All About so_hai
There's been some talk of Skyward Sword being migrated to the Wii's successor console (code named 'Project Cafe'). While this rumor has been passively denied, the famliarity of the circumstances echoes the release of Twilight Princess; written for Gamecube, but moved forward to the Wii. This has always been a sore point for purists, who are yet to experience a premier Zelda title coded for the Wii hardware from conception.
This situation could now make two heavily anticipated releases, both thought to revitalize their respective platforms, that have/may be pushed forward to a completely new hardware system. (Whether the Wii would receive a lighter version of Skyward Sword if this were to happen is an issue that I will respectfully ignore).
The animated series. Cla55ic design.
The question that I ask myself is "since when did the Zelda releases become so out-of-phase with console life-spans?". Surely, the most popular single-player adventure game deserves a clear, well-timed release bracket that the console owners can buy with confidence. It seems increasingly difficult to rely on this series to provide a consistently clear release schedule; it seems to be especially prone to shifting technologies, distinct control schemes and incompatible demands from the players.
Can anything be learned by examining the console lifetimes in relation to the main series (console) releases? I thought that this approach might reveal something about the future of Zelda. (Console launches are represented by the coloured tiles).
(Click on the image to view it in full resolution)
What can be learnt here?
- The first two games are the closest in their releases, while
- The N64 releases are a close second
- The largest distance between games is approx. 7 years
- The games are most densely distributed around the GCN era
- Twilight Princess is the only Zelda game available at launch.
Other than those preliminary deductions, it doesn't reveal anything sinister or subversive to my eye. But what if we stripped the data down to strict divisions of 'console launch' and 'Zelda release'?
(Click on the image to view it in full resolution)
What can be learnt here?
- You can notice the slight but ever decreasing distance between consoles ('Project Cafe' excluded)
- The clumping of titles around the 5th & 6th generations
- The possibilty of the second launch title Zelda seems clearer here
- The distance between 3D Zeldas is steadily increasing
Oh, and will Tingle return?
It seems that as consoles become more sophisticated, and games become more produced, tested and anticipated, the time required for the development increases. This is typical for any on-going project, so that's nothing new.
But another noteworthy observation is that when the series undergoes a dramatic alteration of gameplay (2D - 3D, dual-analog to motion, comical to realism) the game always requires more development. This is hardly news either, but if this trend continues, it goes to show that Skyward Sword really is a significant change in direction. The mix-up of the traditional dungeon/field/dungeon/sidequest must be at least partially true, and the promise of revolutionary sword-play may follow too.
A modern, evocative 5tyle. Excellent.
At any rate, Skyward Sword is bound to be unique in at least some sense, but if it is released solely on the Wii, it's going to be doubly special. For on inspection of the release cycle, it can be seen that for all the eccentricity and seemingly illogical milestones of console Zelda releases, you can be sure that there are none launched at the retirement of a console exclusively.
I believe the game will be released on the Wii: the user-base is enormous, and there is a new audience due to Nintendo's (controversial) marketing decisions that may have a new familiarity with Link. This, coupled with Link's traditional audience makes the Wii a suitable economic choice, if not technological.
Whose got some other ideas?
While innocently looking for some discussion and info on one of my recent Wii purchases (Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces), I came across a small error published on the site by Gamespot.
To those who haven't played the game, and for those that have but not the particular Mission that the screenshot relates to, there would be nothing out of the ordinary here. But for those who have played the game thoroughly, or those who have payed attention to the game in one of it's more elementary missions, it would be clear that there has been a strange error published by Gamespot.
The image in question is as follows (note the caption copied verbatim from the page):
So what am I on about?
Well, the caption is incorrect, and has the indication of being made up after the fact. For starters, there is no dam-busting in Sky Crawlers. None at all.
How could the reviewer of made this mistake? Dam-busting can't even happen as a side effect in the game - no stray bombing will bust any dams, and all scenary in the game is 'indestructible'. Naughty, mischevious players have little to do in this game (contrary to say, GTAIV etc.)
It seems to me that the caption writer is a seperate author to the review writer, and has simply 'guessed' what the screen-shot is about: ("OK, there's a big target, there's a dam, there's a plane... Dam-busting it is!") Even a layman can see that the 'target' is actually a view-finder for a camera, and the box to the side of the screen labelled "Shutter Chance" gives a hint as well. (FYI, the mission is about photographing facilities. No bombing occurs).
So what does this matter?
Well the some of the implications are as follows:
- The reviewer is mistaken in the caption, and may have never played the game properly enough to comment accurately
- The reviewer and caption writer are different people
- The caption writer is mistaken and probably never played the game
- The screenshot and caption were lifted from another, poorly informed source
In any event, the review seems somehow invalid no matter which option you select from above. Are there other undetected errors that others have seen like this? Just how does Gamespot author their reviews? I can't think of an answer that explains the erroneous caption (as trivial as it may seem) that doesn't harm the review integrity.
