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Sakurai Reveals All About Smash Bros. Wii U & 3DS: Slated for Release in Summer/Winter 2014

Sakurai Reveals All About Smash Bros. Wii U & 3DS: Slated for Release in Summer/Winter 2014

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in Gaming, News | 0 comments

Today, Nintendo has unveiled a large amount of information on the status of Super Smash Bros. Wii U & 3DS, in a 39 minute video documentatary.

According to Sakurai, the 3DS version will be released in Summer 2014 release, while the Wii U version will come out in Winter 2014. Along with release dates, Sakurai went in full depth about the gameplay, stages, items, characterrs, and online mode. Out of all the features covered, the online mode seemed to be the most exciting tidbit, as it’s a huge overhaul over Brawl’s (pathetic) online mode. The new “For Glory” online mode is definitely aimed at hardcore competitive Smash players, with restrictions like Final Destination-like only stages and no items.

Although I’m not sure I will purchase a Wii U for Smash, I will definitely be getting the 3DS version when it comes out later this summer!

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/08/super-smash-bros-3ds-launches-this-summer-wii-u-version-due-in

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Game Developers Conference 2014 (GDC 2014) – Wrap Up

Game Developers Conference 2014 (GDC 2014) – Wrap Up

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in Gaming, General, Hardware, Mobile, News, Software | 0 comments

GDC '14 - Bustling with activity at the Career Center.

GDC ’14 – Bustling with activity at the Career Center.

This past week, I had a chance to attend the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, a huge annual conference for game producers & developers. As this was my first GDC, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet professionals in the gaming industry, attend seminars on game development, as well as seeing the latest games and technology on display. 

GDC '14 - GDC attendees getting an opportunity to try out Oculus Rift.

GDC ’14 – GDC attendees getting an opportunity to try out Oculus Rift.

GDC ' 14 - Unity promoting the Unity gaming engine to game developers.

GDC ‘ 14 – Unity promoting the Unity gaming engine to game developers.

While the first two days of GDC came and gone with little fanfare, things became a bit more interesting when the Career Center and the Expo Floor opened up on Wednesday. Companies like Oculus and Unity were in full force on the floor. Oculus, riding on the growing interest into virtual reality technology, were demonstrating the full capabilities of what the Oculus Rift VR headset had to offer for the next generation of games. As for Unity, they were heavily touting it’s capabilities as a versatile gaming engine that supports most (if not all) current gaming platforms, as well as high-profile games that were developed with Unity.

GDC '14 - The Sony PlayStation exhibit at GDC.

GDC ’14 – The Sony PlayStation exhibit at GDC.

GDC '14 - Valve's exhibit at the GDC.

GDC ’14 – Valve’s exhibit at the GDC.

GDC '14 - Valve's SteamBox, a PC running SteamOS.

GDC ’14 – Valve’s SteamBox, a PC running SteamOS.

GDC '14 - The controversial SteamOS controller.

GDC ’14 – The controversial SteamOS controller.

Some of the biggest announcements at GDC included Sony’s Project Morpheus, a VR headset similar to the Oculus’ Rift headset.  Another large announcement was Valve’s unveiling of the latest version of the SteamOS controller, considered to be controversial due to it’s unorthodox game controller layout. Along with the new controller, Valve was also demonstrating the SteamOS and the SteamBox PCs over at it’s booth.

GDC '14 - Intel at GDC, promoting it's Iris Pro GPU's abilities.

GDC ’14 – Intel at GDC, promoting it’s Iris Pro GPU’s abilities.

Hardware companies like Intel, AMD, and nVIDIA were also at GDC, demonstrating what their hardware can do for game developers. With Intel, they were promoting Iris Pro (Haswell’s integrated GPU) and it’s gaming performance. The message that they wanted to deliver was that the Iris Pro was capable of running the latest games (albeit at lower settings compared to nVIDIA & AMD’s GPU solutions).

GDC '14 - AMD demonstrating EyeInfinity with Battlefield 4.

GDC ’14 – AMD demonstrating EyeInfinity with Battlefield 4.

As for AMD, they were focused on promoting EyeInfinity, their triple monitor solution for gaming, as well as Mantle, an AMD API that allows developers greater access to AMD’s GPU capabilities on a lower level.

GDC '14 - nVIDIA's exhibit at GDC.

GDC ’14 – nVIDIA’s exhibit at GDC.

GDC '14 - nVIDIA's GRID rack server on display.

GDC ’14 – nVIDIA’s GRID rack server on display.

Over at nVIDIA’s booth, they were promoting their latest Tegra 4 SOC solution, as well as nVIDIA GRID, a cloud game streaming service that nVIDIA is currently promoting.

GDC '14 - A GDC attendee playing Crypt of the Necrodancer with a DDR mat.

GDC ’14 – A GDC attendee playing Crypt of the Necrodancer with a DDR mat.

