Following the Discontinuation of the NES Classic Edition, Nintendo Sources Say a SNES Classic Edition May Come

Nintendo reportedly will be releasing a micro version of the SNES this Christmas.

Nintendo reportedly will be releasing a micro version of the SNES this Christmas.

Nintendo makes some very bizarre decisions, but this time  their weird choices may  result in some decently pleasant news. According to a Nintendo source via Eurogamer, the company plans on releasing a mini version of the SNES. According to the source, the company is currently developing the system and it should be released by Christmas time this year. This of course is very concerning, as the NES classic edition came out during the same season and that ended up being a horrible marketing decision. It appears that Nintendo is trying to profit from the nostalgia craze these pieces of hardware without factoring in consumer demand. Although never intended to be a permanent product, the NES classic edition sold very well, with Nintendo supposedly extending its sales well past Christmas 2016. It appears Nintendo plans to do the same with its upcoming SNES release.

There is no currently exact date for the release of this SNES mini remake, only that it will be around around Christmas. There is also no mention of how many games will be in this new SNES release and which titles will be made available for the console. Hopefully, Nintendo will learn from its mistakes and actually release a significantly larger production of these consoles rather than bottleneck its Western consumer base. The NES classic prices skyrocketed on sites such as Amazon and Ebay because of this production bottlenecking.

Nintendo Discontinues NES Classic Edition Production A Year After Its Release

Nintendo Continues Its Strange Business Decisions by Ceasing NES Classic Edition Production.

Nintendo Continues Its Strange Business Decisions by Ceasing NES Classic Edition Production.

Nintendo announced last week that it would be halting its production after their last shipment goes out this month. It is unknown why Nintendo decided to pull the plug on its surprisingly popular micro console, especially considering the difficulty in purchasing the console itself. A Nintendo spokesperson spoke with IGN regarding the decision to pull the plug on the NES Classic Edition:

Throughout April, NOA territories will receive the last shipments of Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition systems for this year. We encourage anyone interested in obtaining this system to check with retail outlets regarding availability. We understand that it has been difficult for many consumers to find a system, and for that we apologize. We have paid close attention to consumer feedback, and we greatly appreciate the incredible level of consumer interest and support for this product.

According to this source, the NES Classic Edition“…wasn’t intended to be an ongoing, long-term product. However, due to high demand, we did add extra shipments to our original plans,” which seems a bit absurd considering that their supposed extra shipments did not help curb the massive demands for the micro console. In fact, prices for the NES classic edition had been kept staggeringly high within third party sellers and the discontinuation of the console resulted in further skyrocketing of prices for it. Nintendo also plans on discontinuing production of its NES Classic Edition controllers.

Interestingly,  Nintendo’s Japanese counterpart to the NES Classic Edition, the Famicon Classic Edition, will also be halting production. However, on the Japanese website provided by Polygon, the following announcement is made:

This product has ended production for now. When production is being resumed, we will tell you on our website.

Considering this, there is no way to know whether production will stop indefinitely or if this is a temporary stop. This decision to stop production of the wildly popular, yet frustratingly difficult to get micro console, only further highlights the string of business decisions that Nintendo has recently made, which can be described, at best, as shady.


Thoughts on Persona 5: A Fantastic Addition to the Persona Series Despite It’s PR Problems

Persona 5 is here and it's fun as hell.

Persona 5 is here and it’s fun as hell.

After years in development and the delays, Persona 5 finally came out last week. Despite the problematic PR issues regarding streaming and sharing the game via YouTube and Twitch, Persona 5 is a fantastic addition to the series, keeping the traditional elements of the previous Persona series while providing a modern spin to the game.

For those unfamiliar with the series, the Persona series often follows a group of teenagers who spend a year together and unlock the powers of their Persona, a manifestation of their alternate psyche/identity, and use these Personas to defeat dark entities called Shadows that exist in depths of corrupted human souls. The series tends to blend societal issues with deeply rooted philosophical questions in its narrative. What makes the series unique as well is the blending of traditional, turn-based combat with a dating sim style gameplay complimenting the RPG elements. Outside of dungeon crawling, the player lives everyday life, going to school, studying, hanging out with friends, and doing various activities such as clubs, part-time jobs, and other interesting everyday things. Persona 5 continues this mechanic, following the protagonist, as he lives under probation after being wrongfully committed a crime and lives out his year with other social outcasts. Their Persona’s reflect their rebellious spirit and use them to change the hearts of evil individuals, calling themselves “The Phantom Thieves”.

