Monthly Archives: June 2013

Review #011: Assassin’s Creed – Brotherhood (XBOX360) ~ Rest in peace.

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Link to the entry on the Assassin’s Creed wiki.

Well, what’s going on here? NekoJonez reviewing while he is at a friends place? It’s true since my good buddy Blindshot is a big fan of this series. We started discussing about games and I talked about my first review here, Tomb Raider. I saw it on the XBOX360 and it’s surely different. But now I give him the chance to review a game. He isn’t good at writing but I wrote the review, yet he provided me with the material. A fun writing challenge too. So, this game series has been on my to play list for such a long while. Yet, the stealthy gameplay is keeping me off since I am not that good in these types of games. I remember the sneaky part in Tomb  Raider, I was stuck there for quite a while since I can’t get passed the guards unnoticed. Long live “balls to the walls action” baby. So, now it’s time to review the 3rd game in the series. Are we going to rip it a new one? Or, the other possibility, give it some (more) praise. Let’s find out with this review. With the help of Blindshot. In this review, he tried to describe me the things without spoiling me too much since I want to play this game without spoilers. 

No ninja’s here.

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The piece of Eden. Again a quest to get this artifact. Just like in some previous entries of the series. In this game it’s time to win it back. Like in one of my favorite game series, Broken Sword, those Templars are at it again. They are trying to take over the world. Unlike Broken Sword, they don’t try to get our asses burned with a giant dragon. Thankfully.

The pacing of the story is bad, wait no I meant good. Well, actually it’s at your own pace. You can start the missions whenever you feel like it. So, you can make the game linger as much as you want or go speedrunning it.

The story is accompanied by a nice looking world. The world is very detailed and a fun place to explore. But we shall dive deeper into the gameplay later. Everything is made with great attention to detail and draws you into the game even more. But the animation has a few flaws. Like ropes disappearing and the hay thingies are lacking the fine attention to detail then the looks of the game. But that’s the only thing we could find to sad bad about it. The murders and other animated jazz is done pretty well.

In almost every mission, you have different ways to reach your goal. The level design is very good. But Blindshot told me that he had some issues with the camera where his guy didn’t do what he wanted. Like trees that disappear. Oh jolly good fun. The level design is pretty realistic since the developers went on location to create this game.

Rest in peace, biches

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The controls didn’t change from the first and second entry in the series. So, playing with this set of controls is extremely easy. Well, not meant that the game is easy. Nothing feels stiff or stuck. Taunting enemies is something Blindshot enjoys. But how is the difficulty of the game?

The game has an inconsistent difficulty. And this game takes the difficulty to a whole new level. It goes from difficult to less difficult. Of course this is the story but that’s a given. Blindshot told me that there are parts where the guards are super mega extremely attentive and other times you can just murder them in front of their face. This makes for confusing moments. Like some types of guards don’t do a thing when the see you running on the walls.

Some missions are nearly impossible to complete. For getting that lovely 100% mark that is. Thanks to the locations being to crowded or other things like that. And this might piss off several gamers who try to get all the 100% in every case.

 The game got shorter then the previous entries. The game isn’t extremely lengthy. Blindshot thinks that the gameplay for the main story gives you 30 hours. But thanks to the various side missions and other unlockables the game suddenly makes worth for your money and might give you a 50-ish hour game.

In the game there is a big variation. The game won’t get you bored easily. And thank god, the tutorials are free to follow. You can even disable them. This gives a nice welcoming door for new players. The gameworld is rather large but there is fast travel which takes out the boring parts of traveling the whole way. And the game saves often enough to not give you a big setback.

The music is super. The composer of the music, Jesper Kyd, made an amazing soundtrack. On each occasion there is another track. this really keeps you into the game and makes the game that more satisfying to play.  And the music isn’t stopped just like that. It goes gently from one track to the next. The sound design is extremely well done. There is no delay. But there is an issue with the hidden blades and the sounds. It sounds, wrong.

A gem of a game?

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This game has a few flaws. Things like jumping into hay from many meters high and having not that much damage takes a way from a lot of the realism of the game. Like not being able to get stuck with the parachute.

Blindshot was also not pleased with the addition of the parachute. It takes a way a lot of fun he said.

The game gets easier thanks to the crossbow. Too easy since killing the guards and targets becomes just a breeze.

The death animations are slow, much too slow. Mostly on roofs. They are mostly like dolls and the animation is not there. Also when they hit the ground, then the animation starts.

And we are going to leave it here. Of course this game has a lot more to offer but we can’t talk about it all.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Story.

+ Sound & music.

+ Gameplay.

+ Nice locations.

+ Tight controls.

The bad:

– Animation is flawed in some parts.

– There are some bugs.

– Crossbow is overpowered.

– Parachutes.

– Difficulty.

Our advise:

We might not have completely gone in depth about the gameplay but this game is a nice title in your collection. It’s accessible for you new comers but also great for you veteran players. Compared to the previous games is it a good step up. It’s a lot better then the previous entries but it is still not perfect.

It’s an extremely enjoyable game to play, while you overlook the flaws.

Score: 77 / 100

Review #010: Pokémon Blue/Red/Yellow (GB) ~ Good old days

Blue-and-Red

Wikipedia entry

It’s the year 2000. Pokémon is extremely popular and the first game for on the gameboy is about to reach store shelves. And critics praised it for one of the best games for the system. And it was a launch game. As a child, I played this game an awful lot. Not understanding a word from what they were saying, but I continued on. My basic English comes from this game. But let’s review it now. Has this game given me some nostalgia goggles? Will I rate this game high because it has child hood memories or will I rip it to pieces now that I’m older? Well, let’s take a look into the cult classic Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow for a proper review.

Shouting everywhere.

While writing this review, the game is running on the TV next to me. Thanks to the SuperGameboy and my trusty SNES. But what I noticed is that many things are shouted. Like “TEAM ROCKET” or any attack name. Image Pokémon like this in real life, each time something important is used, you have to shout it out loud.

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What’s Pokémon about? Well, your goal is that you capture monsters living in the wild, train them to become stronger and so defeating the elite 4. On your journey you need to defeat the eight gym leaders to prove you are worthy to challenge the elite 4.

This concept is great and works extremely well. But in your journey you will have to fight the bad guys named Team Rocket and stop their evil plans. The plot, while basic, is great. It doesn’t go too deep and it’s great for a kids game like this. It’s understandable for the younger audience. At the end, there is also a plot twist. But I’m not going to spoil it since I’m quite sure most of you readers know what I’m talking about.

So, with a good story, let’s move on to the graphical side of things. The graphics of this game are great and not that great at the same time. While it surely looks pretty on the gameboy limited hardware, some sprites for your own Pokémon look bad. Take for example Metapod, he looks kinda scary when you use him as a Pokémon.

A battle of sounds

gfs_4611_2_27So, I said that the graphics look good? Yes, the caves look cave-y. The forests look forest-y. But it doesn’t do anything special. In the sequel, the graphics are way better, but there it’s improved for better hardware.

I can’t be too harsh on the graphics. The artwork and the design of the game follows the anime series extremely well and surely make you feel like you where actually travelling along side Ash. Especially when you played Pokémon Yellow, where Pikachu walked behind you. You were able to click on him for seeing his mood in a small animation.

There is a nice use of animations in the game as well. For the more powerful attacks, the screen can flash and or shake. But some effects have minor issues. For example, when your Pokémon is at low health, the sound effects and the music are having a sort of battle in terms of which sound-effect is allowed to play.

Let’s talk about the music and sound-effects. They are top notch. The music is melodic and sets the tone just right for any situation. Each track might just be around a minute or two long, but it rarely gets old. I even like to play the music when I’m on the road. And when the music plays, I truly can image being on a bike or on the sea.

The sound-effects are doing what good sound-effects are supposed to do. Draw you into the gameplay even more. The let you know if an item is used, when your Pokémon is getting attacked and so on and on. And the library of sound-effects is pretty expansive since all the 151 different Pokémon have their very own tune.

