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United States

Sun 21st July, 2013

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AtlanteanMan commented on Soapbox: Sonic, It's Time to Talk:

Hopefully Valkyria Chronicles' sales success on Steam (which wildly surpassed Sega's expectations) will help them realize there's a MOUNTAIN of long-requested properties that fans are clamoring for; give Sonic a rest if not put him out to pasture permanently.



AtlanteanMan commented on Hands On: Wii U GameCube Controller Adapter:

I used my Wavebirds on my original Wii not only for Smash Bros. Brawl but also titles like Mario Kart Wii and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn as well as GameCube titles. From a consumer standpoint it's inexcusable for this adapter to only work with a single game; Nintendo of all companies should know better. I won't bother with the adapter unless Nintendo broadens its compatibility and usefulness considerably.



AtlanteanMan commented on Mario Kart 8 Software Update and DLC Available...:

Been playing it and love the tracks; there's EASILY enough value here to justify the $7.99 purchase, and getting the two for $11.99 just makes that much more sense. But now that Nintendo has officially entered the era of DLC and updates for the main console titles, I have a few suggestions on tweaking Mario Kart 8's (and the series in general) gameplay. The customization options in the multiplayer mode are a great start, but the single player could use at least some of these:

1) Lose the Lightning. It serves no point except to make everyone smaller, cost them their items, and basically irritate them. Does it really benefit the user? Not that much.

2) The Super 8 is vastly overrated. I've come to realize that having those eight items swirling around your kart isn't nearly as beneficial as you'd think while in the middle of a chaotic race. To even get it you have to be back in the pack, and if that's the case you're more than likely going to lose half the items to attacking items from other karts before you get to use them; there simply has never been a time I've gotten the Super 8 where I was able to hold onto items for when I felt they'd be of real use, and all too often you see players mash buttons as fast as they can in vain hopes of some actual change in their position. And as for waiting for the item you wish to use to pass in front of your kart while all the twisting, turning, and dodging is happening onscreen, I've found that the Super 8 has actually caused me to run into walls or off the track and LOSE position. Seriously, if you have the skills to use this item effectively you'll probably never get to in the first place.

3) Reward instead of punish the front-runners. I understand that the rubber band AI and giving those further back better items sounds good in theory, but it can be one of Mario Kart's most frustrating aspects when you've basically run a perfect race and dominated only to be suddenly Red/Blue Shelled and drop three places sometimes literally within sight of the finish line. Currently first-place racers can count on getting Coins, a rare Mushroom or Green Shell, and an even rarer Horn. Upping the ratios of better items would greatly help.

4) In fact, why not change the ratios to give racers the most useful items the most often across the board? Red Shells and Stars at the top of the Most Desirable list, and the Lightning, Squid, and Super 8 entrenched at the bottom.

I know this post is already long so I'll stop here. Anyone else have any thoughts to add? Do you think the game mechanics are fine as is or what would you do to tweak them?



AtlanteanMan commented on Preview: The Irresistible Charm of Captain Toa...:

As the writer mentioned my chief concern initially was whether the lower price point meant Captain Toad would end up being beautiful but short on content. Thankfully the 70 or so levels announced seem to indicate otherwise.

So why the lower price for a game that's more than worthy to share space with the most anticipated "AAA" titles this holiday season? My personal guess is that Nintendo figured that building an entire retail title around a new character the general public wasn't familiar with was inherently risky, so they lowered the asking price to compensate. Which means that gamers could be getting a great deal on what will likely be one of this Christmas season's very best games.



AtlanteanMan commented on Turns Out The GameCube Controller Adapter Won'...:

A videogame company that's been in the business as long as Nintendo has no excuse for something like this.

I get that corporations are in business to make money, but where Sony and Microsoft used DLC and online to gouge consumers since the last generation, Nintendo has quietly used peripherals as a Trojan Horse since the Wii. Most Nintendo titles that use multiplayer are A) local-centric and B) are incidentally among their most popular franchises (Smash Bros., Mario Kart, etc.), and Nintendo counted on that combination to get Wii buyers to purchase scads of peripherals that added enormous cost to that "low-entry, $200" console. By the time a consumer had picked up, for example, 3 extra Wiimotes, an extra Nunchuk, and 4 Classic Controllers, they had spent another $220...all without putting a penny into an actual game. And Nintendo's profits shot through the roof...temporarily. But most people eventually catch on. It certainly hasn't helped the Wii U so far, because people remember.

No peripheral in history has ever done well that was made for only a single game, or even two or three; the cost/benefit ratio just isn't there for buyers. Nintendo is counting on fans' passion for Smash Bros. to sell them lots of GameCube Controller Adapters in the same way they made peripherals what quietly made the original Wii so profitable. And I'm sure they WILL sell a bunch...but for a company long known for giving its customers value for their investment, Nintendo is treating them with a large measure of disrespect here...and in the long term it will come back to hurt that image just as the Wii's sales model did. People remember.



AtlanteanMan commented on Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS Brings Circ...:

This was my chief concern about putting Smash Bros. or any fighting game on a portable system, especially one with hinges and sliders (as opposed to joysticks) like the 3DS (also the issue with keeping the screen at the right angle not to "blur out" when in the heat of battle, which the new model will address but which existing users may/may not want to invest in). Watching how intense a lot of people get into these types of games, you know going in that the interface will be taking some abuse. If this problem becomes too widespread it could backfire into a huge P.R. disaster for Nintendo and we may never see another Smash Bros. release on one of their portables ever again.

To be honest I was on the fence about picking up the 3DS version anyway; this news pretty much pushed me into "No thanks" territory. I'll stick to the Wii U version.



AtlanteanMan commented on Nintendo of America Unleashes Wii U Game Sizzl...:

More original and exclusive games than either of its two competitors, hands down. Far BETTER games released or announced so far than either Sony or Microsoft have managed to show. Better quality and a much wider range of gameplay mechanics than its kill count and violence-obsessed competition, hands down.

The "year's head start" excuse isn't holding up so well for Sony and Microsoft fanboys at this point; the Wii U is hands down the best and most versatile console of this generation, at least so far. They have a LONG way to go to catch up.



AtlanteanMan commented on Mario Kart 8 DLC Coming In November, Features ...:

This is GREAT news. Looking very much forward to seeing which courses are revealed. Retro courses from previous Mario Kart games? Themed tracks from other Nintendo franchises (like Hyrule's Castle/Death Mountain/Kokiri Forest, F-Zero's crazy outer space tracks, Metroid's subterranean environments, Advance Wars or Fire Emblem's battlefields, etc.). More third-party guest racers/tracks ala' Smash Bros. (Sonic, Mega Man, Solid Snake, etc.)?

LOTS of possibilities. And while some may argue such DLC would deviate too much from the Mario Kart formula, it's also been suggested for some time that the series could use more fresh ideas. And the Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing series has proven that such crazy-sounding concepts can be AWESOME if done right (seriously, pick those games up if you've never tried them; the Afterburner, Skies of Arcadia, Golden Axe, and Panzer Dragoon tracks in particular are standouts and make you REALLY wish Sega still had a console out there!).



AtlanteanMan commented on Somebody At Ubisoft Really Doesn't Like Mario ...:

Truth be told I agree with the statement; Mario Kart just doesn't feel like the place for licensed, "real world" vehicles. It's all about the money obviously, but cross-promotions like this can sour a good thing.

That said, I'm all for more real, Nintendo-themed tracks, characters, and vehicle customizations via DLC, if Nintendo will offer them.



AtlanteanMan commented on Latest Wii U System Update Allows Console To C...:

Okay, I get the idea of someone upgrading from an 8GB to a 32GB model. That said...

While it's nice that you can transfer data from one Wii U to another, my question is WHAT'S THE POINT HERE!!? Because if the original Wii U system is in fine running order, why would you want to wipe its memory to transfer everything to another Wii U? If this was referring to the ability to actually SHARE game saves and other data BETWEEN two active consoles, this would be actual news, and a lot more practical for consumers.

Another thing; transferring said data requires both consoles to be in working order. As I said, there'd be no point in doing this between two working consoles if the original is left a blank slate, but if, say, your original just "bricked" on you, then you're out of luck anyway (and presumably, there go your Virtual Console and eShop purchases...buh-bye). So basically this news DOESN'T CHANGE A THING.

Online and digital might be okay for perennial platforms like the PC (Steam accounts can easily transfer between PCs with all games, etc.), but it's been a nightmare for console hobbyists both from a "keep what you buy 'forever'" as well as from a sharing/transferring data standpoint. And all to keep control over the consumer and their purchase after the point of sale.

