Tags: nintendo

RIP: Nintendo Power

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Nintendo Power Issue 1 Cover

Nintendo Power is closing its doors after 24 years, and even though Nintendo themselves have not been publishing the magazine for the last 5 years, they licensed it out to Future Publishing back in September 2007, this still comes as sad news. Not surprising news, but sad. After GamePro fell last year it seemed like only a matter of time before more gaming magazines followed, and with the internet being abundant with video game sites that can update on a moments notice it just seemed like print was going to fade.

Of course Nintendo Power, EGM and GamePro were the three staple magazines I would pick up every time I went to Encore Books, B. Dalton, Borders, or Barnes and Noble, and with the trouble those names have seen recently it’s no wonder that print media is having a tough time staying a float. EGM is still going strong, as are the official Xbox and Playstation magazines (also published by Future Publishing) so how come Nintendo, who for better or worse have always been concurrently a step ahead and behind the rest of the industry. Most of their game innovation, game play mechanics, tech and ideas have paved the way for the future but they have notoriously been lacking in online support, and even when they do try to catch up with the times they do something asinine like making you use friend codes that are impossible to remember in order to see your friends online.

They have been talking more about the internet and interaction with it in tandem with their current and future consoles. The 3DS has a video channel where the Nintendo people can keep everyone current of the most important games coming out, along with other original and shared content. They recently released New Super Mario Bro’s 2 on the 3DS e-shop and in stores at the same time. They are able to keep their users abreast of new important information, and even some sales gimmicks, through the 3DS home menu. Maybe it all makes sense that they would obliterate this piece of physical media, a mascot of the past.

Then there is the other question of, “When was the last time you picked up a Nintendo Power?” It’s been years, honestly. This could all be my fault, if only I was a better fan. I just never had the need to buy an issue. Bringing up the website was just as easy, if not easier than heading out to the store, and if Nintendo Power didn’t have the review or feature I wanted then fuck it, I wouldn’t have bought it anyway. But no matter how overly dickish my attitude was that day Nintendo Power was always there. That’s the killer. It was a monument, a corner-stone of games journalism.  A giant in its own right, accompanied by the towering company behind it. Not so much because of the quality, but because of what it stood for.

What does a giant stand for after it’s been vanquished? A rotting carcass in the sun for all the world to see is a much more powerful statement these days than the same corpse in a throne pretending it was alive.

Good on you Nintendo for really committing to forward thinking and the internet, finally. You’re casting off the shackles of the past and always have a trick or two up your sleeves. Whatever is next will surely have people talking, after that who knows. One giant step at a time.

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Griefed! Podcast #20: E3 2012

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E3-logoWe’re not there! But we still have opinions! Join Alex and myself as we discuss pre-E3 and E3 press conferences from Konami, Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, Sony and Nintendo, choose our favorite games of the show, and bitch and moan and bitch and moan and rejoice! Recorded on June 6th 2012.

Griefed! Podcast #3: Morality

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This weeks Greifed!! Hot off the presses! Join us won’t you for a discussion on the morality in games, Home Improvement, Ed TV, Final Fantasy XII-2, Kingdoms of Amalur and lots more! Recorded on 02-08-12 and featuring the song Dead of Night by Lightning Crabs.

Griefed! Podcast: Game of the Year 2011

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The week of Griefed! is coming to a close, but there is still one podcast I have left to share with everyone. This was the first one Alex and I did that got us back into the swing of things. There was a long break between this one and the previous talkshoe podcasts of old, I guess this is like the start of season 2 or something. Recorded…sometime at the end of December in 2011, and featuring an all Lightning Crabs soundtrack, enjoy the GOTY 2011 Griefed!

Griefed! Podcast #2: Protagonists

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What!? A double dose of Griefed! in one week? That’s right. Expect the Game of the Year one shortly. But for now Alex and I discuss protagonists in games, motorcycle gangs, and as always Tony Hawk, in additon to whatever else comes up. Recorded on 02/01/12, apologies for the Skype issues at the beginning it gets better about 30 minuets in, and featuring the song Nathaniel the Coal Miner by Modern Major Generals.

Griefed! Podcast #1: Sequel Fatigue

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griefed-logoBecause no one asked for it, no one wants it, and no one cares, we deliver! Wanna hear friend of the site Alex and myself ramble on and on about video games for almost 2 hours? No? Well if you ever do want to, it’s here. Welcome to Griefed! everyone, our new weekly video game podcast. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic. This week: Sequel Fatigue. Recorded on January 25th 2012 and featuring the song Portugese Man-o-War by Lightning Crabs.

Keep Barrel Rollin, Rollin…: Star Fox 64 3D Review (3DS)

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Star Fox 64 3DI have a deep dark secret. Multiple in fact that keep awake at night, haunted by the ghosts of dead…well never mind, the point is I never played Star Fox on the SNES nor did I ever play Star Fox 64. In fact the only Star Fox game I had previously played was Adventures on the GameCube, which means that this recent re-release and upgrading of Star Fox 64 is the first time I have stepped into the cockpit with Fox McCloud.
Star Fox
            Originally released on the Nintendo 64, Star Fox 64 (or Lylat Wars in Europe) served as both a reboot of the series and a remake of the original game, with plenty of new features including some straight from the never released Star Fox 2 for SNES. As Fox McCloud it is up to you and your group of mercenaries to save the Lylat System for the devious, fiendish and down right evil Andross.

