Game About Bill Clinton’s Old Cat to Get Kickstarter

I didn’t wake up this morning thinking I’d be writing that headline.

Credit: LA Times

In 1993 there was a 2D platformer developed and subsequently cancelled for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis called Socks the Cat Rocks the Hill. It was inspired by a cat of the same name that was adopted in the early 90’s by the Clinton family and occasionally photographed with the former president. In the game, Socks would have (and perhaps still will) saved the world from nuclear destruction and defeated caricatures of former Republican Party leaders. If this sounds absurd, you may want to look into 4th-gen 2D platformers. This is actually par the course.

So what happened? How did a potential masterpiece like this never see the light of day? Was it shut down due to its partisan overtones? No, actually. Kaneko USA was advertising the game in 1993 but before the game could release, the publisher went under. Socks the Cat went down with the ship and has never been seen since – until now.

Credit: Nintendo Life

A man named Tom Curtin has purchased a prototype cartridge of the game for the price of a used car. He also has the trademark, meaning he can legally publish the game and profit. The current plan is to launch a Kickstarter to publish the game and run it like a pseudo auction. A $20 to $30 commitment will guarantee you a digital copy of the game, a $50 or better donation amounts to a physical copy on a reproduction SNES cartridge, and to the top donor, the prototype itself.

I’m curious to see how this news will be received. The collector in me is excited about this. I could soon be holding a brand new SNES cart of a game that was once an urban legend. It’s always fun when things like that come to fruition. On the other hand, the Internet has no shortage of anonymous people feeling like the world owes them and will be angry that Curtin has the ‘gall’ to not simply dump the game’s ROM online for free and is instead poised to make money.

Then again, the fact that the game will be getting published only means it’s a matter of time before the ROM is available for free to all of those who are fine playing on emulators instead of the real thing. Regardless of which avenue you take, let’s all enjoy the fact that we may soon be swiping at Richard Nixon’s face with 16-bit feline claws in the future.

Don’t expect a Nintendo Seal of Quality.

Source: MEL Magazine

‘PlayStation 4.5’ May Be a Fool’s Errand

There’s a lot of smoke around Sony releasing an upgraded PlayStation 4 this year. The rumored machine would be able to play content at a 4K resolution, hence the nickname ‘PS4K’ or ‘PS4.5’ given by players online.

When a piece of hardware like this is rumored, the first question that needs to be asked is: Why? Why does there need to be a PS4 that plays 4K content and why would I need to buy it? From Polygon’s report, it would seem the aim is simply to be able to play 4K blu-ray content. That’s a thing, if you didn’t know. But is there more to it than that?


Personally, I’m someone that isn’t quite sold on 4K yet. That’s not to say it isn’t the future, because I believe it is. The natural progression in video production is for technology to continue improving the resolution, clarity, and refresh rates of the video that the average consumer watches. Thus, it’s only a matter of time before we’re all watching the most mundane of broadcasts or streams in 4K resolution in true 60 frames per second, or better. From The Price is Right, to Monday Night Football, to CSPAN; that should be the future.

Still, that doesn’t mean we’re equipped for that yet, nor does it mean we can afford it. Even compressed, 4K footage is large and the cost to produce it for creators as well as the cost for consumers to view it is high. Something as simple as viewing a 4K blu-ray – a stand alone experience – takes a 4K television or monitor. Something a lot of people don’t have and aren’t looking to get yet.

If the PS4.5’s only improvement is giving this option, it simply seems like a waste of money. Don’t think for a second that you’re going to be playing console games at 4K any time soon. Getting a 1080p, 60 FPS game on the PS4 is a treat as it is (when it does happen).

Perhaps if the PS4.5 does something else, like improving on the PS4’s hardware capabilities, can I see myself purchasing one. After all, there’s the New Nintendo 3DS to take lead from. The second model of Nintendo’s current handheld didn’t just add a few more buttons, it improved on what was under the hood; making some games exclusive to the N3DS and older games run more smoothly on it. Imagine if you would, a game that runs at 900p on the launch PS4 but 1080p on the PS4.5.

