Recently, I've been asked to report the work I've been doing on RFGeneration as a possible Conflict of Interest for the company that I work for. This is mainly a precaution to cover myself and the site from any future interest from the company, and to protect the company's reputation. While this process is going on, I've been asked to cease any work to the site until further notice. I'm clarifying with them now what access (if any) I'll have to the site until the decision is made (possibly mid-July), but in the interest of protecting the site during that time period, I'll be leaving the staff of RFGeneration.|
For many of you that were PM'ing me details with your submissions, please feel free to use the appropriate feedback threads on the Announcement and Feedback forum. Izret has volunteered to help out with the reviews and submissions I normally take and he can reach me if there are any questions if I'm forced away entirely from the site, which I don't expect to be the case. I'll continue to ask any questions posted on the forums and still be a presence if possible, but I don't have any staff access.
In all honesty, this is something that should've happened a while ago that is just now coming up. This helps future-proof the site should there be any concerns that come up, and means that my work would truly belong to RFGeneration.
Courtesy of Necrosaro and GamingGuru from the forums, take caution if you own a Sony PlayStation 3. Updating to the latest firmware update (4.45) is causing many PlayStation 3 consoles to brick (become non-functional). This appears to be mostly related to consoles where the hard drive has been upgraded past 500GB, but has been affecting other users.
The official Sony thread can be found here:
I have considered myself a fan of the Final Fantasy series since right around the time that the very first game hit Western shores. Though in my fuzzy memories I can't quite recall if it was Final Fantasy or Dragon Warrior that was my first RPG experience, I'm guessing it was the former since that's the series I ultimately felt more connected to over the years. To elaborate, I'd at least call myself more than just a casual fan of the series. I've played nearly every numbered installment - including sequels. I've played many of the spin-off's (Adventure, all three Legend games, Crystal Chronicles, Tactics, Tactics Advanced, Mystic Quest, etc). Hell, in many cases I've even played multiple ports of the same game - for example this first game which I've experienced on NES, GBA and PS1 before picking up this PSP port. And yet here comes the shocker: I've never actually finished a Final Fantasy game. Seriously. Two decades or so of playing these games and I had never watched the credits roll on a single one of them.
Whereas some gamers seem to feel a certain compulsion to beat every game they play, I've never really been that way myself. When I know I've got limited time for gaming to fit within my life, that means that I'll generally play a game for as long as it keeps me enthralled, and it's time to move on to something else when that something else successful grabs my attention away. Never once have I felt cheated though. It's just realistic to realize that in many cases RPG's are just too vast for me to see through to the end. Most recently I picked up Final Fantasy XIII-2, not long after launch and paying less-than, but close to retail. Did I finish the game? Nope. Sadly though that one had to do with losing a bunch of PS3 saves. At any rate, while I never got through XIII-2, I did enjoy the ten or so hours I spent with it. In that case how could I be upset? To me, I felt justified spending $4 per hour for a game that I enjoyed playing for ten hours. At the end of the day isn't a video game supposed to entertain us?
Oh gosh, I've certainly gotten off track here haven't I? Well the point of all this was to say that even though these are my feelings on such things as 'value' and desired game-length and so on, I also realized that while a fifteenth proper numbered installment to the series has been announced, I've still never seen the end of any of them. And maybe it was time to change that. Sure I could cherry pick. Maybe I could finally see what happens after Shinra Tower in VII (I've stopped there three times since the game's release)? Maybe I could finally decide if I really prefer IV to VI? Maybe I could finally give VIII and XII a much fairer chance than I have in the past? Nah. It seemed like the natural thing to do would be to just start back at the beginning.
The original Final Fantasy has been re-released many times over the years. And as stated earlier, I have played many of these different takes on the game. The PSP version seems about as deluxe as you can get. Not only is it easily the prettiest version of the game graphically, but the PSP's wonderful widescreen really accentuates the visuals. Add to this the fact that there were now many impressive cut-scenes to help progress the story as well. Along the same lines the game now has a wonderful CD-quality soundtrack in portable form thanks to the UMD media. Other additions beyond the superficial overhaul include some extra dungeons that I personally spent very little time investigating.
