Sunday, July 7, 2013

OUYA - A Review of The Tiny Cube of The People

I forgot how much fun it is to spout my opinion on the internet. So here is another review, one that will probably prove itself to be valuable to a number of people. Last week I received my OUYA in the mail. This installation of Livin In a Gamer Paradise will, oh my gosh, be about video games.

I know not board game or miniature game related. I am however, someone who has longed for an 8 bit revolution, and depending on who you talk to you, I think I may just get my wish with this little cube of joy.

Not my OUYA, but yes, that is how small it is.

So at first my OUYA and I fought with each other. Turns out I just wasn’t feeding it properly. You see my neighbors let me borrow internet from them and the place where my OUYA lives is not all that internet wave receptiony. I will get back to this issue later.

However, if I found myself having reliable internet, I do not believe that I would have fought with my headstrong, something to prove, little friend.

Ya, that was kind of what my experience was like...

It runs very smoothly. Now with this review you are not gonna get the nitty gritty hardcore gamer review. If you are a crazy hardcore modern gamer let me tell you right now, this system is not for you.

Don’t think we will be receiving any Batman Arkham games or cutting edge, nauseatingly good graphiced RPGs. No, OUYA relies on the same thing Nintendo does. Innovative thinking and explorative community based gaming.

Whats in the Box? Don't worry, its still not that.

A Controller
An HDMI cable
A power chord
And a very nice plastic sign that says “Thank you for Beleiving”.

Well thank you OUYA, for believing that socially minded gaming wont bankrupt a company. There will be hacking and modding, so it should just be embraced. Thank you for thinking like a socially minded company.

The Cube: 

I don't even have to caption lol cats! But really, I feel sorry
for color blind cat.  

It’s a cube. Its got a power input, an HDMI input and a USB input. The thing is just weighted enough so it doesn’t fly away from the weight of the HDMI cable pulling it. Personally I like it. It is the most portable gaming device that is not a portable gaming device I own. And you all know I like portable. I hoof it more than Sleipnir, Odin’s six legged horse. So that’s cool. No having to find a “gaming” backpack if you want to go say hi to your friend and play a few games.

I dare you to make yours look like a Pokemon.

Not only is it cute, but you can also customize the case. The schematic for 3D printing is publicly available and has also been given to a printing company. This means for a little cash and the use of a screwdriver you can make your very own unique “limited edition” console. I will probably just, true to myself, take a sharpy to it and get freaky with a design, you know, unless I really figure out how to use my computer…

The Controller

Magnets, how do they work? (ugh)

This thing is pretty sweet. Its got magnets holding on the side plates of the hand grips. Pull them a little (hardishly) and they pop off revealing the battery cases. One in each grip for a “balanced” controller.

Balanced like the Master Sword.

But wait there is more. You can hook up your Xbox 360 controllers or Playstation 3 controllers to the console. Props to you OUYA, for maintaining that socially minded design concept at the cost of your own profit. Granted some games do not integrate those controllers but many do (Like Towerfall, more on that later). I have not had a problem yet, though I have also not played a TON of games.

It's funny, buying the OUYA allowed me to say for the first time:
"I'm glad I have an Xbox..."

How do you connect Xbox 360 controllers?

You buy a dongle. Ya, I know it sounds dirty but that’s what people seem to call it. You can use a knock off or an xbox affiliated one, just so long as it is for the PC.

 You can always scratch off the microsoft logo...
Plug it in after you boot. Then hold down the big circly X button and let it flash. You also usually have to push the button on the dongle and the corresponding button on the Xbox controller. If you pic up a dongle (I hope I never have to type that word again) make sure you keep the receipt and can return it, just in case. Remember, I am no expert, I was able to make mine work, not yours. Everything I know about the OUYA I learned on Youtube.            


So here are some brief reviews of the games I have currently played and downloaded.


Play this while listening to Rush. You won't be disappointed. 

OMFG. This might be one of the top 10 video games I have ever played. Love this frickin game. My friends and I played this game for 3 hours strait after we figured out how to hook up the Xbox controllers. This game alone made me glad I own an OUYA. The only bad thing about it ( and it is kind of a big bad thing) is you have to have an internet connection in order to get the game to start. You don’t need it after that but you do need it initially. You also need more than one player for it, so that sucks but whatever. 15 USD for the full game.

My preferred character. The Assassin Prince.


