Posts Tagged ‘Editorial’

New column: Continue Screen — 1Q2013

Editor’s note: Continue Screen is a new column written by various members of GI on a quarterly basis. It’s basically a rant about whatever they want to discuss in the gaming industry. In 1Q2013, Contributing Editor William Harrison starts things off with a discussion of THQ’s policies.

Why marketing games the right way can make, break you

By William Harrison

Hello everyone, and welcome to one of what I hope will be many a mix of factorial and some personal experience/opinion editorial reports to come; so, please,bear with me. There have been many games in the industry that have been made with great hype, interesting media campaigns, hell, even Super Bowl placement all to sell to the consumer at large as well as the gaming community. This is done all with the hopes that they will be able to fund their next big or, sometimes small, idea that balloons way the hell out of control and takes on a life of its own. That’s where some, but yet a small part, of the delays in release come from. Publisher THQ could have learned a lesson from this and known to delay the game Homefront until it was more than just a polished turd with a really good story.

I say this because I was one of the many people who bought this game from the now-defunct developer KAOS Studios only to discover that it wasn’t worth the multimillion-dollar ads that it was portrayed to be. What we (i.e. the gaming community) actually got was one part of a great and somewhat original story, and an underdeveloped multiplayer that was a badly cloned mix of Call of Duty and Battlefield.

OK, before I go any further, I feel I should explain the whole developer versus publisher relationship for those who aren’t too familiar with how it works, better known as the consumer at large. Why do you think developer/publisher Acclaim was in business for so long? Not because they made great games; it’s because their subsidiaries, or developers, made great games for them.

Acclaim is now no more for the most part because of the business practices that lead to some of the subsidiaries — well, all of them – to jump ship to different publishers. It was more or less because of the fact that as a developer/publisher, Acclaim could produce (develop) and distribute and then sell (publish) its own games under the label of Acclaim using a majority of the profits from the other developers that work for them. Of course, they didn’t tell their subsidiaries this; I’m guessing it was made to look like a fine print transaction or something similar. Hell, they might have had the balls to be like “Oh by the way, we’re raising the percentage rate we make off every game sold under our label. Tough shitzu and deal. Have a nice day.” But that is an investigative editorial for another time.

Hopefully, I explained the relationship well enough so that you get the fact that just because a game has the THQ label on it doesn’t mean that they made the game, per se; it just made it available for the public. They may have had very little to do with making the game except for putting money toward it getting made. That doesn’t mean that the publisher has all their money in the right place. Take the game Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine from Games Workshop (creator and co-developer) and Relic Studios (developer), which is a platformer for the consoles and PC. When they got together to make this game, it was one of the best platformers I’d played in a long time. Granted, my main love is fighting games and anything that takes longer than eight hours to beat total play time (cough, RPGs, cough),but I occasionally like to relax with a Devil May Cry or a Sonic Adventure-style game where exploration is as fun as mowing down the masses.

But I digress. The simple fact of the matter is that some companies like to hype games they believe will sell a lot of copies, regardless of the fact that it might not be finished or that it has a great multiplayer system. Well, yes, I know it has worked for a lot of first-person shooters like the Call of Duty series and Battlefield as well as helping the Medal of Honor series pick up where it left off and make a decent game again. Yeah, EA, that was a shot at you … because my wrath is next upon you.

Anyway, Homefront could have been a great game had THQ decided that the game was ultimately not ready for release and then pushed it back to make to make a really good game worthy of a good single-player and multiplayer mode that was worthwhile. Unfortunately, what we got was a shooter that was buggy, not very good in some aspects, and looked liked it should have been released on PlayStation 2 or maybe the first Xbox.

Then, you have Space Marine, which had little-to-no hype whatsoever and is a very solid platformer that offers the right amount of challenge for all players. I think the combat system is slightly the basis for future Darksiders titles, but I could be wrong. The bottom line is this: Don’t try and jump in with both feet expecting to knock it out of the park when there more established titles that raise the bar. In the very least, don’t phone it in and pour money at the problem hoping the ad campaign will make everyone not notice how much of a polished turd it is. Even if it is polished, it’s still a damn turd.

