No I’m not mad, though I do have to admit that it’s almost impossible to be as stupid as Sega were when they released the Saturn (even if they made up for it with their Dreamcast).
Anyway, there seems to be more than a passing resemblance between the situation with the PS4 and Xbox One, and with the Playstation 1 (PSX) and the Saturn.
Here’s my list:
1. E3 1995. Sega announced that they would release a new console on September 2nd 1995 though to the annoyance of both retailers and consumers, secretly shipped the console the night before. In what has become known as one of the greatest stand ups, Sega famously touted the Saturn and its apparent affordability of $399. When Sony took the stage all that was said was something along the lines of “Sony Playstation. $299” to rapturous applause.
Similarities with the PS4 and Xbox One?
PS4 – $399
Xbox One $499
2. The Sega Saturn was notoriously difficult to develop for because late in the development stage having heard about the PSX’s capabilities, they decided to throw in another CPU to try and double its performance output. It turned out that only around 1 in 100 coders had the ability to fully utilise the dual CPU set up, meaning that it was too much bother to develop any games for. Sony’s Playstation on the other hand only had one single chip that was a lot easier to work with.
Similarities with the PS4 and Xbox One?
PS4 – Like the Xbox One, it will feature an x86 84 architecture instruction set, but Sony have learned from their lessons with the PS3 being quite difficult to develop for but giving the PS4 8GB GDDR5 unified memory taking this a step further.
3. Sega began to lose the plot as early as the Mega Drive/Genesis (what with their numerous add-ons).
Similarities with the PS4 and Xbox One?
PS4 concentrates on games, while the Xbox One seems to have a fascination with entertainment and the integration with its Kinect controller. Who cares about entertainment when the main reason we buy these things is to play games? If I wanted anything to do with any other form of entertainment I’d go online, use the smartphone or use my TV and Blu ray player. It’s safe to say Microsoft have lost the plot here. In this sense it actually has more in common with Philips CDi –
multimedia entertainment platform indeed!
4. As previously mentioned, Sega began strapping on as much as they could afford onto the Saturn to match the purported abilities of the PSX.
Similarities with the PS4 and Xbox One?
Microsoft basically cocked up big time when it first announced the Xbox One, leaving many gamers asking questions about the direction Microsoft was taking the Xbox brand. However after this they refused to reveal any more details about the machine until June 2013 (obviously having waited for what Sony would announce at E3 that same year). Following this obvious lack of preparation and thought on Microsoft’s part, they then discreetly started copying Sony’s PS4 overall model, first by denouncing their earlier intention to run hourly checks in order to play any games and the used game fiasco, but then by deciding to make the Xbox One region free. What’s also interesting is that the basic set up is fairly similar (on paper) to the PS4 including the RAM, but it’s pretty obvious Microsoft hadn’t given it as much thought as Sony had.
Alright so we had some nice weather here in the UK recently (for a change), and I decided to have a cheat day by buying some Cornetto ice creams. Well I was flabbergasted when I saw the size of them let me tell you!
I heard that they used to same excuse that Cadbury used with their Creme Eggs – “we as consumers were getting bigger (we were now grown up) and the product only appeared smaller when it wasn’t”. Bullsh*t!
I’ve got proof here. In the first picture is an advert from 1982 which depicts some guy trying to snatch the ice cream from the lady. Now here is just one screenshot of the poor quality video, and the full video.
Next we see the size of Cornettos nowadays and even though it’s being held by men, the size difference is quite obvious.
Ridiculous isn’t it?
Yep it’s that time of year again (that means bundle time) whoo!
I’ve decided to give this particular bundle greater attention because of one of the games it contains. That game is Puzzle Bots.
Now I was once in contact with Erin ‘The Ivy’ Robinson and apart from the fact she’s stunningly beautiful, she creates awesome games. I would seriously urge anyone to give it a shot because it’s a win-win situation – you pay peanuts for awesome games and other bonuses like OSTs, and you get to help some indie developer along the way. In fact you get to help numerous indie developers because each offering is unique.
