Games Inbox: Are you getting the Mega Drive Mini console?

The morning Inbox is upset at how difficult it is to buy new games on the high street, as one reader hopes NetherRealm don’t make Injustice 3.

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Sega do what Nintendid

It seems like Sega finally noticed the mini console bandwagon about two years after everyone else, with an official Mega Drive Mini now due for release in September 2019. So far, they’ve only announced what 10 of the 40 ‘legendary’ games it comes with will be, all of them good but none of them too surprising.

That leaves plenty of scope for some further excellent additions – I wouldn’t have too much trouble thinking up a great selection of 30 further games they could add. But what’s the betting the manage to fill 10 to 20 slots with some absolutely forgettable rubbish, leaving out loads of classics? Pretty good odds if the past mini consoles from other manufacturers are anything to go by.
Billy Bunter
PS: Is the real reason GC were off on Monday to avoid the games industry’s massively unfunny annual April Fool’s day efforts?

GC: Let’s just say it was a happy coincidence.


Cutting out the middle men

It’s really saddening to read about all the problems BioWare had making Anthem and how most of the issues were outside of the control of the regular developers. But this is the third or fourth time I’ve seen the excuse being the Frostbite engine from Battlefield, which EA forces all developers to use even though it’s really only meant for first person games. It was the problem for Mass Effect: Andromeda, it seems to have been a major problem for the Visceral game and I’m sure there was at least one other.

I’ve no idea of the technical issues but to me this is proof that a lot of this is EA’s fault and that there’s a major problem with management at these giant publishers. No wonder so many developers end up wanting to go indie, where they can be the ones in charge and avoid the terrors of middle management.

To me this is one of the unwritten benefits of a digital future, as it means that publishers are much less necessary and many developers will be able to release games directly to gamers without anyone else interfering. I’m sure I’m making that sound easier than it would be but while the idea of overpaid execs is bad enough it’s the fact that they make such stupid mistakes that really gets me.


The future is set

I accepted the fact that an all-digital future was inevitable years ago to be honest. Not only are second-hand game sales becoming more and a more a niche thing but it’s just as hard to actually find new games in some shops. Around me I couldn’t find a copy of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice when it first came out, even though it went straight to number one. If I’d wanted FIFA 19 or Call Of Duty I would’ve been fine but it almost seems like games are outnumbered by toys and accessories at my GAME. While CeX is now mostly mobile phones.

I wouldn’t necessarily say this was anyone’s ‘fault’ though just an inevitable evolution given the nature of technology today and the overall decline of the high street? Will it end up with us inevitably paying more? Merely taking the death of trade-ins into account I’d say yes but we do also get a lot for free nowadays that we didn’t used to. DLC for multiplayer games if often given away now and gaming sharing can save at least as much money as trade-ins.

The obvious problem are finite single-player games like God Of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man but they were some of the most successful games of last year so hopefully it means it’s not really a problem in stopping other types of games from being successful.


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Branching out

So are we going to assume that NetherRealm are just stuck in an endless loop of making Mortal Kombat games followed by Injustice and then back again? I do like the Injustice games for their gameplay but the grimdark approach to the DC universe feels very 2016 and I hope that whatever they do next, beat ‘em-up or not, is more in line with the more recent DC films than the awful Zack Snyder ones.

More importantly I wish NetherRealm would get a chance to do something different. Like others have said, I’m worried that Mortal Kombat 11 hasn’t got much going on other than some retro cameos and I have no idea what they could possibly do with a twelfth (!) game after that.

A scrolling beat ‘em-up inspired by Shaolin Monks would be great but even better would be something they’ve never tried before, like a role-playing game or shooter. They seem to be a really talented team, with some great facial animation, but spending decades making nothing but fighting games seems a waste to me.


Virtual mainstream

Surprised to see that VR is down so majorly on last year, as I thought it was slowly working its way up into mainstream acceptance. A bit of searching around suggests that the PlayStation VR has been doing a lot better than PC headsets, which surprises me, but then I guess it’s much more likely to find that in the sales, especially during Black Friday, so that probably helps.

Finding out that Valve are doing their own headset, no just a co-production, is surprising though, given all this. There’s two simple problems with VR and that’s the cost of the hardware and the lack of games. But I don’t think the games are an issue at all, at least not with my experience on PlayStation 4. The price is obvious a problem but you get what you pay for and I’ve been very happy with my purchase.

If the PC doesn’t have its own great games then that sounds like a failure of the people making the headsets, for either not encouraging indies or making them themselves. Valve had a few experiments when Vive first came out but since then nothing. Compare that to Sony’s much more proactive approach and I think the reasons for the successes and failures are obvious.


Nothing to ask for

It’s my 50th birthday this week. Thank you. I’ve been gaming for all my life that I can really remember. From Atari and ZX81, through the whole Commodore stuff, NES, SNES, Mega Drive, etc., etc., etc. Usually on my birthday I’ll ask for something gaming related. For example, I asked my parents for an Amiga, many years ago. My wife bought me a Switch last year. This year though is a problem. It’s not just that I’m a certain age now, it’s that there’s nothing I actually want or need.

I thought about Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, but numerous gameplay videos make me think I’d struggle. Maybe Metro Exodus, but it just seems a bit meh. This year may in fact be the first year I can remember that I get nothing video game related. I have all the consoles, a good PC, lots of time, etc. But there is literally nothing that I really neeeeeeed.

Maybe I should go retro? But recent compilations show me that the past should remain there, in the main. What I’ll probably do is save up for the next generation console that comes out first. It’s just bad timing that it won’t be anywhere near my birthday.

GC: If you’re not interested in any of the new games that have come out recently that’s pretty telling, as it’s been a good year so far.


Nightmare job

That Kotaku article on Anthem was interesting but just as interesting I think is BioWare’s response to it, which they published before it went live (so presumably they hadn’t read it at the time). It’s a really bitter-sounding read, very defensive and angry and I’m not really sure why they made it public.

More importantly it kind of implies they aren’t going to do anything about the working conditions and resent anyone bringing them up as a problem – just like Rockstar with Red Dead Redemption II. I used to think making games would be a great job but the more I find out about the truth of it is seems pretty hellish.


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Survey addiction

I’m a lifelong gamer (and long-time reader, going back to Digitiser) doing a college research project on video gaming addiction. The World Health Organisation classified it as a distinct behavioural addiction last year, but there are very few studies, statistics, or research available to support their decision.

The survey is just to get a general feel if anyone has felt gaming has impacted their life beyond their expectations. It is completely anonymous and open to anyone. If any Inboxers had two minutes to complete it, it would be a huge help.

My PSN ID is DENISDMENACE666 if anyone wants to use me as cannon fodder on Red Dead Online when I’m not working on this project….


Inbox also-rans

If Master Chief makes it into Super Smash Bros., as even the official Halo account is hinting now, I think my entire grip on gaming reality would break. Make it so!

Am I the only one a bit bemused with all this anger about the Epic Games store? They always seem like games you’d never play on a PC anyway. Or am I the only one without three mates with top-end PCs to play a dumb shooter like Borderlands with?


This week’s Hot Topic

The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Crinkles, who asks what is your favourite ever video game cut scene?

Whether it’s pre-rendered or something using in-game graphics what’s the most impressed you’ve been in terms of a video game cinematic (including intros)? And were you primarily impressed by the visuals and presentation or the storytelling, or both?

How important do you think cut scenes are to a video game and do you have a limit on what you think is too long or too frequent (or too short?). What game gets the balance just right and what are some of the worst examples?

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The small print
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