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 411mania » Games » Columns

Four Player Co-op 12.05.12: Game of the Year Issues, Wii Mini, Most Anticipated of 2013, More
Posted by Stephen Randle on 12.05.2012

Dan Watson has joined the game.
Todd Vote has joined the game.
Mark Salmela has joined the game.
Mathew Sforcina has joined the game.

Greetings, and welcome to another edition of Four Player Co-op, now with a new banner! Yes, just like John Cena's character, we can really only freshen this thing up by dressing it up in a different colour. Also, no, it's not animated like the last one. Well, I'd like to see you do better.

Start the game!

QUESTION ONE: Well, people started answering this question in the Comments section last week when I mused about asking it this week, so I guess there's interest in an answer from you guys. So, is it just me, or is the pool of serious Game of the Year contenders pretty slim this year? I mean, usually there are a good dozen AAA titles, a few sleeper indy games, and a serious discussion between two or three big favourites. This year, it seems like we've only got a small selection of decent, but obviously flawed, games, with nobody clearly ahead of the pack. Or am I incorrect?

Dan Watson
I don't know if you'd say they are flawed, but overall it does seem like this is a weaker year. Honestly, I know the Walking Dead games are great and all, but in a normal year, an arcade title wouldn't normally be in the running for overall game of the year. Borderlands didn't feel flawed to me and had a fun story with some decent downloadable content. It has my vote.

Todd Vote
I would say your statement is fairly accurate. So much so that there is talk in the super-secret staff forums that we only do an overall Game of the Year this year, and not a console specific version as we have done in years past. This is fairly typical of the end of a console cycle though, we are sometimes treated to games that finally use the systems specs to maximum performance, but the number of quality games, especially console specific ones, is much smaller.

Mark Salmela
It's not just you Test Master Steve. I've been saying it ever since GTA5 was announced for next year and The Last of Us was pushed back as well. This has been a terrible year for video games, and I blame the console cycle more than anything. People can bitch and moan about how we don't need new consoles all day long, but that doesn't make them any less wrong. These 3rd party publishers aren't begging for new consoles just because they woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. These are professional corporations that have more statistical data and know more about the industry than everyone on Neogaf combined. It doesn't matter if there's a community of people out there trying to argue that we don't need new consoles, and it doesn't matter how good the lighting in BioShock Infinite looks, because the general population decided they were tired of the current generation of consoles long ago.

People wonder why video games aren't selling right now, and it's not even a mystery. We the video gamers have proven time and time again that we will not support new intellectual properties and new gameplay ideas late into a console cycle. We're doing it again right now. We have no one to blame but ourselves for the continuous production line spewing out sequel after sequel. I'm just as guilty as anyone else, but at least I'm willing to admit it. In order to bring back the millions of gamers lost in 2012 and the millions of dollars lost from the industry we will need a new generation of consoles. It's worked for the last 25 years, it'll work now, and it'll work again in the future. You want innovation? Bring on the innovation; just quit expecting it to happen for free on your 7 year old Xbox 360.

Mathew Sforcina
I think we've been somewhat spoilt over the past couple of years, as we had lots of good to great developers, and we were seeing games with years in development come out. Now, I can't verify this, but I would put good money on the fact that when you take into account development time, this dry spell probably corresponds to a point where lots of companies either went under or got gobbled up. I think this is the price we are paying for a bad patch a few years ago. Now, I could be wrong, in which case boohoo, 2012 wasn't a great year for games, welcome to the Mass Media World, where EVERY genre of entertainment has good and bad years. Right now TV is in a golden age (that is directly and, in my mind, causally linked to the rise of more naked breasts in said shows) and movies are in the crapper. Games were a bit down this year. Last year was a high point, next year looks good.

And hell, unlike most other forms, our good stuff from last year, like Skyrim and Portal 2 and Arkham City? Still damn good!

I don't like to gush, but I think Salms' answer is pretty darned near perfect. And given the tendency for his answers to degenerate into insults and baseless ranting as the game goes on, I should probably give him 432 points while I still can.

QUESTION TWO: Proving that just because we're a highly advanced country, we can't make some questionable moves, the Wii Mini, which is a much smaller Wii without any online capabilities, has been released exclusively at Wal Marts in Canada. Actually, our Wal Marts also suck compared to the States. But that's all you get. Anyway, why on earth would you want to buy a smaller Wii with less features when the (fully backwards compatible) Wii U just came out last week? Doesn't everyone on Earth already own a Wii anyway?

Dan Watson
I'm happy that as 411mania's Canadian Ambassador, you can admit that this is insane. Who is buying the consoles? Why did Nintendo feel only Canadians would buy this? I think you guys should get a class action lawsuit against Nintendo for questioning your ability to realize this was a scam.

