“bob’s game” Kickstarter updates after twenty months

bob's game

For an overview of bob’s game, see my post The strange tale of “bob’s game.”

Robert Pelloni’s Kickstarter for his game “bob’s game” succeeded back in May of 2014. I wrote about it in a post called “bob’s game” Kickstarter succeeds. Since it succeeded, he made a single Kickstarter update a year late rin May of 2015. Of course, I wrote about that too in post titled bob’s game Kickstarted: one year later. Now we finally have another update. You can check out the update on Kickstarter under the name Small update.

The condensed version of his update is that it seemed pretty honest about his troubles. He “set the bar low for the Kickstarter,” but it seems he set it too low. He used the money to get an apartment for eight months but eventually ended up living out of his van for the next six. She pitched the game to invenstors without success. He eventually got another apartment and enrolled in online classes. (It’s unclear if he’s still in school.) He also discussed some issues he had porting “bob’s game.”

It looks like he’s hoping to port the bob’s game puzzle game first to multiple platforms to help give him income to work on “bob’s game” the RPG. (For some context on the name, bob’s game is a puzzle game. It’s a stand-alone game, but it’s also the final game within the RPG “bob’s game.” “bob’s game” is a game about bob’s game.)

Both bob’s game and “bob’s game” have been listed on Steam Greenlight.

Good luck, Robert!

I’ve linked the original sources, but I’ll reproduce the update as well as the Steam Greenlight descriptions here:

bob’s game (puzzle game) from “bob’s game” Steam Greenlight description:

bob’s game is the best puzzle game ever made.

The legendary bob’s game is the final game from the infamous homebrew Action-RPG “bob’s game” (a game about the puzzle game- note the double quotes!). You can check out the separate Greenlight entry for that game here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=604630184

bob’s game is a multiplayer puzzle game- but not just any puzzle game, *every* puzzle game! It’s a build-your-own puzzle game with a puzzle game creator where you define all the rules to your own custom game!

More than that, great care has been made to ensure that bob’s game is the *best* version of every puzzle game. I went through every puzzle game forum and wiki I could find and made sure to implement every detail and feature required by tournament level hardcore players. It has wall kicks, floor kicks, spin kicks, T-spins, adjustable timing, powerups, you name it.

The rules of bob’s game change in real time as you play it, morphing from game to game and making every round completely unique. Or you can choose to play just your favorite game type against your friends with fantastic controls, super tight timing, and features and powerups from other games.

bob’s game is completely customizable, allowing the player to create in-depth rulesets to mimic existing puzzle games or create entirely new ones to add to the online library.

Create your own puzzle modes! Invent custom rulesets or challenge your friends to a sequence of all your favorite games. Compete in an online world championship and improve your skills to reach the top of the public leaderboard.

bob’s game is constantly evolving with new theme packs, new rules, and user-designed puzzle packs.

This game is not complete, the Java demo featured in the video is an early alpha “MVP” version and I’d like to add many more features. I am also currently porting it back to C++ from Java so that it runs as smoothly as possible with no garbage collection hiccups and can be ported to any platform.

It will be released and continuously updated for desktop PC both standalone and in browser, and on mobile for Android and iPhone, with the source code available to be ported to any other platform.

You can play the alpha version that appears in the video as an embedded game inside the “bob’s game” RPG Demo 3 for PC here: http://bobsgame.com/files/bobsgame_demo_3_dist_win.zip

“bob’s game” is a game about a game called bob’s game. I worked on it for a long time. It’s not done so I want to get it on Early Access.

See more about it on http://bobsgame.com

Please download and play the demos if you have questions about the gameplay.
(Remember: Don’t give up on Tetrid, there is a trick to it.)

Download Demo 1+2 for PC here: http://bobsgame.com/files/bobsgame_demo_2_final.zip
Download Demo 3 for PC here: http://bobsgame.com/files/bobsgame_demo_3_dist_win.zip

Also see the separate Greenlight entry for the bob’s game puzzle game (the best puzzle game ever made) here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=603367632

I’ve also listed the custom BobEdit tools and “bob’s game” engine used to make this game on Greenlight, so that others can make games using them if they want:http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=604913553

“bob’s game” Kickstarter update #2, Small update:

I set the bar low for the Kickstarter but I was hoping it would make enough for at least a year or two of development.  Unfortunately it barely made the minimum amount, but in my situation I had to take what I could get.

I chose to get an apartment instead of trying to live in a van, thinking I’d be better off with the convenience and hoping that I’d be able to figure out something else in that time.  This only gave me an 8 month extension, and I spent most of it still very traumatized and frustrated and I did not find any other solutions.

Once I ran out, I ended up living in my car again for another 6 months until I could find another way to support myself.  I tried sending a pitch deck to over 300 investors and even went door to door on Sand Hill Road.  I emailed every publisher I could find.  I applied for YCombinator and 500 Startups.  None of that worked, so I ended up enrolling in online classes and taking out student loans.

So now I’m back in an apartment and I’ve slowly started getting back into development after almost 2 years of sleeping in a car.

I’ve listed both the puzzle game and the RPG on Steam Greenlight, in hopes that I could get on Early Access, which would really be great for my situation since I could possibly make some steady income as I worked on the games.

I’m still moving forward with the games the best I can and I will still fulfill the backer rewards when I am able to do so.  I am still living on borrowed time, but I’ll do the best I can with the time that I have.

I’m currently porting the Java puzzle game to C++ so that it runs as smoothly as possible. It will be released and continuously updated for desktop PC both standalone and in browser, and on mobile for Android and iPhone, with the source available to be ported to any other platform.

I am doing this as it is the fastest way that I can possibly gain some reliable income, so that I can work on the RPG without worrying about my situation.​

I am not sure what I’m going to do with the RPG. I rewrote it in Java as an MMO so the game world could be continuously updated on the fly.  I was successful at doing that but it is very cumbersome to develop on at this point and it needs to be worked on by a team with funding, not one person with no resources.​

I had gotten caught up in the Silicon Valley hype and thought it would be possible to get investment for a fairly large existing project with a cool online demo. Unfortunately that was not the case.  It would probably have helped to have had some traction and numbers, but maybe it’s just too small of a project for big investors to care, or maybe my background is too risky, or maybe it’s just not good enough.

I’m also unhappy with the state of Java, and the client doesn’t run well enough on mobile which I was really hoping for and one of my deciding factors.​  I had anticipated that Java would become more popular because of Android and hence also more supported on the desktop, but because of some security issues and the lawsuit between Google and Oracle it became less popular.  I would really like to port it back to C++ but that will take a long time, so for now I will stick with Java. I will probably just scale it back to a single player desktop game and release manual updates, or have a good upgrade function built in.

32AB – bobsgame.com’s forum is online

bob's game

It looks like something happening with bob of bob’s game. Frequent commenter Nox pointed me in the direction of bobsgame.com, which is now titled “32AB” and contains a forum with little information.

bob’s posted on the forum once in reply to a thread asking for his life story that he once posted.

“Please do not post the story, thank you. I will post an updated version in the future.”

I’ve talked about it a bit in the past, and I have an archived copy. Honestly, I have little hope he’s going to release anything, but he does have my money already, and I’d be pleasantly surprised to see a release of any sort. It’s been an interesting ride regardless of the outcome.

Super Mario Maker with friends

IMG_2021

Super Mario Maker was released Friday. As the release date approached, I really thought I could resist. I know I just don’t care to devote as much time to playing games as I once did, but I cracked pretty quickly on Friday and bought a copy. Even if I barely play it, it’s more than just a game. It’s a celebration of 30 years of Mario and the culture surrounding those games.

Super Mario Maker

I see it primarily as a social tool, so I designed my first level with friends. Here’s Anela, gem, and Antonio working on our level. We each took turns adding to it. The joy of Nintendo is how it brings people together and creates such rich culture around their properties. I knew gem would have fun with Super Mario Maker because we played it at SDCC this year, but what about Anela and Antonio? At least Antonio plays games and owns consoles, but I wasn’t confident Anela would have fun. However, they both did. Anela went crazy adding as many mushrooms as she could to her part of the level and then insisted I get those mushrooms when I played. Antonio and gem both set up traps in attempts to trick the players. There was a lot of laughter, so I think everybody had a great time. We’ve also been playing Super Mario 3D World. Like Super Mario Maker, even those who don’t play games often have had fun with it. Sure, Anela requests that we carry her through some parts, but she has as much fun, if not more, as the rest of us! Nintendo’s amazing at making their games accessible and enjoyable to people who don’t play games often.

Here’s our masterpiece – “Super cool friends Petanegemio.” It’s a majestic level! Okay, maybe not majestic, but I’ve played it a couple times, and I have fun when I do. Better than just enjoying some random Mario level, this one reminds me of my friends – Anela’s mushroom block maze, gem’s Money Zone of coins and trap (in which I totally fall in that video), and Antonio’s journey into the sky and trap (that I managed to avoid). It’s a masterpiece, at least to me.

“Mario Myths with Mr Miyamoto” helped push me into purchasing it. It’s such a simple video, but it helps accentuate the beauty of Nintendo and their games. It made me tear up just a little, especially the idea that it’s been 30 years since Super Mario Bros. Oh, and that hard hat Mario wears for Super Mario Maker. It’s so cute and representative of the game that’s a perfectly designed icon.

Super Mario Maker (and Super Mario 3D World and so many other Nintendo properties) are really works of art, beautifully created to bring people together accompanied by a soundtrack of their own laughter.

Thank you for the fun times Nintendo, Miyamoto, and all my friends who have played Mario with me!

Live action FPS in Chatroulette

This is probably one of the most amazing games ever made, and I’ll never get to play it.

Realm Pictures put together a live version of a first-person shooter video game played over online the online chat services Chatroulette, Omegle, and Skype. The “player character” asks the chat partner what to do, and the unsuspecting chatter gets to take control. How come I never got something like this when I tried Chatroulette?

I love all the touches of FPS culture – finding better weapons, starting with a crowbar, needing to connect the battery. I especially love the HUD, the over-acted grunts and exclamations, the exaggerated recoil and reloads. It’s really a thing of beauty.

Source: Realm Pictures
Via: Engadget

Chip’s Challenge 2 (finally) released!

chip's challenge 2

Chip’s Challenge has always been one of my favorite games since I first played it with my dad, grandpa, and uncle on the Atari Lynx. Chuck Sommerville made a sequel, but due to issues beyond his control, he wasn’t able to release it. Twenty-five years later, Chip’s Challenge 2 has finally been released.

chip's challenge 2

It was released alongside Chip’s Challenge 1 on Steam and can be purchased in a $5 bundle that contains both games and the CC2 level editor.

chip's challenge 2

It’s a tile-based puzzle game tasking you with helping Chip collect keys, unlock doors, avoid deadly traps, and plan how to retrieve important items that allow you to get past obstacles. Chip’s Challenge 2 appears very similar but adds a variety of a new game elements.

chip's challenge 2

It’s probably too early for me to talk about it too in-depth as I’m only eight levels into the game. However, I’m having a lot of fun, and it’s almost unbelievable that I’m finally playing this gem of a game. It came at a time when I’m about to be extremely busy for the next week, but I’ll see if I can squeeze in a few levels while at my conference next week!

