GMTK is Making a Game

What’s next for GMTK? by Game Maker’s Toolkit on YouTube

Mark Brown of Game Maker’s Toolkit has launched a new series where he shows the educational and creative process of making a game. And he is the one making said game.

I enjoy the idea and am excited to see how the series (and the game) shake out. The first proper episode is out where Mark explains which game engine he choose and the initial learning process he experienced. His lessons already learned are insightful and, frankly, applicable to learning anything for the first time (or the second or the hundredth time).

iPhone 13 Pro Camera Review: Tanzania — Austin Mann

iPhone 13 Pro Camera Review: Tanzania by Austin Mann

We’ve spent the last week in southern Tanzania, exploring this vast natural habitat and capturing all its beauty with the iPhone 13 Pro’s camera. As I watched Apple’s keynote about this year’s iPhone release, I was most excited about the new macro capability, increased telephoto zoom, and Cinematic mode.

Boarding my flight, I reminded myself of the answers I’m looking for:

How will this new tech make our pictures and videos better?

I learned about Austin and his iPhone reviews two years ago with the iPhone 11 and its low-light photography capabilities. These reviews immediately entered the echelon of what I consider essential reading/viewing when new iPhones come out. I cannot believe these were shot on an iPhone. Simply incredible.

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – 512 Pixels

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by Stephen Hackett for 512 Pixels

…Josiah is special. When he was just six months old, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

To be honest with you, his diagnosis feels like it was several lifetimes ago. It’s hard to keep track of how much he’s been through between surgeries and physical therapy and chemo and MRIs and feeding tubes and speech therapy and on and on and on. Cancer doesn’t give a rip about what you had planned; when dealing with a tumor, you’re on its turf most of the time.

Josiah made it through. He’s no longer a cancer patient; he’s a cancer survivor.

That’s thanks to the work being done at St. Jude.

Just like the title says, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Each September, the podcast network Relay FM (co-founded by Stephen), raises money and awareness for St. Jude’s mission to save children from cancer. As of this writing, they have already raised over $80,000 this year.

St. Jude does not charge the families a dime to treat their children. Donations allow families to focus on their children’s health, without the looming cloud of hospital bills.

From a network that has personally given me so much to an organization that has given countless hours of research and life-saving treatment, I hope you will consider donating. My wife and I have been fortunate enough to donate for the past two years. Every single dollar helps these kids.

Don’t miss out on the Podcastathon on September 18 either:

This month, you’ll hear about St. Jude across the Relay FM family of podcasts, and from 12-8 PM on September 17, Myke Hurley and I will be co-hosting the third annual Podcastathon for St. Jude on Relay FM’s Twitch channel.

I Hope This Video Doesn’t Suck – Razbuten

I Hope This Video Doesn’t Suck by Razbuten on YouTube

I made this mostly for myself, but you can watch it too.

I have been in a creative rut for most of 2021. That may sound odd, especially with my launching two podcasts, but all I’ve really come up with are those podcasts and blog posts. And I feel frustrated because I, too, have a list on my phone full of little ideas. Not only a list, but a notebook, and the back of my office door. I may not be out of ideas, but I am definitely beginning to feel overwhelmed by them and thought of executing them.

I need to reign it in. My brain is bouncing all over with plans to work on this and that. Projects get started and then stopped. Ideas are stuck in creative purgatory.

Recently, I played through Chapter Select Season 2’s first game, Death’s Door, and earned the platinum trophy in Castlevania Requiem (aka Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night). I was so zoned in on these games, with clear goals to collect and do everything each game had to offer. When I finished the platinum trophy hunt, I realized I didn’t have the next project/goal/thing lined up and fleshed out. I’m waiting to begin post-production on the first episode of season 2 before I dive into the second game. Finding a guest for The Max Frequency Podcast has been tough these past two months (although I do have some ideas for September).

Chasing the Stick, my history of Naughty Dog, is its own self-contained nugget of too many ideas. I have been paralyzed by ideas and “if I just got this piece of equipment.” The project has been filled with its own amount of failing to get interviews and make progress.

I feel paralyzed to make a real decision.

