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Category Archives: Console Video Games

The Brand is Growing…

The Brand is Growing…
I’m very excited to announce I’ve holding the first proof of Shade 2 in my hands! It’s pretty cool to be holding not one, but two Chronicles of Covent books in my hand. Sorry I haven’t been blogging much, but I’ve been tied up working Hurricane Sandy over the phone, so I’ve been quite busy working storm hours. I have been pouring over this proof copy in the evenings however and on my Kindle, which technically means I’m now onto proof 3.

If you can bear with me for one blog, I thought I’d make this blog more about Covent news rather than a terribly clever blog update. That said I’ve got a lot of exciting news and am developing a new strategy for next year that should see a better balance between blogging and the official ChroniclesofCovent.com web updates I promised last year. Although, I enjoyed the blogs I think they distracted me a bit from all the official CoC.com web updates I had originally planned. I think a massive content fantasy website could really walk hand in hand with our books and hasn’t been done before on a large scale.

That said I also believe in blogging. It’s a great way to have get clever, show off content, interview guests and get your name out there. I’ll still be doing blogs, however, I’ll probably stick with once a month so I can continue to pump out books and official ChroniclesofCovent.com web updates. Except far more official ChroniclesofCovent.com web updates next year including characters, races, creatures and more.


Updates! Updates! Updates!!!

We’re excited to announce that the first round of Shade 2 updates had gone live for Characters and Races on ChroniclesofCovent. We have added over 50 new characters and 10 new races to the website. Expect Shade 2 updates to Factions, Races and Places over the next few months. Please forgive a few typos. I’ve had to focus my late evening proofing sessions on the next book, which you can’t fix after it goes to print so website is priority 2. You will notice we had to move away from the fancy flip format pages on these pages. Sorry about that, but loading time was getting worse and worse with all the new entries, especially on Characters. However, going to simpler HTML will allow me to make far more updates myself without waiting forever on our web guy.

New Artwork!
You’ll also notice a lot of new artwork on the official homepage. Some artwork was made by our cover artist Thom Scott, but several other artists submitted Chronicles of Covent artwork to us as well. We realize that some of these art styles don’t totally mesh on the website, but we’re excited for the interest. By representing all of the different artist submissions we’re received is a great way to show off some of the excitement that is buzzing around our new brand and also help artists fond enough to support us to promote themselves. We welcome any other artists wishing to send us more art from our world. We are now listing artist credits in the description of each Character, Race, Faction, Creature or Place. Stay tuned! More artwork to come!!!

So When Is Shade 2 Coming Out?
Shade 2 is reaching its final stage in far more pristine condition than our original release of Shade 1. I’m hoping to release the softcover, PDF and Kindle edition next month, that’s December 2012! The iStore, Nook and Googlebooks versions will probably be available in January as it seems these vendors take twice as long to put the book on the virtual shelves. We are discontinuing hardcovers as this format has not been supported by sales. We are very excited about Shade 2 since our reader’s group has been saying it’s twice as good as the original. Shade 2 is also a bit longer than the original, clocking in over 200 pages. We can’t wait to get this new book in your hands!!!

Stay tuned for a far more active ChroniclesofCovent.com this coming year!!!

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Not Sold on the Wii U (Part 2 of 2, Yes I Kept it to 2)

Sorry blog-readers part two of this blog has been so long in coming. I’ve been immensely productive on our book series. I completed two full proofing runs of Shade II, seven more chapters of Elf Wars, three totally new chapters of the finished book one of Adventure Series and even six full chapters of the completely overhauled Triloriad. As result, the importance of my ranting on the Wii U felt small by comparison. That said, let me jump back on the whine wagon.

Ok, ok, onto my hardcore concerns…

The Big N Always Trying to Outdo the Big N
There is no doubt that Nintendo has some of the strongest video game franchises of all time and makes some of the best games in the world. I just don’t understand why they can’t just embrace a technology they made last generation and simply pour all their energies into making epic Mario, Zelda and Metroid in glorious high definition. I do not want to play another Zelda game without Skyword Sword motion control! I don’t care if link’s menu now appears on a little screen on my controller. I want to wave my sword around like Link!!!

Right now I feel like Nintendo is its own worst enemy. The Big N is infected with a major case of “out-do-itis”. Instead, of releasing a major epic Nintendo franchise at launch I feel like they’ve spent too much time trying to come up with the next revolution in gaming. The E3 coverage was highly disappointing because Nintendo didn’t unveil what everyone was really waiting for…a high definition Mario Galaxy, Legend of Zelda or another mega launch franchise. Instead, we get Nintendoland. Whoopie! I can now shake my blocky controller like a Japanese tourist with my grandma in high definition! Again, why am I not playing Mario or Zelda with traditional Wii controls in glorious high definition?

