Thursday, September 5, 2013

Top Ten Platforms Released in the Past Twenty Years

EDGE Magazine recently released a list of the "best" consoles from the past twenty years. We definitely did not agree with their order of the consoles. The list did give us inspiration for our own article. "Hey, let's just take EDGE's idea and do it SuperPhillip Central-style!" That's exactly what we did. Many gaming platforms, both handheld and home, have been released in the past twenty years. Our list does its best to encompass our favorites and give our rationale as to why we have placed them where we have. From 1993 to 2013, here are our picks for the greatest gaming platforms to have released during that time. What are your favorites?

10) Dreamcast


The Dreamcast was an innovator in the online field, including a modem that was built into the system and allowing online play. One of the greatest titles available to play through the internet with friends was the fantastic Phantasy Star Online. The Dreamcast had a bounty of other brilliant titles, including the game that made cel-shading popular, Jet Grind Radio, Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, Skies of Arcadia, Power Stone 1 and 2, Crazy Taxi, Soulcalibur, Samba de Amigo, Shenmue, and many more. The Dreamcast was when Sega's internal studios seemingly could do no wrong. A system that was truly ahead of its time, Sega's swan song console, the Dreamcast, kicks off our countdown.

9) Xbox 360


Microsoft's second attempt at taking marketshare from Sony was their Xbox 360. However, there are several things that hold the Xbox 360 from greatness. For one, the initial systems were all prone to overheating, leading to the infamous Red Ring of Death fiasco. Next, Microsoft's first-party studios do not hold a candle to those of its competitors. Third, while competitors had free online play, the Xbox 360 held online multiplayer behind a paywall, and you were still bombarded with ads. That said, the Xbox 360 pioneered achievements, brought forth the best online experience available on home consoles (though, as stated, for a price), and was a third-party paradise. While the Xbox 360 started off well with exclusives (games like Rare's output, Halo 3, Tales of Vesperia, Lost Odyssey, etc., Microsoft seemingly abandoned their target market with the appearance of Kinect, throwing scraps to the user base that made the Xbox 360 so successful. You can sort of see why we're not amazingly keen on the Xbox One yet, can't you?

8) GameCube


While obtaining the title of third place in the sixth generation of gaming consoles, coming a few million shy of Microsoft's Xbox, Nintendo's GameCube was still highly profitable for the company. That said, the GameCube was a fantastic little system that actually started out with a grand amount of third-party support, even getting some exclusives from Capcom in the form of many Resident Evil titles and the then-exclusive Capcom Five. It also gained support from Sega who put longtime rival to Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, on a Nintendo system for the first time ever. Nintendo's output wasn't too shabby. Sure, we don't really care for Super Mario Sunshine (but we do appreciate its willingness to change up the gameplay by a good margin), Nintendo gave us The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Metroid Prime 1 and 2, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and F-Zero GX. The publisher also delivered new franchises such as Shigeru Miyamoto's Pikmin, Custom Robo, Animal Crossing (for the first time in the West at least), Chibi Robo, and more. The Nintendo GameCube might have been the only sixth generation home console without a dedicated online system, and third-parties might have shied away from the system later in its life, but overall, the system is a remarkable reminder of Nintendo making a system that competed in power with its competition.

7) PSP


Despite being outsold by the Nintendo DS, the PlayStation Portable, Sony's first foray into handheld gaming sold a respectable amount. It's an amount that many platforms would love to reach worldwide. There's a good reason for it selling well, too. It had the games that appealed to many. Well, mostly pirates in the West, but what are you gonna do. Regardless, the PSP had an abundance of titles in many genres, featuring many classic and all-new series. For classics you had Final Fantasy, Ratchet & Clank, Mega Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Star Ocean, Tactics Ogre, Metal Gear, God of War, Hot Shots Golf, Kingdom Hearts, Ys, and the list goes on. All-new series that either debuted that generation or exclusively on PSP included LittleBigPlanet, Resistance, Patapon, Jeanne D'Arc, Gods Eater, LocoRoco, and the one that made the system do extremely well in Japan, Monster Hunter. Some claim the PSP's lineup is made up of a variety of ports, but as you can see, there's tons of original content, one of the greatest collections of RPGs on any platform in the seventh generation of systems, and games aplenty to play.

