Posts by Professor Pep

I'm a Bookworm, Film Connoisseur, Gamer and proud Hufflepuff. I dabble in poetry, scripts and essays. Other Interests: Fashion, Football, Politics and Philosophy.

Pokemania!

Pokemon is the¬†quintessential gaming franchise, having graced shop shelves and television screens for well over 20 years. A¬†world without ‘Pokemon’ or ‘Pikachu’ not apart of the global lexicon is, fortunately,¬†a non-existent¬†nightmare. When the President of the Pokemon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, appeared in last E3’s Nintendo Spotlight, officially announcing that Pokemon Switch was in development, ‘Poke’ Trainers around the world went wild. The rumour mill, immediately, started turning; Poketubers, both big and small, came out in droves to speculate and pontificate. And now, Pokemania is in full effect.

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There are a few movements in popular culture that drive the global population into a state of wild frenzy: Beyonce, Star Wars and Pokemon being the most infamous. On the 30th May 2018¬†at 2.00 am BST, I was locked to my phone, unable to tear my eyes from Twitter, I bounced between Chris Tapsell (writer at Eurogamer) and Takashi Mochizuki’s (journalist at Wall Street Journal) feeds. My fingers aching under the agonising task of liking, retweeting and refreshing their feeds. In those moments, I completely indulged my inner ‘Maniac’ and it was thrilling. With¬†the initial announcement of Pokemon Quest (out now), the flood of hype and anticipation began to fade. The mood dampeners started to set, then it happened. The official trailer confirming Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee.¬†I was blown away. The gameplay looked better than all of my expectations, seeing Pikachu and Eevee in high definition was enough to bring tears to eyes. But, like most other ‘Veteran’ trainers, I was sceptical about any ‘Pokemon Go’ functionality, the very notion, enough to make any ‘Fan’ physically sick. Yet, they nailed it. The implementation of GO’s capturing mechanic looks fun, unique and has the potential to change a core aspect of the game. However, while I was filled with jubilation and childlike wonder, many trainers were baying for blood.

Gamers are a passionate breed of people when they like a product, they’ll sing, dance and dress up in cosplay. On the other hand, a gamer filled with hate is a force to be reckoned with. Insults will fly, mothers will be cursed, your intelligence¬†will be questioned and volleys of racist, sexist and homophobic slurs will soar through the endless sky of the internet. Unfortunately, many gamers were not filled with jollies after Pokemon Media Event, they were filled with rage. These ‘Let’s Go’ games were not what they expected. Even with Junichi Masuda attempting to satiate their blossoming fury, revealing that a “Core” game was being developed for release¬†in the latter half of 2019; there was still an outcry from distort fans, this wasn’t what they wanted. And now, Nintendo, Pokemon Company and Game Freak have a house divided.

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With fans across the world eager, hungry and drowning in expectation. And if Let’s Go is found wanting, then teasing the next Generation of Pokemon will not be enough to satisfy their fury.

But, I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see!

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We haven’t Forgotton Anne!

(A Brief Interview with Ingvi Snaedal about Forgotton Anne)

The creative minds at Throughline Games have cooked up something special. ‘Forgotton Anne’, a game inspired by¬†anime and dark¬†fantasy focuses on exploring narrative through the choices you make. At EGX Rezzed I spoke with Ingvi Snaedal, an Associate Producer for Throughline Games. In our brief interview, he revealed that the game’s focus, from conception, was the¬†story. By combining the themes of anime and (European) dark fantasy they have welded together two rich storytelling cultures in a masterstroke of narrative design.

“Deftly written and designed, Forgotton Anne is proof that seemingly small, simple things are well worth treasuring.” Tom Phillips, News Editor at Eurogamer

Currently sitting on Metacritic with a score of 79 and a recommendation from Eurogamer. ‘Forgotton Anne’ proves that creativity, imagination and a well-written story, are key ingredients when creating an experience people will remember.

Forgotton Anne releases 15th May on PS4, Xbox One and PC

EGX Rezzed & Why Indies are Important

(Highlights from our day at EGX Rezzed. We asked attendees about their favourite game from the expo, as well as their favourite game of all time!)

Last month we had the pleasure of attending EGX Rezzed, the UK’s premier Independent Game Convention. This was our first EGX Rezzed, we weren’t disappointed, every game on the show floor was developed by independent developers attempting to pioneer new ideas or reworking already established genres. And on the train ride home¬†all we talked about, is why indies¬†are so important.

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Being on the show floor, hopping from booth to booth and talking to developers is easily one of our favourite experiences. Hearing creatives talk about their passion projects, products they have spent hours, days, years toiling away at, will inspire anybody with a desire to create something for themselves. The majority of the time, these teams are small groups of talented individuals who have the dream and ambition to try something different. There are household names in game development: Kojima, Miyamoto, Druckmann and Howard; these are some of the auteurs of the game industry, all seem impossibly far away, artists protected by PR shaped bodyguards. Yet, at Rezzed the developers were on the frontlines, promoting their work and engaging with fans.

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While big conferences, live-streams and directs engage the audience, being able to talk directly to the people creating the art you love, moves you. As creators, with a penchant for nonfiction, we enjoy talking to people and discovering what makes them tick. This is even truer when the conversation is about games. At the event, we spoke to a few developers, community managers and one extremely funny publisher. We played their games and found out what inspired them. And that is what means to be indie; to meet and know your fans. To share laughs and stories with them. All the while, creating something on your own terms.

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Now, like always, we’re burdened with the time between each eventual realise and our next expo, EGX in September.

