Sure, there are some big name games coming out over the next few weeks (like FIFA 13 this week), but I know what we’re all excited for: Angry Birds Trilogy. For Consoles. Angry Birds for consoles. With Kinect. 

Is this a necessary release channel for Rovio? Hasn’t everybody already played Angry Birds at this point? Angry Birds even has free-to-play versions on most platforms, including Google Chrome! Keep in mind, this is a full console release, not an Xbox Live Arcade or PSN bite-sized download. And it doesn’t include Angry Birds: Space, arguably the best of the series, and at least the most recent. 

What examples are there of this working well? Or is the mobile gaming market still so young that this is still experimental?

Friday, 11:30 pm – Ricky

I’m out of order? You’re out of order! This whole freakin’ podcast is outta order!

Seriously, please listen to it though. We have starving children to feed. They aren’t ours, but we feel responsible.

Friday, 8:02 pm – Albert

Hahaha, EA! You’re my hero.

Gavin, I use my Wii as my NetFlix player because i’m super lazy. I can definitely tell the difference between the PS3 and the Wii. It will do for now though.

In other news, a while ago the Gamentary crew went to the XconnectTO event of GameConnect. Here is a recap if you missed it!

Podcast to come!

In the meantime, check out this video:

Friday, 12:55 pm – Gavin

Nintendo-gamer.net has issued a scathing criticism of EA about the release of FIFA ’13 for the Wii, saying that it’s no different than the FIFA ’12 release for the Wii.  OK, sure, we’ve all had complaints about sports franchises and Call of Duty “releasing the same thing over and over again, just with new maps!”.  But this time, Nintendo-gamer.net may actually be onto something.  Check it out here.

BUSTED.

This is literally the same game, reskinned.

So who takes the blame for this kind of thing?  Obviously EA, but is there any measure of quality control at the console manufacturer’s level for these situations?  EA is a big enough partner and the FIFA franchise is huge – in this case, is there also responsibility on Nintendo’s shoulders to ensure that this doesn’t happen? Line up Madden ’09 with Madden ’10, or NHL ’11 and NHL ’12, and while you may not be able to tell from a simple screenshot which one is the newest one, you can at least tell that there are differences in the programming.  But in this case?

To me, this is worse than just crappy shovelware or unoptimized games – every system since the dawn of time has had tons of shovelware and the Wii is far from the worst offender.  This is developer laziness and a flat-out insult to customers.  “Uninspired sequels” are one thing, but this isn’t just chunks of a predecessor game lifted wholesale (as much as I love Super Mario Galaxy 2, a few boss battles were lifted straight from SMG 1).  This is almost the entire game.

They Margaret Wente’d the hell out of themselves (yes, I am going to make this a thing).

Friday, 8:33 am – Gavin

We do know a bit about the dedicated RAM for the Wii-U.  It’s 1gb for games, 1gb for OS.  As far as I’m aware, we don’t know details about the RAM hardware (DDR3, MHz, etc), but we know that much.

As for exclusives/multiplatform titles, Nintendo had no option but to release titles that also run on the Xbox 360/PS3.  Why wouldn’t they?  I mean, sure, Arkham City has been out for a year, but the rest of them are fairly new or as-yet unreleased.  Darksiders 2 has only been out for a month now.  Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is only two weeks old.  Plus, think of the potential with the tablet and the Batman Arkham-* games.

I’m very pleased that there are a lot of third-party titles out there.  To me, anything that shows commitment to a new platform is a great thing.  What’s worse than released Assassin’s Creed 3 for the Wii-U, when it will run on 6-year-old hardware?  Not releasing it at all.  The biggest complaint about the Wii was the lack of third-party support.  We can’t then turn around and complain when third-party developers are showing interest!

As for the Wii-U not supporting Unreal Engine 4, it’s worth mentioning that nothing has been finalized and the engine is still in development.  However, every report is based on a single quote from Marc Rein.  He’s said that it will run on the Wii-U as it is “supremely scalable”, and that’s fine.  All they’re saying there is that they CAN make games for the Wii-U with UE4, but they’re just too lazy to do it.  Of course, Rein has also said “we haven’t declared our strategy on the Wii-U”.  So you know that means literally one and only thing: we will follow the money.

