Things we said today

Once upon a time, there was a glorious mecca of video game nerd happiness called E3. Every May, E3 rose from the pumpkin patch to bring children of the world news and previews of hotly-anticipated fall titles at the expense of the health and well-being of a few thousand idiots occasionally mistaken for journalists. Sadly, E3 died last year for your sins, and a foul impostor has sprung up in its absence. You can tell it’s fake, though, because it lives in July. Also, it’s lame.

But old habits die hard, and game publisher have trouble accepting this filthy fake as legitimate. And so they retain their old patterns of behavior, perhaps in the hopes that the true E3 will rise again and lead us to the promised land of huge mid-May web traffic spikes. Which means all those old pre-E3 events that used to clog April like a blob of matted hair are still stuffed in the proverbial drain of our productivity. To wit: The fruits of labor from last week’s Nintendo formerly-a-pre-E3 event follow.

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: My Life As a King
I’m half-inclined to pretend this game doesn’t exist. Something about seeing that many subtitles in conjunction is deeply offensive. On the other hand, I kind of respect My Life As a King in a Progress Quest kind of way: It strips away the pretenses of RPGs and reduces the entire thing to the bare-bones spreadsheet that serves as the framework for every entry in the genre.

Sonic Chronicles
I can’t believe I have placed an image of a Sonic game on the front page of this site. Without irony! But then, I can still hardly believe BioWare is making a Sonic game. Well, actually, no — now that I’ve played it I totally can. It’s pure BioWare, which is to say ambitious, talkative, and sort of rough around the edges with a horribly ugly user interface. It’s sort of reassuring, honestly.

Space Invaders Extreme
I hate the name, but man this game is fantastic. So good to see that Taito has actually figured out how to make this musty old classic feel interesting again.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Redux
My favorite part of the presentation for this game was the way Nintendo is bending over backward to downplay the “Mystery Dungeon” part of the game. Rather than talk about all the things that make the series interesting, their spiel revolves entirely around the fact that now you are a pokémon! Honestly, people just don’t appreciate the beauty of masochism.

12 thoughts on “Things we said today

  1. Are you able to elaborate on exactly what felt rough about Sonic Chronicles?

    Just curious.

  2. You know, that general feeling you get from BioWare games, that they didn’t quite have time to make them as polished as they wanted. Raw-looking interfaces, odd hiccups in animation transitions, that sort of thing. Imagine KOTOR’s general level of polish combined with Camelot RPG-style battles and Sonic characters and you have a good idea of what I mean.

  3. Marketing people sometimes fixate on weird things. “So in this game you can actually BECOME a Hokage?” “Well, as part of the experience system there are a number of titles you can earn, so as you win fights and get stronger, the game assigns you rankings starting with Academy Student and moving up the ninja ladder, with the last ranking being Hokage.” “So this is the FIRST GAME where you get to be a HOKAGE!”

  4. I heard Space Invaders Galaxy Beat/Evolution for the PSP, which was unreleased in the US (but released in Europe, go figure), was pretty snazzy.

  5. Wasn’t there a Space Invaders coming up where you played as the invaders and went around attacking things? I want to play that.

  6. Please, just tell me: you say the interface in Sonic Chronicles is raw-looking and unpolished, but is it at least less wretched than the one in Mass Effect? I loved Mass Effect, but sometimes in bed I still wake up, screaming bloody murder about converting dozens upon dozens of useless weapons upgrades into omni-gels. Tell me it is at the most very least not that bad.

    Also, what, no karma system in the game?

  7. The more and more I hear about My life as a King, the more it seems like a poor man’s verison of the rather old pc game Majesty. Anyone else remember it’s goodness?

  8. “‘m half-inclined to pretend this game doesn’t exist. Something about seeing that many subtitles in conjunction is deeply offensive.”

    I still think Atlus has them beat with Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzonoha vs the Soulless Army.

  9. Is it just me, or does Sonic Chronicles have the same assy 3D, smeared-vaseline-on-the-lens look that many 32/64 bit era RPGs had?? That screenshot reminds me a bit of the odd way that Golden Sun looks now only worse.

  10. So your Space Invaders Extreme preview suggests that we import the Arkanoid paddle controller from NCS. This is a great idea! But, there are two problems:

    1) they only have Pink in stock
    2) they only have Pink in stock

    (this is only a problem if you don’t like pink, of course)

    Play-Asia is out of stock in all colors. But, Japan Video Games (a neat little store outside of LA) has three of the four colors in stock. I’ve shopped there both online and in-store and they’re good people (just got my blue PSP from them a few months ago). Caveat: they usually take about one business day to ship stuff out.

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