Tag Archives: Pokemon


Headline Of The Week

The Last Of Us was the headline stealer at the 2014 Video Game BAFTA’s in London this week, scooping up five awards including Best Game. Naughty Dog’s survival horror has been the standout performer during the videogame award season, and now it has added gongs for Best Action & Adventure, Audio Achievement, Story and Best Performer (Ashley Johnson as Ellie) to its sizeable trophy cabinet.

Media Molecule’s Vita exclusive Tearaway and Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V picked up three awards each, with Rockstar also being presented with the BAFTA Fellowship by Hideo Kojima. Elsewhere, Bioshock: Infinite walked away with Best Music, Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons earned Best Game Innovation, and Papers, Please nudged out strong competition to win Best Strategy & Simulation.

If you missed the ceremony on Wednesday which was hosted by comedian Dara O’Briain, then you can catch online via the BAFTA Twitch Page . Continue reading WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 10TH – 16TH MARCH


Headline Of The Week

Nintendo is to close down the Wi-Fi Connection services for all DS, DSi and Wii consoles on May 20th 2014.

Connecting to Wi-Fi was a chore...Nintendo have made it simpler now by killing it off
Connecting to Wi-Fi was a chore…Nintendo have made it simpler now by killing it off

The decision, which will affect all regions worldwide, means that online services including multiplayer, leaderboards and matchmaking will be permanently removed, although browser and shop functions (along with applications including YouTube and Netflix) will remain open. A full list of games that will be affected is available on Nintendo’s website, but among the biggest casualties are Mario Kart Wii, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and every Pokemon game from Diamond & Pearl through to Black 2 & White 2.

Nintendo have offered no comment on why the services are being shut down now, but common sense suggests that with the new versions of Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. in particular set for release on the Wii U this year, the Big N wants people to upgrade to the new versions, and removing online functionality acts as a cattle prod towards the new games. Besides, if truth be told the aging Wi-Fi Connection was awkward to use and inferior to both PSN and Xbox Live for content. Continue reading WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE FOR 24TH FEBRUARY – 2ND MARCH

Time To Go Monochrome…Again? – Pokemon Black & White 2 Review


Black Kyurem – better than White Kyurem. Fact

I wasn’t the only one who felt surprised when it was announced that Pokemon Black & White (which I reviewed at the end of last year) were to be given direct sequels. The franchise has never really bought into the idea of ‘continuing storylines’, preferring instead to release and enhanced editions of games (Yellow, Crystal, Emerald and Platinum) before moving onto the next generation, so fans began to question whether it was a wise move. Black & White 2 (hereafter called BW2) adds a hefty amount of new content to the mix, but does it do enough to warrant earning your cash, especially if you already own Black or White? Continue reading Time To Go Monochrome…Again? – Pokemon Black & White 2 Review

Time To Go Monochrome – Pokemon Black And White Review


Reshiram and Zekrom look moody on the front covers

I think it would be fair to say that coming into the start of last year, the Pokemon franchise had become a bit stale. The games were still international best sellers, but the fourth generation of games (Diamond, Pearl, Platinum) had a pretty lazy roster of new monsters, and these were followed up by remakes of the second generation games Gold & Silver, which while good, were essentially rehashed games from the last decade. Pokemon needed a serious kick up the arse to keep itself relevant.

Enter the fifth generation of Pokemon, in the form of Black & White. These games brought 150 completely original monsters into the fray, and introduced a number of new features designed to get a whole new generation of children into Pokemon. Now the advertsing must have been pretty effective, because in November last year I actually went out and purchased a DS to get back into Pokemon after a five year hiatus, picking up a copy of Pokemon White in the process. After a modest 160 hours of game-time, I feel well placed to give my thoughts on whether Black & White have done the trick, and made Pokemon interesting again. Continue reading Time To Go Monochrome – Pokemon Black And White Review

Pokemon Black/White 2 Officially Revealed

On Saturday, the director behind the Pokemon series of games, Junichi Masuda, told fans to tune into the Pokemon Smash channel for a very big announcement. You could be forgiven for completely ignoring the man – after all, the Pokemon Company have become quite notorious over time for overhyping relatively mundane announcements, but this time we have a genuine surprise. It’s not Pokemon Grey – but rather we are getting Pokemon Black 2 and Pokemon White 2; the first numeric sequels in the history of Pokemon.

