Rundown (9/02-9/08) Work X Work X Work X Grad School

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So, this past week it became abundantly apparent to me just how busy my schedule is. With my ongoing part-time job of the past two years, my occasional second job where I help out an accountant kicking off again, a new third job where I help another accountant with more complicated matters, and the beginning of my accounting master’s program, which is like a bachelor’s program, but with more projects. When combined with the stuff I do for this site, and the production of a novel, it amounts to a pretty hectic time, but with the education, experience, and money I am getting, I really cannot complain.

For those who do not remember, back in 2013 the developer and publisher Natsume split off into two separate companies. With the publisher being the more international company best known for publishing the Bokujo Monogatari or Farm Story series in the west as Harvest Moon, before that series was picked up by another publisher and released as Story of Seasons. While the developer changed their name to Natsume Atari, which is completely unrelated to Atari, which is also unrelated to the Atari of the 80s or 90s, and is in actuality just the company Infogrames with a different name.

Anyways, back in 2016 Natsume Atari released Wild Guns Reloaded, a remastered and expanded version of their original SNES title with new characters, balancing, stages, and many updates. Due to the success of that project, the developer is working to update and revive another one of their older titles with the 1994 cult classic The Ninja Warriors being revived as The Ninja Warriors Once Again. A considerably expanded version of the single plane beat ‘em up with newly added co-op, new characters, more visual flare, and a far large amount of screen space. The title is currently only announced for the Switch, and has an international release window of 2019.

That Katamari series is one that has a definite presence in the game industry for a handful of years, but after four console games and two handheld entries, and the series creator left the company, it more or less faded away, beyond that one mobile title that failed to catch any visible buzz. I bring this up as there was recently a European trademark registered for Katamari Damacy Reroll, which almost certainly sounds like a remaster of the first title in the series, Katamari Damacy. The Katamari series is one that I have always wanted to get into, so this could be a great opportunity for me, and surely a lot of other people, to see what made this series so special and iconic in the first place.  I mean, other than the delightful soundtrack, which I have been listening to on occasion over the years.

So after the whole Loot Box fiasco of 2017, Belgium has banned the sale of Loot Boxes across many major releases, and this has naturally drawn the ire of certain AAA publishers, most notably 2K. The publisher has reportedly been having continued conversations with Belgium officials about wiggling around these justified laws, and to emphasize their desperation for profit, they asked fans to inform the authorities that they want the ability to purchase manipulative boxes of randomized in-game goods. Because they are just that desperate.

Oh, but it gets better, as the senior producer of upcoming NBA 2K19 recently addressed the concerns of numerous fans, who felt that the game was too stringent with its currency distribution and making significant progress necessitates a needless amount of grinding, which may be supplemented by microtransactions. His response was to declare microtransactions as and “unfortunate reality” of modern gaming, while also openly declaring the process of playing through the game without the use of real world money being a “grind”. A move that fails to address the issue in any way, pushes the narrative that microtransactions have always been a part of gaming, and more or less admits that the game is being designed to necessitate the use of real world money. I swear, this industry is steadily becoming a parody of itself.

Anything else? Oh, right. THQ Nordic, being the ultimate peddlers of abandoned western gaming IPs, managed to acquire the Kingdoms of Amalur series, which only had the lone release of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. An action RPG that I was quite interested in back when it launched in 2012, but found to be one of my first run-ins with bland samey open world games, with much of its exploration and combat becoming increasingly lethargic and dull as time went on. Still, some people enjoy it, and it is nice to see the IP doing something more than hanging in legal limbo after it’s very messy development history that involved the game being partially funded by the state of Rhode Island… Video games are weird like that.

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