It seems that Nintendo has really come back into the mainstream since the launch of the wildly successful handheld-console-hybrid gaming system the Nintendo Switch, and the revenue flow directly to Nintendo’s pockets doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
To put this into perspective, in terms of cumulative console shipments for the first three years of a system’s lifespan, the last high-grossing gaming console Nintendo released was the Nintendo Wii back in 2006, with the most recent highest-grossing gaming handheld Nintendo released was the Nintendo DS just two years prior. While the Nintendo 3DS, a successor the the DSi and DS line of handhelds, has seen success, it didn’t ship nearly as many units in the first three years as the DS.
This information is thanks to Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX on Twitter), Senior Analyst at Niko Partners, and his constant coverage of the global video game markets.
Additionally, while there were many successes for Nintendo since the release of the DS, one console that has left a stain on many financial records is the rather disastrous launch of the Nintendo Wii U. While many of those who did indeed purchase the system fell in love with it, others left it on the shelf to collect dust or resold it to recoup some of the money they spent on it. The poor marketing and poor name choice for the system caused extremely low sales numbers, and thus taking it nearly three years to reach the amount of units shipped that the DS, 3DS, Wii, and Switch all managed to do within a year or less. In fact, in that same time frame of 36 months, the Nintendo Switch has actually managed to sell nearly four times as many units as the Wii U, at a grandiose total of 52.48 MILLION units shipped worldwide.
It seems that with the success of the Switch comes the death of the 3DS with a drop of roughly 70-73% sales, despite Nintendo constantly claiming that the Switch is “not a replacement” for the 3DS, which is a similar tactic that was used with the Nintendo DS “not being a replacement” for the then-current-generation handheld, the Gameboy Advance.
The internet has been taken by storm over the newly released, Pokémon-Inspired MMO called Temtem (stylized temtem as seen above). It’s the the massively multiplayer online version of GameFreak’s Pokémon that fans have been asking for for years.
Unfortunately, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the first day of this massive online game made by a small team.
On day one, so many players flocked to the game that it was forced to generate long queues for players to wait in, reaching the thousands.
Not only were there extremely long wait times, but there were a great deal of bugs ranging from stuttering to black screens to players suddenly losing their creatures (called “tems”).
Now, this isn’t to say that the game is unplayable; far from it. The team was constantly working on the game with patches and hotfixes, all while maintaining a sense of humor.
It should be noted that Temtem is still in Steam’s Early Access program, and is only in the 0.5 zone of updates, so various bugs and crashes should be expected, but this is not to say that Temtem will be riddled with them. Rather, that statement is to remind consumers that games that aren’t in a release-canidant version (i.e. Version 1.0) shouldn’t be necessarily talked about as a finished product.
Regardless, despite these many speedbumps, it seems that Temtem and the developers behind it have a long and fruitfull future.
Michal Nowakowski, a member of Board of Directors for CD PROJEKT RED and Vice President of Business Development, was asked by one of the investors present for the call whether or not the multiplayer component of the game, to which Nowakowski replied with “unlikely.”
To elaborate, Nowakowski discuss how the team is working hard on making sure that Cyberpunk 2077 meets its new September 2020 release date, and explains that the multiplayer was made “concurrently” with the main game.
Another question asked by an investor was whether or not CD PROJEKT RED needed to hire additional developers or create a new team, to which Nowakowski replies by saying that the development team is already doing a good job, and they do not see the need of hiring additional developers at this time.
Other investors asked similar questions about the delay of Cyberpunk 2077, the multiplayer, and how this compares with how The Witcher III, another title developed by CD PROJEKT RED, was needed to be delayed. To all of these, Nowakowski retorts saying that CD PROJEKT RED was confident with their current development team.
There were questions raised about the nature of the delay regarding if it were related to confidence, technical, or design issues, which the answer to these were that the main components are done, but it is just that the game is “highly complex” and they want to make sure that the game is absolutely ready to go gold.
With the current political climate across the planet, whether it’s the resurregence of alt-right ideologies, tyrannical leaders dismantling their governments, or the constant threat of extreme weather, one may deem it impossible, or possibly just rather difficult, to find ways that allow them to turn off the outside world and enjoy the simplier aspects of life.
Enter: A Short Hike.
