Mario vs. The Moon Base
Mario must fight his way to Bowser's Moon Base to rescue the Princess!


Games Done Quick Express this Weekend! (Oct. 26 to 28)

It's time for a mini speedrun marathon put on by Games Done Quick! It isn't the usual Awesome / Summer Games Done Quick weeklong marathon but a shorter weekend marathon for TwitchCon and donations go to the TwitchCon Charity Plaza.

Watch it live here!

Check the schedule here. It adjusts the time to your current timezone so no need to adjust times or anything.

Check it out, watch some people play games fast for charity, and have a good time!

Also have some samples:

Dragon Warrior 1 by NesCardinality in 27:19! Dude is a machine and I hope he can do Dragon Warrior 2 in a marathon someday, but it isn't marathon safe yet.

Super Monkey Ball 2 by Yutori! (any Monkey Ball because that game is crazy when played fast)

Arabian Nights by Kotti! Played in the Awful Game Block but I don't know why they call it that.

Twitter Stored Passwords in PlainText, Time to Reset Your Password!

Reuters: Twitter urges all users to change passwords after glitch

Twitter Inc urged its more than 330 million users to change their passwords after a glitch caused some to be stored in readable text on its internal computer system rather than disguised by a process known as “hashing”.

The social network disclosed the issue in a blog post and series of Tweets on Thursday afternoon, saying it had resolved the problem and an internal investigation had found no indication passwords were stolen or misused by insiders. Still, it urged all users to consider changing their passwords.

“We fixed the bug and have no indication of a breach or misuse by anyone,” Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said in a Tweet. “As a precaution, consider changing your password on all services where you’ve used this password.”

The blog did not say how many passwords were affected. A person familiar with the company’s response said the number was “substantial” and that they were exposed for “several months.”

No report of a security breach but still recommended just in case.

lol "glitch"

RPG Limit Break 2016 - RPG Speedrun Marathon for Charity!

You can start watching right away from!

Direct link to the channel

Here's the schedule automatically converted for your time zone!

What is RPG Limit Break?
RPG Limit Break is an annual charity speedrunning marathon, the next of which will take place May 9-14, 2016 in Salt Lake City, supporting the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The schedule for RPGLB 2016 can be found here.

All Twitch channel subscription and ad revenue goes towards expenses for putting on the marathon (equipment/venue space/web hosting/etc).

For more info and regular updates, follow us on Twitter: @RPGLimitBreak!

VODs of past streams are available on our Youtube channel.

-Basically they play and beat RPGs as quick as possible for charity. There's incentives to donate, such as choosing names for characters or adding extra challenges or just to show off some glitches! There's weird stuff, glitchy stuff, tough stuff, RPG stuff, and hopefully some stuff for everybody!

What is NAMI?
"NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need."

-- For more information, visit

How can I donate?
There's a link to donate and take part in donation challenges! You can see all bidding and donation incentives here.

I wear shirts with video game stuff on it, what can this do for me?
The Yetee has some shirts designed just for RPG Limit Break! $3 of every shirt sold goes to NAMI too so you can support the charity and get the latest fashions!

Post Funny / Cool Images / Gifs here!

I'm feeling depressed right now and I'd like some funny images to brighten my day.

THREAD RULES: Don't post stuff that isn't safe for work.
e: Actually forcing posting images is dumb. This is Welp, Welp! damnit!

Final Fantasy 6 Remake!

For smartphones, source: Kotaku

Square Enix will be releasing a modified version of the beloved Final Fantasy VI, originally released in North America in 1994 as Final Fantasy III, this winter for iOS and Android, long-time Square director and producer Takashi Tokita told Kotaku today. The game won't be a straight port.

"It is basically like a remake of the original VI," Tokita said as he proudly revealed his surprise at the end of a presentation about the recent smartphone release of FFV and the upcoming mobile release of FFIV: The After Years. "But there have been some enhancements."

