Why did I play this?Why did I play this?

Posted on Aug 27th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under music, tri ace, tri crescendo, monolith soft, star ocean, nintendo, mario, golf, tennis, golden sun, eternal sonata, valkyrie p

Early in tri-Crescendo's existence, the company looked to expand its portfolio beyond audio work for tri-Ace games. These plans included Sakuraba being the main composer. The company struck a deal with another young development house called Monolith Soft, and the two worked to co-develop Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean for Nintendo's Gamecube in 2003. A prequel followed, Baten Kaitos Origins, in 2006. Eternal Sonata came the following year for the Xbox 360, and also to Playstation 3 a year later. tri-Ace also developed and released an all new game, Infinite Undiscovery for Xbox 360.

Continue reading Composer Compendium: Motoi Sakuraba Part 3: All Over Japan

Posted on Sep 6th 2014 at 04:33:03 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under konami, stars of destiny, nintendo, ds, rpg

Suikoden Tierkreis was the second Suikoden game made by Konami for a non-Sony system and was the first to be released outside of Japan. The first, Suikoden Card Stories, was released on the Game Boy Advance (Japan exclusive) and is basically a retelling of Suikoden II as a trading card game. Though I have no idea what I'm doing in that game due to the language barrier, I do know what's going on in Tierkreis. Tierkreis was the first Suikoden game released since Suikoden V on the PS2, and was anxiously awaited by fans of the series, since there was about a three year gap between these releases.

Continue reading Psychotic Reviews: Suikoden Tierkreis

Posted on May 16th 2014 at 06:33:43 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under Shadowrun, snes, genesis, nintendo, sega, pc, indie, kickstarter, dragon, tactical rpg

When it comes to my collection list of wants I have two RPGs for the major 16 bit systems up very high on this list. Shadowrun for the SNES and the completely different game of the same name for the Sega Genesis. These games are examples of the very few Western developed RPGs released for these systems, at least ones that weren't ported from the PC that is. Both versions are considered good games, with the SNES game widely being considered ahead of its time with its noir style narrative and tactical gameplay. It was a critical darling when it released, but commercially flopped.

Fast forward two decades and we have Kickstarter. This is one of the best tools for a small team to completely fund and develop a game from the ground up. I'm sure most of us are aware of what it is and does for developers. They basically pitch their game to their final customers while development is either very early, or still in the planning stages. Customers then throw money at the project, if the developers make their goal then they can start development. If they surpass their goal then they implement 'stretch goals' which basically add ideas or staff to the process of development. The Kings of Kickstarter, at least in the video game world, are Tim Schafer and Brian Fargo, the latter of which has two massively successful projects.

Good ol' Jake Armitage even returns for the Ripper investigation!

Harebrained Schemes also had a very successful Kickstarter with their project, Shadowrun Returns. This project ended with over $1.8 million of funding. So now the game has been out for awhile and I picked it up while it was on sale. Shadowrun is one of my absolute favorite tabletop settings. It takes our real world and completely flips it upside down with an event called the 'Awakening'. Earth is now covered with humans, elves, dwarves, orks, and trolls in various quantities. At its heart it is cyberpunk with the ability to use technological enhancements as well as magic to build stronger characters, and the Deckers' ability to physically jack into the internet (or as the game calls it, The Matrix).

Anyway, as of this review there are two different official campaigns to choose from, the original one Dead Man's Switch, and the latest one released as DLC, Dragonfall. Dead Man's Switch takes place in the Free City of Seattle, while Dragonfall takes place in Berlin. The game is presented in an isometric perspective reminiscent of the SNES Shadowrun as well as Interplay and Bioware RPGs around the turn of the century.

The game is easy to control, click where you want to go and who you want to talk to. Combat is actually more in the style of XCOM than other RPGs. There are various items and decorations to use as cover, there's even Overwatch in the game. To keep with its RPG roots your stats influence your chance to hit as a percentage, get close to the enemy and the percentage increases, use buffs to get that even higher. I rolled as a shaman with Eagle Totem, so I could buff everybody's chance to hit in a small radius, as well as cast Haste on my various party members. By the end of the game this meant that at any one time half the party had double the Action Points, and could easily have over 85% chance to hit as long as they were close to my PC. Combine all this with a spirit that shamans can summon for an extra party member and its easy to see why this support class is completely awesome.