I avidly look forward to Sony and Microsoft’s next announcements, but it will probably be from the sidelines, as when I take the next-generation plunge, it will probably only be for the Wii-U.  Can’t do without those first-party exclusives, but won’t have the time for multiple consoles, not if I’m also keeping up on the PC.

Albert, you say you use your Wii as a Netflix machine.  Is there any reason why you don’t use your PS3?  I hear that there’s a difference in the quality of the interface (PS3 apparently the nicest), and I can confirm that the Wii’s version of Netflix only runs at 480p, and the colours are dampened and muted.

I avoided Evercrack precisely because it is crack.  However, I also had technical reasons for that.  I think my computer could run it, but the problem with any late-90s/early-2000s online game is that we only had 28.8 dialup and one phone line.  We had unlimited use as we dialled into the local university network (my dad worked there), but the lag…oh god the lag.  Many games were almost unplayable with our shaky dialup connection.  The original Grand Theft Auto was almost impossible because you’d target that clump of pixels that was the enemy, fire a rocket, and you’d only realize there was lag when they were halfway across the screen when the rocket exploded.

But just for old time’s sake:

Thursday, 1:49 pm – Albert

Thursday, 1:10 pm – Albert

Great posts guys, some really good points about Wii-U. Personally, I feel like I am not a great person to comment on the future of new consoles/consoles because I find i’m currently using my consoles as a “Sports” and/or “NetFlix” machine. Recently, my Xbox 360 burned out on me which honestly didn’t phase me one bit. I use my Wii as a perma NetFlix Machine and I use my PS3 to exclusively play NHL 13, or whatever sports game that is not available on the PC. What i’m saying is: I’m a PC whore.

To comment on the other posts: Thief was an amazing series. I’ve played every single one and I’ve beaten them all. Some of the best stealth games I’ve ever experienced. Something about blackjacking guards and the satisfying thump sound is something magical. I would definitely recommend trying out the first or the second one. You can find it on GOG.com

WOW is always an interesting conversation. I have a friend who does not play ANY game… ANY game at all, yet has a subscription to WOW and was very excited to play the new expansion… about pandas. Boggles the mind. The only MMO I ever played was Everquest. Playing that game was pretty interesting actually. I had a friend who helped me by giving me some extra equipment and I really got into it. The only thing that got to me was the time commitment I had to give it. I am sometimes much more of a single player person because it allows me to play games on my own schedule instead of meeting online and trying to coordinate with guild members or waiting online for enemies to respawn. It’s been a while but I’ve never looked back.

In other news, I came across this video today on Giantbomb. Check this out. I’m still wondering if I want to play this game or not..

Thursday, 12:39 pm – Ricky

Great numbers and good insight, Gavin. I’m happy to see we’re finally getting some firm information about the Wii-U – after all, the launch is practically around the corner!

While the graphics card is definitely an upgrade from current gen consoles, any PC gamer will tell you that your system is only as good as your weakest part. I’m hoping they release some info on the processor and dedicated RAM, including the back-end architecture and development kits. Developers have has years with the current consoles and have figured out how to optimize their games and maximize their return on the hardware – that’s why the modified card found in the PS3 can run current titles smoothly where it’s PC counterpart can’t.

I don’t think I’ll contend that the Wii-U won’t be good gaming machine. It’ll have the right hardware; at least, it’ll compete with Sony and Microsoft right now. My concern is that, as a new console, it won’t receive the developer support it needs. That’s not surprising – the release libraries for PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii were, in hindsight, pretty shitty overall. Comparatively, the Wii-U is launching with 23 titles!

But wait, only 9 are exclusive titles?

  • Assassin’s Creed III
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
  • Darksiders II
  • Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two
  • ESPN Sports Connection
  • FIFA Soccer 13
  • Game Party Champions
  • Just Dance 4
  • New Super Mario Bros. U
  • Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
  • Nintendo Land
  • Rabbids Land
  • Scribblenauts Unlimited
  • Sing Party
  • Skylanders Giants
  • Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2
  • Transformers Prime
  • Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper
  • Wipeout 3
  • Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013
  • ZombiU

“We live in a multiplatform age!” you say? Yes, except for a console launching at the end of 2012, I don’t want ports of games that run on my 6 year old consoles. You know, the ones I already own. And what about going forward? This summer, there were already scary reports of Wii-U not supporting Unreal Engine 4, the next engine from Epic and arguably one of the most licensed engines on the planet. Sure, Wii-U could still get Unreal Engine 4 games, but they’d be ports that circumvent the technology barriers.

