Xbox Kinect Bowling, Sony Talks About 3DS & Microsoft pushes again for PC Gaming? – Welcome to the column that thinks 3d gaming needs a large slap of reality known as Dare to Play the Game.
I’m back for another week with more World of Warcraft gaming nonsense. As it turns out, I did play my dwarf priest some more but most of my weekend involved getting my troll rogue closer to 80. He started the weekend at about 75 and a half and ended up on Sunday at 77. His gear is starting to get better and my dps is starting to improve. However, the last dungeon I was in, I was still near the bottom though I noticed my dps had improved considerably. I was part of the pack, not behind it.
In addition to that, my troll finally reached Grand Master in Blacksmithing. I know, he should have done that before Northrend. Of course, I did the reasonable thing and have collected at least half a dozen stacks of cobalt in Northrend so that he should be able to breeze to 400 in no time. Well 375 perhaps. Oddly enough, Blacksmithing starts out really easy but gets really hard once you get to about 290 (350 is Grand Master).
I found that Jewelcrafting (what my dwarf priest has) is the exact opposite and he’s sitting pretty at about 411 last time I checked. It took my priest forever to get above 200, but then he zoomed through after that until he hit 400. Anyway, the heat is on and my rogue needs to hit 80 in the next two months or else that feat will have to wait until Cataclysm. Also in that time, I’m going to help Sarah and get her hunter up to 80 (currently at about 78 and 3/4’s) so that she can have her 3rd level 80 character.
More cosplay, above is a girl dressing up from the game Queensblade. It’s one of those that have been pretty popular in Japan over the last couple of years and there is a PSP game that was released for it last December. Queen’s Blade is basically a combat picture book game that has a lot of over augmented girls. There are more of these pictures if you look around since there was a festival in Tokyo not too long ago.
Microsoft asks itself hard questions in an internal Q&A document obtained by Kotaku, including whether the larger investment in PC gaming brought on by Fable III is different than the other times it promised the same and didn’t deliver. We didn’t ask the question. We didn’t have to. In an internal Q&A document prepared for MIcrosoft spokespeople and snagged by Kotaku, Microsoft addresses the fact that it hasn’t quite come through on the PC promises of the past.
First, the question:
Q: Does “Fable III” on Windows signal a larger reinvestment by Microsoft in PC gaming? How is this different from the previous times you’ve announced a reinvestment in PC gaming and not quite come through with a robust offering? That this question even exists would indicate that Microsoft is at least aware of the perception that they’ve failed to follow through with previous PC gaming pushes. Unfortunately the answer, again formulated for spokespeople instead of any media outlet in general, isn’t quite as satisfying as the question.
A: In terms of revenue, Windows is far and away the largest gaming platform in the world, so it’s an incredibly important part of Microsoft’s business. From core games like “Fable III” to casual, social and Facebook titles, more gaming happens on Windows than anywhere else. Windows 7 is a world-class gaming platform, and you can bet Microsoft has a vested interest in using it as a platform for amazing first party content. “Fable III” on Windows as well as Xbox 360 this holiday is a great first step, and we’ll have more news for you later this summer. Hopefully this signals good news for PC gamers on the way.
There is no question that Fable III will be a huge game this fall. Since I played through Fable: The Lost Chapters and beat Fable II single handedly (and still trying find time to do it again but all evil like), I will at some point purchase this game. I just haven’t figured out if I’m pre-ordering it or waiting for a special sale. Also of mention, I own a copy of Fable: Lost Chapters for the PC (in addition to my Xbox copy). If I had a true top of the line gaming pc, I would probably be pretty interested in Fable III.
But there lies the problem. I don’t have a top of the line gaming pc and like many gamers, I have absolutely no plans to get one anytime soon. Sure, most of us keep our pcs relevant but most PC gamer specs are way above relevant. I can play a game like the original Fable or World of Warcraft on my PC with little to no problems but it would whimper and fall over dead if I attempted something like Fable III.
Microsoft’s bread and butter right now is Windows 7. If they could, you have to believe that they would just leave console gaming forever. But there is too much money to be made, so they aren’t going anywhere. In the background though, they have to continue to show that they are dedicated to Windows gaming and produce little press release snippets like these. Is Fable III going to change the world of PC Gaming? Hardly. Microsoft however is sure going to make you think it will.
Kinect Sports comes packed with more than half-a-dozen ways to play, but my limited time with the game only gave me a chance to check out one of them: Bowling. Nintendo’s Wii Sports proved just how popular bowling can be on a video game console. It may not be the sexiest game, but it was the game people most wanted to play when they visited my home after Nintendo’s console launched.
So it makes sense that Microsoft would want their own version of the popular, casual, pick-up and play sport.