Developed by Adam Robinson-Yu from Toronto Canada and released to Humble Monthly (now called Humble Choice) subscribers on April 5th, 2019, and then Steam and Itch.io on July 30th, 2019, A Short Hike is about a young bird who is taken on a trip to an island by a friend to help relax and get away from the big city.
Upon booting up the game, you’re greated to a calm, dark (in terms of lighting) main menu. There’s only one image above the menu options: a car driving on an empty highway with minimul street lamps. Just looking at this screen brings a sense of relaxation and tranquility. Selecting the option to start a new game seemlessly transitions you from a menu to a cutscene wherein we are introduced to our protagonist Claire, but only through text.
It’s also during these moments when the game offers a taste of its artstyle.
If there was to be only one way of describing the look and feel of A Short Hike’s art, it would be to compare it to Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS. Now, comparing this game to something released on the Nintendo DS is not an insult, far from it, but rather it’s to help illustrate how comforting or nostalgic this artstyle is for someone who grew up with that system.
Of course, since A Short Hike was made with a present-day game engine and designed to run on current computers, it will look better, the general esthetic is still present.
There are more aspects to A Short Hike’s overall design that go far beyond just a uniformed artstyle. It can be argued that atmoshpere is tied directly to artstyle, and, while that may be true, it is also tied to sound design which, thankfully for the game’s sake, holds up gorgeously.
Many in the sound world agree that the most important aspect of designing the “soundtrack” (music, effects, dialogue, etc) of a project, whether that project be a film, video, or game, the net result should be that the end consumer does not notice it. To elaborate, that does not mean that the sound of footsteps or the melody of the music should go unheard, but rather it means that the person consuming those sounds does so subconciously, as if it were the sounds in the real world. The average person tends to only notice something regarding sound design when it goes horribly wrong, but that doesn’t happen with A Short Hike.
All of the effects, music, and “dialogue,” which is less voice actors speaking into a microphone and moreso murmurs that seem generated by a tool, much in the same way how the villagers in Animal Crossing “speak” during dialogue, all come together to help sell the world the game is set in.
The music is especially noteworthy. It’s increadibly clear that Mark Sparling did an outstanding job with composing the songs that are played throughout the journey. There’s something about the arrangement of the melody, the tone of the notes, and the tempo of it all that can help soothe even the most anxious of souls.
Then, there are the sound effects.
The pitter patter of footsteps when walking on stones.
The suddle whirl of the wind.
The sharp cut of the shovel when digging for treasure.
All of these elements of the sound design help tickle that part of the brain that continues to be tricked into believing that you are in this world. You forget that your holding a controller even though you continue to press buttons on rotate the control stick.
Controlling the character has become second nature, almost instinctual, at this point.
And it all helps to sell the atmosphere of the game.
It’s been stating before that A Short Hike is increadibly soothing with the grand design of the game presenting a nice challenge a times, but not so challenging as to frustrate the player.
Writer’s Note: I’m going to break my rule about using the first person in articles and papers to let you know that I have an insanely difficult time describing emotions and feelings. In order to prevent the endless repeating of the thoughts that will happen if I continue like this, I’m instead going to link you to some content creators who illustrate my point about the game.
Of course, A Short Hike does indeed have gameplay, and rather satisfying gameplay at that.
The number one thing you will be doing is exploring the island. There are paths that lead to all sorts of sights including a lighthouse, dense forests, a fishing lodge, abandonded buildings, and even the peak of the mountian. As you explore, there will be characters to interact with, all of which have their own personalities and goals and dreams. Some of these characters will give you items or quests that will net you a reward when completed.
The main collectible of the game, outside of money, shells, and fish, which you have to fish for, obviously, is the collection of Golden Feathers. Golden Feathers act as a form of a stamina bar, except instead of limiting how long you can run, it limits how many times you can flap your wings to gain height or how long you can climb up walls. Some of these feathers can be bought by NPCs, given as rewards for side quests, or, more frequently, found throughout the game world.
To be quite honest, there’s not much more to be said about the gameplay outside of the first couple of paragraphs even though the gameplay it does have is still satisfying, as stated earlier. A Short Hike is less so something that you play solely for the gameplay, but rather something that you sit down, grab a friend, and maybe some tea, and experience, and that may just turn quite a few people away who require that their games have gameplay that is either just as or more than captivating than the story and design.