After watching Raz’s new video yesterday after work, I’m pretty sure my subconscious began working on my problem. I intentionally left the house last night and helped Abby with her own tasks. I did it because I needed a break from sitting around trying to decide which mole hill mountain to climb. We ended up watching Back to the Future and Part II. Despite bringing along my notebook for working on my ideas, my brain was totally not swimming in the Idea Sea.

It was right before bed that I think I came up with a solution, which I understand is fundamentally another idea. My subconscious found an answer and brought it to the surface.

My ideas are big. I need to break them down. I need to build up into the big ones. So, I’m going to try and break them down. I’ll create smaller pieces of them, publish them, and move on to the next one. Sort of like when I was hung up on a name for The Max Frequency Podcast: I wanted a great show name before I started. That small element was stopping me from doing the show. I ended up picking the simplest name and then actually began producing the show.

Instead of ideas that take months of work and skills I haven’t fully developed, I need to tackle shorter turnarounds and develop those skills. Honestly, that’s the approach I’ve mostly had with Chapter Select. I suppose I’m adopting that across all my projects.

To semi-quote Raz: I wrote this mostly for myself, but you can read it too.

Halo Infinite Should Be Delayed – Comicbook

Here’s Why Halo Infinite Should Be Delayed to 2022 by Logan Moore for Comicbook.com

From the outside looking in, it just doesn’t seem like Halo Infinite is ready to release this year. While many other publishers would feel a need to rush their games out because of fiscal calendars and such, Xbox has already shown that it’s bucking the traditional release format as it is. With Xbox Game Pass becoming the main way in which Microsoft wants consumers to interact with its first-party titles, getting a game out before Black Friday, for instance, doesn’t carry the same weight as it would to another publisher. So why is there even so much urgency to ensure that Halo Infinite releases before 2021 comes to a close?

Logan nails exactly how I have felt about Halo Infinite since E3 2021. Clearly, there is pressure to get this game out. I imagine they feel multiplayer is in a good enough spot to release and start raking in the money from battle passes et al., since the whole multiplayer suite has switched to free-to-play. The game has cost hundreds of millions to make alongside the new Slipspace engine and Microsoft clearly wants to start recouping those costs.

Where it truly feels rushed is when considering that this game was supposed to launch last year, presumably with all its features in tow. Now it is coming in hot to December with two keystone features on the back burner for 6 months. I think they just need to delay the game and release 1.0 in a completed state. The game may be “living,” especially with its free-to-play nature, but launch is important. I know I won’t be playing the campaign until co-op launches.

Halo Infinite feels like it is going to be launching in a “early access” state.

It’s not too late for Microsoft to pull the plug on December 8. Honestly, I could see them doing that. They clearly had no confidence in a date for E3, but do for a massive RPG (Starfield) to give its date a year and half ahead. The would tease fans during their own Gamescom stream to turn into Opening Night Live. Microsoft just doesn’t seem to have any confidence in their biggest IP (all right, maybe their biggest IP before they bought Skyrim). It’s not a good look. A poor, incomplete launch won’t look good either.

Also, I promise this has nothing to do with a prediction riding on Halo being delayed again.

Sinnoh Fusion Ensemble Live at Berklee Caf – insaneintherainmusic

Sinnoh Fusion Ensemble Live at Berklee Caf (October 11 2019) by insaneintherainmusic on YouTube

I know I am nearly two years late, but hot dog this is wonderful. I’ll forever be indebted to Logan Moore for introducing me to Carlos Eiene aka insaneintherainmusic last year when I was at his house for The Game Awards. These jazz arrangements quickly joined my regular rotation of music while working and traveling. 

Then while I’ve been reminiscing my days of play Pokémon Diamond on the Nintendo DS for my review of Delta, I also remembered Logan saying that insaneintherainmusic was spending 2020 recording an album of the Pokémon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum music. That would be Sinnohvation and I have been listening for over a week straight now. 

I really loving seeing these musicians in action. It’s a treat and I think you’d enjoy it too.

Fancy Game Boy Analogue Pocket Pre-Order: The Kotaku Review

Fancy Game Boy Analogue Pocket Pre-Order: The Kotaku Review by Alexandra Hall for Kotaku

But even if the Pocket misses its would-be October birthday I will not despair. Truth is, over the past 368 days, I’ve enjoyed my pre-order immensely. So enough with all this glass-half-empty woe-is-me talk about “actual video game systems” I can’t currently touch with my “actual human hands.” Let’s talk about what I do have. Besides, obviously, disposable income and weird ideas for articles.

