A whole four years to the day since I reached #400; another milestone is finally reached!
I do not update this list anywhere near as much as a younger me (with far more hours of the day free and zero responsibility!) once did, but if I was to not highlight another song then this would be a fitting choice to end with – hearing this theme for the first time, having left Midgar and taken my first glimpse at the world map, is a very vivid memory for myself and the moment that both Final Fantasy (and RPG’s in general) really clicked with me.
Having skipped GamesCom 2015, Sony have outlined their planned conference for Paris Games Week.
The conference will be held at 5pm on Tuesday 27th October, and will mark the first big media showing from the Japanese giant since the headline announcements it unveiled at E3 earlier this year. It is unlikely that Sony will focus too much on the likes of The Last Guardian or the remake of Final Fantasy VII, but one would expect outings for No Man’s Sky, some of the games announced at last year’s GamesCom presentation included Rime & Wild, and maybe an update on the likes of The Witness.
A quick update on some new releases, some delays and some things to look forward to:
The wait for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim fans is finally over, as the first piece of DLC content for the game, Dawnguard, is out now on Xbox Live. Featuring a focus on vampires, it will cost you 1600 MS Points for the privilege, and adds 10 new achievements worth 250 Gamerscore.
Today also marks the end of a long wait for Mass Effect 3 fans, as the controversial ‘Extended Cut’ DLC, aiming to clarify the ending a bit for those who were unimpressed with the original ending, is out now on Xbox Live. It’s a pretty hefty thing to download, weighing in at 1.9GB. I am downloading it as I type right now, and will hopefully have a quick review of it up in the next few days. In the meantime, why not read my review of the game in full?
Pokemon Black 2 And White 2 have sold 1.6 million copies in two days since their release in Japan; it makes them the third fastest selling DS game in Japan, ironically behind the originals which managed to shift 2.6 million copies in the same time.
You may have noticed a trailer for a film called ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ recently – acting as Disney’s big project for this year, the story follows a video game villain looking to become the good guy, and features numerous characters cameos from the gaming world including Bowser, Dr Eggman and Zangief. Aside from looking like a good fun film, it will be getting a tie-in arcade side-scroller game ‘with a modern look and feel’. It will be made by Disney Interactive and published by Activision this Autumn on DS, 3DS and Wii.
Far Cry 3, one of the highlights from this years E3 and a game I have personally been waiting a long time for, has been delayed from September 7th to November 30th. The official line on this is that Ubisoft are taking a bit of extra time to make sure the game is as good as it can be…my personal hunch is that the four player mode demonstrated at Sony’s conference in Los Angeles need fixing after looking buggy as hell in demonstration. In any case, I now worry a bit that this title may be lost in the shuffle at the end of November – at least at the start of September there is nothing else to buy so it would have had an uncontested launch window.
Finally, after years of waiting, Team Fortress 2 is getting a ‘Meet The Pyro’ video tomorrow. Alongside this, a ‘Pyromania’ update has begun bringing new game modes and maps to the hugely successful free-to-play shooter.
Nintendo have unveiled the 3DS XL, a larger version of the standard 3DS. The handheld (which was originally going to be announced at E3) features two slightly larger screens (the top screen increases to 4.88 inches from 3.58 and the bottom from 3.02 to 4.18 inches) and an improved battery life. However, it doesn’t feature a second circle pad that had to be shoehorned onto the original 3DS as a add-on, meaning games like Metal Gear Solid 3DS and Monster Hunter will be unplayable…and the 3DS XL is set to $200 when it gets released at the end of July. So, its more expensive and despite its increased size doesn’t have an extra analogue stick – I can’t help but think Nintendo have dun goofed.
It would appear the next game in the queue for new HD graphics is the PS2 classic Okami. The game, which featured very distinctive artwork based on Japanese mythology, will also be playable with Playstation Move controls and support widescreen. It will be available via PSN for £16 this Autumn, which I think is a pretty good deal.
