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: Ama’s Lullaby (PC) ~ Explore and Hack

AmasLullaby_Art_6.jpgKickstarter Page

Today I want to talk about a game that has still a Kickstarter running. The name of the game is Ama’s Lullaby and I have to thank the developer for notifying me about it since this game shows some great promise. This game is an adventure and puzzle game. But, enough stalling, let’s take a look at the currently released material. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article. 

 

What is this game?

AmasLullaby_Art_2.jpgAma’s Lullaby is a point-and-click adventure game taking place in a cyberpunk environment. In the shoes of Ama, a high potential teenager, you will explore an off-world colony created by machines. By using her laptop’s command-line based system you will be able to hack any network of the city. But every action will have consequences, and Ama will become an easy prey once her identity is unveiled.

That’s the 50-word description the developer gives. As a student in network engineering and a big fan of adventure games, this premise interests me a whole lot. I’m going to be honest, right away. I wish there was a demo of this game already. I want this game in my life, like right now.

From what I have seen in the trailer footage, this game has quite interesting gameplay. But I’m going more in-depth in the next section of my article.

My thoughts

7e97c0d6c91d53a54faee47ddaea309c_original.jpgThe game features very pretty pre-rendered environments. That was something that caught me off guard when I saw the teasers. If this is the alpha stage of the game, consider me hyped. This game is going to look amazing if it has the quality from the teasers throughout the game.

What amazes me more, is that this game is a one-man project. I have a lot of respect for people who create their own games and use mostly or all original assets and content. Speaking from own experience, it’s not easy to create a game from scratch. It requires a lot of work and a lot of dedication.

I admire the honesty of the creator on the Kickstarter. He tells the whole story of the development of the game. He admits trying to get this game from the ground once in the past, but he didn’t succeed. Admitting failure isn’t always easy to do, but the professional way he does it is worth its weight in gold.

In any case, let’s talk about the game again. Something that looks really interesting is the hacking mechanic. In this game, you can also get hacked. And that’s something that made me smile. That mechanic is going to make the game for me. Since it adds that dash of realism to the game that I miss in the hacking mini-games I played in the past.

This game is going to have dialogue trees. This is something I expect more in a RPG-game. But, it might give some interesting puzzles in this game. There are also going to be fight scenes. Here is me hoping that the game doesn’t rely on QTE (quick time events) for the battles.

The game draws its inspiration from Bladerunner in a way. Fun fact, the game is going to be released in 2019. That’s the year the movie was set in too, in a similar ship. Also, taking inspiration from any movie with my favorite actor Harrison Ford is a plus in my book.

Kickstarter

So, at the moment of writing, the game’s Kickstarter is still running. In 12 days, the Kickstarter will be closed. So, if you are interested in seeing this game before everybody else OR supporting this game, go to the Kickstarter page right now!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1005143815/amas-lullaby-a-point-and-click-game-in-a-cyberpunk

 There are also a lot of updates written by the developer and more video’s to see the progress of the game. So, go and have a look to that! I’m keeping an eye on the game as well. Since this game looks really interesting. I can’t wait to see where this game goes. If there is interesting news, I’ll tweet it out! Here are the links to their social media:

Facebook & Twitter

If you still have any questions about the game, go to their social media and ask a question. The developer will reply to your question.

To wrap this article up, I think I have to say in conclusion that this game has a lot of potential. Since it’s a point-&-click adventure game. And those aren’t made often. I can’t wait to see more of this game. Since what I have seen so far, is really good. All the concept art and trailers are getting me hyped!

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this article. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article, but until then; take care and have a great rest of your day!

My TOP 10 games of 2016 – Part 1: 5 – 1

2016Part 1 (10 – 6)

I’m not going to introduce the second part like I introduced the first part last week. We all know that 2016 flew by. In 2016, a lot of things happened. But in my personal life, it’s was one of the better years. In any case, it’s time to give a little reminder. In this top 10, I list off the best games I played this year. If I started playing the game in an earlier year, it doesn’t count. Also, it doesn’t matter if the game is released in 2016 or 1996. If I started playing it this year, it counts! Also, it doesn’t matter if I have beaten the game fully or not. So, yeah. Let’s dive into my top 5 for this year. Also, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this article and/or the games and/or your top 10 games of 2016. 

#5: Ace Attorney 6 – Spirit Of Justice (3DS)

ace-attorney-spirit-justice-logo

Link to my first impression

As we enter the top 5, I had the most difficult time choosing the order of the games. I had to make some hard decisions.

The Ace Attorney game we got this year was amazing. It had some amusing throwback moments to earlier games and it has hit me emotionally a couple of times.

It might not be my favorite game in the series, but it’s was a pretty enjoyable ride from beginning to end. One of my biggest let-downs was that the 4th case was way too short in my opinion. But, in exchange, we got 2 “joke” episodes that made me laugh multiple times. Also, I need to remind myself to not play this game on the train to work, since I nearly missed my stop once and one time I started laughing so much, I got strange looks for the whole ride… Yeah.

#4: Pokémon Sun and Moon (3DS)

sun-moon-box-art

Link to my review

Like Ace Attorney 6, the new game in the Pokémon series is amazing. While it’s not the best in the series, in my opinion, it has a lot of throwback moments to earlier Pokémon games.

So, I honestly think it’s a no-brainer that this game should be on my top 10 games I played in 2016-list. Since this game brought back some amazing memories I had playing Pokémon throughout my life. I even met some strangers on the train who were playing Pokémon Sun or Moon as well. I never imagined that that would be possible in the crazy times we live in currently. Pokémon connects people. And thanks to Pokémon Go, a game I wasn’t able to play, the craze for Pokémon grew even more.

