Tag Archives: Fur Fighters

A quarter of a century later

There is a side in me that yearns for all the old games, the games that emphasised on fun. Don’t get me wrong I love some of the games that are new Ratchet and Clank, Aragami, Sniper Ghost warrior, AC Origins, God of War and there are several others. Yet there are moments that I am driven towards the old games. Portal (the interactive novel), Millennium 2.2, Mass Effect, Masters of Orion and lately I have been thinking back to the game Ascendancy, a game 25 years old, yet it was an amazing forward thinking game in those days and I wonder why it was never released as a remaster, or even to some degree overhauled for today’s systems. If Cloud gaming is the wave, then these players need all the fun games that they can get and so far it seems awfully quiet. In part this is to be understood, as I stated in the past, until there is a proper 5G in place Cloud gaming is optionally nice to have, but without 5G it will not go anywhere fast, if even at all. Yet to get a library of good games, you need to start now to have a decent calibre of offers when it matters. And it is important to cover the foundations, in this (with no attack on that player) to rely on Ubisoft to cover your bets is massively stupid. No matter how good the coming games are, when the next game is as glitched and as buggy as AC Valhalla, you endanger your hardware. The ages of CBM-64, Atari ST and CBM Amiga have created some of the most amazing gaming journeys, a lot of it is no longer protected IP and using that foundation to create gams will be a great start in having a larger library, moreover, these games have some limitations, and even when upgraded, they might not take that much on the download. The difference between two streamers, one with Ubisoft and one with Ubisoft and half a dozen original and optionally exclusive games will give us that the one with the exclusive games will win, when the hardware is too close together, the one with the large exclusive (providing the are good) wins. We saw this in PlayStation 2 versus Xbox, Playstation 3 versus Xbox360 and PlayStation 4 versus Xbox One and that list goes on, Playstation won every time and only in the Xbox 360 age did Microsoft catch up to a decent degree, only to lose it again in the Xbox One age. In streaming Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and Netflix it will be the games that decide on the winner, giving Google at present a distinct disadvantage over Amazon Luna. Netflix is one boasting its arrival, yet nothing is known, so they are an unknown for now. 

So as we consider Ascendancy, a game I enjoyed for years, the stage has one weakness, the AI in the game was overly bad and that requires an upgrade, but that is the only large part, and even then the game scored 90%+ on several formats, A score Ubisoft had not seen since Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (2005), Which is not entirely fair, Metacritic gave AC Origins a score of 81, I myself thought it was worth somewhere between 88%-93%. And as I replay the game, my score remains. The game has one flaw, or perhaps a wrong choice, but that is all and my view is not important. The fact that there is a massive limit to really good games is why the streamers need to open their search and they need to make sure that they have a decent library of games. Both Nintendo and Sony showed that it was essential one is number one and the other one surpassed the most powerful system in the world with the weakest system around. I believe that the evidence is clearly out there. As such games like Ascendancy can grow a larger base, especially if the game makers take care in what was and what could be. So far I have seen that option (or opportunity) with half a dozen games, a few movies and a TV series (self made), but in all this, the staggering push for ‘new and cheap IP’ by the makers, all whilst one corner away, there is a pile of good IP, all ready to be chiseled up into fabulous remasters and that is before you realise that a lot of these games come from an age before the gamers of today were born. Now, I do not know if there is IP on the following two titles, but the Dreamcast also gave us two titles that were just too much fun and great looking, they can even stand up to todays games on PSX4 and Xbox One.

The titles were Wacky Races and Fur Fighters. By the way, the PSX2 version of Fur Fighters is a joke, but the Dreamcast version was amazing, why it was forgotten we might never know but that stage could reinvent itself with cloud gaming. With 4 players in that arena, the one with the great games, great exclusive games mind you will take the cake and they will win that race, and when you consider that being number one in that race will grab you more players and more visibility from the moment you are that number one, that is how you win a race, wacky or not. So I will look and see what Amazon, Google and Netflix are up to (I am already disregarding Microsoft, as they seemingly have an Azure preference of taste), there is no way to tell how this ends, but in this the Verge gave us a few months ago ‘Google is shutting down its in-house Stadia game development studios, which is a choice, but it is one that could serve both Amazon and Netflix to a degree that could bank them pole position. Time will tell.

