Siege Breakers Sessions #3: How PC Gaming got its Groove Back

OG HQ Command Center

This week on Siege Breakers Sessions we began with PC building season as Deep Poke and new to the show, Rizim are both in the middle of building new gaming systems. It seems as if this has kept both of them from purchasing Holiday gifts, but it did take us into our first discussion about the resurgence of PC gaming and how PC gaming companies in the U.S. and the U.K. are seeing more people purchase high end gaming systems.

This lead us into talk about the PC gaming market and if perhaps MOBA’s and games like World of Warships helped to boost PC sales. A lot of us played World of Tanks and now World of Warships especially Rizim so it was good to have him on to talk about what’s been going on in the game.

Speaking of MOBA’s we discussed an article saying there really is no such thing as MMR hell where the ranking system in games such as DOTA 2, League of Legends and Heroes of Storm causes good players to end up stuck with bad players. The point of the article was that communications is the key because the win/loss record balances out anyway.

Towards the end it got kind of crazy. We were headed towards a discussion about games you play in the bathroom like Nintendo 3DS games or even old Gameboy or mobile games, but it somehow ended up becoming a story about embarrassing bowel movements. We learned J.A. takes his shirt off in the bathroom and Deep Poke goes even further. We had to break that madness by talking about the recently discovered official lyrics for the original Mario Bros game. We played a little of it which was so Japanese, but still great.

So check out this episode via the links or listen here or even download for later and let us know what you think.

Warning: The Siege Breakers Sessions Podcast is NSFW and and contains adult language, seriously if you get easily offended stay out.

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New Super Mario Bros. Wii

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New Super Mario Bros. Wii

 The original New Super Mario Bros. on DS was a good platformer and a great revival of the classic 2D games. Though it was too easy, a little bland, and there was a lot they could have improved upon. I was surprised to see the first sequel appear on Wii instead of the DS (or the eventual 3DS), but I thought it would be about the same quality as the first. I was thankfully wrong about that.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii - Gameplay screenshot -
Don’t get me wrong, I did like the first game but I loved New Super Bros. Wii. It had such a variety of levels, proved to be a challenge in the later levels (though not terribly difficult), and had levels almost as fun as Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World. I have yet to play either the 3DS or WiiU sequel, but I will.

Skylanders: Giants

Skylanders-Giants

Whoever came up with the concept for Skylanders is a marketing genius.  The recipe is so pitch perfect it’s hard to believe it took this long for someone to execute:  Take the elemental centered and “gotta buy them all” appeal of Pokemon, mix it with the addictive RPG leveling and character progression that almost every game utilizes today, and then pair it up with a plethora of collectable figures that you can transport both between and across consoles.  The results are a franchise that has already grossed upwards of 500 million dollars between two releases with zero signs of slowing down.  But is the game any good or just a flagrant cash grab aimed specifically at children?

Skylanders-Giants

Actually it isn’t half bad.  I spent the majority of this past Saturday playing this with my nephew Jacob (he’s 8) and really enjoyed myself.  The game is akin to many dungeon crawlers like Diablo and Baldur’s Gate except it takes place in the uber-colorful and child friendly world of Skylands.   The interface is very simple and easy to understand; almost anybody could pick it up and play with little instruction.  Character leveling is extremely balanced and it has the familiar “just one more level” appeal as you constantly unlock better powers and upgrades for each of your individual Skylanders.   Jacob spent the better part of our lengthy session saving up hard fought treasure for a battle-axe made entirely out of bees for his favorite giant Swarm, and his joy upon finally earning the weapon was completely palpable.

Skylanders-Giants

Each Skylander represents one of eight different “elements” like fire, wind, technology, or undead.  The levels are divided with multiple gates and hidden areas that can only be accessed by certain elements, meaning in order to fully unlock everything the game has to offer you must own at least one character from every element.  If you are defeated, the only way to continue the level is by swapping out figures on the fly, making the game near impossible with only the starter set, but very manageable with a stable of Skylanders figures at your disposal.  (Defeated characters can be used again on the next level but not before)  The aforementioned starter set only comes with three characters, the game disc, and the necessary Portal of Power; so more characters must be purchased (Hey Mom!) in order to fully experience and enjoy what the game has to offer.  Some Skylanders are also much rarer than others (especially some of the newer Giants) making collecting these things highly addictive.  Again, sheer marketing brilliance.

