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WiiU MAD?


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Does The Gaming Industry Need A Reboot? Yes

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We Need This!

Why The Industry Needs A Reboot

First off, I’m not advocating for an industry crash. The massive loss of jobs would be overwhelming and that’s something I would not wish on anyone in any situation. With that said, the gaming industry does need a reboot. Its become bloated, greed fulled, and stagnant. The large gaming corporations are more concerned with taking over your living room by offering you yet another way to watch Netflix by plugging your consoles cables directly into your anus. Ok, not really but when did the hype surrounding a new console become more about the apps than the games? I applaud Microsoft for trying to expand their home console into new territories by offering a new why to approach live tv and letting users Skype while gaming but we buy consoles for one thing. Games.

Speaking of games, why are we now spending 60 dollars on a title just to be told we have to spend hundreds more in microtransactions? Forza 5, Ryse, and GT 6 all make use of this cheap, lazy, and borderline criminal feature. It’s cheap because it allows someone to pay to get ahead in a game while I’m grinding my arse off. Lazy because the developers clearly haven’t put enough time and effort to make their game interesting enough to play through in such a way that gamers wouldn’t even dare consider paying to win. This approach is borderline criminal because how dare a developer charge full price for a game and then expect to nickle and dime me, forcing me to pay for content that should be free. It’s on the disc, right? Then let me unlock it the old fashioned way by grinding.

Speaking of the old fashioned way. One of the reasons why I believe that devs are beginning to nickle and dime us gamers is because they spend so much money putting together overly bloated teams to create a 4 hour experience that is more cutscene and spectacle than gameplay. The problem with this is that when the game doesn’t sell up to expectations, developers doors begin to close. Your waiting for the reference I made to “old fashioned” to pay off, I know. It’s coming, bare with me. So, the object is to release a spectacle disguised as a game with the hopes of making that GTA/COD dollar. Such a compromise diminishes game quality. Example…Resident Evil. Capcom publicly stated that they wanted COD fans to play Resident Evil. The result was Resident Evil 6. Yes…that garbage of a game was the result of a respected developer wanting to chase after the success of the COD fad. So here it is…Old fashioned gaming, or the oldschool days of gaming would see no such blasphemy come about. It was about gameplay and the experience of beating a game. You got what you paid for, for better or worse. In the end it wasn’t about hype, metacritic scores, or exclusive DLC packs. It was about sitting down in front of your tv with controller in your hand and enjoying the wide diversity of experience gaming had to offer.

Speaking of diversity, why is everything a shooter? Are gamers that obsessed with blowing off someones head? Are guns really that cool? I mean I’d rather be able to eat a mushroom and grow several stories tall over shooting off rounds from an AK-whatever any day of the week. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying shooters are bad. I’m saying that every since COD and Years of Boring…sorry, Gears of War blew up the gaming spot, everyone saw their success and wanted to make shooters. That would be ok if there were some originality thrown in but how many shooters can you name that truly do something remarkably new? What happened to pushing the platforming genre? Outside of Mario and Rayman who is doing that? I’m glad fighting games made a huge comeback but I want to see more JRPG’s. Don’t even give me that “Japanese developers are years behind the west” crap!!

Cream Rises To The Top

Iv’e said it before…Indie devs are the future. An industry reboot would force the big guys to re-think their stupid development strategies and put gameplay first. Look at all of the indie developers coming out. They are everywhere thanks to public funding and awesome platforms like Steam. Nintendo and Sony are doing a good job of courting indie devs to their platforms and Microsoft is is Microsoft. Take that how ever you like. Lets be honest, if the industry has any hopes of surviving 20 more years then it cant rely on the likes of EA, Activision, Microsoft Sony or any other big name company. Why? Because their greed and short sighted mindset if left unchecked will run this industry into the ground. They don’t focus on what is important. Gamers! If they did, we would be forced to buy into the hype of these so-called “Next-Gen” all in one electronic device that cooks your meals while wiping your butt, too expensive and comes with a bunch of crap we don’t need or care about gaming consoles! For everything that Nintendo gets wrong, they constantly and consistently get one thing right. Games. They know how to make them and NO ONE does it better. They get it. This is why the Wii U is so inviting to indie devs. Games are why we love this industry and if the indie scene cant breath originality into it then IT WILL die. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would be fools to not court as many indie developers as humanly possible throughout this new generation of gaming.

An Industry Crash?

Like I said, I don’t want to see it happen but by the way things are going I’m not too optimistic about our industries future. Screw microtransactions! Screw day one DLC! Screw voice commands, Skype, and uploading crap to Youtube. Hell, screw online multiplayer at the cost of a good single player experience! These are the type of things killing gaming. The industry is slowly suffocating and choking on its own mistakes. Lets get back to what made this industry so awesome and thats games. No filler. No hype. No BS! I’ll take Super Mario 3d world or yes, Knack, any day over Killdrone and Call of Booty. Not that kind of booty, son. I’m a gamer and if you claim to be one too then quit buying into the hype and supporting the nonsense. Tell Microsoft to stick Kinect back up the hole it was crapped from! Tell Sony not to be afraid to put money into Jack and Dexter and Sly Cooper. Mario doesn’t have to be the only platformer in town. Tell Nintendo to kill anything that has Mii, or party in the name. Remind them that casuals don’t care about there product like us gamers who have supported them since the NES. Speak up. Let Capcom know that if they take Resident Evil back to its roots that everything will be ok with the franchise. Or stay quiet and just wait for the eminent “reboot” headed towards the gaming industry. Its coming. If nothing changes, its coming. Peace out. Image

Will History Repeat Itself? I Hope Not


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Gamers Need To Grow Up: Not Nintendo

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So many gamers these days are criticizing Nintendo for not being more mature. They try and make the argument that Nintendo hasn’t grown up with them but instead insist on making “kiddie” games. Gamers want more mature experiences not found in games like Mario or Zelda. Gamers have supposedly outgrown Nintendo because they are now adults. Well my response to that is if your so grown up, why are you still playing videogames? Could it be that your not as “all grown up” and as mature as you think you are? Yes. That is it. What else could it be?