GDC '14 - Bit Bros., a 2D fighting game that plays similarly to Nintendo's Smash Bros. series.

GDC ’14 – Bit Bros., a 2D fighting game that plays similarly to Nintendo’s Smash Bros. series.

de with the large game & hardware companies, part of the Expo Floor was dedicated to Independent Game Developers, where the latest and greatest indie games like “Papers, Please”, “Crypt of the Necrodancer”, “The Stanley Parable”, and many others were on display. GDC has always had a large focus on independent game developers, but this year, indie game developers were definitely in force, as many of the indie games on display were quite intuitive and most importantly, fun to play.

GDC '14 - The Videogame History Museum Exhibit at GDC.

GDC ’14 – The Videogame History Museum Exhibit at GDC.

Outside of the Expo Floor, I encountered an interesting exhibit, the Videogames History Museum. It was an exhibit dedicated to the history of arcade and console gaming, with classic consoles like the NES, SNES, Atari, N64, Genesis, GameCube, Game Boy, Virtual Boy, etc. on display. There were several stations where gamers could reminisce and play these classic consoles; I was able to get a chance to play E.T.: Phone Home (a game that was largely responsible for the 1983 video game crash), as well as a few rounds of Super Smash Bros. Melee. The exhibit was definitely a trip down nostalgic road for me.

GDC '14 - Game Developer's Choice Awards

GDC ’14 – Game Developer’s Choice Awards

On Wednesday night, the Game Developer’s Choice Awards 2014 was held. It’s similar to the People’s Choice Awards, except that the winners here are games and their developers. A significant portion of the GDC Awards were dedicated to indie games, showcasing how far indie games have come in recent years. What I found surprising is that a large amount of the awards were given to the indie game “Papers, Please”, winning five awards for categories such as Best Narrative, Visual Art, etc. Another big winner was Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us”, a great game that rocked the gaming world last year.

With GDC ’14 concluded, I am still in awe over all the announcements, games/tech that were on display, and more importantly, the advice I received from game designers and professionals. As I have started the journey back into software development in the past year, I was initially overwhelmed, as I felt at times if I could ever get back to speed with what game companies are looking for in developers these days. However, I also gained insight and a better direction of where I should focus my software development skills on.

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Project Geo Unveiled! Introducing Dragon Geo

Project Geo Unveiled! Introducing Dragon Geo

Posted by on Mar 12, 2014 in Gaming, Mobile, News, Software | 0 comments

Project Geo, now unveiled as DRAGON GEO today, is an interactive map app akin to Google Maps, but displays maps from Square-Enix’s lesser known RPG series, Dragon Quest. Those of you that have been playing RPGs since the early days of the original NES will better recognize this series as Dragon Warrior. DRAGON GEO allows for viewing world, region, castle, town, dungeon, and shrine maps from Dragon Warrior / Quest I-VI. It also includes maps from the remake versions that later appeared on the Super Famicom, Game Boy Color, and Nintendo DS. As an added nostalgic touch, the entire interface uses the old Dragon Warrior command window style, complete with music and sound effects from the original Dragon Warrior / Quest games. If you’re a Dragon Warrior / Quest fan, you’re in for a big treat!

More about the origin of DRAGON GEO: Project Geo was originally used as a way for me to get familiar with Android development, roughly four months ago from today. During development, I’ve learned quite a bit about developing on the Android platform, such as programming gestures, loading and playing media files, displaying large images, UX design  handling memory optimization issues, and much more. Although I still have far to go in terms of Android development (and mobile development in general), I’m proud to have been able to put out a quality first app that I quite enjoyed working on in the available spare time I had. I’d like to thank the sites & people that have made these maps and sprites available online.  Without them, DRAGON GEO would not be possible:

  • D-Navi
  • Dragon’s Den
  • FlyingArmor
  • King Zenith
  • NES Maps
  • NES SNES Sprites
  • Realm of Darkness
  • RPG Legion
  • Sprite Database
  • x_loto
  • Zophar’s Domain

Also, many thanks goes out to my friends who have dedicated their time to beta testing out DRAGON GEO:

  • Ashwin Kamath
  • Steve Chou
  • Joey Dorpat
  • King Zenith
  • James Spencer
  • Dan Smoliak
  • Jesse Thomas

DRAGON GEO is now available for download on the Google Play Store. If you have an Android device, be sure to check it out! I’ll be making improvements to the app from time to time.

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Animal Crossing: The Uncensored Edition

Posted by on Jan 17, 2014 in Gaming | 0 comments

Chewbot over at Let’s Play Archive wrote about his experience with Animal Crossing, documenting the woeful adventures of Billy.

Let’s Play Archive – Animal Crossing By Chewbot

Although I have never played Animal Crossing, I found Chewbot’s commentary and experience to be quite amusing. Be warned, there is much profanity in his review, and with good reason. Who knew that Animal Crossing was promoting child labor and slave contracts?

