Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sitrep v2.
September 11, 2011

As you may or may not have noticed, it’s been a while since I last updated the site. I’ve now started another blog focusing on another one of my passions – football –  as I’d like to get as broad a portfolio as possible. OWiiLY? will have to take a bit of a backseat for now as I start University, but I’ll still be updating it from time-to-time.

Check out the new blog at The Town End.

– Rory


The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword features RPG-like upgrade system
July 23, 2011

After the release of Twilight Princess in 2006, famed videogame designer and Pope of Nintendo – Shigeru Miyamoto – famously said that it would be the last Zelda of its kind. At a time when people were unsure of the seemingly ‘new’ direction Nintendo were heading in, and of the consequent audiences they were attracting, many took the quote as a doomsday declaration for the series, speculating that Hyrule would be forever consigned to the history books, or to crappy spin-offs and peripheral pack-ins like Link’s Crossbow Training.

Other, more level-headed and less melodramatic fans took it to mean something altogether more positive in that Miyamoto was recognising something that Zelda fans had recognised years ago – Zelda needed to change. Wind Waker was, visually, a pleasant change from the usual greens and browns of Hyrule, but structurally it remained virtually identical to its predecessors. Skyward Sword  has promised to offer a somewhat different approach to overworld exploration and progression, with a central hub-world, somewhat akin to its DS brethren – Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks.

Those games were certainly a departure from traditional Zelda fare, but the design choices inherent in these pocket-sized outings were likely made in the name of file size conservation and, primarily, tailoring the titles to the handheld experience. With Skyward Sword already offering a teen drama storyline, an orchestrated soundtrack and a brand new villain, what else does a console Zelda have to do to shake things up? Voice acting? Blood and gore? Multiplayer?

Nope, nuh-uh and not a chance; what Zelda has apparently been missing these past couple of years is an RPG-esque equipment upgrading system. In a recent hands-on demo with Gamespot, Bill Trinen of Nintendo of America let slip a few details about a leveling-up system that the game features.

They’ve built an entire upgrade system into the game. So for example, right now you can see that Link has his traditional shield, but he actually will get a lot of different shields in the game.

He will start off with a very basic one, and then as you fight enemies, you will recover kind of these treasures or artifacts that you can then use as resources to upgrade your items. And you can do that with your shield, you can do that with the beetle, and some of the other items that you have where you’re able to kind of combine your collection of rupees and your collection of resources and improve the items that you have.

Whether or not one of those ‘other items’ is Link’s sword is both unknown and doubtful. Additionally, whether this will be a somewhat pointless pursuit or an integral point of the game remains to be seen, but this, coupled with all the other innovations that Skyward Sword is bringing to the table keeps it at the tippety-top of gamers’ most anticipated releases of 2011.

– Rory

The state of play – Wii U and the ‘core’ gamer
June 30, 2011

We’ve heard it time and time again from Miyamoto: how a game looks should be secondary to what new ideas, innovations and surprises it brings with it, and whilst I’m inclined to agree with his omniscient words, I am only human, and as such, I find myself hopelessly drawn towards shiny things, and, like the dudebro that I am, that includes graphics. A massive part of my infatuation with Nintendo lies in their seemingly unique philosophy of videogame design – substance over style.

If you’ve been following what Nintendo has to say about the Wii U recently, you’ll have noticed that there’s been a distinct lack of discussion about its graphical capabilities, as was the case with the Wii. The implications of this may present cause for concern to some, but to me, this is just Nintendo’s way of taking the emphasis off presentation, and onto innovation and ideas, as has always been the Nintendo way. This quote from Animal Crossing producer Katsuya Eguchi summarises their viewpoint:

“Rather than compare specs with Microsoft and Sony, I’d like for people to view this as a different type of machine altogether. For me personally, what’s most important is what makes Wii U original, and that’s the controller.”

If the Wii taught me anything, it’s that a game doesn’t require modern vertex shaders, heaps of normal mapping and per-pixel rendering to provide an entertaining experience. Why, then, do I find myself snooping around the Internet at night, restlessly hounding down the faintest whiffs of articles pertaining to the graphical capabilities of the Wii U? Curiosity can account for much of it, but there’s simply no denying that advanced hardware can lead to more immersive, more enjoyable experiences when – and only when – it’s twinned with solid design.

First, lets tone down our expectations. Nintendo have stated that they’re trying to strike the balance between sophisticated hardware and affordability. As with the Wii and the GameCube before it, they want the Wii U to be the most financially viable console on the market in order to broaden appeal. Therefore, the Wii U was never going to be an absolute powerhouse.