A Gamers Definition Of Mature

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A gamers definition of mature can’t possibly carry any weight behind it. How can a toddler lecture an adult about the facts of life when that child can barely wipe his/her own butt. Gamers are too busy burying their heads beneath the swearing, violence and perversion to understand what real maturity is. From a gamers perspective maturity is gritty, bloody, dark and full of swearing and dismemberment. Subdued colors, explosions and guns make up the bulk of what today’s gamer thinks of as mature. Its a sad truth, but the truth no less. Its as if gameplay no longer factors in anymore so long as there is competitive multiplayer matches where prepubescent brats can scream and curse at one another over their choice of online service provided by Microsoft and Sony. How long can this obstructed view of gaming maturity hold up? If the last generation was just a sign of what is to come then the gaming industry is in trouble. In its current form its becoming a joke. A shell of its former self in the sense that gamers are loosing sight of what has made gaming what it is since the beginning. It has been, should be, and should forever more be about having fun.

Let Me Guess, Should Mario Smoke Crack Too?

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You see the image above? Do you think that looks cool? Do you think it would be a great idea if the Super Mario games went all GTA and let gamers shoot Kooplings and bang Toadetts? If you do then your not alone and your also what’s wrong with gaming today. I remember when I visited a local Gamestop and one of the employees said to me that he thought it was time for Mario to grow up and go “GTA”. He actually thought it would be a good idea to make Mario more mature in the sense that he would now curse, kill and steal from the friendly citizens of the Mushroom kingdom. As humorous as watching Mario go Kart jacking would be, it would be the dumbest move Nintendo ever made allowing their famous mascot to be apart of a GTA style world. Why do people think Nintendo should make Mario mature or any other franchise for that matter? Should Mario sell crack too? How about smoke it? Clearly the people bashing Nintendo for its family friendly image are smoking it.

Nintendo Is Like Disney. Family Comes First

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Would anyone be taken seriously if they actually suggested that Disney make a Mickey Mouse Penthouse cartoon in which Mickey sexes Minnie, mouse style? How about a Disney Pixar film in which the protagonist is kills people and uses profanity? Would Mickey ever be seen smoking a cigar? The answer is HELL NO! Disney is a family company. They have been around since the 20′s and have catered to the young and old ever since. How come no one criticizes Disney for being too kiddie? Where are all the adults who grew up on Disney demanding that Donald pimp out Daisy? You know why you don’t get that from Disney fans? Its because they understand what family entertainment is. They understand the value of leaving something positive for the next generation after them. The gaming industry is the most childish and immature of them all. How dare you demand that Nintendo forget about what made its company in the first place. Do you know what the name of Nintendo’s fist console was? The Famicom. What does Famicom mean, you ask? FAMILY COMPUTER. Emphasis on the word FAMILY. Simply put, Nintendo provides entertainment for families. Yes I understand that Nintendo’s core audience as of right now are made up of gamers in their late 20′s and early 30′s but lets not act like the gameplay experiences that Nintendo provides isn’t as good or in most cases better than anything out there. Name one action adventure game that does what The Legend Of Zelda does as well or better. Name a better platformer than Mario. How about a better mash up fighter than Smash Brothers? Cant? Didn’t think so. So when gamers sit there and say they can’t enjoy Nintendo games anymore because they are too kiddie, what are you really saying? Your saying that you don’t care about gameplay. You want state of the art graphics and you want to watch crap blow up. Oh, and you want to shoot, stab and kill things. Be honest. What is the top game mechanic used this entire last generation? Shooting. Doesn’t matter if it was a 3rd person shooter or a 3rd person shooter, just shooting.

My point is that Nintendo thinks about how to best serve the family. Not everyone gets off by shooting people in the head or cutting their throat in a videogame. There are still those of us who just want to save the princess and that’s ok. Nintendo’s titles may look kiddie at times but if you know anything about gaming you understand that their games often represent the pinnacle of gameplay and best represent what is good in this industry. Sure, they don’t give you everything you may want on a technical level, things such as blood and sweat dripping off a character model but just look at how beautiful Super Mario 3d World looks. Its like a Pixar film. Immediately Pixar films appeal to children do to their colorful nature but behind it all is a deep and rich story in which all adults can enjoy. That is Nintendo. Simple yet complex.

Look, I’m not saying that liking games that feature explosions and shooting is wrong. What I am saying is that if you feel that EVERY game should be similar to that and anything that is geared towards family is somehow inferior, then you are just plain dumb. I understand that most people who play games today are adults but how can you expect a family company to forget about its most important customer…the family? Nintendo will always cater to its core fans with titles like Mario and Zelda but they can not deny the younger audience who will one day take our place as Nintendo’s core fan base. Think about the experience today’s kids would be getting from gaming if all they hat to play was GTA and Gears of War? Is that fair? No. We all grew up on Mario and it turned us into the core gamer we are today and it even turned some of us into developers. There is little substance in today’s gaming. You aim and shoot. Little more. With Nintendo they do their best to preserve the legacy of what gaming is all about. Fun gameplay. You shouldn’t be able to separate the too.

A Little Mario In All Of Us

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Lets stop being critical of what Nintendo is doing in the industry and start being more supportive. I hate when people make the statement that they “used to be big Nintendo fans” until they got older. Nintendo’s emphasis on gameplay is the same its been since the 80′s. If you were a Nintendo fan all those years ago, why should you stop now? Sony and Microsoft can often behave like Zombies. They rarely innovate, they just feed. On your wallet of course. The regurgitate the same ideas over and over again except that each time they just add more. More power, more power, more money you have to spend. Nintendo thinks about how they can deliver the consumer a fun experience that won’t violate their bank account. Listen we need all three console makers to survive and do well so that this industry can do well. When you route for Nintendo to fail, you route for the industry to fail. Period. Grow up.


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Top Tuesdays: Top 5 Games Of The Current Generation

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Who Will Be Number 1?

Here We Go again Folks. I’m back with another Top Tuesday edition. This time I’ll be focusing on the best games of this generation. Keep in mind that these are my favorite games of the current generation so with that in mind, enjoy.

5. Metal Gear Solid 4

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Snaaaaaaaaaake!

This game is the main reason why I bought a PS3 in the first place. Metal Gear Solid 4 kept me hooked from the first moment I booted up the game, with its impressive visuals and Kojima-style storytelling. MGS4 is the definitive stealth game.

