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November 2012

Dangerous Miiverse Trust Issues Abound

Hints from the MiiverseNintendo's new Miiverse social network for the Wii U can be helpful when it comes to other players sharing game advice and protips, but just like any other informational resource, you have to consider the origin of the information and judge whether or not it's trustworthy.  Not all help is good help.  Mario learns a hard, hard lesson in this Brawl In The Family comic when he fails to verify some New Super Mario Bros. U Miiverse advice before acting on it.  There's something about Nintendo's characters being able to read the Miiverse messages that I find hilarious.  I never considered that they may be able to write those messages, too.

Final Nintendo Power Cover Wraps Things Up Nicely

Nintendo PowerNintendo Power's final issue is hitting subscriber mailboxes and newsstands soon, but the Internet always has tomorrow's news today and that includes photos of magazine covers.  Some Power readers on Twitter have expressed their anger at being spoiled prior to finding the magazine in the mail for themselves, so if you want to see the final cover of gaming's longest running magazine and you haven't yet stumbled upon it for yourself, read on...

Continue reading "Final Nintendo Power Cover Wraps Things Up Nicely" »

Next Xbox Allegedly Slated For November 2013

InterocitorI'm not one to report on wild rumors, but this one comes to us from Bloomberg which doesn't exactly have a record of jumping on every crazy video game story that floats down the river of speculation.  Word on the street is that Microsoft is prepping its next Xbox console for a November 2013 release.  Big surprise, I know!  Still, it's nice to hear it from a source that's typically more reputable that your run of the mill kind of website.  Here's the key quote:

The new device is planned for Thanksgiving and Christmas sales, said the people, who declined to be identified because the product road map is confidential. The software maker hasn’t decided whether to unveil the new Xbox at an industry event such as the E3 show in June, or a separate event devoted solely to the machine, one of the people said.

The rest of the article is an excuse to talk about Nintendo's newly released Wii U.  But, back to the next Xbox: I think we can all agree that Microsoft and its third-party partners are eager to kick off the next generation of hardware.  While Xbox 360s are still selling (the company moved 750,000 of them last week), you can feel that wind of change in the air that makes game publishers and hardware producers want to sell you the latest and greatest all over again.  While Nintendo's Wii had been aging for years and desperately needed a successor, the Xbox 360 still has some time left before it starts to feel like it's falling behind.  As for when to debut the new system, I'd like to see a reveal at E3 next year.  Microsoft has clout going into the next generation of hardware at this point while Sony has to regroup to overcome the stigma of mistakes that the PlayStation 3 era ushered in for the company (don't get me wrong; I enjoy playing my PS3, but Sony management dropped the ball plenty of times over the past six years).  Microsoft could easily "win" E3 if it brought its A-game to a new Xbox unveiling.  No matter what happens, 2013 is going to be very interesting in the video game industry.

Latest Humble Bundle Is All About THQ

Professor GenkiThe Humble Bundle is back in action once again.  Surely you've heard of the Humble Bundle; it's the limited time deal that packages a collection of top-rated PC games together as a single purchase for which each buyer decides the price.  If you want to be a cheapskate, kick in a few pennies and run away with the prize.  Overly generous folks sometimes pay hundreds of dollars for the set.  The proceeds split between the developers and charity with each buyer deciding how to divide the money.  It's a fantastic deal and an amazing bargain.  The latest bundle raises the bar though, as all of the games in the set are from publisher THQ.  For whatever price you choose you can pick up Windows/Steam versions of Metro 2033, Company of Heroes (with two expansions), Darksiders, Red Faction: Armageddon, and if you pay more than the average price you can also acquire the stellar Saints Row: The Third.  They'll even throw in a few game soundtracks, too.  The average price as of this writing is under $6, so you can snag the entire set for less than one overpriced below average mobile game.  Honestly, I can't recommend Saints Row enough, so scoring it for just a few dollars is an amazing deal.  The other games that come with it are just icing as far as I'm concerned.

