BOOK TITLE: The Australia Times - Games magazine. Volume 3, issue 14

Vol. 3 No. 14
July 2015
Satoru Iwata
1959 - 2015
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
20 The Life of Satoru Iwata
Tales from the Borderlands
Episode Three - Catch A Ride
Tech check with Logitech
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
The Games magazine is all about the
gaming community. Whether youre actively
involved in the gaming industry, have played
games since the Atari Pong or just pick up a
controller every now and then, the gaming
community is all about connecting people,
telling stories, fun, and about passion.
We want to connect you, the gamers of
Australia and beyond, to what you are
passionate about. We uncover upcoming
talent, review new and retro games, and
bring you features, previews, opinions, and
interviews from the gaming industry.
We welcome your feedback and
contributions as well – after all, we are your
voice in this diverse and ever-changing
landscape. So whether youre a Pokemon
Master or can remember when
Call of Duty
was cool, here’s your chance to sit back,
press Start, and jump right in.
Nathan Franklin | Benjamin White | Daniel King | Clare Belshaw | Kris Godwin
We oer both veteran and undiscovered writers the opportunity to get published.
Have something to communicate, or an opinion to state, we are your voice!
Want to join a like minded community in a great project
Editor’s Note ................................................................... 6
Byte Sized News ............................................................ 8
New Releases ............................................................... 11
Video Gaming .............................................................. 14
The Life of Satoru Iwata ............................................ 20
Absention ..................................................................... 34
Tech check with Logitech ........................................ 40
Tales from the Borderlands Episode Three - Catch
A Ride ............................................................................. 44
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On my business card, I am a corporate
president. In my mind, I am a game
developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer.
Satoru Iwata 1959 - 2015
It was with a deeply saddened heart that I
heard earlier this month Nintendo President
Satoru Iwata lost his long-term tumor battle
and passed away. A huge blow to the Nintendo
industry as well as a massive dent in the
hearts of gamers everywhere since his passion
and enthusiasm for the gaming world was
unparalleled; winning us over on his humanity
alone then topped with a genuine heartfelt
investment into his business.
Headlining each and every Nintendo Direct
over the past few years, fans were treated to
warm and humble presentations from this
passionate game developer and business
man. His infectiously adorable demeanour
and quirky, but formal, way of addressing
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his audience felt anything but a business
procedure; this man talked to his fans in
earnest and treated us as people rather than
mere tools of consumerism.
No one will forget the time we caught Iwata
staring at handful of bananas one arms stretch
away after 2012’s E3 presentation. Or when
he had to shoo away Shigeru Miyamoto and
Luigi’s vacuum during 2013’s Nintendo Direct.
Iwata was a big kid and we loved him for it. He
was essentially the anthropomorphisation
of humanity that’s so very lacking in business
Iwata wasn’t a capitalist robot with dollar
signs for eyes, but rather a passionate gamer
wishing to share his love for the industry
across the world with fellow Nintendo fans.
He embraced his demographic and welcomed
the widest audience possible. There was no
bias in his eyes.
Many have claimed Iwata is the soul of
Nintendo; a man that’s as loved as Mario
and the DS which was conjured under his
leadership. And although Nintendo is lled
to the brim with charm, bubbly jovialness
and hyper enthusiasm for making the world
smile, there’s no denying Nintendo will now
have a little less wonder.
This issue we’ve done something a little extra
special to commemorate this magnicent
man and gaming icon. More than just
popping him on the front cover, Kris Godwin
has portrayed the man in all his glory in his
piece “The Life of Satoru Iwata”
We miss you, Iwata. Thank you for so many
great memories and for the opportunity for
us to create many more.
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Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata, has sadly passed away at age 55 due to a bile duct growth, a rare
form of cancer. Iwata will forever be remembered for his contributions to the gaming industry,
leading the charge for such consoles as the GameCube and Nintendo Wii and attracted tons of
new gamers into the console world. His fellow employees and friends at Nintendo have expressed
sadness towards his passing including Shigeru Miyamoto, who promised to “remain committed to
our development policy which Mr. Iwata and we have been constructing together and to yield the
development results which Mr. Iwata would appreciate.” A touching memorial was dedicated to the
man at the NYC Nintendo World store, where owers (and bananas!) were given in tribute to his
great work. RIP, Mr. Iwata for your contributions will remain an important part of gaming legacy in
the years to come.
by Nathan Franklin
Image © Nintendo Life
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Looking forward to a possible Call of Duty In Space? Well, you might want to give up those hopes.
Black Ops III multiplayer director Dan Bunnings says that, despite the franchise’s tendency to explore
futuristic warfare scenarios, this would be a little too implausible for the games to cover. “The way
that we approach the creative on our game? I don’t think we’re ever going to reach a point where
we just completely ignore nding authenticity,” he explained and later emphasised that Call of Duty
“needs to feel believable.” He feels that the futuristic technology in recent titles doesn’t count as
science ction since their roots are in reality.
Oculus VR are continuing to further
develop their technology in their
quest to enhance virtual reality. This
time they’ve acquired the Israel-
based depth-sensing and computer
vision specialist company Pebbles
Interfaces. The latter company has
been working on “custom optics,
sensor systems, and algorithms to
detect and track hand movement”
according to a blog on the Oculus VR website. The company is condent that, alongside Pebbles,
they will be able to “unlock new human interaction methods in VR and revolutionize the way people
communicate in virtual worlds.” Such technology could potentially change gaming forever. CTO of
Pebbles Interfaces, Nadav Grossinger, is “excited to join the Oculus team to achieve that vision for
the future.”
