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By Jonathan Balofsky On 22 Jun, 2017 At 09:19 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The Nintendo Switch is getting a good amount of fighting games, with Ultra Street Fighter 2 having come already, and Arms having just released, with Pokken and BlazBlue coming. As well, there have been several great Neo Geo fighting games that have come to the Switch via Arcade Archives.  However, there is another fighting game coming to the Switch that people should not overlook, and that is Pocket Rumble.

Pocket Rumble is retro-inspired throwback to the Neo Geo Pocket Fighting games, and it has a lot to offer on its own, as seen in recent builds of the game. Pocket Rumble feels like it will be right at home on the Switch. It has a control scheme with a perfect setup and according to those who have played the Switch port, the game plays well the analogue stick.  Speaking of the analogue stick, this is another game that has built-in multiplayer via the Joy-Cons and that helps increase its value even more.

Pocket Rumble has a unique charm that will make it a perfect fit for a game on a Nintendo system. It combines the nostalgic feeling from a retro game along with the excitement you get from modern twists in fighting games. Some have said they feel that the art takes a little too much influence from the SNK games, but I do not feel that is a bad thing. Not too mention, you can alter the scan lines in the game, which does make the art look a lot more unique and offer more visual variety

The game’s simplified yet still intense controls are made even better with the fact that HD rumble is planned for the game to help create a more immersive experience. The multiplayer in the game promises smooth online with GGPO and the local multiplayer opportunities with the Switch will help make this game a fighter that feels like no other. Given the numerous additions since the game was shown in the Nindies direct, I feel this will be a truly epic experience.

I honestly feel this has the chance to help show that there is room for more creative and unique fighters on the Switch and I would like to see some tournaments for this game on the system. Nintendo is building up a roster of games that are outside of their usual titles for their systems and this only helps create more variety for themselves. This game is a match made in heaven.

 

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The above is the opinion solely of the author and not necessarily that of ROG or its staff

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 18 Jun, 2017 At 06:57 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Games That Should Be Revived, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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SNK made many great games for the Neo Geo, and in many genres such as beat em ups. One of their best beat em ups was the Sengoku series, a series about brawlers taking on specters of the warriors of japans past along with ghosts and demons. In the first game, you could get various weapons and summon others to swap places with, for extra abilities. The series only got better and better, and to be honest, this is one that SNK should really consider bringing back.

Brawlers are making a comeback now, both in 2D and 3D styles and with the various innovations Sengoku and its sequels introduced, this could be a truly innovative open world brawler.  You would travel between worlds/dimensions and fight enemies as you go, but you could also do things like in the original games, like shatter enemies weapons to force them to fight you hand to hand, and swap places with others you meet on the way. The enemy variety and different locales would all contribute well to this, and this could be one of the most unique brawlers ever made.

SNK is slowly getting back into game making after their pachinko era, and games like King of Fighters XIV show they have what it takes to still make great games. SNK could very well make a great open ended brawler for modern systems and PC, or if they want, make a throwback retro style 2D beat em up. They could even work with a company like WayForward to do for Sengoku what was done for Double Dragon with Double Dragon Neon.

The simple matter is, that the Sengoku series offered a great twist on the beat em up genre and this is greatly missed today. A proper return would be welcome and a sign that SNK has more than just fighting games up their sleeves.

 

 

By Jessica Brown On 7 Jun, 2017 At 11:46 AM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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While the announcement of Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 only felt inevitable given the success of the first collection, this new package feels a bit incomplete to me. This time we are getting treated to Mega Man 7MM8MM9, and MM10, but where is Mega Man’s other 16-bit outing?

Mega Man & Bass (originally released in 1998 in Japan on the Super Famicom) takes place directly after the events of MM8 and gives players the ability to play as either of the two titular characters. Featuring some unique robot masters, 100 CDs to collect to unlock profiles on all of the characters in the franchise to date (since the game was released in honor of the series 10th/15th anniversary), a fantastic soundtrack, and a solid level of challenge, MM&B is perhaps one of the best entries in the classic series. Leaving it out seems like a big mistake.

However, we also know that at this time Capcom is passing on Nintendo platforms, so that feels like a bit of a double-whammy. Still, there’s always the possibility of MM&B appearing later on in another special collection of Mega Man titles.

Time will tell!

Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 is coming to the PS4, XBox One, and PC on August 8.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 4 Jun, 2017 At 04:12 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Indie Games have become a major part of the industry in recent years and in many ways they are affecting the entire direction of the industry.  All of the big three console makers have worked directly with indie devs such as Microsoft buying Mojang, Sony publishing games like Journey  and Nintendo buying the rights to and then publishing Snipperclips.

As a result of this, I began thinking about what potentially may occur in the future. I think that in the future, companies like Nintendo should expand themselves by acquiring indie studios and/or indie games. This isn’t an insane idea like some may think, given that its already happening, such as with the above examples.  These studios can often bring something to the table that companies like Nintendo themselves are lacking.

Let’s look at Foxbat.  the company developing Unholy Night: The Darkness Hunter. This is a retro fighting game being made as a new Super Famicom game and is being localized as a SNES game by Retroism. Foxbat is made up of ex SNK developers who worked on King of Fighters and more.  Were Nintendo to work with them, they could help give Nintendo an edge into fighting games which Nintendo is currently lacking in. Yes they have Arms and Smash but those are not traditional fighting games.

We could also consider Yacht Club Games, who have made one of the best retraux games in recent memory with Shovel Knight. This critically acclaimed gem wowed critics and gamers alike, and if the developer were part of Nintendo, then they could help to make revivals of older IP in that same style. Of course there is also the fact that by that same logic, Inti Creates should also be looked at. After all, they created Azure Striker Gunvolt, an amazing Mega Man successor, and made the excellent Blaster Master Zero. Having them would be a way to experiment with older IP done in new ways.

However, these are just some examples.. The truth is, many indie companies would  actually love to form partnerships with big companies and this could be a way for them to expand  them and for companies Nintendo to get some new blood working on new ideas. This is especially true for expanding outside of their talent in Japan.  The fact is, the Big 3 and other big companies are going to try and make moves to acquire indie developers soon. The industry is not what it once was and maybe this is actually going to turn out to be for the better.

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and does not necessarily reflect those of ROG or its staff.

 

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RPG games are amazing and Nintendo and Camelot made one of the best series ever with Golden Sun. This is a series I have fond memories of playing, as I first played it after a relative rented it for me when I was sick. It was so different from other RPG games to me and it had such an amazing charm that others didn’t.

The series has a massive amount of fan support behind it, even more now than ever, and I feel it is the right time to revive the series. Nintendo needs a good RPG series for their library, as while Xenoblade is amazing, Golden Sun will be better for more traditional JRPG fans. That style of gaming still has a lot of support and Nintendo and Atlus did come out with Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE on Wii U which was in the classic style of gameplay. Golden Sun would be perfect for Nintendo to revive on the Switch, and it should remain like a the classic games but take influence from Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE.

Besides the fan support behind the game, there is also another reason the game would be great to revive. There is a very detailed battle system that would transition very well to modern gaming and HD resolution.  The use of summons, and stacking your attacks for more offense was a great system and the psyenergy used outside of battle to interact with the world game a strong puzzle feel to the game as well. Golden Sun has an epic scale to it, and the summons alone were enough to put this on a high level. There was also a plot that actually has a lot going for it and there were  likeable and engaging characters.

, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, ended on a cliffhanger and there is a strong demand to see where the series would go after that.  Considering that each game became more epic in scale than the last one, a Golden Sun game in HD on the Switch would be absolutely amazing.  Camelot has been somewhat low-key as of late and their last game, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash,  was a greatly  stripped down experience from their usual sports game standards. It felt like a rush job made to familiarize with HD gaming. Perhaps  it was a test to see how well to do a full HD game.  If that is the case, then hopefully a modern Golden Sun game is not an impossibility.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 30 May, 2017 At 01:20 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The Nintendo Switch is  a few months old now and we have still heard little about the virtual console, although we can expect to hear more at E3. I have recently realized, that the Switch has a major ace up its sleeve when it comes to the virtual console and that is a unified virtual console. The Switch is in fact the successor to both the Wii U and 3DS and will likely have a virtual console library consisting not only of games from consoles but also handhelds. This can lead to playing N64 and Gameboy games on the same system, and if Nintendo makes the right moves, Sega Genesis and Sega Game Gear games on the same platform.

Classic gaming is an increasingly big draw these days and having access to classic handheld games like the Mario Land/Wario Land series on the same platform as Majora’s Mask and Donkey Kong 64 is a major attraction.  Nintendo is actually in a  position they have never been in before when it comes to virtual console, and that is to unify their entire retro library for one system’s online service.  If they do this and also market it correctly, it will be extremely attractive for gamers who haven’t yet picked up the Switch.