Walking and more walking

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Okay, we all know the complaint that psychic Pokémon where overpowered in the first generation. But the different Pokémon types are such an amazing addition to the gameplay. It truly makes you think in which Pokémon you are going to take in your party.

Pokémon is set up in such a way that it’s extremely replayable. You can set up yourself many different challenges like the Nutzlocke challenge. (Releasing a Pokémon when it fainted) or trying to catch all the Pokémon.

But you can only do that when you have a friend with the other version of the game. Which worked for friends to have some amazing trades and battles. If I remember correctly, one or two Pokémon only evolved when you traded them, but that could have been in later generations tough.

Is this game perfect, well no. There are some issues with this game I think bring this classic down. For starters, something I don’t see a lot on other reviews is that the characters are so bland. No one of the characters really gets depth nor explained. they are just there. And congrats to the writers making such an amazing tale with such “empty shells” of characters.

Another thing is that some Pokémon spam one status attack. Like attacks that make you sleep or steal health. It’s frustrating seeing this happen over and over again.

The inventory is a mess. Items are everywhere. Lucky for us, in the sequels they have addressed this issue and improved upon it.

Also, this game has hands down, the strangest glitches I have ever seen in a gameboy game. And there are a lot of them. Many glitches I wished where patched.

So, I’m going to leave it here for Pokémon. Let’s get on to the conclusion.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Nice tale.

+ Epic world.

+ Quite lengthy.

+ Highly replayable.

+ Memorable music and sounds.

+ Amazing gameplay.

The bad:

– Sound issues.

– Glitches.

– “Empty Shell” characters.

– Spamming of one attack.

My verdict:

You can’t escape the fact that this Pokémon game is pretty amazing. While it has it’s flaws, it still is able to keep up a certain charm. It isn’t old, and it will never be. Thanks to the various improvements of the sequels and later entries, this game looks dated.

Yet this game stays fun for picking up memories. It’s an easy RPG and it’s fun with the capital F. So, play it now and enjoy it.

Score: 90 / 100

My wishes for future updates of Minecraft

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Website of Minecraft

It’s no lie that I like MineCraft. But as a player since Minecraft 1.4 Beta, I think there are a lot of things lacking. In this blog I tried giving my better idea’s a chance. Dinnerbone or Jeb, if you read this, feel free to take my idea’s and use them in whatever way you want. I just placed them here to share my idea’s since I felt like it. Anyways, feel free to write in the comments what you guys think about my idea’s. Are they good  or are they bad? And what idea’s do you guys have to implement in the vanilla Minecraft game? 

Idea #1: Better durability bars.

o0IuWIn one of the recent updates of Minecraft you can see the durability of an item by pressing F3 + G. Yet, you only can see this in the inventory. What would be extremely welcome is that if you also press that shortcut, the durability is displayed above the bar.

In my original survival let’s play, I had a mod enabled for this. It’s sadly discontinued now.  But it was a welcome mod to see how much uses there was on my pickaxe or sword left. It was buggy when it had the unbreaking enchant. But in the Durability 101 mod for Minecraft 1.5.1 everything works just fine.

Idea #2: More stuff in the ocean or less ocean.

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When I was gathering idea’s for this article, a convention happened where Jeb told us that they are going to revamp the ocean biomes. Finally, since  there are simply way to much oceans in one single Minecraft world.

But also, only squids in the ocean? What’s wrong with some ocean life? Some coral plants would be lovely to have. But like DocM77 on the MindCrack panel said and I agree an awful lot, is that there should be some sharks or more ocean life.

This might not really be my original idea but it’s a much requested feature in Minecraft. But thankfully in Minecraft 1.7 it’s going to happen. Or that are at least the plans.

Idea #3: Make the Creative mode more complete.

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There is a petition on the Minecraft forums and mods like Too Much Items include this. Mobspawners in the creative inventory. They are missing and that is a sad thing.

The new Minecraft creative inventory was a very welcome change but enchants like Sharpness I aren’t in the creative inventory. Why?

Also, the big mushroom blocks aren’t present in the creative inventory. Which I think it would truly benefit from.

And why isn’t the command block in the creative inventory? It would truly benefit from being there.

Also, a feature where you can create fireworks thanks to looking to a list and enchanting the same way would be welcome addition to the creative mode of the game.

Idea #4: (Let) silk touch (keep the color).

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Why does grass or leaves change to the default color when you pick them up with silk touch? I can understand that a block need to change from color when placed  in a certain biome but what if I wanted some darker oak leaves in my build? It would give more freedom.

Like Infinity, I would remove the “I” after Silk Touch. It’s simply extremely silly to have that number there. But as amateur Java programmer, I can understand why it’s easier and more efficient to put the number there. But I think it isn’t useful at all to have it since it confused some (not that bright) players before.

Idea #5: Potion arrows

brewing-05-add-glistering-melonImage being in a PvP battle and you create a potion of poison. But you missed throwing it. That sucks so much. But also, when you want to give a potion to one person in PvP, you need to have some distance and that’s not helpful in tight combat.

But what if there was a special bow that could shoot arrows together with a random potion from your inventory?

In PvP this would make things more random and challenging. Since you might shoot off a health boost for the other player instead of a damage potion.

I talked this over with a few of my friends and they thought it would make for some new gamemodes or open a whole array of new possibilities.

There are several mods already with ice, fire or electric arrows. While this is also a good idea, I still doubt about the crafting recipes.

Finally, the end of the article.

That are all my idea’s that I currently have. To be honest, I have more idea’s but I thought they weren’t good enough to make the cut. It’s possible that I might write another article on this here, so I hope to see you next time here.

 

First Impression: Nickelodeon – Avatar: The Legend Of Aang (PC) ~ A messy pile of junk.

Image from Spong.com

Image from Spong.com

Wikipedia link to the multiplatform game article.

I’m going to not mess with you guys. This game is a pile of junk. I saw scores of 5 out of 10 for this game but that’s way to much for this disaster. Honestly, I own also the PS2 and GBA version of this game and it’s a lot better then this game. The PC game nearly feels like an insult to the series, gamers and fans of the show alike. I’m even surprised that THQ published this train wreck.  Never have I seen this bad of production quality for a game released in 2007. Yeah, it made me facepalm several times. I bought this game as a free game along two other games and I kind of regret paying my hard earned cash as a student for this game. For any parents that want to buy an Avatar game for their kids, stay away from this game. I’ll fully play this game but it’s already clear to me that this game is going to get an extremely bad score. Let’s dive into my first impressions of this “game”. 

Signs of bad things to come.

I wished I had seen this at the store but the box-art betrays already that this game is actually a bad game. The first thing that betrays the bad state of the game is “Journey through 6 exotic locations.” Yup, six of them. And here is the cherry on the cake, it’s the very first sentence on the box after the expected: “Water. Earth. Fire. Air.” So, the game length must be short. But I can forgive that for a game based on a TV-show since they are mostly meant to milk money out of your pocket(s).

But then I look to the system specs. And this made me drop my jaw. What I saw may shock you. This game, released in 2007, can run on Windows 98/ME/2000 and XP. No mention of Windows Vista, that was released a year before this game. The low system specs really made me worry. avatar1

Then I opened the box. No instruction manual nor advertisements. Odd considering it’s from a TV-Show. But for whatever reason, the developers decided that it’s a good idea to put the installation instructions on the disc itself. I’m quite serious, it’s on the disc. What you need to do when the game doesn’t start automatically.

And it made me skin crawl reading it. Most computers have DVD drives for a while now, and they still use CD’s? Yes, this game is using a CD-Rom. It isn’t shy to hide it. It display this on the disc itself. I had to take other games to actually confirm that other games didn’t have this and some big games didn’t have the CD-Rom logo.

It gets worse.

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The lack of (decent) screenshots, I can explain. I had to go and make screenshots myself. This game is actually skipped by a lot of reviewers and that’s another sign of how bad this game is.

In addition to that, the game has no option menu. So, you can’t adjust the controls, or change your screensize. Oh no, that’s too advanced for the developers of this game.

What’s also to advanced is creating an acceptable installation program. It’s as basic as you can get. Even the name is slapped with red letters, almost with paint. With annoying background music. The installation is annoying. Plus the disc spins so fast that I was afraid my disc was going to be damaged.