I have almost beaten the game and I’m looking forward what the new Pokémon generation will bring. I think they are taking it in a great direction. If only they tweaked the games a little bit for long time players, and it would be perfect in my opinion!

#3: Stella Glow (3DS)

SGCoverRGB

Link to my review

So, in late June, I downloaded the demo for this game on my 3DS. I was deciding which games I was going to buy to play in the upcoming summer. I played the demo and placed it on my wishlist.

That same day, I started talking to one of my friends over at ButtonSmashers. He said he still had a review copy of Stella Glow. So, in exchange for a review on the ButtonSmashers, he sent me the code over mail.

And believe me, this game grew on me really quick. Like I said in my review, the story pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. At least, with me. This game is one that I wish hadn’t passed under my radar. Since that game was already released for 3 months upon that point.

I honestly think I’m going to replay this game next year. The replay value is quite high in this game. I’m going to take a completely different route and try to see things I haven’t experienced yet in this game. I’m quite looking forward to it!

#2: Zero Escape Dilemma (3DS)

zero time dilemma box

Link to my first impression

“Life is simply unfair, is it not?” is one of the quotes I remember from this game. The Zero Escape trilogy got its final game this year. Honestly, I would love a new game in the series since I’m highly addicted to the gameplay.

This game came pretty close being my favorite game of 2016. If you ask me the question, what’s your favorite game released in 2016? I have to answer that this game is my favorite game from 2016. But, I have played one other game that got the number one spot.

So, why is this game on my list? Well, I have played the Zero Escape series from beginning to end. I have played every game, finished every puzzle and the wrap-up of the series is just so heartbreaking. The story is over. Every dot is connected now.

The game almost didn’t see the light of day, but thanks to the support of the fans, this game DID see the light of day. And I’m glad that it did. Everything in this game clicks. It’s almost perfect. Thank you, guys and girls, for this amazing series. I hope you guys and girls keep making games since I would love to see more! Thank you, that’s everything I can say. The series is so good, I hope that the Steam versions of the trilogy will draw a lot of attention. The attention that this series deserves! Seriously, thanks for making this game. I can’t repeat it enough. And honestly, I can’t say it in any other way.

Honorable mentions

With pain in my heart, I have to say that these games didn’t make my list. Some games might come as a surprise to people who know me personally and know the game series I love & adore. So, yeah. Here are the honorable mentions:

  • Yo-Kai Watch (3DS): Interesting mechanics and gameplay, but I haven’t gotten far enough yet in the game.
  • Sphetory (Android): An Android game that took me by surprise. Just read my article about it!
  • Mario Strikers Football Charged (Wii): Just Mario football. But it’s a whole lot of fun!
  • Evoland 2 (PC): Evoland 1 was amazing, so I had to play the sequel. And I don’t regret it!
  • Minecraft Story Mode (Android): I had been putting it off, but when I got it in a sale for my tablet, I gave it a go. And I’m enjoying it a whole lot. Just finished the first episode.
  • SteamWorld Dig (3DS): It reminded me of an Android game I reviewed a long time ago, but this one is miles better.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening (3DS): I just adore the gameplay. If only I was better at it. Also, the micro-transactions nearly ruin the game for me. Since I want all content in my games to be playable.
  • Corpse Party (3DS): It was really close being number 10. The 3DS port is so faithful to the amazing PSP port that introduced me to the series. It creeped me out so much once, I had trouble sleeping one night.
  • Dragon Quest VII (3DS): I have played the first hour of this game, and I enjoyed myself a whole lot. But I haven’t gotten far enough yet.
  • Bravely Second (3DS): The sequel to Bravely Default. One of the RPG’s I love playing on my 3DS. I have to continue playing this game honestly!
  • The Beginners Guide (PC): A game that hit me as a content creator. And it has hit hard. Created by the creator of the Stanley Parable.
  • Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon (3DS): I can’t believe myself I have played 10 different games that trump this game. The new Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game was amazing. But it’s number 11 on my list… Yeah.
  • Kirby Planet Robobot (3DS): While I think that Kirby Triple Deluxe was better, I think that this game is stil worthy to get a spot on the honorable mentions list here!

#1: Bioshock Infinite (PC)

162247_frontLink to my review

Wow, I ended 2015 with playing the first game in the Bioshock series and at the end of 2016, the latest game is my number one game I have been playing in 2016. This series took me by surprise. The story telling, the atmosphere, the setting, the visuals, the gameplay, the soundtrack, the voice acting… it just all clicks for me.

It’s one of the best games I have played this year. Well duh, that’s why it’s number one. At first, I had trouble picking which Bioshock game to put on number one. But the DLC for this game made my decision that much easier. It wraps up the story of this trilogy so nicely, I’m conflicted if they need to continue the Bioshock series. Since it’s finished up so nicely, I think a 4th game would ruin it. But at the other hand, I can’t get enough of the universe. And honestly, the fact that I bought and read the novel and bought merchandise… the fact that I often listen to the soundtrack of this game at work, proves one thing to me. The Bioshock series is sinking it’s (sky)hooks into me. So, if you haven’t played Bioshock; would you kindly give it a go? Give it a chance, you might find one of the best games you have played in a while.

After I had beaten this game, I restarted from Bioshock 1. I have played the three games (and the DLC’s) this year at least two years. That’s a clear reason why this game is my number one game I have played in 2016!