Sometimes I actually miss the days of cartridges and everything being on the physical disc you bought at the store. It wasn't perfect but that cartridge/disc could go anywhere with you and play on another person's system, as could your saves (either on the cartridge or a memory card).



AtlanteanMan commented on Nintendo Goes Download-Only With The 2014 Club...:

While the lack of ay physical rewards may be disappointing for some, there are several likely reasons for the switch that make sense when you think about it. First, having users choose from digital items already on their store is HUGELY more practical from a cost/benefit standpoint for Nintendo over, say, creating molds for and manufacturing physical miniatures, curios, or other items. Also, it's a subtle way for Nintendo to gage interest in particular genres or franchises for possible future releases, either digitally or at retail.

Of course this isn't the only thing Nintendo has changed recently in the interest of being cost-conscious; their recent switch during E3 from expensive stage presentations to all-digital events was another measure done to save money. Why? Perhaps its at least partially due to the Wii U's sales not meeting expectations early on, and they're attempting to recoup what they can for their investors; business decisions, in the end, are ALWAYS about money.

At any rate, I'm very glad they picked Earthbound as one of the offerings. I definitely plan to snap it up once the program opens.



AtlanteanMan commented on Wii Owners Are Upgrading To PlayStation 4, Cla...:

I have a Wii U and am loving it; I don't know what all the fuss is about concerning a supposed "lack" of great games to play on it. Pikmin 3, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Captain Toad, Splatoon, and the incredible-looking upcoming Zelda dismiss those a person really MUST only care about playing in dystopian, gritty, violent games with "realistic" eye candy. Don't look now but the Wii U has more than its fair share of eye candy...and far more games that I would care to play so far this generation than their competition, hands down.

I haven't invested in a PS4 or an Xbox One yet, and while Sony's machine has a better chance of my adopting it in the future, nothing shown at E3 gave me sufficient reason to plunk down the money for either. I love Halo but I'm not buying an Xbox One for a single franchise. As for Sony, I love the looks of The Crew and No Man's Sky, but both of those and other upcoming big names like Dragon Age: Inquisition can also be found on the PC.

And speaking of the PC, Civilization: Beyond Earth and a lot of other awesome-looking Strategy titles (which sadly consoles rarely if ever bother with) are some of my most-anticipated games of 2014. Why invest that money into a console whose library is full of redundancy and annually regurgitated, increasingly shallow "AAA" franchises when you can put it into more of the games you really WANT to play?



AtlanteanMan commented on E3 2014: Intelligent Systems Will Reveal New A...:

I've said for a long time that the Wii U Gamepad is MADE FOR turn-based Strategy games. Each player can hold the Gamepad "hot seat-style" during their turn where only they can actually see what units they're moving or actions they're taking. Their opponents watching the main TV screen only see the results.

Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, Shining Force, Final Fantasy Tactics, Valkyria Chronicles (with multiplayer!), Daisenryaku...the list of potential franchises that could incorporate the Wii U gamepad for turn-based Strategy is a long one. And I've no doubt that any of these would be HUGE sellers and do wonders for the genre as a whole, which sadly has gotten almost no love on consoles over the years.



AtlanteanMan commented on Interview: Console Wars Author Blake J. Harris...:

Sony and Microsoft have both had some great games/franchises under their respective logos over the years, but there's simply no hiding the fact that they're both software/electronics mega-corporations that happen to have videogames divisions. Sega on the other hand, like Nintendo, was a videogame company at its very core, and that is why longtime hobbyists typically remember the NES/SNES/N64/Master System/Genesis/Saturn era as the true Golden Age of Gaming. Things were much simpler then, and game releases weren't dictated nearly so much by eye candy and projected profit margins as they were genuine creativity, originality, and just plain FUN.

Sadly the market wouldn't support four console manufacturers and Sega was pushed out; given a choice I would happily trade both Sony and Microsoft's exit to see a console-supporting Sega back in the mix, because they simply meant that much to the hobby. Many fickle gamers who jumped from Sega onto the PlayStation and Xbox bandwagons would likely also be happy to go back given the way things are now. Sega's sheer number of original, iconic franchises and properties far outweighs even Nintendo's, but since they went third party Sonic is about all we've seen from them with any regularity whatsoever (again, the downfalls of games being greenlighted based upon profit expectations only). Valkyria Chronicles reminded us of what could have been and once was during Sega's glory days, but its sequels were promptly relegated to the PSP void, and the second never even came here (Sega even denied localization publishers the rights to license it).

As remote as the possibility is, given their numerous prior collaborations I still hold out hope for a Nintendo/Sega console partnership at some point. Not only would such deal yield IMMEDIATE benefits for Nintendo and its oft-struggling console sales, but only then would the graphics-jaded younger generation be able to see what all the fuss was about back in the Golden Age of Videogames. Because that mountain of AAA, iconic properties (Phantasy Star, Shining Force, Shinobi, Golden Axe, Skies of Arcadia, Panzer Dragoon, Out Run, Streets of Rage, Valkyria Chronicles, Afterburner, Daytona USA, LandStalker, Virtua Fighter...and on and on..) would be again unleashed in current-gen glory (and can anyone just IMAGINE what such a collaboration would mean for, say, Smash Bros.!? Just do it and take my money NOW, guys. Seriously.).

Such a development would change EVERYTHING, the very balance of the industry itself. The biggest thing preventing that from happening, sadly, is Sega themselves, for whatever reason. They've simply never appeared to have faith in so many of their most beloved franchises, and that is a true tragedy for all of us.



AtlanteanMan commented on Month of Mario Kart: Clones And Alternatives t...:

Obviously the next step for Nintendo beyond Mario Kart 8 and Smash Bros. regarding the Wii U is which franchise to offer to further extend multiplayer offerings. All the criticisms of it aside, the Wii U Gamepad is PERFECTLY designed for a potential multiplayer-equipped Advance Wars or Fire Emblem installment, and third parties like SystemSoft Alpha's Daisenryaku military strategy series would likewise enable players to use the Gamepad to make their moves where no one else can see what they're doing; just the results on the main TV screen.

The Wii U CAN have an incredible amount of life and lots of amazing games left in it, provided Nintendo and third parties cater to its strengths (which are more than the media typically gives it credit for).



AtlanteanMan commented on Mario Kart Month: Expanding the Universe of Ma...:

I think that if Nintendo handled it in a somewhat similar way to how Sega has done their Sonic and All-Stars Racing games (which are surprisingly great, by the way, with TONS of awesome tracks that evoke serious nostalgia), they could pull off a multi-franchise karting game; in fact it could be to karting what the Smash Bros. series has been to fighting games.

No, it wouldn't necessarily mean you'd see Ganondorf lobbing bananas; instead each character would have recognizable items unique to them and/or their world/game. Mario and friends would retain the tried and true item set, while for example Link might have his own version of the boomerang, his bomb flowers, and could fire magic projectiles using the Wand. Fox McCloud's kart could fire lasers, and Samus could drop rows of bombs to deter players behind her. Advance Wars' Andy could ride a tank and fire area-effect rounds. Each character would, just as in Smash Bros., have their own style.

But the worlds/tracks would be the real attraction. Just imagine a Zelda-themed track careening through the Kokiri forest or Death Mountain's volcano, all while environmental changes and background characters interacted with the racers during each lap (maybe even forcing changes to the track layouts themselves like in Sonic and All-Stars Racing: Transformed). Ridley could menace the karts as they fly through subterranean passages in a Metroid-themed level, while karts might whiz through a grand-scale battle in a Fire Emblem level.

These are just a few ideas...and what if Nintendo ever decided to do a kart collaboration with Sega to bring the two franchises and their respective concepts/characters/worlds together? Somehow I think that would sell more than a few Wii Us.



AtlanteanMan commented on Feature: A Week of Super Smash Bros. Wii U and...:

I strongly suspect the biggest character reveals for Smash Bros. Wii U have yet to be revealed (most likely during the week of E3), and at least some of them may well be licensed characters from other companies as Snake from the Metal Gear series was for Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii. What a coup it would be for Nintendo and the Wii U if say, they managed to get an iconic face like Master Chief. Never say never; Nintendo and Microsoft's US headquarters are located very close to each other and similar rumors...though so far only rumors...of such collaboration have surfaced before. Of course that would require a reciprocation of some sort on Nintendo's part, which would be at least equally beneficial for the Xbox One. Before you dismiss even the remotest possibility for this or any other such licensed character in Wii U Smash Bros., consider that the Wii U's sales struggles to date might force Nintendo to take unprecedented steps to pull gamers into the fold...even utilizing competitors' properties and/or allowing some of their own to appear on competing platforms in a limited fashion. And frankly the Xbox One is facing a very similar lack of consumer adoption; both companies might consider such a crazy-sounding move mutually beneficial.