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A Tribute to Hiroshi Yamauchi

Posted by on Sep 19, 2013 in Gaming, News | 0 comments

Today is a sad day, as Hiroshi Yamauchi, the man who led Nintendo from 1949 to 2002 and transformed Nintendo from a small card company into a mega videogame giant, has passed away from Pneumonia at the age of 85.

During his time at Nintendo, popular gaming consoles such as the NES, Super NES, Game Boy, Nintendo 64, and GameCube were released, along with the creation of beloved Nintendo characters like Mario, Link, Samus, Donkey Kong, etc. that we have come to know well and love today.

Rest in peace, Hiroshi Yamauchi. Read More

Nintendo Introduces the Nintendo 2DS

Posted by on Aug 31, 2013 in Gaming, Mobile, News | 0 comments

Nintendo unveiled the Nintendo 2DS this week, a new addition to the Nintendo DS handheld family. Unlike previous Nintendo DS devices, the new Nintendo 2DS is more tablet-like in nature, abandoning the flip-screen design present in previous Nintendo DS devices.

The new Nintendo 2DS, with a tablet-like structure.

The new Nintendo 2DS, with a tablet-like structure.

In terms of hardware, the new Nintendo 2DS boasts the same specifications as the Nintendo 3DS, but lacks one important feature, 3D gaming, hence being affixed with the 2DS label. While it may seem like a significant feature to drop, the 3D feature on Nintendo 3DS games released so far hasn’t been entirely crucial and ground-breaking. Although current Nintendo 3DS owners will likely ignore the Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo hopes to appeal to casual gamers with the new tablet-like design.

The Nintendo 2DS will be launching on October 12 in North America for MSRP price of $129.99.

Source: DailyTech – Nintendo Announces Tablet-Like “2DS,” Cuts Wii U Price by $50 Read More

PROJECT AM2R: Metroid II Remake Project

Posted by on Aug 28, 2013 in Gaming | 0 comments

I recently stumbled upon Project AM2R, a full-blown remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus in 16-bit style. It is an unofficial, fangame project that has been in development for a few years.

From the screenshots and the progress updates, Project AM2R seems to be coming along nicely, as many areas of Metroid II have already been finished. There is even a playable demo that can be downloaded from Project AM2R’s site. The demo itself is pretty well-polished, as the graphics and gameplay are reminiscent of Metroid: Zero Mission (a remake of the original Metroid that was released by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance).

As I consider some of the 2D Metroid games to be some of the best 2D side-scrolling adventure games ever to be released (especially Super Metroid), I’ll be keeping my eyes on this project. I’d have to admit though, I’m surprised that the project has survived this long without getting the attention of Nintendo, as like with Square Enix, Nintendo religiously protects their IP and shuts down fangame projects swiftly. Read More

Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin Released!

Posted by on Jul 2, 2013 in Gaming, News | 0 comments

Final Fantasy fans are in for a treat! OC Remix, a site well known by video game music enthusiasts, has released Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin, an album of arranged songs from the classic Squaresoft RPG, Final Fantasy VI. You can check out a preview of some of the arrangements in the following YouTube video:

To grab the full album in lossless or lossy format, check out their website! Read More

Newer Super Mario Bros. Wii Mod

Newer Super Mario Bros. Wii Mod

Posted by on Jun 19, 2013 in Gaming, News | 0 comments

For those that are looking for a refreshing new challenge to New Super Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Wii, look no further! A fan group called the Newer Team has released a mod for New Super Mario Bros. Wii, properly named “Newer Super Mario Bros Wii!”

With this mod, Newer Super Mario Bros. Wii introduces:

  • 128 all-new levels on a gigantic world map
  • Remixed and original graphics, themes and music
  • The return of a classic Power-Up
  • New and old bosses and enemies
  • Fun with 1 to 4 players, just like the original game
For more details, check out the Newer Team’s website.

Source: Newer Super Mario Bros. Wii Read More

Microsoft Backpedals on XBOX One: Removes DRM & Used Games Limitations

Microsoft Backpedals on XBOX One: Removes DRM & Used Games Limitations

Posted by on Jun 19, 2013 in Gaming, News | 0 comments

With the amount of ire that Microsoft received from the public about it’s DRM & used games policy for the XBOX One, Microsoft has reversed it’s stance.

So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means:

  • An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.
  • Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.
In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console — there will be no regional restrictions.

It’s great that Microsoft has reversed it’s stance on the “always online” DRM and the used games activation policy, but given the amount of flak it received over their restrictive policies, Microsoft really should not have pushed the issue in the first place. The PR damage to the XBOX One has already been done and it will take some time for Microsoft to win back it’s core base, as Sony did a great job in hitting Microsoft over the DRM issues and wooing gamers at E3 earlier this month. Read More