William Harrison is a contributing editor for Gaming Insurrection. He can be reached by email at editor@gaminginsurrection.com

 

05

01 2013

Editorial #08: Nintendo’s burden of proof

Lyndsey Mosley

Lyndsey Mosley, editor

Multiple gaming outlets reported Monday that Nintendo would push to the marketplace in 2012 a successor to the Wii. Codenamed Project Cafe at the moment, the new console is being trumpeted in some circles to meet or exceed the current generation of hardware.

Now, that’s all fine and well, but honestly, we’ve heard that song and dance before from Nintendo. I was around for the Wii launch, and I remember the dark days of no third-party support in the N64 and GameCube era. Call me cynical, but I don’t have much faith in the statement that Nintendo intends to do better. I’ve been burned one too many times with the level of commitment from Nintendo regarding its consoles from 1996 onward.

I sold my Wii not that long ago, and you can read the reasons why in my first online editorial (which can be read here). I’m not jazzed about the announcement, and the new system is definitely not a day-one must have for me. I can do without anything that Nintendo is passing off these days as games and that’s not meant as a diss to the company. It’s meant to serve as a reminder that growing up with Nintendo for so long and feeling pushed aside by the company in favor of the fringe margin of gamers this generation means I don’t care and my dollars and respect will have to be earned again.

While I don’t love Nintendo anymore, I do wish them well. In order to get me to pay attention again, the company has quite a few things I need for it to do.

1. Robust online support: I want to be able to get online with my friends, play games, chat and share experiences. I want to compare our games, what we have in common through Nintendo, what we don’t have in common and be able to participate in the world over the Internet that includes tournaments. That also means no friend codes, too.

2. Support from third-party developers: I want some decent marketing support for great titles like Mad World. I want to be able to enjoy full good versions of the latest games that also are made for Microsoft and Sony. I do not want shovelware and only one good game per year, courtesy of first party only.

3. Familiar franchises done correctly: Do not – I repeat, DO NOT – screw up your marquee franchises with mediocre sequels and incomprehensible team ups with strange companies. Nintendo has a great stable of characters that gamers care about. These characters – Mario, Samus, Link, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Fox McCloud, Yoshi and Pit – can sell games if they’re done correctly. In particular Mario, Metroid and The Legend of Zelda are multimillion-plus sellers by name alone. That kind of built-in marketing buzz has to be developed over time but can be destroyed overnight if enough damage is done to the brand. Nintendo’s stable and reputation for quality has taken a hit with subpar installments (see: Metroid: Other M), and Project Cafe is a way to correct this.

4. Lose the gimmicks: Nintendo should take the hint from its most successful time and apply it to today’s market. When it was on top of the heap with the Super Nintendo, it didn’t need gimmicks to be king of the hill. It had sterling third-party support and a dedication to quality gaming with great technical specs, know-how and engineering. Sure, the music sometimes left a lot to be desired and the graphics sometimes weren’t pretty, but at least you knew Nintendo was trying to be the best it could be. And it didn’t take a remote and waggling controls to do it. If I were Nintendo, I’d revisit the old days and not just for Virtual Console ideas either.

5. Consistent peripheral support: It seems every generation Nintendo worsens in its support for its introduced peripherals. Instead of tricking consumers into buying pieces of add-on hardware that will never be fully encouraged, Nintendo should stick with ideas it knows will be used. A classic controller, much like the one released with the Wii, was a brilliant idea and should be kept. Throwaways like the e-Reader, GameBoy Advance Player and ancient SNES Mouse and Super Scope need to stay off the roster.

As a longtime gamer I’m hoping to see suggestions from this list make it into the corporate philosophy of Nintendo by the time this system is introduced. Here’s hoping for a great show and even greater new console.

28

04 2011

Editorial #07: The downtrodden arcades of Columbia

Lyndsey Mosley

Lyndsey Mosley, editor

You know, it isn’t enough that arcades have fallen off the face of the earth. No, we’ve got to get personal by throwing in beautiful accessories that mimic that once-in-a-lifetime experience of going to the arcades in our homes.

You used to be able to head out to your local gathering hole of smoke-filled debauchery where young men and women used to grope machines until they had their fill. I often wondered what an arcade crime feature would play out like when I had downtime away from the games that soaked up my young imagination and spit out a seasoned gamer. Nowadays … there is no place to head out to, unless you count GameStop, and that doesn’t really count.

