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Overlooking Prison Island on Eryth Sea

Monolith Soft’s 2010 Japanese-role-playing-game (JRPG) Xenoblade Chronicles has one heck of a story. The acclaimed Wii game’s hundreds of hours of gameplay are loaded with twists and turns, just as the story of its publication outside Japan is a whole tale in itself.

For me personally, Xenoblade Chronicles’ journey to the west is a case study in many of the things wrong with the gaming industry, its fans, game review scores and even our society today. As for the game itself, however, it remains a stellar example of how to do everything right within a JRPG.

Earlier today we discovered that Nintendo is hiring to build new hardware with an emphasis on things like graphics and power. While this could be for their next handheld or the mysterious "Quality of Life devices," the job description and requirements seem to indicate that this is for a new home console. Wii U has been out for a little less than two years now, but sluggish sales have some gamers, developers, and industry analysts calling for them to cut its life short and hurry up with a successor. We want to hear your opinions. When should Nintendo launch a new home console? Hit the jump to join the discussion!

Yesterday I polled our audience to see if you think New Nintendo 3DS should become Nintendo's primary handheld going forward. I was happy to see a lot of diversity in the voting and in your comments, and a lot of arguments were made on all sides. While I think there are definitely some big obstacles to overcome, I believe that Nintendo should shift their focus to New Nintendo 3DS going forward, and I think there's a pretty good chance they've already started doing exactly that. Hit the jump to see why!

Super Smash Bros. is one of those games that needs some time to sink in. You can't really understand the quality of the game until you've had some time to get used to the character roster, the tempo of the new stages, the subtleties of the new item lineup, and the depth of the game's modes. Not exactly doable in the few days or so after a game launches. We're now almost two weeks in to the life of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, and even now it's probably too soon to tell how it'll hold up over time.

What I can say is this: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS is an undeniably fun game that has definitively refined many of the kinks in the core mechanics of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. But at the same time, it also somehow manages to get so much of the Smash Bros. experience exactly wrong.

One of the biggest games coming out for the Xbox One in the near future is the Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Granted, the Halo franchise is very well-known and places easily in the top five franchises in modern gaming history. But is it strange that we are more excited for games that have already been released than brand new games? 

I understand that there is some amount of nostalgia that goes into these purchases, but are developers' resources not better suited to developing new games? We can't move forward as an industry if we keep pulling games from our past. It feels as though companies remake games simply because they will inevitably sell. As a business major, I realize that companies need to make a profit. But really, the entire process just takes advantage of us as consumers by playing off of that nostalgia. 

Are re-releases and remasters a good thing for the industry? Tell us what you think inside!

As of September 16th of this year, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, commonly known as ESRB, hit its 20-year anniversary. I believe one of the best things we can do in any field, whether history, business, or gaming, is evaluating where we've been and how something has performed. What better time to evaluate the ESRB then now? Head after the jump to see how things have held up after 20 years!

Welcome to the second chapter of Secrets of Skyward Sword. This series digs deep into the game, uncovering mysteries of Zelda lore throughout Hylian history. Last time we explored the possible true identity of the Goddess of Time. This time around, we're going to be focusing on one of the beloved and mysterious races in Hyrule: the Sheikah tribe.

The Sheikah have been mentioned in multiple games, but we still know very little about them, and in most games they are treated as a dead race or a legend. Still, from the ancient tales, and from a combination of Sheikah artifacts and locales, we can get a pretty good idea of their history. Hit the jump to dig in!

Fantasy Life, a lesson in existentalism

When you pick up a book, there’s a finite number of pages before the end. When you watch a movie, there’s a limited amount of minutes before the credits roll. But when you play a video game things are different. How long the experience lasts is not strictly predetermined, there's an element of choice: your choice.

In the recent Hyrule Warriors for Wii U, to complete the main story, called “Legend Mode,” and watch the credits, the playtime is roughly a mere 10 hours. However, players who really invest in the game will tell you there are hundreds of hours to be found in “Adventure Mode.”

Similarly, the new 3DS title Fantasy Life has a plot that can be completed in roughly 20 hours, if you stick with just one of the game’s 12 jobs, called “lives.” But where’s the fun in that? Fantasy Life is a much more fulfilling game when you live a little by trying all 12 different lifestyles. The experience is fuller when you try everything on offer.

Because a friend once pointed out to me that I always have fancy quotes in my editorials.  Nikola Katardjiev

Valve’s online platform Steam has been subjected to a great deal of criticism past year, in particular because of two relatively recent additions to the system: Steam Greenlight and Early Access. The two systems have contributed to a wave of shovelware that has managed to get on Valve’s storefront, resulting in a wave of voices in the industry calling out for more quality control on the platform. Despite all this, a few weeks ago, Steam hit a major milestone —  it surpassed 100 million registered users, with 25 million accounts being created this year alone. This dwarfs even the best-selling console of this generation, the PlayStation 4, which has ‘only’ managed to sell slightly over 10 million copies since its launch last year.

This got me wondering; how did Valve manage to reach this position in the industry?

Yesterday we polled the audience to see what you think of Nintendo's choice to give Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U identical rosters. A majority of the audience voted that they were against the idea, and that the two games should have separate rosters. While I understand director Masahiro Sakurai's desire to be fair, I have to agree with the poll winner. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U should have separate rosters, and those rosters should cater to their respective platforms. The fact that this is not the case is a missed opportunity by Nintendo. Hit the jump to read on!