The gameplay for Persona 5 is surprisingly enjoyable, despite it following traditional turn based combat, which has lately been seen as a dated mechanic  for more contemporary RPG enthusiasts, as many developers have been adopting a more action RPG oriented combat system (i.e. Final Fantasy XV, The Witcher 3). Atlus ditched the fully drawn anime backgrounds and adopted cell shaded models for the “Real World” elements of the game, rendering all the landscapes instead of relying drawn backgrounds. Character models are now used extensively both inside the Metaverse, which is this game’s Shadow infested world, and the regular over world. The game’s map is not huge, but the very typical quick travel features still exist, allowing players to quickly travel between zones to get their daily activities out of the way in the over world, while allowing them to travel between save zones inside the Metaverse. Despite it’s small map size, Persona 5’s rendition of Shibuya and the neighboring towns is quite immersive, giving players the sense that they are also experiencing every day life with the main character, while the Palaces encountered in the Metaverse tell the story of the evil heart that inhabits the particular palace. The game does a particularly fantastic job at telling its story not just with the main cast, but also through the environment that the cast exists in. Random NPCs will gossip about the current plot points while the dungeons give insight into the twisted or demented mind of the individual that the Phantom Thieves must stop. As narrative is an integral piece for the Persona series, it is good to see that Atlus kept its storytelling formula while making the necessary changes to keep the game fresh and relevant to today’s gaming standards. Quick saving is not an option, of course, so the game can prove to be quite the challenge, especially considering that dungeon crawling could mean death if players aren’t careful with their party and persona line up. This added challenge definitely brings back the nostalgic feeling of difficulty found on more traditional RPG titles.

The great story telling experienced is at times interrupted by its confusing American voice acting. Although the voice actors themselves do an often solid performance to present the story, often times we’re met with translation mix up and inconsistencies with pronunciation that result in a confusing audio narrative story telling experience. Furthermore, controls seem to be somewhat lackluster in Persona 5, mainly in the area involving this game’s implementation of stealth. Similar to Final Fantasy XV’s jumping/interact problem, Persona 5 players will experience instances where instead of attacking an enemy while stealthed, they will inadvertently  either move to another hiding spot, or leave stealth making them completely vulnerable to their target. Of course these mechanical issues with the title are marred by the increasingly problematic issues that Atlus has imposed onto the community at large, with its seemingly unreasonable restrictions to its content creation. Although Atlus has been responsive to certain issues mechanically to their new addition to the Persona series, they have been quiet about the fan criticisms regarding restricting YouTubers and Twitch streamers from sharing their game.

Despite the issues, Persona 5 maintains the solid experience of blending a traditional RPG experience with an entertaining and, at times, thought provoking story telling experience. The darker themes used in this series provides meaningful philosophical questions about identity and purpose while also providing an interesting social commentary on many perceived issues that plague contemporary Japanese society. The gameplay is reminiscent, yet refreshing, and the music is fantastic as usual. Regardless of Atlus’ controversial decisions, Persona 5 is an excellent RPG experience and a fantastic leap into contemporary RPG gaming.

A Week After Its Release, Persona 5’s Streaming/Content Sharing Restrictions Cause Problems

Persona 5's restrictive content sharing has been highlighting the core problem with content sharing in the gaming industry.

Persona 5’s restrictive content sharing has been highlighting the core problem with content sharing in the gaming industry.

A week after release, Persona 5 plays like a fantastic game (we’ll be reviewing it this week), however Atlus’ decision to severely restrict content creator’s capacity to showcase the game via Twitch or YouTube has caused a stir within the community. YouTubers and Twitch streamers have already made it vocal the problem they have with such presumably “draconian” policies Atlus has implemented in their long standing IP, while others have argued that Atlus has all the right to impose restrictions on their content, as per it being their own intellectual property. The heated debated has then resulted into highlighting the issue with the volatility of content creation.

As previously stated, Persona 5 is a great next generation addition to the long standing Persona series, chalk full of story, enjoyable mechanics, and lovely scenery, but Atlus Japan has decided that it does not want its game to be spoiled to the general public via YouTube or Twitch, as stated in their policies towards sharing content from the game. It has even gone as far as the PS4 being imposed a severe restriction on sharing the game, completely blocking recording and screenshotting moments of the game, while the PS4’s native Twitch streaming app has been severely restricted as well, blocking a significant portion of the game. From my experience at launch, this has not stopped many streamers from playing the game, going as far as using the PS4’s screen sharing option to PC and streaming content from the PC mirroring the PS4, or users utilizing capture cards to bypass the PS4’s streaming capabilities. Despite this it was very clear from Atlus that any excess spoiler content will result in a DMCA takedown request.