This is all just speculation, of course. As far as Sony is concerned, the PS4.5 is still unofficial. So any report of it offering a better experience with games or being better equipped to run the upcoming PlayStation VR platform is just that. Rumors.

Credit Where It’s Due: Persona Central

I’m sure for many of you who’ve been kind enough to venture here from Twitter, this is not news. Over the last few months, I’ve become more engrossed in a fantastic community of Persona fans largely thanks to Persona Central.


PC is the Internet’s leading blog on Atlus’ Persona series (as well as covering other interests regarding Atlus). I’ve been a reader for almost a year now thanks to the excitement regarding Persona 5. I don’t consider myself someone that creates exclusive Persona/SMT/Atlus content like they do. More so, it’s simply the theme for this year thanks to P5. That said, if not for PC, I wouldn’t be able to reach the Persona fan base like I have been.

Truth be told, it’s thanks to PC and all the followers they’ve gained on Twitter that I’ve been able to find so many interesting, entertaining people over the past few months and have been able to share my own excitement with them. If you’re one of those people who I’ve followed since the turn of the new year, I can almost guarantee you it’s because you also followed PC.

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In the event you’re not familiar with PC but want updates on Persona, then I strongly encourage you follow them on Twitter and read their updates. You’ll find the little things that aren’t always posted by the big sites, such as insight on Atlus’ emerging role in PlayStation VR. You can also bet on the latest news regarding P5 from Japan before condensed, lower quality version of that news hits the big gaming sites.

So thanks, Persona Central, for all that you do and helping bring us together.

Star Fox Zero to Have Mode That Stops It From Being a Game

You read that correctly.


Star Fox Zero, the upcoming title for Nintendo’s Wii U, will include what’s called an ‘invincible mode’ for inexperienced players that want to play and win, but don’t want to actually have any of the stakes that make a game a game. Director Shigeru Miyamoto had this to say in a recent interview with Time.

We have additional ones for people who like the game but find it too hard to get past certain levels. So for instance there’ll be a way for them to get an invincible Arwing, so that they can fly through and see the levels. But at the same time, we’re also preparing modes for Star Fox fans looking for an even harder challenge, such as a ship that does more damage, but which also takes more damage.

This may sound surprising to some, but it’s par the course for some of Nintendo’s recent releases. Super Mario 3D World for Wii U also featured an invincible ‘golden tanooki suit‘ that would appear for players to equip if they died on a level several times in a row.

This is all subjective of course, but I couldn’t be more adamantly opposed to this kind of feature in games. Maybe it’s because it fundamentally contradicts what a game is supposed to be. Or perhaps I’m just bitter that the games of my own youth didn’t have this sort of thing built in. Of course, I’m also aware of the crowd that exists to mock people that do what I’m doing right now.

I don’t want to get on too big of a soapbox and talk about how easy kids have it these days or sound like the old man who’s upset that every team in his son’s little league gets a participation trophy. Still, at some point, you kind of have to wonder what the point is if these kinds of games just hand success to the player. It isn’t as though Star Fox Zero is going to blow you away with its character building and storytelling. Like almost everything Nintendo develops and publishes, it will likely be gameplay centric. So if there’s no need for the player to master the gameplay, what is there?

It’s frustrating, to be honest. I’m one of those people who’s objective enough not to swallow everything Nintendo gives me, but will defend them for their amazing reputation from the segment of people in the industry that wants everything Nintendo touches to turn up in flames. It’s hard to defend Nintendo from being the ‘kiddy company’ that is out of touch with the modern audience when things like this continue to get built into their titles. Help me help you, Nintendo.

Meet Caligula, a New JRPG From the Writer of Persona 1 & 2

What’s Caligula? Another niche weeb game for the Vita? Perhaps. But it sure does look interesting.

It’s being directed by Tadashi Satomi, who was responsible for writing the stories and characters of Megami Ibunroku Persona, Persona 2 Innocent Sin, and Persona 2 Eternal Punishment.

