Google Stadia, the official name I can’t quite pronounce, is a cloud based streaming console promising up to 4K HDR resolutions, instant access with no update or download delays, and the ability to play on any device connected to the internet. Have we heard this before? Yea a few times but this is Google. You know the unofficial ruler of the world? Yea, exactly. So I’m pretty inclined to believe they have managed to get the technical stuff to work. And I’m sure everyone in the world is talking about the concerns behind internet speed inconsistencies but I think there are three bigger things to worry about.
With that said, I have 1 question and 2 concerns, shaped in the form of questions.
Will I be able to carry my control and play anywhere with WiFi?
There is no box associated with Google’s new console, rather platform, and the Stadia Control connects to the cloud via Wifi. So of course my big question at this point is; does this mean i can carry the control and game anywhere? I can just pop a squat anywhere with decent Wifi, cause the wizards at Google said they are optimizing for all internet speeds, and play Metal Gear Solid? Tekken? Devil May Cry? Oh my heart, it can’t handle the excitement.
Unfortunately, outside of showing off the control design and talking about their cool exclusive buttons, there wasn’t much information around the control. I’m sure that Google has an incredible drip marketing plan for all things Stadia, but I don’t know if I have the patience for it. I just want to pull my Stadia Control out my pocket and scream Let’s Duel!
All of these incredible breakthroughs come together to create a thriving industry that breeds fair distribution of money in all directions. Enter Stadia. Well actually it’s more like enter Google. Arguably the most powerful company in the world. Undeniably the most powerful company on the internet. What will it mean for how developers and publisher negotiate their pay from games streaming on Stadia?
If the music industry is any example, developers will see significantly less money from streaming games than they do on game sales. Sure the games will be more accessible but if it’s anything like say Spotify, which pays about $0.006 per stream, it’s gonna take a lot of streaming to match sales. So how will streams be counted? If I launch Resident Evil 2 40 times, will it count as 40 different streams? How about the hours put into streaming? Will streaming The Witcher 3 one time for 80 hours only earn the handsome polish developers pay for one stream?
Which brings us here. How much will Google Stadia cost? Remember I said in order for this to be profitable for Google one of two things will happen? You should, I just said it. Anyway, there are two clear ways for Google to make Stadia profitable and sustainable. The first option is bad for developers but good for consumers. The price of Stadia stays relatively low for gamers, think subscription of $10-$25/ per month, and developers get a smaller pay per stream.
This could make it super easy for google to acquire subscribers but how would it impact games being streamed? At that price Stadia could end up being like a gym membership. Tons of people sign up but a small fraction of the people signed up actually stream games. That means Google makes boatloads of cash while having very little payout.
Contrary, the cost of the service could put Stadia at a premium level, $50-$99/per month, and pay higher per stream to developers. A premium price point more people are likely to make use of their membership because it’s a significant monthly cost. With more people streaming Google has much more payouts to make impact the overall profit margin. Blah blah business blah blah number blah blah math, I know it’s boring but it’s important.
Are you ready for Google Stadia?
In my opinion, Google Stadia marks the first time in over a decade where the video game industry is about to see a major shift. Much like the risky launch of the Nintendo Wii and it’s motion controls, Stadia represents an entirely new way to play. The question now is, are we ready for this? If Stadia succeeds, the industry may completely shift away from owning video games to streaming only (like the music industry). If Stadia fails, the industry may turn against the internet based ideas circulating since the botched Xbox One announcement.
At the end of the day, we are gamers. We just want to play the best games all the time. Who ever makes that easiest gets to take all my monies. Any takers?
So apparently, Nintendo is getting faster and faster at recognizing trends. In the words of Pearl from Splatoon, the Nintendo Creators Program DUNZO. Well, it sort of it. It seems they realized that maybe trying to wrestle complete control over the content users make with their games has been too difficult to micromanage. Good riddance too, getting an auto-flag for copyright is annoying. Especially when you have to tell Nintendo 3 times that your Splatoon vid is part of the program. Indeed, we do still cover the Splatoon Splatfests on a regular basis. Nintendo isn’t exactly blameless, but it is understandable that they’d want to capitalize on this trend. They are a corporation after all.
