No SWITCH HYYYPE here? Posted on January 15, 2017 at 00:50
Personally, I think the thing looks phenomenal. It's not perfect, I'll readily admit... I'm no Nintendo apologist. But it's basically what I wanted the Vita to be (a portable system that doubles as a console, rather than a portable system that kinda sorta supplements your console), it's virtually guaranteed to do gangbusters in Japan and therefore will receive good support from Japanese devs even if it doesn't do great elsewhere, and it just looks all-around awesome... so yeah, it's a knockout slam dunk hole-in-run touchdown for me.
But for real though, it's got issues (and also some non-issues)... let's discuss, shall we?
Battery life of 2.5h to 6.5h
Pretty poor, no denying that. Not as absolutely abysmal as some people make it out to be, considering battery life of other such devices. (Honestly, how many of these whiners didn't bat an eye when they bought external battery packs for their phones during the Pokemon Go craze?)... but I'll concede that for true portability, it really ought to be comfortably above the 3 hour mark.
At the same time, I don't personally care about this. Extra battery life would be nice, but in general I'm plugged in 90% of the time on my 3DS/Vita, even when playing outside of my own home. And worst case scenario, I do have a reasonably beefy external battery pack I could use if need be.
Pathetic launch lineup and not much else for the rest of the year
Launch lineups almost always only have one or two games that are truly worthwhile, if you're lucky. The Switch has the definitive version of Breath of the Wild. Whether that's appealing to you or not will obviously play a large factor in whether the Switch is an enticing proposition on day one or whether you might want to wait a bit.
...but wait for what? Out of the Switch's "80+" games currently in development, we know of 58:
Lots of titles with TBD release dates, meaning that there isn't a whole lot in the immediate future. It'll be a sparse year, most likely. Consoles have gone through worse (Just look at PS3), so it's not "NINTENDOOMED"... but this is undeniably not good for the Switch. It's clear that Nintendo is trying to strategically space out its 1st party releases to try and maintain some momentum going forward towards 2018.
Though once again, this issue personally doesn't bother me. I've got too many games as-is, and I won't even be sinking my teeth into any Switch titles until 2018. You might ask, why would I buy it now? Because I love the concept, and it's got games coming out in 2017 and beyond that I want... therefore I'm voting with my wallet and choosing to buy the Switch day one regardless.
For the record, confirmed Switch games I'm currently interested in:
Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Super Mario Odyssey
Xenoblade 2 (Subject to change after I play the original)
Fire Emblem Warriors
No More Heroes 3?
Dragon Quest XI
Shin Megami Tensei V
Syberia 3 (subject to change after I play Syberia 1/2)
Shovel Knight Treasure Trove
It's too big to be portable and/or I have no need for a portable system
Regarding the size...
Totally pocketable, albeit with you probably having to detach the joycons and store them in a separate pocket.
Regarding the lack of a need for portability, I'm not buying it. I'm in my bedroom 99.9% of the time and I still find portability useful. Whether it's taking it with me on a trip out of town for the holidays, taking it over to a friend's house, reenacting game of porcelain thrones, curling up in bed with it like you might do with a good book, relinquishing the TV for other people to use, being able to easily transition between different TVs... there are tons of advantages to this system being portable. It's not just for people who travel frequently in a manner conducive to gaming.
And unlike most portable systems, this thing seamlessly performs double-duty as a traditional game console instead of being stuffed in a drawer to be forgotten about. It might not be bleeding-edge, but it's what I would consider perfectly acceptable... There are PS3/360/WiiU games that still look excellent after all, if not quite to the same degree as their current-gen counterparts.
Those joycons look so tiny and uncomfortable!
This is the one complaint that has me scratching my head the most, especially since so many people seem to dwell excessively on this point.
Yes they're small. Yes they're probably not ideal (though by most accounts it sounds like they feel more comfortable than they look, at least with the strap attachment... and I personally think most people were far overblowing how uncomfortable they looked in the first place).