One thing I have is an order confirmation email. It is dated August 3, 2020, and has a timestamp of 8:03 a.m. I remember, just over a year ago today, how excited I was to see this email arrive in my inbox. I felt like I had won a lottery.

Speaking of the Analogue Pocket, this was a real funny article, especially as someone fortunate enough to have a pre-order as well. It’s a knee-slapper regardless, I think.

The Good Ol’ Nintendo Rumor Mill

Nearly two weeks ago, Twitter user @markomaro tweeted out a lengthy thread filled with quite a few too good to be true rumors about Nintendo and the Switch’s upcoming lineup. There are some that are specific, while others have plenty of wiggle room. I thought it’d be fun to look at the thread and gauge the possibility.

DK 2D NEW adventure is one of the big hits for next year Still unclear when since there was planned for this Holliday season time ago but will make sense to use it as a closing or opening FY. Splatoon 3 Should come early next summer.

This one leads with a straight-up contradiction to pre-E3 rumors! It’s rumor vs rumor when it comes to the future of Donkey Kong. Personally, I would love for the ape to return to 3D, but 2D is where this series predominantly lives. With Retro working on Metroid Prime 4, I do find it odd that there is no dev attached to this rumor. The 3D game is associated with the Super Mario Odyssey team. Since it’d be exciting if Nintendo returned to 3D, I assume that means the 2D rumor is true.

Buddy Mission: BOND it’s unlikely to be localized since Famicom Detective Club Didn’t performed very well, Numbers are estimated to be under 25K worldwide. There is plans for a new entry for FDC, but with this situation is unlikely to happen.

This comes off as industry analyst, not a rumor or prediction. 

Style Boutique/Savvi for Switch waiting to be release at some point, probably around Christmas time or early 2022, But they holding this release as a random release in weak months.

This comes off as peak DS/Wii game. The Switch is reaching those numbers though.

Bayonetta 3 not shown at the E3 was really weird since i heard that the game is at the final stage of development. There is stuff ready to be shown. In September or late this year they will release first trailer. There is also 1-2 PG ports ready and waiting in the bench.

I agree. Not showing Bayonetta 3 at E3 2021 was odd. It’ll be cool to have the game essentially be re-revealed at some point, hopefully close to launch. What is a PG port? Certainly not a “PG-rated” port of Bayonetta 1 and 2? This one has gone over my head.

Intelligent S is supervising Advance Wars 1+2, Done With Wario Ware , Finished the new Fire Emblem Echoes (1H 2022) and working in the Paper Mario Remake (2022-2023), it’s also Working in a Small Game for the eShop.

Start packing in your pipe and get ready to dream. Paper Mario Remake? I just can’t buy it. Paper Mario is definitively not the franchise it was in 2000 and 2004. It hasn’t been that way since, as I’ve come to realize over the course of Chapter Select Season 1. But maybe that’s my little paper heart protecting itself after years of nada, just like it was with Metroid.

Another Fire Emblem game strikes me as an obvious and safe bet.

Next LG next game going smoothly, probably ready to be shown at some point next year, there is also an early prototype for Wii’s Punch-Out! on the Switch may be for a future port/remake or a sequel.

I take LG to stand for Next Level Games from Luigi’s Mansion 3 fame. If there is a Punch-Out! prototype, it sort of sounds like Markmaro is guessing that Next Level Games is behind it.

Rhythm Paradise/Heaven Gets a green light for a new entry for Switch months ago, but i shouldn’t expect it until 2023. Pikmin 4 was a game with many years of work behind and 1 unofficial restart around 2016-2017 similar to MP4, finally the game is very close to be finished.

Sure? I suppose most folks will forget about this Rhythm Heaven rumor by 2023, so it works out either way. Pikmin 4 is a safe bet. Just like the Metroid Prime Trilogy, we know that Pikmin 4 is in development. Actually, even more so, since Miyamoto has said as much in an interview! We just need that reveal.

Kirby’s Next big adventure is something to be expected in 2022, Game was designed as a 3D adventure with…RPG elements.

