Sunday, December 22, 2019

Year 3: December Update

It's time to close out another year with January 2, 2020 marking Vault 1541's 3rd anniversary. As the years have gone by I've actually kept rather steady even though I've not posted as much as I'd have liked (by the way, this is the 300th post!). I'll be wrapping up the game ads in 2020 but once I complete the publisher posts I will have some other ads, plus I'll upload new ads as I find them. YouTube is definitely going to slow in 2020 as I'm preparing to launch a new channel that will take a lot of my time. It's strictly for the year 2020 only and I won't be appearing or speaking in any of the videos, they'll be only gameplay of physical games released in 2020. I'll post more about it once I finalize and launch it. Three days ago I did purchase a Nintendo Switch so I could play the 2020 exclusives for the new channel though I have yet to actually open it. Why even start another channel? Well, primarily to leverage my access to most retail games in an attempt to generate ad revenue but I know the odds of that are not good. Also, I felt like the idea here wouldn't really fit with the Vault 1541 theme so I thought it best to make a separate channel. As I said, it's a one year project so it at least has an ending point.

I wouldn't have expected December to have too much game news but it actually did. The big story hit during The Game Awards when Microsoft showed the next Xbox console but the name is causing some confusion. It was shown as the Xbox Series X though whether the "Series X" part is just one model of the next Xbox or the official name isn't clear. A Microsoft representative has since indicated that it would be called Xbox which is obviously the same name as the original if that's the case. It's a big rectangular box that can be stood vertically or horizontally and is backwards compatible. Here's a semi-shocker: Sony will be releasing its baseball video game series MLB: The Show on other platforms as early as 2021. This is more Major League Baseball's (MLB) doing than Sony's but I do think Sony was in the driver's seat on this. MLB wants a great baseball game to exist and its own RBI Baseball series has not been good. Therefore, it wasn't going to keep the license from Sony if it didn't agree to release the game on Xbox or Switch but it likely offered a great deal that will benefit both parties financially. It's not easy to start developing a realistic, in-depth baseball game from scratch; there aren't too many publishers with the resources and maybe none with the desire to attempt it. I'd say it is also very possible Sony won't actually be the publisher for the other consoles. Instead there will probably be a distribution or publishing agreement like Microsoft has for Minecraft.

Intellivision turned 40 this month and I didn't do anything for it since I already have done coverage on the console though I did post a video of Astrosmash. I also didn't do anything for the PlayStation which turned 25 based on the original release in Japan. North America was the following year so maybe I'll do something next year if I have the time. Makers of TheC64 Mini, Retro Ltd., unveiled a new version called TheC64. While it is another plug 'n' play device with built-in games, this is a full size Commodore 64 functioning keyboard so you can use the keys for gaming this time and even writing programs. Although it was intended to release this month, I'm not sure if it actually has and it will probably take a bit longer to reach North America.

A couple weeks ago I posted an early video of Shenmue III and today I finished the game. While making the video it was tough to cover a lot as I didn't want to show any story and I was still early on and thus learning everything myself. The game begins in the village of Bailu which isn't too big but you'll still spend a fair amount of time there before heading to the city of Niaowu where there are a lot of vendors, mini-games, and capsule toys to collect. If you're a fan of the series then you should play it, however, I don't think it is worth paying full price. Although I was aware that the game would not conclude the story, it really doesn't move the story forward much at all. Most of the game is spent looking for thugs and Shenhua's father, and for all the time I spent improving Ryo's kung fu, there aren't enough story battles. I also don't like the stamina/food system and the quick-timer events that are far too fast for me. It was rare that I actually completed a quick-timer event on the first try. Also, I should point out that the mini-games do not include any classic arcade cabinets, likely due to Sega not being involved. 

December also marks the release of another Star Wars movie. I've not seen it yet but reviews from critics seem to indicate fans should have fun with the spectacle despite an unsatisfying story. I'm not sure when I'll see it as I don't go to the movies too often and don't mind waiting to avoid the initial crowds. Christmas is in a few days for many people so if you celebrate: Merry Christmas! If not, hopefully you'll at least enjoy a few days off from work or school. That's kind of where I'm at since I'm not traveling and don't live close to family so I'll be working three days out of the week. Then the following week will be a couple more days off for New Year's Day. Take care and enjoy the holidays!


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