Latest posts with tag: "cory faller"

  • Satoru Iwata

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    I tried to write something eloquent here, and found that I just don't have the words.

    So here are some pictures of us as children, with the man who embodied everything that could possibly be right about how to make video games, how to value a team of artists and visionaries, and how to inspire impressionable boys and girls to make stupid websites like this one.

    He will never be replaced.

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  • Pardon our hiatus

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    I swear it's coincidence, but N-Sider seems to echo Nintendo's strategies more often than not. Similarities between the 2013 Wii U lineup and our editorial output are easy to make! Ha ha it's because neither of them exist. Oh man.

    I'm starting to find that when it comes to hobbies, it's best not to push them. When an enjoyable outlet starts to feel more like a responsibility, it's time to take a step back. Brandon was carrying the site pretty much all by himself for a looong time there, and that's something a person can only keep up for so long. I've been torturing myself mentally for upwards of eight (wow ugh) years now on getting a fresh version of the site put together and launched, and while this interim site was a small victory, it's far from the planned end result.

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    The site I want to make, and the site we want to write for, changes as we ourselves change. Five years ago it was a labyrinthine and art-filled database to end all databases. These days it's a site that can get out of the way, self-maintain, and fit into our lives when we feel like we need an outlet. People get older, priorities evolve.

    With that in mind, N-Sider's officially taking a break. It's not really a huge change considering this is the fourth post in four months, but it's mostly for our own peace of mind. N-Sider is something we want to do, but it's also something that preys on our minds when it feels like promised content has been left lingering. So we're gonna take some time to recharge, and work on these projects on whatever timescale feels good for us.

    Hang with us on the freshly reopened-to-registrations [and regrettably now re-closed due to spammers] N-Forums, and look forward to the day when we finally complete incubating some of the sweet ideas we've been sitting on.

    N-Sider will return.
  • I cannot deal with how excellent the Fire Emblem: Awakening soundtrack is

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    Man I could say so many things about Fire Emblem: Awakening, but at this point all I really want to share is how brain-scramblingly amazing the soundtrack is. I beat the game last night, and got access to the sound test mode, and have just been listening to it all day at work.

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    SO, I am going to just shamelessly vomit out an assortment of Youtube links to songs here. Be wary of comments and what have you, lest you inadvertently spoil this or that. The song titles are pretty safe though. If any of these links ever end up going down for some reason, you can easily find the songs just by plugging their title into the 'tubes.

    • Conquest (Ablaze) - The bass line on this one actually gives me a little bit of a Chrono Trigger feel.
    • Divine Decree (Ablaze) - I think these songs are all synth, including the vocals, which is pretty dag impressive.
    • Chaos (Ablaze) - These "Ablaze" versions are what you get when you enter a battle—a ton of more intense instrumentation is added to the map theme.

    I could.. seriously just list every single "Ablaze" song at this point, so MOVING ON

    • Id (Beginnings) - When I first got the game, and this played on the file-select screen, I just sat there and listened to it for ages. It is the most calming thing ever.
    • Monstrosity - Yep we are in full-on megaboss music territory here, with the robot-chorus kicked into overdrive.
    • Mastermind - This is like an insane mix between a Final Fantasy final boss theme, some Hideo Kojima game, and... uh, Avatar? And it only plays for mere seconds if you kill the guy too fast!
    • Id (Purpose) - This is basically the best song in the game, and perhaps the best song in ANY game. Okay I am riding a bit high on it at the moment but seriously this is the one that prompted me to make this post. Ride it out, it only gets better.

    And this is just a tiny glimpse of some of the more high-intensity songs. There's really not a sour note among the full soundtrack. If you haven't played it already, maybe you should!!!

    No seriously, play this game would you please. Even putting aside the soundtrack, the "actual game" is one of the most content-rich and ball-blastingly polished titles I've played in recent memory. I rate it a full bushel of video game units on your good-decider scale of choice.
  • If you're gonna "not compete," you need to go all the way

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    The Wii was Nintendo's way of saying "nope" to the presumed rules of the gaming industry. While its competitors screamed ahead in the power race, Nintendo sat on its hands, and decided it wanted to play a different game. And hey, it worked out for them pretty well, if you're the sort who gives two shits about sales numbers. But analysts, enthusiasts, and fatheads throughout the world refused to accept it. "Nope, they're doin' it wrong, why've they gotta be so stupid." And now we're seeing it again with the Wii U.

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    Over time the players in this industry have concocted a set of rules that define video games. New machines need to have bleeding edge graphics. Online services need to incorporate a very specific kind of account system, and have universal shared achievements, and there need to be demos, and voice chat, and social network integration, and blah blah blah. As each new gaming idea crops up and shows up in a machine, it's assumed that the other machines then have to "catch up" and implement it, lest they be labeled as "behind." Multiplatform releases are scrutinized at an atomic level, and the slightest discrepancy in framerate or texture clarity indicates a tremendous failure on the part of all those involved. It's a race to feature parity, a scrambling effort to achieve total homogeneity. "This is a video game," and anything different is crap.

    When Nintendo decided they wouldn't play this game, I think the problem is that they didn't go far enough.
  • Wii U secrets: The TV remote function can control receivers after all!

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    While I can't reasonably see myself ever using the Wii U GamePad's TV remote functionality to actually switch inputs or change channels as Nintendo's promotional materials are fond of romanticizing—my Harmony remote manages my devices in a fashion the GamePad is just literally incapable of emulating—I would be lying if I said the idea of changing the volume of my speakers from my controller didn't tickle me in my down-there area.

    Alas, I use an A/V receiver to manage my myriad inputs, and while you can set up the Wii U to control both a television and a cable box, receivers are one step too ambitious. That strikes useful input switching off the list entirely, but does it also kill my dream of not having to reach for the remote when it gets late and New Super Mario Bros. U's blasting "bah bahs" start waking the neighbors? Maybe not!

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    As it turns out, some TeeVees these days can talk to receivers over HDMI. I actually knew this already, but then made a point of forgetting it, as the first time I realized it was happening a few years ago was when power-toggling my TV would also power-toggle my receiver, which wreaked havoc on my programmed Harmony activities. So I disabled it with extreme prejudice. After hearing rumblings within deep Internet caverns, though, I poked back into the settings to see if it really could make my Wii U volume dreams come true.

    And lo! Within the crags of those arcane and disjointed menus, I found an option to decouple power syncing, but leave "home theater" audio controls enabled. With trepidation I poked the volume button on the GamePad, a little "home theater audio" tile popped up on the bottom of my TV screen, and my receiver obediently obliged. Eureka!

    Maybe I lucked out here, since my Panasonic Plasma TV purports to only communicate with other Panasonic products via Viera Link, and yet my Pioneer receiver seems wholly capable of following its commands. You may meet with similar success, despite conflicting manufactureres. Or maybe you won't! But the functionality exists, nonetheless, and the Wii U's ineptitude has been salvaged by the magics of HDMI. Make sure you've got a genuine Monster Brand Cable, though, as sophisticated volume changing commands could never make it through unshielded and inferior copper electro-pipes ha ha nah

    Check back tomorrow for another spine-tingling Wii U secret!
  • Wii U secrets: 3DS Miis get upgrades!

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    As I went to output a couple mugshots from the Wii U Mii Maker for.... various uses... I was STUNNED!!!! to find that not only was my dumb old face notably higher res, but it featured some astonishing new elements.

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    3DS on the left, Wii U on the right. Click to see the amazing details up close!

    Check out that fuckin' beard! The power of polygons, bros and broettes. Got some sophisticated armpit rendering in there too, and a decidedly upgraded and proprietary hair-lighting engine to go with my freshly inked black frames. They've also seen fit to reduce my ghostly pallor just a shade—perhaps there is more natural light in the Wii U version of the Mii Maker.

    But HEY what's going on with the hairline at the bottom there? That's not a mere rendering difference, that's actually an alteration to the hair model. I'm not entirely sure I'm in favor of the change in this particular instance, but there it is nonetheless! It would appear that the Wii U bits and pieces are tweaked hither and thither vs their 3DS counterparts—I wonder how extensive the tweaks are throughout the entire set.

    Someone should do a comprehensive comparison, because I'm sure not gonna!

    Check back tomorrow for another mind-blowing Wii U secret!
  • Wii U secrets: Game manuals delight with graphics and links!