"The battle systems have been altered for the other for Final Fantasy and VI will be the same. For instance grinding was an issue and people had to spend a lot of time leveling up. Now on the mobile devices the battle systems have been adjusted so you don't have to fight as much and can enjoy the game for what it is."

The graphics, he said, will be refined for cellphones. They'll still be 2D but sharpened, a la the recent mobile release of V.

The next release in the Legacy series will be a mobile port of Final Fantasy: The After Years, which was originally released on phones in Japan and as a downloadable game for the Wii in the U.S. The mobile release is a 3D remake of the original release.

The Legacy series won't necessarily end with VI, Tokita said, when we asked him if it could include VII, VIII, IX, X and beyond. "We are aware that we have tons of VII fans," he noted. "We have VII fans in our own company. If this Legacy project works out well, we would like to one day be able to work with VII."

Who's ready for FF:Dimensions style FF6? Not me :(

Xenoblade Chronicles Is Out! Protip: Buy it

The Quick Gist
Xenoblade Chronicles is a Wii Exclusive JRPG by Monolith Soft released in 2010 and in Europe last year (more on this later). It takes place in an incredibly huge and gorgeous world that feels like an offline MMO that you can freely explore but without the bullshit padding they bring. Fast travel lets you get to where you want to be with the fuss, quests end immediately upon completion and there are a lot of quests, all in a world where the locations are on the bodies of giant frozen fighting robots gods. It's full of content too, I've heard there's about four hundred side quests and there's still 30-40 hours of content in the main story if you skip every single side quest. It's visually stunning, the music is fantastic, battles look engaging and exciting, and a lot of heart and soul was poured into this game. I'm excited for it.

Is It Good?
I'll say it outright: I have not played this game. I can't give personal experiences about it. If you want to hear what people are saying from the horses mouth I can't provide it but I can say that 99% of the opinions out there answer the above question with Yes. Everything I heard about the game has been positive even from some of the JRPG skeptics I follow. I'd totally suggest doing some of your own research to see what people are saying to get a better feel of what players thought of this game. If you're interested I'd highly suggest preordering it because...

What's With the Pre-Order Deal?
Remember Terranigma for the SNES? Similar deal here. Nintendo of Europe decided to localize and publish the game for Europe while Nintendo of America decided to personally inspect their own colon. In the last month or so Gamestop and NoA have banded together to release the game NA-side. It's basically a NTSC version of the EU release as far as I know. However due to continued incompetence Xenoblade is only getting a limited release and it sounds like stores are only going to get as many as were preordered. If you want a copy it's highly recommended you preorder it before the release date of April 6.

Where Can I Preorder?
If you live in the US you can snag it from Nintendo's Online Store or Gamestop. Canadians are stuck with EBGames. Total cost is the midrange of $50 US/CDN for the whole shebang.

I'm Not Convinced, I Require Videos!

A trailer of in-game footage. Mostly running around, no gameplay, just showing how beautiful the game is.

English gameplay trailer with a variety of content from scenery to battles and a side quest!

More of the above including a premonition gameplay mechanic and visible equipment! Actual visible equipment like armor and not just tiny shields or weapons and reflected in both gameplay and cutscenes.

Some extra fighting.

UbiSoft Games You WON'T be Playing Starting Next Week

Remember how UbiSoft has DRM that requires constant access to their servers to play the game? Even with single player? Well it looks like those servers won't be online at all starting next week while UbiSoft moves them! Games that you spent hard earned cash on are now literally unplayable! I'm sure UbiSoft wants to blame pirates. Hey UbiSoft, fuck you. There is no ETA when you'll be able to play these games again.

The games are:
PC: Tom Clancy's HAWX 2, Might & Magic: Heroes 6 & The Settlers 7
Mac: Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell Conviction & The Settlers
Both: Multiplayer of serveral games


Feel free to post any sort of fuck yous to UbiSoft any way you choose, including image macros. The usual rules don't apply in this thread.