Nintendo should go all out for this, they should get Sega systems like the Game Gear as mentioned but also Neo Geo  handheld systems. After all, they already have Neo Geo games on the Switch now.  By expanding the service to have as many systems as possible all in one, Nintendo can corner the market for retro gaming. I am speaking of getting Turbo Grafx-16 games at the beginning instead of the end, of getting MSX games and bringing them to a worldwide audience, and maybe getting commodore 64 games back on the system like they had briefly on the Wii. if anything else I would suggest getting classic computer games onto the service as well. Bother keyboard games and point and click games would work, especially since the Switch has a touch screen.

I truly feel that the Switch can in fact be the ultimate system for classic gaming and have the best of modern gaming as well. This is something Nintendo must look into, because it can guarantee ongoing success for the Nintendo Switch.

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and does nit necessarily reflect the views of ROG or its staff.

 

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After Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s success on the Nintendo Switch, I began to think of what other games might come from Wii U to Switch. There is one game I want more than others and that is Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze.

This might just be the best Donkey Kong game ever made. The Music by David Wise is excellent, and it had some truly amazing visuals that went against the grain for 2D platformers, even HD ones. Tthe enemies are memorable and great, especially unlike the Tikis from Returns, and were a worthy successor to the Kremlings. But most importantly, this has the best gameplay and level design in the series, with every level  being and feeling alive and bursting with energy. Every area, from the beaches to the frozen islands have a truly epic feel to them, which is greatly helped by the awesome David Wise soundtrack.

In addition, the characters are probably the best they have been in the series.feel great as well. Dixie Kong makes her return and truly shows why she was a beloved character. Also, for the first time in the series, you can play as Cranky Kong. Cranky plays like Scrooge McDuck from the Ducktales video game adaptations and is a truly worthy addition to the roster. Plus when you add in the hard modes, you could play as a different character than DK in single player. You could play as Diddy, Dixie or Cranky for the whole game, which opened up entire new play possibilities. This isn’t getting into the Time Trials, with the game encouraging speed running and allowed you to upload your replays for others to see.

The fact is that this is just too good a game to leave on the Wii U. This game deserves a second chance to make an impact and get a new audience and it should come to the Nintendo Switch. It could do very well there, especially with the overall momentum of the platform, and get better sales. the fact is that this is one of the most creative games on the Wii U, and I would even say among the most creative platformer games ever made. It is just that good and should be experienced by more.

 

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The above was the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of ROG or its staff.

By Nate VanLindt On 28 May, 2017 At 04:24 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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13,925.  693, no platinum trophies.  5,906 XP – Level 29.  These numbers are meaningless out of context.  The fact is, they’re pretty much meaningless in context as well.  Chances are, you already know what I’m talking about if you’re reading this, but for the few that don’t, the above numbers are gamer scores and achievement statistics.  Specifically my personal gamer statistics.  I had to look them up because I had absolutely no idea what they were and I didn’t really care.  They are from Xbox Live, Playstation Network, and Steam respectively if you’re wondering.  That’s the point, however.   Why have people become obsessed with their personal statistics?

Gamerscores and stats started almost at the same time as gaming with the advent of the high score.  The very first high score was in Sea Wolf, way back in 1976.  Most games of the early gaming era featured scoring systems of one kind or another, whether it be the number of points scored in a Pong game or the points from the number of alien ships shot down in Galaga.  High scores stuck around until the mid to late 80s, when the NES reigned supreme and longer, more complex games at home became the standard.  Even then, many games still had score tabulation functions, whether they were the game scores in R.B.I. Baseball or a run n’ gun like Contra by Konami.   In other words, high scores have always been kicking around, but as gaming advanced, high scores slowly disappeared and became less meaningful, excluding a handful of genres like SHMUPS (SHoot eM UPS such as R-Type, Gradius, and Raiden for those who aren’t familiar with the term). 

But then, something odd happened in 2005.  Microsoft introduced achievements on the Xbox 360.  All of the sudden, every time you completed a specific set task in a game, you got a digital attaboy.  A little notification would pop up on screen and tell you you’d completed a task that you didn’t even know you were working towards and it added to what Microsoft calls your “gamerscore”.  Suddenly people were trying to have the best gamerscore, competing with their friends, doing things they’d never bother to do in a game before and spending lots of extra time in a game to do it.  Companies noticed this.  Nearly every game had achievements in short order.  In 2007, Valve added their version of gamerscores, badges, to Steam.  The next year, Sony added Trophies to the PlayStation Network as well.  Suddenly, everyone had a scoring system to track how much better (or worse) you were than everyone else you knew.  People bought into it.  Companies offered rewards for the highest gamerscore and Microsoft even gave away a lifetime membership to Xbox Live Gold in 2013 to the player with the highest gamerscore.  The entire concept had entered the collective consciousness of gamers and they have accepted it as a standard.