This of course struck a chord with the YouTube and Twitch community, as many felt that this restrictiveness was a very archaic approach to preventing content creators from sharing their experiences of the game. This is possibly a result of how streaming could be perceived within the Japanese publisher base. From what it appears with Nintendo’s track record and Atlus’ recent decisions, it appears that the generalization that streaming and content sharing of gameplay seems to be stereotyped to be a matter of simply showing gameplay for the sake of showing gameplay, rather than providing meaningful content, as evident of Reggie Fils-Aime’s comments of Twitch back in 2014. In reality, these content creation sites provide an outlet for community fandoms of all sorts, not simply just providing spoilers and gameplay, but also commentary and an open forum for discussions of the game, the game industry itself, and other topics. Sometimes these outlets are a source of comedy on top of gameplay presentation, as many “Let’s Play” YouTubers and Twitch streamers have done.

The idea of streaming and recording gameplay itself is a very fickle thing when it comes to intellectual property rights from publishers and developers. Technically, by law, a publisher has full rights to restrict consumers on how they share their IPs; it’s only at the mercy of the very publishers that YouTube’s gaming scene and Twitch were able to survive as long as they were. However, the narrative of how gaming media is consumed has changed over the years, with Twitch streaming slowly but successfully becoming the new past time for many gamers within the community. There are, of course, members of the same community who feel that the complaints made by content creators is pointless, as the sheer idea of not being able to stream a game bears no consequence to anyone unless it is those who are able to be paid for their content creation. This of course, completely disregards passionate content creators who wish to explore their hobbies and entertain their communities without the benefit of financial security. This problem of course, will continue to permeate within the community until a healthier discussion between the community and distributor is more effectively established, as some Western publishers such as Bethesda have done over the past few years.

Ultimately the law is on the side of the distributor, but the very distributors, publishers, and developers must also face the fact that having the problem that Atlus has had with its fanbase sharing their great works will only cause more problems with their fanbase/consumer base than good.

Dandy Dungeon: Legend of Brave Yamada Tells The Weird Tale of a Struggling Game Developer

Be the best half naked game developer you can be!

Be the best half naked game developer you can be!

Mobile games tend to have a lot of repetitious gameplay and very little in terms of story because, let’s face it, we play these games to kill time. However, sometimes developers will spoil their consumers with time killing games that provide something resembling a story- and then there’s Dandy Dungeon. This game has its typical one hand gameplay and the objective is simple: Guide the hero to the end of each stage by guiding his movements with your finger. However, this game is much more than a simple time killing dungeon crawler, it actually has a cleverly written story that is hilarious.

The story follows a struggling game developer named Yamada who works for a pretty big game publisher. Of course, he despises his job  and everything about his life. So naturally, Yamada decides to work on his own game away from the publishers that were oppressing him. Along his development he falls in love with Maria, his recently moved in next door neighbor. The evil publishers then barge in during Yamada’s burgeoning indie game development and try to ruin it. It is now up to Yamada to make the best game he can and ensure he can win the heart of his neighbor.

Dandy Dungeon: Legend of Brave Yamada completely captures its audience with hilarious dialogue, silly sounding “voice overs” (It sounds more like parsed bits and pieces of Japanese words strung around in a Simlish sounding language), and great chiptunes music. The gameplay is very simple: you crawl dungeons and get gear and you can either upgrade them with materials or sell them for money. There are of course  evolution mechanics that improve the tier of your gear and event dungeons, as with any mobile game. However, the charm in Dandy Dungeon lies in how the game tells its story; it’s not some developers attempt to tell a cheesy, tropey story and call it a “serious narrative”, it’s a game that pokes fun at itself while bringing in bits and pieces of Japanese work culture in the form of a game. The cutscenes provide a humorous narrative of a struggling middle aged gamer who wants nothing more than to create an awesome game, but is constantly halted by his former employers in a most comical manner. His real world conflicts and love interests then manifest themselves into his game, posing as evil bosses and, in the case of his neighbor Maria-chan, a protagonist in distress.

Mechanically, Dandy Dungeon is a dungeon clearing game. In order to play, you simply use your finger to draw a path from the starting point to the next room. You will encounter enemies and traps in your way to the exit, so you have to make use of the items that you pick up along the way to survive. You receive treasures along your path and if you do a “perfect clear”, which is when you’ve secured a path in every tile of the 5×5 floor, you receive additional goodies. Playing through the game will unlock more features such as special dungeons you can find through players on Twitter and as gifts from Yamada’s mother in France. You also receive access to premium dungeons, which offer extremely rare loot at the cost of the game’s premium currency. The in game currency, Rice Balls, seems to be a bit tough to get without buying it, but doing special quests and playing regularly will net you some premium rewards.

Dandy Dungeon: Legend of Brave Yamada is a great way to kill time if you’re looking for simple gameplay and a fun story. It’s unique story and its use of humor combine call for an overall enjoyable experience. The gameplay can definitely be addicting, even if the paywall might be somewhat of a drag. Check out Dandy Dungeon: Legend of Brave Yamada now on iOS and Android.

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