Blogs > Yay For Video Games

Random thoughts and news in the world of video games.

Monday, October 24, 2011

More pinball action as FarSight Studios announces The Pinball Arcade

I love pinball machines. When I went to Las Vegas, I had to go to The Pinball Hall of Fame museum and check out their pinball collection. At Oakland University, the annual Michigan Pinball Expo brought much more of these machines with free play galore (of course, gotta pay the admission price, but totally worth it.)

On my Xbox 360, you'll fine some tables of Zen Studios' Pinball FX 2 game. While it's more over-the-top and not too realistic in the ball physics department, it's still a great game for a great price, and they occasionally release new tables over time. There is also Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection, which includes some historic tables like Black Knight and Funhouse.

Now FarSight Studios has announced The Pinball Arcade, which will bring even more licensed tables to the virtual world from Williams, Bally, Stern Pinball and Gottlieb. The first four tables will be Tales of the Arabian Nights, Ripley's Believe It or Not, Theatre of Magic and Black Hole. They promise this will be the first of many licensed tables. The game is scheduled for release in early 2012 for the iPhone, iPad, Android, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, PS3, PS Vita, 3DS, Windows and Mac.

I'm pretty excited for this news and am curious at what the future tables might be. Who wouldn't love playing The Terminator, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Addams Family and so many more classic tables without the worries of pumping in quarter after quarter? If it's a fair price - Pinball FX 2 tables cost around $2-$3 each - then I'll definitely be adding more pinball action to my collection.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Tidbits of Nintendo's 3DS Internet Presentation

Nintendo's pre-recorded presentation about the 3DS was held Friday, Oct. 21, and covered a wide range of topics involving the new handheld. Here are a few of the items talked about:

New game announcements include Pushmo, a 3D puzzle game; Lost Heroes, a role playing game; Thruspace will be coming to the eShop; and 3D Classics of Kid Icarus and Kirby's Adventure.

3D video recording for up to 10 minutes was announced, along with other video announcements of Hulu Plus, Red Bull and Eurosport sports videos, and what may be the most interesting of all, Michael Jackson's Thriller video starring the cast of "Shrek." That.....should be interesting.

Firmware updates include new StreetPass Plaza dungeon and puzzles, with the quest game now allowing two Miis/heroes to fight along side each other. There will also be the ability to transfer 3DS software to other 3DS units. Other eShop improvements will be coming, too.

The much anticipated Mario Kart 7 hits stores in December, and the game will install a Mario Kart Channel/App where you can download player data and jump right into the game. There will be 8-player online and community features have been added.

For a pre-recorded presentation, I would say it wasn't too bad. The 3DS has been knocked around for its lack of games, but this holiday should change all that. Nintendo is still the king of handhelds and don't expect them to go down for a long, long time.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Reports: PS4 games development in early stages

Reports have surfaced from Develop that games for Sony's next console, likely named the PS4 for obvious reasons, is in the "very early stages" of development. Of Sony's 16 first-party studios, it is unknown which of them may be doing work.

Reminder: These are still just rumors, which there have been plenty of lately in the gaming console world as the Wii ( released in 2006), PS3 (2006) and Xbox 360 (2005) are very likely entering the late stages of their life. Around 5-6 years into a console's lifespan is a good time to start announcing what's coming next. We know Nintendo has the WiiU up their sleeve, which they announced at the recent E3, and could possibly be released next year.

But Sony and Microsoft seem to be not rushing into the next generation. Sony's focus now is the upcoming release of its new handheld, the PS Vita. Microsoft is riding high on its Kinect add-on.

Other than Nintendo, I wouldn't expect Sony or Microsoft to release any new consoles next year; maybe late into 2013 at the earliest. Console gamers seem pretty content with what is out there right now. (I know PC gamers hate that idea!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

PS Vita hits U.S. February 22

At the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, announced the news handheld gamers have waited for: The PlayStation Vita will launch in the U.S. on Feb. 22.
Along with playing games, the new handheld will offer native social applications, Near and Party, to connect with friends and other PS Vita users. It will also offer other social networking applications like Facebook, foursquare, Twitter and Skype.
More than 100 games are in development for the system, including Sound Shapes, Uncharted Golden Abyss, Assassin's Creed and much more.
The system has a 5-inch OLED screen, dual analog sticks, front and rear touch panel, and dual cameras.
The cost will be $249 for a Wi-Fi version and $299 for 3G support.
The news comes as preorders have begun in Japan, which will see the system in December.
Will the world be ready to pay $250 for a handheld system? It didn't seem that way when the 3DS released at the same price, which Nintendo shortly after slashed the price to $170 due to under-performing sales. However, the lack of software at the beginning of its lifespan I believe played a major factor in that.

Initial thoughts after Batman: Arkham City purchase

1. No instruction manual, go online to view it. Boooooooooooo. I actually like looking through it. Cheap. Cheap. Cheap.

2. Exclusive playable character: Catwoman. Yeah, buy this game new and you get this. Buy this game used. Sorry, outta luck. Again, boooooooooooo. Not only is it a hassle for new purchasers to add in these codes, this hurts the people who don't have the money to spend $60 on a game. I know companies hate the used game industry, but this only promotes more piracy. If they're worried about it so much, maybe lower game prices to $50? Hah! That'll never happen.
However, there are reports that Gamestop is giving out free Catwoman codes with used games. Maybe we'll see more of that in the future.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Final Fantasy 13-2 Adventures trailer - looks like more plot confusion to me

I'm not big into the Final Fantasy series. I played a few of the older games much later in life, I, II, III, etc., but with so many other games out there, I never really felt the rush to play many more. I picked up FFXIII a month or so after its release at a cheap price ($35 so why not?) and gave it a shot.
I had fun with it. I read a lot of hate from the FF crowd about the linearity, lack of towns and bad characters, but those things didn't seem to bother me much (except for Hope and Vanille, they definitely got on my nerves). After completing the game, I felt I got my moneys worth, and that's the important thing to me.
However, understanding the plot is another story. I found myself questioning the story many times watching the cutscenes, and I did something I normally never do in video games, read the datalogs. Reading about the l'Cie, fal'Cie, Pulse and other technobabble did not help me out.
Which brings us to FFXIII-2 and the recently released Adventures trailer. Here we see all these characters again, which starts right where we left off at the end of the first game. Here, Lightning gets whisked away by a mysterious dark force. Time travel plays a key role in the game.
Time travel? Oh boy. If there's anything that can make a plot a mess of things, it's time travel. Add it to this game? I don't know what we're in for but hold on for the ride.
I predict many plothole topics to come up online after this game comes out next year in the U.S.