Publishing: Gamers to battle sleep in 72-hour charity challenge

Committed video-gamers Gamely Giving are gearing up to burn the midnight oil from 28 April to 01 May 2017 to raise £1,000 for people with disabilities.

They’ll be gaming continuously for 72-hours from 16:00 GMT as part of GameBlast17 and are aiming to raise £1,000 for SpecialEffect, a charity that puts fun and inclusion back into the lives of those with physical disabilities by helping them play video games.

Gamely Giving are a team of friends and bloggers from all over the south of the UK. They’re asking people to help them reach their target by sponsoring them via their online fundraising page.

“We love what SpecialEffect does. They make it possible for people to play the games we enjoy and take for granted by providing them with controllers custom-built to their needs so they can join in with friends and family,” said Kevin, a member of the team. “As gamers, we believe in the healing power of gaming and how it brings people together. GameBlast gives us a chance to put this belief into action by playing to raise money so SpecialEffect can deliver a bit of joy to those who need it.”

“Playing for an extended period is a big challenge, but we’re asking people to attempt it to help thousands of people who, because of a disability, can only sit and watch other people have all the fun with family and friends,” said Mark Saville, the charity’s Communications Officer. “GameBlast is an opportunity for people to do what they love best and level the playing field for individuals with disabilities at the same time.”

The charity is inviting teams of friends, family members, and work colleagues to join the GameBlast event, which has been likened to a Children in Need for gamers. It’s backed by big names in the industry including GAMETwitch and FACEIT, and aims to raise £150,000.

Gamely Giving’s efforts will help people like John who never thought he’d be able to play video games again because his muscular dystrophy stopped him using a controller,” said Mark. “The sponsorship raised through the GameBlast event will change the lives of much more people like John through the gift of gaming fun and inclusivity.”

Anyone can sponsor the team online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/GamelyGiving2017 and can watch the event at www.twitch.tv/GamelyGiving. More details about the GameBlast17 event can be found at www.gameblast17.com.

Gamer’s Thoughts: The struggles of a game blogger

wp1_1920x1080.jpgMy name is NekoJonez, at the time of writing this article, I’m 23 years old. Apart from writing this blog, my hobbies are playing games (duh), watching anime, going out with family and friends and acting on stage. Also, at the time of writing, I work full-time in the education sector and I also follow evening classes in applied computer science. I have quite a busy and eventful life in my opinion. And I’m enjoying it. All the high and low points. But there are a few struggles I want to talk about, and here they are. Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on them in the comment section down below. 

I have to play a new game each and every week!

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Usually, I write about a game every week. And I try to take a look at a different game each and every week. Thankfully, I don’t care if the game is old or not and I also collect games, so I don’t have a shortage of games.

The struggle is in managing my personal life, playing the game and writing the article. It’s not the easiest of things to do in life.

I have to admit, that there are a couple of games I haven’t finished after I had written my first impression. Games like Elebits, Okami, Rachet and Clank and Magical StarSign are a few examples. In the past, I continued playing the game until I had finished it. But now, I stop playing it sometime after I have written the first impression.

But since the start of December, things are sort of changing. I have been playing games I haven’t finished or I have finished in the past. Games like RollerCoaster Tycoon, Hyrule Warriors and Fantasy Life come to mind.

We could possibly start a discussion about how I might be burning out of writing or something along those lines, but the reason is quite simple. I just felt like playing those games again. Trying to finish them up. I made a text file with games I have finished and can review when I haven’t played a “new” game in that week.

In the past, I asked the question if a reviewer can review a game twice. And I want to add a little bit to that section of the article. I think an updated review is possible, but should only be created if something huge changes. For example, a (fanmade) patch for a (very old) game that improves quite a lot or adds a lot of content. Another example is that a game gets an expansion pack that changes the whole game. Or games like Minecraft can be review twice in my opinion. Some updates change the game quite a lot and make old reviews… well, be out of date.

But for my blog, I have made a promise with myself. I won’t review a game twice since I still keep true to this statement from the original article:

But I try to only review a game once. While I replay games from time to time, also the ones I have written about, I think it’ll only create confusion for your readers. Or it would look like you have an article that praises and bashes the game. And that’s not a good idea.

Professional or not?

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It’s not the first time I have asked myself this question. Should I go more professional with my blog or not. I have received a couple of emails from ad companies that offered me to be paid for writing my articles.

Currently, I think I will stay the way how I am doing things at the moment. While I would enjoy it when my articles would reach a greater audience, I wouldn’t enjoy writing anymore. I’m afraid that I will loose my passion and my creativity when I go professional. So, I choose to continue to write this blog as a hobby. Oh, and before somebody gets confused, what I mean by “going professional” is that I’m writing this blog for a living. I’m still going to try and make the best content I can make for this blog, no matter if I do it professional or not.