Skylanders-Giants

Skylanders: Giants is also compatible with all of the toys released for the original game, and the level cap is increased from 10 to 15 for all of your previously purchased characters.  There are also new Series 2 versions of the original Skylanders that have more effective powers and different poses than their original counterparts, a very wise move by the developers to keep fans of the original excited about the sequel.   I’d be absolutely shocked if a third game wasn’t released this holiday season, right now the game has legs, something that Activision is notorious for exploiting on a yearly basis with all of their other major franchises.

Skylanders-Giants

It is also interesting to mention that the first game was titled Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure, featuring popular gaming icon Spyro the Dragon who has appeared in almost twenty other titles.  Spyro never speaks in either game however, and doesn’t give you any sort of advantage over any of the other characters.  It almost seems like the developers were hedging their bets to get the game off the ground with a mascot familiar to the intended demographic.

If you are looking to enjoy some gaming with one of the younger people in your life you could a lot worse than Skylanders: Giants.   The title is certainly geared towards children but contains many of the familiar trappings of an addictive video adventure; I certainly didn’t grow bored playing it as I have with many other games.  Just plan to shell out a lot more than the initial seventy-dollar investment if you want to see everything in the game or actually get through it successfully at all.

A look back at the Coleco Mini-Arcades

Coleco Mini-Arcades - Frogger

Long before the Nintendo 3DS and Sony PSVita were even thought possible and even before Nintendo made theGameBoy a household name a company named Coleco echoed through the ears of video gamers who wanted to take gaming everywhere they wanted to go.

Coleco Mini-Arcades - Donkey Kong

The early 80’s video game boom saw gaming literally appear everywhere.  Arcade games appeared in every type of public business you could think of while consoles that hooked up to home television sets brought blocky gaming experiences home.

Coleco Mini-Arcades - Galaxian

Capitalizing on this trend combined with the popularity of handheld electronic games such as Mattel’s Football, Coleco began licensing and producing small “tabletop” video games based on some of the most popular games of the day.

Coleco Mini-Arcades - Zaxxon

Despite Atari holding the licenses for home console versions of Pac-Man and Galaxian, Coleco was able to get the rights to produce the Mini-Arcade versions, both of which became top sellers.  A literal parade of hits followed with the addition of FroggerDonkey Kong and Ms. Pac-Man.  A version of Nintendo’s Game and Watch Donkey Kong Junior and a version of Zaxxon rounded out the Coleco line before the mid-80’s industry crash.

Coleco Mini-Arcades - Pac-Man

Rather than make traditional handheld games the Coleco Mini-Arcade games attempted to duplicate the look of the arcade hits right down to the cabinet artwork.  A series of commercials featuring a character named “Mr. Arcade” shrinking full size arcade games down into the Mini-Arcade games drove the point home.  The result was a fun arcade feel that didn’t exist in any home console versions of arcade hits at the time.

Coleco Mini-Arcades - Donkey Kong Jr

The Coleco games are popular collector’s items today.  Some of the later releases saw smaller production numbers and even the more popular releases are difficult to find in good condition after being played to death in their heyday.

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Take a look at the slideshow and video to the left to see more about the Coleco Mini-Arcades as either a trip down memory lane or, for younger gamers, a good gaming history lesson.

Patrick Scott Patterson has been a gamer since 1981, acting as a writer, technician and world record holder on several game titles. He has appeared numerous times in the yearly editions of Guinness World Records: Gamer’s Edition. In addition to writing here, Patterson has also written for Yahoo!, Twin Galaxies, VGEVO and Gameroom Magazine, and is always looking for unique and positive news to report from the video gaming world.

Gargoyle’s Quest now available from Nintendo eShop

Gargoyle's Quest

Gargoyle’s Quest can be downloaded from the Nintendo eShop on the Nintendo 3DS system for $3.99.

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Originally released in 1990 for the Nintendo Game Boy system, the arcade action platformer stars Firebrand, the gargoyle from Ghosts ‘n Goblins who can also be seen in the upcoming Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 fighting game. As Firebrand, players must traverse the Ghoul Realm, building up their powers and abilities in order to protect the land against evil King Breager.

Resident Evil: Revelations – Teaser Trailer

Resident Evil Revelations
Resident Evil Revelations

Resident Evil Revelations is an original look inside the RE world taking place between RE4 and RE5. Revelations allows you to experience the events after the counter-terrorism group called the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance or BSAA for short, was joined by new team members Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine.

The trailer gives you a few shots of Chris and Jill in various places including a huge ship and another mansion. RER promises to return the game to its survival horror and puzzle solving roots. The game will use the MT Framework engine used in RE5 and will be released for the Nintendo 3DS.