Happening now on GameLuv

Tokyo Jungle Producer Tweets about Tokyo Jungle! That’s all.

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I just so happened to be looking at Play-Asia this morning and noticed their non-descript news headline “A New Tokyo Jungle?”. I’d never even acknowledged the blog headlines on the site before but if you type the words Tokyo Jungle then, by god, I’m going to click them!

Over the weekend Sony Japan producer, Masaaki Yamagiwa, tweeted a pair of celebratory selfies with Tokyo Jungle directors Yohei Kataoka and Yuzo Sugano. His wish: We want to make something. This sounds more like the guys got together, had a few drinks, remembered the old days and got excited rather than concrete proof of a sequel. But I’m willing to jump on this hope train for more Tokyo Jungle. A sequel would be fantastic but I’d be thrilled even for a simple port to PS4.

An Update on PDP’s Universal Remote for PlayStation 4

I immediately picked up PDP’s PlayStation 4 Media Remote when it was released back at the end of October. It had some unique issues, one of which blocked me from reprogramming one of the devices after I’d set it incorrectly. I contacted PDP to see if there was a way to factory reset it and they surprised me with the offer of a replacement.

It finally arrived last week and I’m happy to say the updated firmware fixed one of my two major complaints. The “volume punch through” which allows the remote to control the volume of a specified device — in my case, the soundbar — is now functional. My biggest complaint, however, is that the thing shuts off its Bluetooth connection after about 20 minutes and requires several seconds to wake up. It’s fine for flitting through YouTube clips but for a movie it means waiting around in order to pause. That just seems wrong.

Overall, though, it’s still the best offering for PlayStation 4 outside of Logitech’s expensive Harmony line. Take a look above to see the new remote in action.

Of 2015: My Year According to Xbox

 

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It remains a real head-scratcher as to how Microsoft let the sweet Ivory soap of victory pop out of their hands in the terrifying prison shower that is the Console Video Game Race. As they nearly had it back in their grasp Sony couldn’t help but stick out a foot and they’ve been careening around the grimy tile floor ever since.

I was a real Xbox fan last generation and everything had to be played on the 360. I was even a supporter of their wild ambitions for an always-on Xbox future. Even after they backpedaled I still picked up an Xbox One and was perfectly happy with it through 2014. Suddenly, though, it was PlayStation 4 that was home to the exclusives I cared about and from there it was just as slippery a ride as Microsoft’s to have Sony back in my good graces.

So when the Xbox PR machine sent me a 2015 recap I wondered what could even be on it. The full report is much longer with comparisons between me, my friends and the Xbox community but I think this sampling sums it up: I haven’t been super hot on Xbox since 2014. In fact, the game I spent the most time with was Earth Defense Force 2025, an Xbox 360 release from 2014 which is, sadly, not Xbox One backward compatible.

Given how few games I played on Xbox One I was surprised and mystified to see I racked up 423 hours on Xbox Live. I thought it was a glitch but then I finally found the culprit; Netflix. Either watching or idling while we cooked dinner, I managed to let that app run for 290 hours, more time than all the games I played on the console combined. The most active day — March 8th — reminded me that way back then I was playing through Sniper Elite 3 and using all of the Xbox One’s features. I was editing clips, posting comments and actively “Liking” my friends activities. I even Skyped with Kinect a few times.

But that’s about the time I got a PlayStation 4 in anticipation of Metal Gear Solid V and I’ve been mostly absent from Xbox One since. That explains why my most “High Value” Achievements are from 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V and 2014’s Peggle 2.

I’m not fanboying over here, I really do like Microsoft and the Xbox One. Hell, I even still like Kinect and miss its voice commands now that my Netflix watching happens on the PS4. Whenever another Xbox exclusive comes along that I’m determined to play I’ll be firing it up again… and waiting for eternal Dashboard updates to be installed.

Of 2015: The GameLuv Report

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Good ol’ GameLuv. It isn’t real popular and it’s not a super fancy website but we’ll have been kickin’ it here for ten years as of Fall 2016. The site has definitely been more popular in years past but that success seems to have moved over to my YouTube channel as everyone seems more interested in watching rather than reading. Part of that is my own fault. I only managed 91 posts for 2015, a record low since 2012. I didn’t even keep up with making a post for every video I uploaded, it just felt spammy but I probably should’ve done it anyways. I also started writing for Original Sound Version.com in 2015 which redirected a lot of my energy and effort. Most of that stuff wouldn’t have made it here but I could also have whipped up a quick recap of what was going on in the game music scene.

Some new WordPress stats this year have narrowed down my most popular day and time to Wednesdays at 8 am so I’ll be sure to schedule more posts around that time and see what happens. In other categories our top referrer was, naturally, Google followed by all the other search engines. Some of the search terms that brought people to the site were:

  • luv game
  • ebay wii dance
  • sony3
  • archeage abalone location
  • x-men living starship
  • kpop dance festival wii
  • “stalk n roll” jingle bells

It’s good to see people still tracking us down for that K-Pop dance game on the Wii and ArcheAge tips. That last one — “stalk n roll” jingle bells — leads to one of our earliest posts from December 10th, 2006 where I shared some video game music with a holiday theme. Most of the links are broken now but it’s great to know at least 3 people found our site by that very specific search.

