Tag Archives: gamers

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Gamer’s Thoughts: Pokémon Rom Hacks

Game Boys Advance So, this month I’m not writing a special for the game music. So, I decided to write another special article. Since I did some research on the GBA rom hacks already, I decided that it’s maybe a great idea if I wrote an article about GBA Pokémon rom hacks. I promised it various times on Tumblr. But then some setbacks happened and I decided to delay the article. So, today it’s finally getting written. The first part of the possibly multiple parts where I take a look at Pokémon Rom Hacks. 

Pokémon Light Platinum

Pokemon_Light_Platinum_BoxArtSo, when I was first preparing for this article I wanted to first write a full game review of a Pokémon rom hack. But since my save file of Pokémon Light Platinum kinda corrupted on me, my motivation for this article went out of the window.

Now, I do want to start over with this game. I remember that it was quite fun to play. This hack used the already existing Pokémon to it’s advantage by including new Pokémon. Well, not exactly new… I’m quite sure that the creators of the hack overwrote some Pokémon since the version I played had messed up Pokémon cries.

If you read about Pokémon rom hacks, this hack is one of the most popular ones. While I think some idea’s should make it to a real Pokémon game, honestly… I don’t think that would be a great idea. I’ll explain in my next paragraph why.

Can Nintendo learn from the hacks?

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In a way, they can learn from the Pokémon rom hacks but they shouldn’t borrow ideas from them. It’s a strange thing to say, but hear me out out. A hack hasn’t always balanced gameplay, what mainstream Pokémon games generally have.

Honestly, I can’t really put my finger on it why, but my writer-gut-feeling is shouting NO while my gamer-gut-feeling is shouting YES. Things they could learn is that there are people working creative with the universe and maybe do some fan-service by putting in an easteregg in a main series game.

The sad thing is that most Pokémon rom hacks are never finished. They are always buggy. From strange graphical glitches to bad sounds. So, trying to get the actual ideas out of the games, polishing them up and putting them in a main series game would maybe cost too much time.

What I’m happy about is that Nintendo isn’t trying to stop this from happening. Think about it, it’s a good way to keep people hooked on the series. Honestly, I never played so much Pokémon games in my life since I started playing Pokémon rom hacks. But not all rom hacks are the same, in my opinion there are roughly 4 categories.

1. Crappy hacks

2. Visual hacks

3. Full hacks

4. Full hacks with visual hacks.

Maybe some of you guys figured out what the difference is between the 4 categories. Don’t worry if you haven’t done that already, I’ll explain in the next section of this article. You ready?

 Categories of hacks

Pokemon Underworld 1.0 Beta

The first kind, the crappy hacks are hacks that aren’t challenging or fun to play. Hacks where they change the starter Pokémon to a legendary one so that you blast through the whole game, that takes the experience out of the game. Crappy hacks, those are the ones you need to avoid.

The 2nd kind are visual hacks. While I haven’t seen many for the gameboy advance, I found a lot for the old 1st and 2nd gen games. Hacks where all the human sprites are changed with Pokémon sprites. Those can be okay, but I get bored of them.

The 3rd kind are the best in my opinion. Ones where they made a new world to explore but didn’t change may Pokémon around. If they added existing Pokémon, the game still falls into this category.

The 4th kind is such a balancing act. Hacks with new worlds that add made-up Pokémon. I have played a Pokémon hack that added anime characters instead of Pokémon. It was fun, but then the references started and I was completely lost.

My thoughts on hacking a game

Let me be clear here. I’m not talking about hacking a game in order to cheat your way through. That’s something completely different and a subject for another article. Honestly, I think that hacking a game and making your own game is a great thing.

It helps to expand the lifetime of a game before it becomes boring in the fans their eyes. You get to play the adventures other people crafted in the universe.

But most of all, it boosts your skills when you make a hack yourself. You learn to program and fix bugs. You learn to manage a project, which isn’t always easy.

But there is also a negative side to this trend. It opens the world of emulation to people who weren’t aware that it existed. It can also be used to make fun of Pokémon and many other things.

What makes a good hack?

I have played many hacks before I started writing this article. I have come up with some rules that make a good Pokémon hack in my eyes. First of all, you need to have good basic English. If there are typo’s or grammar mistakes, that isn’t so bad… But I when you play hacks with broken English, the immersion and progress comes to a halt.

