18
Jan
2013
TOP OF THE FLAGPOLE
Quick Hits on the Gaming Industry
Jhaan
Welcome to Top of the Flagpole, where we give you a view from gaming's highest podium on the biggest news to hit the gaming industry. This segment will feature quick hits on the trending stories of the gaming nation. Top of the Flagpole segments will occur weekly or bi-weekly depending on how crazy the week is for games. Warning: terrible videogame jokes up straight ahead.

Sony Still Doesn't Know Their Audience

Sony revealed that their controller for their upcoming next-gen console is not going to follow the iconic Dual-Shock design. The new controller is apparently going through several iterations in an attempt to incorporate touch screens, motion capture, and biometric scanning, because apparently, your Playstation 4 doubles as a fucking bomb. Fans are irate, since leaked design images show a controller with a rather boomerang-esque shape that looks uncomfortable and jarring. What upsets me more than the comfort, though, is how yet again, one of the 3 head honcho gaming companies is not correctly playing to their audiences. Gimmicks in controls are more Nintendo's thing, and if Sony wants their new system to sell through the roof, they're going to have to make a controller that hardcore gamers won't mind holding for a long time.

Did They Already Run Out of Colors?

Pokemon Company International recently released a trailer for the next generation of Pokemon handheld games: Pokemon X & Pokemon Y. The game takes place in the real world (the Eiffel Tower's in the trailer!), and "X" and "Y" actually represent the two legendary Pokemon found in their respective games, as their bodies resemble the letters. However, perhaps the biggest factor of the upcoming game is the entirely 3D rendered environments and battle sequences. Gone is the isometric camera angle, which is now replaced by a dynamic over-the-shoulder one of our main trainer, with battles following suite and incorporating full animations for moves. PCI claims to be making the changes to "take full advantage of the Nintendo 3DS's capabilities", but more wily fans recognize these changes as PCI's tests to determine the plausibility of a Pokemon MMO.

TVii is"¦Actually Awesome

The WiiU's flatscreen controller comes with so much potential in terms of utility, something majorly exemplified in its new TVii feature. Rather than taking the route Sony and Microsoft did with its own consoles and creating a whole new television and movie rental service, Nintendo is trying to make sure that the WiiU is capable of interacting with all the services you already subscribe to. Thus, TVii makes your controller into a master remote for your T.V., where you can change volume, surf channels, and compartmentalize all your favorite shows. It also provides suggestions for shows you should watch based on viewing habits, and primes your T.V. to warn you when that show's about to come on. What truly makes this amazing though is that now, all your favorite things to watch are organized, maximizing the chance for channel surfing success as you browse through content, instead of just provider.

Will the Running Ever End?!

You know how nothing is going to get accomplished in America the day Season 4 of Arrested Development releases on Netflix? Well prepare for a miniaturized version of that doomsday with the recent release of mobile phone's Temple Run 2. The game, whose predecessor was the number 2 most downloaded gaming app of all time (right behind Angry Birds), boasts better control, improved graphics, more varied environments, and a scarier monkey beast thing that chases you. Add to the collection mine cart and zip line sequences and I'm pretty sure we've got an End-of-the-World scenario right here. At least until the world actually ends this May. Thanks, Mitchell Hurwitz.

Giving Their Best College Student Impersonation

The Writer's Guild recently announced the Video Game nominees for this year in Outstanding Writing within a video game, and after scanning the list, it's pretty obvious that some gaming companies"¦well, may have forgotten that this award exists. To be considered for the award, companies have to submit their game scripts before deadline, which is the only caveat that makes exclusions like Mass Effect 3, Borderlands 2, Far Cry 3, and The Walking Dead make any sense. The list of nominees isn't bad, it's just"¦severely lacking. And if there is a God, the award will go to Epic Mickey 2 based solely on creativity. (Nominees: 007 Legends, Assassin's Creed III, Disney's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, Halo 4, Uncharted)

That's all for this edition of Top of the Flagpole. Be sure to check out these games in the coming weeks:

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - January 22
Fire Emblem: Awakening - February 4
Dead Space 3 - February 5
Crysis 3 - February 19
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance - February 19
Rayman Legends - February 26
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