Sonic Boom and Bust

I make it a point to write about stuff that either ruffles my personal feathers or the feathers of my peers or I write about stuff I personally find interesting, which should explain this blog’s mixture of posts about presidential debates, dead icons of the political world and the occasional blog post about Legend of Zelda or Red Dwarf. The last few posts have tilted the scales more in favour of serious subjects, such as violent protests and public image scandals with a post about a television show thrown in but I decided today is a day I feel like blogging about something of no real importance… unless you’re a SEGA fan. Sonic the Hedgehog, I’m coming for you buddy, this is your intervention.

So I’m assuming you’re a gamer if you’re reading this far in, you wouldn’t be here if the words Sega and Sonic turned you away after all and by that logic I’m sure you’ve heard of Sonic Boom right? In case you haven’t, it was a game that came out last year for Wii U and 3DS and it was atrocious, an unplayable mess of glitches meant to revitalise a dying franchise and introduce it to the next generation of gaming masses, thus the redesigned outfits. I’ll start by saying I have no problem with game franchises getting reboots, old fans have their games and these renewed looks and fresh starts allow each generation to select an era of a franchise to feel a connection to – my Sonic the Hedgehog bounced around the Death Egg in 2D, someone else will remember Sonic as a fast-talking free spirit that rescues princesses and turns into a werehog (misnomer but whatever). Anyway, Sonic Boom failed, all it achieved was the title of laughing stock and whilst it has launched a semi-successful animated series clearly meant to get kids to like the characters a little more, as games go this was the final nail in the coffin for that beloved blue rodent, his time has well and truly come.

I am not alone in this opinion but apparently SEGA didn’t get the memo that they haven’t just killed off Sonic’s potential now, they’ve cut it up into little chunks and disseminated it across an area as wide as Oklahoma. Sonic Boom, the biggest bust of the franchise since Sonic 06, the game that should not be mentioned, is getting a sequel. A delayed sequel, they pushed the release date back to 2016, thank goodness. Will this allow the game some proper polish? I’m not sure, they had 2015 planned as a release date after a game that had just come out in 2014? That’s uh, two years at best and this sequel for the 3DS isn’t anything groundbreakingly new, it looks like the salvaged remains of last time’s mistakes given a little more work, a viable strategy but reselling polished turds isn’t a sound marketing scheme. Polish all you want, delayed release dates do usually mean a better game comes out in the end, excluding a few (Fucking Duke Nukem, you total let down, you are a blog post in yourself!) but really, who is excited for this any more? Who is excited for any Sonic game? Well, here’s what I want to talk about really.

In my honest opinion, the last good Sonic game was Sonic Generations, before that Sonic Unleashed but only for the daytime sections just because you really did get a sense of speed. Sure, it does sort of play itself but your input essentially makes you the director of an action sequence that unfolds before your eyes in real time with it looking increasingly cinematic and impressive the quicker your reaction speeds, the game becomes much more fun when you try to imagine it as if you are shooting footage for a Sonic movie. Sonic, in his modern incarnation at least, goes through this boom and bust cycle. Essentially, it starts with “OOO NEW SONIC GAME! YAY! PERHAPS IT WILL BE GOOD!”, followed by “THIS GAME IS NOT CRAP! YAY! PERHAPS IT WILL STAND THE TEST OF TIME AND REVIVE THIS FRANCHISE” ending with “THIS GAME HAS LITTLE REPLAY VALUE AND I ACTUALLY CANNOT STAND THE STORY LINE, SONIC IS IN DECLINE AS A FRANCHISE!”. Caps rage aside, it’s the same old story, a constant rollercoaster with each new iteration of Sonic being hailed as a blessing before found out as lacking substance. Sonic is washed up, a celebrity you only hear from when they stumble out of rehab or get photographed shitting in a drinking fountain after a raging bender, he doesn’t land any major roles except in yearly crapfests and his only great role in recent memory was just a big ol’ dose of nostalgia with rose-tinted shades. So what should SEGA do now?

