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access_time June 29, 2012 at 9:00 AM in Culture by Drew Robbins

Buzzwords (June 29)

We live in a time of excess and instant gratification, but, above all else, we live in a time of buzzwords. Buzzwords control the landscape of the world; politics, sports, and, of course, video games are all manipulated by these simple words and phrases. As a result of their power, Buzzwords must be embraced. This is where the embracing begins.

We live in an exciting time. For far too long, I, Drew Robbins, have been sitting on the sidelines condemning the industry when far greener pastures lay right before my very eyes. Today, all of that ends as I embark on my latest journey: Buzzwords. As the title implies, this series of editorials will be based entirely around the use of exciting words and phrases that help to best describe and diagnose some of the week’s most relevant stories. The format is simple enough: a headline gathered from around the internet hangs pleasantly above a picture with a word fitting the story stitched to its lower-left corner. This is easy reading; it’s time to sit back, relax, and feel the buzz.

“Nintendo 3DS XL getting supersized with Circle Pad Pro extension” – Joystiq

The Nintendo 3DS is big. With the Circle Pad Pro attached to its hip, the Nintendo 3DS is really big. Apparently, someone at Nintendo headquarters thought it appropriate to do their best Roy Scheider impression and profess the company’s need for a bigger handheld; they got one.

The Nintendo 3DS XL is so big, in fact, that it has its own gravitational pull. One could say that the device has many problems, but it would be difficult and more than a little irrational to deride it for a lack of physical mass. A more reasonable concern would be the fact that, in all of its girth, the 3DS XL has the same amount of analog sticks as its predecessor: one. Thus, the question is begged: where is the second analog stick?

It’s on an accessory, of course; the second joystick is on the very same accessory that turned the already-hearty Nintendo 3DS into the original Xbox controller. This time, though, the Circle Pad Pro is bigger. The Nintendo 3DS XL, as we’ve already discussed, is rather large. Now, a massive accessory is being stapled onto a massive handheld to create an amalgamation of parts that would not feel out of place in The Nightmare Before Christmas.

When I was growing up, portable systems were created with the intent of being carried in one’s pocket and being played whilst out and about. On its own, the Nintendo 3DS XL is a tough sell for pockets worldwide. With a Circle Pad Pro in tow, the Nintendo 3DS XL becomes a tough sell for backpacks worldwide.

Monolith doesn’t even begin to describe it.

“The Last of Us Multiplayer Isn’t Campaign Co-Op” – IGN

Naughty Dog is responsible for a lot of major franchises: Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, and Uncharted. There exists a common thread between these series: they’re all great. Actually, that’s just one common thread and, for that matter, the least important one as it pertains to this segment. A more relevant commonality would be to say that none of these games, in their major iterations at least, have been bolstered by the ability to play the campaign with a friend. The Last of Us lacking cooperative play within the confines of its story is hardly news; it’s predictable and one of many moves in the right direction made by Naughty Dog in the development of this high-profile title.

Let’s reflect on Resident Evil 5. Yes, I understand that this may be an arduous task for many of you, but there’s no time for personal inhibition in the realm of well-reasoned analysis. Resident Evil 5 billed itself as a survival horror game; Resident Evil 5 was not scary and, by extension, was not an entirely difficult adventure to survive through. There are many reasons that the title lacked qualities essential to the genre, but it’s only one issue of import to the matter at hand: cooperative mode. All of Resident Evil 5 could be played with a friend, a fact that made the game fun but also helped to demolish much of what was beloved about the franchise. Having a partner controlled by a living, breathing human being helped to tip the scales so far in the favor of players and away from the mindless scourge of infected citizens that the game became as mindless as Gears of War.

The Last of Us, by all indications, is built upon the notion of survival horror that Resident Evil has long since abandoned. Allowing a human being to control Ellen Page, the main protagonist’s partner and star of the charming, independent film Juno, would transform the experience into something that it is trying very hard not to be: everything else. Naughty Dog, in announcing the lack of this feature, did not rule out the possibility of cooperative play elsewhere. This is what I like to call a win-win situation: the design of the single-player campaign is preserved while concessions to the desires of the masses are made elsewhere.

This is predictable, and that’s not a bad thing.

“2K Sports Reveals NBA 2K13 Cover Athletes” – Got Game

This is bogus.

Everyone knows who the best player in basketball is, was, and always has been: Derrick Rose. Even more obvious is the fact that a Chicago Bulls team at full strength would have rolled over the entirety of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, and the Dream Team formed by the United States in the 1992 Olympic Games. They were, and are still, that good. Because of this, you may wonder how anybody other than Derrick Rose or his counterparts on the greatest team on Earth made the cover of NBA 2K13; it’s as simple as the age-old slogan that has been fed to us since the days of yore.

The NBA is not the Tee-ball league where I cut my teeth; it’s the league of previously-cut teeth. Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin, the two men who will be so woefully accompanying Derrick Rose on the cover of NBA 2K13, have had their teeth cut many times in their life. At this point, none of them buy into the tired slogan of ‘everybody wins’ so why should 2K Sports still abide by it?

The fact of the matter is that the cover of NBA 2K13, and by extension all games for the next decade, belongs to one man and one team. There’s no reason for 2K Sports to cater to the whims of lesser teams. I think we can all agree that covers belong to one athlete only and, as such, it should belong to only those that slam with the best and not those that merely jam with the rest.

Drew Robbins – Recovering Nintoddler


  • Ramon Aranda June 30, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    The Nintendo 3DS XL looks nice and all but I would’ve liked to see a second analog slider and higher resolution screens.

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