Other (admittedly more likely since they're from fellow Japanese developers) characters that could be revealed:

Vyse and Aika from Skies of Arcadia

Ryu from Ninja Gaiden

Street Fighter, Virtua Fighter, and/or Tekken series characters

Welkin and Alicia from Valkyria Chronicles (the Eidelweiss would be a Super Move).

Rudo, Nei, and other characters from Phantasy Star

Master Higgins from the Adventure Island series

Marvel characters from Marvel Vs. Capcom

Bonk from the Bonk's Adventure series

That should be enough to get the ball rolling. Anybody want to add some suggestions to this "Wish List" of (however remote the possibilities) candidates?



AtlanteanMan commented on Feature: Let's Take A Look At The Crazy Suppor...:

I'd buy an F-Zero game on the Wii U (money's on the table!); considering how amazing F-Zero GX looked on the GameCube at such an insane framerate, I've no doubt whatsoever that Nintendo could make the franchise look stunning on the Wii U. Make it happen, Nintendo.



AtlanteanMan commented on Feature: Let's Take A Look At The Crazy Suppor...:

The ending cinema for those symbiotic aliens Gomar and Shioh in F-Zero GX (which I accessed via Action Replay cheat code; that game was INSANELY difficult) made my jaw drop. They do everything...and I do mean EVERYTHING together, and the cutscene ends with them going into a bathroom stall TOGETHER and shutting the door behind them. I was amazed that Nintendo let something that risqué get by the censors (admittedly, not that too many folks would have gotten to see it anyway, but still...). Some of the ending character cutscenes (especially Captain Falcon's) are hilarious, but that one had more of a creepy feel to it.



AtlanteanMan commented on Feature: All the Important Details From the Ma...:

Just watched the full Nintendo Direct and have to say Mario Kart 8 looks to be a HUGE system seller; the visuals are incredible (right down to the discernible lettering on the tires and the characters' eyes following each other), and I'm sure the gameplay will be equally as refined.

Mario Kart 8 and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze are, in my personal opinion, the two most visually impressive videogames of this young console generation thus far. Yeah, Sony and Microsoft have some very impressive-looking sports and racing games, and of course all the gritty, high-res "kill the other guy"-type titles, but what makes Nintendo games different is that their games still carry old school, bright-colored aesthetics that look and FEEL like, well, a videogame...and that's a GOOD thing. Nintendo's games elicit JOY at seeing and playing them like no one else's do. And they do these "old school" types of games better than anyone, hands down, while maintaining consistently great quality and family friendliness (and boy, do they look great in high definition).

Makes me wonder where the EA guy who said "the Wii U is crap" is hiding (probably upset that his own company's games are made to look like crap by Mario Kart 8); it looks pretty doggone awesome to me.



AtlanteanMan commented on Job Cuts Hit Sega's London Office:

The decline of Sega is the greatest travesty in the history of the videogame industry, and so much of the responsibility lies at the feet of its leadership.

Apparently the rumblings of the disaster to come were felt during the Saturn era; the Saturn was a vastly under-appreciated console (just ask anyone who loves RPGs and Strategy in particular) but the higher-ups had at least two major disagreements with third parties and in-house development teams which did catastrophic long-term damage. The core members of Team Camelot (the makers of the awesome Shining Force series) left after a dispute, and localization developer Working Designs (who translated so many of Sega's and GameArts' greatest RPGs when Sega themselves wouldn't bother with doing so) eventually gave up after being treated like dirt (at one E3 they and their Saturn demo booth for LUNAR were relegated to an out-of-the-way space at the back of the show floor) and jumped ship over to the PlayStation. Those great PlayStation remakes of LUNAR and LUNAR 2 and ThunderForce V (a great Technosoft schmup series always associated with Sega consoles) all started on the Saturn...and Sony got the benefit of them here in the States. Even some of Saturn's greatest memories made or published by Sega in Japan, Dragon Force, Magic Knight RayEarth, and Iron Storm (the last of which was made by SystemSoft Alpha and published locally by Sega), had to be localized by Working Designs to get here.

That's only the tip of the iceberg. Sega only released 3,000 copies of the ambitious Panzer Dragoon Saga for the entire US market. They released Scenario 1 of the three-part Shining Force III, arguably the most epic SRPG ever made at 190 hours total...and then left the Western fans clamoring for the rest of the story empty-handed (thankfully the fan community at Shining Force Central undertook the mammoth task of translating the other two Scenarios upon themselves, and the project is finally nearing completion after more than 15 years).

We never saw another true story-based, offline Phantasy Star after the Genesis. Though an excellent remake of the legendary Dreamcast RPG Skies of Arcadia was released for GameCube, fan pleas for a sequel have never been answered. And the fantastic Valkyria Chronicles, an SRPG that oozes AAA quality from its cel-shaded visuals and incredible, emotion-inducing story to its innovative hybrid turn-based/real time Strategy third-person combat engine, was left virtually unmarketed outside of a few scattered ads and zero hype in the West; apparently Sega was too busy pushing the latest mediocre Sonic title at the time. Afterward Sega used Valkyria Chronicles' lackluster initial sales (although word-of-mouth had given VC a second like in the secondary market and a devoted fan base to boot) to relegate its two sequels to the, the PSP. And the latter one not only never came here; localization developers who asked Sega for permission to bring it were REFUSED. What!!? Is someone at Sega allergic to money...or common sense!?

When Sega first went third-party many of us (including myself) thought "At least now we'll be getting all those great Sega franchises on multiple platforms". Not so much, obviously; Sega's only been interested in punching out their money-making mascot Sonic ever since, with erratic and often mediocre results (this example should serve as warning to anyone who's saying Nintendo should go third-party). Sonic Generations and Sonic 4 Parts 1 and 2 were good (Sonic was always best in 2D), but the fact remains Sega has left a MOUNTAIN of some of the greatest IPs ever made sitting dormant.

The most telling and ironic example of what Sega themselves see and yet somehow don't connect the dots as to how that translates into MONEY is a spin-off Sonic franchise: Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing and its sequel, Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed. Sega pulled out all the stops in both of these racers to create tracks based upon the worlds of its other classic properties, from AfterBurner and Shinobi, Golden Axe and Super Monkey Ball to Skies of Arcadia and Panzer Dragoon. Each of those tracks (presented in full HD) and their accompanying music instantly evoke nostalgia...something Sega was counting on. But they also evoke a passionate longing to see the actual franchises again, brought to a current-gen platform and a new generation of gamers who are often clueless as to just how great offline gaming could be back in the day. And therein lies the cruel, cruel tease...Sega using nostalgia for those worlds as a carrot to sell a Sonic-based title, but still refusing to acknowledge their sales potential or make new installments for us to enjoy.

All of this is why I'd love to see a Nintendo/Sega merger or partnership for a console (however unlikely that may be). If Sega really had to pull their weight to support a console again, they'd stop "playing it safe" and begin making that same wide variety of fantastic IPs that once gave them such a great that's become tarnished through the handling of Sega's leadership over the years.



AtlanteanMan commented on Nicalis Boss Tyrone Rodriguez Thinks The Wii U...:

Nintendo's issues in courting or keeping productive third-party developers over the past few console generations have had nothing at all to do with its games (which remain consistently stellar) but rather with their insistence on hardware "innovations" that make game development (and porting from/to other platforms) a real headache for third-parties. Nintendo's in-house dev teams don't have to worry about such concerns, so they're far better equipped to create titles specifically tailored to the quirks of the system in question.

Indeed, the SNES was the last console where Nintendo had excellent third-party support, and the reason is obvious: their hardware approach went on the "road less traveled" from there on. With the N64 you still had cartridges (which had fallen out of favor and were more expensive to produce than disc-based media). With the GameCube "Connectivity" with the GameBoy Advance never caught on outside of first-party titles (and frankly never with gamers, period). With the Wii the motion controls were a HUGE barrier for both ports and dedicated third-party development due to the resources required to program for an entirely different interface. And with the WiiU there's that Gamepad, which no other system has anything similar to and which the vast majority of "AAA" titles (FPSes, third-person hack-n'-slashers, etc.) would never make use of.

The WiiU's Gamepad would be OUTSTANDING for genres like turn-based Strategy or other local multiplayer/hotseat gametypes where for any reason you wouldn't want other players to see what you're doing, but you could count these types of games practically on one hand the past TWO generations, let alone currently. And its cost makes having one for more than one player in the household/room absolutely impractical as well, so it requires an asymmetrical approach to game design that is tough to incorporate especially for multiplayer. Even for single-player gametypes there's a limit on the Gamepad's practical usefulness as a player's eyes can only focus on one screen or the other at once.

