Friday, May 16, 2014

If You Think Whining About Mario Kart 8 is the Way to Mature the Industry, You're Doing It Wrong.

Nowadays we're in an industry where apparently the idea is if we tackle issues that are deemed "mature", we can further advance our hobby and outsiders will take us seriously. In between the "lol Xbox 180 sux" and "lol Wii U is deader than disco" circle jerk threads and articles on many sites, there is content sandwiched in between which ironically wishes to start an "intelligent" discussion with the same subset of gamers and journalists making topics and articles to bait people to read them.

In general, it gets to the point where one finally grows tired of the excessive garbage that is the gaming industry. It doesn't matter whether you're looking at the press who are about as professional as peewee hockey players, journalists who are more than happy to be in bed with publishers for fear of losing ad revenue and review copies, publishers who release sequel after iterative sequel every year, developers who use social media in irresponsible ways, people who want gaming to become more like Hollywood with many cinematic gaming experiences rather than let gaming shine as its own entity, and gamers who carry on on message boards and comment sections like absolute toddlers.

I've been sick of the console war bullshit for a while now. In order for the industry to be taken more seriously, some want to tackle the tough issues that relate to gaming, whether they be worthwhile or not. For instance, let's just moan about the lack of diversity in Mario Kart, because why the heck not? It's nice to want to push the medium forward, but when one begins to stand up against everything, no matter how big, small, important, or trivial, their voice eventually gets drowned out. They become broken records, one trick ponies, and people you simply stop listening to because they're always crying foul and finding social injustice everywhere. This sucks because there are worthy social-related subjects to take to task and make a controversy out of, and these just become noise thanks to the constant clamoring of the champions of social justice in gaming.

Of all the games to pick on, why is Mario Kart 8 what we're focusing on? We're talking about a world where two Italian plumbers venture around for a humanoid princess, face off against an army of turtles and other creatures. Now, if you want to pick on Nintendo for not having diversity in other games where it would make sense to have various races represented, do it. I'm all for that. Animal Crossing is a great example. Why can't we have the ability to showcase a dark-skinned character to play as? That would make sense!

The first thing I thought of when I saw this
screen: "Where's the token black guy?"
Many other studios are so transparent when they throw in some kind of character other than a white male or female. For instance, adding a gay character into your game for no other reason than to make some frivolous statement with no depth to it at all does not help. Considering that video game stories have a hard time creating realistic characters in general, why the hell should we trust them to write a convincing gay character? I don't trust this industry to accurately portray a gay person without falling into offensive stereotypes.

Regardless, there needs to be a reason for such an inclusion, and does it really have to be in the game as if such a character were some item on a checklist? "Gay character? Check. Black guy? Check. Okay. We're good. Start writing a script!"

I think if we want the industry to be taken more seriously, how about we actually start behaving seriously and professionally? You know, let's start with the press. How about we stop the "Wii U isn't selling. We're going to write 101 articles about this over the course of the next month, varying our wording, but essentially saying the same thing." How about we not accept a smartphone, tablet, or whatever the hell Ubisoft gave journalists at a special Watch Dogs media event?

Let's look at developers. How about we show a little bit of professionalism? How? Well, I'm sure as hell not the best source to determine how, as I like to cuss people out on Twitter, but maybe you could rise above acting like typical fanboys airing out dirty laundry for the public to see?

Then there's gamers. That most likely encompasses everyone reading this site. How about we leave the "which console is going to sell the most" pissing contests to the console manufacturers and just enjoy the games being released? How about we not laugh when a company is doing poorly, as that will most likely affect the industry in a negative way? Why don't we not spend our days playing "console wars" more than we actually play games? It's my understanding that being someone who likes the hobby would want the industry to succeed. However, I see more folks happy with other companies' failures rather than everyone's successes. Personally, I find these people to be a disease to the industry, and even then, that's an insult to diseases. If you want this industry to grow up, then you shouldn't look at potential racism, sexism, altruism, organism, masochism, etc. to start a controversy over. You should look at yourself first. Are you contributing positively to the hobby? If not, fix your priorities.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mario Kart 8 (Wii U) North American TV Spot

Ever since it was unveiled at Nintendo's special showing at E3 last year, gamers around the globe have been anxiously awaiting the chance to step into a kart or onto a bike and speed through courses full of anti-gravity glory. In seventeen days, their wait will be over with the release of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U. In the meantime, check out this commercial which will be airing on televisions across North America leading up to and after the launch of the game.

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - In the Wee Morning Hours Edition

Sneaking into SuperPhillip Central like a snake through the tall grass, our weekly segment of video game music favorites arrives in the early morning hours to start your week. This week we have music from Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, Valkyrie Profile, and Dragon Quest V! If for some reason you feel the symptoms of VGM withdrawal while you wait for next week (symptoms include missing the VGM segment and missing the VGM segment again), check out our complete selection of VGM faves with our updated database.

v621. Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (PS2) - First Flight

In North America alone, Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War met fantastic financial success, selling over 1 million units. That makes the fifth installment of the Ace Combat series one of the highest-selling entries in the franchise to this day. While most of the music within missions was orchestral, such as this piece, arcade mode featured a rock-centric set of songs.

v622. Valkyrie Profile (PS1) - Fighting the Shadowy Gods

The battle theme of Valkyrie Profile, Fighting the Shadowy Gods gets the player pumped and primed for battle. While we did very much enjoy what Motoi Sakuraba offered with his soundtrack for Valkyrie Profile, we're still rather fond of his Star Ocean: The Second Story tracks a bit more.

v623. Dragon Quest V (SNES) - Violent Enemies ~ Almighty Boss Devil is Challenged

Dragon Quest has never been as prominent of a franchise in the West compared to Final Fantasy. However, it's a different story in Japan. A fair amount of entries in the Dragon Quest series never made it over the Pacific. It wasn't until the remakes for the DS that IV, V, and VI were legally playable for RPG fans. This selected composition from Dragon Quest V contains both the regular battle and boss themes.

v624. Power Stone (DC) - Manches Stage (Jack)

One of us on the staff recently got back into the SEGA Dreamcast cult-classic Power Stone, albeit on the PSP with the Power Stone Collection. Seeing as Capcom is now heavily focused on franchises like Resident Evil, Street Fighter, and Lost Planet, to name a few, we don't hold much hope to ever seeing Power Stone get placed in the public eye for a loooooong time, if ever.

v625. New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) - Volcano

The New Super Mario Bros. series gets a lot of flak from gamers, particularly longtime Nintendo fans. Then again, a large portion of those people whine about everything anyhow. Nonetheless, one of the greatest disappointments with the NSMB line of games is the music. It's by no means awful, but the constant "bah, bah" sound effects and otherwise poor instrumentation make for a combination that is less than amazing. Perhaps if New Super Mario Bros. 2 and New Super Mario Bros. U also didn't share the same exact music, we, along with our fellow gamers, wouldn't be so up in arms over the music. Regardless, the volcano theme that originated in NSMB Wii gives a foreboding feeling with its powerful chord progression.