Tag Archives: Nintendo

The house of RPG

Yup, the news only just hit the walls of the internet and a new stage is already underway. This is not about slamming Bethesda, they made a decision and I reckon that 7 billion plus is a nice looking bandaid, but now the house is falling over, because the stage of gaming is set into another realm. Do you think that Sony will like the age of dependancy of Microsoft? So as Bethesda becomes a Microsoft institution, Sony will have to look in other directions. Yes there are good RPG’s out there. There is the Witcher and Cyberpunk is about to arrive, yet the stage is largely untapped and now we see that there is a larger need for an exclusive option for Sony. Lucky for them there might be an option. Richard Garriott created the Ultima series in the early 80’s, yet it was in 1985 that Ultima IV: Quest of the avatar was born. It would take RPG’s to new heights, heights that would not be equalled for well over a decade. Now consider a first person RPG (like Skyrim) with its own rules, its own places, and a storyline that can surpass most RPG games out there. On a map that would be close to 6,000% larger than Skyrim. The map of Britannia (Ultima 1-9) was almost completely designed by the time Ultima 4 was there and the game only got better. The stage would add new dimensions to RPG gaming, something that could be done again in a 1st person setting. It would add new directions in gaming from the original setting, something that had not been done for some time. And then there is the story. Even now I see new stages in shrines and stones that the original never allowed for. There is the stage to combine Ultima 4 and 5 in a much larger setting in sequence in one game. It implies a gaming size that surpasses most RPG’s in hours and way the game is played. The Ultima series set a larger stage with the use of ships and that could remain, so there would be more in the game and more challenges. The largest is to stay original to the Ultima formula and not be swayed towards more of the same. A game that becomes a journey, a journey that we have not seen before and in this Bethesda opened the door by becoming part of Microsoft. I hope that they will remain on the Sony systems, but there is every indication that Microsoft will take a time advantage and use Bethesda games to push people towards their console. That move makes sense because there are plenty of Elder Scrolls and Fallout fans, but that also means that Sony now has the task to protect its core gamers by offering an exclusive brand of their own and that is where we see the value of Richard Garriott optionally go through the roof. I believe that for Richard Microsoft buying Bethesda might seem like the opportunity of a lifetime. No matter how Bethesda phrases it, they are quoted to have stated “all future Bethesda games will release on both Xbox and PC, but their appearance on other consoles will be determined on a “game by game basis”” this is what I would call a dicey setting for Sony, but not all is lost, they could look towards what was and redesign it to the new. Ultima is one of the most likely franchises and the stage is much larger than you think. Microsoft has paid over $7 billion for Bethesda (actually they bought Zenimax Media, the parent of Bethesda), it is a clever move, but if Sony counters it with new RPG, that price might be a little sour, especially if the RPG marketshare brittles away from Bethesda. Microsoft ends up in a stage where the overpaid for a brand that is well worth it, but as Sony counters what was not set to value, the value of Zenimax media will take a bit of a dive. So not only is there an alternative, my mind has already seen the optional design for an adjusted RPG game that would be every bit as satisfying as the original, more so when you consider that the original was never first person, but in my mind I added a stage that the Elder Scrolls never possessed. It is not merely good news for Richard Garriott, it would also be great news for Iolo, Jaana, Julia, Dupre, Geoffrey, Mariah, Katrina and Shamino. They can dust off the weapons they hung up in 1992. And the world would optionally see them back into action as early as 2022 if Sony gets a deal with Richard Garriott sober rather than later, because Microsoft was sly in getting the deal, but was it a clever move? I am not so sure about that. If we are to believe some market research results, only one in three opted for Microsoft, the rest went the way of Sony. I had issues with the results as it was against two systems and Nintendo was left outside the choice, I believe that the Microsoft numbers are not that great to begin with, but that is pure speculation from my side. Will I be proven correctly? 

I actually do not know, but the Bethesda move has set a level of shock on me, that is true enough, yet I have made up my mind, I will not get the Xbox, and if that leaves me without future fallout and elder scrolls games, so be it, yet it took me no more than an hour to set an optional new stage of Ultima, so there is always an option, there will always be RPG, the question becomes will Bethesda be part of that? I actually do not know, there is too much unknown at present.

 

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It was tempting

Yup, there it is, my option to consider another part of IP, or talking about the console war. There was temptation for a few reasons, but the console war won. In the first we look at Notebook Check, here we see “Convincing PlayStation 5 price leak and latest IGN poll all but confirm victory for Sony and the PS5 in the first battle of the next-gen console war”, which is certainly one way if losing at the situation, we could also include “if the figures are genuine then gamers planning on pre-ordering either a Blu-ray console or Digital Edition model are likely to be satisfied. Another IGN next-gen console poll shows huge popular support for Sony’s devices, regardless of the recent appearance of the Xbox Series S”, we have a start and it would b e quite the start, yet I believe them to be merely side reasons. You see, the real reason is also the reason why I dumped my Xbox One and all the games, I have no further faith in Microsoft, who is not ruled by deeds, but by marketing hypes. Microsoft through stupidity on the Xbox One, lost me at least twice over, and as I personally see it, there is no coming back from that one in the near future. Consider that I would be more hyped to get Super Mario 3D All-Stars free at $69, then whatever that new console will cost, so consider, I am more interesting to get a remade Mario game on the Nintendo Switch, then the new Microsoft console, their credibility is THAT low. 