I like the WiiU and am sure that Nintendo will incorporate its Gamepad to some amazing effect with future first-party titles. But I agree with the dev's main point in the article; Nintendo's single biggest obstacle in keeping significant third-party support is all in the hardware design. Maybe it's time they just go with a traditional interface and leave the "innovation" and creativity to the game designers themselves. Great consoles are built to be easy for developers to do what they want to do: create without restraints. Requiring them to be designed around a hardware gimmick is a recipe for disaster, at least where third-party support is concerned.



AtlanteanMan commented on Pokémon Battle Trozei Is Match Three Puzzle A...:

I confess that I've never played a Pokémon title outside of the turn-based Strategy title Pokémon Conquest. What intrigues me about this one are its obvious similarities to Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This will very likely be a purchase for me at some point; the 3DS just keeps getting better!



AtlanteanMan commented on Matters of Import: Bahamut Lagoon Roars Onto T...:

Almost nothing that is or was a Japanese-only release will ever be translated for a localization, sadly, and in many cases even games that did come over here won't be on services like the VC or PSN. I'm sure the sheer cost and time/resources consumed by translations deter companies from the former.

The unfortunate truth when it comes to the huge disparity between the Japanese and Western VC and other consoles' digital libraries is that Japan is the home market both for Sony and Nintendo. Want that great old-school JRPG, SRPG, Schmup, or Strategy title? Good luck, because practically ALL of these types of games originate in Japan (however, if you love yourself some FPSes, you should be well-covered, and yes, that's bitter sarcasm).

It'd be awesome if some company could develop a sub-engine for consoles and PC that enables a player in any given region to play a game and view its text in their own language; the thing would probably make incredible money via licensing (assuming it's doable). But for now all we can do is watch our Japanese gamer friends' options continue to explode while we get a relative trickle of the classic titles we want, if at all.



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: Is There A Future For The Wii U...:

I agree wholeheartedly with other posters here who say that Nintendo has failed to make proper use of the Gamepad since the WiiU's launch (the thing would be PERFECT for turn-based Strategy multiplayer like Advanced Wars or Fire Emblem). But the real problem is a vulnerability that many gamers including myself knew would be a serious problem when the thing was originally announced.

A lot of folks seem to have forgotten just how schizophrenic the WiiU was originally designed to be from a controller standpoint. The Gamepad wasn't even compatible with any original Wii titles; for those you had to keep your Wiimote controllers or buy new ones (plus all the Nunchuks and other peripheral attachments). New Super Mario Bros. U couldn't even use the WiiU Classic Pro Controller; the other human players had to use that awkward sideways-turned Wiimote configuration. Everything was designed to keep players dependent on the highest possible number of necessary controllers and attachments, which was how the Wii made so much extra money. Nintendo was counting on it working again, but it backfired big-time; the mess created by not having a simple, standardized interface has been problematic for third-party developers and simply too costly for the average consumer. The WiiU's controller approach was to Nintendo what "Always Online" was to Microsoft; unfortunately for Nintendo, the backlash has come AFTER the WiiU's launch and after they've committed to it.

The Gamepad is prohibitively expensive for families or anyone else who would desire local multiplayer where everyone enjoys the same interface. I watched my niece and nephew begin to fight over who got to use mine (though there were two extra WiiU Classic Controllers conveniently nearby) and promptly put my WiiU up and out of reach; it's well-made but by no means safe for dropping or subjecting to squabbling kids. And families, children, and local multiplayer have ALWAYS been core to Nintendo consoles' success (examples: the Mario Kart, Smash Bros., and Mario Party series, for starters).

I don't know what percentage of the WiiU's overall price the Gamepad accounts for, but frankly Nintendo would have been FAR better off to simply put that money in a more powerful console (while I love my WiiU and have absolutely NO problem with its abilities, it seems to be what every article and poster I read gripes about) and a traditional gamepad.

As for people's complaints regarding Nintendo's lack of online focus, I don't share them, and here's why. I'd much rather take a COMPLETE game I won't get gouged for via DLC "extra content" (that 20 years ago would have been included on the disc/cartridge; online is a Trojan Horse cash cow for developers) and enjoy it with friends and family than be subjected to the team-killing, profanity-spewing strangers. Whether you're referring to those or single-player gametypes that aren't an afterthought (as they tend to be nowadays), some gaming experiences WERE better before online came to dominate consoles.

I think Nintendo will be fine in the long run, but in the end, as always, it'll come down to the GAMES. Leave the gimmicks ("Innovation" not tied to the games or their design themselves) alone for a change.



AtlanteanMan commented on Iwata And Miyamoto Both Take Pay Cuts In Respo...:

You won't see too many CEOs or other higher-ups take responsibility for their companies' mistakes or failings here in the US, much less a pay cut. It's always the lower-level employees and the consumers themselves who typically end up being impacted. The people at the top always make sure maintaining the status quo of their own lifestyle and excess continues regardless. Just maybe America could take a lesson from folks like Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto; character still matters ESPECIALLY at "the top".



AtlanteanMan commented on Nintendo Was Dead To Us Very Quickly, States E...:

No, EA doesn't make games "for kids". They instead focus on easily copy-pasted rehashes and sequels every single year of the same shooters and tired sports franchises for adults who don't see beyond kill counts and eye candy cinematics. Of course, they're more than willing to turn a blind eye to any underage kids who might be PLAYING their Mature-rated games; the money in their coffers spends either way (and yes, this situation is the parents' fault, but I'm pointing out EA's and other devs' hypocrisy in particular here).

Here's a news flash though, EA: Nintendo doesn't make all that many games for kids, either, just family-friendly, profanity-free games devoid of the typical dystopian, ruined brown and gray-dominated environments that dominate practically every major developer's titles anymore. Sure, Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, and Kirby and their worlds are bright and cheerful on the surface...but tell me how many of them you've BEATEN, let alone FOUND EVERY STAR or hidden item? The recent Donkey Kong Country games are old-school, brutal platforming, and let me tell you (I actually did these myself), beating all the bonus worlds in Super Mario World or finding every one of the 128 Stars in Mario 64 definitely ISN'T something your typical child is going to accomplish. Ditto Zelda's Water Temples without some sort of hint guide or Metroid's tons of hidden secrets. The content may be "kid-friendly", but that's only on the surface. These games are often TOUGH even for most adult gamers.

Here's EA's REAL problem with Nintendo: the business model. THIS is what caused the back-turning; of that I have very little doubt. Nintendo doesn't see online as the cash cow that EA does and so they've yet to really focus on it with any of their consoles. EA would be more than happy to develop scads of titles for WiiU provided they just had a format where they could easily gouge gamers for every last cent via Online Passes and overpriced DLC like they can on Sony and Microsoft's systems. There's the "company line" and then there's consumers knowing/being told the uncompromising truth. The truth hurts, doesn't it, EA?



AtlanteanMan commented on Matters of Import: Shining Force Gaiden: Final...:

Only a few days ago I made a post at IGN (on the article about the "10 Greatest RPG Storylines") regarding Shining Force III for the Saturn. Here is a copy/paste of that post (with a tad of additional information):

Shining Force III is almost unknown to RPG fans here because A) it was released on the (woefully underrated) Sega Saturn and B) only one of three interconnected Scenarios (including Saves that transfer over to the next Scenario), all of which combined to make a giant cohesive storyline, made it here to the West. While the two Shining Force games for the Genesis are beloved for their unforgiving tactical gameplay and those (at the time revolutionary) battle cinematics, they were both light on story aside from each dialogue pretty much leading into the next battle. Shining Force III upped the ante with three-dimensional, rotatable maps (with which chests and even characters might be discovered; this would make it an AWESOME candidate for the 3DS) and an amazingly cerebral storyline full of political intrigue, diabolical manipulation, and even villains whose characters were given some degree of color.

As anyone who played the first two Shining Force titles on Genesis will recall, there were some very specific conditions to be met to acquire certain characters for your army; if you missed them there was no way to go back and get them; you'd simply have to replay the whole thing. SFIII took that concept and built upon it with its three-Scenario system; because the overall Save file transferred over, what you did in each of the first two Scenarios affected which characters you could find and recruit in the others. Kill a certain enemy instead of sparing his/her life in one Scenario and you couldn't recruit them (or another character) in a later Scenario. And what made the choices so difficult is that SFIII's total storyline can take upwards of 170-200 hours to properly play through and find everything/everyone...and there is NO WAY to recruit every possible character in a single playthrough! To experience the alternate possibilities and dialogue from the other characters you'd have to play through everything all over again and make different choices.