As I started the game up I decided to go with the default roster of classes: a knight, a thief, a white mage and a black mage. Sure customization and strategy is great - but for some strange reason I'm sometimes a fan of just sticking to the default and seeing how a game feels if you don't tinker with a thing. Overall, I found the party sufficient. My knight and thief handled the dirty work physically, the black mage was there to unload some brutal magic on bosses, and the white mage did her best to keep us all alive. In fact the party was so sufficient that I actually had very little problem advancing for the entire twelve hours it took me to get up to the final boss, Chaos. I did very little grinding up to that point. I was mostly only equipping items, weapons and armor that I found in dungeons or won from battles. And really my mages (well, now wizards) had only a handful of magic spells to work with.
The Chaos battle did not go well. And after a half-dozen or so failed attempts I admitted to myself that it was time to backtrack out of Chaos Tower, go back to all the towns and start spending money on hardcore magic and weaponry. And why not? I had maxed out my gil by the end of the game. I told you I was stingey about spending.
As I made my way back up Chaos Tower an hour and a half later, I started thinking back on my quest. Here it was, my first RPG and twenty years later I was finally making a solid effort to see the story come to a close. Oh, how many times over the years had a slain Garland with a level 3 or 5 party and then watched those beautiful opening credits roll? But never once had I seen the end credits. All those years I had gone missing out on so much of the awesome middle game. I hadn't even been aware there were mermaids in this game all those years. But now I was progressing from one floor to the next in Chaos Tower now. My party was all above level 50. We had weapons like the Excalibur and the Marumasa. Heck, even my black mage was killing most enemies in that final dungeon with a single hit.
So once more we faced Chaos with narry a worry in mind. Among us four we had nearly every spell in the game including protection spells, and spells that would make us move faster or hit harder. We had a spell that would not only revive a fallen character, but refill his HP completely. We carried 99 potions, hi-potions, ethers and phoenix downs with us. Chaos didn't stand a chance.
You better believe that the internal speakers in my PSP were tested that night as I blasted the end-score that played over the closing credits. I saved my game and took the UMD out and realized that for the first time a Final Fantasy game to me wasn't just about enjoying the journey while it lasted until my eventual detour. For the first time I stuck with it until I reached my destination. And though that final few hours dealing with Chaos and grinding infuriated me, I realize it was my own stubbornness about spending gil and powering myself up that put me in that position.
And I also realize this: as much as I prefer console gaming, there's no doubt that playing this on a PSP made it far more likely I'd finish. The ability to save anywhere, and pick it up later and continue immediately at the exact spot I left off meant I continued far more often. Any bit of progression could be made with even a spare 20 minutes while half-watching TV. So to that I must conclude that although I've played nearly every version of this game to be released in the US, I'll plan to make my way through II, III and IV via their PSP ports as well.
The 2013 Pain Yourself with Submissions Contest ended the other day, June 8th, to be exact. That date is the day this wonderful site went live to the public nine years ago. So Happy Birthday RFGen!
So now you're probably wondering why when the contest ended on the 8th, it has taken 5 days for me to post this. Well, the reason is simple, we just wanted Crabmaster to sweat it out for a few extra days to see if anyone could out-submit him in the last few days of the contest. And unfortunately for him, I'm going to make him wait a bit longer by announcing the other top ten before saying who got the #1 position.
But who got #1? Did Crabmaster keep control of the lead, or did Aeroc come from nowhere in the end just to win it all again? Tune in next week to find out!
Oh wait, after reviewing this article, it doesn't look quite long enough, so I'll just announce the winner now. The winner of the 2013 Pain Yourself with Submissions Contest is . . .
So congrats to Crabby and everyone else who submitted anything during the contest. You guys kicked some major butt and added a ton of new info and images to the database this year.
And as always, keep it tuned to Channel 3! (There just may be another contest coming sooner than you'd think).
The next generation of consoles is upon us. PS4 and XBox One will make their way into living rooms across the world this holiday season. We now know what to look forward to and we're buzzing with excitement. The games we will soon be playing, the heroes we will be meeting, the experiences we will be sharing; all this wonder and adventure await. Without looking at what games lie on the horizon and focusing only on E3, we all know it: Sony stole the show at this year's press conference. No DRM, offline compatible, acceptance of used games. This is all great news for gamers and now that the two giants have put their chips on the table it comes down to us. Who will we side with? Who will come out victorious?
Of course I'm ready to vote with my dollars, but a question burns in my mind. What will the next generation bring with respect to Role Playing games? No doubt we will see graphical advances, more frantic battles, and temples so realistic you'd think you're actually there. But what about the stories to be told? The lessons to be learned? The emotional bonds to be formed?
