Tag Archives: Google Stadia

Shadows are Us

It is almost 20 years ago that me, myself, I, my playstation and controller took a gander into the world of Tenchu. Even as I now shiver on the graphics that were then amazing, the gameplay is something I missed. This came to light when I got a dose of Aragami 2 on YouTube. Proper sneak games are a rare commodity, and as we look for the next sneaker (Splinter cell, Metal gear solid, etc.) those who love stealth games, we all have a fondness for Tenchu, 

I personally do not think that there is an exception to that rule. And for some reason, even as we all love Thief and its versions, it feels a little more amazing in Japan around the 1600’s. Japan in that era was a fun place (a little superstitious), but fun none the less. So Tenchu was a lovely step into the past. 10 years after that, when Microsoft still knew what it was doing, Tenchu Z was launched and the thump in my heart was as happy as it could be. 

Even as we saw some repetition in the levels, the levels themselves were amazing. And there was the second setting where you wanted to live in the levels you were mastering, the house, the inn, they were all amazing. There were off course issues, there always are for those who do some of the levels again and again, some of the parts that Tenchu 1 offered did not happen in Tenchu Z, yet I was not upset, after 10 years I got to tenchu again. 

So what happened? Why did the PS4 not have its own Tenchu, or whatever it would be called. A Japanese set stealth game, I know there is a sizeable population that wants one. Even if we see an upgraded remastered Tenchu Z, it is a stage that could propel the cloud consoles (Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and whatever Microsoft has) forward and yes, Microsoft does have the advantage, but only if they act, if not it is up for grabs. Microsoft does not have IP on Japan or stealth gaming. I wonder why I had not missed it sooner. Perhaps I had hoped that Ubisoft got its act together. Perhaps I hoped that some would remember the great games. 

Yet if Aragami 2 (due out in September 2021) delivers, we will feel happy and after such a long silence it should optionally receive a large following. Yes, the first Aragami had flaws (a few) but it felt much closer to the original Tenchu than many other stealth games. Styx and Thief are good games, they have their own niche and they are quite good, yet it is not sneaking in 1600 Japan. The era speaks to our imagination, it has pretty much since a man named James Clavell wrote Shogun in 1975. The age of Blackthorn and Toranaga. It spoke to most people and the image continued in gaming. So now, when we see the Sony PS5 and Microsoft alternative, we see a system that can render an entire village, one would hope that Tenchu gets a new lease on life in gaming, optionally in a much larger setting. We learned so much over 20 years that this is all possible and cloud gaming might actually end up with a larger advantage.

Options
Cloud gaming has its own stage and its stage is a lot larger than any game. I staged that play in a previous blog when I coined the return of Murder on the Zinderneuf. The cloud consoles will have an option what I call ‘cross gaming tokens’ Something found in one game can be used in another game, or better stated becomes an unlocked item in another game. Consider that you find a house ceramic in Murder on the Zinderneuf, that could unlock the steampunk version of Monopoly, When you play Tenchu, you can unlock a weapon that is an additional weapon in Clue, and so on. It is a stage never contemplated before , or never acted on, but in cloud gaming it becomes real, as we embrace subscriptions and therefor we need long term gaming. As such long term gaming is found in adding to games, but what makes the addition? By adding games, other games will optionally be enhanced, or even added to, all because you played Murder on the Zinderneuf and you examined the chess set in a room, a new chess set is added to chess. And there is no end to the options you can unlock making a long term connection. Now consider that setting in a game like Tenchu. As the enemy is there, it is also possible that a game like Anno 1600 will unlock more powerful enemies in Tenchu. 

Remember that evil Dutch Merchant? Well, if you played Anno 1600, he will become a VOC representative, complete with two bodyguards yielding a ‘Donderbus’ (the Dutch invention that would later become the shotgun). When the stage is adjusted the game becomes again enticing and rewarding. A simple stage of adjusting, and players like Ubisoft never went there, why is that (equally other players did not go there either). 

So whilst we can argue that we must move forward, we have a ton of options that have not been acted on, as such there are years of exploration in sight and there Cloud gaming has the option to offer more, not merely another version of a game, but a much larger game, if only the developers had that in sight when they thought that one platform is merely a port of another platform. 