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The console stage

I made a claim last week and I forgot to follow up (my bad), and here it is. I was watching on the games out there in the past and games that might have a lovely return. First is the Sentinel. It caught my eye on the Atari ST in 1987, I played it them and I got the remake in my fingers on the PC in 1998, complete with the addictive music by the one and only John Carpenter. I believe that this game would be a nice asset on the Google Stadia (or Sony/Nintendo console), it is a game that you can play, put down and play again when you feel like it. Each of the systems can outdo the PC 1998 graphics without impeding on playability. I believe that the Ultima RPG games, but now with a Elder Scrolls first person look would be another game that could rise to fame (again), the important part is that games 4,5,6,7a and 7b would be one great game, a station that evolves as you play and they set a much larger stage that has not been achieved EVER. As such each of these systems could bank on a million fans almost overnight when properly transferred. And that is only the top of the chart, the state we see when we take the games that were not entirely at the top of the charts (like Paradroid) and we tweak those, we get a whole new range of games that would be out there for a renewed chance of more and more gamers. Another setting is seen in Mega-Lo-Mania, the game was good, not great, but it is set on too limiting a setting. It should be improved on, especially as RAM and hard drive are no longer an issue. The same could be said for forgotten Ubisoft gem Conquest: Frontier Wars, there are a few tweaks suggestions, but for the most, the skirmish part is all that is needed to give thousands of gamers fun for many many hours, and it could be ready for Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch et al quite quickly. I reckon that the Nintendo is especially interesting as it has no real space management games of that magnitude and it allows people to play by themselves and online against one another. Two stages that are easily achieved, Ubisoft does have the knowledge to run out to those fields (and they can use any win possible). In that same stage, who could forget 1989 addictive game Archipelagos, made by Astral Software? I reckon that in its original shape it is slightly too dull and too shallow, but the stage was good and when we consider other games from that era and we can spice things up a bit, the stage changes it from better than average to really good. It is not really a fair setting, because the original was better than ‘better than average’, but it was a game designed on a system lacking resources and as such improvements and additions are an option, yet there is a stage where we see that the 80’s and 90’s gave great creativity on the lacking stage of hardware, and as such we see that there is a whole range of games that can be revived on these systems. 

Yes, we all want new IP, but lets not forget that great IP remastered is still a good place to start and a lot of it is up for grabs and for those not up for grabs, the original makers could get a new lease on life and an additional pay check for the IP they know really well, gamers and game makers both seem to forget that part.

A stage that is in motion, and could set the console wars to another stage, the actual and factual stage where it does not matter how powerful your system is, it becomes a setting on who offers the most fun and that part has been forgotten to the largest extent, I wonder why?

For me, I still remember the many hours I rejoiced playing Fur Fighters on the Dreamcast, the PS2 version sucked, but the Dreamcast edition was massive fun and I still wonder why that game never made it to PS3 or XB360, now that most of the games can make it to a wider selection, I wonder if anyone will pick up the treasure trove before it is too late. Or perhaps the original makers will consider the larger stage that is now open to them.

2021 could be a great year for gaming and not just the new IP, golden oldies could be a genuine important stage for all systems willing to step into that mix.

 

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That sinking console feeling

I stated it in the past, I was even going to be cautious on the numbers, yet the banging buck that the Nintendo Switch is bringing, is now completely bringing down the house. Last November, numbers were given out by certain sources (not Microsoft) that the total Xbox One sales had surpassed the 31 million mark. It had taken well over 3 years to get to that number, yet Nintendo has now clearly surpassed the 14 million mark in less than a year and the sales numbers are still rising, rising a lot faster than even Nintendo expected, the forecast now is that in two months the 17 million mark will be reached, meaning that in a little over 1 year the 50% mark against Microsoft is reached. Even a Microsoft marketing is still hiding behind ‘the most powerful console‘, other publications, especially in the UK are now getting on the bandwagon I proclaimed six months before the very first Xbox One was released and the technical flaw is only getting worse, especially with the space that 4K games need. This is not a David versus Goliath, this is now becoming a fight between one that is trying to be the coolest (and apparently the most powerful one) against one that is about having the most fun. So when you consider the price your ego is trying to cost you, what would you do?

Now, there is no way they get close to the Sony numbers any day soon, but the long term view for the Switch is that this console could potentially equal the total sales over time. This is becoming more and more realistic as the list of PS4 players who want a Switch on the side, that group is actually growing rapidly, and it as massively surpassed the group of people who had a PS2 and any kind of Nintendo on the side. So even as there is no threat for the PS4/PS4pro, there is now a clear indication on where Sony would need to grow its software arsenal, mainly because from the past as it was, Nintendo is re-establishing itself as the family fun system that the GameCube and Wii used to be, in this Nintendo is getting more attention from parents at present, a dilemma that Sony would want to fix fast and with quality fun based games.