What I'm really asking is will future RPGs make me care about what's going on within the worlds they present? To put this into perspective I am emotionally invested in Ni No Kuni's , Oliver because I feel his love for his mother echoes my love for mine, but I don't really feel like I will gain anything from seeing his story through to the end. Oliver seems to be a likable young boy, one with manners, respect, and a level head. But his friends are not as deep, and they appear to be merely tagging along for the ride. I mean their stakes in the journey aren't as compelling as Oliver's. On the other hand, I felt driven to guide Tidus and his companions to the conclusion of Final Fantasy X. Tidus needed Yuna and her guardians just as much they needed him. They completed each other and together they completed the story. It was a perfectly symbiotic relationship that created a masterpiece video game.
Like a novel, a game must follow a satisfying narrative arc if it is to be worth our time. During gameplay and cutscenes which the player has earned the gamer has to learn about the hero's motivations and, upon the end credits, have made a connection to the cast and story. Film can accomplish this in two hours while some games fail to do so over forty hours. RPGs must use their medium expertly to convey their messages clearly and succinctly or they will fall by the way side. If the audience is intelligent enough they will glean from the story, the message needn't be shoved in our faces. Setting, conflict, and drama will be lost if they're shallow or gratuitous. I will still gladly enter a fantastical realm of monsters and magic but it must have meaning. Summoning fierce deities will still be fun, however I want to earn this power instead of receiving it as a means to continue the plot. I want a juicy steak with my gravy. The upcoming RPGs must deliver on this or else their fate simply doesn't look promising. If an Action-Adventure set in an fungal virus infected apocalypse promises more of an emotional roller coaster ride, RPG developers have to shift gears to avoid becoming cliche romps through beast riddled caverns.
I've saved the world from hell-bent rivals hundreds of times. Now I want to look inside so as to make sense of the outside. Rescuing a character from a descent into madness or teaching the faithless heroine to be able to love will be enthralling. A demonic backdrop would still work. The monsters confronted during gameplay would be physical representations of the protagonist's inner turmoil. If we must continue to analyze the world around us consider defeating an alien race which would in turn teach of the dangers of misanthropy or a tainted moral compass. That would make for a wonderful story.
The oral tradition is a characteristic trait of humans. We need stories as they are the vessels used to relay culture, values, beliefs, and morals. The genre is by its very nature conducive to story-telling and as such I know these kinds of games can very well be the modern equivalent of Aesop's fables. Inasmuch I believe these games need to be thought provoking in order to earn their place among the greats - to stand the test of time. They need to be significant if they intend to be relevant. It's been twenty years since Secret of Mana hit the SNES and it's still relevant today. We're still discussing Final Fantasy VII after sixteen years. We will look back on Dragon's Dogma with as much admiration in five years time? Perhaps the Mass Effect trilogy will be the exception, but those are only three games from a vast console library. Will the Role Playing games of the early 2000s be as essential as those of the early 1990s?
I accept that the halcyon days of RPGs ended long ago, but could there be a resurgence of great games just beyond the horizon? Will Noctis (Final Fantasy XV) or the hero of Capcom's yet-to-be-named game make their way into our psyche? It's time RPGs break the shackles they put around their wrists and take note from other video game genres, even film and literature. The future leaves us with many questions but that is to be expected. We should not fear the unknown, nor should we tread these uncharted waters with hesitation. Embrace the wonderment that is set to grace our TVs. Should we be disappointed, remember that we have two power weapons at our disposal. They are our voices and our wallets. I won't go so far as to say the future of gaming, and RPGs in particular, is bleak but it is uncertain. Uncertainty, though, is exciting. Just like coming home to a surprise party, loading the next epic journey could be just what we wanted.
Episode 15 discussion thread: http://www.rfgeneration.c...rum/index.php?topic=11973
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As many of us evolve from mere gamers into collectors we eventually have to deal with our innermost demons. Great moral quandaries force us to question our very way of life up to that point. These ferocious moral dilemmas manifest themselves as private struggles that fuel our nightly insomnia. Your personal interrogation might represent itself in the form of a simple question, something like: Should I open it...... or just keep it sealed?
If you've been collecting for any amount of time you've probably run across a situation like that. An occasion where your collector mentality clashes with your gamer mentality. Each video game collector has their own uniqe combination of gamer and collector within them. A lot of times the two are in sync with each other and can both thrive, but on occasion the two collide and its not always obvious which one should win out.