SEGA is not in a secure state, they almost had to sell out entirely and for a good while they have only existed as sofa crashers in Casa de Nintendo, paying rent in video games about sexy angel-slaying witches or hedgehogs that can travel through time to Camelot but they’re far from having a hit that gets the whole gaming community hooked and for every Bayonetta game we get, there’s a Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing to follow, a “Please, please buy something” bit of muck lobbed at us desperately with such uninspired DLC you half expect them to include Jerry, the guy who delivers sandwiches, as a payable add-on to the roster. SEGA cannot afford to fail again, they seriously can’t but with Sonic being a dead horse that has been flogged into puree, where can they look? Try fucking anywhere. Samba de Amigo Fitness Game! Golden Axe 3D! Alex Kidd: Return to the Enchanted Castle! Ecco the Dolph… no okay, maybe not, too far. Point is, SEGA is not short of franchises they can give some love, I’d be so glad to see Sword of Vermilion come back as a full scale hack and slash cross roleplaying game or Alex Kidd get the platform game spotlight for a while. Sonic is the company mascot, sure, but this insistence on reviving his brand means attaching his likeness to so many touch-and-go projects that you are putting your greatest name on sub-par products. You know what that makes Sonic? Johnny Depp in Lone Ranger – you reckon the famous face will print money but you ignore the fact you’re slapping a famous face on tinned dog muck instead of someone people want.

SEGA, you’ll never read this but it is just my opinion that you’ve hit a wall with Sonic, put him down, leave him alone for a few years until we forget the bitter taste of Sonic Boom and give old and new SEGA fans alike a reboot of something good like Altered Beast or Decap Attack (Seriously, Decap Attack 2, I’d pay good money, especially if the graphics were cleaner but kept that sorta goofy cheap Halloween vibe to them, imagine the possibilities!). You are an intelligent company, you have produced great games that were not Sonic games and you have characters galore you have barely scratched the potential of, many of them left untouched since the days of the Mega Drive. Bring them back – bigger, better and less desperate!

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Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Future

Man, my last post was heavy wasn’t it? Political agenda, rage against idiocy, a burning passion for an ideal democracy of all demographics – I’ll grant you it was probably a bit of a task for some of you to read and talking to some of my friends, they didn’t even bother the moment that dreaded p word came up. Kinda makes the article seem more relevant considering the content but there you go. Anyway, today’s article is gonna be a bit lighter and it’s mostly just my nerdy hypothesising going on here but I want to talk about Hyrule Warriors and why it is a stroke of genius for Nintendo to do such a thing, as well as a good move for Koei

Legend of Zelda probably doesn’t need much introduction as a series, it’s a legend, funnily enough, one of the all time greats – rescue the princess, throw bombs, cut grass, play ocarinas, shout “Hyah!” at everything – what do I need to tell you that you don’t know already? Since the first Zelda game came out in 1986, the series as a whole started to perfect a formula of dungeon crawling, treasure hunting and boss bashing that became iconic, it set these games out as the leaders of the genre and must-haves for their respective consoles. Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, Ocarina of Time, Link to the Past, each one struck awe in the fans and the formula steadily began to become a sort of mould to make the games by which has ups and downs. On the upside this is a profitable way of making games and requires a lot less hard work to design as you take that recipe and use it but on the downside, it can get samey. I’ll probably get murdered for this, I’m calling Legend of Zelda games samey but hear me out ok? I’m not saying the formula is a bad thing, I’ve played and enjoyed many Zelda games in my time but change is good in anything and I think Nintendo came to realise that with Hyrule Warriors. I think Link is being the front-runner for a lot of changes to come to Nintendo who are slowly realising that they can’t run a business on nostalgia and wishful thinking and perhaps they want to be the ones who dare to take that step of rethinking their characters and concepts to challenge gamers into trying new things. I’m talking proper re-imaginings here, not Ninja Theory Dante bullcrap. So what does Nintendo do? Two games – Hyrule Warriors and Link Between Worlds, the game-changers

