Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Evil Within: Every Last Bullet Trailer — How do you kill Boxman without bullets?

As if Boxman alone won’t be enough to sell The Evil Within, Bethesda released a new trailer showcasing some cool survival horror action. And this is true survival horror, and not the fake survival horror. The difference? Bullets. Or lack thereof. True survival horrors don’t have a lot of bullets. Ever see The Walking Dead? Okay, there were a few episodes with M-16s and even a tank, but for the most part, it’s impaling the undead in the brain with a crowbar or slashing off heads with a katana. Or better yet, a crossbow, the ultimate apocalyptic and “green” weapon. There’s also a ton of hiding behind walls and building traps and things. That’s survival horror, and The Evil Within, based on the trailer, has all that.

Oh, and it still has Boxman. How do you impale a guy in the head if he’s got a box on his head? Good luck surviving that.

The game is out on October 14th and available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PC.

Vane Teaser Trailer – Weathervanes are cool, but will it wow?

Indie developers do some interesting work, but some of the trailers they release seem premature. It’s always good to get the word out early and build some hype, but there’s so much stuff coming out these days that a game with a release date of “when it’s done” isn’t exactly going to compete with Destiny or other mega-releases. The issue (if it is an issue) isn’t that a trailer is released, but it’s that a trailer without really a wow-factor is released. It’s like a dad posting a picture of his kid blowing out his first birthday candle. It’s super-cool if you’re the dad, but to most other people, it ain’t all that.

That’s how I felt after watching the teaser trailer for Friend & Foe’s new PC adventure, Vane. I’m sure the developers are jazzed about what’s on it, but all babies are cute to their parents. Don’t get me wrong, the stuff is pretty cool and stylistic. It’s just not jaw-dropping.

The game is called Vane and so there are a lot of weather vanes — lots and lots of weather vanes.  Everyone’s got ’em. And of course, if there are weather vanes, there has to be weather. Storms, wind, lightning, it’s got it all. If that’s not enough to hook you, there’s a huge desert with towers jutting out from the wasteland. Birds of prey fill the air. The developers worked on The Last Guardian and there are similar elements: puzzles, action-adventure, and animals. There’s also a kid. He or she sprints through the desert and then later becomes a bird. Definitely some Miyazaki influence. The YouTube blurb also mentions slavery, which pretty much tells us what the story is about.

It’s a teaser trailer. Okay, that’s the out. But I want to be teased and a kid becoming an eagle isn’t the hook. Making these videos must be fun, but throw something in there to wow me.

Neuroshima Hex! on iOS — Strategy Cheat Sheet Part One

The iOS reincarnation of the classic board game based on the RPG is as addictive as both. Here’s what you need to dominate the post-apocalyptic hexlands.

Part One of this cheat sheet includes the first four factions.  Part Two covers the next five expansion factions.

Common strategy is to place your HQ on the edge with either three open hexes or four. In other words, don’t place your HQ in the middle where all of its flanks are exposed. Also, prioritize units over modules when discarding.

BORGO

bongo_neuroshima_hex

Strength: Speed (High Initiative)

Weakness: Lacks good modules

HQ Perk: +1 initiative to adjacent friendlies

Best HQ Position: Four open hexes

Key Unit: Net Fighter

net_fighter_neuroshima_hex

Key Module/Action: Grenade

Game Plan: Defense first. Protect the HQ with Mutants and Butchers covering open hexes. Save your Net Fighter as long as possible and grapple the enemy HQ. He’s slow and his flanks are exposed, so protect him with Mutants, Butchers and Assassins, and he will single-handedly destroy enemy HQs.

THE HEGEMONY

hegemony_neuroshima_hex

Strength: Glass is half full: Good mix of tough and quick units

Weakness: Glass is half empty: Units are either slow or lack flank protection (attacks are unidirectional)

HQ Perk: +1 melee attack to adjacent friendlies

Best HQ Position: Three open hexes and close to enemy HQ

Key Unit: Net Master

net_master_neuroshima_hex

Key Module/Action: Sniper

Game Plan: Be very aggressive. Attack HQ early and often. Units are either slow or do not have flank protection so the longer you wait to attack, the more likely they’ll die before they deliver a hit. Use nets, especially your Net Master, to cover flanks of your gangers. When possible, move your HQ close enough to the enemy HQ to give your melee attackers an extra attack. You’ll still need a little luck to win with Hegemony, but be aggressive and your thugs will conquer.