Mega Man Really Gets Around

Mega ManSure, we all have fond memories of the original Mega Man titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System, but those games have turned up in other places over the years in different, often remixed forms.  While the NES will always be the real home of the series, direct elements from it have made appearances on the Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Game Gear, and beyond.  Who can possibly keep all of the ports and remakes straight?  David Oxford over at 1UP feels game to try.  He's come up with a look back in time at the blue bomber's many rearranged releases.  Here's a bit of the article:

Released for the Game Boy in 1991 (1992 in Europe), Mega Man in Dr. Wily's Revenge (or simply "Mega Man" on the title screen) isn't quite a port or version, per se. Rather, the Rockman World series (as it's known in Japan) was a sort of remix or "best of" style of game, generally taking elements from two different NES Mega Man games and mixing them together, often with a few new additions thrown in.

In Dr. Wily's Revenge, the player chooses from four of the Robot Masters faced in Mega Man on the NES; for whatever reason, Bomb Man and the frequently-reused Guts Man were left out. Further condensing the game is the fact that players move straight on to Dr. Wily's fortress after defeating the quartet, where he then faces four of the Robot Masters from Mega Man 2: Quick Man, Bubble Man, Heat Man, and Flash Man. This selection stands out among most Mega Man titles for providing two fire-based Robot Masters, and thus two fire-based weapons for Mega Man to acquire.

It's a true testament to the series that not only has it been ported so many times, but I keep buying the new versions when they show up for sale.  I still own the NES classics, but I also had to have the Game Boy titles back in the old days and I happily paid for the PlayStation Network downloads of the PS1-era Rockman Complete Works in recent times.  I bought a PlayStation Portable partly to play Mega Man: Powered Up (still waiting for that sequel!).  I even bought the terrible PC game once upon a time.  Had Mega Man Mania been released for the Game Boy Advance or Nintendo DS, I would have bought that as well.  Hmm... buying a port of a port... I'm in deep to this franchise, aren't I?

New PlayStation Vita Bundle Pushes PlayStation Plus

PlayStation VitaSony really wants PlayStation Vita owners to get on board with the PlayStation Plus service now that the latter has come to the former, so to push encouragement to subscribe, the company is prepping a new Vita bundle that features the Plus service front and center.  GameStop is promoting the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection bundle that includes a 3G/Wi-Fi Vita for its usual $300 price tag along with one year of Plus, a voucher for Unit 13, and a 4 GB memory card.  Vita titles that are currently a part of the Instant Game Collection including Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Gravity Rush are promoted in the marketing material which leads me to believe that those games aren't going to be removed from Plus for a while.  Here's the marketing hype:

  • Instant Game Collection bundle includes the PS Vita 3G/Wi-Fi system, 1-year membership to PlayStation®Plus, Unit 13 game voucher, and 4GB Memory Card.
  • Immediate collection of hit games, including Uncharted Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush, WipEout®2048, Unit 13, and more.
  • Cross-platform membership  -  one PlayStation®Plus membership works across both the PS Vita system and PS3 system, unlocking 6 games for your PS Vita and 12 additional games for your PS3 with new games added every month.
  • Exclusive discounts of 10% - 75% on the PlayStation®Store.
  • Console gaming in your hands with the ultimate control of Dual Analog Sticks and incredible graphics through the high-definition 5" OLED touch screen.
  • Stay connected via 3G using AT&T's Mobile Broadband Network.
  • All-in-one bundle offers over $99 in savings.

While Plus is a tremendous value for PlayStation owners (I've been a happy subscriber since the service launched), I really have to question including only a 4 GB memory card in this bundle when the whole selling point behind it is to download the games available on Plus.  Uncharted alone nearly fills the 4 GB card.  It would make much more sense to pack in at least a 8 GB card (or, better yet, 16 GB), but those cards are how Sony seemingly makes most of its Vita money at the moment (the markup on those cards is ridiculous), so even thought there are savings to be had here, beware the hidden startup costs associated with storage if you plan to get the most out of this bundle.