Congratulations, Chuck, on finally getting Chip’s Challenge 2 released! Go Bit Buster!

bob’s game Kickstarted: one year later

bob's game

[Updated on 5/30/15. See bottom of post.]

bob’s game was successfully funded on Kickstarter one year ago today. Right now the official bob’s game site just links to the Kickstarter and we’re no closer to the game. What happened exactly? Let’s look at what Bob has said in the comments since it was Kickstarted.

bobsgame, 5/23/14: Thank you to everyone who pledged, you are all fantastic and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to continue working on this game. For those who are wondering, it made it on the last day thanks to a very generous backer who has been following the project from the beginning.

His site noted that he was going on a 10 day meditation retreat.

bobsgame, 7/31/14: Hi, I realized during my meditation that the best course of action was to spend some time with my parents and then get an apartment for a year, so that’s what I’ve been doing. As soon as I’m settled in I will put up a registration form for backers to provide an address for the business cards and then ship them out. Thank you and sorry for the delay.

Backer, 8/1/14: You guys should relax a bit. lol He will give us updates when he has something worth letting us know about. Obviously, he didn’t feel like “spending time with family” would be a good update but some of you guys being impatient made him come here and post that. There was no ETA on the cards in the pledge rewards description so people who pledged to get those need to wait until they’re ready to be shipped. This game is obviously going to take time and there is only one person working on it, so give it time guys.

Gran PC, 8/2/14: There was no ETA? Wait, so what does the “Estimated delivery: Jul 2014” mean right under “Original business card blah blah”?

bobsgame, 8/2/14: Thank you for being understanding, Backer. GranPC is correct, I missed that shipping date. I’m very sorry for the delay, I’ll do my best to make up for it.

Massimiliano Luisi, 10/31/14: Progress so far?

bobsgame, 10/31/14: Working on stuff

bobsgame, 12/31/14: Happy New Year!

At this time, there was a Forbes article by Michael Thomsen about bob’s game. It noted that, at least at the time, “Pelloni claims his Kickstarter backers will be ‘reimbursed,’ and the game will be released in its current unfinished state as an open source bundle of files.”

Bob’s Game Kickstarter To Be Refunded After Developer Moves On, Michael Thomsen, Forbes.com, 1/14/15.

bobsgame, 2/8/15: Everything is back on track, more or less.

Giroro, 2/26/15: I’m bored. Anybody know of any fun games to play?

bobsgame, 2/26/15: Go running

Gran PC, 2/27/15: Was the ‘welcome to “bob’s game”‘ text on top always animated? I swear it only started pulsing now.

bobsgame, 2/27/15: I didn’t change anything

Peter Anargirou, 5/23/15: Hi, Bob. The Kickstarter funding closed one year ago today. Any update? Thanks, and I wish you good luck!

And that’s it. Honestly, I only pledged $20. I already got $20 worth of enjoyment, but I do hope it reaches a more polished release of some sort, both for his backers’ sake and for his own sake.

I guess we’ll see. You can read my complete coverage of this strange tale here.

Edit on 5/30/15: Bob responded.

bobsgame, 5/24/15: I am turning into God.

More Papers, Please

Two minor things I wanted to mention after talking about Papers, Please recently.

First, Collin shared this video with me. It’s fantastic. Glory to Arstotzka!

arstotzka civilization 5 papers please

Second, there’s a mod for Sid Meier’s Civilization V that adds Arstotzka as a nation. I don’t play Civ V, but the mod seems interesting to me anyways. It’s created by Snakeeater337 and can be found on Steam as Arstotzka (Requires BNW) for Sid Meier’s Civilization V).

Chip’s Challenge 1 & 2 releasing on Steam next month

Chip’s Challenge being released on Steam would be big enough news, but the bigger news is that Chip’s Challenge 2 is releasing as well. Shortly after finishing Chip’s Challenge, Chuck Sommerville created the sequel. Unfortunately, the copyright holder wanted him to front the money for publishing, so it was never released. CC2 has been simply a legend, a myth to fans. It’s really exciting to know that we’re going to be playing it soon!

I’ll have to get used to the graphics. It seems like most fans played Chip’s Challenge on Windows, but I played it on the Lynx, which features different graphics. I’m sure I’ll learn to love the new graphics as well.

chip's challenge

My autographed copy of Chip’s Challenge is the highlight of my game collection. Yeah, I’m definitely excited.

You can read the full press release below:

25 years later Chip’s Challenge 1 & 2 come to Steam in May

Twenty-five years have passed since Chip’s Challenge 1 was released on the Atari Lynx & Windows 3.1, a game fondly enjoyed by millions. However what’s not commonly known is a sequel was also created by Chuck Sommerville shortly after, but never released.

Chuck created Chip’s Challenge 1 in just ten weeks, he then spent two years designing Chip’s Challenge 2. However disaster struck, on finishing the development, Chuck found the trademark had been sold and the new owners wanted him to fund the publishing. Having just spent two years working onChip’s Challenge 2, Chuck couldn’t afford this, so with colossal personal sadnessChip’s Challenge 2 was shelved.

“When I couldn’t release Chip’s Challenge 2, it hit me really hard. Not only had I spent two years perfecting it, I also felt I’d let down the fans too.” Chuck Sommerville said. “I generally thought the only way Chip’s Challenge 2 was ever going to see the light of day was by having my wife leak it on the internet on my death.”

However two decades later, with fans continually pleading with Chuck to release Chip’s Challenge 2 and nearly five years of negotiation with the trademark owners, Chip’s Challenge 2 can now finally be released in all its original glory with every unseen levels and game elements on Steam, along with Chip’s Challenge 1.

“I’m so excited about getting to finally release Chip’s Challenge 1 & 2 on Steam, it’s defiantly one off the bucket list.” Chuck Sommerville said. “We are now just adding some additional Steam features such as Trading Cards & Steam Workshop to the original code. Oh and the ability to save your game progress, rather than using the old code system.”

Chip’s Challenge 1 & Chip’s Challenge 2 will be available on Steam on 29thMay:

Chip’s Challenge 1 is $1.99 on Steam for PC:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/346850

Chip’s Challenge 2 is $4.99 on Steam for PC:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/348300

Chip’s Challenge 2: Editor as DLC for CC2 is $2.99 on Steam for PC:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/356630

Or all three are available as a bundle at 50% off the combined price for $4.99.

YouTube – Chip’s Challenge 1 – Trailer – https://youtu.be/tJZfuei-psU
YouTube – Chip’s Challenge 2 – Trailer – https://youtu.be/drZgseY2_Jk

About Chip’s Challenge
Before Chip can join the Bit Busters computer club and hang out with the girl of his dreams, Melinda the Mental Marvel, he must solve all 144 challenging puzzles.

Your bird’s-eye view can help Chip rush through the puzzles and mazes before he’s deleted by monsters, traps and the passage of time. Show Chip how to use blocks of soil to overcome water traps and cherry bombs, find keys, and pick up the computer chips which Chip needs to solve some puzzles.

Can you help Chip win the cold heart of his one true love and become an official Bit Buster? If you can’t, no one can!

Niffler Ltd.
Niffler is an independent games studio founded by Chuck Sommerville and friends, which believes video games should not simply be a passive experience. Their aim is to create games that are fun for the player to both play & make, with the make component being as easy to use as playing the game themselves.

For further details please contact PR@Niffler.co.uk

Friday the 13th

Amnesia

Today’s Friday the 13th, so I thought I’d urge you to play Amnesia. I’ve spoken about it extensively in the past, and I still feel it’s one of the best games I’ve played. Most of the game is spent utterly alone, but once in a while shambling enemies will grace you with their presence. You spend the game attempting to keep your own sanity while you struggle between using light while attracting enemies and staying in the dark while losing sanity.

Bodies

One of the best aspects of the game is the effect of losing sanity. Eventually you’ll begin to hear monsters approaching, but you won’t be sure if a monster is really approaching or if it’s due to your lack of sanity. Coupled with your possible real (player) paranoia, it’s a big source of fear.

I love this game, although I definitely play it alone!

Papers, Please, Gamer’s Edition is full of collectibles

papers please

The Gamer’s Edition of Papers, Please was just announced, coming with a Steam key for the game, a keyring, a full set of Arstotzkan password and paperwork, Arstotzkan stamps, a Glory to Arstotzka poster, a suitcase, ink pad, approved and denied stamps, an inspector’s pin, and an immigration rule book for Arstotzka. Amazing. You can see an idea of what they believe it’ll all look like above. Note that I took the image from Gamer’s Edition.

Papers, Please is the 2013 game simulating work as an immigration officer in Arstotzka, a fictional, totalitarian country borrowing concepts of Eastern Bloc countries as well as dystopias such as that of the government in 1984. It’s one of the best games I’ve ever played, leaving the player wondering if each action they take is good or bad. For a game based on paperwork, it’s fun and really opens your eyes.

Gamer’s Edition is a new site that aims to deliver “the ultimate version of great digital games,” similar to the collector’s editions that tripe-A, physical titles get. It was designed primarily with indie games in mind, but the important requirement is that it’s a digital game. I think it’s a neat idea.

The Gamer’s Edition of Papers, Please costs $70, and they’re only producing the number that are ordered. I wish I had more money to spend right now, because I don’t have the money to spend on something like this right now. However, Gamer’s Edition seems to be a site worth watching.

Glory to Arstotzka!

The emotional and thought-provoking worlds of Team Ico

shadow of the colossus

My friend Edward introduced me to Shadow of the Colossus, and I loved it. Scaling colossi was exhilarating, Agro was a loyal campaign, and the minimalist story raised more questions as the game progressed. By the end, the arc reaches a conclusion while at the same time the game allows the player to draw his or her own conclusions. Why has Wander traveled to the Forbidden Land? Yes, to save Mono, but who is she to him? Is Wander good? Is Wander evil? Perhaps the same questions could apply to Dormin or even Lord Emon.

What’s surprisingly fascinating is all that exists to explore that isn’t put directly in front of you. There’s so much beautiful world to see in Shadow of the Colossus. There’s realizing all the poetic touches, such as the physical change of Wander, the final fate of Agro, and the relationship between Dormin, the idols, the colossi, and Wander. The game never tells you about fruit or lizard tails. The only thing driving Wander to the top of the temple is the player’s own curiosity.

ico

Like the majority of fans, I played Shadow of the Colossus first, but I soon followed it by playing Team Ico’s first game, Ico. While the gameplay is vastly different, its tone and themes are quite similar. Ico might have a companion in Yorda, but it’s still an isolating experience considering he can’t communicate with her. They might not share a language, but there’s still a small amount of communication. The game can really instill a sense of panic in me when I hear Yorda cry out and I’m not near her. Like Shadow of the Colossus, Ico has a fully whole and satisfying story arc while still leaving many things open to interpretation. Who is the Queen? What of her subjects? Was it just her and Yorda? Why was Ico brought to the castle? Miyuki Miyabe wrote a fantastic novelization of the game called, in English, Ico: Castle in the Mist. I was definitely surprised when I saw it sitting on a table in Barnes & Noble and quickly purchased it. It goes into great detail and provides fascinating background information based on Miyuki’s interpretation of Ico. It might not be canon, but I still highly recommend it to fans.

