The Pokemon Game that We are Waiting For

Well, well, well. What can I say? If you’re new to the world of Pokémon Go, you absolutely love Pikachu, you want to fight Jesse and James, and you want all of the starting Pokémon (Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and the mighty Charmander), then this version of Pokémon’s for you (by the way, if your Pikachu knows the Surf ability, you can play a minigame south of the Fuschia City Pokémon Center). If you notice carefully, the Pokémon in this version learn moves at different levels (and, more often than not, more/better moves – e.g. Pikachu learns Thunderbolt without the need of TM 24 from Lt. Surge, Butterfree will learn Gust at level 32, and Vaporeon gets to learn Aurora Beam), and they may also evolve at different levels (a Dragonair – from the Safari Zone fishing ponds – at level 15 just HAS to be good!), and so this would be the version of Pokémon that new gamers should buy.

However, if you already have one of the other versions (Blue, Red, or Green – Green’s the Japanese version of Blue), then I can’t exactly recommend that you buy it because what I’ve said earlier would be the only stuff you’ll be buying the game for (and you don’t exactly need them to live) – nothing else has changed. Besides, because of the set of Pokémon available in Pokemon Go hack for unlimited resources, you’ll have to trade with both red AND blue versions to get a complete set of Pokémon – which may be a good or bad thing, depending on what Pokémon you want. For example, there are no Raichus in the wild and Pikachu won’t take any Thunderstones, Weedles don’t appear in the game, and neither do Jynxs (and both examples suck anyway, so it doesn’t really matter). The TM and HM compatabilities have also changed (Charizard can now learn Fly), which may also be a good/bad thing depending on what you want to teach on a favorite Pokémon.

Overall, this game plays just like its red/blue/green counterparts, and is only recommended to those who have yet to buy a Pokémon game. In that case, I’m giving this a 4 for new players, and 2 for those who already have this game.
Can be summed up in a few points:

– walk/ride/surf/fly (with Pikachu by your side) to travel to cities and to encounter wild Pokémon or trainers with pokémon of their own.

– when in battle, use a Pokéball to capture, or use your best Pokémon Go to fight for experience (or against other trainers).

– use items such as TM/HM’s, vitamins (Carbos/Iron/Protein/Calcium/HP up) to improve your Pokémon Go.
– and, um, that’s it (apart from battling human opponents via Link Cable or Stadium – for which I’ll add an extra point)!

Since this was released after the other versions, it would have made more sense to use better color schemes than the previous versions. Unfortunately, this was not the case. But at least many (not all) of the Pokémon portraits are better drawn than previous versions.

Same old ‘plinky, plonky’ crap as the other versions (well, aren’t all Gameboy games like that?). Also with Pikachu voices (bet you that the voice actor for that filthy electric rat gets paid good!). Some of the tunes are OK, but most are annoying. Bonus point for NOT chucking in an announcer à la Pokémon Stadium!

Xbox One and Biohazard Partnership Official

At a press conference in Japan, Capcom revealed that Biohazard 4 and Biohazard 0 are in development — with Biohazard 0 specifically headed to Xbox One.

The Biohazard series is, of course, known as Resident Evil in the US. Biohazard 0 was originally in development for N64, but it never did ship for that platform. Capcom canned its development last year to focus on Xbox One instead.

While we don’t have any new gameplay details to share, the announcement is significant — it’s the first specific third-party Xbox One title that’s been publicly announced. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more information.

What is Hindering SimCity Buildit towards Success?

When you first play SimCity Buildit, it’s an awe-inspiring testament to the power of mobile platform nowadays, as well as the inclusion of new technology in a system that dates back from before the last two generations of console systems. It’s a unique addition to any gamer’s library, but the challenge might be a bit much for some simulator gamers, while the weird angles players have to play at don’t exactly help those with neck problems. It’s unique, different and even fun — but it’s not a game that you’d want to play for more than a half-hour at a time, if that.

The SimCity Buildit system is quite ingenious, and works really well. There are two modes in the game — single and multiplayer. Both of which are self explanatory and need to further discussion.

The problems with the software side of playing the game translate into the enjoyment of controlling and managing a city around several different factors. In order to get past many obstacles, precise management as a mayor are a must, including allocation of resources. As players get further and further into the level of the game, the challenge only increases, which makes players really wish they could use some help.

SimCity Buildit levels themselves look great — EA’s typical polish and graphic expertise is apparent. The levels all have different looks, and the backgrounds scroll beautifully while Sims rolls to and fro. The buildings are similarly detailed, and match the cuteness factor in the game. The game might only have one world, but there’s plenty of challenge to keep players going, and there’s even has replay value in the form tasks and achievements.