(via GamerXChange)

Latest New Super Mario Bros. 2 DLC Features Classic Levels, Is Free For Limited Time

New Super Mario Bros. 2Nintendo has released a series of downloadable Coin Rush expansion packs for New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo 3DS in the past few weeks, and while so far all of that content has consisted of fresh material, the developers are giving the people what they want with the new Gold Classics Pack which is made of pure nostalgia.  This new DLC is loaded with familiar levels from the original Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3.  World 1-1 from the classic game is in place, of course, but some less commonly revisited stages such as 4-1 also make an appearance in updated form as well as SMB3's own World 1-1.  The company's latest Nintendo Direct explains it all and notes that this pack is free to download for a limited time.  Pick it up from within the game itself between now and the end of January 2013 and you won't pay a single coin.  Unfortunately, you cannot apply those unspent coins to your Coin Rush score.

Wii Mini Is Coming

Wii MiniIn what seems to be the final resting form for Nintendo's aging Wii, a new smaller version of everyone's favorite motion control console is headed to stores in early December.  Spotted on Best Buy Canada's website earlier today, the Wii Mini boasts a square case, snazzy red and black exterior, and comes packed with the bare bones accessories needed to play Wii games. BB Canada pegs the price at $99.99, so if Nintendo wants to minimize its production costs and shrink the Wii components down to bare minimums in order to maximize its profits per console, then this would be the way to do it.  We've already seen one major Wii revision this generation (which removed GameCube support, as you'll recall), and now we get the Wii Mini which cuts Internet connectivity (and, by extension, the Wii Shop Channel with its Virtual Console titles and WiiWare as well as Netflix/Hulu Plus and anything else requiring online access) and sports a manual top-loading disc drive.  Nintendo really does have this Wii thing down to a money-making science at this point, although I wouldn't want to play Super Smash Bros. Brawl on this hardware revision. 

Wii Mini

(Thanks to VisionaryLight)

Welcome To Vitaville

PlayStation VitaAs I mentioned earlier today, I bought a Sony PlayStation Vita over the weekend.  The incredible Black Friday deal I found on the bundle package influenced part of my decision to buy now.  Something else that swayed me into clicking that PLACE ORDER button is that without trying I've already managed to acquire a decent collection of Vita titles.  PlayStation Plus has made a variety of top titles such as Uncharted: Golden Abyss available for free, while some of the PlayStation 3 titles I've purchased come with Vita downloadable versions for cross-platform play, and others are digital PlayStation Portable titles that I've yet to play on account of my PSP suffering from a broken control pad.  Here's what I already have available to me for the Vita:

  • Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation
  • Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions (PSP)
  • Gravity Rush
  • Jet Set Radio HD
  • LittleBigPlannet (PSP)
  • ModNation Racers (PSP)
  • PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
  • Retro City Rampage
  • Uncharted: Golden Abyss
  • WipEout 2048
  • Zen Pinball 2

As I have when I've bought other game systems once they've been around for a while, I'm asking all of you out there to suggest top quality Vita titles that I need to explore.  I'm already planning on trying the Vita LittleBigPlanet as well as Touch My Katamari and Need For Speed: Most Wanted.  I might have a copy of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 on the way if a friend holds up an old agreement.  What else must I try?  Pitch me your suggestions.  Also, if you know where I can find a great deal on a sizable Vita memory card, please speak up. 

Weekly Poll: Vita Redux

Weekly Poll for 11-13-2012A clear majority of you do not buy rare video games as investments.  I can't say that I set out to do so (and every time I consider it, I decide against it), but I do have a few games that are worth more than their original purchase price today that I keep for a combination of availability to play, sentimental value, and investment worth.  I keep all of my old games, really (I've only ever sold two back to GameStop and they were complete Nintendo Wii shovelware junk that I am confident will never be worth anything to anyone ever), so it's only natural that a few would rise in value.

Speaking of purchases, this week's question is simple: do you own a Sony PlayStation Vita?  I bought one on Black Friday as the offer was too good to refuse (Amazon offered the Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation Vita bundle along with ninety days of PlayStation Plus and a free copy of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale for $180), and I bet I'm not the only one who picked one up.  So, let's hear from all of you out there with Vitas.  Don't be shy.