Closing words

So, I’m looking forward to 2017. Since a lot of new challenges await me. But 2016 is coming to an end. I have said multiple times, this year was special to me. But, 2016 was a crazy ride from beginning to end. I have learned so much and experienced so much as well.

I’m disappointed that several events almost ruined the year for me. But, let’s not think about them. Those events aren’t worthy of our attention. I think we can agree that this year has been a crazy ride. Like I said before.

Thank you for all the support I got this year! I seriously helped my blog grow. I love writing for you guys and girls and I hope you will visit my blog again in 2017. So, have an enjoyable rest of 2016 and I hope to see you in 2017! But until then, take care and have a great rest of your year!

My TOP 10 games of 2016 – Part 1: 10 – 6

2016.jpgJust wow, 2016 flew by so fast. I barely noticed that December started. So, it’s time to look back on a great year in my life. 2016 was something else. Both on my blog and in my personal life, a lot of things happened that will make 2016 extremely special to me. In my opinion, it’s one of the best years I had so far. So, this week I want to take a look at the bottom 5 games of my top 10 games  I played this year. Oh, one major footnote here. These games are games I started this year. If I started or played a game in another year, it’s not on my list. Also, since I play a lot of retro games, the games on this list didn’t have to be released in 2016! In any case, enough stalling with this intro. It’s time to take a look at a difficult to make top 10!

 #10: Ratchet And Clank (PS2)

RachetandClankOriginalPS2Cover

First impression article

Past summer, I took two weeks off from work and I was home alone. In those two weeks; I chilled, updated my blog, worked on some personal things, watched some anime, spent some time with friends and family and above all… I played a lot of games.

My goal was mostly to play the games I had bought in the last years at garage sales but never really gave a chance. One of the best titles I played in that summer was Ratchet and Clank.

This game is a platformer, but honestly, I don’t really like platformers all that much. So, it’s double surprising to me I enjoyed it that much. I haven’t finished the game just yet, but I’m planning to do that in the near future! Also, I heard a lot of good things about the sequels of this game, so I’m looking forward to playing those. Now, I have to look for a copy of the second game in the original trilogy since I don’t own that one. So, I can’t wait to continue to play this enjoyable and charming game.

 #9: Lego City Undercover (Wii U)

lego_city_undercover10Article on the 3DS sequel

Back in 2013, I watched a let’s play of this game. I watched it from the first episode to the last episode. I enjoyed it that much that I decided to go and buy the game… Three years later. The main reason that I delayed my purchase was because I knew all the plot details and I thought that I wouldn’t have as much fun with the game when I bought it. So, three years later, I see the game at my local game shop for 10€ and I thought to myself, why not.

So, when I returned home, I started playing this game and honestly, I enjoyed myself a whole lot. Thanks to the open nature of this game, I can explore and play the game how I want. And I discover new things and have a unique experience.

I’m halfway through the game and I dare to say that this is one of my most favorite Lego games I have ever played. The humor and charm of this game are just so well made, I have a tough time putting this game down. Here and there I play for a few minutes and those quickly turn into a play session of two or three hours. So, yeah. Oh, and during the play sessions of this game, various memories come back of me watching the playthrough. This game is so worth it to play it!

 #8: Rise Of The Tomb Raider (PC)

2000900263Link to my review of this game

So, this year a sequel came out of the reboot of the Tomb Raider games. The Tomb Raider franchise is one of my favorite franchises ever made. Since they are an amazing adventure and exploration games. I love exploring caves and having a big kick-ass adventure. It’s one of the reasons why I’m thinking about upgrading my video card.

But this game has personal meaning for me too. I reviewed this game to celebrate my 3rd year of blogging on this blog and my 6th year of blogging.

If you want to know my thoughts about this game, I recommend that you read my review of it. Since I go more in depth on this game in that article.

But this game is one kickass ride and I can’t wait until my desktop is fixed later this month so I can start playing the DLC and finish up this game. But seriously, this game is one of the most kickass games I have played all year. It’s only surpassed by one…

 #7: Mirror’s Edge – Catalyst (PC)

mirrors-edge-catalyst-pc-pc-boxTalking about the original

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is one of the first games that nearly flew under my radar. If I didn’t check the pre-order list in one of my local game stores, I might have missed the release of this game completely.

Now, if you know me, I’m very bad at parkour. So, now you might wonder why I play Mirror’s Edge and it’s sequel. Well, that’s quite simple actually, the gameplay is just amazing.

I have gotten quite far into this game, but then the problems with my desktop started happening. Sadly enough, when your PC shuts down and you haven’t saved in this game, your save file corrupts and you have to start over from the beginning. So, yeah. When I get my fixed desktop back, I’ll surely start playing this game again.

Playing this game gave me a liberating feeling. I started improving my parkour skills and I started to miss fewer jumps. Even outside this game, I started improving in the parkour sections. After I played this game for over 10 hours, I was convinced. This kick-ass game had to get a spot in my top 10 games I played in 2016! So, that’s why it’s here. It’s just a very enjoyable game in my opinion and it gets a recommendation from me!

#6: Rayman Legends (Wii U)

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Link to the review

Each year, we do a secret Santa in my family. This game was on my wishlist. Honestly, I had hoped that I got one of the other games on my wishlist. Since this game didn’t interest me that much.

But, when I got it as a New Years present, I was happy and thankful that I got it. But, the moment I started playing it with my friends, then… my whole opinion changed.

