Archive for March, 2012

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History of Game Usagi April Fools

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Game Usagi has always embraced April Fools like many fine tech sites across the Internet, but this year we’ve decided to commit ourselves to continuing to bring you hard-hitting news and reviews instead of sinking to wasting an entire day with jokes and frivolity.  Instead of our usual jokes this year we’ve decided to take a look back on April Fools past so we can remember bygone levity while looking forward to the future of… something.

Anyways, read on for a trip down memory lane.


Future of Gaming: Durango and Orbis?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

There’s a new rumour today that the PS3’s successor is codenamed Orbis.  When we consider this with the confirmed codename of Durango for the next Xbox 360 and the as-far-as-we-know final name for the Wii U, it’s going to be one funny E3 this year for video game system names.

The rumours currently peg the Durango and Orbis for a late 2013 launch, so it would make sense if they were at least announced in some form at this year’s E3.  How Microsoft plans to get around the Mexican state/Dodge SUV/Ford Truck association with their codename is anybody’s guess, but Sony isn’t far behind in the awkward codename choosing game.  Orbis already has 16 entries on Wikipedia for everything from a German municipality to a few different book publishers.  Perhaps the Wii U name isn’t sounding so bad now after all, considering the even less origianal alternatives.

Any way you look at it though, there’s going to be a lot of people looking very silly talking about the Durango Vs. the Orbis’ graphics pretty soon if all the rumours are to be believed, so start getting used to the names now or you’ll be left behind in the early 2000s with your silly names like Xbox and Playstation.

Vindicating the 3DS: How Recent Games are Exploiting Stereoscopic 3D

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
When I first heard about the 3DS, I groaned. Were Nintendo marketing executives really riding the 3D craze, forcing a gimmick into a core console mechanic? The system’s name was like a punchline to a bad joke; it was almost as bad as when the Wii or iPad were first announced. Even worse, the ergonomics of keeping your head still at a constant distance from the screen were a human factors nightmare, a throwback to the old Virtual Boy.

Now, after three months of owning a 3DS, I am a believer.

Don’t get me wrong, at this stage stereoscopic 3D is not essential to play any game on the market. I am not even sure if it will ever be essential for gameplay, but with each subsequent game that I played I could tell that there was a future here. In 10 years, supporting stereoscopic 3D properly for gaming will be as important as having decent camera mechanics and up-to-date graphics. The operative word here, though, is “properly”. We don’t yet know how to leverage 3D in a big way, but we’re learning, and here’s how.


The Original 151 Pokemon According To My Mom

Monday, March 26th, 2012

While she has never played any of the Pokemon games, my mom lived through my brother and I collecting Pokemon cards, playing the Game Boy games and Smash Bros., watching the Pokemon anime on TV, and going to the theatrical Pokemon movies.  She usually knows what we’re talking about when we discuss Pokemon, so we thought it would be amusing if we found how just how many of the original 151 Pokemon our mom could recognize from the sprite collection linked through the image above.  Read on to see what she named the original Kanto Pokemon, as well as any comments she made about them. 


Top 10 Things Nintendo Should Do For 3DS Pokemon Games

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

The Pokemon Company and developer Game Freak have recently announced the upcoming Pokemon Black and White Version 2 games on Nintendo DS.  They follow the very successful Pokemon Black and White titles, which are the 5th generation of the core Pokemon RPG series.  As a dedicated fan of this series, I would surmise that these new titles are meant to satisfy our cravings while we wait patiently for the inevitable announcement of the next generation of the series on the Nintendo 3DS.  It is strange that Nintendo didn’t force them to develop for the previously struggling 3DS with a pair of titles guaranteed to sell gazillions.  Some people are rightfully disappointed that the next pair of core titles will be released on hardware less powerful than a modern graphing calculator, but as a fan I’ll play almost anything developed by Game Freak, as they consistently produce fun and addictive titles that always raise the bar in the series.

Like it or lump it, we’re going to have to wait a while longer for Pokemon Gen. 6 on 3DS.  Pokemon Black/White was an admission by Game Freak that their fans have grown up, and while these games did so many things right they didn’t take them quite far enough.  Now that the much more powerful 3DS is here, Game Freak has a huge opportunity to take Pokemon to the next level.

To get them started, I present here for the developers my top 10 suggestions of features and improvements that fans will expect to see in Pokemon Gen. 6:


Kid Icarus: Uprising Launches Today

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

At long last the game that made a lot of people buy 3DSs when they were $250.00 comes out today.  In case you forgot about it, Kid Icarus: Uprising is now available world-wide except for in poor Australia, the Aussies have to wait an extra week to get their hands on Nintendo’s first full-blown 1st party game. 

What about Mario Kart 7 or Super Mario 3D Land you may ask.  Honestly, look in your heart and think about whether either of them felt like Nintendo put the same amount of time into them as they did for Mario Kart DS or Super Mario World (answer: of course not).

So, it was a long time coming, but you can find out for yourself today whether or not it was worth waiting more than a year for.  We’ll have a review up for it once we’ve tackled most of its content to let you know where it registers on the Usagi spectrum too.

Bioware Working on Better ME3 Closure

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of Bioware, announced today that they’ve been listening to all of the critics of Mass Effect 3’s approach to ending Commander Shepard’s saga and are at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. You’ll hear more on this in April.  We’re working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received.  This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue.

You can see the rest of the letter from Dr. Muzyka to the gaming public on the Bioware Blog here.

I haven’t finished the game 100% myself (I’m currently at about the 96% mark), so I cannot comment on the validity of the enormous backlash that Bioware has experienced thus far, but I can say that I’m leaning more toward the legion of angry gamers considering some of the other shortcomings of Mass Effect 3 including the neglect of the Elcor, Hanar, and Vorcha and the laziness inherent in Tali’s “unveiling.”

Hopefully Bioware will come up with a good-will gesture of sorts to all of their fans that have remained so loyal throughout the series to alleviate the LOST-style grab-the-money-and-run feeling that is generally being conveyed by the gaming public.  Of course they’re the ones making the game and they can end it however they want, but since they want the continued support of their fan and income base I think it’s a good move for them to do a little damage control. 

Game Usagi will keep you posted on whether or not Bioware can successfully balance their “artistic integrity” with the integrity of the epic sci-fi tale they were trying to weave.

Point Review: Touch My Katamari (PS Vita)

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Developer: Namco Bandai Games
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Genre: Third-person action puzzle
Players: 1
Console: PS Vita
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and Up)
Hours played: 6 hours
Progress: Completed main storyline and replayed all levels in K Drive and Endless modes where applicable, earned most trophies

Another Sony system, another Katamari game.  This time available at launch for the PS Vita, the latest entry in the cult-classic Katamari series Touch My Katamari gets a chance to shine and show off the new bells and whistles of this next generation portable.  With Keita Takahashi having left the game series in 2005 after We Love Katamari for the PS2, the Katamari series has been fairly hit-and-miss.  My favourite entry in the Katamari series was Me & My Katamari for the PSP (the first Katamari game made without Takahashisan), so I was all ready and set to love its PS Vita incarnation.  Did Touch My Katamari end up being one of the stand-out games in a series with a fairly rocky history?  Read on to find out.


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