Talkin' Bout A Revolution

By Karl Castaneda

At E3 in 2004, it was the year of the handhelds. Sony was unveiling the final version of its PSP, which was to be their golden entrance into the realm of portable gaming. Nintendo had their answer, though; the Nintendo Dual Screen was out and about for everyone to see (and touch, as well). While everyone admired Nintendo for bringing something new to the table, nobody was sure if a touch screen and microphone would change the industry as we know it. It was definitely a rocky start for the fledgling console, but we’re now seeing the fruits of labor ripen, and I think we can all agree that there’s a bright future for Nintendo in that respect.

But there was something else at the Electronic Entertainment Expo that stuck with gamers – Satoru Iwata, Nintendo Co. Ltd. President, spoke (albeit briefly) about the company’s next foray into home consoles, dubbing the project hardware that would spark a revolution, of sorts. Since then, the not-yet-named platform has retained that namesake, and pretty much every Nintendo fan from the students of Super Mario Bros. to the admirers of Pikmin have been waiting for this so-called Nintendo Revolution.


The Nintendo Revolution controller. A Revolution or a Diaster waiting to happen?

Nintendo has finally Unvieled their controller for the Nintendo Revolution. Check out the article here at IGN.com.

And let me tell you I was caught off guard on this big suprise by Nintendo. I was expectiing some kind of configurable layout controller that will allow you to play all the old classic games from the NES, SNES, N64 and Gamecube. But I was so dead wrong. After reading the article at IGN this could be a revolution in gameplay. But at the same time you can also be scaring people away with a freaking remote control.

The positives I see from this. One, this definitly will create new and unique types of gameplay. I can see how fun it might be to swing the controller around like a sword with its built in motion sensors. I also like the laser pointing feature that could maybe be used fo a future Duckhunt? Second, I like how the controller/Remote control Hybrid looks. Its sleak and stylish and some unique button positioning. It looks kinda comfortable and in an odd twist reminds me of an NES controller. Third, I won't have to buy a seperate remote for DVD playback. Take that Sony and Microsoft.

Now here are the negatives I see. One, the Controller is a freaking remote. The last system that had a remote as a controller bombed like hell. I'm looking at you Philips CDI. Second, There are only a couple of face buttons on the front of the controller/remote. How are we going to play Snes, N64 and Gamecube games is beyond me. Third, Why is the analog seperate from the rest of the controller? The cord connecting the analog stick and the remote is pretty short too to boot. what if something gets caught and they sperate or get damaged?

I am also very worried that the American public may not fall in love or even accept the Revolution right away now that the controller has unvieled. American gamers are a bit trickier these days to coarse into buying something as daring as the Revolution. Were as Japanese gamers are always into the new flashy and hip style of gaming.

But only time will tell of course. I have to see the games. I must see the games that will help the Revolution become a "Revolution." I am highly interested in what the final prototype of the controller/remote will look like. Maybe it will have more face buttons for the N64 and SNES games. Who knows but until then I will continue to be stuck between in the realm of WTF! and amazement.

Xbox 360 launch confirmed at TGS 2005

Mark your calenders people. The next generation of consoles will be here November 22nd. Following the US release will be the Japan and European release which will be on Dec 6th.

And several of the games shown looked great too. Ninety-Nine Nights from Q entertainment looks dazzling and the montague of games shown at the MS conference left me with a good impression. Games like Sonic the Hedgehog, Chromehounds, Project Gotham Racing, Nintey Nine Nights, Dead or Alive 4 and Dead Rising all looked great.

Hopefully this time around the japanese market will respond well to the new Microsoft system.


Sega gets a new Exec.

Sega, as you know it, has been in some kind of rut the past couple of years. The games being put out, besides virtua fighter and most of their gba games, have been mediocre at best. Hopefully, with a their new senior vp, Sega might get back on track and start making some great games again.

Sega welcomes new Exec


Sony Playstation 10th Anniversary!

Today the worldwide phenomenon known as the Playstation (or psx, or PSone) celebrates its 10th anniversary. And I think I will take a different approach for looking at the system. I am going to take a look back at what I saw and thought of about the system back when it hit US stores back in 1995. I'm not going to give you some kind of history lesson about what the system has accomplished because I am not a history writer. Or Steven Kent for that matter.