Should we be paying attention to our gamerscore and our trophy list, however?  Perhaps we should not.  In 2006, Gears of War was released for the Xbox 360.  It was one of the first games I played that had achievements.  I’d seen the achievement notifications pop up before, but I generally just tolerated them.   As I played Gears of War, I reached the end of a section and defeated the Berserker the first time, earning the trophy “My Love For You Is Like A Truck”, a reference to a fairly obscure song called Berserker by a band called Love Among Freaks.  Unfortunately, the trophy notification popped up prominently onscreen in the middle of a cinema sequence, blocking me from seeing the cinema fully and destroying my immersion in the game instantly.  On top of that, I couldn’t go back and see the cinema again without replaying that entire section of the game.  From that moment on, I was dead set against gamerscore in all its iterations.

In case you didn’t know, you can actually turn off achievement notifications on both Microsoft and Sony consoles.  On the Xbox One, it’s under Settings,  All Settings, Preferences, Notifications.   For the PS4, the option is under Settings, Notifications.  I did this as soon as the option became available on each network (as far as I know, it still isn’t available on Steam unfortunately) and I never looked back.  As a gamer for over 30 years, I ask you to consider it this way.  Games are designed to have fun.  They’re a form of escapist entertainment.   We generally play games to try and either finish them or get a high score.  But with achievements, we play through tedious grinding activities just to get an ephemeral payout of gamerscore so we can brag to friends and strangers.  That’s not only weird, it borders on pointless.  Take Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End for example.  I played Uncharted 4 right after it came out.  I blew through the game in my spare time (about a week).  The pacing is fantastic, the story moves just the right amount at a go, none of the gameplay holds you up too badly, but you still feel challenged.  It’s one of the most well-crafted games I’ve played in years in terms of pacing and structure.  I finished the game, had a blast, and came away fully satisfied with my experience.  I can’t speak highly enough of the game (keeping in mind that to enjoy it fully you must play the entire series in order).   Now, take a look at my personal trophies on the PS4 for Uncharted 4.

That’s right.  I got a measly 14 bronze trophies playing through a game that I raved about as one of the best games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.  A game that I just stated I was ‘fully satisfied’ with.  There are sixty-eight trophies in this game.  Sixty-eight!  Essentially, I didn’t ‘play the game’ according to the current thinking in gaming.  How could I possibly call myself a gamer?  Obviously, I don’t take gaming seriously enough, right?  Wrong.  Gaming is for fun, and I had fun playing Uncharted 4.  A lot of fun actually.  I don’t want to waste my limited free time finding 109 treasures that have no bearing on the story in my well-paced story-based game.  I am not interested in spending hours hanging from ropes to get the trophy for making 20 headshots while hanging from a rope.  And I certainly don’t want to buy an apple just to let the lemur steal it in chapter 11.  Because that’s not fun.  It’s tedious make-work in a game I’m playing for entertainment.  And achievements, trophies, and badges get much more ridiculous than that, up to and including repeating a specific activity or action thousands of times just to get that pop-up payoff.   Let’s call it what it really is, a Pavlovian response pattern that reinforces obsessive-compulsive tendencies in a mostly antisocial social sub-group.   In short, they are a prize with no value.

And yet there is a large and vocal demographic online that openly mocks anyone who dismisses the value of achievements.  Gamers often minimize the impact of these psychological tools, resorting to simplistic responses such as ‘if you don’t like them, just ignore them’, or ‘only people that suck at gaming hate trophies’.  Who is missing the point here?  Obviously, games are designed for both types of gamers now, the trophy hunters and the purists.  There’s no arguing that.  But are game designers themselves compromising their vision to provide a game that appeals to a wider audience due to the frothing demand for achievements?  It seems like they are.  Adding online content, online trophies, and various other extras to games that don’t really need them seem like pandering.  Some games force you to go online to get some of the achievements, necessitating play against others as well as paying for premium network access in the form of Xbox Live or Playstation Plus.  And gamers are falling for it.  In a recent discussion with a colleague, he informed me that he was replaying a game after finishing it so that he could “platinum” it because he loved the game so much.  When I asked him about the achievements though, he related that many of them were tedious and difficult to achieve.  After this discussion, I asked him about his game backlog and he admitted that he has games that he hasn’t even opened yet.  In other words, achievements are artificially inflating the average gameplay and dissuading gamers from moving on to the next title, regardless of the next game’s quality, even after they’ve finished a game and have stopped enjoying it.