The 3 of us will explore the transitory feelings of gaming and collecting by looking at what we feel are some of the common pitfalls to arise and cause these two parasitic mentalities to be knocked out of harmony.
And as always there are several hours worth of small scores for you to either cheer on your fellow collectors or curse the day they were ever born!!
Music: Power Blade & Power Blade 2 (NES)
Intro - 00:00:00
Small Scores - 18:10:00
Topic - 3:10:15
Outro - 4:49:45
Over 8000 submissions this month? What could have possibly created such a huge influx of submissions? Maybe it has to do with that contest thing going on. Yeah, that's probably it. With the awesome prizes, I don't see how anyone could resist making hundreds of submissions, or in Crabmaster's case, thousands of submissions...
Apparently, Crabmaster really wants another RFGen T-shirt and his choice of a game valued up to $60. Because he was the top submitter in May with 3,272 submissions. But, if you want that shirt and game, there's still hope for you in the contest. You have until June 8th to make more submissions.
Crabmaster isn't the only competition this year though, plenty of people have been kicking butt this month. Rounding out the top ten this month for submissions we have Bildtstar, Madir, ApolloBoy, ericeskapade, Tynstar, Izret101, ixtaileddemonfox, Shadow Kisuragi, and Addicted.
As always, all those submissions would just sit in submission limbo without our crack team of reviewers. The top reviewers this month were Tynstar, Bildtstar, and Shadow Kisuragi.
So thanks to everyone who has submitted and reviewed submissions this month.
And if you're wondering what your odds are of winning the contest, I'm not telling you. But I will let you know who is winning, but you'll just have to guess how far behind you are from the leader. And if you want to win, just keep those submissions coming, you've got a few days, which is actually enough time to make enough submissions to win. You may have to give up some sleep and food, but you can still submit while you're using the toilet, we won't even know the difference.
The ten members with the highest scores as of this writing are as follows: Crabmaster2000, techwizard, Bildtstar, ericeskapade, ixtaileddemonfox, Zagnorch, Madir, Addicted, h1ghw1nd, and A8scooter. If that's you, then congrats, you're doing pretty good so far. But if you want to do better or if your name has a "2000" in it, you should keep those submissions coming in, you never know when you'll get passed up in this intense competition. And if your name is absent from that list, you still have a shot, don't be discouraged (hint: screenshots are a great way to get a ton of points). That T-shirt can still have anyone's name on it at this point!
Want an excuse to play some cool 16 bit Disney games? For the month of June, the RF Generation community will be playing through
The Jungle Book
The Lion King
If you would like to play, just say hello in this thread
You will find the list of other participants, achievements, discussion about the games, etc.
Hint for July's Game...
Fleach and I decided that since July is month seven and we think everyone should have a super time, there was really only one choice when it came to the game for July. We will reveal the game as soon as someone guesses it.
In light of the rather pessimistic slant of part one, full of DRM, games that will be in inaccessible over the long term, and the overall damage being done to gaming's potential cultural impact, it is equally important to ponder the brighter horizons of gaming's future.
The PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii have been hanging around longer than a typical console cycle. The big 'what's next?' question has been on "core" gamer minds for some time and Kinect, Move, and Motion Plus offered little distraction or relevance. Not to mention the concern that the folks in game development/publishing were not listening to what most gamers wanted. Given the reaction to Xbox One, that concern seems quite founded. Factor in the current market focus on games developed for phones, tablets, and browsers, and... wait, weren't we trying to go somewhere positive with this?
But these trends in gaming do in fact have benefits for us "core" gamers, for many reasons that may not be immediately apparent. Let's start with the Xbox One. It's the true, unfettered, undisguised vision Microsoft has been coalescing since their first console; a single living room box through which Microsoft becomes the middleman service provider for entertainment. They've slowly unclouded that goal over the years, though its never been a secret, and us gamers who are grumpy about a dashboard full of stuff besides games (even on a paid service, no less!) are at least partially guilty of looking at a cat and expecting a dog. This has been Microsoft's purpose all along, and while we don't have to like it, it does us little good to expect a company that has spent billions to realize this longterm strategy to alter its course for "core" gamers that largely got the Xbox platform where it is. We're not the ultimate market they've been after, and we never were; just like the Wii, we are not the ultimate target demographic, because "core" gamers cannot financially support the gaming industry behemoth, not to mention the lucrative service provider vision Microsoft is after. I'm not as ready to write off MS for gaming as many; they will undoubtedly provide some excellent games in the future. But that's a train I'll be hitching onto at my convenience and price-point, both which will reflect the fact that MS and I are expecting to travel to different places, with paths that will occasionally intersect. I'll play my new Halo and Gears games later rather than sooner.