I have beaten Dead Man's Switch, and its set up as a murder mystery. You get a message from one of your fellow Shadowrunners Sam Watts, your main character is down on his/her luck at this moment but this message promises a huge payout for you to find your friend's killer. He's already dead by the time the message gets to you, hence the name Dead Man's Switch. You go on a long journey through the city of Seattle's underbelly in the 2050's. This story ends up tying in with the events that lead to the downfall of Chicago in the novel Burning Bright and sourcebook Bug City. You also get to have the completely awesome immortal elf Harlequin in your group during the end game, as well as meet a representative of the Dragon Lofwyr who hails from Berlin, tying Dead Man's Switch into Dragonfall.

While the game is simple to play and fun when it works I did run into crippling, near game breaking problems. There were times when my main character would just get frozen in combat. She couldn't move, but she could still cast spells, heal, and control her spirit. When I tried to move the game completely froze for a few minutes. I could still control the rest of my team though. I ran into this problem in 2nd half of this campaign, even the final battle. But, with Harlequin and Coyote I managed to win and brought justice to Sam's killer.

Dead Man's Switch was not long, even with this problem I managed to beat it in about 16 hours. It was just incredibly annoying to have the game lock up, freeze, and then have to find workarounds to still win said game. If you decide to try this game and do not run into the problem I did (which a majority seem to not run into) then you might be able to shave an hour or two off of my completion time. I also missed a couple side quests when I went back to check walkthroughs for what I missed.

If you're interested in science fiction and want a different, near future take on the genre, mixed with heaping doses of fantasy and warped reality then Shadowrun might scratch that itch. Your chances of running into the problems I had are quite low after all the forum research I did to find a solution. If you're already familiar with some of the lore from Shadowrun this should fit in quite nicely, especially if you're familiar with the tie ins I already mentioned. If you're skeptical then you might want to wait until it goes on sale again.

Posted on May 16th 2013 at 05:20:21 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under used games, sony, microsoft, nintendo, used games, online pass

To put this in the simplest of terms, the way the title of this article can happen is if either or both of these hardware manufacturers do one thing, charge the gaming public to activate used games. The news releases of EA ending their online pass program is just the first reason why trying to extort extra money just for buying a game that's already been played will not work. For those of you that have not yet read about EA ending a much maligned policy of theirs their reasoning is as follows "Many players didnt respond to the format. We've listened to the feedback and decided to do away with it moving forward." This translates from business speak to layman's English as 'We were not making a profit.'

Take heed Sony and/or Microsoft. If the 2nd largest 3rd party publisher has already tried and abandoned the tactics that you may well be on the cusp of unveiling to the public then your system is doomed from the start. It is one thing to have individual games lock content up behind a pay wall, but an entire system? The incredible poostorm that has surrounded EA and other companies using online passes to access their multiplayer components after a copy has moved from the 'new' to 'used' bin will be incredibly miniscule compared to having a paywall thrown up blocking me and other gamers from playing a single player game, let alone multiplayer.

Please be smarter than the Discworld Dibblers.

I know I'm only one person and this is anecdotal evidence but I spend almost 90% of my purchasing power on used games and almost never buy a game at launch. When I do it is something I have eagerly been waiting for months to come out and hone in on my targets with the precision of a falcon. I do not pre-order something if I have any shred of doubt that the game might not be good, hence I tend to stick with only a few series which see sporadic releases. Most of the used games I buy are in the $5-10 region and I'm perfectly fine waiting 1 or 2 years for the price to get there. So if either Sony or MS want to charge me an extra $5 to activate a used game and essentially double my investment, they will lose 100% of my business.

No hardware, no pre-orders, no software, no collector's editions, no used games, nothing, nada, zilch.

I will say this once, do not forget it. Your customers are your backbone, defy them and you lose them. Your publishers are greedy snobs, listen to them and you defy your consumers. If these rumors end up being confirmed I will happily go out and buy a brand new Wii U and 4-5 brand new games just to support more level headed and less obvious cash grabby, greedy business tactics. I don't care how weak the hardware is compared to the PS4 or possible NextBox specs, and I know Nintendo is far from perfect. That said, they will have 100% of my gaming budget if Sony and/or Microsoft is really this stupid.

Now here's another scenario, only one of the two unlaunched systems will have a used game activation fee and 'feature'. Given how close the sales are between 360 and PS3, this is just asking to get completely reamed in the backside through marketing techniques. What was once a close race turns into a landslide victory. I can see it now, "No fees just to play," "We don't charge a disc insertion fee," etc. etc. Millions of potential system sales are at stake here, and those millions of systems can support hundreds of millions of software sales. We're talking billions and billions of dollars at stake here, trillions of yen, you will not Cut-Your-Own-Throat will you?