6) Nintendo 64


The Nintendo 64 isolated a lot of third-parties from Nintendo due to its continued reliance on expensive cartridges. That notwithstanding, the Nintendo 64, all droughts disregarded, delivered some of the most memorable games of all time. Nintendo and Rare's relationship was never better, and this allowed said droughts to not occur as often. Games like Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye 007 (which made it clear that first-person shooters could work somewhere besides PCs), Perfect Dark, Jet Force Gemini, Blast Corps, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Diddy Kong Racing, Donkey Kong 64, among others. The Nintendo 64 was also a local multiplayer fan's dream come true, offering four controller inputs for games like Mario Kart 64, Diddy Kong Racing, Bomberman 64, Mario Golf, Star Fox 64, Super Smash Bros., GoldenEye 007, and a load of other titles. The Nintendo 64 gave us some of our most cherished gaming memories, and it delivered some spectacular titles, showed how 3D gaming should work with iterations of Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda transferring well into three-dimensions splendidly. It was a choice of getting in or getting out, and we definitely were happy to get in with the Nintendo 64.

5) PlayStation


Many third-parties abandoned the Nintendo ship when the company revealed it would be using cartridges for its new system. These companies flocked to Sony's new machine, the PlayStation. Without a doubt the most varied software lineup for the fifth generation of gaming consoles, the PlayStation possessed games from a multitude of genres, platformers with games like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Tomba!, and Mega Man; a paradise of RPGs with games like Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Final Fantasy Tactics, Dragon Warrior VII, and Star Ocean: The Second Story; and a myriad of other genres. As stated many companies abandoned ship with Nintendo, and their series followed. Capcom gave Sony Mega Man and created an all-new series called Resident Evil. Squaresoft gave PlayStation owners Final Fantasy and the sequel to Chrono Trigger. Konami introduced the Metal Gear series to Sony console owners with Metal Gear Solid. All-in-all, the original PlayStation was a tremendous way for Sony to enter the gaming console market space, containing games for the widest audience possible.

4) Wii


There is no denying the impact of this next console. The Wii introduced millions of new gamers across the world to our hobby, and contrary to popular belief, most Wii owners continued to purchase games other than Wii Sports. Just look at attach ratios for proof. Regardless, competing against the HD twins that shared a lot of games with one another, the Wii had a much more varied lineup of titles. Sure, it still had the shooter genre represented, but the main draw of the Wii was Nintendo's own software, which featured some of the company's best efforts. Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2 are easily some of the best games ever created. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword introduced competent motion controls for combat, justifying their use totally. Mario Kart Wii sold incredible amounts, New Super Mario Bros. Wii brought cooperative multiplayer to 2D Mario, Super Smash Bros. Brawl was a love letter to Nintendo fans, Punch-Out!! was a beaut to look at and play, Donkey Kong Country Returns made us giddy with excitement, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption showed us that pointing and shooting with the Wii Remote was much better (to us) than old dual analog controls. In addition to all of the games both popular and overlooked, Nintendo implemented a Virtual Console, a collection of retro titles from the original NES to the Nintendo 64. The Wii deserved its sales without a doubt, as it had the games, it had the content, and it had titles that appealed to everyone.

3) PlayStation 3


Our favorite console of the seventh generation of the video game console cycle, the PlayStation 3 had a very rocky start. A price announcement of five hundred and ninety-nine dollars will do that to a system. Despite this, the PlayStation 3 has eventually gone on to become a must-have system for any self-respecting gamer. This generation alone Sony's first-party studios have turned the dial up to 11 in their output, creating many new IPs like Resistance, LittleBigPlanet, Uncharted, The Last of Us, and inFamous. They also continued support for past franchises, like Ratchet & Clank, God of War, Killzone, Twisted Metal, and Sly Cooper. Third-party support was excellent as well, giving the majority of the same games that the Xbox 360 received. Then, there's the online, allowing players to freely play multiplayer with friends and total strangers. With the optional PlayStation Plus, Sony has delivered an amazing value by giving subscribers cloud storage and free digital games every month. Is it any wonder why the PlayStation 3 is our favorite current gen console?

2) Nintendo DS


It's purely coincidental that the top two systems on our list are also the best-selling ones of all time. Nonetheless, that isn't our reason for picking both of them. In the case of the Nintendo DS, it contained some of the greatest games we've ever played. It also has an immensely varied library, offering platformers, RPGs, action games, puzzle games, sports, and more. The addition of two screens, with the second being a touch screen, was ingenious, and gave us many wonderful gameplay sessions. This was used to great benefit in games like Kirby Canvas Curse, Yoshi Touch and Go, both Legend of Zelda games, Soul Bubbles, Metroid Prime Hunters, Meteos, or used as something as simple as a map in Mario Kart DS. The Nintendo DS gained a lot of third-party support, bringing their heavy hitters to the system. The handheld was also Nintendo's first (read: archaic) attempt at an online infrastructure of some type. Despite the method being a headache, we cannot help but still love the Nintendo DS, purely for its amount of fantastic software for both beginning gamers and veterans to our hobby.