That said, I have faith that developers will come out with unique experiences just for the Wii-U. I’m excited for more Mario, Metroid and Zelda, of course, but also for Pikmin and the Wonderful 101, experiences from developers other than Nintendo. I just don’t know if I’ll be hooked enough on Wii-U before I get swept up in the next-gen Sony and Microsoft announcements. Only time will tell!

Thursday, 12:14 pm – matt

holy crap thats a lot of numbers and information Gavin. but what i can draw from this is the wii-u is going to have a more powerful graphics card than the 6 year old PS3.

im pretty sure we were all hoping for that at the very least…

Thursday, 9:44 am – Gavin

Technical information has been limited for the Wii-U, so any information that leaks out is latched upon and parsed to death.  This was posted to Reddit two days ago (but I just uncovered it today).  According to that link and subsequent confirmation from AMD, the Wii-U will be using a modified AMD E6760.

The E6760 is NOT the more common HD 6760G2.  They distinctly are not the same thing.  The HD 6760G2 is an asymetrical CrossFire card, combining the 6620 and 6730 cards.  The E6760 is single discrete card.  The original design came out several years ago, but has since been discontinued.  The new E6760 came out in 2011.  It’s not typically used for PC gaming – more for modeling and displays – so it’s hard to find direct comparisons (don’t let that worry you though – benchmarking is the thing to consider, and I mention that in greater detail later).  According to CLBenchmark.com, it’s essentially as powerful as a conventional AMD 6750M.  For comparison, the 6750M is rated slightly higher than the HD 6760G2.  The 6750M is a “Tier 5” graphics card according to Notebookcheck.net, the benchmark for this kind of testing.  By comparison, my Lenovo y570’s NVidia GeForce GT 555M is Tier 4.  For futher comparison, Tier 1 is the behemoths:
– NVidia GeForce GTX 680M SLI
– NVidia GeForce GTX 680M
– AMD Radeon HD 7970M Crossfire
– AMD Radeon HD 7970M
– NVidia Quadro K5000M

Several of those behemoths struggle with current gen titles at ultra settings – Metro 2033, Sleeping Dogs, etc.  However, Metro 2033 suffers from teh same problem as the original PC version of GTA4, and to a more extreme example, Microsoft Flight Simulator X – terrible optimization of their respective engines.  Needless to say, the Tier 1 cards will handle *almost* everything you can throw at them, at whatever settings.

So, how does a 6750M perform, since that’s the best competitior to the E6760?  Respectably well for a mobile card, but a dedicated PC gamer wouldn’t jump to it.  According to Notebookcheck, it’s capable of handling FIFA 13 on ultra, Borderlands 2 on high, F1 2012 on high, Sleeping Dogs on low, Darksiders II on medium, Max Payne 3 on medium, etc.  So, it’s a competent card for someone who is, like myself, interested in PC gaming and wants to play new titles, but isn’t interested in spending the money necessary to max it out on a laptop (my wife contributed equally to our laptop, and is interested in the form factor, which obviously impacts performance at fixed price points).

But what does this all mean today?  Most of us aren’t techies to the point that we could tell you that a 500MHz clock speed on a 40nm process with 350m transistors can run games like X.  So it’s easier to look at it in relative terms.  What do current generation consoles use?

The Playstation 3 uses a modified NVidia GeForce 7800.  Several features were taken from the 7600, and several from the 7900, but for comparison’s sake, let’s look at the 7900 GTX, a Tier 10 card on Notebookcheck.  It can run FIFA 13 on high (performance on ultra is compromised), F1 2012 on medium, it cannot run Borderlands 2, Sleeping Dogs, Max Payne 3, Darksiders II, and a host of other games.  Interestingly enough, it does claim to run Guild Wars 2, but I wonder if that is an error, because Guild Wars 2 does not run on Tier 3 or 4 cards, let alone 10.  CLBenchmark does not retain a score for the 7900GTX.  The most comparable in terms of performance that is retained on CLBenchmark is the AMD 6620, a Tier 9 card.  That has a CLBenchmark score of 10,354 for graphical power.  By comparison, the 6750’s score is 15,578.  My GT 555M’s card gets 30,380.  The leader, the AMD HD7970 (desktop) gets 341,880.  A difference of approximately 5,000 points isn’t a make-or-break difference, but it does speak to power.  It’s also worth noting that the 7970 is an INSANE card.  Depending the brand you buy, at Tiger Direct, the card alone sells between $450 and $700.  And then, a  7970M is a substantially more expensive part than a stock 7970 because of the size.  Consoles require smaller cards simply for form factor.  Nobody is going to buy a console the size of a full PC tower.

