By Miguel Acuña
The age of geek culture is upon us. Doctor Who, D&D, and comics are the mainstream now. So much so that you’re the black sheep if you don’t know what Comic Con is. As companies have come to realize the profitability behind our buying power and the lengths we’ll go to in order to get merch, we have both benefited and have been persecuted for our fandoms. About a week and change back, gamers across different genres were hurt badly. We had our last glimmer of hope crushed by Bioware, an extremely disappointing final roster for Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite, and were completely and utterly screwed by Nintendo.
On August 19th, Bioware released an official statement confirming “there are no planned future patches for single-player or in game story content.” All of the remaining people at Bioware will solely focus on multiplayer, which was not that great, to begin with. This was a huge stab in the heart of fans, who like me, were still hoping *SPOILER* for a more in depth conclusion about the Quarian Ark or perhaps more details about the mysterious Benefactor. Instead, we were given an unfinished game which did not live up to any expectations and minor fixes which ultimately didn’t fix anything. The graphical oversights were annoying and unacceptable for a PS4 title with a major company behind them, but they were nowhere as bad as the issues I had with the storyline and plot. Despite all of this, hope remained. By listening to fans and working hard to fix the numerous bugs, ME: Andromeda could have redeemed itself with story driven DLC for the main campaign and given its faithful fans a better send off. Instead, we’re told the dream is dead..for now. If Bioware decides to revive Mass Effect as a franchise, it’ll certainly be a long time from now as the focus has now shifted into (hopefully) making sure history doesn’t repeat itself with the new IP, Anthem.
Everyone at Pixelated Rampage is a huge fan of fighting games. Whether it’s Tekken, Street Fighter, or Mortal Kombat, all of us here support almost all fighting games and the fighting game community. Unfortunately, that love is not shared with the publishers of said games. Between in-game micro transactions, unfinished games rushed out to meet deadlines, or paid DLC for major components for a full experience; if you love fighting games, you will never pay “just” the price of the game. Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 came out in 2000, and while extremely broken, it is a sacred game for many fans. MVC 3 came out February 2011. In 11 years, the developers had time to perfect character balancing, introduce new characters, add game modes, provide a decent storyline and throw in some extras. Less than a year later (November 2011), we were given Ultimate MVC3. It included a few more characters and more balanced gameplay. This was another slap in the face of fans who thought that the first MVC3 would be a completed game and would last at LEAST a full year. As opposed to DLC, they made a whole new game with a full game price tag. Now, we approach MVC: Infinite. The gameplay does look interesting, but the main point which brings fans back is the roster of who will return, and more importantly, who is new? The roster at launch consists of 30 characters, of which, only 6 are new. That is a generous 6 because Thanos has been in an MVC game before, but he has received an overhaul, so he’ll count as new. This means we are getting an initial roster that is 80% reused characters for a “new” game.
To make matters worse, some of the most anticipated characters and additional new characters are paid DLC. This includes confirmed characters such as Black Panther and Sigma, as well as rumored characters like a Monster Hunter character, Winter Soldier, and my beloved, Venom. This is one of the ultimate acts of someone giving you a gift of something that is already yours and then making you pay for something you actually want. Another case of why I’m waiting for the “Super-Mega-Ultra-Final” edition of the game.
Nintendo and I go back just about 30 years. However, despite Nintendo hurting me many times in the past, my faith in Mario always brings me back. One of the biggest insults to fans was last year when Nintendo released the NES classic. High demand and nostalgic excitement were met with abhorrent low supply and subsequent sickening acts of scalping. Earlier this year, the NES classic was confirmed to be officially be discontinued. As fans wiped away their tears, we were “promised” that Nintendo would work on a SNES classic and they would not repeat their mistakes. They stated they would make sure to increase the production number significantly and have a better release schedule/system so that fans will have a fair opportunity to purchase one. This was complete and utter crap. On August 22nd, at 3 AM, pre-orders went live on Amazon & Best Buy. No previous notice was given to anyone. Many (including myself) had signed up for multiple alerts to know when the SNES pre-orders would go live, and yet, nothing was communicated. By the time I was up and realized what had happened, Wal-Mart and Target pre-orders had also gone live and were sold out within 5 MINUTES! Gamestop was the worst culprit. Their pre-orders went live as well without telling one, but as soon as it was known, it was immediately sold out. Gamestop then stated that you could go to the physical stores and pre-order a SNES in person, they did NOT state that they were allowing around 2 – 5 pre-orders per store. Obviously, this was also done and sold out within minutes. The Gamestop site and app crashed shortly after and when they returned, they began offering “bundles” where you could pre-order a SNES classic, given that you were willing to also purchase $200 – $400 worth of other things you don’t want and could not return. I’ve seen bankrupt governments that have been managed better by dictators compared to how this “release” was handled by Nintendo. Fans were robbed again of buying something that recalls to a much happier time and new fans never had a chance to enjoy the roots of today’s modern games.
The new standard practice for many companies is to focus on profit and deadlines, as opposed to putting in the time, effort and consideration of what fans actually want. This is the difference between a game that is hyped for a couple of weeks and eventually fades to the bargain bin and a game that withstands time and becomes a classic. In my heart, I will always love MVC 2, Mass Effect 2, and Super Mario World. But when we are given games and products that are meant to prey on our love for these franchises, it just makes you want to give up altogether. We just need to keep hoping that down the line, things will get better.