4. Uncharted 2

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Naughty Dog are kings of story telling

What can I say about the Uncharted series? The game is a masterpiece in cinematic storytelling and action. I loved the first Uncharted game but the second one blew me away. The characters were very interesting, the story was engaging, and the action was fun and addictive. I can see why many regard Uncharted 2 as the best in the series. 

3. Red Dead Redemption

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Probably The Only Rockstar Game I’ll Ever Play

I’m not a huge fan of Rockstar’s other game offerings but I loved me some Red Dead Redemption. What I loved so much about this game was that it made me feel like I was actually in the wild west. The world felt so alive to me that I would hardly try any of the missions, instead I would just hop on my horse and see what situations I could find myself in. With so much variety in the world of Red Dead, I was able to squeeze many hours of playtime out of the game before I decided to actually play the missions and finish the main story. I can’t wait for a sequel. 

2. Batman Arkham City

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Two Heads Are Better Than One!

This franchise isn’t considered the greatest among the super hero genre for nothing. I spent countless hours gliding around Arkham City beating the crap out of the inmates. Simply put, this game is outstanding. This game is as close to perfect as a game can get and a step forward for the super hero genre of gaming. Too bad no other super hero game has been able to match its quality yet, but oh well, there is another Arkham game on the way in Arkham Origins. If you have not played Arhkam City and you claim your a fan of the caped crusader, slap yo’self. Here’s a little incentive. I bought the game on Steam for 7.49 cents. Yup. 

1. The Walking Dead

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Story Telling Perfection

I had no interest in trying The Walking Dead simply because it is a point an click adventure game and those always seemed pretty lame to me. So I skipped it. One day I saw a Steam sale that had The Walking Dead season one at around 6 bucks or so and I said to my self “what the heck, I’ll try it”. Best decision I’ve made in long time concerning videogame purchases. 

The Walking Dead is the best game I’ve played this current generation by far. No other game had been able to keep me as involved in the story as this game did. I don’t remember playing another game where I cared about the characters as much as I cared about Lee and Clementine. Th scenarios that played out were excellently crafted and overall this game is a testament that you don’t need over the top action and explosions to make an impact in gaming. I recommend this game to anyone who loves good storytelling. The Walking Dead will keep you on the edge of your seat at all times. I can’t wait for season 2. 

 

 


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Indie Developers Are The Future

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The Future Of AAA Is Right Here

The indie game scene is exploding with more and more great content at a rapid pace. With the help of crowd funding sources such as Kick Starter, indie game developers can do what may have seemed impossible just a few short years ago and that is to get their game idea off the ground, funded, and on to a major home console. I sincerely believe that in order for the game industry to survive the next 10 years it is going to need the help of independent game developers. The industry needs their originality, their creativity and their raw passion. Without it the industry will remain stagnant and eventually find itself becoming irrelevant.

The Originality

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What is the biggest genre in gaming? Shooters. What are the biggest games in the industry year in and year out? Shooters. The gaming industry is in a season where over-hyped “Dude-Bro” shooters sit atop the alter to be worshiped by the masses. They capture the attention of millions and generate billions, but popularity isn’t exclusive to good game design. Gaming is in dire need of originality from the major publishers but they care more about their bottom line than integrity of the industry. For them its more about large set pieces, explosions and profanity because lets face it, this is what sells units. Fortunately originality isn’t something that is lacking in the indie gaming industry. Indie developers can afford take risks on gameplay ideas that would otherwise go untouched by the so-called “Triple A” developers.

In 2009 programmer Markus Persson, better known as “Notch”, developed a little game called Mincraft and released it on PC. Mincraft is an open world game with no specific goals for the player to achieve, just a large procedurally generated world for them to play in and re-create to their hearts desire. Seems simple, right? Simple yet very deep. This sort of game is almost sure to never have seen the light of day had it been pitched to a large development team yet Minecraft went on to sell over 33 million copies across all platforms. How many “Triple A” titles sell that much? The mighty Call of Duty sure hasn’t.

The Creativity

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One Of The Best Games Of Last Gen

Indies are free to explore new gameplay ideas without the fear of someone looking over their shoulder, worried if their design decisions will be attractive enough to the global market. Luckily indie games tend not to attract the prepubescent, loud-mouthed, obnoxious crowd that loves to just shoot stuff in the face. Gamers who enjoy the majority of indie titles seem to have an appreciation for one thing .Gameplay. Unique an interesting new types of gameplay mechanics may not be exclusive to indie games but it’s where it seems to stem from the most these days.

Take the game Journey for instance. Journey is a PS3 exclusive that is the complete opposite of what current gaming trends demand. You play as a mostly silent character who’s main goal is to get to the peak of a distant mountain top. Gameplay mechanics include the ability to interact with cloth, forming your characters scarf that allows the player to defy gravity to reach new areas. That’s it. No shooting, no upgrades, no perks, no real enemies and no real combat. There is one thing Journey has in common with its “Triple A” big brothers. Journey can be played online but not like your used to. Every now and then another player will enter your game and they only way you can communicate with each other is by having the character make sounds to alert a near by player. You can help each other progress or completely ignore one another. Very simple yet very effective. So much so that there have been many mentions and references towards Journey for having made the industry re-think how we see online gaming. Because the crew at That Game Company, the folks behind the development of Journey, we now understand that online play doesn’t have to be intrusive, and plagued with foul mouth idiots. Once again, an indie game leads the way.

The Passion

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Say What You Will About Kick Starter, It Opens Doors That Are Otherwise Shut To Small Devs

Their are a wealth of indie devs that have a passion for games. Most of them don’t have the means to create and publish their own games on the various platforms available. That’s where Kick Starter comes in. Crowd funding is responsible for giving many indie devs their time in the sun. Young men and women who have a deep passion to create exciting game worlds for us to play in can now continue to dream big knowing that they have every opportunity to be successful.  Passionate developers no longer have to go to big publishers and potentially sell out their creations just so their games can see the light of day. They can interact directly with their audience who are as equally passionate to play these games as the devs are to make them. All of the hard work and dedication that indie devs put into making their game can be appreciated by all. The only thing that can hold them back is themselves.