In all this we can lie in the shadows awaiting what comes next, or we can adjust the lights and create alternative paths. So whilst we all await a new game, what is wrong with replaying a game we forgot about, only to see that it has been enhanced by other games we have played in the meantime. I believe that there are a lot of developers and they do not realise the impact of long term gaming yet, they seemingly forget that soon we get to a point (in 6 months) when some people will have played the same game for 10 years. There are not many games that are worthy of that but Skyrim pulled it off, so what happens when on 11.11.21 the game offers the players something new in the same game they played? In opposition, what happens when the ‘patch’ will unlock a whalebone dagger in Dishonored 2? These are options that cloud gaming can offer, or perhaps a Skyrim board in Monopoly, an Axe in Clue or a Skyrim style chess set? It is not merely cosmetic, consider that over time you get additional rooms, people and items in Clue. The standard formula you had in your mind will no longer work, it needs adjusting for the different items optionally altered items. The game suddenly becomes more fun to play again. A stage many forgot about but Cloud gaming enables it and suddenly the stealth games all get an upgrade and that is what we like a challenging game that offers more over time. So whilst we see Aragami 2 coming in September, what happens when some of the guards have crossbows? Do not laugh, the Japanese had crossbows as early as 230 AD, they called them Shudo, they also had something not unlike a ballista, but that came 400 years later, still ahead of Europe though. History provides a whole range of options and opportunities. And the coming of Argami 2 made me consider that. I wonder what Google and Amazon are doing. Most likely relying on a deal with Ubisoft, I wonder how that goes over time. 

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Moon Shine

I wish we were talking about that home brew alcohol, but we are not, this is about Amazon Luna and their counterpart Google Stadia. Now, I am telling you this from all kinds of selected sources, I did not play either myself, I feel that this is not as important as the setting round it. The first thing that I have to say right now is that I am pretty amazed with the second wave quality that Amazon Luna offers, from the early Alpha stage that some reported on as well as the second wave that several subscribed to, Amazon Luna is way over and well above standards (to a larger degree). I would think that Google Stadia had the upper hand, but that is not the case, they are surprisingly even, yes Google Stadia has an advantage, the load times of games is decently faster than Luna, but the rest, whilst in the game they were on par and that is a surprise I initially did not see coming. Yet overall they both fail in other ways. They are both relying on Ubisoft to bring the great titles, yet that is the largest danger when we see the stage that Ubisoft provided for and at this point, there is not a whole lot of faith that they will be around by the end of 2022 (they did this to themselves). 

My issue is with the Amazon 4K gaming promise. You see my YouTube has all kinds of lag and latency issues when I go above 1080p, so does Netflix, I do not even bother with 4K, merely because of congestion. That is not a setting that everyone faces, yet they will when larger cities get over 100K users streaming gaming via their internet, it is almost unavoidable, the infrastructure is at present too weak. Yet in 2-3 years if 5G comes through to a much larger extent and a much better bandwidth and speed, yes, it would work without hesitation. Most rural places will have this issue off the bat, so France and Germany can pretty much forget about it outside of their really big cities and I wonder if Spain, Italy, Greece and a few other nations are ready for that level of congestion. It makes both Google Stadia and Amazon Luna a USA Big city setting, OK, I exaggerate, yet in all I am not that far off. 

There is a second setting, each system is missing out on exclusive titles, it worked for Nintendo, It worked for Playstation and even Xbox, the exclusive titles have always pushed platform and neither has an overwhelming set of exclusives, which is a shame, yet that might be become the hunting ground in 2022-2023, yet not for now and some of the critics they all seem to agree, Luna is for now seemingly the winner. I agree with their assessment. Google is not showing skin in the game, no commitment, if they stop, the user is in nowhere land and there is no indication that Google is committed, that signal is more clear with Amazon, even as load times are not as fast as with Google, that might merely be a temporary delay, in all I personally had expected more from Google, so to see Amazon win this was a bit of a surprise, and if Amazon has its own share of exclusives, the streaming service might become set and match for Amazon, but let’s be clear, it is too early for that verdict at present. 