Posted on Jan 26th 2013 at 12:33:25 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under SirPsycho, atari, nintendo, facebook, valve, ouya, steam box

Is the home video game industry charging headfirst into another market crash?

I ask myself this question because there are so many signs pointing towards another crash when I look back on the previous ones. We are on the cusp of the 8th console generation really getting ready to begin, only Nintendo having dived head first into these potentially treacherous waters. Unlike the 7th Generation, where the current Big 3 stepped in to tango against each other largely without disturbance, they will have competition from fan favorite Valve, as well as some more unknown companies. So let's take a look at some of these and extrapolate the events and lessons learned to the modern era.

In 1977 there was a major crash of the video game market that is largely ignored by the public and even by gamers that were around at this time. The major problems that lead to this crash were centered around the insane popularity of Pong through the early to mid 70's. This game was so popular in the arcades that every company wanted to make a standalone Pong system for home consumers. Even the beloved and mighty Nintendo is guilty of this. By 1977 the market was flooded with so many Pong and dedicated systems that consumers had no idea which ones were good, which were bad, or which one was made by the original creators of the game.

Nintendo's Color TV Game. Exclusive to Japan.

However, one piece of the video game market continued to grow through 1977, the handheld market. If you're a bit younger like me you'll probably remember the Tiger handhelds with crappy LCD screens and primitive beeps for sound. These standalone handhelds are a relic of this growth in the late 70's, and they kept going strong through the 80's with some still being released today. Nintendo had their hit Game & Watch brand of handhelds while they moved into the arcade market and dipped their toe into the home console market with some VCS ports.

But SirPsycho, you may be asking, didn't Atari release their VCS/2600 in 1977? They did, and they managed to survive this crash on the strength of their brands and high quality products they put out in the arcade, which was untouched by this 'crash'. The Atari VCS did not really take off until 1980 when the company secured the rights to port Taito's enormous arcade hit Space Invaders to their system.

So what lessons does this archaic crash have for today's incredibly diverse market? Too many systems on the market at one time is a bad thing for the game consuming public, and all of these systems did roughly the same thing, they all played Pong with fancy names like table tennis, raquetball, handball, they were all the same game at heart though. None of these machines offered interchangable cartridges, the machines that did are not considered Pong consoles even if they had a Pong clone cart.

Even if some upcoming tangential systems secure a foothold in the market, like the Ouya from Boxer8, it is essentially a modernized Pong console if all of their promises and features will deliver. The Steam Box from Valve is roughly the same idea, all digital distribution, firmware updates, and streaming. You push a button or flip a switch to change modes. Valve has a massive leg up on Boxer8 however, a huge, hardcore, and loyal fanbase. There's also the GameStick on Kickstarter right now, which just looks like its an Atari Flashback in USB form.

The Ouya from Boxer8.

The North American Crash of 1983 is highly publicized so I will not write about it much here, but the lessons from it are primarily software related. The crash of 1977 left Atari and Magnavox competing against each other in the late 70's, Magnavox and its Odyssey^2 could not keep up and they bowed out. By the time the '83 crash happened Atari's renamed 2600 was holding a gigantic lead over Mattel, Coleco, and its own 5200 before the ground crumbled beneath them as a result of their own leadership, knocking their two competitors out at the same time.

Low quality software from Atari themselves left fans feeling betrayed so they left the system and company behind. A lot of Atari's veteran talent left as a result of their barbaric employee treatment. A handful of talented developers founded Activision before the crash, and Atari lost a court case against the fledgling 3rd party that lead to a huge growth of 3rd party developers and publishers. There were many new and inexperienced 3rd parties that did not help Atari's case either.

One case of a third party bad Atari game.

What markets thrived during the down years between the 1983 crash and the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System outside of Japan? The arcade market entered what could be considered a Silver Age. Long time arcade developers released new, cutting edge machines that kept the fans that built and crushed Atari happy. The PC market really hit its first major stride and many of the initial 3rd parties that began as console developers and publishers for Atari's 2600 and lacked any arcade experience, made a swift move to the home computing market to survive.

There was another swell of parties that entered the console market in the early to mid 1990's seeing Sega's success against Nintendo as a call to action. Philips and 3DO tried and failed. Atari's last gasp with its agile Jaguar fell flat on its face. SNK's high priced Neo Geo could not penetrate the larger market and remained a small, insignificant niche, their steamlined Neo Geo CD not doing much to expand their audience either. Apple and Bandai's partnership led to one of the worst selling systems of all time, the Pippin. Sega themselves proved that console add ons do more to alienate a fanbase than to reinvigorate it.

