Why I’m Boycotting the Sochi Olympics

sochi-olympic-boycott-headerThere was seldom a moment during the London Olympics that I was tuned away from live broadcasts, especially during handball. I was one of the two-thirds of Canadians who watched Sidney Crosby end the Vancouver Olympics with an overtime goal to win the men’s hockey gold medal.

This time, I won’t be watching. I don’t care if Patrick Chan sets another world record in figure skating or Canada plays Russia for the gold medal in a game that goes to overtime. I won’t be watching my Winter X-Games favourites, slopestyle and halfpipe, or the curlers from my hometown battle for gold.

While the Olympics are supposed to be about coming together, the spirit of unity, and a celebration of sport and national pride, none of that is on display in Sochi. The Russian government, Sochi Olympic organizing committee and the International Olympic Committee have created an Olympic games that does none of that and I want no part of these Olympics.

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7 Best Games of the 7th Generation: The Honourable Mentions

Having given you my list of the seven best games of the last generation of consoles, I thought that I should give you a brief look at some of the games that were on the shortlist but didn’t quite make the cut.

Over the course of eight years and thousands of games, cutting a list of the best of the best down to only seven game leaves many deserving games on the sidelines. So to close out our series looking at the best games of the last generation of consoles, here’s a look at some of the games that were under serious consideration for the list.

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7 Best Games of the 7th Generation: Super Mario Galaxy

super-mario-galaxy-headerThere are few series in gaming that are as iconic and as loved as Nintendo’s Super Mario series. Despite the fact that Mario has been around for over 30 years, Nintendo has this way of reinventing Mario and the Super Mario series with each new console generation. The result is games that bring new gamers into Nintendo and Mario while still giving fans who have played Mario games for their whole lives something to love.

For the industry shaking Wii console, Nintendo took Mario to the one place he’d never been before: The final frontier. Not only did Mario’s first adventure in outer space prove to be a smash hit, at release, it was considered one of the best Wii and platformer games of all-time.

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Remember Me Review: The Memory Remains

remember-me-headerA while back, I wrote a column lamenting the loss of new intellectual properties coming from the big publishers. One of the few new multi-platform IPs that is coming out this year is Capcom’s Remember Me. It had an interesting premise and the rare not hypersexualized female protagonist leading the game. For the first few hours, Remember Me was certainly worth my past consideration as a new IP to wake up the industry.

However, the experience doesn’t hold up over time. While there are parts of the game that are very memorable, it’s certainly not the unforgettable rookie developer Dontnod were hoping for.

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Microsoft Has Lost the Console War Before It Started

xbox-one-logo-bannerThe Microsoft keynote event at E3 is about to begin and it doesn’t really matter. Over the last few weeks, Microsoft has repeatedly shot itself in the foot when promoting their upcoming Xbox One. They think that they can do no wrong with their next-gen console but the reality is that the can do nothing right.

Microsoft is walking into E3 thinking that they’re Justin Bieber, they’re on top of the world and full of swagger. They are Justin Bieber but everyone sees them as Justin Bieber, self-important douche, with a bit of Amanda Bynes’ delusional separation from reality.

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Console Wars: The Xbox One’s Failure to Launch is a Marketing Failure

playstation-4-vs-xbox-one-controllersHaving had a few days to digest the two very different launch events for Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, I’ve come to a realization. As much as people don’t seem to like the Xbox launch, it wasn’t a failure in and of itself. In fact, I believe that Microsoft successfully accomplished what it set out to do.

The Xbox One and PlayStation Four both play video games. However, if you were to watch the two launch events, I’d understand if you were a little confused by that statement. While the PlayStation 4’s launch emphasised how it plays games and how it augments that with the social networking and sharing features, the Xbox spent comparatively little time talking about the games.

The difference in the launches was an example of how the console manufacturers are positioning their next-gen consoles in the market.

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Microsoft Launches the Xbox One; Here’s What We Know

xbox-one-console-and-logoMicrosoft didn’t hide that yesterday’s big announcement would be for the next-gen Xbox but they sure did manage to surprise with that name. The third-generation Xbox console is the Xbox One whose name represents that it’s an all-in-one system for the living room.

It was that all-in-one nature of the Xbox One that formed the majority of Microsoft’s presentation. Unfortunately, that emphasis on the all-in-one Xbox came at what was essentially the de-emphasis of games as the core of the Xbox One.
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What to Expect From Today’s Xbox Announcement

xbox-720-logo-conceptWe’re just a short few hours from the big next-generation Xbox console. I’d like to say that it’s going to be the Xbox 720 but we really don’t know what it will be called yet. Heck, two weeks ago, we were all convinced that it would be called the Xbox Infinity before we found out that the name and logo was a hoax.

Before we all gather ’round to watch Microsoft’s big show, we take a look at the news and rumours about the final next-gen console to be revealed.

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I’m Tired of Reboots, Remakes and Reimaginings: The Onset of Gamer Fatigue

generic-modern-military-shooter-coverI think I’ve finally snapped. I checked the gaming headlines the other day to find out that Bethesda was doing a “reimagined” Wolfenstein game set in a version of the 1960s where the Nazis won World War II and ruled the world. I’ve played a bit of Wolfenstein 3D  and was thought it okay but I didn’t particularly care much about it even though it’s the grand-daddy of modern first-person shooters (well, pre-console revolution FPSs).

Yet, when I heard about the upcoming Wolfenstein: The New Order, I snapped (or the blogger facsimile there of). As this console generation has slowly ground on, the influx of new intellectual properties being developed seems to have almost stopped. What new multi-platform IPs do we have to look forward to this year? Fuse, Remember Me and Watch Dogs? That’s it?!

It’s tough for me, and I’d imagine many gamers, to be excited about the near future of gaming when there is so little to be excited about. We’re stuck with publishers giving us a series of franchise reboots, remakes, reimaginings and sequels to put some money in their pockets. Quite frankly, it’s wearing me out.

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eSports Won’t Go Mainstream Anytime Soon

mlg-dallas-2013On a whim, I watched part of the recent MLG Winter Championships. I’ve never watched MLG before and never played StarCraft 2 or League of Legends. As such, I was, naturally, completely lost at first. Over the course of the couple of matches that I watched, I was able to grasp the basic concept of the SC2 games was to kill all the opposing units but that was all I was able to grasp.

This made me think of stories and columns I’ve read over the last year or so that speculated that competitive gaming and eSports could break into the mainstream as a sport with sizable interest and possibly make the transition to TV.

While it’s entirely possible that competitive gaming might make it to TV, it’s not going to evolve past the niche audience and break into mainstream consciousness anytime in the near future.

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