Here's the thing though: They can't be big since they attach to the screen to form the portable mode, and the point of the isn't to be the ideal controller in the first place. They're just an easy surefire way to enable local multiplayer regardless of whether you have any extra real controllers. Though some games, like Arms, do make cute use of them as motion controllers... but games like those will be the exception, not the norm.
Or in other words, you probably aren't gonna use them that way unless you want to.
Non-issue for me because I probably won't hardly ever use them that way, and I have reasonably small hands even I did so it probably would be fine for me. Though for the record, I personally think Nintendo did just about the best job they reasonably could with the Switch's design and deserve more credit. It's truly remarkable how many different features and uses they packed into it, all the while managing to keep it super simple and intuitive.
Only 32 GB of storage?!
Yessir, only 32 GB of storage.
Is this bad? While more storage would always be appreciated, no not really. At most, it's a minor added expense for anyone who was hoping to go all-digital. You can get a 200 GB microSD card for less than the cost of one 32 GB Vita memory card
Is this unexpected? Are you kidding... In a portable system where costs need to be low and where hard drives, while cheap, are far too impractical? Again, no. Not at all unexpected.
"B-b-but my PS4 had 500 GB and I ran out of space super quick! Nintendoomed!" Here's the thing... PS4 and Xbox One have slow Blu-ray drives. All games on those two consoles, including physical copies, install fully to said hard drive to help achieve optimal performance. Or in other words, those two consoles have made a design choice which creates an inherent need for that space... and possibly much more, depending on how many games you accumulate.
Conversely, the Switch uses game cards. I can't claim to know the read/write speed of them, but they're almost certainly much better than the PS4 or XB1's Bluray read speed. Physical games won't have the same need of being installed.
Or in other words, 32 GB is a bit small but totally understandable, and it'll be a lot less of an issue than most people think unless they're planning to go fully digital.
50 Games in 2017 Posted on January 04, 2017 at 02:51
I played through a lot of cool games in 2016... Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, The Legend of Zelda, Persona 1-3, Tokyo Mirage Sessions, Uncharted, etc.... But with thousands of games still sitting in my backlog, I can't rest on my laurels in 2017. I intend to beat these 50 titles this year:
9 Persons 9 Hours 9 Doors
Ace Attorney: Justice for All
Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow
Clock Tower 3
Dragon Quest II
Emily is Away
Final Fantasy II
Final Fantasy VII
Majora's Mask 3D
Ni no Kuni
No More Heroes: Heroes' Paradise
Panzer Dragoon Orta
Rule of Rose
Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne
Silent Hill 4
Silent Hill Downpour
Silent Hill Homecoming
Silent Hill Origins
Silent Hill Shattered Memories
The Last Guardian
Trauma Center: Under the Knife
Yu-Gi-Oh Legacy of the Duelist
Zone of the Enders
Exciting stuff, right? I mainly focused on JRPGs in 2016, so I've decided that I'll focus on clearing out a lot of my survival horror backlog in 2017. In addition to focusing on those, I'll also be tying up some loose ends from last year, as well as prepare for some of the great games dropping this year (even if I don't get to most of those until next year).
And by "that", naturally I'm referring to my unrivaled masterpiece titled Splendid Genesis Memorikan. The magnum opus to end all opi. There's more to it than meets the eye, so let's break this turd apart so we can flush it away.
The clue to what it's all about is in the title, though maybe not immediately apparent due to the first two words being meaningless fluff. The real meat is there in the last two words:
Memori (目盛) = Scale
Kan (間) = Across
Together the idea conveyed is "across the scales". Okay, so... what does that actually mean? Let's find out.
In the opening, you're just a dude alone in a room with a table that has a stopwatch atop it. Seemingly meaningless, but we'll be returning to this scene at the end of the game, and it's key to the idea of this game. For now we'll move on.