Crowdsourcing Star Wars - A New Hope

What do you get when you get hordes of Star Wars fans and ask them to make 15 second segments of A New Hope? You get an amazing clusterfuck. There's all kinds of different styles and formats used from live action with the kids to hand puppets to a book being narrated. Parts range from simply fantastic to groan worthy but you never know what'll come up next! Just... ignore some of the additions.

Youtube link
Vimeo link
Star Wars Uncut

Professional Gaming Journalism

So back in 2007 a guy named Hasan Ali Almaci aka Fishie who was part of the wonderful land of gaming journalism did a great write up on the state of his industry and how it got down into the bowels of garbage with Fox News to keep it company... in Dutch. Back on the 4th he translated it to English and it's an interesting read if you're interested at all by it.

Hasan Ali Almaci
The following is a quick translation(from Dutch) of an article I wrote in 2007 for BeNeLux media and as such some of the info in it is no longer valid, the article(I knew this would happen before publishing but decided to go ahead with it anyway) got me blacklisted for years by a number of media outlets and publishers.
As I prepare my exit(as a full time writer anyway) from the games industry I decided to publish it in English as well since over the years a number of industry people have asked me to read it in a language they can actually understand.

When I first started to notice the games press the magazines I checked at newsstands(I couldn’t afford to buy them) consisted mostly of simple information and hacks for commercial software.
Magazines like CVG had entire pages filled with code to add a new level to a game or even get an entire game for whatever machine the code was published for. As the games industry matured however after the wild west days of the late seventies and early 80s so did the games press.

From underground magazines and fanzines the games press evolved into professional magazines that essentially still did what they always had: Inform the reader about games. What had changed however was the fact that they became professional and profitable parts of the big magazine publishers who invested in them. Gone were crude hand drawn graphics and barely readable writing and in came professional lay-outs and professionally edited articles. The publishers and their commercial departments didn’t care much about the editorial content because the magazines brought in profits worthy of the investments they had made. As such the late 80s and early 90s could be seen as golden years for the games magazines where the editorial wasn’t constraint by just the domestic markets but included hefty amounts of import coverage and even things like console modding etcetera.

And then there was Gamefan. When Gamefan magazine appeared on the market there was a certain amount of disillusion with a large segment of videogame aficionados the world over. Commercial pressure by game publishers and hardware developers towards the game magazine publishers made the latter cut back on coverage of niche and import games. Many gamers felt left out by the mainstream magazines because of this and for them Gamefan magazine felt like Manna from Heaven(google it), after all here was a magazine that was seemingly giving them exactly what the mainstream magazines had taken away. What they failed to realize however was that Gamefan magazine brought in a new era of exactly that which they thought to be rebelling against.

Gamefan magazine started out as Diehard Gamefan(DHGF), a magazine published by Dave Halverson to push the import games he was selling in his Diehard Gamefan store. The readers of course didn’t realize there was such a huge conflict of interest and continued to buy the magazine to rebel against the mainstream magazines which they felt had squandered their credibility by caving under publisher pressure. As Gamefan magazine grew however it too came in the spotlight of and it too caved into the pressure to provide more coverage to those hard and software companies that advertised in the magazine. This culminated in a huge and semi public spat with game publisher Working Designs where Vic Ireland from WD felt short changed and decided to pull all advertisements from Gamefan Magazine. It worked so after a lot of lost advertisement revenue from Working Designs and a few other publishers Dave Halverson caved in and published a Maxi Mea Culpa in Gamefan magazine apologizing for the content about WD they had published before. And thus ironically the magazine gamers bought because they felt short changed by the mainstream magazines accelerated the erosion of editorial freedom.

For the hardware manufacturers and publishers this was of course great news as now they realized that yes their PR companies could in some cases DIRECTLY dictate the content of some magazines. A new era had begun. And it was not just the meddling of PR departments with editorial content that was hurting the magazines, it was a new era as well because there was this little thing manifesting itself called THE INTERNET. Game magazines now were attacked on two fronts: On one hand you had commercial departments pressuring them for coverage that brought in more money and on the other hand there was the internet where literally thousands upon thousands of upstarts were screaming to the world and demanding to be heard. Some magazines sadly could not stand this onslaught and turned into nothing more than thin pamphlets where selling advertorial content became their only Modus Operandi(most of these didn’t survive).

