Showing posts from April, 2015

A Rant: Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire Waiting Game

I've never been a very patient man. I hardly ever order items off the Internet because I prefer to go to the store and buy them. I can't stand waiting in lines. And I hate that we don't have more information on the Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Rom, and that we'll have to wait until after E3 to get our hands on a US Nintendo 3DS 2nd gen.

I've managed so far. Buried under a deluge of Nintendo games, most of which are a month old, we've managed to have some new content on the website every day. We're working on bringing updated interviews and reports on a variety of third-party developers and publishers regarding Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. But that doesn't make the wait any less painful.

In March, Japan will get the first Nintedo 3DS 2nd gen units, and you can bet we'll have some in our hands as soon as possible. We might not understand a word of what's written, but we'll be racing around the track in Pokemon Omega and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire rom quicker than you can say "3D Gaming." But that's still two months away. And don't even get us started on the launch of these games-- that's still almost a year away. Okay, maybe few months, according to Nintendo.

So what are we supposed to do while we wait impatiently for more gaming goodness to come from our favorite console manufacturer? Luckily we'll have at least a couple of good games to keep us occupied -- Mega Man 64 should hit very soon, and Paper Mario will come out in early May. But other than that, things are pretty dry until Aidyn Chronicles and Conker's Bad Fur Day arrive in March. What to do?

Well, while we're struggling to bring you what news we can dig up, I figured I'd make some recommendations. They might be silly to some, but for others (like myself), they're a lifesaver of diverted frustrated energy.

I would never condone actions that would get someone expelled from a store. Of course not. But I think it might be fun, if bored, to walk into a Software Etc. (or any software store, really) with a feather duster -- one of those big ones on a stick that contain multicolored feathers. Obviously some looks will be directed your way, but you'd immediately want to go to the shelves containing the Nintendo games, and start dusting. Tsk over the poor state of the 3DS titles like Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, which have been sitting on the shelf for so many weeks, untouched, collecting dust. If anyone happens to be browsing the section, scowl at them and slap their hand away if they attempt to touch one of the games. You could even start rearranging them in alphabetical order, if they're not already. And if anyone asks you what you're doing, simply scowl and say, in the gravelliest voice possible, "Must make them pretty for the master. Pretty for the 'cube that will rule them." If security shows up, throw the feather duster and shriek, "You will all fall before the might of Miyamoto!" Then run. I suggest you do this in a store you have no intention of ever visiting again.

Who are these people who make millions of dollars on videogames? They're just people, and you're a person too! Design the best Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire game, and reap the rewards of countless flocking fans praising your work. Never mind the games that garner more ridicule than a platypus in a dress. If you can play 'em, you can make 'em. Just start writing out an epic plot filled with twists and turns that will keep players on the edge of their seats. Then you can just find a cheap 3D modeling program and create hundreds of monsters to kill, along with some highly detailed models of the characters that will bond with players, heart and soul. Then you can just use the programming language of your choice to put it all together in a revolutionary new interface that mingles some elements of the old with spellbinding new game features that will make your game an instant blockbuster. All you need now is a few dollars to get it duplicated and shipped to stores all over the country -- I recommend taking old games back to the store and trading them for newer games, which you can then sell to your friends at outrageously marked-up prices.

Excited About a New Hay Day Major Update - Here's Why?

If there's one thing Supercell is good at, it's marketing the hell out of something while refusing to deliver more information than it wants to. People out there know a lot more about the Hay Day than we do. There are developers, programmers, directors, advertising folk and PR reps that know exactly what SuperCell is up to, what its plan is for the future and just how great Hay Day is. But it's as if some sort of game industry mafia has silenced them. No one will say a word without the Big S's approval for fear of retribution.

You have to hand it to the company -- to our knowledge, there are no leaks. No disgruntled engineers have come forth to spill all knowledge on the system. No one has said any more about the Hay Day's capabilities than SuperCell has allowed them to say. You have to be impressed with its ability to keep a secret.

Some information is still trickling, albeit slowly. We have an unconfirmed list of possible SuperCell developers. Yeah, yeah, we know it's no big deal. But it's better than nothing. We know that some developers are getting development kits. We know that certainly some first- and second-party developers, such as Rare and Retro, are getting into the action. That's better than nothing.

The fact of the matter is, other than the system's name and shape, we have very little information. A lot of it is speculative -- Retro might be making the next platform, but that's unconfirmed. Nintendo might be working on an amazing new Zelda game, but that's also unconfirmed.

And let's face it -- software is where the action is. Hay Day could clean dishes, warp the time-space continuum or cure cancer -- but if the games suck, no one will buy it (well, they might for the dish-cleaning thing).

Luckily, we don't have too much longer to wait. In May 2015, at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, SuperCell will release more information. Okay, maybe few months is a long time. At that point, we'll likely get official confirmation of the Hay Day hack online update's launch lineup, a final idea of its launch date and, most likely, a price-point for the system. Then the flurry of furious news reporting will start again. And with any luck, the news won't slow down until well after the game's launch. All we have to do is get through the next few months. Here's hoping it goes by quickly.