1) PlayStation 2 


The greatest console released in the past twenty years might not surprise you. It's the PlayStation 2, a console which sales made its competition look like student films in comparison. It also possessed a hugely diverse lineup of software. The system had everything-- epic RPGs like Final Fantasy X, Dragon Quest VIII, Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, and more; platformers like Ratchet & Clank, Jak and Daxter, and Sly Cooper; action games like God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, Onimusha, and Devil May Cry; and sports games like Madden, Hot Shots Golf Fore!, Sega Soccer Slam, and FIFA. The system gained hallmark titles like Grand Theft Auto III, Gran Turismo 3, and the aforementioned God of War. To say that the PlayStation 2 was popular would be an understatement. Its successor has been out for years, yet the PS2 is still receiving new games. It's a system that just won't call it quits, and frankly, it doesn't need or have to. It deserves to have as much time in the sun as possible. It's that masterful of a system.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Best Boss Battles in Gaming History - Part Nine

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

Bosses-- some say they are a gaming relic that are best left forgotten. Sure, for a game that is narrative-based or attempting to mirror a Hollywood film, they really don't serve a proper purpose. However, many genres like platformers, RPGs, action games, among others have boss battles that are absolutely well placed and properly executed. Best Boss Battles in Gaming History celebrates these, having reached its ninth part, and as always, we list five of our favorite fights against some of the mightiest of tyrants. This edition's selections include bosses from Metroid Prime, inFamous, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time, for starters.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Most Overlooked PlayStation 3 Games - Part Seven

It's been over a year since we've looked at some of the more overlooked titles in the PlayStation 3's very impressive arsenal of games. As always, SuperPhillip Central desires to showcase some games that didn't get their due time in the sun. These next five games are ones that did not sell to their potential, were not talked about a lot, or were simply dismissed by critics or the gaming public at large. If you're ready to read, then we're ready to spotlight some overlooked games! Read on, dear friends!

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale


There were plenty of rumors surrounding Sony having a developer create its own rival to Nintendo's popular Super Smash Bros. series. At the time, Sony neither confirmed nor denied these rumors, simply saying that don't comment on rumor or speculation. The game was finally revealed on an episode of GTTV in April of last year. The final product released that November to sales that were disappointing at best. It's a shame, too, as PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale isn't a mere imitator to Super Smash Bros.; it has its own identity, with characters using special moves called Supers to score points by obliterating opponents with them. Sure, the roster of characters wasn't the best, but the amount of love for Sony fans and faithfuls alike was incredibly apparent.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed


The original Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing is one of our favorite kart racers of the generation, easily beating out Mario Kart. Its sequel, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, released last year with lots of critical claim. We here at SuperPhillip Central still prefer the original, as that game didn't have as many annoying glitches or problems with knowing where to go on a given track, but there's no denying that the game was a fun, exhilarating ride. The initial sales were sluggish, prompting the game to quickly drop towards budget price. It's unfortunate, as Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is definitely worth full price, as it's a heavily competent kart racer.

LittleBigPlanet Karting


Oriented more towards children and young teens, LittleBigPlanet Karting found a following with the LBP community, having them create some insanely good tracks with the in-game track creator. The creator allowed players to customize their own tracks to almost OCD-levels of great detail. The actual kart racing was something that a lot of players could take or leave, being difficult even on the so-called Easy Mode. Unfortunately, many PlayStation 3 owners did not have a need for speed with Sackboy and the crew, leaving LittleBigPlanet Karting to be discounted quite quickly.

Anarchy Reigns


As Platinum Games's latest project, The Wonderful 101, has released in several territories already, why not look back at one of their projects from earlier this year. Anarchy Reigns was the follow-up to the Nintendo Wii's MadWorld, offering a mayhem-filled multiplayer mode for online fun. The game had two storylines to follow, with each character's tale overlapping with the other until the final conclusion. Sadly, like MadWorld before it, Anarchy Reigns failed to find an audience on the platforms it was released on, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It seems like Jack Cayman and the gang are forever fated to fall through the cracks and languish on retail shelves.

Nier


Released to middling reviews, Nier is actually a rather excellent action-RPG that forgoes the need to have a weird-garbed teenager as the primary protagonist and instead goes with a middle-aged man. His quest was to find a cure for the disease his young daughter was suffering the ill effects of. Along the way he explored a fully traversible world, battled monsters of all shapes and sizes, and participated in an immense number of optional side quests. While selling relatively well in its homeland of Japan, Nier failed to capture the attention of Western audiences, leading the game to be quickly discounted or taken off shelves entirely. Those who do take the plunge with Nier will find a journey that is quite unlike anything they have experienced.

