There's lots of interesting news in my Google Reader today. Perhaps the best place to start is an article on Gamasutra called Will 'Casual' Games Dominate the Future of the Industry?. This is a question Bill and I have been asking a lot lately on AA, and it's interesting to see how the opinions of the "professional analysts" GS pulled together compare with our own. I also have some news about upcoming Wii remakes, news of another "eye-based" controller, and more funny ads from GameSetWatch.
Someone was kind enough to record and post "G4 Icons: NES" to YouTube. I'm not sure how long this video will be available (I can't believe that anyone involved acquired permission for the file), so you'd better watch it while you can, either at the link or below the fold. While Bill will undoubtedly be able to point out a zillion mistakes, at least they have lots of comments from folks on-the-scene at the time, such as the president of Nintendo America--and there's also interviews with Steven Kent, game historian. There are also lots of nice shots from NES games and Robbie the Robot. While I don't much care for G4's spastic, ADD-style editing, it's an entertaining way to spend 22 minutes--though for some reason the audio sync is off by quite a margin. Nintendo fans will also want to check out 1UP's Ten Great Mario Moments, an outstanding multimedia feature all-about Mario: "It's a look at how the series' influence has triple-jumped from crusty carts to TV shows and home-made videos, speed runs to full theater productions (with Mario and Luigi duetting on the marimba)." It's a bit frightening, but it does demonstrate just how wide an impact Mario and the NES had on American gaming culture (and beyond!)
For those of us that love playing old classic consoles, but have moved on to newer monitors and TV's with video inputs, this site is for you: http://www.vikingvideogames.com. They offer modification services for most older consoles (in addition to other services). A few people on a ColecoVision forum I frequent have upgraded their CV consoles and say the work and results are very good.
IGN has a surprisingly balanced look at the challenges, risks and promise of Wii sports titles, here. While I know it's an unpopular view, particularly with Nintendo's relatively recent goodwill as the supposed underdog and champion of innovation (and good business practices, and peace and harmony, blah, blah, blah), I think the article is worth reading because it illustrates my basic point about the control scheme itself. If you even look at the videos, whether it's Shigeru Miyamoto at E3 demonstrating Wii tennis or the promo video showing the enthusiastic Japanese three-some playing baseball, while having an alternative control scheme is great and fun and all that, you also lose a certain "crispness", a certain level of control that you don't get with direct intervention like you have with a typical, non-virtual, control scheme. In other words, pushing left on a little stick is instant reaction, while moving left in a virtual space achieves the same thing, but in a very different, approximate, manner.
Author and Screenshots: Mark J.P. Vergeer
Editing: Cecil Casey, Mathew Tschirgi and Bill Loguidice
Online Layout: Cecil Casey and David Torre
How well do you know Mario? Did you know about all of Mario's Bastard Children? Read about some truly obscure Mario Bros.-licensed titles of all sorts--is "Super Mario Bros. & Friends: When I Grow Up" on anyone's top ten list? It seems that Nintendo's brief spasm of cross-platform licensing didn't last long, and, judging by the looks of these titles, that's a good thing. When will parents learn? Educational games suck--and so do devices that try to trick you into learning or getting in shape.
The last "fun" watch I got, save for a relatively recent MP3/WMA/Voice Recorder/FM Radio/512MB Storage/USB watch, was a Nintendo Tetris watch, which I believe I got around 1998. I just found out about this new watch from Fossil, based around Atari's Centipede (and here are the others). Unfortunately, unlike the classic watches of old - like the ones from the early 80's based around Pac-Man and Space Invaders - you can't actually play this one. That and the high price make this a bit of a dissapointment, despite being well designed and in color. I'll take a classic 70's/80's computer, red LED or playable game watch any day over this, though if I ever saw it cheap enough...
Though it looks like it makes unusual use of the bottom screen and may have a little too much detail in its visuals, fans of top-down console shooters going all the way back to Carol Shaw's legendary River Raid for the Atari 2600 VCS should keep an eye on Nibris's upcoming Nintendo DS game, Raid Over the River.
Here's the official press release from the Polish developer (note, the Nibris Website appears to be down at the moment):
There's some speculation on Cravetalk that Apple is contemplating buying out Nintendo. Preposterous? Perhaps. Everyone who knows something about Nintendo's corporate history knows how many times others (including Microsoft ) have tried this same manuever--and failed miserably. Nintendo has always struck me as a living anachronism--imperial samarai lords thriving in the modern era. The main reason why I think Nintendo made it big in the first place was their unflinching and bold resolve to bring back console gaming to the US, despite all the flack about the "death of the videogames industry" that followed in the wake of the Great Videogame Crash of 1983. A cozy war with Sega followed, but once Sony and then Microsoft entered the fray, Nintendo's been steadily losing market share.
Many of us have suspected that the Legend of Zelda smacked of something subversive, and the video below reveals that my suspicions were warranted. Besides the fact that Link's sexuality is an open question, Zelda is actually based on esoteric Satanic and Wacko Jacko rituals, as evidenced by this secret Japanese television commercial for the Super Famicom version: