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Armchair Analysis: Five observations from April NPD data

Xbox 360 Star Wars Kinect Console Bundle

Mortal Kombat and Portal 2 combined last April to move well over 1.5  million units. Compare the significance of those two games with Kinect Star Wars, and Prototype 2. You really can't. Even adding The Witcher 2 to the mix, these games simply don't have the same kind of selling power as last April's slate of game releases. Without prominent and captivating game releases, consumers aren't going to spend money on software… or hardware, for that matter.

WTF Vita?!—and a recap of last week

Gravity Rush Screenshot

As an early adopter of an Vita, I was supporting Sony with my wallet and giving them the full benefit of the doubt when I ponied up on day one. I'm well aware of the dangers when you invest in a piece of hardware too early, but the PlayStation Portable ended up being something that I got quite a bit of mileage out of, and I was confident that Sony would have learned from past mistakes. I mean, how could they not, right?

PAX East 2012: The Games

Mark of the Ninja Screenshot

The simple truth is that if you spend your time at PAX waiting around in line for a demo you'll play on Xbox Live in a few months anyway, you are a chump. There are so many awesome games from smaller publishers and indies on the floor that you might not get exposed to anywhere else. So, if you were being a linefool, here's some of what you missed.

PAX East 2012: The Panels

Hitman: Absolution Screenshot

The convention's stealthy aspect kicked off with a great panel on the subject featuring Nels Anderson, Andy Schatz, and Dan Silvers, chaired by Matthew Weise, also featuring the con's largest single-room concentration of guys in suits.

Video: Go right

I don't know about you but the side-scrolling platformer wasn't just a genre, it was the genre for most of my childhood. The games that got it right were the ones that kept ushering you forward—to the right—even when it only seemed to be getting tougher.

There is probably some life lesson or allegory in there somewhere. This video with its nice editing and great music does a good job of highlighting that.

Video: Go right

Extra Credits: TransGaming

The guys at Extra Credits take a quick look at an idea that has been on the minds of game developers and publishers for years now. It's dubbed "transgaming" and it lets fans of different genres all play and exist within the same game world. There is a lot of potential there, so have a listen.

Extra Credits: TransGaming

Saving the PlayStation Vita

Sony PlayStation Vita Image

Despite a strong, well received launch lineup and positive reviews regarding the hardware, the domestic Vita launch disappointed with a first-week estimate of only 300,000 units. Sony is definitely facing an uphill battle stateside, but all is not lost. The hardware is good, the games are there, and major marketing dollars are being put behind the Vita. So how can Sony capitalize upon the Vita's strengths while dragging itself out of its presumed grave? Here are a few ideas.

Sumioni: Demon Arts Review

Ink-credibly Bad

Sumioni: Demon Arts Screenshot

HIGH The sumi-e art style is pretty nifty.

LOW Nothing else is.

WTF Ancient Japan is lousy with giant, demonic, self-aware wagon wheels?

Cool stuff of PAX East 2012

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Screenshot

I knew very little about XCOM before the show, but now it's one of my most anticipated titles. A re-imagining of the classic PC strategy series, Enemy Unknown gave me a very distinct Frozen Synapse vibe, which makes sense since it was itself heavily influenced by the XCOM games. There was no playable demo at the show and the presentation consisted of a pre-beta build, but I liked what I saw and will likely be picking it up when it releases.

Atlus's Vita game round-up

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 Innocent Sin Screenshot

Given the present dearth of strategy and role-playing games on the young Vita, exposure to some classic Atlus games couldn't come at a better time. I recently had a chance to play nine of these games for the first time on Vita and I came away from the experience realizing that, even if most of these games are ports of earlier releases, no one picks up on and supports unique properties the way Atlus does. This is the company that published oddball titles like Hammerin' Hero and Eggs of Steel, after all.

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