Image © engadget
Image © engadget
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PC Gamers wanting to get their hands on Batman: Arkham Knight may be waiting a little while.
According to internal documents sent to Australian games retailer EBGames, Warner Bros. has said
that the game will be released in Spring – which means September at the earliest. EBGames have
stated that they have “made the difcult decision to recall all PC stock from stores to return to the
vendor until an acceptable solution is released”.
Image © engadget
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Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess
A revisit of 2014’s
Deception IV: Blood Ties
, this Japanese strategy game has players using traps to defeat
enemies. The amount of traps at the player’s disposal is voluminous; rolling boulders, electrocution,
re, spring boards, spiked walls, human cannons, falling bathtubs, banana peels, an iron maiden, and
locomotives. Players must be careful however since they, too, can be victim to their own traps. In terms
of additional content, this updated release will feature a new Quest mode with 100 new quests to
complete, multiple new characters and a Deception Studio add-on which enables players to create
their own levels and characters. Bearing this in mind,
Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess
might be
an interesting and unique release to watch out for this month.
(PS3/PS4/PS Vita) 15
July 2015
Image © Shopto.net
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What’s sure to be one of the more fun, arcade-style gaming experiences of July is
The game will feature a large roster of monsters from the Godzilla universe and allow fans
to cause as much destruction as they wish in the God of Destruction mode while aiming
to destroy all the G-Force generators in the game stages. Of course, you will be assaulted
by helicopters and military vehicles all the while – but, hey, it wouldnt be Godzilla if there
weren’t! Other modes have you going up against the actual monsters of Godzilla mythology
including Mothra and Rodan. Armed with impressive visuals, Godzilla looks to be something
special for fans of the dragon-like monster.
(PS3/PS4) 17
July 2015
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Inazuma Eleven Light and Shadow
An RPG centred around soccer might seem a bit out there, but
Inazuma Eleven Go!
Seems to
pull it o. This unique title will have you control a team of typically young anime characters
as you explore the in-game world where you will inevitably run into ‘soccer battles’. Yes, that’s
right; games of soccer are the random encounters of this RPG and not a Marlboro in sight.
How creative! Still, with stylus-based gameplay, the matches look to be fun and uid to play.
These matches contain features such as the ability to pause the game to allow your players to
pass and a tactics feature that helps you get to certain places on the pitch without opposing
the opposite team. What’s more interesting is the inclusion of Keshin, a spiritual force which
can use skills and improve the player teams stats. If you happen to like your soccer and RPGs,
then this strange new mix might be worth checking out.
(NDS) 18
July 2015
Image © Cubed3
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BEN WHITE shares his latest picks from
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BEN WHITE shares his latest picks from
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Having only recently gotten back into Destiny after a few friends asked me to play it with them, I was
surprised at just how many people are still playing this game. I only played Destiny for a week after
launch. I thought it was a fun shooter, but was too repetitive for my tastes. There are only so many
times I can do the exact same mission over and over again. I never downloaded the DLC, because I
didn’t think it was worth my $25 for each on PSN. I was wondering why so many people were playing
this knowing it is a fun but ultimately tedious game. Then I watched this video and it all makes sense.
Like WOW and many other MMO’s, Destiny is designed to keep you hooked. This video is a great piece
of video gaming journalism as it explores how the game’s mechanics are designed and compares it to
gambling with slot machines. It’s a very interesting study on how gamers respond to these mechanics
and whether said design practices by Bungie are ethical, and whether or not you are being screwed
over by the game.
Rocket League is the latest downloadable game that has just gotten crazy popular since it’s release.
It is such a fun game with a simple premise. It’s Soccer/Football but with cars. This makes such a fun
experience when playing with friends. The game never feels repetitive or boring because each match
only goes for 5 minutes. It’s fast paced, and can be challanging when the difculty of the AI is turned
up or playing online with other people. There are some funny moments to be had with friends here.
Rocket League is this little downloadable gem that is well worth the asking price. And if you have
Playstation Plus it’s free on PSN this month. So get your friends together and download it. You won’t
regret it.
Destiny: The Hardcore Gamers Slot Machine
- The Point
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Other than montages and funny moments videos, MrMegaByte also does troll videos. One of his troll series is
called MrsGamerGirl, where he goes into games with the MrsGamerGirlX gamer tag to get people’s reactions
in Call Of Duty. Sometimes he is joined by his friends to troll people into thinking there picking up girls in
COD. I really like troll videos, while I don’t nd them always funny, I do appreciete there existence. In this video,
MrMegaByte is joined by another youtuber MsHeartAttack as they troll a player on COD and get him to say
pick up lines. I got a little giggle out of this one.
Rocket League Gameplay - Out Of Arena Glitch!
- Speedyw03
Kid Picks Up Fake Gamer Girls (Gamertag Trolling), MrsGamerGirl
- MrMegaByte
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On my business card, I
am a corporate president.
In my mind, I am a game
But in my heart,
I am a gamer.
- Satoru Iwata.
The enduring legacy of Nintendos fourth leader
by Kris Godwin
In the world of videogames, not many events can genuinely shock this author.
In my 25 years of button-mashing, I’ve seen it all. The rise and fall of Sega. The birth of
PlayStation. The meeting of Mario and Sonic. The closure of countless developers and
publishers. 8-bit. 16-bit. Blast Processing. 2D. 3D.
Yeah. Over time, it all tends to blur, and virtually nothing surprises me in this day and age.
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Losing Hiroshi Yamauchi in 2013 was undoubtedly a blow for me (and many millions), but
he was 85 years old. We could at least take solace in the knowledge that he lived a full,
amazing life.