It would appear to be a combination of action and turn-based JRPG styling starring high schoolers and a bizarre other world – shocker, that last one. According to DualShockers, the white haired idol, a vocaloid by the name of “μ” (the lowercase Greek letter pronounced “Mu”), is a software that developed its own heart and travels the world of Mobius seeking to bring happiness to others.

Credit: DualShockers and FuRyu

I know the concept of Japanese youths coming together for the sake of friendship and defeating enemies isn’t exactly a JRPG concept exclusive to Persona, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get a modern Persona vibe from that trailer. And that’s a good thing. When I think back of the only works I’ve enjoyed from Satomi, I think of the growing pains P1 and P2 had compared to their eventual successors. That’s not to say they aren’t good games. Diehard Megami Tensei/Persona fans will let you hear it if they think you’re disrespecting the originals and championing P3 and P4.

My point, rather, is that it’s exciting to see that perhaps technology has finally caught up to the point where Satomi’s creativity is coming to life in ways the original PlayStation couldn’t provide. As much as I love old games, or “retro gaming” as some refer to it, this is one major plus as the industry progresses. Artists are being allowed advantages not seen previously. To a game designer, it must be similar to a new spectrum of colors being discovered to a painter.

It’s been quite awhile.

Caligula is slated to release on June 23rd in Japan exclusively for the PlayStation Vita. There are no plans for localization yet, but let’s hope that changes in the future.

Persona 3 LP Completed


Just as the clock struck midnight here in the central time zone on January 1st, my Persona 3 LP began to kickoff the 2016 Persona 5 Hype Train. Just over two months later, it is completed. The decision to have it conclude on March 5th was very intentional. March 5th is the final day of Persona 3 – Graduation Day at Gekkoukan High School. It is then, on the rooftop of Gekkou High, that one of the most beautifully written moments in video game history occurs.

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 7.47.29 PM

It wasn’t easy, mind you. Playing games on the Internet is just this sort of trivial thing, right? Well, perhaps to some. Doing it for a game that takes over 60 hours to complete and having to cut out the grinding, cropping the aspect ratio on animated cutscenes, and, worst of all, replaying hours long chunks because your capture software crashed, <deep breath> makes playing a game for the Internet incredibly taxing.

Nevertheless, I’m glad I did it and am only slightly proud of it. It wasn’t perfect, mind you. In fact I believe there’s an episode where the mixing got wonky in the final couple of minutes. Still, when I look at what else is out there on YouTube regarding Persona 3, I feel pretty comfortable with myself.

The YouTube algorithm is a mysterious thing. For a young, small channel like mine, it’s the nemesis. You can do all the right things, such as having great video length, appropriate names and descriptions, and a healthy number of tags, but still get completely lost in the endless sea of uploads. The chances of my playthrough overtaking more established ones that have been up for a couple of years are slim at best. That’s a shame.

I don’t say that as a means to sling mud or proclaim myself to be better than anyone else. As an entertainer and a host, I still have long ways to go. Already I feel like I’ve improved since beginning to record P3 in late 2015, but it’s an ongoing process.

What I think is a shame is that in terms of presentation, I went to great lengths to present P3 as visually pleasing as possible and I wish those who have more popularity on YouTube had done the same. Persona 3 turns ten years old this year. Simply recording composite video of your PlayStation 2 or an incorrect aspect ratio presentation of the PlayStation 3’s emulation of it does P3 a great disservice.

If you’re unfamiliar with the channel then you should know this. I value video quality a lot. I haven’t always been able to provide the best due budget reasons, but since last fall, I feel as though I can provide the absolute best picture quality of any game, on any platform. A big reason for that is the XRGB Mini Framemeister. The Framemeister is a video upscaler meant to work with older consoles. It takes video sources such as 240p, 480i, and 480p and upscales them to 1080p for optimal viewing on modern televisions and monitors.

