Previous Blog Archive - Gaming [General]

[15/6/12] Xbox 360 - First Impressions
Wednesday. That was the day I finally got my hands on an XBOX 360. As Darth Vader would say, the circle is now complete. Well, more like a pentagon, as I now have all five generation 5 consoles. DS, then Wii, then PSP, then PS3, and now XBOX 360. And so, the version I bought. The 4GB Kinect Celebration Pack. Two games, Kinect Sports and Kinect Adventures, came with it. And so, here I go.

Setting up the console was easy enough, with it saying what you need to do at each section. Even connecting and setting up the Kinect was easy to do. The updates were installed quickly and the whole console and my account was set up in no time at all. The interface of the console I found interesting. Exploring for a bit, I found everything was where it could be easily accessed. A press of the Home button brings up a sub-menu. This I found cool as well, since the PS3 only opens the XMB and the Wii just has four buttons on its sub-menu.

Moving onto the two games for Kinect, I was impressed with the accuracy of the Kinect. Sports is enjoyable, and allows for player v CPU or player v player. This I also found rather cool as it allows multiple sign-ins, with each player able to get their own achievements. The five sports on offer in the game were good fun, and offered a good workout. The same with Adventures. The games on offer with Adventures were interesting and keep with the 'get a better score' game ethic to keep you coming back. And just with Sports, it gives a good workout.

The playtime over, it came to exploring the Marketplace and downloading something. A demo of Kinect Star Wars. The Marketplace is set out well with searching for something being easy. The download of the game demo was automatically put to background download, so I could get on with other stuff knowing that the download was still progressing. This is harder to consider with the Wii, where there's no such thing as background download, or the PS3 where it requires you to manually select download in background and even then will sometimes buffer. When the download was finished it alerted me with a notification which stated exactly what had been done in the bottom center. This is more handy than something in the top right corner of the screen.

Enough comparing though. As the day after it was time to see how the controller handled with Forza Motorsport 4. The game is great, with a lot of modes, races and cars. I especially like Car Bowling. The controller I felt handled the game perfectly, and the game ran smooth, and was better than I expected it would be when I had a play of the Switzerland tracks at Toys R Us. And the controller is easy to hold also makes playing the game better.

The bad things are few and far between, but one thing I will mention is the fact that the Kinect doesn't always seem to work. While playing Kinect Sports with my sister it kept telling me to move right, even though if I moved any more right I would be right behind my sister and it wouldn't have seen me at all. Another thing is, well, its the Kinect again and how the voice recognision doesn't always seem to work.

Other good things is the automatic updates for the achievements and the easy intergration between console and I added my sister as a friend from and she added me straight back from the console. And with the news of integration with other Microsoft devices from E3, it's sure to better.

So, that concludes my XBOX 360 First Impressions blog. More better than the PS3 in some areas and a lot better than the Wii in others with good features and functionality.

[23/7/12] Mario Kart: The Test of Time
So, we all like Mario Kart in some way or form. I mean, who doesn't? But after the main introduction of Classic levels [or Retro], starting with the DS version, I feel hasn't been very productive. Don't get me wrong, blasting around tracks from the past with that new gloss that comes with more graphical power is always welcome. This argument doesn't follow the graphical capabilities of the console though. Rather, it follows the physics and game mechanics added to each new rendition of Mario Kart.

Let me explain. Double Dash was a marvelous addition to the series, and is basically the odd one out of all the Mario Kart's. But some tracks, when racing around on a newer Mario Kart, just doesn't feel right. Take DK Mountain, remastered on Mario Kart Wii. With the Gamecube version, as soon as we were out of that cannon, it then became a test to see who could stay on the ground the most to stay at top speed. With the Wii version, all that went, as we had tricks to always boost ourselves over the lumps and the ramps where the sudden drops of Double Dash were placed meant that the sudden withdrawal of speed when in the air became a trick fest as we tried to find the best way to get over them. Some of the challenge was lost with that track being remastered, as with another. Daisy Cruiser, also for Double Dash, remastered on Mario Kart 7, loses all of its challenge in terms of the track. The introduction of driving through water now means that one of the most testing parts of the track has been reduced to a gentle float down to the pipe. It is, of course, the hole in the ground part. And the obstacles placed to make it challenging don't really do much at all. And then of course, the part before that, the moving tables. Where in Double Dash there were loads, it has now been reduced to four moving from one point to the other on the main path.
But it's not all Double Dash tracks I feel have been ruined. DS' Luigi's Mansion track, for example. Nothing except a graphical update here, unless you count the useless glide points. And also, though some might disagree, Coconut Mall from Wii. The cars on the Wii version went from one side to the other, covering the speed boosts. With the 3DS version, they move to the middle in a pattern that makes no difference. And the glide points are also useless, where before you'd just fall down after performing a trick to drift around the corner to tackle the cars head on. Now, with the gliding section added, we can use our Golden Mushroom or Triple Mushrooms and skip the car section completely.

