Nerdology (n) - a study of people and objects that make the kingdom of nerd fun and exciting. From robots and lasers to incredible Star Trek gift sets.

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Currently Playing
Dead Rising 3
Forza 4
Ace Attorney: Dual Destiny's

Currently Reading
Doctor Sleep
Posts tagged video games

I’m playing BioShock - Burial At Sea

Big Daddy’s are still terrifying. Even after all these years.

Introducing Steam Gauge: Ars reveals Steam’s most popular games 

Kyle Orland just dropped a bomb revealing two month look at Steam sales and games played. It’s incredible. Go read the whole thing. Here’s just a sample.

As you can see, just because a game is registered to a lot of Steam accounts doesn’t mean it’s popular. Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, for instance, is the third-most popular game on the service by ownership, registered to about 12.8 million Steam accounts by our count. But the tech demo, which shows off some deleted content from Half-Life 2, has only been actively loaded up by about 2.1 million of those owners, placing it behind 35 other Steam games by that metric.

Stand by for plot points: 'Titanfall' doesn't need a story 

To hear Microsoft user researcher Deborah Hendersen tell it, players genuinely do love game stories. We just can’t remember them, have trouble describing them, and usually never find out how they end. Hendersen spoke at GDC about user-testing game narratives: finding out whether early scripts are clear to and resonate with players. The answers, to anyone who hopes players pore over their stories, were probably disappointing. In an attempt to figure out what was important to players, Henderson interviewed hundreds of study participants about their favorite games. The participants took fewer words to describe the stories of games they liked than they did those of their favorite movies. Many could barely describe the plots at all, forgetting major beats and long middle sections. One participant, asked to talk about his favorite Call of Duty character, instead described the sort of person he liked to kill in multiplayer.
Well done, Adi.


February 23rd 1994 - Super Street Fighter II Turbo

The fifth, and last, arcade installment of Street Fighter II was released in 1994. This version introduced several new play mechanics to the game system from the previous Street Fighter II installments, including the addition of powered-up Special Moves called Super Combos.

Street Fighter II has become the game that Capcom releases on every platform and they usually release a modified version of this specific Street Fighter II. In 2008 it was renamed Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix for the HD release on the Xbox 360 and PS3.

Why Can’t We Be Friends? 

Ryan Letourneau writes a great article about people and the internet.

Although the immediate impetus for this post is Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen announcing that he’ll be pulling the game from the App Store due to intense media and public scrutiny, I’ve wanted to make a post about the toxic nature of online interactions for a long time. The fucked up thing is that what’s held me back is the belief that by making a post decrying the ridiculous nature and amount of abuse that people get and give online on a daily basis, I would make myself a target for the same kind of bullshit I’m advocating against. At the very least, I hated the idea that the feedback I’d hear back on this post is the same old chorus of, “people are mean to one another online, get over it” that some people are happy to trot out any time someone expresses unhappiness about the awful way people treat each other over the internet. What I really hate about it is that it somehow implies that it’s okay to be disproportionally terrible to one another online because somehow interactions over the internet are less “real” than those in real life. I don’t know if many people actually believe that deep down, but I know for sure that I disagree.

He also sums it up nicely with that old internet adage, “Don’t be a dick.”

GameStop, Tomb Raider, and how retail and online competition remains unfair 

Ben Kuchera throws some light on GameStop and the tension between the online retailers and actual physical retail stores:

The tension between digital game sales and retail is only going to get worse, and it’s likely to blame for some of the odd behavior you can see in the market. GameStop released Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition days before the announced street date, and many eager gamers rushed to their PlayStation 4s or Xbox Ones to try to buy the game online, only to find that the original street date of January 28th was being honored online.

Remember when Blockbuster would get movies before they were available on Netflix? It was a short window before Netflix had total domination and when the streaming service was in its infancy. Blockbuster signed contracts with the big studios to have movies 28 days before Netflix. It was a way for physical stores to have an edge over the online rental places. The studios agreed because blockbuster had been a cash cow for a long time, and they didn’t want to upset a player as dominating as Blockbuster.

This is what’s happening with video games. The good news is that we’ve seen this play out once before, and it doesn’t end well for brick and mortar stores.

The crazy part is that developers are essentially forced into playing ball with GameStop, who are actively trying to screw them. GameStop sells used games at a huge markup and lock people into their used ecosystem. It’s a toxic relationship and you’ll bet that devs will cut GameStop out of the equation as quickly as possible. 

At least Blockbuster wasn’t relying on studios for movies to rent, while also actively screwing them.

Nintendo Had An Investor Meeting Tonight

I feel obligated to say something about the Nintendo investor meeting that ended a short time ago since I did write quite a bit about Nintendo earlier today.

