What comes to your mind when I say "Dungeons and Dragons?" Twenty-sided dice? 2d6? Attack of opportunity? Fortitude save? Gary Gygax? Figurines? Yes, these all come to mind to those who have never even played the board game that changed the world.
You might be wondering why, on a video game review site, I am writing about Dungeons and Dragons. Well, to many gamers, it is a bit more obvious. "I've played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, I know about dungeons and dragons!" and that is true, you do.
What I am afraid people don't understand is that while Bioware has certainly helped establish Dungeons and Dragons rules into video games, it goes much farther than that.
Like scampering down the stairs on Christmas morning, the excited search for a steady video feed before E3 conferences is filled with anticipation. The annual summer happening is one of the few times on the gaming industry's calendar when we can look forward to some surprise delights from the many publishers playing the role of Santa Claus in business suits. Simply put, it's the industry's biggest event in the year.
As such, the editors of The First Hour tried to guess what unexpected pleasures would manifest at the event. Some were sure bets, like Microsoft showing off Halo: Reach. Others were more risky, like F-Zero hitting the 3DS at launch. And some were planted firmly outside the realm of possibility, with Shenmue 3 topping that list as always.
When all was said and done, The First Hour hit a few out of the park...but mostly struck out.
After Nate’s excellent and complete wrap-up of the five big conferences, I’m going to cover some of the games that caught my attention over the last few days. While we knew the existence of some of these games before this week, our knowledge of them was pretty thin. Hopefully you’ll be seeing these games on the First Hour in the coming year (and hopefully we’ll recommend you keep playing them!).
This list is nowhere near complete, neither as a list of great E3 2010 games or even with games I was impressed with. Hope you enjoyed the show, I sure did.
The question at the beginning of E3 always seems to be, "Who's going to win this year?" The gaming community eagerly watches the big press conferences for showstopping announcements and game demonstrations, looking to see which company will have the edge for the next twelve months. E3 2010 featured five big press conferences in its first two days: Microsoft, EA, and Ubisoft on Monday, and Nintendo and Sony on Tuesday. So much has happened in the past 48 hours that I think it's important to take a moment and recap each company's showing. I've definitely missed a few announcements and details in this quick-and-dirty summary, but I think I hit all the major points.
With E3 2010 set to kick off next week, we thought it was fine time at the First Hour to make some predictions! Most of these might be more wishful thinking than realistic expectations, but this is the only time of year where gamers are actually surprised, so we're going to make the most of it.
You'll find predictions from Greg, Grant, Steve, Paul E., Paul A, Ian, Nate, and Mike in Omaha below on topics ranging from Natal to Sega releasing another console and everything in between. Predictions are guaranteed to be totally inaccurate, but we had fun putting them together and imaging the possibilities.
We hope to sum up our thoughts about the conferences and games announced next week every few days, but we'll definitely have a recap when it's over determining who was the most accurate. The First Hour doesn't really do news that often, but we'll try not to interrupt our daily reviews and editorials that much. Either way, we've got a whole slew of content queued up.
Over the last 24 years, popular Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu has awarded 14 perfect scores. For Famitsu magazine, a game review's final score is actually two to four total scores assigned by a collection of reviewers. Technically, there's no such thing as a 40/40 score, but four 10/10's. But gamers love numbers, and we love comparing one game's numbers to another game's numbers, so the 40/40 perfect score list is a great way for fanboys to scoff or gyrate in anticipation.
Outside of the country, Famitsu is the ultimate barometer of what Japan thinks of a particular game. Famitsu scores are thrown about in headlines and rattled around in forum discussions, but you almost never hear why a score was awarded one number instead of the next. This is undoubtedly because of the language barrier between Japan and the rest of the world, but also because numbers are easy for everyone to understand and the fact that Famitsu editors give their reviewers about 100 characters to explain what they thought about a game.
While I'm not personally a big fan of a game review's score (I'd much rather read the why and how), the Famitsu perfect score list is an intriguing specimen. The eighth game in two years just garnered the spotlight: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, but let's start at the beginning.
This is the first of a few roundtable debates planned covering the last decade of video games spanning 2000 through 2009. For today, three of the writers at the First Hour gave their opinion on what the best Legend of Zelda game of the decade was. This was not simple, considering there were three major console iterations along with many portables games, released across five systems. Here are Greg, Mike, and Paul's picks for the best Zelda game of the decade, ordered by their release.
Eligible games are: Majora's Mask, Oracle of Ages, Oracle of Seasons, Four Swords Adventures, The Wind Waker, The Minish Cap, Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass, and Spirit Tracks.
Going to try something new this year, we're going to make some completely wild predictions that may have little base in reality. I think they're pretty self-explanatory, and hopefully at the end of the year I'll remember we did this and we can have a good laugh at how wrong we were (or be shocked at how right).
So while these are guaranteed to be wrong, they are my current feelings about the industry from hopefully a non-biased gamer's point of view. Well, non-biased until it comes to BioWare games that is.
I recently finished a great fantasy book that is just ripe for turning into a video game. I actually began writing a short review about Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, but it quickly turned into an examination on book and movie based games and how they're designed. I quickly determined that there are two common methods of taking the original source and putting it into a gamers' hands, and I pretty much just threw the rest of the review away at that point (I hope to get around to it someday, this site does have book reviews for a reason). For better or worse, here's my examination of the two design mechanisms chosen when creating a game from an existing franchise. There are many factors that come into play when deciding between them, and honestly I think they often make or break the game.