Secondly, try to pay attention your game design. What I mean here is that you make a game that’s playable and fun. Not one where you need to search for a walkthrough online each and every town. Balance your game and have some variation in your game. Some people play Pokémon hacks to play something different, yet similar to the Pokémon games. Don’t go overboard with the legendary Pokémon either.

Something that adds value is that when you add your own HM’s or TM’s, that they can be used in more then just one cave. Otherwise I feel that they are a missed oppertunity.

Anyways, I think I have talked enough about this subject for now. While I know that this an abrupt ending, but I want to do even more research before I come back to this subject. I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Feel free to talk about my thoughts in the comments, I will reply to every one. Also, don’t ask me how to get any Pokémon hacks, that is something you will have to Google. Since there is one part in playing Pokémon hacks that’s illegal, which is downloading a rom. Yeah.

Anyways, thanks for reading and hopefully until another article.

Gamers Thoughts: The sense and nonsense of game genres

genre-mind-mapIn theory I would have this topic for a podcast. Yet, when I suggested this to Dark_Legend and Q, they told me to first write an article about it. So, this is the article that were serve as the base for the podcast. Also, this will be the last gamer’s thoughts for a short while. Since I want to avoid that one category of articles gets too many new posts in a short while. It’s just to have a bit more variaty in what I write. So, I started to write an article about this and that one got deleted. Because I thought it would be better for a podcast. Now, there will be big differences with my original thoughts and this article. Since in the time between the original writing and the podcast idea, I did a bit more research on this subject. So, hopefully I won’t be “shot down” for mistakes. As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this subject and or this article. It might possibly be a part of the podcast. Who knows? 

RPG games are the thriller movies.

D&D dice1So, in the past I wrote an article about RPG’s. It was an answer to Ryu’s article about what makes a good RPG. Now, how does that article relate to the question of today? Well, what if you ask yourself, what makes a game a RPG game?

The most obvious answer is a game where you play a role of a character. You level up and you see the character develop in a story. So, at this point, can’t you already guess where I’m going with the title of the article?

Before I started this blog, I wrote a Dutch blog about myself and the games I played. On there, I wrote one article where I tried to prove that the Legend Of Zelda series is a RPG. Now, I have enough reasons why I think that it’s very possible.

While you think about it, I think you can put the pieces together yourself why the series can be a RPG. Now, is it a RPG? Quite clearly, no. The series has big influences of the RPG genre, but that doesn’t make it a RPG.

While I was talking to Q to make this a podcast subject, he said something very true. “The rules are just too vague.” That’s what he said. I wrote it down with my notes. RPG games are the thriller movies. Almost every game has RPG elements. Could RPG just be a too wide term?

Action Adventure games or Point-and-Click?

Dark-Flight-1Now, question time. Name me one adventure game that isn’t an action game as well. Simple! Freddi Fish, Myst, Broken Sword 1 & 2… Okay, that was easy wasn’t it? Now, name me one adventure game that isn’t an action game OR a point-and-click game.

Now, I do believe there are those rare games out there that fit my description, but it got just a whole lot tougher to answer the question.

Some genres are almost combined every time. I can’t think of any single genre that has only one genre. Before anyone makes a comment about casual games, let me prove you that it would be wrong. Take Tetris for example. That’s a popular casual game. But it’s also a puzzle game. Or Minecraft, it’s a casual game as well… Nope, it’s a sandbox game too.

Clones with a twist!

Clonetroopers_all_colorsNow, let’s take Bejeweled as an example. This game is a casual, match3 puzzle game. At it’s core, Candy Crush is the same game. The only big difference is that there are more styles of gameplay. Did you even know that one of the first Match3 games was called SameGame? Here is the WikiPedia entry.

In a way, each genre has it’s “example” game. If I ask to name a shooter, it would be safe to say that most of you reply with something among the lines of Call Of Duty. Honestly, I think it isn’t safe to say. Since in the shooter genre, you have a flood of amazing titles that have a big fanbase. To name just a few: Doom, Wolvenstein, Killzone, Medal Of Honor, Gears Of War…

In every genre you have an “example game”. From that game, developers make some unique changes to the formula and try to make a game. It might be a bold statement, but I think there is some truth in it. Some games, mostly the mediocre ones, are called something among the lines of “just another shooter” or “clone of game X”.

Once in a while, you have these games where you can’t really put a genre on. I think of “Gone Home” and “the Stanley Parable”. These games are more experiences then games? Or am I wrong here?