I see my blog as a sort of weekly diary of my gaming life. A lot of people strive to make their hobby their job, but I think that’s not the best thing to do. Since when you get bored with your job, you also get bored in your hobby.

Besides, I don’t want to give up my current job. As a child, I have dreamt to either work with computers, become a teacher or do something with writing. And as an adult, I can tick every box in a sort of way. I’m doing something with my love for writing stories and that is this blog, I’m doing something with computers and that are my evening classes. While I haven’t become a teacher, I work in the education sector, so I have come pretty close. My life is going the way I wanted and like I said in the introduction of this article, I don’t want to have it any other way.

When people from all around the world read my article, even when only 5 to 10 people read my article about a certain game I played, I’m happy. Because I was able to entertain and/or inform somebody about a game.So, I’m even more honored when developers use my contact page to offer me a chance to review their game. It gives me a special feeling inside. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like that somebody thinks that my writing, opinions and such are good enough to take time out their day to email me and give me a chance. So, thank you for all those opportunities.

Also, my biggest fear is that I’m going to burn out on gaming. Since my childhood, gaming has been one of the biggest ways to relieve stress and enjoy myself. It’s an amazing medium to connect with people and enjoy myself with friends and family. It has so many positive memories connected with it and honestly, it’s something I don’t want to loose. Ever. And the reason why I think I’m going to burn out on them is quite simple. Because I will see every game I play as work. Even when it’s not. Also, I’m convinced that game reviewers have to review games that they don’t enjoy and have to put on a face. Or companies pay for a good review to drive sales. And I want to say true to my opinion. Without any censor or editor. I just want to be me and nothing else. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why writing this blog will be a hobby of mine. A hobby that I love doing, I might add.

Conclusion

If I had to say one thing I could try and improve on, I have to say the ending of my articles. Since that’s the part I rewrite the most. I seem never able to close my articles in such a way that I think I wrapped it up.

So, in conclusion, what I tried to talk about in this article is that I might take a look at a game I have played in the past because I tried to finish a game I already reviewed. Also, I’m not going professional with this blog because I’m afraid I’ll loose gaming as a hobby and/or I’ll burn out on it.

In any case, thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing this article. Next week will be an article on a game again, so stay tuned for that.

I hope to be able to welcome you in another article, but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

Gamer’s Thoughts: Questions of a gaming blogger

Arpegi BackFrom time to time, I look at my list of articles I want to write about. At the bottom, underneath all the games I want to write about is a section with questions. Today I’m going to talk about a few of them. I have chosen a theme for this article as well. How I think when creating these articles and all things related to that. If you ever have a question for me that you want to answer, put it in the comments of a relatable article, mail me or tweet me. Who knows, you might inspire me for a future article. 

Should I review the game on the best specs?

 Yylf2y5This is an issue I have mostly when I’m reviewing PC games. Should I play all my games on the highest settings and review or write with the highest settings in mind?

This is a tricky one to answer. How I honestly see it, I don’t think that’s a great idea. When I’m reviewing newer games that demand a very beefy PC, I try to play it on the highest settings that my PC will allow. While I have rather decent specs, I don’t have THE best specs for playing the newest games on the highest setting. I have a 3.8 GHz CPU, 16 GB RAM and a Nvidia GTX 660. It can run most of the newer games on medium to high settings.

You could argue that a reviewer always should play the game on the highest settings. I honestly believe otherwise. Why play the game on the highest setting? Like I said, I try to play it on the best settings for my PC. In the end, I’m reviewing a game; and there is more to it than high or low-quality graphics.

Besides, not every who reads reviews has a beefy PC to play on the highest settings. So, I think it’s best to play on medium settings. That’s the in-between zone for everybody.

Can a blogger review a game twice?

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Can a blogger review a game twice? Well, I do that with some games. For some games, I first write a first impression and when I have beaten it, I write a full review with my final opinion.

When I write my articles, I try to write them in a way how I experienced the game on that playthrough. It’s how I feel about that game at that moment after I have beaten it and did my research.

When a blogger changes his/her opinion after playing the game a second time or years later… Well, you have two options. Either you edit your original review or you write a new review. If I would change my mind on a game, I would write a new article in reference to the original article. Since then you can talk about how your opinion changed.

But I try to only review a game once. While I replay games from time to time, also the ones I have written about, I think it’ll only create confusion for your readers. Or it would look like you have an article that praises and bashes the game. And that’s not a good idea.

 Does a blogger need to stick to a certain generation?

Game Boys Advance

What I mean by this question is that a blogger or a review needs to stick with a certain platform or genre of games?

Well, in my opinion, the answer to that question is yes… But to a certain extent.

The games I write about are the games I have played or I’m playing at the moment. It’s a sort of gaming diary of my gaming life. So, I write about the games I buy.

When you write a blog or have a YouTube channel, it’s always a good idea to have a theme. For example, you review PlayStation games or talk about everything XBOX. But, talking or review about something else wouldn’t hurt.

