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Veteran Member - Level 13
Stranger: Welcome, one and all, to another infrequent issue of PR and Stranger's Clone Wars. I am as always Stranger, and with me is my parner in crime, PR. Say something to the audience PR.
PR: HANDS IN THE AIR AND POCKETS EMPTY NOW. I mean, hi everyone, it's a pleasure to be here again.
Stranger: Of course, PR is his usually zany self. *stares threateningly at PR* And also with us is one of the most awesome members on GIO, and a frequent face around the blogging section. Let me present to you the ubiquitous Noobtubin8er. Say something to the readers.
Noob: Hey everybody! *using best Simpsons Dr. Nick Riviera voice*
Stranger: Oh, Simpson's voices! You two crack me up! *subtly slides tranquilizer rifle from under table* Alright, as always we'll start off with what games we're currently playing. Noob?
Noob: Well, I am trying to finish out Mass Effect 3 before they change the ending (or add to the ending, whichever). Unfortunately, my schedule lately just hasn't permitted a whole lot of time to devote to it.
Stranger: Yeah, it'd be nice to see the ending as it was originally intended. And you PR?
PR: Hmm let's see. I finished the main story in Rayman Origins today along with my brother (that last level was totally insane) and I've been checking out games from the Humble Indie Bundle V, most notably Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery ep. I now love that game to death.
Stranger: Ah man, Sworcery. That game is absolutely fantastic. As for myself, I recently procured a PS2 and a bucnch of games (MGS 2 & 3, God Of War I & II, RE 4, RE Outbreak, Siren, Tenchu, Jak And Daxter, GTA VC, Manhunt, and Killzone) so I started God Of War several years late. I've also been playing New Super Mario Bros, GTA IV, Halo Reach, and Minecraft.
PR: I find the lack of Super Mario Galaxy disturbing.
Noob: I find it refreshing :D
Stranger: Well, I already beat that, I've already got too much else on my gaming backlog to get all the stars. :P
Stranger: Moving on though, this would normally be where I pick our big gaming topic. But...this is a subject that is a worthy cause. Tell us a little bit about what you've been helping out with Noob and why we should care.
PR: Yeah! Why should we care? *crosses arms*
Noob: This year, with a lot of help from Jack Gardner and mojomonkey12, I am helping build interest in the Game Informer Online Extra-Life team: Team GIO. Basically, Extra-Life is an opportunity for gamers to step up and use their passion for games to help kids with some very serious illnesses. How it works is we, as gamers, pledge to play games for 24 hours straight (or as close to it as we can) and we seek donations in exchange, kind of like doing a marathan run for donations except you won't be running (unless you are rocking the Kinect). Every penny of donations goes directly to the Childrens Miracle Network of Hospitals. When you sign up, you get to pick the hospital you want your donations to go to and you get to work getting donations. Every donation is 100% tax deductible in the United States (for the person giving the donation) and all of it goes to help sick kids who may be in a position where they might not be certain that they will even see their most anticipated E3 game come out in stores.
Stranger: Noob speaks the truth. And adding on to that, there are other aspects to it too. Such as getting to have a lot of fun with fellow GIO members. We're already planning a plethora of multiplayer titles to play, I've been chatting constantly with group leaders, it's just a whole lot of fun. And, yes, there are prizes. Signed books, games, and gift cards are all up for grabs. (Ed. note: We'll be having another drawing. Entries for which will begin to be able to accrue on July 4th - 18th. Drawing this time will be for a Ghost Recon Future Soldier DL code and entries can be earned by joining, getting people to join and by raising money (1 entry for every $5 earned during those two weeks)). We already have 33 members in the group, including people like Tim Turi and Ben Reeves.
PR: I'm completely new at this, so I can't really say much. Anyways, I just hope to get something done at the very least regarding Team GIO. Not sure how Ill be approaching it yet.
Noob: I was new to it last year myself and was relatively unknown to the GIO community at the time (not that I am now, but I am a bit more). Even if you just spread the word like Stranger has, recruiting people all over the place, or if you get a $1 donation. It all has an impact and every little bit helps. My parents have never been a fan of my gaming "addiction" but they ponied up $50 last year, which was awesome. So you never know what people will do until you ask.