The game started to grow on me. The charm, the visuals, the gameplay, the excellent use of the gamepad and the soundtrack are just a few things that make this game great. Honestly, I think that this version of the game is one of the best to play with friends. Since you have two playstyles that perfectly complement each other.

The most fun with this game, I had on my trip to Germany this year. The countless soccer matches we had, the adventure through the whole game, the music levels and so much more. The memories with this game are going to stay with me for a while! So, playing this game is truly worth it!

The end of part 1

Oh yes, the top 5 games I played in 2016 is even harder for me to make. But, you will have to wait until next week in order to find out which ones I think were the best games I have played in this year.

I’m so disappointed that 2016 is nearly at an end. Since this year wasn’t only filled with great games and amazing things for my blog, it was also filled with a lot of amazing personal things. Just scroll through my Twitter feed and you will see why.

In any case, thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing this! 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.

 The rest of the list can be found here

NekoJonez is interviewed.

arpegiback

So, hello there. Thank you for dropping by this week on my blog. Usually, I try to write an article each week, but this week I have something special for you guys and girls.

The Red Mage has interviewed me in his Blogger Interview series. So, I’m writing this small post to link you guys and girls to the article. Also, because I want to promote him, I’m not going to reblog and/or post the article on my blog. So, if you want to read it, you will have to click on this link:

Link to the interview

In any case, next week will be the first article in a two-parter! But I’m going off topic. Go to the Red Mage blog and read the interview and let us know what you think about it! Also, show the Red Mage some support since I would love it that his blog grows!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this 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!

Review: Pokémon Sun and Moon (3DS) ~ New Generation!

sun-moon-box-art.jpgOfficial website

Well, you might have seen this one coming from a mile off. Because I love playing on my handheld, I was ,of course, going to play Pokémon Sun and Moon. Well, I choose to play Sun. Also, I played on the old-school 3DS.  Because I haven’t bought a New 3DS just yet. I might do that next year when I have a bit more budget. In any case, it’s time to take a look at one of the biggest games from Nintendo this year. Is it any good or is it a failure? Is this game worthy enough to start a whole new generation of Pokémon or should we all shout to Nintendo to stop? Here is my opinion on the matter. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or this article in the comment section. One little note: I have written this review as spoiler free as possible!

Childhood of Pokémon

pokemon_sun_3ds_screenshots_2.jpgI have been playing almost every Pokémon game from the very first Pokémon games. I owe a lot to the Pokémon series.But, let’s not go into a whole personal story about how this series influenced my life. That story is for another time. Speaking about stories, usually, the story in these kinds of Pokémon games is pretty generic.

The start of this game is almost the same as all the other Pokémon games. You move to a new place and you meet the Professor of that area. He gives you your first Pokémon and you go on a quest. But it doesn’t take long before new and fresh story ideas get introduces.

To avoid spoilers, I’m not going in-depth about the story of this game. Honestly, I think that the story could be been written better. I can’t put my finger on why, but the story didn’t pull me in like other games can. I have a theory, though. This game tried to do something new with the Pokémon-francishe. They tried to stay away from the usual “8 badges, defeat evil team, capture legendary and defeat elite four” story. Yet, various story elements make a return.

I think that the story would have been better if some main characters referenced the older games. It would have been interesting if the Professor said: “Gyms, we don’t have that here. Here, you do various trails to earn Z-Crystals.”  Something I truly like in the writing is that it’s variable. The reactions after a big battle can differ if you have used something or not. Like characters can get impressed if you defeat them without using any Z-Move.

But that’s enough talk about the story. Since otherwise I might go into spoiler territory. Let’s keep it at: “It’s a decent story, but could have been polished a bit more.”

The visuals of this game are pretty good on the New3DS. I have seen various people on the train playing the game but the visuals on the old 3DS take a pretty big hit. I honestly think that some parts of the game look a generation behind on the old 3DS. If you want the best visual experience, I think it would be for the best that you play this game on the New 3DS.

The visual presentation of this game is pretty well done. Everything looks pretty colorful and pops out. It’s clear that there has been put a lot of care into the visuals. That brings me to another reason why I recommend to play this game on the New 3DS. The framerate. I’m under the impression that the game sometimes slows down more on the old 3DS systems then on the New 3DS systems. I had several times where I had to wait before Pokémon started attacking each other.

So, I’m really glad Nintendo didn’t implement any 3D in this game! Otherwise, this game would go in the single framerate digits. Which it sometimes comes pretty close too. Especailly in double battles for me.

Just a bit too much…

cave

This game adds a lot of new mechanics. It also upgrades some old mechanics to create a whole new experience. The clothing customization is back from Pokémon X and Y, and it’s still as expensive as in those games. The Pokémon Riding mechanic is also back, but now with a twist. You can page Pokémon in. These replace the HM’s from the previous games. Yes, HM’s aren’t in this game anymore. And no HM returns as a TM, so these moves can’t be learned in this game.

In this game, you can also have that Pokémon petting minigame and you have a Festival Plaza you manage. You can also take pictures from hidden Pokémon and receive likes. You can maintain an island in Poké Pelago and fight in a Battle Royale. So, with all these distractions, don’t forget you have the main story to complete. Oh, and let’s not forget that Pokémon can call for backup during battles. (If only you can bring in a second Pokémon at that stage…)

There is so much to do in this game, which is a positive in my book. While I can understand that it’s overwhelming for some people, where some mechanics get glanced over, but I think it’s handled pretty well in this game. The only nitpick I have is that the new features and mechanics are introduced too fast. You barely learned about the “picture taking” mechanic and ten minutes later, you learn how Pokémon Rides work. It can become a bit too much sometimes…

Which brings me to another point. In my honest opinion, there is sometimes just too many animations in the battles. Opening doors now require you to press “A”. You go into an animation to open the door, the screen goes to black and it shows you entering the building while the screen fades back in. But that isn’t the worst of it.