The reason why I write these gamer’s thoughts is to be able to talk about something else. Since writing about the same or similar subjects can feel restrictive sometimes. I admit, it’s fun to write this kind of articles, but they are a lot more work to prepare.

In any case, there is one big argument that I haven’t addressed and that’s the audience. People who read my blog are either looking for a review of a certain game or want to read what I’m up too or what I’m playing. When I would change that, I would loose readers. But then again, I would create a new audience.

So in short, it’s a matter of finding a right balance between what your blog or channel is about and where you want to go with it.

Closing off

While some questions I have talked about in this article might have an easy or obvious answer… I think it’s fun to think about them from time to time.

It helps me to think outside the box and write some interesting articles. Besides, they make for interesting conversation topics between creators.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you have any questions or ideas for future content… Feel free to leave a comment.

I hope to welcome you at another article but until then, have a great rest of your day!

Gamer’s Thoughts: A little ramble about blogging

blogging-encouragementLet’s do something totally different this week. This week I have been thinking about various subjects I wanted to write an article about. While I think I got some great ideas, I realized something. All of the questions I asked myself would make for a great article to discuss how I see gaming & blogging. So, in this week’s article, I’m going to talk about how I think blogs could improve and how I see games. It’s time to put some of these gamer’s thoughts on paper. And as usual, feel free to leave me a comment on the content of this article down in the comment section below.

Why do I blog about games?

1.7One of the most important things when writing a blog is that you are passionate about the subject. That you write a blog about something you know you won’t get easily bored of.

Since I play a lot of games, I picked that as a subject. But truth to be told, I tried to blog about other things. In the past, I wrote articles with my views on life, movies, anime and much more.

But the articles about gaming just stuck with me. I loved writing them and creating them. At first, I was thinking of making a YouTube channel and making video reviews. But after a while, I got bored of it and I stopped making YouTube videos.

Why do I continue to blog about games? Well, it has several reasons. For one reason, I want to share my love of gaming with the rest of the world. It’s so rewarding for me to see how many people read my blog.

But where is the root? Why do I BLOG about games? What got me started? Well, my story isn’t as any typical YouTuber would say that he or she got inspired by somebody or the community. I just gave it a shot. I thought it would be fun to write an article every week and 5 years later, I still enjoy it quite a lot.

Can (game) reviews contain spoilers?

Shep-Red-Background-Spoilers-BWhen I write an article, I’m always thinking about if it’s fine to spoil the game or not.

It’s an interesting question to think about really. Since I can find arguments that are pro and contra.

I think spoilers in a review are fine since a review can serve as a reflection. When you would limit yourself to not spoil the end of the thing you are reviewing… It feels incomplete. You can’t talk about the end part in depth. Here is a perfect example:

Today I finished an anime I would love to recommend but the ending of the 2nd season ruined the series honestly. I’m not alone in this. The whole final episode was just in a totally different style than the rest of the anime that I threw me off. I spent nearly an hour reading different forum discussions and watching rants on YouTube on people who got annoyed by the ending as well. Oh, and if you wonder… It’s Haganai. It’s an amazing anime but the final episode of the 2nd season is just terrible in my eyes. It doesn’t wrap up the story at all.

When I would talk a bit more in-depth, I could warn those who are interested, so they can prepare themselves for the ending. But then, on the other hand, I might scare some people of giving the anime a chance.

So, I think spoilers aren’t good for a review since you might scare potentially interested people away. Also, some people read reviews so they can decide if they would buy the game, anime, movie, book …

It’s a very difficult balance for a content creator. Should you or shouldn’t you include spoilers. One fact stands, I’m glad we have people who put up spoiler warnings. Since then I could stop myself from hearing things I don’t want to hear yet. Since spoilers can ruin an experience. That’s something we can agree on, right?

A thought I had was: if I would use spoilers, I would only use it in a review. Since it’s a reflection of the game I just played. But I would avoid spoilers at all costs in my first impression series. (Notice the letters I put in bold please.)

Why a tablet is a must have for any game blogger!

380kvIn the past, I wasn’t a big fan of tablets. I thought that they were just a cheap laptop without a physical keyboard. Apart from in business situations, I never saw a real point for them.

But then I found it. The reason I bought a tablet and why I actually am glad I bought it as because it’s a cheap laptop without a physical keyboard.

When I’m playing I game I used to write my notes in my notebook. But then one day, I forgot my notebook at work and I wrote down some notes in a different notebook. I think you can see where this is going. I have notes everywhere. So, yeah. A tablet is a perfect place to store them all in. And when I forget my tablet at home or at work, I use my PC and edit my notes that way. Since I got them synced using Dropbox, I always have the latest versions of my notes at hand.