We need more genres?

9a781ac4de4bd7695c2b08b7bcc1d011If somebody tries to make a list of very game genre that exists, I think you would still be able to prove that person wrong. Since we could find a new genre every day. Even in the list that WikiPedia gives you, I can name a few genres that aren’t included. Take a look for yourself. Props to the original writer to add the visual novels. Since that’s a highly underrated genre.

Let’s take a look together. Now, I miss games like genres like: Tower Defense, Turn Based Strategy… To just name the ones that directly pop into my head.

And here I found a more complete list. You would think that it’s complete. Allow me please to prove you wrong once more. They didn’t include: visual novel, sandbox, dungeon crawlers and MMORPG’s. But it’s an interesting site to take a look at.

That site lists a decent description of the genres and a list of games that are part of that genre. Now, take a moment and look at the amount of genres we have. Also, take into a count that the list is incomplete. Isn’t this silly? We don’t have many “main” genres, but if you look to the sub-genres; it’s an overflow!

Closing words

So, I think I’ll close this article off here. I think that a podcast would really be quite nice to talk about this subject. While I honestly do think that genres make sense, I have proven that there is a lost of nonsense with it as well.

Feel free to follow me on my social networks. That way you will be kept up-to-date with my latest articles and such. Also, you will be notified when we publish the podcast.

Anyways, thanks for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I did writing it. I’m really looking forward to the actual podcast! Also, I hope to see you at one of my next articles!

Gamer’s Thoughts: Curse of a critic – Part 2

20130114-ask-a-criticLink to part 1

I told you guys that I wasn’t done yet with this subject. I wanted to write about my personal experience of being a critic. Be warned, there are some serious consequences when you want to become a critic. Since now-a-days, everybody wants to become a reviewer. They think that they can make it in the reviewing scene. A million blogs are popping up left and right, all trying to be different from the last. I try to be different by talking about more then just games. I post a creepypasta once in a while or I talk about the gaming market. On this blog I truly try to write about the games I’m playing in my gaming life. Not the latest of the latest. But I have talked about that in great depth in the first part of this article. Anyways, though intro has been written. Time to invite my readers to comment on this subject and or this article. 

I “can’t” enjoy anymore.

MW-BD501_sm10th_20130531161626_MGHonestly, I has been quite a while since I had a feeling that I truly enjoyed a game. Now, don’t get me wrong. All the games I have played, I enjoyed my time. What I mean here is that I always think about how I’m going to convert it into an article.

If you are following me on Twitter, you might have seen that I took a weekend off from my life basically. I went on a trip together with my mom towards the Ardennen, a region in the south of my country, Belgium. It’s a beautiful natural landscape. You can compare it to a mountain village in a certain sense.

While I was there, I managed to keep myself to my promise. I didn’t think about my Twitter, blog or anything else in my life. I only took my PSP to have something to play in the car. It was a 2 hour trip after all. Not counting my mobile phone, that’s the only electronic device I had on me. I had a notepad and various pens. You don’t want to know how full that notebook is now.

You have been warned

logo_samaxreviewsmoviesWhat I’m getting too is this: a warning to everybody who wants to start reviewing or writing a blog as a hobby or professionally. First of all, don’t try to be too professional in the start. You will give the impression of trying too hard. You must still enjoy what you are doing after all. Since you’re own curse will haunt you soon.

And secondly, you will need to find a way to relax on your own way. If you take it as serious as myself, and you try to write for an audience, you will think about what to write next. When I’m playing a game, I make mental notes of what I want to talk about in my article. It’s strange, but you are always thinking as a critic. You will need to get used to that.

Finally, start in a group. Don’t ever start writing alone. While I have started this blogging adventure myself, I had my forum where I could post my links too. They would read and share it to support me. Be sure that you have people who are interested in advance. Otherwise you will be writing for the visitor who is looking for information of a certain game.

It’s a numbers game.

Arpegi 2 YearsIn the end, being a blogger, YouTuber or any kind of entertainer ends up in a numbers game. Every subscriber or follower counts. Now, pay attention, you have these people who follow you on Twitter to get more exposure. I did an unfollow run a while back. My feed was spammed by too many different people. And after my unfollow run, I saw my follow number drop quite a bit.

I hit me then. The numbers are extremely important to us. We make a special video when we reach a special number of followers. But think about it. How many people actually do follow you. I admit that I have a ton of people I follow on YouTube that I have seen a few interesting video’s off, but I can’t keep up.

