Gamer’s Thoughts: Gaming Expos and Conventions

IMG_5853-1940x709.jpgThis week, it’s time for something completely different. The people over at Vegas.com inspired me to write an interesting article about my experiences on the various expo’s and conventions I went to. Why do I talk about them in my introduction? Well, they offer quite interesting Las Vegas travel deals if your planning on going to the LVL UP Expo! The LVL Up Expo is celebrating its fifth year in Vegas bringing some of the best gaming and technology experts. So, like I said before, in this article; I’m going to share some stories and experiences from the conventions I went to. In the comments, I would like to hear what experiences and stories you have from going to cons and expos. Feel also free to write a comment about the subject and or the content of this article. 

Sidenote: this isn’t a paid article.

What conventions did I go to?

gameforcethumbailcalendar.jpgI have been to quite a lot of conventions and expos. The last one I went to was in late 2016. That was GameForce in Mechelen, Belgium.

Conventions I went to are: Made in Asia, Minecon (Twice, in 2012 and 2015), an expo about gaming and education amongst others. If I’m allowed to count the number of garage sales I went to, I honestly lost count. They are quite popular in Belgium. As in,  in the spring-summer time, there is a garage sale almost every day somewhere in Belgium.

Storytime with Jonez

Let me share two stories. The first story is about one of the first expos I ever went to in my life. I wish I could the name of the expo, but it has been over ten years and I can’t find the name on the internet.

It was an expo where you went through the history of gaming. How the first games got made and how games are now. In each time period, you could buy games from other collectors. It was quite fun.

So, after we visited the area of the 80’s, one of my friends was quite thristy. Let’s call him Alex. So, Alex and I went to a soda machine. It was 1€ for a soda. But he only had a piece of 2€. So, he inserted his piece of 2€ and pressed the numbers of the soda he wanted. Instead of getting his soda and 1€ in return, he got two sodas and to make matters even worse, he got the wrong sodas. That actually happened. It was a moment I wished my mobile had a camera. So, I was able to film it. But alas, I was sporting an old Nokia back then without a camera.

Other things happened with that same soda machine, but my memory is quite fuzzy on it. I remember somebody getting two sodas with paying 1€. So, Alex got annoyed because he felt he got robbed.

The second story is more recently. So, my friends and I were just too late to pay for VIP tickets to go to a certain convention. So, we paid for the normal tickets. Fast forward to the convention itself and one of my friends saw some boxed with bags sticking out. She took one for each of us. We continued to walk and when we returned ten minutes later, a security guard was standing there and stopping people from grabbing bags.

It turns out that it was the VIP Loot bags that she grabbed. The SMITE-figurine is standing on my desk from that day on.

Going to a convention or expo?

What are some important dos and don’ts you’d suggest to someone attending their first convention?

Don’t…

… go unprepared to the convention or expo. Read up about the history, events, and exhibitions of the convention or expo. Also, this way you avoid buying duplicate games/items.

… take pictures of people cosplaying without asking. Some people don’t like to have their picture taken without them knowing.

… take too many valuable items. At cons and expos, there is always a big crowd and things can happen.

… go spending right when you enter. Take a look around before you spend all your money. Otherwise, you are out of money before lunch.

Do…

… plan out your route. But don’t overdo it. Give yourself the chance to distract you.

… enjoy your time there. Be yourself! For example, what I did at Minecon was one day to see the con and one day to see some panels.

… read up about the rules of the expo and/or con. Are you allowed to take drinks and snacks?

… go with friends that are also interested in the subject of the expo and/or convention.

What items should you bring along with you?

A wallet with some cash, a bank card, a mobile phone, a camera, a water bottle (if allowed), a snack (if allowed), a good mood, a 3DS (man, the Streetpass hits you get are crazy!).

Also, some advice, if the con or expo has an official app. Download & install it. It usually contains the map and planning of the convention. You never know when you need it.

What should you wear?

Comfortable clothing and good walking shoes. Unless you want to cosplay, then go in your costume.

Believe me, you will do a lot of walking at the convention or expo. Get a good rest the day before the convention.

Speaking about cosplay, research your character. I have seen various times that people didn’t know a lot about the character they are cosplaying and they fall out of character. This is a no-brainer of course but look at the rules of the convention or expo. Don’t go cosplaying with a gun if they aren’t allowed.

What are your favorite activities and exhibits?

My favorite activity at expos or cons are the ones where you can hear your favorite group has a panel. I attended the MindCrack panel at Minecon 2015. I was just too late to attend the panel in 2012. The room was full, so we were unable to attend.

My favorite exhibits are the ones where I can buy merchandise of my favorite games. Since I live in Europe, it isn’t that easy to get merchandise of Japanese and/or American products. Since I have to pay a big shipping fee and things like that. So, that’s why I go to cons.

And of course, I love exhibits where I can see an upcoming product I’m excited about. Oh yeah, before I forget, exhibits, where I can buy games to add to my collection or complete my collection, are great too.