Then to the launcher. The game is even bad there. It has an option to re-install the game. Sigh, what’s the use? Let’s go to the actual game. Let’s not rant about the bad menu and the possibility to replay the introduction movie. And that the extra button doesn’t have an animation.

In game.

The controls are awkward. You barely use the keyboard. Walking goes extremely slow. The game plays like a point and click game. The dialogues are extremely cheesy and not enjoyable. The tutorial is basically in a conversation and it made me sigh extremely deep. Plus, you can’t click anywhere to go to the next lines in a dialogue. Nope, you need to click exactly on their arrow. Lucky us, that the space bar skips it too.

Above that, they don’t use the buttons on your keyboard. Nope, mostly everything is done with your mouse.

The graphics are a joke. It’s almost made for a portable system. The above view doesn’t help the game visually. But visually it’s even worse as some characters look the same.

The voice acting sounds bad. I even think that it isn’t the original cast that did the voices. And if they did, I’m confused and I can’t believe it.

Invisible walls are everywhere. Even on some places where it isn’t supposed to be.

Plus you can’t sit on an air cloud when trying to attack. Nope, not going to happen.

And finally, you don’t have any visual representation of when the game saves.

I’m going to leave it here. I’ll torture myself with finishing this game but I think I’m clear already, avoid this game. It isn’t worth your money. At all.

Rant #005: Modern gaming never grew up.

Thanks to my girlfriend for making this for me.

Thanks to my friend for making this for me.

Let’s face it. The modern games makes the current gaming market a totally different market. You can’t deny it, it’s simply a fact that games lately are getting easier and easier and that you can’t go without a tutorial, even for an easy game. People always go nuts about the graphics and some things no longer matter for them. Is this current gaming market still as good as the old gaming market? Are retro games truly better or is it something else? Let’s rant!

Retro games are better!

Many claim that the original Mario is still better.

Many claim that the original Mario is still better.

Many gamers that are around the age of 20 or older will tell you that games of their childhood where better then the current games. Some will even stick with those good old games and play them even to this day, they are the so called retro gamers.

But if you ask younger gamers, they are going to look to games from 10 years ago and go bashing on the graphics or other things. Saying that they are old and actually saying they suck.

To make a long rant short, you can easily say that it’s a generation thing. Older people grew up with the old Mario and since it holds so many childhood memories, they say it’s the better game. Newer games don’t give that feeling of nostalgia that makes them prefer the newer games above the older games.

Yet, there are also gamers who always think the newer games are better. Graphics, gameplay, story telling… everything gets improved.  But what’s a better game? Surely, it’s personal preference. If I like to play older games, I’ll say that the older games are better. But it can work the other way around too. In addition to that, you need to look to the “quality” of the games too. Are the games actually good for that time period? Or are they garbage?

Flaws of the modern games.

Yearly we get a new Call Of Duty. Yup.

Yearly we get a new Call Of Duty. Yup.

Modern games aren’t perfect. Not at all. The biggest issue I have with them is that they are mostly focusing on the graphical aspect rather then the gameplay. Also, in one of my previous rants, I talked about how many modern games actually hold your hand and tell you what to do. There is no exploration in a game.

Straight or a limit amount of paths are the norm. Games with an open world like for example Zelda always have a certain way to stop you from progressing without an item. This way they manage to make the game extremely linear without you even realizing.

A big example for ranters to talk about is how the Call Of Duty campaign gets shorter each year. The game is a multiplayer game without a doubt. You basically buy it for being able to go online. One of my best friends was a fan of the series but got annoyed by it’s latest entries where his hand was hold for him to finish.

It would be stupid if we didn’t mention the fact that most gaming companies go milking the cash cow. If something sells, they make more of the same to get even more money from our pockets. Let’s take the cheap example of how many Mario games are sold. It’s an easy mascot that kids recognize and buy.

What mostly makes me worry is the lack of creativity in the current gaming world. Outside of the indy developers we barely see new creative work. It’s always the same thing and it the sequel the work out the flaws of the original, but it’s mostly the same idea. Or they cut out on things like Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Gates To Infinity.

Let’s talk about the systems for a second. Give me one system that can’t run DVD’s or play your favorite music. The Wii & DS couldn’t do that, unless you illegally modified them. Modern gaming platforms are more aimed to the general multimedia lover instead of a gamer. This makes that games need to be aimed for a wider group so they can’t be too difficult.

Flaws of retro games.

Good old Metroid.

Good old Metroid.

One major issue is that some games are way too difficult. The infamous 1 hit death is a welcome example here. Also the fact that there wasn’t an internet to look for walkthroughs or cheats, makes games more difficult. Like some gamers say, when you couldn’t finish a game back then, that’s though luck for you.

In addition to that, there were many games that had cryptic area’s to make the game more difficult. In Zelda II – Adventure of Link for example you need to pass through a wall to finish one dungeon. Or Death Mountain, it’s a maze beyond belief.

Also, games were pretty fragile. Saving worked with an internal battery in the cartridge and when that one ran out, it’s no saving for you. Also when there was dust in the game’s connector pins, you had to carefully blow in the cartridge to make it work again. When the connector pins broken, your game was broken too.

Also the games where more flawed back then. The games where more buggy like the famous cartridge titling glitch. But I can’t count on one hand anymore how much internet memes are created because of the faulty translation of games. “All your base are belong to us.” is a very popular example.

The internet, a knife that cuts both ways.

A generic picture to fancy up the article.

A generic picture to fancy up the article.

If I had to point out something that is good and bad for the gaming community it’s the internet for sure.

The good thing is that indy developers now have more tools to release their work. If they make a website and do some promotion on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube for example; they are set. Another good thing is that (big) companies can now easier support their costumers. They can make FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on their website so that their Q&A (Question and Answer) staff doesn’t have to answer the same question over and over again.

Yet the internet is such a bad influence to games as well. Walkthroughs are such a welcome invention. But I can’t deny that I have finished some games with a walkthrough at hand. Above that, the internet is filled with spoilers. If you are tired of the game and you want to know the ending, you can simply look it up. This defeats the purpose of finishing a game.

Oh, and don’t worry, I’m going to talk about it. The amount of hacks and cheats in a game that you can download on the internet. An aimbot for shooters or a X-Ray for Minecraft. It all exists. And people enjoy using it online. And it ruins the experience for gamers that want to play the game legit. Abusing bugs, I can live with that. But using wall hacks or other things makes my blood boil.

I have to admit that after finishing a game, I messed around with programs a lot that made my character jump higher or that I had unlimited ammo. It’s fun to do once to see how the game is made and how things work. But if you try to finish it for the first time, a lot of the fun is taken away.

Spoilers are also everywhere. If you play a game alongside with one of your favorite YouTubers, the comments are filled with things that will happen in the game. Bye bye thrilling game.

Modern games never grew up.

It’s nearly “pick your poison”. Both games have flaws that make me go nuts. Old games can be too difficult and new games can be too easy or unpolished.

Thankfully there are exceptions to the rule. Some games actually aren’t that bad. Some old games can also be extremely easy. But in my eyes, modern games never grew up to a new gaming level. Many improvements are made to the graphics but does that make for better games? I truly don’t know and I will surely touch upon this subject again. But for now I’m going to leave it here. Thanks for reading and until next time.

Types of gamers

Thanks Nhi for creating this

Thanks Nhi for creating this.

Well, it’s a big pain if you always need to explain which games you like and which you don’t. You can lazily say that you are for example a casual gamer or a shooter guy. But if you think about it, there are a million names then. I started to look around and think about which types of gamers I think exist. Because this subject is mostly opinion based, feel free to give me your opinion. I’m not wrong, since it’s my opinion. I can be mistaken and needing to correct myself. That’s a totally different cookie to crumble. If I had to tell which type of gamer I am, I would have an issue. Be warned, the types of gamers I talk about are the main games they play, exceptions are always there. Also, let me know with which type you can relate the most. 

Type 1: Casual Free Timer

Finding a picture where they are both presented well was such a trouble.