It is however a thing of the future, 5G will make it clear and when your local internet provider is upgraded to something serious, it will be a real horserace and to be honest, Amazon is doing a lot better then expected with its stallion Luna, it is close to equal to Google, a level of equality I had not expected, so as I personally see, the one having the more and the better exclusives will win the race, they both have Ubisoft games, so that is not an overwhelming advantage, just like the previous war, the exclusives set the race when the hardware is too close an equal, a stage we saw between Xbox360 vs PS3 and again Xbox One vs PS4, yes personally I see the Sony sides to be superior on a few sides, but for the gamer that was not clear and from that point of view they were close, and in both cases the stage of exclusive games made Sony a winner, a war that Google vs Amazon will see soon enough and whilst we see a level of melancholy with Sonic and other older games, it is the exclusive games that will give a system the game, set and match signal, and I wonder if Google is willing to commit to that, that was voiced by a few critics and I see their point of view, I am not sure if I completely agree, but their points were valid, I reckon that by the end of Q1 2022 the stage will be decently clear, at that point the people will more strongly commit to the
Moon, or to the stage, will I? Not sure, I am happy with my PS5 and in this the exclusives will push me in one direction or the other, as will it be with other gamers as well. 

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Yo clodhopper

Yup that was my finest hour in diplomacy, we’ve all been there. Although I just woke up and I just had a great idea, well, I sort of had the idea before, but it took shape and it is now 03:30, so it must be good. 

You see, I have worked on several parts of the free RPG for Sony (as a response to the act of Bethesda), yet I now have a larger stage for the map, the map is not one map, there will be 5-6 maps, yet with every iteration of the map, the map evolves the map changes the presentation of where you are and what is there, but it does not change what is there. Consider the maps from 14th century and the maps we see now (not Google Maps), there is evolution and I set a stage where we have larger differences. A geologist and an explorer have their own versions of maps, that is how their trade set it up, it is how they evolved their maps, yet in gaming we never did that, so I am making a larger change, and in support of that, I also came up with the option of a new game, or a new game plus, making the game a larger evolution stage. Why?

No one has ever done it before and in that regard the larger stage is set. There will also be a cartography shop, run by no one other then Miss Beth Esda (sorry Christopher, I just had to go there). I will tell you later about New Game Plus, because this one is one that is also new, but the stage is that it still needs a little work. 

So as we barge through the land (clodhopping), and as we look towards the sky on where we have to go, I see options I had never contemplated before. We can push boundaries on what we perceive we know, but what happens when the darkness is actually a void, a place where we merely stop being? So as we step in and out of the void, we set a new registration, one that Skyrim but not to the degree that they could have seen it, and my vibe merely picked up on the missed opportunity. It will be some work to set the stage to a larger frame, and it will take a decent amount of brooding, but I think I have an idea how to proceed on it and I will keep you informed. Still there is more, I wrote about it earlier, and as I considered the ideas I had in a new version of ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’, I considered a different stage to the game, yes it is based on that game, but so different it is no longer the same game, and as I considered the game Clue, perhaps you have played it, so what happens when the corner rooms no longer have secret doors, but on a higher level they have doors that lead to another part of the Hindenburg? In addition to that, there will be a stealth and a deception element to the game. Linking that game to achievements in another game. If the new ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’ is an evolution of Clue, we could also have an evolution of Hotels, or Monopoly. If this is a Google Stadia setting, then the people would have access to both games, so what happens that relics found on the Hindenburg will unlock new options in Hotels, and Hotels opens up options in ‘Murder on the Zinderneuf’? The options are all cosmetic, but they are nice options to find. It is not completely new this approach, but it was seldom trodden and as such, I think it is important to set that stage. The gamer loves any game more if we offer something that they never had before and a cloud gaming solution like Google Stadia (or Amazon Luna) will need to reconsider and re-evaluate what they have, what they think they have and what could be made possible. You see cloud gaming can only exist if people have long term commitments to that setting, a new Ubisoft game is not going to do it, Nintendo is figuring it out, as I see it the long term commitment that gamers have with Animal Crossing: New Horizons show me to be correct, and the amount of gamers that are ‘addicted’ to that game doubly so. 

There is even a larger stage to the RPG that I am only now trying to figure out, it is a new setting in conversations and in localisation, and the setting that it has never been done before is making me happy. Consider that Ubisoft lost 15% of its value over a period of 30 months, and I now show that I have the inside track on solutions that they never were able to innovate, I think that I am on the right track, now, that does not mean that I am better than them, I am merely more willing to drive innovation, is that not what gaming was all about in the past? 