Also, it’s really easy to access the internet without having a clutter of tabs open. When I write an article about a certain game, I have a lot of tabs open with other peoples their opinion and various other sites with information on the game. I see it as a sort of secondary screen I can easily set up and use. While you could argue that an actual second screen for my computer could do the same thing… Well, it keeps my mind focused. A tablet is for research and PC is for the actual writing part. It keeps me focused.

If you wonder, I got myself the Asus ZenPad S 8.0. I bought it on a sale so I got it pretty cheap. And after almost 2 weeks of using it, I’m really glad I got myself a tablet. The previous tablet I owned was a cheap one. One where the battery died after almost a year.

Other uses for my tablet are: being able to read my notes for class while I’m on the train to work. Testing out some things in simulations on the go. Being able to quickly look something up when I’m not at the computer. Being able to review the Android games a bit better on a bigger screen and most of all, it’s a really helpful organizer.

Closing off

Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. When I have more ideas for a ramble, I might write another article like this.

When you have something where you want my opinion… Well, feel free to contact me.

In any case, I think I’m going to wrap up this article here. Have a great rest of your day and I hope to welcome you in another article! But until then, take care :).

First Impression: Glass Wings (PC) ~ Lesson in how not to design a game

8znpyeSteam store page

I found out about this game thanks to a forum friend of mine. I will sure send this article to him. The game got me interested. I like adventure games like this, but when I played this game… I was seriously disappointed. I’m terribly sorry Priom, but I think I need to rip this game a new one. Yet, how bad is this game? I did some digging about this game. I got some very interesting results. I found a lot of empty review pages all over the internet. I found one positive review. The website looks unprofessional. Okay, I think I’m running ahead of myself. Let’s take a look at this game as an objective critic. How is this game? Why did it leave such a bad taste in my mouth? What can improve and what doesn’t need improvement? Let’s take a look. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the content of this article and/or this game.

Problems everywhere

the_game_is_done__by_saijeehiguchi-d7gqb2oYou could argue that I’m being too hard on a 5 bucks game made by three people. Well, I think I’m not. Because when I look to their website, it looks like this isn’t their first game. So, they have some experience.

First of all, let’s take a look at the story. It looked interesting after the first dialogue part. The voice acting was decent. It missed some emotion but it was all right for a three man team.

But two major flaws ruin the story presentation. Some visuals look less crisp then other. But the animation and the lack of sound effects are the two biggest issues. You see the main character struggle the whole way trough. There is no sound effect for that. Also, at the end of the cut scene… The main character is able to slip away. This came from nowhere since the visuals didn’t indicate that you were able to escape.

Then the dialogue itself. Well, it’s fine to create a fantasy world. If you explain things to the player. If you talk about “humans” and “demons”… You could explain a bit more how people have glass wings, what their goal is and things like that. In the introduction, the main character got a main objective. To get her (or his?) glass wings back.

Signs to older/other games?

last_three_days__level_designing_by_saijeehiguchi-d7g6ic9It’s rarely a good sign when a game has a separate .exe file to change the buttons for the game. It’s an even worse sign if it has a major flaw. The controls, are responsive yet flawed. There are some buttons assigned to some functions. There are TWO pause buttons. If you rebind one of those pause buttons, believe me, it won’t work… It still pauses the game.

Oh, and you can zoom in and out. Interesting and unique feature. But why can’t you run when you are zoomed in or out?

Okay, the subtitle said… signs to an older game. Well, the “load” option is actually you jumping into a warp pipe. Some people might praise a game for this, I’m more in the camp that doesn’t like this at all. It feels cheap and lazy. It feel like a trick to draw you into their game because you remember that mechanic from other games.

The menus aren’t well designed. When I booted the game, I was greeted by a sort of option menu. Some text overlapped some options. Also, the game settings can’t be changed once you are in game. And that’s a big issue in my eyes. If you notice that you want to change one setting, you have to shut down the game and boot it once again. There was also an option to do an “Alt boot”, which is for so far I can see, just an alternative costume.

Both in the graphical and music department, I think this game lacks a lot of polish. Like I said in the part about the introduction cut scene, some textures look smooth while others … well, just look ugly. The animation was lacking some serious polish. Another issue with the graphics is that the area around the doors look unfinished. I also had some animation glitches, which worked out in my favor, where a jump landed me miles ahead from where I should land. Oh, some animations looks also like they are missing some frames. The camera can clip through walls, the visuals of the levels look uninteresting among other things. Oh, and let’s not forget that all the traps look the same. Just a paint smudge on the floor. (And let’s not forget that you emit red light on the ground for some reason.)

The sound of this game, well, it gives me a vibe of “stock” music and sound effects. While the music sounds decent, the sound effects sound quite out of place. Some sound effects really doesn’t feel right.

The final negative I have with this game is the fact that there is a reset button. It just doesn’t sit with me well.