Finding a picture where they are both presented well was such a trouble.

You mostly see these gamers at a busstop or in a doctor’s waiting room. They have a tablet or a mobile to tap away on.

You also could find them on Facebook playing games where you need to reach easy objectives like switching jewels or collecting coins.

Many other types of gamers don’t recognize these people as gamers. Sadly enough, since they are gamers. But they don’t devote their lives to games. While it’s possible that they buy an app here and there, it’s not the end of the world for them if they can’t play a game.

They also sort of avoid other games that require an other device or controller. It’s possible that you can also find them with an emulator on their phone to mostly play handheld games from their childhood.

Type 2: Die Hard Fanboy

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Some minecrafters and Call Of Duty players are a major example.

These gamers don’t care much about other games. They devote their whole life at mostly one game. Games that dare to be similar to their “holy” game are called names and they give them bad rep.

I’m not going to get ranty about the Call Of Duty players so spare me there please. I don’t do easy targets.

What I mean by that is that these type of gamers are the best troll bait you can get. Since they go out of their way to be the best in the game they play. Some go as far as bullying or making somebody feel bad if they are defeated.

They are also the living version of WikiPedia about their game. Some even dream to go working at the company which produces the series/game they love so much. They also get extremely excited as soon as a new title in their series is announced. They are also the first to rant when there is too much change in the sequel.

It’s also possible that they are a fanboy of one company. And they praise everything that they release. Since for them, everything their developers touch turns into an emptier wallet for the fanboys.

Type 3: Old school & retro gamers

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Pixely retro-goodness?

This type of gamer doesn’t care about the time the game is released. They just play what ever catches their eye on various gaming websites and blogs.

For some retro gamers, the older the better. They are also the style of gamers that play in texture packs to make the game look older.

They always love the original and think that the new entries in a series are killing the series.

Many under them are big collectors, sometimes of one company or system. They start playing a game but sometimes don’t finish them since another game caught their interest.

Angry responses they give when somebody starts nagging about graphics. (I get even annoyed by graphic junkies) Since they don’t really care about that.

Most retro gamers want to know the ins and outs of the system so that they can explain what happened if a game isn’t working and that they maybe can fix it. Or replace something when it’s broken.

There is no real difference between old school and retro since they are pretty much the same.

Type 4: Platform/genre gamers

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It feels great to be a gamer.

I don’t mean here people who play platform games. Not only that, platform and genre gamers are people who only play on one platform.

They see other consoles as less worthy to play and often say bad things about them. Pointing out their flaws or saying that their platform is better.

You can also have gamers who only play on consoles or handhelds.

PC gamers are a prime example. Devoted PC gamers will build their own PC and buy the PC version of a game even when there is a console version.

The genre gamers try to play as many games from one genre as they can. Most (in)famous of these guys are the shooter fans. They have loads upon loads of games of the same genre and are mostly extremely good at it.

They also have a certain game in the genre that is their absolute favorite. They often compare other games to the holy game of them.

Type 5: Mainstreamer

The mainstream guys are the ones who sometimes buy all the consoles. Buy all the things. A new console by Google? Oh, that doesn’t stop them. They go out and buy it.

They follow the latest gaming news and always want to play the newest of the newest. If it’s not new, they don’t play it. If it isn’t hyped, it’s no point in the schedule for them.

Mostly triple A title (expensive games to create. Big name games too.) games. Indy games they don’t care much about.

Wait wait, stop there.

Hold on a second, what am I doing here? Something doesn’t add up here. If I continue with this, I can find a piece of myself in each type. To me it’s extremely pointless of trying to see which types of gamers there are.

Many issues raise up. First, personal preference. You can like a series and it suddenly dies out. Then you can go from a mainstreamer to an old school gamer.

There are in fact, three main types of gamers. Mainstream, Old school and Casual. Since let’s face it, if you don’t follow the mainstream you either play games on Facebook or your mobile. If that’s not the case, you play games on your DS or other platforms.

Secondly, you can always merge types of gamers. You can be an oldschool NES gamer. Does this makes the two types of gamers actually one type?

Thirdly, the gaming market changes so quickly that this article can go out of date in matter of months if I truly continued in this fashion.

Before I go on a big rant, finally there is the issue of time. Yup, the older you get, the less time you get to play games sadly enough.

All in all, I think it’s silly to put gamers into groups. We all have one thing in common, we play games to pass our time and enjoy them. Some might devote more time on it then others. Some will even go blogging or/and collecting them.

Anyways, what do you guys think? Let me know in the comments. But for now, NekoJonez out!

First Impression: Paper Mario Sticker Star (3DS) ~ Let’s go pasting.

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Official website

This game is a game that I’m going to finish for a very special reason. A forum member wants to review it with me. I better make hurry and finish this game. But as a good practice, I am going to give my first impressions of what I think of the game till now. I have finished two worlds of the six worlds and I’ll be playing this game till I’m able to finish it. Anyways, this game is the latest entry in the Paper Mario series and it’s extremely different then your usual RPG. You have to find your moves yourself. So, is this a good concept or does this make for a game that will totally fail to impress you? Let’s find out in this article, is it actually worthy to be finished by NekoJonez or I’m going to stop halfway and give it a bad rating? 

Attacks, attacks everywhere.

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I want to be direct for a change. That game has bugs. Yes, but very rarely. I had once that all my stickers where gone and I had suddenly 9 pages. Lucky for me, when rebooting my save file, I got all my stickers back.

In this game, there are no random battles. You actually see the enemies on the screen. This is extremely handy when you want to avoid them and makes it helpful for speedrunning the game.

You don’t have to worry about stats either. Do you have the stickers to first do area 3? Go ahead, the monsters won’t be that much stronger. You will only need to find stickers to defeat them.

Sadly enough, this game can be easy sometimes if you ask for advice. Often you get then told where you need to go. But this leaves a great possibility open. If you want to search things out by yourselves, you can easily do that by not asking advice.

Labeling this game as a RPG isn’t actually correct. Since the only thing you can upgrade is your health. Your attacks will be all scattered in the overworld. You just need to peel them off the walls and fences. One thing that made me a bit sad is that you can’t heal up outside of battle unless you have those boxes. But this makes for a great addition to the difficulty.

Sticker Party

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Thank you Nintendo for making this story bit more unique then your usual, Bowser is up to no good scheme. While the story is about Bowser doing bad things, the kidnapping of the princess is actually not entirely his doing. This leaves so much room for creativity and I’m curious how they are going to use it.

This game saves automatically, so that’s something you don’t need to worry about. When you finish or exit a level, the game will save. And the levels are build up like a typical Mario game. You have themed zones, like mountains,  forest and a desert. Unlike a good Mario game, there are only 6 worlds. But it doesn’t make the game shorter, I have been quite busy in each world and I’m not complaining about the length now.

The game isn’t that easy. You will need to search everywhere in order to continue. Thinking outside and inside of the box is often required to solve some puzzles. You need to mostly have an eye for hidden passages which I often lack.

The graphics are truly well done. The game feels like paper and everything acts like paper. It surely gives me nostalgic feelings towards the old-school 3D games. Where the trees and all looked like paperboard cutouts.

But, what about the flaws?

gaming_paper_mario_sticker_star_3I’m glad you asked. One thing that isn’t flawed is the music. It’s upbeat and melodic. With I like extremely much is that when you walk around in the overworld, the music changes in style in which area you are. Very nice touch.

But now, let’s talk about the things I don’t like. First of all, to give better attacks, you need to have a great timing. Which I often don’t really have or forget about. This makes sometimes enemies a bit more troublesome to fight.

Also when 2 enemies are near, and you jump on one, you often see the 2nd enemy also in the battle screen. But I had various occasions where that 2nd enemy that was following you still lived after winning the battle.

I realize this is to make the game a bit more difficult but blocking only halves the damage. It’s nearly impossible to avoid an attack.

Also, let’s get nitpicky. In the shop, you can only buy one sticker at a time. When I want to buy health stickers, I need to press the “A” button over and over. Which couldn’t they simply add in an option where you could select how much stickers you want?

