This Week in Gaming: August 12, 2013 – 100 Posts, Salty Bets & Non-Mandatory Kinect

Programming Note: I will be playing with a new rotation over the next few weeks as I settle in to a new writing schedule. All of my typical features of editorials, reviews, vault reviews, Top Ten Tuesday and Gaming Backlog will continue going forward but at a slightly modified rate.

Monday will be reserved for a (this) new segment: This Week in Gaming. It is a homecoming of sorts for me as news has always been part of my repertoire. This Week in Gaming will predominantly focus on recent gaming related news along with a brief opinion about the topic. I will reserve lengthy analysis and discussion for Wednesday editorials, which will continue to chug on. Tuesdays will remain alternating between Top Ten Tuesday and Gaming Backlog. Reviews will continue to go live on Friday but I will also use this slot to talk about pre-play expectations and basic previews.

100th Post!

Final Fantasy VII

This has been a fantastic year for me. I got married to a girl who embraces my passions for writing and gaming, I refocused my energy into this blog after a long hiatus and I got to fog up the glass at E3 (next step: press pass). The fact that I somehow made it to 100 posts on WordPress is just icing on the cake. Although I am just one writer rambling to a small audience, every word I put to page, every article clicked and read, and every comment left are all building blocks to somehow realize a dream of doing this on a higher level.

Thank you to everyone who has supported my work as I continue to grow and strive for incredible things.

Salty Bet Dream Cast Casino

Remember those odd wagers you would make as a middle schooler regarding who would win in a fight, Batman or Mega-Man? Gaming has come close to making the ludicrous scenarios a reality, in particular thanks to collaborations like the Marvel vs Capcom series, Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe and even mash-up RPGs like Project X Zone. But no one has ever thought to make it a bloodsport. Until now.

Salty Bet

Using the open sourced fighting engine M.U.G.E.N., Salty Bet is essentially a Twitch.tv stream that broadcasts AI matches of M.U.G.E.N., filled to the brim with user created characters. Now, even though M.U.G.E.N. is practically 15 years old (it came out in 1999), the current “game” has evolved to the point where users have created all sorts of potential match ups between adaptations of modern fighters like King of Fighters and Street Fighter, to go up against fictional characters from comic books, television shows and anime. The end result is a potentially limitless character roster with movesets ripped straight out of DragonBall Z.

The hook of Salty Bet is that users can bet virtual currency on who they believe will win matches. No actual money is spent and you can trash talk all you want in the live chat (which by itself is hilariously entertaining). Just in a few viewings of Salty Bet, I’ve seen characters ranging from a Puzzle Fighter version of Ken, many assorted anime girls, Ash from Evil Dead, Spawn, Buttercup from the PowerPuff Girls and way too many hastily made DragonBall characters.

Salty Bet

Because M.U.G.E.N. is open source, it means that there is no policing when it comes to character creation. All a person needs is half an imagination, an image to map hitboxes on to and a little time to write moveset parameters. Due to the lack of control, there is no set limitations to character size, damage output, defensive durability or quirks. Some characters are able to spawn copies of themselves, while other characters are so small they dodge most attacks without even trying. The Salty Bet community likes to think that there is tiering of characters, but ultimately the cheapest characters with the best AI routines written dominate, while poorly made characters drown. Even still, to place money on a fight between Popeye and He-Man? You can’t make that stuff up.

Salty Bet Dream Cast Casino

Xbox One Will No Longer Require the Kinect

Someone up at Microsoft must have the business strategy of Summer 2013: The Summer of Policy Reversal.

Xbox One Kinect

The Xbox One already scalded potential early purchasers with ridiculous policies that were stated at the reveal. But since Microsoft stumbled out of the gates, they’ve gone and made massive changes to their Xbox One strategy. Microsoft has already ditched digital activation, done away with required online check-ins and softened their stance on independent publishing, so what do they do to follow that up? Make the Kinect non-mandatory.

The Kinect was initially part of Microsoft’s big, always on, always listening strategy that would allow for vocal commands to boot up the system cold. But as proud as Microsoft was about the power of their new Kinect, consumers were just uneasy about having the thing plugged in all the time, always watching, always listening. My plan for the Xbox One’s place in my setup would be to cover the Kinect with a towel.

HAL-9000

With the US populace’s concerns over NSA wiretapping and hacking into computers without their knowledge, Microsoft had no choice but to realize that they’d overstepped again. People just don’t like being told how to do things, much less having a device watch how they do things. They understood their error early as rumblings began to come out that the Kinect could be switched off when not in use. Being able to unplug it is a welcome change that should have been an option from the start.

Kotaku – Kinect No Longer Mandatory For Xbox One (But Will Still Come With It)

Noteworthy Releases

Children of the ’80s will all know the theme song to this week’s digital release of Duck Tales: Remastered. Back on the NES it was one of the greatest licensed games ever made and had an absolutely stellar soundtrack. As part of Capcom’s push to make their classic titles relevant again, Duck Tales gets the HD remaster treatment and I can’t wait to dive into the Money Bin with my favorite geriatric Scottish mallard. Releases on PSN, Nintendo eShop and Steam August 13. Xbox Live users (like me) will have to wait until September 11.

Also launching this week is Mario & Luigi: Dream Team on the 3DS, Payday 2 on Steam and Charlie Murder on Xbox Live.

What’cha Playin’?

Medal of Honor Warfighter

I just carved through the Medal of Honor: Warfighter campaign. I needed something a little more fast paced after the tedious grind of playing through 2006’s Prey. Expect full reviews of both games. Prey, in particular, will be an interesting review as it is a seven-year-old game that began development in 1995. I’ve also been plucking away at Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 to provide a change of pace before I get back to Dishonored.

Cool Guys Don’t Look at Explosions

Just a little fun to sign off with.

Devinsupertramp is quickly becoming one of my favorite YouTube directors. Fantastic shots with raw performers. This AC4 video was shot at this year’s San Diego Comic Con and is just mesmerizing to watch.

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