If there must be a numerical score given to this game… It would be an 8 out of 10 with the scale being as such:
10 – Masterpiece 9 – Amazing 8 – Great 7 – Good 6 – Above Average
5 – Average 4 – Lackluster 3 – Bad 2 – Horrendous 1 – Literally Unplayable
A Short Hike deserves all the praise it gets, but there are those who might find it boring from a gameplay perspective, and those criticisms are valid. However, when sitting down to play A Short Hike, think of it not as the next best thing in gaming, but rather a theraputic experience much like playing Animal Crossing.
Writer’s Note: This announcement was made well over a week ago on the 9th of January, but the current news is all rumours. Personally, the coverage of rumours is boring and perpetuates uncontrolled hype for things that may not happen, so I shall be writing about these expansions without getting too deep into the perpetual controversies these games seem to be in.
As a quick recap, Pokémon: Sword Version and Pokémon: Shield Versionare the latest in a 20-year-old gaming franchise created by GameFreak. The game is set a new region based on the United Kingdom called the Galar Region. Historically, each “generation” of Pokémon games have seen either a third “complete” version being released (i.e. Pokémon: Ruby Version and Pokémon: Sapphire Version getting a third version called Pokémon: Emerald Version), or, more recently, pseudo-sequels (i.e. Pokémon: Sun Version and Pokémon: Moon Version getting new versions called Pokémon: Ultrasun Version and Pokémon: Ultramoon Version).
During a recent Pokémon Direct, Junichi Masuda, producer of Pokémon: Sword Version and Pokémon: Shield Version at GameFreak, and Shigeru Ohmori, director of the aforementioned games at the same company, revealed that the latest games would not be receiving a third version or pseudo-sequels, but rather an expansion to each version with their own, unique Pokémon.
They also revealed that a free update was set to release the same day that would bring additional Pokémon to the games that were originally cut from the initial release.
These expansion passes will introduce new characters, Pokémon, and areas for the player to meet, catch, and explore respectively.
New Pokémon to Catch!
As mentioned previously, new Pokémon will be obtainable in these new areas such as Kubfu and Calyrex. Here are the Pokédex entries for the Kubfu lines and Calyrex:
Kubfu will appear in The Isle of Armor. This Pokémon is hardworking and strives to train both its body and mind. It uses each defeat as motivation, training itself with even more vigor after a loss in order to grow stronger. It has an organ that produces “fighting energy” in its lower abdomen, and before heading into battle, Kubfu will increase this energy through unique breathing techniques and intense focus. Wild Kubfu live in mountainous areas far away from the Galar region, but it was once a species that called Galar its home. It’s noted in historical texts that this species used to head to uncharted lands with people as they set out to trade or explore. Records suggest that the Kubfu living in faraway mountains today may have descended from Kubfu that became naturalized to the distant lands they visited in their journeys.
Kubfu will evolve into Urshifu after it has undergone sufficient training. It seems that Urshifu has two forms—a Single Strike Style and a Rapid Strike Style—and it appears that each form has different types as well. Urshifu in Single Strike Style form favor battling without holding anything back. When enraged, they will mercilessly attack an opponent until it is utterly defeated. A Single Strike Style Urshifu’s movements are often direct and involve rushing forward in a straight line. It will keep its distance from its opponents at first only to leap in close instantly to deliver a powerful blow. Urshifu in Rapid Strike Style form maintain a calm demeanor, observing their opponents and measuring their strength while dodging attacks. A Rapid Strike Style Urshifu will use flowing movements in battle to smoothly parry an opponent’s moves and then overwhelm the opponent with a flurry of rapid strikes.
Single Strike Style Urshifu and Rapid Strike Style Urshifu also have Gigantamax forms. Gigantamax Single Strike Style Urshifu looks ready to bellow in fury. People call it both “the very embodiment of rage” and “a divine emissary that banishes evil spirits with its fury.” Gigantamax Rapid Strike Style Urshifu will quietly maintain its stance with a calm expression. When facing this Pokémon, it seems some will become greatly agitated, feeling as if the very depths of their soul have been exposed. Yet others report feeling a sense of relief, as if they’d been cleansed of evil spirits.