If you didn’t see the news it’s this: Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintendo, outlined a strategy for the company. They’re looking to the health market for new business. They’re not putting games on mobile devices but they do have a mobile strategy. They want to make more Wii U games that show off the GamePad Controller.

This was a meeting for investors so none of this is a surprise.

- Of course Iwata was going throw his weight behind the Wii U, their current console, and promise games that would take advantage of the one thing that distinguishes it. Because even if they were abandoning the hardware, it’s not going to happen over night, and they need to keep selling a console in the interim.

- Of course they’re not going to put their 40 dollar games on phones, where 99 cents is considered pricy. Nintendo doesn’t know how to make a freemium game, and I hope they never learn. But people are yelling their heads off that “all they need to do is release Mario Kart on the iPhone” so phones and tablets needed to be addressed. Companion apps that drive people to Nintendo hardware doesn’t sound appealing to me, but ok. 

- Of course they’re looking at new markets. Investors love hearing about new markets. I am intrigued by what they’re looking at in the health space. The Wii Balance Board was interesting, I guess. And the 3DS does count my steps when I bring it with me. I’m curious to see how this new thing fits in with the rest of their current hardware. Maybe it doesn’t.

Overall, not a lot was said. This sounds like they’re staying the course. Which is good, it’s what I think they should do. Hopefully they spend the money they have to stay the course better than they have been the past two years.


Taking 5: Nintendo

Earlier this month Nintendo drastically cut its sales forecasts for the fiscal year after they missed their targets during Christmas. This sent everyone with an internet connection into a tizzy suggesting that Nintendo could make buckets of money releasing iOS and Android games and that they should pull a Sega and exit the hardware market (Kotaku wraps it up nicely, thanks Kotaku).

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata addressed this by saying, “It’s not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.” I couldn’t agree with him more. Nintendo needs to be Nintendo. They need to make great hardware and make great games for that hardware.

So, while people are yelling for Nintendo to abandon their hardware business they’re not seeing that Nintendo has 10.1 billion dollars in the bank. That’s enough money to allow them to coast for decades.

It’s undeniable that Nintendo doesn’t have the marketshare or the mindshare they had at the start of the last generation. Their new console didn’t grab the hearts of the everyman the way the Wii did, but there is still a way for Nintendo to continue to be Nintendo and, perhaps, return to the top.

I have a four point plan:

1) Nintendo needs to pull a Microsoft and start paying developers to develop for their platform. It’s exactly what Microsoft is doing on Windows Phone, and slowly, it’s working.

Nintendo should be actively pursuing indy developers and spurring games creation for their devices. Have ‘dev days.’ Pay for companies of all sizes to release their titles on your platform. Create tools that make it easier to develop. Start earning back that developer trust.

2) Abandon the Wii U. Make it a “hobby” if you want (the way Apple made the Apple TV a hobby for a few years). Sony and Microsoft are using off the shelf parts for their new consoles. Use the same ones. Release modern hardware and price it the same as the PS4. Yes, you’re going to get called out for releasing a “me too” box. But you need to do that. If you can put an Wii / Wii U emulator (or really, all the hardware the way Sony installed an entire PS2 in the PS3 at launch) that’s a bonus. We’re expecting this console cycle to last 8-10 years again, so even if this was released in 2015 it would still sell for six years.

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What was your favorite game of 2013?

It’s that time of year where websites are pronouncing the “Best Game Of 2013” … but I don’t really care what websites have to say. I care about what you think is the best game of the year.

My favorite game of 2013 was A Link Between Worlds. What was yours?

PlayStation 4 Reviews

It’s PlayStation 4 review day! I’ve done a little bit of the dirty work, reading reviews of the PS4. I read three to completion and pieces of two more. Here are the two I’d recommend reading right now:

  • PolygonJustin McElroy’s review is not only beautiful, but the most informed review I’ve read. There’s a also a very concise video that rounds out the whole thing. You should definitely read this review.

While Sony in 2006 was focused on driving adoption of the Blu-ray standard, envisioning another home media boom that never quite materialized, Sony in 2013 has no such distractions. The PS4 isn’t built to sell 3D TVs, or Blu-ray discs or any other corporate mandate. It’s a gaming console, a clear message that Sony has been quick to repeat.

  • Kotaku. Stephen Totilo’s review is very good. It’s the kind of thing he really likes diving into.

The PS4 is just starting, and as it is, it is hard to experience the PS4 without thinking about the machine that came before it. The PlayStation 3 made an incredible journey, from rotundResistance and Lair-playing machine to the console of The Last of UsPuppeteer and The Unfinished Swan. The console got skinnier. It got better. And it wound up playing some of my favorite games ever.

Both Kotaku and Polygon will be updating their reviews as time goes on. As the libraries change, as software is updated you’ll see the scores increase… well hopefully they’ll increase and not decrease. It’s a very interesting method to reviews, but one that I support 100%.

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