A Link Between Worlds came out first of the two and it takes place in the same timeline as A Link to the Past, following on that aesthetic theming and sorta undoing some of the damage it did. Don’t get me wrong, a solid enjoyable game but a game about going to person A to get something for person B so that they give you something to give to person C so you can do a thing – essentially making a free-form adventure into a bus route with boss fights. Link Between Worlds offers a whole new way of travelling and seeing the world, changing how you interact with the environment so those walls and blocks become relevant, the scenery itself is now a character to you, it matters. I have yet to play this game but I looked into it and I want it – this is a game that defies the standard and messes with it, only a little bit but enough to soften the blow of Hyrule Warriors. Hyrule Warriors was a big change, a whole new experience as a dungeon exploration game suddenly became a hack and slash on epic battlefields ala Koei. Significant difference and a whole new genre, not like Mario Kart was to Super Mario Bros, which was “Stick Mario’s face on a game that’d be plain without it”, this was take two well-established brands, combine and create a whole new way to play. I want this game, as a Koei fanatic and a lover of the older Zelda games, this game is Christmas and Easter in one package. Imagine other franchises honestly being this bold and heck, some are trying what with Sonic Boom reinventing Sonic from scratch. I think this is a good move for Nintendo and from what I’ve seen and heard online, the fans agree

So why Koei? Why their engine? Well mutually beneficial I should suspect, Dynasty Warriors 8 relaunched Dynasty Warriors as a cool game to be seen playing instead of “Oh my god, you play that shit? All you do is mash buttons”. Firstly no but that’s a rant in itself but in the same way Nintendo perfect a formula, Koei perfected a game engine – weapon movesets, crowd rendering, individual animations – Koei has come a long way from a screen of twenty characters staring each other down and slapping each other with swords, now you can be a goddamn titan of destruction raking in thousands of kills. However, Koei uses the same story and retells it, admittedly better each time (Except 8 compared to 7, another story in itself) and what they needed was to use this engine more ambitiously rather than exclusively for games loosely based on history books. A fantasy genre adventure with well-established characters and lore? Jackpot. You take the beautiful world of Hyrule, the finely tuned mechanics of Dynasty Warriors, you get this holy grail of new age gaming. I really want Koei to do more things like this, personally I’d kill a man to see Soulcalibur Warriors become a thing, they already have a moveset for Sophitia from Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, make it happen Koei! I will also settle for some other bad-ass crossovers – Final Fantasy Warriors would rock the world to the core, I shit you not. No more turn-based nonsense, just straight up own those bitches Sephiroth-style (Oh yeah, Koei lets you be the villains, you’d be Sephiroth)

Yeah, this wasn’t so much a rant as a gush and a rave but I don’t always have to be negative y’know? I just really like Hyrule Warriors and want to play it myself so badly, makes me think a Wii U is now a worthy investment, especially with Bayonetta 2 being exclusive to it as well. Ugh, goddamn… modern gaming is often quite stale but Nintendo and Koei know how to reinvent the fucking wheel my friends, it’s happened

Nerdgasm dealt with, sophisticated and eloquent arguments about topical issues will resume as normal in future

This Isn’t A Game Guys! (And That’s The Problem)

Fifty posts! Hooray, have cake on me everyone! Only joking, all the cake is for me. Only joking again, there is no cake, the cake is a lie. Aha, got you with that old gem didn’t I? Yes, I did plan on hanging myself, how did you know? Erhem, terrible jokes aside, this is my fiftieth post, felt it was a better number to end the written works on than forty-nine. So what will it be about, you ask? Love? Politics? Religion? Hoho no, let’s end this chapter in the saga of rant on the same wavelength it started on – me getting all hoity toity about a small issue with comical effects.

My topic for discussion is the games industry and mainly, my distaste for it as of late. Are you old enough to remember the days when consoles competed for the market by making better games than each other? Sure, there were adverts that openly mocked Sonic or Mario as being stupid characters and so lame compared to other console mascots, but on the whole if a company wanted to win the race for children’s love at Christmas, it was by announcing a smorgasbord of interesting titles for the kiddies. Hey kids, forget the Dreamcast, get the PlayStation – we’ve got Rayman and Crash Bandicoot and racing games and so much more – and sure enough kids did just that. Truth be told, your parents only ever got you one console usually and thus you had to develop brand loyalty for fear of admitting you asked for the wrong gift at Christmas but my point stands, the consoles used to put a lot more effort into being worth the price tag than they do now.