As the influence of online media grew however there too the influence of commercial PR departments grew. This gave some magazines the opportunity to regain some of the independence they had lost in the preceding years. This was never so true as was the case in 2000 when the internet crash happened and many outlets both small and big without any form of real income found venture capitalists stop their funding. Almost overnight the entire internet became a different place and this too was true for online games media. What remained after the bubble burst and the rubble was cleared were two extremes: The really big sites that survived and the really small ones maintained by game fans with more time then sense.

The darkest days were over the magazine publishers and the remaining online media thought because they had weathered the storm and came out stronger. Those who survived were big enough and had nothing to fear from small independent sites and fanzines, after all it was the surviving big boys who received the press releases, reviewable content and invitations to check out the next big budget thing on location. Most magazines and online media outlets were quite happy with this new reality where they could coexist together and where exclusive content by the publishers was neatly divided between the games magazines and websites. Every now and then there were small ripples when a smaller site who didn’t sign and NDA uncovered things or when some disgruntled employee leaked things that were meant for a certain outlet but hey those things can happen.
You can’t check up on and control thousands of people ALL of the time and sometimes someone will leak information which has not been cleared yet-recently for instance a Brazilian freelancer figured out the Ziff Davis passwords for their media FTP, found the assets for SFIV and leaked them before the deadline agreed to between EGM/1up and Capcom(you can read more about that incident here: ). But as I mentioned before these things can happen and the surviving and growing media outlets entered a few years of relative ease, a calm moment to breath considering the years that had preceded, the influence of the commercial departments and hard and software companies however remained and all involved looked like they had received some sort of status quo.

While this was going on however silently a new problem for the surviving outlets threatened to destroy this status quo: The smaller independent websites that all but disappeared in the 2k/2k1 internet crash were making something of a comeback and they did not come alone. They were joined by a relatively new phenomenon on the internet: Blogs. Meanwhile the big sites like IGN and Gamespot were growing so big that they became interesting and profitable enough to be acquired by huge media conglomerates(IGN for instance is owned by Fox while Gamespot is part of CNET) . the smaller sites and blogs most often had no direct connection with the heavyweights from the videogame industry and thanks to their independence(or in some cases stupidity) they often sang a different tune then the megasites and magazines.

The biggest problem for the industry giants was an event called E3(no introduction needed): E3, after nearly imploding after 2k1(the internet crash)when hundreds of exhibitors went bankrupt was growing again and remained an event where every industry professional needed to either exhibit at or report on. Companies like Microsoft, EA, Sony etcetera every year spend tens of millions to exhibit their wares and throw wild parties with world renown bands and free booze and food et cetera, yet many of them felt they saw very little return on investment compared to the huge amounts of money they threw at their E3 presence.

The event was costing the big guys tons of money yet the press they got out of the event could not be controlled by the PR departments: EA for instance had been complaining to ESA the organizers of the expo for years and had been threatening to pull out of the event. EA as the world’s largest third party publisher each year spend way north of 10 million dollar at E3 yet most of the coverage they received was not favorable. Tons of small and medium sized sites at E3 did not have direct relations with EA so that could color their reporting either way and the big sites and games magazines could not afford to set their EA favored editors on covering their E3 presence because then their reporting would be too positive compared to the overwhelming majority of reports coming out of the event.

Eventually EA and all other big publisher thought they had found the solution by deciding to show more and more things behind closed invitation only doors so that they could better control the message that went out. The message was simple, you have been favorable to us in the past so you can see what we have, we don’t know who you are or you have written negative things about us and the door remains closed. Pressure was applied to the ESA as well to allow fewer fan sites and freelancers into the actual event. And then 2k6 came along and it was as if a big bomb exploded.