Wrapping up

After the convention and/or expo is over. Feel free to take a look back at the past day(s). What have you learned, bought, experienced… I always had a strange lonely feeling the day after a convention or expo.

Usually, after I went to a garage sale, I post a picture of my loot on my personal Facebook or on my Twitter.

But, I think I’ll wrap up this article here. Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

Preview: SkullStone (PC) ~ More Oldschool Dungeon Crawler Fun!

skullstone_main341Official website

It’s time for something completely different. This week, I’ll take a look at a game that is still in development and doesn’t have a demo yet. The fine folks over at Black Torch Games sent me a request to take a look at their upcoming game SkullStone. It’s a dungeon crawler. I have played a lot of dungeon crawlers. I have also written articles about some of them. Like Etrian Odyssey, Venture Forth, Delver and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. If you want to know more about the genre and gameplay style  Wikipedia has a great article on it. As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article. 

Wanna see the game in action?

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On their YouTube channel, you can find various videos where they show off the content of the game. They already released one of the tracks of the soundtrack in the game. If this is an indication of the quality of the soundtrack, I think I might add the whole soundtrack to my library. Seriously, it gives off the right mood for an adventure down in the dungeon.

But on their YouTube channel, they show off early content. Remember, the game is still under development. But, I honestly think that what’s shown so far is amazing. I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on it. 

So, what do we know so far? Well, the introduction of the story. And it goes like this:

The people of Deepkar send for help. Evil creatures spew from the ancient structure – Skullstone – which appeared in the forests. Killing men, snatching women and children – they bring terror to the hearts of good people. Heroes are needed to deal with the growing threat once and for all… But reality is there are no heroes in this world. All of those who came here to aid people of the Deepkar village in their struggle won’t do it for just a few words of appreciation. Money and treasures is what they want. And fame for some of them. They are mercenaries and this is yet another great opportunity to earn a coin.

Choose among 20 characters, each with different set of skills and abilities, ready to fulfil different roles in your party. Healers, offensive and defensive magicians, front-row fighters – you name it. Build your team according to your play style.

This is going to be very interesting. I think the story of the game will be about a town that’s in dire need of help but doesn’t want help from adventures. Since they despise adventures for their greed and lust for fame. So, I’m curious. What will your characters be? One of many that are going to try and prove themselves or mercenaries? We will know when the full game releases!

From the FAQ page from their website, we also learn that this game will mostly focus on combat. But not only that, it will have exploration and puzzles. I’m a bigger fan of the puzzle and exploration aspect, but if the game has interesting battle mechanics, I’m down for a fun time as well.

Also, from looking at the videos and the screenshots on Twitter and Facebook, I think the game looks great already. For such a small team working on this game, it looks amazing. Only the animations should be polished a bit more, but to be fair, they said in the videos that they are working on that, so I’m not worried about that.

The only thing that isn’t clear to me are the controls. So far, I only see that the mouse can be used to control the game. I hope that in the finished product, you will be able to use more than only your mouse and bind all or most actions to a button on the keyboard.

Wishes for the full game

skullstone_scrbarrels[330].jpg

I have looked at the press material, YouTube videos and through various social media posts; and I have some suggestions or wishes for the final version of the game.

#1 – Something I love from Etrian Odyssey is the fact that you can add notes to your map. I think that would be a great feature in this game. Like, you buy a scroll in town and you can put it on the wall to help guide you or when you need to go back to that spot when you retrieved a certain item.

#2 – A difficult mode without a map. Since this game took inspiration from old school dungeon crawlers, I think it would be an amazing feature if you don’t have a map in-game. That way you have to either draw your own map or try to remember it all. But, I would make it an optional difficulty, since not every player would be down for that.

#3 – Randomise! Well, this is a very tricky one. At one hand, I’m hoping for the game to tell a big story with a well-crafted dungeon like in Orcs & Elves. But on the other hand, I’m also hoping for something like Delver. I think a fine compromise would be a challenge mode where you go into a randomized dungeon with the most difficult enemies in the game in the most tricky situations.

I think I would get a lot more ideas to suggest as soon as the game or the demo releases. So, they would blow my mind if they implement one of these features. Or if they are already implemented or on the “planned list”.

Details

skullstone_scr_img11[338].JPGSo, the game will only release on Windows PC. The game release date will be later this year. The developer told me that this game won’t have a certain target audience so everyone will be able to enjoy it!

If you want to follow the development of the game, you can do that using these links:

Also, the developer told me they are going to send me a copy of the game when it’s released. So, you will also see a review of the game right here!

I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. I urge you guys and girls to check this game out. Keep an eye on it, since I think it has quite a lot of potential.

Thank you for reading my article on the upcoming game SkullStone. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog but until then… have a great rest of your day and take care!

