Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jetstreame Podcast Episode #4

by Shawn McFadden

The fourth episode of the Jetstreame Podcast is now available. Due to some technical difficulties, we are currently looking for a new host for our episodes. Currently, the forth episode is only available for direct download.

This episode includes Godric Johnson, Derrick Terrance and myself. We talk about the development of Crush Hour as well as the launch of the Playstation 4.

We would also like to give a special shout out to OCD Reproductions. You can visit their website here.

Download the episode here. Stay tuned for more news on Crush Hour and the rest of our games.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jetstreame at DLC13

by Shawn McFadden

Kyle Whittington and Joe Corbett from Boxworld Games and Random Nerds organized the DLC13 which brought game developers and gamers together for one awesome convention. DLC13 was held on October 11th in New Orleans. Some of the highlights from the show included keynotes, prizes, game demos and awards. Among other developers, Jetstreame was in attendance.

During the show, Producer/Creative Director Godric Johnson happened to win an Ouya console at the show. Although nothing is currently being announced, we are currently looking into future Ouya development.

For more information on DLC13 visit their website. Stay tuned for more news on future releases.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jetstreame at TechForum

by Shawn McFadden

Producer/Creative Director Godric Johnson will giving a presentation for Tech Forum 2013 at the University of Advancing Technology tomorrow. We will be showing off previously announced Jetstreame titles along with a special announcement at the show. With the release of our upcoming titles getting closer, it's time for Jetstreame fans to start getting excited. 

For more information on Tech Forum, visit their website. Stay tuned for more news.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jetstreame Podcast Now on iTunes

by Shawn McFadden

Great news, Jetstreame fans! You can now officially download the Jetstreame Podcast from the iTunes music store. You can go subscribe by clicking here. The second episode was just released so if you haven't yet listened, go download it. Stay tuned for a new episode soon.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Jetstreame Podcast Episode #2

by Shawn McFadden

Good news, Jetstreame fans! The second episode of the Jetstreame Podcast is available here. The Podcast was on hiatus for a couple months due to our staff being busy with game development. We have also changed hosts for the podcast. You can now subscribe to the podcast over at Podcast Garden.

This week's episode features host, Tom Diedrichs and Marketing Director, Shawn McFadden. Topics this week include the Galaxy S4 Development Kit we won from 100% Indie, the Future is Games Convention, rumors for the iPhone 5s and 5c and Gamestop's restocking of the rare Xenoblade Chronicles. Stay tuned for new episodes every week!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Post-E3 2013: Galaxy S4 Development Kit, 100% Indie & Game-hop

by Shawn McFadden

As you may have read on Gamasutra, our Lead Designer, Godric Johnson recently won a development kit for the Samsung Galaxy S4 while at the 100% Indie booth at E3. At their booth, 100% Indie held an interactive scratch card competition for the development kit. As you may know, Godric Johnson is also the founder of Game-hop. For those of you that do not know, Game-hop is the a hybrid of hip hop music and game culture. This inspired Godric to write a song for 100% Indie. A sample of the song can be heard here.

So what does this mean for the future of Jetstreame games? With the newly acquired Galaxy S4 development kit, it will allow us to optimize our upcoming games for the device. We will have more information on future compatibility in the near future. Stay tuned for more news.

P.S.: Special thanks to 100% for helping Jetstreame grow as a studio. Head over to their website to learn more about them.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Jetstreame at iFEST 2013

by Shawn McFadden

We at Jetstreame are excited to announce that Godric Johnson, Jetstreame's Creative Director/Producer will be attending the iFEST 2013 Independent Game Festival tomorrow. iFEST is being held at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Lafayette, Louisiana. He will be there talking about all of our current projects. For more information on iFEST, visit http://www.ifest.us/.

Stay tuned for more Jetstreame news. Don't forget to follow us on our Facebook page as well. Stay classy, Jetstreame fans.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Jetstreame Podcast Episode #1

by Shawn McFadden

The Jetstreame Podcast has been something that has been in the works for a long time. After a lot of planning, we finally have something to share with our fans. In the first episode, we discuss future projects at Jetstreame, the current Xbox One vs. Playstation 4 debate and our predictions for E3. Hopefully you enjoy this first episode. You can view the first episode here.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Release Date Update

by Shawn McFadden

Hey, Jetstreame fans! We come bearing some disappointing news today. Due to some complications within some of our development teams, we are delaying some of our upcoming games. We at Jetstreame strive to make our products the best quality possible and have made this decision with the fans in mind. The updated release dates are as follows:

June 21st - Crush Hour
July 15th - Star Shapers
August 12th - Dragon Drop
September 13th - Train Hopper

We have a lot of interesting news coming as we get closer to E3. Stay tuned for more exciting updates and announcements! Don't forget to follow up on Facebook and Twitter as well for more Jetstreame news!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Star Shapers Screenshots

by Shawn McFadden

Following the recent release of the new Crush Hour and Dragon Drop screenshots, comes more Wave One Media Madness! Here is a batch of brand new Star Shapers screenshots. Star Shapers is set to be released on June 14th and will be the third game released by Jetstreame. For more news on our games, stay tuned to the Jetstreame Blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why You Should Play World of Warcraft

by Tom Diedrichs

Since 2006, I have been playing World of Warcraft on and off. Despite what people say, it's one of the few MMOs that always draws me back. I don't know if its the content, the familiarity of the game, or the fact I love logging onto my level 90 hunter, flying into lowbie areas and ruining someone's day (Yea, I'm THAT guy). But regardless, there is something captivating about the game. Most people who do not like it say things like "It's over rated" or "the PVP system is rigged." Whatever your reason being for hating it, I guarantee there is one thing that maybe you haven't tried that could instantly bring you back.

For me, its the entire experience of creating your character and going through all the rigorous quests, which I may add, Blizzard has done a fantastic job making them more interactive. Currently, I am going back through the game as a Horde Pandaren Warrior Tank (literally a walking talking panda). My character just looks like a giant goof, but in a way that is an extension of myself. If you look up the lore behind them, you might actually bond with a certain race. One of my good friends always plays as a Tauren (Basically a giant minotaur looking creatures) and another friend of mine has 4 lvl 90 Orcs (basically small versions of the hulk). I can say I had the most fun playing the game in a long time as I went through the Eastern Kingdom Undead quest line. Through Silver Pine Forrest, there is quite an epic quest chain where you follow the Banshee Queen and help her try to obliterate the Worgen (Essentially a race of werewolves). The only complaint I can even make about the new quests lines is it doesn't help you understand anything prior to the Cataclysm expansion. With that being said, there's no harm in going to WoW Wiki, and looking it up yourself. But If your new to the game it doesn't matter to much.

PvP is as active as always and continues to be the main reason I play WoW. The satisfaction of beating the opposing faction into the ground or playing ranked battle grounds and yearning for the new title so everyone can see you as "Senior Sergeant Chowmein" or whatever your name may be. Everything nowadays has mount or pet rewards for specific achievements. If you love hunting for achievements on Xbox Live, try knocking some of these out in WoW. There are about 1,937 in WoW where a typical game on Xbox Live has roughly 40.