After a disastrous press conference that would continue to haunt Kaz Hirai ( FIVE HUNDRED AND NINETY NINE DOLLARS, GIANT ENEMY CRABS, ITS RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDGE RACER) Sony decided it had enough and sat around the table with the aforementioned EA and a few others and together they decided to destroy E3 as we knew it. Without their support E3 as we know it was financially impossible and thus these brothers in arms destroyed E3 and turned it into a small scale event which can only be entered by the grace of the publishers.

Invitations for editors were compiled by lists made by videogame publishers making the editors entirely dependent on the companies exhibiting. If you are not a big enough name in media and you have been critical about some companies you could kiss your invitation goodbye. Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot wrong with the E3 of old: Too crowded, too much show, filled with money wasting decadence and YES too many people who have no business being there. The other extreme we have fallen into now however has killed the one opportunity where completely independent people could go to in order to form their own opinions.

The invited press, megasites and magazines can now again be better controlled and have become even more dependent on those they have to write about. Mission accomplished in other words. Be negative and the information stream you rely on and which your consumers want to read WILL be cut off and despite the fact that most editors do whatever they can to be unbiased it remains something that can influence them subconsciously.

Locally here in the Benelux when you have Gunk magazine( ) quote me prices on selling their cover, Power Unlimited ( ) who lets all their Nintendo content be handled by well known fanboy Jurjen Tiersma and Official Playstation Magazine who only exists by the grace and money Sony provides them: When you have these three local magazines be the first three in the world to review Assassins Creed and all three give it the highest scores possible(with OPM even taking swipes at uncharted in their review) while simultaneously running Ubisoft competitions and lots of exclusive Ubisoft info you KNOW there is something more going on. Especially when one considers that Raf Picavet(universally seen as one of the most important persons in Benelux games media) months earlier was almost begging Ubisoft PR during Leipzig games convention to simply get access to the game for his freshly launched Chief Magazine( ).

Don’t misunderstand me though: I am not claiming these magazines and editors have been outright bribed by Ubisoft because that is something I pertinently deny. There are no lump payments of cash from PR-departments to the editors or the magazines they work for in order to directly influence what they write. It works much more subtle than that and often it’s a complex series of actions that are designed to try and shape the way editors write about certain games and handle certain content from certain publishers. In the end though it all boils down to what negative things you have written about a company and what positive things you have provided and might provide for them in the future.

And even when your coverage is not negative an editor, magazine or online media outlet might find itself on thin ice. When your coverage even if it is positive is not in line with what PR departments want you can expect repercussions: As I was walking around Microsoft’s private X06 event in Barcelona I noticed that Jean-Francois Mammet was not present. Jean is the owner of the French website Gamersyde ( ) and I was expecting to meet him at the event. After the event I talked with him and he sadly had to tell me that Microsoft had revoked his invitation because a week prior he had set up a webcast of Microsoft’s TGS press conference, a press conference he thought he was allowed to cover.

For Jean this was a big disaster because while the website is now multi format back in those days it used to be known as Xboxyde and provided Xbox360 coverage exclusively. Microsoft’s message to him was simple, walk within the lines we have drawn for you. His readers of course had no knowledge of this and for them he was at fault for failing to provide the coverage he had promised them beforehand and which they had come to expect from him.

The readers then, yes most of you who are reading this right now are just as guilty to the state the games press is in as anybody else. The fanboys on all sides don’t want nor demand honest reporting: You want us to validate your opinions and anything else we do you see as a personal insult: A friend of mine, Christian Nutt was the first person allowed to review Fable and for the magazine he wrote for back then(GMR) he scored the game a respectable 8 out of 10. Yet Molyneux fanboys going by the insane hype and promises made for the game without ever having touched it decided that this was a low enough score to send him death threats.

