Shadow Over Bethesda

  • Reading time:1 mins read

by Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh

Neither Vince nor I were entirely sure what we were doing in Bethesda’s private room. While I am as fond of Elder Scrolls as anyone who might be me, I’m not really as versed in Bethesda’s catalogue as I might be.

What we ended up with was a brief demonstration of a couple of the developer’s most recent projects — both licensed, both examples of why a popular license is not necessarily a bad thing in terms of game design.

We stepped in to the middle of a lengthy overview of Pirates of the Caribbean. For a game based off of a movie based off of a theme park attraction, the design is surprisingly deep.

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Castlevania: Lament of Innocence

  • Reading time:1 mins read

by Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh

I can’t really argue with Leon. This guy is sleek. He controls well. He’s the best brawler in the entire series. More importantly, his game is interesting.

Essentially, Lament of Innocence is the evolution of the classic Konami brawler that the new Turtles game should have been. It’s fast, tight, varied, stylish, and generally involving to play.

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SNK – The future is now…again.

  • Reading time:1 mins read

by Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh

Although we’ve got a more in-depth interview tomorrow, I couldn’t resist myself. Almost wholly by accident, I managed to stumble into a lengthy conversation with Mr. Ben Herman, president of the newly-reformed SNK NeoGeo USA. He was unexpectedly responsive, friendly, and open to the obsessive Insert Credit style of curiosity.

In brief, here are some of the most prurient items of discussion.

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‘window-shopping in an empty store’

  • Reading time:2 mins read

by Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh and tim rogers

The president of Nintendo of America is named George Harrison. Somehow I had overlooked this fact up until today. Mister Harrison revealed that Donkey Kong “will remain a lovable ape” and that Mario “will never start shooting hookers”.

More intriguing, however, is the fact that Satoru Iwata speaks English. While he still needs a translator to help with more complex ideas, Iwata nevertheless manages to express himself with some appreciable degree of competence.

The Nintendo conference was comfortable, if not particularly informative. Outside of the multiplayer Pac-Man performance and the Will Wright announcement, there wasn’t much new to see. The swag wasn’t thrilling, either; just a paper sack full of press material and a ribbed tee shirt.

Since Brandon had to be elsewhere, I was given the rare opportunity to impersonate him and infiltrate the show. As it turned out, I never even needed his ID; his business card was enough. Given that Doug got in and that he wasn’t even on the list, perhaps my nefariousness was without need. Darned if I didn’t feel like a super spy, though.

A super spy eating uncommonly delicious raspberry muffins, that is to say. The buffet was… well, you really had to be there.

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New character Daiko-kun emerges joyly!

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Daiko-kun is a magical Japanese radish-umbrella, with a blank expression. He is admired by Radi-chu, a small mouse who desperately wishes to be a radish.

Daiko-kun has a girlfriend from Georgia, Meri-chan. Meri-chan is an American radish, filled with joy and energy. She has eyelashes.

As far as marketable products, Meri-chan and Daiko-kun lip balm are a necessity. The top of Meri-chan can be unscrewed, and inside is a small reservoir of balm. Meanwhile, Daiko-kun balm comes in the more traditional stick form.

Daiko-kun pens and pencils; Meri-chan erasers. Daiko-kun socks. Underwear of all sorts. (Use your imagination.)

And lastly, turnip masks of the sort that Radi-chu wears.

I’m going to be rich!

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (GCN/Nintendo)

  • Reading time:2 mins read

by Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh

Miyamoto comes from an older school of game design, from a time when we didn’t know as much as we do now — and so we didn’t know what was impossible. We also had little history, so it was up to bards like Miyamoto to create one for us.

With a handful of details, a rough outline, and his whims, Miyamoto spins tales for his audience. With every telling and every audience, his stories go down a slightly different path. No one performance is more accurate than any other; the truth is in the telling. Save the odd sequel, every Zelda game is a new beginning, with a new, yet always familiar, Link and a new Zelda. It’s getting so there are nearly as many interpretations as of Journey to the West or the legend of King Arthur. And for the same reasons.

Legends like these are ancient; they’re from a world before our linear sense of time and our concrete idea of history. Back then, the world moved in cycles. The seasons came and went; life flourished and waned — and then it began again, a little different, mostly familiar. Reality is in the moment and in that faith in the cycle.

The way that videogames age, this cycle has turned into a death spiral. Every five years there’s a new generation of players, with its own collective assumptions and its own built-in innocence to history. For each new wave of gamers, the story must be adapted and retold again.

The problem is this modern concept of progress. Whereas only a few generations ago one year was much the same as the next, technology has now placed us on a non-stop rocket train to anywhere-but-here. So our perception is warped from the speed, and so we are blinded to the cycles that used to define our reality.

Our rhythms have been broken, replaced with the dull whine of progress. The future is our salvation, while the present is a blur and the past is our collective shame. We live in a society that has invented history as a straw man for our pursuit of an illusory perfection.

Wind Waker is a game caught in an unfortunate dilema between these two world models.

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Filiburt Dunkan

  • Reading time:1 mins read

I have been having the most bizarre dreams as of late.

The “Toybox” piece is coming along rather closely, at this point; there’s only a smidge of decoration and polish before I deign it complete. I’m not altogether thrilled with it, but it’s my first experiment in this particular style of assembly. It’s more of a learning exercize than a heartfelt ode. So.

And then: Yes.