Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

September 2012

You are browsing the archive for September 2012.

Can A Game Franchise Survive A Reboot?

September 27, 2012

Next month will see the GDC Online convention come to Dallas, Texas, and with it will come a variety of informational panels about game development. One of the biggest questions slated to be asked is one I thought was worth asking in a little better detail: can a game franchise survive a reboot?

The answer, of course, is a conditional yes. Game franchises have survived reboots before on several levels. Mario gets a new one with most every system Nintendo releases.

Why Can't I Stop Playing The Last Stand--Dead Zone?

September 26, 2012

While we've seen loads of new console and PC games alike come out in recent days--indeed, with the buildup to holiday shopping season well under way there will only be more titles to look at--an unexpected title has hit me upside the head. And in this title contains what would seem to be an interesting potential trend in the making.

Out at a little place called Armor Games, you'll find a variety of flash-game titles waiting with a variety of plots, capabilities and gameplay styles waiting. One of the newest is a persistent RPG / RTS title known as The Last Stand--Dead Zone. Based on the shooter titles of the same name, The Last Stand and its sequel, The Last Stand 2, The Last Stand--Dead Zone puts you in the midst of Union City, the ultimate destination of The Last Stand 2. Supposed to be evacuated by the government following that old horror movie staple, the zombie apocalypse, the opposite is quite true instead--users are regularly treated to explanations of the backstory as part of the loading screens which feature such choice tidbits as the government bombing residential districts in a bid to not only wipe out the zombie hordes that infest them, but also any survivors who happen to still be upright--and now, Union City is regarded as a "dead zone" by those outside of it.

Will Sony's Day 1 Digital Program Change The Way You Buy Games?

September 25, 2012

Before we segue into the actual explanation of what that headline means, let's just go right ahead and answer the question: it might. The problem here is that there is no definitive answer as it will depend on a variety of factors, but the answer for some will be yes please.

Cryptic, I know, but at the same time it fairly well demands an explanation. The question is, why is Sony's Day 1 Digital program going to be such a game-changer? Well, simply put, it's what some in the game industry have believed was coming for some time: a digital distribution system for new games on a console.

Are Video Game Shows Dying Out?

September 24, 2012

The status of E3 has been known for some time. Many have questioned if PAX--the Penny Arcade Expo--is taking the place of E3 sufficient for it to be the new E3. E3 has been rapidly falling off from its previous dominance, but oddly enough, they're not the only one. Reports are suggesting that the Tokyo Game Show is falling off as well.

The last weekend, and part of last week, featured the Tokyo Game Show, but one particularly unnerving event in the whole affair was the comparative dearth of news to emerge from the event.

Did Zynga & Relativity Media Just Shift A Paradigm When No One Was Looking?

September 20, 2012

Earlier today, I got word about a new promotion, in which Relativity Media was getting together with recently beleagued games firm Zynga to promote both a movie and a video game at the same time. This combination made me take notice for its sheer unusual nature.

This is the first time that Zynga has ever done an in-game promotion, and will be working within Zynga's CityVille title in a bid to promote the upcoming Relativity Media release of House at the End of the Street. Basically, Zynga will be showing the trailer for House at the End of the Street--which is actually a pretty good trailer; it's no Sinister, but it was enough to get me interested--on a platform in the game itself. Players will view the trailer, and then get a unique Fandango code, a chance to win tickets to see the movie, and the opportunity to share results on social media outlets. 

Tokyo Game Show Shows Off The PlayStation Hardware

September 19, 2012

With the Tokyo Game Show in full swing, it's not surprising that there is plenty of game-related news to go around. While much of what was showing was fresh trailers for some new and interesting games--what is it about the number five out there? Dead or Alive 5, Soul Caliber 5--but there was some fresh hardware news as well in the form of a brand-new slimmed-down PlayStation 3

The new slimmer PlayStation 3, which will be coming out worldwide over the space of a month, will offer up a variety of prices depending on the region in which it's released. In North America, a version with 250 gig of storage will hit September 25 for $269, and a version with double that will follow shortly after on October 30 for $299.

Will Nancy Tellum Tell Microsoft How To Put New Life In The 360?

September 18, 2012

Microsoft Studios recently made a new hire in the form of Nancy Tellem, former CBS television executive, likely with an eye toward keeping up the continuing expansion of the Xbox 360 from a pure gaming machine into a full-on complete entertainment solution. But has Microsoft made a good move here?

Thankfully, Tellem is being considered for a much broader position than just getting television content on the Xbox 360; her position, which will feature her reporting to Microsoft VP Phil Spencer, is set to add "new types of entertainment" to the system. The thing is that no one knows just exactly what "new types" of entertainment are being referenced here.

This could be straight television.

How Gaming Can Save The Microsoft Surface

September 17, 2012

Chances are that headline alone has taken some by surprise, especially those who didn't think the Microsoft Surface actually needed saving in the first place. Well, based on some earlier remarks from Steve Ballmer, it's looking like the Microsoft Surface tablet could stand a shot in the arm, and not surprisingly, it's gaming that just may do the job.

Ballmer basically described the growing phenomenon of seven inch tablets with a hint of disdain, calling them, in an interview, "chintzier" than many of their contemporaries. On many levels, he's got a point there--I've seen enough cheap tablets that would make anyone regret dropping $100 on them--but there are still smaller tablets that are doing cheap right. Consider the Kindle Fire tablet, as well as the Nexus 7.

Has Nintendo Shot Itself In The Foot With The Wii U?