But this isn't me moaning and griping. It's constructive. As while some are ruined slightly or massively by the new mechanics and physics, other are improved by them. For example, Luigi's Raceway for the N64 version. We now have those added parts around the 180 degree turns to avoid items and also blast around as close to the edge as we can while not falling off. All of the Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart: Super Circuit tracks are greatly improved with the added extras, and other Mario Kart 64 and Double Dash tracks are improved as well. DK's Jungle Parkway, for example is a lot better with the wider track layout given to us by the Wii version's mechanics. The drifting also makes the track a lot better. Yoshi Falls on the DS benefits the wider track, and the trick section added also gives a bit of challenge if not properly aligned for it.
And many other tracks hardly benefit at all from the new features, but have them anyway where available, even if not fully accessible. Peach Gardens featured ramps on the grass, near the end, that could only be accessed by a Mushroom or Star and allowed for a trick to boost.

Now the point of this. Allowing remasters of older tracks is a good thing, as long as it benefits the track in question. DK Mountain, for example, would have been a better choice than Daisy Cruiser for Mario Kart 7, simply because the physics of the 3DS version are more like the GCN version.

[31/7/12] The Mario Kart 7 Challenge
And so, 27 days later and also on the deadline I set, the save data of my Mario Kart 7 cart reads 20,000 coins. Roughly 13 hours put into it, and god knows how many grand prix cups, the challenge was to reach 20,000 coins by the end of this month thus completing [in a collectible way] the game.
Starting on the 5th of July with 14,205 coins, I input the amount of total coins into an Excel document at the end of each day to track the amount of coins earned on that day, and when seven days came, in the week. In the first week of the challenge, I had only earned 916 coins with most days' totals coming in at roughly 150 with the highest at 401 and the lowest total at 74. Sounds good, but I had missed two days of coin collecting.
So it was either pick up more coins in a day, or play for all seven days of the week. And the first is what I did, but I missed three days of play during the second week. However, the total for the second week was 1400, with most totals in the upper half of 350, and only one total lower than 300. With two weeks left, I knew I had to pick up the pace. A lot.
And so that's how the third weeks' total managed to reach 2082. On one of the days, I had earned a massive 645 just in that day, with the second highest being 442 and the third 432. The other two totals were in the upper half of the 200's. Yes, I had missed two days of play, but with a week total that big, it didn't matter.
And so the last week, I could sort of relax. But with only five days given to me until the 1st of August, I needed high totals. And that's what I got. 1411 for the week, with the highest being 457 and the lowest 260.
Doing this was hard, since I had to average the amount coins I wanted for the day by saying how many GP's I wanted to do [basic translation - how many 40 x GP's in terms of actually getting the coins]. And then of course, there was the CPU themselves. Sometimes they just left me well alone. Other times they wouldn't even give me a chance. But by any means, no way have I become a champion on Mario Kart 7, but I know the tracks very well now.
Some time soon, I may consider another challenge like this, but for now, I'm taking a sort of break from it, meaning I won't be playing as often as I have during this challenge. 

