The Sheng is an ancient Chinese musical instrument whose origins date back to around 1,100 BC. They are still made and played today but it seems that very few people know about them outside of China. However, it may just gain traction based on how perfectly it plays the Super Mario Bros. theme. I know Koji Kendo composed the SMB soundtrack using pianos but the sheng is just too perfect at this.
Monthly Archives: February 2014
Fridays of Ice and Fire roll on this week with twelve character posters for the upcoming season of the show. It does say something about the scale of the show when there are 12 posters and they still leave out important characters like Stannis, Littlefinger, Varys, The Hound, Sam, Ghost and Hodor. I’m sure there are a few more of your favourites that didn’t make HBO’s or my cut for posters.
When Microsoft was looking for a new CEO late last year and earlier this year, the name Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia, was one of the name that kept popping up as a favourite. Bloomberg reported that part of Elop’s pitch for the job was that he would sell off parts of the business that weren’t part of the company’s core strategy, including the Xbox division.
So guess who was just named the new boss of Microsoft’s Devices Division, the division that Xbox falls under in the Microsoft corporate umbrella? On Wednesday, Stephen Elop was announced as the Devices and Studios Division’s third boss in seven months, replacing current head Julie Larson-Green.
When I was at Fan Expo last August, someone in line for the State of Gaming panel asked the group of us waiting where we thought the industry was headed. Increasing the quantity and quality of free-to-play games was a popular answer. More mobile games for core gamers was another answer. Motion controlled games on Kinect, Wii U and PS Eye finally becoming proper gaming was a less popular suggestion but it was made.
After some pondering, I realized that those answers weren’t wrong but I had a better one. While all those ideas might be right, I think Titanfall might be a harbinger for where the industry is headed. It has nothing to do with mechs or pretty graphics or third-party triple-A games going exclusive. It has everything to do with dropping the single-player campaign and launching a game with only multiplayer.
The move to trademark such a common word was met with controversy in the gaming industry as many felt that King was trying to kill any competition. However, King’s move has nothing to do with a change of heart about trademarking candy but how they’re going about defending their candy trademark.
The only thing more dangerous for a game developer and publisher than a sequel to a recent hit is a sequel or reboot of a classic game from yesteryear. It is a guarantee that not everyone will be happy with the results. Whether you’re making the next edition of an annual franchise, the second part of an uber popular trilogy or rebooting a classic from over a decade ago, you’re going to piss someone off. It’s just a matter of how many people are happy.
And that bring me to this week’s release of Thief. Some critics really liked it despite its flaws. One critic already gave it a spot on his top 10 games of 2014 list. Many considered it sort of “meh” while a few absolutely hated it. We’re used to opinions running the gambit with the truth lying somewhere in the middle. I’m not sure that applies to a 60-point spread in review scores.
So here’s what the critics thought of the rebooted Thief.
Given that it’s lagging behind in the console war by an estimated 1.7 million units after three months of sales, it was only a matter of time before Microsoft tried something to close the gap. I don’t think, however, that anyone expected them to try a price cut so soon.
To gain competitive ground with the PlayStation Four, Microsoft UK announced a £30 price cut to £399 for the Xbox One and that Titanfall Xbox One console bundles would be available at no extra charge above the base price.
With Apple releasing the slightly improved iPhone 5S last fall, the door was open for Samsung to make a big splash with their flagship Galaxy series. Instead, the S5 pulls a 5S and just makes a few incremental improvements over the much-loved Galaxy S4 smartphone. Still, it’s an impressive piece of kit.
For this week’s pull list, I think that we should take a look at a trio of one-shots and a couple of continuing series. For the DC fans, Lois Lane gets her own family-focused adventure in Superman: Lois Lane #1. The off-screen reboot/reimagining of Robocop continues in another comic with Robocop: Beta. And The Lone Gunmen crossover with Optimus Prime and company in The X-Files: Conspiracy – Transformers.
If you’re looking for regular series, the second of six Firefly comics is out this week with the release of Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #2. And the Fantastic Four get a reboot in Fantastic Four #1.