Mighty NO. 9 is probably the biggest example of this. Created by famous Mega Man co creator Keiji Inafune, Mighty NO. 9 is a direct result of what the passion to create can produce. No just the passion of a developer but of the fans eager to get their hands on something they understand will probably never be made by the likes of EA or CAPCOM. Many well known developers choose to go down this same development path as well. It’s not about Kick Starter or any other crowd funding source, its about developers knowing that true creativity and freedom cannot properly be nurtured and cultivated at a large development house but only in an environment where creativity wont be stifled by the need to create the next blockbuster.

The Future

Independent developers are the future of the gaming industry. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo know this all too well. Nintendo has done and excellent job at inviting indie devs to make games on their platform even going so far as to waive the costs of dev kits. Sony has been hard at work courting indie devs for their Playstation 4 platform and Microsoft has made sure indies will be able to create for the Xbox One by making every Xbox One console an actual dev unit. The industry needs to continue to support indie developers and gamers need to support them with their wallets. Who knows, the next indie game you purchase on  XBLA, PSN, and Nintendo’s eShop or support on Kick Starter could be made by the industries future Naughty Dog. Think about it. Indies are the future.

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http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mightyno9/mighty-no-9?ref=live


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SHOULD NINTENDO RETIRE?

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Time To Hang Up The Gloves, Nintendo?

FORMER GLORY

I will keep this one short and sweet. Nintendo is not who they used to be. The Nintendo we all grew up with has changed from being the gaming industries prize fighter to an old legend desperately trying to hold on to glory. All is not lost. This former champ definitely has what it takes to step back in the ring with the competition and regain the title. It won’t be easy. Nintendo’s training regiment needs an overhaul. They must get stronger. They must get faster and hit harder and above all, they must find the heart to once again compete with Microsoft and Sony. It feels as if Nintendo has already given up on that fight but if things continue to go the way that they are going then Nintendo may have to consider retirement.

NINTENDO = BOXING

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Once The Greatest

Like boxing is to combat sports, Nintendo is to the world of gaming. Boxing is known as the “sweet science”. Nintendo is known as the “innovator”. As a fan of boxing, i can appreciate  this beautiful art and as someone who has strapped on the gloves a numerous times i can also appreciate the skill involved as well. Nintendo is just like the great sport of Boxing in that they are the oldest gaming company around and have accumulated much respect over their long life. Millions have lined up to buy Nintendo’s consoles much like millions at home watched the great fights of the sport of Boxing. At one point in time, Mario was even more recognizable than Disney’s famous rodent, Mickey Mouse. At one point in time the mere mention of the name Nintendo sparked excitement among gamer’s. Just as with Boxing, though,  some things never stay the same.

Like Boxing, Nintendo is loosing fans rapidly. Sure, the most hardcore fans remain (The smart ones i might add) but like Boxing, the excitement seems to have died down. Less and less fight fans talk about the Sport of Boxing like they used to. Equally less and less gamer’s talk about Nintendo like they used to. It would seem as if the gamer’s who grew up with Nintendo are the ones displaying unwavering loyalty much like  older fight fans are with Boxing. It would also seem that as with the sport of Boxing, the younger generations could care less. And by younger i mean tweens and young adults in their twenties. So what do they care about these days?

SONY/MICROSOFT = MMA

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This Is How Sony And Microsoft Battle It Out!

Mixed Martial Arts. Or MMA to the uninitiated. MMA is one of the fastest growing sports and like MMA, Sony and Microsoft have a hold on the 20 something year old demographic. When you ask people why they prefer MMA to Boxing you pretty much get a unanimous sentiment. “Boxing is boring”. “MMA fighters are more complete”. MMA is more exciting”. Although i think its complete BS, must people may agree. In fact when you look at why most gamer’s today choose Xbox and Playstation over Nintendo you also see a similar sentiment. People say that Nintendo is stuck in the past and they don’t innovate anymore. People don’t seem to want the familiar experiences from Nintendo even though they have brought them joy in the past.  Boxers stick to punching and Nintendo sticks to Mareio, Zeldo and Metroid etc. On the other hand MMA brings knees to the face, takedowns, ground and pounds and chokes. This is very exciting to newcomers who watch the fight game. To Some, MMA brings advancements to the fight game that the sport of Boxing can’t match.  Likewise with Sony and Microsofts machines you get exciting new advancements in tech  capable of rendering visuals that Nintendo’s last and current console clearly can’t match. Like it or not visuals are what attract people to games just like the violent blood shed of a cage fight attracts younger fight fans today.

Simply put, people want more. There was a time when using your fists was enough to entertain the fight audiences around the world  just like good solid gameplay used to be enough to entertain gamer’s. Now fight fans want blood and brutal knockouts. Gamer’s want over the top set pieces with explosions and head shots. They want cutting edge visuals complete with realistic army dogs. The old ways are not enough anymore. People are moving on. Boxing and Nintendo are being forgotten.

NOT OUT OF THE GAME YET

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The Oldest Fighter To Ever Win A World Title

Boxing can still draw an enormous crowd and generate revenue that MMA wished it could duplicate. MMA has no fighter with the draw power of Mayweather or Paquio and old fight fans still come out in droves to support what i call the greatest combat sport on the planet. Similarly, neither Sony or Microsoft have an IP with the selling power of Mario or Zelda. Gaming fans of the 80′s and older still turn up to support the greatest software company in gaming and like Bernard Hopkins they are not out of it yet. Nintendo just needs to adjust its fight strategy. They need to be more aggressive. Here are my keys to success for Nintendo going forward

  1. BE AGGRESSIVE. FORCE MICROSOFT AND SONY TO FIGHT NINTENDO’S FIGHT. (SOFTWARE QUALITY AND INNOVATION)
  2. ADVERTISE. SHOW THE WORLD NINTENDO STILL HAS WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A CHAMP AND REGAIN THE TITLE.
  3. INVEST MORE IN INDIE DEVELOPERS. THEY ARE THE FUTURE OF THIS INDUSTRY
  4. INVEST MORE IN 2ND PARTY PARTNERSHIPS. NINTENDO NEEDS MORE COLLABORATIONS LIKE WHAT THEY HAVE WITH PLATINUM GAMES.
  5. DONT MAKE ANYMORE GAMES WITH THE NAME WII IN THE TITLE. NO WII FIT, NO WII SPORTS. ETC. THAT BATTLE IS OVER
  6. FOCUS ON THE CORE GAMER’S THAT GOT YOU TO THE TOP
  7. IF THE WII U IS GOING TO BE JUST A NINTENDO DELIVERY SYSTEM THEN MAKE IT THE BEST ONE NINTENDO FANS HAVE EVER SEEN. TOP OCARINA OF TIME AND MARIO GALAXY. AND BRING BACK DORMANT FRANCHISES

I believe that if Nintendo can do these things than they can have a comeback story like Bernard Hopkins and regain their title. Nintendo may in fact need new leadership since it seems Iwata spends most of his time apologizing for mistakes (which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong) and we have yet to see him really improve on any of them. Nintendo’s reputation is hurting. I don’t even know if i will ever purchase another Nintendo console day one again because of how they handled the Wii U. Nintendo’s only saving grace is to make this console the best damn first party machine they have ever created. They can salvage this mess but they have to do a hell of a lot more than what they are currently doing. Boxing needs to change the way it’s perceived. They need to make sure that people know they are still relevant. Nintendo needs to do the same.

