Category: Gaming Feature

Sisyphean Design: The Problem with Nintendo’s Core Franchises

NP_Link-Mario

In an Iwata Asks on Paper Mario: Sticker Star, the designers were talking about story. It was said that Miyamoto didn’t like the idea of a story in a Mario game, “It’s fine without a story, so do we really need one?” And that got me thinking about all of the Mario games’ stories. Each one creates a similar base-line plot and that hasn’t changed in over 25 years: Bowser kidnaps Peach and Mario saves her. It isn’t interesting, exciting, different, or groundbreaking; it’s just a series of levels to get you to the end of the game.

This week, Nintendo announced another slew of upcoming titles including a Mario, Zelda, and Yoshi game. You can almost guarantee in that Mario game you’ll be saving Princess Peach from Bowser, and that Zelda game will have you save the Princess from the evil Ganon, and that Yoshi game will have you eat apples. But video games are unique story-telling devices, and it doesn’t have to be just that flat archetypal narrative. It can be as simple as giving the enemy a reason to fight, rather than just being evil.

Nick’s Top 10 Games of 2012

NickGOTY

When I first began my top ten list for this year, I had only a small idea of what I would put on there as I could only think of a few recent releases, largely due to the industry releasing everything in the last quarter. However looking at release date sites and compilation list for 2012 I realized how this year was one of the best years for the video game industry, despite many unfortunate layoff’s and setbacks. My top ten became real difficult to decide upon near the end, as there were games on there at first that I decided to cut as I have not had the opportunity to spend excessive amounts of time with them. This makes me quite sad, but hopefully 2013 will be the year to catch up on my increasing backlog. Never the less, 2012 turned out to be a great year with huge blockbuster sequels, some phenomenal re-boots and a few surprise hits from developers. I hope you enjoy, and all the best in this holiday season.

The Ending of the Mass Effect Trilogy

Mass Effect 3

[Warning, this includes spoilers for the Mass Effect trilogy]

I’m not here to talk about the ending of Mass Effect 3. The subject has been bled to death and I have no intention on talking about the controversies of Mass Effect 3‘s ending, or how stupid the Indoctrination Theory really is. But I am here to talk about the ending to Mass Effect’s stories.

Mass Effect is a series about choice. It’s about how Shepard is used as a blank slate, a vehicle for the player to interact with and experience a rich sci-fi world. It’s about understanding nothing is as clear as black and white. It’s about accepting change and breaking the status quo. It’s about being better than what everyone thought you could be. It’s about you.

Crash Test: Intel Discovered

In a feverous haze one Tuesday night, Evan sent me a link to a new Kinect indie title. Within moments of briefly skimming the press release and seeing that it said FMV, Kinect, and Chris Evans, I dropped everything I was doing and rushed to my Xbox. Fearing this was some kind of joke or PR stunt or something, I thought I should download it as soon as possible before it gets pulled for being too crazy or something. Well, it’s plenty crazy and we played through the whole thing so you won’t have to.