Monday, August 22, 2011

Mario coasters

I have been recreating some of the more memorable Super Mario sprites using plastic beads, or pearls as we call them where I come from. Not only is it something fun to do with the girlfriend but with the use of an iron they can easily be turned in to pretty sweet coasters.

After trying out some different methods I have found that the most fun thing to do is to find a sprite I like with google and then try to put together a pixel perfect recreation of it by simply substituting every pixel with a pearl.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Make your own fun

Kirby games have always been super easy. Those of you who played the very first Kirby game might remember being chocked by the ability to simply fly over much of the early levels. In Kirby's Epic Yarn the adorable yarn incarnation of Kirby has lost his flying ability but the game is still as easy as Kirby games have always been. Kirby is more or less invincible and the levels aren't really a challenge.

That is unless you choose to make them one. If you right from the start decide that you want to earn a gold medal on every stage, an achievement earned by collecting beads the games own version of the tradition video game coin. And to get your greedy little hand on all the hidden treasure. Then Epic Yarn will actually become a decently challenging affair. Otherwise the game could be compared with a pleasant walk in the park. You simply make your way through a series of beautiful and cleverly designed levels via the use of some basic platforming and just enjoy the ride.

In that way it reminds me a lot of New Super Mario Bros for DS. That game was ridiculously easy unless you tried to collect all of the great coins. Which was the aspect of the game that I enjoyed the most and also what I spent the most time doing. But I guess if you were satisfied by casually making your way through the game and enjoy the experience of finally playing a new Mario side scroller that would have been fine too.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Troubled times

The initial failure of the 3DS and the price drop that followed show the troubles video game publishers are now facing. On one side they have to deal with a global recession and on the other the challenge posed by digital distribution and the low cost alternative it has made possible.

With the sluggish recovery of the world economy consumer spending is low, especially on luxury goods like video games. When times are tough it is hard to convince consumers to spend $60 on a new game and especially several hundred dollars on a new system.

This situation is made even worse with the emergence of a new low cost alternative in Apples iOS market place. Offering consumers a much more affordable alternative. Of course these $1 games are lacking in quality and content compared to their pricier siblings. But for the price they are sure to offer compelling alternative, especially to the portable game systems which also offer mainly simpler gaming experiences.

The good news for the old giants is that the economy is bound to (eventually) recover, bringing consumer spending on entertainment up with it. The bad news is that the low cost alternatives are likely to become more plentiful and increase in quality as more and more developers shift development to the platform. There is always the danger that gamers who put off purchasing a new portable for budget reasons will get so used to gaming on their phones that they find that they can do without a dedicated portable gaming machine.