GameStop is a retailer, and an annoying one at that. Having spent time receiving household income from them makes my dislike meter go way up, but that’s another story for another time. What we’re here to talk about is the demise of the arcades, and why someone let this travesty occur.

If I could take a time-traveling machine back to any point in my life that has already happened, it would be to when various family members were still alive and when I was able to traverse the wild of Decker Boulevard to Aladdin’s Castle in what used to be Columbia Mall in Columbia, S.C. Today, that spot is just a memory and grease-hole food court in the chameleon Columbia Place. Some jump-off no-name restaurant that I refuse to patronize – probably a Subway – occupies the spot where my dreams of becoming a social gamer were made, where I spent far too much money and where I learned how to kill a man digitally. It was there I made the leap from kiddie to big time, from a childlike innocence of Ski-ball to simulated murder-death-kill mode with Mortal Kombat II.

I held my 11th birthday party there in 1992, and the same year attended a bubblegum blowing contest held on a Saturday afternoon. Managing to blow the equivalent of $50 in tokens on Smash TV was the highlight of my life or so I thought. It wasn’t until later in the year when I first heard the words “Finish Him!” bellowing across the room that I even noticed there were more things to do than collect tickets. Then there was Kombat. After that, there was nothing else to do but play games against sweaty, hot young men – more than enough for my pre-teen hormone-fueled mind to handle. It was a good time to be female and a teenager. There was no shortage of guys to flirt with and, despite never getting dates, I always thought of the weekends and weeknights spent crowded around MK1 and MK2 as a good time.

Then I grew up.

Once life hits you in the stomach and takes your money like a bully on the playground, you start to realize a couple of things.

First, you don’t have time to run to the arcade like you used to. There’s homework to be done, projects to take care of, significant others to pay attention to. Then, there’s jobs. And once you acquire that newfangled thing called employment, there goes any kind of free time you will ever want to have.

Second, the need to go out is replaced by the significantly improved equipment you’ve got laying around the house. Why go to the arcade and drop $5 when you have a $300 machine sitting in your living room that basically is a miniature version of that? Eventually, that machine will pay for itself and the gas money you’ve spent and the money you’ve lost getting your ass kicked by some pimply faced snot-nosed brat with the same thing in his bedroom.

Finally, I’m not getting any younger. The hand and eye coordination is nowhere near what it used to be. Thus, I’m getting old and I’m in no mood to deal with what comes with aging and losing. My expiration date came up a long time ago.

But then I say to myself, “Lyndsey, stop it. You know better and it doesn’t matter how old you are.” And then I look up, and arcades are gone. Suddenly, I remember the doors being shut across the country, the once-thriving scene of machine dens relegated to movie theaters and back-alley parlors. And there are tears in my eyes because it wasn’t supposed to come to this. It’s not supposed to end like this.

There should be a place I can take my kids and show them that mama and daddy once roamed through here, making friends and learning etiquette along the way. It’s also the place where we met, a common ground that became something special because of our shared interest. But I can’t. And I won’t because by the time they’re old enough to understand, there will be nothing left. Not a brick of memory, but just a solitary ethernet cable sitting by their crib waiting to plug in and reach out to punch someone over Xbox Live.

Lyndsey Mosley, editor

Gaming Insurrection

09

03 2011

Editorial #06: Not going far enough, Nintendo

Lyndsey Mosley

Lyndsey Mosley, editor

I am an advocate for the old-school, I’ll heartily admit. I love to reminisce about the days when Nintendo was king and had the greatest system ever made on the market: the Super Nintendo. I’m also an unabashed Mario fan girl, and I don’t even like using the term. However, my love for the forgone days of dominance from the House that Mario built has its limits, and I’ve reached them with one of their recent releases: Super Mario All-Stars for the Wii.

The 25th anniversary of the Mario should have been a spectacle to behold. Nintendo could have pushed the older days back to the forefront with the spectacular release of a Mario compilation disc for the Wii, which would have utilized all manner of control types. This would have reminded gamers that Mario was still king of his domain and when he wants to say something, you pay attention because it will be guaranteed to be something amazing. Instead, Nintendo throws out a bare bones Wii remake of the original Super Mario All-Stars that was released in 1993 for the SNES. We are not playing with power at this point; we are experiencing abject failure.