When word rst emerged that Nintendo President Satoru Iwata passed away on the 11th
of July, I was simply dumbstruck. I did not actually read the news, but rather, my brother
burst into my room in the dead of night, and told me what had happened.
As I type this, I can still barely process it. Hell, I’m still having trouble accepting the fact
that Hyrulian King Robin Williams is gone, and now I gotta come to terms with the fact
that one of my favourite industry gures has been taken way too soon.
Millions around the globe feel the same way, and its easy to see why. Satoru Iwata
was something of an anomaly; a corporate bigwig who deviated from accepted social
conventions and relished in all that was fun. He was a remarkable breath of fresh air in
an industry that is so often cold and sterile in the way it operated; an aable personality
that was always deant in the face of critical stock-holders and money men who often
lambasted him for not following in the footsteps of his competitors. Much like key
Nintendo gures such as Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka, Iwata always prioritised
the company’s sense of thrill and whimsy above all else – that gaming was about joy, and
not raw specs.
So, who exactly was Satoru Iwata?
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Nintendo of Europe is today mourning the passing of Mr Satoru
Iwata, Nintendo’s Global President. It is difcult to put into words
the sadness we feel at this time. Mr Iwata was a strong leader, a
unique gure in the gaming industry and an important part of
Nintendo’s history. He was a visionary in every sense of the word
and we will miss him dearly. Just as Mr Iwata challenged us to
always push forward, we will ensure his legacy lives on through our
ongoing work to always surprise and delight our fans. At this time
our thoughts are with his family.
- Satoru Shibata
Born in Sapporo, Japan on the 6
of December 1959, Satoru Iwata enjoyed electronics
and games from a very young age. A computer whiz, he programmed simple games
in his school calculator, much to the joy of his friends. This edgling passion led him
to a major in computer science at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, before becoming
an intern at Commodore’s Japanese headquarters. After this, he became a freelance
developer at HAL Laboratory, Inc.
It was here where his Nintendo career truly began. His programming prowess led
to the position of coordinator of software production in 1983, before becoming
the president of the entire rm just 10 years later. Iwatas HAL tenure resulted in the
creation of future classics like Super Smash Bros, Kirby, EarthBound, Balloon Fight and
NES Open Tournament Golf, and it was during his stint as boss where his knack for
leadership rst became apparent, when helped to turn HALs lagging nances around.
Sound familiar?
After this, Iwata – along with a chap named Tsunekazu Ishihara - helped in the founding
of Creatures, Inc. in 1995, which was a successor to EarthBound gaer Shigesato Itoi’s
Ape, Inc. Still, Iwata didn’t lose his passion for creating videogames. For Pokémon Gold
and Silver, he actually helped the games development by programming a new set
of graphics compression tools, and further assisted with Pokémon Stadium on the
N64, by porting the Game Boy versions’ battle code to the console version within a
week – much to the amazement of his colleagues. He also helped bring the Pokémon
phenomenon to the west, by helping to localise Pokémon Red and Green. In 1998, he
worked with Itoi once more in establishing lifestyle company Hobonichi, taking up
the position of IT manager. 2000, he nally joined Nintendo on a full-time basis, as he
became the head of the corporate planning division.
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Mr. Iwata is gone, but it will be years before his impact on both
Nintendo and the full video game industry will be fully appreciated.
He was a strong leader for our company, and his attributes were
clear to most everyone: Intelligence, creativity, curiosity and sense
of humor. But for those of us fortunate enough to work closely
with him, what will be remembered most were his mentorship
and, especially, his friendship. He was a wonderful man. He
always challenged us to push forward…to try the new…to upset
paradigms—and most of all, to engage, excite and endear our fans.
That work will continue uninterrupted.
- Reggie Fils-Aimé
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In 2002, shockwaves were felt when Hiroshi Yamauchi stepped down as the leader of
Nintendo after 53 years.
His successor – Satoru Iwata – became only the fourth president in the companys history,
as well as the rst be unrelated to the Yamauchi family in any way. When Hiroshi Yamauchi
chose Iwata as his successor, he explained:
Within our industry there are those who believe that they will succeed simply because
of their successes in other ventures or their wealth, but that doesn’t guarantee success...
Looking at their experiences since entering the gaming world, its apparent that our
competitors have yielded far more failures than successes. Its been said that Sony is the
current winner in the gaming world. However, when considering their “victory, you should
remember that their success is only a very recent development. Though Sony is widely
held to be the strongest in the market, their fortunes may change. Tomorrow, they could
lose that strength, as reversals of fortune are part of this business. Taking into account
the things I’ve encountered in my experiences as Nintendo president, I have come to the
conclusion that it requires a special talent to manage a company in this industry. I selected
Iwata-san based on that criteria. Over the long-term I don’t know whether Iwata-san will
maintain Nintendos position or lead the company to even greater heights of success. At
the very least, I believe him to be the best person for the job.
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Indeed, Yamauchi wanted his company to be in the hands of someone who was worthy to
continue following the Nintendo mantra (a mantra of disruptive ideologies and unabashed
creativity); not someone who was simply a great business man. It just so happened that
that worthy person was a game developer; a man who worked in the trenches. It hardly
seemed to be a coincidence that a person who intimately understood videogames was
the best person to lead Nintendo into a new age.
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Iwatas run began during a time when Nintendos GameCube console struggled against
the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Though the purple box sold roughly the same amount as
Microsofts black behemoth, he and his peers felt that a major change was needed within
the industry – and that Nintendo would lead the way.
Of course, this led to the creation of the DS and Wii; two of the most successful consoles
in the Japanese rms history.