The Xbox One strategy is actually a benefit for gamers, as either a success or failure. If the system takes off, more money will be provided for the outrageous AAA game development costs that, more and more, cannot be sustained by the current business model. Basically, all those folks using the machine for TV and Sports will be funding my new Halos and Gears. On opposite end, if the model is a spectacular failure, (and it would be wise for all of us predicting such to remember the unprecedented success of the Wii, which no one expected) it will serve as a precautionary tale for other companies to not follow such a route, at least not to the exclusion of "core" gamers.
Next up is Sony; while I'm historically skeptical of the giant, recent years and a slight corporate humility have placed the company in the best position to care for "core" gamers since the beginning of the PS2 era. If Sony does indeed have an ear to the ground over the Xbox One backlash, as recent Twitterverse chat suggests, it is the perfect time to capitalize on gamers almost ready to sit on the fence for the next few years of new gaming. Whatever Sony does, this moment highlights the fact that, more than any other time in gaming, gamers have a loud voice and new channels by which to be heard. It can be easy to assume that no-one is listening, but that cynicism belies the responses received. From tweets by corporate heads that show they are aware of internet responses, to free downloadable expanded game endings (which, whether or not we like, we have to remember it came from the company's own dime and time, and had to meet approval of the same business heads we envision with dollar signs in their eyes.) We gamers now live in an age where our dollars and internet umbrage vote stronger than ever. From Kickstarter to online petitions, blog articles to indie developers, gamers have more power in their own industry than ever before.
And no company seems more in tune with this lately than Sony. It's been a long trip from expecting gamers to "pay for steak instead of hamburger" to the playful DRM trolling of "Death Ray Manta." More vocal support of the indie platform, a greater focus on games themselves, free online play, and the game rental service of Playstation Plus shows that, at least over the last few years, Sony seems to be picking up the pieces Microsoft has been breaking off. If the PS4 launches at a competitive price-point and forsakes restrictive DRM, Sony may yet retake the throne it once firmly held in the PS2 years.
Which leaves us wondering what to think about Nintendo. While the Wii U has been largely dismissed by many "core" gamers as an underpowered gimmick, so was the DS, which went on to become the second-best selling console of all time (as of March 2013.) Once Wii U price point drops, and as Nintendo continues its history of creating excellent gaming experiences built around the hardware, there is little doubt the console will have some great games in its lifespan. The second screen may indeed prove key to its success, since games built for it can give completely unique experiences compared to the PC-inspired hardware race of the competition. Much like the Wii before it, if a gamer focuses on the games built for the console and not the ports, many excellent experiences await.
And lets not forget about the 3DS and Vita. Lately, I've enjoyed my 3DS library at least as much as my console library. Adventure Time, Bit.Trip Saga, Code of Princess, SMT Soul Hackers, Super Mario 3D Land, and many more have kept my 3DS XL from ever powering down. While I can't say the same for my Vita, there is a slow but steady stream of great games building for it, and the promised PS4 connectivity has a lot of potential. Portable gaming is no longer a second-class experience; as long as watered down console ports and shovelware are avoided, there are many gems to be discovered on our eighth generation Game-And-Watches.
I've said it before, and I still believe it; there has never been a better time to be a gamer. The future of our industry may not be as connected to our personal preferences as we would like, but our industry has also never been more in our own hands. The aforementioned precipice of cultural relevance that video games are approaching means we are in an exciting time, where our newly relevant voices can make a difference. Gaming is valuable for many reasons, not the least of which are fun, artistic display, and community. If any of these are continuously promoted, gaming's relevance will be on display.
RFGeneration is not just a niche community for hobby enthusiasts. We are a vanguard of passion for the experience and worthwhile nature of video games. Sites like ours exist because we enjoy playing, sharing, and being involved with the gaming community. Some exclusively use the collection tools, some may pass through and just leave a few posts, and some stay to become an integrated part of our ever-changing community. But no matter how the future of video games turns out, we here at RFG will be hanging around and enjoying ourselves, the great Meta-game of video gaming, the MMO of life. I hope you are as excited about the multiplayer here as I am.