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    Nintendo pulls as much paper as they can out of their manuals these days, but all those pretty pictures and fat infos have got to end up somewhere. And somewhere they have landed indeed! Hit the Home button on your GamePad while playing a game, tap the "Manual" button, and voilĂ .

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    The Wii U manuals are actually extremely similar to the 3DS ones, which themselves were incubated on DSiWare titles. These Wii U ones though are much better replacements for proper paper manuals than the 3DS ones have manged to be. Aside from the obvious benefits you get from a gigantic pixel-rich screen, the individual manual pages can now support background images and footer art, like with Nintendo Land as seen above, a nice upgrade over the solid-colored 3DS pages. There's a lot more opportunity for design here, and lots of pages feature nice big graphics. (Correction: as Tyeforce points out in the comments, select 3DS titles do indeed support background images.)

    The real benefit of a digital manual is that you can interact with it, though. The 3DS manual pages are pretty much static, barring a font-size option. The Wii U manuals introduce two varieties of shortcut links—little numbers attached to screenshots that scroll you down the page to explain what the number was pointing at (and then back up if you tap the number again), and page number navigation links that move your forward or backwards to a related subject.

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    And here's a neat little thing: the game's model number is at the bottom of the manual table of contents. AWESOME!

    Check back tomorrow for another unbelievable Wii U secret!
  • Wii U secrets: Hey, it's got accomplishments after all!

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    I've talked before about how if you really wanted to share an accomplishment on the Wii U, it was as simple as screen-shotting whatever you did and posting it to Miiverse. Which you can indeed do! But now that the Wii U is actually in our filthy little hands, a new feature has shown itself: tags.

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    Look at that right there. Only New Super Mario Bros U and Nintendo Land use it so far, being the only titles that actually feature full Miiverse integration. But the idea is that when you post to Miiverse via an in-game prompt, the game can tag your post with a little green sentence. Much of this so far is just adding a scope to your comment, like the name of a stage in NSMBU or the name of the minigame in Nintendo Land. But the game can also add tags that are based upon events. I got prompts to post to Miiverse in NSMBU when I first beat the game, and again when I got all five save-file stars, and posting right then and there added unique tags to my posts. Had I not chosen to post I'da been outta luck and never had the option to share the tag again, but that's just a game-specific implementation quirk.

    So what's so great about a tagged Miiverse post? The tag is added by the game itself, which means it's only there when you actually do something, adding credibility to your post. And you can tap a tag to see every single other person on Miiverse who also posted with it, along with said posts. A mini-community of sweet dudes!

    While NSMBU's posting style clearly isn't designed to try and emulate traditional achievement systems with its "post now or it's gone forever" method, other games could easily just add "post" buttons to your in-game accomplishment list, allowing you to share any of your cheevs as a tag, and draw some dumb crap along with them. And like with screenshot-sharing, you only choose to share those you actually give a damn about. Or all of them, whatever!

    Just a neat little deet from my time on the street. Meat.

    Check back tomorrow for another neat Wii U secret!
  • It's the little details that make the Wii U special

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    It's hard to load up a page on the Internet today without finding people goin' ham about this or that Wii U problem. But I've said my piece about that. It's time to lighten the mood. It's new hardware day! That brief glow where you first notice all those fancy little touches, and start to integrate new systems and ideas into your routine.

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    Let's focus on those details. There are a ton of things about my first day with the Wii U that made me smile.
  • Being calm before the Wii U storm

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    We're in the thick of it, bros and broettes. In the wind up to the Wii U's looming plop, people are gettin' tense. Each little glimpse we get of the various system features is accompanied by a cacophony of shrieks and wails, as if in our diabetic final throes we've found only saline in our syringes.

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    It is time to CHILL OUT. I'll tell ya, I'm actually quite enthused about what I've seen from the Wii U so far, but others have been decidedly candid with their displeasure regarding Missing Feature A, or Flawed System B. This piece isn't really about the Wii U, though—these are just the latest blips in the long and storied tale that is the human condition. What I'd like to suggest is an alternate way for our brains to function, not only for these coming weeks, but for the remainder of our meatsack lives. As it turns out, we may be more content if we actually just... try to be content.