The maps on which you fight throughout the story of SFIII deserve a special mention as well; the flat, top-down environments of the Genesis titles are replaced by fully three-dimensional (and again, rotatable) battlefields and rooms where your armies can find themselves fighting on different levels (flying characters can actually fly across chasms) and in several instances on multiple, separate AREAS to achieve an objective.

And to make things even more interesting, each chapter (several in each Scenario) contains at least one optional dungeon/temple/tomb on the battle map where weapons and items that can't be obtained anywhere else are hidden. While the rest of your army continues the battle outside (and DON'T make the mistake of beating the last enemy before recovering everything inside or you lose it FOREVER; you only have a SINGLE opportunity to go into the temple even if you Egress back to the last Church where you saved), whichever character(s) you send in must A) open every chest they can (and some...even certain CHARACTERS...are hidden in these areas and you must end your turn on a specific square to find them similarly to Fire Emblem!) and B) prevent thieves (which always run into the site ahead of your character(s) from opening the chests themselves and absconding with your loot).

Scenario 1 put you in charge of Synbios and his Republican Army, whose country had split from the Empire years ealier. When at the beginning of the game the Emperor himself is kidnapped at a peace conference with the Republic in an Imperial city, Synbios and his crew must get out of hostile territory while trying to find the truth about what happened and clear their country's responsibility.

Scenario 2 places you in charge of Medion's army; he is the youngest (and illegitimate) son of the Emperor and the least favored among the three princes. His trek will involve encountering conspiracies and trying to protect a special child from the elite forces of his own Empire: the Rainbloods. And the sheer, diabolical manipulations of the Emperor (including Medion and even his own kidnappers!) and what he's willing to sacrifice for his own gain are absolutely astounding; the guy seriously deserves mention alongside the likes of Kefka and Sephiroth as an all-time great RPG villain (and to think he isn't even the MAIN bad guy). As with Scenario 1, Scenario 2 ends with a cliffhanger where Medion and Synbios are facing off at the bridge leading into the Republic capital, about to be forced to fight a duel neither of them wants but neither seemingly can avoid.

Scenario 3 continues with Julian, who's in essence the "core" hero of the story. He's a monster hunter who's on the trail of the demons who slaughtered his village and family when he was a boy (you actually encounter the young Julian as a young child in that same village in Shining the Holy Ark!). He joins both Synbios' and Medions' armies in Scenarios 1 and 2 and leaves them at certain points. Julian's force is by far the most diversified (and frankly the most powerful as well, by far): you'll have a Lion-Man, a Dragon-Man, a Fairy, a Witch, a Unicorn, a Goblin who rides the back of a giant Troll, and even a huge DRAGON join you along the way. And in the end all three armies of the Shining Force will converge to fight the "Ultimate Evil", Bulzome, in the frozen wastes far to the north. That battle alone (and an optional one near the end where you can level-up your weaker troops) can take upwards of 2 hours to finish. Yeah, EPIC.

All told, Shining Force III is 190 HOURS' worth of incredible and surprisingly cerebral storyline filled with political intrigue, betrayals, and difficult decisions that affect which characters you may recruit in later Scenarios (again, you can easily miss many of them completely). It's simply sad that more gamers haven't been able to experience it so far. Made by Team Camelot, it stands easily beside Valkyria Chronicles as two of the greatest SRPGs of all time. A 3DS version of SFIII would be a system-seller; a high-res WiiU version seriously might just save even that struggling console. It's THAT good.

One would think (and hope) that the recent success of Fire Emblem on the 3DS would encourage a return of the (proper, turn-based SRPG) Shining Force series here in the West. Unfortunately, the single biggest obstacle to that happening seems to be Sega themselves. Their falling out with Team Camelot was only one of many (in my humble opinion) gross mishandlings of their properties before and since. No offline, story-based Phantasy Star since the Genesis, the incredible, system-pushing Dragon Force for the Saturn had to be localized by Working Designs (as did Magic Knight RayEarth), and its sequel was never brought here. Panzer Dragoon Saga, a 4-disc epic Saturn RPG with some of the most unique battle mechanics and (despite the badly pixelated first-gen polygons) amazing sense of atmosphere that was one of the most ambitious to that point in videogame history, only saw 3,000 copies released in the entire US market. Skies of Arcadia for the Dreamcast, while having a slightly superior remake on GameCube, hasn't had a proper sequel since despite fans clamoring for one. And Valkyria Chronicles, my personal favorite game of this entire past console generation, was sadly one most fans had to learn about from word-of-mouth as Sega scarcely bothered to promote it (and its two sequels were relegated to the PSP; Sega has not only shown disinterest in bringing the third installment here; they've refused to allow any localization companies to do so, which is baffling).

It amazes me to no end how a company responsible for so many of the BEST memories I've ever had as a gaming enthusiast seems to have so little regard for such fantastic games (and apparently the teams who put in the effort to make them) or the gamers who cherish them and want to play MORE. Sega can't seem to ever see beyond their next Sonic title, sadly (and this should be a lesson to anyone who's wanting Nintendo to go third-party). They're a cautionary tale of just how far centering around profit as opposed to sheer creativity and originality can take even the greatest videogame company down from greatness.



AtlanteanMan commented on Book Focused on EarthBound's Development and L...:

The way some people and companies treat intellectual properties baffles me. On the one hand, here's a project about one of their most beloved (if niche) franchises that, let's be honest, Nintendo will probably NEVER do themselves. And yet they throw up a "cease and desist" against a guy for trying to write such a book. And this instance is FAR from alone; Sega won't publish another Valkyria Chronicles or apparently localize the third installment for PSP, but they're completely unwilling to allow any localization companies to do so despite many fans' ardent requests. This is also likely the case with so many of Sega's awesome properties that haven't been seen in years or decades; they're intent on just sitting on them and refusing anyone else to give their fans what they are clamoring for.

Yeah, Nintendo, Sega, and other such companies are well within their legal rights to do such things; these are their properties after all. But if frankly no money is being taken out of their coffers and they wouldn't bother with such projects themselves, doing so certainly casts them in a negative light. Sometimes I feel that gamers care far more about the games than the companies who make them; in the end, all corporations really care about is the money. And that has definitely created some serious conflicts of interests for the entire hobby over the years.



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: Nintendo's Wii U Struggles Brin...:

It's still very early in the WiiU's life cycle to declare it a failure; keep in mind that the system is still less than two years old and if Nintendo had only WAITED until LAST Fall to release it alongside the PS4 and Xbox One, it's overall numbers to date would be similar (a lot of folks including myself waited for that real first wave of quality first-party titles to be released) but wouldn't look half as bad considering the length of time since the launch.

If I could describe how Nintendo's handled the WiiU with one word, I would use "uncommitted". From the WiiU's initial announcement it was clear that gamers weren't impressed with the system (though it's plenty powerful for the types of games Nintendo makes and would be fine for "AAA" mainstream games as well) or the name choice, which likely did cause confusion among consumers.

But Nintendo also gravely underestimated the retention rate of the "casual gamers" that the Wii won temporarily via the novelty of its motion controls. A red hot Christmas item for a couple of years, a cheap yard sale item the next for those who weren't genuine hobbyists. They made their sales forecasts for WiiU through rose-tinted glasses figuring at least some of those people would see the same novelty in a controller with a touch screen. It didn't happen.

And that touch screen gamepad, while it certainly would have its uses for turn-based Strategy and certain other genres, has been an albatross for the WiiU's success since Day One. The gamepad likely costs about as much (if not more) than the WiiU unit itself, meaning having one for each player in the living room for multiplayer games is completely impractical. And forget Nintendo's most valuable demographic...children...because I've seen them fight over who got to use my own WiiU's gamepad (and had to put it up to prevent it being broken); this undoubtedly was a deal-breaking concern for many parents and a disastrous design choice for Nintendo to have made.

But the lack of support thus far for the WiiU Virtual Console, the sporadic first-party support with no third-party support...looking at the "body language" I would say that Nintendo already intends to quietly and subtly distance themselves from the WiiU over the next 1-3 years; the "restructuring" Mr. Iwata mentioned likely means a lot more focus on their more profitable portable division. And if Nintendo does eventually release another console, you can bet they will be looking at something other than gimmickry or hardware novelty to sell and support it. It's ALWAYS gotta be about the GAMES.



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: Nintendo's Wii U Struggles Brin...:

I have a friend who just recently returned from Japan (he was over there teaching English for a little over a year) whose comments on the videogame industry over there are telling. He said that consoles of ANY kind aren't that common in homes, at least the ones he'd seen; the typical Japanese home is TINY by American standards, so much so that a console's size literally is a significant determining factor in many folks' decision to buy (and hence the diminutive sizes of the GameCube, Wii, and WiiU). But the console industry over there didn't appear healthy at all, at least in his view.