In the next room, there are two NPCs. These guys fill the player in on the game's "plot". Entities called "ryeMoths" have invaded, and you're tasked with defeating their mothership. The mothership being called "otherShip" isn't particularly meaningful, but what about ryeMoths? Well, ryemoth is an anagram of M-Theory, which loosely ties into the idea of the game.
And they are, in fact, strings. Not peanuts having seizures.
The middle portion of the game tries to escalate the sense of scale. The space ship is huge relative to the player character, but it seems much more insignificant once you're piloting it. You join up with a fleet of other ships and combine to form "Supercluster Galaxy Robo", which sounds like it should be huge and epic, but....
It's barely a few pixels. And that's apparently at over 9000% scale. And the otherShip? Well it's not even fully on-screen, yet it takes up the entire right side of the screen. And that's apparently at a scale of 0.000001% its actual size. Or in other words, the otherShip is unfathomably larger than the Supercluster Galaxy Robo. Over 9 million times larger... and even then, this isn't as large as it ought to be, given the final revelation. Speaking of which...
After you defeat the otherShip, you return to the room from the start of the game. Only this time, the table has shifted all the way over to the wall on the right. Furthermore, the stopwatch is broken. What caused all this?
Well, it's a bit of a leap given the information that the game provides, but... the implication was intended to be that the stopwatch was the otherShip. The core idea of Memorikan was scale as a dimension, and that as you zoom out to the largest of scales you eventually loop back in on the smallest of scales.
Not particularly well executed, but that's what procrastination does to a project.
So after finally getting fed up with the organization (or lack thereof) of my various games and emulators, I decided it's time to set up an emulator front end on my Windows machine.
I looked into several, even tried a handful of them in rapid fire succession... and ultimately I've decided to settle on LaunchBox.
Retroarch's XMB-esque frontend is pretty solid, but the fact that it can only be used for launching games that currently have Retroarch cores kills it for me. I want to be able to launch my PS2, Gamecube and Wii games too!
EmulationStation, the first one I tried outside of Retroarch, looks nice and I was about to stop my search there... but just as I was reconsidering due to ES being a bit too basic for my taste, I ran into some issues that sealed its fate: The metadata scraper is too bare bones. For instance, no matter how hard I tried, it could not scrape metadata for Ico despite the fact that I know the database it's using has it.... I'm guessing the short 3-letter name is the culprit. But the real big issue is that sometimes scraped metadata wouldn't stick. I tried multiple things (giving administrator privileges to ES, saving and resaving metadata, quitting the app "properly" through its menu option) and nothing seemed to resolve the issue... sometimes metadata would stick, other times it wouldn't. Not worth the hassle of trying to figure out what's causing it, and not worth having to worry whether my metadata's gonna stay or not.
LaunchBox, the second one I tried and the one I ultimately came back to, is essentially OpenEmu for Windows minus the built-in emulator cores... it's also a bit uglier than OpenEmu, but a bit more flexible. Though the issue I have with it, which is what made me keep looking for alternatives, is that a lot of features and options are locked behind a paywall... including its entire Big Picture equivalent mode (called Big Box). At the end of the day though, I can live with that... So I've gotta use keyboard and mouse to launch my games for the time being, big deal.
Briefly tried GameEx and Attract Mode, and looked at a few other frontends like Hyperspin and mGalaxy before deciding LaunchBox is the overall best option despite some valuable features and options being inaccessible.
Mobile Gaming (+ small update) Posted on October 09, 2016 at 04:24
First off, quick update regarding the game I was developing. Accidentally deleted it, so I'm back to square none.
Thinking I'll do a more quick and dirty game for my next project. Maybe a Pong/Breakout hybrid... and/or more messing around with creating custom image formats. Space-filling curves are interesting and seem like they could potentially help file sizes when combined my previous image format (which you can read about here: http://www.64digits.com/users/index.php?userid=S3xySeele&cmd=comments&id=271284)
Anyway... Mobile gaming.
Have smartphones made dedicated portable gaming devices redundant/obsolete? Well... yes and no.