That’s what I notice with some of my blogger friends. They want to keep up-to-date with everybody they enjoy. People like myself, the guys on ButtonSmashers… and in the end, you don’t read or watch every single thing.

Be warned in advance guys, you can’t keep up with everything! So, don’t be afraid if you don’t have great numbers at the start. Try to keep stable numbers instead of occasional high numbers. If you try to aim high directly, you will fall deeper then you started.

Also, one of the biggest issues I faced was addiction. I got addicted to higher numbers. Yes, that even counted for my Steam library. I wanted to play more and more games to try and entertain you guys. Now, if there is one thing I want to warn the starters about is, try to keep time for yourself. You don’t have to share every single thing or game you play. In the end, it will bite you in the ass. People will ask your opinion and you will give yourself more work then you want to do.

To close off…

I might revisit this subject in the future. But to close off this article, I want to give you guys some helpful hint when you want to start out your own blog or grow your own project.

Be honest with yourself and your audience. If you need a break, let your audience know. If you loose people because off that, don’t let it get you down. If you need a break, take one!

Also, keep doing what you are doing. If you don’t get the exposure you deserve, keep working for it. You’re break might be around the next corner. It might happen one day that your article gets picked up by a more professional writer or YouTuber. So yeah, be patient.

Anyways, that was everything for now. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed reading my article as much as I enjoyed writing my thoughts here. I hope to see you here another time. 🙂

Gamer’s Thoughts: The curse of being a critic?

stanley parable 1I’m NekoJonez, 21 years old. I live in Belgium and I have been writing gaming related articles for over 5 years now. It has been quite a ride to be honest. But nothing prepared me for the curse that you get even without you wanting it. Yes, there are downsides in being a gaming critic. And not only the obvious ones. Believe me. In this article I will introduce my new series. In Gamer’s thoughts I will talk about a subject in detail that isn’t exactly 1 game. Look at it as expanded game quickies as well. So, that is a sub-series of this series of articles. Anyways, that blog update aside, let’s dive right into my thoughts on the matter of being a critic. Feel free to leave a comment on this article about the subject or what I have written. Thanks in advance.

The road to success?

1gXjAWhat exactly do you need to do as a critic to be a successful one? Review the latest of the latest? Then you might have just finished an article about Watch_Dogs. Or should you go looking all over the internet for that one flash game that is so bad, it’s good and everybody should play it?

It’s a tough balancing act. This is a part of the curse of a critic. What style are you going to choose to write your articles, make your video’s … From experience, I have one thing to say on this matter. You have one of two different possibilities here.

One, you stick with one specific area in the gaming world. For example: Nintendo, EA, puzzle games… etc. You follow that company like it’s your life savings. Each new pixel revealed of their next game is like a bit out of your favorite food. These guys are sometimes, if not all of the time, the hypers. They create the hype for the next big triple A game.

And the other possibility is like myself. I honestly don’t care about staying true to one style of games. I play (too) much games.  While I admit that I enjoy Nintendo games the most, I think I have proven on my blog that I can enjoy a PC game or a PSP game as well.

IBrSvR8HCYAEMx-D have proof as well. This picture here are my latest catch at the garage sale I went to before writing this article. While there is a ton of Gameboy games and Pokémon merchandise. I also got a few big boxed PC games and some Playstation games.

So, it’s always a challenge. What do you do on your channel, blog or site? The video’s of big names on YouTube always say: “Do what you want to do.” or “Do something you want to do.” While that’s important, there are people easily getting views of playing those games that are extremely hyped.

Ever noticed that the Let’s Plays of those series have a weird drop in their views? The first view episodes have a big number of views. The following episodes have a drop in viewers. Why is this? Well, that’s because some people look up footage before they buy. Be sure of that.

Social media pains

ArpegibeA real struggle for me is how time consuming the social media is. You need to update your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr… It piles up to a huge amount. Honestly, I can’t keep up with it.

In the past, I followed back all my followers. Now, one hot tip for the starting entertainers out there. Don’t do that. It’s just insanity waiting for you.

When I started unfollowing people on Twitter that either flood my feed with tweets, where in a language I didn’t understand or where inactive for years, I saw my follower number drop.

Now, you can argue that you should support your other small entertainers. But, is this really what you should do? Don’t get me wrong here, but we aren’t a publishing house. We are content creators. I write a gaming blog where I talk about the games I play or the gaming industry.