In this new era, Iwata espoused the ‘blue ocean strategy. A business theory 15 years in the
making, and rst dened by theorists W Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, it highlighted
the opportunity for industries to expand beyond their traditional clientele; clientele that
belonged in ‘Red Oceans. These oceans were ‘red’ from the blood of competition, and the
blue seas represented a wild frontier, where markets were created through upsetting the
norms. In 2003, it was Yamauchi that declared a paradigm shift in how Nintendo viewed
its customers and its products. Believing that larger, more complex games were becoming
something of a dead-end enterprise – both nancially and creatively – Yamauchi laid the
groundwork for Iwata. Iwata himself became aware of the declination of the gaming
market in Japan, as well as the idea of disruption’ coined by newly appointed President of
Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aimé. This disruption came in the form of DS and Wii –
two games consoles that provided new experiences at the expense of raw power. In 2004,
Iwata was frank:
Games have come to a dead end… The situation right now is that even if the developers
work a hundred times harder, they can forget about selling a hundred times more units,
since it’s dicult for them to even reach the status quo. It’s obvious that theres no future
to gaming if we continue to run on this principle that wastes time and energy.
According to industry analyst Sean Malstrom, Nintendo could have suered “total
irrelevancy, had they not adopted a disruptive policy. Using the example of the usurpation
of the railroad system by planes and automobiles, he asserted that Nintendo took to the
expanded market - their railroad’ business no longer sucient. The videogame business
was not a solitary thing; it was part of the entertainment business – much like how the
railroads were a part of the transportation business, not just the ‘railroad business. The
core market that Nintendo had spent so many years xated could have only gone so
far; so the answer was to go outside the box, to embrace the fact that videogaming had
the potential to be so much more. In Malstroms view, Nintendos main competitors –
Sony and Microsoft – were poisoned by ‘bad money. What he meant was that Nintendos
disruption had caused a shift in priority. Though Sony and Microsoft dedicated their
consoles to raw power, Iwata looked ahead; he realised that the future was not in how
many polygons a console could push, but rather how a player could interact with what
was happening on the screen. Nintendo became the industry leader once more, simply
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
because they dared to show a little ingenuity within a stagnating market. As a result, their
competitors were left scrambling for a response.
The DS and Wii went on the sell a combined 255 million units, whist helping to contribute
the doubling of Nintendos stock prices in 2006. Their successors – the 3DS and Wii U
– haven’t seen such highs, but have nevertheless continued the ne tradition of being
quality experiences.
I am truly surprised and saddened by this unexpected news. The
entire development team at Nintendo will remain committed to our
development policy which Mr. Iwata and we have been constructing
together and to yield the development results which Mr. Iwata
would appreciate.
- Shigeru Miyamoto
Sure enough, Satoru Iwatas successes as Nintendo president made him a valuable asset
– but it was his easy-going nature that really resonated with fans.
Perhaps his background as a game developer helped to connect with gamers on a
more personal level, but his gregarious outlook helped to open the traditionally-inward
Nintendo on an unprecedented scale. His Iwata Asks interviews on Nintendos websites
highlighted the inner workings of the company and its employees, and the regular
Nintendo Direct broadcasts were lled to the brim with hilarious skits that presented
Iwata as less of a boss – and more of a fan.
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Even during times of duress, his passion and steadfast beliefs were evident. Perhaps the
most noted example of this was in 2009, when Nintendos nancial woes spurred him
to cut his own pay in half, rather than ring any of his sta. It was an act that was simply
incomprehensible in the global corporate culture – let alone in the gaming industry,
where studios seem to go bust on a daily basis.
Still, he wouldn’t have been such a big gure without his share of critics, and Iwata certainly
had plenty. Without going in to too much detail here, I will say that Iwatas leadership of
Nintendo was often scrutinised for supposedly lagging behind the competition in various
aspects, generally in terms of third party support and online infrastructure – which was
true enough, particularly regarding the former. However, he was also acutely aware that
the media at large often misconstrued the way Nintendo operated. He said during a
shareholder meeting:
It is true that there are some Internet sites and certain media who have written stories
about Nintendo as if they were ocial when, in reality, they did not come from any
ocial sources such as interviews or announcements, nor were they conrmed by the
company. My words are sometimes taken out of context, rephrased in a way that sounds
oensive, and then reported as if those were my exact words. We look at the inuence and
the content of any article and media, and when we feel that it could potentially spread
misleading information (on a wide scale), then, as other companies do, we sometimes
decide to communicate on our ocial website and Twitter account that what the article
in question claims is nothing that the company has ocially announced. In this sense,
we are proactive with regard to information that, if left unattended, could aect us in an
extremely negative way.
Its easy to see why he was compelled to make such a statement. Over the years, we’ve seen
claims of Nintendo dying, being irrelevant in the hardware business, that they should not
be supported, that no-one cares about Mario, false claims about the Wii U’s power, and
that they should even sell themselves to Disney. Still, through all of this, Iwata had never
wavered from his beliefs, nor compromised his vision for Nintendo.
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In 2014, it was announced that Satoru Iwata required surgery to remove a tumour in his
bile duct. After missing E3 of that year, he resumed his presidential duties, which included
the historic partnership with DeNA to make mobile games, the establishment of the
Quality of Life brand, the creation of themed rides with Universal Parks & Resorts, and the
announcement of their new console – codenamed NX.
The outpouring of support and the sharing of so many memories
has been truly humbling and has helped us tremendously during a
difcult time. Mr. Iwata leaves behind an amazing legacy and we will
spend every day trying to honor him and what he created. Thank
you for being the best fans in the world.
- Nintendo
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Despite the successful removal of the growth, Iwata passed away from stomach cancer.