[6/12/12] The Star Wars Battlefront Debate
So, lifelong Star Wars fan. Battlefront is my favourite series. Everyone's heard it from loads of different Star Wars fans, and even a couple that aren't [just the Battlefront part]. Point is, if you want to make a Star Wars game, give the player control.
Take The Force Unleashed series for example. You play as one person who's a Jedi, going through preset levels with a few puzzles, bosses and powerful foes here and there. Nothing truly groundbreaking, but you have control of a range of Force moves and two lightsabers. You have the fun the first few times, the challenge is good. You complete it, get bored easily from that point on. Why? Hardly any replayability unless you are a completionist. Again, take the game on all sixth generation consoles [GCN era]. Star Wars Clone Wars focuses on battles during The Clone Wars. We play as a range of characters in a range of levels doing a range of things. It has a great multiplayer mode that entertains, but going back to the main story once you complete it still gives you the challenge you had before, but again is lacking something.
That something is full control. 2004 came along and the first Star Wars Battlefront game comes out. A range of factions, a range of classes including a special for each one, a range of vehicles, a range of locations. You can choose anything to do within the games limits. Take the fight on foot or blow up a stack of droids in a tank. Be a hero in the team, be a villian and shoot your own team mates, it effected the outcome of the battle. Yes there was a story mode, but it still gave the sense of control by still allowing us to do all we can to wipe the enemy out. And the gameplay wasn't focused on the story mode. Battlefront doesn't need a story mode to be a good game, but we get one anyway. Why is simple to understand.
What comes next however is how the Battlefront series gets remembered and followed. Battlefront 2 is released a year later, giving us more classes, vehicles, locations, and new modes which equals more factions. We also get space battles. It is then we look upon the story mode. Still giving us the freedom to do what we want, it added missions to the story levels, and while we have to complete these missions, we also have to do them quickly to keep our reinforcements up. However, there were some technical glitches within the game, and we could also play as Jedi in the free play mode, including a new mode exclusively for the heroes and villains. This then, is how the Battlefront series goes.
What is sure to be the next Battlefront game should have come out in a year or two, but due to difficulties was stopped and handed to Rebellion, who developed a version of Battlefront only for the PSP in 2007. This version introduced the character creation, which enabled us to use three bodies, three heads, a range of colours and insignias to use. It also gave us custom weapon loadouts, and also gave us spawning as a leader on the spot. Then came the faults. The controls weren't the best, and had advantages and disadvantages depending on which of the two loadouts you used. Then there was the gameplay of using a lightsaber, which was awful. And so was using a jetpack. You could sprint faster sideways than you could forwards, and sometimes even normal running forward was slow. Then came the missions, which felt more locked than ever by utilising the custom loadouts to great effect. Or so it started out as. Everyone has their prefered loadout, and because there was a limit, which each weapon and item added a certain amount to, this prefered loadout was often ruined when the mission objective called for something specific.
Two years later came Elite Squadron, which fixed a lot of issues with the other PSP version game, but also brought more along. This one came with three custom loadouts and six presets, again with character customisation. However, instantly a problem. Almost everything is locked. Following the achievement system from Renegade Squadron, Elite Squadron had nearly all customisation features available as unlockables either with these achievements or from completing missions in the story mode, which again is more locked than freedom. And another problem. It's not just completing the story mode, it's also completing it with all three difficulty modes. And also, while we might have land to space battles, it did mean we get only two vehicles, while Renegade had five. The two were the fighter and shuttle. And while we got some special space battles in Renegade with capturable middle bases, in Elite it was just the plain basic two cruisers. Even the importance of destroying the critical systems on the cruisers took second place compared to ridding the shield and blowing the reactor up.
So, with Battlefront 3 making headlines, what should it be like when it finally comes out [if it does]? Should it follow the first one with the freedom of everything including the story mode, or should it take the restrictions of the latest versions? Should it use the customisation options of the later versions, or bring the return of classes? Bringing customisation to the series removed some of the best characters in the game.
Hopefully, when a new studio gets this game, they can decide what makes Battlefront good. But this comes back to the first point. To make a good Star Wars game, you must give a lot of control to the player. 

[8/1/13]  Pokémon X and Y Announcements
Well I have to say, I was predicting a Pokémon Yellow remake in the style of Dragon Quest Monsters, but this will do me just fine. And suit me well it will.

Today, in the Nintendo Direct, which was worldwide, Satoru Iwata announced the revelation. Generation 6. I have been looking through different forums, and the general masses are in awe. Some still find something to complain about however, although most people usually do anyway. I can find nothing to complain about.
The starting factor is, obviously, the starter Pokémon announced. There is nothing wrong with them except the rather peculiar names. Froakie - the water frog, Fennekin - the fire dog/cat crossover, and Chespin - what looks like a racoon/otter combination, and is the grass type. The German names compared to these sound much better, those being Froxy, Fynx, and Igamaro respectively.  And besides, people hated on Snivy last generation before they saw what it evolved into.

Now, the real analysis. 3D environments. Proper environments in battles. Psuedo-3D battle arenas. All these things have been asked by fans for ages. While it looks like we still only have four directions to move in, the areas we move in look so much better. While I also have a gripe about the movement itself, there is still time for improvement. And - Rollerskates. It seems that this time around, the bike, a Key Item and almost always used transport since the first Generation, seems to have been replaced with rollerskates. This is no bad thing, as they both allow us to move quickly through areas.
The battles have gone beyond that of Generation 5 with even more movement and animations. This is what I have been imagining. I even had plans to make a fake Generation 6 battle sequence before Black/White 2 were released in that style. While this short amount of footage for the battles has us in awe, and comedy [if smashing a Magikarp in the face counts as such], it makes you think whether they really did look to Genius Sonority's Gamecube games for inspiration in the battle system. But if this is what is available now, think what is going to be done with the next Generation, or even the second games of this Generation.
That's all I can think of now, apart from the fact that the legendaries are looking awesome as per usual.
Now all we have to do is wait until as late as E3 [or early, if they want to be like that] for the next major announcements of these games, which, most likely, will be the story plot, enemy teams, and other major changes including Wi-Fi. 