I wish they added a feature where you can easily skip the “Z-moves”. I stopped using the Z-moves since they take way too long to play. Here is an idea, what if after you have seen the animation one time, you can skip it the upcoming times.

But what bugs me the most is that when you capture a Pokémon. The amount of menus and visual flair you get is interesting and all, but sometimes I’m frantically pressing “A” to try and get back into the action.

Some familiar features also get a downgrade. The new fishing feature is lame in my opinion. You can only fish at a few spots. And sadly enough, some features like a Safari Zone and triple battles are absent from this game. Also, double battles are barely present in this game. Also, I haven’t encountered any hordes in this game.

Newcomer friendly

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So, I’m going to come out and say it. This game isn’t too challenging. I was able to get into the end-game without being defeated once. Sometimes there is no challenge. Once or twice, a fight got pretty dicey since I forgot to heal my Pokémon. Something I dislike a whole lot is that most trainers you meet in the routes don’t have more than three Pokémon. Not even the bosses. That’s such a shame. It’s improved when compared to the previous games (OmegaRuby and AlphaSapphire) but not enough.

This could have been easily fixed. Introduce difficulty modes in Pokémon. One for newcomers to learn the mechanics of the game and enjoy the games like it’s now and one for long time players like myself were everything is more difficult.

The game has too much handholding in my opinion. These things wouldn’t happen in the harder difficulties too.

One feature I love a whole lot is that now you get the result of an attack before you do it. So, you don’t have to remember which attack is effective to which Pokémon. The catch here is that you had to do the attack at least once against that opponent. So, when you do attack X to Pokémon X… you won’t see the results if you use attack X on Pokémon Y. Unless you have used attack X on Pokémon Y.

The controls in this game are pretty great. Apart from some minor menu issues, I never had any problems with them. Speaking of the menus, I love how you can choose the order of the buttons yourself. This way I can finally choose in which order I want my buttons. I love customization like this! If only the “B” button worked every time I pressed it. Yes, sometimes the “B” button didn’t cancel an option, it rather didn’t do a single thing.

The music and sound design in this game is amazing. While it’s not the best soundtrack in a Pokémon game, in my opinion, it’s one of the better ones. The sound design is pretty well done. I love the ambient noise in caves. You can sometimes hear Pokémon chirping in the background. It adds so much atmosphere to the game.

 So, I said everything I wanted to say about this game. It’s time to wrap this article up.

Final thoughts

The negative:

-The pacing of the new features could have been better.

-The game is too easy. A harder difficulty mode would have been welcome.

-Visuals aren’t that good on older 3DS models.

-Slowdowns on older 3DS models.

-So things would have too much visual fluff.

-Some animations should be made skippable or run faster.

-Sometimes the game is too cutscene heavy.

The positive:

+ Great visuals (on newer models)

+ Great soundtrack and sound design.

+ The story is decent. And there is finally a bit more story focus! Also, different actions mean different reactions.

+ There is a lot to do in this game, so this game is pretty lengthy.

+ …

Final verdict:

I’m somehow certain that this is an unpopular opinion but here I go… I think that this game is a step in the right direction for Pokémon games but there is so much missed potential. The game tries to please everyone. It adds so many new features to please longtime players but they make the game easy and accessible for newcomers.

The game could have been so much better if there was more content aimed towards the long time fans. Since due to the easy difficulty, this game is over pretty quickly.

Also, I think I’m going to buy a New3DS to play this game again in better visuals and have better performance. Since that’s something that really brought the game down for me.

I recommend this game to anybody who loves Nintendo, Pokémon and 3DS games. And to a lot of other people of course too, since it brings old and new fans together. And that’s something that makes me overlook a lot of the shortcomings of this game.

The game is great, but not perfect. The game could have used some more polish, but what we got is an amazing fun time and a great way to end the year. I’m so looking forward to what the Nintendo Switch port will bring.

So, that was everything I wanted to say about this game. Thank you for reading this review and 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, take care and have a great rest of your day!

Score: 80/100

My favorite gaming music #18: Chilling with music

gaymersMore gaming music articles.

So, I wanted to share some tracks that I love in the games I have played. One of my favorite music genres is soundtracks actually. At work, I listen to various streaming websites that play gaming music 24/7. And in this series on my blog, I pay tribute to my favorite tracks. The rules are simple. In each article, I’m allowed to talk about only one track per franchise and I only talk about the original track that you can hear in-game. Oh, feel free to post a comment when you see me posting a song twice. In any case, feel free to also post a comment with your favorite music and/or your opinion on my chosen tracks for this article. So, enough introduction. It’s time to talk about some new music tracks! The theme of this article will be clear very soon. Ready? Go!

Pokémon Gold / Silver / Crystal (GBC) ~ VS. Lance

Pokémon_box_art_-_Gold_VersionMy co-op review with MiseryLC

So, back in 1999, you are sitting in your most comfy gaming spot. With a new pair of batteries in your Gameboy Color and with your favorite drink and snack besides you. You prepare for a big event in your Pokémon Journey since you have beaten the 8 gym leaders. Then you go and fight the Elite Four. After a tough fight, you finally end up at the Champion. After you chat with Lance, the battle animation starts. You slide in from the right, and Lance slides in from the left.