Calyrex Category: King Pokémon Type: Psychic/Grass Height: 3’7″ Weight: 17 lbs. Ability: Unnerve
Trainers will encounter Calyrex in The Crown Tundra. This Pokémon ruled all of Galar in ancient times. Though it appears delicate and slight, its every move is filled with grace and dignity. It also has extremely high intelligence, and it’s said to see every past, present, and future event.
Galarian Slowpoke Category: Dopey Pokémon Type: Psychic Height: 3’11” Weight: 79.4 lbs. Ability: Gluttony / Own Tempo
The Slowpoke of the Galar region used to eat the seeds of a certain plant that grew in their habitat. These seeds were in fact Galarica seeds, used to this day as an essential spice for cooking in the Galar region. The Slowpoke in Galar built up particles of this spice in their bodies over several generations, eventually gaining the unique appearance and behavior they are known for today. Galarian Slowpoke spend their days wallowing on seashores and riverbanks without thinking about anything in particular. Occasionally, they might get a very sharp look in their eyes, but they will soon revert to their zoned-out expression. It’s thought that this behavior is caused by the accumulated Galarica particles stimulating Galarian Slowpoke’s brain, resulting in it thinking of something tremendous—only for the Galarian Slowpoke to immediately forget what it had just thought of. Galarian Slowpoke can evolve into Galarian Slowbro if a specific item that can be found on the Isle of Armor is used. It can evolve into Galarian Slowking instead if a specific item that can be found in the Crown Tundra is used.
The Starters Get Gigantamax Forms!
In addition to the new Pokémon, the starters of Pokémon: Sword Version and Pokémon: Shield Version will be getting Gigantamax forms.
With these new forms, come new Pokédex entries, which are as follows:
Gigantamax Cinderace Category: Striker Pokémon Type: Fire Height: 88’7″+ Weight: ??? lbs. Ability: Blaze
The burning ball at Cinderace’s feet has grown to massive proportions thanks to Gigantamax energy. If Gigantamax Cinderace kicks the ball using its well-honed techniques, its fighting spirit will possess the ball and cause the ball to pursue opponents as if it had a mind of its own. Gigantamax Cinderace boasts incredible leg strength–in fact, its legs are said to rank among the strongest of all Pokémon. Even without its gigantic Pyro Ball, it can deliver powerful kicking moves that overwhelm other Dynamax Pokémon.
Gigantamax Inteleon Category: Secret Agent Pokémon Type: Water Height: 131’3″+ Weight: ??? lbs. Ability: Torrent
Inteleon has gained an extremely long tail thanks to Gigantamaxing. The tail’s length is said to be over 130 feet. While Gigantamaxed, Inteleon will stretch its long tail out and hold it straight to form a pillar, and Inteleon will take up a battle position at the top. This Pokémon has an incredibly sharp mind and calculates the precise effects that gravity will have on the trajectory of its shots, enabling it to be an extremely effective sniper. Inteleon has many hidden tools within its body, and these have also been enhanced due to its Gigantamaxing. The nictitating membranes on its eyes not only allow it to measure the distance to the target—they now let Inteleon detect temperature, air pressure, and even humidity. Inteleon is a skilled sniper as well—easily hitting a Berry that’s rolling around over nine miles away.
Rillaboom’s tree-stump drum has grown rapidly—to the point that it now resembles a small forest on its own. Gigantamax Rillaboom has merged with this forest of drums and become even more powerful. It can control its sticks as if they were its own limbs and will demonstrate transcendental drumming techniques. Gigantamax Rillaboom will focus completely on playing its drums, compelled by the power welling up inside it. The sound can reach across oceans and be heard by those living in other regions. It’s said that those who hear the beat will begin to dance uncontrollably, overwhelmed by a rhythm that surges from inside them.
New Characters and New Outfits!
One of the many features of Pokémon: Sword Version and Pokémon Shield Version is the ability to customize your player character’s outfit by going to the many different clothing shops throughout the region. While this isn’t a new feature to the Pokémon series, with the ability to customize your player character’s skin tone, hair color, and clothing first appeared in Pokémon: X Version and Pokémon: Y Version, it has since been greatly expanded upon.
Not only are there new outfits to get at Isle of Armor, but there are also new clothes one can purchase in the Galar Region proper.