[9/2/13] The Future of Star Wars Battlefront 3
I realise I might go on about the Star Wars Battlefront games way more than I should, but why can't I? It's the only shooter game I am most interested in, as goes for the 28,000+ people that like the page Who Else Wants Star Wars Battlefront III [Now The Star Wars Hub]. The question on that page is what makes me return to my blog and post this.

"So what would you rather want? The 2008/9 Pre-Alpha version of Star Wars Battlefront III finished and released or for Star Wars Battlefront III to be rebooted from scratch for the Nex Generation era?"

As everyone knows, Star Wars Battlefront III was meant to come out ages ago. It then got caught up in setbacks and financial difficulties as the management of LucasArts changed. Free Radical were counting on this game to get them out of the difficulties they were in, and the new management of LucasArts kept rearranging deadline dates and demanding results, to the end that Free Radical eventually called for administration at the losses they had with Battlefront III. The obvious successor was Pandemic Studios, who had produced the first two Battlefront games to critical acclaim. Rebellion Developments were also shortlisted, having produced Renegade Squadron, a spin-off to the main series exclusive to PSP, and released it the year before. Several sources report that Pandemic had lost the rights of development after closing its studio in November 17, 2009. Whether this was true is unknown, as Rebellion Developments had yet again released a Star Wars Battlefront on PSP, this one being Elite Squadron, on 3 [US] / 6 [EU] November. Featuring the same sort of technology that was shown in the leaked Star Wars Battlefront III footage, albeit with a small cutscene during loading the transition to each area, it became a hit on PSP, but still we had rumours flying everywhere of Battlefront III.

Away from the history and onto the question, Star Wars games we know are in production or soon to be released are as follows:-
LEGO Star Wars IV

We can count the Pinball game out as having any relevance to Star Wars Battlefront, as it doesn't even have shooting elements to it. 1313 is the Uncharted of Star Wars. However, lurking underneath there somewhere might be references to the Battlefront series, or even a secret hint of a release. LEGO Star Wars IV is a questionable one. The third one did feature a 'Battlefront' mode, but this was more strategy than Battlefront, but it still showed it could be possible. Since that third game, we've had many advancements to the LEGO engine. It could be possible for Traveller's Tales to put in an even closer realisation of Battlefront in the fourth game. But at its fore, it would still be a LEGO game, and we'd all much rather the real deal of Battlefront III.

So, this finally brings it back to the question. Pre-Alpha finished and released or a reboot featuring the new trilogy?
If it was the reboot on the new trilogy, we would have to be waiting a way long time. And it seems as though LucasArts feel we don't even care for a new Battlefront. So how best to test this then, by finishing the work Free Radical started, and releasing it on digital formats? It wouldn't warrant a full disk release, as it wouldn't be near finished, but bug testing and getting it onto those digital stores for a fair price will show that the community wants a new Star Wars Battlefront game. That gives a years worth of sales from the game, as it will be popular, as well as the extra years it also sells for. That then raises enough money to start on the latest Battlefront, and even if it's not for another five years or so, at least we will be able to play what Free Radical first set out to do. 

[4/3/13] Time Attacker 'Glitched' Trophy - Sonic Generations
So today, I finally earned the Platinum Trophy of Sonic Generations. From the reading I had done, it seemed I wouldn't be able to do it, due to the 'glitched' trophy.
This, however, is nonsense. The trophy is not glitched at all. Instead, it is the servers of the Sonic Generations leaderboards playing up.
SEGA announced that this was a glitched trophy, and the only way to get it was to remove all of your friends from your account. But why would you do that? Especially when going through the hassle of re-adding them again, especially if you have a lot of friends. But no. The answer is simple.
Today, when I got on Sonic Generations, I went straight to the Online Mode, and one of the things I noticed was that some of the levels I had previously played now had times for them. This got me thinking of what could possibly make the uploads faster.
So, looking at what didn't have a time for it, I set out to set a time. Planet Wisp Act 2 was played three times before I decided that turning the game off might help. Turning it off, and loading the game again, I got straight back to Online Mode and a time hadn't been posted for Planet Wisp Act 2. I persevered and played the level again. It was then that a time was posted. It wasn't the fastest time I had set, but it was a time nonetheless.
I then set about doing this for the rest of the levels. Amazingly, it worked for all of them. This is when I came to the conclusion that the trophy isn't glitched, but the servers are slow unless you force them to react.
The only other trophy I had left to do was 'Can't Touch This', another fairly hard one unless you are quite good at dodging. Redoing the last boss, the Time Eater, you need to dodge all of its attacks while beating it up. It is hard to see if you get attacked by the Time Eater or hit a piece of debris sometimes, which is why I was completely surprised when the trophy came up. I had thought I had been hit by the Time Eater, but just wanted to complete the level to restock on lives.
Now I'm no trophy hunter, and have had the game since launch, but when you get so close to the Platinum trophy [I saw I was on at least 85% of completion] you just have to at least try.
And even though I have completed the trophy list of Sonic Generations, in no way am I trading it in. The game is too good to be selling, despite its niggles. And even though I have completed it, I will still be playing it. 