The Collectorcast is coming to the TooManyGames expo at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center from June 14-16! Bil and Duke will be hosting a live Collectorcast panel on Saturday from 1-2 PM to talk about all the great pick-ups from folks at the show.
If you plan to attend, be sure to comment here: http://www.rfgeneration.com/forum/index.php?topic=11942. We'd love to plan a meet-up with fellow RFGenners. Also, at the show be sure to tweet your scores to @collectorcast to be a part of the panel discussion. We look forward to seeing you all there!
The gaming industry is in transition, one as important as dedicated machines to removable cartridges or black and white to color. I believe that once a decade has passed, gaming insiders and outsiders will point to this transition of gaming hardware and use it as the reference point for how the industry changed going forward, the 'Napster' moment of gaming if you will. Where even though the signs already pointed where the momentum was heading, here we have the objects designed to capitalize on the inertia.
It was, future analysts may say, this time period that solidified the cultural insignificance of video games.
After making such a fatalistic, even crass statement, let me first say that I look forward to the game experiences of the future. Only the first few months of 2013 brought me Tomb Raider, Bioshock Infinite, Etrian Odyssey IV and Gears of War: Judgment's addictive Overrun mode, and the rest of the year includes many excellent looking games I am very much looking forward to. I'm certainly not against playing modern games. And no matter my critiques of the new hardware, I'm a gamer; one day I'll buy the newer shiny box to play on.
But now that the 'Big Three' have launched their initial salvo into the upcoming console war, the landscape of the battlefield has become visible, as well as the target areas that will be hit hardest. And, much like real war, by the time the dust settles, the victors will be forced to wonder about the prices paid.
My opinions on these giant corporations contain no real loyalty; I've been called a fanboy, but if anything I'm overly critical on each. I have no illusions that these companies exist to satisfy my entertainment desires. Even the artists, writers, and content creators behind the indie scene have to eat, and are forced into Byzantine restrictions on their creations. Not to say the inspiration doesn't come through, but without PR figureheads, interviews with game developers often highlight challenges during the creative process that had little to do with the actual artistic creation and more with the difficulties of creating a game in the modern market.
Still, what artist has not had to deal with money and politics? And so many of us involved with gaming want it to be recognized as a medium of artistic worth, of cultural significance, on par with other media considered to posses real value. For as many books, movies, and recorded music produced that seem to have little significance, no one questions the value of these forms of media. As the relatively new kid, video games have had an uphill battle to show importance beyond, at best, 'kids toy,' or worse, 'murder simulator.' With more focus on narrative and abstract storytelling, and easier-to-use tools that have taken game creation outside of the laboratory or office and into the living room, the medium of video games has never been in a better position to take its place alongside other forms of culturally significant forms of media.
Which is why this new generation of gaming consoles can be so very dangerous to achieving that end.
Not because of sequel-itis, out-of-control budgets, or immature content. These issues are rampant in other media and they have not been diminished to cultural insignificance. The problem facing modern video gaming is one of philosophy. Games are, more and more, developed as a consumable and not as a product.
We are no longer buying a video game, we are leasing an entertainment experience.
Movies, music, and literature are also following this trend, of course. But they are established, the culture universally accepts them, and while their distribution methods are following a parallel path to video games, their individual product permanence is much more assured. Vinyl warps, cassettes wear out, CDs deteriorate, even digital media can be wiped out, but we find enough worth in the original creations to continue copying the material as newer storage methods develop.
In the last decade, a growing realization has emerged in gaming culture, an awareness that we are losing history every day. This has lead to a groundswell among collectors to preserve our heritage, and even big publishers have capitalized on the trend by releasing retro compilations. Emulation, much as it can be reviled in game collector mentality, has been crucial in preserving gaming experiences that would otherwise be lost. Now, anyone who witnessed a 70's Pink Floyd concert will tell you that listening to a CD is a far cry from the original experience, and it is much the same in classic gaming. From the original Star Wars sit-down arcade cab, to spinning a real steering wheel while slamming the pedals in Crazy Taxi, to wielding an assault rifle in Space Gun, some games will admittedly never reproduce the original experience on a different platform. But if the gaming industry wants to be held upon the same ground as other culturally significant media, some level of tangible reference has to be available for both shared and personal experience. The video game providers' transition from producing an item to developing a service effectively puts a sharper timetable on the total lifespan of each video game produced.