Puzzle Bots comes from Wadjet Eye Games which is headed by Dave Gilbert, and here’s my review and some information Erin emailed me some time back:
Wadjet Eye have recently injected a cool new element to their growing library of point and click games: Robots!
In case you didn’t know Puzzle Bots is the spiritual successor to Erin ‘The Ivy’ Robinson’s Nanobots; a game she had together with just two others, created as an amateur project.
In fact because of her previous three games – Little Girl in Underland, Spooks and Nanobots (which are free to play), she was finally picked up by Wadjet Eye to work on their brilliant Blackwell ghost series.
In Nanobots players had control of a number of robots – each with their own special ability, whereby players had to solve a series of puzzles in order to stop them being crushed by an evil professor. Sweet.
This newest release follows the same formula but with the added bonus of voice-overs and a larger budget, which is an obvious step-up from its predecessor as you’ll no doubt find out.
While the graphics are fairly basic by today’s standards, you’ll quickly find that it fits nicely with the the overall humor and joyous appeal throughout the game. Who said robots only had to be geeky (no pun intended)?
Starting off with ‘Hero’ (the brains and pickup bot) and Ultrabot (the strongest bot) you have to solve certain problems that the story’s Romeo throws at you, all the while adding more bots to your growing arsenal as you go along.
Romeo by the way is played by an inventor/engineer named Zander who has recently started working for Dr Hugo’s Robot Factory, though unbeknownst to the employees Dr Hugo is busy machinating some nefarious plan!
Don’t fret however as the game makes a point early on that you cannot die, and there are no difficult ‘bosses’ to fight – well, maybe there are but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.
Puzzle Bots also features bonuses in the form of various bits of furnishings that can be used to decorate the robot hideout – which constitutes a small glass dome atop a tower overlooking the forest below (something you get to visit in due time). These bonuses also come in the form of posters and artwork bloopers.
Which brings me onto the game’s art direction which is frankly brilliant. Every so often you come across some artwork that relate to a different source of inspiration, whether that be from Western comics to Japanese manga posters. In actual fact each robot was designed by a different illustrator from Harvey James (Kotaku fame), to Heriberto Martinez (of Shades of Violet). They all fit together so well within the game that you would never think they were culturally or inspirationally a mile apart.
Some of the puzzles are fiendishly designed, though to help the adventurer along the way there’s a ‘Hint’ button on the bottom left corner of the screen – a feature in many Wadjet games but which you”ll probably only use once or twice throughout.
The music too is fitting for the type of game it is, with some happy go-lucky tunes along the way.
If there is but one fault to the game it’s in the fact that you may easily press on the wrong bot if one of them is in front of the other, though this is only a minor gripe as you may instead swap between bots using their icons at the bottom of the screen.
All-in-all Puzzle Bots is a game that has been lovingly put together, something you’ll notice straight away. It’s one of those games that endears you to its characters and designs; something it continues to do to the very end. It’s a game very much about loving co-operation, and is without a doubt another gem in Wadjet Eye’s growing list of must-have IPs.
Though coming soon after the release of the highly acclaimed Machinarium (which I might add is also about robots), Puzzle Bots proves the genre is anything but dead – so long as you have some spare batteries in your rucksack. Botspeed to you my son!
Toops (Erin kindly sent me a copy of the game as well as some screenshots and info):
Email Erin sent with details you may find interesting:
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Erin Robinson
Date: Sat, May 1, 2010 at 9:34 PM
Subject: Puzzle Bots for you!
I’m forwarding you our media email. I really hope you enjoy the game!~Erin
I’m Erin Robinson, and I made a retro-style adventure game called Puzzle Bots. You can download it right here (username:
+++ NO CARRIER +++, password: +++ NO CARRIER +++). This is the super-secret advance media copy of the game, which is being released to the masses on May 7. I really hope you enjoy it!
A little history of the project:
I started doing design work for Puzzle Bots when I still had a day job as a lab tech. I spent all my break time drawing pictures of robots on whatever paper I could find, and all my evenings doing concept art for the game. After about four months, the lab supervisor called me into his office and (rather wisely) pointed out that it looked like there was something I’d rather be doing. My eyes went as big as saucers, and I realized he was right. I quit my job right then. It was the best birthday ever.