The raids in the game are comparable to any other MMO. There is not to much of a difference, but the achievements are what makes raids hard. Just going in and nuking a boss is no big deal, but when you want a Heroic mount, now that takes a little bit of skill, especially for 25-man raids.

If you haven't played WoW in a while, come back and try it. If you're new, I recommend joining a random guild in order to get started. Just pay the $15 and play for a month. All of the servers are still active and have plenty of die-hards. Tired of raiding? Try PVP. Bored of socializing with other people? Go collect Pets. Yep, WoW has a version of Pokemon and its flippin awesome. Or just become an achievement whore. There is at least one part of WoW you will find fun. Make a few friends and enjoy the game.

Monday, May 6, 2013

New Dragon Drop Screenshots

by Shawn McFadden

The Dragon Drop team has released some brand new screenshots for Dragon Drop. Dragon Drop is our innovative new platforming game that is set to release on July 26th. You can read our Dragon Drop Spotlight for more information. For more information, stay tuned to the Jetstreame Blog or add us on Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

New Crush Hour Screenshots

by Shawn McFadden

We at Jetstreame are happy to finally release the first official screenshots for Crush Hour. These screenshots are not necessary representative of the final product and are subject to change. Crush Hour has a planned release date of May 24th for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows 8. More media will be released for Crush Hour over the course of the month. For more news on Crush Hour and all other Jetstreame games, stay tuned to the Jetstreame Blog or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Release Line-up Updates

by Shawn McFadden

We at Jetstreame have been hard at work to provide our fans with a consistent stream (No pun intended) of fun games to play throughout the year. In the previous post that discussed the "Wave One" campaign, we gave a general time frame in which you could expect each game. We are pleased to be able to announce the official release dates in which you can expect each game to arrive.

May 24th - Crush Hour
June 14th - Star Shapers
July 26th - Dragon Drop
August 21st - Train Hopper

Each of these games will be coming to Blackberry, Windows 8, Android and iOS. There may be delays between each version but we will have more information about that closer to each launch. Our different development teams also have some exciting announcements that we are going to save for around E3, so stay tuned to the Jetstreame Blog for more updates. Also make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Stay classy, Jetstreame fans!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Circuit Swap Featured on Blackberry

by Shawn McFadden

Exciting news, Jetstreame fans. From May 2nd to May 9th, Circuit Swap will be featured on the Blackberry App Store. If you haven't already checked out our amazingly fun puzzler, you can download it for $1.99 on Blackberry or free for a short time on Android. iOS and Windows 8 versions will be coming soon. We have lots more news coming so stay tuned to the Jetstreame Blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jetstreame at E3 2013

by Shawn McFadden

We here at Jetstreame would like to announce that we will officially be attending the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo. We will be showing off this year's lineup in full force! The current lineup of games includes Circuit Swap, Crush Hour, Dragon Drop, Star Shapers and Train Hopper. We also may have a couple new games to announce at the show as well. Production is amping up and we are really excited to show off what we have in the works. For more updates, stay tuned to the Jetstreame Blog. See you all in June!

Monday, April 29, 2013

GDC '13 Recap

by Godric Johnson

Hey Jetstreame fans! This is Godric Johnson, Head of Jetstreame Studios. The 2013 Game Developer's Conference was an amazing experience for us here at Jetstreame. Two of our core members were in attendance this year: Myself and James Richards, Lead Designer of Dragon Drop.  Three of our games were available for attendees to play including Circuit Swap, Dragon Drop and Star Shapers. The overall reception of our titles was very positive and we garnered constructive feedback to better enhance gameplay experience in our games. GDC is the annual must attend event for any and all game developers. For those aspiring to join the robust video games industry, it is a great place for networking and learning about the inner workings of the industry.  The learning, seminars, expo floor, career pavilion, game demos, and nightlife; GDC has everything here to help kickstart a career and have fun doing it. GDC is one of my favorite times of the year! I’ve been to eight consecutive Game Developers Conferences. It all started during my Undergrad at the University of Advancing Technology. It’s by far my favorite conference to attend and I always have a blast. Everything is here for you to succeed, whether you’re a small indie game developer or a multi-billion dollar corporation touting Triple A titles.  The real thing that makes our industry great is the amount of passion coming from everyone in it. This mass of super gifted individuals who comprise this much maligned force called "The Video Games Industry," are the reason I love what I do. The pure inspiration one draws from this conference is truly astounding. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoy myself every time, because the atmosphere is so great.  I must shoutout my super awesome CA family, because they’re an amazing group of hard working people who deserve all the success in the world. My studio has a great collective of superbly gifted and passionate people and it’s a joy to work with them. It’s an honor and I never take this job for granted.  We’ve worked really hard and I most surely look forward to leading Jetstreame to great heights as an independent game studio indeed. Stay tuned to the Jetstreame Blog for more updates!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jetstreame Announcing "Wave One"

by Shawn McFadden

We at Jetstreame are very passionate about games. We not only are passionate about games but we are passionate about our games. It has been relatively quiet on the news front when it comes to our upcoming projects. Minimal media has been released. No release dates. Very few details. Well, this is going to change soon. Jetstreame is officially moving into overdrive. It's crunch time among our various teams. This is why we are excited to announce Jetstreame Wave One. What does this mean? Wave One is what we are calling our first grouping of games that will be rolling out May through August. It is our plan to release one title per month along with dedicated DLC packs for existing titles. Android and Blackberry fans have already got a taste of Wave One with Circuit Swap, which was released March 15th. This title will also be coming to iOS and Windows 8 at a future date (TBA). Crush Hour will be released next month in May. With will be followed by Dragon Drop in June, and a Jetstreame double dose with Star Shapers and Train Hopper in August. We are tentatively planning to release an unannounced title in July that we cannot yet discuss. All we can say is that it is one to get excited about.   Hopefully our fans are just as excited as we are. Stay tuned for screenshots and video for our upcoming releasing coming soon.

Summer is Coming.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Wonderful World of Smash Bros Clones

by Shawn McFadden

Nintendo has always been known for their large back catalogue of memorable characters. Mario, Link, Kirby, Samus, etc. They all were characters that gamers grew up with and have come to know and love over their very long gaming careers. Of course, with fandom comes curiosity and debate. Several fans always argued over questions like "Who would win in a fight: Mario or Link?" or "Could Kirby kick the crap out of Donkey Kong?" This is why on January 21st of 1999, industry giant Nintendo did something really special with its catalogue of characters. They released Super Smash Bros for the Nintendo 64. Smash Bros was a four player fighting game that featured 12 of Nintendo's most recognizable mascots. It isn't a big surprise that the Smash Bros franchise became one of Nintendo's biggest sellers of all time. After two more installments and Wii U and 3DS versions on the way, the hype behind this series is incredible. Personally, Smash Bros has always been one of my favorite games. I don't know what it is but cross-over fighting games just get me excited. For some reason, I always enjoy speculating about character rosters and stages whenever a new game like Marvel vs Capcom or Injustice: God Among Us get announced. Since the time between each entry in the series is so long, I found myself trying to look for alternatives to Smash Bros. After much searching, I found some very obscure and even hilarious Smash Bros clones. This is why I decided to put together this list of some of the most interesting Smash Bros clones that I found.