Of course, Nintendo had to step up to the mark and provide a console that at least matched current gen offerings, – anything less would’ve been, candidly, embarrassing. Improvements in hardware are essential and, alone, they are usually enough to constitute the boundary between generations, but is there really a necessity to go above and beyond what’s already on the market? Looking ahead to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720, Nintendo will no doubt want to remain competitive to a degree in order to receive acceptable-looking ports from those platforms – something that the Wii kind of missed out on – but to put it simply, who cares?

Let me start by saying that I don’t hugely care for the whole casual vs. core debate; it’s full of generalised, ignorant, inaccurate and arbitrary views, categorisations and opinions which generally amount to nothing. However, I do think there is a clear divide between the two, and it’s at least worth talking about.

Despite what the ubernerds at NeoGAF might have you believe, the average ‘core’ gamer isn’t going to notice if Call of Duty Wii U runs at 720p whilst the Xbox version only runs at 600p. Nintendo fanboys aren’t going to care if Arkham City has better lighting effects on Wii U than its current-gen counterparts – they’ll be playing Zelda and Mario. Parents and kids sure as hell aren’t going to care about how many GFLOPS this thing can push. The only demographic that will care has already been lost by Nintendo, potentially forever – the dudebros.

The dudebros will not see the Wii U as a viable upgrade for two reasons.

  • It has Wii in the name.

  • It has a slightly unconventional controller.

Sadly, it’s as simple as that. Your average FIFA nut will not play with this controller. End of story. Besides, all their chums are already on Xbox LIVE. Do you really think they’re going to trade friend codes? Because they’re not.

“But, but, but…the developers!” I hear you cry, and cry you might – third party support is something that may prove to be hugely important to the success of the Wii U, so they ought to keep them happy; righting the wrongs of previous generations is a priority. Reggie talked about ‘ticking boxes’ for developers – powerful hardware and 1080p output are two of those boxes, but I personally feel there are more important shortcomings that Nintendo ought to tackle, namely a solid, robust yet flexible Online infrastructure.

Besides, third party developers seem perfectly happy with the system’s horespower. Japanese developers commented on how the Zelda HD demo simply isn’t possible on current consoles, whilst EA don’t even seem to know how powerful it is, and don’t seem to care; as far as they’re concerned, if it can run Battlefield 3, it’s powerful enough.

So, why do I care? Frankly, I enjoy a visual feast. Whilst I’m of the mindset that how a game makes you feel is more important than how nice it looks, I can’t help but want both – style and substance. Above all though, a hidden, illogical part of me just wants to see Nintendo really make a balls-to-the-wall machine with cutting edge specs, a robust Online system and heaps of third party support and I really, really don’t know why.

I am a multi-console owner. One of the main reasons I enjoyed this generation was due to the fact that I had two complementing systems – the Wii and the Xbox 360 – that offered two totally different experiences. In a utopian world, Nintendo could offer me the best of both into one package, but I just know they can’t – so why would I want two consoles which offer almost identical experiences? As long as the leap to Wii U is in line with current technological advancement, I don’t really care.

After re-reading this multiple times, it’s nowhere near as concise or succinct as I’d hoped, so I think it’s time to wrap up.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Nintendo improving their game in the fields of hardware and Online networking is by any means a bad thing; it’s something that I very much welcome. However, I don’t feel that graphical prowess should ever be the main draw for a Nintendo console, and to me, it feels like all this talk of upping third party support is a somewhat futile effort to pander to a crowd which will never be satisfied by anything that Nintendo does.

 – Rory

Nintendo of Europe announces pre-order bundle for Xenoblade Chronicles
June 28, 2011

Yup, still Europe only. Sorry, North American gamers – you might want to skip over this post altogether. European gamers will be able to get their hands on Monolith’s Xenoblade Chronicles on September 2nd, 2011. What’s more, if you pre-order the special bundle, you’ll also receive a limited edition Classic Controller Pro in red, three signed posters and a reversible sleeve with alternate cover art as voted for by fans.

 – Rory

June 28, 2011

The eagle-eyed amongst you might have noticed that it’s been 25 days since the site’s last post. Allow me to explain. This blog is run by one person, and one person alone – me. ‘Me’ has been busy recently, revising for pesky A-Level exams. They’re kind of important, though, as they are my ticket into University, so the short hiatus has hopefully paid off. Now they’re finished, normal service should resume.