I have written about these issues in the past and this is not a reuse issue, so lets get back to the article (at https://www.notebookcheck.net/Convincing-PlayStation-5-price-leak-and-latest-IGN-poll-all-but-confirm-victory-for-Sony-and-the-PS5-in-the-first-battle-of-the-next-gen-console-war.493457.0.html), where we see “An IGN poll asking Twitter residents the question “Now that we have more info on some next-gen console prices, which do you think you’re most likely to buy first?” has now closed, and perhaps unsurprisingly it has been a convincing win for Sony.

The PS5 attracted 55.3% of the votes, followed by the Xbox Series X on a respectable 23.5%, PS5 Digital Edition on 12.9%, and Xbox Series S on 8.4% (out of 138,045 votes)”. It is here that we see the 138 thousand people gave large support to the PS5, 55% to the full edition and 12.9 to the digital version, as such 2 out of three select Sony, the rest selected the other brand, yet I feel certain that Microsoft would be hurting a lot more if the Nintendo Switch Pro was part of the question. I personally have a little issue with the phrase ‘respectable’ but OK, I’ll let that slip. Microsoft only has itself to blame, it did NOTHING to listen to their fanbase, they hype and twist, but the two largest issues were not resolved for 8 years and nw they get to pay for that. The idea that many would select the Nintendo Switch Pro over a Microsoft console is something that they will have to deal with in 2021, but by then there is every chance that they are more nervous of Google or Apple sneaking up on them from 4th position, than the next Nintendo system, especially as Nintendo is already in sec and place in the console war. A good system does that and the fact that its users are looking forward to a $69 game a lot more than the next Microsoft console is a warning to the size of: ‘Careful what you wish for Microsoft!’, for them it doesn’t get much more painful, but they achieved it anyway. Oh and I do believe that pricing has nothing to do with it, if the PS5 would start at $699, I would still take it over whatever a Microsoft console goes for, I want a good game, not an exporting console, the lesson Microsoft never learned. 

Tom’s guide also gives us a forecast, in this it looks good but I am not sure if I could agree, even as Sony is a little lower, Microsoft will be a lot lower, all because of Nintendo and either Google or Apple (that fight is nowhere near settling). I think the consumers are forgetting that these two will influence the field. It leaves Sony optionally impacting 3-7 million systems up till 2024, Yet there is every chance that Microsoft will equally be impacted between 6-12 million systems up till 2024. It is a personal speculation, but there are plenty who take the PS5 next to a Nintendo, the rivalrous setting of Microsoft is a lot less so and the Nintendo Switch pro with 4K will impact the Microsoft a lot harder. You see, the Xbox Series S will be around $299, there will be a drive that is a lot harder that people think, instead of this, I can get a Nintendo Switch. Weirdly enough, they will have the Nintendo and a PS5 on the side (reversal of fortune), don’t ask me to explain it, I cannot, but I always felt that a Nintendo is welcome next to a Playstation, whilst Microsoft has aways about ‘Its only us’ and that ill hurt them a lot more then you think. 

And I am giving you this a day before Sony unleashes internet hell with their presentation, I believe that there are a few surprises for all of us, yet I do not care, I have made my decision, I made my bed and I will snore like a sawmill. I believe there is a lot more to come early 2021, but it depends on how competitive Apple and Google will get, if they decide to unite Microsoft will be done for, if it becomes a fight between the to (most likely) I feel that on personal grounds Google will win, but that is NOT a given, more of an expected vibe. In this either has a chance to push to third leaving Microsoft on 4th position and basically in the dirt, it will be the harshest lesson they ever received in 15 years. And that is merely the opening setting, there I more, but the waters are fluid and it involves Ubisoft, I wanted to go all out here, yet after reading some of the CNN stuff, I get the feeling that Ubisoft is not getting a fair shake, and that offends me a little, do not get me wrong, I’ll happily make fun of Yves Guillemot at the drop of a hat (any hat), but I have always been fair and based on things I myself can corroborate, not on expected whims lacking evidence, that is merely a no-go for me (it sucks having principles). 

Still, Ubisoft is important here, if Microsoft loses out (which is a lot more likely than you think) it will hurt Ubisoft as well, they are on all platforms, but now we get to the quote I had two days ago. With “What if we use the power of Sony and for example Google Stadia to the max what that system can give? Will the gamer not end up with a much better experience? If you doubt that, consider Metroid Prime 1 and 2 on GameCube, a game that is still mostly unsurpassed on Xbox One and PS4 11 years later, an entire generation later”, there was method to my madness and as Microsoft loses foothold, players like Ubisoft will lose massive foothold too. Their position can only be held if the systems are on equal footing and that has not been the case of at least 5 years and as one system slips behind Nintendo, the fault line becomes at least unnerving. 

So as we see Sony’s intent this week we muster the coins we have, because preordering early is massively needed. And in 2021? Well, I merely wonder how many will choose the Nintendo Switch Pro over a Microsoft console, because that too will happen more and more. And if the docking slot with an extra game slot is true, I will be on board as soon as I can. It is just too tempting.