Of course, I will acknowledge that there is a time and place for motion control. Some Wii games got too gimmicking trying to incorporate actions that simply can’t be done naturally with a Wii controller. Like kicks or headstands or cartwheels or bellyflops, but the Classic controller, classic NES style among other control schemes provided a wide array of options. Right now Zombie U is one of the only Wii U games that looks like it has some good ideas on how to incorporate the Wii U controller. That said, my biggest turn off is that I’m going to have to aim this clunky Wii pad or an analog stick at the screen to shoot zombies. I’m a Japanese tourist again…say cheese, zombie!

Alas, I’m getting back to controls again. Sorry, I’m grabbing a hold of the blog wheel and steering toward my other Wii U concerns. There, back on track…

Lack of Third Party Support
My biggest fear is that Nintendo’s latest toy will distract Third Party Support from making some truly awesome high definition motion control or point and shoot games. Third Party Developers already shied away from the original Wii because as one of their toothy programmers put it, “Nintendo just took two Gamecubes and stuck them together with a roll of duck tape.”  Ok, so Wii U has some power under the hood. So developers can finally make some hi-def games, but the last thing I want them to do is to try to incorporate the new controller into everything just to please Miyamoto. Then if third party sales don’t come in because we tried to mold the game to the controller instead of the controller to the game, they’ll back off the Wii U entirely.
Third Party Support was such a glaring issue on Wii I don’t think I’ll be able to run out and buy a Wii U before I see how well they support the Wii. This puts me in a one to two year post launch window for even thinking about buying a Wii U. Pretty much all the groundbreaking third party games were made on Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 because, and I cough, the Wii’s graphics sucked! Even though the Wii outsold both the PS3 and the 360, it was largely ignored by third parties.

Lack of Online
Another of my biggest complaints for the Wii was the HORRIBLE online experience. While the 360 was rocking a far more customer friendly Xbox Live, I was still stumbling around trying to enter Friend Codes. Worse, Wii didn’t even get a fraction of the online options available on other systems. Entire game expansions, free downloads and customization options GREATLY enhanced many of the game releases on other systems. People were playing and replaying the games they loved through new downloadable content and I was still trying to type in that pesky friend code!

I’d hate to admit it, but I am still a wrestling fan. Yes, I know it’s fake, but for some reason I am drawn to the flashy muscle-headed soap opera known as professional wrestling. Sometimes even more than watching wrestling, I enjoy a good highly customizable wrestling game where I can make my own feuds and have greats clash across impossible intergenerational lines. WWE on Wii not only had worse graphics, but it also ALWAYS left out a lot of content that was included on PS2 and 360 counterparts of the same game. It also had NO customization options outside what was included on the disc itself. It had no downloadable packs to download new wrestlers. It had no way to download other gamer’s CAWs (nerdy way to say player created wrestlers). It had no way to upload custom music so my Goldberg or NWO CAWs could actually come out to their real life theme music. Ugh!

The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that I’m not going to run out and buy a Wii U like last time. I appreciate that the Wii controllers are still compatible with the Wii U, but I’m going to wait and see if programmers bother to still make games for the truly innovative motion control scheme. If Nintendo ignores the original Wii controls, I will ignore the Wii U. If third party Wii U sales fail because they spent too much time trying to make games for Nintendo’s latest gimmick, I will ignore the Wii U. If third parties cannot compete on Wii U due to Nintendo’s super franchises (I have play a thousand times), I will ignore the Wii U. If I cannot download packs or CAWs or upload custom music to my Wii U wrestling game, I will ignore the Wii U.

Nintendo, this lifelong Nintendo fan’s loyalty now rests in your hands, so try not to blow off your fat foot with that new clunky Wii controller…

To find out more about us check us out at the www.chroniclesofcovent.com. Next blog will be Covent centric and the entry after that will be an Author Interview with my special guest, Michael Patterson, the author of a killer new super-hero title called Freak.

You can check him out here for in the meanwhile…
http://www.amazon.com/Freak-Michael-Patterson/dp/1453666192/ref=sr_…

 

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Not Sold on the Wii U (Part 1 of 2, Maybe 3 Week Rant)

Kishrub & Zulbash on the Wii UI thought I’d take a break from our regular content that revolves around our insanely overblown fantasy world and talk about something off subject. As all of my friends know I’ve been a loyal Nintendo fan since the original console. I have been loyal to every Nintendo console owning every single system from the original NES to the Wii with the exception of the Gamecube. I have owned no other system but the Playstation 2 which I bought used post generation and an imported Japanese Turbo Duo back when I was into Japanese Anime. I got out of videos games for what I call the “Too Many Buttons” Generation, but I found the Wii to be so innovative in its simple and fresh approach to gameplay that Nintendo won me back to the fold.

