PlayStation Experience 2015 Keynotes: Thoughts on VR

psx pic

Today was the start of PlayStation Experience. A 2 day event taking place in San Francisco to showcase some of PlayStation’s best, brightest and upcoming games. The most exciting part for me though was getting to hear more about PlayStation VR. What we knew about PlayStation VR coming into the event was the specs, release window (Q1 2016) and that fact that this device COULD cost alot, (think console price) these things were discussed earlier this year at E3, where PlayStation also showed off some pretty cool looking games. I expected to see more of those today, I didn’t.  What I was hoping for during this mornings keynote was a solid release date and a compelling reason to purchase this device day one. What I got was a a feeling of uncertainty for PlayStation VR.

 

modern ztc pic

The Modern Zombie Taxi Co.

During the VR portion of the keynote I was hoping to hear about that “must have app”  the game that will sell this probably expensive device, I didn’t really see that. What I did see was The Modern Zombie Taxi Co. and Job Simulator which both look like fun bite sized distractions but nothing that I could sink my teeth into and get lost in. Eagle Flight by Ubisoft a dizzying look at how it must feel to fly like an eagle. 100 ft Robot Golf, which looks like 100 ft robot golf…and seems fun enough but all of these are arcade type of games.

What was absent were experiences that have high fidelity visuals and a vast world begging to be explored. Even though I’m sure some of those games are in development and like mentioned above we have seen bits of during E3 this year but the fact that they weren’t shown or even talked about during this keynote was a bit discouraging. Sony is running out of time to explain to us why VR is important. But luckily it does seem as though PlayStation is all in and betting big on VR . Making the lack of the “must have app” even more maddening.

 

rez infin pic

It wasn’t all bad though. Some positives from the VR portion of the Keynote were things a quick trailer for Golem from Hirewire Games, Ace Combat 7 and REZ Infinite. They look great. And really the promise is there with VR you can see the glimmering of hope.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong no one is more excited then me for VR and especially PlayStation VR. Will I buy one day? Yes. Will I have fun with it? Most definitely, but for PlayStation VR to become mainstream and not just another PlayStation Move, it needs to appeal to more than just the tech junkies and gamers that need to have something day one. (I fall into both of those categories) There is still time during #PSX2015 to show us something and since we don’t have a solid release date it’s not all doom and gloom for PlayStation VR, and its not like I didn’t want to play the games I saw. I just expected a little more since the had the stage and a lot of people watching. Let me know your thoughts on the VR portion of the keynotes in the comments.

-Tony-

Image Credit: PlayStation Blog

Advertisements

What Gaming Taught Me : Metal Gear Edition

image

Well well, what do we have here? Another fantastic entry in our weekly feature What Gaming Taught Me! 

Kick back, relax, grab a Mountain Dew or whatever the kids are drinking these days and have a read of……

What Metal Gear Taught Me!

image

You can’t run from your problems.
In the original Metal Gear there might have been times when you felt overwhelmed by the enemies on the screen. So much so that you might think after taking out one or two of them that the best plan is to flee before you get killed. Running to the next screen might seem like a good idea but if you ever have to return to that previous screen you’ll see those same enemies waiting for you. And worst of all the ones you killed, umm yah they’re back now too. This taught me at an early age that it’s best to deal with your problems then and there.

image

Think outside the box….
Or in this case inside the box. Metal gear shows that sometimes you need to find a way that MIGHT be a little different than the norm to solve a problem. What’s the best way to sneak around an enemy compound? Well a box of course. To solve a problem like that indeed shows some out of the box thinking.

image

Nothing lasts forever 😦
David Hayter is a name most Metal Gear fans know very well. He’s been the voice behind Snake for over a decade. It wasn’t until the latest game in the franchise (Metal Gear: Ground Zeroes) that he was replaced, by Kiefer Sutherland no less. Most of us couldn’t image Snake without Hayter and I’m still not happy about it, but I guess nothing can last forever.

image

Dress to impress.
Metal Gear Solid on the OG PlayStation had TONS of unlockables. One of my personal favorites is the tuxedo suit. After beating the game twice, on the third playthough Snake would take off his swimming gear in the famous elevator cut scene and reveal that he was wearing a tuxedo! At that moment I thought to myself if Snake can suit up for a dangerous life-threatening mission, surely I could dress to impress in my daily life as well. Thanks for the fashion tip Snake. SUIT UP! 

And there you have folks. Has there been any lessons that Snake and company have taught you??

-Tony-

Project Morpheus: The PS4 VA Headset

image

After much speculation Sony has FINALLY announced the much rumored VR headset for PlayStation. The prototype with the code name Project Morpheus, gives us a look as what could possibly be the future of PlayStation.

PlayStation Head, Shuhei Yoshida said that (virtual reality) “may well shape the future of games” he also stated that the company will be looking at the headset as a medium and not just a peripheral. Project Morpheus will be making its way into devs hands shortly, with a few partners already said to be on board.  
 