I could wax poetic about how the original All-Stars played wonderfully or how great it was to see Mario cleaned up and save states added. But, in fact, I already have. In the fourth quarter 2010 issue, we praised the game in a review, which I wrote. I lovingly gazed upon the franchise’s first four versions and practically gift-wrapped it as one of the greatest examples of remakes that could be had. However, this was written before Nintendo decided to be cheap and throw out the exact same game on Wii with few additions to the external package. From what I gather, all you’re getting is the original game on a Wii disc; a pictorial with sparse commentary from Shigeru Miyamoto, Koji Kondo and Takashi Tezuka; and a soundtrack with one or two songs from each game. That’s it? It couldn’t be, right? Well, it is, kiddies. Take it or leave it, because that’s apparently all that the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest games ever made means to the company that profited the most from its success.

If I were Miyamoto, in particular, I’d be extra special pissed. First of all, Mario has made Nintendo and continues to make the company unimaginable amounts of profit. He is Nintendo. You can’t go anywhere without seeing Mario and instantly associating him with video games and Nintendo in general. So for Nintendo to half-ass a significant milestone for Mario is ridiculous. Second of all, Mario deserves a huge celebration for 25 years. There are few other franchises that have been around that long, let alone have been successful and still continue to inspire games. And we’re not just talking decent games; we’re talking great games that are routinely included in “Game of the Year” conversations and innovate and change the way we think about playing video games in general. Finally, I’d be ashamed if I were Nintendo because what does it say when you can’t even muster the effort to give your marquee title a special push? It tells me you’ve become complacent, and Nintendo can’t afford to rest on its laurels.

Here’s what I wanted to see in this special release:

1. Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, 3, Lost Levels, World and Mario Bros. on one disc. On a second disc, Mario 64 and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, but this is depending on getting both to fit on the disc.

2. A special version of a level editor simply entitled “Super Mario.” It could function much like Little Big Planet wherein you create levels using Mario elements from the first four games in the platforming series. Super Mario Kart could also be thrown in here, and the player could create tracks and scenarios like ModNation Racers. I think it could work, and if Nintendo’s Internet strategy were worth anything, created stages/tracks could be uploaded to servers. I’m almost positive it could be a big hit in Japan and the U.S.

3. A multi-disc set of Mario music. Most Mario fans will already have their favorite tracks from the games but let this be a Koji Kondo’s composer’s choice. He could write the foreword on the CD liner notes and include a written paragraph on why he picked a particular track. The music could go all the way from Mario Bros. to Super Mario Galaxy, much like the included soundtrack already does, but it’d have more than one disc with two songs from each game.

4. The artwork book could be included but add the NES Game Atlas maps for Super Mario Bros. 1-3 in with Lost Levels and the Super Mario World atlas from the Mario Mania Player’s Guide of 1991.

This package would be well worth more than the $30 that Nintendo charged for the package they’ve released, but for the content that I could get with this enhanced package, I would gladly pay whatever they asked. It would be enough for me to buy a Wii again and use it.

Nintendo, shape up. This should have been a crowning achievement for the company, and a major celebration for Mario and his legacy. You’ve let down your longtime fans long enough, and it’s shame that Mario didn’t receive the recognition it deserved for an achievement such as 25 years of captivating gamers. Shame on you, Nintendo.

Lyndsey Mosley, editor

Gaming Insurrection

24

12 2010

4th Quarter 2010 is now online!

Gaming Insurrection is proud to present the following content for the 4th Quarter 2010:

1. Video game fashion* – Editor Lyndsey Mosley takes a look at the wears and tears of the fashion industry within video games. GI also makes a trip to Nashicon 2010 to report on the cosplay side of things. Be on the lookout for embarrassing photos and a brand-new episodes of the GI Show!

2. Ready, set, begin! – The section that showcases titles we’re playing right now has received a new name. In this quarter, we talk about Soulcalibur II* (PS2 version), The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past*, Borderlands* (Xbox 360 version) and Super Street Fighter II X: For Matching Service*.

3. Retrograde – GI discusses Tekken Tag Tournament*, Killer Instinct* (Super NES version), Super Mario All-Stars* and F-Zero*.

4. The Strip – Join us on The Strip this quarter as we discuss the background of Marvel villain Juggernaut, the second reboot of The Punisher franchise – Punisher War Zone, the five best mutant powers in comics and Death Note Vol. 2.