Only follow the people you find interesting. Don’t go following the big names to try and get attention. It won’t work in the long run. I wonder how many “dead subscribers” the big channels, sites and such have.

Do I care about the number of followers I have. Yes, in a way I do. But the most important to me is that I can interact with my followers. I hate people that just follow you to promote themselves. I don’t follow them anymore to avoid a messy Twitter feed. Now, I have a cleaner Twitter feed and I can keep myself up-to-date with the news I want. And this way I can be more efficient for my blog.

So you want to start blogging?

ss (2012-10-24 at 11.45.23)I haven’t fully finished talking about this subject yet. So, be sure that I continue this article with a follow-up. But before I sign off, I want to share some tips that I think are important when you want to start blogging. Since I have been blogging for 5 years. Maybe some of these things can help.

1) Don’t care about the numbers too much. Every start is rough. You will see highs and lows in the numbers. But don’t let it influence your writing. If one article didn’t do as well in numbers, it doesn’t mean it was a bad article.

2) Invite people to comment and don’t force it. Out of experience I have seen that the articles where I invite my readers to comment on my article, I see comments appearing. But don’t expect a comment on each article. Since the comment section should mean more to you, as the writer, then a place where people can “dump” their praise for the article. The comment section is meant to talk back and forth with the people who read your article. Try to use the comment section in that way instead of asking how they liked the article. You get better feedback this way.

Anyways, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed reading this first bit of my thoughts on things. This article replaces a creepypasta I was planning. It didn’t quite work out, so I had to scrap it. But don’t worry, one of these days you will see a new one from me. Like I said before, I will most likely come back on this subject. But for now, this is all. See you in another article.

From Manga to Video Game: Btooom!

Btooom!_manga_vol_1.jpgManga: Btooom!
Publisher: Yen Press
Mangaka: Junya Inoue
Genre: Action, Science fiction, Romance, Psychological

Concept Game: Btooom!
Genre: Third person action

This articles is being posted here for all my fellow cats, 14 hours before it appears anywhere else. I hope it is an enjoyable read. 
Many of us have played call of duty in the past and those that have not have certainly seen gameplay or heard something about this massive success in the FPS genre; it’s like Final Fantasy to the RPG genre and Btooom! to the TPA genre….. oh wait, there is no Btooom! Game, but what if there was?

What if the manga was adapted into a third person shooter style game for modern PC and consoles. Could you imagine the awesome fun it would be to play such a game? By this point if you have no idea of what I am talking about then don’t worry I will explain briefly before I delve into the meat of this article.

OK so btooom! Is a manga based on a fictional game that can easily be a game in real life. The story is about this boy that is considered a Net (basically a hardcore online gamer). He is despised by his mother who has taken a husband that the boy does not seem to be too keen on. The mother then gets information about a game, ironically a real game based on the exact game her son plays. This game is played by real people with stakes that involve life and death. The company claims to be taking trouble makers out of regular society and so the wench sends her only son with this company (yes I called her a wench, what kind of mother does what she does). He is taken without his knowledge or consent to a remote island populated by giant lizards and other individuals of a similar faith as him.

They were all chosen by a person close to them that despised them enough to submit their name to be sent to the island. The main theme of the manga is kill or be killed. To leave the island one has to collect 7 gems, 6 if you don’t count the one embedded in the individual’s hand. The hard part of this arrangement is that the only way to acquire these gems is to kill people and take it from their corpse. The main way in which they battle is via the use of various bombs, hence the name btooom! The bombs are of different types and each type has a different ability. There is the standard one that just explodes, then the ones that spread a deadly acid cloud, the ones that home in on their target and numerous others.

downloads.jpg
The Island you go to to die.

Now that we are all caught up on the plot we can discuss what it would be like if this manga was made into a video game. Now as the game is already a third person shooter style affair in the manga then I say it should stay close to the source material in that aspect. The style I have in mind is similar to that of an uncharted 3 multiplayer style of game play. I think it would benefit from no HUD to add to the immersion.

The only way the player would be able to tell what Bim (the Bombs) they have active. They would be to look at their character whose stance will change depending on the one he/ she has active. For example the homing Bim in the manga is activated by holding it in front of the user’s eye and locking it on to a target. So for one like that the character stance would switch to one that is holds the Bim up in front of them. This I think will add a certain depth to the game that will allow vets to show their class by memorizing the different stances as well as being able to switch effortlessly between them even while in motion. In btooom the characters soon notice that they have to ability to detect moving targets by using the gems in their hands and putting out a sort of sonar style of pulse.

