Jstar’s Chronicles #40 – Alexa, Talk About Gaming

Our 40th issue focuses on the recent event of new Amazon Echo hardware, and a massively extended “This Week in Gaming”!

THIS WEEK IN GAMING: EXTENDED EDITION

  • Red Hook Studios shows Darkest Dungeon running on Nintendo Switch

Pretty exciting to see a highly enjoyed game be revealed for Switch, especially like this. Seeing previously loved games come to the Switch is always a good thing, and while I’ve never played this game beforehand, being able to play it on the go is a benefit that could make me be convinced for almost any game. I’ll be keeping my eye on this.

If you stream Nintendo games on YouTube Live, be ready to lose some revenue. Nintendo announced that people who have their channels registered under the Nintendo Creators Program must either stop using YouTube Live for their games or cancel their membership.

This is keeping in mind that Jay-Cast is registered under this program, but not as a channel, rather for each video (which causes us to be less restrictive to what we can upload but have less revenue from our Nintendo videos, like Splatoon 2 game plays). While it is not really a good decision for some YouTubers, it is understandable as Nintendo wants to keep their reputation “family friendly” and would rather not have anyone mess with that during a live event. It looks like Twitch isn’t affected by this, which is understandable as this program is for YouTube only.

This one hurts directly… The Wii Shop Channel was the main area to download exclusive games to your Nintendo Wii back in the day, including retro games through “Virtual Console”. The Wii was my first internet-connected gaming console, and going online, playing with my friends, and downloading new content was pretty much life-changing for me. I have now grown far from it (except from the occasional homebrew experimenting), but I’ll never forget the amazing memories I had with it.

You won’t be able to add/redeem Wii Points to it starting March 27, 2018. It’s good that they’re letting people know about this extremely early, but it’ll still be an end of an era for many people, including me. May I suggest “Final Fantasy Chronicles: My Life as a King”? One of my first WiiWare titles and I went from thinking it was a mistake for it not being an RPG, to absolutely enjoying every minute of it. I’m not sure, but I may have played through it twice. I very rarely ever did that, especially at such a young age. We’ll miss you, Wii; thanks for all the memories. 🙂

As someone who’s never played and barely seen any gameplay of the first ‘Read Dead Redemption’, Jesus. The graphics are (almost) entirely incredible, the story looks to be amazing, some people have suggested that it’ll be a prequel, and it’s honestly making me want to play the first one. My PS3 is still hooked up… recording on it would be a pain though. Maybe I’ll make this a vote in a future issue, or even in our Discord Server/Steam Group.

If you’re excited about this game as well, let me know your opinion and feelings toward it! It releases in the Spring (2018), so we’ll hopefully get a lot more info later this year. Knowing Rockstar Games, implementing online functions is to be expected, but as this isn’t Grand Theft Auto, how it’ll be implemented will be even more interesting. Whatever the case, I’m hyped, and I haven’t even played the first one… yet.

It always sucks to see a game lose part of its functions, especially this soon. While I only played the first game’s demo on the Vita, I did enjoy it for a small amount of time. I wasn’t in a position to buy it but still liked where it was going. Seeing a game like this flatline and drop down to being offline-only is pretty unfortunate, even though some of the players consider the online stuff it had not super important to the game anyway. Whatever the case, it’s always a shame to see some features go away forever, even if they really weren’t that important in the first place.

An overall excellent listing of games for PlayStation Plus subscribers (including me). Seeing Metal Gear Solid V and Amnesia Collection up there makes this a very compelling month to stay subscribed. The last few months have shown improved quality from PS+ (including Just Cause 3 being offered), so it may be that there are so many good games available on PlayStation Plus that it is really starting to be an overall good option for most PS4 owners, again, including me.

Extremely useful for classes that will be teaching about the land of Egypt. As it’ll be a free update, it’s hard to really find anything wrong with this. Good on EA for thinking about adding this in, as it’s a guarantee that it’ll be beneficial to some people out there.