 

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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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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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Jealousy

We all have it and I am no exception. Yes, I am keeping the IP I have to myself (for now), and I have been involved in video games since 1985, so when I see ‘EA Executives Blocked From Receiving “Exorbitant” Awards’ (source: Kotaku) all whilst we see “Earlier this week, investors shot down EA’s proposed payment plans for their executives” in the same frame when I proposed a version of Mass Effect that would undo the damage the previous one did and give the players a 400% boost in exploratory gameplay is set on a slippery slope. When a group of people getting millions of bonuses for making junk why would I bother helping them? (slightly miffed me), yet when we see the list of games coming out, we see a drove of remastered games (now also coming to Nintendo Switch), with a huge spoonful of sport games, which was always their core business, yet there is now a hole, even as we accept that there is a border to Sims, there is an edge to the Medal of Honour and there is a life expectancy of Dead Space, EA had good games and that is merely in the near past. Especially now in the Google Stadia stage, they seemingly forget Populous, Populous 2, Seven cities of gold. Yes, we get it these are old games, but so are a large group of remastered games. EA has a large opportunity, Google needs fuel for its stadia, EA has a whole range of games that likes players and with Ubisoft the way it is now, EA has the advantage. We might see the temporary influx of a gem like Battle Chess and we all see it, yet it became a game that was (for a while) liked and optionally loved by a whole range of people with zero interest in chess gaming. So what happens when the tutor part of Battle Chess increases a lot more, what happens when a whole new generation of players can get into chess, optionally with the added play online, set groups of players and so on. A categorical side of Elo, the chess rating. There is still the option to add Battle Chess 2, yet the question becomes how many people warm up Chinese chess (different pieces, different moves). When we accept that we are willing to engage into the side of puzzles that need solving, chess puzzles are there for all and in the stage that Google Stadia finds itself in, there is a larger need to get the gaming fuel going and the fuel they are all forgetting about is the fuel that is out in the open. And it is not about the identical port, but it is about what more the games could offer and these games have plenty to offer, all whilst the IP is still in the hands of EA (most of them anyway). EA has a massive advantage. Even as there is a lot of anti-EA people, the quality of games was never below the par line, not like the par line Ubisoft waves anyway. There is also the stage to grow, a game like Shadow Caster was not the great game it could have been then, but the stage now could lead to a lot more gaming and dare I say it a higher quality level of gaming? And they are not alone, Ian Bird created a game called Millennium 2.2 31 years ago. A game that I still remember playing on the CBM Amiga, The CBM Amiga had to deal with 512KB of RAM and a disc holding 880KB of storage, Any system can surpass that now, so we could see a setting where this game could be restitched at the tailor giving us a new style of clothing, in new colours with more versatility. That is the stage that I feel the most on with Severn Cities of Gold. Ubisoft makes us chase in game loot boxes, yet the origin of this comes from discovering things and Seven Cities of gold delivered. Nowadays it does not hold up to our needs, but what happens when we set the stage to a much higher level, yet the original idea was sound. Yes, I know, we hear all these people with ‘I can do this much better’, but where are they? Where is their product? 

I am not claiming to do any better, but I see what is and what can be and they are merely mulling it over with their ‘improved product’ and not showing anything. It is a shame because there is a stage where Google Stadia can surpass Microsoft and I have a vested interest in showing them how wrong their approach was, treason to gamers is a stage I take very seriously and I am driven to see them fall, if only to show them the error of their delusional stage of self preservation. OK, I admit that this is a little over the top, but to see them having to swallow their words ‘We have the most powerful system in the world’, letting them surpass themselves by the weakest system (Nintendo Switch) and optionally set the stage of the Google Stadia surpassing them as well is a nice notch on my 6 shooter. The fuel for gamers is games and adding a whole range of games that entice, reward game time and let them feel the joy of gaming is rewarding to me. 

And the stage of setting loose on the gaming world of amazing games is just icing on the cake. In this EA is a good start, they had excellent games, no denying that and a package deal there would be a larger win for Google. I believe that the games that enticed the previous generation can still entice the current generation when we upgrade and adjust the game to what we expect in today’s environment. Let’s not forget that most games were created in a pre controller age, as such the quality of game play will go up a lot, and I believe that this stage is one that Google Stadia as well as Apple Arcade would want to pursue. They cannot beat Nintendo or Sony, but they can catch up with marketing driven Microsoft and optionally surpass them, I would see it as a personal achievement. A setting where bullet point driven executives are shown the door by the gamers they set up to milk. So I admit, there is some jealousy when my evangelical approach to gaming is not rewarded and the inferior approach to gaming is, on the other had, they delivered a product and I do not deny it, I merely wonder why some products (the non-sport games) aren’t better, yet I also recognise that the umpteen versions of Sims allow for jewels like Unravel to make it, one hand washes the other and we let slide the disappointment that was Mass Effect 4, especially as there is a stage where the mistake can be undone. All whilst those who love the Sims get another influx of juice, Jedi juice is you like.