Why have we become so driven to ‘highest graphics’ and ‘coolest effects’, look at Nintendo and watch where that happens (it does not) and still they beat the most powerful console in the world (the Microsoft contraption), as such we need to consider what we could be able to achieve, not merely what some marketing type tells us what great is. We can decide for ourselves what great is and it tends to be the game that baffles us (God of War for example) and a long list of baffling games, and in all this where are some of the creator? They are merely pushing out more of the same and they market it as innovative new, but tell me, which franchise has truly delivered innovation in gaming? 

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Add one more

This started a week ago when I wrote ‘8 missed opportunities’, I had been pondering a few issues and I was wondering whether it was a fair call what I wrote (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2020/11/28/8-missed-opportunities/), and whilst I was pondering that, my mind being slightly preoccupied with “The Aeneid of Virgil”, I suddenly had this brain twist for an idea that might work on the Apple Arcade, the Google Stadia and the Amazon Luna. I named the game ‘Kick the Arcade’, a game optionally 2 players online (in co-op), a side scrolling game, not unlike Streets of Rage (SEGA Megadrive), but there is a difference, this game grows over time. An idea that the game has 20 levels, every 5 levels a boss and in each set of 5 levels an arcade, where one machine can be kicked (hence the title) and you can free the hero in that machine. At that point, you unlock the hero and after defeating that boss of these levels you can switch to one of the unlocked hero’s and continue the fight on those levels with different enemies. I was thinking of one little complication. When someone joins you that person can only select one of the unlocked hero’s and at that point, it might be your levels, but the enemies are the ones of the second player hero, it would be a whole new level of challenges. Consider all these great side scrolling levels, Streets of Rage, Double Dragon, Green beret, Ghosts n Goblins, Golden Axe and the list goes on, there is still the issue whether the IP is locked, yet this idea basically washed over me in minutes, so what is keeping them making new games? Yes, Google Stadia at present has an interesting list of games, but lets face it Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (2014), Hitman (2016), Destiny 2 (2017), they have originals, but they need more originals, a console is defined by what others do not have, not what others ALSO have. And this is happening whilst 7 announced titles are apparently no longer coming, so if Google is all about being googly, be Googly!

Set yourself apart, because no matter how the presentation looks, there is every chance that most people will not be able to tell the difference between Apple Arcade, Amazon Luna and Google Stadia, when that happens, there is every indication that Apple would win by default, is that truly what we want?

I am not stating that Apple is bad, but I expected more from the out of the box thinkers (aka people at Google). No wonder I have the 5G IP that Google does not have, ah well, such is life. 

Even as we see ‘opinions’ like “Google’s Stadia was always going to fail, but a new report claims that the issue isn’t missing features or a tiny game library. It’s Google. … “Google didn’t offer them enough money, and they don’t trust the mercurial company to stick with gaming in the long term” and here we see two parts the important part ‘they don’t trust the mercurial company to stick with gaming in the long term’, it is the long term part, yes it is a fair call, but it comes with the dependancy on others to fill your chest with treasures, the selfish corporate settings we see all over the place gives a clear signal, they bring something that is exclusive and unique, or you are forever in a stage where you are not the first focal point. We have seen this a few times over (Bethesda anyone?), and as such the fickle state that Google tends to be on at present is partially forced upon them (corona viral distribution and change) and part from within, they are spread too thin and they are in too many places, as such Tracker smurf (Sundar Pichai) is optionally losing oversight, or he is too many places too often, take your pick. But the critique offered is not all empty. I do not care too much for ‘Google didn’t offer them enough money’, either there was no real commitment on the $$$ price or someone didn’t negotiate too well, no matter what the reason is, I find it lacks focus. As I see it, the old games would be an optional saviour, 1-2 dozen games rewired in better graphics, optional additional sides to the game and the stage is soon a different one, but does Google have the drive? The idea that ‘the long term’ would optionally translate into Google ending third in a three man race (with Apple and Amazon), it is the one outcome I would never have seen coming and perhaps that is also what Jeff Bezos is expecting with the Amazon Luna, the idea that he ends ahead of Google must be absolutely intoxicating to him. 

So in the end, I didn’t merely added one more idea, I have added a setting where Google is not leading the waves and that is a little weird, but if that what the googly people have decided on, that is how it will be, and if they do not want that one part, they will see other parts see a reduced setting soon enough as well. Consider the people expecting top notch from Google, when they take their market to Amazon the game changes and I would never have expected that to happen, yet that is what we face, a setting that is no longer imaginative, something that comes with anticipating expectations, options that are offered away from one and towards a player that started as an online bookshop. I will be honest, I never saw that coming a year ago, but that stage is now getting a little bit too real. For if the Googly people turn down the innovations, what else will they abandon?

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A company for an apple & egg

This is the setting I find myself in today, I have been harsh on Ubisoft for several reasons and after Watchdogs: Legion, I thought they had learned their lesson, but no, they never learn and I reckoned 1-2 weeks ago in my blog that if Yves Guillemot would run off with 10 cents on the dollar he would be lucky, the negative setting of AC Valhalla is however adding up and up and up. Its reliance on questionable reviews, NDA’s until day 1 of the game and a misrepresented setting of ‘early release’ is adding fuel to the fire that I see Ubisoft degrade it value to a mere 250 million company, for a firm that used to be valued at 2,000,000,000 a mere two years ago, this is quite a leap and not a positive one, even as Elon Musk is set to twice that, all whilst his value will soon rocket to 1,200,000,000,000 soon enough, Ubisoft goes in the other direction, it goes from bad to worse if we connect ‘Ubisoft’s newest game in Japan censored’ (at https://www.mccourier.com/ubisofts-newest-game-in-japan-censored/) a week ago. There we see “Ubisoft responded, stating that removing blood stains was essential for the game to be validated by CERO (Computer Entertainment Rating Organization), which is responsible for classifying video games. However, CERO declines all responsibility for this choice and confirms that it has not been consulted by Ubisoft”, I am not judging here, but it seems that either CERO or Ubisoft is misdirecting the gamers and if it is Ubisoft, that is a really bad move, in light of squandered options, especially in light of ‘early release’ all whilst the bugs and glitches are adding up, Ubisoft missed its target by miles. Even as some claim that “Cloud saves have also been renamed to Manual Save Cloud to differentiate them from standard offline saves. A notification has been added as well for when cloud saves fail to be pulled from the server”, whether fixed or not, it is again shoddy testing by Ubisoft, will they never learn? A save game is the gospel and bible of the long term player, not properly testing that is an issue , and when we go from a level 0 issue to the several levels of glitches, one so hilarious (unless you are the player), where a Drakar (a Viking boat) is flying and put flying in a video of dragons, that is the stage Ubisoft find itself in, they have regressed towards the level of joke and it will hurt Google as well, its stadia is depending slightly too heavily on Ubisoft games with its new Google Stadia, in that stage with not enough alternatives it could find itself in all kinds of hurt, giving the Apple Arcadia a massive advantage over Google, something they will not be happy about.

And when we see “Visual bugs relating to Eivor’s cloak have been addressed, while player and NPC animation problems have also been improved. Audio, lighting, and texture clipping issues could also crop up, which Ubisoft said it’s addressed. For PC players, shadow resolution set to high will now work as intended”, we see a possible return to the age of AC: Unity. Is that what Ubisoft has regressed to? 

A stage of failure after failure, improper testing, hype creation, boasts and non-delivery. Each of them a massive hurt by themselves, combined they are the nails in the coffin of the cadaver once known as Ubisoft. And they had created an optional safe harbour with Watchdogs: Legion, what a day a software company can make. 

I am not happy, I am actually a little sad, from a decent company, they moved unto legendary, only to squander it away with massive failures, so as I see “a successful start for Ubisoft, but it hasn’t been without its problems. Users across all systems have reported problems with corrupted saves, performance issues, and other in-game glitches”, I see the hand of Ubisoft marketing, a set stage that could only fail over time and now that they think they got a reprieve, I am here with the personal view that it has ended for Ubisoft, all whilst the owners of PC and consoles they are all looking forward to a 45GB patch, I had to download a 50GB patch for Miles Morales, but at least it came with a second complete game (I had the Ultimate edition). So how many games and patches will it take for rural players (which add up to millions) to use up all their bandwidth? We all seem to focus on the cities with unlimited downloads, but consider that Rural France, Rural Germany, non metropolitan UK, Rural Australia, a stage with tens of millions of players, they will feel the brunt, merely because Ubisoft refuses to learn its lesson? How is that for value of software? And this was merely the day one patch, for the latest, optionally fixing your save games you will need to download 4GB more.

