Tag Archives: video games

Review | Nintendo Switch Impressions

Hey everyone, Rich Belsan here! It’s been a while since I’ve posted on Central Florida Top 5 but I’m hoping to be back more regularly. I’ve been hard at work on a YouTube project, Over a Beer, where we discuss movies, video games, and everything else pop culture. Jen and I have been trying for a long time to get something going between Central Florida Top 5 and Over A Beer and I’m hoping this will be the start.

Below I’ve posted our latest video where we share our initial impressions of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s newest console. My co-host and I have also put some time into The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, one of the best reviewed games ever, and discuss our earliest thoughts on it.

Woken from a 100-year slumber, Link must explore the wilds to regain his lost memories and save Hyrule.

 

Breath of the Wild Special Edition includes the game, a Nintendo Switch Sheikah Slate Carrying Case, Sheikah Eye Collectible Coin, Relic of Hyrule: Calamity Ganon Tapestry and Weather-Worn Map, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sound Selection CD for $99.99. The Master Edition includes all of those items plus a Master Sword of Resurrection figure for $129.99

 

Let us know what you think in the comments below! If you like seeing Over a Beer content here, we’re going to start posting weekly recaps of our video show and our podcasts.

Beta Builds and Brews at The Geek Easy

What started as a one-off for students of Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy to test their games is quickly becoming the must-attend event for Orlando’s thriving indie gaming community. Kenny Baker, a student in UCF’s FIEA program, partnered with A Comic Shop’s Geek Easy in May to give fellow students a chance to get the games they’re working on into the hands of the public.  May’s event packed The Geek Easy with 150 attendees!

I got the opportunity to attend their June event, which featured two more FIEA games and two games from local developers, Astro Crow and Depth First Games.  The Geek Easy is the perfect place for an event like this as it’s already a hot spot for Orlando’s geek and gamer communities and their bar keeps the event light and relaxed.

Once the developers are set up and the night is in full swing, each development team gets the opportunity to come onto the stage and talk about their game.  So far, each event has only had four or five games, which means you can get a chance to test them all with ease and have enough time with each game to give the developers the feedback they need.

July’s event is set for the 8th and it’s going to bring back the five FIEA games that they’ve featured previous.  It’s their chance to get these games back into your hands “so they can show you the changes you’ve helped them make!”

BBB July

I got to talk with Kenny Baker about the future of Beta Builds & Brews and he told me his inbox is full of local developers looking to take part.  Nothing has been announced as of yet but August is shaping up to be all games from local developers.  “There’s plenty of talent here.” he told me as we discussed the Orlando gaming community and trying to get it more recognition.

I love Beta Builds & Brews and can’t wait to see how it continues to grow.  Not only is it a great opportunity to get games in the hands of the public, but it’s also a great place to network for developers and for people trying to get into game development.

You can check out their facebook page here and if you want to contact Kenny about getting your game featured, you can email him at Kenny@betabuildsandbrews.com.

Playtest 5 Games for UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy!

UCF’s graduate video game program FIEA (Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy) is opening itself up to the public to playtest games from its students. It will take place over three days: June 10th,24th, and July 1st.  During these playtests you’ll get to chat with the developers and give them feedback based on your time with the games.

All three days are being held on the main UCF campus.  The times and locations are as follows:

June 10, 2015
10 am-3 pm
University of Central Florida
UCF Student Union
Cape Florida Ballroom 316 CD

June 24, 2015
10 am-3 pm
University of Central Florida
Technology Commons
Main Lounge & Glass Cubicles

July 1, 2015
10 am-3 pm
University of Central Florida
UCF Student Union
Key West Ballroom 218 CD

Mall Cop

These are the five games you’ll get a chance to play today as they’re described in the press release:

“The slots being tested are “Totem,” “Lanterns,” “Mall Cop,” “Junkers” and “Life Unfolds.” “Totem” lets you fight as a powerful shaman and use your magical powers to destroy the enemy totem. “Lanterns” is an adventure game where five knights must rescue a world covered in darkness using the last remaining remnants of light. “Mall Cop” is a party game where four sneaky shoplifters attempt to steal everything before the bumbling mall cop catches them. “Junkers” is a digital card game where you build up your rusty robots with equipment and power-ups to beat the bolts out of your rivals. “Life Unfolds” is a simulation game about growing up and learning skills from loved ones.”

This is an exciting opportunity for the FIEA grad students to get their games into the hands of of the public and with your help, be able to make the best games possible.

For more information, please contact playtesting@fiea.ucf.edu.

The Amiibopocalypse Or: How I Learned to Please Understand and Kindly Refresh

When I started writing this article it was originally going to focus on the amiibo pre-order debacle at GameStop at the beginning of April. But over the last month I’ve watched this collector’s bug turn into a full-blown cult and what was supposed to be a fun hobby become a stressful, full time job.