After playing both games, a whole new chapter unlocked – the relationship between the two. First, I thought about it, but that soon yielded to Internet research. The Queen’s Sword is an unlock in Shadow of the Colossus; does this imply the Shadow of the Colossus takes place later, or is it a fun nod? How about some of the Queen’s architecture found in Shadow of the Colossus? I think it’s likely reuse of art assets, but some people saw it differently. Of course, there’s the rather obvious fact that the baby at the end of Shadow of the Colossus has horns just like Ico. Fumito Ueda, director of both games, sees Shadow of the Colossus as a prequel but leaves it open for players to decide for themselves.

People all over did the world did more than look for relationships between the two games: they also searched for hidden secrets, with the biggest being the idea of a 17th colossus. The title never told players to eat the fruit or lizard tails. There’s no reason for Wander to be able to grab birds and go for a flight. Nothing tells players to climb the temple. There are large amounts of unused landscape. It certainly seemed to many that there was room for and reason to believe in more hidden in that Forbidden Land. It’s now been over nine years since the release of Shadow of the Colossus, and most fans agree that everything to be found has been found. There is no 17th colossus. But there is plenty to see in the game, and exploring for the sake of exploring can still be satisfying. In fact, exploring outside the game can be satisfying as well. Maybe there are only 16th colossi in the game, but there were still scrapped colossi. If they can’t be found in the game, they can be found in sketches and notes. Craig Owens published a great piece on Shadow of the Colossus and fans’ search for its secrets called The quest for Shadow of the Colossus’ last big secret for Eurogamer on February 5, 2013. It was a great read when it was first published, and I’ve enjoyed rereading it multiple times as well.

Team Ico revealed a follow-up, The Last Guardian at E3 2009. It was one of the reasons I purchased a PS3. Many of the development team have left, but as of just a couple months ago, Ueda says it’s in development. Hopefully the PS4 sees it eventually.

Both images taken from their respective games’ Wikipedia articles. Ico’s was uploaded by Wikipedia user Jayteecork and Shadow of the Colossus’ by Wikipedia user The Prince of Darkness.

The McElroy brothers “play” Elegy for a Dead World

A couple weeks ago, Griffin and Justin McElroy recorded a video while “playing” Elegy for a Dead World. The game lets you float through a backdrop of a desolate, alien world and provides writing prompts. You can complete the prompts and publish your story as well as view others’ stories. I don’t think anything I’d ever be able to write could compare to their work though! Check it out on Polygon.

Chip’s Challenge NES prototype

chip's challenge nes

There’s an eBay auction currently in progress for an unreleased prototype of Chip’s Challenge for NES. I didn’t even realize that existed. At $1091.77 with 47 bids, it’s a little out of my price range. Interesting nevertheless. Thanks to Retro Treasures for posting about it!

via Unreleased Chip’s Challenge NES Prototype, Gnome, Retro Treasures, 12/12/14.

Source: UNRELEASED NES Prototype EPROM Card CHIP’S CHALLENGE DEMO NTSC 1992 NINTENDO, 93tomegatherion, eBay,

Roguelikes, the Flipboard magazine

Nellistos has an online magazine about roguelikes aptly called Roguelikes that might be worth reading if you’re interested in the genre. It uses Flipboard, a magazine-like aggregator. Basically, he collects articles about roguelikes on his Flipboard. I found out about it because he included my earlier article on Fatal Labyrinth from June. I really should have mentioned this sooner!

The PAX Pokemon League

PAX Pokemon League scarf

Did you know that there’s a PAX Pokemon League with gym leaders, badges, Elite Four, and champion? I didn’t until my friend, Alex, posted a link on Facebook to a Kotaku article on it. It’s such an amazing idea.

At PAX, volunteers are acting as gym leaders and can be identified by green scarves (hopefully they don’t mind me borrowing the image used at the top). People can challenge them to Pokemon battles in Pokemon X and Y to earn their badges. There are a few basic rules, but it boils down to “don’t be cheap, and have fun.” The gym leaders can award badges at their own discretion, so you don’t necessarily have to defeat them to earn the badges.

It’s a neat event that embraces the fun and dedication of fans. Alternate reality games like this one are particularly interesting and engaging, bringing some real world activities to otherwise virtual games. It reminds me a bit of the WoW quests I’ve seen at Anime Expo years ago (that were subsequently banned) or even the Geeky Hooker’s CritterDrops, in which she drops crocheted critters and leaves tips on Twitter so people can find and adopt them. (I didn’t manage to get any at SDCC, but there was a lot of competition.)

It’s too bad there wasn’t something like the PAX Pokemon League at SDCC; I would have loved to participate. On the other hand, it’s good on my wallet because it would have made me purchase the game. It’s a great idea, and I hope more things like this continue to happen.

Teaser for The Behemoth’s Game 4!

The Behemoth is one of my favorite game developers with a pretty stellar record so far. Alien Hominid, Castle Crashers, and their latest, BattleBlock Theater, are all fantastic games. They’ve been wonderful with the inclusion and focus on playing cooperatively with local friends as well, which is something I really value. Their booths always attract me, and I absolutely love their arcade cabinets. I’ve even been to local events.

Game 4 is their newest game; The Behemoth just debuted the teaser trailer for it. I love it. And I love Will Stamper’s voice work. Game 4 will be playable soon at Pax Prime. I can’t wait to find out more about it.

Source: First Look at Game 4, danp, The Behemoth Blog, 8/20/14.

The only thing I care about from the third day of E3 is dating birds

I think dating sims and cliche high school games that aren’t anything like my real experience are exceptionally fun, so it’s no surprise that I’d be interested in Hatoful Boyfriend. You play a young woman who goes to school, manages her time, and goes on dates. You’re also “the last human girl in the world.” I’m not sure if you’re the last human or just human girl, but either way, you apparently decide to start dating birds. Of course. It’s a PC and Mac game aiming at a release this summer. Assuming it’s cheap enough, I’m pretty much sold.

– Bird dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend is a bizarre delight, Megan Farokhmanesh, Polygon, 6/12/14.

Also, this comment:

hatofulboyfriend

E3 Day Two

There were a few tidbits that interested me today.

The Last Guardian

Yoshida of Sony remarked that The Last Guardian isn’t canceled. He also said that when they do cancel a title that’s already been announced, they’ll tell their fans. It’s nice to see that reiterated, but I’m still annoyed that when I bought my PS3, I did so under the impression that I’d get to play The Last Guardian on it.

– If we ever cancel The Last Guardian, we’ll tell you, Sony’s Yoshida promises, Brian Crecente, Polygon, 6/11/14.

The Last of Us, Shadow of the Colossus, and Diablo 3

There will be a nephalem rift in Diablo 3 Ultimate Evil Edition with references to The Last of Us. This is sort of interesting although I haven’t played The Last of Us and prefer D3 on PC. What’s slightly more interesting is that there will be armor based on Shadow of the Colossus. After reading the first part of an article about the inclusion of The Last of Us, I was really hoping for more than just armor. Could you imagine fighting a Colossus in Diablo? Oh well.

– The Last of Us and Shadow of the Colossus guest star in Diablo 3 on PS3 and PS4, Owen S. Good, Polygon, 6/11/14.

LittleBigPlanet 3

Another reminder of a game I own and still need to play – LittleBigPlanet 2 in this case. LBP 3 still includes Sackboy but has three new characters as well: Oddsock is a dog-like character that moves faster. He’s adorable, and I’m excited. Toggle is a large, heavier sack-person that can move heavy objects and use his weight to solve puzzles. Lastly, Swoop is a flying bird. I’ll admit it; I’m interested.

– LittleBigPlanet 3 has some new friends for you to meet, Colin Campbell, Polygon, 6/11/14.

Devil’s Third

Here’s a game that I skipped yesterday until my friend talked to me about it today. It was announced as a Wii U exclusive. The trailer shows the main character as some sort of ninja, sniper, assassin cool guy with an attitude that also plays the drums, cusses a lot, and drinks. Honestly, it seemed over the top, and not in the good way like MadWorld or No More Heroes. It just seemed like Nintendo wanted to show that they can have mature exclusives, when that should be obvious by the titles I just mentioned. This just looked silly.

– Devil’s Third Trailer (Wii U), GamesHQMedia, YouTube, 6/10/14.

Destiny

Lastly, I watched a new Destiny gameplay video. I’m fairly certain others had already been released, but I didn’t know much about the game. A friend of mine has compared it to WoW a number of times. He’s never played WoW, and that’s incredibly clear after watching the video. It might still be a fun game, but it’s not really in the same market at all.

– Destiny gameplay video and interview, E3 2014, Polygon Staff, Polygon, 6/11/14.

E3 Day 1, Nintendo’s day

It seemed like Nintendo announced new entries in most of their franchises. Many of them looked pretty great. Hopefully it’ll be enough to substantially increase their install base. I suppose I’ll talk about the games for which I’m least excited first. I didn’t put a ton of thought into the order besides wanting to end on high notes.

Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. is still coming out. It’s not one of my favorites, so I don’t have a lot to say. I’m sure I’ll play it and enjoy it, but Smash is usually a game I play a bunch for a day or two and then leave. Creating custom fighters with miis could be interesting.

amiibo

Nintendo has figures called amiibos that work like the Skylanders toys. I’m really not sold on this idea. Okay, they can into my game, but can’t I already bring things into games using, I don’t know, DLC, without having to store a bunch of figures? They mentioned that as an amiibo fights in Smash, it’ll get better, and I could then bring it a friend’s house. Again, I feel like you could just save this to an account. Now, I’m not against figurines. If they’re really cool, that’s great, but it seems needless.

Star Fox, Project Giant Robot, and Project Guard

A new Star Fox is being designed by Miyamoto. I was shocked that the Wii didn’t have a Star Fox or a Pilotwings, so I’m glad to see a new Star Fox coming to the Wii U. I’m not clear on how it controls, but it requires you to watch the TV, which displays what looks to be a familiar view for a Star Fox game, as well as the gamepad, which is used for aiming and shooting. I don’t know. That sounds terrible.

Miyamoto is also designing Project Giant Robot, which also uses the TV and gamepad. The TV gives you a larger view of what’s happening while the gamepad has a first-person perspective. You control a giant, slow-moving robot. The sticks control the arms while tilting the gamepad controls the robot’s balance. It was compared to sumo wrestling. I’m more open to this than the controls of Star Fox.

His third game is Project Guard in which players control security cameras defending a base. The TV displays feeds from all the security cameras while the gamepad shows a map. You use both to see enemies approaching your base and to plan your defense.

Zelda

Link’s going to do some running around on the Wii U in a new Zelda game soon that’s supposedly going to be much more open and focus on exploring. That’s good and bad. I liked going into side dungeons back in A Link to the Past to find better weapons to help. It was nice being able to obtain some at any time. On the other hand, sometimes if I spend too much time playing around in an open game without making progress, I feel demoralized. I’ve also been annoyed at the increasing long tutorials in Zelda games. I hope we get started quickly and that Link gets his sword within the first two minutes. It does look really beautiful! I’m not sold on it yet, but I do really love the Zelda universe.

