All posts by Roger

The New Revolution: Nintendo’s Renaissance

(Note from the Editor-In-Chief: This article was written before Nintendo’s disappointing response to pleas for equality in Tomodachi Life. While my points in the article still stand and while I still love Nintendo, I cannot pretend they are a flawless company. Until they offer all gamers an equal experience, they will never be flawless. I hold out hope that Nintendo will be a trailblazer not just in video games but in equality. They have listened to the voices of their audience before; those voices are rightly louder than ever now.)

In September 2005, Nintendo changed the game.

This is Satoru Iwata’s keynote speech at the 2005 Tokyo Game Show, an event not usually attended by Nintendo. I recommend watching the entire video, though it cuts off early and the second part is nowhere to be found. But if you want to skip to the important stuff, the video showcasing the Wii (then codenamed “Revolution”) controller for the first time begins at 3:30 and, more importantly, Iwata takes out a prototype and begins to speak about it at 5:45. He holds it up, triumphant, as thousands of cameras flash, seeking to capture a once-in-a-lifetime moment. He knew then that Nintendo was right to codename the Wii “Revolution.” The Revolution began with that controller in the air.

That said, the Revolution had been announced and teased at E3 earlier that year.

Continue reading The New Revolution: Nintendo’s Renaissance

The Rise and Fall of 2K Sports

Let be me clear: Neither 2K Sports, nor their parent company 2K Games (Take-Two Interactive), is in jeopardy.  There is no fall of the Roman Empire on the horizon; if anything, 2K is in a Pax Romana of sorts. If you’re in need of a refresher, 2K Games publishes Civilization, BioShock, Borderlands, and tons more.  Their Steam catalog isn’t anything to scoff at. And, in the realm of sports, the NBA 2K games have essentially cornered the basketball video game market for two reasons: one, they’re good and two, EA Sports’s basketball games are horrendous.

But 2K Sports has fallen a long way.

Continue reading The Rise and Fall of 2K Sports

The Hidden Politics Of Counter-Strike 1.6

Special to Game Losers by The Class Conscious Gamer

“Remember, terrorism is the surgical strike capability of the oppressed. Keep on keepin’ on!”

–Man selling T-shirts, Slacker, 1991

As an Anarcho-Foyeurist and political radical in general, I thoroughly believe politics penetrates every corner of the mind and every facet of society. As such, I do not believe there to be a single work of art or creation of man untouched by some form of ideology, no matter how small or how big. To this end, today I’ll be writing about what I have analyzed to be an underlying ideology in the 1999 video game “modification”-cum-retail product Counter-Strike, colloquially referred to among gamers as Counter-Strike 1.6.

Continue reading The Hidden Politics Of Counter-Strike 1.6

This Kong’s One Hell Of A Game, Pt. II

(For Pt. I of this column, click here)

Donkey Kong 64 almost never happened.

It was originally rumored to be a title for the extremely ill-fated 64DD extension for the Nintendo 64. The 64DD was plagued by a long development cycle and, as a result of that, neglect from Nintendo. Only released in Japan near the end of the N64 lifecycle, just ten 64DD games were ever released. Many more games were, at some point in time, in development for the 64DD. Some games, like Paper Mario, the two N64 Zelda games, and Kirby 64 were eventually released for the N64. Others, like Cubivore, were eventually released for the GameCube. Mother 3 saw life as a GBA title released only in Japan, but it was initially “EarthBound 64.” Games like Fire Emblem 64 never saw life.

Thankfully, DK64 never officially went into development for the 64DD. As the first 3D Donkey Kong game (for the record, Super Smash Bros. was released earlier in 1999), there were a lot of things Rare could do with it. Because of this, they got … ambitious … in the early stages of development.

If he shoots ya, it's gonna hurt!
If he shoots ya, it’s gonna hurt!

Yeah, they gave Donkey Kong a real gun. Continue reading This Kong’s One Hell Of A Game, Pt. II

Ye Olde e-Reader

One of the main themes in the history of Nintendo is “ahead of its time.” Take the Virtual Boy, the largest hardware failure in the history of consumer gaming. It took over a decade for the stereoscopic 3-D Nintendo was so keen on to become marketable, in 3DS form. Or take the Game Boy Advance-GameCube Link Cable, which Nintendo pushed harder than just about anything else. It got released about ten years before cross-platform connectivity became a buzzword.

But what about our obscure friend, the e-Reader?

A bit ugly, sure, but everything was in 2002.

I had one. I still have one. It still works. I still have a couple of Animal Crossing cards that it’s still perfectly capable of scanning, even though it takes a few tries. But it was pretty unwieldy. It took several cards to start up an NES game, it took two connected GBAs for some features, and a GBA-GCN connection for some others.

It caught on in Japan but never in the USA or Europe and it was discontinued by 2004. Why not? Was it because keeping track of all the cards and their respective games was too difficult?

Three million starter packs have been sold.

Was it because it wasn’t practical to release things that had little to no intrinsic value (except as collectibles) when separated from their associated games and functions?

“As of February 2014 the Skylanders series has crossed the $2 billion in sales threshold.”

Maybe it was because many of the cards themselves weren’t really necessary for the games they were tied to. I guess we’ll never know. For the record, e-Reader cards themselves are now highly collectible, as any __________ card becomes after enough years.

I don’t think anyone wants my crinkly Tom Nook one, though.

This Kong’s One Hell Of A Game, Part I

So I’ve been playing Donkey Kong 64 lately.

This isn’t the case of revisiting an old favorite. I’m playing DK64 for the first time. I missed out on it when I was a kid, not because I didn’t have a Nintendo 64 (I did), and because I didn’t have the necessary Expansion Pak (I did). I just missed out on it. Continue reading This Kong’s One Hell Of A Game, Part I

The Top Five Kongs You Might Not Have Heard Of

To go along with this piece published earlier today, here is a list of Kongs you might not have heard of. The Kong family tree is wild.

  • Bony Kong is popular at Halloween, because he is a skeleton. Inexplicably, he is a human skeleton, but no one asks questions because it’s not evident he was ever alive to begin with. He is Donkey Kong’s great uncle and he makes a cameo in Donkey Kong 64 but only if you remove the cartridge from the system right as a character dies.
  • Money Kong is Funky Kong’s twin brother, but as far as Funky is concerned he does not exist. Whereas Funky is a gun-toting leech of the state, Money–that dirty capitalist–pulled himself up by his bananastraps (though no one really knows how) and actually owns the ocean that surrounds Donkey Kong Island. He was primed to be the star of Donkey Kongopoly, a cancelled Game Boy Color game that was bogged down by legal issues.
  • Nanny Kong is Cranky Kong’s mother, remarkably still alive. Rumor has it she signed a deal with the devil for immortality, which would explain why bees fly out of her mouth whenever she speaks. She doesn’t speak much, for the record. Her first appearance was actually in the Japan-only Kamisama Shindeiru, a collectible noted for its similarity to the later Super Smash Brothers series.
  • Dark Kong is…I’ve probably already said too much.
  • Prissy Kong is Money Kong’s selfish and entitled daughter. Her and Dixie have often gotten into fights, with Prissy going so far as to call Dixie “Bougie Kong.” She and her father are not invited to the annual Kong Family Reunions. A likely reason Donkey Kong Country 4 never happened is because the plot involved Prissy getting lost in her giant mansion, which is where most of the levels would have taken place.