The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posts Tagged ‘Good Ideas’

A List

Posted by Matt on March 1, 2011

Well, now that that’s over with, back to fun.

You know what’s coming out Sunday? I’ll give you a hint (by which I mean I’ll link to the answer).

To celebrate the incoming POKEYMAN games, Ill do something special. As the games introduce 156 new monsters, I decided that I’ll go through them all and pick the 25 (plus a few extras, as you’ll see) that really stand out. Yep, here are the coolest things to come out a game for 10-year-olds that I will also be buying:

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Christmas Post 1/12

Posted by Matt on December 14, 2010

Well, it’s the holiday season again. Which gives me an excuse to try to post some things on a daily basis. 12 days, to be precise. Get it? 12 days of Christmas. Yeaaaaaaah.

The first thing about Christmas one should learn about is Krampus. Krampus is the monster friend/colleague of Santa Claus/Sinterklaas/Saint Nicholas in his homeland of Eastern Europe. Krampus is meant to be the stick in the carrot/stick dynamic, threatening children on the naughty list with blunt objects and rusty chains, or taking them away in a sack. Krampus is an awesome meeting point between pre-and-post Christian folklore in the region, and its a shame that the tradition has not caught on over here. Many Internet nerds, however, adore Krampus, and make sure to reference him every Christmas.

Other Christmas creeps in European folklore:

Belsnickle is, depending on where you are, either another companion of Santa Claus or his equivalent figure. He seems to be the basis for both Santa’s fuzzy costume and his love of stuffing stockings: Belsnickle either gave children socks full of candy, or coal. Sometimes he would also carry things to threaten violence like Krampus.

Black Peter/Zwarte Piet is the one who supposedly went down chimneys to deliver gifts, thus the source of his blackness. In early versions of the story, he was a demon enslaved by Saint Nicholas to show his conquest over evil. Since then, he has essentially become a gollywog, which is why some people may not be too comfortable with him around.

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Posted by Matt on May 25, 2010

Look, an article about videogames that is interesting. Talks about what makes an appealing character in a game (fun fact: the goal of the Team Fortress 2 character designs is similar to how they designed characters on The Simpsons, to make recognizable from silhouette alone), and how that could be applied to woefully mistreated female characters in games.

The talk of a lack of variety among character designs reminds me that there really seems to be a lack of variety among game characters (and, consequently, game concepts) in big name games. It just seems weird to me that we don’t see more big games starring characters who are different from the same old human warrior archetype. Where are the games starring giant monsters? Weird aliens? Robots? Completely abstract concepts? Does no one want to make these kinds of games? Why?

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Posted by Matt on May 20, 2010

http://chud.com/articles/articles/23769/1/FIRST-IMAGES-FROM-RUBBER-THE-MOVIE-ABOUT-A-KILLER-TIRE/Page1.html

Directed by Quentin Dupieux (Steak, Nonfilm), RUBBER is the story of Robert, an inanimate tire that has been abandoned in the desert, and suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams the bleak landscape, he discovers that he possesses telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything he wishes without having to move. At first content to wreak havoc on small desert creatures and various lost items, his attention soon turns to humans, resulting in the most gory vehicular-related mayhem inflicted on screen by an “inanimate” object since Christine.

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Posted by Matt on March 31, 2010

Marvel has an app on the iPad already.

As stupid as the iPad is at many things, reading comics is not one of them. It’s actually a pretty good size for reading comics, and the touchscreen-based interface makes reading them less of a hassle than they would be on a computer. eReaders in general are good for comics and other ‘disposable’ periodicals, as no one really cares about the physicality of them, and usually they just take up a lot of space. This way, monthlies and short comics are easily accessible and the dreaded longboxes will be a thing of the past, while those who want paper can still read the trades.

This is probably the best idea Marvel has had in a while, and hopefully they will keep the whole thing at a reasonable price and with a good selection. If and when this iPad thing takes off, Marvel could find this to be a very profitable venture, and other companies can follow suit.

I’m still not buying. Are you nuts? Buying first generation Apple products is just asking for trouble.

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Posted by Matt on March 15, 2010

http://chud.com/articles/articles/22979/1/THE-CHUD-INTERVIEW-DON-HAHN-amp-PETER-SCHNEIDER-WAKING-SLEEPING-BEAUTY/Page1.html

I’m more negative on this – I don’t care if it’s hand drawn or computer drawn or live action combo or photorealistic. It’s about why use a technique to help you tell a story better. Is it better to tell the story in 2D or 3D or a combination? How do you tell the story emotionally? Whether it’s 2D or 3D I don’t think the audience cares – you might care as an animation geek – but I don’t think the audience cares, per se. They only care if you’ve transported me to a new world, have you told me a story I didn’t know about and have you made me laugh and cry? And if you’ve done all those three things you’re successful. I don’t know whether it’s 2D or 3D… who cares? Make a movie! Take a technique!”