10 years ago

In 1995, the only systems that I owned at the time were a Sega Genesis (plus SegaCD and 32X) and an NES. I also wasn’t a hardcore gamer like I am today. A few months before the launch of the Playstation I started to buy GameFan magazines. GameFan right away become one of my favorite gaming magazines of all time. The staff was not only straight to the punch but didn't pull any punches on what they thought about a really bad game. Throughout the issue I mostly saw stuff that was coming out for the Sega Saturn and read stuff about the upcoming Nintendo 64. I saw some stuff on the Sony Playstation but it really didn't interest me at the time.


Greetings and Salutations and the Xbox 360

Ahoy there, guys. How are you this evening? That good, huh? How's Joan looking tonight? That fine, huh? Man, what I wouldn't give to slap that around a little and...

What? Oh, right. The blog. Focus on the blog.

Well, I suppose I should tell you a little about myself before getting to the topic at hand. Well, the name's Karl Castaneda, although I've been going by the handle of Viewt for a while - that's what a certain group of people know me by, almost exclusively. But I'm trying to change that by spreading my real name around a tad more. Anyway, I'm a Staff Writer at Planet GameCube, just like Hubbs said, although I'm hoping to be known for a few more things in the coming months. For example, I'm starting up a weekly column for my local newspaper, The Miami Herald, I'm starting a webcomic with some buds of mine, and hey, I just joined up with Hubbs' blog! Things are going aces - I swarez it.

Okay, now it's time to talk Xbox. Up until recently, I was planning on buying a 360 at launch, for what I was guessing would be in the neighborhood of $350. But since Microsoft announced its price of $400 for the system, hard drive, wireless controller, etc, I've effectively been put off - to the point of my being sure that I won't be buying one come November.

Now, there are two things people bring up when I say this. One is, "But it's only $50 more." Yeah, but $350 was basically as far as I was willing to go - even that had me a bit hesitant, but this pushed me over the edge. It's too damn expensive. End of freaking story.

The second thing people bring up is the half-breed mutant $300 Xbox 360. You know - the one with just the console and a regular old wired controller. And no hard drive. And no DVD remote. Basically, it means absolutely dick to someone like me. So go piss off, discount console.

So does this mean I won't be buying a 360 ever? Hell no. Gears of War, Unreal Tournament 2007, and RE5 are mind-numbingly beautiful. I'm just gonna wait until the PS3 launches, when Microsoft will surely lower their price to compete. They probably won't react when Nintendo launches the Revolution, because everybody's discounting Nintendo (which they totally shouldn't do, but that's another story for another day).

So, in final, Microsoft wants too much of my money this year. Maybe next year, J Allard and Xtreme Xbox Xers.


-Karl "Viewt' Castaneda

The DS vs the PSP.

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Okay lets put the handheld war into perspective. As we know the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP are fighting for handheld supremacy. And like 9 times before, as Nintendo put it in their E32004 conference, they have come out victorious. And I believe that Nintendo will again pull out victorious against the PSP. Seriously let’s be realistic here and throw aside the sales figures. The Nintendo DS is a well made machine made for unique and refreshing game play. The PSP to me is a mini-sized Playstation 2 minus one analog stick and two shoulder buttons. And if you look at it on a whole, the PSP in a way does have mass appeal there but falls short in many areas.

-What I like and dislike about the Sony PSP.

The PSP is a portable PS2 and with that knowledge you can easily port some games to the system. In fact many games have already been ported. Tony Hawk's Underground 2, Wipeout, Midnight Club, EA's sports line-up and Dynasty Warriors have all made their way to the system. There are some original games for the system as well like Lumines, Metal Gear Acid, and Death Jr. Some of these games are fun, but unfortunately the PSP just doesn't have that hit game like the Gameboy did with Tetris.

The PSP is also a portable entertainment system allowing you to watch movies and listen to mp3's. Those are nice benefits but if you ask me the movie umd playback is utterly useless to a guy like me. I see no point in buying a movie I like twice in two different formats. The UMD movies also cost more than DVD's as well averaging at around $25-35 each. And the movie playback also eats away at battery life leaving you with next to no play time afterwards.

