Well, if you haven’t noticed I’ve kind of taken a break from the blog. It’s summer, and thus, life happens. Life also ends, and sometimes horribly – like in the case of zombie attacks. There was one game this year at E3that, while I’m not so sold on it yet, definitely intrigued me with the new hardware and interactivity. Ubisoft and Nintendo have teamed up to bring a zombie survival game that tests the boundaries of interactivity and brings a whole new perspective to the experience. The game will infect you and keep you on your toes as you try your best to survive in the upcoming: ZombiU.
The London Olympics – just prep for this?!
I’ve looked over countless interviews, stories, and information trying to compile something wonderful for you all. Consider it your survival inventory as you get ready to tackle the newest adventure from Ubisoft. I’ve looked over previews and interviews and here’s what I’ve learned so far about ZombiU, and what I think about it’s accessibility so far:
ZombiU seems to be a survival-horror game set in London in late 2012. I have to admit that I like the new environment vibe for this game.
ZombiU seems to require the use of both hands to do many of the actions required for the game. A difficulty for motion-impaired gamers.
ZombiU seems to have everything you’ll need to use incorporated within the Wii U controller: inventory, body scanners, etc.
The one touch controls of these functions definitely gives the game a plus in this regard. It seems easy, and provides accessible movements.
The touch screen seems like it may cause some struggles with colorblind gamers. The scanner is very bright with monotone blue tones.
There are moments within the game that the scanner gets disrupted. This will be extremely frustrating for deaf gamers due to loss of radar.
Gamers with heart conditions or other medical conditions that may be triggered by unexpected moments of fear may want to avoid this game.
The game is very dark and unpredicatable, which may make the game difficult for visually impaired gamers.
The game starts you off playing as a random citizen thrust headlong into surviving in this apocalyptic London environment. You’ll have to keep on your toes, keep your inventory up to date, and prepare for anything! The most innovative function I find that ZombiU carries is that Ubisoft incorporated a twist to gameplay I haven’t seen in past zombie games. If you die within the game there are NO save points. This means that the game is meant to be played through seamlessly, as though you are truly a survivor of the apocalypse. If you die, don’t worry though, you’ll be brought back as a brand new survivor. You WILL lose any inventory or upgrades you earned as your first survivor, but hold on – there’s a catch.
Don’t think that all is lost – [ even if that zombie is eating your brains like a bowl of oatmeal… ]
God Save The Queen – and EVERYONE ELSE!
You may come back as a new survivor, but if you FIND your old survivor body and kill the now-zombified former you, you’ll acquire ALL of the inventory, upgrades, etc. that the former survivor had. The bonus here is that things like doors, or impassable areas you may not have been able to access as a new survivor will already be opened and accessible. This means that each new playthrough will be different and more dynamic than the next. Ubisoft designed the game with surprise of the survival horror genre in mind. These aspects of the game may make the game more difficult for some gamers, but I’m actually excited for this title because of the unexpected design of it.
I want to feel frightened as I play through the London expanse. I want to feel like, no matter what, the gameplay won’t provide a linear similar experience each time. I want to feel that sense of tension around every corner, even if I’ve been around that corner before. I feel like, while the Wii U controller may be cumbersome and challenging, it’s going to aid in providing a brand new sort of survival experience that no one’s ever had before. I may have my concerns in terms of accessibility, but overall this game looks as though it’ll be one of the more adult successes for the Nintendo franchise. I can’t wait to get my hands on this for real and test out my survival skills – but this is shaping up to be a scary good time!
ZombiU is set to release right around the holiday release time of Wii U. So here’s to all of the disembodied fun and hoping we survive our royal induction into the infected world of ZombiUcoming late 2012! Thanks Nintendo for giving me a reason to fear your console with an M rated passion!
Well it’s becoming an age of digital exercise isn’t it? The outdoors has become a scary vortex of something called ‘sunlight’ that burns the skin of nerds everywhere isn’t it? Well have no fear! The superheroes over at Microsoft and Nintendo intend to keep you agoraphobia ridden folks happy and healthy with their newest edition to their exercise video game roster. Microsoft has teamed up with Nike, and Nintendo intends to expand their Wii Fit program. I personally have never been one to think that my video game console could be used as a digital trainer and assistant in my health program, but I think I’m starting to see a trend here. Couch potatoes be damned – the exercise games have come full circle so prepare to get your butts moving instead of your fingers children!
Hey – they’ve got shoes, why not have a game that uses them?
How to start this then, well let’s look at the general use of video games as a participant in our physical activity. It sounds like a neat idea right? I mean, sure, for years I thought the only use for my console was to train my thumb muscles and brain to protect me from zombie attacks. I’m now realizing that with these added games on the market, I might actually be able to work out more than my thumbs. I personally never got into this idea, because I felt like it was just going to be a gimmick sale and that it would pass just as fast as an old high school fad. I was wrong, oh so wrong.