Our global demographic was, of course, dominated by the U.S. — write what ya know, as they say — but we had several hundred visitors from Brazil, the UK, Australia, France, Canada and most other major European countries. I’ll have to keep that in mind and share some of the more interesting news I find from developers in other countries or promotions going on outside of North America.

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Popular pages continued to be the homepage which I take to mean a few thousand people come directly to GameLuv in a year. If you’re one of them, hi! Thanks for stopping by. Of 7,542 views that GameLuv got in 2015, 2,735 of them were to the homepage. No telling how many of those are just me, though, looking for old articles to link back to. Once again our top posts were about K-Pop Dance Festival (567 views), Karaoke @ DAM on the Xbox One (321 views) and Dana’s evergreen recap of The Ocean Hunter (242 views).

It’s good that people are still finding our content but I would love to see more of my posts from 2015 higher on the list. My update on Karaoke @ DAM was in the top five with 208 views but the rest of 2015’s posts drop considerably. My hands-on with Tori Watch and my decryption of the fictional language in Submerged were the next most viewed. Nevertheless, this isn’t about hits and ad revenue (though those are nice conciliatory bonuses), I’m still writing here because that’s how I love to express myself and the things that I find interesting.

Overall, not a noteworthy year for the site but I still appreciate everyone who stumbled upon us in 2015. Hopefully we’ll turn up again for you in 2016 for odd dance games, old video game music, indie games, pixelart, or some other weird, cool thing even I haven’t found yet.

Happy New Year everyone and thanks for visiting GameLuv!

Of 2015: My Top Five Games

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Just as I was mellow on proclaiming bad games, so to am I chill on my favorite ones. Maybe with age my emotional reactions have settled or maybe my brain doesn’t catalog “Best” and “Worst” like it used to. There’s just one new pile in the middle of my mind palace labeled “Good” and everything falls near it. If that is what my brain looks like then these are the five games sitting closest to the top of the pile.

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PlayStation 4)
Duh! Anyone who caught anything I said about games this year should’ve seen this one coming. While I have decided that Peace Walker is a more authentic Metal Gear game, Phantom Pain takes most of its gameplay concepts and blows them out to bewildering proportions. Building up Mother Base, developing hundreds of items and stealing everything and everyone in sight with Fulton balloons remained immensely satisfying. Kicking around the open world could’ve used more variety after the first 100 hours but I was still there at 200 hours replaying missions and finding new things to do. Then there’s the soundtrack which was one of my favorites of the year, the harrowing one-on-one FOB infiltrations and even the class-based multiplayer mode that I spent a dozen hours with.

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Spelunker World / Minna de Spelunker Z (PlayStation 4)
Duh again! This game was the major reason I wanted a PlayStation 4 to begin with and it has not disappointed! I’ve loaded it up almost every single day since April, I’ve been through all the levels on the Japanese version and I’m doing it again now that it’s available in English. The music is infectious and catchy, the gameplay is daunting like platformers used to be, and the slow progression is satisfying to surmount. Playing the Japanese version alone, despite my evangelizing for friends to join, also added to the mystery about how things work and what does what. I really can’t explain my fascination with this game any further.

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Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair (PlayStation 4)
EDF 4.1 was an absolute shameful joy to experience the first time through. Why shameful? It’s really just a remix of 2014’s EDF 2025, but the minor changes and improvements kept making me grin. Things like new NPC dialog, a spider robot and light sourced explosions mean nothing to you. To me they stack up like layers of icing on a cake I already loved to eat. We also bought a second PS4 so Katy and I could play online together just like we did with EDF 2025. Where boring couples play World of Warcraft together, we destroy giant insects and protect the citizens together.

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Fallout 4 (PlayStation 4)
Nothing could have prepared me for the shock of wondering if I even enjoy playing Fallout 4. I was super excited when Bethesda finally showed off the game’s features at E3 but digging into it myself… *crickets*. Having logged hundreds of hours with Fallout 3 and Skyrim within the last four years, I may not have had nearly enough time to rekindle the excitement.

As I continued to play and explore I finally found my enjoyment in the richly detailed world and encounters. The interactions with NPCs still fall flat but the writing and delivery are better than ever. It’s not every quest but several of them have tugged at my heartstrings, in concept if not execution. The settlement system, the crafting and base building are all fun to interact with even if they seem pointless at times. I’m nowhere near finished with the game so it’s hard to guess how I’ll feel when I’m done. It may sound mostly negative in this post but it makes the list because the impressive, endearing and fun stuff has, so far, outweighed the repetitive and flat moments.

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Rocket League (PlayStation 4)
It’s been well established here on GameLuv that I am not a fan of multiplayer or sports games. I’m not competitive and I’m not driven to win. Rocket League took that ethos and threw it right out the window. For two months it was practically all I played. From spastically chasing the ball to sternly playing my role, from free-for-aller to team player, I got deep down into it and it was a little scary. I didn’t join a clan or anything but I was motivated and frequently shaking from performance anxiety and narrow saves alike. Oh yeah, it’s got a fantastic soundtrack too and it was the first PlayStation game I ever got a Platinum trophy in!