Welcome to Convention Week! We start things off with a subject that has been an annoyance since the very first convention I’ve ever been to: the line to play video games.
Each year, Fan Expo hosts an exclusive period for patrons with a deluxe pass or higher. If you have one, you can get into the show two hours early. As a deluxe pass holder, I use this time to run straight to the Nintendo booth every year. With the way things work out, this is the only time I have to play video games at this show.
Mr. Driller on the PS1 may look cute, but his quest to the bottom is treacherous. As he digs below the surface, he must be mindful of his depleting air supply and falling blocks that can flatten our hero like a pancake. How low can you go?
At long last, the Tetris Effect soundtrack soundtrack is finally seeing the light of day. Limited Run Games gets the honours, releasing the music as part of a 5-LP bundle along with a digital download code. Pre-orders begin on November 22, 2019. You can also invest in a limited edition print of the game with a reversible cover and special gold foil highlights.
Following E3 this year is going to be difficult for me. I’ll be out in London for its entirety and my internet access will be sporadic. Besides, as much as love to devour the hottest in gaming news, I’m not going to put Steff and I’s lives on hold when we could be enjoying everything London has to offer.
Though I’ll be slow to take to the news, here are a few things I’m hoping to see come to fruition at this year’s event!
Classic? Hardly. Panned by critics and gamers for falling well short of their expectations, the PlayStation Classic has failed to find an audience. Even after the price drops and promotions, these mini consoles continue to collect dust on store shelves.
But is the PlayStation Classic truly worth dodging at all costs? Once I saw the console on sale at 75% off its original retail price, I decided to buy one. Figured at that price, it’s at least a functional mini console with a few all-time greats, such as Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid. With greatly-reduced expectations and purchased at a price that won’t break the bank, I skim what it has to offer to see if the unit has any merit.
It’s safe to say that the PlayStation Classic was a bust. Panned by critics and gamers for its questionable game selection, use of the original PlayStation controllers over the Dualshock, sub-par emulation, and the mixing of NTSC and PAL versions of games, the console has already seen at least one dramatic price cut.
Closer to home, Best Buy Canada slashed over 75% off the original retail price, bringing it down to a measly $29.99. Converted to USD, that’s just $22.41! At a price that low, I couldn’t resist.
Hip-Hop Week officially begins on In Third Person! Of course we had to start with the N-O, T-O, R-I, O, U-S!
On August 9th, 1994, Christopher Wallace released “Juicy”, the first single from his forthcoming debut album Ready to Die. The song would peak at #1 on the Billboard charts and is still cited as one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all-time.
Though it may not have been the first time video games and hip-hop connected – and it certainly wouldn’t be the last – the Notorious B.I.G. yelled out what would become the most iconic video game reference in hip-hop, and quite possibly all of music.
“Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis/When I was dead broke man, I couldn’t picture this”
– Notorious B.I.G., “Juicy”
What is it about this line that continues to resonate today? Being associated with an all-time great rap song by an all-time great rapper goes a long way, but I think there’s a bit more to it than that.
In the span of three months, we got Tetris Effect and Tetris 99. The former is a euphoric synesthesia trip, while the latter is the most savage puzzle game ever conceived. At the core, they’re the exact same game.
The Advance Wars series is one that I remember fondly for introducing me to the world of strategy games. When Nintendo first iced the franchise, I was deeply disappointed. But the more I thought about it over the years, the more I was okay with letting it go.
I think the fundamental reason why its sibling franchise Fire Emblem took off but Advance Wars didn’t was that the former was built around characters with names, faces, and a progression from beginning-to-end (assuming they didn’t die). The latter used nameless soldiers and disposable units. After a few iterations, Nintendo hit a wall with what they could do in digital version of Chess, ultimately pushing forward with a gritty tonal shift that failed to appease existing or new players while adding little to the tired tactics that had worn out its welcome.
With time and advents of game design on its side, the creators of Wargroove leveraged the modern design trope of hero units as a means of adding personality and emotional weight to the moment-to-moment tactics without going full-RPG. It may not seem like much, but it makes a tangible difference towards my enjoyment of the game.