It seems to me like this is an issue that gamers should actually take seriously.  Not because it matters whether you play for score, but because game developers take it seriously and they design games based on the trends of the market and the input they receive online.  The best games, the ones that everyone raves about for years or even decades, are the ones that provide an uncompromised creative vision.  These games are at the top of everyone’s list for a reason.  They were designed to enjoy, not to appeal to every single person, and that makes them rise above.  Too few of those games exist these days, and fewer are released every year.  Maybe if we focus a little less on finding every flag or using every weapon for a thousand headshots or revealing every single tenth of a percentage point of every single map and a little more on just immersing ourselves in the fun a game can provide, we’ll all get a bit more enjoyment out of gaming.   Try turning off your notifications for a game or two and see if you have more fun.  If you don’t know you’re missing out…maybe you aren’t.

 

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Castlevania is one of the most beloved series of all time, but has been allowed to lie in neglect for far too long. However, recent events have caused me to wonder if there is a chance to revive the series still. Nintendo worked with Konami to bring back Bomberman for the launch of the Nintendo Switch, which ended up as a major success for the two. This made me wonder if nowthat Bomberman has seen successful opening week numbers, Konami might try to work with Nintendo to revive Castlevania as well. However, there is still the issue that without IGA at Konami, a metroidvania take on the games wouldn’t be the same as before. After all, IGA is now working on Bloodstained, and I doubt he is on good terms with Konami still.

There are some possible good ways to revive the series, such as by licensing it out to Platinum Games.Hideki Kamiya and other developers there are major fans of the series, and a Castlevania game made by them would be an amazing action game, that would finally avert the nature of the 3D games to be lesser games in terms of quality. It could be the next successor to Bayonetta even, much like Bayonetta was the successor to Devil May Cry, which was influenced by Castlevania.

However, there option for who to make the game and it might be an even better choice. From Software’s Souls series is often considered the spiritual successor to the Castlevania games. In fact, it is considered the successor to both the classic and metroidvania games, and for them to get to work on the series itself would be a chance for a fresh new take on the series that would attract a new audience. From could give it a unique feel and identity,  one that merges the  feel of the souls series with the lore and feel of Castlevania. Plus they would be able to create a truly punishing game, similar to the NES games.

I feel this is a way to create a new Castlevania experience that doesn’t just retread past territory, and both of this paths offer a bold direction for the series. Either a strong action series, or a atmospheric and challenging game. This could be what Castlevania needs and I hope Nintendo and Konami agree to do something like this. It is our best hope for the series’ future.

 

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of ROG or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 26 May, 2017 At 06:48 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The Switch has been out for a while now, and two of its biggest games were ports from the Wii U, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. There has also been a port of Lego City Undercover and there has been speculation on more coming. Some have started complaining and feel they do not want Wii U ports as they would rather have new games and new experiences. as they see the large amount of ports on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as a bad route for Switch.

This however, somewhat misguided. The Wii U did not sell well, and most of its game have not reached a wide audience. Ports to the Switch would be an opportunity for more to experience games like Pokken Tournament, like Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, like Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze and so on. Games like Fatal Frame Maiden of Black Water and  Bayonetta 2 would be given a wider audience this way, and we could potentially see new sequels because ports do well. The fact is, the games did low numbers and they can be saved by ports.

Ports to the Switch would help by giving more games that can fill out the release scheduled and avoid droughts. Ports will likely be handled by outside parties and not Nintendo themselves, and there is nothing stopping Nintendo from releasing both new games and remasters on the Switch. I would even say that it comes off as rather selfish to not want ports and remasters, because while you may have played these games on Wii U, others may not have because of the Wii U’s sales numbers. The Switch is bringing a large new audience to Nintendo, these new players  may want to play games they may have missed on the Wii U. It just makes sense to have ports, and not doing it would be leaving money on the table. I hope you can understand where I am coming from with this. It feels elitist and reeks of snobbery to hate ports this way.

 

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The above was the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect ROG or its staff