We can channel our jealousy, we can ignore our jealousy or we can deny it, it is up to you to decide on your view, your choice and perhaps your drive. I will leave it with you, and to give a little shot to your drive, gaming revenue represented $120 billion in 2019, if you want a slice of that, get to work.

 

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Light of creativity

In creativity we normally see a theme, or perhaps better phrased, some (like me)( are thematically driven, it might change per project, but in me there is a drive to think thematically, it is how I set the the stages of Elder Scrolls VII: Restoration, Watchdogs 4: Refugee,  and Far Cry 7: Timing

In this I have spoken about the Elder Scrolls and Watchdogs before, but not too much about Far Cry, in this game the stage is a little bit different. The game has two sides, a day side and a night side, yet that is not really made clear in the beginning, The game is stages in Japan on the Island of Amakusa, the man is in the city as it is today, yet when he falls asleep he becomes the boy or Girl named Sage. For the kid its 1945, for the adult its 2010, and the stage is different, the man learns skills that the boy has when he falls asleep, the kid finds things and places (and avoid US troops) the difference is that this is a game without guns, the US troops have them, but the boy/girl cannot fire them. The man learns to be better and more apt with knifes, and it helps the other one, but is only deadly to animals. The story starts in 2010, the man is evicted, he lost his job in the meltdown, he is making it on his own and when he gets to an abandoned house, he finds an engraved phalange, and as he holds it, he falls asleep. 

At that point it becomes morning 1945 and the boy takes over. 

It is the foundation of the game, in this we see the entire island twice, once as the boy in the midst  of an American occupation, with lose combats against the Imperial army, we see the game starting in one stage in July 1st 1945 and July 1st 2010 in the other stage. The idea of having two stories that intertwine is interesting, the 2010 story sets the stage of what knowledge is gained in 1945. This stage is depending on stealth, that is often not important in 2010, as we try to gain the treasures and rare items to pay the debt, as that unfolds, we see two stories unfold as well as two needs to be scored in a single night, and as the stage unfolds more and more we get to see a WW2 story from a Japanese side, yet the Americans are not shown too evil, but they are scary to a 11 year old child. 

That is merely the beginning of the setting and it took no more than two hours to come up with it. So when we see “a small team at Visceral also worked on a pirate game code named Jamaica. That game wound up being canceled when Ubisoft announced the pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, and EA wound up with a bigger a bigger priority for its “genre” studio: a Star Wars game”, a quote a mere three days old, yet I was able to (semi)create three games in a week, so where is their creativity? I came up with the setting of the game Evolution which was came from an Idea I had when I was playing the game Mercenary on the CBM64 and was based in Amsterdam, The centre of Amsterdam was completely mapped and I came up with a map change which I got from the documentary Zero Hour, as I see it, the lack of creativity from some of these large software houses baffle me, it really does.

Well, its fine as I see it, I came up with 6 games (completely) original in its foundation, as such the entire stage of ‘being canceled when Ubisoft announced the pirate-themed Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag’ passed me by completely. And in that regard, we see that even their version is not that original, Sid Meier set that stage with Pirates, as such I wonder what they will create next, and beyond that, which of them will actually make it to the consoles, because that is another setting.

As we see all over the place ‘Apple clashes with Microsoft, Google, and Facebook over cloud gaming’ no one is asking the question, who will hand us original games? In this the setting that only Sony and Nintendo remains is not the weirdest idea. So as the others are fighting on how to gain the largest slice of pie in the GaaS game, some will focus on originality and make the largest gains. 

So what games will you play and which system will focus on original games? Is that not important too? 

 

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Reflections

These are the days where a lot of people reflect on choices made and I am not any different. I was at the foundation of gaming, when gaming was young, when people thought that this was the sport of nerds and I did not care. I reviewed games for 13 years and I never regretted it. I was there when Commodore release the CBM64 and the Amiga 500. Sony released the PlayStation, I was there when Nintendo released the N64 and the GameCube. I had the Sony PlayStation 2 on day one, I saw with amazement when the SEGA Dreamcast was released. I saw an amazing range of games and systems, even now I think back to how great gaming was in those days. Even now we see how some makers misrepresent their games on how unique their game is whilst in the end it is merely another version of Candy Crush or Bejewelled. The hide behind quick animations and we see some Zombie game and the list goes on, they all need to make a game that is quick so that it is downloaded, their name depends on the amount of downloads, the sheep that play games follow the games that have a lot of downloads, yet they miss the larger stage. A game is something larger, it keeps you interested, it offers a larger stage and there is no denying that Microsoft Game Pass might actually entice people who call themselves gamers will actually end up playing actual games. Yet there is a danger there too. I personally believe that Microsoft is in it for the soft money, the micro transactions and it makes sense, micro transactions represents billions a year in revenue, and there mobile systems are the biggest source of micro transactions and that too is a reason why Microsoft wants Apple access. 