Jump Superstars/Jump Ultimate Stars (DS)
If I was asked to find the Anime Equivalent to Nintendo when it comes to memorable characters, it would definitely have to be Shonen Jump. Many of you may not be familiar with the Shonen Jump name. This is partially due to Manga being a somewhat niche market in the States. Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump is a manga publication in Japan that is responsible for some of the Anime world's most popular series. Dragonball Z, Naruto, Yu-Gi-Oh, Bleach, Shaman King, One Piece, etc. All of these superbly popular series got their start in this magazine. The magazine was so popular that it even got a US equivalent that is released every month. With so many popular franchises, it is surprising that the series didn't get a cross-over fighting game any sooner.

The Jump series received two entries: Jump Superstars in 2005 and Jump Ultimate Stars in 2006. Both of these titles are absolutely fantastic and are some of the best games for the DS. The first game in the series pit fighters from 27 of Shonen Jump's most popular series together. The sequel increased the number of represented series to 41 and added online functionality. Although this is technically a Smash Bros clone, it features very different game mechanics. Unlike most fighting games, which allow you to select your fighter from a Character Select screen, Jump has you create a "deck" of different comic panels. This is a Manga-themed game after all. Your "deck" is a 4x5 block that appears on the DS' touch screen. During gameplay, you can touch different panels on the screen to either change characters or summon characters to help you. Comic panels range from one to eight squares. One square panels are "Help" characters which have certain status effects when used during battle. Two to three square characters are "Support" characters which come on to the battlefield and attack your opponents (Similar to Smash Bros' Pokeball item). Four to eight square panels are the actual fighters you can choose from. By playing through the game's story mode and completing various missions, you can unlock more powerful versions of each character. The more squares each panel is, the stronger the character will be. Unlike Smash Bros, which revolved around knocking your character off of each stage, you have a set amount of health that is indicated by how vibrant the colors in your character are. Right before you are about to die, your character will appear to be almost completely black and white, just like how they were in their original manga. The saddest part about Jump Superstars/Ultimate Stars is the fact that it will never come to America. This is due to the licensing nightmare that this game would cause the publisher. Good thing the DS is region free. Check this one out.

UPDATE: Although it is not a Smash Bros clone, J-Stars Victory Versus was just announced for the PS3 and Vita. This is a spiritual follow-up to the Jump series that ditches side scrolling gameplay for tag-team 3D brawling. Currently, the only four characters announced are Naruto, Goku (DBZ), Luffy (One Piece) and Toriko. Not much is known about the game, but more information should be coming to the Official Website soon.

Battle Stadium D.O.N. (Gamecube, PS2)

Somebody at Shonen Jump must really like Super Smash Bros, because in 2006 Battle Stadium D.O.N. was released for the Gamecube and Playstation 2, the same year as Jump Ultimate Stars. Unlike the innovative mechanics in the Jump series that made you feel like the Overlord of the Manga world, Battle Stadium plays a little more like a conventional party brawler. Battle Stadium's character roster is a little more focused than the chaotic action of Jump. D.O.N. is an acronym that stands for Dragonball Z, One Piece and Naruto. Since these are three of Japan's most popular anime series, it makes sense to put them in a fighting game. And it works for the most part. The gameplay is a lot of what you would expect from your typical Smash Bros clone. You can punch, you can throw, and you can block. Instead of a conventional health bar, Battle Stadium uses a bar at the top which tells you who is doing the best in the match. The farther to the right you get, the worse you're doing. If you do well for long enough, you can even get a "Burst" which will increase the strength of your attacks for a short period of time. Unfortunately, Battle Stadium implements a lottery system which is used to unlock characters. With my time playing the game, I could not even unlock one of the many hidden fighters. Beyond this and the overall mechanics being a little shallow, it's still a fun game. It's worth checking out if you can find a way to play imports on your console.

Ragdoll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic (PS3)

Ragdoll Kung Fu is a really weird game. I would say that it is actually one of the strangest game on the list if it weren't for one entry later on in the article. Rag Doll Kung Fu was one of the earliest game to come out for the Playstation Network. It features plastic dolls that resemble stereotypes from old Chinese martial arts movies. No memorable characters here, just somewhat offensive caricatures. The best thing about Rag Doll Kung Fu (Besides the theme song. Damn, is it catchy), are the physics. This game features a very good physics engine on par with the likes of Little Big Planet. In fact, that's what this game should have been: a Little Big Planet fighter. What's so bad about this game? Well, the fighting just feels weird. You do all your attacking by swinging your fists with the analog stick. It kind of works but it feels incredibly awkward. This game does offer some creative modes like "Capture the Fish," where you need to grab a fish and throw it into a basket. There is some fun to be had but it isn't enough to save the game from being incredibly bland. Part of the appeal of Smash Bros was the cast of interesting characters. This game has absolutely none of those. This game just isn't that much fun. You would be better off spending your time and money elsewhere.

Digimon Rumble Arena 1 & 2 (PS1, PS2, Gamecube, Xbox)

Okay, don't roll your eyes just yet. I know a fighting game based on the alleged "Pokemon Clone" doesn't sound very promising, but Digimon Rumble Arena is actually a pretty fun, albeit shallow brawler. There were two entries in the series: one on Playstation and another on PS2, Gamecube and Xbox. In this game, you have a conventional health bar like many fighting games. The thing that makes this game unique is the ability of your fighter to "Digi-volve" during battle. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the series, each monster can transform into a bigger and more bad-ass version of themselves for a short amount of time. The better you are doing in a match, the more opportunities you will get to transform. Each fighter can transform up to two times (with the exception of a few hidden characters which are permanently in their final forms). Whenever you lose a life, you will also be downgraded by one stage. The combat is rather shallow but I had a good deal of fun with the game. If you are looking for some cheap fun, check it out. If only Nintendo would do something similar with the Pokemon franchise.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle: Smash Up (PS2, Wii)

I have a confession about TMNT: Smash-Up: I have not actually played it. I have a good deal of research about the title for the sake of this article though. TMNT: Smash-Up is ironically made by some of the same developers behind Super Smash Bros Brawl on the Nintendo Wii. It essentially is a blatant Smash Bros clone that simply puts in TMNT characters in place of Nintendo's mascots. Seriously, the gameplay is almost exactly the same. The main problem with the game is the blandness of the character's move sets. You won't see any charging energy blasts or fireballs like you do in Smash Bros. Each character plays somewhat similarly to each other. The game also fails to capitalize on the nostalgia behind the TMNT franchise. You won't be seeing any classic cartoon skins or old school Krang here. It's strictly based on the new television series and movie. This may be somewhat disappointing for long time fans. You can unlock Ubisoft's own Raving Rabid as a playable character though. If you are a fan of both TMNT and Smash Bros, check it out.