However, now with the change, Nintendo does have some rules it wants people to follow. The copypasta is as follows:
We are humbled every day by your loyalty and passion for Nintendo’s games, characters and worlds, and respect that you want to be able to express yourself creatively by sharing your own original videos and images using content from our games.
As long as you follow some basic rules, we will not object to your use of gameplay footage and/or screenshots captured from games for which Nintendo owns the copyright (“Nintendo Game Content”) in the content you create for appropriate video and image sharing sites. To help guide you, we prepared the following guidelines:
You may monetize your videos and channels using the monetization methods separately specified by Nintendo. Other forms of monetization of our intellectual property for commercial purposes are not permitted.
We encourage you to create videos that include your creative input and commentary. Videos and images that contain mere copies of Nintendo Game Content without creative input or commentary are not permitted. You may, however, post gameplay videos and screenshots using Nintendo system features, such as the Capture Button on Nintendo Switch, without additional input or commentary.
You are only permitted to use Nintendo Game Content that has been officially released, or from promotional materials officially released by Nintendo (such as product trailers or Nintendo Directs).
If you want to use the intellectual property of a third party, you are responsible for obtaining any necessary third-party permissions.
You are not permitted to imply or state that your videos are officially affiliated with or sponsored by Nintendo.
We reserve the right to remove any content that we believe is unlawful, infringing, inappropriate, or not in line with these Guidelines.
Please understand that we will not be able to respond to individual inquiries regarding these Guidelines. Also, we may update these Guidelines from time to time, so please refer to the latest version before sharing your content.
So, point for point, this is what we are looking at in laymans terms.
You can monetize is the normal way but can’t do weird stuff.
If you are just posting gameplay with no commentary, that’s no good. It’s only good if you are using Nintendo’s SHARE BUTTON.
You can’t use anything that isn’t released by Nintendo officially.
They aren’t accountable for other 3rd party claims.
You can’t say you work for Nintendo.
We can remove content if we thing it’s really bad.
This is miles and miles better than the Nintendo Creators Program. The dashboard and all features were a pain in the butt. We don’t even have that many viewers on our YT page currently. But having to register our Nintendo videos directly to the NCP was bothersome, regardless. If we already aren’t profiting off Nintendo videos, why should we? Yet we had to apply for the service anyway. But now that’s all over. This is an absolutely GOOD MOVE from Nintendo. It shows that they have self-awareness and knowledge, and are willing to adjust accordingly to the free market.
Bottom line, is you will soon be able to start uploading some Nintendo content as long as you aren’t full of sh*t. That’s a pretty solid deal. What do you say? Are you going to put Nintendo vids up on your channel now? We will continue either way.
Nintendo has made an absolutely fascinating game series where you play a board game, some mini-games, and become mortal enemies with all of your friends. It’s called Mario Party and the level with which you can fuck over players is akin to that of Munchkin or Monopoly. Unlike the latter, Super Mario Party doesn’t take 6 hours to finish. This series has had 10 entries in its main console series, and several spinoffs on other devices. But where do you go from there? Call it Mario Party 11? No. You call it SUPER. Why? Because the Switch is the greatest console ever made and it deserves the upgraded name. I’m like 70% serious here.
This looks exactly like Mario Party is supposed to look like. The quality isn’t in the graphical fidelity, but how fun they can make it. And that includes animations. Seeing all of your favorite Mario characters getting, angry, sad, frustrated, and determined are a delight. It is amazing how it mocks real life. When a play gets a star, their avatar makes boasting gesture while the other three get frustrated. Each board on the main game has its very own individual look that stands out. Even the first board, which is mostly just a bunch of grey blocks. But once you get to the board that has four islands, the graphic variety really shines.
And now, here’s the verbatim from the game’s intro cinematic:
TEXT: One day, trouble was brewing between Mario and his good friends. Each claimed to be the Super Star, the worthiest hero in all the land. Mario suggested having a party to decide, a time-honored tradition. Everyone agreed – a proper party would surely reveal the true Super Stardom.
TOAD: What do you say, Toadette?
TOADETTE: I say this time we’re going to find out what being a Super Star REALLY means!