The Neo Geo CD isn't a bad looking system either.

Now let's take a look at today's market. Facebook has risen to become a powerful social and casual gaming hub, and fallen quite quickly as well, perhaps needing to learn the lessons of the 1983 Crash the hard way. Smartphones have been hyped to threaten Nintendo and its handheld dominance while the 3DS started slowly. Now Nintendo's system is really starting to fly off the shelf, crushing every other system in Japan on a weekly basis. With Pokemon X and Y releasing this year the global market can be expected to fight over incoming shipments of 3DS consoles, perhaps leading to a temporary shortage and more money printing for Nintendo.

News of Sony's patent filing that would essentially eliminate the used game and rental market, as well as social borrowing and trading, is hitting the community hard. Many gamers are already pulling out their pitchforks, even longtime Sony faithful fans. If this is implemented I can see Sony going the way of Sega, maybe not until the 2020's if they try and save themselves and bow out with honor. This patent, if implemented in the PS4, would be the beginning of the end. Sony's recent add ons, the Eye Toy for PS2/PS3, and the Move which uses the Eye Toy sold decently well, but again failed to be a gaming reimagination that they wanted their fans to experience.

Microsoft has been quiet about its 360 successor, already having lost the major advantage it had in the Seventh generation, launching first, to Nintendo's WiiU. But, sales are still strong, especially after the holidays. Their Kinect for 360 has become nothing more than a dance simulator with a few iOS and Android ports that make decent use of the technology. Most real AAA efforts have released to critical failure. Still, I believe Microsoft would be foolish to not show their new console off at a major convention this year. What would be even more idiotic would be if MS released another console that is as sloppily designed and prone to failure as the fat 360s are. Gamers handled it for one generation, they will not deal with it for two in a row.

My one true nemesis!

If handled well, and the home console market survives, this could be the time where Valve steps up and knocks one of the current 3 major players out, letting it have an effective stranglehold on PC gaming with Steam, and at least have a slice of pie on the home console front with Steam Box. Of course it would have help from the company in question, Sony and Microsoft look the most vulnerable at the time of this article's writing. If there's one lesson to learn by looking at the entirety of the home gaming, arcade, and handheld market, it is to never bet against Nintendo. There has never once been a worldwide video game crash, for every one that has happened gamers quite quickly moved onto other ways to play, like handhelds, the arcade, or PC gaming.

Posted on Dec 17th 2012 at 05:43:16 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under BUY PEPSI, atari, nintendo, colecovision, pepsi, target, aretha franklin, ET

The 80's were a much simpler time for video gaming, especially the earlier you go. The same can be said for the advertisements for said video games and their consoles. Since we're getting so close the holiday that most exemplifies consumerism and capitalism, let's take a look at what some video game manufacturers and/or retailers aired during commercial breaks and give them a quick analysis.

These early commercials were just as cliched as other commercials at the time, and as simple as the games they were advertising, maybe a sign of American advertisers and their constant safe bet of mass market appeal.

Oh man, I'm so sorry. I fell asleep watching this because of BOREDOM.



We agreed to never speak of this incident again! No seriously I am contractually obligated to never mention ET for the Atari 2600 ever. Screw the contract, this is the most hellish, torturing commercial for any Atari fan that could possibly exist. They should have buried the commercials in the desert with the games! That said its still a boring as hell advert.


Come buy a Colecovision and a bunch of random games from Hills for your lovely Christmas. Also buy Atari and Intellivision games because we love to namedrop and we need to LIQUIDATE EVERYTHING FOR THE HOLIDAYS WHOOOO!

When Nintendo stormed onto the scene the Wild West days of the 70's and early 80's was over. There was a new sheriff in town and they weren't going to let anybody rustle their cattle.

Hi, I'm Target and I paid Aretha Franklin a lot of money to sing a little jingle and appear in this Nintendo commercial. SHOP HERE PLEASE! That said this is much better than the early 80's fare, Aretha Franklin and her amazing voice keeps my attention and really puts me in the Christmas spirit. I like this one a lot.

Oh man if I was a kid in the late 80's, instead of being an infant when this commercial came out, I would have made my parents buy so much Pepsi. In fact I should have a new endorsement contract coming out since I ended the other one.

Stay tuned later this week to see what happened when the 90's came into being.

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