Positives?

menu_s__pshh_i_got_a_file_select_map__by_saijeehiguchi-d7g6im5

So, I think I made myself clear… This game left a bad taste in my mouth. Are there positives? Well, actually, there are. The main menu is quite interesting. With the bridges being the save slots and all. If only they polish this idea a bit up, it would be a bit better.

Well, this whole game can be more enjoyable if they polished up this game a bit more. Play tested it and didn’t only look at the parts that didn’t work but the parts where regular gamers would try to do things you didn’t intent. Things that might confuse a gamer that is interested in this game.

The premise and gameplay felt fun, yet a sloppy execution made this game feel short. Extremely short. Would I recommend this game? Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it. If you are interested in what you saw from the screenshots, you might be better off watching a let’s play episode or two. Or even try the demo.

This game had potential. It’s quite a bummer to see that this was the end result. If this game would be in early access, I wouldn’t give it such a rough time. While I can understand that people would enjoy this game… I don’t think it’s a good game. It lacks some polish but it doesn’t lack the love of the developers. I’m sorry From Soy Sauce, while I enjoyed the gameplay, I couldn’t look passed the other issues in this game. So, I think it’s highly unlikely I would finish this game. Maybe I might check later since I see that you recently released a patch for this game. Maybe in the future most of these issues are resolved. Who knows…?

In any case, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I know, it’s something different from what I usually write. But hey, I felt like not writing about a good game for a change. I hope to welcome you at an other article, but until that time… have a great day and game on~

Eighth Gen Talk – Continued Thoughts and MGS2

A while ago I wrote a 1600 word behemoth talking about my thoughts on the current generation of games consoles and the state of gaming. I recently played a game that made me feel even more strongly about this. Basically, it concerns the second-to-last paragraph talking about innovation in games. I’d like to talk just a little more about that. I promise: this article will be a little shorter.

Image result for firewatchThis all started last week when I was talking to my cousin about the seventeen minute gameplay video of Firewatch. That game looks incredible. Even if it’s not open world and more linear than it appears, I cannot wait for it to come out. If you don’t know what Firewatch is, I’ll briefly explain. It’s a game about you, some guy, starting a job as a forest overseer in the eighties, and things happen in the woods which you have to deal with. The gameplay video looks like I could absolutely loose myself in that world.

After our discussion about the video, I talked about my favourite game series of all time: Metal Gear. It had been a while since I played through all games, but I picked it up a few weeks ago and I’m up to Metal Gear Solid 2 as of now. Even though I have played this game several times, I was really intrigued by it this time. It has never been one of my favourites in the series, but in light of recent developments in the gaming industry, I now look at it with a whole fresh perspective.

The first section of the game takes place on a large tanker ship. It is here that I started to pay more attention to the game’s mechanics, looks and details than before. The first thing was the lighting. This game uses dynamic lights and shadows in many places. When the enemy is close to you and the flash light on their weapons shine on you, it appears like there are light shafts and your body interacts with it. I am sure this isn’t a true volumetric light source, since that technology was not in place in the early 2000’s and is very computationally intensive, but it still looks impressive. Especially considering this game was released in 2001. Let that sink in for a second. That’s fourteen years ago.

Sure, this game doesn’t have the most incredible graphics by today’s standards, but at the time (and especially for an early PS2 game), this game looked incredible. Frankly, I still think it does. It has an aesthetic, which is more important than graphics, and it’s what a lot of modern AAA-games seem to miss.

Truly impressive, though, are the details. On this tanker is a crew lounge filled with lovely little details that make the worlds feel so much richer. There’s a plasma TV playing and when you shoot it, it breaks. The screen doesn’t just go blank; it starts to go black in a circle around where the bullet hit and goes outwards until the whole screen is black. A magazine rack is also present. If you shoot the individual magazines, they fall on the floor. They might be upside down, open or lying on the front page, and when shot again, they change position.

There’s a pane of bullet proof glass (seen above), but when shot about twenty times, it breaks into a million pieces. Again, like the TV, it starts to break where you last shot and it goes outwards from there. In the corner of the room is a bar (also seen above), stocked with glasses and bottles that all break and fall differently. Shoot at the plants, and leaves fall off and they wiggle.

Later on there is a boss battle with a female character named Fortune. The explosions in that fight cause the lights on the ceiling to swing, making the shadows on the ground change and again adding to the believability of this world.

These things are not new in modern games, but they were then. This game tried to push a new system further than any other game of its time. Mind you that this game did not compromise on its resolution and played at 60 frames per second. Knowing this, makes it look even more impressive.

The current generation seems to rely too heavily on things that have been established in the generation before (PS3/360), and to some extent even the one before that (PS2/Xbox). Aside from looking prettier, there seems to be little new. Little that is pushing better hardware, and that’s sad.