5. Tech Geeks – We give the rundown on a carrying case for your Game Boy consoles, an HD camcorder and the updated Sony Walkman E-series mp3 player.

As always, you can download the issue from the main site.

Gaming Insurrection has also undergone a visual sprucing on the inside. We hope our readers will like the use of color and updated typography. Let us know what you think by e-mail (editor[at]gaminginsurrection.com or gaming_insurrection[at]gaminginsurrection.com) or by Twitter!

*= Video enabled!

02

10 2010

Editorial #05: Growing up with Tekken

Gaming Insurrection is generally behind the curve when it comes to playing the latest titles, even if they are favorites.

Case in point: We just acquired Tekken 6 for Xbox 360, about a full year after it was released. I’m not traditionally a Tekken player but Associate Editor Jamie is. I owned Tekken Tag and Tekken 4 when we met and I bought Tekken 5 for him when it was released for the PS2 in 2005. You could say we love Tekken in our household.

When Tekken first hit the scene in 1994, I heartily ignored it. That was a mistake that I concede now, but I paid no attention to Namco’s signature brawler. I was heavily engrossed with Mortal Kombat and I wish I hadn’t been.

I would have learned how to play, took the time to learn to combo system and paid more attention to the storyline. Tekkne had style even back then with its blocky polygonal plastic graphics. The music wasn’t too much of anything special but it had a certain style to it that other games at the time, such as Street Fighter, were missing.

I dismissed the first game and barely acknowledged the second game until the third game came out. The only reason why I noticed Tekken 3 was because the guy I was dating at the time was into it and had to have it for his PlayStation. It was all he talked about, so I figured after two years I needed to see what the hoopla was about. I bought the game as a college freshman in 1999 and attempted to play it. I spent six months just messing around in training mode before I even made it to the arcade mode. By then, Tekken Tag had been released. It was then that I decided that I would never be a serious Tekken player. I know just enough with four or five characters to be able to bluff my way through a match and be dangerous, but nothing concrete enough to be good by any stretch of the imagination. I actually prefer to watch others play and soak up the Tekken atmosphere.

In the 10 years that I have watched the game, I’ve learned a few things. The first is that Tekken is a game about basics. That is, if you don’t have the basics down, you will never “get it.” You will never be good at the game, no matter how much you play against people or read FAQs, if you don’t understand how the series’ engine works. The second is that Tekken is a game about skill. To be truly good at it, you need to be innovative with combos and you need to have the core system down to a science. The third is if you hadn’t started with the first two games in the series, you will not do well. You need to have knowledge of the early days of Tekken or an uncanny knowledge of fighting games in general to be able to start with the series in three and after and do well at all. As I came to understand, I couldn’t just pick up three and start from there.

Despite not being able to play the game well, I do enjoy Tekken. I appreciate it for what it’s done for the genre. I think of Tekken as the forefather of style in fighting games, a series as much about how it looks and sounds as it plays. While you’ll never see me enter tournaments or do a Game Night match for any Tekken game, I do play the game from time to time. I’m actually good at the minigames, such as Tekken Beach Ball and especially Tekken Bowl. Because Tekken Force is tied into the fighting portion of the series, I tend to stay away from it in any version that it shows up. While I’m watching Tekken matches, I tend to listen to the music or pick up new details about the backgrounds that I hadn’t noticed before.

The best part of Tekken, for me so far, has been the soundtrack. I am an avid fan of the series sound direction and it’s customary for me to find the soundtrack for a new version. Chances are there is something on it that I will like. On each soundtrack I have my favorites that stick out as the “Tekken sound.” My favorite overall is Tekken Tag and Tekken 5 runs a close second. I’d be remiss in not mentioning that the Tekken 4 and 5 soundtracks grew on me after hearing them so much courtesy of the “Prince of the Iron Fist” that I live with. My partner is a Tekken player and was for some time before I met him, so Tekken gets much love in our home.

With the announcement of Tekken Tag 2 and Tekken vs. Street Fighter, you can be assured someone at Gaming Insurrection will be playing or listening to one of the best fighting game series ever made.

