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Spam Spam Spam Humbug 47- Pokemon Go; Could an Ultima ARG Work?
July 20, 2016

Spam Spam Spam Humbug 47- Pokemon Go; Could an Ultima ARG Work?

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Probably not; Ultima just isn't as well-known an IP. But AR RPGs could possibly work, and even bring considerable innovation to the AR space.

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Co-Producers

This episode of Spam Spam Spam Humbug is brought to you by our Patreon backers; thank you to everyone who supports Spam Spam Spam Humbug and the Ultima Codex by that means. And, as always, a hearty thank you to our Patreon co-producers: Seth, Johnny, Dominik, Chris, Violation, Adam, Erik, Thorwan, Cody, Pascal, and Neil.

Shout-Outs

A shout-out to WtFD's neighbour Jon, who — in addition to having subscribed to the podcast — is fixing to check out Ultima V: Lazarus in the near future.

New Ultima Dragons

Facebook: Warren, Aidan, Anand, Jeremy, Manuel, Joseph 

Weeks In Review

WtFD - King's Road (iOS), Mage & Minions (Android), Soda Dungeon (Android) , Rebel Galaxy (PC), Epic Mickey 2 (Wii)

Deathblade - Fallout 4, Fallout Shelter (PC), Sacred 3

Gallara - Trying to find the old Prodigy Dragons (with some success)

Golem - Dealing with medical issues, writing more Cult of Spears lore, and some game modding

Gradilla - Designing characters for his tabletop, following discussions abiut whether the Game of Thrones dragons should be feathered, and redesigning his game's dragons accordingly

Slashing - New Ananias version, and smaller project about Lorenzo (the bull who gored bullfighter Victor Barrio to death).

Podcast Topic(s)

Nintendo, in partnership with developers Niantic, released Pokémon GO recently, and the game has taken the world by storm (at least for the moment). It has been downloaded over 10 million times by Android users worldwide, and has been downloaded over 7.5 million times by iOS and Android users in the U.S.. Its popularity has — for now — exceeded that of Twitter and Tinder (and Netflix, and Spotify, for that matter). It's the biggest mobile game in U.S. history. Nintendo's company value has swelled by a staggering $7 billion USD in the wake of the game's release, and the game itself is evidently raking in a lot of cash...most of it, surprisingly, from many users making multiple small purchases (rather than from a smaller pool of whales — players who spend exorbitant sums of cash on a game). User retention rates are also roughly double the industry average, as is its rate of revenue generation. Unity, which was used as the engine for the game, has also shot up in value over the last week.

As was the case with Niantic's previous hit game, Ingress, some Pokémon GO players have been putting themselves at (sometimes considerable) personal risk in pursuit of their objectives. Various police departments (and the developers themselves) have released statements urging players to be mindful of their surroundings; people have gotten stabbed, assaulted, and even robbed whilst playing the game (indeed, thieves have been using the game to lure in marks). Players have wandered into ponds — and uncovered dead bodies! — whilst out hunting Pokémon.

And then there are the privacy concerns. Alarm bells were run recently over the number of permissions the app asks for when players use their Google accounts to log in to it; Niantic has since clarified that the amount of data accessed is small, and have scaled back the permissions the app asks for. Fake versions of the app — appealing to those in regions where the game has not yet been released — have popped up for Android, which contain remote access trojans or rootkits; when installed, they significantly compromise a user's phone.

But, as Raph Koster points out, Pokémon GO has also had a significant economic impact not just for Nintendo, but at the local level as well...and not just for those charging premium prices for game accessories on eBay. (Actually, Koster's entire article — which argues that AR games are essentially MMORPGs, except with human clients rather than software clients — is well worth a read. As is the follow-up “yes, I was being serious” article.)

There's even a link back to what we discussed last week, isn't there? In some respects, Pokémon GO (and games like it, which will almost assuredly follow) are the new LAN parties. People, at least in my neighbourhood, seem to be playing the game in groups; I overheard some kids on the playground at my daughter's school comparing which Pokémon each had caught (and apparently, the playground itself is a great place to catch Pikachu). These people aren't dragging their PCs and cables into a dimly-lit basements...but they're still playing together, and indeed working together to achieve the objectives of the game. Or playing against each other; I've seen a few battles go down whilst out and about over the last few days (though I couldn't tell you whether the combatants were Team Valor, Team Mystic, or Team Instinct). 

In Other News

No Man's Sky - Thanks to the voluminous amount of procedural generation used to create its game world — universe, really — No Man's Sky only needs about 6 GB of capacity on its installation disc. And most of that is, evidently, audio files.

System Shock - Nightdive Studios' remake of the game has reached its initial crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter, with 18 days remaining in its campaign. No stretch goals have been announced yet, although a game (of sorts) that will see some additional bonus content added to the game has been unveiled.

NES Classic Edition - Nintendo have announced that they will be releasing a miniature version of the classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which is — suitably — called the NES Classic Edition. The system will be priced at $59.99 USD, which might be a bit much. Then again, finding a used NES, a working controller, and good-condition cartridges for the thirty included games would probably cost you quite a lot more than that.

Dragon Age: Origins - BioWare's bloody RPG, which kicked off the wildly successful Dragon Age series, is now available on GOG.

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Slashing - slashie.net | Ultima Dragons on Facebook

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Music

Ultima VI Gates of Creation by OC ReMix

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