[12/3/13] What I'm Waiting For - Volume One
So, I realise I might use the Gaming section of my blog quite a lot. And it's true. There are more posts in this section alone than all the others, and that's because gaming is a central part of my life.
So, one of the things I thought of doing was this. What I'm Waiting For will be a series of blogs on two series, and why I'm waiting for the next in them. For this first one, I've chose two series which, fundamentally, have been going through quite a change.

First, we have Sonic the Hedgehog. This series has been going through a change recently. From the Adventure games, the console games sort of went down hill. We had Sonic 06 [sort of an Adventure game, since it features six selectable character stories] which was the most glitched game in Sonic history [however, I am soon hoping to put this to the test]. Then we had Unleashed, which in Japan held the title of World Adventure, despite only having Sonic as a playable character, had him traveling to different countries. The Sonic sections were highly praised, but the Werehog sections were greatly criticised. But though this came Sonic Colours, the game which broke Sonic from the 'Dark Times' as some moderately dub them games. Sonic was all that a 3D Sonic game should be, despite having some flaws, mainly with controls. The series people have dubbed the 'Storybook series' don't count. For one, all I'll say is on-rails and leave it at that. After Colours was Generations, bringing back Classic Sonic and older levels from across key games in the entire Sonic series.
Through all of that though, the handheld games never faltered. The Rush games on DS and the Rivals games on PSP are some of the better Sonic games out there. Perhaps this is why there have now been download only games. Sonic 4, bringing the classic gameplay back, has had moderate success, and the iOS games Jump and Dash have also gained a massive following, but since Generations, there has been no retail Sonic game. A recent rumour / report brought forward some interesting facts about what might be the next retail Sonic game. Many thought a true return to the Adventure series. After all, ten characters with different play functions and twenty cross-character levels might have that affect. Cross-character levels is what Adventure 1 did, after all. But the three acts per level doesn't seem to fit into the Adventure series. There have been no acts in the two Adventure games. Which then led me to another cross-character levels-in-acts game. The Rivals series.
While this is in 2D, with the success of its 2D games, would SEGA risk it by transferring 2D based games to 3D? This essentially gives us a cross-over between Rivals and Adventure. Certain facts of that rumour could have been wrong though, or we could end up with an entirely new game from the rumour.
Whatever comes out of it, I am a real Sonic fan and follower, and have quite a few games in the entire series. Having recently fully completed Generations and running through the Rivals series, I cannot wait for a new game in the series.

Then we come to Star Wars, and even murkier shadow. Force Unleashed 2 comes along, and somehow, it just doesn't feel as good as the first. Rumours of Battlefront 3 are circulating everywhere, and the entire studio of LucasArts has been kept quiet, with the only thing coming out Kinect Star Wars. Then, out of the blue, Star Wars 1313. It looks exactly like what we've been waiting for from a Star Wars game [if you can get around the complete lack of a Battlefront 3].
Rumours though, are all that the Star Wars tale becomes. A report comes through that one game had been cancelled and one had been put on hold around 2011. Force Unleashed 3 has been expected, due to the cliffhanger at the end of the second. Since there is a two year gap between the release of the first and second, people expected it in 2012. No luck. Other reports include hiring staff for a first person shooter, and of course, the leak of the Battlefront 3 footage. The latest report is that Star Wars First Assault was the FPS game that staff were being hired for, and was a predecessor to Battlefront 3. If this game sold, we would get Battlefront 3. The previous report spelt doom for 1313 though. It said cancelled / put on hold.
However, there is a glimmer of hope. The entire of Lucas Film, and with it LucasArts, have been in disarray following the Disney takeover. However, Lucas Film Animation, through Dave Filoni, have stated their new plans and commitments. If the animation and film department have been sorted out, this can now mean good news for the gaming section as well. We might very well get First Assault ahead of 1313, and a new Battlefront 3 might already be in waiting via a new game engine. And then there was the LucasArts logo on the list of developers at the PS4 reveal.
As for the statement and the hidden question underneath that of why I'm waiting, whatever comes from LucasArts now has got to be good. Devs have been working away, unsure if their projects will see the light of day, and with the company finishing its new state shift, these projects are sure to be officially revealed soon.
Or so we hope. 

[12/4/13] Sonic and the Need For Online
Admit it. Playing Sonic the Hedgehog games competitively against others is fun. Both Adventure games, Heroes, and the 3DS version of Generations all feature local multiplayer, and in the case of the 3DS, online play.
I have been avid to booting up Adventure 2 and Heroes when mates are round, and all enjoy it. But modern Sonic games seem to have just become single player affairs.

Now then. Look at this picture. 

Imagine how cool it would be, playing with multiple characters on a multiplayer mode. Now this exact scene might not be able to be played - after all, City Escape of Adventure 2 cut the last part of it's level just after running down the building for the ease of access. After all, multiple GUN trucks on that last part wouldn't be advised. Just like multiple choppers jumping at the scene in that picture wouldn't be advised. But why couldn't that part be bypassed? After all, a new level file needs to be placed if even the slightest change to a level is made, meaning both co-exist peacefully and depending on the number of players one file is swapped for the other.
And there are multiple routes to take, and even if not, they can be made for a possible second player. Take Green Forest and its vines. Because only one person can use the single vine, springs were placed to allow the second player to pass without waiting. For Green Hill on Generations then, the underpass could have been bypassed for multiplayer sake. I wouldn't know exactly, but surely the part above the waterfall would have made an excellent choice. As for later levels, Chemical Plant is fully playable, Sky Sanctuary cut just before the falling path. Speed Highway needs no editing, just like Seaside Hill. City Escape, again cut just before the GUN truck part. Crisis City would be a bit more difficult for the player behind, but can be rectified with jumps instead of the usual placement. Rooftop Run is fully playable except for the last part with the blimp and lasers. Planet Wisp can be cut before the dropping walls at the end, or better yet, don't make them fall.
As for other games, Unleashed as far as I can tell would have been good for multiplayer. Colours I think had some form of multiplayer, as did Black Knight. Sonic 06 would have been terrible for online, even though that was the last game to feature other playable characters in the main story [Black Knight had other characters playable, but were optional].
The appeal for multiplayer is there, but due to the lack of other playable characters [which to be fair isn't an excuse] SEGA deem it not necessary. Now you might have noticed I was only talking about the modern levels. And that's because handheld Sonic games have always been supported with multiplayer. Which to be fair, doesn't offer the competitiveness of a 3D Sonic multiplayer.
I seriously hope that the new Sonic game features multiplayer and goes even further with online multiplayer [not counting leaderboards, like with the HD remake of Adventure 2 - online could have further increased the reason to buy], but even if the new one doesn't, it will still be an essential purchase. Multiplayer will make it more desirable, though.

SEGA usually announces Sonic the Hedgehog games in April/May to be released at the end of the year. When official news is heard, my opinions will be uploaded straight away. 

[5/10/13] Sonic Lost World - Street Date Broken
Spoilers. Spoilers. Oh so great.
Spanish or not, it's too late.
Videos pasted.
Game surprises wasted.
Avoid Youtube at all cost,
Otherwise the wait is lost.

Just a little poem there, to show how displeased I am at this news.
You heard me. Sonic Lost World has had its street date broken. Spanish retailers [or at least one] have broken the official release date for Sonic Lost World, and spoilers have already been posted onto Youtube.
It appears that a number of retailers have been doing this for certain games, preferably those with the least spoilers, as the same thing happened with GTAV not so long ago. Why they do it is completely beyond me, as that just creates situations like this where spoilers are revealed before the game is even released. And this isn't even a three day early thing.
The release of Lost World isn't even for another two weeks in Europe. It's the week after the Pokemon X and Y worldwide release, and even that street date has been broken.
Yes, people do like to get games early, but at least that's usually a day before release and not a week or two. This actually seems to be a trend now, and I'm sure retailers do it on purpose. Especially for the big games. It doesn't matter what retailer, and doesn't matter which country, as long as the game is released before street date in one country, those spoilers are bound to be on Youtube before the day is out. It's not enough any more just to glorify in getting a game before others any more, that person has to spoil it for the whole world.
I've watched one video, and that's as much as I'll probably be doing, as apart from the one cutscene, it hasn't spoiled anything for me, and was probably stuff that could have been guessed anyway.
So, word of warning for those who want to be spoiler free, avoid at all cost video sharing websites, especially Youtube, and any forums relating to Sonic or those that have the name of Sonic in their thread title. Spoiler tags are there to be used, but it's always possible that someone will forget.