It’s important to note that consoles do NOT use stock graphics cards.  They are tweaked, optimized, given proprietary adjustments, and tested beyond belief.  The descriptions of the cards are only for approximate power indication.  So, relatively speaking, the Wii-U is modifying a stock card that is demonstrably more powerful than the stock PS3 card.

This is just one piece of the puzzle though.  We’re still waiting on CPU information to be released to the public.  Some developers have complained about the power on the Wii-U, but that must be in relation to the CPU, not the GPU.  We still don’t know much other than the fact that it’s a multi-core processor (unconfirmed as to number of cores – Wiki says it’s a tri-core processor).  No word on clock speed or architecture yet.

What an awful load of technical drivel.  Thank you for reading this much.  Here is a picture for you:

REGGIE FILS-AIME NOW OWNS YOUR SOUL

Wednesday. 4:27 pm – Gavin

Interesting news out of France today.  Back at the end of the 20th century, Looking Glass studios released two games of significant cultural importance and influence in the gaming sphere – System Shock 2, and Thief 2.  Shortly after the release of Thief 2, Looking Glass studios closed up shop and never developed another game, due to pressing financial concerns.  These games still have rabid online communities; System Shock 2 is seen now as the progenitor of Deus Ex, despite the relatively short period of time between the two of them.  It’s praised heavily for its environment, difficulty curve and storyline.  Thief and Thief 2 (and to a slightly lesser extent, Thief: Deadly Shadows) are seen as the foundations for the Splinter Cell and Assassin’s Creed franchises.

The last updates for these games were 1999 for SS2 and 2003 for Thief 2 respectively.  Yet late last night, out of nowhere, someone posted a MASSIVE patch for both games to an obscure forum in France.  This was picked up by Through The Looking Glass, the biggest forum for discussing Looking Glass Studios’ games.

Not an uncommon sentiment in this thread.

Essentially, both games were almost unplayable in Windows 7.  Too many hardware and software conflicts prevented it from running without crashing for the vast majority of players.  The list of fixes addresses in the patches is enormous.

The curious thing about this is that Looking Glass never released the source code for the game (and I believe for the engine – the Dark Engine).  So the theory is that a former employee of Looking Glass held onto the code to develop the patch by him- or herself.  Is that not dedication?  Releasing a patch to games 13 and 9 years after their original releases?  The anonymous developer may yet show his or her face, but the internet is afire with members of both games’ communities proclaiming their joy.

I admit that I never played the Thief series, and I’ve only played SS2 briefly, but it isn’t hard to find people online who rank SS2 as one of the best games of the 90s.

Wednesday, 2:42 pm – Ricky

The only MMO I have ever played recently released its follow-up: Guild Wars 2. matt and I both played the first, but I was indisputably more addicted than he was.

Confession time: I was in a guild.

I met people online – despite never having met them in real life – on a regular basis to PRACTICE for player vs. player match-ups we had scheduled  against other guilds. I committed gold for the group purchase of a guild hall. This was all on top of actually playing the game, questing and hunting for loot at the highest levels.

But before the first expansion dropped, I gave up on the game. I was too addicted, I think, and I knew I had to get out. I gave my account away to a buddy who stripped it of gold and items, and it pained me even though it was for the best.

The interesting thing about Guild Wars 1 and 2 – and probably one of the primary reasons it got its hooks in me – is that there is no subscription to pay. It’s astounding to think of the 9.1 million WoW subscribers each paying every month to play the game after having purchased the expansion. Other recent MMOs have tried to mimic the success of WoW and felt the wrath of ADD gamers unwilling to pay a subscription after the free trial period is up (see Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic), and yet WoW has stayed immune. It is truly the golden child that can do no wrong.