Let’s back up for a second.  If you don’t know, amiibo are essentially Nintendo‘s answer to Disney Infinity and Skylanders.  They’re small plastic figures that unlock bonus content in compatible games.  Nintendo makes different lines of these figures with different variations of certain characters in each line. There’s a Super Mario Bros. specific line, a line for their new IP, Splatoon, and then a line for the big one, Super Smash Bros, a fighting game featuring over 50 of Nintendo’s most iconic and beloved characters. And yes, they will be making an amiibo figure for each of those characters.  That’s also one of the most exciting things for Nintendo fans as there’ll be figures for lesser known characters and franchises that have never gotten any type of merchandising. Unfortunately though, those are often the hardest ones to find. Now instead of releasing all 50 of the characters at one time, they’re releasing them in waves with between six and twelve figures per wave.  On April 1st, they officially announced the release date and full line-up for their fourth wave. The next day the internet lost its mind.

20150502_032104

Now if you’ve had any experience with Nintendo in the past, you’ll know that they sometimes purposely keep supply low in order to drive up the demand.  However I’m not sure that’s entirely the case here. Sure, they’ve admitted in the past that more popular characters like Mario and Link will always be available, while lesser known characters like Marth or Villager will only be in production for a shorter period of time.  But now we’ve moved from just having a couple of rare Amiibo per wave (Marth and Villager were harder to find from Wave 1) to having entire waves going out of stock in minutes.

 

The Beginning of the End

Before I go further, I’d like you to keep in mind that almost all of this upcoming information came out in less than 24hrs in the middle of the work week.  During April’s Nintendo Direct (on April 1st), they announced pre-orders would begin the next day. Between the end of the Direct on Wednesday night and Thursday morning information had been dug up and confirmed by the different retailers about figure exclusivity deals and pre-orders. Jigglypuff, Target’s exclusive, was available on its site for less than ten minutes before it was sold out. Best Buy put all of Wave 4 up on its site at a random time and it was completely sold out in roughly the same amount of time.  Toys “R” Us confirmed that they would be putting pre-orders on their site between 7AM and 9AM EST on April 3rd but they were actually put up online at 3AM EST and sold out shortly after.

Jigglypuff

If you were awake during the times these went online, I think it’s safe to say we were all doing the same thing.  Whether you were hitting F5 at your computer or refreshing the page on your phone, everyone was nervously waiting for the pages for these pre-orders to go live.

But despite all of this, GameStop’s pre-ordering system had the most problems of them all.  They announced they would hold in-store pre-orders only starting at 3PM on the 2nd.  I arrived at roughly 2PM and was seventh in line.  I didn’t get out of the store until almost 4:30 because when pre-orders opened, every store was trying to do the same thing and their entire system crashed for almost an hour.  By the time I managed to get my pre-order in, two of them were already sold out.

To rub salt in the wound (intentional or not), Nintendo was posting photos on their social networking sites for Easter that featured amiibo and captioned with things like, “Which amiibo are you hoping to find in your Easter basket this year?”  Responses were generally not too kind.

 

 

The Cult of Esteban We lost a lot of collectors during those few days.  A lot of people were simply fed up with the incredibly limited stock and the manner in which these stores were handling pre-orders.  These practices were not new and we had the same problems during previous releases.  These were dark times and we needed someone to whom we could turn.  We needed a leader.  And we briefly found that leader in a prophet named Esteban. One of the ways collectors keep up with all of the amiibo news is through the amiibo subreddit.  One user posted the following conversation with an Amazon customer service representative.  I still don’t think this has ever been confirmed as real or fake but either way, it didn’t hurt to be ready just in case.

amiibo Esteban

Reddit users blocked out Esteban’s name to keep his identity a secret. That worked.

If you were on reddit that day, it was filled with posts like, “ESTEBAN WOULDNT LIE” and “Esteban is love, Esteban is life.”  Now of course most of this was all in jest, but things were really out of control.  So we all eagerly sat on Amazon refreshing the amiibo pages hoping pre-orders would go live at noon.  But nothing happened.  And shortly after noon, the Amazon Video Games Twitter account posted the following:

This had traveled beyond just us collectors sitting around computers hitting F5.  The companies themselves were getting in on the joke.  And as of the end of April, there’s still no official word on when Amazon US will put up of their amiibo pre-order.

 

Everybody Calms Down… Sort of

Things have been fairly calm since Esteban proved to be a false prophet.  It’s still a struggle trying to keep up with pre-orders going live on various sites, only to be taken down minutes or seconds later.  Toys “R” Us has redeemed themselves since their debacle with online pre-orders.  They did announce that on April 27, they would be doing in-store pre-orders for Greninja and they did it weeks in advance, giving everybody plenty of time to plan ahead.