Todd Vote
No, not everybody on Earth owns a Wii. I don't. I know lots of people who don't. When you say a fully backward compatible Wii U, are you taking into account the fact that this full backward compatibility does not extend to the Wii U gamepad? You have to hold on to all of your Wii remotes, and classic controllers for it to be "Completely" backwards compatible. Minor gripe, but it would have been cool to be able to play some of those old virtual console games right there on the Wii U controller. Oh yeah, smaller Wii with less features just doesn't make much sense at all. But hey, that's Canada for ya.

Mark Salmela
This is an awful, awful decision by Nintendo. Were they too busy swimming in pools of liquid gold to pay attention to what happened to Sony with the PS3? I swear sometimes I'm the only one who actually remembers history, much less learns anything from it (now I know what it's like to be a wrestling fan).

Yes, the Nintendo Wii will go down as one of the most successful video game consoles of all time. Yes, there's a huge library of games on the Wii and it makes sense in the short term to milk the Nintendo Wii for everything it's worth. Here's why this is a horrible idea. The Nintendo Wii is dead. It lived one hell of a life, but it's over. The Nintendo Wii is dead, and it's been dead for a year now. It's time to move on to the Nintendo Wii U. Nintendo should have completely killed Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii support by now. By supporting the Nintendo Wii in any way, shape, or form they are only further confusing the average consumer. How's Casual Joe supposed to know the difference between the brand new Nintendo Wii bundle sitting on shelves versus the brand new Nintendo Wii U bundle sitting on shelves? What the hell does the U mean and why is it worth any extra $200? Sony made the same mistake by continuing to support the PS2 after the PS3 had already launched in North America, and it was one of many reasons why the PS3 failed so miserably for the first couple of years it was on the market. Why the hell would you buy a PS3 when God of War 2 has yet to come out on PS2? Now, Nintendo is making the same mistake.

Mathew Sforcina
Because you're either a cheapskate or, more likely, you're an older customer who is sick of having to hear about this 'Pee' thing the grand-kids keep going on about and so you're going to get one so they shut up about it when the little brats are visiting, and maybe try that Bowling thing Mavis says is good for the wrists. And/or you're an Apple user who automatically buys anything with 'Mini' in the title, like how you automatically buy anything with a lower-case "I" at the front. So presumably you live in an iGloo...

Actually, Sforcina, it's a common misconception that Canadians live in igloos. Those are just our winter homes. In summer, we build simple huts out of sticks and mud. 1584 points for trying, though.

QUESTION THREE: And our slow burn to the end of the year continues, as we enter the last month of 2012. And since 2012 is drawing to a close and 99% of this year's releases are on store shelves, I guess it's time to start looking ahead to 2013. Barring the end of the world, of course. With that understood, what games are you anticipating for the year ahead?

Dan Watson
Grand Theft Auto, Gears of War, BioShock Infinite are my most looked-forward -to titles. 2013 could be a really big year in gaming. I would assume based off recent rumors we will see the new Xbox by this time next year as well.

Todd Vote
At the top of my list are GTA V, and Watch Dogs. That's honestly the only two games currently on my radar, oops wait... Also Injustice: Gods Among Us. That's about it.

Mark Salmela
My most anticipated game of 2013 is Tomb Raider. It was a really close call between Last of Us, Tomb Raider, and GTA5, but I'm giving the nod to Lara. Even though GTA5 looks incredible and Last of Us has the potential to be a game changer, right now Lara's origin story looks to be the most polished and interesting experience to me. I'm really intrigued by the presentation aspect of Tomb Raider, and so far the gameplay looks top notch. There have been too many delays and stories about BioShock Infinite's troubles for me to say it's my most anticipated game, GTA5 isn't in Vice City, and I have my doubts Last Guardian will ever come out. It was a close one between Last of Us and Tomb Raider, but just seeing the brutality of Tomb Raider has pushed it over the edge for me. Oh yeah, and tits.

Mathew Sforcina
Bioshock Infinite, GTAV, Bioshock Infinite, Deadpool, Bioshock Infinite, the games I've backed on Kickstarter (Pier Solar HD... You'll get to play against me as the Boss!, Hero-U, Wasteland 2, Ortus and... Leisure Suit Larry... And the OUYA), Bioshock Infinite, and I always hold out hope that someone makes a new wrestling game with, you guessed it, the AKI Engine. Oh, and Bioshock Infinite, not sure I mentioned that one.

The prospect of boobs costs Salms, who came closest to naming The Last of Us, which would have been the correct answer. Watchdogs is a close second, but we were only awarding points for first place in this instance.

QUESTION FOUR: Ah, Robot Chicken, is there anything you can't make hilarious?

Well, it's no Kevin Butler, but…what do you think?

Dan Watson
Sony has made sure to put out a great commercial each year. This ranks as my personal number two behind last year's commercial of the characters from games talking about the gamer. It's a great commercial though.

