Playstation Summer Sale Week 2 Redeems Itself

Let’s be honest here. Summer Sale week 1 was a disappointment. It seemed like they couldn’t really figure out what to put on sale so they chose a slew of random games from the bottom of the barrel and slapped a shiny discount tag on them.

Fear not however, as Sony must’ve realised their ways. Week 2 is much better and offers much more diversity in the selection.

Here are some of my favourite deals.

Summer sale week 2
Oddworld Stranger’s Wrath HD – A spin-off so good it stomps on the franchise from which it spawns.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity – Despite being an embarrassment on launch, Unity is now a competent game and for the size and scope of such a game, the price is a pretty nice bargain.

Lords Of The Fallen – Are you anxious to play Dark Souls III? Do you absolutely need a budget substitute in the mean time? Here is an infinitely less impressive yet somehow still enjoyable game that mimics the best and worst of Dark Souls.

Okami HD – One of the most gorgeous and awe-inspiring games of all time is in HD and asks the small price of $4.20. You absolutely cannot say no.

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon – Possibly the best standalone DLC ever made. The tutorial alone is worth the asking price.

King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters – While technically not a video game, it is an incredible documentary about video games so I’ve added it as an extra.
As usual, head on over to Sony’s official blog post to see all of the glorious deals for your sweet self.

 

Why Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 is Not the Final Chapter

Judging by the subtitle of the fourth FNaF game, it clearly implies that it will be the last game in the series.However, many horror franchises have had subtitles that made it sound as if they are the final installment, but then the series continued. The specific thing that makes me think that a FNaF 5 will be a thing at some point is the wording of the description of Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 on Steam which states, “In this last chapter of the Five Nights at Freddy’s original story…”

The phrasing of “original story” seems very deliberate. What I take this as is that after the DLC on Halloween, which I believe will be an extra gameplay mode and nothing story related, a new game storyline will be used for a new series of FNaF games. The 4 games to be released in the series thus far seem to be surrounded by the Bite of ’87 event. In the potential upcoming games, they will most likely expand upon the lore and center around a different horrible event that occurred within the Fazbear restaurants.

Even if I’m wrong, and Scott Cawthon never makes another sequel, there is still a movie being made that is currently being written. The director of the movie, Gil Kenan, has been very open about his process on twitter and has slowly revealed some tidbits about the movie. He has been hinting that the movie will not be a straight adaption of any one of the games in the series. Instead, the movie will be a separate event in the series that will be cannon within the universe of the games. Kenan seems to be loving what he’s doing on the movie and also seems to be just as excited as us fans are about the future of the franchise.

With the movie on the way, the franchise is far from over. Personally, I believe a fifth game will also be released at some point within the next year. Until then, we can always look forward to MatPat’s next Game Theory on the franchise.

Here’s 35 Minutes Of Never Alone Foxtales Gameplay

Earlier this week E-Line Media released a small DLC pack for their award winning 2014 puzzle platformer Never Alone titled Foxtales, the two heroes, Nuna and Fox, make their return for three additional levels and a new story.

Nuna and Fox must cross open seas, swim through the ruins of a sunken village and paddle up the Noatak River on a mission to rescue a new friend and defeat a new foe.

Below you can check out 35 minutes of Never Alone Foxtales.

Never Alone was originally released for PC, Xbox One and PS4 in November, 2014 and released soon afterwards on Mac, Wii U and the Nvidia Shield.

Foxtales is available now for download on Xbox One, PS4, PC and Mac. There were no announcement as to when or if Foxtales would be released on Wii U and the Nvidia Shield.

The Future For Super Smash Bros

Always looking for more. The Smash community have just received their latest DLC  pack which included lots of new content from characters to stages. June 14th saw the roll out of fan-favourite fighters making their return to the brawl. This was Earthbound’s Lucas and Fire Emblem’s Roy. We also got the surprise reveal of Street Fighter mascot Ryu. All three characters are available to download now. To give Ryu his own battleground Suzaku Castle was added too. Alongside this we also got an updated level of Kirby’s’ Dreamland straight from the original Smash and a Miiverse stage.

To go with these levels there was a slew of Mii fighter costumes shown including Splatoon Inklings, Animal Crossing Characters and Virtua Fighter. Amiibo made their latest appearance in the shape of Ganondorf, Palutena, Dark Pit and Zero Suit Samus. So with the latest batch of content in full swing, it’s time peer into the future to see what Smash Bros Director Masahiro Sakurai has in store for the upcoming months.

“New” Stages – August 2015

Image 1

Well we say “new”. Having already brought Kirby’s Dream Land into 2015, Mr Sakurai has announced that two other veteran stages from the N64 version will be making a comeback. This included Hyrule Castle from the Legend of Zelda and Peach’s Castle (He must have an obsession with castles) from Super Mario. Slated for release this August.

Amiibo – September 2015

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The latest batch of Nintendo’s hard to find collectibles were revealed. On top of this there was also the promise that every fighter will gain their own unique amiibo. Yes that includes Ryu! Available to purchase now with due for release in September are:

Bowser Jr.,

Pikmin & Olimar

Dr Mario

ROB

Duck Hunt Dog

Falco

Mr Game and Watch

Mii Brawler

Mii Gunner

Mii Swordfighter

Tourney Mode – August 2015

Image 3

One of the best modes from previous iterations seemed all but lost however this is no longer the case. Due for release this August Tourney mode will finally be making its way online for the Smash community to enjoy. Features are to include new Community Tourneys where you compete for the biggest accumulation of points in the allotted time as well along with the classic style. For the time being it seems Tourneys are becoming an online exclusive as their was no evidence of offline presence however this remains to be seen.

Youtube – 2015/2016

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A common trait amongst video games these days is ability to upload your gameplay to the internet; namely Youtube. Nintendo are joining in with this trend by adding the feature to upload your replays directly to Youtube. A Google account however will be needed. Currently no date has been given yet for this release.

Smash Bros Fighter Ballot – 2015/2016

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Remember a couple months back when Nintendo asked you to vote for who you would to see join the roster. This process is still ongoing with the deadline for voting finishing on the 3rd September 2015. Now there is no early news about who and when any new characters will be released so we can only speculate. Nevertheless I believe if there is a far runaway winner then the development may have already begun therefore we may end up seeing new characters as soon as October.

Image 6

That covers everything that is in development for Super Smash Bros Wii U/3DS. There is a lot more that could be announced in the future and if sales of previous content is anything to go by Nintendo would most likely take advantage if this. There will never be enough for us Smash fans so we can only hope they keep contributing for years to come.

What would you like to see next in Super Smash Bros? Leave us a comment below and tell us why.

Best Gaming Laptops Under $500

We have talked about the best cheap gaming laptops earlier this year, but all the laptops recommended there were under $1000, but over $500, so I’ve decided to give it a try and see if you could really get a gaming laptop if you were on a very tight budget. The fact that we are writing this article proves that it’s doable and there are some decent options out there, all listed here in our “best gaming laptops under $500” article.

Don’t expect these laptops to deliver next-gen performance – but I believe you already know that with such a low budget, you can’t have exaggerated expectations. You want games to run decently, and that’s what they will most likely do. So check out our suggestions below: you will find your next best gaming laptop under $500 here!

HP 15-g220nr

01 HP 15-g220nr

This is the cheapest gaming laptop on the list, but it packs quite a punch. It comes with a touchscreen feature too, which makes it look really next-gen (as well as Windows 8.1 to help on that matter!). It has a decent 2 GHz A6-5200 processor – we can even call it a good processor at this price, backed up by 4GB of RAM and a dedicated AMD Radeon HD 8400 graphics card. You can’t really have a gaming laptop without a dedicated graphics card, and this one does have it! It also has a 500GB HDD and a DVD burner to help you store those games or whatever. All in all, a really good gaming laptop that’s just a bit over $400! Click here to check it out!

ASUS X550ZA-WB11

02 ASUS X550ZA-WB11

I really like this laptop, I think it offers a lot for its price: a great AMD Quad Core A10-7400P 2.5GHz processor, 8GB RAM and a decent AMD Radeon R6 graphics card. It also has a 1TB HDD, which makes this deal even better! It only supports a maximum screen resolution of 1366*768, but it will play your games and that’s all that matters. This is my personal favorite on this list, so make sure to check it out! Click here to see the product on Amazon!

Toshiba Satellite C55D-B5244

03 Toshiba Sattelite

If you’re a fan of the Toshiba Satellite brand, we have an option for you here too: an AMD A6 2.4 GHz processor, 6GB of RAM and 750GB of HDD Storage Space, powered up by an AMD Radeon R4 graphics card (not the best on the list, I have to admit it, but it’s difficult to find top graphic cards at such a low price). It would still do a decent job running your games, as long as you don’t overdo it with the settings, and it looks sleek enough to be a good purchase. Check it out here for more details.

Lenovo ThinkPad E455

04 Lenovo ThinkPad E455

It’s almost impossible to have a “cheapest gaming laptops” list without a Lenovo laptop on it – and here it is! The ThinkPad E455 is a good option for gamers looking for a budget gaming laptop, offering 4 GB of DDR3L SDRAM, am AMD A4 2.2 GHz and the AMD Radeon R4 graphic card. It also comes with a 500GB HDD, but have in mind that it’s slightly smaller than regular laptops, with a screen size of just 14 inch. But it’s easier to carry around, at least! So click here to check it out.

Acer Aspire E5

05 Acer Aspire E5

This gaming laptop might discourage you from purchasing when you see that it has just one review – and that gives it 1 star, but the truth is that we’re talking about a decent laptop here: 2 GHz AMD A Series processor, 8GB of RAM and a decent Radeon R6 Graphic Card. It also has a 1 TB HDD, so it’s really solid. The only problem in my opinion (and what caused its 1 star rating) is that it doesn’t have an optical drive. But if you digitally download your games, that should not be a bit problem – so click here to check it out!

Finding a decent gaming laptop for less than $500 is not easy, but at least there are some options available. It’s all based on personal preference, of course, but if you were to ask me, I would definitely go with the ASUS X550ZA-WB11, as I have already told you. Good luck and happy gaming!

Predicting the Features and Release Date of Kingdom Hearts III

WARNING! This article contains possible spoilers of the Kingdom Hearts series! You’ve been warned!

And the day has finally come where I finish my series of articles that predict everything related to Kingdom Hearts III. The first part discussed the worlds that will appear in the game and the second part predicted the story. In this last part, I will be discussing more general things about the game itself. Since I started this series, some of my predictions have already been proven false, but I believe a few of my ideas have also been validated. All that means is to take what I write here with a grain of salt, all of the stuff I’ve put in these articles aren’t necessarily going to happen, they’re just mere educated guesses and ideas of mine based on the series and news on the new game so far. Also, considering Kingdom Hearts III has been confirmed to appear at D23 this August, some of my theories will probably be confirmed or denied then. That being said, let’s begin starting with the release date.

I have no facts to really base this on, but I have a gut feeling that the game will come out in Japan in Q4 2016 while it will come out in Q1 or Q2 of 2017 for the rest of the territories. This would give the development team at least 4 years of development (2013 when it was announced, 2014, 2015, and 2016) and about 6 to 8 months for localization. Odds are the game has been in development for much longer than that though because I remember reading articles back when Birth by Sleep came out in 2010 that very early design and story development had already started for Kingdom Hearts III. Regardless of whether or not those articles were true, it’s a pretty easy assumption to make that the game started development before the announcement.

Besides the release date, most of the features and mechanics of the game have been been announced already. Flowmotion will probably be incorporated in small doses in specific traversal segments during certain worlds. The attraction flow will most likely be this games version of the special moves you could pull off with the Dream Eaters in KH3D. The special keyblade transformations shown in the most recent trailers for the game are probably an evolution of the shotlock from BBS. The HUD in the game also appears to be a bit more interactive. There is only one thing that hasn’t been announced that I think will appear in the game when it comes to its mechanics.

I believe this game will have something similar to the quick character switching that was used in certain sections in Batman: Arkham Knight. In that game there were quick sequences where you could click L1 to switch to the other character fighting on your side, and it worked very well and smoothly to not interrupt the flow of battle. I believe Kingdom Hearts III will also have sections like that considering the story of the game will have more Keyblade wielders than any other game in the series, most of whom were playable in previous games. It would be really rad if you were stuck in a battle with an overwhelming amount of heartless and could click a button for someone like Riku or Aqua to jump in and help you out. Kingdom Hearts II also had a similar function where if you died during certain boss battles, King Mickey would jump out to help finish the fight.

So that’s the last of my predictions! If you enjoyed this short series please let me know in the comments and I will look into doing a prediction series for another upcoming game. If not, then this was a nice writing experiment for me and I thank you for reading.

How To Make A Great Iron Man Game

Comic book Superheroes. They are more popular now than they have ever been. The Marvel Studios series of films have been especially key in defining what people expect from Superhero entertainment, and as a result have garnered enormous audience figures and colossal profits.

However, successful Superhero video games, especially ones based off of comics, have been very few and far between lately. Granted there are plenty of games based off of comic book characters, but there have been very few definitive Superhero games. When I say definitive, I’m talking about a game that completely encapsulates everything there is about that Superhero.

And yes, I mean games like Rocksteady’s Arkham series. Batman: Arkham Asylum was a revelation when it was released back in 2009. The characters, atmosphere, game mechanics and story were 100% Batman in a way players had never experienced before.

That is something that many other Superheroes deserve. So with that in mind, this will be the first in a series of articles of what I think would make a great Superhero game, starting with Iron Man.

I’m starting with Iron Man for two reasons. One: he is arguably one of the most popular comic book characters with audiences today, and two: he is my personal favourite comic book character ever and I am incensed that there hasn’t yet been a great Iron Man game.

Iron_Man_Feature2

Core Mechanics

Now, the first thing that needs to be decided when making a video game about a Superhero is what is the core mechanic of that character? What is the thing that is unique to them (and to the game) that is both fun to use and can be utilised in multiple ways? With Iron Man I would argue that the core mechanics would boil down to aerial combat, suit gadgets and character customisation.

Aerial Combat – Iron Man can fly. That’s his thing. Not only can he fly, but he can fight whilst flying. From his palm based repulsor’s to his shoulder-mounted missiles, Iron Man has a ton of ways to take out bad guys in the air. And this would be the key thing in any Iron Man game. This would have to be fun and control well, whilst also evolving and changing throughout the game so it didn’t get stale. There’s one game that comes to mind when talking about aerial combat, and that is Dark Void (2010). It was able to pull off standard third-person over the shoulder shooting combat when the player was both on the ground and in the air. The player could fly, hover, perform quick turns and use both regular guns as well as jet pack mounted armaments. This would be perfect for an Iron Man game.

Suit Gadgets – What would Tony Stark be without the Iron Man suit? Well he would be a genius billionaire, playboy philanthropist, but that’s besides the point. The suit provides the opportunity to include an entire suite of gadgets and tools that would aid Iron man during his missions. Tony Stark is one of the smartest characters in the Marvel Universe and, just like Batman, has come up with all sorts of contraptions to help turn the tide against his foes. These types of gadgets could range in use from helping him hack into enemy data and locations to defensive tools such as stealth modules or energy shields.

Character Customisation – When I say character customisation I really mean suit and weapons customisation. Not that it wouldn’t be fun to shape Tony Stark’s facial hair, but it’s the Iron Man suit that I have always wanted to tinker with. And I doubt I’m the only one. That was half the fun of the comics and films; seeing the different types of armour, their abilities, their strengths, their weaknesses and their aesthetic details. Giving the player the chance to choose, customise and combine different armour parts and types would be a boat-load of fun by itself. Think of it as an extended version of Call Of Duty load outs. The player could pick a primary weapon, secondary weapon, gauntlet type, armour type and helmet type. Throw in a dash of aesthetic customisation such as picking armour colours and accessories, and its perfect.

 

Structure

Next up, we have to decide on what kind of structure we would want in an Iron Man game. By structure I mean do we want a linear set of structured missions, a sandbox, a hub world or something else entirely? For this, I would suggest following the Dark Void formula again (just because it works so well). And that is having a linear set of very large levels/play areas containing a primary objective and several optional objectives. This is required to make the aerial combat viable, as having Iron Man restricted to a bunch of corridors would be downright criminal.

Your response to this suggestion might be “Why not just set the game in a sandbox?” And my answer would be that I don’t think a sandbox suits Iron Man. In other Superhero games a sandbox makes sense if it is populated with side missions and objectives for the hero to take on. Spider-Man 2 (2004)  did this well; its side missions varied greatly from races, to saving citizens, to fetching a kids lost balloon. It works with Spider-Man because that’s what he does; he goes around helping the citizens of New York during his time off from work. But Tony Stark’s Iron Man isn’t like that. He doesn’t go around helping ordinary folk. You could never imagine Iron Man aimlessly floating around New York or Los Angeles looking for petty criminals and street thugs to teach a lesson to.

So now that we’ve got our massive levels, we need to fill them with things to shoot.

Iron_Man_Ultron

 

Enemies & Allies

Taking on enemies is half the fun in any action game, and Iron Man should be no different. So who would be the ideal villain for an Iron Man game? You might think me shallow for suggesting this, but I believe for this game, it would have to be Ultron. Hear me out. The reason for this is because you not only need an awesome bad guy, but you also need an endless supply of goons for the hero to take out. Now, with Iron Man having weapons like lasers and missiles, using those on flesh and blood humans would start to be a bit gruesome. But, if you have Ultron as your antagonist, then you get to have scores of robotic foes to destroy. Less gruesome but no less fun.

In addition to it being less of a moral grey area, having robotic enemies also allows you to have a great deal of variety. You can have flying robots, juggernaut robots, swimming robots (if for whatever reason you decide to have a water level in your Iron Man game) or any number of different robots. Ultron himself would be the amalgamation of all of these foes, ensuring he was the most powerful and toughest foe that the player would have to take on.

As for allies, the most prominent character we would need to include is War Machine. War Machine would have his own set of unique weapons and abilities that would complement Iron Man’s arsenal. Taking on wave after wave of robotic minions with Rhodey by your side performing tag team moves would be a great joy to behold. But considering this is the Marvel universe, there is always the option to have a sneaky cameo from any of Iron Man’s avenging buddies. That said, I wouldn’t milk this opportunity for more than one character or two. Introducing a multitude of characters for 30 seconds of screen time each just for fan service is never a good idea.

And just as a side note, the icing on the cake for all of this would be if Robert Downey Jr. both voiced Iron Man and had at least some control over the characters dialogue. This might just be me fanboy-ing to the max but I always felt that RDJ injected the right kind of attitude and energy into the character, and that would be great to have in the game.

Iron_Man_War_Machine

 

Summary

When it comes down to it, an Iron Man game needs to have attitude. Batman is straight faced, Superman is optimistic, Spider-Man is sarcastic, and Iron Man has attitude. And if a developer could nail down the flight mechanics and incorporate aerial combat in a way that flows in a satisfying way, I honestly believe that would make a great game.

I really do hope Iron Man gets a chance to have his Arkham Asylum moment in the gaming spotlight. And if and when that moment does come, I’ll be ready to suit up.

 

Let us know what you think in the comments; whether you have a completely different take on what should be in an Iron Man game, or you think another hero deserves their own definitive video game!

How to Make a Successful Five Nights at Freddy’s Movie

With the recent announcement of both Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 coming out this August and a movie in the works, it is a great time to discuss this rapidly growing series. It seems as if every couple of months, creator Scott Cawthon has been releasing these short, stressful games appeasing fans and theorists alike. While these roughly two hour long experiences work as games, is it possible for it to translate well to a film?

According to history, the answer is “no” for the simple fact that there hasn’t been a good video game to movie adaption yet. However, this game has such an interesting lore and simplicity to it that it could be the first good video game movie.

So, how can it be good? Well, here are some ideas:

  1. Make it a Straight Horror Movie but with Comedic Elements
  2. Set it in the Early 90’s
  3. Shoot it in an Abandoned Chuck E. Cheese
  4. Follow the Source Material, but Interpret it in Your Own Way
  5. Keep the Budget Low and Fast Track the Film

The set up of Five Nights at Freddy’s is very simple, which is part of what makes it so good and what will make or break this franchise as a movie. A key to making this work as a movie, is to make the tone a serious horror movie but with comedic elements sprinkled throughout the flick. The set up of haunted animatronics is so silly, it would be weird for there to be absolutely no humor in the movie. However, most of my friends (including me) were scared of the Chuck E. Cheese animatronics growing up, so the humor should be used sporadically in order to keep a consistent tone. To bring the authenticity of the horror, the movie should also be shot in an abandoned Chuck E. Cheese and have the movie be set in the early 1990’s, much like the first game was. That may sound difficult, but from a production standpoint  it’s actually not. Shooting in an old Chuck E. Cheese would actually save the production some money since they wouldn’t have to build a set. Even now, productions use abandoned or closing establishments to save money. In fact, recently filmmaker Kevin Smith made a deal to shoot his latest movie, Mallbrats, the sequel to Mallrats, inside a mall that is about to close. Timing is everything when it comes to this, so the hardest part of shooting in an abandoned or closing Chuck E. Cheese is actually finding one.

The last two points I made kind of go hand-in-hand considering these steps would have to be taken care of in pre-production. The writer of the movie should definitely follow some of the main stories and themes that were presented in the series of games. However, as anyone who actually played the games will tell you, the lore of the series runs deep and is highly up to the players interpretation. Because of this, the writer should play through the first game and interpret it his or her own way to form the story. To be honest, I’ll be disappointed if the movie turns out to be using mostly fan theories, and if that’s the way it is done, the movie viewers and fans of the games will find the movie to be too predictable. Another danger writing-wise is that the series’ creator, Scott Cawthon, is involved with the production. The writer should listen to what he has to say about the story but also remember that Cawthon is a genius game developer, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a great storyteller or writer. It will be a very dangerous line to walk when scripting this flick.

My last point is that this movie shouldn’t cost too much to make. The franchise name will be marketable enough, so no big-named actors really need to be put in this movie from a marketing perspective. The budget of this movie could easily be made for around 5 million dollars with an additional 1-3 million for marketing. As long as a good chunk of the budget goes to building the animatronics, this movie will have money to spare by the end of production. Oren Peli would make a great director for this project considering he knows how to make a low budget horror movie into one of the biggest franchises in the world, like what he did with Paranormal Activity back in 2009. Regardless of what you think about Paranormal Activity, it’s hard to argue that the first movie, which was the only one directed by Peli, is a well-shot and well-paced movie that was made on an insanely small budget and was an astounding success.

With the budget being low, this movie should also be fast tracked. The movie should come out when the game is still popular and in the zeitgeist of pop culture. With the fourth game in the series coming out this August and supposedly being the last game in the series, the movie is getting closer to not being able to strike while the iron’s hot. For maximum profit, this movie should be released anytime between April and October 2016 before people stop caring about Five Nights at Freddy’s as a series.

This movie has the potential to be the first good video game to movie adaption, it’s now just a matter of if the filmmakers care enough to ensure quality rather than making this a simple cash grab.

Remembering Satoru Iwata

On July 11th, 2015, Satoru Iwata, the president and CEO of Nintendo, passed away due to a bile duct growth.  His passing is a great loss not only for Nintendo, but for the gaming industry at large.  Iwata was a rare breed in this industry where most executives are placed based on their general business prowess rather than their knowledge of game development itself.  Iwata was, first and foremost, a game developer and a gamer who just so happened to also be a clever business man.

Iwata’s work in game development began with an unpaid internship for Commodore Japan and doing freelance work for HAL Laboratories.  After graduating from the Tokyo Institute of Technology, he began working full-time at HAL to develop games for Nintendo systems.  Along with working internally at HAL on games like Vegas Stakes and the Kirby series, he also worked with several of Nintendo’s research and development departments as a programmer for games like NES Open Tournament Golf and Balloon Fight.  It was all a controversial move for him personally as his family didn’t approve of video games as a career path.  In an interview with Game Center CX, Iwata discussed how his father refused to speak to him for half a year because of his decision to work at HAL.  However, Iwata would prove himself in time to be both a talented programmer and a vigilant leader.

Iwata helped found Creatures Inc., the studio most famous for their cult-classic RPG Earthbound, and acted as both the programming director and co-producer for their landmark title.  Iwata also shared his skills with the people at Game Freak for some of the Pokemon games.  For Pokemon Stadium, he was responsible for recreating the battle code simply by studying the source code of the original Gameboy games in roughly a week.  With Pokemon Gold and Silver, he developed the compression tools that made it possible to include the entire world map from Pokemon Red and Blue as an end-game bonus for these new installments.  Iwata knew game development inside and out, and that experience served him well once he became the president of Nintendo.

On May 31st, 2002, Iwata took up the role as Nintendo’s president following the retirement of Hiroshi Yamauchi.  Iwata was the company’s fourth president and the first not to be related to the company’s founding Yamauchi family.  Nintendo was at a low point when Iwata took the reigns, currently in the midst of a lukewarm reception to the Gamecube following the similarly poor sales of the Nintendo 64.  However, Iwata had already brought HAL back from the brink of bankruptcy once before and he was determined to put Nintendo back on top.  His method was to venture into bold new directions for consoles and handhelds alike.  First came the DS, which broke new grounds with two separate screens and opened the door for innovative games that would have been impossible otherwise.  Reception was cold at first, but sales quickly escalated and it has since become the second highest-selling video game system to date with over 154 million units sold worldwide.  The success of the next system, the Wii, was much more immediate.  While its weaker processing power turned off many core fans, the introduction of motion controls drew the attention of millions of new casual gamers.  The Wii easily outsold the competition with over 101 million units, while the Xbox 360 and Playstation 4 each sold 80+ million units.

Unfortunately, lightning didn’t strike twice as the Wii U has continuously struggled to excite hardcore and casual gamers alike.  Despite being the first of the current generation of home consoles to hit market, it is currently locked in third place.  When the time came to make cutbacks, Nintendo’s executives opted to cut their own pay rather than cut entire jobs at the lower levels.  Iwata took the hardest hit of them all by cutting his own salary in half.  That kind of dignity and selflessness is such a rare thing to see in the business world.  He strived to keep Nintendo at full strength in its darkest time, even at great personal cost.  For him, game development was never a matter of profit alone; he saw games as a way to create joy.

IwataContemplatesBananas

In his public appearances, Iwata always maintained a welcoming demeanor that would only grow more playful with time.  He ran a series of developer interviews called Iwata Asks that brought attention to the ins and outs of various games and systems.  When Nintendo introduced their series of Nintendo Direct video presentations, he would regularly take center stage and give his own charming spin on the announcements.  Perhaps his most infamous joke came in the Nintendo Direct held in preparation for E3 2012 where he intently stared at a bunch of bananas without any context.  There was no setup, no punchline, and not even a Donkey Kong announcement to tie in with the gag, but the awkwardness of it all and the seriousness it was presented with gave it a surprising amount of appeal.  Not only did the joke spread across the internet, it became a running gag within Nintendo Directs themselves.  Iwata’s jokes would rarely be that simple again as E3 2014 brought the reveal of the Mii Fighters for Super Smash Bros in the form of an over-the-top fight scene between Iwata and Nintendo of America COO Reggie Fils-Aimé.  Most recently, at E3 2015, Iwata and his colleagues had themselves represented as Muppets that transformed into the cast of Starfox with Iwata himself taking the form of the wise yet jovial Peppy Hare.  It’s a surprisingly fitting send-off for a man like Satoru Iwata; someone filled with experience and knowledge, someone who makes for a noble and capable leader, but, at his core, is really all about bringing happiness to people.

“My first creation was a baseball game.  I don’t think anyone can say it had bad graphics because it had no graphics.  Gameplay was represented only by numbers.  But when I saw my friend playing that game and having fun, it made me feel proud.  To me, this was a source of energy and passion, and that passion for games began to blossom.  I think my life course was set.”

-Satoru Iwata, GDC Keynote 2005

Gamification And Productivity: Improve Yourself With HabitRPG

Gamification is a common word nowadays, even for people that never tried playing a video game before. Mostly related to academic and corporate fields, it consists on using game mechanics in real life environments to provide improvement like better learning, teamwork and/or productivity. But the tool is not intended only exclusively for institutions.

Providing a way to use gamification on your personal life and projects, HabitRPG has the potential to transform your tedious or monstrous to do list on a less intimidating way to tackle your daily routine. Maybe even give you more time for video games! You can register easily by connecting the game with your Facebook account should you have one, or just filling a normal registration form. Then the fun starts.

You receive a small and customizable avatar and start setting up your task list during a small tutorial. As normal on any RPG, you will advance levels and get money based on your fulfilled tasks. These coins are used to buy items and equipment for your character, giving you the same sense of reward we normally feel when completing quests. Beware, failing to perform your duties will make your character lose health, which will force you to buy life potions.

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Your tasks can be divided in normal and daily tasks, making your organization easier. For those who are seeking to develop healthy habits, it is also possible to add them as well, gaining EXP and coins the same way. Although it is the core of the game, HabitRPG expands its concept by having new features that allow you to tackle quests with a group of friends and having a good array of collectibles, just like any MMO.

HabitRPG might be even better for those who share a workgroup. By adding your friends, you may be able to undergo series of quests or events the game provides. Beating bosses is almost the same as any RPG, but instead of hitting an “Attack” button, you damage him by completing tasks alongside your friends. Even if you started playing alone, you have a series of tools for sharing your accomplishment with other people.

A global chat, user forums and even groups dedicated to some specific tasks, like exercising daily, are available. Along the items you can buy to customize your avatar, there is a good set of challenges within the game that may reward you with collectibles, which reminds the achievements system normally found on Steam, Xbox or Playstation games.

Using simple RPG hooks to maintain your attention and encourage you getting your chores done, HabitRPG offers you a tool to include gaming even when you are facing the most boring task on your routine. Besides that, it also tries hard to make you succeed in your quest for improvement, offering ways to interact with other players and sharing successes. If you are tired of your standard task list, looking for a better way to organise yourself or even test if a gamification tool can really improve your life, we strongly recommend giving a few shots at HabitRPG.