This is the final challenge of your amazing journey through the Jotho region. The intro of the song gets you ready for a tense fight. But after a few notes, the song gets more intense. You try to focus on the battle and meanwhile, the song playing in the background is making the battle even more memorable.

Your young brain is so focused and drawn into this fight thanks to the atmosphere this track brings. Even when you notice that this track has some repetition in it, you ignore it and you get drawn into the fight more and more. When you defeated Lance, you continue your journey.

Then almost ten years later, when the remakes of these games come on the market, you do the whole journey again. But when you hit the fight with Lance, you get that strange feeling. Nostalgia. The remade track is all too familiar. You start to tear up thinking back of all the memories this game, the remake, the journey and the experience brought you. Well, that’s how it went for me at least.

The Legend Of Zelda – Skyward Sword (Wii) ~ Zelda’s Lullaby

ZeldaskywardswordlogoFirst impression

I always played games on the latest Nintendo gameboy or I played games on the PC. I fell in love with one series. The Legend Of Zelda series. I remember it well, I was in a big convenience store. I was in the games section and I saw the GBA port of the first Legend Of Zelda game.

I heard rumors about a game series that took the player on an adventure. An adventure to slay evil creatures and rescue the princess. They said it had a big open world full of secrets and dungeons.

The game was on sale. I begged my mom to buy it for me and after I went home, I didn’t play any other game until I had beaten that Zelda game. After that, I tried to collect all Zelda games. Let’s skip ahead a few years until my graduation from high school. As a present, I got my very first console, the Nintendo Wii. I wanted to buy it since I was extremely hyped for the Zelda games that were coming out for it. I pre-ordered Skyward Sword, and admittedly; I didn’t regret it. I enjoyed myself a whole lot but something happened. When Zelda’s Lullaby started playing in that amazing orchestral version, not only my nostalgic bone got hit… My emotions as well. All the joy & memories I got from the Zelda series got to me. I placed the Wii remote in front of me and I just started at the scene. Tears coming up my eyes. That moment is one of the most memorable moments I got with the Zelda series.

Mirror’s Edge (PC) ~ Edge and Flight

250px-Mirror's_EdgeGames I wished I finished (2013)

I bought this game a long time after it has been released. I bought it almost three years after release. I was in college studying Computer Science. During a break, I went into the city together with a few students. When we went into a toy and games store, we saw three copies of this game for 5€. We decided to buy it.

One of the students is actually still one of my best friends. His name is MiseryLC. Well, his nickname at least. We both played this game in school during breaks on our school laptops. They were just strong enough. While we felt that the laptop was clearly overheating, we didn’t care. We played this game.

MiseryLC is pretty good when it comes to parcour in games. I’m a complete failure when it comes to pretty complex gaming puzzles. But strangely, this game drew me in. I started to get better at parcous. The game got it hooks in me. But then, I started to encounter the more graphic heavy sections and my laptop started to struggle to run the game. So, I set the game aside.

But this year, I bought the sequel to this game. Called Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. So, I think it’s time to play through both games again. Just to get to complete Mirror’s Edge experience. It still surprises me that I play a game where the main mechanic is platforming and parcouring around. So, to honor this game because I like it a whole lot, I selected one of my favorite tracks from the soundtrack! Thank you EA & Dice for this excellent series.

Wrapping up

Thank you for reading this article. If you haven’t already guessed it, in this article I selected three tracks that mean a lot to me. Three tracks that have some history to me.

These three aren’t the only ones that have some history to me. But, the other tracks are for another article. I’m curious, what tracks have a personal meaning for you and why? Feel free to leave that in a comment too.

In any case, thank you for reading this article. 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; take care and have a great rest of your day!

Game Quicky: SteamWorld Dig (3DS – eShop) ~ Diggy Diggy Dig

steamworld-dig-3ds.jpg

Official website

So, last week I finished the eShop title SteamWorld Dig – A Fistful Of Dirt. At first, I was planning to write a full-length review, but after I found out that I was able to beat it in 5-6 hours, I honestly think that a Game Quicky is a better fit for it. I bought this game with some spare money I had after I bought a bigger game. So, how is this game? What is it about? I’ll get right ahead and review this game. 

The bad

526601_447804061976814_797694473_n.pngIn this game, you have to explore a cave where a family member has gone missing. You arrive in a small town with only 3 inhabitants.

So, one negative is that this game is way too short. It has so much potential.

The second negative in this game is that the map system isn’t perfect. I wish I was able to scroll through the map that’s on the bottom screen.

The third negative is that the final boss is very difficult if you aren’t prepared. I seriously advise you to upgrade your character as much as possible before you go and fight the final boss.

And the final negative is that you can’t carry enough ladders in my opinion. You can’t mine sideways, but a solution for that is you place ladders. Speaking about ladders, it would be extremely handy if you were able to remove them after you placed them. Since I wasn’t able to to that.

The good

SteamWorldDig_0006.jpg

About two years ago, I reviewed an Android game called “Mine To Escape“, and the gameplay in this game is similar to that one. And really, this game is truly addicting in my opinion.

I loved exploring the caves to mine ores and minerals in order to buy new equipment and upgrades.

The writing in this game is also superb. I played through this game twice since I was too drawn into to the story. The writing and characters are very well written.

This game is can be easy but can be difficult as well. If you are not paying attention where you dig, you can bring yourself in trouble quite quickly. I love that there aren’t any health packs in the game so, you have to either be lucky that an enemy drops a health pack OR go buy it from one of the shopkeepers on the surface.