Stranger: I didn't do all that much last year myself, only got $16, but I'm still proud of what I accomplished. It's a great experience you shouldn't pass up no matter what you're able to do.
Noob: I agree, and as you mentioned earlier, we have a lot of great incentive drawings you can be entered into and the more you participate, the better the prizes get.
Stranger: Stuff like signed Star Wars comics, swag from Take Two, and everything else under the sun. Just an incentive to make this event even more awesome.
Noob: Absolutely. We have some Star Wars comics signed by Mr. Michael Stackpole, a signed book by Brandon Sanderson, a PC download code for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, a swag bag from E3, and like you mention, a secret stash from Take 2 Interactive.
PR: Those sound like some genuinely great incentives for people. *hides drool*
Noob: I really hope so. We are trying to get prizes we think people will be interested in and work for while trying to appeal to a wide array of preferences.
Stranger: It's already working and it's still months away! I mean come on, we already have almost $800 donated.
Noob: Yes, which is really exciting. It is still early in the game, but we currently are in the top 5 teams on the website. It would be awesome if we could keep it that way.
Stranger: We could make it all the way to the top! Well you all have heard about everything we can tell you about Extra Life and Team GIO. Here's the links to the site (Team GIO on Extra Life) and the GIO group (Team GIO on GIO.). It's a worthy cause, one I hope to see the whole community active on. Got any final words about Extra Life before we move on?
Noob: Even if you think you can't raise much, join up, have some fun, and help some kids. It is an amazing cause and definately worth everyone's time.
Stranger: Alright, now moving on, we're ramping up to the launch of the first entry into the next generation of consoles, the Wii U. What are your alls thoughts on it? What does Nintendo need to do here?
PR: They need to include women tethered to those machines just like in E3. Instant sellout! Seriously speaking though, I'd like them to announce a one more big first arty game for around launch, but that's unlikely at this point. The likes of New Super Mario Bros U, Rayman Legends and ZombiU should be leading the lineup, but it's honestly hard to judge since we don't the pricing or release dates of any of these things. I just hope the machine doen't exceed $300.
Noob: I'm honestly disappointed at Nintendo overall with this one. First, I don't see it as a next-gen system. To me, it is a current-gen system unexcusably late to the party. Second, it has been pushing the concept down our throats since last year's E3 that it will heavy on third-party titles, but it cannot seem to get many of those developers to step up and show anything aside from Ubisoft. Third, I think the Wii U is taking a step away from the niche it built with the Wii and my guess is that it will reflect on its sales numbers. Lastly, there is no way that system is coming out below $400 at release. Nintendo has a tradition of refusing to lose money on the sale of its system and that is going to cost them this time around.
Stranger: I'm going to side with Noob on this one. Nintendo has made a huge mistake. Although having a technologically inferior console worked for them last gen, it's not going to work this time around. Why? Because Nintendo doesn't seem to know what they want here. The system is a testament to that. The complex controller is going to be a huge turnoff for the casual market that they reaped dividends upon with this generation. And the console to core gamers is taking a sort of "kiddie" approach with titles like the Nintendo theme park that they focused so much E3 time upon. In short, it's too casual for the core market, and too complex for the casual market. Unless Nintendo makes some major changes I don't see them surviving the next generation with their home console division intact.
PR: I think it's a bit premature to assume this system will be dead on arrival. Nintendo has been in this business for years, and if there's one thing they've exceeded at lately it's making their games approachable from a casual standpoint. In terms of profitability for this new console, don't forget those party games we ignored during their conference in E3. Just Dance 3 and Nintendo Land are sure to sell many units, and with them consoles. On the core side of things, the 4 games that come to mind are the previously mentioned Rayman, Mario and ZombiU games as well as the genuinely great looking Pikmin 3. This may not be enough to assuage most core gamers (I probably won't get a Wii U at launch) but you can't deny there's content there. Oh, and I'm sure there's Wii U eshop games coming along, so there's reason to keep your eyes out for that, as well as the fact that you can bring over all your Wii game data.
