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[Victoria, BC] Gotta what? Gottacon Pre-Registration is Open for 2014!

Gottacon Logo

Practically five years in the making, Gottacon is making the leap to become a fully realized convention for gamers and the public alike. This event will now take place at the Victoria Conference Center, running from February 28th to March 2 and pre-registration is open.

This event is for the gamer in us all. People can sign up to play in cards tournaments like Magic the Gathering, miniature battles with Game Workshop’s Warhammer or video games à la Starcraft. The fees pay for the rental of the hall space and prizes. But there are free games to try out too. Whether that is with board games like CLUE, role-playing in the fantastic realms of Dungeons and Dragons, this show has it all. This news is particularly exciting for the local gaming community and this author has seen this event grow from its humble beginnings (behind the scenes and in front of) by simply catering to the dedicated gamer crowd than to make it a side-show attraction.

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The Bard vs Next Generation Gaming

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“To PS4 or not to Xbox, that is the question:
Whether ’tis better, another console in mind —
Nay a Nintendo. Forsooth a PC?
All be it in gravitas for what
Divine Janus may offer in the New Year.”

— Ed “The Vintage Tempest” Sum

 
Sony’s PS4 has some impressive specs and interesting features like using an iPad for a second screen, but that’s not enough to convince me to own a unit yet. The Xbox One has an improved Kinect but that’s not a huge selling point. The videos of various games demos for both look great in high-def, but the list of games available during launch week are scant. They are not as wide and varied as I hoped.

The current line of exclusives are not all that interesting, and there will no doubt be some hardware and software kinks that need to be ironed out. There were reports over the weekend about the PS4’s ‘blue light of death,’ an analogy that brings to mind Microsoft’s infamous ‘red ring of death’ back when the Xbox 360 released. At least .4% of the people who bought the system were affected. I suspect the figure is larger but when considering the number of units that flew off the shelves in stores on launch day. That is not a good start. Read the rest of this entry

Looking to 3D Gaming’s Future: Use Augmented Reality! Part Two

Augmented Reality (AR) may have come of age with its implementation in Pedigree Books coming line-up of comic book annuals for 2013. Readers can access new content and activities through their smartphone or tablet. Now the big question is will it catch on? The money is currently with this company’s acquirement of video game licenses Angry Birds, Angry Birds Star Wars and Sonic the Hedgehog. Hopefully, players will be able to toss virtual birds around and have them bounce off walls and ceilings of the real world with pool-table geometry just to knock some pigs around.

In video games, the use of AR has been a complete novelty. With games like Face Raiders on the Nintendo 3DS, Wonderbook: Book of Spells on the PS3 and Skylanders on the Wii, the limitation is what programmers are realizing with AR. And depending on who you talk to in the entertainment industry, the application varies from talking to an imaginary figure to manipulating graphic displays a la Iron Man. Read the rest of this entry

3D Gaming is Not Dead. It Just Needs to be Reinvented – Part One

Too many naysayers and analysts are saying that 3D is dead. Even within the video game industry, folks are saying that 3D gaming is headed towards the way of the dodo. But in what these people and manufacturers are not telling the consumer is that the hardware will always be around. Sony revealed that the option will exist in all their new televisions, and other companies may well follow suit. While 3D is no longer the rage, customers are getting the technology whether they like it or not.

Sadly, if the technology was not rushed out the door when the craze was at its height, then maybe time could have been spent to make the 3D work right, especially for gaming. The problems often addressed has been considered and glasses free 3D viewing is developed. The problem is that it has not arrived in North America in force. In Japan, Toshiba’s Regza line of 3D displays are available for purchase and development into this technology is ongoing. The only unfortunate problem is that nobody really cares these days. Read the rest of this entry

BioShock Infinite: A Story That’s Crushed Beneath Its Own Ambition

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May I play the devil’s advocate without being torn a new one? BioShock Infinite is a good game. With an almost unbelievably beautiful setting, stellar music and voice acting, and solid gameplay similar to its predecessors, 2K Games’ success was a foregone conclusion. Is it a truly great game? Not in my opinion.