The controls are a minor disappointment. I am and I have been a gamer that uses the directional arrows more often then a joystick. And this game, you can’t control with the arrows. That is a missed opportunity in my opinion. Since those buttons aren’t used. They could have made an option to use one of either.

Also, you can’t choose the arrangement of your stickers yourself. You have a handy button to let the game sort all your stickers but if you want to have a health sticker on the 2 page and on the 3rd page, though luck. That ain’t gonna happen.

19/06 Edit: Well, you can actually move the stickers around like you would move an icon on a smartphone. Yet, I feel it’s not expanded enough.

In conclusion, this game is a great game. But it has a few flaws. Some might be nitpicky but they make the game feel unpolished. It misses a bit of the “Nintendo Final Touch” polish so to say. But now I’m going back to work, I mean game, to finish this game.

What’s a retro game?

Thanks Smashy for this.

Thanks Smashy for this.

Trying to come up with a definition for a retro game is extremely difficult. Many websites give different information. But which one is right? I did some research and broke my head about this question multiple times. After a while of thinking, I came up with my answer for the question. In this article I will explain more about my though process about this question. So even consider this to be a controversial topic, which I totally don’t get. But feel free to discuss in the comments down below and who knows, we might make the real definition of a retro game. Keep in mind that I try to make a definition here of what exactly is a retro game. Like “when is a game retro?”.

What’s a retro gamer? 

For answering that question we need to ask the question, what’s retro? When does a game turn retro? Is the previous entry in the series when the sequel releases a retro game? Or does it need to have a certain age? If we check WikiPedia on this one, there is an issue. They don’t give a clear definition. Also, they say when the most popular time period is. So, according to WikiPedia it should be 20 years old, looking to the popular period.

But then on other gaming blogs, they talk about games being 10 to 15 years old. So, there is some unknown things about retro gaming.

Promotional image for the DS game Retro Game Challenge.

Promotional image for the DS game Retro Game Challenge.

I think we can all agree that the Playstation 2 is now retro. Since it’s discontinued and the PS3 is out, plus the PS4 is soon going to be released. But let’s look at another console. Is for example the DS retro? I would say so, since the 3DS is out for a while and the mainstream gamers don’t really care about those games anymore.

Definition of a retro game.

So, are retro games, games where the mainstream doesn’t care about anymore? Yes and no, bargain sales don’t count. But I think I can say that whenever a game starts to get sold on second hand stores for low prices or not anymore on store shelves, it’s retro for sure. But wait, that isn’t correct since my local game store sells some old games and some of them are first hand.

Let’s look at it from a different angle. We are currently going to the 8th generation of consoles. The Wii U, PS4 & XBOX one. So, in my eyes, generation 1 till 6 is retro. But when does generation 7 turn retro? When generation 9 is released or announced? Or when generation 8 is well on it’s way?

Some might say that when something is discounted, it’s retro. When it’s not being sold anymore, it’s retro. And I disagree on one level. What if a company went bankrupt? Would their latest releases be considered retro? That would be a far stretch.

Yet, one thing is for sure. A retro game is an old game. But there is still a lot of debate when exactly a system turns retro. The issue we still have is about generation 7. Well, I think as soon as you barely see generation 7 games on the shelves, they are considered retro. When the first hand copies are becoming extremely hard to get. Since saying that games that need to be at least 10 years old to be considered retro, leaves one big time gap to be questioned. So, a game that is for example only a 5 years old, isn’t retro yet?

Is it even possible?

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In 2013, the Wii U is anything but retro.

For a while, I thought it would be impossible to make a definition for retro games. On all the forums I visited for researching this topic, everybody starts giving their own opinion. And some are very different then others.

Years are said, requirements or examples. What strikes me as odd is that many new questions start to raise. How do you call games that aren’t retro? Modern games? And why are always the handhelds left out?

It becomes even more difficult if we try to think about what games exactly you need to look at to make a definition. For retro games, do we need to take games like Android and iOS in a count? Or even the online flash games or Facebook games?

Let’s actually give a definition of a video game.  What is a video game? WikiPedia gives a great definition.

A video game is an electronic game that involves human interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device.

So, actually we need to count games created online and games created for tablets or phones into our group of games. Sadly enough, many gamers will rage at me for saying that. Since they don’t see Facebook games as actual games. Yet, I would refer those people towards the definition that I gave. Okay, copied from WikiPedia. Plus, I don’t think the developers would like to call their product an interactive application or a game wannabee.

Flaws in the logic

And then you get creations like this.

And then you get creations like this.

Like I said in my previous part of this article, there are always flaws in somebody’s logic. When somebody says that the previous generation is considered retro games, I have a small question for you then. Let’s take the 3DS for example. The 3DS is released late 2011. Are games from 2011 retro or not?

Honestly, it’s a combination from factors that decides when a game is retro. But I think I found a great indication for looking if a game is retro or not. The sales graph.

Think about it, if you look to a sales graph, you first get the early adapters who buy the game without looking to reviews. They are extremely hyped and they want to product. If you look to an usual sales graph, there is a point where it goes down in sales. In my point of view, I think you can say that a game is then starting to get retro.

Mainstream games will continue to sell. Like for example Minecraft, it might be an old game but it keeps selling like crazy. Whenever a game starts to “die” in the interest of the general public, the sales will go down. With that, the developer starts to get more and more costs of supporting the game. And eventually they start to support the game. Around that time, the game starts to become retro.

So I think that you honestly need to look to how much the game is sold, for which price (compared to the original), how much general interest there is, if the developer supports the game…

But then again, there is a flaw in my logic as well. Games that are overlooked, aren’t really the issue since they get sold. But I’m talking about free games. Those can’t be sold.

Well, I think I’m going to leave it here. What do you guys think is retro? I look forward to reading the comments.

First Impression: Corpse Party – Book Of Shadows (PSP) ~ It’s not over just yet.

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Link to the official website

You thought it was over after Corpse Party? Well, think again, Corpse Party Book Of Shadows shows the tale extremely different. With the opening of this game, you get the impression that this game is a sequel but once you actually start with the game, it’s clearly far from a sequel. Corpse Party was an excellent visual novel horror adventure game for the PSP, I truly enjoyed playing it and directly got myself the sequel. And I have been playing it often. The game is extremely different from the original and in this article I’ll talk if those changes are for the good or for the bad. Be warned, this article is about my first impressions of the game. I have only played a major part of the first chapter. I’m also finishing up the bonus chapters in the original, since you can unlock content with it in this game. But enough talking in this introduction, let’s dive right into Corpse Party – Book Of Shadows.

Deeper story.

In the original game I would go far if I told you that the characters weren’t developed. While it’s true that you don’t get a lot of information about the characters themselves, the actions of the characters easily shape a picture of them. But this game takes it a step further. In the first part I played of this game, I have already gasped several times.

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In this game, things that you could suspect in the original return. What’s Seiko’s deal with Naomi’s ass anyways? Well, you get the answer in this game.

This game seems to have a deeper story. You can always check back on the previous conversations by the touch of a button. And here, it’s getting in the right direction. You can scroll up and down and get to the top and bottom rather easily.

A major improvement is the ability to save anywhere you want and there are even more then just one save file! The save system is greatly improved since the original.

One thing I didn’t like is that you have to watch the introduction movie if you start the game for the first time. I honestly admit that I forgot to save the game after the first time I played it and I couldn’t skip the long introduction. Before you can get to some gameplay you will have to go through huge parts of text. I’m sure that this first part took me more then a hour to get through. Man, I wish I had a speed-up button.

The original is a joke

617350_20130124_640screen001Yes, the original is almost like a joke to this game. The visuals are kicked up a big notch. You now run in a sort of 3D world. The graphics are extremely nice made for this game. You can see the cursed school from all it’s 3D glory. And this get a thumbs up from me.

The voice acting is extremely well done too. I have had the annoying part where you tapped the confirm button way to fast that the voices couldn’t follow. Yes, the original had that slight problem. This game doesn’t have that issue.

Also, the more the cure gets to you, the more blurry your screen gets. And this is such a nice addition. I actually don’t understand the mechanics of that just yet, but I’m sure that’s just a matter of time.