MOLOCH

moloch_neuroshima_hex

Strength: Strong Range Attack and Toughness

Weakness: Units are slow (Low Initiative)

HQ Perk: +1 range attack to adjacent friendlies

Best HQ Position: Four open hexes

Key Unit: Hunter-Killer

hunter_killer_neuroshima_hex

Key Module/Action: Air Strike

Game Plan: Value your range attackers. Position them well and they will destroy everything in their line of fire. Protecting them is a challenge since they are slow and their attacks are unidirectional. That’s where the Hunter-Killers come into play. They are fast and cover four hexes. Place them well and you will the machines will rule the day.

THE OUTPOST

outpost_neuroshima_hex

Strength: Good range attack and movement

Weakness: Not enough units and lacks flank protection

HQ Perk: Adjacent friendlies get two initiative attacks

Best HQ Position: Four open hexes

Key Unit: Mobile Armor

mobile_armor_neuroshima_hex

Key Modules/Action: Officers

Game Plan: Hit and Run. You’ll get wiped out in a slugfest, especially against Moloch. You don’t have enough units and the units can’t protect their own flanks. Place your range attackers, especially Commandos, adjacent to your HQ. Use your officers to give your attackers an early attack, which is important since your HQ will give your units an additional attack in the following initiative. Move your units or HQ often to get out of the enemy’s line of fire, especially against Moloch’s shooters. You only have one Mobile Armor, but if used well and with a little luck, his firepower and mobility will wipe clean an entire board.

 

InMobi Monetization Solution for Games — Healthy or just MSG?

Here’s another possible solution to the F2P problem. The InMobi Monetization Solution for Games promises to be…well, the monetization solution for games. Because we all know monetization is a problem for games, right? Okay, not exactly. To be precise, what is needed is a monetization solution for bad games, and that’s what most F2Ps are, bad games.

So does InMobi have a winner here? Check out the video:

InMobi Monetization Solution for Games from InMobi on Vimeo.

The idea is that the ads attempts to act according to the mood of the gamer. As a kid, you don’t ask dad for $20 when his team just lost the big game. When your manager is beaming after a promotion, that’s the time to request that cool project you want on your resume. Timing is everything, and The InMobi Monetization Solution for Games (MSG) says it knows timing.

The b2b video begins with, “Gamers are people, and people have feelings”. Very profound. No sarcasm here. Really. I’m sure many developers and marketers don’t realize that gamers have feelings. Like we hate it when a game sucks, for example. Anyway, the idea of MSG is that smart ads will target our emotions and sneak in appropriate ads. Again, timing is everything and catch us in the right mood, and we’ll spend the time and moolah. If we’re up after a win, then there’s an appropriate ad for that. If we’re upset after a loss, then there’s an appropriate ad for that, including pay-to-win in-app purchase ads.

That’s the problem for me with MSG. If I’m losing, the last thing I need is someone trying to sell me something. My iPhone might fly out the window if I just lost ten times in a row, and some ad tells me to spend money. I don’t need that kind of interference.

Ultimately, the F2P solution involves a better integration. In other words, there’s got to be a balance between what gamers’ tolerance and ad intrusion. Some kind of product placement, perhaps. Giftgaming might be the solution as well.

But then who knows? MSG might be the healthy solution everyone’s been waiting for.

Ode to Pod (Gaming Pod on Kickstarter)

gaming_pod

Love is a Pod, a Gaming Pod.

How I want to nest inside you

Like a fetus inside a womb

And never come out.

Gaming morning to night

RPG, FPS, MMORPG, even F2P.

 

I love thee Pod, Gaming Pod

You need more kick on Kickstarter,

Alas, at $305 of $20K, a major jolt to come to life,

But I do hope you’d see the light of day, for

I do not want to see sunlight, only gaming,

Gaming, gaming.

No wife, no mother, no siblings, no dog to pester me.

Gaming, gaming, gaming.

 

And I do hope you are fallout-proof,

For even at the nuclear apocalypse,

My gaming shall not be disturbed.

Oh, Pod. You are brilliant, O Pod!