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3, Vita) 

My heart truly goes out to the team at Superbot Entertainment. They were specifically formed to make Sony's answer to the Smash Bros franchise and I don't think they had any idea how much hate and cynicism would be targeted at their game. Yes, they tried to do something new with it instead of outright copying Smash. Yes, it does not necessarily have every character that everyone wanted to be included. No Crash, No Spyro, No Cloud, etc. It is kind of sad though, because Playstation All-Stars is actually a really deep game. It is even deeper than the game that it drew its inspiration from at times. In case you aren't familiar with PSABR (Not that most people are), I will explain the premise. This game features 20 (or 24 with current DLC offerings) of Sony's most popular characters. Well, some of the roster are their most popular. The rest are kind of... obscure. Toro, Fat Princess and Nariko aren't necessarily blockbuster characters. The goal of the game is to beat on your opponent until you fill up a Super Meter. Using a Super is the only way for anyone to die in a match so you need to strategically use your three levels of Super Attacks to get the most amount of points. The reason this game is so sad is that nobody played it. This game was barely hyped up and had such a large amount of hate behind it from the gaming community that Sony actually fired Superbot and turned future DLC duty over to Sony Santa Monica. PSABR is a really fun game. If you were ever a Sony fan, give it a try.

Dream Mix TV: World Fighters (PS2, Gamecube)

I saved my personal favorite for last. This one isn't my favorite, because it's a good game. Oh no, this one is my favorite because of how bizarre the character roster is. Dream Mix TV: World Fighters is an unlikely mash-up between game developers Hudson, Konami and Japanese toy manufacturer Takara. Takara are behind such toys as Transformers and Beyblade. This game includes such all-star mascots as Solid Snake, Simon Belmont, Bomberman, Optimus Prime, Master Higgins, that kid from Beyblades, Japanese Chibi Baseball dude, Easter Island Head, Japanese Barbie, Chibi Peach Ninja that throws cats and birds, Fat Naked baby that throws dice at people that sometimes turn him into a smaller baby that makes him move faster but do not give him any further helpful powers. Oh, and wolf dude from Bloody Roar. Uh, what? If anyone can find a stranger character roster in a fighting game, I will personally give you $100. Other than the curiosity behind by the character roster,  this game honestly isn't too great. Character movements are very stiff and characters only feature a couple different moves each. Instead of a health bar, this game is all about collecting hearts. Yup, hearts. At the beginning of each match, tons of heart tokens will drop on to the stage. You have to run around and grab as many as you can before your opponent does. Then you beat on the other player to steal their hearts. If they lose too many hearts, their...heart will fly out of them and they will grow into a tiny version of themselves. If you can grab their "heart" before they can get it back, you win. If they recover it, you will have to knock it out of them again. It's very strange and can be fun for a little while. Although fun, after you unlock all the hidden characters and stages by playing the arcade mode, there really isn't much to do. Unless you have a friend daft enough to play it with you that is.

Smash Bros is a phenomenon that has created one of the most passionate and dedicated fan bases in the world. There are tournaments, mods and even player created balancing (and unbalancing) patches for the game. Although none of these games listed are nearly as good as the game that they were based upon, sometimes it is fun to take a look at the obscure once and a while. After all, we could use something else to play while waiting for the next iterations to be released. If I forgot to mention any Smash Bros ripoffs, let me know in the comment section. For more gaming articles and news, keep coming to the Jetstreame blog.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jetstreame At GDC 2013

by Shawn McFadden

This is a very exciting week for the Game Industry and Jetstreame plans to make it a very exciting week for our fans as well. The 2013 Game Developer's Conference is in full swing and Jetstreame is in attendance. That's right, if you are one of the lucky attendees, you can get an exclusive look at some of our upcoming releases on the show floor at GDC.

We currently have four games on display with full playable demos. We will have brand new builds of Dragon Drop, Crush Hour, Star Shapers and Circuit Swap. You can play these four great games on our brand new Android demos that we have prepared just for GDC. Not lucky enough to attend the show? No matter! We will also be releasing brand new screenshots and gameplay demos for our games this week. We are all very excited and we hope that you are too. For more news on our games, check out our Facebook page, our Twitter or keep coming back to the Jetstreame blog.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Jetstreame Game Spotlight #3: Star Shapers

by David Hellstrom

Hello from Jetstreame!
David Hellstrom here. I am the team lead and game designer for Star Shapers. This is the game that will be the focus for our third Jetstreame Game Spotlight.

Star Shapers is a classic example of instant inspiration. I must have had a muse next to me on the drive home the night this idea struck me. I was trying to think of something simple, yet addictive. There on the black pavement were shapes in the road. An arrow here denoting a turn-only lane, a crosswalk made of rectangles, a yield sign. Shapes we see every day plastered in front of me on a black background. Luckily, I was on a section of road without much light-pollution or I never would have noticed the starry sky.

Star Shapers was born.

I was convinced the game would not only be fun, but also simple to make. My lead programmer, Thomas Woods, did not disappoint. He quickly came up with a prototype and we  immediately saw the potential. Not only were we determined to make this game fun, but we also wanted Star Shapers to look amazing. I had to call in the big guns. A friend of mine, Billy Reiter, excels in art and animation, he even teaches the subject at a local college. If we could get him on board I was convinced we would have a winner. Lucky for us, he agreed.That night, he came up with the shape designs you see above you. Star Shapers was starting to take shape rather nicely. To complete the Star Shapers team, we added our Jetstreame artist/sound design intern, Sarah Schuler, who designed the menu screens, background art, and music.

Star Shapers is a very simple game. The player is in control of “pieces” which they shoot out of a cannon at fragments floating around the star filled void. When the right number of pieces are connected to the fragments a shape is created. The player will have 1:30 seconds to complete as many shapes as possible. Think Tetris meets Asteroids. Power ups will augment the speed of the pieces and fragments, as well as possibly adding time to the count down clock. There is a special shape, a star, which will give the player a rather explosive bonus as well.

We truly hope others will be as excited as this game as we are. Keep checking back to the Jetstreame blog for more news on Star Shapers and the rest of Jetstreame's upcoming releases.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Circuit Swap Now On Blackberry App Store!

by Shawn McFadden

Just a little announcement for all Blackberry fans. Jetstreame would like to officially announce our very first release on the Blackberry App Store! That's right, Circuit Swap is now available. Circuit Swap is an addicting puzzler where you need to complete circuits in order to light up a city at night. Circuit Swap is the first of many Jetstreame games that we have planned for this platform. You can now buy Circuit Swap for $1.99. Stay tuned for news about future Jetstreame games.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Jetstreame Game Spotlight #2: Crush Hour

by Derrick Tarrance

Greetings! My name is Derrick Tarrance and I am the lead designer for Crush Hour. Crush Hour is a mayhem puzzle game and will be one the first of the titles Jetstreame will be releasing. This title is expected to debut in April and will be available for the iOS, Android and Blackberry devices. 