Now you could say part of the problem is there’s no originality any more, that these big brands have had to duke it out for years on end and are just low on ideas so they make sequels to fan favourites and churn them out ad nauseum but I think there is a lot more to it than that, I think a big issue is game companies aren’t run by gamers, usually anyway. The CEOs of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo aren’t avid game fans or game designers but they get the final word in our gaming experiences and this is like hiring the blind guy to do your interior decorating on the basis of “Well, he has the paint and the brushes so we figured he’d be best suited to the job”. If you don’t believe me, have you noticed how most AAA games are sequels or reboots? The sales figures show they sell and so that’s what they go by, never venturing into unknown territory. I’m not saying these guys are idiots, I’m sure every one of us reckons they could improve on a bad game but not all of us actually know enough about game design to do that effectively and neither do these guys, that’s where the problem comes in. The executive level gets to decide important issues like game length, amount of DLC available, linear or non-linear storyline – they control the creative process and you know what they say about camels and horses (A camel is a horse designed by committee)

My second issue with modern gaming is the money pumped into the industry, a ridiculous amount that really isn’t needed at all. A study carried out four years ago showed games across platforms cost $28 million to make, that’s around £17 million, and that number has gone up and up each year. Console exclusives start at around £8 million. Why? Why do we need that kind of budget? Brilliant games exist that were made by four blokes in a basement! Sadly, perhaps that’s part of the problem but the budget is to cover the massive teams and years of development across the nation to bring out show-stoppers and games like Call of Duty and such are made so damn flashy and so frequently because it’s the industry saying “We need money! We need help! We’re victims of our own success!”. If the entire world switched off long running franchises like Halo or Call of Duty, corporations would crash and burn. A single failed game in this modern age can kill a company dead, possibly even a console. Nintendo is falling into the nether-realm of the digital world because it can’t hold up against it’s competitors, which brings me to my next issue, the narrow market.

Let’s review the choices of the modern gamer shall we? You have three big brands, one that’s limping on a crutch called Smash Brawl and failing, one that speaks of being “For the players!” but is really a gimmicky box of shite and one that lights up as it empties your wallet. Your other choices are a gaming PC to join the elitist super gamers or independant company consoles that are so beyond the mainstream you have to trawl through the internet to find out why you should buy one of them instead of a PS4. The big brands are atrocious money fiends that spend their time pissing each other off whilst flashing their fancy little tricks at you. Did you hear Microsoft will give you $100 store credit if you give them a PS3 so they can smash it up and dance on the remains? Sony’s response? “Save $100 by NOT doing what Microsoft told you, they’re all wankers anyway!”. Fucking grow up, your stupid rivalry creates stupid gamers. I hate talking to people about consoles, they’re so fucking loyal to the one they own that it’s obnoxious. Bitch, the only reason I’m a Playstation player is for Dynasty Warriors and JRPGs, I prefer Japanese games, they’re just more fun but they’re not available on XBOX because there are no avid-Microsoft fans in Japan really. Nintendo kept their head out of the bickering this time around but they’re struggling because by doing so, they’re not in the race and they’ve fallen off the radar despite pumping out all sorts of new games and consoles. Nintendo will bounce back, they always do – something about their characters makes the company immortal no matter how bad the struggle. The Gamecube lost to the PlayStation and XBOX, didn’t stop the Wii coming out. Game companies are becoming cruel and vindictive on the whole though and deliberately screwing their fans over to beat cash out of them. Take backwards compatibility on the PS4, it requires a fee for each game! Why not just keep my PS3? I’ve seen nothing on the PS4 that has convinced me “Oh, that’s a game that would have been impossible to make on the PS3, it is so new and intuitive!”. Again, another point – name me one new game that a smart game designer could not have made for the PS3/XBOX 360 that they did make for the new gen consoles. Nothing? I thought not.