Yes that was the early release of AC Valhalla and as I see it a CEO that cannot contain its marketing needs, a sad situation for any firm and those around them are hurting, merely because (as it seems) hypes seemingly creates the need of Ubisoft, not excellence, and when did we applaud mediocrity on that? So whilst McCourier gives us “In light of what CERO said, Ubisoft seems to have underestimated the tolerance of the Japanese authorities. Ubisoft has also apologised to Japanese players, and a corrective patch should address this issue in the coming days or weeks”, gamers will see another patch and optionally more glitches coming their way, I wonder how much more a gamer needs to download before they realise that Ubisoft is done for?

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Deadline or death line?

I said it before, and I stick to my view, Ubisoft is in a large stage of near death, they might be denying that part, but their setting is not good, or is that was not? Let’s be clear, today I went through Watchdogs: Legion and I am decently impressed, it is an absolute jump forward from Watchdogs 2, To be fair, this looks really good and after an hour, it still looks good and plays well. As I stated, the next two games define the future of Ubisoft and at present it seems like they got this one right. I saw issues in earlier editions, but as this was before beta, it does not count and I have every intention to take another look. No matter how we try to slice it, a few things show up, first of all, those angry (read: anti) game reviews are not as present as before, some people had plenty to bitch about Watch Dogs 2, yet I enjoyed most of the game (a few weird parts), the story was decent and the intro to WD3 is a lot better than the second one, the game has a few issues as I spotted them in WD3 that is, but it is not a disabling one, some of the conversations are really too unreal, but that could be a US view on British accents, I do not know, but it flaws there, yet two elements, the first is that this is a video game, second any voice can be regarded as flawed, it is how you look at it and does it hinder the game? I think not. One review I liked can be seen (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9kEuTyKufo). It gives a few things away, but not too much. In light of my earlier statement (regarding Ubisoft), it is important to note that this game shows a first sign that Ubisoft is addressing the stupidity we saw in earlier releases. I believe (at present) that AC Origins is still the best game that Ubisoft has released in the near past and this game is making a serious approach to breaking that achievement, something we had not seen for much too long. I might add more on the weekend as I progress through the game, yet so far I have to admit: “Well done Ubisoft”, which in light of my earlier views of other games is important to notice. 

I have nothing on AC Valhalla, What I saw earlier turned me off, yet I will admit that it was an early beta version, so lots to fix and even as some parts seem nice, there is a more apparent stage of addressing, which I believe is flawed, but it is based on incomplete views, as such I am refraining of actual criticism against the game at present.

Even as I still believe that Ubisoft is optionally on its last legs, the fact that the systems that WatchDogs: Legion is released on the big two consoles, with additions to PC and Google Stadia should not be underestimated. At present it indicates that Ubisoft could get its footing back and if the game turns out as good as it seemingly is (I honestly cannot say at present), the fact that a title like this is making it to Google Stadia as well is important. It could end up being a desired taste for EVERY Google Stadia player and that is important to Ubisoft as well. For Google it matters as it is not out on the Apple Arcade (as far as I can tell), and that will matter to Google in this upcoming race. It actually got me to one (small and insignificant) flaw at present, if I am wrong, I will be the first to apologise. When you consider that this game is in London and it was made by Ubisoft Toronto (that village in Canada), it suddenly dawned on me that the game is lacking NPC backpackers. London is filled with them, you know people with backpacks speaking in a Canadian, American and Australian accent (and plenty more dialects), they could have made that into a game achievement ‘Getting around: possessed a backpacker from every commonwealth nation’, just something to consider down the DLC road. Still, the fact that I am thinking of things to add, is important, as I am not thinking of things that required essential fixing. I might be too early in the game, but I have not felt this invigorated since AC Origins and that is a good feeling to have, Ubisoft is seemingly getting it right, if I attack them, I must also acknowledge that they are doing the right thing, it feels important to do that too.

