Gamer’s Thoughts: Gaming Expos and Conventions

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

Sidenote: this isn’t a paid article.

What conventions did I go to?

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

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

Storytime with Jonez

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

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

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

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

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

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

Going to a convention or expo?

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

Don’t…

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

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

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

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

Do…

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

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

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

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

What items should you bring along with you?

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

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

What should you wear?

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

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

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

What are your favorite activities and exhibits?

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

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

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

Wrapping up

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

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

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

Gaming Nostalgia #2: A story that started my career as leader

downloadWell, it seems that I’m sick again. Thank the lords that I’m able to do various things. I have mostly a pretty stuffy nose and sometimes a heavy headache. But I’m healthy enough to go to college and write articles. Thanks to my medication. At these times I try to write a ton of articles or I look back to the past. In this case, I combine both. This second article in my gaming nostalgia series will be quite different than the original. Since I’m telling a quite personal story. Let’s just start the story I hinted at various times. All while I’m listing to amazing music. So, without further ado, here is the second gaming nostalgia article. 

My life as a child

Nintendo GameboyBefore that trip my life was extremely simple. I wrote small stories I rarely shared with friends. It was a kind of secret hobby. I was obsessed with creating my own games. Back then, the stories I wrote were more in the style of a series, movie or game. When I look back at the drawings and notes I made, I’m blown off my socks how simple and great the ideas are. I even made my own Pokémon game named Pokémon Black, White and Grey years before the actual games came out.

My biggest addiction was, and somewhat still is, the gameboy. I played the crap out of every game I owned. I’m now 21 years old and I still own nearly every game I owned back then. So, I was that child who made amazing things but had just a few friends. Somebody with a much potential but it wasn’t used. Why that is, let’s say that those things are rather private. M’kay?

I didn’t know that I was actually a natural born leader. Somehow, I’m able to lead a group of people who share the same passion or some similar interests. I wasn’t aware of it myself until that trip. My life changed then. I went from that child who barely made any friends to the most popular kid in the hotel. Sadly enough, I don’t think anybody remembers the time from back then. But if you recognize yourself in this story, feel free to contact me.

The trip

tumblr_mdlu4cepy01qh0t50o1_500You probably had it happen to you several times in the past. Your family takes you on a trip to a place a long distance away and you decide to travel by car. As a kid you were allowed to buy a new game you were allowed to start when the trip started. I still remember a few games I played at the backseat of my dad’s car back then.

When I arrived at the hotel after a 15 hour car ride, I finally settled in. I played a lot on my Gameboy Advance SP. Since I remember that I didn’t own a DS. Somebody there owned a DS and he was so kind to lend it to me. I was hooked and I tried various things and times to get one myself.

After the first day, I started playing with some friends I made in the bar on our gameboy’s. By our surprise, some kids came to us and asked if they could play along. We agreed and we played as long as we were allowed on our gameboy’s. At the end I asked to meet again the next day. They agreed and they said that it might be possible that they bring other friends. I agreed and I had no single clue what I actually agreed too.

The Gameboy Club

The first night, I was in a group of, let us say… a 5 kids. Myself included. The next day, we were suddenly with 10. Alright, that’s epic. But the following days, I couldn’t believe my own eyes. The number kept growing and growing. By the 4th day we had over 40 children playing together on their gameboy.

Everybody brought their own gameboy, games, batteries and cables. Believe it or not, we even got an extension cord from the hotel management since there weren’t enough outlets.

Our group had a place at the bar. The people at the clubs that were looking over me and my original friend group allow us to leave a few minutes before the activity was over. That way we were able to prepare our spot at the bar. It was a big circle with tables in the middle so everybody had a place to put their stuff.

On the 6th day we had almost every kid who had a gameboy or something to play with in the “Game Club”. I remember some parents coming to talk to me for information. For some reason, I was seen as a leader. And when one day a game was missing, I was actually questioned by the hotel staff in order to find it back. Thankfully we found it back thanks to my list.

Wait, what list are we talking about here? Well, the day before I started to make a general list of the games everybody brought. It was a big chunk of work but I didn’t care. I felt it was pretty useful and that way kids could see who had which game. So, if they wanted to play an old Pokemon game, they just had to look to the list.