What DID appear healthy was the portable realm. 3DSes, smartphones...EVERYONE seemed to be carrying them. Most Japanese have a lengthy school or work day and most socializing is done outside the home. While I don't think Nintendo would go third-party on smartphones, Iwata's comments that Nintendo is considering a different business model may indicate an increased emphasis on its portable division.

Hopefully this doesn't mean the end of Nintendo-made consoles. If it did, the entire industry and certainly the hobby would be gravely impacted.



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: Nintendo's Wii U Struggles Brin...:

The third-party issue for Nintendo has always been there since the N64, and it likely won't go away (at least where Western companies like EA, Activision, and others are concerned). At least part of the situation is cultural; Western developers place a premium on guns, kill counts, and high-res eye candy with lots of CGI cut-scenes. Japanese devs on the other hand still focus on mostly fantastical worlds (and a MUCH wider variety of these, from sprawling RPGs and action RPGs to platformers to hex-based Strategy), and their characters are much more anime-inspired. Whenever Japanese companies have tried to "Westernize" franchises (examples: Final Fantasy, Front Mission, and even Resident Evil) the results have been mixed and generally not well-received critically or commercially.

These cultural rifts (my favorite quote this past console generation was from a Japanese developer at E3 in 2010 who remarked "You Americans sure must enjoy war" regarding the gross oversaturation of FPSes at the show) are simply part of that disconnect. Keep in mind that while Sony is a Japan-based company, it is also a consumer electronics mega-corporation that happens to have a home console division; Nintendo, like most Japanese developers, has been a videogame company from the get-go, PERIOD. Sony has both Japanese and Western-based internal teams to make titles for varying demographics; Nintendo IS their own team aside from small satellites like Retro Studios. And while (a lot of) Western tastes tend toward violent gametypes, Nintendo has always emphasized family friendliness across its console and portable offerings not just because children are a huge part of their consumer base, but simply because doing so has a broad appeal in general.

And don't forget the single biggest obstacle to Nintendo third-party support: the business model. Nintendo has always emphasized offline single and local multiplayer (something I personally frankly MUCH prefer given the cursing and team-killing/trolling you encounter online), which simply doesn't jive with how major devs like EA, Activision, and others have come to depend on online connectivity to gouge consumers for every last possible dollar for DLC. In the end, it always comes down to the MONEY.

Does Nintendo care about any of this (and should they)? Going by their actions, probably not. Because their emphasis on quality first-party games that are WAY above almost anything else on any console in sheer craftsmanship displays a commitment to an old adage that's equally Japanese AND American: "If you want something done RIGHT, you need to do it yourself".



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: Nintendo's Wii U Struggles Brin...:

That's because Sega went third-party. If they had a console with their brand on it again I guarantee things would be VERY different.


My guess regarding the Virtual Console is, Nintendo is apprehensive of just how much emphasis to place on a digital platform which is (currently) tied to individual end-user consoles that may or may not see significant support before they decide to go another direction. Folks were already ticked about having their Wii VC purchases left behind and unobtainable (unless, unlike me, you kept your Wii instead of trading it in assuming said games would transfer).



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: Nintendo's Wii U Struggles Brin...:

The single biggest mistake Nintendo made with the WiiU was in releasing it a full year ahead of even significant first-party software support; the wait for early adopters was even worse than when Sega did that surprise early launch for the Saturn back in the 1990s (and while the Saturn is still one of my personal favorite consoles ever and is highly underrated, neither it nor Sega could really ever recover from the fallout). With no real first-party AAA games outside of Super Mario Bros. U in the entire launch window, it was a complete waste of time to launch the WiiU simply to beat the PS4 and Xbox One to market.

All that said, the WiiU may well end up following the pattern the Sega Saturn took: as the third (and hopefully more) wave of games like Smash Bros., Mario Kart 8, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze arrive, more folks will buy the system and begin enjoying some of the most beautifully designed games seen so far in this still-young console generation. One would have to assume that Nintendo will have more exciting stuff to announce over the coming months, perhaps a new Metroid or Fire Emblem, and maybe even completely new IPs (we can hope at least). As for ever becoming a commercial success though, it likely won't happen.

Unlike the Saturn could say at least, the WiiU will probably never enjoy significant third-party support outside of the occasional JRPG title. Third-party games have never been a priority for Nintendo, perhaps due to the fact that exclusivity is a rarity. Gamers who buy Nintendo consoles have always bought them for the express purpose of playing NINTENDO'S first-party franchises.

That Gamepad is another thing standing in the WiiU's way (though it'd be EXCELLENT for turn-based games where you don't want other players to see your moves). Not only does the touchscreen make it too expensive for every player to have one; it's why many parents likely haven't been buying WiiUs for their kids (this exact thing caused a fight between my niece and nephew over who got to use the Gamepad; I had to hide it to avoid its getting damaged). This is a demographic that's very important to Nintendo's success on ANY of its platforms.

Another thing that bit Nintendo hard was something I've been figuring would happen since a few years ago (and it's something that likely will affect Sony and Microsoft as well to varying degrees): an exodus of gamers from the console hobby. Something hardly any videogame journalists have mentioned due to the annual hype-fest and the distractions of eye candy trailers at E3s and other gaming industry shows over the past console generation was the decline and/or extinction of entire genres, let alone new IPs that didn't involve first-person shooters, kill counts, or extreme violence. All of that hype has masked the fact that many gamers have gotten weary of more of the same from Bungie, Naughty Dog, UbiSoft, EA, Activision, Sony, Microsoft...and even Nintendo every single year ad nauseam (the disappointing numbers for Super Mario 3D World, despite its being an excellent game, bear this out).

E3 in particular has become not so much an industry show dedicated to the videogame hobby and hobbyists as it has a glorified press event for the mega-corporations who hog the presentation floors; all the "little guys" out on the show floor are left all but ignored, and many (especially Japanese and some British developers) have stopped attending entirely. The industry (if you're referring to the likes of EA, Activision, etc.) may be thriving, but the hobby is dying on consoles.

I personally waited a full year to pick up a WiiU (a "wait and see" approach many other gamers are likely taking) and have no intention of buying a PS4 or Xbox One until I see more representation of gametypes I care to play (Strategy, JRPGs, SRPGs, and others that don't necessarily involve shooting...I enjoy FPSes in moderation, but things have become oversaturated in the Western market to the point of critical mass). I can name several friends for whom this is also the case; like me they had been longtime, early-adopter console hobbyists but have all but given up on an industry that's making billions but is blissfully unaware of the gamers they're alienating by ignoring us.

Steam has single-handedly revived the PC not just because it offers games on the cheap, but because they embrace genres and IPs that consoles won't or that are relegated to download services like PSN and Xbox LIVE. In my humble opinion, if console makers want to see the REAL biggest threat to their profits, look no further than the PC and all the gamers who USED to be console hobbyists that have moved there (and will continue to do so unless E3s start focusing on GAMES and genre/IP variety once again).

What will Nintendo's next move be if the WiiU does "fail" commercially? Who knows. But an alliance with former rival Sega and other Japanese developers to make and support a future console makes sense. Not only would that seize their home market in Japan; it would likely be a huge selling point for many hobbyists on this side of the Pacific who've tired of the narrow, profits-centric mindset of Western developers on Sony and Microsoft's systems.



AtlanteanMan commented on Feature: Nintendo Games We'd Love to See in 2014:

I like all of the writer's ideas, and would like to add a few (and I think this post will show that the answer to the Wii U's third-party support struggles AND the perceived decline of Japanese developers lies in the fact they're simply sitting on a MOUNTAIN of iconic, very much still-marketable franchises):

1) A Wii U (turn-based/strategic) Advanced Wars with a full campaign AND a fully featured multiplayer mode for up to four players (players would take turns holding the Wii U gamepad so the others couldn't see your moves in the "Fog of War"), perhaps even with the ability to create and share your own maps to extend the play value.

2) A full line of Sega Saturn HD remakes for the 3DS and the Virtual Console.