Unlike with Wii Sports, with Kinect Sports you don’t have anything in your hand when you go bowling. Instead you stretch your arm out to your side to get your on-screen avatar to pick up the digital bowling ball.
Cradling air, you then pull back and throw, as if hurdling a bowling ball down the lane without the help of finger holes.
It takes a bit of getting used to for those of us who rely on those finger holes to bowl, but it’s not that different than the typical experience of bowling in real life.
The game did seem to roughly detect where I was throwing the ball, but I found the experience all together way too forgiving, making it much easier to clear the lane of pins than it should have been.
I also wasn’t a big fan of how you put spin on the ball. Because the device is using the motion of your arms and hands to detect motion, and not your fingers or wrist, you had to exaggerate your motions to get the ball to spin. That meant whipping your arm tightly across your body to pick up a little english on the ball. It worked but it didn’t feel
natural. I wasn’t able to try out the other sports titles on in the game, but the bowling experience left me yearning for a bit of Wii Sports.
Bowling, I admit I’ve always been fascinated by bowling. A game where pizza and beer (or soda pop in my case) are encouraged to be consumed in order to get the full experience. When I first got my Nintendo Wii, Bowling was easily the most played game. I first played it in Wii Sports, found it a bit stiff and then switched over to play it in Sports Resort where I found it a lot more rewarding. I even topped 200 (206) at one point for a single game.
The secret for me is that I used the Wiimote similar to the way I held a bowling ball. Fingers and all. It was only natural that Microsoft would pick up on this phenomenon and bring out their own version. The game, according to the screenshot below is certainly prettier than Wii Sports but the control seems to be out of whack. I’ve seen people whip the ball in real life bowling but it usually either grants them an injury or a gutter ball.
Also, what helped me a little bit in Wii Bowling was that there was a little bit of weight to my shot. Honestly, everything I’ve seen in Kinect land is the equivalent of throwing your hands up in the air and waving it around incessantly. Real Bowling has a style to it (believe it or not) and a little flick of the wrist can mean a big or small curve to your style. The Wii was pretty good about this and hopefully the people behind Kinect can produce an amicable solution.
That game sure looks nice if nothing else. But the $149 price tag (and bowling would be separate) is going to have a hard time selling the Kinect.
Sony and 3ds
Nintendo caused quite a stir at the E3 gaming expo with its glasses-free Nintendo 3DS. In an interview with Japan’s Sankei, Sony Computer Entertainment honcho Kaz Hirai had this to say about the glasses-free 3D tech:
“In in-house research, naked eye 3D for portable machines is not high and there are presently limits for it.” Sony is releasing a series of 3D high definition televisions that require viewers to wear 3D glasses.
The PS3 is also 3D enabled, but likewise requires glasses.
At the time of the interview last week, Hirai had not yet checked out the Nintendo 3DS, so he was not in a position to comment on whether Nintendo has, in his opinion, successfully brought glasses-free 3D gaming to a handheld gaming device. Hirai seemed to indicate to Sankei that Sony is currently not thinking about bringing 3D glasses-free gaming to its own portable, the PSP.
Hirai does not mention this, but it can be assumed that once Sony is able to offer glasses-free 3D at level it seems suitable, then the company could conceivably offer this on a future iteration of the PlayStation Portable.
The Sony exec did stress that the goal was to bring well-realized 3D games to the PS3 — an admirable goal. It’s just a shame that the initial buy-in requires several thousand dollars for a new television. The same steep buy in was required when gamers switched from analog to digital gaming. That, however, was only a few years ago!
The 3ds was arguably the one thing that Nintendo sold to the public at E3 that won over a lot of people even dissenters like me who wishes anything related to 3d would go right in the toilet bowl. Basically, if you don’t know by now, anything that a game company produces a gimmick that becomes a substitute for quality gaming is something I’m going to speak out against.
However, apparently a lot of developers are on board for the 3ds due to its portable glasses-free nature. Apparently when Sony weighed in on the subjects, their response was, we did the research and we found out that people weren’t interested in glasses-free 3d gaming. Here is a $7,000 television we plan to sell and eventually we will bring 3d games to the Playstation 3. Now go young ones. Even in my anti-gimmick mind, I can see through this pile of horse poop.
Nintendo is on to something, I’m just not sure if the 3ds is it or the first step towards it. A couple of things do alarm me, such as supposedly you can only see the 3d effect if you are looking at the portable dead on. Shouldn’t be a problem, but worth noting. The second is that nobody under 7 should be near this thing, since I guess the logic is that their eye isn’t fully formed and they will damage their retinas.