You were shooting at where I was, you should have
been shooting at where I was going to be!
This is probably the game I have been looking for my whole life. I mean your basically the Last Starfighter. It is the most zen galaga style shooting game I have ever played. No stress just obtain and upgrade weapons and shoot at space invader styled monsters while listening to some sweet mellow electronica. The only bad thing about this game is that you don’t control your firing. It is just auto fire. You simply control what kind of weapon you use and were you are positioned. I think it was like 3 USD for the full version.

League Of Evil 

I kept waiting for Mega Man to show up. 

Another winner. This one is probably not worth the 4 USD to get the full game but the trial was super fun. 8-bit goodness. You run around chasing evil scientists and punching their heads off. Good midi music and good game play make this one addicting.

The Lost Heroes

I hope you never get out of your stupid dungeon! And stop
talking in that stupid voice, your worse than Navi! "Hey Listen" my ass.

Don’t bother. Really. This one is pretty lame. Clearly a smartphone game conversion. This coupled with annoying sounds and poor gameplay make it a loser.

Snyder Arcade 

You have been recruited by the Star League to defend the Frontier 
against Xur and the Ko-dan Armada

Super fun. Bought this one right off the bat. Arcade space shooter with impossible levels. I can’t get off level 3. Good controls and some pretty cool music too. Plus you can choose what kind of visual you want for this game. All in all another game that I have been looking for. I believe it was 4 USD to get the complete version.

Deep Dungeons of doom 

If this ever turns into a side scroller it wins.

I want to like this game, I really really do, but without side scrolling actions it just didn’t hit the chord I was looking for. It has wonderful 8 / 16 bit visuals and some fun music but the gameplay was just not up my alley.


                                                                Im going to play ALLL THE GAMES!

Oh there will be roms. I have not put any on yet but I have the emulators and I acquired the know how and roms from a friend. The general consensus is that you use your systems browser to access drop box. Then you download said roms from your dropbox. Then you install said roms in your systems menu.

So many great tutorials for the OUYA on youtube. This one
shows how to upload things to the OUYA.

Its kind of amusing to know that the entirety of the SNES catalog is only 1.1 gigabytes big. I will be playing lots of U.N. Squadron and all the RPGs I just couldn’t get my parents to buy me in the 90s.

Use your computer you say? Well I am a console gamer. So THBT to you. This is what people like me will use the OUYA for the most. The ultimate retro gaming consul.

Up until the OUYA I gave it to this guy. Don't worry Atari, I'll
never forget my first. 

Final Impressions:

This console has a long way to go but is off to a decent start. It is exactly what I thought it would be. It is a console that is what you put into it. For me it will be full of roms and retro games and I will be happy.

This thing needs to get away from the “Smartphone” gaming formats though. It needs to make full use of the controller and get some original and innovative titles on board (Towerfall is a fantastic start). They need to get some stock “mascot” characters going. This thing needs to get branded in a hardcore way. Build that brand OUYA. Do it hard and do it well. Any gamer knows, no risk no reward, and OUYA is taking a risk. I think it will pay off though, I have faith in that little cube. Graphics used to be the only edge you needed in the video game industry. Now you need a whole lot more, especially in the way of originality. OUYA's got it, lets see how they use it.

The ability to customize  this thing is fantastic. It has made me use the internet for learning instead of lol cats, so that I might make the most of what it is.

Sorry Trash Cat, there will now be 20% less Lol Cat in
my life. 

If you are someone who likes great graphics and popular titles, this is not a good system for you. If you are someone who does not like to explore and learn about the things you own, this thing is not for you.

If you are someone who enjoys originality, innovation, community and fanservice you should probably pick this up. I am optimistic that the OUYA will give people pause and eventually, when I go into Micro Center and say “I need this to work with my OUYA”, they will know what the hell I am talking about (it was very hard to explain that there was an indy console out there that people were actually buying…)

Felt like I was talking to that guy.

Cheers to you OUYA team. I am with you all the way (though please encourage your developers to cache the purchases on the console so we don’t have to have internet to play our games). I hope that this little experiment explodes into a revolution.  Thank you for being socially minded people and understanding that excessive piles of money that is never recirculated is not the goal.  

Thanks for thinking of the people, and not your
checkbook. That's true patriotism. 

Until next time all you readers out there in internet land, keep those codemonkeys coding.

Antizombie (coming soon to an arcade near you) signing off