3) Sega franchises (pick from these and a LOT more):
a) Valkyria Chronicles sequel
b) Skies of Arcadia sequel
c) A story-based, offline Phantasy Star set back in the Algol Star System (which we haven't seen since PS IV on the GENESIS!).
d) Dragon Force (or a sequel)
e) ThunderForce (this is an awesome schmup series by Technosoft with rockin' music that would look AMAZING on either Wii U or 3DS).
f) Shenmue
g) LandStalker
h) Panzer Dragoon and/or a Panzer Dragoon Saga remake or sequel
i) Bug! for 3DS
j) A full HD remake of Shining Force III (all three Scenarios) for 3DS or WiiU; either one would be a SYSTEM-SELLER.
k) An all-new, old school turn-based tactical Shining Force for either 3DS or Wii U

4) And while we're on the theme of fellow Japanese developers:
a) LUNAR 3 by GameArts
b) A new Suikoden by Konami for Wii U AND 3DS
c) Shinobi X Ninja Gaiden (2D old school mechanics with gorgeous Wii U visuals) by Sega and Tecmo
d) An all-new, old school Contra for Wii U by Konami

5) Some Modern-era and WWII-era entries in the excellent Daisenryaku military turn-based Strategy series by SystemSoft for both 3DS and Wii U.

I'm sure I missed some great stuff; any you guys would like to add to this list in the hopes SOMEBODY with influence may be listening?



AtlanteanMan commented on Remake Request: Shining The Holy Ark:

One bit of trivia that may interest you guys: the "main" hero of Shining Force III (he leads his own army in Scenario 3 but also joins Synbios and Median's armies in Scenarios 1 and 2) is Julian, who is on the trail of the demons who murdered his parents when he was a Shining the Holy Ark. And yes, it's in there, tying the two threads together! Camelot was on a storytelling ROLL on the Saturn!



AtlanteanMan commented on Remake Request: Shining The Holy Ark:

@therick112 (and anyone else interested in Shining Force III),

Since the late 1990s (yeah, ABOUT 15 WHOLE YEARS) an incredibly dedicated fan community named Shining Force Central have been hard at work on the Herculean task of English-translating ALL THREE SCENARIOS of Shining Force III for the Saturn into English. Character names, story text, the whole deal; I personally printed off the translated text boxes and the page count (keep in mind this was front AND back, double-sided) easily topped 400 pages. The patch itself is now on Version 15 and virtually complete; even on the V.10 or 11 patch I used for my own playthrough, everything was navigable and fully in English aside from a few bookshelves and minor stuff.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED: You WILL need to purchase the JAPANESE versions of all three Saturn SF III Scenarios; you can do this through eBay or through an importer. While it'll be costly, I can say that I'd happily do it all over again; it's more than worth it if you love SRPGs and want to experience an incredible story and game mechanics like in no Shining Force game before or since.

Once you have those in hand, simply download the English Patch from here (and don't worry about any legality issues; Sega themselves are fully aware of SFC's efforts and have pretty much given their CONDITIONAL blessing, to my understanding...just DON'T reissue a translated copy elsewhere, ESPECIALLY for sale, or trust me there WILL BE legal issues):

All the instructions you'll need to make your English patch are included, and they're easy to follow.

Together these three Scenarios WILL take you at least 180-200 hours to complete if you want to see everything in one playthrough. And the final Boss fights (including a completely optional one with a 9-level dungeon that MUST be completed all at once to gain its most powerful items, but also can be repeatedly played to help train your weaker characters for the final fight) toward the end are truly epic in scale. The final battle involves ALL THREE armies (from each Scenario) on three separate and simultaneous battlefields; be prepared for the Boss fight here and in the optional dungeon to top 2 HOURS (oh, and that's with the same limitation of 4 items per character against some very nasty attacks...have fun!).



AtlanteanMan commented on Remake Request: Shining The Holy Ark:

I've been saying that a Nintendo/Sega full console partnership would hugely benefit both only both companies but the ENTIRE HOBBY for years now. Sony and Microsoft have had the billions to invest...through second-party development teams, lots of great franchises, but their sheer redundancy (annual sequels and FPS/third-person hack n' slasher dominance) speaks to that money-centric mega-corporation mindset that has come to pervade every E3 and other games industry shows anymore. Sony and Microsoft are electronics and computer giants that happen to make games; Sega however, like Nintendo, was a videogame company from the get-go, and back in the day when those two went against each other, every gaming show centered around GAMES, GAMES, and LOTS of GAMES instead of eye candy-filled, trailer-dominated "stage demos" and the controller add-on flavor of the week.

When Sega dropped support of the Dreamcast and went third-party (as so many folks now say Nintendo should do...REMEMBER YOUR HISTORY, PEOPLE!!!), many figured "Oh boy, now I can get all those awesome Sega franchises on any console I choose!" Until we saw the parade of endless mediocre 3D Sonic titles and almost nothing else worth mentioning. Ironically my favorite game of this past console generation, Valkyria Chronicles, absolutely tanked here in the West...initially...because Sega didn't consider it worth the effort to market. Only passionate word-of-mouth helped to spread the word about Valkyria Chronicles and make it the cult favorite of so many PlayStation 3 owners, but by then Sega had already relegated the series to the PSP (portables are where game developers send franchises they deem "not good enough for consoles").

It never ceases to amaze me just how little love the Saturn gets; for whatever reason it's the one console Sega never seems to do or commission remakes for (outside of Daytona and maybe a couple of others). I hate to beat a dead horse, but again, much of that likely has to do with the visuals; the Saturn was a first-gen 3D model system whose architecture was always better suited to 2D games than its competitor, the PlayStation 1. Its 3D games, even some of the true greats like Panzer Dragoon Saga, tend to look pixelly and muddy (yes, I know, those of us who enjoyed them never played them for the eye candy to begin with).

But as the author stated here regarding Shining the Holy Ark, the Saturn would be a GOLD MINE for the 3DS or even modern consoles to draw from, either via HD remakes or direct sequels. Shining Force III, which was divided into three Scenarios, the last two of which never came to the US, is 190 hours' worth of AMAZING storyline and tactical strategic gameplay across incredibly varied 3D environments (seriously, SF I and II are great, but when you see just how creatively Camelot used 3D and the rotatable environments...not to mention battlefield mechanics and environments that could change mid-fight...WOW. And what you did/whom you killed or found/the choices you made affected the potential characters you could recruit for your army in the other Scenarios; there is NO WAY to get all of them through a single play-through!). If an HD remake it were released, say, for 3DS, whether the Scenarios were separate or sold as a complete package, it WOULD BE HAILED AS THE GREATEST TACTICAL SRPG TO EVER BE RELEASED, not to mention blow Fire Emblem's sales (great as THAT game is) out of the water.

But SF III is only the start. What about a remake/sequel for Dragon Force and its enormous value. It had 8 separate campaigns across a warring continent spanning over 20-30 hours each, with hundreds of generals to capture and command, each of THOSE whom can be given over a dozen different types of troops to command, and up to 100 on each side of the screen per battle...this was and still is AMAZING to watch in REAL TIME on the Saturn, with the generals building up meters for Street Fighter style fireballs or screen-spanning, army-devastating environmental attacks. The sheer depth is crazy; archers are mincemeat against everything against Harpies, which they can shoot down with ease; Dragons are death for everything against Samurai, which in turn are average against everything else. There are Monks, Beastmen, Soldiers, Cavalry, and more (even Zombies). Um, and who at Sega DOESN'T think this franchise would sell again? Fire 'em NOW!

Bug! is another Saturn franchise whose 3D environments would look AMAZING on the 3DS. The Panzer Dragoon and PD Saga games would be given entirely new life on either 3DS but especially HD consoles (as evidenced by that beautiful track in Sonic: All-Stars Racing Transformed). Magic Knight RayEarth would give gamers a great top-down Action RPG that contains an EXCELLENT story. The SystemSoft-developed (but Sega-distributed in Japan) Daisenryaku/Iron Storm franchise would give hardcore Strategy gamers exactly what we've been so sorely missing on consoles since R.U.S.E. and they are TAILOR-MADE for that Wii U Gamepad and local multiplayer matches where you don't want your opponents to see your moves.

In closing, I have no idea whether Nintendo monitors forums like this (and their recent statement that consumer requests typically fall on deaf ears sure isn't promising), but a Nintendo/Sega partnership just makes plain sound business sense (and can you begin to imagine what a Smash Bros. game would look like with those two together!?). It's what their consumers WANT, and there used to be a time when the "consumer was always right". The industry and the hobby need that time to come again...and SOON.



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: New Year Resolutions for Nintendo:


While the ThunderForce series is/was made by Technosoft and not Sega specifically, it has always been my favorite "schmup" series and would definitely be welcome on Wii U (as would other Genesis/Sega CD-era greats like Gaiares, M.U.S.H.A., Silpheed, and others). And while we're on the subject of (originally) Sega third parties, let's not forget GameArts and its excellent franchises, most notably the LUNAR and Grandia series; if LUNAR 3 were announced for the Wii U it would be a system-seller, no question, on BOTH sides of the Pacific. Hey, it's been a LONG time coming...