Funeral services were held in Kyoto on the 16th and 17th of July, with over 4,000
people attended to pay their respects. Braving the weather of nearby Typhoon Nangka,
mourners wielded 3DS consoles in remembrance, as acting-CEO Genyo Takeda
proclaimed that the seeds that Mr. Iwata planted would one day grow into owers
“that will make people around the world smile. Giving a heartfelt speech , he said:
As we gather here today for a joint funeral with Nintendo Co., Ltd. and Mr. Iwatas
family, I would like to share my heartfelt condolences. President Iwata, allow me to call
you Iwata-san, just as I always used to.
Iwata-san, you left us far too soon. Having just chaired our shareholders’ meeting
the other day on June 26, the news of your sudden death has left all the employees
overcome with a deep sorrow. The late Yamauchi-san passed the baton to you in
naming you the president of Nintendo in 2002, and the two Senior Managing Directors
of the company, Shigeru Miyamoto and I, have been assisting and working alongside
you. Being rather short-tempered myself, the thing that I am most deeply struck by is
that you were a true leader in every sense of the word, overowing with compassion
for people. You always maintained a two-way dialogue, even with the next generation
of employees, or with much younger members of the development and marketing
teams, or with employees outside of Japan whose dierent customs and cultures can
make communication challenging — sometimes even admitting your own mistakes
to them. You demonstrated this through your belief that people could eventually
come to understand one another, and your strong conviction that the best way for us
to grow is through patient communication, even if it took several times, a dozen times
or even seemingly endless discussion.
You succeeded in planting the seed in employees hearts that, in order to solve an
issue, there is a fundamental cycle whereby you make a hypothesis, execute the plan,
see the result and then make adjustments, and by which you have caringly nurtured
these seeds to sprout and mature into plants.
Until now, our successors and the younger generation would take a few rst steps and
then look back at you for guidance because they could not tell if they had chosen the
right path. Today they cannot ask for your guidance anymore.
However, I am sure that they have already made the rm determination that they will
continue on their own, making the hypothesis, executing the plan, seeing the results
and reecting on the results to improve and adjust by themselves.
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In the face of your unbelievable passing it will surely take some time before we can
emerge from this deep sorrow. Please know, however, that the seeds you have planted,
and the plants that have sprouted will put forth small owers as they bring smiles to
the faces of people around the world, blossom into a grand ower bigger than even
you, our leader, Iwata-san. Together with Miyamoto and others of our generation, we
swear in our hearts that we will continue our eorts so that, someday, we can report
and present to you the blossoming of these owers. May you continuously watch over
and guide us managers, our employees and your family.
On behalf of all of us, I would like to oer my heartfelt condolences and sincerest
prayer. May you rest in peace, Iwata-san.
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Nintendos Kyoto headquarters lowered its ag at half-mast, as a rainbow appeared
overhead. As Nintendos literal meaning is leave luck to heaven, it was serendipitous
to see the gods smile down upon a company that has always been so spiritual and
imaginative in the way it operates. Many industry gures paid their respects:
Sad day for Iwata-sans family, friends, and gamers everywhere. His passion, creativity &
leadership elevated our industry.
Phil Spencer, Xbox Division Head
He has given a great contribution to the development of the gaming industry. I will pray
for Iwatas soul.
Shuhei Yoshida, SCE Worldwide Studios President
Sad day. Satoru Iwata has passed. I was lucky enough to be interviewed by him. He
knew way more about dev than me.
Warren Spector
Thank you Mr Iwata. You will be greatly missed! #RIPIwata
In my heart forever. http://twitpic.com/daizry
Hideki Kamiya
We have lost a legend in the gaming world today... RIP Satoru Iwata you will be missed...
#RIPIwata #ktfamily
So sorry to hear about Mr. Iwatas passing. He was an unbelievable mind and talent, a
passionate creative force. May he rest in peace.
Zelda Williams
He was a man who understood Pokémon, and a great leader. When I visited the other
day, he was well. I will pray for his soul from the bottom of my heart
Junichi Masuda
This is just a taste of the countless outpourings of grief that lled the internet during the
few days after Iwatas departure.
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Its tting that Satoru Iwatas nal appearance for Nintendo was as a Jim Henson puppet
for E3 2015. It was the ultimate personication of everything he stood for; an irreverent
man who failed to see the line between business and pleasure. A gure who dared to
defy the common-sense view of videogaming by bringing fun and innovation back
into the limelight, whilst making gaming more inclusive for a wider audience. In that
respect, he was one of the most inuential men to ever grace the business, and one
who will be missed a lot. Whoever his successor will be, will have massive shoes to ll.
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Triple-A quality on a two-person budget
by Daniel King
Robert Bruce, Creator, Lead Game Designer and Artist behind Dream Wave Games gets
around four hours sleep per night. When juggling multiple priorities such as a nine-to-ve,
spending time with family and working on a uniquely profound indie game while the rest of
the nation sleeps, the fortune of midnight oil is set at black-market prices. Coffee becomes
as good as its withdrawals and sunrise turns out to be as inconvenient as that uncle who only
wanted to crash for ‘a couple weeks.’
Fortunately Robert is well equipped for the demanding life of an indie game developer
thanks to his passion for the industry and the everlasting support from his wife, puppy and
parrot. His late nights aren’t unwarranted however. He and the second half of Dream Wave
Games Cameron Baker (Programmer/Game Designer) are currently hammering out their
debut project Absention, best described as “Groundhog Day meets Silent Hill,” and it may
just be the most visually impressive game to come out of Australia.
