Archive for the 'Games' Category

Miller Park South

Dear Developers of The Bigs 2,

Thank you for choosing Milwaukee 1B and super-slugger Prince Fielder as your cover athlete for The Bigs 2. I think it’s awesome that you are the first developers/publishers to put a Wisconsin-based athlete on the cover of a video game. (You heard right. What happened with…him…on last year’s Madden cover doesn’t count.)

However, I noticed something a little funny with the screenshot you released:

Looks great! Prince Fielder, in his home white uniform, driving one to deep center field in Mill…wait. No. That’s Wrigley Field, home of the hated rival Chicago Cubs.

Oh, I get it. You must have heard about the new initiative to get more Milwaukee fans to drive the 90 miles south on I-94 to take over Wrigley, the same way those parasitic Cubs fans drive north and make a mess out of our house every summer. I’m down with that. Just as long as it’s called “Miller Park South” in the stadium select menu, everything’s cool.

An Open Letter to LeBron James

Dear Mr. James,

First of all, congratulations on a spectacular regular season thus far. I noticed yesterday on the television that your Cavaliers have only lost one game at home this year. Coming from Wisconsin, home of the Badgers and the Kohl Center, I recognize that such dominance is not an easy task and I commend you and the fine people of Cleveland for it. Best of luck to you and your teammates in the playoffs; I eagerly await what should be an exciting run.

But that’s not why I’m writing to you this evening. I’m writing to you to alert you to the fact — if you’re not already aware — that despite your accomplishments and accolades, and the amazing potential you possess in what’s still early in your career…the fact remains that you still have yet to fly 40 feet through the air, fire and smoke trailing emanating from your somersaults as you deliver a thundering dunk to the music of famed composer John Tesh.

I speak, of course, about NBA Showtime. For some inexplicable reason, arcade basketball has almost completely disappeared from the video game landscape, and the time is ripe for a revival. Don’t get me wrong, NBA Street is a wonderful game made by wonderful people — but as its name clearly demonstrates, the basketball occurs in a street.

What do you have to do with this, you ask? Well, as a young man with such fame, influence, and savvy business skills (or so I’ve read in a recent perodical), certainly you could pull the right strings to get this project off the ground. Naturally, no one would cry foul if your stats were best in the game, or even if your image appeared on the cover dunking over any selected Detroit Piston or Los Angeles Laker. With distributing such a game exclusively over online gaming services, you would not even need to worry about retail distribution and its associated nonsense.

So I implore you, Mr. James, to just give it some thought. Not just for yourself, but for all young NBA stars who never got the chance to experience what NBA Jam/Showtime was all about. Imagine launching your digital self from half-court, teammates and opponents helpless to stop you, and being congratulated by the greatest word to ever grace the world of basketball…

Boom-shaka-laka.

And if that’s not enough to convince you to take action, then I shall leave you with this:

Kobe was in it.

Warmest regards,

-Andrew C. Pfister

Huh? What? Blog?

I know I’ve been updating this blog faster than you can read it, so I’ll keep this one relatively short so everyone can catch up.

Taking a morning break from GDC, which sadly means missing the Kojima keynote, but I needed the rest and chance to refresh my laundry before heading back out into the fray.

GDC Highlights, thus far:

  • The Casual Games Summit, specifically panels on “red ocean” and “blue ocean” opportunities — the former is markets that are highly competitive, the latter is markets that have yet to be created. You’ll hear a lot about this in regards to casual and social gaming. And speaking of social gaming, it’s going to be a huge part of the future of games across the board.
  • The Iwata keynote yesterday morning was very enjoyable (and incredibly Apple-esque), especially hearing about Miyamoto’s unique playtesting techniques, i.e. kidnapping random employees, sitting them down with a controller, and just observing them play. Contrast that with the methods Bungie used to playtest Halo 3 (there was a great Wired article about it last year), and it’s hard to figure out who’s “right,” if that’s even something that can be determined.
  • However, it’s a bit much to ask us to be excited about a storage solution that should have been there in the first place. I just updated my Wii to 4.0 and moved all my VC games over, and now I’m interested in Wii Ware stuff because I know it won’t be a headache. Wish the 32GB SD cards were a bit more affordable…
  • I love the Legend of Zelda, and I have always loved trains. Therefore, Zelda: The Rail Waker looks awesome. FAVORABLE.
  • The Modern Warfare 2 teaser is pretty neat — bad things happening in airports leads to some good drama (see also: 24). Interesting that they’re reportedly dr0pping the venerable “Call of Duty” prefix. Perhaps now that “Modern Warfare” is recognizable on its own, maybe Activision is using the CoD name as a sort of reusable rocket to launch new spin-offs into their own things. If so, Call of Duty: World War Z remains at the top of my fantasy request list.
  • OnLive…I won’t believe it until I see it working in a post-beta environment. I just can’t trust controlled environment demos, and noticed a few moments of stuttering in Burnout that reinforced my skepticism. But theoretically, this is indeed the future — the equivalent of Netflix streaming over PCs and media boxes which I already adore, and it will be amazing for getting into high-growth potential markets while avoiding piracy problems. Pete Wanat and the boys talked about it on Tuesday’s Listen Up…and I’ve heard the phrase “end of the disc” from various independent panelists this week.  It’s definitely coming, it’s just a matter of when, and who does it best — but it raises (and perpetuates) very interesting questions about the concept of ownership and media.
  • For any of you spazzes spazzing out about new game announcements and trailers and reveals and megatons and whatnot, save your spazzing for E3.

OK, time to put on some freshly warm pants and get back to the show. I’m stopping by the planned podcast party at the 1UP office this afternoon. Sounds like it’s going to be a bit out of control, which always means entertaining listening. Also, I’ll be writing more about GDC and other things, here and at other places, very soon.

Seriously.  I mean it this time.

But Seriously

Those of you who have followed me since the GMR and 1UP.com days — when money poured down from the heavens and we coated our masthead pages in genuine 23-carat gold leaf — will know that my updating history, be it on the boards or blogs, can be kindly described as “erratic.”

Well, I’m working on changing that. After spending about two full months doing nothing from morning to night, I need a little structure to my days and an outlet for things rattling around upstairs. Hence, the blog. I’ve got some ideas for recurring features so that there’s something fresh here every day (perhaps even twice).

First one is a small collection of articles I think are worth reading. I call it “Evening Reading,” and because I only just now noticed that ShackNews calls their end-of-day article collection entry the exact same thing, I’m including them in my first one. Consider us even!

(All sunset images taken from out my apartment window.)

eveningreading_04

Coming soon: More plans, and a Resident Evil 5 back-and-forth with a good friend…

Syllabus

Welcome to Mixed Media 379: Games and Pop Culture As Filtered By Only One Individual. I am your only T.A., as the professor recently decided to take some time off from teaching, and is currently on some sort of televised race around the world.

We shall meet irregularly on the Internet. No times will be posted. Do not be late.

Business formal attire required at all times.

Class participation is encouraged. However, unruly commentators will find themseleves promptly excused from the room, and their parents called.

Topics to be Covered

  • Video Games
  • Videogames
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Wisconsin-based Sports Teams
  • Television
  • Culinary Arts
  • Elementary Photoshop
  • The Stock Market™
  • Maths
  • Life’s Random, Crippling B.S.

and

  • Elevator Repair

Grading

Games will be evaluated on a precise scale, as devised by a special task force comprised of MIT graduate students, NASA space geniuses, and FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair:

scoring-system
For example:

excitebots_supersandwich

McAwesome

I deem this to be Favorable.  And this:

greysanatomy_wii_screenshotediteur_05

McHorrendous

…quite Unfavorable. But good fodder for comedy nonetheless. So maybe it’s Unfavorable.5, which actually equates to Not For Me and 7.4 on IGN.

(Review system subject to change and retroactive application without notice.)

It is my hope that you learn something in the coming days and weeks. But to be honest, you’ll probably skip out on the first nice day of spring and have a long lunch at the Pizza Hut on State St., because you’re pretty sure you can get the notes from Steve, who always seems like he enjoys taking them anyway.