So, as always…What makes WII U MAD?


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Microsoft E3 Press conference Impressions

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….Hmmm.

Well, Microsoft just wrapped up its E3 conference and there are some interesting things i want to discuss. Sit back and enjoy.

XBox360

Before Microsoft got into it’s Xbox One line up it announced a new smaller and quieter Xbox 360 model. The new model has a very similar look to the new Xbox One in terms of the look of the box. Microsoft also announced a couple of titles for the 360 including World of Tanks and Dark Sould II

 XBox One GAMES

Microsoft unveiled quite a few games today. Forza 5, Ryse,TitanF and the return of Killer Instinct were all shown off today. Here is the deal. With the exception of the titles i just metioned, Microsoft barely showed off any gameplay for most of the games it showed off today. What was shown did give us a look at what we can expect from the next gen in the years to come.

Forza looked really good. Driving games tend to push the visual boundaries and this game was no different.

Ryse is a title set in an ancient Rome style setting were you take control of a roman warrior who has the ability to control sections of his army. They can form together in a line and raise their shields to block incoming arrows or draw spears and send them flying at enemies in unison. Visualy the game was inpressive, boasting really amazing looking character models and lighting. This game definitely screamed “next gen”

TitanF is the new game by Respawn entertainment who are know for their work on the Modern Warfare games. This game is standard FPS fare except for the giant mechs that drop into the action, letting you jump into the cockpit and command in battle. TitanF didn’t quite have that “next gen” pop that i was looking for but it looked good.

Killer Instinct was the biggest surprise, though. Gameplay was shown featuring Jago vs Saberwolf and it looked pretty good. It actually reminded me a little bit of Street Fighter 4 in terms of its visual design. It didn’t quite blow me away in terms of graphics but gameplay is what counts. The fighting looked fast and fun and it will be interesting to see if Rare can recapture the magic with the Killer Instinct franchise.

The coolest thing was probably the first gameplay reveal of Metal Gear Solid v. It looked amazing. Character models were unbelievable. I can’t wait to see this game in action.

Everything else was pretty much boring. You had Ea show up and demo Shooter number 300 or aka Battlefield 4. It looked good of course, but in terms of gameplay it featured the same old run and gun and explosion filled mayhem that your used to from these types of shooters. Most of everything else was showed off in very brief CGI trailers which made no sense and you even had some kinect and Smart Glass games shown off. It wasn’t a bad showing, just no amazing.

NO QUESTIONS ANSWERED

DRM questions? Microsoft gave no answers. Used game questions? Microsoft gave no answers. Microsoft completely ignored these topics probably because there is no amount of damage control they can do to justify 24hour online check-in’s because don’t forget if your not connected you can’t play your games.

PRICE

$499.00 was the announced price for the XBoxOne. I don’t know about you guys but i feel that might be too expensive. When you consider that nothing that was shown was so revolutionary that you had to have it, a 500 dollar price point might be somewhat of a stretch. A big stretch. We will have to see what Sony does will their price point

RELEASE

Microsoft confirmed that the XBoxOne will release in November.

MY FINAL IMPRESSION

Overall i thought the Microsoft XBox One conference lacked a major component needed to get me on board with the console. DRM. Microsoft didn’t address this issue at all. Why is it so important you ask? It’s important because it is unfair to ask gamer’s to spend $500 dollars on a console that can’t be played offline. Think about the amount of money gamer’s are going to have to pour into the Xbox One. There is the initial $500 dollars to buy the console. You will need to have an internet connection do factor in what ever amount you pay for online in your home. You will also need to continue to pay for XBLA Gold. Look, im not an Xbox or a Microsoft fan by any stretch of the imagination but i was hoping Microsoft could pull of something special for the gamer’s. The Xbox One seems like its a box made for publishers and greedy developers. I’m not spending $500 dollars for any console, period. Videogames are not worth that much. Not today, not ever. You saw what happened to the PS3 when it launched at that ridiculous price. Who has that kind of money. I will be surprised if the XBox One sells well.

I give this Conference a solid C grade

As usual, let me know your thoughts on the subject and i want to know what makes Wii U Mad?


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Will The PS4 and Next Xbox cause the Wii U to become Obsolete?

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Super Powers Unite!

If you listen to the gaming media than you would believe that Nintendo is on it’s way to becoming the next Sega. With the PS4 and Next Xbox just around the corner, sites like Game Trailers and IGN seem convinced that the Wii U is destined to go out like the Dreamcast. Is it possible?

The Dreamcast Was Simultaneously The “Next Big Thing” As Well As Obsolete. So IS Wii U

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Ahead of its time, yet behind the next gen curve

When the Dreamcast was released it represented the next big step in gaming. Higher resolution graphics, more polygons, and online gaming. Great games found a home on the system as well. Games such as Sonic Adventure, Street Fighter 3, and Soul Calibur. So what went wrong? We all no that Sega had plenty of problems before releasing the Dreamcast. Problems witch finally caught up to them forcing Sega out of the hardware business. It didn’t make matters any better for them having three major consoles ready to enter the hardware race and compete directly against them. Xbox, PS2, and Gamecube, All of witch featured advanced tech that showed gamer’s what the future of what their beloved hobby would look like. From having built in DVD players to hard drives, to improved online functionality with Xbox Live, the Dreamcast simply couldn’t compete. What does this say about the Wii U?