Todd Vote
I love Robot Chicken, and there is very little that they can't make funny. This is about as good of an ad as you could ask for on Battle Royale. Humor mixed with some gameplay is always nice. I prefer this to the official Sony trailer, and I thought that one was pretty good as well.

Mark Salmela
Well, this is just dandy. Combine one of my least favorite P.O.S. video game genres with one of the biggest P.O.S. cartoon shows, and what do you get? Well, you get something resembling Randle's career. You get a visually unappealing, unfunny, and slightly messy product that appeals to a very small fanbase that just can't get enough of that shit. I've never been a fan of party fighters (I'll whoop ass in Mortal Kombat, thank you), and Robot Chicken isn't funny. Man, this week's 3PC is a clean sweep for this player. Do you just want to give me my award now Exam Master Rick?

Mathew Sforcina
Eh. I like Robot Chicken, but that's very much an Eh from me. They can't all be home runs.

Like I said, it's not perfect, but at least they didn't go back to creepy babies or something. Todd gets 2315 points, because both Battle Royal commercials are pretty good. Also, I'd like to see more Robot Chicken-style ads. Hell, the show itself is based around thirty-second bits, and they've already got the format and models of every toy, comic, and video game character in existence.

BONUS QUESTION: Are you kidding? I gave you easy questions this week. Why don't you come up with a question for me and see what kind of answers I give? Then you'll understand my pain.

Dan Watson
I'm writing this on Sunday after another Vikings' loss. So since I'm disappointed, let me ask you Quizmaster what is going to disappoint you the most in 2013 of the following items: Blue Jays failing to make the playoffs, a WrestleMania which features another Cena main event, the overpriced release of possibly 2 new consoles, or Microsoft selling a mini Xbox to Canadians telling them it's awesome to buy?

The Jays haven't made the playoffs since 1993, but I did get to see them win two World Series, so they can't really disappoint anymore, only surprise. Which they might this year. I think I have to go with the default answer of another Cena Mania main event. Because dammit, WWE, you need to start relying on somebody besides Cena, because everything's clearly not going to get better by sticking with the status quo.

Todd Vote
I have a question for you: With THQ in some serious financial trouble, how would you distribute their few successful franchises (WWE, Darksiders, Saints Row, Red Faction) out amongst the surviving developers? Who would get what in a perfect world?

The obvious answer for Saint's Row is Rockstar, I think, so they can combine with GTA and create something that would probably send every "concerned parents" group on the planet into a rabid fury. WWE should probably end up with EA, since they already perfected the idea of remaking the same franchise on a yearly basis with little more than roster updates, plus EA might actually spring for a new game engine. Send Darksiders to Sony so they can team Death up with Kratos and wreck shit on a massive scale, and I don't have an opinion on Red Faction.

Mark Salmela
I got a question for ya. Remember when the name Final Fantasy meant something? Me neither, now if you'll excuse me I need to go pre-order The Last Fantasy 13: Part 3: Milking This Anime Chick for Everything She's Worth OH PLEASE GOD FORGET ABOUT FF VERSUS 13 AND FF14 ALREADY: Collector's Edition!

Ok, so I'm only pre-ordering to get the Chocobo coffin, but it'll look great next to my collection of melted down guitar hero controllers. And above all this Sonic still lives on! Good day friends.

You know, even six months ago I would have defended Final Fantasy to the death, but it's become clear that they have no clue what the fuck they're doing with that franchise, and have completely lost track of the roots of what made an FF game. Meanwhile, rather than wait in breathless anticipation, hoping that FFXV will maybe recapture something that's been gone for years, I've moved on to Atlus and the Persona series. Ah, turn-based battles, easy yet complex magic systems, and coherent storytelling with characters I actually care about, how I've missed you.

Mathew Sforcina
Well, since I brought it up, a three part question:

1) What is your overall impression on Kickstarter/Crowd Funding in general so far, in regards to video gaming?
2) Where do you see it going from this point, again focused mostly on the gaming?
3) What game/concept do you most want to see a Kickstarter for, and what would your ultimate backer reward for said game be?

A three-part question? Make me work, why don't you?

I like Kickstarter and what it's accomplished so far, especially in gaming where we've actually already seen progress or even results on some completed projects. For the future, I imagine it will taper off in popularity as attention spans wander off to the next fad, but it will probably remain a good option for independent developers trying to get their foot in the door. And I don't know if it's feasible, but I would love to have another game set in Discworld, either another adventure-style game like the originals or any other genre. Maybe an open-world Ankh Morpork where you're part of the Watch? The ultimate backer reward would be a cure for Alzheimer's so that I can put off worrying about when the series will abruptly end, but failing that, yeah, just meeting Terry Pratchett would be pretty nice.

Please wait…Host is calculating scores…



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