It is time that this stage changes and if there is one stage we want to protect then it is the gaming stage, that stage gives direct access to the younger players. Even as these ‘critics’ proclaim loot boxes are ‘gambling’, there is no status on games like Candy Crush and all others designed to drive gamers to spend money, the addiction of achievement. Yet we see a lot less on that part do we? I remember playing the very first Lemmings, from the first hour I saw just how addictive it was, I still have great memories on Magic Carpet, I saw amazing games from Mirrorsoft, Microprose, Psygnosis, Rare, Westwood, Bullfrog and too many others to mention. Even then the creativity outranked corporate types and the gamer won. That field has changed!

Even today, I remember playing games like Millennium 2.2, Lemmings, Covert Action, Ultima 3, 4, 5, Eye of the Beholder, and that was long before PC’s started to take gaming serious. One title I am leaving for last, In 1987 FTL (Faster than Light) created Dungeon Master, it changed the way people looked at RPG games. It was only surpassed by Dungeon Keeper because Dungeon Master paved the way and created the love of the RPG game, Dungeon Master became the best selling game of all time for the Atari ST, others would follow and Dungeon Keeper would push the love of RPG to even greater heights, in the end 700,000 copies would be sold and it is there where we see what we can gain, in those days 700,000 copies were sold, in this day it would be 10 to 50 times as much. And we overlook the playability of those games now, yes we see the hypes created (and the games EA screws up), yet they also had there share of successes and underestimations. Who remembers ShadowCaster and Black Crypt? Upgraded they would make interesting games and in that same setting EA has close to half a dozen games that could raise the setting for Google Stadia. So what happens when we tinker Magic Carpet to become larger and multiplayer? And that is only the tip of the iceberg, Microprose has even more titles and that is all before we look at the near future and see what else we can do to set a larger stage of games that people either cast aside or ignored in the first place. An excellent example of that is Microprose’s 1990 release of Knights of the Sky. I loved the game and many others did as well, but the larger group seemingly forgot about this game, a game that could be upgraded and work on a whole range of systems, including Google and Apple systems. We need to take another look at these games, games produced in the era spanning from 1985-2005 gives us close to 100 titles spread over half a dozen systems and we forgot about them. Why is that?

I get it, some people moved on, they moved on to other things and that is fine, but there is an entire generation of people that is limited in its view of games and it is limited to match three shapes. That is not really gaming and we need to make sure that this does not happen. For a system like the Google Stadia, it is the difference from being in the game and setting a goal towards being the 4th system in gaming, from there the sky is the limit. There are enough games, the question becomes where do they (or Apple) want to go, offering a system or committing to a system. It is a small but distinctive difference, one is seemingly going that way (it doesn’t matter who), yet it opens up a larger stage. A stage where people can optionally now play a larger and repaired Mass Effect Andromeda, a game that is game 1 and game 2 together. A stage that Google Stadia and Apple allows for and that is good, perhaps the others will catch on, but that is not a given and perhaps not even required. Hardwire gives options, but when did all systems need to offer everything? I believe that Nintendo and Sony can work side by side, I feel certain that either Google or Apple will be the third system, there is a chance that people will select EITHER the Google or the Apple system, but I cannot be certain of that at present. And it does not matter, like Android and iOS, people will make a choice giving Google an edge but at present not a given victory, time will make determination, yet in time and over time we need to revisit the old games, the fact that we see more and more remasters is because the old jewels remain jewels, some of them merely need to get dusted, others need polish, but they remain jewels and the sooner some see that, the better their hardware will fare. 

 

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The silent reason

We (all of us) are mostly driven by offered choices, so it took me a few seconds to consider “Here is every action adventure game on PS Now that scored 9+” a little movie by IGN. I have a lot of these games, not all, but a lot. When you consider that every games is a mere 2 seconds in view and the movie lasts 1:25, you know that you are about to get a long list of reasons to move to the PlayStation 5. I am definitely taking that road, and for those embracing the Xbox, do not fear, it is your right, you still have faith in Microsoft, I do not share your view, but you are entitled to yours. There is one side giving us ‘Xbox Series X neutralizes PS5 assault with console war-winning counter-attack’, I personally see this as the ‘promoted’ choice certain makers are making a view that suits their needs. Even as we are given “Microsoft has been very vocal about the fact that gamers won’t even have to buy an Xbox Series X to enjoy the console’s new titles, and that games can even be enjoyed on mobile devices starting next month as part of Xbox Game Pass”, so if the console is not needed, why bother the war anyway? The article gives more, but I see nothing that can be seen as reliable, especially when I see mentions like ‘Microsoft are ready to lowball Sony’, ‘apparently the game runs perfectly on Xbox X’, and ‘gamers won’t even have to buy an Xbox Series X to enjoy the console’s new titles’, just consider a console war where you do not have to buy the console, how is that? In opposition GamesRadar gives us something valuable. With ‘Xbox Game Pass is the next generation of Microsoft gaming, not Xbox Series X’ we see a Microsoft Ace, Game Pass was and is a really good idea. There is no denying this, but consider that Sony Plus decides to offers their 60 games with a 90% plus rating, the playing field becomes an equal one really fast. They also give us “from all the messaging we’ve had since the Xbox Series X was announced, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Microsoft isn’t viewing this as a new console generation. Instead, it is shifting its focus to a more malleable model, one that has far more in common with the annual release cycles so commonly associated with graphics cards and smartphones. And Xbox Game Pass is at the centre of it all”, it makes sense, yet my negativity filter gives us that those with a Microsoft console could be left out in the cold, so optionally the gamer that comes in from the cold will have to choose either Sony or Nintendo and that is given some visibility, and I am willing to concede here that I optionally might be wrong, yet the evidence is out there, I will let you decide.