Lyndsey Mosley

Editor, Gaming Insurrection

Tekken statistics

Games in the series owned: 6 (including arcade versions of 1, 2 and 3 packaged with Tekken 5)

Favorite characters (mine): Ling Xiayou, Hwoarang, Unknown, Kazuya Mishima, Sergei Dragunov, Zafina

Favorite tracks

Tekken Tag: Unknown (arcade and home), School, Hwoarang , Jin, Staff Roll, Ogre, Character Select, Result, Continue, Yoshimitsu, Strike

Tekken 4: Jet, Fear, Kitsch, Gym, Hex, Lights, The Inner Shrine, Touch and Go

Tekken 5: The Finalizer, Who’s Afraid Of, Those Who Go To Heaven

Tekken 6: Scenario Map, Staff Roll A, City After Dark Theme, Never Ending-Game Over/Continue, Sacred Dark (Azazel’s Chamber)

Listen to our Editor’s Weekly Podcast on Tekken: Episode #19 – Everything Tekken

Play

25

09 2010

Editorial #04: Adults and video games do go together

Recently, I had two incidents happen that made me question just what people think of video games and adults who play them.

I cannot go into detail about the event exactly, but I can tell you I was more than annoyed with the perception of gamers from folks who don’t play video games or have interest in them.

It’s OK if you don’t play. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just because I can’t imagine my life without video games doesn’t mean that everyone else has to have the experience. There are plenty of people who don’t know what video games are and have no desire to learn. At this point you have two groups of people: The willfully ignorant who don’t know but don’t discourage others, and the ignorant who have no idea yet harp on gamers because they’re afraid of what they don’t understand.

The second group is who I have a problem with. If you have no interest in gaming, fine, but don’t make statements such as “Gaming isn’t the real world,” or my favorite: “There’s no reset button in the real world.” As a tax-paying, law-abiding married adult who runs a household, I don’t think I need to be told that. The last time I checked I am 28 years old, not 5.

There are others in the same group that have made wild accusations because of my gaming habit. In the 21 years that I have called myself a gamer, I have never ditched my duties or responsibilities for video games. Throughout my academic career I was a good student and always put my schoolwork first because I was raised to believe that there are higher priorities. Once I got out into the working world, I made it a point to put my work over games because that is what pays the bills. What good are games going to do if you have no money to provide the electricity to play them? Or the money to buy them? I don’t toot my own horn intelligence-wise, but I think some folks don’t necessarily think things through before they say them.

As an adult, there are so many possibilities to continue gaming. I am at the point in my life where I can afford to purchase games at my leisure, spend time playing them and juggle whatever comes up with them. I have matured emotionally and mentally and am able to handle that. At no point in the discussion of my life and video games has my maturity ever come up until now, and I resent that as an adult.

My advice: Please learn something about adult gamers before sticking your foot in your mouth. It’s OK not to be a gamer but don’t insult those of us who are.

Lyndsey Mosley

Editor, Gaming Insurrection

29

05 2010

Editorial #03: E3 is just around the corner

It really seems like just yesterday that Electronic Entertainment Expo 2009 was up and running and we at GI were watching conferences while hurriedly writing summaries. In fact, it probably was just yesterday for all that I know since my sense of time isn’t like everyone else. Anyway, it won’t be long before E32010 graces us with more news and commentary than gamers care for. Oh what am I saying? This is literally my favorite time of year.

E3 is old hat for me now. Back when it was the cool thing to do circa 1995, I wanted to go. I wanted to experience the glitz and glamor of gaming’s biggest three days. Well that all changed when I realized that I have to have money, transportation, lodging, a job to get the money and transportation and time off from said job to get across the country. Kids can dream, right? Well, that dream fizzled with the prospect of actual work being involved. Sort of like my dream of visiting Japan but I digress. E3 is best experienced away from the razzle dazzle for me and I’d rather much watch the conferences online than potentially have to get on a plane. In my mind planes = death. Nevermind that we haven’t had a major incident in at least two years. No planes for me if I don’t have to or ever if I had my druthers.

So that leaves me with catching the show online. Thankfully, technology has decided to be awesome during the past decade so the quality of my show isn’t bad. With every major worldwide gaming media outlet crammed into auditoriums it’s now easier than ever to watch a show live and later if you need to make adjustments to notes. And speaking of notes, yours truly will be doing her best to get it together this year with comprehensive ideas. Last year was a disaster as I was attempting to watch while designing newspaper pages. Say it with me: Newspaper page design and E3 do not mix. Also, there was a debacle concerning our level of coverage (read: I didn’t particularly want to do the work of four people after having help flake out at the last minute). That certainly won’t happen this year because we know our goal: Talk about the important stuff. Putting E3 into perspective is important when you’re planning six pages of news over three days.