The quite unexpected announcement came with relatively few details with regards to gameplay or plot, but here are the main headlines – it will be a DS game rather than a 3DS title (although of course 3DS owners can play DS cartridges), they will be released in Japan this coming June with a US release coming soon after, and a teaser site has been set up showing only the following image:

Not sure if genetic experiment gone wrong....

Now if you have played Black and White, you will immediately recognise the monsters on show here – it’s the game mascots Zekrom and Reshiram…only they appear to have been fused with the ice dragon Kyurem. Nothing more has been said yet about the game, so we have to wait until further news from Masuda himself to confirm what the hell is going on. Could we be seeing Pokemon fusions? I for one hope not.

I’ll update this story when I steal more news from sites that actually break the story in the next few weeks.

UPDATE:News has come in today confirming an Autumn release date for the UK. Very good stuff indeed. Now to see what the game plays like…

Top Ten…Best Game Endings

Yesterday, I saw a news headline that nearly made me spit out the hot beverage I was drinking at the time:

“Call Of Duty: Black Ops has ‘best game ending ever’ – Guinness World Records”

 Yes, you just read that right. Guinness World Records, an institution that has been going since seemingly the start of time, has decided to award the title of ‘Best Game Ending Ever’ to Activision’s 2010 smash hit. The process by which this decision was reached? Ask 13,000 people in a poll.

Now, there are a few things that are at fault here. First off, the notion of setting a world record (let that phrase roll around in your mind as to its significance) by qualitative means, as pointed out by a sharp member of the Gaming Society I help run, is inherently stupid. Records are set by measures of time, distance, speed etc. – not someone’s personal opinion. More importantly, the conclusion they came to is wrong – are you seriously kidding me? Black Ops, with its relatively predictable conclusion, the best ending ever? Nonsense. And then I got to thinking…what would be my Top 10 Best Game Endings of all time? I smell a list incoming… Continue reading Top Ten…Best Game Endings

SWTOR Earns New World Record, Pokemon Grey On The Way & What Was Most Played On Xbox Live In 2011?

G’day folks, hope you have all had an enjoyable start to 2012. Here’s a quick update of the more interesting stories form the start of the New Year.

  • The Christmas period has been a very successful time for Nintendo, certainly in its homeland of Japan. Last month they shifted 1,492,931 units of the 3DS in Japan, which broke records for the highest monthly hardware sales recorded in the country. This is a stark contrast to sales of the PS Vita, which similar to the 3DS has had a tough start to its life – only selling 402,704 units since its launch, which is below the anticipated numbers. It’s only taken a year, but the 3DS seems to be picking up steam now.
  • Speaking of Steam, its been pretty good numbers coming from Valve’s digital service in 2011. Year by year unit sales have improved by over 100% for the seventh straight year in a row, and they had 5 million concurrent users for the first time in late December, no doubt fuelled by the brilliant sales that were on offer. The big cheese of Valve, Gabe Newell, has promised there will be more free to play games next year as Steam continues to go onwards and upwards.
  • The good news continues in PC land for Star Wars: The Old Republic. It has already seen a steady growth in player base since its release late in December, and the enormous game has now been recognised by the Guinness Book Of Records for having the ‘Largest Entertainment Voice Over Project’ ever. With over 200,000 lines of dialogue recorded, its not hard to see why.
  • Are we going to see Pokemon Grey this year? It certainly seems that way at this moment in time. Several Japanese publications have been dropping hints that a new game will be on the way, and that inkeeping with traditional format it will be an update to the existing games of the generation, Black & White, with more of a focus on one of the legendary Pokemon in the story – in this case, most likely it will be the ice dragon Kyurem. A domain name was registered for the game last year, but the Pokemon Company have been tight lipped on the issue. The main issue is whether or not it will be exclusive to the 3DS or not; more news on this when it arrives.
  • And to finish with, we take a quick look back at 2011 – specifically, the most played games on Xbox Live for the year. It’s a depressingly solid set of statistics to back up the notion that gaming has become too orientated towards first person shooters, with the Call Of Duty franchise dominating the list. Black Ops took 1st prize, Modern Warfare 3 popped into 2nd, and Modern Warfare 2 took 3rd, while the original Modern Warfare is astonishingly high at 14th (not bad for a game released over four years ago). Another surprise is that Halo 3 still holds firm in 16th place. The full top 20 is listed below.