Anyone interested in retro gaming, or anyone who gamed in a retro era may be familiar with some of the concepts below. Modern gaming is busy making it's own history and innovations, but what gaming relics have been left in the dust of the MMOs, DLC, FPSs, ARPGs and other futuristic acronyms that would make your original Missile Command player check into a sanitarium for sensory overload?
Here are some familiar ingredients that games of previous generations built their momentary empires upon. Some are good, some are bad, and some should never, ever come back... But the question is, which is which?
Before we were transitioned into the now commonplace 'checkpoints' of modern games, there were (and are still occasionally) discreet 'stages' or 'levels'. These distinct divisions in the game play marked that a player is making real, measurable progress. It also gives the player time to refocus for the next, more challenging chunk of game-play. Here, the idea of the 'bonus stage' was born, slipped in between regular levels like a mini-vacation. There were countless ways this level was handled, some were a pure stress-relief (Galaga for example), and some were even harder than the main game itself (Shinobi). One thing most had in common were that the player was never really penalised - you couldn't die! The chains of oppression were cast off in a brief and satisfying taste of immortality before being cast back into the imperfect, life-or-death realm of the main game...
Your post-fight relaxation. Remember to breathe.
What would a gamer from yesteryear make of things now, with options and settings now filling any given game menu with more content than they'd have seen in a lifetime? But for all the settings on our menu, it's now curious to see the absence of one of the most repeated in-game features habitually omitted in the majority of modern games... The 'sound test' was a fixture of many game options screens – usually lurking at the bottom of the list, as if it were only half-convinced of it's entitlement to be there. Running through a game's sound library at your own leisure has a certain appeal, but can any of us admit to spending more than a passing moment scrolling through the list of hits, punches, kicks, screams, item-sounds etc.? Sometimes, the audio content was split between a 'music' and 'effects' test. This was a veritable buffet or audio stimulation, likely to tear your tinny monaural TV speaker out of its wood framing.
Virtua Fighter pushed the boundaries with 3 tests!!!
Auto-fire / Turbo-fire
When games asked players to endure the kind of repetition usually reserved for assembly-line robots, it was only a matter of time before some sort of solution was provided (sometimes by the same company who caused the original offence). Many shoot-em-ups and side-scrolling action games were often only playable with a rapid-fire approach; by filling the screen with dispensed ammo and giving your enemies less screen-time with which to assault you was your best strategy in many of these demanding games. Thus began the auto-fire function. By simulating the hurried and repeated press of a button or trigger on your controller or joystick, the computer would translate this virtual action into a reverse bullet-hell – reigning your foes with brightly coloured fodder of some sort. But be careful, some games gave the player auto-fire, and adding auto-fire to auto-fire is like typing your autobiography with a jack-hammer: counter-productive.
"It's not cheating. It really isn't."
Game Title + 3D
When processors and other hardware were clever enough to render wire-frame objects, coat them with textures, and arrange them in an X/Y/Z axis, we were all going to know about it. Over and over and over. For which developer/publisher could resist jumping onto the 3D bandwagon, where promises of true immersion and virtualily (not a real word) beyond all previous experience were only an installation or disc insertion away? But, it didn't take gamers long and an the industry entirely, to become weary of this overused buzzword. 3D (as in three spacial dimensions, not 3D projection) swiftly became the standard, and adding it to your title was like adding 'video game' in large, red letters to the front of the game box. Only a madman/woman would promote this 'feature' for a modern game, and I suspect for each mention of the words 'virtual' '3D' 'interactive' would halve the sales each if pasted onto the box of any release now...
Well I liked Bubsy in 2D, so I'd have to like this...
3D Games of note:
Picross 3D (Recent!)
Out Run 3D
Bubsy 3D (Notorious)
Army Men 3D
Duke Nukem 3D (Forgiveable?)
Earthworm Jim 3D
Wolfenstein 3D (The launcher was wolf3d.exe from memory)
Prince of Persia 3D (aka Prince of Persia 3)
3D Dot Game Heroes
3D Games of note (new generation):
Star Fox 64 3D
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
DJ Hero 3D
Kingdom Hearts 3D
I'll update this list with any significant others you can think of...
My Recent Reviews
A weird pokemon diamond glitch and crash. Is my DS losing it's mind?
Short video clip from the 2004 album by Mieli.
Sped-up video of me composing and editing a new electronic track.
Mar 25, 2013 12:17 pm GMTso_hai began Following Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
Mar 25, 2013 12:17 pm GMTso_hai added Golden Sun: Dark Dawn to their owned game list
Mar 8, 2013 1:06 pm GMTso_hai added World in Conflict to their owned game list
Mar 8, 2013 1:05 pm GMTso_hai gave World in Conflict a score of 6.5
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