Crush Hour is a simple yet fun and comedic game. It challenges players to think on their feet while getting the thrill of a little fender bending. In this title you follow the story of five policemen and women; each who have been demoted to the boring task of a traffic cop. Their stories take you to five different locations around the world where you must enact their revenge and take it out on traffic. Directing traffic in all the wrong ways will earn you points and gain access to extra areas in each stage. At it's core, this game is very simple. Players are directed to crash cars by swiping vehicles of matching color into one another and clearing each intersection before the time runs out. Be sure to not let the cops escape, because they are heading right for you. 

To be honest, the concept for this game came from a joke and took off as something really worthwhile. It was early 2012 when the game idea was proposed. Originally, everything about it was a laughing matter. Even the name, "Crush Hour" materialized after a few jokes. In it's early development stages, Crush Hour was progressing very slow. Finding artists and programmers came as no easy task and for a while we could not keep both positions filled consistently. With myself leading designs and art work at the time, it was very difficult to get both jobs done in a timely manner. It was not until early 2013 that artist Vincent Perez and co-founder/programmer Andy Jeune joined up to help with development of the game. Together, the game's development has really taken off and we are moving along on schedule. 

None of us are expecting the next Fruit Ninja or Cut the Rope, but we do foresee Crush Hour as a title that people can have fun with. Each of us have full time jobs and can only dedicate so much of our time to Crush Hour's progress. We have put forth an immense amount of work and continue to receive support from our family, friends, and fans. At the end of the day, we just want to make a fun idea into something memorable. From myself, the team of Crush Hour, and all of Jetstreame, we thank you. Without your support, we wouldn't have come this far.

For more on Crush Hour and all other Jetstreame projects, check out our Facebook or keep coming to the Jetstreame Blog.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Jetstreame Game Spotlight #1: Dragon Drop

by James Richards

Hey Jetstreame fans! I'm James Richards and I'm the team lead and Game Designer for Dragon Drop. This is going to be the first in a series of articles where we will be focusing on one of our many projects that we will be releasing during the rest of this year and let you know what it is all about. Dragon Drop is a platforming game that will be coming out for the iOS, Android & Blackberry this Spring.

The core mechanic of the game is the unique ability to drag and drop platforms and other objects into the game to guide your hero to the end of the level. Dragon Drop has been a concept that I have thought about since my sophomore year of college. Back then, I simply called it "Stick Platformer." It was just one of many game ideas I had used for a class project at the time. I grew rather fond of the concept and saw a lot of potential in it. I attempted twice back in college to get a group of students together to work on the game, but things fell through due to a number of difficulties and scheduling conflicts that I had with the other students. The project was shelved for some time and I used the game design document as a portfolio piece. In September of 2011 I started an internship with the company now known as Jetstreame. Around March of 2012 we started development on the title but it wasn't until September or so that we finally got a solid team together. We brought on Vanny Sou as our programmer and Ashley Waldorf as our artist. In December of 2012, I launched a Kickstarter campaign for the game to raise $1,000 for development costs. Fortunately, we were successfully funded with 36 total backers. Now we're working on finishing the game. Our new goal is to have the game ready by the middle of May.

Dragon Drop takes traditional platforming and puts the power of choice into the player's hands. The player could use their allotted platforms and other dropable tools strategically to grab all of the enticing collectables, or they could head straight for the goal and just grab what is in front of them. The game is all about having fun. I want the player to enjoy the story, experiment with items, but most importantly; play it their way. The game is divided into three worlds each with 8 levels. After completing a level the player is taken to the world map where they can use the map fragments they have collected during gameplay to unlock new levels. If a player is diligent enough to collect every map fragment they may even be able to skip a level or two if they desire.

At the end of every world is a boss battle. We're working very hard to make sure these fights make it into the final product. Hopefully we will be able to deliver this element to you. There are also many power-ups that can be found during gameplay including a Sword, Umbrella and Spring Boots. The "dropable items" that the player can use include a Platform, Trampoline, Stone, Dynamite and a Candle. There are some great gameplay scenarios that result from using these items.

We are dedicating all of the free time we can to create a game that we believe in. We are not trying to turn over a quick buck or make the next Angry Birds. We are simply trying to express our creativity and make a fun game for our fans. The support we have received from our friends, family, the gaming community who just want to see a small studio succeed is inspiring. Thank you all for your support, we can't wait to share our game with you!

For more updates and information on Dragon Drop keep coming to the Jetstreame Blog or check out my own Personal Blog about the game.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

PS All-Stars: Five Characters That Could Shamelessly Plug Upcoming Games

by Shawn McFadden

Oh, Playstation All-Stars. It has been a long and slippery road. Such high expectations and so little faith. I, for one, was an advocate of the game since its leak and eventual announcement. I always found that the Playstation ecosystem, though not as iconic as Nintendo's, had great potential to make for an interesting mash-up of characters that could quickly turn into something special. It's not to say that the guys over at Superbot Entertainment didn't do a great job, quite the contrary. They laid a great foundation for something that COULD have turned into a great franchise if given a couple tweaks in future installments (Though this doesn't seem likely due to the recent firing of Superbot from the project). Alas, Sony kind of screwed up with this one in a couple of different ways. One way was the complete and utter lack of marketing muscle used to promote the game. Sure, they made that live action trailer and it did turn out pretty cool, but it was simply too little too late. The majority of PS fans still do not even know the game exists. But the lack of a proper marketing campaign behind the game is not what this article is about.