Quick Thoughts – Metal Slug X

For a while now I’ve been keeping a game on Steam on my wishlist, namely Metal Slug 3. I noticed yesterday (18/05) that both Metal Slug 3 and Metal Slug X were for sale at -50%, so my cousin and me decided to not let this pass us by.

This is probably the best purchase I have done in recent memory. We each bought a two-pack of one of the games and gifted the extra copy to each other. For about €6 each, we both have these two lovely games.

tank animated GIF

We played about halfway through the (admittedly) short game, but we had a blast. I don’t think we’ll have to put more than two hours into it to complete it, but I don’t care. I love it. Visually it’s incredibly beautiful. The aesthetic is gorgeous, the 16-bit sprites are lovingly crafted, animations are fluent and impressive, and the gameplay is just tonnes of fun.

video game animated GIF

This game is prefect to play with a friend, or even alone. It’s quick, it’s fun, it’s amazing. I highly recommend it.

P.S.: The sale ends the 22nd of May, if you’re interested.

Gamer’s Thoughts – Game Nostalgia: The good old 3D-shooters

HereticWhen I was younger, I found a website that allowed me to play demo versions of popular old DOS-games. From that website I got introduced to games like Heretic, Doom, Duke Nukem, and various other games. Somehow, Wolfenstein 3D was my favorite. I used to play the first few levels over and over again. Then I discovered Heretic, I fell even more in love with that game than Wolfenstein, since it started to speak to me on a personal level. I was always interested in a realistic-ish world with some (or a lot of) fantasy elements. Anyways, I’m rambling on, let’s talk about some old 3D shooter games and let’s get extremely nostalgic. I hope you guys and girls enjoy this read. And as always, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the games I covered and/or the content of this article.  

Wolfenstein 3D

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So, most of the times DooM is considered to be the first “real” 3D shooter. Which isn’t true. Wolfenstein came earlier.

I actually finished this game on the GBA. The only two negatives off that version are a lack of a map and no music. For the rest, it’s a really nice port of the game to play on the go.

I recently started to play it on PC, thanks to Steam. And with the music, I’m not really enjoying it that much honestly. The lack of music actually added to the creepy atmosphere. You are trying to escape a nazi prison.

On the other hand, I could see where people are coming from. A soundtrack like that could motivate you to finish the game and try to escape successfully.  It’s all up to your own preference.

The expansion pack/sequel were amazing as well. While I haven’t beaten those games, I’m really excited to see what it throws next at me.

Heretic

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One of my most favorite shooters from the ’90. As I explained in my introduction, this game is one that I adore.

I’m not really sure what the story is behind this game, but to be frankly honest, I don’t really care. The concept is just extremely fun. While I adore stories in my games, to the extent that I sometimes don’t play games that lack a story, this game is a big exception.

I used to play the demo over and over again. Once I got caught in school since I slipped in a computer lab just to play this game and show it to some friends. Man, the teachers were pissed at me. Yet, it gave me great memories.

It was one of those games that my parents didn’t want to see me play, since I discovered it when I was around 10 years old. Shooters aren’t meant for those ages. So, yeah.

It’s also the game that introduced me to the interesting world of cheating. I was stuck in a level, and I looked up online what I should do next. When I read a walkthrough, I mostly read the part where I’m at, and I read a part of the solution. That way I still feel I have beaten the game on my own.

But at the bottom of the walkthrough, there was a section called “cheats”. My young mind couldn’t resist after reading it and trying it out in game. Now-a-days, I rarely cheat. Only when I have beaten a game to mess around with it.

Duke Nukem 3D

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I heard rumors on the play ground about this game. We are in the late ’90 where computers barely got into the educational system. The rumor was that a kid saw a teacher play some Duke Nukem.

As a kid, I was into Pokémon. When they explained and tried to convince me that it was a shooter and it was really cool, I actually didn’t really care.

It was only later that I realized what I missed out on. An amazing shooter with, now outdated, one liners that still get a smile on my face. My favorite is one of the most famous ones. Finish the quote when you know how it ends.

“I’m here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and…” I’m all out of gum.

Yet, the truth is that I haven’t finished any Duke game to date. I have played a lot of them, but I play it at those times when I’m waiting between two big releases. Never a great idea, is it not?

Conclusion

Alright, I might have picked out three of the more popular old-school 3D shooters. Yet, those are the ones I grew up with.

Old-school 3D schooters have such an amazing charm to them. With hidden passages and secrets, they are something different. Rarely, I see games copy the formula today. A game where not every wall is solid and where you get a score card if you killed all the enemies in a certain stage, if you found all the secrets and things like that.

I have played more 3D shooters than the three I talked about. It’s just that those three are the ones I have the most fond memories off. Maybe one day I might write a follow-up article to this one where I talk about some different old school 3D shooters.

The thing is, I would love to review these games, yet I feel that I’m not the right person for that. I focus more on adventure, puzzle and story driven games. And I haven’t seen a lot of story driven shooters. I do know they exist, but I haven’t played them.