These are all excellent, themetic gear to be added into the games, along with the new outfits that allow one to dress up their character like Marnie or Chairman Rose. There will be even more different clothing options to choose from, over one hundred in fact.
New Items and Returning Features!
It was also revealed that there will be brand new items that players can find in the Isle of Armor and Crown Tundra, and even the return of tutor moves that have never been available in previous mainline Pokémon games.
Overall, it appears that what gamers got with Pokémon: Sword Version and Pokémon: Shield Version was only the tip of the content iceburg, especially if what was revealed with the Pokémon Direct was anything to go off of. You can preorder the Expansion Passes for Pokémon: Sword Version and Pokémon: Shield Version now, and they will release in June of this year.
Editorial Note: If it wasn’t already obvious or assumed, the Pokédex entries were not written by me, but rather taken from the publicly available presskits anyone can access. Also, just to cover my bases, the art and screenshots also came from the same presskit. If you thought I wrote those ‘dex entries…. God help you.
For those who have been following the game since it’s first teaser trailer, you might be dissappointed to hear that CD PROJEKT RED’S latest game “Cyberpunk 2077” has been delayed from its original April 2020 release date to September 17, 2020.
This announcement goes on to explain that while “the game is complete and playable” there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done. CD PROJEKT RED goes on to stat that “Night City is massive (…), but due to the sheer scale and complexity (…), we need more time to finish playtesting, finishing and polishing.”
The response to this announcement has been rather mixed to say the least, with replies ranging from open support, to ridicule, to confusion. Needless to say, “crunch” (the period of game development wherein a large amount of work is done shortly before a game’s release) is viewed by most consumers as an unnecessary part of game development, however, there are still some gamers who would rather a game come out on the first release date stated.
Regardless of the delay, Cyberpunk 2077 will most likely still sell a large amount of units, if CD PROJEKT RED’s past releases are anything to go by.
Note: This post was made as a requirement of my COMM 2328 course. It’s highly possible that you will be seeing more news articles being written on this website.
I’m so glad you asked! About a month ago, I was introduced to a new video sharing service called Vlare. The best way to describe it is it’s like YouTube before a ton of dumb changes. It still has a modern feel to it, but there are a lot of aspects of it that remind me of how YouTube used to be when I was in junior high school. In fact, I was so intrigued by it that I decided to make my own channel for it.
Vlare: Old YouTube in the Modern Day
You can really see the similarities in the amount of freedom people can have over their channel’s design. Above is how my channel is currently designed, with the color pallete being various shades, tints, and mixes of blue and green. While not entirely the same layout as the way YouTube channels used to have before they all became what’s used today.
The uploader is virtually the same as on YouTube, and there’s really no reason for it to be any different. The only change is that it fits Vlare’s modern, module design esthetic with the only down side being that you cannot set multiple videos to upload all at once, but I can learn to live with that.
Additionally, when you go to leave a comment, you’ll see the option to leave a video response. Those who have been on the platform the longest will remember this function that was quietly dropped at one point or another.
While I personally didn’t use the feature that much, especially since I was A) 11-12 at the time and B) wasn’t well-versed in how to navigate YouTube’s features at the time. However, looking back, I do think it was a neat function that could aid in bringing a community closer together, which is why I’m rather excited to see that Vlare incorporated a similar feature in their comment sections.
What does this mean for the YouTube Channel?
Well, to be perfectly honest, nothing. The YouTube channel will continue to have videos uploaded to it, but, in addition to that content, I’ll be uploading exclusive Let’s Plays to my Vlare channel. In fact, by the time this post releases, the first episode of my Let’s Play of Dark Arena should be live.
I’ll also be using my Vlare channel as a test-bed for various ideas I might have.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Before I close out this post, I just would like to thank the maker’s of the WayBack Machine because without that tool, I most likely would not be able to get screenshots of YouTube from so many years ago. Right now, they’re doing their annual fundraiser to ensure that they can keep both the WayBack Machine and the Internet Archive alive and well. If you would like to donate, you can do so by clicking here or by copying-and-pasting this link: https://archive.org/donate/.
This is going to be a fun time! I’m excited to see what all Vlare has to offer, and what kind of community I might grow on there! Anyways, by the time this comes out, the new year will have started, and with it will come new challenges and new oppurtunities!
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