Absention, a rst-person survival horror, is set in the isolated house of someone who
mysteriously vanished. You play the son of a successful horror writer who inherited dad’s
lake house after the old man went missing – presumed dead. His sudden disappearing trick
falls under suspicious circumstances so it’s time to move into this new pad and investigate
the writing on the walls.
Once you step inside the lake house’s majestic halls you’ll become the target of a single
mysterious foe that isn’t too happy about you snooping around. Your only defence is to
hide; praying the beast doesn’t see your foot poking out from behind the coffee table. While
there’s heavy emphasis on horror elements, the core of Absention is about personal discovery.
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Every upturned rock and document perused will lead you inches closer to discovering the
truth behind your dad’s disappearance as you uncover the cracks of his failed marriage and
acquaint yourself with facts of his life post-abandonment.
“The son isn’t expecting to nd the father but inevitably discovers more about who he was
and what happened to him,” says Robert in our interview. “Because the father was estranged,
it allows both player and their character to explore an unknown environment. I want the
player to discover who the father is without much prior knowledge much like their in-game
character ... The terrifying events that occur in the house can also be interpreted as the
character facing the past and his hatred of the father.”
Ostensibly this concept might sound like the inner workings of a modern John Hughes
rekindling the love of a long lost father and son relationship, though it’s long from that
type of feel good ending. Purely horror fans need apply. What gamers may recognise as
just another carbon copy survival-horror is far from what’s on offer. The secret spice that
stands Absention out from the crowd is the use of its intricate time-loop system, similar
to Majora’s Mask’s three-day limbo, randomly congured rooms and the project’s visually
weighty realism powered by Unreal Engine 4. Furthermore the house’s layout changes each
time you start a new game so there’s little chance to remember patterns and speed your way
Dream Wave Games will let you soak in the view of their game’s complexly detailed interior,
though you’ll be mostly solving puzzles, revealing clues about your father’s past and avoiding
the dark presence that lingers on your every movement.
“You’ll die a lot,” Robert warns. “But each time you’ll learn from your mistakes. You are trapped
in a time-loop where you must explore every room and solve problems all the while you are
being hunted by a mysterious being.”
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Immediately I’m hooked. I’m a sucker for survival horror. Pitch me another Amnesia: The
Dark Descent sequel and my rst-born is yours. Though unlike other similarly themed titles,
Absention encompasses an unconventional setting. A hillside vacation house overlooking
a lake is hardly the place for a traditional horror. Monster fanatics are used to hallowed
corridors, creaky mansions and mental asylums; though this deliberate decision is Robert’s
attempt to break away from the predictable.
“I want to show [players] how quickly things can turn sinister in a place that, at rst glance,
looks like somewhere you’d want to live,” he says. “I want them to experience that lingering
horror without relying on abandoned hospitals, jump scares or any gore whatsoever.”
Absention strikes me as a frightening game with dignity; horror that wears monocles. Sure
it’s easy to rely on the blood and gore tropes to sell your point, yet there’s a remarkable
amount of weight behind a game that chooses to petrify without using stale scare elements.
The secret to an enticing survival horror is immersion and is thus why it plays an integral
part in Absention. The team are even reaching great lengths to include VR support to
provide those extra thrills.
“I want to see players completely immersed in a detailed world that’s rich in story,” he
states. “The [Oculus] Rift is an amazing piece of hardware I’m really excited about. Even
with my early developer kit it truly immerses you within the virtual world and is well suited
to a horror experience.”
With VRs predicted to shoot off commercially over the next year (Project Morpheus to ship
during the rst half of 2016, HTC Re Vive expected this year, Oculus Rift release Q1 2016),
it’s almost benecial for games to accommodate this type of hardware. Unless you’re a
developer or have connections within the industry it’s unlikely you’ll own a VR headset
anytime soon. Robert understands the practicality of possessing one but implores gamers
will receive the utmost experience once available.
“While I want Absention to be that ‘must-have’ title I also want it to be completely optional
as a VR experience,” he says. “A traditional monitor setup with a gamepad or mouse and
keyboard will be the default method of interaction however those with a shiny new VR
headset can take things to the next level if they’re brave.”
A singular foe constantly on your scent already sounds nightmarish on its own, but living
it out every single night while struggling to solve puzzles in VR is deathly. Even with the
enemy following your every step and counting each of your exasperated breaths, Robert
reveals the beast isn’t even the true antagonist.
“It’s the night you have to defeat,” he says. “Uncovering the mystery may be the only way
to see a new day. Even if you did manage to kill [the foe], what happens if you still relive
the same night and it’s there again?”
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There seems to be an illusory themed motif surrounding Absention that tricks players into a
false sense of security. This is especially evident in the reveal trailer, which released mid-March,
as it draws players into its luscious and comforting environment only to deteriorate the luxury
ever so quickly. The trailer’s opening begins as a justly monocle of beauty; the quintessential
poster child of tranquillity. From the video’s smooth camera pans across the gorgeously realised
estate to the sweet tinkles of a serene score accompanying your voyage through the rustic, yet
elegant, lake house, Dream Wave Games rolls us out the deceitful red carpet but asks we wipe
our feet at the door.
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Though as we’re directed closer to the Grandfather Clock at the end of the hall the pacing
hastens, the peaceful score disappears behind an eerily skipping tempo, the sun falls out of the
sky to leave only darkness and the clock hands spin unceremoniously to midnight, leaving only
the dauntingly horrifying silhouette of our beast reecting in the clock’s face. Robert wanted
to show how quickly our peaceful world could turn sinister and he did so in just a matter of
While teaser trailer is a fantastic looking tech demo, showcasing just how deceitful the illusion
of comfort can be, it holds back from showing much of the actual game. Dream Wave Games
initially wanted to blow minds with the rst trailer’s visual aesthetics (I’m still picking parts of
my brain off the walls) and have plans to release another more in-depth trailer soon.
