I saw a pink pony break into song as our protagonist (whose name is TWILIGHT SPARKLE) rolled her eyes in exasperation. I knew we were going to have a problem, here.

I watched another episode. Then another. Then two more.

“My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” was the brainchild of Lauren Faust, a highly-accomplished mogul of animation, whose pedigree includes writing and directing the “Powerpuff Girls.”

When she sat out to revive the long-running “My Little Pony” franchise, she wanted to create a program that cast away every negative stereotype a cartoon for girls is supposed to have: one-dimensional characters overly-obsessed with fashion having completely safe adventures with absolutely no real conflict.

Instead, character interaction would make up the center of every episode. To accomplish that, “Friendship is Magic” would need well-defined, likable and relatable characters with individual strengths and weaknesses.

The result, it was hoped, would be a show that its intended demographic would enjoy, but that parents and older siblings alike would also appreciate.

Like a Pixar movie, the show could appeal to everyone.

Her plan more than succeeded.

Her plan went terrifyingly, horribly right.

Within weeks of “Friendship is Magic’s” first airing in October of 2010, a periphery demographic had gathered together on the internet.

These older fans coined themselves “Bronies,” and their references and in-jokes are a prevalent force within the show.

Through these memes, I was first exposed to “Friendship is Magic,” and their continued prevalence was why I approached it with such an open mind.

No matter what fandom I encountered, there was always a contingent of people who loved “Friendship is Magic.”

I knew an enormous portion of my geek contemporaries loved it, and I had to know what the fuss was about.

Within two weeks, I had watched every episode. A week later, I’d successfully made my girlfriend a brony. (She’d managed to get over her trepidation that it would threaten her masculinity.)
The fandom was… neigh-unavoidable. (I am so, so sorry for that one.)
But the fandom is justified.

“My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” is one of the most optimistic and entertaining experiences I’ve ever had.

It’s the antithesis of cynicism, and I sincerely implore anyone, geek or not, to give it a chance.

As Faust herself said, “I think you’ll be surprised.”

Much like this guy:

Posted October 4, 2012 by positivejosh in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

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At the risk of sounding like a raging fanboy and earning the ire of anyone who liked “Bayonetta,” but wasn’t planning on essentially buying its sequel a wedding ring for the right to play it, let me just say this.

Based on this image, what do you suppose IS the Wii U?

I can not wait to get my hands on the Wii U.

For anyone out of the loop … or anyone who wasn’t maddeningly refreshing a gaming blog during Nintendo’s press conference, despite the fact that it happened during one of their classes … the Wii U is Nintendo’s next gaming console.

It’ll launch on Nov. 18, it’ll cost $299 for a basic model or $349 for one with more storage space and a copy of “Nintendo Land,” and it comes packaged with a controller that’s basically a modern-day tablet sandwiched right in the middle of your standard game pad.

If you decide you want one now, it’s going to be a struggle. Retailers sold out of pre-orders within FOUR DAYS. You might be able to secure one by camping out at a place that’s not doing pre-orders, but it’ll be an endeavor.

I could rattle off all the specs (this time, it’s four Gamecubes duct-taped together!) and go into better detail, but honestly, there are better, more in-depth sources for that than The Geek Critique.

I want to try out the tablet controller. I want to post comments to my friends over the Miiverse. I want to totally screw over my aforementioned friends by removing platforms at a critical moment in “New Super Mario Bros. Wii” using the aforementioned tablet controller.

Most of all, I want to play all the new first-party Nintendo games that the Wii U is going to serve as the gateway to.

Suffice to say, I’m really looking forward to it. There’s just one thing that I’m wondering about.

What kind of a stupid, boneheaded name is the “Wii U?”

Oh sure, we went through a similar rigamorole with this six years ago when the Wii was announced.

I vividly recall building up all kinds of comical tension before informing my best friend that what we’d called the “Nintendo Revolution” (its development code name) would now be known by the same word that a discerning parent might use to describe their child’s urine.

But we got used to it. And ultimately, that’s not why I think “Wii U” is at best a misleading name, and at worst one that’s going to turn consumers away from the console.

No, the problem with “Wii U” is that, to the uninformed consumer, to the gargantuan casual gamer audience that made up such a large chunk of the Wii’s market success, the “Wii U” sounds like an accessory or a new design, rather than a new console.

Let’s say I’m not a life-long hardcore gamer, that I’m not someone who sits in class avidly reading every detail of Nintendo’s press conference. To me, the Wii U may well seem like yet another expensive perhipheral for my Wii, a tablet controller.

Nintendo’s marketing doesn’t help the disconnect. The Wii U even looks quite a lot like the current design of the Wii and is always shown with the new pad, reinforcing the false notion that the tablet controller and the Wii U are one in the same.

While Sony and Microsoft’s consoles have each gone through similar iterative naming schemes, the situation is a bit different for them.

Brand recognition says that the Xbox and PlayStation are gaming consoles, and Sony and Microsoft do lots of other things.

But Nintendo’s brand name is synonymous with video games.

Not to say this is a deal-breaker for the Big N. The 3DS had similar identity problems, with some casual consumers thinking it to be yet another upgrade of the DS, and it’s finding plenty of success after a rocky start.

I’d have been amazed with the “Nintendo Revolution.” I’d have been OK with the “Nintendo Go.”

But instead, I’ll once again have to get used to the “Wii U.”

Now then, when it comes out, who wants to play some “Super Smash Bros. Universe?“ OMG I CAN’T WAIT!!!!

Posted October 4, 2012 by positivejosh in ET Columns, Nintendo, The Geek Critique, Wii U

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“New Super Mario Bros. 2,” released last month for the 3DS, has something unusual for a Mario game: a near-pointless, time-consuming goal.

The game asks players to collect one million coins, an arbitrary number if there ever was one. This challenge unlocks nothing more than  a new title screen and is so ridiculously out there that by the time I finished every level, I was less than a tenth of the way there.

It should not be fun.

BUT IT IS.

There’s a “Coin Rush” mode, selectable from the title screen, where you play through three random levels. The trick is that by hitting the top of the end-level flagpole, your running total gets doubled. Therefore, the coins can REALLY rack up, and it’s actually fun to challenge your own tally over time.

Better yet, the 3DS’s StreetPass feature is utilized to share your best run with others and vice-versa. If you manage to beat someone else’s score, you’ll gain all the coins they got on their run in addition to your own.

As of today, I passed the halfway point to a million coins…

Posted September 24, 2012 by positivejosh in 3DS, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Nintendo

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For the first time since 2009, I actually bought a Wii game.

And this one’s a good one! Kirby’s Dream Collection features six past Kirby games, a really well-done museum, and new challenge levels from last year’s exceptional “Return to Dream Land.”

Really, this is the best anniversary game Nintendo’s ever done. It puts the Mario collection (LET’S PUT ALL-STARS ON A DISC) to shame.

Posted September 24, 2012 by positivejosh in Kirby, Nintendo

I think it’s time to upgrade my laptop…   Leave a comment

Geeks are, quite often, rather sedentary creatures. I’m no exception to that. And I found this picture on Reddit.

I have to wonder about the vagaries of this, though. I mean, I don’ think you’d be able to play anything that requires too much in-depth control. MMOs are unfortunately probably the best application.

Posted September 24, 2012 by positivejosh in Fitness