TOAD: You can trust us to be fair and impartial judges! Give us time to set up and we can get st-
???: Aren’t you forgetting something?
BOWSER: Maybe NONE of you are the Super Star! Maybe it’s one of us instead. I brought an extra judge, too! I want you keeping an eye on things too! You know, so it’s all fair and impartial.
KAMEK: If you say so! But be careful what you wish for, Keeheehee!
TOAD: Well, at least Kamek will make setting up easy! This should only take a minute!
TOADETTE: Is everybody else as excited as I am? I DOUBT IT!
KAMEK: Wait until you see what my genius has wrought!
-gates open, everyone claps-
TOAD: Let’s party!
I laughed. I cried. I wet myself a bit. This is the most moving, emotional, satisfying plot I have ever experienced in my life. Nothing will ever top this. This is what peak performance looks li- PFFFT okay it’s dumb. But it’s Mario dumb. And it’s Mario Party. Do you even NEED an excuse to play? NO. It’s here for the aforementioned fighting among friends.
It’s fine, whatever. It’s missing some of the essential noises that made other Mario Parties so jubilant. The win music just isn’t as engaging as it should be. Everything feels like it’s been toned down a bit. It’s just okay, it does what its sets out to do, but you can’t help but feel something is missing here. Just think about all the little jingles you’d hear from Mario Party 1-3. You remember them note for note, right? The same can’t be said here. The music is on cruise control. It’s there and it’s functional, but it could be better.
Mario party has had many iterations in varieties and how the the rules worked. At one point they thought it was a good idea to have all 4 players riding in a car together. But SMP fixes that by going back to basics. This is the version of the game you loved and admired as a kid and as a college freshman. That feel you got when you found an old N64 and controllers for everyone? You played it until the late hours of the morning with the people in your dorm? That feeling is back. You face off as your favorite character in 4 boards (which isn’t enough but is a good start). Every character has a new gimmick in the form of custom dice. Every turn, you can roll your standard D6 or you can roll a special die made for each individual character. For instance, Shy Guy’s custom dice options are 0, 4, 4, 4, 4, and 4. Fun! Bowser has a 10 space side on his dice but you could also move zero spaces and lose 3 coins. It’s a new and interesting twist to the game mechanics.
The game also adds the ally ability where you can call in other characters to assist you. Once you do that, you have the option to roll their custom dice as well as your own. Not only that but every ally you have will roll a D2 to add either 1 or 2 spaces to your roll. So if you have, say, three allies on the board with you, you could roll your dice. And your allies? All 3 of them roll their own D2 so you could get anywhere from 3-6 additional spaces. Either way, this is still the maddening, frustrating, fun game you know and love, with all new minigames and variations on your favorites to boot. If you miss the good ol’ days of Mario Party, this is absolutely the best time to jump back in.
It’s hard not to have fun when it comes to this game. Maybe if you played by yourself, you would have a bad time. It’s understandable that most games should be able to stand on their own merits for some single player action. But, if you’re really playing a PARTY game by yourself, what are you doing? You don’t even need friends to play it, just find some acquaintances to play. Or random people on the street. Or with your family (even if you Mom has absolutely no idea how controllers work and needs to be constantly instructed on what buttons to press. Damn it mom, the okay button is on the right, and the L+R buttons are on top! Why is this so hard, Mom?). No matter what you do, you are bound to have a blast. Even if some of the minigames are blatantly unfair.
Splatoon 2 is a third person shooter developed and published by Nintendo. It’s a fresh game, being the first new intellectual property they’ve created in over a decade. It’s an interesting take on shooters since it’s based on firing ink (and totally not paint) all over the multiplayer battle arena in a fight to cover the most ground before the timer runs out. Additionally, killing enemy players on the opposing team is treated as a “SPLAT!” and not a kill, making it far more family friendly than almost all the shooters currently available in the MP video gaming arena. That said, it also had a somewhat decent campaign attached to it and a brand new horde mode for additional gameplay. There’s also a hidden DDR game, no seriously.