Visually, this game looks very nice. Together with an easy to understand interface and responsive controls, I loved exploring the depths of the caves.

The music & sound design is one of the game strong points as well. It’s really relaxing and atmospheric. I found that I enjoyed the game less when I wasn’t able to hear the sound & music.

In conclusion

So, I said everything I wanted to say about this game. If this game was longer, didn’t had problems with the ladders and map system, I would have given this game near perfect marks.

I said it before, the reason why I do this in a style of a game quicky is because the game is too short to have a full review.

This game is a real gem on the 3DS. But this game is multi-platform. So, you don’t have an excuse to not give this game a shot. If you like what you have read and seen, I urge you to give it a try.

The game is really well put together. But like I said in the negatives, there are some issues. They didn’t bother me too much but they were quite irritating.

In any case, I want to thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article. I hope to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!

First Impressions: RollerCoaster Tycoon (PC) ~ Build Those Parks

RCT 1 (1)Link to Wikipedia entry

So, lately I have been playing Rollercoaster Tycoon on my old Windows 98 machine. This was one of the games I played as a kid over and over again. I couldn’t get enough of it. I remember that I didn’t have the patched version and I didn’t have the expansion packs. So, I didn’t get all the content and I got one nasty bug. I was unable to load save files. And to make matters worse, my sister and I were only allowed a limited time on the computer. We always asked our parents to not shut down our computer so the scenario was able to finish. Meanwhile we were hoping that nothing happened so we wouldn’t lose the scenario. Because everything can happen. While I was playing the game the other day, I was so close in winning a scenario… When just before the deadline, one of the most reliable and oldest rollercoasters crashes and I lose the scenario. Anyways, enough stalling. It’s time to take a look at this game. But for this article, I will take a look at the whole package. So, the two added expansion packs and patches are installed. “Loopy Landscapes” and “Added Attractions Pack”. As per usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this game and/or the content of this article.

Build, build and build some more

RCT 1 (3)So, in this game, there isn’t a story to speak off. Well, some missions provide some minor backstory to the park you are going to play. But it doesn’t go very in depth about it. This game is about building parks. You have to build the attractions, roads, stalls, manage staff and prices and etc.

In the original game, there were 20 missions. But, if you install the expansion packs, you more than double the amount of missions. Surprisingly, both expansion packs add a lot of content. Here in Europe, the first expansion pack is called: “Added Attractions Pack”. In the USA, you will know this game as: “Corkscrew Follies”. Which is a way better name in my opinion, since it doesn’t mislead the player. Since the “Added Attractions Pack” adds more then attractions alone.

In any case, each mission is more difficult than the last. I have currently finished 4 missions and I liked them. The first park is a nice small park to get used to the mechanics and the last park was a tiny beach side park I had to build. So far, each mission brings something unique to the table. I wonder how far they took this, since I fear that this might end up in similar ideas with different skins.

This game was originally released in 2000. Sixteen years later, this game still looks wonderful. It aged pretty well. The attractions looks colorful and bright. The only thing I would have changed is that some guests had a more female look.

When you aren’t happy with the colors of the attractions, you can choose from a pretty wide color pallet. Want to paint the supports white? Well, you can. And the best part is, it changes in real time. And you can change the color of almost everything. When you get the color drop down, you can make it the color at your heart’s content.

The animation in this game is top-notch. It makes the game come truly alive. The walking animation of the guests are really adorable in my opinion. The visual presentation and the animation of the rides and guests of your park give a certain charm to the game.

Learn on your own

RCT 1 (1)While the missions have a set goal to reach like for example, have a rating of X and X amount of guests in your park before the end of month X. And then it’s up to you. This makes the replay value of this game extremely high. I’m quite sure, that no two parks are exactly the same. Every playthrough is different.

Here and there, there is some down time. When you are bored in the game. Mind you, that happened quite rarely with me. You can click the balloons the guests let fly to pop them or click the ducks to make them quack. Lovely attention to detail.

 

The most important thing you will need to play this game is a mouse. Everything is done in the UI. I really like how simple everything is set-up. The UI is so well designed, that I can pick up this game every time and I don’t have to look where everything was. There are a few keyboard shortcuts, but honestly, I rarely use them.

Play how you want

 

RCT 1 (2)

The game is can be unforgiving. When you fail your mission and you haven’t saved often, be ready to restart the whole mission. Some missions can take several hours to complete. A golden tip from me, save every few months. It will be easier when you need to roll back when you made a stupid mistake.

Something I really like is that even when your mission is finished, you are allowed to continue to play in the park.

I could talk for hours and hours about the gameplay of this game. Let’s just say that this game is pretty in-depth and has a lot of variety to offer. When you are bored with managing your staff, you can go build some attractions. Bored of managing the finances of your park, you can go and landscape your park. And so on and so forth.

But this game has a few problems in my opinion. The music is pretty nice to listen too, but I remember that when I played this game in the past without the expansion packs, I couldn’t let the rides play music. So, I ended up listing to my own music instead. The expansion packs added the feature to let any attraction pack a nice selection of music. Yet, some minor bugs stop me from enjoying it. When you let two rides play the same music, they play out of sync. And I had some music cut out on me when I just moved the attraction one pixel off screen.

Also, sometimes the game doesn’t save my settings or change them without asking me. Out of curiosity, I started up the tutorial and it changed the screen resolution. And I have to set the option: “Use real name of guests” each and every mission.

Oh, and there is not an easy way to go to the options from the main menu. You have to be in a mission before you are able to change any settings.