Final Fantasy VII may finally be coming to Steam. Yesterday, a product description from Square was leaked indicating that the game will feature cloud support and 36 achievements via the Steam system, as well as a base price of £7.99. The page was quickly removed by Square, but the intent for the release is definitely there.
Have you ever thought to yourself ‘I wish I was Stan Lee?’ Well, anyone who had that fantasy will soon be able to live out your wildest dreams, as the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man video game allows you to play as the legendary comic book writer complete with all of Spidey’s abilities. It looks bizarre in action, and yet is also strangely one of the funniest things you will ever see – check it out.
Finally, on July 29th you will be able to travel to your nearest GAME (providing they didn’t shut down near the start of the year) and pick up a brand new white PS3, complete with a 320GB HDD and two controllers. You also get 90 days on Playstation Plus thrown in for good measure. It is set to cost £240.
There’s a good reason why Final Fantasy VII remains in so many topics when discussing RPG’s and gaming in general. When it was released in 1997, few games could hold a candle to it. Offering an expansive story, cutting edge 3D graphics and superior sound spread over three discs, it transformed a popular series that have thrived on the SNES into the behemoth it has become today.
The reasoning for its place on this list however lies in its cultural impact rather than its technical achievements. Before Final Fantasy VII, JRPG’s had not exactly been unpopular – the likes of Dragon Quest, Secret Of Mana and Final Fantasy IV and VI (confusingly called II and III in America) had received warm praise and a cult following. What Final Fantasy VII did was bring the JRPG into the mainstream, aiding in part by heavy advertising on Squaresoft’s behalf. The game sold over 10 million copies across the world, bringing a whole new audience into the genre. The game also maintains a significant impact on what could have been – you see, it was originally intended for release on the Nintendo 64; but when Nintendo revealed they were to use cartridges instead of discs, Squaresoft decided to publish the game on the Sony Playstation as an exclusive. Having a game of FFVII’s quality as an exclusive was crucial in giving Sony’s new upstart console a significant lead in early console sales, one that the N64 ultimately could not overcome.
10 – POKEMON RED AND BLUE (1998) – GAME FREAK
In my short lifetime, there have been few games released that can claim to have stolen the childhood’s of millions of young kids and utterly dominated popular culture at the same time. For me, Pokemon Red & Blue is that game – in the blink of an eye, it changed how the lunchtime hour was spent at school; even on the most gloriously sunny days most children in my class were glued to the screens of their Game Boy’s as they attempted to ‘catch ‘em all’.
It was a combination of things that gave Pokemon such a broad appeal – the colourful designs of the monsters, the gradual learning curve, a simple plot to follow and of course the ultimate goal of enslaving all 150 Pokemon to prove your mastery of the game. That by itself could have commanded enough respect, but it was taken one step further by the ability to link up your Game Boy to another using the Link Cable and battling your friends Pokemon. It promoted a sense of angry and fevered competition in the playground that managed to actually get the game banned for a short amount of time.
Pokemon Red & Blue also replicated the trick that Pac Man had been able to pull off in the 1980’s, cashing in on a run of merchandise that spawned an anime and equally popular trading card game alongside pretty much every domestic good you could imagine, from lunchboxes and bags to sticker albums and even varieties of jam. It may be too simplistic to say that it was the right game released at the perfect time, but that is exactly what Red & Blue was. The series continues to move on strongly with four direct sequels, leaving a pile of discarded AA batteries in its wake.
Every now and again, when a game is being developed those involved in the process like to have a bit of fun, and add items and references that one may not necessarily encounter in a standard playthrough. These hidden things have come to be known as Easter Eggs in games, and often times our pervading memories of a game are the strange things that you can encounter that the developers subtly added to the mix – whether they be humorous, informative or a dig at other developers, its always a rewarding process to find such things. There have been a multitude of Easter Eggs popping up in games over the years, and what better time to celebrate the best of them than Easter – the festival of eating chocolate eggs. Below is my personal top ten favourite Easter Eggs that I have encountered in a game. Continue reading Top Ten…Easter Eggs In Gaming→