Monthly Archives: November 2013

Is the Wii U the new Dreamcast?

And their off! The Playstation 4 and Xbox One have achieved record breaking numbers at launch. Both consoles sold 1 million units within 24 hours of hitting the shelves. This is an outstanding start by both companies; just for perspective, the Wii U has sold 3.91 million units as of September, according to a sales chart from Nintendo. The Wii U has been out for over a year. It’s very likely that both the PS4 and XB1 will the eclipse the Wii U within six months; the UK Sales of the Xbox One are already about to overtake Wii U sales in that region. Overall I’m surprised by both consoles’ success.

While I imagined that the PS4 and XB1 would have some form of success at launch, I wouldn’t have guessed either console to break records, let alone both. I’ve been pessimistic about the new consoles, and considering the sales of the Wii U, I don’t blame myself. This is great news for video gaming, but the reason both consoles have sold so well is hinted at by the way people refer to the next-gen.

Someone let Mario look at the Wii U sales.

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What happened to Demos?

In the last half of this console generation there has been a decline in the public demo. I started playing video games at the turn of the millenium and at there were a lot more demos back then than there are now. My first Playstation was packaged with a demo disc that included Metal Gear Solid, Spyro the Dragon and Soul Reaver to name a few. The majority of demo discs were bundled with gaming magazines; I still have a large stack of Xbox Magazine Demo Discs. There were demos everywhere when I was a kid. It seemed that it would only get better once the PS3 and Xbox 360 were released because they let you download demos off the internet, it seemed like demos would be part of the industry forever.

Then suddenly, developers stopped making them.

Pictured; My childhood in 750mb or less.

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The Challenge of the Next-Gen

The next-generation of gaming consoles will soon be upon us, or at least that’s what Sony and Microsoft would have you believe. Tomorrow (technically midnight tonight) the Playstation 4 will hit stores and supposedly usher in a new era of gaming. While there’s a temptation to reminisce in the current and-soon-to-be previous generation of consoles, it’s a bit early to say one’s farewell to the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Don’t get me wrong, the Playstation 4 looks like a capable machine and even though the wonderfully named “Resolutiongate” is completely false I would still give the PS4 a slight edge over its competitor the Xbox One. However both consoles face a challenge that no console has faced.

Image Credit: IGN

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Minimalism in Games

If there’s one thing video games are lacking right now, it’s a notion of restraint. If you weren’t aware, Call of Duty: Ghosts released this week, and that’s about as over-the-top as a video game can get. Grand Theft Auto V, which is the biggest game this year (possibly ever) is sprawling with more gameplay features than you can shake a stick at. Assassin’s Creed IV does the same, swamping the player in collectibles and side-quests. Developers are caught up in an endless race to outdo each other by throwing in as much content as they can into their products. Games are less about being an expression, and more about being a time-sink.

So many games are throwing in multiplayer, an XP system, and trying to be open world. The biggest games this year, whether it’s Tomb Raider or Batman: Arkham Origins, don’t have a trace of inspired game design. Rather than making a game with a distinct vision, developers are throwing every previously established idea at a wall and seeing what sticks. There’s value in minimalism that few games seem to embrace.

It might be a while before any game gives so much with as little as Limbo.

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