It is a shocker that there is another Kirby game in development for the Switch. Combined with the vagueness of “RPG elements,” this is practically a lock and just about anyone could have said so.

Metroid Prime Collection Should be ready for the 1H 2022 even if it’s finished since ages, i heard they include more stuff since then, so it’s not 100% Metroid Prime Trilogy Wii HD, first look at Metroid Prime 4 later on. The game is at 65% of it’s development cycle .

Go ahead and light up that pipe.

Hard to picture Metroid Prime 4 at 65% completion with all the hiring Retro Studios is still doing for the game. Take as much time as you need, but I don’t think Metroid Prime 4 is out until 2024.

As for the Metroid Prime Trilogy, I hope there is more than jus ta port of the Wii game. It’d be a great package to celebrate Metroid as a whole. Throw in the GBA games. More likely, I could see more concept art and a demo or something for Metroid Prime 4, just like Nintendo did with The Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition on GameCube; four Zelda games and a demo of Wind Waker.

As i Said before, even if N said no more Zelda for the anniversary, WW and TP are done for a while so there will come sooner than later, Don’t know anything about OOT And MM HD (but something abut the N64 ver. that maybe we will know later this year).

This also feels safe. Nintendo has been porting the Wii U greats since the Switch launched. Nintendo also knows the Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask are iconic. There is a reason they were remade for Nintendo 3DS (it was money). Ocarina of Time will turn 25 in 2023, I could see something by then.

As i state a year ago, there is a remake for Oracles of Ages/Seasons in the works (2022-2023) there where plans to include a third game that was planned originally for the GBC, what it’s clear at least since the start it’s that will be separate releases.

The grammar here makes this one harder to parse out. Remakes of these two games also makes sense, especially after the surprise launch of Link’s Awakening for Switch. Nintendo has always taken their portable Zelda games and made sequels and spin-offs with the assets. 

Detective Pikachu 2 will make a trailer debut early next year alongside the first one that will be ported to Switch.Gen 9 unlikely to happen in 2022 since there is a Pokemon Let’s Go Sequel planned for later next year. Pokemon Pinball will make a comeback in some way,somewhere.

The first sentence is not shocking at all. Detective Pikachu has viability on Switch, I think, especially after the movie. With Diamond and Pearl being remade this year and Legends supposedly launching in January 2022, not seeing Gen 9 next year makes sense.

The real shocker and closer is Pokémon Pinball making a comeback.

This was fun. Do I believe all of this? Certainly not. I think there are some super safe observations in there under the veil of a rumor. The more exciting rumors feel too obvious as a business/consumer idea, so that makes me think Nintendo will not do them. Only time will tell. 

That’s No Moon Studio Announced, Former PlayStation Devs Behind It

Game Veterans Establish New Indie Development Studio by Trilby Beresford for The Hollywood Reporter

That’s No Moon Entertainment is led by CEO Michael Mumbauer, former head of PlayStation’s Visual Arts Group. For its debut action-adventure project, the company is backed by a $100 million investment from South Korean developer Smilegate, creators of the CrossFire first-person shooter series.

I have never heard of CrossFire, but Michael Mumbauer’s name is familiar. Mumbauer was the head of PlayStation’s Visual Arts Group, which operates as a support studio. Mumbauer reportedly wanted to remake The Last of Us as a way to get Sony’s attention and pursue standing out as its own team, remaking games and creating new ones. That did not fly. Mumbauer left Sony by the end of 2020.

This is apparently what he has been up to.

There are quite a few PlayStation dev alums at That’s No Moon. Four of the 29 current team members alone are from Naughty Dog. More hail from PlayStation (possibly the Visual Arts Group itself), Sony Santa Monica, and Bend. Others come from Bungie and Activision.

My brain immediately went to what if PlayStation entered a second-party relationship with That’s No Moon, but that sort of seems farfetched, considering how Sony treated Mumbauer’s ambitions for the Visual Arts Group. Maybe if the check is big enough and That’s No Moon keeps creative control. Whatever their game becomes, we won’t see it for a long, long time.