This is a great feature for such a game as without a HUD it will not have a map. The player will have to use their wits while using this system as by using it will give out that player’s location even if they are not moving. It will also add that trill of the stalk where some players can stay hidden not moving with a homing Bim only to pounce on passers-by. The Uncharted style gameplay would allow for a very limited almost accidental from of movement and verticality. This is very important to keeping the authenticity to the manga. Why I say this is because remember these are regular folks that are placed into a situation that they themselves are not familiar with, as such the character should handle in a sort of floaty as the match starts but as they kill more of their fellow men the controls will become tighter, deliberate.

The better players will use this system to their advantage, but this does not mean that by proper planning and execution that a new player can’t take them down. The system should be fair enough to reward all players but still punish weaknesses. As manga has access to an entire island I think the map should be just that. It can be split up into sections for some modes and open for the purist. The island in the manga has creatures on it most notable are the giant poisonous lizards. These creatures will be perfect for a multiplayer environment. They will add a certain degree of uncertainty and in some ways prevent the average camper from being just that, a camper.

Btooom has is a bit of like a survival story and because of that the characters have to use their surroundings to help them survive the hash island life they have been forced to live. In a game of the same nature it would be interest to add mechanics like a simple crafting system that can allow players to set traps as well as protect themselves. The system should be simple like that of minecraft or Dayz. In a multiplayer game the gamer does not have time to use a deep system when around the corner could be a homing or acid Bim.

downloads (1).jpg
which Bim would you choose ?

The games objective should be the same as the manga’s. What this means for the player is that if they can collect 7 gems they can call in a chopper to get them off the island scoring them one point towards an upgrade or character customization items. IF they work as a team and acquire 14 or more they would reap better rewards. A player can also solo play it and kill everyone if he can and take all the bim for himself earning him more rewards along a certain tree. I think all the rewards should be on trees that reward players depending on play style. So a team oriented player would get different rewards from the solo act and so on.

I already described a few of the games mechanics I have in mind above so I’ll focus on just a few others I think would help make a proper adaptation of the manga. Swimming is one I think the game should have. It will allow the player to use the water to stalk other players or use it as a way to escape an attack like an acid Bim attack. In the manga the company does these drop offs of supplies via parachute but the quantity is always limited.

This forces the inhabitants of the island to fight for these supplies if they want to survive. In the game it can be similar to call of duty drops but they will be random and dropped in unoccupied locations on the map near players. This I believe will result in the players playing in a similar way as the characters in the manga do. Some may get to the drop first and leave it in the open as a trap to kill other players, while others may take out anyone that they meet as they approach it then take it for themselves. The outcomes are numerous and I’ll be interested in seeing how the players play the game (if it were really made).

So far I have described an online multiplayer style game and ignored a solo experience due to the fact that a game like this would benefit more from multiplayer and less from a solo experience. As someone that prefers a solo experience I more so than most would enjoy an experience I can enjoy by myself without the competitiveness of other players spoiling my story experience. If the game I have in mind were to have what my kind prefer then it would have to be a fully customizable character dropped into the world of the manga.

He/ She would have a plot line chosen by the player e.g. (A thirteen year old bully from a broken home that beats up and robs his fellow students). With a fully fleshed out back story the character is put into the plot of the manga along with the past and current characters. The player is now allowed to explore the island and choose how he wishes to tackle his/ her survival. They can choose to partner with other characters from the manga or kill them. The game play I invasion as a Dayz meets Farcry 3 type of game play or even one like fallout 3.

This is my proposal for a Btooom! The Game. What is yours?

Types of gamers

Thanks Nhi for creating this

Thanks Nhi for creating this.

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

Type 1: Casual Free Timer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Type 2: Die Hard Fanboy

call_of_duty_minecraft

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

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

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

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

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

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

Type 3: Old school & retro gamers

retro-consoles

Pixely retro-goodness?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Type 4: Platform/genre gamers

gamer-tag

It feels great to be a gamer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Type 5: Mainstreamer

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

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

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

Wait wait, stop there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arpegi Back

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

The entry

Hiya there diary,

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you laterz,

Jonez.

The solution

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

Final notes

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

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