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

A new Kirby game is coming as the successor to Kirby’s Canvas Curse called Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. At first I thought it said “Course” and was excited in the hopes that it was a sequel to Kirby’s Dream Course. Come on, Nintendo! I didn’t play Kirby’s Canvas Curse, so I don’t know what to expect here. Also, there are plenty of other Kirby games I missed that I could play cheaper (or already own) – Dream Land 2, Dream Land 3, 64, The Amazing Mirror, Epic Yarn, Mass Attack, Return to Dream Land, and Triple Deluxe.

Yoshi’s Woolly World

Yoshi’s Woolly World looks like a combination of a Yoshi game with Kirby’s Epic Yarn. It looks like a lot of fun, but it also reminded me that I didn’t play Kirby’s Epic Yawn. And then I realized that there was a recent Yoshi game, Yoshi’s New Island, with which I wasn’t familiar at all!

Splatoon

Splatoon is an interesting third-person shooter that involves squids shooting ink. The goal is to cover the map with your color, and the ink they shoot has consequences in the game. You move faster through your own ink (and refill your ink), and you move slowly through the opposing squids’ ink. It looks like it could be fun.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Last night I was playing Super Mario 3D World, and as I played a toad level, I realized that they’re a lot of fun and wondered if Nintendo would ever release a game based on it. Apparently they would, and it’s going to be called Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. I can only imagine it’ll be fun because I love the puzzles in Super Mario 3D World.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong

Speaking of puzzle games, a new Mario vs. Donkey Kong game was announced for the Wii U. I played and loved the first two, but this announcement did make me realize that I missed the last three titles in this series.

Mario Maker

Mario Maker is the game that makes me giddy. Mario Maker is to Mario levels as Mario Paint is to pictures and music. As far as I could tell, there was no information released on sharing your levels. I really hope I can share them online with my friends. It looks like a blast.

Final thoughts

Before I jump back into Nintendo, I should also mention that a feature-length Sonic the Hedgehog movie was announced blending animation with live-action. I bet it’ll be terrible, and I’ll definitely enjoy watching it!

As for Nintendo, they had a very strong showing, but there’s still a problem. I’m not sure how many of these I’m going to purchase. I hope that they get strong sales, because I want Nintendo to succeed. When I have so many games that I own and haven’t finished, I shouldn’t be buying new games. Some of these games would be ones I’d be super excited to play except for the fact that they reminded me that I’ve already missed entries in their series I could play cheaper. I have Kirby’s Dream Collection and Kirby’s Epic Yarn, for example. There are also similar platformers I missed such as Donkey Kong Country Returns and Tropical Freeze (or non-Nintendo series such as Epic Mickey and its sequel).

I would have been interested in purchasing Star Fox if it wasn’t for that control scheme. It might not be so bad, but I’ll need to wait and see. Considering that Mario Kart is one of my favorite series and I’ve resisted buying Mario Kart 8 in an effort to save money and play what I own, I’m not sure I’ll be buying many of these.

Mario Maker looks amazing, and I’ll probably be picking that up. If Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is cheap enough, I could see getting that. (If it’s a retail release, I’ll likely pass.) That’s not  to say that I’m not interesting in the others. Many of them I’ll likely play in the future, either picking them up cheap, borrowing them from friends, or possibly just caving to my cravings. This is all really a reflection of where I am with gaming and not their announcements, I suppose. I don’t think Nintendo could have had a stronger showing honestly. It’s not enough to simply release good games, because there isn’t enough time to play every good game. They have to be better than whatever else one would do with that free time. Let’s hope these announcements help Nintendo!

Happy 30th, Tetris

Today marked 30 years since the original release of Alexey Pajitnov’s amazing puzzle game, Tetris. To celebrate, I quit Dr. Mario Express on my DSi for the first time in months and played some good old Tetris DS.

Most of my Tetris playing over the years has been on Nintendo handhelds – Tetris, Tetris DX, and Tetris DS. It’s funny, but each time a new one was released, I was very resistant. I remember hating the look of Tetris DX at first, but I got over it. I still think that the lack of a similar puzzle game with the same longevity still hurts iOS. Nothing else really comes close.

I also have a ton of great memories playing TetriNET, an unofficial, online Tetris game. Besides playing like normal Tetris, it also had modes with powerups. If you cleared a line with an item in it, it went into your inventory, and you could press a number key to use the item on that player. For example, you could add a line, remove a line, jumble the blocks, switch fields, etc. It was a ton of fun, although maybe I shouldn’t talk too much about a game that’s infringing on the real Tetris.

The original designer, Alexy Pajitnov, designed other games as well. Most notably, he designed Hexic and Hexic HD, which was pre-loaded on all Xbox 360 consoles. I had no idea that Hexic HD was his game, but I played it a ton when the 360 was new.

Countless nights I’ve stared at the ceiling in bed, seeing falling tetronimos under the Tetris effect after playing a lot of Tetris. It’s definitely an amazing game created by a talented designer. Thanks for all the fun, Pajitnov.

“bob’s game” Kickstarter succeeds

Yesterday morning, I checked the “bob’s game” Kickstarter with low hopes. As I expected, it was only about half way to the goal with 12 hours remaining. I knew it was over, but I intended to check back later.

I was quite surprised to see a comment by Anonymouse informing us that someone donated a huge chunk, giving the project the amount it needed to complete. This is pretty exciting for fans of “bob’s game.” It’s also a bit of a turning point. He has some of our money now. I only gave $20, and it was a gamble I was willing to make. However, what happens if the game doesn’t materialize soon? Obviously I still believe in Pelloni, otherwise I wouldn’t have backed the Kickstarter. This seems like his last chance, and I bet he knows it too. Will we be playing “bob’s game” soon? Let’s wait and see.

The full bob’s game now on Kickstarter

bobsgame

[Updated on 5/23/14.]

Can this really be happening? Pelloni now has a Kickstarter for the full bob’s game for PC, Mac, Linux, and Android. He’s hoping to raise $10,000. At the time of this writing, he’s raised $1,515 with 28 days to go. I think he’s going to do it this time. I’m also a big fan of his reward tiers – or tier, rather. For $20, “You get access to the full single player campaign when it is available, a premium account for the online service, access to a special forum, and other goodies!” I actually have a lot of respect for that.

Is it sad that I actually had a dream that I met Robert Pelloni last night?

There’s a nice, long history written at bobsgame.com as well. You might want to check it out!

Thank you to everyone who continues to check out my site and keep me informed. I received comments about the new Kickstarter on my last bob’s game post by wot is bobs gam, killamo187, and anonymouse, so thanks you three! Also, thanks to gBev for keeping up the Bob’s Game Mailing List.

As usual, I’m going to update my master post on bob’s game here on Polygons and Pixels, The strange tale of “bob’s game.” I’m going to consider this Act X. That’s a nice, round number. It sure would be nice if this is the one that leads to an actual release!

Update, 5/23/14: The Kickstarter succeeded yesterday!

Evolve is looking interesting

I saw this trailer for Evolve last week and was immediately intrigued. I’ll admit, the first thing I noticed was the awesome song – Mother by Lissie, originally by Danzig. The game’s developed by Turtle Rock Studios, the developer behind Left 4 Dead.

Evolve is a 4v1 shooter in which four players control human hunters and one controls a monster. It’s sort of like a boss battle if the boss was controlled by a player. The monster can evolve by hiding from the hunters and eating smaller monsters, and as it evolves, it gets stronger. This means the hunters want to find the monster quickly; the monster wants to hide and evolve until it’s strong enough to face the players.

This second video has a little more information about the game itself and includes actual gameplay. I can’t say with any certainty if it’ll actually be good, but it sounds pretty cool!

Robert Pelloni answers my AMA questions

Pelloni started an AMA on reddit last week, and he took the time to answer my questions. There were no amazing reveals or anything, but it was nice to hear his answers.

I assume you refunded the BobsPasses because you didn’t sell enough to make a difference. Was that the reason, or was there another?

Correct, and I ran out of time to continue full time work on the RPG.

The .nds demo felt different than the Java one, but they’re obviously from different points in the RPG. Are they both still relatively indicative of the feel of the final RPG?

The Java version is the definitive version now, it is cleaner and I’m happier with the code. I am going to try a Javascript rewrite and maybe a C++ one, not sure which first.

Most people I know aren’t interested in bob’s game anymore. This seems primarily due to a lack of trust in you, thinking that you’ve been lying. I understand what they mean about the protest and the like, but I think it was also a performance and viral marketing more than lying.

Correct.

Were your intentions at other stages in bob’s game fully honest, or was there more to them? In other words, were you really hoping to release the nD, and what happened to it?

I did try to pursue funding for the nD and was talking to the Dingoo manufacturer. It did not go well, so I did what I could and turned it into a virtual console. nDworld was originally intended to be a connected portal for the handheld. By now I don’t think the nD is that relevant of an idea, and making a cheap Android handheld (nDroid?) would be better.

Did you really want to sell BobsPasses, or was that a commentary on gamers’ willingness to give money to a game that might not fully exist?

I was seriously selling them, but also kept it as a bit of commentary given the circumstances. It fit the situation well.

You do actually want to get the Kickstarter funded so that you can release the minigame and eventually the RPG, right?

Yes, I don’t know how to do anything else.

I hardly know what to believe anymore, but I’ve enjoyed both the marketing for bob’s game and the demos themselves. I’d love to sit down and play the full RPG someday! Thanks!

Thank you. I’d love for you to play it too.

Source: [bob’s game] my puzzle game (for Ouya/PC) Kickstarter needs some traction, AMA! : gamedev, Robert Pelloni, reddit.com, 12/9/13.

Direct link to comment: robertpelloni comments on  [bob’s game] my puzzle game (for Ouya/PC) Kickstarter needs some traction, AMA!, Robert Pelloni, reddit.com, 12/15/13.

bob’s game from bob’s game for OUYA Kickstarter

After six months without news of bob’s game, there’s been a new development. I’m sorry for being slow to post about it. I received an e-mail from gbev, former bob’s game forum moderator, on November 25 that discussed Robert Pelloni’s new Kickstarter. Thank you to Nathan M. (@shicky256) for commenting on The strange tale of “bob’s game” to let me know about the Kickstarter (and to pr0ton for replying as well)!

Edit: The Kickstarter was not successful.

Pelloni has started a Kickstarter for the bob’s game from within the bob’s game Java game. I know, I know. The tale of bob’s game is always confusing. Back in what I called Act VIII in my “strange tale” post, Pelloni created a web-based, Java version of the game. The Java game lost some of the child-like wonder I felt from the original .nds demo, but like that first demo, it also contained a minigame. This was the “bob’s game” within bob’s game. It was a puzzle game that involved falling blocks, but the rules of the game shifted – think Tetris, Dr. Mario, columns, but with a ruleset that shifts between them as the levels progress. In the comment I linked above, Nathan M. says that Pelloni “…wants it to be the MUGEN for puzzle games…” I think that’s a good assessment. The game was interesting, although I actually liked Tetrid from the .nds demo more.