Wadjet Eye Games, which funded the game, is based in NYC. It’s run by Dave Gilbert, who does most of his work from coffee shops with free wifi. We’ve been collaborating on projects for years, and we’ve met maybe 4 times in real life. And because of the magic of the internet, most of the people who worked on the game we haven’t met at all. It’s a pretty “indie” setup, long before we started using the word. We don’t know how it works, but we make it work. And now, here is the result. 🙂
If you’d like to know anything else about the game, just send me an email. I’m happy to answer questions (or just ramble about game design).
P.S. That download link expires May 14, so ping me if you need one at a later date.
It’s happened guys. Have Sega finally admitted that they were wrong?
Everything has been dropped and my channel is back to what it should have been. I just hope other channels are similarly given the same treatment, and those channels which have been closed because of this similarly reinstated and finally vindicated.
I am (or rather was) the biggest Sega fanboy out there. I’ve been following and buying their games for well over two decades and never did I believe the day would come when I would eventually turn on my beloved, but sadly that day has come. Sega, for all their past accomplishments have simply become a shadow of their former selves, and it’s after the recent and unprovoked take-down of not only mine, but many other Youtubers’ videos either relating to Shining Force 3 or Shining The Holy Ark (mine being a retrospective) and subsequent strike against my channel, that this has come to the fore.
My love and devotion to Sega is now no more. It’s gone, kaput! Bam! however you want to say it. Many of the greats within their various divisions have long since left – Yuji Naka, Yu Suzuki, Tetsuya Mizuguchi the list goes on and on, and they are merely a shell of their former selves. Prior to the release of Sega’s Dreamcast, I campaigned outside Sony Europe’s head office stayed out for hours on end for the midnight launch of the Sega Dreamcast one October morning, got beaten up by a whole host of guys in the school playground over my love of the pathetic Sega who was just totally uncool – you f*cking name it! But after all of this, what has made this decision even easier to make is what many people have now concluded about why Sega initiated this action against a loyal fan base.
Supposedly Sega were going to release a game called ‘Shining Ark‘ and because they didn’t want online searches pointing towards their previous ‘Shining The Holy Ark‘ released on the Sega Saturn in 97, they simply decided to falsely flag any of those videos that contained the words ‘Shining’ and ‘Ark’ as well it seems any Shining Force 3 videos for copyright infringement. A number of channels have now been shut down because of Sega of Japan’s actions.
This however is just part of it because unbelievably, Sega have even gone to the effort of flagging videos where it simply showed fans of the Shining series ‘talking’ about the game; regardless of whether or not the video featured in-game footage/music or not – it was taken down and strikes issued. This in my eyes is simply illegal, and I no longer want to support such a company that goes about conducting such practices.
So I ask everyone to take heed and to boycott all and I mean ALL of Sega’s forthcoming games – the forthcoming Aliens Colonial Marines, any TOTAL War game, any retro games they release – anything! until they realise that they cannot continue to go about doing this and to get away with illegal activities. Sadly even TotalBiscuit has also been affected though I feel that were it not for such a high profile inclusion, this news story wouldn’t have reached as many people as it has done. Join the anti-Sega bandwagon guys!
There was one time EA laughed at Sega for their misfortune and I bitterly resented their comments, but now I am inclined to agree with them for they deserve everything they get. I just hope the end comes sooner rather than later, so that we can bring an end to this farce that calls itself ‘Sega’.
Edit: Sega have seemingly reinstated my video as of the 7th of November 2012. I’ll be posting a follow-up soon as more news transpires.
Further Edit as of March 21st 2013:
Sega have apologised. Please refer to the following video:
Anyway it’s Friday!!! Woo!!
Getting away from the Sega/Shining debacle that is currently going on, let’s move onto some better news!
