Review: 101 Dolphin Pets

This is, of course, a lie

I am sure that for every single animal out there someone is simply dying to attempt to train it to become the world’s greatest source of friendship and afterschool entertainment.  I too have longed to spend my quiet hours with a hairy nosed wombat that I have poorly trained to do the most mundane tricks imaginable; my knowledge of how highly endangered these amazing creatures are is the only thing that stops me from simply jumping on a plane to Australia, taking the long bus ride to Queensland, trekking illegally into Epping Forest National Park, and then capturing one of the 30 remaining breeding stock of females. Thankfully I don’t have to worry any more as my dreams have come to fruition with the 101 animal series; I can finally own, poorly train, mockingly dress, and force a creature of my choosing (depending on the title) into demoralizing competitions with others of its captured ilk.

This flavor of 101 Pets comes in Dolphin variety, allowing the captive sentient mammalian free rein of the pool behind what I am assuming is supposed to be the player’s ranch style house.  While this raises certain questions about the priorities in the way of salt water tanks/pool and exotic creatures expenditures vs. living conditions, it also seems odd that there are pet stores in this world that are happy to sell me various Hawaiian shirts that are form fitting for a dolphin.  I have never made that request of a clothier before, but I assume that the police would become involved if it was ever brought up.  For some reason in my mind at the end of this scenario it ends with me drunkenly explaining why I also needed my dolphin to have UV protecting sunglasses.  The answer, of course, is because he is awesome.

Basic required food is not an upgrade

1star alone
The only time she smiles.

Amusingly hard to justify separation of disbelief aside, the parts of the game that are supposed to be a game never seemed to be that enjoyable.  There are a series of mini-games that ask the player to use the touch screen to trace all the similar images for monetary rewards, the problem being that the touch screen is not responsive enough to trace anything let alone a heart less than the size of a dime.  All of the games are explained, at great length, through walls of text—which I mostly skipped through because 11 pages is way too much tell me to avoid stars and collect coins while my dude swims.  Look, I understand that I have trained Austin (as I have thus named him, after the best Power setting) so little that he could be considered functionally retarded even by animal standards, but I think placing him third in any event where he is the only person on a podium–and probably the only one that entered, is a little harsh.

101 Hawaiian Shirted Dolphins doesn’t fail because of its concept, if anything I would applaud it for allowing me to illegally own one of nature’s most aware beings and forcing it into a small and confined space to amuse me until I got my own afterschool special staring the living Corey.  The developers dreamed big with this game, and aiming for the stars should always be commended even when you fail to leave the state and end in a landfill.  I simply wanted to spend more time hanging out and high fiving my aqua friend then slowly grinding away at broken mini-games to award him with a sweet new skateboard or something.

Spoony Bard Podcast: Episode 69: Xboned

Pretty much like this


So Stark and I are at it again, this time we talk about E3.  At the time of recording this stuff was relevant.  It meant something.  Granted, not much has really changed since the recording.  Microsoft has given an inch but still decided that it will fuck anyone that decides to step out of line.  Aside from that we also go off topic in some of the most wonderful ways ever created.  We recorded this awhile ago, but if you listen to our streams at all, which are only not being posted here because instead of being long periods of uninterupted awesome are now broken up pieces of sadness, he still brings up as a major concern.  He thinks that the people offering him the billion dollars are going to force him to take it, one way or another.


Nintendo Doesn’t Want You Making Money from Their Art

My guess it looks something like this

Reviews and gamplay videos are kind of a weird area when it comes to copyright law.  On the one hand the game is technically the company’s intellectual property, on the other you could argue that the gameplay of the game is something of a performance piece.  Nintendo doesn’t see things in such greys and seems to prefer more black and white ways as they are actively taking all of the money from anyone who has YouTube postings of any of their games.  Remember, these aren’t people copy and pasting other’s material, these people are playing games while providing commentary while they play.  Worst of all is that Nintendo isn’t even requesting the videos be taken down, only that they receive all of the ad revenue from it.

The knee jerk reaction to this action is easy enough to saying something like, “Nintendo must be hurting for money if they are stealing it from their fans,” but this sounds worse than that.  If the last decade has proven anything it is that the Nippon company doesn’t understand the internet or how it is used, with this being the latest example.  In their minds this is probably just an attempt to defend their IP without discouraging their fans from spreading the good word about it, something I would not describe as thoroughly thought through.  The problem with Nintendo is that it tries to maintain its image in an obsessive control freak way, something that hasn’t seemed to work in their favor in the past.  I don’t know if taking money out of content creators’ pockets is the correct way to do that.

Source: The Escapist

Console Manufacturer’s Greed May Destroy Next Gen Gaming

The current generation of console gaming systems have introduced many new elements of gaming that only seem to exist to put bigger dents into the pockets of gamers.  MSRP game prices rose to a new standard of $60, Microsoft made online gaming a paid service, greedy publishers used DLC as a means to nickel and dime gamers for content that should arguable be part of the full game, rushed games fly out the door with severe bugs still in the code… I could go on forever with this list.  If console manufactures get their way things could be even worse when you buy your next console.

There are rumors floating around that gaming giants Sony and Microsoft are flirting with the idea of requiring an “always on” internet connection to protect games from piracy, meaning that every time your shitty ISP has a service outage, no gaming for you.  Sony is looking to tie the games you purchase with your PSN account, making it impossible to sell your used games to retailers such as Gamestop, and preventing game rentals.  Nintendo still seems to be struggling to bring gamers decent hardware, as the specs for the “Wii U” are still not even on the same level as the Xbox 360 or the Playstation 3.

Will gamers actually behave like real consumers and reject this sort of consumer abuse, or are they going to let the console industry walk all over them again and keep handing them money without question?  This generation of consoles showed me that gamers can be awful consumers.  No one complains when a firmware update for a console forces you to sign a mandatory EULA that takes away your right to sue a console manufacturer for letting hackers have your personal information, but if someone doesn’t like the ending to a game there is a media-fueled shit storm.  It’s time for gamers to man up, get some priorities straightened out, and stand up to real consumer abuse by console manufacturers and game publishers.


Developer Claims Game Consoles Are Dying

A mobile and tablet game developer, Ngmoco (yes, the company name is that stupid), put on a presentation at GDC that claims console games are dying out.  They spewed out statistics and numbers that give the impression that gaming giants like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft will eventually be surpassed by Apple, Google, and Facebook.  That’s right; a company that didn’t even make the effort to come up with a decent name thinks folks will toss out their beloved game consoles to settle for Angry Birds and Farmville.

Most people can agree that smartphones and tablet PC’s have become very powerful little computers, and that they have some fun games available on them.  However, making the claim that gaming apps with limited controls and unfocused appeal can shake down a multi-billion dollar industry with a massive fan-base is a rather bold statement.  Ngmoco thinks that since mobile games have taken over the market for casual gamers, children, and handheld gamers that the hardcore gamers will soon follow.  This prediction fails to factor in that children and casuals are by no means “real” gamers.  Better luck with next year’s sales pitch, Ngmoco.