Final Fantasy XV Trailer — On the Road to Warm and Fuzzy

What is it about Final Fantasy that gets me so geeked-up? And nostalgic. Like a really good book or movie, I get warm and fuzzy when I think about the good ol’ days with FF. Man, I still have the FF8 OST on my iPhone. The new trailer for Final Fantasy XV is out and the game looks really good.

It’s a road trip. Guys with spiky long hair in a car going somewhere. There are dungeons and action RPG battles. Lots of monsters and enemy soldiers and other things to impede their way. The open world is vast and varied, and the water crystal clear. Dude’s got a big sword. And of course, the girl is there. One thing that hasn’t changed going back to FF8 is the character design. All still kind of look the same. Nothing wrong with that. Game should rock.

For PS4 and Xbox One and out only-God-knows-when. Soon, I hope.

Shadow Warrior Trailer – Give the Chinese guy a Chinese Weapon!

The Shadow Warrior remake seems like a slashing good time. Lots of blood and bombs. And it stars a real star-in-the-making in Lo Wang, Katana Enthusiast. My only gripe is why is Lo Wang a katana enthusiast? Lo Wang is Chinese and katana is Japanese. There’s some serious bad history there – and I’m talking thousands of years of bad history. Lots of Chinese blood shed by katana-wielding Japanese well into the 20th century.

The developer, Flying Wild Hog, is Polish, and the publisher, Devolver Digital, is Texan. Neither probably has a clue.

If they had, they would have given Lo Wang a guandao, of Guan Yu fame, of Romance of the Three Kingdoms fame.

Guandao will carve you up

Guandao will carve you up

The guandao was one of the baddest Chinese weapons. Lots of damage, and graceful at the same time. It also makes an appearance in Mortal Kombat. It needed to appear in an FPS like The Shadow Warrior featuring a kick-rear Chinese guy. Missed opportunity.

Consoles are Dead – Long Live Gaming!

I recently read an article that said new gen consoles are out of date because they are not 4K. Well, that is not the big picture. Consoles in itself are obsolete. Period.

Okay, consoles are not completely dead yet, but they’re on life support. Microsoft is trying to go overseas with Xbox and there are new over-produced games every year like Destiny. The Nintendo guy is trash-talking casual gamers and going elitist. There are also some noobs trying to squeeze in like Ouya. But the fact is, consoles as we know it; that is, a loss-leader box and high-margin physical CD games that are getting more and more difficult to turn over, will be gone.

Like this guy who says the next big thing are things that are not really things, games will exist in digital form. We’re already exposed to this. Set-top boxes and Steam and elsewhere. GameStop is closing its doors. Some of the joy is gone. No better feeling than holding that new unopened game box in your hands. But that adds to the price. It also adds to the oligopoly that will also soon die. Whoever can achieve universality – whether it’s Amazon or Steam or whatever – will win.

It’s not there yet. Games on Amazon’s Fire TV is still weak. But it’ll get there. Sooner than we think. Nothing, not even 4K or 10K or whatever, can save consoles then on.

The Bible Videogame — should it be R or PG?

The Old Testament is bloody. We’re familiar with the Veggie Tales version, the PG watered-down after-school special, but in actuality, the OT is extremely R-rated. David, the cute kid known for taking down a giant with a sling, was a warlord – yes, he’s known for his faith and love for God, but he was a killer. OT’s got mass killings and genocide. Rape. Murder. Infidelity. Slavery. Perfect for video games.

Most of the movies and shows and games that attempt to service the Bible are often lame. And those that don’t…well, they get ripped apart by everybody. So, a new game on Kickstarter, The Bible Videogame, promises to cut the cheese without stinking up the room. According to the video, it says the game will please everyone…Christians, non-Christians, kids, pre-teens, teens and adults. And not be cheesy.

That’s tough.

The main message of the OT is that people are cruel and brutal (sinful) and they can’t redeem themselves. That’s why they need a savior, which is the point of NT. If the OT is Star Wars Episodes 1-3 and people are Anakin Skywalker, then the NT is Episodes 4-6, and Jesus is Luke. I think George Lucas got the Star Wars story from the Bible like a lot of other works of fiction. Anyway, the point is, I understand Christians want to focus on love and fluffy stuff, but a real OT game needs to come clean about the brutality of it all. The blood. The gore. The evil. That would make a kick-butt Bible game, and it would still be true to the Word.

The game, by the awesome Tornado Twins, is currently at $12,675 of $35,000 goal, with 51 days to go.