1. Call Of Duty: Black Ops

2. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

3. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

4. Halo: Reach

5. Battlefield 3

6. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

7. Gears of War 3

8. FIFA 12

9. FIFA 11

10. Madden NFL 12

11. GTA IV

12. NBA 2K11

13. Battlefield: Bad Company 2

14. Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

15. Battlefield 3 Beta

16. Halo 3

17. Gears Of War 2

18. Forza Motorsport 4

19. Red Dead Redemption

20. Call Of Duty: World At War

Keep your eyes peeled over the next few days for my review of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and feel free to browse all the other content I have to offer on the blog. Happy reading 🙂

Book Review: The Ultimate History Of Video Games by Steven L Kent

The Ultimate History Of Video Games by Steven L Kent (2001). Published by Prima Publishing

In general, you will not find too many academic books explaining about video games. Sure, there are several useful books for programmers and developers to help with creating games, but not that many that discuss the industry and its past; generally magazines and the internet are the go to sources for this. However, while trawling through my University library the other day, I came across this promising looking book. Considering that I study History, this book covers two of my great interests, and I thought that I should give it a read.

Being published in 2001, it obviously does not give a completely up to date view on the gaming world, but focuses on the time span from the early 1970’s and the birth of arcades all the way to the end of the fifth generation of consoles in2001. Indoing so, the book covers a vast array of issues and stories from the video game industry, following the story of the birth of Atari and Nolan Bushnell and its rivals such as the Colecovision and Magnavox Odyssey, before covering the ‘golden age’ of the arcades and fall of the industry before 1983, the birth of Nintendo and Sega into the industry and the subsequent 16-bit war, before focusing on the death of Sega and the emergence of Sony as a major player. Now I’ve read a lot of history books, and can safely say that this is one of the most engaging reads I have ever had; Kent writes in a fluid style that appeals to all and gives a great deal of thoroughly referenced evidence and factoids to cover all his points (for example, explaining the origins of Easter eggs in games, how the ‘The’ in Sonic The Hedgehog is trademarked, and the legal cases surrounding Mortal Kombat). The book is also exceptional in portraying the thoughts of several important individuals from the industry whom Kent interviewed in detail before writing; Nolan Bushnell, Shigeru Miyamoto, Howard Lincoln, Trip Hawkins and Dave Rosen amongst several others provide captivating insights into what was going on at the time. Reading through this book provided me with much more information that I thought was possible to collect on the subject area. You will also be getting your moneys worth: at over 600 pages this book will provide plenty of enjoyment over a long time.

I would like to point out a few personal criticisms that I have with the book however. Kent gives much more focus to the period of the arcades than to the modern era (especially the fifth generation which for the large part is skipped over), and often he will explain a point in brief detail before covering it in much more detail in a later chapter; a bit less repetition would have been nice. Also Kent omits several important games or does not give them enough credit; obviously the big titles such as Pong, Super Mario Brothers, Sonic The Hedgehog and Donkey Kong are covered, but major RPG titles and franchises such as The Legend Of Zelda and Metroid are given brief mentions at best. I get the feeling that Kent wanted to highlight the consoles and the development behind them more than anything else, but considering this is a book covering the history of ‘video games’, then some successful titles should receive a bit more credit.

As an overall judgement, The Ultimate History Of Video Games is a fine book and an engaging read. Arcade enthusiasts in particular I feel will relish the information in the book, and anyone looking to get an overall view of the industry can’t go wrong with using this as a starting point. Very much recommended.

‘I Wanna Be The Very Best, Like No-One Ever Was…’ – Pokemon Red/Blue Review

(First published on Gamepad Magazine, December 3rd 2010)


Poster boy Charizard remains my favorite monster to this day
Poster boy Charizard remains my favorite monster to this day

Gotta catch ‘em all. This one simple idea for a game would end up spawning one of the biggest and most powerful franchises in the world, and that is of course Pokemon. When I was a child growing up, for nearly three years straight the only thing going on in the school playground would be Pokemon: trading the cards, discussing the cartoon, and of course playing the game. The first generation, Red And Blue (Green in Japan) are the games that started the ball rolling, and in time came to define Nintendo’s Game Boy. And for good reason, because they were (and still are) fantastic. Continue reading ‘I Wanna Be The Very Best, Like No-One Ever Was…’ – Pokemon Red/Blue Review