Star Fox Asteroid

Q-Games, best known for their PixelJunk series, has done an incredible job making this 14 year old game look fresh. They didn’t just slap a new coat of paint on the game; they have taken great care into rebuilding the textures and animations flying this game straight into the new millennium of video games. The original voice actors were even rehired to re-record their dialogue. Now that’s devotion.

Star Fox Boss

The game flows beautifully for the hour or so it will take you to complete your first run of the story. It looks, feels and plays like it was a brand new IP. You can choose to control Fox using either the circle pad or the 3DS’ gyroscope, both of which work incredibly (and surprisingly) well. However if you’re going to use the gyroscope controls I recommend turning 3D off because it is a difficult task to keep everything in focus while tilting and turning the system. This is a shame because the 3D is truly breathtaking. The depth and dimension that it adds to the game play is phenomenal, similar to the deep endless blue sky of Pilotwings Resort.

Multiplayer Star Fox

The multiplayer is Download Play, so only one of your friends needs to have the cart for up to four of you to play the game, but it’s over far too soon. Also limiting the multiplayer to local play only is a bummer and a missed opportunity to blast this game off into ‘must buy’ territory.
More Star Fox
While the game is only an hour in length there are multiple branching paths that can only be opened by completing specific tasks in the game. The first three times I played through the game I ended up in different parts every time which only makes me want to replay it more. You may not even fight the true final boss on your first trip through, that’s the kind of game this is. It almost demands multiple play throughs since you can see all of the planets you can visit on the solar system map immediately upon starting the game and are only left to wonder what they could be like and how to access them.
Star Fox Montage
However, the game is only an hour in length with no discount in price to reflect this. It’s a steep barrier to entry that seems to be catered to the nostalgic crowd who has disposable income and archaic to newer generations. A few new planets could have been added, or even just stretched out the campaign with the planets already present. While the updates and additions are great, some of them, such as the original voice actors, seem too much like they’re trying to capture lighting in a bottle for the third time. This might be a running theme amongst Nintendo games, but rarely is it this transparent.
Star Fox Crew
Star Fox 64 3D is a good game, any fan of the original will feel comfortable and happy with this port and the updates they made to it. The price point, lack of online multiplayer, and shortsighted game redesign due to nostalgia keep this from being a great game and even a system seller.
Grade: B-

The Sky Is Falling: Tetris: Axis Review (3DS)

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tetris axis 1
Before there was Angry birds, before Fruit Ninja, before Bejeweled, before Cut the Rope, before Peggle there was Tetris. If I was playing any of those other games on my phone and someone handed me a GameBoy with Tetris on it I would throw the phone out the window, even if it was totally unnecessary (and it probably would be), because Tetris is just that fucking good. It always has been and always will be. Even when they slightly alter the traditional game with things like T-Spin, it is still the king amongst puzzle games. The fact that I am utterly addicted to Tetris: Axis has little to do with the 3DS game itself; it is the classic game play that keeps me coming back. That isn’t to say that Tetris: Axis doesn’t throw a beautiful coat of paint on top of nearly perfect game. The game looks phenomenal and plays just like Tetris. And while the 3D doesn’t add too much extra to the experience it doesn’t detract from it either, as neither game play nor frame rate suffers from the use of 3D.
tetris axis 2
Axis boasts over twenty game modes, some of which shine brighter than others. Fever is a 60 second speed run where the lines will rise from the ground as well as fall from the top on a smaller grid. The multiplayer mode utilizes Download Play and supports up to 8 (!!) players so none of your friends, as long as they have a 3DS, will be left out of your Tetris party. The CPU battle mode has you facing off against bots and collecting power ups to strategically destroy your opponents by clouding their vision, changing the way the blocks move, and sometimes just swapping screens with them after placing them in an inescapable horrid position. While the power ups aren’t as diverse as something like Tetris Battle Gaiden, it is still a nice addition. In Jigsaw mode you drop shapes to create an image, which becomes extremely complicated when expert use of T-Spin is necessary to complete puzzles. Shadow Wide has you filling in the outline of an object with tetrominos as well as some smaller versions that this mode would be impossible without. Climber has you dropping blocks around a tower helping an NPC climb to the top of the tower, collecting hearts along the way to increase the time you have left.
tetris axis 3
There are also two AR modes that will allow you to use the 3DS camera and the AR cards that came with your 3DS (remember those?) to play Tetris on your desk at work, or your table at home, or on your friends stomach. AR Marathon plays like the original marathon but with a skinnier grid and a block that will not only clear the screen but will also rotate it forcing you to move around to the correct side. AR Climber plays exactly like the normal climber mode only because the man is circling the tower you must also move and circle the tower as well. It’s a lot of fun if you have the space for it but the people on the train look at me weird whenever I do something like that (as they should).
tetris axis 4
Of course not everything can be timeless, Stage Racer Plus has you piloting, for lack of a better word, a single tetromino through a grinding, twisting, turning and jumping (that’s right jumping) down a Tetris maze to the finish line.
But there is plenty of variety here that you don’t have to be stuck with some of the lackluster modes for very long if you don’t want. Marathon mode, the traditional game play mode, alone will last your for dozens of hours and there is bound to be something for everyone within the rest of the modes available.

Grade: B-