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The Yesterday approach

I was looking at the Google Stadia setting for games, and naturally I got a list of the games that is on all the other systems. The problem is that Google is just starting, and even as it has good games, it also has a few titles where we can wonder how many disappointments the gamers will be introduced to, this is not about bashing Ubisoft, but they do not have the best track record at present, giving the Stadia almost half a dozen games less. One option would be to renew the old games, and I am not merely pointing towards games from the PS3/Xbox360, which is not the worst idea, but another level of gaming. I mentioned Murder on the Zinderneuf in a previous blog, but today I was re-confronted with an old classic, Tower of Babel, it was a Rainbird production in 1989 and made by Peter Cooke. We might think that the game is simple and that is only partially true, what is important the this is a game that the younger players can play, it can be upgraded to 4K if need be, but the moment the Internet congests, I wonder how much playtime people will get. The game fitted originally on a 1MB disc, as such the game could be upgraded to some degree, but it was already a good game, and as I see it, the amount of puzzle games is a little on the low side on nearly all platforms. And it is not the only game that could make it there, I mentioned Millennium 2.2 in an earlier blog and as such there is a rather large game pool that can be connected too, and that shows the larger flaw in the Google Stadia arsenal. We see what some call ‘the cool games’ and plenty of others too, but for any console to copy the other ones, is merely an exercise in catching up at best and yes, the Google Stadia has the potential to make it to third position, but if they want to differentiate themselves they need and a larger arsenal and a different level of additions. Puzzle, strategy, RPG, but not merely the ones already advertised, they need more and the old games were really good, as such a streaming game that is an upgraded version is still a lot smaller than some of the 30GB games and in streaming that counts as well. And that is not all, NBA 2K21 is supposed to be coming, yet the games has all kinds of issues on the other platforms. Park not working, players are prevented from joining games, we see mentions of ‘hailstorm of issues’, which let’s be honest, was always going to happen, but on a new console, the more games with issues, the less appealing it is. Yes the Microsoft and Sony solutions had the same thing, but they had a pol of titles to rely on and Google does not have that. Nintendo has had this a lot less and they have the advantage there, but for Google being on par with Sony and Nintendo was never going to be realistic, as such Google needs its own pol of games, games that have been properly tested and they will need close to a dozen games added, a dozen Google games and the old games are a good option. So how many Chess games are there on non-PC systems? What is the range of games per category? I am actually a little surprised that Google lacked in that regard, at least according to their own pages. So I wonder who were the deciding voices at Google, especially as the Stadia list has Breakpoint, a game regarded as the worst game in 2019, and that is before we consider some of the other titles (without judgement), titles that have been ‘heralded’ as ‘more of the same’, is that really how Google wants to start a new console? There are a few other titles, but that would be kicking certain makers whilst they might be really wanted by other players, my view is merely my view for the games that I like, others like other games, yet no one will like a lack of games and in this Google has its work cut out for them. 

 

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Software as a salad

Yup, we all have our moments of creation, although this is a redesign, the idea is out there and it is set to be an open invitation to the owners of the game Clue, to take it to a next level. What happens when we change the tally? It dawned on me when I was walking in a mall and I laid eyes on the Harry Potter edition of Clue, it looked nice, it looked revamped to be as close to the Harry Potter world as possible, but it was still the classical game of Clue. It was funny, because around an hour earlier I was sitting down sipping on a coffee and try to wake up (well a fair attempt anyway), I noticed two tables over a gorgeous young lady (19-21) and she was talking to her friend (no idea what about) and she was getting slightly over enthusiastic over pictures of Professor Snape (Alan Rickman is cool). I had to giggle internally and I would have given anything for Alan Rickman to be blushing one table over, but that was not the case, yet it started a thought and after the coffee when I noticed the HP Board game, when a thought started to take hold, what if one game could lead to another? What if we take the EA original Murder on the Zinderneuf (yes, it was original in 1983), make it a first person adjustable mystery, yet every game unlocks specific randomised new options. What if the game unlocks the game clue, but what happens when the game, a game that is different every time (apart from the stage). The game offers a challenge already, but when you get a different murder mystery every time you play it, in addition, you get the board game Clue to play at home or online with opt in players or a computer character, as well as a stage where you could optionally unlock the HP edition, the Downton Abbey edition, the Walking dead edition, the Asterix edition, a Scooby Doo edition and so on. The idea of opening a game an unlocking the other skins one at a time sets a larger premise, sets a drive to play the game, especially for those who love the game. The game would not alter too much, but the location, people and object skins do and that are cosmetic items. The option to seed the game like a minefield with other cards (like the ones in the game), but with different outfits, so the game keeps on looking fresh. Then there are the stage where the initial game when replayed will offer a person to find objects, like a Golden Snitch, the Resurrection stone, An Asterix flask, Scooby Do’s bone and so on. A game with a long lasting half life, because there will be options to unlock for a long time to come, yet who took on considering that approach in gaming until the Google Stadia became a fact? Let’s face it, I never saw this for the years that Steam was out. 