-Peter Schneider, former Disney producer

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Posted by Matt on March 8, 2010

Now to finish the series.

Star Fox

It’s actually only been four years since the last Star Fox, but that one was on the DS and had stylus controls so everyone hated it. “We need another REAL Star Fox!” they will say. The last one closest to the older games came out 5 years ago, but it had on-foot missions, so they hated that too.
Essentially, what they want is a remake of the first two games (which is funny because 64 was essentially a remake of the first game) with Wiimote controls. But that doesn’t require a full disc-sized game (just like F-Zero), unless you want to make it pretty, which is what they also want. So Nintendo is pretty stuck when it comes to this series.
Not that I’m totally against it. Arcade shooters aren’t all that common today, with only a few (including, surprisingly, Nintendo themselves with Sin & Punishment 2) daring to do it. And the game isn’t a bad fit for Wiimote controls. With the Remote/Nunchuck set-up, you have the ability to give the crosshairs and ship movement more freedom, and hell, throw in shaking to do a barrel roll if you must. But of course, every fucking game on the planet could work with remote controls. There’s gotta be more to it to justify it.
How about online multiplayer? Maybe, but even a more robust system is more of an elaborate extra than a real innovation. Some might suggest making it more like Rogue Squadron, with mission-based levels and epic battles (isn’t that what Assault was? I don’t know, I didn’t play it)? That could work, although it seems to lose a bit of that arcade charm if it isn’t on-rails and just about shooting down as many Escherian spaceships as possible, although there’s nothing that would stop it from doing both.
This is a bit more difficult to think of, as there seems to be equal sway for both an advancement into more modern gameplay and retaining the classic simple gameplay system. And even then, is simply turning it mission-based a big enough leap to justify a completely new, big budget game? I don’t know.
Miyamoto has shown to secretly likes the franchise, and that the biggest hurdle the series faces is a lack of popularity in Japan, much like Metroid did. A swing towards more western markets could be good news for the series, and let’s not forget that the aforementioned S&P2 was made because the game was a pretty popular Virtual Console download all over the place, especially NA. So, while I don’t expect anything new for Star Fox anytime soon, it’s not totally impossible. And I can’t say for sure that there needs to be a whole lot of brainstorming done in order to make it worthy, although listening to the fans clamoring for regression may not be the best idea.
It’s an odd situation, this. Maybe even more odd than the situation for Pikmin.

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Posted by Matt on March 6, 2010

Continuing on the journey to madness:

Kid Icarus

Here it is: the big daddy of possible revivals. Considering that there hasn’t been a Kid Icarus game since 1991, one can understand why that is so. Also, the fact that as a Metroid-esque game centered on Greek mythology, it can provide something that is not normally found in most Nintendo games.
On one hand, there really doesn’t seem to be any reason for Nintendo to make another game bearing the Kid Icarus name; the original came out nearly 20 years ago, and the games only resonate with a small section of the gaming populace. The only reason to produce a new Kid Icarus game would be to please a few hardcore fans, and that’s about as niche as can be. As for my own feelings, I don’t think a game should ever come out just to shut up a real niche audience, especially when those resources could be used for more worthwhile projects.
Yet…yet there is something about KI that could make for a good game. As a myth buff, I kind of enjoy the Ancient-Greece-as-told-by-Nintendo style that the game offers (which is partially why the supposed Factor 5-developed concept art being tossed around did nothing for me: they just looked…so dour and generic). Considering that the major Greco-Roman-themed game these days is the juvenile God of War series, KI could provide an alternative Hellenism game (still juvenile, but in the innocent Nintendo way). A Zelda-style adventure game using the archery, flying, and multiple-worlds ideas featured in the original game could be pretty neat, actually.
Not that I ever expect the game to come out at this point, for reasons I already explained. But still, even those who hate the first game must admit there’s some potential there.