The Kickstarter is for that rule-shifting puzzle game. Pelloni hopes to raise $6,667 so he can release that puzzle game for OUYA and PC. To be clear, this is not for the bob’s game RPG; it’s only for the puzzle game. Pelloni keeps it simple with only two pledge levels. For $4, you get the GAME PACK that comes with a digital download of the full game. For $25, you get the ENTHUSIAST PACK that comes with a full copy of the game and access to beta builds and the developer forum. As of this moment, there are 11 backers for the GAME PACK and 10 backers, including me, for the ENTHUSIAST PACK. There are six days left, and I don’t think he’s going to make it.

You may remember that the online demo asked for purchases of BobsPasses. All BobsPass purchases have been refunded, and Pelloni claims in the Kickstarter comments that those accounts that purchased it have been marked as permanently premium. There was no reason given as to the refunding of the BobsPasses. Perhaps he didn’t raise enough and knew that keeping a handful pledges without enough to make a difference would just make angry customers.

When I first saw the BobsPass sales pitch, I was skeptical of Pelloni’s true goal. Did he really want to raise money with them, or was he commenting on crowd-sourcing? Did he think gamers were naive for giving money to a developer without any guarantee of a game? I have no idea. I didn’t pay for a BobsPass, but I did contribute to the Kickstarter. What’s coming next for bob’s game is a mystery, but I’d still love to play a full RPG that felt like that original .nds demo!

Game Night featuring The Behemoth at Giant Robot 2

The Behemoth merchandise box doodle

On Saturday, July 13 gem and I headed to Los Angeles for Game Night featuring The Behemoth at Giant Robot 2. The location was filled with The Behemoth merchandise as well as game stations with Alien Hominid HD, Castle Crashers, and BattleBlock Theater. Most of the merchandise consisted of things we’d seen, but there were a few new things, including a Cat Guard bank. It was cute but not cute enough for me to purchase.

There was a BattleBlock Theater 2v2 arena tournament outside as well. They projected the game on the wall of the building, which was funny because I watched them paint the wall just an hour before the tournament started. gem was nervous about joining the tournament, but it was free, so I didn’t see a reason not to join. No, we had never played the arena mode, but so what?

Some Behemoth staff were at the event as well. Unfortunately, I don’t remember their names, but this included the person who does social PR as well as the woman who creates their plushies. I didn’t talk to her, but that seems like such a fascinating job. It’s especially cool because their plushies are all so cute!

The tournament was Ball Game, which is a game in which there’s a basket on each side of the level. There’s one ball, and teams try to get the ball into the opposite basket. Once a basket is made, the ball despawns and a new ball spawns. It was a lot of fun, but we lost. Two guys standing to the side congratulated the team that beat us, saying “good job.” As we walked by them, they mumbled, “bad job.” gem hit one of them. He quickly said it was the other guy, and the other guy began to cower, quickly saying, “don’t hit me!” gem replied, “don’t be mean!” Bam! She slapped him, and we left. It was fun.

You can read more about the event on The Behemoth Development Blog. (Oh, and if you check The Behemoth’s Flickr album from the event, you can see some photos of us. We’re pretty happy in this one!)

Video games at San Diego Comic-Con 2013

sdcc 2013

San Diego Comic-Con was this past weekend, and there were plenty of gaming-related things there to discuss. I played some games, took pics with some game cosplayers, saw some interesting booths, and of course took some great photos. I saw things related to Battleblock Theater, Castle Crashers, Alien Hominid, Plants vs. Zombies 2, Pikmin 3, Super Luigi U, The Wonderful 101, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Dual Destinies, Super Mario 3D World, Just Dance 2014, Ico, Adventure Time, and probably more that I’m forgetting.

One of the first things we hit up was the Behemoth booth. I’m a big fan of all of their games, and I actually just attended a Behemoth event last week. (I’ll post about that too; I promise.)

Castle Crashers

They had arcade cabinets of their three games like usual, and they were very cool. Having played all of their games extensively, I didn’t stop to play any.

BattleBlock Theater at the Behemoth Booth

They were using Toshiba TVs, too! Yay!

sdcc 2013

I did, however, stop to take a photo with this cat guard statue. He was guarding the booth obviously.

sdcc 2013

I also took this photo with Hatty. He put his hands out, and I’m not sure what he intended. I just held hands with him.

Plants vs Zombies 2 Vinyl Toys

Next to the Behemoth booth was a booth for Plants vs. Zombies 2. I’m still optimistic about the game, but honestly, Plants vs. Zombies Adventures on Facebook has downgraded my enthusiasm to “cautiously optimistic.” The Facebook game totally butchered such a great experience. However, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare looks great too. The booth didn’t make any announcements or have any games to play, but it did have the vinyl toys pictured above.

sdcc 2013

Also, this zombie tried to eat my brains! Ahh!

sdcc 2013

At the Pikmin 3 booth gem and I took this photo. There was also a video playing of Miyamoto discussing Pikmin 3. I’ve never played a Pikmin game, but it did make me mildly interested. I’m probably not going to buy it (because I’m trying to cut back), but I wouldn’t mind trying it. I had seen photos on Instagram of people at other photo-ops, but I couldn’t find them. I asked someone at the Pikmin 3 booth and found out that Nintendo had a large game lounge at a hotel next to the convention center. I headed for it!

Nintendo Game Lounge

The Nintendo Game Lounge was really awesome. They had a huge variety of fun games, and lots of great decorations and personality. They even made it a bit more like an arcade; after playing each game, the attendant would give you a ticket. You could redeem three tickets for a Pikmin 3 t-shirt. In addition, there were other goodies. After playing Super Mario 3D World, you could get either a Mario or Luigi hat. Sure, they were just foam, but it was fun. After playing the Wonderful 101 you earned a mask, and there were other things as well that I didn’t try to obtain.

The Year of Luigi

There was a even a large, blank book celebrating the Year of Luigi.

The Year of Luigi

Fans were encouraged to write notes to Luigi in it!

sdcc 2013

Right outside the lounge was a Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD photo-op. Of course, I stopped for a photo. Wind Waker HD will surely look great in HD, and I’m looking forward to it.

sdcc 2013

There was a cool Super Mario 3D World photo-op too, and this was the one to which I was most looking forward. It was a lot of fun to take some photos there! I also got to play the game itself quite a bit. We played some four player co-op. I really emjoyed what I played it. We only played some fairly easy levels, and it plays more like the New Super Mario Bros. series than Super Mario 3D Land (unfortunately). It was great for four-player fun; Nintendo really nailed allowing players of differing skill to play together.

While I didn’t get any pictures of The Wonderful 101, I did get to play it. I pre-ordered this title a long time ago, and now I’m glad I did. You control a crowd of superheroes while beating up bad guys and solving puzzles. The woman running the game station was very nice and informative as well. I like it when they’re willing to talk a bit like normal, and she was happy to chat with us. She seemed to have a pretty good idea of how the game worked too, which is pretty cool. (They’re from an agency and not Nintendo employees.) On the other hand, she was stuck watching the first five minutes of the game over and over for days while standing in uncomfortable boots. She did mention that only one other person got as far as I did, so that was pretty cool.

sdcc 2013

Despite having never played Bayonetta, I stopped for a photo of Bayonetta 2.

sdcc 2013

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze had a pretty great photo-op too.

The most fun game I played at SDCC was actually Just Dance 2014. I might look silly while playing, but I’m having a great time, so who cares, right? In this video we’re dancing to the Ghostbusters song! I’m not sure why you can’t hear it, but I’m guessing Antonio was covering the microphone. One dancer was the ghost, Slimer (and that was me), and the other three are Ghostbusters. It was really fun. The dance involved Ghostbusters chasing the ghost, the ghost chasing them, and Slimer even sliming them. I’m definitely going to need to purchase this.

sdcc 2013

In the Capcom booth, I got to pretend to be Phoenix Wright himself. Take that!

Pac-Man Battle Royale

Adult Swim had a neat arcade featuring new games, old games, and some in-between. The arcade held a Pac-Man Battle Royale cabinet, which is one of my favorite games of all time. I played some four-player with gem and two strangers. I’m used to playing at a cocktail cabinet, but this one was a standing cabinet.

I also played the new Adventure Time game called Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! It was pretty fun. It was a four-player dungeon crawler with RPG elements. While it seemed fun, it also seemed boring. Some mindlessness is fun sometimes, and mixed with the Adventure Time humor, I’d expect to like the game more. It suffered from two problems. One, because it wasn’t split screen and didn’t feature any warp mechanics, the party would get split and then the screen couldn’t scroll. Two, the whole game just felt too slow. Maybe the kinks will get worked out before it’s released.

sdcc 2013

Of course, I can’t forget about this awesome Ico cosplay! I was pretty excited to see him.

Ico leading gem

gem took his hand so he could lead her like he leads Yorda. It was a great idea.

I bet I’m forgetting something, but I think that covers all the major games I played or thought about at SDCC 2013. It was a blast! You can see more photos in my Flickr album if you’re interested. I’ll also be writing another blog post on my personal blog about the non-gaming aspects of the trip. I’ll put a link here after it gets posted.

E3 day 2 gives just a pinch of news

There wasn’t a lot of interesting news coming from E3 on day two. In fact, I think there’s only two things I saw that I wanted to mention.

Pac-Man Museum collection coming to digital platforms, includes Pac-Man Battle Royale, Richard Mitchell, Joystiq, 6/12/13.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. Pac-Man is a great game, and Pac-Man Battle Royale is one of my favorite games. It’s amazingly fun and probably the best reason to visit your local arcade (if your local arcade has one). With the inclusion of it in a console, it’s experience may get watered down. Yes, now I can look forward to playing it at home, but that takes out the incentive to go the arcade and experience the arcade cabinet.

Pokemon X and Y’s online features feel like a true evolution, Bob Mackey, Joystiq, 6/12/13.

As you play Pokemon X or Y, your friends list will appear on the bottom screen along with a list of people playing near you. This includes people from your 3DS friends list added before the game was even released. As you battle strangers, they’ll move to your acquaintances list and eventually friends. The bad news? They don’t have a plan for importing Pokemon from the DS versions yet.

E3 day 1 was full of Nintendo news

As I mentioned previously, I’m not reading every bit of E3 news, but some stuff sticks out. Here’s what I read yesterday that’s interesting to me.

PS4 hard drive is user-replaceable, Samit Sarkar, Polygon, 6/11/13.

Good news!

The Last Guardian is ‘on hiatus’, Jessica Conditt, Joystiq, 6/11/13.

Absolutely terrible, yet not surprising, news. The Last Guardian was, sadly, a factor in my purchase of the PS3.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze hits Wii U in November, Sinan Kubba, Joystiq, 6/11/13.

Lots of Nintendo games seemed cool to me. A new DKC is always welcome news, although I didn’t even play Donkey Kong Country Returns (besides at E3).

New ‘Yoshi’s Island’ game called ‘Yoshi’s New Island’, Alexander Silwinski, Joystiq, 6/11/13.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Yoshi’s Island, so I’ll be happy to try Yoshi’s New Island.

Super Smash Bros. coming to 3DS, Wii U in 2014; Mega Man joins fray, Alexander Silwinski, Joystiq, 6/11/13.

I’ve never been big into Smash multiplayer, but surprisingly, I love the single player. I hope it has a cool adventure mode.

Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD hits Wii U in October, Sinan Kubba, Joystiq, 6/11/13.

When Wind Waker was released, I thought it looked dumb. My tastes in graphics have changed completely, and for a while now I’ve been really interested in going back to Wind Waker. I guess I’ll be trying to HD remake!

Mario Kart 8 races to Wii U Spring 2014, David Hinkle, Joystiq, 6/11/13.

Mario Kart 8 looks awesome and includes anti-gravity segments. Hopefully Nintendo steps up their game in response to Sonic & All-Stars Racing. Transformed was absolutely awesome.

Super Mario 3D World pounces on Wii U Dec. 2013, Bob Mackey, Joystiq, 6/11/13.

Super Mario 3D Land was the greatest 3D Mario game I’ve played in a very long time. It ranked with 64 in my mind, although I’d be hard to pressed to crown one the best over the other. We’ll see how this new one is!

Nintendo has a tendency of releasing a lot of great games in their core franchises early and then tapering off. I don’t know if that’s going to happen with the Wii U, but I don’t care. They’ve announced enough already to make the Wii U more than worth the cost.

E3 Day 0 recap

While I didn’t follow all the news super closely, I skimmed a lot of article titles and read some posts about E3. Of course, Reddit and Facebook couldn’t keep quiet either. Here’s what I took from the announcements.

  • Microsoft didn’t alleviate any fears about DRM or used games. Games must be installed, publishers could allow you to loan it to one and only friend if they’ve been on your friend list for 30 days, publishers could allow you to resell it to authorized resellers, and you must be online once every 24 hours to play games at all. Publishers could blog trading and reselling entirely. Boo!
  • The Xbox One will also allow you to stream gaming like the PS4 (but using Twitch.tv). Yay!
  • Xbox Live Gold members will get two free games per month.
  • The Xbox One will retail for $499.99.
  • The Playstation 4 will allow you to sell games to resellers or another person. You can lend your games. Super yay!
  • Playstation Plus required for online play on the PS4. Boo!
  • The Playstation 4 will retail for$399.99.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is a new third-person shooter in the PvZ universe. The trailer made fun of Modern Warfare and similar games. Yay!
  • The Order: 1886 is a steampunk-looking exclusive for PS4 that looks really awesome from the teaser trailer. Yay!
  • Mirror’s Edge 2 announced for XBO, PS4, and PC. Yay!
  • Mirror’s Edge 2 is a reboot with new introduction story for Faith! Boo!

Not a lot of big reveals, but I’m glad Sony confirmed being the good guys. In my opinion, the console wars are over for this generation. The PS4 is significantly better and only four-fifths the price. Other games were announced, but Garden Warfare, The Order: 1886, and Mirror’s Edge 2 are all games that interest me. I love the look of The Order: 1886, but it’s too early to know much for sure. I feel sort of relieved hearing Sony’s announcements about the PS4. It’s nice to know the difference, especially when it seems so clear-cut in my mind.

A new phase of Bob’s Game

bob's game

Just a couple months ago, I reflected on bob’s game. While the public never really learned what Robert Pelloni’s goal was, underneath the layers of eccentricities and deceit was a fun, playable demo. That somehow turned into a pitch for an indie console called the nD, which has disappeared from the Internet in 2013.

Two days ago, someone anonymously (edit: formerly Sardek of the bobsgame.com forum before it was shut down) left a comment on my previous post to inform me that the site for bob’s game had been updated. He also mentioned that no one else besides me had talked about bob’s game recently. Of course, I had to check it out.

bobsgame.com now loads a playable browser game. It takes less than 10 minutes to play through it, so jump over there and give it a try if you want the full experience.

bob's game - bob's room

The game opens to a pixel art setting that’s obviously a representation of Pelloni’s room from his webcam feeds. I appear to be controlling Bob, and I can turn on his lights, start the coffee maker, turn on his computer, and begin working. At this point I lose control as the game’s speed increases, and I watch Bob hard at work. Eventually he turns off the lights and I regain control. Moving Bob to his bed, he goes to sleep for the night. The next day a unknown voice tells me it’s time. I use the elevator to leave the room.

After getting out of the elevator, I lose control again. Bob walks down a hallway and past a large room with many people. Lights come on, and Bob is standing in front of a room full of people watching him on stage. It appears to be the interdimensional bob’s bame tournament that was to be part of bob’s game.

bob's game - minigame

Yuu approaches the stage, and then I take control of Yuu to play some games on his nD. I play a variety of puzzle games with no instructions, figuring them out as I play. There were two variations of Tetris that I played along with what seemed like a clone of Dr. Mario. There were also a couple games that, to my knowledge, weren’t based on any previous games. They were all fun and interesting, but I liked the idea of exploiting a glitch from the original bob’s game demo more. When I lost, Bob goes on a long discussion of stagnant state of the games industry.

bob's game - nDworld

Somehow, this segues into Bob talking about bob’s game being finished and the next phase, nD World, starting. Now I’m asked to create an account with an e-mail address and password before being asked to donate. Is he really hoping to raise money in this way, or is he poking fun at all the crowds-sourced products making promises before showing and deliverables?

You might notice in the video that the game seems to lag sometimes. I think this is due to my video recording software and not the quality of the game. However, the game does have a couple a couple small problems. For example, I had trouble getting into the elevator on the recorded playthrough. My character would always stick a little, but this recording was particularly bad.

I don’t know what Robert Pelloni has planned. I don’t know how much of what happened was part of his plan. Was the nD just staged to be part of bob’s game all along, or is it failed product? I’m guessing it was real and failed, but I doubt I’ll ever know the truth. All I can do now is wait.

Microsoft doesn’t want me to play games on the 360

It really feels like Microsoft wants me to continue playing games on my PS3 rather than my 360. At least, that’s one conclusion to which I can arrive after trying to play BattleBlock Theater.

I hadn’t really played my 360 in a couple years. The PS3 had more exclusives about which I cared, is quieter, doesn’t make me worry about failing hardware, has an easier to use and less intrusive interface, is more popular among my friends, and (most importantly) has a d-pad that actually functions. When I bought an HD TV for the first time back in November, I moved my 360 upstairs from the downstairs living room where it used to live. I played a little Johnny Platform’s Biscuit Romp, an Xbox Live Indie Game without even updating the console and then didn’t use it again.

Last week, Behemoth’s third game was released. Of course, this is the glorious BattleBlock Theater! I was very excited. I read that it was released on Xbox Live, so I checked if it was released on PSN as well. It wasn’t. That was fine by me. I had something to do at home that night, but in my free moments, I worked on getting BattleBlock Theater downloaded.

First I had to update my 360. That was expected honestly, and it went smoothly. After the update, I tried to log into Xbox Live and was told I needed to update my security on my account. It gave me the choice of setting up an e-mail, text message, or call. I already had a second e-mail address on file, so I set up a text message. After typing in my number, I received a text message with instructions to do something online. After confirming, I expected to be able to continue. “Not so fast,” said Microsoft. It still wanted me to add more security. Having fulfilled the other two options, I chose a phone call. Microsoft called me, I answered, they gave me a confirmation code, and I confirmed it in my 360. There. Everything done, right? No, it gave me the same prompt. I fooled around for a while with various choices until I realized what I had to do. In the menu of security choices, it displayed that the ‘A’ button was used to select and ‘B’ was used to go back. I had to go back. Apparently I was stuck in the security screen. Ugh!

Next, it was time to download the game. The progress percentage would slowly increase, and then it would stall without increasing. After about 10 minutes, I’d get an error about getting disconnected from Xbox Live. Navigating through the Xbox 360 interface was a hassle because it seems to take a half second to load each submenu, but I could reconnect to Xbox Live. I’d get another 10% through before it would happen again. I ended up going to sleep with it downloading because I couldn’t stay up to let it finish. This was a risk because I’d rather not have my 360 get the red ring.

When I awoke in the morning, I was disconnected from Xbox Live (no surprise), but BattleBlock Theater had finished downloading! Of course, I was off to work, but in the evening I knew I’d get to enjoy the game. That night I turned on my 360 and logged into my account. Then gem turned on the second controller and logged into her account. She went through the same security hassle, but at least we knew to back out of it. I really thought we were getting close to playing, but I had been disconnected from Xbox Live. I logged back in, and then gem was disconnected. gem connected, and it booted me again. After a few more tries, we both got connected at the same time. I tried playing, but it disconnected while I was in the game. I might not have needed to be logged into Xbox Live, but I wanted to be, so I setup the network settings again. Now, finally, gem and I were both connected to Xbox Live, stable, and ready to play.

I did manage to play a little bit during that sitting, but I don’t want to talk about the game itself in this post. However, I saw in the new, ugly Windows 8 “modern UI”-style interface the ability to pin games. I thought, “oh, this is a pretty great feature! That interface isn’t so bad if I can do this!” I pinned BattleBlock Theater and went back to the home screen to look for it. Was it pinned right there to the first screen you’d see? No. It’s pinned under “My Pins.” That’s a little more helpful, but Microsoft should have let games be pinned directly to the first screen seen. It seems like a terrible missed opportunity.

The next time I booted my 360, it was unpinned. I pinned it again, and then tried to pin some other games. Everything pinned fine except one particular XBLA game that took 10 minutes to pin.

They should ditch the majority of the interface and just use the interface that appears when you press the Guide button on the controller. That features menus and no adds or unnecessary screens. As you might guess, I was a fan of the original blades interface.

Thank you for the fantastic console and stellar interface design, Microsoft.

And if you’re wondering about BattleBlock Theater, it’s absolutely fantastic. I’ll talk about it later in its own post!

The strange tale of “bob’s game”

bob's game

bob’s game is an interesting tale. The newest information is the death of the nD, but read on to learn more about the game.

[Last updated on 1/20/2016.]

Current status and summary (kept updated with this article)

“bob’s game” (with quotes) is an RPG. Within “bob’s game” is a puzzle game called bob’s game (without quotes). In the RPG, the puzzle game is created by a person called bob. The real person, the creator of these games in real life, is Robert Pelloni.

Currently, Robert is still struggling financially and hasn’t found investors for the game. He has listed both “bob’s game” (the RPG) and bob’s game (the stand-alone puzzle game) on Steam Greenlight.

See below for the history of “bob’s game.”

Act I: Creation

Bob created an RPG with an old school feel aptly called “Bob’s Game.” He created it 100% by himself and hoped to get it released on the Nintendo DS. He seemed to prefer Nintendo over other alternatives. At this point, everything seemed fairly normal, and some people were beginning to show interest in his game.

Act II: Protest

In an attempt to get an SDK for the Nintendo DS, Bob contacted Nintendo but was passed back and forth. He felt like he was being ignored by Nintendo and proceeded with a protest in December of 2008; Bob locked himself in his basement with the intent to stay there for 100 days. He had no contact with the outside world besides his phone and a live webcam.  Eventually he began to get hostile towards Nintendo. He started posting contact information of Nintendo executives and making wild claims. He claimed he was better than many game developers combined by far and even listed them, including Nintendo’s own Shigeru Miyamoto. That seems like burning a bridge to me, but at this point, no one knew what Bob was thinking. He also claimed to be working with a DS flash cartridge producer with the intent of bundling Bob’s Game on the flash cart as a way of pressuring Nintendo.

