We Place Faith in The Conduit

July 31st, 2008

the conduit wii high voltage

I like to keep tabs on the Nintendo fanbase and their response to new games and announcements. I do so because it makes for a fascinating case study on how a loyal fanbase (such as Nintendo’s) reacts when their favourite company expands outwards to other audiences. The reality is that these players can enjoy games like Wii Fit and Brain Age (why wouldn’t they? I love them) yet haven’t made the transition into that frame of mind just yet, keeping hold of an arbitrary notion of thought (“hardcore gaming”). Their reaction is very insightful of fan culture and the identity it creates.

I myself am, of course, a huge Nintendo fan which makes up part of the fascination. You can even slap the commonly abused “fanboy” label on me too if you like. I’m not fussed. I think that the difference here is that, I’m very interested in casual games for both play and curious investigation. There’s no shame in it, contrary to popular belief, people like me can enjoy “casual” games and enjoy them because after all, they are games and I like to play games!
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Gradius Talk and Why I love Shmps

July 29th, 2008

gradius collection artwork

Shmps or shoot ’em ups are a very difficult genre. Not challenging difficult (although in most cases this is also true) but difficult in that from a distance it is hard to see the appeal. Shmps are a genre whose bread is buttered on traditional, two dimensional gameplay, that is; you either shoot or dodge or do them both at the same time. Unfortunately this simple natured foundation has been a anchor restricting shmps from returning to the mainstream. While shmps use to be the best in its league unfortunately as game mechanics have advanced, shmps haven’t, they simply can’t! So in the current gaming environment shmps, particularly for younger players, are difficult to break into compared to the more successful genres.

Like a lot of gamers I never really made shmps a priority. Sure I’d played Space Invaders and some R-Type on the Commodore 64 but it was a genre that I couldn’t really care about. In the past year though I have slowly turned this around and have adopted several top tier shmps into my gaming collection. I have already discussed how incredible Ikaruga is so today I want to talk about another inspiring shmp; Gradius.

I’d been eyeing down Gradius Collection on the PSP for a couple of months now and finally decided to grab it from my favourite games retailer. Gradius Collection consists of several classic Gradius titles being Gradius I-IV and Gradius Gaiden, unfortunately Gradius V from the PS2 is not included. Basically you get the five games, some neat menus and a few extras thrown in for balance. You can also choose to play in super duper stretcho PSP vision or at the native proportions.

So now that the obligatory press release is over lets break into why I love shmps and particularly this shmp so much. There isn’t much to say about what is presented in front of you, shmps are usually very bare bones (Nanostray 2 being a possible exception) and Gradius is the same; you have your ship (plus respective power ups) and a series of incoming enemy units each moving in their preset patterns.

It is in the design of these patterns where shmps either succeed or fail. You see patterns and pattern recognition are some of the basic building blocks of human thought. It is this process which shmp developers bank on and is what I think makes these games so provocative to play. A game like Ikaruga with its symmetrical patterns and diverse range of pattern sets make full use of such a mechanic and has been praised respectively.
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New Site Design and Layout

July 27th, 2008

The title basically says it all, so if you are reading this by RSS or Email then click through to the site and take a look.

I wanted to redesign the site to create a more personalized look, to reinforce the character that is developing within my blogging voice. While the previous “bathroom” look the site was fine and received a good wrap by most readers, in my mind it lacked the sensory warmth that I wanted my readers to feel when experiencing my site.

Overall I am very happy with the new design as it was an opportunity to alleviate some of the previous layout and design issues. I now have a proper header, text doesn’t burn your eyes anymore, links are noticeable and clutter is removed.

Along with the new design I have again renamed to site to just Daniel Primed, which is also my online alias. I’ll be rolling out a resized header and will be using larger, images in my post as it paints a better picture of what I am talking about and improves flow, expect those starting from the next post.

Of course, fixes such as the contact form shall be done in the next week, for the most part everything is completed. I would love to hear your thoughts on the new design so leave me a comment.