I have personally seen too many events and a tick record of 8 years of Microsoft selling its gamers short, as such, I lost my faith in them. So whilst we see “Microsoft’s monthly gaming subscription service is as close to the industry’s coveted “Netflix of Gaming” moniker we’ve seen so far”, it makes sense, it also makes sense on how they are crying like little bitches because Apple will not let them near to their hardware. And the failure we see at present gives rise to the setting of the console war, when Microsoft does not care about consoles, but about the Game Pass, we see the stage. What happens when Game Pass takes off on mobiles and PC’s, how long until the issues creep into the flaws of the console? Let’s not forget that they did not fix the current console for almost 8 years, a stage that has been clearly visible since the Xbox X was released. So even as some see this as the silent reason, I do not.

I have seen the stage where Sony took 180 degrees on decisions when it angered gamers (no second hand issues) and also when the gamers loudly complained on ‘always online’ Sony adjusted, Microsoft did not and that is only the beginning, the 90% plus games is the silent reason, over time the console embraced gamers and continued it course, it continued embracing the needs of the gamers, that is why Sony will win and Microsoft will hided behind new terms equalling ‘the most powerful console’ whilst Nintendo surpassed it with the weakest console. And in the end, it seems that the next stage of Microsoft might be “gamers won’t even have to buy an Xbox Series X”, so why would any gamer invest in a console that is not an essential buy? With today’s news giving us ‘Microsoft Surface Duo phone goes on sale starting at $1950’, it might be the starting signal to a different console war, it might be about console gaming on mobiles, so in that trendy stage, where will the Xbox fit? I am not certain but it seems that Game Pass was a better idea, so I wonder when they will drop the console hardware, it might not be today or tomorrow, but by the time it is 2022 I can not be certain on when it will be, as I see it, I feel that the Sony PS5 is a much better and safer investment in my days of happiness whilst I game the games I love and Sony has so far never disappointed my needs. 

 

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The moneymakers

Corporate Earth loves moneymakers, they shelf their resources on what makes the most the fastest and that is how businesses run, but what happens when the ruling council is off the ‘Fake it till you make it’ category? That is the question that matters, because the people are now following whomever has the coolest look, whilst quality takes a second turn back. For the most this is nothing new, it happens all over the place. We now have Apple and Google adding up to the next gaming war, whilst Prime Gaming is starting to get noticed. All whilst Forbes gives us ‘There Is A Belong Gaming Area Coming To Your Town’, gaming has become the 100 billion annual industry and in this age everyone wants a bite. Even as we merely accept “Vindex bought Belong Gaming Arenas from London based GAME Digital. Vindex plans to open more than 500 Belong locations in hometowns across America, and another 1,000 locations outside of the U.S. over the next five years” then we get “Esports doesn’t act like a traditional sports business—game developers have a lot to say. In esport, the playing field is the intellectual property, and it’s owned by game developers”, yet how many people realise how powerful the data is that these gaming interfaces collect? It seems all a case of ‘conspiracy theory’, yet consider the following:

Microsoft said it would be unable to launch its game streaming service on iOS due to the restrictions on gaming apps” and “Earlier this week, Microsoft said it would be launching its xCloud gaming service as part of a subscription service called Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Sept. 15. But the app, which lets users jump into an Xbox game on their smartphone or tablet, will only be available on devices powered by Google’s Android mobile operating system, not Apple’s iOS”. A stage when Microsoft needs to get its own mess under control, they are screaming about making a mess somewhere else. The funding by larger brands is not merely about visibility, it is about getting the largest dat slice, as much as possible and as fast as possible. In an age where it is about branding, the two larger players are about “Microsoft and Facebook have lashed out at Apple for restrictive App Store policies”, there is a reason why people have lost faith in Microsoft and Facebook. I myself removed Facebook from my mobile, why would I want them to cater to my mobile gaming needs. Why would I allow other Facebook junk on my mobile, draining my battery? Similar issues exists with Microsoft, in January 2017 I wrote ‘Taking Xbox to Court?’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/01/30/taking-xbox-to-court/) and it was ignored by the bulk of people. It was all my imagination, yet the specified bill was not on their side. In 15 days close to 6GB was UPLOADED and the Microsoft Xbox support stated the this was with my provider, really? My Xbox uploads data without my permission and it is the internet provider? How much data is Microsoft about to get access to, how much data will Facebook capture under the seemingly innocent stage of cloud gaming? If data is the new currency gamers are the prime clusters to get, some gamers have a following of thousands and Microsoft and Facebook are screaming murder because they want into the game and a protective Apple is something they can do without. I am not proclaiming that Sony, Apple and Nintendo are innocent, but they are showing themselves to be less guilty, Nintendo and Sony are banking on the fair play approach towards gamers, they expect it to play out in their favour and I believe that this will be the true path. They expect data to be a by-product, not the direct goal, Microsoft and Facebook have (from my personal view) a more direct approach to the benefits of data. In all this Google is not innocent, but their approach was data from the very beginning, from search to linking and to other means, data became the currency that allowed people to have free services, but the truth is that nothing is free. Facebook made the same steps in the beginning, but data took over and now as we see that TikTok is actually getting into the face of Facebook and capturing the margins and more we now see ‘TikTok Begins Doling Out $1 Billion Bonuses To Top Creators As Facebook Tries To Lure Stars’ and it is about to be worse. Even as Google Stadia is in a position to grab a larger margin, Facebook is up in arms to create the larger benefit, because the reality is that cruise liner Facebook is losing more steam and propulsion, the waves of TikTok is adding up and Apple is not Data friendly to the likes of Facebook and Microsoft, in all this the voice of emotional gamers is all that is left to them because they are running out of time and there is a larger stage where Xbox series X will underperform just like its predecessor, and that is the fear Microsoft fears, they are in a stage where they could soon be regarded as powerful as in the age of their first Xbox, they threw that much away and a lack of trust is not helping them any. That is the stage we are looking at, but I have to be. honest, the fight over gamers is one that I never saw coming, not to this degree and even now as I have seen within me the IP of several games, I wonder what these game corporations are doing, because the evidence is all around them, they merely have to open their eyes. So why are they not doing that?