Act III: Breaking point

Eventually, in January of 2009 after 30 days, he snapped before even making it through half of his 100 day protest, trashed his room, and left. Later he went to the Nintendo World Store in New York City, made a scene, and threw his business cards everywhere. He then either rewrote the game or more likely revealed that what we’ve seen of Bob and his creation of Bob’s Game represents the Bob and Bob’s Game inside of the real game, Bob’s Game. He differentiates by saying that he, Robert Pelloni, created Bob’s Game, a game about the evil Gantendo; the final boss, Bob; his game, Bob’s Game; and an antagonist, Yuu. Confusing.

Act IV: Revealing the truth

Soon after Pelloni received a formal rejection from Nintendo, he admitted in March of 2009 that his actions had all been viral marketing. Everything had been staged, and he even released a video showing how the video of him causing havoc at the Nintendo World Store were really filmed in his house.

Act V: The demo

This is the turning-point in the saga of Bob’s Game. Pelloni released a demo in the form of an .NDS file in March of 2009. To play it, gamers had to use either a homebrew flash card for DS or a DS emulator. The game featured a world that looked like classic RPGs but set in suburbia. In many ways, it was visually similar to Earthbound. As a game about games, Bob’s Game would, apparently, allow you to obtain different consoles and games in the game to explore the history of gaming. In the demo, you get to control Yuu and play Tetrid on the Gantendo GameToy. Tetrid is a lot like Tetris except rather than using tetrominoes (shapes consisting of four connected blocks), it uses shapes of three blocks. These don’t stack as neatly, making Tetrid much harder than Tetris. To beat it, you might have to take advantage of some exploits. Of course, I’m not talking about exploiting Bob’s Game; I mean you have to exploit Tetrid. It’s an interesting idea. The important thing to take away is that Bob’s Game had actual content and was surprisingly fun!

Act VI: The nD

Things took a weird turn again next. Pelloni revealed in March of 2011, two years after releasing the original Bob’s Game demo, that Bob’s Game would be a core title for a new project on which he was collaborating with others – the nD. The nD was an extremely low cost handheld console designed to play indie games. It looked like an SNES controller with a screen and was targeting mainly 2D games. The idea was that the console was cheap enough that developers could make a game for it and then give away the console with their games. Alternatively, people could get free nDs with various other purchases (movie tickets, for example). So what happened to the nD?

Act VII: Back at work?

As of this new year, 2013, the official nD site, http://www.the-nd.com, is redirecting to the official site of Bob’s Game, http://www.bobsgame.com. There’s no longer any mention of the nD on bobsgame.com either. I guess it failed and he doesn’t want anyone to notice.

Bob's Game 2

There’s now what appears to be a webcam feed of his room again. Of course, we can’t really trust it anymore, can we? I’m not very optimistic that Bob’s Game will ever get a real release (or that it was ever really finished). However, the demo existed, and was actually fun. That’s something!

Act VIII: bob’s game -online- nDworld

On May 8, 2013, bobsgame.com has been updated with a Java game. Players first control Bob in his iconic room and later control Yuu, playing minigames on an nD in Bob’s interdimensional tournament. [Edit, 12/8/13: The minigame is a puzzle game involving falling blocks that shifts rulesets as your progress.] At the end of the demo, Bob teases “bob’s game -online- nDworld.” Then players are asked for their e-mail address to register for updates and are asked to purchase a “BobPass” to help with development. More information on this new phase is available on post, “A new phase of Bob’s Game.” I believe we can call “bob’s game” performance art as much as we can a video game at this point. In fact, notice that he always puts “bob’s game” in quotes? He might be telling us something.

Act IX: The bob’s game (from inside bob’s game) for OUYA and PC Kickstarter

On November 25, 2013, a little over six months since the “bob’s game -online- nDworld” Java demo, bobsgame.com began redirecting to a Kickstarter project. He hopes to raise $6,667 to release the puzzle game with the changing rules from his previous online demo. He’s referring to this puzzle game as the bob’s game (from inside “bob’s game”). I pledged to it. For more information on this phase, check my post, bob’s game from bob’s game for OUYA Kickstarter.

Update from 12/16/13: Unfortunately, the Kickstarter was unsuccessful. Pelloni did, however, answer my questions in a reddit AMA. See the questions and answers here.

Update from 2/5/14: The bob’s game minigame (from inside bob’s game) was released on OUYA. In addition, Robert posted a FAQ on his site that explained some history behind the development, but he’s removed it and asked that it not be shared. More information can be found here.

Act X: The full “bob’s game” Kickstarter

Robert Pelloni just started raising funds on Kickstarter for the full version of bob’s game. It seems like we could be very close to an actual release! He once again has quite a bit of information about his and the game’s history available at bobsgame.com.

You can read more about all this on my post, The full bob’s game now on Kickstarter.

Update from 5/23/14: The Kickstarter succeeded yesterday!

Update from 5/23/15: It’s been one year since the Kickstarter completed. He went missing, it seemed he was working, he had given up and was going to reimburse backers, the game was back on track, and now it’s been just shy of three months from an update. Read more about it in my new post, b0b’s game Kickstarted: one year later.

Update from 1/20/16: Twenty months after the Kickstarter completed, Robert has made a second update to the Kickstarter – and the first since the Kickstarter completed. He’s had financial troubles and hasn’t been able to find investors. “bob’s game” (the RPG) is now listed on Steam Greenlight here, and bob’s game (the puzzle game) is listed on Steam Greenlight here. You can read more about this is my latest post, “bob’s game” Kickstarter updates after twenty months.

Thoughts on the PlayStation 4

It’s been almost a week since the PlayStation 4 announcement. I mentioned that I wasn’t particularly excited about it, but now I’ve had a few days to think about it. It seems like time to talk about the announcement.

The PS4 is using x86 processors for faster development time.

Developers took a while to get used to developing for the Cell processors, and software wasn’t as easy to bring to the PS4 as it was to the other consoles. This means that cross-platform development will be easier. While that means the PS4 won’t have any processing advantage over the other consoles, it also means that it should be more likely that games will be brought to the PS4 and increase the speed of development time.

The PS4 doesn’t have native backwards compatibility.

This is a huge drawback to me, just like the PS3’s lack of backwards compatibility in later models severely effected my opinion of the PS3. Because of the change in CPU architecture, the PS4 won’t play PS3 games – neither disc nor PSN games. I hate this because I’ll have to keep a PS3 around (and a PS2). However, I disliked this about the PS3 as well, and it didn’t take long for me to not need to play PS2 games much. I’m sure with backwards compatibility, I would have played more PS2 games. That said, how often did I play GameCube games on my Wii? I did sometimes early in the generation, but eventually I stopped almost entirely. I just worry because consoles are becoming less and less long-lasting. Will my PS3 still operate in a decade? If not, how do I play my PS3 games?

Games can be streamed using the Gakai service.

I would always rather have games on my console than streamed, but I like the idea of having streaming as an option. Blu-rays are much better than Netflix, right? Why wouldn’t games be the same? I live with roommates who are all using the Internet most nights. On many nights that means that there are three video streams coming to our house in addition to whatever games or other Internet-usage is being consumed. I’m sick of my latency jumping half a second or worse in World of Warcraft; I don’t want to have to worry about that for my single-player console games as well! I also hope they don’t dismiss alternatives because this is present. “Who cares if they can’t play PS3 games? We could let them stream the games!” Or, “Nah, it doesn’t deserve a real release. Just let the games stream it.”

All games will be available digitally.

I have mixed feelings on this, and it’s similar to my feelings from the previous section. Look, I love Steam. Purchasing the games digitally is easier, but then we miss out on box art and other artistic parts of the culture that are already hurting. Have you seen a really good manual lately? Probably not. Regardless, I’ve fully embraced Steam. If a PC game isn’t made by Blizzard or available on Steam, I’m very unlikely to purchase it. However, PC architecture stays the same. Consoles keep changing, which means that if a game is only available digitally, I might not have access to it in a decade. That sucks.

A share button can be used to share content with friends.

I’m extremely excited about this. Sharing content is the feature that most makes me like the PS4. There’s a share button right on the controller. When it’s pressed, players can choose to upload a video of what they just did or can start a live stream. Now, I’m hoping that means that gameplay is constantly being recorded, and you can choose when to save what’s been recorded. It doesn’t have to be long – even the last 5 minutes would be decent. Hopefully it’s not just specific scenes that the developers have to choose to be auto-recorded. I don’t know if I’ll use the live streaming much, but I’d love to post videos.

A secondary processing chip handles uploads and downloads.

For sharing to work, this has to go along with it, so it’s a good idea. The PS4 features a dedicated chip that handles uploads and downloads. In other words, uploading a video won’t affect your ability to play games. Cool.

Other devices can be used as second screens.

Boo. This works with the Wii U because it’s already part of the console. I don’t want to pull out my phone and sit there using the battery the entire time I’m playing my PS4.

Games can be played from the Vita.

I fell in love with the Wii U’s ability to play games from the GamePad. If this works, I should be similarly happy. It was said that the goal was to have all games use it. This is vastly different than saying “all games can be played from the Vita,” so we’ll have to wait and see how many can do it.

The PlayStation 4 includes the PlayStation 4 Eye, uses new controller, and uses Move.

I’m happy about all of this. First, the new controller uses concave sticks instead of convex. That means my thumbs won’t slip around as much, which means I’m happier. There’s also the touchpad-like section. I don’t know what to think about that. I don’t have any Move controllers now, so I don’t really care that the PS3 ones are still compatible, but I don’t have a problem with it either. What’s great though is that the PlayStation 4 Eye, which is already better than the PS3’s, is included.

I don’t like the idea of Move. I don’t like the idea of Kinect. They seem gimmicky to me. Now I do have to admit that I’ve never used either of them (besides a minute here or there at E3), but the Wii’s motion controls were similar. Games eventually either stopped using the technology or used it too much. However, a small amount used motion to augment gameplay. Some games used buttons for everything but you might shake the remote to swing a sword. I’m okay with that. By bundling the PS4 Eye, it means that developers no longer have to choose between making a Move-enabled game and making a non-Move-enabled game. Every game could use it. For Ps3, developers might be thinking “if we decide to use Move, we better go all out to justify the gamer’s purchase.” That would be eliminated.

So, what do I think?

I’m not sure we really needed it right now. I’m fine current consoles games. In fact, many of my favorite games recently were small PC games. That said, I think everything is an improvement in the PS4. Bundling the PlayStation 4 Eye means I can actually use Move, and making it easy to share means it’ll be easy for me to blog about PS4 games. I can’t forget the better sticks on the controller either. Overall, I’m happy with the PS4 and look forward to it.

 

Why I’m not inherently excited about a new Playstation

A lot of gamers are anxious about Sony’s announcement tonight of, presumably, the PS4. I’m not excited. Don’t misunderstand that to mean that I won’t be interested in the next console. They might surprise me with something cool, and even if they don’t, I’ll still need to get it to play the newer games. However, that statement is exactly why I’m not inherently excited. I’ll need to get it to play the new games.