The main reason why the game was unable to gain a proper following was the game's inability to round up a cast of characters that both properly represented the Playstation brand as well as played off of the nostalgia of its fans. After looking at the starting cast of characters and the newly announced DLC characters, it is painfully obviously that somebody at Sony wanted to make this game a big commercial for upcoming PS3 and Vita titles. How is Big Daddy a good representative of the Playstation ecco-system? Should Raiden, the character that is constantly hated for not being Snake, really be chosen to represent the MGS franchise? Alright, Snake is in Smash Bros, but they could have just used Big Boss or Old Snake in order to turn away comparison. Hopefully you are starting to get my point though. Superbot simply did not pick their characters wisely. I mean, would Super Smash Bros have succeeded if they put in Buck Bumble, Glover and the sheep from Space Station Silicon Vally instead of Mario, Link and Donkey Kong, simply because the new games were coming out? Surely, not. Dante was put in the game to advertise DMC, Big Daddy for Bioshock Infinite, and Raiden for MGS Rising. It wasn't that big of a deal, because with the exception of Big Daddy, the other two represented classic PS franchises. Sure, it would've made more sense to use classic Dante and Snake, but the newer characters were probably easier to get into the game. Then the DLC is announced. Who was it? Crash? Spyro? Other characters that everyone has been clamoring for? No, instead we get two of the most unpopular Sony characters in recent memory. Have any of you played Star Hawk? Does anybody consider Emmett Graves (Yeah, I bet you didn't even know his name) an ALL-STAR? Surely not. Kat from Gravity Rush? Why add a character from a game so new when you have so many years of history to include? They both turned out to be good characters but they were surely incapable of creating post-launch  buzz for a game that already did very poor in sales. After that who do they decide to include? Isaac from Dead Space? What? It totally doesn't seem like they are just trying to advertise Dead Space 3 or anything. Zeus from...Mythology? Yeah, I know that it's the one from God of War (Surely being used to promote the new game as well). Zeus was probably the most puzzling character choice yet. He not only is not a character that was highly requested but he was also from a franchise that is already represented. Not to mention the outcry from religious fundamentalists that this is sure to create. Well, you get the point I am trying to make. Since Sony seems hell bent on milking every last dollar out of this game in order to advertise upcoming releases, I thought I would select five characters that I think would help to advertise their new games but also would make sense in the PS Universe. So basically this is my list of characters that wouldn't piss off fans. Here we go:

1. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

Now we are talking. Lara Croft is a great example of a classic Sony character. I mean, she starred in five different titles on the PSOne alone and then went on to do several more on the PS2. She is also a character that has seen a recent reboot. Lara has always been a character that has always been about her looks. Although fans often complain about redesigns, making Lara look like a more realistic girl is something that nobody could complain about. This would give a lot of potential to advertise the new reboot of the series. Besides, who wouldn't love to see her square off against Nathan Drake?

2. Abe (Oddworld)

Abe, we miss you. You have always been such a unique and interesting character that was always good to Playstation fans. Sure, you took a slight detour on to the original Xbox with your old pal Munch, but we know that you never forgot your roots. The creators of Oddworld have publicly expressed that they want Abe in PS All-Stars. The fans have publicly expressed that they want Abe in PS All-Stars. Abe is even seeing an HD remake of his first game that is due out later this year. Why not do some cross promotion here? Give Abe away with every purchase of the game? Bam, instant sales. Make it happen, Sony.

3. Sora (Kingdom Hearts)

Being a Kingdom Hearts fan today has become rather depressing. We had two great games and then a flood (or should I say waterfall) of spinoffs and side stories with varying levels of quality. It is to the point where the storyline has become more convoluted then trying to read Shakespeare that has been translated into Chinese and then back into English. It is not surprising that Square-Enix has decided to re-release the first Kingdom Hearts in HD (That is the trend after all). It is also not surprising that they gave it some weird title that makes it totally confusing to the everyday consumer. But I digress. Sora should be put in the game. He is a classic PS2 hero that should see some love in PS All-Stars. This would be a great opportunity to advertise the new HD remake and make fans of the series happy. Give us something to do while we wait for Kingdom Hearts 3 to be released in 2035.

4. Rayman (Rayman)

Hey, remember that Wii U exclusive Rayman game? Oh, well it isn't anymore. So why not get Rayman, a character that got his start on Playstation, into All-Stars? Smash Bros can have the Rabbids, because Rayman belongs with good ole Sony. It would make even more sense now that Legends is finding its way to PS3. Plus, he is way more mascot-esque then Fat Princess. Since his revival in Rayman Origins, there's more love for the limb-less hero than ever. Why not throw him in the game?

5. "Papercraft...Boy" (Tearaway)

Okay, he's not a classic Sony character but just look at him. We still don't know the name of this charming hero, but it's safe to say that he will fit right at home with the likes of Sackboy. Sure, the PS Vita isn't selling well. This doesn't mean that Sony couldn't give some love to Media Molecule's new game. Plus, he is way more iconic then Kat and she is already in the game. If you're going to add a new character to the game, this guy makes the most sense. Or you could just give us Crash and Spyro.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Nintendo Makes It A Pain To Play Pokemon Competitively

by Shawn McFadden

Pokemon is one of gaming's most popular long running franchises and it's easy to see why. It now has a 600+ roster of cute collectable monsters that have captured the hearts of millions across the world. What is special about the Pokemon franchise though, is how much hidden depth there is when you look underneath the hood of its seemingly simple battle mechanics. This is why Pokemon has one of the most dedicated competitive battling communities out of any game. There is even an entire website and forum dedicated to battling Pokemon competitively. Go over to http://www.smogon.com/ to check it out. These guys have thought of everything. They have divided Pokemon into specific tiers for each generation of games, offer sample competitive move sets for each Pokemon and even have a battle simulation program for the PC where you can build a team and test them out against people online. It's truly an impressive community.

After first being introduced to the world of competitive Pokemon by my friend who had wiped the floor with me with a Vaporeon that had seemingly infinite regenerative health, I wanted to give it a try. After spending some time going over sample movesets and tier lists and selecting Pokemon I wanted to train, I realized something: Nintendo makes it a pain in the ass to play competitively. Seriously, it seems like Game Freak knows exactly what it takes to make each Pokemon good and does their due diligence to make it especially difficult and time consuming to accomplish your goals. I am just going to say that I am by no means a Pokemon expert, but I am just going to go over my experiences with the series and what Nintendo could do to improve their future games.

The first thing that bothers me about the Pokemon games is that all competitive battling revolves around game mechanics that are hidden. Ever hear of EVs and IVs? If you have, you certainly didn't hear about them from playing the actual games. EV stands for Effort Value. Essentially, an effort value is what controls which stats are raised during the leveling process. Each Pokemon has a total of 510 EVs with 255 points maxing out a particular stat. EVs are obtained whenever you defeat certain wild Pokemon. For example, when you kill one Patrat (Or Rattata if you're old school), you will get one EV added to your Pokemon's Attack stat. This means that to max out your attack stat, you would have to fight 255 of these particular Pokemon and make sure that you don't fight any Pokemon who would give you the wrong EV points. Yeah, that doesn't sound fun. There are items that will delete EVs, but it is all done in such a roundabout way that it begs to question why we can't just go in and pay PokeDollars to simply edit our EVs. It's also very puzzling that Nintendo does not even acknowledge the existence of EVs in the actual game, even though they are so vital to creating an effective team. That's not all though. Nintendo added items that sharply decrease how long it takes to EV train. Well, they would if Game Freak didn't make them such a pain in the ass to get. They do offer you the Macho brace in the game that is relatively easy to get. This item doubles the amount of EV points that are gained from every battle. This may sound like it helps but it still takes freaking forever. If you really want to cut down on your training time, you will want to get the set of "Power Bracelet" items. These add +4 to a specified stat after every battle. This means that if you have the "Power Bracer" and you fight a Patrat, you will get five attack EVs, instead of one. The only problem is that in order to acquire these items, you need to go through the painfully boring "Battle Subway." These are a set of ten battles which reward you with BP or "Battle Points." These Battle Points let you redeem prizes, such as the much sought after bracers. You will have to battle long enough to get one of these items for each stat in the game, so it will take a painfully large amount of time. This is also the only way to get popular competitive battling items, such as the "Life Orb", which sharply raises attack but makes you take recoil damage every time you attack. The only problem with the Battle Subway is that if you lose any battles, you receive nothing. You don't even gain experience for these battles so you just feel like you wasted your time! That's really crappy, Nintendo. Why add more grinding to a game already reliant on it?