Wii Fit U – so U don’t have to!
So let us begin shall we?
Note: Keep in mind that I’m aware these games may not be suited for many mobility impaired gamers. I’m hoping that by looking into this area of gaming, the industry might look into how to introduce physical therapy and low-intensity exercise programs into these games in later iterations. There are so many exercise games out there: Zumba, Just Dance, Dance Central, Active, etc. I just hope that companies focus on exercise for ALL players and not just activities for MOST players, and with that I move on…
Compete with your friends online. This way you don’t feel self conscious.
Well they did it. Microsoft really impressed me this time. They joined up with one of the biggest juggernauts in workout apparel and content, Nike, and managed to form a game around your personal health. Impressive guys. Impressive. I mean I saw what Microsoft had to offer with Active for Kinect, but I was still on the fence, because it didn’t seem as effective. Well Nike+ just set me straight and I can’t wait to actually get this game for my family [ of course this means I’ll actually have to buy a 360 now. Woo! ] It seems like, in comparison to other games, Nike+ will be a virtual trainer. It will help you keep track of calories, heartbeat, jump height, etc. It will track everything and for folks who are wishing to lose weight, gain a little more muscle mass, etc. can definitely benefit from seeing that rewarding progress tracker. Oh, and if you think that’s cool, you can port the info to your phone – to keep yourself on track on the go [ outside! ] I just ask that developers look at gamers of all kinds. Fat, skinny, mobility impaired, etc. We all need exercise to stay healthy, and we all need ways to participate in doing just that.
Wii Fit U
Well Wii Fit. You’ve been the captain of the ‘in-home’ fitness genre for years now haven’t you? I remember my first experience with the Wii SportsBoxing and how much that used to make me feel like I’d had a real workout by the end of it. Well, with a new console, comes a new rendition of Wii Fit. Introducing Wii Fit U. It seems as though it’s designed as an advanced version of the Wii Fit program, but with some added benefits. What I found that I loved about the Wii Fit U in comparison, was that it allows for mobile activity. What I mean by this is, say a friend wants to come over and watch a movie, but you’ve still got 5 minutes of workout to go. You can port the Wii Fit program from your Wii U to the controller and it’ll display on the screen. This leaves the main TV open for personal use by others. I didn’t see this in the Nike +Kinect Trainer [ but hey XBox Smart Glass might change this. Wink Wink Microsoft! ] The Wii Fit U also comes with a portable pedometer to carry around.
It may not seem like much but that dual screen functionality is going to help!
I’m not sure how much the Nike+“fuel bands‘ cost, but I’m uncertain if one of them comes with Nike+ – Wii Fit U has the edge here.
I will say, I feel like Kinect was more physically accommodating – but Wii Fit U gets the mobile usage edge at the moment. We’ll have to see later.
Overall, I love that game companies want to get us all active. I’m excited to see these games affect our daily lives, but will these drag me away from games like AC III, Watch Dogs, or Black Ops II? Probably not, but I’ll be glad that they’re available for when I want to work out at home! So keep a look out for these – it looks like it’ll be a sweaty holiday season at this rate! Happy gaming folks! Much love to you all!
Well, I’ve done it. I’ve gone through all of the E3 conferences, and right now I’m exhausted by the amount of information and gamer love I have to share with all of you. There’s so much content that I have to cover that I won’t even begin to start detailing them all within ONE post. This would be unfair to developers, publishers, and pretty much anyone in the industry if I rushed detailing all of the highs and lows of this year’s biggest event.
I had some definite moments where I was blown out of my seat, and there were also moments where I was begging for more. I’ll have more reports on all of these games in detail, but for now I’ll give you a run down list of the games that were covered via the conferences and I’ll highlight the ones that shocked and awed me so that you’ll see what I’m looking forward to covering most:
Gears of War: Judgment
Call of Duty: Black Ops II
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Resident Evil 6
EA Sports [ Madden 13, etc.]
XBox Smart Glass
Playstation All-Stars: Battle Royale
God of War: Ascension
Last of Us
Assassin’s Creed III
Assassin’s Creed: Liberation
Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified
Far Cry 3
and other Tech related improvements
Super Mario Bros. U
Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition
Paper Mario: Sticker
Lego City Undercover
Wii Fit U
Assassin’s Creed III
Splinter Cell: Blacklist
Far Cry 3
Just Dance 4
Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth
Dead Space 3
Medal of Honor: Warfighter
Need For Speed: Most Wanted
Other game updates, tech, etc.
I will also be detailing a couple of Tech Talk posts in relation to the new hardware/software properties that some of these companies put out. These posts will be more of my own personal opinion on how I feel these properties will aid/inhibit accessibility, education, etc. within games. They should be taken with a grain of salt seeing as I can currently only judge visually without actually having hands-on experience with them yet.