The driving force of the game industry are games. When a new game that looks good is released, I’d like to play it. When the Playstation 4 releases, I’ll need it (or the new Xbox) to play the newest games. This seems arbitrary to me. The current consoles are fine unless they change things radically. Will they? I doubt it. We’ll see more motion control and maybe a little bit of touch input from Sony, but I don’t think it’s going to make a big difference.

New consoles are always more powerful, but I think we’re at a point in gaming that power isn’t the most important thing. Sony likely knows that as they commented that they’re focusing on “new playing options” (Nikkei via Joystiq). This  could be the right path for Sony, but it really depends what these new playing options are. I enjoyed my Wii, but I didn’t see many games that really benefited from motion control or the pointer. There were some that worked well, such as World of Goo, but most often it felt like a gimmick. I haven’t tried Kinect, Move, or voice-control, but I’m not very interested in those either – at least, not as gimmicks. I’m hoping that by integrating the technology, maybe games that use them don’t have to feature them any longer. This could allow games to use them only as needed.

What else could we see? Streaming games? Serious Internet users already have bandwidth issues (especially with roommates), so this does not catch my eye. Better integration to handhelds? Building game leaderboards directly into the interface like Microsoft has correctly done (although hidden a little since the earlier interfaces)? We’ll see, but I’m just hoping that I’ll want the console because of the new experiences it can give me that the PS3 couldn’t rather than simply the ability to play games that won’t be released on the PS3.

The Last Guardian is still being developed, supposedly

Samit Sarkar of Polygon reported last week that Ueda has told fans to “keep an eye out” for details about the release of The Last Guardian. At this point, I feel like I’ll believe it when I see it. Ico and Shadow of the Colossus were both amazing, and originally I was extremely excited about The Last Guardian. In fact, when I finally purchased my PS3, one of my reasons was that I’d need one for The Last Guardian anyways.

It’s been at least four years now since we started hearing about The Last Guardian. Ueda left Sony in 2011 but claimed to be still committed. I wonder about that as well. He just reiterated that he’s the creative supervisor. How involved he is with the project is anyone’s guess, but when it is released, I’d love to see pre-release footage of the game up to the point Ueda left Sony.

I won’t be surprised if the game never comes out, but it sounds like it’s still coming. With the PS4 so close, the game could be cancelled if the PS4 is released long before the game is ready for the PS3. Come on, Team Ico. I want Trico already!

Could Homefront 2 be good? A tale of hype, parties, and disappointment

When I first heard about Homefront, I thought the premise sounded interesting. You’re part of the resistance, fighting against the Greater Korean Republic’s occupation of most of what was formerly the United States. According to the game, Kim Jong-un rules North Korea after Kim Jong-il dies. After a war breaks out in the middle east affecting oil supply, most first-world countries are thrown into disarray. Kim Jong-un reunites the divided Koreas into the Greater Korean Republic, takes over Japan, and eventually takes annexes most of Southeast Asia. As the economy of the United States deteriorates, the GKR hits the United States with a huge EMP, launches an amphibious attack on the US’s west coast, and drops soldiers over much of the US.

If the story wasn’t enough to hype me, the party was. I went to E3 the year THQ was pushing Homefront. In fact, THQ was huge. They had the largest presence of any third-party video game software company. I was invited to attended THQ’s Homefront party which was on the roof of a large hotel. I was greeted by the sight of Korean flags and Korean soldiers guarding the hotel. After getting in line, I was given my rights booklet, Subject’s Guide from Your Glorious Occupiers of the New Korean Federation. This booklet outlined my rights under the New Korean Federation and gave an idea of what the world in the game would be like. We were then escorted to the rooftop where there were a few soldiers but mostly a lively party. There was a bar, lots of food (including Pink’s Hot Dogs), and a rooftop pool. A Japanese man who spoke little English walked right into the pool thinking it was glass-covered. Not only did he manage to keep his drinks from spilling, but he also drank them as soon as he stopped laughing. He was a good sport! At one point in the evening, Korean guards marched US prisoners of war through the party. Of course, they were booth babes scantily clad female soldiers.

This had the effect THQ and developer Kaos Studios indended; I was hyped about the game. No, I wasn’t about to lie and give it a gleaming review without playing it, but I was sure excited and willing to try it. When it was finally released, I couldn’t wait to give it a try.

I played the PC version, developed my Digital Extremes. It was full of many bugs, which largely consisted of terrible AI. I remember two parts in particular. Once, I was told to climb a ladder. Try as I might, I couldn’t get my character to start climbing. When I turned around, I was trapped my a friendly NPC and couldn’t get past him. After much maneuvering, I managed to get past him, and he began to climb the ladder. Only then was I allowed to climb the ladder. Apparently I was supposed to follow that NPC. Never mind the fact that I reached the ladder first. At another point, I was in a closed area, a stadium perhaps, fighting enemy soldiers. After I killed the soldiers, the game played the sound effect that indicated I had killed the last enemy and reached a checkpoint. However, nothing else happened. Usually there was some dialogue as the game progressed. I wandered around a little and came across an enemy performing the same half second animation over and over, clearly stuck. I killed him, and the game played that same little sound again. This time the game let me continue.

No bug was absolutely game-breaking, but it was disappointing to see terrible AI and glitches. In addition, parts of the story were a little dumb such as vehicle-related segments that seemed out of place. Worse yet, I never did understand how the Greater Korean Republic managed to take such a massive country as the United States.

Still, the plot was interesting, and the game was moderately fun. The single-player consisted of a six-hour campaign that ended on a high note without actually ending the war. It was the perfect setup for a continuing series.

Looking back on it now, it sounds decent enough. However, I know I felt pretty angry at it at the time. I’m sure I’m forgetting specifics about how annoying the bugs were, but I think the fact that the game was hyped so much made it feel even worse when the game didn’t turn out to be fantastic. In June of 2011 I wrote that Homefront was on sale on Steam for 50% off at $24.99 and was definitely not worth the price. I claimed that you should borrow it from someone or wait until it’s on sale for $2. (The game is currently $19.99, and I have mixed feelings. That still seems a bit high!)

The reviews were mixed, but mine was lower than average. However, most people realized that the game didn’t live up to THQ’s claims. There were also problems for Kaos Studios. Rob Zacny of Polygon wrote a fascinating piece on Polygon back in November of 2012 about the development of Homefront titled Death March: The Long, Tortured Journey of Homefront. It’s an excellent read for anyone interested in how management of a game development team can go sour.

Most people probably know that THQ has fallen from its mighty heights. Earlier this month THQ sold the rights to its intellectual properties to the highest bidders. Alexander Sliwinski of Joystiq reports that the Homefront IP was purchased by Crytek for half a million dollars. Why are they interested? Crytek has been developing Homefront 2.

I’m curious about what this means. Samit Sarkar wrote a piece on Polygon about Nick Button-Brown, general manager of games at Crytek, speaking to VG247 about the sale and Homefront 2. Butter-Brown claims that “progress is great” and that Crytek purchased the Homefront IP “because the game is coming along so well.” The game must be looking good for Crytek to invest half a million dollars in purchasing the IP, right? This gives me hope. Or at least, it did when I first thought about it.

Crytek has spent time and money developing Homefront 2. The Joystiq piece I linked earlier specifically shows that there was no runner-up for the bid of the Homefront property. If no one purchased Homefront (or if someone else put in a very low bid), it would be likely that Homefront 2 would be canceled, and Crytek’s time and money would have been wasted. If Homefront 2 makes at least half a million dollars, they’ll be breaking even. The game could be flop, and it might still be worth the half a million dollars that Crytek invested.

Why didn’t other companies bid? Was it because the game is looking bad or because sales are expected to be low regardless? I don’t know for sure, but the fact there was no runner-up looks bad to me. On the other hand, critics have received Crytek’s games much better than they received Homefront.

While it’s too soon to know for sure, I think there’s hope for Homefront. I’m far from convinced, but I’ll keep an eye on it.

Looking back at the PSP

I bought my metallic blue PSP-1000 on a whim at Anime Expo a number of years ago. I went straight to the NIS booth. They knew me a little because my girlfriend was a tester at the time, and I told them that I just bought it and wanted any game just because I was anxious to play it. I asked which of their games they recommended. The woman helping me told me to buy a game from a different company.

I bought Aedis Eclipse, and it was okay. During the intro there was a typo. My girlfriend told me she had actually reported that one, but I guess it didn’t get fixed.

My favorite PSP game, and one of my favorite games ever, is also by NIS, although my girlfriend had nothing to do with this one. Prinny: Can I Really Be The Hero has all the NIS humor and animation charm but in a challenging platformer rather than a SRPG. You start the game with 1000 lives, and that’s that. If you run out on the last level, too bad. Luckily I finished without running out of lives. I wish I wrote down how many lives I had at the end. I love the humor, and I’m a huge fan of big, gorgeous sprites. Platformers are also one of my favorite genres, so that helps.

Another fantastic game is LocoRoco. You tilt the world left and right by using the L and R buttons to roll the LocoRoco characters towards the goal. It’s very cute and charming, and I love the art style. The best aspect though is the demos. Besides a regular demo, there’s a Christmas themed demo and a Halloween demo as well. I played each of those on their respective holidays for years. Sadly, I haven’t played them the last couple years because I never have my PSP charged or even anywhere easy to find, but I still find them great holiday games.

I hope these two recommendations help someone to discover these games!

Originally posted at Select Button.

Energy Drinks

I thought I’d share these cool, game-themed energy drinks. You can see Mario, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Resident Evil, and Mega Man above.

And then there’s Street Fighter, Gears of War (Imulsion Energy Drink? Sweet!), and Sonic the Hedgehog. I purchased the Sonic the Hedgehog energy drink and the Gears of War Imulsion energy drink!

Well, these aren’t actually game-themed, but I thought they were cool too. The Ghostbusters energy drink is supposedly ectoplasm, and there’s a zombie energy drink too!

 

 

 

Backing up Android’s World of Goo saves

While Android is more free and open than Apple’s iOS devices in many ways, there’s one major problem I’ve found. How do you keep your game saves safe? Android devices don’t sync to PCs like iOS devices do. You have a file manager, but most applications save their data in private directories. The default save location is only accessible by the application itself per Android specifications. Yes, because my save file is so private. That means there’s no way to move it to another device, and if you need to reset your device, you’re out of luck.

One game I really wanted to play on Android was World of Goo; Luckily, I found a thread that explained where the save file was located.

World of Goo Full
/data/data/com.twodboy.worldofgoofull/files/pers2.dat

– motomeup, forum.xda-developers.com

The default File Manager’s “root” isn’t the real root (it’s /sdcard/ despite not being an SD card). Well, maybe it is on some devices. I don’t know, but it wasn’t on mine. I could use other, third-party file managers that showed the actual root but couldn’t navigate into the /data/ folder. I realized that it was because it didn’t have permission to list the files in /data/ and display them.

Android Terminal Emulator, by Jack Palevich let me do what I needed to do. Strangely enough, I couldn’t use the “ls” command to list the contents, but I was still able to navigate to the file because I already had the path.

Here you can see I’ve successfully managed to copy the file out of World of Goo’s data folder. I’ve also confirmed that I can put the file back again and have effectively moved my progress to another Android device. Success!