There is no end towards what is possible, but what should concern you is why the makers of current games aren’t thinking the far ahead, or that much out of the box. This is my 7th game IP concept in under a year, and in the gaming industry, these so called captains of industry haven’t come up with 50% of that amount of IP. So I leave you with that thought, will you buy software, or will you mix it up like a salad, it might not taste the way you think it does, but it is more likely then not an original taste and that counts in gaming. The stage of ‘I never had that before’ and it remains true, it is not for everyone, but when you set the goal to make a game for everyone, you merely make a game that pleases no one. 

 

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The stage I partially ignored

We all have that, we hear and see something and partially ignore the small print (if it is stated at all), she deals are good. I have made no secret of my aversion to Microsoft, that remains, yet I thought that the Game Pass was a great idea, so when I was shown ‘Xbox Game Pass is a steal — so why aren’t people using it?’ (at https://www.laptopmag.com/news/xbox-game-pass-op-ed) two days ago, I was a little confused. I might not be a Microsoft fan, but there are plenty who love Microsoft and Xbox, it is their choice and they are welcome to it, in that part I would think that they would love the Game Pass, yet the article give me a few items that I was not aware of.

The first part is “If you’re in the middle of a long RPG like Final Fantasy XV and it is removed from Game Pass, you’ll have to buy it. In Game Pass’ defense, the service gives you a month’s warning when games you’ve downloaded are about to leave. You also have the option to buy the game at a discount”, as well as “Some players feel more comfortable buying and downloading games individually rather than getting them through a service like Game Pass. It sounds like semantics considering you’re downloading games regardless, but perception is key, and to some, knowing they are getting a game through a service turns them off. In their eyes, Game Pass removes ownership” it gives a stage where we basically never own games, we merely rent them and there is a plus side and a down side to that, it is slightly more clear when we set the Microsoft store quote next to this “Get 2-4 free games every month and save up to 50% on game purchases”, so basically you pay $15 a month and that gives access to some games, whilst buying a game is up to 50% cheaper. So imagine Assassins Creed 15 (whatever version) and any AC fan wants to own them, so that month the bill could be at least $65. How long until the basic setting of the game pass is no longer a real sweet deal? 

And that is not the end, the more people are hit with the temporary setting ‘removed from Game Pass’, the gamer gets the setting of an expensive pass. I am actually amazed that Microsoft did not do a better job there. How long until we see that the games that they offer have a mere 1 year (or perhaps even 2 year) shelf life? It is not a path I expected Microsoft to make and when we see “Game Pass is $9.99. For $14.99, subscribers get Xbox Game Pass for Xbox and Windows PC along with Xbox Live. This also includes access to play online games. An additional $5 on top of the $10 for Xbox Live doesn’t sound so bad, but to some gamers, it could very well be a deal-breaker”, which is not news, but when we see the temporary approach to ‘renting’ games, the entire matter changes. There is no denying that $15 is a good deal if the games are forever yours to play, in a temporary setting and the obligation to buy some games afterwards the setting becomes a non-deal for a fair amount of gamers and when we see this on top of the other stages that Xbox gamers have been exposed to since 2012 we see a stage where Microsoft might only have its Cloud and mobile gaming left, they squandered whatever advantage they had and now we see a stage where Xbox ends up in fifth position behind the Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia and Apple Arcade, that might be a setting I get to see in 2022, as such if Microsoft does not adjust its path they will end up dead last in a game where they could have been in second place.

That is the price of setting a business stage in a world where you do not comprehend the participants.

 

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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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