AtlanteanMan commented on Talking Point: New Year Resolutions for Nintendo:

I like the aforementioned suggestions. To those I'd like to add:

1) More turn-based Strategy. Get a Fire Emblem and/or Advance Wars title for Wii U and include "hotseat" multiplayer modes; that gamepad's touchscreen was MADE for these kinds of games!

2) More "obscure" Nintendo properties for Wii U. Mario and Zelda games are great but they're also "safe"; it's the games that "round out" a console's library that truly determine its greatness (for example: the much under-appreciated Sega Saturn). F-Zero, StarFox, Kid Icarus, and even Metroid haven't received nearly enough exposure on Nintendo's living room platforms recently.

3) SEGA! Look, if an outright full partnership isn't doable for whatever reason, Nintendo should at least try to arrange for Sega (and other major Japanese developers) to throw as much full, exclusive support behind the Wii U as possible. Sega has been sitting on a MOUNTAIN of genuinely awesome, AAA properties since they abandoned console-making. Giving Sonic a breather and putting franchises like (old school, OFFLINE, story-based) Phantasy Star, Shining Force, Dragon Force, Panzer Dragoon, Shinobi, LandStalker, Skies of Arcadia, and Valkyria Chronicles, among many others, on the Wii U would completely revitalize both Nintendo and Sega's fortunes as of late. We know that droughts between major game releases have been a huge issue for Nintendo since pretty much the N64 days; having Sega alongside them could potentially address that and give the Wii U the distinct identity it's sorely needed since the beginning.



AtlanteanMan commented on Former Sony Developer Feels The Wii U "Won't S...:

I will never be a proponent of gimmickry (i.e. forcing teams to design games around a control scheme), however thus far even Nintendo has mostly ignored what was originally the Wii U's primary selling point: the touch screen on its primary controller. The thing is MADE for under-represented genres such as turn-based strategy, where each player can make their moves on the touch screen without exposing what they're doing to other players in the room. A Wii U version of Advance Wars, Daisenryaku, or even Fire Emblem with local multiplayer capability would be a true game-changer and begin bringing a lot more hobbyists into the fold.

Mario, Zelda, and other single-player-centric titles can use the touchscreen in creative ways, but it will take exploring directions like this to truly give the Wii U an identity of its own and help put a stop to its naysayers. And Nintendo MUST do this themselves; the single biggest reason they continue to lack third-party support has nothing to do with "system power" and everything to do with control interfaces that can't be duplicated on other platforms (and exposure on multiple platforms is how many third-parties make their money from their games). They can't expect a third-party developer to undertake what would be considered a niche, risky project that utilizes the Wii U touchscreen and hence can't easily be ported to other platforms. Fortunately, Nintendo's internal development teams tend to be up to the task of carrying a console on their own, but it would be nice if they can prove the value of that touchscreen; if they do, expect Microsoft and Sony to introduce their own add-on versions before the end of this console generation just as they emulated the Wii's motion controls.

If they don't, however, while I don't believe the Wii U "won't survive to see another Christmas", it will have lost its biggest opportunity to show "mainstream" (i.e. eye candy and kill count loving) gamers how it offers them experiences (aside from the obvious Nintendo properties) that can't be found anywhere else.



AtlanteanMan commented on Former Sony Developer Feels The Wii U "Won't S...:

DISCLAIMER: The content of this post is copy/pasted from a post I made yesterday on IGN regarding similar negative comments by Naughty Dog's Jason Rubin.

Personally I think that Rubin and many others in the industry are missing what enables Nintendo to repeatedly deny rumors of their demise, and its implications are far-reaching. Not only is Nintendo the last videogame-centric console maker, but they're also the only one whose first party games tend toward family friendliness. Nintendo's entire business model differs so strongly from Sony and Microsoft that frankly I would say there's a good argument for the idea that the videogame industry now has TWO separate and distinct markets. One values eye candy and kill counts while the other corners the family and local multiplayer-centric market and emphasizes top-notch game and level design (even despite the fact so many titles are centered around Mario and Zelda) and new approaches to those established formulas that enable them to stay fresh and exciting.

All three console makers have games that are worth playing and have established themselves as icons of the hobby, but Nintendo really has no direct competition for the audience they're targeting...and hence they continue to baffle and frustrate their giant "competitors" who really only covet what would be absurdly lucrative franchises for themselves.

And for anyone still hoping that Nintendo will fold up their tents and go third-party, may I remind you of what happened to Sega and their once extensive catalog of awesome properties since they made that move. Sometimes you don't appreciate the greatness of things until they're gone. And an industry without Nintendo as a console maker would never be the same...and it would be far lesser for it.



AtlanteanMan commented on Review: Mario Party: Island Tour (3DS):

I always enjoyed the Mario Party series on GameCube with friends and family. I've had every iteration up through Mario Party 8 and never really understood why this series received such negative responses from some people. It's got clean, great pick-up-and-play, simple mini-games that you don't have to spend half the day learning or teaching everyone how to do this or that, which is a nice option to have when playing with less experienced players.

While I'm glad to see Wii Party available for Wii U (and I'll probably give it a try at some point), I kind of miss the Mario Party series on consoles. I'm sure the 3DS and DS versions are fun, but I (and I'm sure many other gamers) don't have any friends or relatives that A) own a 3DS/DS and/or B) own copies of the same game(s). I realize the business strategy is to sell more game copies and more systems, but this is a SERIOUS impediment to my choosing to purchase ANY multiplayer-centric title for a portable system.
If you're listening, Nintendo, please bring Mario Party to Wii U (and while you're at it, a Wii U version of Advance Wars (with local multiplayer mode where the person whose turn it is moves their units using the Wii U Gamepad away from their opponents' view) would be AWESOME!



AtlanteanMan commented on Soapbox: Super Mario 3D World's Playful Whimsy...:

DISCLAIMER: I also happen to own a PlayStation 3 and an Xbox 360 and I have enjoyed them, so please don't consider this post a fanboy rant; it's just a personal opinion.

Anyone who dismisses Nintendo for having inferior consoles or "kiddie" games is almost certainly a product of the post-Final Fantasy VII generation (the game that "made RPGs mainstream", which at the time seemed like a great thing until menu and turn-based combat died to satisfy the button-mashing cravings of nebulous masses). From then on it's been a rift between gamers who care about gameplay and those who tout the visuals and tech specs of their favorite platform. I could care less about 90% of what's on offer for consoles today (streaming video services, music, movies, social networking, etc.), and give me a local multiplayer experience with friends in my living room over online with team-killing, profanity-spewing strangers online any day. And the way companies have recently been manipulating online and DLC to gouge customers of every possible penny, I'd happily return to a completely offline system if someone offered it.

Sega was Nintendo's last true competitor in the console marketplace, because they too are a GAMING COMPANY at heart and their entire business revolves around them (this is why I'd love to see a merger between these two companies, by the way; it'd be a game-changer for the entire industry). Nintendo does their own thing precisely because the demographic they're appealing to (families and gamers who appreciate more than just eye candy and kill counts) is so distinct from those whom Microsoft and Sony are battling to attract.

Throw out sales numbers, technical jargon, and all that fluff; Nintendo games are indeed different from anything else on the market in that they're consistently family-friendly, bright and colorful, and typically of the highest quality and value. GAMEPLAY trumps anything, and it's not exactly as if Wii or Wii U games appear to have been designed by a three year-old using an Etch-A-Sketch. The types of games Nintendo focuses on simply don't require millions of colors and realistic textures as the plethora of FPS titles on other platforms require...but on the Wii U in particular those features are available to developers. Frankly the difference in visuals beginning with this series of consoles (the Wii U, the PS4, and the Xbox One) will be less noticeable from their predecessors than any other generation in history...and it's only going to become a less relevant argument for which system is "superior" as time goes on.

The "kiddie" accusation holds no water, either; Nintendo titles may be bright and cheerful on the outside but they hide some of the most hardcore challenge on any platform. Most (small) kids could never finish a Mario title; the latter stages in Galaxy 1 and 2, Mario 64, and Super Mario World are VERY difficult and demand lots of repetition to progress. Fire Emblem's a serious pain to try to get through without losing any party members to permadeath. Zelda's infamous water dungeons routinely make frustrated gamers reach for a Player's Guide.

I enjoy great games regardless of the system they're on, but occasionally I feel the need to go to bat for Nintendo in particular because, as the writer here stated, they often get pushed aside in favor of the latest of the endless eye candy sequels on other platforms. And so far I see nothing on either PS4 or Xbox One that make me want to invest in either; with time I'm sure those titles will come, but I've had my fill of FPSes and violent 3rd-person stuff for the foreseeable future. Wii U has gotten off to a slow start, but if I had to choose only one next-gen system it'd be the one for me right now.