Maybe this whole scene is just out of my league. I’m with Gavin: I have enough games and systems to occupy my time. I don’t feel the need to purchase a game and then subscribe to it on a monthly basis just for the privilege of accessing its content. Ironically, I also don’t feel the need to play free-to-play games, either. Despite being in the beta for Dota2, I’ve barely touched it. I’m also in a couple of betas right now that have to do with giant lumbering mechanized robots (*cough*NDA*cough*), and I’ve barely played either of them. All three games will eventually release as free-to-play, and while I may not ignore them, I probably won’t go out of my way to play them over other games I’ve purchased.

Wednesday, 11:02 am – Gavin

Does anyone care about World of Warcraft anymore?*  I never cared in the first place, as a continuing subscription to play a single multiplayer game just never made sense to me, not when I could pay less for access to Xbox Live to play multiple multiplayer games, but that’s neither here nor there.  It’s a huge beast of a game whose importance in the MMO world can’t be overstated.

Mists of Pandaria came out yesterday.  I admit that I had to research this, but it’s the first expansion in two years for WoW, and fourth in the series, and the first two expansions have been applied retroactively to every account for free.  But it does bring up an interesting question for me – what other games out there run on the same core mechanics and gameplay, and have survived as long as WoW with just releasing expansion packs (i.e. are not standalone titles like Half-Life, Call of Duty, etc)?  Train Simulator 2013 aside, obviously.

My obsessive nature with video games prevents me from enjoying a game with no definite “end” point.  Even though with Fable and Fable 2, you could continue to play the game after the final boss had been defeated, there was no point as there were no quests to engage in, and it was just for general fuckaroundery.  I know that people formed communities, relationships, marriages etc from WoW, but the interminable nature of the game made it something that I could never enjoy to its fullest.  If I wanted to pay money for a venture that was interesting and entertaining at first but that I would eventually neglect and ignore, I’d have a kid.

*Yes, people still care about WoW.  As of August 2012, it still had 9.1 million subscribers.

Tuesday, 2:33 pm – Albert

Events FTW! But just so people know, it’s Ricky that will be dancing away while I record him. I guarantee amazingness.

Pandora definitely needs to be played with more people. I haven’t touch Blands2 after a couple of hours of tutorials (it seems like) but i’m enjoying it. I need to dive more into that. I got distracted by playing the XCOM: Enemy Unknown Demo last night. There was not too much you could do besides get a feeling of combat with preset characters. The base was already created and it was basically a tutorial which introduced you to gaming aspects such as half cover, full cover, breaking through windows, opening doors, kicking open doors, grenade tossing, running and gunning, height mechanics and about three different aliens. One is suits, one with flying abilities, and the cute little cuddly grey ones we all know and love. When I finished the tutorial I clocked 56 minutes on it and immediately deleted it in anticipation for the game. I can’t comment on what I think because it was such a small taste with zero customization and I believe XCOM’s charm stems from creating your own story, army and the attachment you gain to your soldiers. Not to mention guiding the technology unlocks.

Besides that I also played some FTL. I believe the guys were talking about this on an earlier post and I needed to try it. My first thought: ITS HARD. Holy crap. Things get real very quickly. I still haven’t beaten the game with one ship and I played for about 3 hours. I’m able to buy enough fuel, missiles, and recruit extra people… but when people board my ship… I lose all my dudes! Freaking humans. So weak. Anyways, i’ll continue to play it and when I do better really give a more indepth look. I’m sure we’ll talk about it on the podcast coming up.

Until then, “Keep watching the stars!” (thank you Martin *clapclapclap*)

Tuesday, 10:58 am – Ricky

Great thoughts on the mobile to console. I completely forgot about Plants vs. Zombies – I’ve played it on both mobile and PC, and I’m pretty sure it’s downloadable on consoles, too. So there has been some success in the transition to downloadable. I think what sets me off about Angry Birds is the full retail release and the price – $40 for a game that is ostensibly free, and it’s missing (arguably) the best entry in the series.

In gaming news, we’ll be hitting up the launch parties for Ubisoft’s Just Dance 4 (!?!) and Assassin’s Creed 3, including the Vita release Liberations. Both are in October, and both will get some good coverage on the site as a result of our presence at said events.

I played some more Borderlands 2 last night. Still playing solo unfortunately, as I’ve been abandoned by the crew on release and I’m not interested in playing with randoms (loot drops are universal vs. Diablo 3’s individual drops). I’ve got a Siren up to level 12 and the Soldier (or Commando, whatever) up to level 9. I’m really enjoying the game – the quests are varied, the humour is rampant, the characters are fascinating and the skills are powerful. And the guns. My god, the guns. So many different types that it’s always a joy to see a gun drop because you’re never sure what you’re going to get! As Albert alluded to, the upgrade system is carrot-on-a-stick perfection, with Badass Ranks affecting all characters on your account.