The controls aren’t explained but they are straight forward non-the-less. You can search each room easily and when you can get information about something, you cursor will turn blue. Also, the parts that are timed, don’t interrupt the gameplay at all. But those didn’t interrupt in the original game either.

Time to turn up the amazing dial. 

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I gave the original game already a high score, but this game seems to run past it with ease. And I have only played the first chapter. The music is tense, and memorable.

With hints to the first game everywhere, in the music and story, this game is an improvement of the first game. I can’t repeat that enough. With the save files you can now see when and what time you made that save file.

There is one step back though, with the name tags list, they were better organised in the original. There it was per chapter and you had a little picture for each corpse. Now, both aren’t there. Oh well, that’s a minor nitpick anyways.

I realize that my thoughts in this article are all over the place but what I forgot to mention with the story is that thoughts are now no longer simply between brackets. Oh no, they are now in a different colored box. That’s great for newcomers to the genre. What’s also better is that there are more visual pictures to look at while the story is unfolding. There is less use of a black screen with a box in this game.

Have I mentioned that this game is slowly growing towards my list of most influential games in my life of all time? Only my favorites get  on that list and this game is a big blast to play. I don’t mind the long waiting times between gameplay since the story is extremely well written. The voice acting draws you in even more. The sound design is one of the better ones I have heard in a game for a while.

Music that I want to listen daily too, memorable characters, great design and a challenge for every gamer. This game is getting a high score from me already, but is the game going to keep it this game throughout the whole game. That you will read in the review, when I am done with the game. But for now, NekoJonez signing out.

Review #009: James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes (3DS) review ~ A lot of cheese!

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Wikipedia entry of this game.

Before I got myself the latest Professor Layton, I played this game on my 3DS. It’s one of the first games I finished on my 3DS. All over the internet, people find this a mediocre game. In this review, I will tell you if I agree or don’t agree. Let’s try to look at this game separate from Professor Layton. In my previous review of Corpse Party on the PSP, I compared the game way too much with Virtue’s Last Reward and thankfully a forum member pointed it out. Thanks for the feedback BloodCatNS. Anywho, this game is created by Ubisoft, the guys behind a load of pet games on the DS and the very successful Assassins Creed. Did they create a great game here or are the reviews pulling at the right end calling it mediocre? Let’s solve this bad-boy and crack the codes. Time to review this game on the 3DS. Oh, the game has its own site, but I didn’t link it since it’s inside a collection site of all 3DS games Ubisoft made. But the Wikipedia article contains all your information needs. 

Loads of cheese

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Let me tell you, this game suffers from a lot of cheese. Wait, you aren’t following me? Well, the story is extremely cheesy. It’s a story you don’t need to take seriously at all. The story was one I could predict nearing the end.

The voice acting added towards the story being cheesy. I’m glad to see that this story doesn’t take itself seriously and frankly, it helps in this game. The story feels a fresh change of pace instead of having a weak flat story that you barely remember in the end.

The consequence is that the story is somewhat memorable. It has been a few months since I played this game, and I still remember parts of the story. And that are signs of a well-crafted story.

I’m not going to lie or praise a bad story too much, but it isn’t too bad that it takes you out of the experience. The point I’m getting across here is that it does its job but doesn’t go beyond that to try and impress you. But what’s unique is that at the start of the game, you have to take a profile picture of yourself and when your character looks in the mirror, you actually get a live feed from the 3DS camera, which is an amazing idea. This pulls you in the game even more since you feel involved.

Creative, yet done before. 

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This game gives me the impression to be a very creative one, yet I sometimes felt that some puzzles have been done before. This is mainly because of the unique use of puzzles. There are sliding puzzles and many classics but there are also new puzzles I haven’t seen a lot in games like these.

Many puzzles are quite challenging. Like the puzzle in the screenshot, I even needed to take out a notepad to make notes. And if a game manages to make you do that, it’s a good game in terms of puzzles. I heard in another review that the puzzles feel fresh, and I agree. In the story, you play in a game show to look for a killer. And thanks to this, you can choose which puzzles you solve. This helps with the replay value of the game and when you don’t feel like solving a sliding puzzle, well, you can take other puzzles.

You also get fan mail and hate mail too. This is an extremely neat addition in the game. It feels a bit like the downloadable puzzles from Professor Layton but you don’t need to do the effort to actually download them.

The amount of puzzles is great too. As far as I know, there are about 150 puzzles you can solve. And this will take a great deal of your time.

The 3D doesn’t add a whole lot to the game but I think that isn’t such a big deal in these puzzle games.

Far from perfect.

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Where does this game fall felt on its face? Well, that’s an easy question. The game repeats the story way too much. I rolled my eyes at the number of times the game got stopped where you got an overview of what happened. I have seen games that do this way better. Another Code: R, for example, has a small quiz at the end of each chapter and Professor Layton displays a summary before loading your save file.

Also, the graphics are where I think they made a wrong turn. While the backgrounds and the puzzles look great, the characters actually don’t look all that neat. They feel like early green screen and quickly pasted on the backgrounds. They feel somewhat out of place. And I don’t like it.

Another part of the game that doesn’t do a great job is the music. Normally I remember the music of each game I play but from this game, I can’t remember any melodies. Vaguely I might remember parts but the music is a missed opportunity.

Also, there is an issue with the length of this game. It might have 150 puzzles, this game can be easily beaten in a few days. The game is short, way to short for this style of game.

And what’s a big shame is, yes there are typo’s in the game! And not one or two, there are a few. Almost like they forgot to proofread this game. An example is this screenshot you can easily find some grammar issues. “TOUCH tiles to highlight a path to cross the grid.” Yup, that’s this game for you.

I’m out of things to say about the game, time for my conclusion.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Unique puzzles.

+ Challenging.

+ Details like fan mail is a nice touch.

+ Your face in the game, man I have never felt more involved.

+ Great freedom in choosing your puzzles.

The bad:

– It’s over way too quickly.

– Graphically, the animation and characters feel dated.

– The music is generic.

– Typo’s in a visual novel?!

– Way too many times you get reminded of what happened.

Conclusion:

Is this a good game? Yes, it is. Is this a great game? No, it isn’t. The game has a certain charm that hasn’t been created in a long time. Yet, it’s too flawed to stand out. It also doesn’t do anything new. It’s just a puzzle game. I can barely bring up arguments to tell you why this game is better than the others.

Comparing this to Professor Layton isn’t doing it any good either. Then this game feels like shovelware. Yet, this game still has its moments. So, if you can pick it up for cheap, I would recommend it.

This game comes recommended as a snack, to play between two game releases you are waiting for. But don’t expect an amazing game. It has too many missed opportunities for that.

Score: 68 / 100

First Impressions: Another Code: R – A Journey into Lost Memories (Wii) ~ A mystery novel

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Nintendo version of the website.

So, I have this Wii sitting in my room. I got my Wii after I graduated high school. Before that I played a countless amount on my Nintendo DS. On there I played Another Code from the amazing developer Cing. They went bankrupt and they are no more. But when I saw that this game had a sequel for on the Wii, I didn’t doubt for a second, I had to play this game. I started to play it three days ago, and I have trouble putting it down. Yup, that’s my first impression in extremely short for you. But this wouldn’t be a valid blog entry if I didn’t explain myself. Otherwise I will look as a fanboy of this game to you guys, which I kinda am. Visual novels always interested me and I love playing them. They always have a better story then other games and this game is no exception. Let me explain why this game is great and you all should give it a go. But, I’ll also explain some flaws with the system. 

The story.

This game is a sequel to the great Nintendo DS game Another Code, it’s named that way in Europe. The American is Trance Memory. I actually advise you to play the DS game first. The Wii game takes place two years after this game. The story of the DS game is very often referenced.

The familiar characters from the original DS game are exactly the same in this Wii entry. There are also a lot of new characters and you can easily get a reminder in the menu. Which is an awesome option. If you forgot which character was who, a reminder is there in game.

There is no voice acting. Which is a shame in my view. This game would have had big benefits from voice acting. Now it’s only the text displayed on the screen.