I myself received my fair share of threats as well when I wrote that the CG show Sony put up at E3 2K5 was exactly that: A CG show, yet Sony at their press conference had declared it ALL GAMEPLAY so I deserved to die. The same thing happened later in 2005 when I was doing a round of interviews with Japanese developers. I posted on an internet forum that a spring 2006 release simply would not happen because the hard nor the software for the PS3 was anywhere ready to go live. Two days later I am back home and the threats kept coming calling me a fanboy, an affront to journalism, I should just kill myself because I am not worth being killed et cetera. Yet in these two examples both Christian and I did exactly what we are supposed to do, he gave a score he felt the game deserved and I reported what I knew was true.
Yet it is not what you want to read and that too is part of the problem. And that is how we end up with cold and grey tasteless porridge where the only games that receive a trashing in the press are those which we don’t have to fear a PR company or reader backlash from. Designed to please both the companies publishing videogames and the expectations of the public.

Some of you at this point might think isn’t there anyone out there who can be fully independent and commercially viable, someone who doesn’t take that crap. Well the short answer is NO, a longer answer is no because No because many have tried and only magazines like Continue in Japan have survived. In Holland we had Hoogspel the oldest Dutch games magazine close down in 2000 ( you can read here why for the non Dutch speaking people, they basically say the same things I do here, I might translate it if people care) because they refused to play ball. The thing with Continue in Japan however is that they do advertise new games, they just don’t review them. Instead their entire focus is retro and import games. In fact it was their championing of GTA III that made that game the most imported one in Japan and which convinced Capcom to pick it up for domestic release. So yes they can be honest and commercially viable because they do take in ads for new games but simply do not write about them, that and contrary to many Japanese game mags which are weekly or bi-weekly they are a monthly magazine.

Starting a new magazine or website that writes about current games and is entirely independent is simply impossible because you rely on the videogame publishers for your preview and review code, you rely on PR companies to get access to the developers of the games you write about. In short, in order to deliver news, previews and reviews in a timely manner we have to rely on them every step of the way. And our troubles don’t stop there because when we are late with a review because we pissed of a game publisher previously or whatever reason you the reader gets pissed at us as well. You also don’t want to read that your favorite game sucks, that its features were stolen wholesale from another better game that didn’t sell. You will get angry at me if I would dare trash MGS4 and call it a pile of pretentious bullshit, you simply do not allow us to have an opinion that might stray too far from yours. Yet at the same time you have the gall to look down on mister and missus casual gamer as inferior creatures because they are not HARDCORE like you and they DON’T UNDERSTAND GAMES like you do. How dare they play those Wii games just to kill some dead time between real life tasks. No you just want us to validate your own opinions and if they differ too much from yours we are clearly WRONG.

Who the hell do you think you are some of you are thinking at this point. Well I am Ali and I have been playing games since the 70s, since the early 90s in some capacity or another I have been involved in the videogame industry. Sometimes as an outsider when I was doing videogame retail and wholesale for instance and other times as an insider like I am now. The last few years I had the pleasure of conducting interviews with some of the biggest names in the industry OUTSIDE of the framework of a current title as most interviews are just PR-affairs designed to push an upcoming game.
I have had extensive chats with people like Yuji Naka, Shigeru Miyamoto, Mark Rein, Alexey Pajitnov, Yuzo Koshiro , Tomonobu Itagaki and countless others. I asked them the hard questions and afterwards posed with them while giving them the bunny ears ( V sign behind their head ). For PR companies I am not interesting because giving coverage for the next title they need to push is not what I do. I provide depth and backgrounds, I ask the questions others don’t or are not allowed to ask(and even then I am not always allowed to publish). The PR companies over here rarely if ever invite me to their events and I get forced to talk with personal contacts abroad to get the info I could have gotten locally in the first place.