But even their announcement didn’t keep things from getting out of hand.  Thinking that nobody would show up that early, I got in line at the Waterford Lakes TRU at 4AM.  I was 13th in line and the first person in line had arrived at 1AM.  Thankfully it had been confirmed that they would have 20 pre-orders available (some stores had less) and the 20th person in line arrived at 5AM.

Greninja Preorder

When the manager came out at 9AM to pass out pre-order slips, there were almost 40 people waiting in line (just in case there were extra slips).  By the time the store opened at 10AM, even more people had shown up.  When we got inside to pay, a gentleman came up to us asking us all how we knew about this and to show up to early as he had only seen in ad about it the day before.  We basically told him the various sites we follow to keep up with everything.

But that’s the problem with the entire thing. It’s partially Nintendo’s fault for not making enough.  It’s partially the retailer’s fault for how they’re handling online pre-orders (I do give them all credit for finally wising up and limiting purchases to one or two per person to avoid scalpers).  And it’s also our fault.  It’s all a vicious cycle and we get crazier and crazier because of it.  The first people in line at TRU showed up at 1AM.  So that tells everyone else that the next time something like this happens they need to show up even earlier.  We’ve completely lost control.  At what point does it finally all break down?  At what point does Nintendo finally address the stock issues?  And what about all the kids that are losing out on getting an amiibo of their favorite character because us adult collectors keep going crazy over these damn things?

There’s multiple twitter accounts dedicated to keeping track of when pre-orders go live.  There’s Facebook groups for amiibo where people can work together to find what they’re missing and make trades. I’m in one of them and it feels like a twisted AA meeting except instead of trying to kick the addiction, we’re all just keeping each other hooked. I haven’t seen a collecting bug go around like this since Beanie Babies or Pokémon cards, only you end up on eBay or importing them from other countries instead of hunting around flea markets for the rarities.  Some of these listing are going for more than triple the original price. There was even a kickstarter for special collector cases that finished at over $10,000.  This hobby is going to leave us all broke.

I could write another thousand words about how far off the deep end we’ve gone but tell us about your amiibo experience. Have you been bitten by this collectors bug? Let us know in the comments below. As for me, I’ll be on Amazon hitting F5 in hopes that pre-orders for the last few I need will finally go live.

Sound the Ocarina, The Legend of Zelda is back at DPAC

Remember that time when The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses sold out Bob Carr? We do too!

GREAT news!! Tickets are already on sale for “The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses – Master Quest” at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and our own Orlando Philharmonic is again presenting this powerful, wise and courageous musical journey! You can bask in The Golden Light yourself on Saturday, July 18th at 8pm in the Walt Disney Theater. Here’s a sneak peek of the program:

Legend of Zelda 2015

ACT I

Overture
INTERLUDES

  • Gerudo Valley
  • Boss Battle Medley
  • Suite from Majora’s Mask
  • A Link Between Worlds

THE SYMPHONY

  • Prelude ~ The Creation of Hyrule
  • Movement I ~ Ocarina of Time
  • Movement II ~ The Wind Waker

ACT II

  • Intermezzo ~ Great Fairy’s Fountain
  • Movement III ~ Twilight Princess
  • Movement IV ~ Time of the Falling Rain
  • Finale

 

MORE details? Here you go!

Tickets may be purchased by calling the Dr. Phillips Center Box Office or by visiting the Box Office at 445 Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday or 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Saturday.  Tickets are also available by calling 844.513.2014 or online at drphillipscenter.org. Online and phone ticket purchases include handling fees.

The triforce has been completed with the highly-anticipated, global concert tour of “The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses – Master Quest.” The acclaimed concert will visit The Dr. Phillips Center and regale fans with a truly unique experience from one of the most beloved game franchises ever. Audiences can expect to experience awesome new inclusions from “A Link Between Worlds,” the most recently released The Legend of Zelda game. Never before performed scores accompanied by new gameplay imagery, will appear for the first time ever in “Master Quest,” though fans will still be treated to the show’s now-classic repertoire from seasons past.

Those new to Symphony of the Goddesses will also have the opportunity to experience the beautifully orchestrated four-movement symphonic work from last season, which chronicles fan-favorite moments from the franchise’s rich and storied history, carefully and expertly timed with a gorgeous, larger than life video presentation.

Journey back to the land of Hyrule with Master Quest, the next chapter in the acclaimed world tour, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. Master Quest is a never-before seen or heard multimedia concert experience that celebrates the beloved 28-year-old The Legend of Zelda franchise. It’s not to be missed!