I guess a big issue is by the time the new consoles do have genuinely exciting new releases that masterfully use the new software and hardware to create a unique experience, you’ll be holding onto your money for the PS5 or Xbox 3000 or Wii Z or whatever. The game industry shifts and changes too fast for the developers and it stresses them out which is a big problem, as I found out through a little read around. The burnout rate in game design careers is incredulous, as the designers reach the ‘settling down’ age they seek jobs with regular hours during daylight hours with good job security and a pleasant environment. Guess what? That’s not game design. Ergo, the technical sorts migrate into jobs to do with website maintenance and data handling and the designers move into advertising and graphics and so on. The people that can’t change careers however, are those with specialised skill sets, those that have devoted their lives to being the best damn 3D modelling artist ever – what else can you do? CGI film? Yeah, good luck getting that interview. The end result is a jarring mismatch of ability in the workplace, masterful artists and a high level of rank amateurs in the programming area with a handful of veterans watching them work. Chances are that glitch that made you walk through the floor or your head float away was an error made by a newbie that his boss was too damn tired to correct.

I guess I’m scared in a way, I grew up alongside the consoles and now I watch words flash up like “Microtransactions” and “Always online!” and it turns me away from the whole medium. Games are escapism in a way that films and books aren’t, it’s an interactive retreat from reality. You don’t watch a film and feel as if you’re Iron Man or Dumbledore, you just watch a selection of characters you like do stuff and smile and clap and eat popcorn. Games are different, you become the protagonist, especially in games like Fallout or Skyrim where the world revolves around you. In this world, you’re anything from a werewolf that can command the elements whilst riding into battle dressed in the robes of your great warrior grandfather to the survivor of an apocalyptic war looking to survive the chaos and carnage of the new world. Sadly however, the higher ups know how partial we are to this world and they follow us into it, picking our pockets and teasing us with more battles to win or princesses to save, and we give in and thus the childhood innocence of the land of heroes becomes a cash cow that insists it’s your noble steed into battle. It just isn’t guys, it just isn’t.

Perhaps the ultimate solution is to just stop, let it die and enjoy what we have and leave the industry to pick up the pieces and realise the truth of what it has become… Somehow, I don’t see that happening though

PS – For further reading, here is one of the many articles that inspired this post -http://www.cracked.com/article_20727_5-reasons-video-game-industry-about-to-crash.html

E-Gads!

To further promote your image of me as a horrid little troll who lives in the basement feeding off the dead remains of farm animals whilst flicking his snot around the room and calling everything noob, I am an avid gamer and have been ever since I was little. In all fairness, being a ‘gamer’ has become a cooler thing to be as the years have passed and the industry is booming. Could you imagine trying to be a hardcore gamer back in the days where your computer hooked up to your TV set? Fuck yeah, just beat my record at Pong bitches, haters gonna hate! I was born in the nineties so I can almost consider myself as having grown up alongside the video game industry and what started as a cute yet dorky little dysfunctional child/console soon grew up to be something bigger, smarter and with a lot more tricks up his sleeve/disc slot. However, as I reach the period of my life that is full of uncertainty, of opportunities to grasp a hold of and make something of or to fail, I feel that my dear old games consoles have stumbled across an identity crisis themselves. Oh what poor naive children are we, lost and afraid in a modern world.