Now don’t get me wrong. How can one go wrong with a High Definition Wii? I mean after all the Wii’s outdated graphics did not stop it from being wildly successful. Boy does Wii Sports look bad on any decent flat screen TV, but it was fun. The new high definition graphics should make these clumpy polygons a thing of the past and I’m sure Nintendo will deliver some of their franchises in jaw dropping 3D definition at last! Seeing a high definition 3D Mario or Zelda should be every Nintendo fan boy’s dream, so what am I complaining about?

I’ve been reviewing news presses, launch announcements and E3 coverage, but I find myself lacking any initial excitement over the new system. It’s not the graphics or the lack of a MAJOR Nintendo launch title that is putting me off. It’s just I don’t trust this blocky DSi turned controller Nintendo is touting around as the next major video game revolution.

Controls were exactly why I hesitated so long to buy any gaming system in the “Too Many Buttons” Generation. I remember trying Starfox at Walmart and walking away in disgust because the Gamecube controller just was a button too much for me. I fear that Nintendo’s next effort to redefine the industry is a break away from the ingeniously simple customizable Wii controls and a return to a caveman beating himself over the head with an awkward stone tablet.  Duuuuuuuh, how dis work?

I have other concerns, but let me get to them one at a time. Here goes. What’s wrong with the Wii U?

The Shape
Look at this thing! The shape feels all wrong to me. What is this a motion controlled brick? I could not think of a more awkward motion control device. I have a hard time wrapping my imagination around a brick. There were so many natural items the original Wii controller and nunchuck could create together. What am I supposed to do with this thing? Shaking in frustration. What is this an Etch-A-Sketch? Oops I shook the remote when I meant to push a button. Mario just jumped into a pit!

Let’s compare the new so called revolutionary Wii U controller to the original truly revolutionary Wii controller. Look at the sleek long design. It fits very naturally in one’s hand. Oh, I can imagine that shape as a sword or a bat or a tennis racket. Really, all I have to do is swing it like a sword or a handle? Brilliant! What’s this nunchuck thing do? Oh, wait I get it. I can run around with it. Or put up my fists and box. Feels good to throw punches. Goodbye “Too Many Buttons” Generation!

And on top of that it has point and shoot capability? Just point at the screen. Oh, like a gun? Yes, just like a gun. You mean I don’t have to sweep an awkward dual analog stick across the screen to shoot targets? No, you just point and shoot. BRILLIANT! Now I don’t need every first person shooter in the world, but let me tell you playing Metroid and Goldeneye on Wii caused me to NEVER, EVER want to play another first person shooter without Wii controls again.

But now we’re back to this. Mind you its’ not a Gamecube controller, but it’s a glorified DSi controller in disguise. I appreciate what Nintendo has done for the industry, but why do we need to reinvent the wheel every generation? Is there ever a time when Nintendo’s cutting edge efforts ever cut off their foot? This new peripheral is going to drag attention away from the control schemes I really like and go back to playing Gameboy with motion control one hay-wired.

It’s Not Simple

Duuuuuuuh, what we do with this thing? This pad makes me feel about as stupid as Kishrub and Zulbash. It makes me want to wrack my brain over it. Part of the initial appeal of the original Wii was that it was so simple. People just picked it up and used it. It made even casuals instant converts. Now Nintendo you want me to hand this thing to my grandma? Are you nuts?

I can just imagine the look on her face. The “what in tarnation” have you handed me look? I might as well hand her my multi-function TV, amp, VCR, DVD remote back from the 80s. Look grandma its motion control with dual screens. Grandma stop looking at the Wii U controller screen, you can’t see where you’re driving. No grandma don’t shake the controller, you’ll speed boost into a tree. Grandma please don’t stand on the controller. It’s not a Wii Fit board.

This doesn’t sound fun to me or her at all. I’ll feel like I’m telling her how to program the VCR all over again. It’s just not simple. I don’t think casuals are going to embrace this devise like they did the Wii because it feels far less natural, because it’s basically a big awkward object and I don’t think casuals are dying to see Wii Sports in high definition. That’s why Solitaire and Minesweeper have been popular for years. Casuals just want simple straight-forward games.

I have several more hardcore gamer reservations, but I’ll save those comments for next week. I’ve gone on this tirade long enough for one week. Stay tuned for Part 2, and maybe even Part 3, of my rant. I guess I’ve got a whole lot more bottled up inside…

If you’re wondering who we are. You can find out more about us here: http://www.chroniclesofcovent.com/

 

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