In any case, I think I’m going to wrap up this article right here. I hope you enjoyed reading it and my apologies for not writing an article for two weeks. Thankfully a buddy of mine actually wrote some articles in my place to give you guys something to read. Thanks man, they were nice reads.

Before I ramble on, it might be possible that in the future you will see an article of one of these games where I take a more in-depth look in to these games. So stay tuned. ~

Gamer’s Thoughts: Pokémon Spin-Offs

Ipokemonspinoffs-header own and have played a lot of Pokémon spin offs. When I was browsing the Nintendo 3DS eShop earlier today, I thought it would be a fun idea if I wrote an article about them. Since I keep my articles around a 1000 – 1500 words, I might write more then one article. So, let’s get started talking about the Pokémon spin-offs. Also, I’m not talking about rom hacks. Since I wrote an article about those in the past. And as usual feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the games and or the content of this article. 

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon

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If you watched the first season of the Pokémon anime, you might remember that emotional scene where Ash decides to leave Pikachu behind with other Pikachu’s. That feeling of leaving a friend behind is the exact feeling each and every ending gave me in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series.

While the games aren’t perfect if you compare them to other similar games, I think they are the best spin-off games in the Pokémon series. I wish that this series got a bit more love. If you want proof that I love this game series, you might want to read my quite in-depth review of the “Gates to Infinity” entry.

So, if anybody from ChunSoft or Nintendo is reading this article, please make more Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games. How you are currently making them, they are nearly perfect. Anyways, I think I better stop talking about this series since I wanted to write this article mostly to give some other spin-offs some time to shine on my blog.

Pokémon Pinball

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When I was young, my mom took me to a clothing store. As a young child, I would usually bring my gameboy along. Yet, in that store there was a pinball machine that kids could play FOR FREE. Yes, you read it right, no coins or anything, it was a free pinball machine.

When I got home, I started to look through my gameboy games and found this game back. I rarely played it but since I saw that free pinball machine I wanted to play it at home as well. In the Pokémon Pinball series, there are only two entries. Which is quite a shame. But they aren’t the only Nintendo-themed pinball games. There is also one of Mario, Kirby and even Metroid.

If you have the chance, I would pick this one up. If you play it on the Super Gameboy, a SNES addon, the blue board will actually appear red. I used to have a picture of that, but I think it was taken with a potato, so I will spare you the cruelty of it.

Pokémon Ranger

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I have talked about this series in the past. I have written an article about the first game in the series. I had a lot of fun with that game, and honestly I still have. It has been quite some time since Nintendo released a new entry of this series.

At first, you might think that this game is nothing more then simply drawing circles, but it’s more then that. It’s a puzzle game and it makes you look in a different angle to Pokémon. Now they are actual helpers to finish your quest instead of helpers in battle.

I mentioned most of my complaints in my first impression article, so I won’t give a long explanation here. It can be repetitive yet it’s so much fun to play. Also, when you look at the later games in the series, you see it clearly evolve into an amazing game. The latest game in the series is one of the best entries ever.

I advice people who where on the fence for this series to give it a try. Read some articles about it. I enjoyed myself with it. The difficulty can be a bit off, but hey, at least it’s something different from the main Pokémon formula.

Pokémon Trozei

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The biggest issue this game suffers from is that the story just seems so well, created just for the sake of having a story.

This game/series is actually a sequel to the gameboy color game: Pokémon Puzzle Challenge. It’s a Pokémon styled Puzzle Quest game. Pokémon Puzzle Quest was more Bejeweled kind of game.

While I’m totally not a fan of the latest free game that they released, I think the puzzle Pokemon games where all pretty amazing. When I’m bored, I sometimes start playing these games. And the time flies by. It’s one of those games that “one more round” really applies.

A big negative of this game is that you are expected to know which Pokémon has which type. If you have that knowledge, some bosses are way more easy to defeat.

A big positive in this game is that when fighting a boss-Pokémon, it will come inside your playing flied and remove some columns. You will have to adapt a new strategy and quickly, since those attacks can hurt quite a lot.

I wouldn’t recommend this game or this series to anyone. I would recommend it to hardcore Pokémon fans, casual gamers and puzzle game fans. Otherwise, this game is a safe one to pass. I’m not saying that these games are bad in any meaning of the word, but they aren’t for everyone.

PokePark Wii

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I almost forgot about this series. While I was about to write the closure to this article, I saw this game sitting on my shelve. These games are quite something.

This game is a more relaxing Pokémon game where you need to make friends with the Pokémon of an area before you can progress to the next one. The way you can befriend a Pokémon is by a race, hide-and-seek, quiz, quest or a battle.

During your adventure, you will get different Pokémon in your party that have different abilities in battle and in exploration. Also, the party games make for quite a nice time.