From what I saw of the story, it’s an enjoyable tale. It made me think back at the days I played the DS game. The main thing is again about memories. What I truly praise in this game is that on the end of each chapter, you get a small quiz to remind you what happened in the chapter and it really helps when you forgot or didn’t play the game in a while.

01663042-photo-another-code-r-1 But enough about the story, I’ll dive more into that in the full review. The gameplay mimics a lot from it’s DS game. The controls, you’ll need to get used to them, are actually quite unique and the mapping is great. Although it’s a pity that the detection of the Wii Remote seems a bit uneasy to use sometimes.

In this game you can’t really run everywhere you please. It isn’t a step back actually. This mechanic is set up in such a way that you can easily explore certain area’s and view them. Probably this made the developers have time for some great visuals.

As you guys might know, I’m not that difficult to please when it comes to graphics. But this game blew me away. The location of the game is bright and colorful, detailed and well made. It feels great with the realistic story and nothing feels out of place. It’s detailed enough that it draws you into the story easily.

Can’t put this down.

screenshot_wii_another_code_r_a_journey_into_lost_memories005This game is also a puzzle game. And a great one. With some side quests like recycling, there is a lot of variety to the game. You can even choose how your character reacts to a situation. It adds some replay value to the game to see how it plays out if you react in another way.

I don’t know if there are different endings but I don’t assume there are. Otherwise I would be extremely impressed. Because in other games with different endings, this game is good in hiding it then.

One flaw in this game is how you can look back at the previous conversation. This is a very welcome feature but I haven’t seen a game get this right. I have to say, happy scrolling if you want to look for something.

There is no real tutorial. This is extremely welcome. Thanks to this you can explore and learn the game at it’s own pace. You don’t have to “learn” everything at the start of the game and you truly feel more free playing this game.

While exploring the area’s, things you can investigate blink in a yellow color. There is also a great indication on the screen to remind you. And pay attention, places you have explored, can also be of use later in the story. There are even various ways to control the game. Using the on screen buttons or the buttons on your controller, it both is fluent.

This game is easy and difficult. For new players to the genre, this can become quite a challenge in certain area’s. But, for advanced players in this genre or style of game, you can progress without getting really stuck anywhere.

Various story lines.

another-code-r-wii-035This game has various story lines running all at once. Thankfully, it’s never getting too much. When ever it’s too much too follow, a story line ends.

This game has also a very creative use of the buttons on your Wii remote. You’ll have to play the game to understand what I mean.

Before I close of this article, I want to mention the music. The music is pretty lighthearted. And it fits the tone of this game extremely well. You even have a music player in game to listen to the tracks or let them play as background music. And you can’t listen to tracks you haven’t heard in game yet.

That are most of my first impressions of this game. I’m nearly half way in this great game. The length is great from what I played till now. This seems like a game that will take you more then one day to complete. If you really want to enjoy it at it’s full potential. Whenever I finish this game, I’ll surely write a review for you guys. But until the next time, and happy gaming!

Game Diary #2: A day at school ~ GBA games

Arpegi Back

When I posted the game diary yesterday on my blog on my forum, a lot of amazing replies came. One of them even asked for more of them. And you guys are in luck, I felt like making another one today. So, in this blog game, I write a fake story as a sort of diary entry. In this story, I hide several game names or obvious game references. Each entry has it’s own theme. Like last entry was one where 10 NES games where in hidden. I realize that I made a flaw and put a SNES game in by accident. Thanks Muddy for pointing that out on the forums. Speaking about the forums, the global moderator Light made this picture meant for a wallpaper. It’s amazing. Anyways, feel free to post your solution or the ones you find in the comments. So for those playing the game, pay attention when reading the comments. So, here we go. In this article I have hidden 10 GBA games. Based on this list. If I made more then 10 references, feel free to comment to. Those one weren’t on purpose. 

The entry

Hiya there diary,

Today my mom went out to the garage. Both my parent’s their cars broke down. Hopefully they get them repaired soon. But the gods are with us. That’s for sure.

Today I dreamed  away. I was looking to the golden sun. Yeah, it’s not yellow for me. I always thought the sun had a more golden color. I should have been studying history actually. But things like Napoleon and robots don’t really interest me. I also never understood why there where robots in my history book anyways.

Today it was a truth or dare with my friends. Silly questions where asked, like if Johnathan is actually in love with Cindy. If that was only true. But Cindy would never start a relationship with him. Only if pigs grow wings. Or better said, when they can fly.

 While I am writing this, I would love it if the guy with the drill would shut up. He is causing me headaches and I can’t study for anything. But then again, I prefer that sound over the sound that comes from my sister’s room. How she can watch that show American Idol, I truly don’t understand.

The field trip of tomorrow goes to the Rocky Mountains. I can’t wait! It’ll be a whole lot of fun. Hiking through the woods. I can give some teachers a payback of giving me back marks because I gave up at the running test.

Well, I’m too tired to continue to write now. I’m going to dive into my pillow fortress and maybe catch a nap.

See you laterz,

Jonez.

The solution

  1. Cars, from the movie Cars.
  2. Gods, it’s a port of a Sega game.
  3. Golden Sun, yeah, it’s a present.
  4. Napoleon, it’s a game title yes.
  5. Robots, I even mentioned it twice. 
  6. Wings, it’s a GBA too.
  7. American Idol, like the TV show.
  8. Rocky, yup, the boxer has it’s own GBA game.
  9. Payback, it’s a GBA game too.
  10. Fortress is the last game I referenced. 

Final notes

This was harder then I expected. I know a lot about Nintendo, but hiding the games into a story for GBA games, it wasn’t easy. I did it, but I feel like I made some easy use of some game titles.

Anyways, I enjoyed challenging myself with hiding the game titles in here. How many can you guys find? Let me know. But the next article will be something else.

Game Diary #1: Craziness ~ NES games

Arpegibe Well, this is my game diary. In this series, I’ll write a story in a sort of diary style. Of course it’s fake. But why do I write it then? Well, in the story I’ll hide some game names or obvious references to games or game series. At the end I’ll post the solution and where you can find them. Can you find them all? I’ll try to give each entry a certain theme. In this article I’ll hide 10 (popular) Nintendo series. Are you ready? Let’s go then! Oh, leave in the comments how many series you found. Also, when I made a reference without noticing, feel free to put it in the comments. Oh yeah, if you play this game, be careful while reading the comments for spoilers. Oh yeah, all the references are NES games. 

The entry

Dear game diary,

Today I played several games again. It’s almost like yesterday when I met Troid. Man, he is a great guy. I played the whole day with him. I’m jealous of his job. He is a game reviewer for a magazine. It earns way more then my paper boy job at the local news store.

Troid told me that he wants to go to space one day. Sadly enough, we are bound to earth.

Mom bought a new vacuum cleaner today. I saw the name Kirby on the vacuum bag. The previous one broke. My dad told me that a metal gear in it went missing. Well, I don’t remember it exactly what he told me, and it doesn’t matter that much really. We have a new vacuum cleaner.

My dad came back from his duck hunt the other day and showed us the dog he found. Jokingly he said that he saw the dog laughing to him whenever he missed the ducks. I have such a crazy old man. My mother isn’t that crazy on the other hand, well she is crazy about him.

Felix, our cat, threw up on the carpet today. My brother had to clean it up. It has his fault. I know that it’s my cat, but hey, if it’s his fault; I’m not going to clean up his mess.

But I’m going to leave it here. The kick-off of the soccer match is about to start.

Cheers,

Jonez

The solution.

And now, in order. (Select the text to see it.)

  1. “met Troid” , come on, just paste that together.
  2. The holiday job is a title of a NES game. Paper-boy.
  3. The most difficult one: “bound to earth”. Earthbound. 
  4. Yes, Kirby is also the name of a vacuum bag.
  5. a Metal Gear is missing.
  6. Duck Hunt, the activity from which the dad returned. 
  7. “My mother” – Mother series. (Yeah, cheated a bit on this one. Thought it would be a sneaky one for some challenge.)
  8. The cat’s name. Felix the cat. It’s a NES game.
  9. “Kick-Off” is the name of a soccer series.
  10. And yeah, Soccer is a NES game too.

