This week's Matt Chat is about Super Mario Kart, the game that popularized the "kart racing genre" in which popular characters (from games or elsewhere) race each other in go-carts. The video covers several games that it was inspired by, as well as some it inspired. Enjoy!
Bad-with-naming-them-but-still-undeniably-legendary-videogame-designer Shigeru Miyamoto has confirmed to USA Today that the forthcoming New Super Mario Bros. Wii will be first to incorporate a special "help" feature, otherwise known as "demo play". What this comes down to is whenever a player so chooses, they can pause the game and let it essentially play itself, then resume control whenever he or she chooses. While superficially this sounds like it's turning interactive videogames into passive entertainment no better than television, as someone who sometimes gets impossibly stuck in games and doesn't like to use cheat codes, I can see this being a useful feature. This is also one of those "so obvious, why hasn't someone done this before" type of deals.
While I support the concept, I can't help but feel a bit "icky" about the whole thing, just like I do with cheat codes. Certainly the whole idea of this is to continue to make videogames accessible to everyone, from the very, very young to the extraordinarily uncoordinated, but wouldn't dynamic difficulty adjustments or even - at its simplest implementation - having more selectable difficulty levels at the beginning address this issue just as well, particularly for what is ostensibly an action game (i.e., no difficult puzzles to figure out, just hard jumps to make)? What do you think of this new design wrinkle that will surely make its way into lots of other games?
Amidst all of the usual software-centric sequels and somewhat tired continuations of long running series at E3 was a clear, present and somewhat surprising focus on hardware accessories, and, more specifically and perhaps most exciting, next generation motion tracking and control systems. This wasn't just an attempt to copy Nintendo's almost-there original Wii Remote technology, but rather an attempt to redefine the technology once and for all and influence videogames and the technological world at large for generations to come (think integrated touch and motion controls in your 2015 laptop).
Below are five new casual iPhone photos, this time of various Dragon 32/64, Radio Shack Color Computer (CoCo) and Nintendo 64 (N64) items:
A blog called "Significant Bits" has a very nice editorial up about What made those old, 2D platformers so great?. The article is well written and illustrated, with screenshots as well as video clips. Definitely don't want to pass this up if you're a fan of platform games. Link via Slashdot.
Hi, guys, this week Matt Chat is about Metroid, one of the best games ever for the NES and probably my favorite game for the platform. I doubt there are many gamers who haven't heard of this game, but if it's been awhile you might be surprised by how modern and playable it remains so many years after its debut. As of 2:14 a.m., the video still isn't done processing, but I thought I'd go ahead and announce it anyway. If the HD or HQ settings aren't showing up for you or the image looks muddy, just wait a few hours and try again.
Just saw this at Engadget: Sony says the DSi is for kids, the PSP is for winners. Apparently, Sony's PR team has reacted to the launch of the DSi by calling it a kid's toy with poor third-party support. The author of the piece makes a keen observation that it's probably the iPhone that poses the most serious threat to the PSP's market share.
For one week only, and I believe that week is almost up, those shepherds of cool, those sters of hip, those Arcade Fire career-makers over at Pitchfork Media, are screening Reformat the Planet, a documentary film about the origins and growth of the current chiptune scene set against the backdrop of the 2006 Blip Festival.