I fully understand their reasoning’s though: Why invest time in me, someone who does not provide them bulletpoints in the next job evaluation they will undergo to see how well they did their jobs. How many mentions they managed in the magazines and websites or how many magazine covers they could score for their next (deservedly or undeservedly) big game. What matters for PR-companies is push their games as hard as they can and preferably with a neat plan that increases the hype as time goes by, not just for the readers but towards us in the press as well. In that regard we from the press(all of us) and the actual developers of the games are elements that can mess up their neatly organized PR campaigns.

And for that they hate us: They invite us to lush parties with food and booze to push the big titles yet they cant directly control what we write, which proves again that we are NOT in their pockets as some of you seem to believe. If we were they wouldn’t go trough all the trouble of setting up those events, no it would be much simpler. If you want to bribe someone you give them money and you say here is some cash and my game is a 9 out of 10. The simple fact that they go to great lengths at the events they organize is proof of and on itself that outright bribing simply does not happen. The developers too are hated because they might do something silly like change features in a game that PR was hyping or(God forbid) delay a game because they feel it is not ready to go live yet as things like that might mess up their neat little plan for promoting said title.

Wow I just checked and I have already written well over 3000 words yet I feel like I have only scratched the surface as the problems the games press are facing are way bigger and more complex then I have written about here. Maybe best if I end this with a few examples of media miss behavior that most people have no knowledge about.

IGN as the biggest games media site out there(there are others with similar software) has this thing called gamermetrics which is used as a marketing tool. What it does is look at and analyze the behavior of gamers online, on websites in forums etcetera. The gathered information is then used to market products and ads. In that regard for IGN a forum post with recurring words that push a certain thing becomes far more profitable then any article, review or interview they publish. Big Brother is not just watching you, its analyzing your movements, actions, words and then sells the data so it can be marketed back to you.
EDGE is a universally respected magazine but even they have made grave mistakes and have been abused by commercial departments in the past : The mid nineties are closing in and future publishing (publisher of EDGE magazine) is in a huge fight with EMAP(a publisher no longer involved in games media) who has good relations with and publishes single format magazines of Sega and Nintendo. Along comes Sony and they make it clear that they wouldn’t mind one of them to publish an official Playstation magazine to complement their upcoming entry into the console business.

Knowing that EMAP is already close with Sega and Nintendo Future decides that they need to do whatever they can to make sure EMAP does not get the official Playstation license. And thus EDGE is abused to hype the Playstation to high heavens and downplay Sega every chance they get. When both machines release in Japan immediately all sorts of excuses were used to downplay the fact that the Saturn was actually selling better then the PS1 and they start to circulate rumors that Sega will release a new Saturn that will have similar power to the PS1(making the first revision obsolete). Game reviews too are used to hype the PS1 over the Saturn and thus they declare Ridge Racer to be arcade perfect and the fact that it has only 1 track to be no problem at all. Sega rally on the other hand is ugly and with its paltry 3 tracks(nevermind the fact it has 4) has not enough content. Mission accomplished future scores the OPM license.

If you think that example is a bit too light take the EDGE-mantra from those years: The bible of gaming, the most authoritive reviews in the industry, we only review finished software et cetera. And along comes a game called Turok 2 and attached to the same issue the game is reviewed in was an advertorial pocket magazine which obviously was paid for by Acclaim and which featured content apparently written by EDGE staff. The review of Turok 2 in the actual magazine was filled with praise and superlatives about how good the game was so after reading it one was left wondering why the game ONLY received 9 out of 10 instead of the perfect 10 it clearly deserved(up to that point only Mario64 ever received a perfect 10 from EDGE) . Thing is(not even taking into account the advertorial magazine) there was a little problem, at the time the EDGE review appeared in the magazine the game still had 4 months of development to go. What was that about not being influenced by game publishers, bible of gaming, our reviews are gospel truth etcetera?