Even as we see that the current situation is not the greatest stage for any business, books, movies and games help in a lockdown, so why are others faltering? I personally see it because they see games as nothing more as a springboard to ‘real cash’, yet games should be about games and about the edge of what is new and innovative, that was proven in the days of the CBM64, CBM Amiga, Atari ST, PC, N-64, Gamecube, Wii, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, Xbox360,  PlayStation 1, 2, 3 and 4, and as Apple and Google enter this domain, we will get a new stage, now with 5 players and one would think that this would benefit the gaming dimension, but as I see it, Microsoft is more about Azure and data, making it a universe of 4 (which is fine too) but when gamers catch on, when the Marketing BS comes to a halt, Microsoft will only have themselves to congratulate. Anyone stating that the fight between apple and Google is over, is mistaken. I reckon that this fight will take until 2022 to settle and in the same time Sony and Nintendo will fight for larger domain of the gaming pie, but their worlds only partially overlap, so they will set another fight and they will coexist, in this Google and Apple will slice out a part and they will be more fiercely competitive than Sony and Nintendo ever was (well they were in the age of PlayStation 1 and Nintendo 64). The fight is far from over, but all the gamers out there need to realise that not all the moneymakers out there have the welfare of gamers in mind, merely the data they give rise to. And when the gamers figure that out, some lame excuse from some wannabe executive will no longer hold water, when that happens a lot more will be lost to them. I expect that to become a reality no later than the second half of 2021.

 

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Standing by my point of view

I have looked at games for almost 30 years, and so far in the mode of gaming I have been in, I tend to stand by my position. It has nothing to do with stubborn, or with some kind of elevated sense of correctness. Time has proven me right again and again. Even now as SuckerPunch is regarded as the gospel of gaming  (these things happen), I tend to see how things fair and so far I agree with the many voices, but this too made me realise that there is another path. To see this, we need to go back to 2014, a new Infamous was launched. Now, I still stand by my original view, is was above average, but it had failed to be great, even as all the elements were there. Two massive elements influenced it. The game was almost tediously linear and after the final fight you do not get to use the concrete powers to the degree I had expected. These two parts make the game good, but not great and that was a shame. Yet that is not the issue, I reinstalled it today to play it again for a few hours, even as I had completed it 100%, and in almost record time well over a third of the game had been done. This is not due to memory, I had forgotten most of it, it was due to linearity, but that was not the surprise, I know I had updated the game on day 2 or 3 and now another update was there. Over 6 years the game had seemingly seen 7 updates (It installed 1.0.7), the final update and the only one I had to install was less than 4 GB, for a PS4 game that is decent, and here we see the first issue, Ubisoft sets games to dozens of GB’s per game per update and this game from the early days does a mere fraction of this. I personally see this as proper testing was done at Sucker Punch, and Ghost of Tsushima shows this again (and again and again). A good developer will always win and innovation in gaming (a thing Sucker Punch has shown a few times) will always beat iteratively thinking Ubisoft. 