Pikmin

This series is in a slightly different position then the rest I have and will talk about, as Nintendo has already stated there is some level of development going on for a new Pikmin game. But that was two years ago, and there has been very little said about it since (except that it has been stalled as the EAD team has been sidetracked by a billion other projects). And who knows how much we should expect from statements that something is in the works – two years ago, they could have still been kicking ideas around and nothing more.
Pikmin is an odd series, as the original idea was pretty strong and didn’t immediately call out for a sequel. We got one anyway, and it actually did what sequels are supposed to do by taking the base elements of the first game and using them to make a different experience. If they are making a third game, it would rather disappointing for it to not follow in the previous game’s footsteps and do something a little different, although it seems most fans would enjoy something not terribly different from the last two games, but with Wiimote controls (which they technically already did by remaking those games with Wiimote controls, even though the second one hasn’t made it over here).
I really don’t have many ideas about where they could go with Pikmin. The underlying gameplay is about strategy and exploration, with the first game applying those to a survival theme and the second to a treasure hunting focus. Considering they added a two-character mechanic in the previous game, it would make sense for them to expand it to include co-op this time, instead of just dedicated multiplayer modes. They could add a number of new environments to explore (the fact that the game essentially takes place in someone’s backyard gives them lots of interesting possibilities). Other than that, though, and I’m at a loss. You’ll have to get back to me on that.

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Posted by Matt on March 2, 2010

And for no reason, I will now look at the sequel viability of several Nintendo videogames, part one of whatever. Enjoy…or not!

Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong, despite being one of the most well-known names in gaming, is not exactly a major franchise anymore. Or, at least, not since the days of the Donkey Kong Country series. Since Rare left, Nintendo has not been entirely devoted to releasing a steady stream of DKC-esque platformers, instead opting for more experimental stuff (like the Jungle Climber games) or going back to the original arcade games in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong line.

Despite what some gamers might say, this isn’t entirely a bad thing. To be honest, the Rare games, while still fun, were highly derivative, and just wouldn’t stand out in the modern game environment. Jungle Beat, which I will admit is a favourite of mine, was a breath of fresh air for the franchise, and for Nintendo as a whole (they really haven’t made many arcade action games this past decade, aside from stuff like Sin & Puinshment). It would be great to see more games in the same style, but I’m not expecting it or anything.

I think it was also a good idea to make more games like the old Donkey Kong, because people often forget about the series’ roots, and how utterly enjoyable those roots are. Having released a new Mario vs. Donkey Kong as a downloadable game last year, I think they’re pretty good for now, though. But, if you want to ‘revive’ the franchise, here’s a thought: combine Jungle Beat with the older games. That would be an exciting idea.

F-Zero
The last major F-Zero (not counting the cartoon spin-off games on the GBA, as most people don’t) came out in 2003, so there’s been a pretty decent gap. Things have also advanced a bit since the GC days: Nintendo, for one, has embraced online play, to a degree. So: been a while since the last game came out, online play is now possible, what’s stopping them from releasing a new F-Zero?

Well, perceived level of interest for one. Fans are clamoring for it, but they always are, and they barely make up a majority of the market. That’s just being realistic, though, and that’s not what this post is all about in the end. So on to the fantasy developing!

As much as online play would add to the game, I can’t help but feel that it would still need more in order to feel like a satisfactory sequel. It could be cool, then, if they released a graphically-enhanced, online-enabled remake of F-Zero X on WiiWare. It could give the fans something to look forward to, distracting them while you consider how to improve the concept further. Unfortunately, as cool as idea would be, the distraction probably wouldn’t last long, as fans would tune into it pretty quick and complain how lazy it would be compared to making a ‘real’ sequel. Fans are picky like that.

On the other hand, chances are they’d take a graphically modern, online F-Zero as a retail game, even if it didn’t have much else added (which would indeed lead to an eventual backlash). So really, they are only selectively picky. Or completely bipolar. Whichever term you prefer.

I don’t have many ideas myself about how the series could go. Part of me thinks that, in order to keep the series’ pretty well-respected legacy intact, they really shouldn’t make a new game unless it will really add something to it, no matter how much the fans beg. Rather not rush out a sequel just to satiate the hordes…especially when they’ll just complain it’s not as good as previous games and turn against you.

Posted in Gamezzzzz, NERDS! | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Posted by Matt on February 25, 2010

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but Tim Burton’s Alice in Tim Burton Land looks really annoying. Like, I can’t even stand looking at any of the marketing because it looks so awfully Tim Burton that it just bugs the hell out of me.

Remember when a Tim Burton movie was something quirky and different? That was back when it was (a) new, and (b) usually attached to something other than ‘TIM BURTON MAKES A TIM BURTON MOVIE’. Did one of his movies bomb so bad he went into shellshock or something? Is he afraid of branching out? Or does he just love money?

It really doesn’t matter what the answer is. We’ve lost another talent to the abyss, and that’s what hurts the most.

********************

Speaking of similar things, my latest big Internet ‘research’ voyage was into the realm of Frank Baum’s Oz series. They seem like my kind of thing, filled with high-concepts that put my own attempts to shame. The Wizard of Oz is only the beginning: read up on this stuff yourself and have your mind BLOWN.

Also, look at this.

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