I can’t wait to dive into the world of Pandora and get a in to the deeper quests. I will be abstaining from FIFA 13 for now – in fact, I’m worried I might wait out more titles than I originally anticipated now that Borderlands 2 has its hooks in me. Granted, watching even more XCOM: Enemy Unknown is whetting my appetite for turn-based strategy. For want of more time.

Check out the Giant Bomb Quick Look EX of XCOM below and peep the demo on Steam!

Monday, 5:23 pm – Albert

Also Ricky: if you’re even considering buying FIFA 13, think about the money i’ll have to spend buying that game too… then us playing it together… and laughing and crying. Think about that.

Monday, 4:46 pm – Albert

I’m back! Left for a couple of days but i’m ready to begin talking about games. Video Games.

The topic of Angry Birds is definitely unique due to the sheer amount of awareness that the average person knows about this game. From ages 5 and up everyone knows Angry Birds. Even my parents, whom have no experience even playing the game, know what Angry Birds is… but maybe that’s because there are plush toys filling every appropriate store (i.e. probably not going to find it at Victoria Secret – I’ve looked – but more like at Walmart, EB Games, Hot Topic etc). Maybe it’s the amusement park I saw in Malaysia centered around the the Angry Birds Theme.  Whatever it is, it’s one of the most popular games that started on the mobile sphere. To me, this differentiation is important. There are some definite examples of mobile games branching out to other vehicles of entertainment. You can see the shift in a game such as Hero Academy for example. I played it for the first time last weekend with a friend and it was a hilarious and entertaining experience. It has now been released on Steam further infiltrating another platform. Could it work on Xbox? Probably. Will people buy it? I don’t know. I could easily see the controls adapted to a Wii controller, or even PS Move to work with the game.

I believe I’ve even seen TVs advertised that have Angry Birds installed in the TV already. Maybe i’m crazy. The point is, we aren’t the target market for Rovio. Most likely, it’s young parents who can get their children to relax by playing a cellphone game, or maybe its to get their plump child to do some exercise with the Kinect. But whatever the target market is, it’s not us.

The mobile gaming sector is saturated with tons of games and some are really fun. I mostly agree with Gavin on his take on mobile games but I am much more brain damaged that i’ll throw money at a game I find worth it. I recommend people to experiment with games from Kairosoft – Game Dev Story, Mall Story, Pocket League, Hot Springs Story – any of those, I can tell you from experience that it’s not a short period of time you’ll be playing, but you’ll be fighting addiction. I have played Game Dev Story personally 5 times and I’ve gone back from a long break and put in another 30 hours. Plants vs. Zombies is another mobile game I would recommend as a mobile game that is a long and enjoyable series. Then there is JetPack Joyride, Plague Inc, Bag it, Burger Queen World, Pocket Planes, Kingdom Rush, CSR Racing, Simpsons Tapped Out… There are many series there that satisfy more than the 5 painful minutes you’re standing in a line for a hot dog, but it depends on you. Most games are following the free-to-play model giving you a chance to ‘demo’ the game and spend in game currency to make it better. At first, I don’t think I was into freemium but I am much more used to it now. It allows me to play a game and if I like it enough, put some money into it to support the developers. I haven’t tried NOVA HD because of the very reason of controls. Any FPS on mobile phones is just baffling for me. I could see where the Vita would become more handy if that’s a route I wanted to explore.

Besides topic talk, i’ve been playing NHL 13 and Borderlands 2 combined maybe for 2 hours. I’ll update more as I go along, but NHL 13 is not overly different, but noticeably different. The physics engine got a little revamp and the hits are stronger and more realistic. Being able to skate hard and then make a cut depends on the skill of your skater. Sprint real fast on the ice and get slightly touched, get ready to hit the boards. If your player doesn’t have enough strength but is going really fast into another player. Both will take a tumble. It’s little nuances that make this game stand out. I haven’t put an extreme amount of time into the game but i’ll be sure to write more as I do.