“I’ve planned the gameplay trailer so you’ll see things like using stealth and caution at all times
while exploring the house, always listening to where the monster might be,” he claims.
Absention has consumed a lot of the duo’s time and effort but it’s far from their last project. In
fact the grandeur innovation of Absention is apparently the most practical of Robert’s creative
“I have more ambitious game ideas,” he says. “But only by taking smaller steps will I get there
so I needed to start a little smaller rst ... Since announcing our concept last month, production
will be ramping up signicantly.”
Absention is estimated to release Q1 2016 and Dream Wave Games will initiate a Kickstarter
for the project this year.
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Tech check with
At PAX AUS in 2014 I was able to see some of
the latest gaming wares that were on offer;
one of those things was the Orion Spark
keyboard from Logitech. In truth I drooled
over it quite a bit. However, now that I’ve had
a chance to really play with it as well as the
Logitech Hyperion Fury mouse, does it live
up to the idealised dream and is it worth a
price tag that will probably turn most average
gamers away?
Design-wise the keyboard is a delight; it
balances the oft difcult task of looking cutting
edge without also looking overwhelming. The
smooth edges with the occasional sharp diagonal work well together and the keys themselves are
designed to have ngers sit as comfortably as possible. Small grooves catch your ngers and prevent
them from falling forward during furious typing. The keys are Romer-G, Logitech’s new competition to
the Cherry Mechanical Keys you will nd in a lot of keyboards.
Logitech claims these keys are faster than the competition, while there certainly wasn’t any noticeable
lag. Talking with some current mechanical keyboard users the opinion appeared to be that the Romer-
G’s didn’t make a real difference to speed. A key difference many will notice is sound. If you are a fan of
having a keyboard that sounds like you’re mashing away on a typewriter you will be sorely disappointed.
The keys are far quieter than their competition but still give an enjoyable clack. Personally I’m pleased,
as having a keyboard making so much noise during writing would have been a disadvantage.
It seems as though we will be seeing more and more programmable lights being used in gaming
keyboards; not just the basic waves or cycles, but specic actions for each games. It was a delight to
suddenly nd the number keys ash red and blue as the police started chasing me in Grand Theft Auto
V. The keyboard automatically searched my Steam library for any games that had created a colour
portfolio for it; there wasn’t a huge range however that’s always the way with new gimmicks. I can’t say
that the lighting element currently adds a great deal aside from the wow factor, but I can see a lot of
room for it to be used in conjunction with games to enhance immersion.
The other newest feature is the ARX dock release and app; allowing you to run computer diagnosis
while you game. Unless you are of the most hardcore PC gamers, it’ll be a feature you use once to see
how it works and then completely forget about.
Hyperion Fury and Orion Spark review
by Clare Belshaw
Image © PC Mag
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The keyboard is a delight to type with, and incredibly fun to game with. A lot of the features
are only used for the most intensive gamers, which the price tag would suggest. If you have the
money to drop on it and are interested in seeing how the lighting can be combined with game
immersion it’s worth it, however if you are feeling a little strapped for cash most of the features t
into the ‘cool’ category rather than actual necessity. Other features include nine programmable
buttons, media controls and 113 key anti-ghosting control.
What of the Hyperion Fury mouse? A more mid-range gaming mouse in Logitech’s selection,
it’s a mouse that ts comfortably in your hand and certainly isn’t lacking in terms of power. One
thing that really will come down to personal gaming preference is the programmable buttons;
a slightly large nger movement in needed to reach them. For me this actually works well as my
last mouse would frequently have buttons pressed without intention while more competitive
gamers may nd those extra milliseconds frustrating. The actual buttons themselves are incredibly
responsive, and the website promises are 1 millisecond report rate. It’s incredibly responsive and
well moulded for hands. While a lot of other gaming mouses have been heading towards more
angular shapes to give a more futuristic aesthetic, the Hyperion hides smooth curves for your
thumb underneath more angular buttons, allowing for that same look but without compromising
comfort for it.
I’m a fan of the Hyperion Fury and at PAX I was also able to play around with the more advanced
G602 wireless gaming mouse. Personally I greatly prefer the Hyperion due to the comfort of the
design and the placement of the programmable buttons. Although some of the higher end mice,
including the G602, would be better for competitive gaming, assuming of course the it can live
up to its claim of low latency despite being wireless. If you are looking for a solid gaming mouse
that emphasises comfort as well as function the Hyperion will serve you well.
Image © Pocket Lint
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CATCH A RIIIIIIIIDE! *Ahem* Sorry. It’s just, that phrase is so positively infectious. Much like
the many, many features of this entry in this comically abound Tales From The Borderlands.
Episode three
of this rollercoaster ride of chaotic events oers no reason to avert your
attention elsewhere thanks to its continuously on-point comic timing and emotionally
engaging characters.
Catch A Ride is, suitably, the road trip episode; the one where the merry band of
questionable heroes hit the road on a one-way ticket to riches. This once small, rag-tag
group of mists has expanded into a bit of a fellowship thanks to a few new recruits,
though the new personalities never fall behind or take precedence over others. The devil-
may-care Athena from Pre-Sequel fame pulls a 180 and reveals she’s actually fullling the
wish of a dead man, siding up with Fiona instead of against. Additionally their personied
key to freedom Gortys turns out to have an eervescent personality of her own and her
newfound companionship in Loader Bot is more than just adorable. Sure, Fiona and Rhys
may be the guys on the front cover but they’re far from just being the two were rooting
for; everyones personality is alluring and colourfully uorescent. There are no dull lights
in this bag of bulbs.