Needless to say, P3 looks as good on my channel as it does due to the Framemeister. It was captured off of my copy of Persona 3 FES on PS2, outputting via YPbPr component, and upscaled from 480i to 1080p with a slight cropping effect to achieve a fullscreen 4:3 look. Also, as I alluded to earlier, I manually cropped every animated cutscene in the game (which are given a letter boxing effect) to achieve a more widescreen, 16:9ish look.

All of this combined with some decent YouTube thumbnails, episode names, knowledge of the story, and my general mastery of the game’s Social Link system are why I say I’m somewhat proud of the P3 LP. It’s not perfect, but I feel like I did the game – a fantastic game it is – justice. I hope to say the same once Persona 4 is completed in the summer.

I know it’s not for everyone; watching someone play a game on the Internet. And I know that doing it without a dick joke or someone screaming into a facecam every 15 seconds can feel awkward. That’s not how I roll. But if you feel like reliving Katsura Hashino’s first Persona games in the excitement leading up to Persona 5 later this year and don’t want to do all the heavy lifting, then that’s what I’m here for.

Nintendo is Butthurt About Federation Force Hate

Remember Nintendo’s 2015 E3 Direct? I know this is the Internet, where news has the lifespan half that of the common housefly, but think back. It was then that Nintendo announced to the world that the 3DS would be getting a new game called Metroid Prime: Federation Force.

The video above, which has over 1.2 million views to date, is sitting at about a 90% dislike rating. People weren’t happy about Federation Force last year. People aren’t happy about Federation Force today.

Yesterday, Nintendo aired a lengthy Nintendo Direct to the world which detailed upcoming titles for the Wii U and 3DS over the coming spring and summer, and even announced a couple of new ones. Among things shown in the Direct was an update on Federation Force. Like for most things featured, after the Direct aired, Nintendo uploaded the new preview by itself to its YouTube channel. That’s what the following is.

The difference between last year’s trailer and this year’s? The ability to like and dislike the video has been disabled. Was the same done for anything else posted yesterday? No, of course not. It was done to silence the negative reaction to Federation Force and nothing more.

Just in case you’re confused by all of this, allow me to explain why Federation Force is so unpopular. Metroid fans are starving for a proper new installment. The last major title was Metroid: Other M for the Wii in 2010, and even that game was met with a lukewarm reception. The Metroid Prime line of games, which Federation Force is borrowing its full name from, last saw an entry with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption all the way back in 2007. For players, a casual spinoff game like Federation Force is an insulting response to the demand for a new, full-length adventure starring Samus Aran.

Fans haven’t been shy to voice their displeasure about the game. Nintendo’s attempt to silence them is, in a word, pathetic. I guess Nintendo of America still needs some public relations improvement, which, as someone who regularly keeps up with NOA’s movements, is hardly a surprise. Silencing your customers’ grievances is rarely a good idea.

Federation Force may be a good game when it does release. However, this has been a lesson in timing and understanding your audience. Sadly, for franchise director Kensuke Tanabe who appeared in the Direct and seems very dedicated, this game may end up bombing in sales at this rate. The reality is that a game like this should only be released when the public’s desire for a main title has been satiated. Had the Wii U received a Metroid game in the first few years of its lifespan, I don’t believe we would be seeing the kind of reaction to Federation Force that we are.

Federation Force can truly be seen as a microcosm of Nintendo’s overall dilemma with its release lineup. Both platforms, the 3DS and Wii U, lack third party support – much more in the Wii U’s case. There’s a demand for quality titles from owners, but with the exception of a few major third-party 3DS releases here and there, Nintendo has had to fill the libraries themselves. Even with all of their manpower and the third-party studios they work with, there’s only so much that can be developed and published in such a small amount of time.

So what ends up happening is you get games for the Wii U like Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash instead of a proper Animal Crossing or Mario game. The same can be said for Federation Force on 3DS. All of this is concerning with the Nintendo NX looming on the horizon. I’m as excited for Nintendo’s next step in its lineage as anyone else, but I don’t know much I can stomach another stretch like Nintendo’s been on since last year’s E3.