Thanks to ‘Final Fantasy’ developer Square Enix, we now have our first look at what we can expect from early next gen console graphics. In a demonstration labeled “Back Stage,” produced by Luminous Productions, we get a look at the clarity and depth next gen consoles like the Play Station 5 will be capable of.
The demo was meant to show off a new technique called “Ray Tracing.” Which is meant to re-create natural lighting more accurately.
“It essentially simulates the path of light traveling from a light source in a game, like a light bulb, fire, or the sun, more accurately than conventional video game lighting. The result is more realistic lighting, reflections, and shadows in a video game.” –Antonio Villas-Boas
Take a look at the demo below. Tell us what you think in the comments. Are you excited for next gen consoles?
NFT: The New Next-Gen
We live in a world dominated by virtual consumption. Whether you are into gaming, movies, or knitting, it is hard to avoid contact with some form of a digital community. Planet Earth is consumed by this form of technology which has no end in sight. When it comes to gaming specifically, there are a number of factors that drive gamers: adventure, relaxation, stress-relief, and an avenue that has real estate of its own – collecting.
The standard “gamer” actually does not exist – shooters, role players, platformers, nostalgia seekers, or Fortnite celebrities – gamers often transcend the boundaries of genres. We see undying allegiances to gaming companies such as Nintendo or Sony and inexplicable emotional ties to games from decades past. Whatever the case, there lies an audience of consumers who may not even fit the true bill of what a “gamer” is.
Collectors are seen in the world over in every light and hobby known to man – and video games are no exception to this rule. We’ve seen entire YouTube channels dedicated to nostalgia, where a well-known “gamer” shows off not only a Dragon’s Quest 11 gameplay on the PS4 but his collection of Dragon’s Quest 1-10 and replicas of the Hero Sword to millions of viewers. Sometimes, collecting can even turn into its own form of gaming – and this is where the market for coveted gems gets driven up even more.
So, without further ado, welcome to the world of NFTs, or non-fungible-tokens. NFTs are digital goods that exist on a digital ledger called blockchain. Each NFT represents a distinctive digital item, deeming it non-interchangeable. NFTs can represent a wide array of materials such as art, video, audio, and video game items. Each NFT is unique and its ownership can be precisely tracked.
For years people have had such an emotional attachment to physical entities, be it a Mickey Mantle baseball card or a one-of-a-kind piece of art. The market for rare items has survived in a world of physical seclusion, and this is now being turned upside down as the world faces a conversion to virtual materiality. Physical isolation in the age of COVID has only accelerated the transition to virtual existence. Digital media has never had much assignable value because it was always so easily duplicated. In allowing people to enumerate an official copy of a piece of art, NFTs finally give value to digital goods that used to have none.
Digital technology has had its fair share of criticism over the years, and NFTs have been closely associated with Bitcoin, the system used for cryptocurrency. But the $1.5 billion NFT transaction volume in the first quarter of 2021 alone speaks volumes about its transition to the mainstream.
Games that are using NFTs are not very large in abundance currently, but with the craze ascending on a near-daily basis, it seems unlikely that the market will stay small for long. The video game industry in the US alone accounted for over $60 billion USD in 2020. This signifies that not only is it beyond profitable but also that it begets growth beyond the norms of major consoles.
It’s not hard to conceptualize the full potential for a gaming-NFT intersection. One such instance of this is an NFT-based game, titled The Sandbox. Gamers can purchase plots of a virtual sandbox as an NFT in the game, allowing everyone to be the landowners they never were. The game sold $2.8 million worth of product just in the month of February alone and is said to be worth over $35 million by its creators. The growth of this market is rapidly expanding.
Collectors are driven by the rarity of an item and this is what truly gives such value to NFT items. Imagine having one-of-a-kind Legend of Zelda images or the original sketch of a video game character such as Cloud Strife. These things would hold immense value, and with a world that is diving headfirst into digital reality, it seems the reality is NFTs are the new way to level up.
Mario Is Dead…So What Is Next?
March 31st signified the end of the reign of Mario and his 35 years of existence. Depending on your preference, you were either happy for the extra attention the red plumber received – or like some, you were more than ready for his time in the spotlight to come to a halt. Especially considering a particular Nintendo mascot (hint: A little man in green) did not get the same love for their 35th anniversary of another popular Nintendo franchise.
We have moved past the death of Mario and are sitting here pondering what is next for Nintendo. Nintendo recently gave us a new Monster Hunter game to gush about and it is indeed a solid entry; nevertheless we are still wondering what bigger moves are to come for Nintendo?
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD remaster will surely be a huge hit for Nintendo in July as well as other unreleased titles including a few new Pokémon titles, but what about E3? Also, what about the rumored Nintendo Switch Pro? Maybe Nintendo did such a fantastic job over the last two years, as gamers we have become spoiled, but with so much in terms of library availability should we not expect more?
Maybe I am a being a bit hasty here, but 2020 was such a magnetic and massive year for the Switch that I am clamoring for much more. Maybe more secrets will trickle out during the E3 conference in June, but with a lack of love for the Legend of Zelda series, and a few new competitors in tow with the new next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft; it is time Nintendo drops a bomb that will keep it in the ranks among the other console elites.