Well as of right now i’m sure most people will agree that the Wii U is more of a capable piece of hardware than both the 360 and PS3. Almost everyone can see the potential of the system due to it’s innovative touch screen controller. Nintendo has even taken online a step further with it’s Miiverse service. We all saw the Nintendo direct that showed us a glimpse into the future of Wii U with games like Wind Waker HD, Monolith’s untitled RPG, the Wonderful 101, and Pikmin 3. There is no doubt the Wii U has potential but is it enough?

Sony is expected to announce the PS4 on February 20th, 2013. If you believe the rumors than you would know that the PS4 will boast visuals that far exceed that of witch the Wii U is capable of not to mention the advancements to Sony’s online experience. Microsoft’s next Xbox is expected to be just as powerful as the PS4. It is well documented that many of the big 3rd party games headed to PS3 and 360 are skipping Wii U. EA seems to be giving the console the cold shoulder all together, pulling games like Madden and FIFA for next year. From what we can tell, games that are believed to be next gen have been all but confirmed for Microsoft and Sony’s new machines with no mention of Wii U. Why? Could it be that Nintendo’s console doesn’t seem to bee selling as well as many would have hoped? Could it be that developers just don’t have the faith that their titles will sell well on a Nintendo console that is generally marketed towards family gaming? Or could it simply be that the Wii U will be vastly inferior compared to the upcoming consoles and developers simply CAN’T port their games to it? How about all of the above? So far all we have seen from the Wii U is alot of potential but nothing truly groundbreaking. It’s only been about three month’s since the console has launched and it seems almost unfair to judge it so harshly so early. Be that as it may, it is very unsettling to see such a lack of support for Nintendo from both developers and the gaming media. What can Nintendo do to turn things around?

Games! Games! Games!

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Greatest Franchises in Gaming!

Nintendo has the best franchises in gaming. Period! You may feel like you’ve outgrown some of them and that’s fine but no one can deny the charm and fantastic gameplay that Nintendo games regularly represent. Nintendo’s franchises have carried them through console generations before. N64, and Gamecube succeeded because of the fantastic first party titles available for them. The Wii was a different phenomenon. It succeeded because of it’s innovative control scheme but make no mistake, it was the fantastic first party offerings that kept that console on the radar as well. Could Nintendo repeat this success with the Wii U? They have to. If developers are going to skip the console in favor of more powerful offerings from Microsoft and Sony then the Wii U has to be a showcase for the best that Nintendo has to offer.

When the Wii launched alongside the PS3 no one thought it would compete due to being vastly under powered. It was the unique way to play games and fantastic titles like Twilight Princes, Metroid Prime, and Smash Bros among others that kept the Wii going strong in its early years. I personally had hoped that the Wii U could turn out to be the second coming of the SNES meaning it would be a haven for excellent first and third party support. If things continue the way they are currently going then id be happy to see the Wii U turn out to be like the N64. Why the N64? Think about it. The N64 gave us what are arguably considered to be the best games in the Zelda, Mario, and Mario Kart franchises. The N64 was a revolution for Nintendo’s top titles. The Wii U could do the same. The way Nintendo is talking about reinventing Zelda coupled with the touch screen controller we could see a second revolution in regards to Nintendo’s franchises. Nintendo needs this. We need to see all of their franchises make a triumphant return and not just the popular titles, either. Nintendo needs Wave Race. How awesome would a Punch-Out sequel look on the Wii U? The next Mario title needs to blow us all away in the same manner that Galaxy 1 and 2 did. When gaming generations have passed and gamers reflect on the industry, the Wii U needs to be looked at as that Nintendo system that provided absolutely the best experiences first party goodness even more so than the SNES did. Only time will tell.

Never Count Nintendo Out

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Down but not out

The gaming media loves to count Nintendo out. They did it with the Gamecube and they did it with the Wii. The 3Ds got the same bashing and now the Wii U. What do all of these consoles have in common? They all turned out to be a success. Nintendo is still here, alive and kicking. I will admit that if they don’t start releasing some major games BEFORE Sony and Microsoft release their new consoles then things will only get worse. We have no idea what Nintendo may have up its sleeve. We could very well see an onslaught of 3rd party support at E3 that will shock us all. Speaking of E3 i believe Nintendo cant afford not to blow us all away. I think Nintendo will be just fine as long as they release a steady stream of GOOD content throughout the Wii U’s life span. I believe gamers aren’t so fixated on visual fidelity that they would completely ignore awesome games from Nintendo. Never the less the ball is in their court. It may be Sony’s move next with Microsoft’s soon to follow but Nintendo can still control the game and i don’t think this is a game they can afford to loose.

As always let me know what you think and don’t forget to let me know what makes Wii U Mad!


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2013 could prove gaming’s best years are ahead

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This next generation could be the best one yet

 2013 could prove to be one of the best years in gaming thus far. With many new titles coming this year for current consoles as well as the expected announcements of both Sony and Microsoft’s next-gen machines, gaming’s best years could very well be just ahead of us. 

Microsoft

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Should XBL be free this time?

Ok. I’m not even going to touch on the often absurd rumored specs of Microsoft’s or Sony’s next-gen consoles. I’m going to take a look at the best case scenario from both a core gamer and casual consumer perspective which would result in affordable next-gen machines. Lets just say the next Xbox isn’t leaps ahead of the Wii U in terms of visual fidelity. So what? Look at the advantages developers will have just having a bit more ram and processing power. Take Halo 4 and Uncharted 3 for example. What could Naughty Dog and 343 have done with those games if they had a bit more to work with in terms of system performance. Imagine Halo 4 with increased resolution, better texture detail, and enhanced AI. When Uncharted 3 released it represented some of the best visuals this generation had ever seen and i believe that still holds true. What if that game ran in native 1080p at 60fps with a higher level of atnti-aliasing and shader support? Next-gen games may not make the same visual leap that the Xbox 360 did over the original Xbox but rest assured that next-gen titles will feature some truly breathtaking visuals.