Closing

So, I created this story while sitting on the bus home from college. I had this series on my Dutch blog, when I still had it, and now I decided to revive it. I hope you enjoyed trying to find them all. Feel free to send me idea’s for next time. But until my next article guys!

Rant #004: Lay-outs ~ Let’s get forcing.

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Let’s rant about something different this time. Something that mostly all gamers have something to do with. Social networks and things like that. But mostly, the lay-outs of them. YouTube is a big one in this area. They change their lay-out so much, it starts to annoy their users. Another nice example is the Facebook Timeline. Are these constant changes good? Or do they do wrong things? I wanted to make a video about this but I rather wanted to write an article about this. I admit that some changes got me mad but I actually started to not really care. I just try to adapt to the change. 

The biggest issue.

The biggest issue with the changes are mostly that you don’t get any information at all when the change is going to happen. Suddenly a new lay-out is there in your face, and you simply got to deal with it. After some hours, a dozen of video’s go online that claim that you are able to revert back to the old lay-out.

Also, you can’t really test the new lay-out. Apparently as YouTube partner, you can. But according to me, that is far from enough. Cosmic Panda was a lay-out you could test at will. That was a good idea.

Don’t worry YouTube, you won’t be the only one receiving some ranting here. Facebook, you have issues with this too. The timeline, it’s a great idea and makes the site pretty unique. Think about it. Basically you write your life story on Facebook by sharing pictures, video, feelings… And you can watch your history in a timeline form.

Each new lay-out has a bunch of nice new features but it also gets rid of a lot of features too. It’s like in a store. They change everything from location so that you explore the place a bit more so that you pass by products in the hope you buy them. This logic can’t be applied to sites like Facebook or YouTube. Because you get frustrated since you can’t change what you want.

Trolls and haters.

It doesn’t take long before almost the whole site starts to hate the new lay-out. They always say that it sucks or that it doesn’t look nice. But after some time, you get used to the new lay-out. But by the time everybody got used to it, there is a new lay-out ready to be launched.

I have a big question for Youtube. You guys have the lay-out for quite a while now. How is it possible that so many big channels still have the old lay-out? And even your partners? The change to your new lay-out has a good idea behind it. To change the lay-out that it’s the same for each platform. That the channel looks the same on the computer and on the mobile devices. But make it them so that you have to change after some months.

It wouldn’t surprise me that a lot of comedians take easy money when the new lay-out comes around. That they make parodies and put the creators of the site to shame. But I don’t think that a lot of the changes are bad. I have a penpal in Finland and by the second he got the new lay-out he went all rant on me. People aren’t used to changing sites. And he doesn’t like the merging of the “stop” and “refresh” button in browsers.

Testing.

Facebook had a beta program to test their new lay-out. My mother and a classmate have gotten the new lay-out. And as far as I know, for months. Until this day, the new lay-out  hasn’t been published.

YouTube has it’s YouTube Labs. But here is the thing, it’s extremely hidden and you barely see it. Plus, I am sure that the feedback they get from it is too little.

I remember that Google Docs and other products had an option for a while to change back to the old lay-out. This was great since I used the old lay-out on one screen and the new one on my second screen. So I could see where everything was located in the new lay-out.

The biggest issue is that these things are buried. You want to test something? Well, after some digging you can. And then you can give feedback more easily.

WordPress has a great system for this. The publish unfinished releases so that people can test them out. They also tell you where you can help and give feedback. In addition to that, they have a change log. And the help feature really helps if you feel lost. The WordPress forums is extremely helpful and they reply fast.

Compare this to the slow Facebook and YouTube helpdesk. They might be big companies but if teams like the WordPress guys can pull it off so fast, I truly can’t understand why the others fail in this. WordPress goes even as far that admins can edit posts on anyone’s WordPress.com hosted blog to fix issues. You don’t see other websites do that.

Conclusion

I would like to shout at developers to release beta versions to the public to test out before you fully launch the new lay-out. Even when the new lay-out is filled with great idea’s, people get alienated and lost in the new lay-out quite easily. The internet can be that dumb.

Also, I want to thank the people who do the effort to make video’s to point out the issues of the new lay-outs. Video’s or articles, it’s the same deal. This way people can voice their opinion and maybe get some things “fixed” or improved.

Also, leave an option to stick with the old lay-out. And when you think the new lay-out is ready to be launched for everyone. Please, make an announcement. So that everybody can get ready for the change. And don’t roll it out like it’s your site’s last thing to save it from death.

But what are your thoughts on this matter? Leave it in the comments down below. Thanks for reading and happy blogging!

First Impression: Tales Of Monkey Island (PC) ~ The pox.

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Game’s website

Since I finished Corpse Party, I started a new game. I got introduced the Monkey Island series by the PS2 game, Escape from Monkey Island. When I saw this game I had to play it. I started to play and really got into it. I finished the first chapter and then got distracted by guess, yeah, Corpse Party. This game is created by TellTale Games. The original creator of Monkey Island said it was probably his last game, since he feels he got to old to create games. Also, the original cast returns for the voice acting in this game. This game was released in episodes and my current progress is that I’m at the final part of the 2nd chapter. After that chapter, I’ll of course write a full review of this game. But for now, let’s dive into this game, and the first impressions it made on me. 

The pox.

This game is a nicely crafted adventure game. Yet, it annoys me that this game is in several episodes. When you save in episode 1, you can’t start that save in episode 2. It makes a lot of sense but here is the thing. When you install the game now, all the episodes are unlocked to actually you can start playing at the start of the last chapter and beat the game that way.

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This game’s story really made me think. What if the bad guy actually becomes the good guy, well sort of. Up until now, I found the story rather enjoyable. It’s funny like you expect from a Monkey Island game. It made me laugh several times. Not to sound like a soulless person but I barely start laughing with games. I makes me smile at most. Since it mostly uses American humor and I enjoy European humor more. But this game actually has some funny parts for each culture.

The way the story is told is classical adventure game. Lucas Arts (rest in peace guys) has perfected this trade and a big hint in this game is that you need to think literally and out of the box in order to continue.

One thing that is a let down is the control. Instead of clicking where you want Treepwood to go, you need to hold the left mouse button and you start to move. Awn, that’s a let down. Also, bad TellTale Games! Not making the ability to drag & drop items to combine them? Making a separate option for that. Tsktsk.

Oh noes!

monkeyislandtales_screen2What I like in this game is that the main story line is more then just the main story line. It has several side plots that I want to see unfold. I’m extremely excited to see where the story is going to take me next.

Is it going to take me towards new colorful places? I hope so. The gameplay is actually a long chain of manipulating items to fool or trick people. And yes, I find this a fun way to be a pirate. As unbelievable it may sound, you play as a pirate. Which I still have trouble believing that our main character is a mighty pirate.

The world of Monkey Island is well made. Graphically the game is colorful and inviting. But the islands, well, they could  use a bit more variation. The two parts I played now have both a jungle part. Come on! That’s recycling. That could have been avoided.

I’m extremely thankful that you can save everywhere you want. It also gives a short summary of what the story is currently about. For in case you took a break and want to replay the game.

The voice acting is good. Sometimes it feels a bit out of place here and there but most of the times, it works. I would personally have said some lines stronger or else. Maybe I have still the amazing voice acting from Corpse Party haunting my judgement now.

What I expect

full20090730213938I expect this game to rock me off my socks. For now, this game has successfully drawn me in to it’s world. If I’ll let me go, we shall see about that. It might actually, but that’s the way how I play adventure games.

The music and sound has been great until now. Nothing to remark at the moment.

The animation is actually where I love the game the most for now. The detail that went in the art is great. The camera work in the swordfighting scenes is amazing enough to display the hard work the designers have put in this game.

Now, I would give this game surely a 7 out of 10 points. I’m going to finish this article here and I’m going to play this game further. To further judge this game. Maybe it goes up in points and maybe it goes down. We will see. Alright, thanks for reading. But before you leave, what’s your favorite Monkey Island game or moment? Discuss it in the comments.