I won’t bore you with the details of planning a news operation but it’s not easy finding the time to get everything and everyone together. In addition to the layout and design, there’s art acquisition, recording the podcast and writing summaries of the most important information. I don’t have to dwell too much on the fact that a college education that centered on newsgathering comes in handy particularly at this time of year … go Gamecocks!

So it’s just a matter of putting on my editor-in-chief hat and rolling with what Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony throw at me.

Lyndsey M. Mosley

Editor, Gaming Insurrection

14

05 2010

Editorial #02: Let’s drop labels, shall we?

I heard the term fanboy for the first time in my early 20s, and I have despised it ever since.

What is a fanboy or fangirl? Someone who really enjoys a system and talks about it with blind enthusiasm? I guess then I could be called that to a certain extent because for years, I owned Nintendo products. However, I was a “fangirl” out of necessity. I couldn’t afford anything else. I wasn’t buying it on my own because it would have taken forever to save up enough allowance money and my mom wasn’t about to drop money for more than one system or game every six months. Call her crazy, but she figured I could make do with what I had and Nintendo was it for a while. So I know what it’s like to have a single system at any given time.

But it wasn’t until I was out in the world as a job-holding adult that I realized it was probably beneficial to have other consoles. So I saved up my little checks to first purchase a PSOne and later a Dreamcast. I was no longer a single console owner, and it felt … good. It’s not that I gave up on Nintendo or that it dampened my ardor for Nintendo at the time. It was out of convenience that I decided to expand my gaming habits. However, it was about that time that I received that label. The person who so judiciously felt the need to slander me was someone whom I cared for a great deal and respected. Their opinion meant the world to me, and my feelings were hurt. Time has passed and the relationship no longer exists with good reason.

What I want to know is, what gives someone the right to call someone else that word? What qualifies other gamers to drop labels on each other? Just because you play a certain system and enjoy that system isn’t a bad thing. I really believe this is a mask of jealousy for some. I also think it’s a tool to prove superiority over others. Trust me on this one: The way you play a video game and what you play has absolutely no bearing on real life. It doesn’t make you any better as a person or worse. And if you have enough time on your hands to sit around dissing folks based on their gaming preferences, you have too much of it. You need to find something else to do. Might I suggest growing up and making something of yourself besides some idiot who lives at home with his or her parents with a piddly job that doesn’t contribute to the greater good of society?

And, as a gamer who has within the past year lived at home with my parent, let me state this: There is nothing wrong with getting a little help sometimes. If it means going home in this economy, so be it. I take offense to those who don’t try to do anything.

Whether you consider yourself a hardcore gamer or someone who just enjoys sitting down with a DS or Wii, you can be whatever you want to be. Just don’t let someone tell you what kind of gamer your are or do the name calling yourself.

Enjoy your gaming without calling names. That’s what it’s there for.

Lyndsey M. Mosley

Editor, Gaming Insurrection

12

04 2010

Editorial #01: Giving up on new-school Nintendo

I am, or was, a die-hard Nintendophile for the majority of my video game career. I was once the type of player that would eagerly soak up news about the company, knew company figures when I saw them in the media and purchased consoles at launch. I supported Nintendo through the good days of the SNES and the dark days of the Nintendo 64 and GameCube. I was there for the return to prominence with the Wii and trumpeted the value of buying the new console. Until now.

As a Wii owner since launch, I remember the heady days of the first announcements. The lineup came into view, the system name took shape and all was well within the Nintendo camp. Jump five years ahead and it’s no longer the bed of roses it once was. Where are the games? Why is it that my online experience is little to nonexistent with the Wii? Why am I still living in the Stone Ages when it comes to purchasing downloads for my system? Why has Nintendo abandoned me in favor of soccer moms and yoga practitioners?

My value as a Nintendo console buyer has gone down, apparently. It wasn’t enough that I displayed brand loyalty and patiently awaited any news of a lineup coming from the parent company. I’m no longer in the demographic Nintendo is trying to garner and serve.