People seem to be complaining about having to pay for a 6 year old XBL when Steam, Nintendo network, and PSN are all free. Those complaints are very valid. I would bet Microsoft is going to do one of two things with their new machine. First, make Xbox live free (though i’m doubtful) or keep charging and completely revolutionize the experience making 60 dollars a year seem like a steal for such a great service. If it weren’t for XBL we wouldn’t have the slightest idea in the first place as to how  a real console online experience should operate. Microsoft set the bar and they could very well raise it again. What could they add? For starters, day one digital downloads for every retail game should be a given. How about a digital rental service for games? Cloud saving would most likely be a standard next-gen as well. I doubt Microsoft will go for a complete digital only service which would alienate many consumers who either have very slow internet connections or no internet at all but like it or not, digital is the future. 

Lets talk Next-gen innovation. Does Microsoft go in the direction of creating a tablet controller and try to out do Nintendo? Or is their big innovation going to be an enhanced version of Kinect? How about the IllumiRoom? in case you are unfamiliar with the IllumiRoom it’s a new project being designed by one of Microsoft’s research teams to be used with Kinect and most likely the newest Xbox. IllumiRoom will take the image currently displayed on your tv screen and expand it across the entire area around your tv. The effect is similar to having your game projected onto your wall except in this case the active area is still your tv screen but the environment is displayed all around your living room. I’m curious as to what the final design will shape up to be and how it will be used to enhance your gaming experience. 

As far as software goes, Microsoft doesn’t have a deep reserve of first party content. What Microsoft does well is ensure that games being released for their console receives exclusive content first. Take Call of Duty, GTA, and Skyrim as examples. These games released all of their expansions first on XBL making owning these titles on Microsoft’s console more rewarding. Microsoft will most likely continue this trend going forward. If you also take in account the fact that the Xbox has always been the easiest platform to develop for and you can see why developers tend to side with Microsoft as their lead platform. Expect this trend to also continue with the Next-Gen consoles as well unless Sony really does decide to abandon the Cell processor in favor of off the shelf parts. 

Sony

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Goodbye Cell processor!

Current rumors would have you believe that Sony is finally ready to abandon the Cell processor. This would be a good thing. While powerful, the Cell processor isn’t the easiest to develop for. Apparently Sony is going to go with off the shelf pc parts which would put it in line with the 360 in terms of ease of development. Can you imagine a Sony console that’s easy to develop for? The PS4 may end up being more of a beast than the PS3 was and we all know that games built from the ground up on the PS3 tend to look much better than anything on the 360. I don’t expect the PS4 to be a major enhancement over the PS3 though. Just a lot more capable. More ram, more processing power. Hopefully this translates into deeper immersion than ever before. 

Sony has done a fantastic job with the Playstation Network and even the Playstation Plus service packs tons of value. I suspect that going forward that Sony would make PS Plus it’s premier service while still offering a free PSN for users. Although i feel that a completely free online service is the way to go, even Nintendo has hinted at a paid service in the future. With much talk about Sony purchasing Gaikai, Sony could unveil  some sort of digital rental service similar to what OnLive was. Speculation has led many to believe that the Gaikai service would provide users a way to stream the entire PS2 and PS3 catalog freeing Sony from having to include the tech into their new console resulting in lower costs. It will be interesting to see what Sony does with Gaikai. 

When it comes to innovation Sony is often accused of copying Nintendo but to be fair Sony will often take those innovations and improve on them. The Super Nes controller became the Dual shock, the Wiimote became the Move, and Smash Bros became Playstation All-Stars. Wait…What? Forget that last one. Actually forget the last two. The point is that Sony makes quality pieces of hardware. A current rumor also has Sony ditching the Dual Shock design entirely. What could be up their sleeve? Will they go with a tablet controller. It wouldn’t surprise me and if they did i can pretty much guarantee it will out-class Nintendo’s Game Pad in terms of specs. That’s what Sony is good at. I don’t view Sony as much of an innovator as they are a company that can take an idea and beef it up tremendously. I’m interested to see what they bring to the table next-gen.

While not as deep of a roster as Nintendo, Sony’s first party line up is with out a doubt full of heavy hitters. One thing i will give Sony is their ability to spot talented teams and have them produce new IP’s for them. Sony introduced several new franchises this generation and i believe they did a much better job at supporting their franchises on the PS3 then Nintendo did on the Wii. Seeing this trend continue would result in more new IP’s for the PS4 as well as continued support for their current ones. What new studio will Sony discover next? The next Naughty Dog perhaps? Sony has some of the most talented teams in the business so Playstation fans have plenty to look forward on the PS4. 

Nintendo

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Will we see this at E3?

The Wii U has been on the market for two months now and opinions range from the system doing quite well, to the system not doing well. I know one thing is for sure, people who own the console seem to be pretty happy with what they have seen and played so far. One question that is still up in the air is just what can the Wii U really do? When a game is produced from the ground up and fully optimized for the console what kind of gaming experience will come out of it? Can it be duplicated on the Xbox 360 or PS3? We know that the Wii U has much more ram than both of those systems combined. We know that the architecture is much different as well. The Wii U uses a GPPU and games most definitely need to be optimized to take advantage of this set up. So far we’ve seen good ports of games like COD and AC 3 and we’ve seen decent ports such as Batman and Ninja Gaiden. Trine 2 does look better on the Wii U then it does on the PS3 and 360 withe crisper textures and better lighting. What we all want to know is how much will Zelda blow us all away?

Everyone just assumed that Nintendo would botch the Wii U’s online. Lets be honest though, the original Wii’s online was all kinds of “trash” It was the kind of garbage that Oscar the Grouch would make his home in. Wii U is a much different story. Miiverse in itself is a much better social network than anything we have ever seen on a gaming console. This is a feature that is sure to be copied by Nintendo’s competitors. If you love Face Book and Twitter you will feel right at home with Miiverse. It was very smart for Nintendo to allow this service to interact directly with the game your playing as well. You always feel like your connected to people at every moment. The Nintendo E shop is a big step up from the original Wii as well. Overall Nintendo’s online experience is much more in line with what your used to on PS3 and 360. It’s by no means perfect though. The OS is friggin’ ridiculously slow. On average i wait five minutes to load up the Wii U plaza. It usually happens after iv’e watched Hulu or Netflix. Once it loaded so long that i turned on my pc to play Batman and after two friggin’ hours the damn thing was still loading. I ended up having to pull the plug. Needless to say Nintendo needs to improve the OS. Other improvements that would benefit Nintendo’s online is a more streamlined E Shop. Right now everything just seems to be thrown on one page with no real organization. Being able to see your friends list at any time as well as having a on screen notification when friends get online or send me messages would be nice. Hopefully some or all of this will be addressed by E3