Sacred Symbols+, Episode 105: The Blue Box Conspiracy – Last Stand Media

Sacred Symbols+, Episode 105: The Blue Box Conspiracy by Last Stand Media on Patreon

I throughly enjoyed the deep dive into the possible evidence about Blue Box Game Studio. It’s behind the Patreon paywall, but this episode is an absolute treat! Colin and Dustin lay out all the tidbits and connect them with thoughtful conversation. I agree that something is up with Blue Box Game Studio and PlayStation. Theoretically, we’ll find out more in the coming weeks. Either way, I think this episode is absolutely worth the price of admission.

Exploring the Legend – “Ocarina of Time has Met its Match”

For transparency, I have worked for IGN in the past as a freelance wiki guide writer.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Review by Rich George for IGN on November 11, 2011

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the greatest Zelda game ever created. It’s the best game for Wii and one of the finest video game accomplishments of the past 10 years. The game has once again raised the bar and forged new territory for an iconic and innovative franchise. It’s not enough that it finally establishes a powerful, stirring origin story or that it features near-perfect pacing. What puts Skyward Sword over the top is its layered, dense, absolutely perfect gameplay that manages to not only nail motion-controlled combat but remarkably offers a stunning level of diversity.

I never noticed before, but this review was published on the same day as Skyrim’s original release.

I think about and cite this review all the time. Comparing that to IGN’s review-in-progress of Skyward Sword HD, it is clear that thoughts on the game have cooled immensely.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD Review-In-Progress by Travis Northup for IGN

I’m 30+ hours into The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD and it’s reminded me how much I loved this game when it originally came out on the Wii a decade ago, warts and all. (Not as much as IGN’s reviewer at the time, but quite a bit). The story and characters are some of the best in the series and the side quests and weirdness of the world are fantastic. On the other hand, the dungeons (and especially the boss fights) aren’t particularly challenging or memorable for the most part, and the gimmicky Wii-era motion control mechanics are still constantly right up in your face, reminding me why those never worked well. But with so much to do and a lot to love, Skyward Sword’s journey down memory lane has kept me smiling so far.

I do find it curious that this is a review-in-progress. I understand getting a game right before embargo and needing to have something out for the all-mighty SEO gods, but also not rushing the critic to hastily score a game. 30+ hours should be enough to beat the game, but c’est la vie, I suppose.

Honestly, I don’t care for scoring games. It’s reductive. I like it when the review does the talking, not a number, especially when everything is practically 7 or higher. I actually talked about this on the Paper Mario: Color Splash episode of Chapter Select with Logan Moore and Tomas Franzese.

Look at Rich’s tagline from 2011,

Ocarina of Time has met its match.

That says way more than 10/10 did in 2011. Today, Travis’ introduction toes a very neutral line:

I loved this game when it originally came out on the Wii a decade ago, warts and all. (Not as much as IGN’s reviewer at the time, but quite a bit).

…the gimmicky Wii-era motion control mechanics are still constantly right up in your face, reminding me why those never worked well. But with so much to do and a lot to love, Skyward Sword’s journey down memory lane has kept me smiling so far.

It’s coy, probably because this is in-progress, and I respect that. I simply find it fascinating to see how the two compare and how far from the grace of Hylia that Skyward Sword seems to have fallen in the eyes of critics. it is a window to the 25th anniversary and the swirl of hype surrounding the islands of Skyloft. The mentality of critics, fans, and casual players in the waning years of the years first-party support. Were motion-controls a gimmick then and are they now? Or are they simply a more physically interactive way to play and connect with a game? All questions and conversations I love talking about.

Sony PlayStation Revisited, Japan – DF Retro

DF Retro: Sony PlayStation Revisited – Every Launch Game Tested – Part One: Japan by Digital Foundry on YouTube

It’s DF Retro’s BIGGEST episode yet – split into three parts running in consecutive weeks. John Linneman and Audi Sorlie revisit the launch of the Sony PlayStation from its origins in Japan to its eventual rollout across the globe – and in the process, assess every single launch title in all three territories, stacking them up against other versions on other systems.

This is a rich, in-depth look at the launch of the PlayStation. While I may have been alive, I was not there for the consoles launch. This is the exact coverage we’d expect today between a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, but between the PlayStation, Sega Saturn, Super Nintendo, and the arcade. Oh to go back in time for these launches.