I do enjoy the mp3 music playback of course. The quality of the PSP as an mp3 player is really great. And it doesn't eat the battery life as much one would think.

As an overall package, the PSP is just too expensive for features you will most likely not use. At $249 with a small library of games, most of which are ps2 ports, a decent but battery life consuming movie playback, and mp3 support. It's really just too much for too much. I am a gamer not a multimedia-on-the-go-freak.

-What I like and dislike about the Nintendo DS.

The DS is in my mind a great system but it’s not without its fault. The system is unfortunately weaker graphically than the PSP by a huge margin. So was the Gameboy which defeated its graphically superior opponents like the gamegear, the lynx, and neogeo pocket. Proving that you don't need better graphics to make great games.

But of course this is where the DS has slumbered. Over the course of the first several months after the DS' release in the US there have been rather very little in terms of great games. In fact until recently, there haven't been that many games that fully utilized the system's hardware capabilities. Some games like Warioware Touched, Meteos, the remade Mario 64DS, Yoshi's Touch and Go, and Kirby Canvas Curse have shown that the system has great potential for some unique and fun game play. Unfortunately those games were far and few in between. Now the DS is finally picking up its pace and its future lineup looks very promising starting with the fall lineup.

The DS also come equipped with a slot for Gameboy advance games. SO if you were to ever get tired of playing a DS game you can just pop in, let's say Pokemon leafgreen, and poof there you go. So now you have just added a library of 200 plus GBA games to your system. Unfortunately because of plans for a future Gameboy handheld backwards compatibility only allows for GBA games which are a bummer. And because there are no extra ports on the DS you can't play any multiplayer games with friends.

The system dopes what it was meant to do. It plays games and it plays them well for the most part. The system doesn't come with mp3 or movie playback, plus the system just recently released Nintendogs and I believe that this will be the game that will make the DS a household name. The average joe, the average joe's girlfriend, and the hardcore gamer will find nintendogs to be the "it" game for a long time. Much like pokemon and tetris was for the Gameboy.

-Overall outlook for both systems.

I feel that the PSP might live on for awhile. It will live much longer than the gamegear did which was also in its own rights a great handheld but it also suffers the same problems that plagued the gamegear. One, the gamegear was too expensive and most people sought for the cheaper Gameboy instead. Two, the gamegear and PSP both have short lived battery life. This is a big issue as most gamers love to play those marathon game sessions once in a while or for long road trips. And finally, while the added bonus of being able to watch movies is nice, in the end people just want to play games and not be overwhelmed by the extras.

The DS has finally got the ball rolling after a slow start and it looks like it will be speeding up. A strong fall and winter line-up compliment the underpowered system. The PSP does have some stellar looking games coming out as well but I hardly have any interest in them because moist of them I can play on my PS2.

Now I do understand that my opinion does seem one sided but I am just speaking the truth and the truth is a harsh thing. And to make it harsher, 6 million people who own a DS agree with me. The PSP might catch a small sales jump now that its out in Europe but soon people will rather play something that isn't already hooked up to their 42inch HDTV's.


Gaming Vision is reborn!

Yes after nearly 3 years. I have decided to resurrect GamingVision. Only this time around its a two man army and we mostly write whatever we feel like at the moment. What we write are mostly editorials on the game industry. We will write a review or preview here and there to give you our thoughts on whats enjoyable.

Onto introductions.

I am Robert Hubbs, a small time amatuer gaming journalist and joining the site soon will be my partner in crime, Karl Castaneda. He is a journalist from Planet Gamecube. He and I have worked together before at Nintendo-Insanity before he left for the gig over at PCG. I also left NI but mostly because I lost the interest and love of writing.

But now as you can see I have decided to start writing again. You will seen be reading my reviews, editorials, maybe a preview here and there, and some rants on things that I enjoy a lot. Like Guild Wars for instance.

Anyway, thats all you need to know about for the time being. Enjoy the resurrected, revised and retooled GamingVision.

-Robert Hubbs
aka HuBBsDoctor