Things X 5 – December 3, 2012

by Francois Joron

A couple of days ago I had flash and remembered a Gremlins game I used to play at my cousin’s place back when I was a kid. I don’t know if it was before or after we had a NES at home, but for my brother and I, that Gremlins game was the coolest. Whether it was on a Apple II or a PC, I can’t remember now, but it seems it was released on a couple of platforms back in the mid-80s. Anyway, the music was neat and the gameplay strangely captured the tone of the film. The first one at least. There’s even a video review for the Atari 5600 and footage for the Apple II port which pretty much looks like the version I used to play. Just look at this title screen with the mention “Unlocked by Sapphire. The West Coast Pirates Exchange “We do it right.” Oh yeah, good old times. But no need to call the West Coast gang now as you can now grab the game for free.

I really dig the cartoon art style for the new Runner2 game. For a series with such a great retro look, it’s a bold, unexpected move and I like it; from its silly costumes to the invented in-game brands. Also, the graphic design for the menus and UI looks awesome. It reminds me of Saul Bass‘ work for opening credits like the ones he did for Hitchcock’s movies. Can’t wait to see those screens animated. Gaijin Games will apparently use those menus in an interesting way: “We thought it would be a fun way to sort of tell the story, as if you’re watching it being told through the eyes of an omnipotent narrator.”

Lots of improvements for Yakuza 5: refined combat, seamless battles, better graphics, in-game engine cutscenes, five cities with a slew of adult-themed activities and even photographed food! It looks awesome and I’m counting on Sega to localize this new chapter while I finish dating all the hostess girls in Yakuza 4. Even series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi said that this new Yakuza game had so much new stuff that it was like “building a new house“. Meanwhile, you can read Edge’s impressions from the recently released Japanese demo or simply check out the video below. If you aren’t familiar with this series of (as Edge’s Chris Shilling puts it) oddly seductive blend of brutality and sentimentality; you can get Yakuza 3 or 4for around 20$~30$ each in various stores. I highly recommend it, it’s one of my favorite videogame series.

Two weeks with my Wii U and I’m loving it. The new system seems to even challenge the industry more than we thought it would be. Some influent reviewers are giving praises to the Wii U’s version of Call of Duty, Miiverse is so cool it is getting its own Tumblr, people are speculating on whether or not the console’s CPU is good, bad or slow - but it is still good looking even disassembled (see that cool iFix it image below). Simply put, it’ll be another unique Nintendo console, just like we need it. More importantly, you need to read that Gamasutra article by Ian Bogost that elegantly sums up Wii U’s defying approach to modern gaming.

I’m not really into modding my consoles or accessories but I sure like to see beauty shots of a PS3 controller ripped open, especially when it’s not mine. Even better, this Dualshock’s facelift doesn’t end up with an array of blinking LEDs and dragons. Check it out.

Also, if you have a Wii U, don’t forget to send me your friend request. My Nintendo ID is Jorf-Jorf. Thanks to everybody who already joined in!

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