If you have a young child that loves Pokémon, I urge you to buy this game for them, I’m quite sure they will enjoy this one. I’m still playing the sequel of this game and it’s a lot of fun. When I am in the mood again to play on my Wii, I’ll most likely try to finish PokePark 2.

Closing the article.

Well, I have talked about most of the spin-offs I played. It’s quite clear that I haven’t played some big ones, but I’m planning to change that in the future. I hope you found some new Pokémon spin-offs that seem interesting to you or maybe you enjoyed reading my opinion about a Pokémon spin-off you played.

In any case, I might write a sequel to this article if I played some other Pokémon spin-offs that I find worthy to be talked about on my blog. I hope you enjoyed reading this article and I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog. Until then, take care!

Gamer’s Thoughts: The Visual Novel

Photo-2014-08-21-17-31-45Lately, I see various games appearing on Steam. Visual novels. That interests me quite a lot. But the let down is huge when I find out that it are kinetic novels. What is a visual novel actually and why is it such an underrated game genre? I want to talk about my favorite game genre in this article and hopefully make some of you guys interested in the visual novel genre. As usual, feel free to write a comment about the visual novel games and or the content of this article.

What makes a game a visual novel?

999-.9.Hours.9.Persons.9.Doors.full.934360So, when is a game a visual novel? It’s quite logical that a visual novel is more of a novel then a game. When the novel isn’t interactive, you have a kinetic novel. A kinetic novel is a novel that a movie you can read.

A visual novel has interaction. Sometimes “repetitive actions” and sometimes not. Virtue’s Last Reward for example always has the same gameplay. Solve the puzzle to find the solution to open the safe. Corpse Party on the other hand isn’t repetitive. You have to try and find the other survivors.

A visual novel could be easily confused with a very heavy story driven RPG. Those two genres are two similar, yet different genres. Since visual novels play more on the imagination of the player instead of the skills. If you have ever played an Ace Attorney game, you might have noticed that there isn’t much animation outside the characters. It’s the writing that pulls people in.

Underrated

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What do I like so much about visual novels? I can’t really explain. I think the reason is that I feel more as the main character of a story. I feel that my fate is already planned out and that I have to look for the right path.

Now visual novels nearly have always one solution. Even when a game has different endings, you will most likely come across the final true ending.

Games nowadays are getting “lazy”. The graphics try to paint the most beautiful picture and the sound and music tries to blow you off your chair. But visual novels, that isn’t the goal. You don’t get fancy graphics, you mostly get static images and text boxes.

Somehow, visual novels have the power to make you come invested in a story more then other games have. I rarely felt touched by an amazing game when there wasn’t a deep story. When I’m playing a visual novel, it’s very hard for other games to distract me out of that trance. Visual novels are that good in my opinion.

 Visual novels try to pull the gamers in with clever writing. They don’t try to make it a massive big show, they create an interesting plot line. Think about it this way, how many times did you start to loose interest in the side quests or the side goals and started to go for the main goals in a game?

Maybe it’s just my interest. My favorite game genre is adventures and my favorite subgenre is visual novel. Since I’m interested in interesting stories and such. I can’t honestly really answer why, but I think that visual novels deserve more credit then they get. It has it’s issues of course, like for some people there is too much text, but hey, name me one genre that doesn’t have issues.

Anyways, to close off this article, let’s take a short look at 2 great visual novels I played in my life.

Examples

The Walking Dead

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Even when I’m not a fan of the series, you got to give it to this game. TellTale Games makes excellent modern visual novels. While the typical text boxes aren’t there, the main focus is the story and how your choices influences the outcome.

It’s a great and modern example of an excellent visual novel. Too bad it doesn’t interest me as much as other visual novels do. If you want to know why I’m not such a fan, you might want to read my first impression. But my buddy Zach (aka Dark_Legend) is a big fan of it, so you might want to read his articles about it.

Ghost Trick

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In this game you play as a death cop and you have to solve your own murder. The catch is that you can rewind time to save somebodies life. With this power you try to figure out who wanted you dead.

This game is tricky to place. It’s a visual novel alright but the gameplay… is it a puzzle game? Action game? Adventure game? I don’t really know.

I wish CapCom announced a sequel of this game since it’s a good game. Not only the story but the gameplay was rather interesting. I liked the idea very much and I wish the game was a bit longer.

Closing thoughts

Most visual novels are rather lengthy. I haven’t seen a visual novel you would be able to finish in a week. Actually, I have seen one as the exception on the rule. Time Hollow.

The most irritating thing is getting stuck in these games. Since you don’t have to grind or anything of that nature, getting stuck can get even the most veteran visual novel player to put down the game.

It’s quite clear that I’m not done talking about visual novels. I have some other things I want to mention but that will be for another article. I want to compare the visual novel genre with other genres. Or it might be an idea for a podcast.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Thank you for reading and hopefully I can welcome you at another article. Take care.