5 Conclusions - 30/03/18
A regular look at gaming-related stories from the past week or so whereby conclusions are drawn from anything and everything. These may be incredibly well reasoned based on events from the week. Alternatively, they may be highly speculative, drawn from very little evidence. More likely, they will be somewhere in between.
Conclusion One: I have found my treasure
This week we learnt via Gematsu.com that Ikaruga was coming to the PlayStation 4. This is fabulous news. Ikaruga is one of the stars of the shmup’s golden period around the turn of the century when, amongst others, Treasure was developing brilliant shooter after fantastic shooter (see also Radiant Silvergun, for example).
Ikaruga is a vertical shmup with light and dark mechanics. Basically you can shoot light and dark ammunition and absorb the equivalent. You can switch polarity at will. The game is rock hard but can be learnt, mastered and defeated. I remember playing it repeatedly on the Gamecube back in the day and more recently on the PC. This console release cannot come quickly enough and hopefully can spark a shmup renaissance.
Conclusion Two: Space before Jesus
A remarkable man, known to the world as WastinTime (on the Civ Fanatics forum) managed to beat Civilization IV by way of a space race victory. In 90 AD. He launched his rocket in the year 210 BC, on Deity level difficulty.
This is one hell of an achievement. It’s not exactly a speedrun given it took 500 hours or so to make it all happen but my word, getting a rocket into space before Jesus was born is quite something. Some of the strategy utilised is detailed here by a Reddit user named guramu, and makes my head hurt thinking about how much has gone into learning, developing and then executing that strategy. Wow.
Conclusion Three: Capital punishment no more
Sea of Thieves is the current talk of the town for both good, and bad, reasons. You can see what we thought of it here. One early update planned by the devs was to implement a tax upon death. Fans were NOT happy, given many had fun in the game when using it as a sandbox. In this way blowing themselves up was part of the joy and then being charged for that? No thanks.
Thankfully Rare has listened and changed this decision already. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come in the way the devs maintain the game and meet the community needs, something essential for games of this type, as our experience with The Division has shown.
Conclusion Four: Dock officially or become a brick (not a Switch)
Many folks like to use third-party docks for their Nintendo Switch due to the benefits they offer over and above the official unit which comes with the console at retail. This might be a smaller form factor, or the fact you can have the Switch screen on whilst docked (and not just via a connected display).
However, Nintendo update their Switch regularly via firmware changes and they of course will not be doing any backward compatibility checks versus non-official hardware.
This can cause problems — specifically in the case of many Nyko dock owners, bricking of the console — according to Kotaku.com. Nintendo have given the following statement since the issue has made itself present:
“Unlicensed products and accessories do not undergo Nintendo’s testing and evaluation process. They might not work at all with our game systems, and they could have compatibility problems with certain games, the Nintendo Switch system itself, and other licensed accessories and peripherals.”
Nyko as well do have policies on replacing malfunctioning hardware and if they determine the issue and need to do that fine, but it doesn’t help anyone who now has a lovely looking brick rather than a Zelda machine.
Conclusion Five: Virtual reality is a little more real now
This week Sony reduced the price of their PSVR system to £259, down from its previous recommended retail price of £349. This drop is actually massive, and makes a virtual reality system that much more affordable, and real, for many.
This new price is for the starter pack which comes with the VR headset, a PS4 camera and a code to download PlayStation VR Worlds, a selection of VR demos designed to show you what your system can do.
So, a virtual reality Easter? With this and Ready Player One in cinemas, perhaps the time is now for VR? I personally suspect not, still, but everything must start somewhere...