It is impossible and perhaps undesirable to capture every gaming experience for anyone to see, for all time. But that's not really the point; as video games continue the trend of requiring online activation for single player games, content only stored 'on the cloud,' and gaming data pieced out and paid for individually, we are paying for a service, not an object. And, one day that service will discontinue. Servers will be permanently shut off, even for single player activation. Some will have workarounds, often developed by a passionate community, but not all. Some won't be worth the effort, and some just won't be possible.
So what? Why does it matter that there are arcade games that cannot be MAME'd because of coded batteries that run out, or that in a few years the complete Mass Effect Trilogy will be impossible to experience because some of the DLC stories were on servers and not discs. There will be new games! Games on phones, tablets, contact lenses and refrigerators. Our gaming content will not be tied to slow, clunky physical media. Good riddance!
Games won't go away. But their significance will dwindle, and so too their ability to have artful, cultural significance.
Say what you want about the original Star Wars trilogy. Love it or... love it less than others, the cultural significance of it is undeniable. Same with iconic music from, say the Doors, or Mozart. Now, imagine that these were developed on ethereal media that shut down forever after a few years. There will be memories of them for awhile, perhaps spiritual successors later, but if they were preserved at all, it is only by a small, niche, dedicated community. Would these champions of their media be as loved and appreciated by millions of people if they were allowed to just fade away, replaced by the new, 'better' thing? It is not that all we want is more Star Wars; we want Star Wars to hang around long enough to impact and inspire other content creators; not to be simply consumed as the next thing is coming. We want these things to co-exist in the same space; Game of Thrones only exists because Lord of the Rings existed long enough to inspire it.
We are cutting off gaming's ability to stay culturally significant because we are moving away from the ability to produce a stored thing to be appreciated for generations, and instead moving toward a temporary fix to be consumed and then replaced.
But isn't this also true for movies, books, and music? Who even buys a CD anymore? The move to digital hasn't killed the ability to keep a song forever or rendered music as culturally insignificant. But the difference is twofold. First, books (literature), music, and movies are much more entrenched as universally accepted media of value, while much of the population could still care less about the cultural aspect of video games. Second, barring a few examples, the content in music, literature, and movies are perpetually copied and passed down. Modern video games are moving away from that, onto services that will eventually lock everyone out of experiencing games that were once digital-only or required server-based DRM certification. These techniques are so obtrusive and slowly becoming so quickly and widely accepted that in a decade, while we'll likely still have access to the majority of literature, music, and movies created in that time, many video games made in the same era will be completely inaccessible. Not just MMOs or the multiplayer of Call of Duty, but the new Shadow of the Colossus, Portal, Bioshock, or Super Mario. Once that DRM server or Download is gone, so is the game, likely forever. Those assuming that there will always be services like the Virtual Console and Steam to relive those memories only have to remember how many excellent old games we're still waiting on, likely to never arrive.
Some say its no real loss; we need to forget the past and play new games. Hey, most of those games weren't nearly as good as our modern ones; worse graphics, control, awkward mechanics, etc. But to those of us that truly desire to see video games treated as relevant as other media, our past and present (and the ability to experience it) is as importance as our future.
Video games won't go away; even during the Great Crash of '83, there was never a real danger that video games would just completely disappear. The greater threat, and possibility, is that video games are here to stay, but no-one really cares.
As some of you may know, I was fortunate enough to come across a nice Atari 2600 lot a few months ago with several very rare and scarce games. Among those titles, was a copy of Wizard's "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" ("TCM"). The seller was unaware as to whether the cart was authentic, and actually mentioned this in his auction. I decided that since there were several carts in the auction I needed, I would negate the price of the TCM cart and put in a reasonable offer on the lot at the last minute. Sure enough, I won the lot at an agreeable price and waited patiently by the mailbox the next couple days to claim my spoils.
Continue reading A True Wizard, or Just Another Presto?: Authenticating Your 2600 Wizard Carts
Final Fantasy is among the longest running Japanese RPG franchises in video game history. The Dragon Quest series, which spans 27 years, is the current holder of that record. Still, it is worth mentioning that Squaresoft is responsible for some of the most significant additions into the Role Playing game catalogue, with perhaps Final Fantasy VII at the top of that list. Despite being associated with rabid fanboyism this game's importance is undeniable.