Even as I still stand by the view I had, the game was still as enjoyable as the first time I finished it. That is the power of a decent game and this game if not hindered by the two flaws might have remained on the legendary games list. Still, this does not stop Sucker Punch from creating a decent game, an innovative game and this is the issue, no matter how I see this game, I recognised it as innovative gaming, when I revisit this old game, I see just how powerful innovative thinking is in gaming. And whilst we consider just how correct I am, Google Search is filled with all the game magazines that are trying to use Sucker Punch as much as possible, Forbes even states ‘‘Ghost Of Tsushima’ Is The Game Of The Generation’ and it is hard to disagree. They also give the additional text “I am more glad than I expected to be to have a game like Ghost of Tsushima. Rather than giving us innovation, Sucker Punch has given us care and craft with the things we already know. It is a comforting thing to have, here in a moment when my country is still grappling with its failure to contain coronavirus and when the future seems less predictable than it ever has before.” In this I am not sure if I completely agree, I personally see this game as innovative, as such I partially disagree with ‘Rather than giving us innovation’, yet when we look at the separate elements, Forbes might have a case, it is the ‘Sucker Punch has given us care’ that is true, but proper testing tends to get us there (often enough), no matter how we see it, we see that compared to a player like Ubisoft it is a mere dwarf, a dwarf that creates titans, so whilst the news is full of all the things going wrong at Ubisoft, I have stated (for some time), that they have bigger issues, and perhaps these events we see hit the news now is a consequence of stress and taking it out internally. And even as we see the news on all kinds of statements and promises, we see that Ubisoft has a rather large problem, one that Sucker Punch never had, or fixed well over a decade ago, properly testing games. That is the heart of the matter and they do know how to do that. No matter how I see Black Flag, it was near perfect and so was Origins. So as such, I cannot fathom why they cannot hold the rudder right, Sucker Punch shows how it can be done and they have done so for a very long time. 

These two players need to be shown for the mere reason that one player relies on hypes and marketing, all whilst the other does not and gives us great games. So whilst I am getting a little weary of messages like ‘Ubisoft teases us with…’, I would rather see that they cleaned their company from top to bottom, because no matter what we see on certain people, the failings there go to the very top. It angers me, not because of whatever, the fact that they had good games and they wasted 2-3 franchises is a real drag, all whilst the products show that there is graphical talent and the music as applied is close to legend. As a gamer, does that not upset you? And even as I remain cautious on Far Cry 6, does it not sound like something we played before? Now, this is speculative so do not treat this like gospel, but what the internet gives us is apparently nothing more that Far Cry 4/5 in a Far Cry 3 setting. I hope that I am completely wrong, but Ubisoft does not have the greatest track record when it comes to innovation, all whilst my idea on WatchDogs 4 is a setting that is completely innovative and I wonder if all that innovation would fit into a new console (I just do not know) but is that not the foundation of gaming, to be on the edge what is possible and see if it can be done? MGSIV in the beginning of the PS3 and the Last of Us at the very end show me to be correct, In that same view Black Flag in the beginning of the PS4 is in that same foundation, so why are these franchises developed too short for their own good? 

Even now, games like Breakpoint might ‘sell’ high end graphics, but it lacked joy, joy that a GameCube game (Metroid Prime) had in abundance. Even now 8.5 years later, I can still find joy in Skyrim (originally released 11.11.11), apart from AC Origins, what Ubisoft game released since 2017 has that (I am personally not considering Rainbow Six as that is not my kind of game). When you see how short that list is and how many games Ubisoft released, we see the flaw of iterative game releases. And this is not merely Ubisoft, how many think fondly back to the Mass Effect Andromeda, after the release? All issues that proper testing could have avoided and it took less than one day to come up with Mass Effect based IP that surpassed Andromeda, it is that flawed and we need to get angry, because a life of good gaming depends on it, for all of us. 

Even as we need not worry on Sony and Nintendo, a Microsoft pushing boundaries would keep Sony innovative, that too is a given, when there is no competitor the remaining players tend to relax, history has shown that part a few times, so I prefer that Microsoft wakes up fast, but reality is not in my favour, as such here is every chance that after the PS5, the PS6 might not be as advanced as we hope (unless Nintendo really changes the game). 

If we look at the past, many have heard of Melinoe and the nightmares she brings, but who remembers Makaria? When we consider Makaria and according to the scrolls of Nikolaos of Damascus her meeting Ares, what was the result? When we see all these greek god based games, we tend to see the big three and the direct dependants, but what of some of the others? With the exception of series like Xena (PS1 game) all based on Lucy Lawless and her formed fanbase of life under greek god reign, nowadays we see covers of ancient greek books, but we forgot to pick them up and read them. Yet the foundation of RPG and sandbox games is larger than that and I see a lack of grasping the unexpected by many developers. 

And this is not some console war, a game war can be fought on many fronts, as such the setting of google Stadia versus Apple Arcade is not over, not by a long shot and these systems have limitations, it matters, because the days of the CBM64, a system with 38Kb of RAM, a 64Kb system showed an entire generation how cool gaming could be, 10-17 million units sold and 99% bought it for the games, no matter what excuse, like ‘I want to learn to program’ they gave (I was one of them). Innovation comes with limitation, and that is where true treasures are found. I feel certain that browsing through the Amiga 500 list, I will find at least half a dozen that will make it and become successes on a system like the Google Stadia, in this, even Ubisoft has a few titles, neglected titles that would be a good match to the iPad, a system at times forgotten for the games it can play and if it does it there, it will be wanted on the Google Stadia and the Apple version. Even later than that, anyone who remembers the Microprose titles would instantly try them on these systems in a new jacket, games born from limitations and they could be upgraded to fit a whole new generation (and please the previous generation as well). 

I stand by my point of view and as I see Ubisoft buckle and Sucker Punch become one of the most revered software groups, I see the options of games and how they can be on several systems between now and 2023. Time has proven me correct a few times now, I wonder when some developers wake up, as I see it, they have little time left.

 

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