Borderlands 2 is definitely an improvement over the first. I’m sure you’ve all read that but that holds extra weight with me because I wasn’t SUPER into Blands. Blands 2 seems more fluid, and little things seem to be adjusted. The quests, maps, badass points flow seamlessly and are very intuitive. I’m really only in the early stages so Ricky could probably express the game better, but i’m definitely going to keep putting some hours into it – wait… what’s that? XCOM: Enemy Unknown demo is out on steam today?

Uh-oh. No sleeping for me.

Monday, 4:10 pm – matt

I cant believe they would actually release Angry Birds for the Kinect. is it the same game with kinect controls?

I find the conversion would be equal to how well console titles are ported to the mobile platform. buttons are never mapped properly and the experience leaves gamers wanting to play the actual original title i would say for the most part.

Monday, 8:30 am – Gavin

My own personal problem with the mobile gaming platform is that it’s entertaining, but only for a very short period of time.  Perhaps this is due to lack of inputs (I’m on the Samsung Galaxy S2, so no physical inputs), so precision gets slaughtered in favour of form factor.  In reality, I suspect that it’s because I’m cheap and won’t pay for a mobile game application.  Why would I?  I could pay $5.00 for a game on the Play Store for a game that I might play an hour a day on the subway and get bored of extremely quickly, or I could go home and pay $5.00 for the latest daily deal on Steam and get WAY MORE enjoyment out of it.  So I only get free games for my phone.

The best mobile game I’ve played is NOVA HD, as it came pre-loaded on my phone.  Best in terms of fun factor, level design, graphics, sound, etc.  But if you’ve ever played NOVA, you know that it’s just a mobile clone of Halo.  So why would I go home and spend a not-inconsiderable amount of money on a console release of NOVA, when I could spend next-to-nothing to get the latest version of Halo?

Perhaps it’s due to lack of patience, but I’ve never found a mobile game where I’ve thought to myself “Yes, I would play this game if only I could control it differently”.  Mobile games and home games are separate animals for me.  I’m past the casual game circuit, unless it’s a party game like Mario Party.  And even then, that requires a specific kind of audience (because otherwise I’d just fire up NMBSWii or Mario Kart or what have you).

I don’t count emulated games in this.  The SNES games I’ve been playing are console games that just happen to be ported over to the Android platform.  And because of the no-mechanical-inputs situation, the vast majority of SNES games are utterly unplayable on your average touch-screen phone.  I played Zelda: Link to the Past on it, and sweet Jesus, some dungeons were unbelievably frustrating.  Multi-touch input is very difficult on a flat device with no topography.  I would never use my phone for a “serious” game that required any degree of precision (that’s why Earthbound, Chrono Trigger, and Final Fantasy 6 were all respectably playable).

If I were serious about mobile gaming, I’d invest in a DS or Vita.  I see no need, however, to combine the world of mobile gaming with the world of My Couch or My K&M Combination.  I don’t blame Rovio for releasing to a home console though – why wouldn’t they?  Development costs are comparatively low for them as the groundwork has already been laid; they just need to port it over to the 360 engine.  Plus, it’s easily a big enough name that it can capture a buyer’s attention on the shelf or on the Xbox Marketplace.  They just shouldn’t expect my money.

I think that mobile gaming is still much too young.  It’s still very much a nascent sector that didn’t even really become “a thing” until 2008 or so.  Games on phones prior to the iPhone were basically crappy card games, versions of Tetris and Snake, and bad ports of TV game shows.  Even in 2007, the iPhone just re-released a bunch of ports and games you found on Games for Windows.  Angry Birds didn’t hit the market until two years in, and even then, you’d be hard-pressed to have anyone name a mobile-only release of a game prior to Angry Birds.

I understand that I’m speaking from a position of ignorance.  I have not invested any considerable amount of money into mobile gaming, so there may be a ton of stuff out there that could be very worthwhile.  I know that Galaxy on Fire 2 HD is apparently a great game – frequent commenter Mike invested in it for his PlayBook and quite enjoys it.  But the tablet gaming market is even younger than the phone gaming market.  But from what I’ve seen, there’s no need for me to invest in any of those mobile games re-released for the console or computer.

Monday, 8:04 pm – Ricky

Must. Resist. FIFA 13… I barely even played FIFA 12, and when folks come over, we still play FIFA 11. I think I’m just getting fatigued by these yearly sports releases. However, there appears to be a clear step up each year from the FIFA series, so I understand why it’s a yearly best-seller.

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