EGX Rezzed Best Games in Show

  1. Forgotton Anne by Throughline Games
  2. Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption by Dark Star
  3. Metamorphosis by Ovid Works

On… Nintendo Switch

There’s barely a handful of days until the release of Nintendo Switch since Iwata revealed the new concept codenamed NX: speculation, rumours and hype have been rife throughout the gaming community. Who couldn’t help but indulge in the hype and speculation? most of us, debating and retweeting hooked on every crumb. And now with the release imminent and my perspective much deliberated over, I have an inclination to share my views on both Nintendo and their upcoming Home/Portable hybrid console.

(Also I haven’t posted in a while…like 5 months to be exact.)

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe at the Nintendo Switch event in London at the Hammersmith Apollo.

I would be lying if I said wasn’t hyped from the word go… As soon as the Nintendo Switch reveal trailer dropped, I felt my already empty wallet getting emptier. However, even then my feelings about the Switch were still very much open to change. The appeal of Skyrim didn’t do much for me and I’m British with a penchant for books and a preference for Rugby, Football and Badminton; so NBA2K…(honestly, just give me FIFA) doesn’t give me any warm and fuzzies. Therefore all major selling points were obviously the 1st party titles. At the time just glimpsing: Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, had me stunned and at one point even speechless.

During the months that followed, bystanders and less speculative journalists, watched as the internet erupted ablaze with rumours. While punches and tonnes shit were hurled on Twitter; certain individuals suffered onslaughts of abuse and criticism. Meanwhile, some friends and I, speculated in Pubs and Chinese restaurants, about whether Nintendo should even be making the Nintendo Switch.¬†Full disclosure, I consider myself quite a big Nintendo fan. The majority of friends on the other hand, not so much. We’ve on numerous occasions gone, back and forth, arguing the advantage and disadvantages of Nintendo hardware; praising the greatness of their software, but just as often criticising the shortcomings of their hardware.

And while I knew all along that I was going to purchase the Nintendo Switch, I have often felt that maybe the future of Nintendo isn’t in the hardware business.

While I’ll support Nintendo products without much thought. I’m not the sort of person to purchase blindly; I’ll only consider parting with my hard earned cash, after critical and careful assessment. After much debating and the agonising process of weighing up the pros and cons. I had decided before the Nintendo Switch Event early this year; that no matter the circumstances I would invest in their latest console, day one. Yet somehow even now I can’t help but be contemplative wondering about the potential success of Nintendo Switch and future of the Nintendo’s hardware market.

Nobody could deny that Nintendo drives innovation, however, this comes with certain notable drawbacks and one in particular; most developers and publishers aren’t too keen on creating games for Nintendo systems. The announcement of games such as Skyrim, I Am Setsuna and FIFA, as well as the hefty list of developers and publishers who have declared their support for the system; has many hardcore Nintendo fans excited. Yet many and especially some of the most notable voices in the game industry have had more tempered responses.

Many of the biggest developers and publishers deserted the Wii U, leaving many Nintendo fans disappointed and feeling apprehensive about 3rd part support for Nintendo Switch. The fallout from the event in January is that 3rd parties will be there but in limited supply with many bringing ports of games from years yonder. The publishers’ representatives have hinted their all biding their time, preparing for the potential success of the Switch but not jumping on the bandwagon. While many of the offerings may seem drab there are a few that Nintendo fans are certain to be looking forward too; namely Dragon Quest Heroes 1&2, Disgaea 5 complete, a New Shin Megami Tensei, Project Octopath Traveller and let’s not forget Suda51 is cooking something up as well.

With over 80 games in development for Nintendo Switch, the relationship between Nintendo and Independent developers seems to be great than ever. The likes of Has-Been Heroes, Rime and Snipperclips all confirmed for the system proves that games aren’t in short supply. And if Nintendo is able to further harness those relationships, we should hopefully see more great Indie titles in the coming months and years.

(Personally, I’m hoping:¬†Ikenfell, Battle Chef Brigade¬†and Knights and Bikes, get confirmed for Nintendo Switch. These three games look¬†stupendously awesome and would be amazing additions any¬†Nintendo console.)

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Has-Been Heroes, Snipperclips and Rime are just some of the indies confirmed for Nintendo Switch in 2017.

When thinking about hardware those of us with; hyperbolic imaginations and exaggerated expectations should have known from the outset that Nintendo was never going to make a super powerful console. This for years has not been their M/O and if the Nintendo Switch is a success they will continue to push for great design within the confines of limited hardware. And honestly, I feel this is Nintendo’s greatest advantage over their competitors. Why try and compete in terms of specs when you can innovate on concepts?

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Joy-Con is Nintendo Switches primary controllers. They can be attached to the Switch for Portable Mode; connected to the Joy-Con Grip to make a ‘conventional’ controller; used individually as two separate controllers as well as being used detached from the system and grip.¬†

This is exactly what makes me such a big Nintendo fan, not only is their software typically amazing but their willingness to experiment and try to push innovation in terms of the way we play. And with that we’re at the most controversial point, the Joy-Con is the natural evolution of the Wiimote and so much more. I like motion controls and Nintendo usually makes good use of the control scheme in their games: Super Mario Galaxy and Splatoon being the principal examples.

In many ways the Nintendo Switch is pure essence of Nintendo; a combination of innovation, invention and something just a bit mad. And as many have said previously this is what the Wii U should have been. As a Nintendo fan, I’ll support my favourite hardware and software maker but as a rational individual, I can’t help but concede that this purchase mightn’t be the smartest.

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That’s me playing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at the Nintendo Switch Event at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, UK.