Stranger: But that's not the issue. They've got the kinds of TITLES that will draw casual gamers to the fold. The issue is that the Wii was simple to pick up. A little old lady could pick up a Wii remote and easily be taught to swing it like a tennis racket or a boxing glove. The centerpiece of the Wii U is a complex tablet controller. Touch screen, gyroscope, accelerometer, and a whole slew of buttons. Ireally doubt it's going to capture casual gamer's hearts like a simple remote did.
Noob: I was waiting for an E3 announcement for the Wii U touchpad with cupholder...
Stranger: That's on the Wii U XL which also features a floor stand and mini refridgarater.
PR: Don't forget that the Wii remote has been featured quite prominently in more than a few Wii U games, and that could serve to bridge the gap betwen consoles for casual gamers. They can pick up and learn to use the touch pad controller at a steady pace while still using a type of control already familiar to them. And is that touch pad really that hard to learn to use? I really doubt that.
Noob: One of my primary concerns for Nintendo and the casual player of games, like my 50-something year old mom, is that the Wii had its price point. If it had come out at the same price as the 360 and PS3, my mom never would have gone near it. We don't have definitive pricing yet, but I think that a similar price advantage is a bit of a too-optimistic point of view this time.
PR: True, but at the same time Nintendo has talked about not wanting to suffer the same backlash from when the 3DS released with its original price, so I think that'll factor into the final price.
Stranger: I think you may be giving Nintendo too much credit. They don't seem to learn from mistakes all that well and also seem to have no idea what the consumer wants (see Threediots).
Noob: I will openly admit that Nintendo has its fan base, and it can probably sustain itself for a while with it but not forever. But the Wii U just seems to be having an identity crisis whereby it wants the hardcore gamers to come back to it, but it want to appease the wishes and desires of its Wii-built fan base and it is going about it in some very strange ways. Perhaps it is business genius and I am just missing it. It wouldn't be the first time.
PR: Nintendo marches at the beat of their own drum, for better or worse. Thing is, this has worked out for them for years. Their decisions may not make sense sometimes, but they've maintained profit for many years now, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Oh, and I'm sure a lot of core naysayers will be buying systems when Zelda HD is announced.
Noob: For the sake of fact checking, and my nerd-accountant brain, it must be presented that Nintendo did post a loss this year...
PR: Indeed they did, for the first time in 25 years or so, I forget the number. It's not really a big deal, and there's also stocks, global recession, yen losing value, and other stuff to consider. The other two big guys have been reporting losses for years now.
Noob: I'd argue that with uber complex accountant speak nobody would get, but I think we killed the dead horse.
Stranger: So we'll just summarize this and move on. I talk too much, PR's a sad Ninty fanboy, and Noob is a complex accountant. Deal?
Noob: You forgot "Nerd" in my title
Stranger: Close enough! Now, I believe it's time for shoutouts. Who do you want to shout out to Noob?
Noob: Sure, I've got a couple. First, to Saint for the cool Navy gear he hooked me up with for winning that poetry contest. Second, GoldvsSilver. I haven't been able to comment much due to time constraints, but his 30/30 blogs to this point have been great. If you haven't checked 'em out, DO IT! Finally, Team GIO, JOIN! Jack and Mojo have laid some excellent groundwork and Stranger has been getting TONS of people to join. The more, the merrier!
Stranger: All good choices! And PR?
PR: I'd like to shout out Silvershine08, who people may know from member herding. She's been hard at work lately on a video series in which she'll be playing games from all the letters of the alphabet, and I'm sure she'd appreciate support from our readers *stares* And you Stranger?
Stranger: I'm going to have to give my shoutout to Noobtubin8er. He's been doing a ton of work as the PR leader for TeamGIO, gathering prizes, building hype, and coordinating efforts. That's definitely worth a shoutout. Plus, he's a cool guy...even if he is an accountant. :P
Noob: That adds to the cool factor! But thanks, I appreciate the kind words.
Stranger: Alright, time to wrap up this abomination with a nice pretty bow. Any final words?
PR: You both are wrong about everything, that's all I'll say.
Stranger: And Noob? *ignores PR who is clearly wrong*
Noob: I am never wrong, unless I am wrong. Even then, I am somehow right.
Stranger: And I am righter than both of them! Remember GIO, PR is the wrongest of all of us! Enjoy the remainder of your day!
Song of the week: El Condor Pasa - Simon And Garfunkel