Really, the only problem with the game is the occurence of some bugs on iOS and Android. We tried playing in different settings, with different devices, but still the problem exists which is kind of frustrating. It simply came down to a lack of comfort while playing — and that means frustration as you try to progress in the game.

The game has potential, and the the gameplay makes it unique, but not all players will be able to get very far after seeing some of its problems occurring during playthrough especially the difficulty of having to earn SimCash and Simoleons unless you have read the detailed process here.

Building a better, Louder Game Boy

There’s something quite Stranger in a Strange Land about listening to Salt ‘n’ Pepa singing, “From seven to seven he’s got me open like 7-Eleven” while playing Pokemon Pinball on the Game Boy Color. The effect is made even more bizarre when one considers the music and the game are produced by the exact same console.

Pelican’s Boom Box Boy, a thumb-sized peripheral, turns Nintendo’s portable Game Boy and Game Boy Color systems into functioning, albeit somewhat limited, FM radios. This device plugs into the Game Boy’s link cable access port (marked “Ext.”), and a green indicator light on the front face serves to show that a successful connection has been made. Two plastic clips above the connector serve to anchor the Boom Box Boy to the Game Boy and, once affixed, the device can be used with little concern about its slipping off in the heat of battle.

It’s a neat little device, this Boom Box Boy, but it’s still a little bit like a tuxedo on a fish. The notion that the Game Boy could use a little spicing up in terms of its audio output is a fine one, but some games demand that a user pay attention to audio cues. The Boom Box Boy does not allow for FM stations to be played with a game’s background music (the effect, of course, would be hugely distracting anyway) — and there’s no way to switch back and forth between the radio and the game’s music without physically removing the add-on.

The Boom Box Boy comes in four different colors (clear, purple, teal and kiwi) and is packaged with a pair of padded headphones that plug into the peripheral. A volume control selector allows users to choose three different settings: low volume, strong treble; standard volume with balanced bass and treble; and high volume with its accompanying strong bass. Here, a slider would have been a good idea, but the device’s small size probably made such an option prohibitive. As it is, though, none of the volume settings were exactly sedate — even the low volume seemed a bit excessive (and this occurred with Pelican’s earphones, which must be jammed into one’s aural cavity, as well as a more standard over-the-ear model).

Hopping from station to station is accomplished with a press of the scan button. There’s no way to tell which frequency is being received; Boom Box Boy simply scans from the bottom of the range to the top. The peripheral picks up on strong signals, which means that users will have to do some finagling to capture one station (and only one station) at a time. A reset button, positioned beside the scanner, can be used to return the Boom Box Boy to the bottom of the FM frequency range.

Few complaints can properly be leveled at the Boom Box Boy. It’s rather cheap ($12.95) and can competently pick up FM stations. As an alternative to the dull plunks and plinks that emerge from the average Game Boy offering, the Boom Box Boy has no peer. Still, the little radio that could might not be able to escape its basic nature, and some might question the need to turn the Game Boy into a radio — and a somewhat restrictive one at that. Still others might opt to shake their heads and wonder “Why?” After all, most American homes have at least one functioning radio with a fully functioning tuner to allow its user to dial into a specific station with no fuss.

More Clues from Nintendo – The Exclusive

One of our favorite things to do is take other sites’ translations of interviews and rip ‘em apart. We got yet another chance to do this when Core Magazine kindly put up an interview with Satoru Iwata, one of Nintendo Japan’s internal directors. As we reported earlier today, the website posted a translation from an interview that appeared in nDream magazine (it all gets so twisted, doesn’t it?).

Before you read any further, go read the interview.

Welcome back. Now, let’s dissect what Iwata had to say, shall we?

The interview opened up with a discussion of esteemed game designer Shigeru Miyamoto and his involvement with Gamecube and Game Boy Advance. We know he’s hard at work on Gamecube games, and had some say on Mario Kart Advance, so that’s not a surprise. What we noticed in the interview, however, is that Iwata said, “Mr. Miyamoto is handling nearly all aspects of development.” That means he’s not just working on the next Mario/Luigi adventure, he’s handling several different games. That leads us to believe that Nintendo will have a pretty strong lineup for the Gamecube fairly quickly after the system’s launch. We already heard rumors that Nintendo would have a “strong showing,” which could have been anywhere from three to six titles. If Miyamoto is under so much pressure, however, we’re hoping for the higher of the figures — about six to 10 titles would be fantastic. The majority will likely come from Nintendo itself — the company has several internal development teams, as well as some great second-party development houses. It wouldn’t be that hard to create several games, and with Miyamoto overseeing them all, they’re sure to be damn impressive.