Something bugs me about the message to raise my entrance fee. When my entrance fee is already 30€, and some guests come only with 60€… Well, he spends more than half of his budget. Then, when I read the thoughts of my guests, I get complaints that rides and such are too expensive.

I also wished that there was a sign to stop my staff from entering an area. You have only a sign to stop from doing that.

Something I truly disliked was that, even when I put a security guard in the area; I still got broken benches.

In conclusion, I think that this is a very nice game is truly worth playing. I enjoy myself a lot while playing this game. It’s very well put together and challenging. There were a few things that could have been polished up a bit more. But the game we got is a real classic. This game is on Steam for 6€. It’s truly a steal for that price!

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about RollerCoaster Tycoon for now. When I ever finish all the missions or come close to it, I will write a review of the game.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this article. I hope to be able to welcome you in the next article, but until then; have a great rest of your day and take care!

My favorite gaming music #17 – Jamming Tunes

video game illustrationMy previous lists

So, this week I have been playing a lot of games. But sadly enough, I haven’t gotten far enough in most of those games in order for me to write about them. But, I got caught in some music tracks and even hummed them while going to work. So, I think it’s time for another article about my favorite gaming music! Remember, in this series, I only talk about the track how it is in the game. I restrict myself that I can only select one track per series in each article.  And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your favorite gaming tracks and/or your opinion on the ones I picked here. I look forward to see your selections. Oh, one quick note before we begin; in this list I only talk about games I have played. In any case, enough stalling! I hope you are ready since here we go!

Phoenix Wright – Ace Attorney (DS) ~ Logic and Trick

Phoenix_Wright_-_Ace_Attorney_Coverart

My review of this game

So, on the 6th of September, we get a new Ace Attorney game. I try to stay away from trailers and promotional material to avoid myself getting spoiled. But from what I have seen, I have been trying to puzzle together what the main focus is going to be in this game.

And believe me or not, this track was playing in my mind. This track plays when you are trying to build up the logic to disprove somebody in court or while investigating.

It’s a really amazing track that fits the mood well. You really feel like you are putting all the pieces together. I’m so glad a variation on this track returns in every game and here is hoping that it returns in the 6th main game in the series, Spirit Of Justice.

Stella Glow (3DS) ~ Battle (Amatsu)

SGCoverRGB

My review of this game

If I wasn’t clear last week in my review; I love the soundtrack to this game. I had truly a hard time picking just one track for this article. So I ended up listing to the whole soundtrack twice in order for me to pick just one track for this article. So, then I decided to pick this track since it introduced one of my favorite characters in the whole game.

I’m talking about Nonoka, she is a shinobi with a cardboard box on her head. You can see her in the middle of the right hand side on the box-art. Her personality and locality to her master is written so well. But not only that, her abilities in battle were a blessing to use.

On top of that, her voice actor (Cristina Valenzuela) did a pretty stellar job of voicing her. It brought the writing to live and made me fall in love with the character even more. And her introduction with this track was just amazing. Seriously, one memorable moment that will stick with me for years to come!

The energy of this track is just fantastic. The first time you hear this track is in battle in an Asian-themed town. It fits the setting extremely well. It makes me excited to win the battle and try to fulfill the special conditions of the battle as well. In all seriousness, go give the full soundtrack a listen, it’s truly worth it in my opinion.

Zero Time Dilemma (3DS) ~ Blue Bird Lamentation 2nd Mix

zero time dilemma box

My first impression of this game

The finale of one of my favorite visual novel series ever made did not disappoint. It’s sad to see the Zero Escape series go. I’m crossing my fingers we will see another game in the series or a new project by the mastermind Kotaro Uchikoshi.

The composer of this track, Shinji Hosoe, did an amazing job composing this track. The moments when it plays in the games is always spot on. It really made me cry in Virtue’s Last Reward. But this remake for Zero Time Dilemma made an even stronger impact on me. Yes, there were waterworks.

When I preparing, and again while writing, for this article I got distracted by all the people who played covers and remixed this song. It such an amazing track to listen in certain moments.

I truly am lost for words to describe this track. It’s one of the tracks I really advise you to play the games and enjoy. It’s really that good!

Bioshock Infinite (PC) ~ Will the circle be unbroken?

BioShockInfinite_Boxart_12012012

My review of this game

I don’t play a lot of shooters. But when a shooter comes around that present an amazing story, I can’t stop myself from giving it a try. The BioShock series took me by surprise. I remember reading a previous about it when I bought PC Gameplay. That was almost 10 years ago. I was around 13 years back then.

I started playing this series in 2015 and I finished the last DLC not too long ago. If I’m really honest, this game might be one of my favorite games I have played in 2016. I’m actually considering to replay the series from start to finish in the near future.

This song is one of the first songs you hear in the game. The scenery is just so strong that when I close my eyes while listing to this song, I’m able to see the scenery of this game. How the game starts.

At first, I thought this was an original written song for the game. But, while writing the review, I discovered that this version is inspired by a song made by Johnny Cash. And it’s just perfect for the setting of this game. I really love how the developers used famous music from the period this game has been set in. The game takes place in late 20th century. But hey, IGN made wrote an amazing article about the music in this game. So, I advise you read that if you want to know more.

Wrapping up

I want to keep this wrapping up short this time. Usually, I talk about some stuff here. But this time, it’s straight to my usual closing sentences. Here they come:

I hope you enjoyed listing and reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this. So, I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog. So, until then: have a great rest of your day and take care!