If it seems weird that I’m writing a critical of a game that, in the end, I heartily enjoyed, take a trip over to Metacritic. BioShock Infinite currently stands as one of the most highly rated games of the generation. And — superficially — it deserves all those accolades. Let me discuss first what I loved about it. Read the rest of this entry

PlayStation ViTalk – Activision’s Blunder Can be Gameloft’s Gain

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Hey JTM Nation, I wanted to introduce another new series of articles that I’ll be writing called PlayStation ViTalk, where I’ll be discussing/musing about all things PS Vita. This may include editorials, reviews, or just personal thoughts on what’s happening and what should/could happen to Sony’s portable beast.

Anyway, let’s start the first PlayStation ViTalk by getting that elephant out in the open. The PS Vita does NOT have any good first person shooters worth purchasing. Don’t believe me? Download the Resistance: Burning Skies demo or scour the internet for Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified reviews, then get back to me.

Go on, I can wait. Read the rest of this entry

The Worrying Wii U

My worries are not so much about the Wii U as they are brought about by the Wii U.

You may have heard that the Wii U launched last week. I have to admit to being a bit baffled by the thing. I want to believe that the Wii U is yet another notch in Nintendo’s creative belt and not what I fear: a lazy, opportunistic cash grab. As it stands the Wii U has me puzzled.

I see its appeal; a new Nintendo console means a slew of new first-party Nintendo games: The Legend of Zelda, Mario Galaxy (U-niverse, maybe?), Metroid, etc… will surely be released over the next few years to stellar reviews. (And just might even be enough to convince me to buy the damn thing.) Let’s flashback to 2006: the Wii launched and everyone and their mother could see its appeal. In fact, it’s precisely because everyone’s mother — and father, and uncle, and grandma, and little brother — saw its appeal that it became such a mind-boggling success.

Read on after the break.

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Editorial: Why PlayStation Vita Owners Should Use The Nico Nico App

“So what’s Nico Nico anyway?”

If you’re one of those people (like myself) who look forward to PlayStation Network’s Tuesday releases, you were probably thinking the same thing as you downloaded the new Nico Nico app to your PlayStation Vita. Here I was eagerly awaiting a Crackle, and/or a Dailymotion app, yet what I got was this video sharing social service that’s definitely got “JAPAN” stamped on it.

Nico Nico (or N² for short) is a social video network service, like Youtube, that allows users to share their own videos, follow other creators, and comment on videos uploaded to the service. In its native Japan, Nico Nico is one of the most popular and most-visited websites and is used by celebrities, game companies, and businesses to promote their products to the Japanese netizens.

What I’ve noticed with this app is that it’s a great video sharing app for gamers and Otaku (people addicted to Japanese anime) because many of the most popular video producers on Nico Nico cater to those tastes. This includes J-pop, JRPG’s, anime clubs, K-Pop, and other fan-driven videos. Read the rest of this entry

Finding Relationship Stability – in Borderlands

Two years ago, I made the decision to move to another city to study video game design.  It meant leaving behind my  long-time boyfriend while I delved into art and game engines and yelled at my computer for the next 48 months. For a while, there was talk over whether he would make the journey with me, but in the end, cheaper rent, his own, stable employment and the idea we would likely have to uproot to yet another part of Canada or even the US after graduating cemented the fact that we were temporarily no longer going to be a same-city couple.

Becoming long-distance shifted our partnership to a strange place mirroring the beginning of a relationship. Visits turned us from semi-functional adults to artificially well-behaved individuals, eager to please. Our world was a rosy haze of bonding hormones.  We were in a limbo of first dates, and that disturbed both of us. The lack of the existence of a comfortable ordinary together became a nagging reminder of our distance.

Fortunately, there was one thing  we could still do together that managed to remain typical and that was play Borderlands.  Here, we found our “normal” again,  running through caves and deserts, blasting the heads off our enemies. We cavorted, we competed, we encouraged each other, and we picked up a lot of guns. Read the rest of this entry

Emotion and Mass Effect

So much ire has been targeted at BioWare and Mass Effect 3, despite overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, I feel I need to chime in on something the franchise, including — maybe especially — its latest installment does right: emotion.

You’ve done it a thousand times: take control control of the hero, arm him to the motherfucking teeth, and gun down countless, faceless men. Brutal mass murder can be morally excused as long as the hero shows remorse for A) an innocent, usually a child or helpless female, or B) one of the game’s villains, who becomes a cipher for the hero’s humanity. Human life has been reduced to nothing, or very little, in the context of today’s games.

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