Monday, September 2, 2013

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGM - Labor of Love Edition

It's Labor Day for the United States, but we're not really having five new video game themes to showcase because of that. No, we're showcasing five new video game themes because that's just what we do every Monday. On today's edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGM, we have music from classic games, like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, EarthBound, and Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow.

v451. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES) - The Dark World


Koji Kondo may not compose a lot of original music nowadays, but his reputation will forever be of a person who wrote some of the most memorable gaming music of all time. His The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past soundtrack is but one of those.

v452. Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (GBA) - Sensei's Theme


Sensei is the oldest character in Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising, a tremendous sequel that appeared on the Game Boy Advance and introduced a new foe in the Black Hole army. Sensei's theme is an absolute treat for the ears, somewhat goofy, somewhat militaristic, but 100% good.

v453. Mario Party 3 (N64) - Let's Get a Move On


One of the mini-game themes in Mario Party 3, the final of the Mario Party games on the Nintendo 64, Let's Get a Move On has a whole lot of whimsy and charm. Mario Party 3 is a fun entry in the series, but it happens to be our least favorite of the Nintendo 64 games.

v454. EarthBound (SNES) - Onett


After years of passionate fans wanting EarthBound on Nintendo's Virtual Console service, the game was unceremoniously released one day to the great surprise of many. The ten dollar price tag certainly beats paying a hundred for an original cartridge, now doesn't it?

v455. Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow (GB) - Battle vs. Gym Leader


The composers at Game Freak certainly tested the abilities of the Game Boy sound card with their magnificent compositions for Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow, the games that started the phenomenon known as Pokemon. It's a particularly tense theme when you're down to your last Pokemon and Blue summons a Blastoise to counter your Charizard!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sensational September: Twelve Games to Look Out for This Month

The first of the month means it's time to check in and see what releases for the month ahead are in store for North American gamers. We are starting to see a massive amount of must-play titles as we approach the holiday season. SuperPhillip Central has taken the liberty of selecting twelve titles that we deem the most interesting this month. Remember that release dates are subject to change and that these games are retail only. Which games, if any, are you looking forward to for September 2013?

Rayman Legends (Multi)
Release Date: 9/3


We learned the hard way that release dates are subject to change with the February delay of Rayman Legends. It went from its late February release date to early September. It seems to be for the better content-wise, but sales-wise it seems to be an entirely different story, with the game coming out around the time of so many big games. Regardless, Rayman Legends is set to release on multiple platforms this Tuesday, including the original system it was made for, the Wii U, and systems like PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PlayStation Vita, though some content is not available on this version. Expect a full in-depth review of Rayman Legends mid-month.

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (PS3, 360)
Release Date: 9/3


Team Ninja teams up with arcade masters Sega AM2 for Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate, an expansion to 2012's Dead or Alive 5 vanilla version. This ultimate iteration is taking content from the Vita's Dead or Alive 5 Plus, as well as five all-new combatants, two of which are plucked straight from the Ninja Gaiden franchise. Introduced in this version of the game are two-on-two tag team battles, in addition to several gameplay tweaks and better balancing. Fighter fans are being treated well this year, for sure.

Diablo III (PS3, 360)
Release Date: 9/3


It's been over a year since Diablo III made its way into the hands of PC owners. This loot-based action-RPG became the fastest-selling PC game of all time. Now, Daiblo III is coming to consoles with controls that are specifically built for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 systems. Play alone or team up with three other players as you explore randomized dungeons, exploring, searching for loot, and slaying creatures of all shapes and sizes. The wait for console owners is almost over, as Diablo III is hitting consoles this Tuesday.

Killzone: Mercenary (Vita)
Release Date: 9/10


Using a modified version of Killzone 3's impressive graphical engine, the forthcoming Killzone: Mercenary, a PlayStation Vita exclusive, is shaping up to be one of the most amazing first-person shooter experiences on any handheld device. Being able to choose which side you wish to join-- ISA or the Helghast-- is something that will no doubt offer multiple perspectives on the same story. Missions offer multiple means to complete them, and successfully completing missions rewards players with new weapons and other delights. With the recent PlayStation Vita price cut and Killzone: Mercenary, it seems like there's no better time to become an owner of Sony's handheld than right now.