Let’s start with the console that everybody loves to hate, the latest edition in the XBOX family, XBOX One. Apparently one now comes after three hundred and sixty but then who’s counting. Not Microsoft. Cheap joke but XBOX started out as the green-eyed envy of Bill Gates made into a ‘Kinda like Playstation but chunky and I own it’ deal and from there it went on to become Sony’s main rival. At first when XBOX stormed the scene it sported a wide range of games, mostly aimed towards boys with a fixation on proving how manly they are by rubbing their balls in each other’s faces, and aside from having technical difficulties that became feared as a techno-plague, XBOX and his son 360 took their place on the stand of big-fucking-deal console. I’m sure we are all familiar with the XBOX 360, the console with more shooters on the market than innovative ideas, a fan base mostly consisting of beer-swilling-racial-slur-slinging hoodwinks but with the occasional boffin chucked in on the side because they realised Fallout New Vegas works much better on 360 than on PS3 or they sided with XBOX at the start and won’t change sides from there. XBOX 360 looked like it was going to take itself seriously though, in the long run, and just as it started rolling out games that offered a challenge, it pandered to the family-fun gremlin and boom, Kinect. I have used the Kinect, a god awful piece of shite with a lense that throws a wobbly if you step just half an inch too far one way or the other, like a fascist who has discovered Feng Shui. As the build up to E3 made the new XBOX One out to be some sort of schizophrenic toaster that thinks it’s a cinema system with a social network latched on, Microsoft had a lot of shit to scrape off it’s shoes… It not only failed to this but it planted both feet in the shit and did a merry fucking jig. The XBOX One is essentially that computer from Space Odyssey but it orders pizzas, streams movies and apparently constantly observes your living room for signs of insubordination against the great beings! The camera is constantly on and the console demands you connect online at least once a day or your games will be rendered null and void until you have given a Microsoft executive a thoroughly good hand-job. You can’t trade or buy used games without going through a lengthy procedure and as ever, all the goodies that you actually want your XBOX to do will cost you a modest fee. Joy. I’ve never been a big fan of the XBOX but even XBOX fans have been telling me the new console is a blinking light show that raids your trousers for spare change whilst you’re drearily staring at some heavily armoured space marine with a gun bigger than his own leg.

Sony’s turn now and their entire campaign was mostly ‘Reasons why Microsoft should just quit now’. Sony promised something cheaper, something that is actually turned off when you press the power switch to do so, a more gamer-oriented experience and even did a video to explain how to share games using that age old method of handing the other person the disc. Yup, if Sony wasn’t trying to take a shit on Microsoft’s doorstep then someone please direct them to the bathroom because they left a steamer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWSIFh8ICaA&list=WL6F4BEE00F8B2ED96

Well the PlayStation has had a funny life all things considered, emerging from the darkness to suddenly dethrone Sega and Nintendo as the top dogs of the nineties with a faster and more sleak little number, the PS One (See, they even did the one thing first). Profits swelled and ho-hey, out comes a second PlayStation and this one is black and sexy and it plays DVDs and it has a whole host of games we all know and love. Sure, it now had a rival in Microsoft but it kept going, the ever-reliant oxen of the console world. I think an ox is an apt metaphor, the console won’t break down on you and you can always rely on it to be your humble servant but it’s a bit dopey and it’s potential can only be used to the truest extent provided you know anything about oxen in the first place. The PS3, when it first came out, sold itself on the premise ‘Wait around long enough and we’ll show you something really cool, honestly… keep waiting… keep waiting… seriously, it’ll blow your mind in a few years!’. Unfortunately, Sony spent a fuck ton of money and energy on swagger and forgot to back it up with some real substance so it had a shaky start next to the 360 but then it got into the swing of things and started doing backflips and juggling knives for all the boys and girls. Shooters? Yeah. Party games? Yeah. Hack and slash? Yeah. Games where you play as the animated remains of a wallet dressed in drag and save your patchwork buddies from an anti-social owl? Yeah why not? The PS4 is a step up from there… supposedly, though it couldn’t help getting itself a little touch-screen like his buddy Wii U and now the beloved Dualshock looks hideous, like that girl you used to think was a real stunner until she died her hair the colour of pixie shit and you’re left confused as to what was wrong with brown hair? I’m not sure what to expect of the PS4, they’ve pitched it around an old man’s face and the promise of yet another Final Fantasy game… and Kingdom Hearts apparently.