Although not technically impressive, Splatoon 2 makes waves with some very aesthetically pleasing color palettes. The color of ink you use in every round of multiplayer and every stage of the campaign is random, so you get a fresh new color every time you play. The contrast between your and your opponents’ inks are always bright and vibrant, keeping everything very lively. Plus, there’s themed colors too. At the time of writing this review, I was able to take part in one of the game’s biggest online event features, #Splatfest! The theme of the event was Ketchup vs Mayonnaise so once you’ve picked a side you get to coat the arenas in your choice condiment. Which actually sounds kind of gross when you realize your character is literally swimming inside globs of mayo or catsup, but it works. Besides the ink, level designs between MP maps and the campaign all have enough unique textures to make it a thoroughly lively experience.
Nintendo is not always super big on the plot of their games and it shows here in this case. Mostly pedestrian and banal, the story mode has you taking on the fiendish “Octarians” in a variety of different boxed up pocket dimensions (or at least that’s how it’s structured). They all feature floating platforms and there’s very little rhyme or reason for these designs other than “it’s a videogame”. Your goal is to get through every level so you can save the great zapfish because reasons. Also, a character from the first game went missing. “GEE I WONDER WHAT HAPPENED?” The campaign hits the ground running though, and by the time you get to the ending, it just stops rather abruptly after a challenging final boss. The speaking NPCs in the game use a lot of totally kool 90’s lingo that actually provides more charm than cringe, so it gets points for being thematically consistent, as the game never takes itself too seriously during the entire ordeal.
The songs in the game are very hit and miss. Some songs are really exciting and energetic while others are filled with annoying sound effects and generic melodies. This is made apparent in the campaign where you will hear the same songs multiple times. The sound effects can annoy you sometimes. There’s a lot of “blub blub blub” linguistics for your fellow squidkids, and while it is tolerable at first, it gets pretty grating and obnoxious later on. But, when it comes to the sound effects for guns and abilities, Nintendo really knows how to push that button in your head that satisfies you, splat after splat. Notably, while I didn’t care for a lot of the music, the “one minute warning” song that plays at the end of every multiplayer match is extremely catchy and very fitting inside the Splatoon 2 universe.
Solid shooting gameplay experience here. The multiplayer is definitely the main focus of the title and gives you plenty of variety in weapons and gear so you can play the game your way. As said before, the goal is to coat the map in your paint using a plethora of different ink-firing weapons at your disposal. If you feel like running and gunning, there’s guns for that. Want a lot of splash damage? One of the ‘guns’ is literally just a bucket of paint that works like a shotgun. There’s also an ink Gatling gun for heavy firing action. Or, you can just whip out a paint roller and soak up the map with ink in a support role. I found this mechanic in particular to be a lot of fun, especially when you start painting over all of the enemy team’s hard work and they don’t know it. As for the campaign, it’s a resounding “meh” as you work your way through a handful of loosely thrown-together areas full of floating platforms and various challenges that feel less like a game and more like an extended version of the middle section from Portal 2. But other than a couple of frustrating moments, the execution of the game’s mechanics is nearly perfect.
Albeit frustrating sometimes, Splatoon 2 keeps you coming back again and again and again. This is the most fun I’ve had with online multiplayer participation since Titanfall 2. For me, that is a very big deal because while I used to be a fan of multiplayer, I gradually lost interest until just recently. I have two gripes with this game. It takes a really really long time grinding through the game’s “Regular Battle” mode in order to reach “Ranked Battle” which adds more game types on top of “Turf War”. But once you get there, you realize the new modes aren’t as fun as Turf War anyway, so that’s kind of a wash overall. It would also be nice if the battle lobby let you see what your team’s loadout is going to look like so you don’t end up having two paint roller players on your team, because that’s usually a losing combination. But, the game is just so much fun that even if you aren’t winning, you’re still having a blast.
Splatoon 2 is no different from the original WiiU release in any way other than the addition of the new horde mode called “Salmon Run” (which for some strange reason is only periodically available). For many players though, this is acceptable as the number of people who have not owned a WiiU but decided to pick up a Switch will find a lot to love with this fresh and original series. Besides some minor snags here and there, you’re almost completely guaranteed to get sucked into this excitingly chaotic wonder.