Analysis – The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)

February 24, 2010 3 comments

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Title Screen

(This is an assignment I did for my Writing in Virtual Worlds and Games class, posted on my personal blog with permission. I have made minor changes to the text and images.) Read more…

Review – Borderlands (360)

December 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Borderlands

It’s hard not to enjoy Borderlands.

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How Rock Band has affected how I listen to music

August 29, 2009 Leave a comment
Rock Band 2

Rock Band 2

(EDIT: This article was featured on Bitmob at http://bitmob.com/articles/how-rock-band-has-affected-how-i-listen-to-music )

I am a huge fan of Rock Band. I play it almost daily, but not as a social function like many who play the game; for me, it’s a solitary experience that I find both relaxing and stress relieving. I do some of my best thinking with a plastic fake guitar in my hands.

It was during one particularly long session of Rock Band late into the night that I came to a pretty shocking realization: not only have I not purposely listened to music outside of the various music rhythm video games for several months, I also hadn’t even realized this fact until that moment.

Rock Band and its ilk have completely changed how I purchase, consume, and think about music.

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Review: Braid (PC)

Does the world need another 2D platformer?  Yes.

2009 04 17 - Braid PC Review Screenshot 2

When Braid was released last year on Xbox Live Arcade, the game was met with both critical and commercial success and propelled developer Jonathan Blow into celebrity status in the enthusiast press.  The game certainly deserves the attention it has received; Blow manages to inject originality into a stale genre nearly as old as the medium itself.

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Review: Star Ocean: The Last Hope (360)

Star Ocean: The Last Hope

Star Ocean: The Last Hope

I should make it clear that Star Ocean: The Last Hope is not entirely a bad game.   I enjoyed the game enough to play through the entire 30 hour adventure in a week, despite the glaring balance and design issues that plague the experience.  Unfortunately for Star Ocean fans, by no means is it a return to the series’ glory during the PlayStation’s reign. The Last Hope is ultimately flawed and forgettable, but manages to be a decent Japanese role playing game for those who want to stab some monsters.

Oh yeah, it takes place in space in the near future.  It has to be kind of interesting, right?

Mild spoilers after the jump.

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Sony’s Next Move

February 17, 2009 Leave a comment

The PlayStation 3 is in trouble.

According to the January NPD sales numbers, sales of the PS3 fell nearly 25% compared to last year’s January numbers.  The system’s only game to crack the top 30 in software sales was Call of Duty: World at War, moving a tepid 108,000 copies.  To add insult to injury for Sony, the profitable PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable were also both down compared to last January.  In comparison, both Microsoft and Nintendo managed to not only completely dominate the software sales chart, but also saw large year over year increases in hardware numbers.

In summary, the expensive-to-manufacture $399 PS3 (which is $200 more than the cheapest competitor yet still most certainly losing money) is languishing in both hardware and software sales during a global depression while the only hardware SKUs actually making a profit for Sony are also suffering.

It isn’t looking good for Sony right now.  The kneejerk reaction to this situation would be to slash the price of the PS3 immediately and hope to regain worldwide marketshare.  This is the popular opinion amongst the armchair executives in enthusiast gaming circles.  It’s also a bad idea. Read more…

Blizzard’s MMOnopoly: Why is there no real competition?

January 20, 2009 1 comment

Blizzard’s World of Warcraft is an absolute juggernaut in the PC gaming world.  Official numbers released by the company pegged the number of currently active subscriptions at a staggering 11.5 million spurred by the release of the latest expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, which became the fastest selling PC game ever with four million copies in players’ hands within a month of release.  To give some perspective:

  • Everquest and Ultima Online, the two most successful pre-WoW MMORPGs, both peaked at around 400,000 and 250,000 subscribers, respectively.
  • Lifetime sales of The Sims (excluding expansion packs) is over 16 million.

With the kind of success that Blizzard has seen expanding the MMORPG genre, many companies have tried to enter the market and carve out a healthy subscriber base.  After all, if a company can get 15 dollars a month from a few million people, then that’s a healthy amount of profit even including server upkeep and content creation.

Yet few have ended up with anything resembling WoW‘s sustained growth despite a great deal of effort.  Why?

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