The biggest games magazine in the world is an American one called Game Informer. With over 3 million readers it is more then twice the size of EGM which is better known here. Just like gamefan with which I started this article Game Informer magazine started out in the early 90s. It used to be a mini magazine that was given away for free in what was then the Funcoland stores, these days the magazine is owned by the biggest games retailer in the world. A behemoth called Gamestop who under its various brands owns more then 5000 retail outlets all over the world. It is always bad for the consumers when the same company that sells you a product is the same one that unbeknownst to most is the one who owns the media that writes about said products. The editors there mostly do a great job staying independent but controversy was stirred when in 2004 one of the editors said what he shouldn’t have. Quote: When reviewing a game we have to take into account how well a game will appeal to the masses . In other words, if the game will sell well anyway but might sell better for Gamestop with a better score feel free to turn that 8 into a 9.

In Japan Enterbrain´s Famitsu magazine is biggest and the easiest one to get high scores from, it is at least if your company name is either Square-Enix or Nintendo. Some companies have agreements with Enterbrain that dictate certain scores for their games and the only thing the editors can do is hand their scores and be creative in what little they are allowed to write about said games. So when Square-Enix was preparing to release FF VII-Dirge of Cerberus the editors of Famitsu magazine had a huge problem on their hands. Here is a game that can best be described as a festering bug riddled corpse(believe it or not but the release we got in the west while still being unplayable shit was hugely improved upon from its original Japanese release) but they are obligated to give it at least four 7s because that’s the minimum for any Square-enix game.

At that point the writers for Famitsu became creative and while they usually have their reviews ready a few days before a game releases(perfectly possible because they are a weekly games magazine) the release of the game came and went with no review published. The week after that still nothing, one week later and the game was still not reviewed. After three weeks(and I am sure a lot of pressure from Enterbrain and Square-Enix the editors of Famitsu finally saw fit to review the game. While there was criticism in the texts of the review it still scored its mandatory 7s and thus netted a Famitsu silver award. For the Japanese customers it was obvious Famitsu did what they had to and by waiting 3 weeks with their review the sales of the game had already dropped dead thanks to the mouth to mouth trashing it received from the public so by the time Famitsu reviewed the title they knew their silver award would no longer matter at all.

Andrew Vestal, an ex games journalist who back then lived in Japan in my opinion said it best when he wrote: a 7/7/7/7 game delayed THREE times from the official release date sends a different message. It admits you're the publisher and we're the Japanese press and we have to do what you say, but we're not even going to pretend there's a single person out there who could like this piece of shit. You're getting the lowest possible score from all of our reviewers that still nets you your Silver award.”

in short

I miss old Nintendo Power that just showed off games. No numbers, scores, or any of that shit (well it was 'check out this sweet ass game' for every game) but it showed the game off the best it could in magazine format. It was like having a mini strategy guide for half a dozen games with art (sometimes official sometimes... not), screenshots, and maps. I'd love reading about some game I've never seen and getting an idea of how it would play although sometimes my imagination would take it too far. Hell back when FF6 came out it had an entire section one month with just details of the main cast with Amano's art and blurbs. Eventually in the N64 era stuff started to change with entire page splash ads (not saying NP wasn't one giant ad for their games but it was more than BUMBLEBEE HERO GAME check it out bro here have some quotes saying how much you should check it out), the coverage of games went down (maybe to do with 3d maps being hard to show off on a picture), and the N64 didn't have the JRPGs I craved so hard for back in the day. I don't think they ever went to the scoring model while I still had a subscription but I did prefer their method of game coverage much better to the handful of EGM and other gaming magazines I also had, like Star Fox with two pages of talking about the game with tiny screenshots and 5/5/5/5 (Graphics Sound ... uh something and Funfactor). At least I got to get an idea of how games played instead of some numbers of questionable accuracy. I'm probably being pretty nostalgic towards NP too, so take most of my positive comments of them with a grain of salt.

I should take some off my shelf and see if they hold up at all.

Share Game Design Articles Here!

Pretty simple thread: Post links to articles on game design you found that aren't on RMN here!

Here's one to get the ball rolling: Obsidian's Five Hard Lessons Of RPG Design by Christian Nutt (well, it's detailing Chris Sawyer's thoughts on flaws of RPGs)
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