Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Thought to Chew: On Amiibos, From a Guy Who Owns One

Upside-down Pikachu. Starting bid: $650000
Amiibos (Amiiboes? Amiiben? Amiibo?) are something that I've never quite understood. I get the purpose and the functionality, but I don't understand the Amiibogeddon, and here's why I guess.
In case you've been living under a rock for the past two years, and I can't blame you considering the economy (HEY-O! MLG AIRHORNS), Amiibo (I'll stick with that) are essentially physical DLC: they take the form of action figures with an NFC chip which, when placed on the Wii U gamepad, unlocks a feature, such as a new costume or exclusive levels.
NOT THAT ANY OF YOU KNEW THAT BECAUSE NOBODY USES THEM. The culture is weird. Some people will say "Oh, but it's okay to keep action figures in boxes?" but herein lies The Thing: action figures are explicitly decoration and made as collectibles. Amiibo actually serve a purpose and are  manufactured as such to be used, so why not use them?
For one thing, they've become so coveted that they aren't toys anymore. "What, you can use them? F*ck that, throw that out the damn window, I waited TWO HOURS to get this god-forsaken Jigglypuff and I ain't doing jack-diddly-squat!" or whatever the hip kids say. I wouldn't know.
I mean, remember this guy? Flawed logic aside (HE WANTS NINTENDO TO STOP BUT IS LITERALLY GIVING NINTENDO A BUTTLOAD OF MONEY. JESUS CHRIST.), the whole collecting thing is surreal as heck. Suddenly, Amiibos disappear of online shelves two minutes after being released. People wait in line for hours at a store that's only given a stock of seven. An Amiibo manufactured incorrectly sells for hundreds, perhaps thousands. Furthermore, Nintendo apologizes about all of the inconveniences and insanity yet does little to remedy to situation.
So, as a kind of letter to Nintendo, I'l try to explain what to do.
To the Stores: Make a Buying Limit
This is Joe. He stockpiles all the Amiibo of a certain kind and sells them on Ebay for triple the price. Most people would refer to him as a "scalper." I refer to him as a "mistake."
YOU SEEIN' THIS?! Are you seeing the issue here?!
NOBODY SHOULD EVER use a dining room table to advertise items for sale, the lighting is terrible, the angle is poor, and the composition is asymmetrical. Oh yeah, and also THAT"S WAY TOO MANY. If you want to curb the sales of Amiibo so more people can enjoy them, limit the amount per customer before Swaggy McDouchealot prances in and takes all of them. Even though some places practice it, it needs to be completely widespread because this? This is a physical representation of sinning.

Make Adjustments to the Packaging
You know the concept of "glory holes"? What if the same was applied to Amiibo? If there was a hole in the bottom which would allow the Amiibo to be stamped onto the gamepad WITHOUT removing the packaging, people would actually be able to experience them how they're supposed to be experienced.
Amiibo Cards
A fair while back, during a Nintendo Direct in February, Iwata stated that there were plans to make "Amiibo cards" to combat the painful Amiibogeddon; while the initial idea of Smash Bros. cards is still hazy, Animal Crossing: HHA is the first to follow through with the concept. Well....
It's not working too great, at least not in Japan. The same issue arises: scalping is poison. It's a step in the right direction, but it's still not working out too great. Again, a buying limit would be useful, as would increased stock. The whole idea is that making more is cheaper and easier to distribute and that they would have less collectability than the more physical figures, but NOPE. The same issue arises. By Friday, at least we'll see how America fares with them, but I'm pretty sure it'll be ten times as bad as Japan.

There's probably more, but I'll end it as such: Amiibos are not something that Nintendo can continue to shrug about and do nothing. If they want people like me to start buying more, they have to get their act together and work towards changing their policies for the better of the majority.

Friday, September 11, 2015

INTERVIEW: ChaseFace Talks Sonic and Ironic Body Pillows

This is Chase. If you've heard of him, chances are it's through his popular "Sonic: What Happened?" Series, which has gone on to amass hundreds of thousands of views on Youtube. He's also a voice actor who's provided his voice to such as CHANGE and more recently and Wasted, a game created by Adult Swim. He also allegedly has a nice ass.
A man after my own heart.
I was lucky enough to get any interview with him, so without and further ado, here is the reason you're here:
So... Who are you?
I'm a 25-year-old geek who majored in I/O Psych in college! I'm a bit of a introvert who never went to many college parties but somehow had a lot of friends anyway, and if I didn't go into this I wanted to be a human relations manager, clinical therapist or a massage therapist while doing voiceover on the side. Otherwise I listen to a lot of electronic music and play a lot of computer games, but not so much these days since I'm trying to stay busy with work.
What video games did you play growing up, and how did they influence you?
I played whatever my parents bought us and whatever my brother/friends wanted to pick up, so I've played almost every kind of video game. I've always loved RPGs and Adventure/Platform/Action games, but I have a soft spot for Puzzle and Racing games. I'm not into RTS games, but that's about my only dislike. Otherwise, I'm big into games with good music!
What's your absolute favorite video game?
That's a tough one. I'm a really big fan of Final Fantasy 6 and 9, but Resident Evil 3 and the REmake; they're all just really near and dear to my heart. Mischief Makers and Mystical Ninja on the N64 were huge for me, and I loved Pokemon Blue and Silver growing up. I really can't choose one or even 10, but I can say that I have an enormous passion for Japanese-developed games, although I still love a lot about American made ones like Doom, Duke Nukem, and lots of other modern titles, too, but I grew up playing Japanese games with feudal themes and cool Asian mythology and it just captivated me from a really early age.
Likewise, what video game has most made you want to light a basket of puppies on fire?
The only one that immediately comes to mind is The Evil Within. It was an abomination of a game to the Survival Horror genre that just straight-up misled player expectations. For example, you could sprint for 3 seconds before your character would kneel over and try to catch his breath, but you could eventually upgrade to a maximum of, I think 10 seconds. But this protagonist was a fit, young dude, so there's no reason he should have to upgrade his stamina. Similarly, they introduced weapon sway and long reload times so you could upgrade them to normal levels, making the gun more stable and the reload time more realistic. It was decently creepy at times but I found myself understanding exactly how the game worked, which is the last thing you want to do in a horror game. Just a big squandered opportunity. I was gonna do a video on how bad it was but decided I didn't care enough, and then I lost all the footage, and I'm not playing through that whole game again, haha. They basically made the same mistake they made with Resident Evil 6, where they hype it up to be super terrifying but it ended up being really action-y with a lot of gore, and not necessarily scary gore.
Why did you decide to pick Youtube as a medium?
Mid/late 2013 was when I started buying capture cards and various video/audio cables because I knew I wanted to do something I was passionate about, and early 2014 was when I invested in a ton of external hard drives, because I'm a total digital hoarder and I don't wanna lose any of my music/sfx/footage. I was blown away by how Outlast made me feel terror in a whole new way, and I made my video on it explaining why I loved it. Then one day ProJared made a Facebook post explaining how he probably watches the same channels as us, and I decided to pitch my channel to him because, well, why not? I just said "Hey, I only made one video but I'd love to hear your feedback on it."