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Location:Fairfax, Virginia

stories by Daniel Sims

20 Years of Star Fox

It may have passed by most people, but February 2013 was the 20th anniversary of the Japanese release of the original Star Fox. March is the 20th anniversary of its North American release. Thinking about that made me try to remember why we even liked Star Fox in the first place and how Nintendo could possibly bring the franchise back.

The most underrated Metal Gear game

I don’t think there’s been a whole lot of attention brought to it, but the Metal Gear franchise turned 25 last Saturday, counting from the original MSX game’s release in Japan. 1UP is doing a bunch of articles about it, and a lot of other people are probably observing the series as a whole, too, but I want to give some attention to one part of it in particular…one that most Metal Gear fans haven’t experienced.

Nintendo vs. iOS: Where’s the money?

Nintendo posting its first ever annual loss last year has brought another barrage of condemning articles from mainstream financial publications claiming the company should switch over to smartphones. There are a bunch of reasons why a lot of people think this is absurd, but I find it strange that I haven’t seen much emphasis on probably the most important reason: the amount of money on the table.

Games that nail the art of scripted game design

Recent big releases like Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 have once again resurrected the discussion and criticism of today's super-scripted, theme-park brand of game design. I think these titles, along with others, prove that this type of approach can be done right. It's just that most games do it wrong.

Groove Coaster Review

We like to laugh at the people dancing around holding iPods in those old commercials, but to tell you the truth the image above basically encapsulates what I was like while playing Groove Coaster on my iPhone.  When you think about it, Apple originally having created their mobile devices for the universal pastime of music, a rhythm game is perhaps the perfect title for iOS.  Whatever the reason, Groove Coaster might be the most fun I’ve had all year for 99 cents.

Where are the Japanese indie games? Introducing Playism

The recent coming-out party for indie games has been mostly aimed at Western audiences, but has anyone wondered about the state of independent titles in Japan? When looking through Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Store, I've always wondered where to find the Touhou Project or Mekuri Master games. Now, a new gaming platform hopes to bring these releases to the forefront.

Does the kill/death ratio need to go away?

I admit it — I'm part of the problem. In almost every game of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 or Team Fortress 2 I just roll sniper and get into duels with other snipers, while everyone else actually tries to win. I know people hate that, but what are you gonna do when you have a pitiful kill/death ratio staring you in the face all the time?

Does the “game over” screen really need to go away?

Garnett Lee on the Weekend Confirmed podcast has said that he no longer likes fail states. David Cage has at least once criticized the age-old gaming conventions like bosses and "game over" screens. You have to admit that fail states originally came from the arcade cabinets that wanted more of your quarters. It seems that people are increasingly taking issue with the fact that you die in video games.

Emergent Horror in Resident Evil 4

Undoubtedly the most desperate moment I’ve ever experienced playing a video game wasn’t explicitly scripted or designed by a developer — it was an emergent, spontaneous player-narrative event. You know how most horror movies have a part where one guy knows he’s cornered by the monster, so he turns around and blindly rushes it before getting ripped apart? I lived that moment once in Resident Evil 4.

How to Make Me Buy a Game New

It seems like “I honestly can't figure out how buying a used game was any better than piracy,” was all Tycho had to say to re-ignite the new and used games debate. Whether or not it’s right or wrong in the eyes of the developer, what I’m trying to figure out here is why consumers do it, which is probably the key to everything.

How to Fix Your PS3

A few months ago my 60GB PlayStation 3 died on me, and I ended up having to conduct an assload of research to figure out the best way to get back up and running. Since I didn’t find any truly comprehensive PS3 reparation report, I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned with all of you in an effort to create one.

Motion Control Is Still in Its Infancy

Editor's note: Daniel believes that motion control is too new to judge properly, and he argues that it will improve with time. I'm somewhat ambivalent toward motion control, but I do think it's best to wait until the next console generation before we decide whether or not it's a passing fad. -James

Fragile Dreams: The Wii Adventure Game You’ve Been Looking For

With Final Fantasy XIII, Just Cause 2, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and whatnot occupying March, I had to put real effort into making sure a few small gems didn't get left behind. Infinite Space and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey have slipped through my fingers. Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins to the Moon for the Wii was one that I did manage to catch. If you own a Wii and are hungry for an interesting world to investigate and some unique, progressive plot exposition, this game will deliver on that if nothing else.

Where Did Cheats and Unlockables Go?

A few months ago Red Faction Guerrilla brought back a feeling that I probably hadn't felt since the N64 times.  As soon as I realized this I became alarmed at how many games these days were functionally over once you finished the campaign.  It also made me realize why I care so little for achievements and trophies.