In other news of gaming, the release of F1 2013 was yesterday, and reviewers seem to be pleased with it. I'll certainly look forward to playing it when I get it, and another thing I'll be looking forward to getting is Pokemon Y. CVG actually called it a revolution of Pokemon, and anyone can clearly see the changes in this game compared to the others.
Again, apart from the reviews [and official trailers], I haven't spoilt myself any more [except keeping an eye on the new Pokemon].
Releasing soon is a new Legend of Zelda for 3DS, but the Gamecube revival title of Wind Waker HD on WiiU has just released. Those that have kept up with this game know the changes made, such as the Hero mode and the swap from Tingle Tuner to Tingle Bottle, which integrates with the Miiverse.
Many a new game are releasing this month, so keep an eye out for the gaming news on the likes of CVG or Neoseeker, and I'll post more of the games I'm following soon. 

[19/12/13] Mario Kart 8 - My Predictions
So, after the Nintendo Direct of Wednesday, more footage of Mario Kart 8 was shown. As well as numerous new courses, more returning characters were shown. No new characters or Retro courses were shown, but this does make one think. With nine new courses already shown off in the two trailers, as well as two returning 3DS courses, the tracks in this game are looking great. We know of the anti-grav feature, allowing traversal on walls and ceilings, as well as the return of gliders, underwater driving and bikes. This can either go two ways. Customisation will return with more options. Coins do return, but their purpose hasn't been clarified.
Some things still remain a mystery, and I'm going to have a crack at giving my predictions and why I think they will happen.

First off, it was shown in the Direct trailer that all four Baby characters will be returning. I think this will be to balance the roster again. Upon the split of classes into five, the balance was upset. In Mario Kart Wii, each class had the same amount of drivers. In MK7, there was only two Medium characters, with either side of Medium having
seven. Repairing this balance of the roster, if these five classes are staying, is vital to create a fair chance for all drivers. And if these five classes are here to stay, there won't be an odd number of characters in the roster with 25, so I'm guessing they'll boost the number of characters to 30. That then presents the problem of who to include. The number of characters in the Mario Kart series is 32, which means new characters will need to be added. The question is - who? If we go off MKWii and MK7's combined rosters, we get something a bit like this.

Feather - Toad / Koopa Troopa / Toadette / Diddy Kong / Paratroopa / Dry Bones
Light - Baby Mario / Baby Luigi / Baby Peach / Baby Daisy / Bowser Jr
Medium - Mario / Luigi / Peach / Daisy / Yoshi / Birdo
Heavy - Bowser / Wario / Waluigi / King Boo
Cruiser - Donkey Kong / Rosalina / Petey Piranha

In total, six new characters need to be added. Of course, I have added a few racers to make the entire crew of Double Dash present in the roster. Now, what will most likely happen is clones of characters will be added
. That means one of the Heavy positions will be filled by Dry Bowser, and two of the cruiser positions will be filled by Funky Kong and Metal Mario. That leaves three new characters left. But again, clones of characters are more than likely to be used. And just like with MKWii and Rosalina advertising Galaxy, this game will probably do the same. And the game it will most likely do that for is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Dixie Kong is my guess for who will be added, to easily fill that last space in the Light class. That leaves two left. These two I'm guessing in the wild about, but after references to Galaxy, it's sequel needs some love too, so Lubba is my guess to fill the last Heavy space. And while many might not like it, after introducing a Power-up Mario in MK7, I reckon they're here to stay. But it's the Year of Luigi is it not? And so I predict that Luigi will be getting his own Power-up form. And continuing taking assets from Galaxy 2, Rock Luigi is my guess at that final character for the Cruiser status. Or, perhaps, those last two could be swapped around. As much as we don't won't character clones, I'm guessing that is what will happen. Either that, or an enemy from Super Mario 3D World will replace Rock Luigi.