NekoJonez’s November Update – Plans for 2016 – 2017

SpartaDeary me, is it already mid-November? October flew by and I almost didn’t notice that we were almost midway in this month. Seriously, the older you get the more time flies. I’m currently 23 years old and I work full time. Besides that, I go to evening classes to get a bachelor degree in computer science. Besides writing this blog as a hobby, I’m also a part of an acting group. Also, I fix people their computers for fun too. So, yeah. My schedule is easily filled with all sorts of activities. But hey, I’m writing this article to update you guys what is going on with me and what is important to know for my blog. 

Update on my computer troubles

So, in the last article, I posted that my PC had issues with some heavy-demanding games. I thought I fixed the problem when BioShock Infinite and Alan Wake stopped crashing and rebooting the system. But, since two days ago, the problems restarted.

I got tired of trying to fix the issues. I have been trying since the late September. So, I dropped my computer off at my uncle’s place. My uncle and I had built my PC together and I’m hoping that he will be able to fix my problems or at least tell me what’s wrong since I think I’m looking in the wrong places.

When my computer is fixed, I’m planning to write a few articles about some PC games I wanted to write about. But because my PC is giving me issues, I can’t play the games enough to write about them. In any case, I have learned a lot from my uncle. He knows a lot more about computers than me.

Currently, I’m using my laptop that I use for my evening classes. So, I can still write articles!

Blog updates

So, various times I started to work on updating my blog. What I mean by that is going back to an older article to fix typo’s and grammatical issues, expanding the overview pages, updating some old information, fixing dead links, resizing pictures when they are too big amongst other things.

But my schedule doesn’t allow me to spend a lot of time on it. Also, I enjoy writing new content a lot more than I enjoy fixing up my blog. But I’m trying to fix up an article here and there.

When I do some upgrades, I usually write an article on Tumblr about it. Or when it’s possible, I simply tweet about it.

If you want my latest updates, you should follow me on Twitter or look on the Twitter page. When I have small updates, I post them on my Twitter. When I want to post something that’s longer than 140 characters but isn’t enough to put in an article, I post something on Tumblr. And Tumblr makes a tweet about it for me.

I mostly tweet about things that happen to me, things I want to do, computer science-sy stuff, things I want to share with you guys & girls and so on.

Updating my blog will still happen, but it will take a backseat. I will update my blog when I find the time for it, but I don’t make any promises. But if you find some dead link or a big typo, feel free to let me know. I’ll fix it as soon as I can.

Oh, speaking of blog updates, yesterday was my WordPress-anniversary! So, yay me!

Plans for 2016

So, my plans for 2016 have changed since the last update I posted. At first, I wanted to write about games I haven’t written about yet but I have talked about other games in that given series or talked about it in my other series.

But that’s going to change. I have gotten a few emails from developers to take a look at their games or promote a service with an article.

A note about promoting a service. I won’t promote a service I don’t believe in or when it isn’t relevant to my blog.

A note about taking a look at games from a developer; I always ask the developers if there are things I should point out like for example that the game is in alpha or that the game is multi-platform. Something I won’t do is lying in my articles. I want to give constructive criticism to the developer. I will always talk about the positive and negative aspects about the game.

In December 2016, I have a few things planned. Of course, there will be an article about my favorite games of 2016. Back in January, I made a text document listing all the games I have played this year and I have almost reduced it to ten games for this year!

So, for the rest of December, I have a list of the games I want to talk about. I won’t tell them here yet since they are subject to change.

Plans for 2017

I think that this might be the last update article I write in 2016. Since I have planned for the rest of 2016. But what will I do with 2017? Well, I have a few things in mind.

If I have the budget for it, I might buy me a Nintendo Switch. But that all depends on the price of the system and if there are games in the release line-up that interest me.

At this moment, there aren’t a lot of games I’m hyped for in 2017. The games I’m looking forward too that are going to be released in 2017 are The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, Dragon Quest 7 on the 3DS (I own the game already on PS2), Ever Oasis (3DS), remakes of the Zero Espace games (PC) and that’s it.

My current plans for 2017 are that I’m going to try and talk about a lot of games that I have played in the last years I have been blogging but never got to an article.

But 2017 is a long period of time and is 1,5 months away from us… So, yeah. Who knows, I might change my mind later down the road. So, keep an eye out for my Twitter where I’ll post the latest updates.

Closing off

That was another lengthy update. I’m not planning to write an update every month. Yet, I’m thinking that I post an update about my blog every so often. Very 2-3 months maybe?

That way I can update you guys on what’s going on behind the scenes and such. Yet, I feel like that might pull away the focus of my blog. I write this blog because I wanted to write about the games and my opinion on them. Another option is that I post an update on my Tumblr and keep this blog only for the gaming articles.

So, what do you guys and girls think? Feel free to let me know in the comment section of this article. Should I continue to write these update articles in the future and if so, on this blog or on my Tumblr blog? Should I write them monthly or every so often? I’m curious to know.

I think I said everything I wanted to say in this update. Thank you for reading! I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!