SYBERIA III! I loved Syberia I and II, and I will hopefully be re-uploading the video Nuri and I did soon in anticipation of this guaranteed third instalment. If you don’t already know, Microids continued to oil the series’ cogs in the hope that some day an arrangement could be made with the original designer Benoit Sokal, who had requested that the resources had to be sufficient before he would attempt a sequel*.
This however wasn’t without its own issues; namely the fact that Microids had asked fans of the series to send emails and messages their way so that they could get some idea of the number of interested parties. Let’s just say that they were blown away by the response! The sad thing is that nothing was actually done after that apparent April fools attempt in 2009 until a few days ago:
I loved this game so much that I wrote my thoughts on this very blog, though I hope there aren’t too many spoilers for those who have yet to sample it:
*For those who may not know, Syberia I & II was actually supposed to be one game but as you’ll no doubt find out once you play, it was far too ambitious for them to accomplish (and while I did have some issues with the second one because of this it’s forgiveable).
Hi everyone. Some nitpicking I know, but I have just had some time to read some details from the following website regarding the issue in which it states:
The legality of video game footage has never really been established – if you pay close attention to what’s written in instruction manuals and along the rim of some game discs…
“Unauthorized copying, reverse engineering, transmission, public performance, rental, pay for play, or circumvention of copy protection is strictly prohibited.”
– Sonic Generations game disc (emphasis mine)
The thing with this is that according to my Shining The Holy Ark disc which happens to be the content I had used for my retrospective video that was taken down by Sega (and yes I continue to attribute these take-downs to Sega as it was done in their name and until they can prove that it was anyone other than themselves), says the following: “Unauthorised copying, rental and/or transmission is strictly prohibited”, and says nothing about ‘public performance’ as mentioned above.
Here’s some screenshots of my copy of the European version of the game that I used in my video (that once again was taken down by Sega):
What’s your views on this? I know some have had their video(s) taken down for just ‘talking’ (yes you read that correctly) talking about the Shining series. Indeed the Shining series, Sega’s IPs and indeed Sega themselves, are in danger of becoming synonymous with Communist enforcement and totalitarianism!
This is an article I wrote for ‘Geeks’ magazine back in 2010. This will be to coincide with an update of Kevin’s work, though it may have to wait until after Christmas as I am quite busy at the minute:
Sick and tired of the ‘griefing’ you get in World of Warcraft or any other online MMO for that matter? Well these could soon become a thing of the past thanks to a revolutionary new game being developed by Eight Virtues.
According to co-founder Kevin Fishburne, the company is seeking public funds for the development of Sanctimonia, a new multi-player online game that focuses on ‘building societies that replicate the real-world’.
One interesting point is that the game centres on polar opposites; from the beauty and perils of the game’s natural world, to the arcade-style combat that can occur within a ‘mutable geographical and vegetation’ setting. This Kevin believes, will set them apart from any other game currently in development:
‘It’s flexible enough to be able to create any game world you like, from medieval fantasy to modern times to science fiction.’
Sanctimonia also hopes to reconcile the conflicting mechanics of ‘total freedom’ games and other restrictions players come to expect (such as the laws that govern gameplay) to alleviate “griefing”, something Kevin believes will enable real-world societal behaviour such as cooperation through the enforcement of self-imposed laws.
It is hoped players will take the initiative by forming the building blocks of simple governments, constitutions, bills of rights, police, trade law and inter-village diplomacy themselves.
While the game uses popular elements from “Farmville, Law & Order as well as Grand Theft Auto”, it is nevertheless a gamble given that because of its epic scope, no other developer would have even considered it.
‘Corporate marketing muscle and endless sequels riding the coattails of the same old IP may sell …thousands of titles, but independent game development is now the living heart of modern gaming.’
Sanctimonia is open source which in turn allows players to modify and distribute the game as they please, something the family-run business hope will encourage greater interaction between players.
As an added incentive there are different levels of player ‘involvement’ depending on the amount of money they personally donate to the project, ranging from having your name added to the credits to having support in setting up your own server and content creation for a $1000 pledge.
Eight Virtues have employed the services of Kickstarter.com, an incentive that aims to raise funds for start-up projects.
The game is set for a 2011 release (though probably 2013 now).