Now then. Tracks. We've got the three new ones from E3 - Mario Circuit, Boo Mansion and Marioco [editor note - wow, those names were the best I came up with?] - and now five more have been revealed in the latest Direct trailer. Sunshine Airport, shown first, features an airport with planes to dodge. The next, Cake Fountain Mountain, is the one with the sweets in it. Thwomp Ruins was briefly shown on the E3 trailer, but we got to see it in more detail here. It features typical indoor ruin-esque scenery, rolling stone wheels, and an outdoor area with Thwomps, poles and outdoor ruin scenery. The next seems like a barren place where Dry Bones lives, but it also looks like it houses Dry Bowser scenery. The section driven up looks like bones arranged into a tail, and the head that is flown into looks like Dry Bowser's. As such, I've dubbed it Dry Bowser Fort. The last track shown features a nice, clear day which turns into a stormy, dark night, so I dubbed it Storm Cloud Rumble. And all of those brings the number of new tracks to eight. Two full cups worth. And talking of the cups, it seems like the perfect opportunity to try something. Super Mario Kart featured five races per cup, of which there were four. Five races per cup might be a bit much, but there's no reason to not do what Mario Kart: Super Circuit did and have five cups. Or, add two more cups for six per section [Nitro / Retro].
I think it's safe to say that if Retro courses keep being added, we'll be stretched. We now have seven games in which to add Retro courses from, and if the tradition of adding four courses from the latest two games stays, we've got to get eight courses from five games. Since both SNES and GBA games seem to have been forgot about, what with only three courses coming from both games for MK7, I predict we'll only see one course from each in Mario Kart 8. Particular emphasis seems to be put on the N64 tracks, with four courses in two games being reduced to three in MK7. I think I might be right in saying that three more courses will be added into MK8. Only five tracks remain to take from in MK64, though, so whether this really will hold remains to be seen. If it does, MK:DD will have only one track taken from it, with two taken from MKDS. That then gives us our eight.
If there are five cups coming to MK8, then both SNES and GBA versions can have two tracks taken from them, while the N64 version still remains at three. Two tracks can be taken from the GCN version and three from the DS version, thus making twelve tracks from the five games. If six cups are in though, two tracks can be taken from the SNES version, while both N64 and GBA versions can have three tracks taken from them, while both GCN and DS version can have four taken from them. This will affect future games though, as, unless Nintendo revisit tracks again for the Retro section, the number of tracks are running out from certain versions. As stated above, the N64 version only has five tracks left that haven't been visited, while the GCN version only has six. The DS version has eight. There is a way around this though. Not all tracks have to be used from previous games. Rainbow Road was put into MK7, which could see an end of all SNES tracks being in future games. So, what with being on the eighth incarnation of Mario Kart, maybe now is the time to start winding down on older games' tracks. This seems like a good idea, and could have a fifty percent chance of happening. After all, once all the good tracks are used up, it would make sense to stop remaking tracks from that game. And if that follows chronological release order,  MK64's Rainbow Road could be in MK8. But what other tracks come with it? Many would like to see Yoshi Valley included, myself with them, but which other? A good choice would be Wario Stadium, since that was mostly corners and had a very stadium-like feel to it. Though others would say use Royal Raceway and have MKDS' version of Wario Stadium instead.
Either way, MK7's Retro course numbers seem like a good idea to use again. So three N64 tracks, one GBA track, and two tracks from both DS and GCN - if, of course, there are to be no SNES tracks in future games.

Tracks and characters are the only things I will touch upon, and I really cannot wait for the next Mario Kart to come, which should be in about five months now. 

[7/4/14] Mario Kart 7 - Coin Challenge 2
With just under two months to go until Mario Kart 8, I thought I'd revisit a little something I did two years ago with Mario Kart 7.
In that first challenge, starting 5th of July at 14,205 coins, I had until the end of the month to reach 20,000 coins - the last unlock milestone on the game. I had to race properly though. That was what I'd said to myself. Race properly or the challenge is void. After all, a challenge is no fun if your just staying in last and quickly collecting the coins half a lap behind everyone else. And so I raced through many GPs, earning podiums almost every time, getting over 30 coins almost every time.
And so, since that time I had played the game for less time. In fact, for the whole of 2013, I hadn't even reached 25,000. At the beginning of March though, I did. With Mario Kart 8's release coming up within two months, I started playing MK7 more again throughout that month. That's when, beginning of April, I reached the point where I thought to myself "Why not make another coin challenge out of this?"
There is one major difference though. At that point in 2012, I had just finished my first year of college. This year, I'm on my first year of university, and with an end of year show coming up, I've got work to be doing. So I've got less time for gaming. Hence the two months instead of one.
Anyway, this challenge. Starting today, with a coin total of 26,433, I have to reach 30,000 coins by the release date of Mario Kart 8. If that gets reached easily though, an extension to 32,000 should make things harder.
And so, here I go. 

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