This leave us with the good old Wii U, the ugly child of the Wii who was the ugly child of Nintendo’s mind finally snapping into a bunch of random squiggles with Mario’s face on. In the usual tradition, Nintendo announced new consoles with old games made a little more shiny as if scared of having new ideas but this is nothing new, the SNES came with a remake of Super Mario Bros for the NES but with cuter graphics. I never understood the direction Nintendo sought to go in. Start from brick with box pad controls, make nicer brick with similar controls, make little box with ergonomically designed controllers, make brick with wand thing, make cute looking brick with Etch-A-Sketch. The Wii U uses two screens, a feature I’m pretty sure almost nobody asked to be incorporated into games. Gee, this HUD display in my shooter game is so conveniently placed right in front of me, I wish someone would get rid of it and put it on my iPad for me to stare at periodically so I can fail to remember whether it was ammo or health items I needed to restock.  You touch a few buttons on the little fella and then your TV makes a sound, the game continues, taking otherwise seamless and smooth game play and then chopping it into jagged chunks. The games roster will be the usual deal, find an old game, advertise it all over again with a heavy dose of nostalgia and then dig up a character from the nineties and remind people that this character is cool. Megaman is back people, he’s in the “New” Super Smash Bros. Game. Nintendo has bought the rights to a few good games though, including Bayonetta 2 unfortunately (I say this as it’s a Wii U exclusive and how that will work is a mystery to me). All in all, the Wii U will assume the position previously filled by the Wii – an ever-so-charming box of wonders suited to gamers of all ages that occasionally pisses out  sentimental memories of Sonic the Hedgehog all over the rug. D’awwwwww Nintendo, you little cutie!

I can’t help but feel an age of gaming has passed as consoles compete like bickering old ladies in a bingo parlour only to find that all three have shat themselves and there never was a bingo parlour, they’re sat in a pub in Hull. The games console isn’t a games console any more, that’s not what comes first. Your console is a cinema system, a fast-food order machine, an internet browser, a free international phone service, a social network provider, a photo album, your Netflix subscription and YouTube all rolled into one and it kinda feels a bit weird. Before gaming became a big deal and a big money-maker the rules were simple.
‘This console plays games that have this console’s names written on it. You buy games at a store, you put them in the console, you have fun, you get bored, you buy or trade for new games and repeat until you are bored of console. If you want to watch TV, watch TV on the TV, not on console. Console play game? Yeah?’
Ignoring how I suddenly devolved from fluent English to Engrish as the sarcasm actually cannibalised my brain cells for a moment, I hope I make a point. However, once anything makes a name for itself it becomes an udder you milk for money until the cow explodes. The consoles cost the same as a decent used car nowadays so maybe for that kinda money we should expect this little flashing box of giggles to offer us pizza now and then, or replace the DVD player. Easy fix there though would be just build something that is a generic disc-recipient that plays back what is on the disc and that’s it, cut the price down a bit!

Not how it works is it? Well I thought I’d let you all know console wise, I side with PS3. Not PS4, because unlike most people I don’t just have the money to get a new console on a whim and if I did, I’d spend it on something more useful. The PS3 is fine, it works, it is a good console with more than enough games and I have a PS2 for the PS2 games, the PS3 plays PS1 games for whatever reason so yeah. I’ve never owned an XBOX though I have lived in a household that owned a 360 for a few months and found it to be an up and down experience. My friends were all XBOX or Wii fans back in the day so I’ve spent a minimum of about twenty-four hours on each of the major consoles of this generation. I like my PS3 best, not out of that stupid ‘My parents got me the PlayStation, please can it be the best console so I don’t regret asking for it instead of the XBOX?’ logic that many gamers go by but mostly because a number of Dynasty Warriors games are PlayStation exclusive and considering how it defined my childhood, I stick by PlayStation. Cue hate from gamers calling the series a dull button mashing splorge fest in a historic setting, so sue me for enjoying something. If you are ten years old and you witness a guy in red and gold armour swing a halberd around and effortlessly destroy an entire army, that quickly sells to you.

I hope that come what may, we will never lose sight of the joy of slapping the old disc in a console and sitting down with a remote ready to immerse ourselves in a zombie apocalypse, a ninja showdown or the adventures of a stuffed animal in the land of milk and honey. Once that’s gone, I’ll just say fuck it to the lot of it and live out the rest of my gaming days on outdated consoles quite happily.