There is an additional jump, with some of the more power pounding games like the original Dark Souls, Skyrim and their unique label with a new Pokémon RPG, there will be less and less reasons not to get the Switch, or optionally a Nintendo Switch on the side. I saw the winner it would be when the Switch was presented in the world premiere, but even I am amazed at the rush to sales it became. I knew that Microsoft would take a rating loss, but that the Switch console is now optionally closing in on the current total sales of PS4 over time is something that I did not see coming, of course the fun part will also be on how Microsoft moves into third place on the console market around 2019, at that point I wonder what excuse they will use. Perhaps they will blame the Azure Cloud resources, let’s face it, the Xbox One is uploading Gigabytes of console data to it, whilst Microsoft support stated that this issue is with our internet provider. So as we can see that it will take Nintendo a while to get there, the vibe is that they will actually pull that off. If they add and re-master Metroid Prime 1, 2 and 3, this closing gap is almost a certainty, because over time none of the consoles ever got a game franchise like that produced. As Nintendo is now starting to embrace remastered games and is also looking into the PS2 range, whilst the makers are potentially upgrading those games, other developers will see options and larger fortunes by remastering some of those golden oldies (Dark Souls is already announced). I will go one step further, if Nintendo gets their fingers on some of the Dreamcast titles, for example Soulcalibur and Fur Fighters (which has always been a personal favourite, but not the PS2 edition, that one was mucho yuck), they could increase their market share and increase it faster. So there are over 600 games on the Dreamcast and over 1800 PS2 games. So, if only some of the 95%+ games are remastered, the Switch owners could end up with a decent amount of games from the ‘totally addictive‘ and ‘blowing my game mind on fun‘ category and that is before the older PC game makers consider what an opportunity the Switch is for them as well. Not to mention all the IOS and Android developers, who would be able to add a large chunk of players. They could also gain speed by offering the cross platform choice like Minecraft did. So Owners of one platform could buy the new platform version for a mere $4. I updated from PS3 to Xbox One and Xb360 to PS4, for $8 instead of $24, that is a real saving!

With the Switch, Nintendo did not just break the mould in gaming, it could potentially replace it with a titanic sized golden statue named ‘opportunity‘, because the events as given now don’t just show just how Microsoft missed the calling, it in equal measure could potentially show that Sony needs to up its game high to not fall victim to closing gap of gaming fun aimed populous, a fight that we have not seen before. The first PlayStation became well established before Nintendo could grow to a better placement, now that people are realising that it is about the quality of the game. Even as I found it hilarious that the Switch supports up to 2TB, whilst the ‘most’ powerful console with 4K gaming cannot get past 1TB. How you like your Xbox One X console now? We clearly see that Nintendo is laying down the gauntlet for both Sony and Microsoft, we can see that in numbers Microsoft is pretty much done for, but the fact that that little Mario will in the future get closer to what Sony has (closer not catch up) is something the markers could not have foreseen.

So where is the evidence?

Well, most of it has been reported by the Guardian, IGN and a few other gaming sites, some of the numbers are from Statistica and VZCharts. It is my personal view that gaming is about fun (challenging fun at times), it is not about 4K gaming, although we all agree that the identical game on 4K and Switch will look better on the 4K system, there is no denying it. Yet that is where Microsoft marketing is hiding, and whilst we can all agree that Assassins Creed Origin in 4K is an amazing feat, which it is without any reservations, the issue that the Xbox One will support in 1TB around a dozen games in total before it runs out of space, there are already articles out where gamers ran out after 14 games. Considering that Forza, Gears of War 4 and Halo 5 are around 100Gb, whilst several other AAA games are somewhere between 70 and 85 GB, I am surprised they got to 14. The utter stupidity of saving on a drive twice the size for a mere $15 is shown in the most gruesome way. If only Microsoft had done what Sony does and let the gamers upgrade the drive themselves, this issue would be close to non-existing, but now it is and it is happening whilst Nintendo is moving in, and it is moving in with the optional storage that is twice their size, it gives the gamer and the consumer confidence in that brand, something Microsoft should have realised a long time ago. I foresaw this and wrote about it (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/05/24/spin-dryers-by-microsoft/) almost 5 years ago, that was long before there was a 4K option, the issue was already clear at that point. That point alone gives clear evidence that Microsoft does not really care about its gamers, merely about their revenue and their Azure cloud, that alone should anger people and that is why Nintendo is catching up so much faster than anticipated (this is a personal assumption). You see, you might have the most powerful console in the world, but when its management team ignores its user base, that contraption will end up on the side of the road like an Ford Edsel, catching dust, rust and leaving the gamer without trust.

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