So – great E3 and I’m excited to talk in depth about a ton of these games and my impressions! Look forward to updates in the coming week. The first game I’ll be talking about is one of Sony’s great new IP’s that blew me out of the water: Beyond, so look forward to that soon!
Hello there folks! Now are you among the vast many people in this world, like myself, who hunger for another Super Smash Bros. game? The type of people who would have ridden their N64’s to the last pixel just to smash a Falcon Punch into Kirby’s face one last time? – Well, then you’re in luck! Today I’ve found a game that provides the love of Super Smash Bros. – with the glory that is Game Boy. Yep. That’s right – Super Smash Land!
Super Smash Land is a wonderful little indie ‘de-make’ of the classic Super Smash Bros. franchise. Now, I’m just going to give you my brief first impressions here, because Super Smash Land is really in almost a beta form at the moment, and it’s available for download via PC only [ Sorry Mac fans – but here’s hoping he’ll make a version for Mac soon! ] The creator, Dan Fornace, really put a ton of love into this title and it’s evident in the design.
8-Bit Super Smash Bros? PINCH ME I'M DREAMING!
The controls are simple [ Arrow Keys for movement, and Z and X are your A and B buttons respectively – while Enter serves as your Start button. ] but I will be the first to say that this control scheme is counter productive for mobility challenged gamers or one handed gamers. You have to be able to move with the arrow keys and hit the attack buttons if you want the same seamless experience like the N64 gave you. I also, unfortunately, found out that some of the signature moves you’re accustomed to don’t work due to design constraints.
Update: I just went to Dan’s forums, and it states that in the file download there’s a Joy2Key in the zip file. This file allows you to use any USB plug controller that you’d like – so I suppose that jumps the accessibility up just slightly. You’re still dealing with complex move sets in a fighting game though and it would still require two hands to play.
So folks who were hoping that Kirby would be able to own everyone by swallowing their powers? Unfortunately it’s not to be – the function only causes Kirby to spit throw you, which isn’t a bad thing at all, just saying if you’re a purist you might be saddened by that fact. I’m sure there are other missing character moves, but come on, the man built this homage to one of the greatest fighting games ever invented. I think we can cut him some slack don’t you?
Let the Battle COMMENCE!
The graphics are ALL 8-bit, and while I love the nostalgia of seeing Super Smash in Gameboy fashion, I’m sure that my colorblind gamers will probably be roaring in agony. The game is the soft green pixelated coloration of a Gameboy and without different color schemes to diversify the tones it can cause problems for colorblind gamers. The music is a joy, and you can even download the full soundtrack if you want to separately from the game download. Sound isn’t really a factor to the accessibility of the game, but it does add to the enjoyment factor – so deaf gamers may be slightly disappointed by the game without sound to accompany the lush retro graphics.
The game includes four playable characters at the start: Mario, Kirby, Link and Pikachu. Now while I have to admit the controls are kind of clunky, and I would love to see a revised version some day, the joy that I get from the fact that there’s an 8-Bit Smash Bros. emulator out there in this world makes me weak in the knees with joy. So – how can you get this game? Well, you can go to:
Here you can download the Windows 1.1 Version. Fornace has talked about making a Mac version though as he continues to develop updates for the game. One vital note here is that it is a ZIP file, so you’ll need to make sure to UNZIP the file in order to access the game properly. If you don’t you’ll end up getting an error message after the Game Boy emulator screen shows up. Other than that the game includes a LOT for a free to play version of a classic game made even more classic:
Online High Scores
Tower of Heaven
The game looks awesome and feels nostalgic, and while I would definitely like better controls and perhaps a color version to break up the green blob of pixelated goodness, it’s definitely one of those games you have to try at least once. If you have any trouble with the download, let me know and I’ll try and figure out why it’s going wonky. I know I personally got the Error messages the first time, until I checked Fornace’s forums for advice. So – NO this is not an April Fool’s joke. This game is real. Please go check it out, because it’s something that I would love to see promoted to a mass stage.
Who knows? Perhaps he’ll make a mobile Android and iOS version and then we’ll be able to play it from our phones and tablets. Here’s looking at you Dan Fornace! I wish you the best of luck and success in future gaming endeavors and I look forward to seeing what you have to offer in future installments of Super Smash Land! I also want to give a shout to fellow game bloggers over at Power Cords for introducing the game to me. You guys are awesome. Thank you for keeping me in the loop on a really cool indie discovery.
Oh and one more thing: If you’re still in the mood for Smash Bros. nostalgia when you leave here I suggest taking a look over at my fellow blogger Sam Whelan’s blog. He’s got a really cool segment called Timelapse Tuesday over there and currently he’s been running a poll for which Super Smash Bros. character he should draw. Check out his version of Pikachu!
So, yes, go forth my minions! Play as you will! The Smash is calling you!