The stagnant movement of Nintendo has been this way for most of the year. With a lack of major triple AAA titles, it seems the company is in a minor flux. Also let’s be honest, who wouldn’t pay the extra $3.99 to play Earthbound on the virtual console? It is time Nintendo pays attention to it’s consumers. It’s free money to port a title over when you have the rights, or maybe Nintendo is just playing hardball here.
Don’t get me wrong, Nintendo has done a spectacular job with the Switch and has totally closed the gap on it’s more “Prettier” console competition, but with the silence from Nintendo recently, we are ready to see what 2021 has in store. Maybe 2020 wrote a check that 2021 for Nintendo can’t cash? Well only time will tell…The ball is in your court Nintendo, make your move.
Top 10 Legend of Zelda games of All-Time
We are a little late to the party here, but with Mario’s 35th anniversary finally coming to an end this month, it is now time to give some focus to Zelda and the little guy in the green hat – Without further ado…Here are the top 10 Legend of Zelda games of all-time.
10. The Legend Of Zelda:
Sometimes you just have to give credit to the OG. The first in the series debuted in 1986 on the NES. No one knew what impact this game would have for the future of gaming, but with the debut of Zelda, Link and Ganon – Well you just have to give respect here. It started the tale of one of the most iconic games in gaming history, and despite it’s dated graphics and gameplay, there is some beauty and fun in playing the original game in the longstanding series.
9. Skyward Sword:
I know I may catch some flak for this one, but hear me out. This title in the series did not truly move the series forward. The story was a bit bare bones, but even worse than any of that – was the use of the motion controls on the Wii system. Playing this game was a chore and the controls made the game not very responsive. Nintendo releasing a new HD version on the Switch, will look to right their wrongs, and with improved controls this game could move up on the list. You may not like it, but you agree.
8. Links Awakening (GB Edition):
This game could truly be described as one of the most mesmerizing or puzzling games in the series. Here we see Link partake on a voyage unlike any seen in the series. This was no run of the mill save the princess story. Here we saw Link collecting musical instruments to wake a sleeping Fish to get off a strange island. Part Mario – Part Zelda, this title was unlike any seen before and was a fascinating and thrilling ride for the series in it’s portable debut on the GameBoy.
7. Twilight Princess:
This game which was originally released on the GameCube and Wii system’s in one that is of the darker tales of Link and Zelda. This title is basically the “My Chemical Romance” of the Zelda series. Yes the emo equivalent. This game brought a different style and formula to the Zelda series and saw half the game played as the green capped crusader vs another half playing as the cursed wolf. It was an interesting format that has divided fans of the series for years. Deciding where to put it in lists is rather confusing. Here at seven I think is a good spot for the controversial title.
6. A Link Between Worlds:
I wrestled like Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock with where to put this entry. The 3ds exclusive saw the return of Link and Zelda to a portable system in very impressive fashion. The sequel to the SNES classic “A Link to the Past”, did a fine job of not only recreating that world, but in many ways improving upon it. This game pushed the boundaries of what a Zelda title can accomplish in a portable world and gave us one of the most impressive titles to date.
5. Majora’s Mask:
We are now in the elusive top five territory. Here we see the finale of Link and Zelda on the Nintendo 64. Since the game was released near the end of the system’s life cycle, it may have not gotten the love it deserved back in 2000. The game was released right after one of the all-time greats in “Ocarina of Time”, and told a tale that remains in Zelda folklore as being one of the most heartbreaking. The game delves into a story told in a way that differentiates it from the rest of the Zelda series, and could be one of it’s finest.
4. The Wind Waker:
This title really separates itself from the rest of the series. Escaping Hyrule, this cel-shading adventure shows Link traveling by boat in what one could describe as the ‘Pirate’ game of the series. An adventure that hopefully we get to see re-released sometime on the Nintendo Switch, it’s graphics make the game timeless and never outdated and tales a tale more swashbuckling than any game seen in the series.
3. A Link to the Past:
What is there to say that has already not been said about this game. Released in 1992 (at least in North America), the game is still considered by many to be one of the finest in the series. There is something just so darn astounding about this title, and will remain in Zelda folklore forever as the first title that really moved the series forward.
2. Ocarina of Time:
Wherever you want to put this title is up to you. Honestly if someone told me it should be number one; Well I would not disagree. This title really set the bar for the series and delivered such an impact, that it was one of the titles that truly helped sell the Nintendo 64 system. The storytelling, graphics and gameplay really set a standard for the series. No matter where you put this game, it’s almost video game blasphemy to not call it a pure classic.
1. Breath of The Wild:
What has been said about this title that has not already been said? This title released in 2017 for both the Wii U and Nintendo Switch – is gaming at it’s best. The first open world Zelda game is also it’s finest. the amount of activities you can accomplish here, with the introduction of shrines and a wonderfully woven story make this game a delight for newcomers and veterans to the series. Now Nintendo give us the sequel!
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