It’s amazing sometimes the memories, or a place in time, that a particular song, or a distinct smell can bring a person back to. And just now I got hit with a one-two punch from my music player, armed and loaded with over twenty-four thousand tracks, and set to shuffle. And just like that – epiphany. Just now (actually a week ago today, as of this posting) I was listening to Jonathan Coultan/Ellen McLain’s Still Alive, followed by Godley & Creme’s Cry, and a thought that has been brewing in the back of my mind for sometime now, finally bubbled up to the top – and then as I said before, epiphany; sad, sad epiphany actually. The best gaming moments of this console generation, have very likely already come and gone . . . years ago.
Summer of Arcade, Xbox LIVE Arcade’s annual promotion marking the middle of summer every year, turns 5 this year, and looking back over the 19 games released over the previous four years, I am not shocked that I own 13 of them. The annual promo usually brings out the best of the digital offerings every year, and 2012 looks to be no different.
Of the five games on offer this summer, at least three of them will go down as instant classics, not to mention day one purchases by yours truly. It would have been four day one purchases, but I no longer give money to help sponsor the corporate wrongdoings of Activision. Pretty much meaning that Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a no-buy for me; even if you paid me to purchase it – I’d just take your money, and still would not buy the game with it.
That aside, it looks to be a great summer line up, with a few surprises thrown in. And I for one cannot wait until the festivities kick on in late July. Look past the break to see the highlights of this year’s Summer of Arcade.
The subject of recent classic PC franchise reboots, has been something I have been avoiding for some time now. When I discovered these cherished moments are being dumbed downed into shooters, to appeal to a larger, less cerebral audience, than the audience who initially made these classics, there are mixed feelings that come with that. On the one hand, a popular IP from the days of my youth, will now be appreciated (to some degree), by an entirely new audience. On the other hand . . . well, the games have been dumbed downed, and very likely devoid of most of what made them special in the first place, just to reach this new audience. In my mind, it’s like having sex while wearing a concrete condom – the upside is that you are having sex . . . if you can call taking almost everything that makes sex pleasurable in the first place, having it stripped away, and replaced with a blunt-force object, “having sex.” (more…)
For those not in the know, late last night (or early this morning if you are in Europe), cloud gaming company OnLive, released their Android and iOS apps, that will allow anyone with an Android tablet, Android smartphone, an iPhone, or an iPad, to play full PC games anywhere on the go, where they can connect with a 3G, 4G, or WiFi wireless connection. Along with the apps, OnLive debuted the OnLive Universal Controller, which will wirelessly connect to any of the above mentioned devices, plus an entire cornucopia of future HDTVs, blu-ray players and settop boxes that will come with OnLive already embedded in the device. Over 30, out of the near 200 games currently on the OnLive service, do not require a controller to play while using them over your mobile device. Working with publishers, these games either come with button overlays for your touchscreen, or in the case of titles like From Dust (arriving on the service soon), and Rockstar Games’ runaway hit, L.A. Noire, the developers worked extremely closely with OnLive to create game specific touchscreen controls. Which if reports are to be believed, not only represent the future of bringing PC games to mobile ecosystems, but are truly extraordinary, and have to be demoed by everyone to be believed.
Over at Joystiq where I regularly hang out, the topic kind of sprung up among some of the posters there (namely myself, ZoomyRamen, Scuffles, eat it, nerdydesi1, Kentbrockman, and a few others) about how OnLive, and more specifically what they were doing, could serve to benefit PC gaming as a whole. I was in the process of contributing my insights on the issue, upon realizing those insights were getting a bit verbose for Joystiq’s forums, and out of courtesy to the community there, have hosted my comment from my own blog. (more…)
I saw something about the Aimon XB controller/mouse on the OnliveFans forum, and remembered a friend who mentioned having purchased one of these under a different brand, FragNstein, a quite a while back for his gaming needs. Didn’t give much thought to it at the time, but after seeing this at OLF over the weekend, I called him up for a demo of it in action. After mucking about with them for a few hours, my general opinion of the product is that it delivers the precision of a mouse, without any of the clumsiness associated with the keyboard. And it succeeds at doing so, whether you are on a console or a PC. To say that the Aimon controllers embody the best of both console and PC gaming worlds, is a bit of an understatement from where I am sitting. And quite frankly considering the benefits, I am surprised that neither major console makers thought of this first, and made something similar as an official offering in their console-branded product lines. (more…)