From the 6th day on, kids came to me and asked when we started with the “Game Club”. It was an extremely sweet experience. I still remember walking around in the group checking if there weren’t any arguments that needed to be solved. I also explained to new kids how our system worked. Parents were extremely happy to see how such a big group of kids actually came together without them having to do one thing.

The final days

Although, I had some things that parents didn’t like. I still remember some parents being displeased that their child was looking forward to play games with us. They said those typical things like “addicted to games” and “it’s not good for you, playing so much.”. I still have the same motto from back then. I even made it into my current tag line. “Addicted? Nah, passionate.” What I mean with that, is as long as you know when to stop and where the limits are, is that’s a big passion.

Near the last days of my trip, I had to ask somebody else in order to manage the group. I still have papers were I wrote questions about games. Back then, I already knew more then I normally should about games. I knew small things about programming and gameplay. I even dare say that I was a young reviewer already back then. But keep in mind, I was around the age of 10 back then.

The questions I asked were about things like: “How many Pokémon games do exist?” and “Name me three platformers”. I was less crazy back then it seems.

Sadly enough, it’s all I remember clearly. Here and there I have some vague memories. Like I know that one time a parent actually purchased me and my crew a drink for all our hard work. I also remember that I didn’t had much time to actually play and enjoy the games at the last days since I had too much managing to do. Somehow it didn’t bother me. It felt natural.

But I know for sure that since that day, I wanted to entertain people. I started to talk about my stories with friends and a few years later I even started blogging and making my own games. While I don’t have any files of those games I created myself anymore, those experiences helped me learn quite a lot about the gaming culture.

I think it’s time to wrap up. I don’t want to write an additional part where I talk about how this changed my life. I think it’s quite clear. My passion grew and grew. Maybe in another article I might talk about other influential events in my life that made me start blogging and such.

So, that was the story about my first leadership. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing this article and remembering those fun memories. Thanks for reading and until the next time.

NekoJonez: Top 10 ~ My least favorite games.

1gXjAThere is a lot of shitty games on the market. Yet, in this list you won’t see a lot of those “easy targets”. This list contains games that you might like or might be good. But the next 5 games I don’t find myself enjoying or there is too much broken in the game for me to finish it. This list is in a total random order as well. I also challenged myself with picking releases on Steam, Gameboy, PC… And no easy targets like badly programmed Android apps with misguiding information on the market space. So, which games of this list do you dislike as well? And what is your most disliked games list? And why? So, without any further ado, and hoping that my introduction is long enough, for nicer lay-out sake, let’s start this list. Shall we? .

#1: Aladdin (Gameboy)

images4Arpegi review

What more can I say about this shit that I haven’t told in my original review on my personal blog yet? Nothing much. I remember that I lend this game together with Duck Tales from a cousin. In the day, I was happy to even play shitty games since my parents were extremely strict in buying games for me.

But now, that I got this game from somebody who wanted to give away his collection, I feel a bit sad owning this game. Especially when I those reviews from the better SNES and Sega versions. The jealously raises extremely fast.

I don’t understand how IGN can let this game pass. There are so many faults with this game that it’s a real shame that people play this game out of only nostalgia and therefore defend it.

Terrible controls, confusing health system, random crashes, bad graphics and even worse weapon range destroy this game completely.

#2: Barbie: Game Girl (Gameboy)

images

Wikipedia page

You can now go and judge me all you want, but sometimes I get my games from friends who want to give their old collection, that was gathering dust, to me. A school friend from high school gave me her old gameboy games as a sort of goodbye gift.

Honestly, when I was a kid, I rarely played my sisters games. One of them was Barbie’s Secret Agent on the gameboy advance, and honestly, it’s a rather nice game. I even dare to go as far to recommend it for children and for a good and easy game snack.

So, I thought that it couldn’t be that bad. Oh man, was I proven wrong. This game is extremely bad. One of the worst gameboy games I ever played.

Weird animations, confusing power-ups, too long death scene, LJN bad jumping, bad sound effects and irritating music just make this game pull your hair out. It’s not even worth to use it to torture your sister with it. It’s that bad.

