Usually I keep put a bunch of news in the Humpday Bump, but seeing as there wasn’t one this week I figured the next best place was in an end of the week rundown. This was kind of a sad week in gaming, especially if you grew up testing codes and secrets found in your latest copy of Nintendo Power. Nintendo confirmed the rumors this week, saying that last US issue of the iconic gaming magazine will be release this December. It’s no surprise really, once the internet began appearing in homes across the country it wasn’t long before all of those hard to find secrets became available to everyone. Still, it’s sad to see it go.
I’m sure everyone who was a child in the 80s or 90s could thank Nintendo Power for helping them through a game or two. It helped me get through the grueling final bosses of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. This week I read a piece on Venture Beat that reminded me not of the secrets and passwords, but of the other gaming news that an eight year old would be willing to read. I didn’t really like reading as a kid, but I had no problem spending a few hours reading Nintendo Power from cover to cover. It gave me, and others, a glimpse of the gaming world I didn’t really know existed, like a trip through Wonka’s chocolate factory. Who could forget all of those posters as well?
TF2’s co-op horde mode has been around for about a week, and Eurogamer has a really robust rundown of the entire experience. It’s hard to believe that TF2 is five years old and still capable of bringing something new to the table. I don’t remember the last time a five year old game added content as engaging as this, but I guess this is what happens when a game is free-to-play, requiring a constant stream of new content. If you own the game but haven’t tried it, I highly suggest you hit that update button immediately.
Is the subscription MMO model on the verge of extinction? Kotaku ran with a piece this week that outlines why this monetization model is on its way out, and I completely agree. I know, I know, the second anyone mentions something like this someone comes out of the woodwork to remind all of us that WoW is still really popular and still utilizes this model. But they’re the exception, they always have been. Just look at SWTOR, the vastly expensive competitor that all but flopped this year if you disagree. WoW might be able to hold on for a few more years, but it doesn’t look like anyone has or is going to be able to pull it off again.
Speaking of free-to-play, Xbox live is getting their first true blue F2P game called Happy Wars which is, according to Joystiq, “an adorable multiplayer action combat game.” Normally I wouldn’t bother with a game called Happy Wars, but since it’s free-to-play I might give it a go. What’s the worst that could happen? Besides losing a few minutes of my time, nothing really. That’s why free-to-play is good for games and gaming, it puts the majority of the risk on the developer, welcoming anyone who wants to give it a shot. If the game is good, you’ve got yourself a hit; if it isn’t then you just don’t have to play it. Either way, it’s better than spending $60 on a game you end up hating in twenty minutes.
Taking up the anchor tonight is a really great piece from Rock Paper Shotgun about Dota 2. The game has been in its beta phase for a few months now, but this has been the first piece I’ve read that explains well the reasons it’s going to be successful. The game might not be for everyone, it still has a pretty rough learning curve, but it can be one of the most fun and engaging experiences on the PC, and it’s still just a beta. If we’ve learned anything about Valve over the past few years it’s that they have a knack for keeping things interesting, years after a game has been released. I can’t wait for part 2 of this piece.