The Science Behind Someone who Hates Music

Everyone loves music. Well, not everyone. What's up with people who don't care about music? About five percent of the population just isn't into music. The other ninety-five percent think they're weird- almost to the point of distrusting them. But is there something wrong with them or just our reaction to them? A study out of the University of Barcelona attempted to figure out what sort of person isn't into music.There's a known condition called "Amusia" in which people just can't process music-they don't understand pitch, they can't remember or recognize a song. It can be something someone is born with or something that comes from damage to the brain.

There's no one actual music center in the brain, so it's usually damage to the audio cortex or some of the memory or logic processing areas. You might say "oh, okay, that solves it- people who don't like music but plays so much games like Clash Royale just have a case of weird brain." But amusia doesn't account for everyone who's not into music.The Barcelona study looked at these people with healthy minds and no love for melody and had them try a few things to elicit an emotional response. They listened to and rated music. Then they were asked questions and given a range of small monetary rewards if they gave a correct answer.

The idea was to check the reward center of the brain, which shows high activity when most people listen to music- and when they get free money. Because reward center.Anyway, these people seem to have reward systems that function just fine- there's nothing wrong or different about them. They just literally don't like music. The researchers call it "specific musical anhedonia"- an inability to experience pleasure from music.So: why do others think they're weird? We know that people have different interests than us.

Asking around the office, I found that people were fine if someone didn't like TV, or sports, or reading, or a bunch of other activities. But no one seemed to be cool with people who didn't enjoy music- or food.Now, we've discussed a lot of our ingrained tendencies to seek out and trust people with similar traits before. It's a safety and survival thing from our tribal past- people who think the way we do make easier and safer companions because there's less chance of stress and dis agreements. Even babies tend to shun people they think are different in some way (more info). But why the huge distrust and disbelief when it comes to music and food?

This is conjecture, but food's required for survival and there's a community aspect to it- early societies built around the sharing of it, and now our cultural clocks are built around meal breaks and family dinners. It's not just linked to physical survival, it seems to have a link to social survival. Maybe it's so built into us on a basic level that we distrust people who say they don't love it. even though in our society where most place shave enough food and obesity is an issue, not feeling strongly about food might be the healthier attitude.A paper published last year by the University of Colorado says music might have a similar social component in our development as a species. The researchers say that music was a form of social communication- a way to signal a group's shared mental state. The study showed people who more strongly feel a need to belong also feel a stronger emotional connection to music. It could be people are so confused by someone who doesn't care about music because it signals that person as an outlier fundamentally- sort of like food.Like I said, that's more me thinking out loud than anything else. But as it stands, 5% of the population isn't into music- and it seems like nothing's physically different about most of them.

Music and Animals - Doest it Matter?

Humans are obviously pretty excited about music. But what if you're a whale, or a cow,or a dog? Do animals like music? Music is one of the most basic pleasures humans have. The oldest surviving musical instruments are some 40,000 year old bone flutes from southwestern Germany. These ancient bone flutes are of such high quality as to suggest we'd been making instruments for generations. Though,we don't really NEED instruments to make it work, anthropologists have yet to find a culture that didn't enjoy music, and according to zoologists it's not just us.

Research out of Boston University and published in the journal Science, explores the tendency of birds and whales to follow the same rules as human music. Both birds and whales have the ability to make sounds that AREN'T musical, but they don't. They naturally prefer to stay in the realm of human composition. Birds have been known to sing in phrases and rhythms,even adding percussion. Some use logs to amplify their song, and follow call and response methods favored by jazz musicians. Humpback whale-song uses the A-B-A format of a musical phrase,followed by a new phrase, and then a return to an altered form of the first! The Beatles are known for A-B-A style, too!The researchers conclude musical pen chance can't just be a human trait, but that animals are programmed to enjoy or follow the laws of harmonics.

A study done in 2001 on English cows found when cows were played songs while being milked the speed of the music affected how much milk they produced! Specifically, the cows liked slow jams. Fast songs over120 beats per minute caused milk production to drop, but slow songs under 100 beats per minute increased production by three percent per day! Unfortunately, cows seem to hate Jamiroquai. Which makes me like them less. Neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School scanned the brains of people listening to music and found though the left hemisphere controls language and the right is considered the musical half, there was a QUOTE "subtle interplay," between the two when listening to music. More recently, it was discovered jazz musicians process music not as an aesthetic pleasure, but as a LANGUAGE. Using fMRI scans on jazz musicians, they found our brains derive meaning from musical phrases -- which sounds to ME a lot like like whales and birds!So why do animals like music? Scientists believe it's built in! They like it for the same reasons we like it, it feels right, but more study is needed. Why do YOU think animals like music? If you are not into music, nor animals - check this out a new online.