#3: The cat and the coup (Steam)

header_292x136Steam page

An interesting designed game doesn’t mean that you’ll get an interesting game. As I tried to review this game and failed to write a great article, I use this opportunity to rip it apart.

Due to it’s absurd art style, the message and meaning this game tries to deliver gets lost extremely quickly. That makes my senses to try to enjoy the actual game. But the game is so boring that you better stay away from it. Unless you enjoy these types of “different games.”

It’s free on Steam, so no harm done to your wallet. But some puzzles ask too precise timing, the art is just a mess, the menu doesn’t save your settings and confusing progress makes this a bad game. Such a shame while it tries to deliver a message about a president… I think.

#4: Playmobil Interactive – Top Secret Agents (DS)

51r6wo8ml2l-_sx300_Arpegi review

I played the first playmobil game on DS. If I remember correctly, it was the one about knights and kingdoms. It was rather enjoyable. I also played Playmobil Hype on the gameboy color. Such a hidden game in the library of gameboy color games.

Then I played Playmobil – Pirates on the DS. While it was a step down from the first DS game, it was still rather enjoyable.

Then this “gem” came. And man, while I already ripped this game apart in my original review, I still wish I could rip it a new one again.

This game is complete and utter sh*t compared to what Playmobil games where in the past. From bugged out controls we go to the most cheesy names.

I read review that this game is a great passtime for kids. But don’t give them this, they deserve better. Give this to your kid when it was naughty. It’s a passable game, but …. Wait, I take that back. It’s a great game to use for an easy rip-apart target.

#5: Nickelodeon – Avatar – The Legend Of Aang (PC)

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Arpegi’s First Impression

I promised to finish it, but honestly, I deleted it for now. I continued to play it after my first impression article on my blog but I gave up. I couldn’t take the utter failure that is this game.

I even ran into more problems then just the ones I mentioned. Yes, even more broken-ness in a game. I’m so disappointed at THQ to be a part of this failure. They brought us way better content then this quick cash in.

I own several Avatar games. One on gameboy advance and another one on PS2. And they pass with ease. They are really good. I even finished the gameboy advance game several times.

I wish I had never played this game to begin with. It hold a lot of potential. And with a big name like that, it could have been great merchandise and a nice collector item. Yet, even to collectors of Avatar, I say, don’t even dare to torrent this game to take a look. You will regret it so much.

It’s ugly, it’s controls make no sense, the menu is idiotic, the shortness of the game is displayed on the box, the installation makes the disc spin extremely fast, the installation instructions are on the disc itself… Read more of the faults on my original article.

5 “honorable” mentions.

So, before we close this article, let’s get a bit lazy. I was planning to make a top 10 but I’m tired from a heavy day in college. And I wanted to publish two articles like promised. Also, they installed new outlets in my gaming room so I have to take care of the wiring setup I had. Anyways, the five other games with a short description why I don’t like them, go!

  1. Disney’s Story Studio: Mulan (PS1) – This game made me shudder beyond belief. It’s a kids game but it holds your hand a lot. While it’s one of the best games on this list, I didn’t enjoy my experience.
  2. Flikken 2 – Moord in het hotel Ganda (PC) (Dutch link) – So, making a game from a TV series makes for bad results. But what if you have a local TV show that gets re-created in a game in a country that isn’t ready for gaming studio’s? You get a rip-off of a game that gets boring extremely quick.
  3. The Bard’s Tale (PS2) – I just couldn’t get into the humor. I found it actually more annoying to play then funny. Or I just played it on the wrong system.
  4. Dune (PC) – They just tried a tad bit TOO hard with this game. And it makes me dislike the game for it’s faults. I can’t get into it.
  5. Fortune Summoners: Secret of the Elemental Stone (PC) – I expected a lot more of the developer. They failed to deliver here.

Final words

While I totally changed my mind of which articles I was going to write today, I think this list turned out pretty good. I had this list sitting in a word document since the start of September. And I’m glad to finally write it. Of course, it went under a lot of changes, but which list doesn’t.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this (mini-rant) list. If you want to read my latest review, go over to my personal blog. My latest, 16th, review is a special one since the developers of an Android game mailed me to review their game. And so I did…