Dr. Richard Marks of PlayStation research and developed mentioned that Sony is thinking outside of gaming as well. Stating that he has been working with NASA to create a “virtual walk on Mars”
 
 
No official specs or price has been announced.

With the Oculus Rift, PlayStations’ Project Morpheus and Microsoft rumored VR headset it looks like gaming could get even more interesting later this year.
 
-Tony
Source : IGN

Free Game of The Week: Shuriken Ninja War

Image

Well its that time again, free game of the week time that is. I happened to find this weeks free game while chilling at home, sitting on my couch, just browsing my BlackBerry Z10. The best apps are always the ones you find by accident. It feels like you’ve discovered a buried treasure, and lets face it YOU HAVE. Today that buried treasure is Shuriken Ninja War. It’s developed by Webgota.

Image

In this first person ninja star throwing adventure you take the role of the protagonist trying to stop the evil ninjas and ninja boss from destroying different villages. (there is very little narrative) This game could best be described as a tapper. Once you start a level your presented with a beautiful back drop of a village with about 5 different buildings scattered around the screen. Then all of a sudden those pesky ninja appear and it your job to tap them all as fast as you can and send throwing stars flying their way. The best part is that when you hit the ninjas they explode for some reason, perhaps they are robot ninjas who knows. If you don’t tend to the ninjas fast enough though they will start destroying the buildings and you will see flames in the windows to know that the town is being damaged. Also you have to watch out for the ninja boss, you’ll know its him because he pops up right in your face and if you don’t tap him immediately he will come and slash the screen.  There are four progress bars on the top of the screen, two on the right and two on the left. The two on the right let you know how many ninjas you have to defeat and how many more times you have to hit the ninja boss. One of the bars on the left show your towns health, when that bar done it’s game over. The other bar is for your special attack. You can fill this bar quickly by accurately tapping the ninjas (ninja robots?) Once this bar is full you will see a “hit special” button, tap that and it will kill all the ninjas on the screen in once shot. Take that you rascally ninjas!

Image

The only weapons at your disposal is your throwing stars and your special attack. Now there are 2 other types of throwing stars and 2 other types of special attack. If you try to select them it will take you back into BlackBerry World and ask you to download the paid version, setting you back $1.99. Now I know what your thinking “you said this is the free game of the week” well it still is because the experience isn’t hindered if you stay on the free version. And you don’t feel pressured to purchase which is something that happens in other games. There are a couple of things about the game that does bother me a bit. It can become very repetitive, really quick. And sometimes its a little hard to see the ninjas when they pop up on the screen, but after all they are ninjas its their job to remain unseen.

All in all I feel like this game is prefect for those quick pick up play moments, like when you waiting to meet up with someone, or have 5 mins left on your break at work. Games like Shuriken Ninja War are perfect for these times. So good a head and check it out and let me know what your thoughts are on the game in the comments.

-Tony-

Download Shuriken Ninja War http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/28855894/

The Game Pricing Structures Needs to Change

Image
I have never really been a big PC gamer, sure I have dabbled here and there and had a slight addiction to counter-strike back in the day but that was it. Now part of this is because ever since the NES I always had the latest and greatest consoles. A tradition I intend to continue when the PS4 and XBOX ONE is released.  The other part of this was because I never had a computer with enough juice to play a lag free game. The computers I have owned over the years hinders the experience, I would have no part of that. This is up until now when I bought my most recent laptop. Now don’t get me wrong this is no gaming PC, but it does allow to enter into a whole new world (who thought of Aladdin just now) of gaming. That world is called Steam. And boy am I having a good time with it. To the point where I am thinking about buying a dedicated gaming PC. Steams’ online store is the best online store I have ever encountered. Hands down. It got me thinking, “Could the console makers replicate Steam and make their own online marketplaces just as fulfilling?”
Steam is a place full of wonderful big studio titles and delightful indie games, but the thing that really makes it stand out is its pricing structure. The sales are plentiful and happen often. They have weekly deals, weekend deals, free game of the day deals. I bought Allan Wake for 3 dollars for crying out loud. That’s awesome. Even if tried to pick that game up second hand at the local used game store it still would have cost me AT LEAST $10.00. Steam gives you the same feeling that you get when you go to your local Costco and buy way more things than you need because it’s just such a good deal. It’s great for publishers, a lower price will sell a game that wouldn’t move other wise, and in greater numbers too. Its also great for customers because , well who doesn’t like cheap. It also breaths new life into old games and introduces them to whole new audience who might have otherwise not experienced them and might have missed out on some really great games. Jumping into the XBOX live marketplace after feels like a rip off, and that’s a shame.
How do we get that same level of value that PC gamers have been enjoying for awhile? Well this is the tricky part. Console makers have to think about their retail partners. Especially places like Gamest, EB Games and GAME in the UK.  In all honesty I think console makers would love to cut out the middle man. Take a second to think about all the controversy surrounding how the next-gen consoles will deal with used games. That could be the first step in a move to a steam like online store. But whenever that conversation comes up people start yelling foul. Maybe that type of move could help change the industry for the better in the long run. There is no way that Microsoft, Sony and to a lesser extend Nintendo don’t see Steams rise in popularity. If the big 3 don’t change with the times they will get left behind. I have already heard more than a few people say they are skipping the next-gen and just moving fully to PC gaming.So what do you, good reader think? Would a move to a Steam-like store in consoles appeal to you? Sound off in the comments.