 – Rory

Nikkei – Wii successor features ‘portable game controller’ with six inch touchscreen and ‘camera functions’
June 3, 2011

And so it begins.

This is big news. In fact, it’s such big news that I’m not even afraid to start this post with a conjunction. The Mario Bros. plumbing company must have been busy over the last couple of weeks; despite there only being about 4 days until Nintendo’s E3 Keynote, there hasn’t been a single, notable leak. Until now.

Nikkei – a Japanese publication centred on technology, business and finance – has let slip a few details about the upcoming Project Café. Interestingly, it’s all stuff we’ve heard before, which consequently seems to lend credit to a few other rumours. The publication informed us of Nintendo DSi and Nintendo 3DS features and specifications before their official unveilings, and were spot on both times.

The report claims that the Wii’s successor will feature a controller that doubles as a portable console. The translation is somewhat hazy – it’s unlikely that the controller will be truly portable as this would alienate and potentially eat into the 3DS’ market share. Additionally, the controller would then require its own CPU and other innards, resulting in an insultingly expensive peripheral. The controller will feature a six inch touch panel for ‘tablet-like controls’, a camera and a built-in rechargeable battery.

No other comments were made in relation to the controller’s form-factor, or interestingly, the console itself, which seems to suggest that the emphasis is once again on the innovative controller.

Nintendo will show off the console on Tuesday, June 7th at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

– Rory

Aonuma – new Zelda title to be shown at E3
June 1, 2011

Eiji Aonuma – known for his extensive involvement in the Zelda series – has said that a new title in the flagship franchise will be announced next week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Calm down, calm down. It’s not going to be a console game; Nintendo surely wouldn’t show off a new console Zelda game before Skyward Sword even hits shelves, so I think we can confidently rule out a Zelda HD reveal for Project Café. Apparently, the game is related to the 25th Anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, and as such, it’s likely to be some sort of collection or ROM dump.

We heard inklings of a new Zelda game when Nintendo renewed their copyright for ‘Zelda Universe’ – many were hoping for a Zelda MMO, but it turned out to be the unofficial title of the franchise’s web portal.

A Link to the Past 3Danyone?

Source via GoNintendo

RUMOUR – Super Smash Bros. Strife to be shown at E3
May 23, 2011

Based on the rather naive assumption that you’re currently viewing this post on a 15.6″ laptop screen as I am, I’d like to ask you to divert your eyes and your attention approximately four inches above this very line, to that word – rumour.

Annoyingly, despite that tag being in capitals on every rumour I post, I see comments flaming the blog for giving ‘teh false inf0z’ pasted all over the web. So, just a heads up – take this with a massive pinch of salt; it’s very likely to be fake, but that’s not going to stop me from sharing it with you all.

A report from Great Gaming Crusade claims that ‘Nintendo will be showing off the next Super Smash Bros. game at this year’s E3′. That’s it. I mean, it’s really basic; anyone with a keyboard could have written that. However, that doesn’t change the fact that every Nintendo console since the 64 has had a Super Smash Bros. game shown before its launch, so it’s entirely feasible. A representative of Great Gaming Crusade assured me that “the rumor is from a reliable source in the industry”.

The game is apparently being developed for ‘the Wii’s successor’. From a completely unrelated source, we see a rather shady looking image of the game’s supposed logo, revealing its somewhat awkward title – Super Smash Bros. Strife. Could that be a reference to the inclusion of a certain spikey-haired emotional swordsman?

– Rory

RUMOUR – Nintendo to make ‘major announcement’ this week
May 10, 2011

According to Games Maya, four of the industry’s big names will be holding retail meetings this week; Nintendo, Sega, Microsoft and Sony will apparently be accompanied by ‘leaks from attending retailers’, and, in the case of Nintendo, a ‘major announcement’. The dates are as follows:

  • 5/11: Sony Computer Entertainment

  • 5/12: Nintendo

  • 5/13: Microsoft

  • 5/13: Sega

Could we finally hear something concrete about Project Café in the weeks running up to E3?

Source – Games Maya via andriasang

– Rory

A Thank You
May 5, 2011

Today, OWiiLY had its busiest traffic day since October 2009! I’d just like to take a minute to thank every one of you for checking out the blog. I took some time out from this kind of ‘work’ while I’ve been at College, but getting back into it has been fun, and seeing the effort pay off so quickly makes it worthwhile. I hope, for all the new readers, that you’ll find a reason to stay around for a while.

– Rory