Yes because these smartphones are very powerful devices that are technically capable of running high end games. No because these smartphones are very powerful devices that are technically capable of running high end games.
Or in other words, smartphones don't make just portable gaming devices redundant. They also make consoles redundant.
I can AirPlay my iPhone 6S to my Apple TV and enjoy games with console-level graphics (not quite "bleeding edge" console graphics, but certainly comparable to the likes of PS3 & 360 which, if we're being completely honest, is perfectly fine). Then I can disconnect from AirPlay and continue playing those same games on the go, without skipping a beat. And with emulators like Provenance, I've got all manner of game systems in my pocket... that I can then play seamlessly on the big screen when I'm home.
The only thing that hampers the experience is the lack of consistent controller support. It would be nice if Apple created a high-quality official MFi controller for iOS/tvOS/macOS, and put their foot down and said all games must support it going forward.
In any case, despite the redundancy, I think neither consoles or handheld gaming devices are going away any time soon.... and that's why I think that if the rumors about the Nintendo NX being a console/handheld hybrid turn out to be true, it could really be something special. It would basically be like the iPhone/ATV scenario I described, except with the controller issue sorted out and overall higher quality games.
On the 6th Day of August, My Devlog gave to me... Posted on August 06, 2016 at 01:52
...Not much, sadly. I created crude sprites for the planets of our solar system and I'm working on the UI elements.
Over the next week I'll be tackling the battle system, which will be a bit like Hybrid Heaven and Parasite Eve's, except... y'know... with spaceships.
In other news, I've made some good strides in clearing out some of my anime backlog.
Finished off Demon King Daimao, a show I got halfway through about 5 years ago. Pretty idiotic... there are probably hardcore hentai with better, more coherent plots. Still, it had its moments where it was actually kinda amusing.... mostly in the first half, it loses steam in the 2nd half when its main "plot" gets more of the spotlight.
A light 4/10.
Also completed watching the first season of Nisekoi, a show I started watching early last year. Not usually into harem anime, but this show was actually pretty cute and occasionally clever... even if it still suffers from a lot of the same problems these kinds of shows typically have. I'll probably watch season 2 at some point.
Now I've started watching The Twelve Kingdoms, currently 3 episodes in. This show is much more appealing to me in terms of plot and themes than the previous two... the art style and animation is all quite nice as well, especially for its age. My only gripe so far is that the lead character is whiny as fuck. I mean, it's understandable given the circumstances... but they could've toned it down a peg or two. We get it, the character is in a frightening position and is rightly terrified. Quit going overboard with the waterworks.
Rating Pending... currently projected to be an 8/10
Also continuing my rewatch of the baseball anime, Major. Already finished rewatching season 1 about a week or two ago, currently working my way through S2. We've moved on from Goro Honda's little league career from S1 and now he's in middle school, transitioning to high school. Doesn't quite have the same dramatic knock-out punches that S1 had in the first 6 episodes, but the story progresses forward in a logical yet interesting manner. So far, this show is holding up extremely well on my 2nd viewing.
S3XY's G4D Progress Log #4?! Posted on July 22, 2016 at 18:37
So even though I was able to create such an amazing masterpiece of a game in just a single day (if you haven't already had the pleasure of playing it, you can get it here: http://files.64digits.com/S3xySeele/Splendid%20Genesis%20Memorikan.zip), part of me wonders... how much more masterpiecy would it be if I actually utilized the entire allotted time of 28 days and took it seriously?
Plus, the game I ended up creating for the competition has some similar characteristics to a game I already wanted to make, and gave me a better understanding of how I want to go about making it. Zuurix's game also helped inspire me.
Since this isn't for an actual competition, I won't be strictly adhering to the 28-day guideline... I think I'll just generously round up to the end of August. Plus, even this isn't strictly a hard deadline for completion... rather, it's just a checkpoint to see how far I was able to get in that amount of time. I may still continue to develop the game beyond that point.