Sometimes it’s nice to have a chill-out game that doesn’t make any particularly difficult demands on you. And the Wii is a great console on which to explore that sort of experience.
One of the best games in the Wii’s library in this regard is the delightfully unusual fish-poking simulator Endless Ocean, which tasks you with exploring the deep blue sea in search of the aforementioned fish, sunken treasure and all manner of other goodies. It’s a thoroughly pleasant time!
When we first heard that Steven Spielberg was making a game, I think the last thing anyone expected was a physics puzzler for Wii. And once that had been revealed, I think the last thing anyone expected was for it to be really good.
But Boom Blox is both of those things — and I’d go so far to say it’s an essential part of any Wii library today. Offering a wealth of fun and exciting things to do for both solo players and groups of friends, this is physics puzzling done right — and not a sodding Angry Bird in sight.
Many games these days make a point of providing some sort of “added value” over and above their base experience. Be it a postgame chapter with stiff challenges, post-launch DLC or a New Game Plus mode, these features are typically there to keep you playing even after you see the credits roll.
Visual novels, as an offshoot of video games, aren’t typically known for having substantial postgame content other than the “metagame” that multi-route titles have: seeing all the possible narrative routes and collecting all the CG illustrations. But, as we’ve already established fairly comprehensively in this feature already, Spike Chunsoft’s 428: Shibuya Scramble isn’t a game to do things… “conventionally”.
Oh, sure, the base game has 85 “bad ends” to collect (with a series of trophies and achievements attached to these, encouraging you to seek them out rather than avoid them — and it’s worth doing so because several are very odd indeed!) as well as a “normal” and a “true” ending, but once you’ve seen the main narrative through to a satisfactory conclusion, you’re not done. Not by a surprisingly long shot.
Well, it’s time to unravel some of the mysteries at the core of 428: Shibuya Scramble. And there are plenty of them!
Not only that, but “beating” the game isn’t the end, either; once you’ve seen the “normal” or “true” endings, there are other, more deviously hidden scenarios to track down… but that’s a tale for another day. Today, we’re going to focus on the how the game explores its various protagonists and one of its most important core themes.
Let’s step back into Shibuya, then… the beating heart of one of the world’s busiest cities.
Every so often a game comes along that really makes you sit up and pay attention.
Sometimes it’s because it features a beautiful refinement or evolution of some established mechanics. Sometimes it’s because it really pushes graphical technology forwards. Sometimes it has famous names attached to it.
And sometimes it’s 428: Shibuya Scramble, a title so far removed from what we traditionally think of as a “video game” that you can’t help but notice it.
The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more here, but you’re out of time to leave suggestions, I’m afraid!
Any time you have experience with an entire series of something and people are aware of your experience with said series, someone, somewhere is going to ask you the dreaded question: “which [insert series name here] is best?”
Given my recent coverage of Tecmo’s consistently excellent survival horror series Project Zero(not to mention the presently ongoing video series playing through its postgame!), I thought I’d pre-empt that question and attempt to give a definitive answer.
Well, definitive insofar as “this one was my favourite” anyway. You do not have to agree. But this was my favourite Project Zero game this year.
The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more and leave a suggestion here!
Over the last couple of years, I’ve become very enthusiastic and passionate about my gaming collection, and my infinitely patient and wonderful wife has done a fantastic job of configuring two of the rooms in our house to display said collection — the living room contains all the reasonably current stuff (basically PS1 onwards) while the upstairs study is a “retro room”, consisting of Atari 8-bit, Atari ST and Philips G7000 Videopac games.
I’ve been adding to my collection from all angles over the course of the last few years. But if I had to pick one system that I’ve enjoyed collecting for the most this year? Not necessarily the cheapest, but one that is enjoyable to collect for? That’s what this award is about.
I like Super Smash Bros. I think. I’m never quite 100% sure.
I do know for a fact I’ve purchased each and every one at launch (with the exception of the N64 original) and, in fact, still own my copies of both Brawl on Wii and …for Wii U on, uh, Wii U. Melee? No, unfortunately; while I’m rebuilding my GameCube collection now I’ve got my original (GameCube-compatible) Wii hooked up to my TV once again, Melee is not a title I’ve particularly prioritised re-acquiring.
Anyway, fact is, I’ve always at least made an honest-to-goodness attempt to like Super Smash Bros. And I’m very much looking forward to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Switch, which, at the time of writing, is launching in just over a week. And I intend to spend most of the holiday period playing it!
One of the things I find kind of interesting about how gaming culture in general has developed over time is how people feel about “arcade games”.
Back in the 8- and 16-bit eras of computers and consoles that I grew up with, the seemingly unattainable dream was to have “the arcade experience at home” — or, well, more accurately, an authentic arcade experience at home. This was kind of strange when you think about it, because a lot of home computer and console games already offered experiences of greater complexity, depth and duration than your average quarter-muncher, but still the dream persisted.
Once we got to a stage where our home gaming hardware was more than up to the job of providing an “arcade-perfect” experience, however, many people had become so accustomed to those longer, deeper experiences that the dream of “arcade games” kind of fell by the wayside for a significant proportion of the gaming audience. And consequently, I suspect a fair few people missed out on highly enjoyable cheese like Sega’s Ghost Squad.
The poor ol’ Wii gets a lot of crap for its numerous minigame compilations, when in fact these releases were a significant part of the system’s appeal.
Minigame compilations provided accessible ways for people less accustomed to games to get accustomed to the Wii’s unusual control scheme, great packages to entertain groups of friends on social occasions… and brilliant opportunities for developers to get a bit weird and creative.
One of the best examples I’ve come across is 2011’s Wii Play: Motion, one of the lesser-known entries in Nintendo’s Wii [x] series, and a game that most people know as “the game you got free with a Wii Remote Plus for a while”.