-Midnite Ninja-

The XBOX ONE and The Bigger Picture

Image

First off I want to say that I think the general public and media are grossly underestimating Microsoft, and as a gamer I can understand why. I get it. We want games. We want experiences that engulf us into another world, into another body. Leaving our dull 9 to 5’s behind and going out to save the world. Believe me I understand. But I think we need to understand that when Microsoft first stepped into the console ring they lost money on their console. A lot of money. For a couple of years too. That persistence paid off big time. They became the King of the blockbuster game. The ruler of the first person shooter, and in recent years the place where you get all your media. So it should have been no surprise to anyone that the XBOX ONE would have a media focus.  If your TV is on Microsoft wants you to be using your XBOX ONE, not just for games but for apps, streaming content and live TV. Does that mean that it wont be an awesome gaming experience? Of course not.

Listen whether gamers (like myself) like it or not the game industry is in a weird place. Mobile gaming is becoming more popular then any of us could have ever imaged. Apple had a large part in this shift in the industry, and Apple doesn’t even make gaming devices. They make devices that do everything, and that’s what people have begun to expect. Most people don’t want to spend 500 + dollars on something that only does one thing, that doesn’t cut it anymore. So if Microsoft just made an XBOX that just does games they would be alienating potential customers.

Recently I got a new laptop, mostly for blogging, a little media consumption and some light gaming via Steam. The one big difference this laptop had over my older one was that it had Windows 8 pre-installed. The first few hours trying to figure this new Windows out was a little rough, but once I got the hang of it I really had the feeling that this, combined with my XBOX 360 and other Microsoft services felt like a complete package. I could really get the sense of where Microsoft was heading. The are going after Apple. That said the XBOX ONE is still a gaming machine but with so much more included. Shouldn’t we be happy that we have more options and more choice and increasing fuller solutions from they companies?

Just remember E3 is still 12 days way. This is where we will see the games from MS, Sony and Nintendo. Microsoft has gone on record saying there will be 15 exclusives coming for the XBOX ONE. Publishers will be bringing out their big guns, this is E3 the place where the gaming industry goes to shine. I for one think we will see some big things from everyone, and then we can make a educated decision on what the future holds for gamers. So what are your thoughts? I know there are a lot of options out there. Share yours in the comments.

-Midnite Ninja-

Is Nintendo Missing Out on An Easy Win?

Image

Nintendo has a lot of good things going for them. They are company that is globally known. They are the reason most of us are gamers in the first place, and they have the most beloved franchises of any company, gaming or non-gaming. But one of the biggest advantages that Nintendo has right now is a handheld and home console that follows pretty much the same design philosophy. Two screens and engaging gameplay. The only thing is that Nintendo (as of now) is not taking advantage of this. Right now the 3DS is chugging away like a freight train at full speed. Hit after hit. Game after game. Then there is Wii U. It feels like it hasn’t even left the station yet. It got me to thinking what could Nintendo be doing to satisfy Wii U owners while we wait for the plethora of games we know are coming. (ex. Zelda, Mario Kart, 3D Mario ect.) Give us small downloadable games, like we have on the 3DS.

The other day I picked up my 3DS to download Mario and Donkey : Minis on the Move. The game itself (which I wont get to much into right now, a review is coming) was entertaining but about 30 minutes in I thought to myself “why can’t I play this on my Wii U?” You tap the bottom screen of the 3DS to set your tiles and watch the action unfold on the top screen. The Wii U gamepad and TV combo would work perfectly for that. Actually in that aspect the gameplay is very similar to Yoshi’s Fruit Cart on Nintendo Land. What better way to beef up the Wii U eshop then to have some other awesome titles from the 3DS or even DS. Like Advanced Wars on the Wii U who wouldn’t want that. Also going forward Nintendo could have a develop once and distribute twice strategy. Maybe even a buy on one system and get it for free on the other. 

We can assume that since Nintendo has joined their handheld and console teams into one office there will be some cross console plans. Hopefully they have something to show us soon. So what do you guys think? Would you like to play games like Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on The Move, on your Wii U’s?? Sound off in the comments.  

-Midnite Ninja-