Episode three
cracks open with a blaze, lighting the re beneath our feet and pumping
us up for another tasteful instalment. The rst major stream of theatrics has the gang
scrambling out of a messy situation given the events of episode 2’s cli-hanger, and the
gangs goofy way of handling dangerous situations wouldn’t be foreign in a family friendly
action caper (though with less fart jokes and banana peels.)
May contain spoilers from episodes 1 & 2
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The question still remains as to how and when this, now much classier looking, duo
are captured by the present day mysterious mercenary, yet we do get a closer glimpse
into their humanity. Rewind back to the events leading up to their capture, the gang
manage to escape Hugos grasp with their ticket to opening the vault, the Gortys, further
increasing the already insurmountably high bounty on their heads. Though surprises
are in store when their key unlocks into a cute little faux-sentient helper drone. With his
bubbly and jovial personality, this childlike droid’s gleefulness is happily inviting. Could
this be hinting at a relative of the series mascot Claptrap? Weirder things have happened
in Pandora.
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A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it death of a major character, Vaughn’s indenite incapacitation
from a stun dart, another stylishly comical opening accompanied by a rustically cool song
and a heart-pumping car chase kicks o the journey to pave our way into unpredictable
Often mediums of entertainment have a tendency to lull around the middle mark to focus
on extrapolating exposition thus pampering the audience for an explosive conclusion,
Episode three: Catch a Ride
is one of the few exceptions that succeeds with such
enthralling momentum.
This new instalment in
Tales From the Borderlands
focuses on this odd-couple group
chasing down the missing components required to activate The Vault. As expected,
chaotic events such as carnivorous plants, electric jellysh and a suspicious scientist with
a huge secret prevent everyone from celebrating their end result too early. Handsome
Jacks grip on Rhys’s mind tightens and we’re even closer to potentially experiencing
a bonade metamorphosed incarnate of Buttstallions owner once again. We all know
the masked, sadistic, trigger-happy Jack is the personication of comical evil, though it’s
during a mano-a-mano conversation that we discover a more vulnerable side to the man
who kills for fun.
Episode three
delights with its new, colourful atmosphere. Snowy landscapes and a
purple crystal-laden environment reward us with a nice, fresh change of scenery to
the otherwise bright orange and dark brown. Its great to see the more exhibitive parts
of Pandora on display because its such an expansive world hiding behind layers of
wastelands and dingy towns.
May contain spoilers from episodes 1 & 2
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Fans of the original rst-person series have a lot to look forward to in
Episode Three of
manic adventure.
s Athena is a little more dimensional and eshed out
now that shes more than just a rst-person screen with guns, and other Vault Hunters
drop by to aunt their reckless prowess, though their friendliness is dampened by ulterior
Vault Hunters aside, the gang reunites with some other old ‘friends’ from earlier episodes
and meet up with the duos boss, which is where we nally put a face to the games
infamous Vallory. Her cold, scratchy voice and unendearing appearance grants great
promise to her renowned reputation. She has a presence that consumes the screen
and steals the show, all while tted with her amboyant designer scarf, chic glasses and
horizontal Mr Whippy haircut.
More opportunities for Rhys and Sashas relationship to blossom beyond friends makes
for some bashful, yet humanly touching moments. Though Rhys’ cringe worthy way of
dealing with these intimate situations is jarring.
Catch a Ride
is an absolutely stellar instalment in this fantastic series, though a couple
of issues hold it back from being on par with the success of previous investments. There
weren’t really any decisions that made me second-guess myself or push me to balance
my priorities like previous instalments. So when the tally board after the credits revealed
the general consensus that most other players took, I wasn’t surprised when a lot of my
choices lined up with the majority.
Yet the feature I didn’t initially warm to the most was the removal of a certain plot device
that added an edge over its
Walking Dead
predecessor. In Episode One we familiarised
ourselves with the concept that Fiona, a pacist whod much rather talk her way out of a
situation than re o blasts, had one bullet and, given the setup, we assumed thered be
many targets to use said bullet on.
The sentimental value of her single shot had high humility sewn into the seams and
really set us up with hope wed come across someone whod really deserve to die. So
when Athena jazzes up Fionas sleeve pistol with more ammo for a couple trigger-happy
action puzzles, it diminishes the importance of that one target who deserves it the most,
thus robbing the audience of that character-motivated plot device. Were yet to have
another situation where we question whose head our bullet will nd a home in and its
disappointing that were past the halfway mark and have had only one opportunity.
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Never fear though because whenever one door closes, Tales opens a window and were
granted an opportunity to set Fiona down the exciting path of a Vault Hunter should
grifting people out of pocket change prove no longer a life dream. Athena dons the
Mr. Miyagi belt and helps equip Fiona with skill and bravado required for keeping up
appearances as a Vault Hunter. Her moments of st-pumping bravado when faced against
a couple of familiar faces is adrenaline pumping and lled to the brim with stylish, comical
Tales from the Borderlands Episode Three - Catch A Ride
is another fantastic instalment
in the series that succeeds both in comical jests, witty writing and genuinely interesting
characters. Its just a shame that there aren’t many hard-hitting decisions to create a
lasting impression. Right now we’ve just reached the series’ halfway mark but I’m still
praying it doesn’t end.
Tales from the Borderlands
still sits highly and unmatched on top
of my favourite Telltale Games pedestal, though out of the three, Catch A Ride dangles
from the edge of its two predecessors.
May contain spoilers from episodes 1 & 2
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