That's only beginning though. You want to make a good team? You better get used to running around for hours and hours by the breeder, hatching eggs and releasing garbage Pokemon in order to save room in your boxes. IVs or Individual Values are very important when it comes to maxing out the stats of your Pokemon. IVs are essentially values that a Pokemon is born with that can give a stat boost to certain stats. Check Serebii for more information on them. The one thing that annoys me about this, is that there is no in-game way to check a Pokemon's IVs. In order to determine IVs, you have to use an online IV calculator. Is there any reason why a game mechanic should be so secretive? The only real way to guess a Pokemon's IVs are their characteristics. These can be found in their stat menus. For instance, if you are training a Pokemon in HP, you will want to get the characteristic "Often Dozes Off" for your best chances in having the highest possible HP IVs (It offers the chance for an IV value of 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, 26, or 31). Sound confusing? Well, it kind of is. Along with characteristics, Pokemon also have Natures. Natures raise and lower a particular stat by 10%. This means that if you are planning to make a powerful physical attacker, you could use a nature that raises Attack and lowers Special Attack. So, now you have to get a Pokemon with a good Nature and a good Characteristic and then use an IV calculator, all to make sure your Pokemon has max stats. There are 30 different characteristics and 25 different natures. This means that there are 750 possible combinations. There are ways to raise the chances of getting the nature or characteristic that you want, but still. That's a huge pain. Can't there be a way to train a previous Pokemon to behave in a certain way or pick a specific stat to train for at the breeder? There are so many ways they could make it easier for people who know what they are doing to make an effective team. Besides all this madness, there are also moves that specific Pokemon cannot learn without the use of breeding. Why is this the case?? If a Pokemon has the ability to use a move, then let them use it! To add insult to injury, there are certain TM (This stands for Technical Machine, which lets certain Pokemon learn certain moves that they normally wouldn't learn via leveling) that do not appear in later versions of the game. This means that you need to boot up an older version of the game, like Diamond and Pearl, breed your Pokemon, and THEN trade them over.

This may sounds like me complaining, but creating a great competitive team simply has too high of a price when it comes to time. Normally, I would be fine with this but it doesn't need to take hundreds of hours to create a good team. Nintendo needs to find ways accommodate their hardcore fans. Give us the opportunity to edit EVs and IVs. Let us breed for specific natures and characteristics. Let us have access to TMs for every move in the game. And please, for the love of God, fix your online battling system. No more friend codes and let us play 6v6 against random people. Let's hope they throw us a bone in X & Y.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

PS4 Reveal: Five Things Sony Did Right and Five Things They Did Wrong

by Shawn McFadden

So unless you are living under a rock, you have probably heard that Sony announced the long-rumored Playstation 4 during their heavily advertised press conference on Feb 20th. Finally we saw a glimpse of the beast of a machine that will be sucking up our money this holiday season. In my opinion, Sony did a wonderful job debuting their new piece of the hardware. I have certainly seen unveils go a lot worse in my day. Although they did a good job, I do think there were a few things that were missing to make it a perfect presentation. This is why I thought I would go over five things I thought Sony did right and five things that Sony did wrong during their debut of the PS4.

What They Did Right.

1. Getting down to business.

Sony really cut to the chase this time. They have been hyping up this meeting for several weeks and they already knew that everyone was aware what was to be announced. We were there to see the PS4. Sony didn't have Jack Tretton come on stage and talk about sales figures that nobody cared about. Nobody came on to talk about how great the Playstation Move or Wonderbook is. Sony got right on stage and said, "We are here to announce the Playstation 4. Here it is." It was a simple but effective way to get everyone's attention.

2. Explaining to us WHY it's the future of Playstation.

Sony didn't beat around the bush. It's obviously that as we move closer to photo realistic graphics, we will never see a graphical jump like what we saw from PS2 to PS3. This didn't stop Sony from telling us why this new console is the future of gaming. Our society is becoming increasingly more integrated with the popularity of smart phones and tablets. This is why Sony made social integration one of the key features of their new console. Sure, they did kind of jack Microsoft's SmartGlass idea, but let's face it: this was going to become standard across all platforms eventually. They also officially announced previously leaked features of the PS4 like the rumored Share button and integration of their newly acquired  cloud-based service via Gaikai. It all sounds pretty damn cool. They even showed us console specs, which was certainly a nice touch. Plus, it plays used games after all. Dodged a bullet there!

3. They announced the release date (sort of).

This is a big question whenever companies announce new hardware. We are always thinking, "When can I get my hands on this monstrosity?" Well, Sony was nice enough to announce that PS4 will be coming during the 2013 holiday season. This was no surprise, but it is certainly nice to know when the next generation of consoles is set to start (Not counting Wii U of course).

4. Glorious game demos!

What is a new console without games? Yes, Sony also showed off several games for their new console. Although, it was puzzling that they showed off Knack, the most family oriented of the bunch, as their first announcement due to it not really showing off the extent of PS4's graphical capabilities. It was not surprising however, that a new Killzone game was announced alongside their new console. This was probably the most beautiful demo that was shown, graphically speaking. It certainly shows how FPS games will continue to amaze on Sony's platforms just as they did on the PS3. They also managed to get a couple demos from third party developers such as Square-Enix, Ubisoft, Jonathan Blow and more. Certainly a good way to get gamers excited.

5. A couple epic surprises.

Sony didn't have too many megaton announcements in the game's department at their conference, but the two that they did have were certainly shockers. Blizzard at a console press conference? Has hell frozen over? Blizzard then announced that Diablo III would be coming to PS3 and PS4. Blizzard partnering with any console manufacturer is certainly a big deal. Especially since they have almost never put any of their games on any platform other than PC. This wasn't as big of a shock as Bungie crashing the conference though. That's right, Bungie. Bungie appearing at a SONY press conference. Let it sink in for a moment. Bungie, who has always been the darling of Microsoft, comes out and says that Destiny will be coming out with exclusive content for PS3 and PS4. I'm sure that Microsoft felt a little betrayed after this announcement. This just shows how Sony is not taking any prisoners this generation. This does beg the question of what did Microsoft do to piss of one of their key game studios.