Innovation is Nintendo’s specialty. You know this, Microsoft and Sony even know it. So we have been playing around with Nintendo’s new innovative Game Pad for two months now and it’s easy to see its potential. So what does Nintendo have in store for us? How will they surprise us in the future. I’m interested to see how the Metroid franchise uses the Game Pad. I think it could be a cool idea to have the game run in the 3rd person similar to Metroid Blast, and have a more Metroid Prime first person experience on the Game Pad. You could lift the controller to scan areas and switch visors as well as access maps and weapons. You know that sounds cool. Your  probably trying to picture it in your head right now as you read this. How about the successor to Mario Galaxy? How will Nintendo use the Game Pad in a new and unique way for that franchise? Maybe the game switches completely to the controller when ever you enter a pipe much like the Gameboy Advance to Gamecube connectivity feature in Zelda Four Swords. One thing is for sure, Nintendo needs to really show developers that the Game pad can be used for more than just a map and inventory. I’m really excited to see what Gearbox has in store for the Wii U version of Aliens. If used correctly, the Wii U Game Pad can most definitely revolutionize the way we interact with games. 

Speaking of games, Nintendo has by far one of the deepest roster of hit franchises. More so than probably any other developer. I believe those big name franchises were underused on the Wii. Wii U could change this. We know Pikmin 3 is coming. We haven’t seen that franchise since the Gamecube. What about other dormant franchises? We would all love to see Nintendo return  to franchises like Starfox and Wave Race. Miyamoto has been talking a little bit about the F-Zero franchise and it was featured in Nintendoland so that’s always a good sign of things to come. While the tried and true franchises are always welcome i think what most people want is to see Nintendo try it’s hand at something new. It’s been a while since we’ve been treated to a brand new Nintendo IP. No. Wii Music does NOT count! There has been talk of Miyamoto working with smaller teams so that he can concentrate on new projects. I think this would be great for Nintendo. Something new and refreshing from the house that Mario built is just what Nintendo needs while maybe not at the expense of overlooking a fan favorite or two. Bring us Mario, but give us something new. Increased third party support should be just as high on Nintendo’s priority list. Third party support for their platforms hasn’t been strong since the days of the good ‘ol SNES so it’s crucial that Nintendo do something about that. Maybe they can take a page out of Sony’s book and start buying a few small development teams here and there. Maybe Nintendo could purchase Platinum games. That would be awesome! I look forward to E3 as i suspect Nintendo will have some huge news to drop in light of an imminent PS4 and 720 announcement. 

PC

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Bow down!

The PC. Are you a part of the “Master Race”? If you can afford it, you should be. PC gaming has a bright future. On one hand you have Valve announcing a PC built around Steam and dedicated to gaming. It has been dubbed the “Steam Box” . The “Steam Box” was meant to compete directly with the PS4 and 720 while offering PC quality gaming. Something that is truly beyond what the current consoles can achieve. For those who already game on PC you probably won’t see the need to purchase a “Steam Box”. I myself bought my PC for graphic design and video editing but the moment i witnessed what Batman Arkham City looked like running with all settings on max, i was sold. Damn right the PC is King! With the ability to constantly upgrade your PC you are always assured that you will have the latest and best when it comes to gaming hardware. You my friend are future proofed. 

You have Nintendo Network which is off to an amazing start. You have PSN which is well established and gives you amazing value when you add in PS Plus. XBL at one point was the industry standard and still to this day delivers outstanding value. Then there is steam. Its free, and you can not and i repeat can NOT find an online service dedicated to gaming that offers a better value. Period. I said PERIOD, stop trying argue against me in your head! How much did you buy Arkham City for on your Xbox? I got the Game of the year edition on Steam for 7.49. Yep. Seven dollars and fourty-nine cents. Sales like that are common place on steam and with over 30 million users its hard to not see why Steam is the best service for online gaming provided you aren’t a die-hard first party Nintendo or Sony fan.

I don’t generally associate PC gaming with hardware innovations but the Oculus Rift could change all of that. What is the Oculus Rift? It’s the most advanced VR headset you have ever heard of. Or not heard of, doesn’t matter cause there is nothing else like it. Which ever direction you turn your head and look you will be immersed in the game. Hear someone creeping up behind you? Turn your body around to see who or what it is? Hear some birds chirping above? Look up to watch them soaring through the sky. Or how bout stepping out on a ledge of a steep cliff and looking down? Thanks to the headset incorporating stereoscopic 3d you will feel as if you were actually starring down a steep cliff. Be warned though, motion sickness may occur. It is uncertain how much the OCulus will cost or when it will even be consumer ready but one thing is for sure, the Oculus may revolutionize the way we are immersed in gaming more so than any console hardware has ever achieved. 

When it comes to games, the PC in 2013 will enjoy many of the consoles best offerings all in glorious PC fashion. Higher resolution, crisper textures, higher frame rate and the list can often go on and on. There are also a ton of games that will never make it to consoles. MMO’s for the most part will stay exlusive to the PC. Have you checked out Age of Wushu? I don’t care for MMO’s but damn this game looks fun! The PC is the perfect choice for any gamer who just wants to play the definitive version of the latest multi platform games. Chances are you will even get them at a cheaper price on day one than you would purchasing the console version. Not to mention the various mods that can be done on PC and not on consoles. Have you seen the “Macho Man” Randy Savage dragon mod for Skyrim? Or how about the mod that gives your character and certain weapons a Legend of Zelda makeover? PC gaming can be the definitive place to play and i promise once you go PC, your PC for life. Maybe. 

Closing

2013 is looking like it could shape up to be the beginning of an even bigger and brighter future for gaming than we could have imagined. With so many choices for gamer’s between Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony and PC/Valve i can’t see an instance were the gamer’s loose out. If everything goes right we could also bare witness to the greatest E3 showing in history with two, maybe three new consoles being announced (including Valves “Steam Box) and a plethora of software due to come out this year, 2013 may be one for the gaming history books. Stop with the fan-boyism and enjoy what each of these companies has worked so hard to bring to the industry. You owe it to them and to yourself to do so. As always, i want to know your thoughts on the matter as well as what makes Wii U Mad?

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