The seventh installment in the main series marked a change in which Squaresoft's RPGs were presented and played. In 1997 gamers experienced the first polygonal 3D Final Fantasy not on a Nintendo console, but on Sony's PlayStation. Until then all Final Fantasy games were released solely for the NES and Super Nintendo respectively. The shift to 3D presentation, use of pre-rendered cutscenes, and the sheer scope of the narrative meant that the game would not fit onto a standard cartridge. Sony's disc based system allowed Squaresoft to accomplish this and create something totally new and innovative. They had the freedom to stretch their creative muscles and develop their grandest, most epic adventure yet. The result was a game that required three discs and over 40 hours to play to completion.
Squaresoft also established one of video games' most famous rivalry in the relationship between Cloud Strife and Sephiroth. The bond between the two characters formed the narrative arc that gripped so many players in the late 90s. Their relationship stemmed from young Cloud's aspirations to be as powerful as the mighty Sephiroth. However, in typical Role Playing game fashion, things are not as they seem once Cloud learns of Sephiroth's origins. No longer able to deny his past the super soldier sets out to destroy the world and the corporation he had sworn to protect. Thus the bitter rivalry formed between the two that captivated countless gamers.
The leap to 3D visuals and complex characters certainly contribute to Final Fantasy VII's prolific reputation, but that is not the most critical case for the game representing a milestone in RPG history. Final Fantasy VII was the best selling entry in the series at the time. Within 48 hours of its release the game hold sold approximately three million copies, and over eight million units worldwide by 1999. The game was a critical success garnering stellar reviews and becoming the first console RPG to earn widespread popularity outside Japan. RPGs were now something more than esoteric games that appealed only to geeky guys; it became a respected video game genre with more people than ever before exploring the nuances of Role Playing adventures.
Squaresoft's seventh game in the main Final Fantasy series is still being discussed to this day. It is the subject of vehement demands for an HD remake and the source for several spin-offs including an animated feature film. The legacy of Final Fantasy VII lives on and even if it may not be one's favourite installment, the game definitely maintains a special place in gamers' collections as well as the RPG catalogue.
Fun Final Fantasy VII Facts
The game was considered for a remake on the PlayStation 2 in 2001
Final Fantasy X's Spira is the 'ancestor' civilization which colonized the Planet of Final Fantasy VII. This is reinforced by Shinra's mention of potentially harnessing the Farplane as an energy source, which his descendants would go on to do with the Lifestream many centuries later, as the Shinra Electric Power Company.
It was the first Final Fantasy to include incredibly powerful optional bosses
Episode 14 discussion thread: http://www.rfgeneration.c...rum/index.php?topic=11791
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The Collectorcast is 1 year old! If you are anything like us, then you did not get enough NES homebrew talk way back in our Episode 8 interview with Assimilates creator, John White. Fear not though, as this time around we have got another homebrew developer, Derek Andrews, from the team at Gradual Games. They have recently released the NES homebrew game Nomolos: Storming the Catsle and are still hard at work on another new title on the system.
We pick Dereks brain on the development of Nomolos, get his thought processes behind many of the choices when developing the game, a little sneak peak at his upcoming project, and a plethora of insightful NES development knowledge.
And as usual the Small Scores are back and as big as ever!
Links mentioned in the show:
Buy Nomolos: Storming the Catsle: http://www.retrousb.com/p...?cPath=30&products_id=117
Derek's beginning guide: http://www.nintendoage.co...m?catid=22&threadid=93756
Music: Mass Effect 2
Intro and Small Scores: 0:35
Interview with Derek Andrews from Gradual Games: 3:45:18
RF Generation is turning 9, isn't that fine?! Actually, I think its better than "fine", I just wanted the opening line to rhyme. I don't know about you, but I think any website making it nine years is still a huge accomplishment, and given that we're entirely supported by donations, it makes it even more special. How many other sites out there can say they have stayed alive and independent for this long? I guess we just have one thing all those other sites don't have, the awesome community. Whether its cash to pay for our server bill or just raw data for our database, you guys are always willing to step up and give. That attitude is the reason our site has grown to include more than 75,000 games, nearly 140,000 images, and well over 5000 members from all over the world.
To help show our gratitude to all of you, we like to hold a little contest here every year. The winner of this contest will not only receive all the fame of being the 2013 winner, but real, physical prizes, including an RFGen shirt and their choice of a game. So, what do you need to do win these awesome prizes? If you've been watching our front page like you should be doing, you already know what to do. But if you missed it, scroll down for the full rules regarding the contest, which starts right NOW!