This is where Nintendo has failed me as a longtime loyal customer:

1. I don’t care about Nintendogs, Cooking Mama, Wii Fit, Pokemon or Brain Age. Wii Fit and Brain Age do not appeal to me, Pokemon ceased to be relevant after Red/Blue/Yellow, I refuse to play crap like Cooking Mama and Nintendogs was boring. Despite this, it seems Nintendo is all about shoving those properties continuously at me during every E3 for the past five years, if not in actual titles or in statistics telling me that the company is back to profitability. No, sorry, still don’t care.

2. My console exclusives and the money-makers that I bought a Wii for have all been disappointments with the exception of New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

— I can’t physically play Metroid Prime (motion sickness), and Prime just never did it for me as a 2D Metroid fan.

— Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was basically Ocarina of Time rehashed.

— Animal Crossing City Folk was re-skinned Wild World and a lazy re-skin at that.

— Mario Kart Wii was absolute garbage and should be ashamed to call itself Mario Kart. Ramping up the cheap items and number of CPU-controlled players does not qualify as a good Mario Kart. And the person responsible for the design decision to make it so that you can’t play battle mode without the CPU should be sacked. Immediately.

— There’s no Donkey Kong platforming game worth playing and that should be rectified at some point.

— Super Smash Bros. Brawl was a mess with too many gimmicky stages, awful online play and a complete movement away from what Smash Bros. was originally about: Play as your favorite Nintendo characters against each other on simple themed stages.

— For me, Mario Galaxy would have been a waste of time because I can’t play 3D Mario games. Again, motion sickness ruins any chance that I will be able to enjoy the game for more than 20 minutes to an hour. In the short time that I played it without throwing up, it seemed like a brilliant idea and good take on the franchise, but alas, it is not something I want to test how well I can hold down my lunch with.

So as you can see, the lineup is not something that makes me jump for joy. The only two games I could possibly ever try and like would be No More Heroes and Mad World. That doesn’t equal the five-game minimum for purchasing and keeping a system in my collection.

3. It is beyond me why Nintendo refuses to have accounts linked to their consoles. If Microsoft can do it with Xbox LIVE then why can’t Nintendo? Oh, that’s right. Because it would mean extra work and Nintendo doesn’t really want you to be online with your Wii in the first place.

A good example of my anger with this policy? I bought two Virtual Console games on my mother’s Wii recently while on vacation and wanted to take them home. I copied them to an SD memory card and later went to use them on my Wii. What happened when I tried to boot up the games? “This game cannot be launched from this channel.” So we conducted a little bit of research. It turns out that Nintendo expressly says in its support documentation that games that are purchased on the Wii Shop channel can only be used on the console with which it was purchased. Ridiculous.

I thought by now that this would have been fixed. I should have known something was wrong, however, when I had virtually the same problem two years ago when my original Wii was stolen. Despite having spent the money and having my Wii console number, when contacting Nintendo, I was basically told there was absolutely nothing they could do for me because the content was downloaded for that specific Wii, not the owner.

I should have sold my Wii then.

It just doesn’t seem like Nintendo is listening. Or catching the hint. Those old-school gamers who bought the Wii? They are the bread-and-butter of the game industry right now. They are the consumers who will go out and drop $200 on Rockband and Guitar Hero peripherals. They will spend the $50 or $60 for games at launch, such as Modern Warfare 2 or Halo 3. That’s the type of gamer Nintendo has driven off. I can’t think of any other games besides New Super Mario Bros. Wii and Twilight Princess that has elicited that type of response for the Wii, and Zelda did that only because it was the launch game.

It really boils down to the fact that in order for Nintendo to join the console race again, the company had to make some sacrifices. To pick up the market they could never reach previously, Nintendo had to sell its soul and sacrifice its original group of hardcore gamers. While this strategy has worked in the short term it has exposed Nintendo’s vulnerability. While the casual crowd may enjoy playing Wii Fit right now, they’re less likely to purchase another system later on down the road and the dependable hardcore crowd has been alienated with less attention to quality titles and commitment to detail.

Nintendo’s in for a rude awakening and despite my love for the company’s old days, you can count on me not sticking around to support them any longer. Consider this relationship done.

Lyndsey M. Mosley

Editor, Gaming Insurrection

08

03 2010