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Controller Freak

Chad Sapieha leads you deep into the world of games, covering gaming trends

Entry archive:

The Controller Freak signs off

Chad Sapieha

I've written hundreds of posts for this blog. I've chatted with game gurus from Tetris' Alexey Pajitnov to Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime, filed bleary eyed pieces covering industry events in far-off cities, offered my two cents in reviews of countless games, and attempted to bring attention to important stories ranging from the inclusion of gay characters in games to the trials and tribulations of independent Canadian developers.

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What we like about Nintendo’s supersized 3DS XL

Chad Sapieha

The 3DS got off to a shaky start in the spring of 2011, selling only a million units in its native Japan in its first 13 weeks. Some wondered if this meant the era of dedicated handheld game systems was coming to a close in a new gadget landscape dominated by multipurpose tablets and phones.

However, once Nintendo cut the system’s hefty price tag from $250 to $170 and began churning out the sort of games fans wanted – a remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land, Kid Icarus: Uprising – the system began selling like mad. It’s now moved nearly 20 million units worldwide, the vast majority over the last 12 months.

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Review: Super Mario Bros. 2 a coin collecting bonanza for 3DS

Chad Sapieha

Mario’s latest side-scrolling adventure is all about the money.

I earned nearly 700 coins while playing the first level. My total haul had grown to thousands by the time I finished the first world. I ended up collecting nearly 20,000 coins in total during my first (of several) run-throughs.

It was, in a word, gratifying.

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Sound Shapes: Indie game makes beautiful music

Chad Sapieha

This may be obvious based on its name, but Sound Shapes would be just a moderately entertaining romp without its soundtrack. As it is, this latest effort from Toronto indie prodigy Jonathan Mak (Everyday Shooter) is not just a game, it's a minor musical masterpiece.

At first glance Sound Shapes is just a side-scrolling platformer for PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3 that has players moving a blob from left to right through series of short, single-screen levels while trying to collect coins and avoid crimson obstacles and enemies.

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Rock-flinging Wreckateer a smashing good time

Chad Sapieha

I’ve been itching to put together a list of my top five Kinect games for grownups. The problem? I’ve only encountered three worthy of the distinction: Child of Eden, Dance Central 2, and The Gunstringer.

Happily, Iron Galaxy Studio’s Unreal Engine-powered Wreckateer – the latest in Microsoft’s Summer of Arcade festival of Xbox Live Arcade games – gets me one closer to completing the list.

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Endless Space puts players in the developer’s seat

Chad Sapieha

Most creative types don’t like audiences second-guessing their artistic decisions, but that’s not the philosophy held at Paris-based Amplitude Studios, an “independent gathering” of strategy-loving video game designers and players that recently released the turn-based tactics game Endless Space on Steam.

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Does Nintendo's Wii U trade power for 'fun'?

Chad Sapieha

Reggie Fils-Aime, president and chief operating officer for Nintendo of America, probably wishes last week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) went a little more smoothly.

Many expected the Japanese game company would reveal crucial details regarding its Wii U game console, which is currently scheduled for a nebulous “holiday” launch, has no price attached to it, and no official line-up of day-one software.

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E3 post-mortem: A frustratingly incomplete tease of gaming’s future

Chad Sapieha

As useful as the Electronic Entertainment Expo is as a platform for exciting announcements and disseminating information about new games in progress, it can also be a bit frustrating.

I was exposed to more than 100 games and was able to chat with dozens of people who provided interesting perspectives on their products and the industry in general. Indeed, the posts I filed from the show were just the tip of the iceberg. In the weeks ahead I’ll have stories about my interviews with people like Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime and 343 Industries’ creative director Josh Holmes, as well as previews of games like Splinter Cell: Blacklist and The Elder Scrolls: Online.

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E3 proves there’s still creative juice to squeeze out of hardcore shooters

Chad Sapieha

Maybe I’m just easily entertained, but I get a real kick out of Call of Duty’s spectacle-laden campaigns.

One of the highlights of my second day at E3 was taking in a quick demo of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. It began with a mission that wound through downtown Los Angeles 2025. Weirdly, one of its firefights was set in the street just outside the Los Angeles Convention Center, perhaps 100 metres from where I was watching the demo.

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Why I’m impressed with the new games for Nintendo’s Wii U

Chad Sapieha

Nintendo’s E3 press conference wasn’t quite the home run Nintendo fans were hoping for.

As expected, the event focused on the soon-to-launch Wii U home console. However, it failed to provide many of the key details – including regional release dates, pricing, and confirmation of launch window software – for which the public, press, and industry had been clamouring. I left wondering whether Nintendo is really ready give birth to its next baby.

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Authors

Chad Sapieha

Chad Sapieha has been covering the video game industry in print and broadcast since 1997. He began writing about games for The Globe and Mail in 2004.

Follow Chad on Twitter @chadsapieha