Puppeteer (PS3)
Release Date: 9/10


Sony's Japan Studio has not released a lot of games this past generation. They seem to be making up for lost time with both the PS4 launch title Knack and this upcoming PlayStation 3 exclusive, Puppeteer. The game is a 2 1/2-D platformer featuring a boy who has been turned into a puppet and has had his head stolen. Venturing through the worlds of the game and coming across other things to replace his head, allowing him new abilities, players can progress through the game thanks to the help of these heads. Along with his magical scissors, Kutaro, our protagonist, has plenty of tools in his arsenal to complete his goal of getting his head returned to him and becoming a human boy once more. An innovative new IP, Puppeteer will mostly fall through the cracks, but those bold enough to try the game out will most likely find a gem of a game.

Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX (PS3)
Release Date: 9/10


For the first time, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix will be available in the West as part of this HD collection. Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX will also feature a remastered RE: Chain of Memories to play, and cutscenes from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days to watch. These games by themselves would be more than enough, but in addition to this, all of these included titles feature trophy support. We can't think of any better way to anticipate the next generation release of Kingdom Hearts III than enjoying the collection of titles in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX.

NHL 14 (Multi)
Release Date: 9/10


My word, is September 10 a busy day for new releases! NHL 14 is currently looking to be a great complement to watching the real sport. It features improvements to multiple engines used in past games, a never-before-seen deking system, a career mode that values the importance of both on the ice and off the ice, and a salute to NHL '94, which features the full classic game only with current visuals and rosters. It's almost as fun as playing the real thing but without the need of having a dentist on speed dial.

The Wonderful 101 (Wii U)
Release Date: 9/15


Destined to be overlooked due to its vibrant colors and weirdness, despite being what many have been wanting, a new IP from Nintendo, The Wonderful 101 pits one-hundred citizens turned superheroes against a pack of intergalactic invaders. If the demo is anything to go by, this mass hero action game will get the palms of the player sweaty as they dodge attacks, switch through superpowers, and save denizens from impending doom. Platinum Games has yet to make a stinker, and The Wonderful 101 is looking to be one of their most impressive titles yet. It's just too bad it releases so close to our next game!

Grand Theft Auto V (PS3, 360)
Release Date: 9/17


One of the final seventh generation-exclusive games, Grand Theft Auto V is receiving a metric ton of hype, but that's the only reason to be excited for Rockstar North's latest. No, the studio has received a big budget and lots of time to create what will probably be yet another open world to get absolutely lost in. Rockstar promises a multitude of activities to do, and the upcoming Grand Theft Auto Online is set to rock the gaming world as much as the single player experience. Speaking of which, for the first time in the series the player switches between three unique protagonists as they explore the city of Los Santos and its surrounding areas. Put your real life on hold when Grand Theft Auto V finally releases on September 17.

Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure (Wii U, 3DS, PC) 
Release Date: 9/24


While Marvel is getting the LEGO treatment, DC Comics has been there and done that, moving onto the world of Scribblenauts. Developer 5th Cell promises an abundance of superheroes and villains from DC Comics' lineup of all-stars, including some of the more obscure characters. You can bet there will be plenty of puzzle-based missions requiring you to spawn the correct item or hero through typing out a word. Yes, this is a game more toward the child market, but DC Comics fans should find a lot to love with Scribblenauts Unmasked as well.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 (Multi)
Release Date: 9/24


Utilizing the Fox Engine, Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 is aiming itself to be the most realistic soccer simulation on the planet. Everything in the game is being focused on how the ball itself feels, how high of an arc it flies depending on the player, and so forth. The Motion Animation Stability System (or M.A.S.S.) will determine how individual players on the field react to one another. Available on a wide array of platforms, including PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows PCs, Nintendo 3DS, PSP, and PlayStation 2 (the system that never quits!), there are plenty of ways to get some Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 into your soccer-loving life.

FIFA 14 (Multi)
Release Date: 9/24


Releasing on the same day as Pro Evolution Soccer 2014, FIFA 14 is EA Sports' take on the world's favorite sport. A great amount of features have been included in this version, such as an improved career mode, new teams, a new engine for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions, and a 2vs2 online multiplayer season mode. Like PES 2014, FIFA 14 will be releasing on pretty much every imaginable platform save for some notable exclusions. While FIFA is the brand that sells more, we've found its rival usually outperforms it. We'll see if this year's results are the same.

Central City Census - September 2013

We've hit the month of September, and soon fall will be in full swing. Before we totally say goodbye to August, let's take a look at last month's Central City Census results.


The majority of the vote went towards local multiplayer as their favorite multiplayer type. In fact, nearly 69% of you prefer local multiplayer to online while 31% prefer online multiplayer. We wonder if this affects the consoles you choose to purchase. Let's see what this month's Central City Census will ask.

The Wii U kicked off the eighth generation of video game consoles. We want to know this month which generation of video game consoles was your first. The census will be open for voting until the end of the month.

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