September 13, 2012

Earlier today, the Wii U made a much more extended appearance at a preview event, which Nintendo streamed live. In said event, we got a much better look not only at the hardware, but also at the software--games included--that will be coming out with the device at its launch.

The facts of the launch itself are now pretty widely known. The device will launch Sunday, November 18--a strange day for a launch, being as many electronics stores close early on Sundays if they're even open, but a good time overall as it's right in the midst of the holiday shopping season with Black Friday that same week--and will boast two different versions; one a white basic system, and the other a "dress black" with additional features. The base price is $299.99, and the dress black model comes in at $349.99.

First, one of the titles that will be at least close to launch that they made a special point of discussing was--get this--Bayonetta 2.

What Will The iPhone 5 Do For Gamers?

September 12, 2012

Naturally, when a gamer looks at a piece of new hardware, like the iPhone 5, it's not too hard to ask the followup question: just what kind of impact will this have on my gaming? As it turns out, the iPhone 5 is likely to have some pretty substantial impact for gamers, and not just in the obvious way.

The big news, of course, is that the iPhone 5 will pack in the A6 processor, giving it a lot more in the way of juice for game developers to work with. That means they can improve graphics, tinker with gameplay mechanics, and the like to turn out more complex, more powerful, and probably even a bit more fun overall titles to the overall structure.

Perhaps even more important than the inclusion of the A6 processor is Apple's decision to make the iPhone 5 pack a four inch Retina display, which will ramp up the graphics capabilities accordingly. Going up from a 3.5 inch screen is that much more of an improvement, and being able to offer a 16:9 ratio is a jab in the eye for the PlayStation Vita as well.

Just to top it all off, the battery life is improved beyond that of what many hand-held gaming systems can offer, so that provides an even better improvement over both the previous iPhone and the various handhelds currently in play.

Basically, the iPhone 5 can safely be described as the best iPhone yet for the gaming community.

Is Online Gambling The Salvation Of Zynga?

September 11, 2012

It wasn't long ago at all that Zynga's COO, John Schappert, walked out of Zynga following not only a litany of bad news, but also news of a substantial restructuring in the company's operations. Now, the COO slot has been taken on by Maytal Ginzburg, who has an unusual background for being the COO of a gaming company. Ginzburg comes Zynga's way from 888 Holdings, an online gambling company. That's got some wondering if maybe Zynga has a new plan in mind...a new plan that has less to do with running farms and more to do with betting them.

Zynga has a plan to release what's called Zynga Poker, a real-money gambling operation, in the UK starting in early 2013.

Will Steam's Big Picture Make PC Gaming The Next Big Console?

September 10, 2012

I admit, I was once a PC gamer. At the risk of dating myself, I was a PC gamer back in the days when knowing your way around a config.sys file wasn't just a smart idea, in many cases, it was a necessity. That's what really got me into console gaming; it was nice to know that you could just slap a game into the console and start it up and it would run. Red Ring of Death notwithstanding, that was the case.

Games Are King On Kickstarter

September 6, 2012

Kickstarter today revealed that, when it comes to things getting funded on their site, the absolute best category to be in if you want a completed project is video gaming. On average, more projects go from launched to funded in the video game category than any other, and that has some unexpected implications.

Kickstarter games have earned, between August 31 and the eight months preceding it have brought in $50 million across the category. By comparison, Film earned $42 million, and Design pulled in $40 million. But oddest of all, only last year, Kickstarter's video games category pulled in a comparatively meager $3.6 million.

The Future Of Gaming: Mobile Games, Fewer Gamers?

September 5, 2012

A new and unsettling survey was released from the NPD Group, and it's a survey that has some very disturbing implications for the gaming community in general. In that survey, the clear direction in gaming was going mobile...and there were fewer gamers out there in general.

The newest report from NPD Group suggests that there are 211.5 million gamers in the United States. Sounds great when you consider there may be about 300-odd million people total in the United States, but there's a problem. Turns out that number is down almost five percent from last year.

Is Skyrim's Hearthfire Just Another Horse Armor?

September 4, 2012

Today was the big release day for the new Skyrim expansion pack, Hearthfire, and not surprisingly, a lot of questions followed this one. Perhaps the biggest one, expressed as both wary trepidation and jaded cynicism was, it's not another Horse Armor, is it? So I took to Xbox Live with that thought in mind, dropped my 400 Xbox Live points and snagged a copy of Hearthfire with an eye toward answering the question.

Horse Armor, for those who don't remember the reference, refers to one of the first pieces of DLC for Oblivion, which was exactly what it sounds like: armor for a horse. It looked pretty, sure, but it didn't do much for the character, and the resulting outcry taught Bethesda a thing or two about doing DLC right.

Will Continuing Updates Break Gaming As We Know It?

September 3, 2012

While it would be easy to think that Labor Day would leave things kind of slack as far as news went, one item about the major upcoming release of Assassin's Creed III slipped out that may well make the whole gaming landscape a much, much different place to be in the future. The item in question was about new content, and the surprising rapidity with which it would arrive.

See, Ubisoft made the announcement about a new focus on multiplayer, saying that it would be somewhat different from the ordinary in both support from Ubisoft proper as well as in terms of its impact on the universe as a whole. While that sounds good, if vague, there's a more solid measure involved; Ubisoft is planning to release new challenges--and new content--every month for Assassin's Creed III.

That's a lot of content, make no mistake, but it also raises some questions about the nature of gaming as a whole. With the advent of downloadable content, indeed, we all liked the thought of getting in new content for our favorite games well after the fact.

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