The interview went on to talk about why Nintendo’s been so silent. Iwata said this is because Nintendo doesn’t want to spill the beans too early, and it wants to have the ability to change things without it reflecting poorly on the company. This is probably why we were never allowed to touch a Gamecube controller or even examine a Gamecube up close — the company wants to be able to change things. Only one thing about his statement didn’t seem to really jibe with us — he said, “Since software development isn’t finished, we can only give you a fragmented picture.” We disagree — a demo of the powers of the Gamecube would only help Nintendo in gaining support with the third-party developers who are unsure of what systems they want to make games for, and it would reassure those gamers who are anxiously awaiting the Gamecube’s appearance to see if they want to spend their hard-earned money on Nintendo’s new system or someone else’s.

Iwata made sense, though, when he said that Nintendo doesn’t make money on hardware, it makes money on software (although he failed to mention the insane licensing deals with other publishers and franchise fees for things like Pokemon). He nailed it right on the head when he said, “Since our software sells well, we’ve created an environment where we can drive profits. The fact that we make solid hardware definitely helps, but it’s the software that attracts consumers.” In other words, it’s all about the games. If people want to play the games, people will buy the systems. If Metal Gear Solid was going to ship exclusively for the Indrema, something tells us that more players would be interested in the overlooked system.

It’s reassuring to hear Iwata laugh about statements that Nintendo isn’t confident about its products, or that the Gamecube will be delayed. His description of Miyamoto’s tendency to change software up until the last minute meshes perfectly with our vision of him as the perfectionist game designer, and makes sense with why Nintendo wouldn’t want to show anything too early. But we’re certainly getting tired of waiting. He did dispel some fears of a delay, however, when he laughingly said that everything was still on schedule, and that “we don’t foresee any problems in delivering software either in quantity or variety.”

Iwata addressed some of the rumors that the Gamecube is an easy system to develop for, and he even said, “we’ve promised developers the hardware is easy to develop for, and that’s a promise we’re not going to break.” If that’s the case, then that means quick and easy software from developers that will make it to market quickly, and that will only mean good things for Nintendo. Hopefully the system won’t be so easy to develop for that a lot of games get the slapdash treatment so common on Game Boy Color, where developers just stick some characters in a world and build a flimsy story around it to get copies of software on store shelves. Nintendo says that its approval process will prevent this, but good games made in a short time means more games, which means more players, which means more support from other developers.

Our favorite answer in the interview has to do with playable demos of Gamecube games at E3. In answer to the question “Can we expect playable Gamecube software at E3?” the response was, “[laughs…] Yes, it wouldn’t be good if it wasn’t playable, right?” The assurance that we’ll get our hands on playable Gamecube games at E3 makes us feel all tingly inside….

The Gamecube might also suffer some changes. We didn’t notice too much, but it seems that the Game Boy Advance went through some minor tweaks before its final release — it’s possible that the same will apply to the Gamecube (no, it’s unlikely that the handle will be taken off). Iwata mentioned that Nintendo has an obsession with controllers — something we’re happy to hear, although we do hope that the Gamecube controller isn’t too small for our large, clumsy hands.

Interestingly, the interview turned to networking plans on the Gamecube. Nintendo is talking about supporting networks internally — which could mean some great multiplayer games (Mario Party Online, anyone?). Realistically, Nintendo wouldn’t have to do too much to support online play — just put up some hosting servers (much like the Phantasy Star Online servers for the Dreamcast game) and let users find their own ISPs to get online with. We hope to hear more about these possibilities at E3.

We got an email some time back asking if the Gamecube would support game demos for the Game Boy Advance, where games could be downloaded to the handheld through the connection it will share with the Gamecube. We scoffed at the idea at first, but with the system’s built-in RAM used for multiplayer games, it wouldn’t be that hard to do — and it sounds like Nintendo is considering supporting that technology, which could have some definite potential. Iwata, at least, said that Nintendo might talk more about it at E3.

The interview finished up on a highly positive note. In response to the question, “How do you think 2001 will shape up?” Iwata said, “I think Nintendo’s strategy of putting out two platforms will draw many new customers.” The fact that Iwata did not imply that the Gamecube might not launch this year means that the Gamecube’s launch is assured. While Nintendo continues to say that the Gamecube is still on track for a July release in Japan, doubters are constantly saying that there’s no way the system will come out then, and that they’d be surprised to see it. Well, those doubts are getting put to rest more and more as we hear from Nintendo representatives, and while we might not actually know for sure until July comes around and Gamecubes line store shelves in Japan, we’re pretty confident that we’ll be playing our own Gamecube by the end of this year. And that’s something to look forward to.