While Amazon isn’t really connected to development of games (besides their exclusive games, their controller, and their engine), it’s good that more family time will be possible with the use of Amazon’s wonderful A.I., Alexa. I’ll have a quick de-briefing about my take on the Echo showings, now that I realized that was a thing that unexpectedly happened.

A truly good thing to write about. Games that were made for different purposes or shouldn’t really be classified as games have been removed, almost 200 over. Good on Valve for removing them!

MY TAKE: AMAZON’S RECENT ECHO SHOWING

If you asked me before Christmas 2016 if I cared about Amazon’s Alexa A.I., I’d say yes, but not enough to actually buy something that has it natively and as a selling point. Then Christmas happened, and I now have an Echo in my house. It really is useful for playing music, latest news, and funny messages now and then when I’m bored. Recently, I also acquired an Amazon Fire TV, even if the rumors were pointed to a new one being revealed in a few weeks. I started to get interested in Amazon, and wanted a good quality media player to work with. It’s hard to compare my Roku Premiere and the Fire TV as the latter is just so much smoother to work with, even though it is more expensive.

However, several new products were unveiled recently (and almost unexpectedly) that were related to Alexa. I’ll be a little brief about this, but the overall point was there are now many options for people to choose to get into the world of Amazon’s Alexa services. I don’t plan to buy at four at of six of these.

The two I may be interested in is the new Echo Plus and the new “Fire TV”, quotations to be explained later. The new Echo is overall something of a beauty and at a great price of $99, but the Echo Plus looks to be overall better and be a smart hub for many compatible products. Imagine having a single device being able to control everything how you want it to be. Kind of disturbing, to be fair, but if controlled well, can be a simply amazing addition to your house. I’ll possibly bring this up again before it releases on Halloween, which is October 31st.

The other thing, as I mentioned above, is the new “Fire TV”. Resolution and framerate wise, it’s better than any Fire TV model beforehand, now being able to output at 4K with HDR at 60 FPS; The previous “box” was limited to 4K, 30 FPS, and no HDR at all. It was still an excellent and fast device for 1080p televisions.

Some reports before this was announced indicated that this device may be slowed than the previous Fire TV “Box”, but still more powerful than the current generation Fire TV Stick, which is still being sold. This is as-of-now considered to be more of a “mid-range” model than what’s truly supposed to replace the Fire TV Box, which it seemed to have (even though an Ethernet adapter is needed instead of having it built in like before). We’ll hopefully determine all of this by the time this new streaming device releases on October 25th.

Rumors that were attached to this also indicated a new higher-end Fire TV that was also a hybrid Echo, but it wasn’t announced, which bums me out as it would have been what I’d get as soon as possible. I’ll definitely consider it if it releases before Black Friday in stores, a little earlier if not sold in retail.

Just for the heck of it, I’ll also say that I have some minor interest in the Echo Spot from how modern it is as an alarm clock, but I’m currently not interested enough to outright buy it right now. It releases on December 19th, so there’s still plenty of time to change my mind. Hopefully, for Amazon, they do. 😉

Overall, I enjoyed this unexpected surge of new information for Echo devices and some new info on the Fire TV. With a little more effort put in, the Fire TV could easily become my favorite media player to work with, and with the new OS coming soon and the hybrid Echo (hopefully still) on the way, I’m going to remain optimistic about Amazon’s future in the world of streaming media. Well… as long as it also comes to previous generation Fire TV devices, as well.

And… wow! Over 1,600 words overall! For my 40th issue of Jstar’s Chronicles (actually released on time), I’d like to thank everyone for your time reading my usually weekly articles, as I strive to put as much effort as I humanly can. Starting with this issue, I plan to now put more time towards Jay-Cast and have these articles actually release on time. Again, I’d massively appreciate it if any of you guys could send in some information that you’d want me to work with in the future. Until then, I’d like to personally thank you for reading! Here’s to another 40 more issues.

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