What They Did Wrong

1. Where's the box?

I know it's a very small thing, but it was rather puzzling that Sony showed off their new controller but did not show off the prototype for what the actual PS4 console was going to look like. It's true that the console's design may not be finalized yet but it would have been nice to at least have an idea how this box that will be sitting next to our TV for the next 5-7 years will look.

2. How much will it cost?

Sure, this may have been a strategic decision. Sony may not want to announce their price before Microsoft does so they can make sure they price it competitively. This is a big factor to whether or not people will buy the thing or not. Though, Sony was nice enough to say that it will be competitively priced. I assume this means that it won't be repeating the mistake of coming out with the notorious $599.99 price tag that has become a joke among gamers that the PS3 launched with. I'm sure that Sony had to save something to reveal at E3 though.

3. Sony Exclusives MIA.

Sony did show off a lot of cool games at their press conference, but I can't help but feel that there were certain Sony studios that should have shown up at the conference. What has Naughty Dog been working on lately? I know that they are working on the Last of Us, but they have told us several times that they are a two team studio now. So what is their other game? What has Sony Santa Monica been working on lately? Ready At Dawn? Super Bot? Wait, never mind about that one. It was also a shame that all Quantic Dream had to show off was a simple tech demo. I want to see their next game for PS4! There is clearly a lot that Sony has under wraps. I just can't help but feel that they could have shown more. And I have to ask, Where the hell is the Last Guardian?

4. Under-Utilizing Media Molecule.

Wait, the Playstation Move is still a thing? Don't get me wrong, I think it's an amazing peripheral. I would even go as far to say that it's the best motion gaming accessory on the market. Sony just doesn't have enough support for it. This was probably the most surprising part of their press conference. They decided to bring out Media Molecule and have them show their new "sculpting" tool using the Move. Is it a new game? I have no idea. If all they showed was the sculpting, it would have been fine. Too bad Media Molecule broke one of the basic rules of giving a press conference: No virtual band demonstrations! I'm looking at you, Nintendo. It's just plain painful and is never something we want to see. If they said that this was a new mechanic that was to be used for the new 3D Little Big Planet, it would've been far more acceptable. Too bad this ended up being the "Wonderbook" of the presentation.

5. The Wow Factor.

Sure, it wasn't as sparse as when Nintendo showed off the Wii U, but there just wasn't that one game that made you say, "Wow, I am buying this system." Sure, Killzone looked gorgeous. Unfortunately, Killzone has never really been a game that has gotten the sales it deserves though. The same can be said about the Infamous franchise. Knack looks cute and charming but it hardly looks like a system seller. Jonathan Blow's new game looks to be another wonderful artistic experience a-la Journey or the Unfinished Swan, but nobody is going to buy a system for that. We already knew about Watch Dogs, so that wasn't a big surprise. Where is the Uncharted of this generation? Sony needed that one game that shows everyone how great the PS4 is. I may be overly critical with this, but this is very important. Sony did a wonderful job showing off their new console and I hope that they can make their showing at E3 this year something truly special. Sony, I wish you the best of luck. See you on in June!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Madden vs. NCAA Football

by Tom Diedrichs

As most of my friends would say, "Sports games are pointless; it's the same game every year with an updated roster." While I agree with this to an extent, I still find myself enjoying playing matches, building my dynasty, and managing my players. Most enjoyable though, is getting into career mode where my character can be a money grubbing scum bag who treats his team like crap (But no one can argue with the fact that he can put up stats and has five super bowl rings). Myself being an avid sports fan, I am going to explain some of my pros and cons of sports games. I will go over which games I feel bring something new to the table each year, and which ones you should just ignore. In this week's edition, I will expand on Madden vs. NCAA Football.

Obviously Madden is the god of football for all current consoles. It has the big budget, and extensive marketing campaigns. When I was younger, I loved Madden, because I idolized these professional football players. This is where I feel madden draws most of its sales. Any kid who loves football from ages 7-18 will usually have at least one copy of Madden at his house. It feels great to be in control of a game and make your team win the Superbowl. Lets face it, there is no way the Cleveland Browns or Buffalo Bills are winning a Superbowl anytime soon. It's insanely fun in the off season to make crazy trades like Tom Brady for Arron Rodgers and first round draft pick, just to mix thing up in your league.

Now let's get everyone to take a step back from the Pros for a bit let me enlighten you on why every year I buy NCAA Football over Madden.

Recruiting, to me, is the most fun part of NCAA football. With its newly introduced online dynasty mode, which I believe came out in NCAA Football 12, you have to compete to recruit players to your University. You and your friends will be going after the same players sometimes. Maybe you both need a pocket passing quarterback, but there is only really one who stands out to both of you; he is six foot five inches and has incredible throwing power. The way it works is that every university has different things that make them stand out, so it depends what the computer generated player likes. Maybe he is all about academics and becoming a pro, or maybe it is all about the campus life style, and history of the University. For example: Michigan vs Ohio State. Michigan has an excellent education program. That gives them an A+ in that category, where Ohio State is only a B+. This contrasts with the potential to become a NFL player from Ohio State is an A+, where Michigan is a B. The wonderful thing about these ratings are that it doesn't matter if you are Fresno State, or Nevada, and you have a D+ for National Exposure. The more games you win, the better your University becomes, and the more your coach gets noticed. 

So let's say after a while, you have been coaching a lesser known team. Tired of not getting the players you want, and you don't feel like coaching at Miami of Ohio University anymore? Well, there may be an Offensive Coordinator position open at Texas A&M, which let's you take that job and work your way up to be the head coach there. Or maybe the bright lights and crazy fans are to much for you, and you'd rather quit your Defensive Coordinator position at Georgia, and take the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic. I feel that NCAA Football gives you so many more options then Madden does. Plus, if you play a dynasty mode, you don't have to worry about money! Granted, you only have a player for a minimum of three years (You could leave early for the pros, but much like recruiting, you can try to convince them to stay and play for you again). They can stay for a maximum of five years if you red shirt them, meaning they will sit on the bench for a year. This is good if you have an abundance of players for the same position.

In the game, certain characteristics are especially fun as well. I love running the option. This is where the quarter back runs along side. The running back then has the ability to pitch it to him. This is one feature that is not available in Madden. Seeing the mascots dance around, and hearing your University fight song play in the background every time you score a touchdown is another features that adds to the experience. If you have no loyalty to a specific college, there is always the ability to create your own. Though this is fun for some, for me I personally like taking over a small school and building them up into a championship winning team. Nothing like taking Idaho State and knocking off #1 ranked team, Alabama for the opening game of the season. Plus, with both Madden and NCAA, they have fake twitter feeds and news reels, so it makes it feel a lot more like you are actually playing a real season and not just going through the motions of a sports game. I hope you all will take this into consideration whether you are a NFL fan, or a College fan. Both games every now and then can still bring an interesting experience to your video game collection. I would recommend what I do, only buy one football game a year. There is no need for both Madden and NCAA, that's just silly. 

If you have any input, sound off in the comment section.