Doesn’t that scare a few people? I’m willing to give this portable its due but I have bad memories of Virtual Boy running through my head at the same time. I would like to be the same as the majority of the population who seem okay with the 3d gimmick but my eyes say to me otherwise. We’ll see in the upcoming months, I am going to give a 3d movie another go soon (most likely Last Airbender) and hope for the best.
So, I’ve been waiting all this time for an appropriate Kid Icarus sequel, and one of the first games announced on the 3ds is a Kid Icarus game. *grumble grumble*
I never really played Risk as a kid, but games like this make me wish I did. There are single player and online modes of play. The single player has 5 different sections, each unlocking one of the factions. Some of the Factions are a real treat including the cats who dress up like the Chinese leader Mao and zombies that resemble Nazis. The game plays similar to the 2008 Risk rule set but adds in overkills, faction abilities and dynamic terrain. Color me interested enough to download the demo.
This is not Duke Nukem Forever, however this game like Forever has been in rights hell for a while. Manhattan Project is a side scrolling Duke game with some 3d creativity. The levels and characters are 3d and Duke can move along any axis but the paths are somewhat limited that he can take. Sounds kinda like Shadow Complex doesn’t it? Anyway, Duke is fighting Mech Morphix, a mad scientist who is using radioactive slime to mutate creatures into monsters. My curiosity will lead to downloading this demo too.
Another Art Style game for you folks. Here you control a circular creature known as a rotozoan and make your way through each level of primordial ooze. Your only mission is continuously grow your tentacles and keep your life force alive. To do this, you absorb your enemies by touching them. However, you have to make sure it matches the color of your tentacle. Incorrect goobugs and then your tentacles will start shrinking. Challenge is certainly present in this popular series.
I’m not going to waste my time doing separate paragraphs for games that somebody with enough sense should have combined them together. These games are about a crumbling mansion that is home to a special picture book. There are plenty of puzzles to solve that will involve throwing animated paper bears into the pages of the book (which represent various environments). You’ll learn about the mystery of Kina and Pina who reside in the mansion. I’ll pull my hair out because there will be some kid who bamboozles his parents into buying both of these.
Medal of Honor Heroes
Transformers: War for Cybertron
Transformers: War for Cybertron
Field & Stream: Outdoorsman Challenge
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
Transformers: Cybertron Adventures
The Garfield Show – Threat of the Space Lasanga
Mahjong Mysteries: Ancient Egypt
Transformers: War for Cybertron – Autobots
Transformers: War for Cybertron – Decepticons
Thinksmart: Ages 8+
Dragon Ball: Origins 2
A little bit better this week, we are headlined by a Transformers game that is not connected to the movie franchise. It is a third person shooter that takes place prior to the original animated series on their home planet Cybertron. There are separate campaigns, one for the Autobots and one for the Decepticons. There is a single player and xbox live co-op available where people can drop in and out at any time. Each level will have three playable Transformers and the computer will control whichever ones you don’t choose.
As far as playable characters, it looks like we get the usual players including Optimus, Bumbleebee, Ironhide, Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave and others. There are various characters that will be exclusives to the DS game which is a shame (such as Grimlock, Cliffjumper and Dirge) but this one looks to really be for the fans of the Transformers cartoon. Certainly one to keep an eye out for once it goes below $30 or so.
Outside of that, we don’t get too much. The only one that caught my eye was Sin & Punishment: Star Successor for the Wii which I guess got green-lighted after the VC release a while back. It’s still a rail shooter about Isa Jou (son of the main characters from the first game) and a young girl named Kachi. They fight off all sorts of alien nasties and you’ll be able to use the Wiimote, Classic Controller or even a Gamecube controller to do it. This could be a sleeper hit for sure.
In Xbox 360 personal news, I did take the time to actually purchase a game from the sale they were having last week. They were blowing out the inventory according to the sale notes. Ummm, it’s digital you idiots. Anyway, I bought Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment. I played through the demo and found it quite the interesting game. I hope to be able to start it soon. Didn’t purchase Castle Crashers though again, I just can’t get into that game and I really have tried.
Anyway, I also played my usual Fable II Pub Games and Marvel vs Capcom 2 to waste away some time. The day I get the last achievement in Fable II Pub Games is probably the same day I actually get an achievement in Marvel vs Capcom 2 because that is how close I am to accomplishing both. MvsC2, I actually got to the final boss without using a continue only to die on the third boss form. *grumble*
Oh, wanted to mention that lately I have moved on to Hard and Expert (where appropriate) level for vocals in Rock Band. This is of course only on the songs I am actually familiar with though. Still it was pretty cool to gold star my first song on expert (“Give it Away” by Red Hot Chili Peppers) and get the achievement. Anyway, that’s it for me this week, enjoy your week kiddoes and I will certainly try to enjoy mine.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)