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.

Game Music: My Favorites – Numerbo # 19: I’m not running out of these!

a00bceced7419b083d8273b7e59c94f7.pngRead & listen to more music articles

It’s time to jam to my favorite game music tracks again. Since I love listening to soundtracks, I can’t get enough of them. At work, I often listen to various streaming websites instead of the radio. I always hope they don’t play those emotional songs when I need to concentrate since then I might have a problem. It would be so awkward if I started crying out of nowhere when I’m doing some administrative work on my laptop. In any case, in this series, I talk a bit about my favorite tracks. I’m only allowed to talk about the original track. Also, no remixes in this series… unless I specify it in the intro. And this is an original only article. Also, one track/series per article. If I ever talk about a track twice, feel free to leave a comment and I will add a bonus track in the next article of this series. In any case, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the article, music and or your favorite music tracks. 

Virtue’s Last Reward (3DS) ~ Pantry

Virtues_Last_RewardMy review of this game

Any excuse to talk about the Zero Escape series is a valid one in my book. Apart from the amazing story and the addictive gameplay, the soundtrack is one of the best horror soundtracks I have heard in years.

In this game, you are locked up against your will and you have to play a game where you have to solve puzzles in order to escape. This game can get very tense and thrilling quickly. There a plot twists at every turn in the story. And the track that plays in the pantry room in the 2nd game of the series is one of my 5 most favorite tracks from the series. Seriously, give it a listen. But in context, inside the game, the track is stronger. It’s even better. Oh, and if you want to play these games and you don’t own a 3DS or Vita, go and buy it on Steam! It’s out there!

Stella Glow (3DS) ~ Rusty Key

SGCoverRGB

My review of this game

Man, this game is a journey. The story, the characters, the universe, the writing, the visuals, the gameplay and above all; the soundtrack! Whenever I need some upbeat and happy music, I put on a playlist with every track of this game.

After my review, I have grown more and more to this game. I have to replay it one day. To take a totally different path. But for now, let us all enjoy the song of the character Popo. The blonde twin-tail girl on the cover. Everything flows just right in this track. Oh, if you want a translated version of this song, check out the English translated lyrics here! Thank you so much TDN-Shumi Blog for the excellent translation!

In any case, I think I have talked too much about Stella Glow in my review already. So, I won’t go too much in-depth here. But, for real. Give this game a try. It’s a great game in my opinion.

Tomb Raider Underworld (PC) ~ Mediterranean Sea/Escaping Niflheim

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 When I was writing fantasy stories in the past, I often used the soundtrack of the Tomb Raider games when I was writing somebody exploring an area.

The soundtrack of the Tomb Raider games is lends itself great to writers of adventure stories. It sets a great mood and atmosphere.

Besides being great writing music, the track is also amazing in-game. I remember that when I played this game with a good headset for the first time, I honestly got the chills.

I might go more in-depth on this game in the future, but for now, I have to say that I finished but the DS and PC version of this game. So, I don’t know which version to review first.

In any case, enjoy the music. Since this is one of the best tracks in the soundtrack. I have selected a track for this soundtrack in the past, just read my 3rd article to know more about that.

Lufia II (SNES) ~ Boss Battle Theme

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When my uncle gave his old SNES to me, I was so happy. I got amazing titles like Prince of Persia and Zelda – Link to the Past for the SNES. I have also a SuperGameboy. So, that’s how I play my Gameboy games lately. But, there is another game I’m also very happy that he gave me. That game is Lufia II for the SNES, in the original box! As a collector, I can’t be happier.

But, I play Lufia here and there. I often get reminded of the Golden Sun series when I play this game. But that’s beside the point. I’m quite amazed at the music the SNES-sound chip can produce. When I was listing to the music on YouTube, I fired up my SNES to double check if it wasn’t a remastered version. And truly, the SNES is really able to play such great themes. Now, I hope that I’ll be able to defeat that boss one day… But at the other hand, the track that plays during the boss fights is so good… Ugh, a dilemma.

Corpse Party (3DS eShop remake) ~ Chapter 1

Review of the PSP version of the game

I’m in love with the Corpse Party series. I love the story the game brings. It might be a horror game, but most of the scares are psychological. The actual murders and deaths that occur are in most cases so over the top, it’s not THAT scary.

Yet, the writing, voice-acting and the whole game actually are just amazing. I was so surprised when I heard they remixed the original soundtrack for the 3DS port and it’s actually pretty amazing. I’m even considering getting the soundtrack of the 3DS version as well to complete my collection.

I’m currently at the end of the 2nd chapter and I have to say, the remake for the 3DS is way better than what we got on the PC. The 3DS version is way closer to the PSP game. Yet, I can’t wait to play the new chapters. But meanwhile, I’m enjoying the whole amazing soundtrack yet again.

Finale

So there we go, a few new tracks to jam out to. I’m sorry that I choose so many tracks from handheld games, but that’s what I have been playing lately. Maybe when my desktop is fixed soon, I might play more PC games. But in any case, the next edition of my favorite video game music tracks is going to be special. I mean, it’s the 20th article I write in this series.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this. Thank you for reading my article! I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

Preview: The Last Tree (PC) ~ Save The Trees

Official website

So, today we are going to take a look at a preview of “The last tree”. A game that is created by Ungrodo. It’s a game with a message. The message might be pretty clear when you read the title. It’s about the deforesting of our planet. Which is in my opinion a real big shame. Because I sometimes go to the forest and sit there. I put my headphones on and listen to some calming music to get some rest. These moments are so relaxing to me, I wouldn’t want to miss it! I go there when I feel I have no inspiration or motivation to continue. But hey, we are getting side-tracked. Let’s take a look at “The Last Tree”. And as usual, I encourage you to give it a try for yourself. Also, as usual, feel free to give your opinion about the game and/or the content of the article in the comment section down below. 

Full disclosure: this article is written to raise awareness for this game. This isn’t a sponsored article at all. 

Warning: I played a more completed version then the demo version provided on the site. This game is still under development and is subject to change. Things might be different in the final release. 

Demo and stuff

the-last-tree

Update after publishing this article: I totally forgot to mention that the developer is planning to release this game on various platforms like Android and iOS. So, keep an eye out for those!

The developer of this game gets a thumbs up from me. I ran into some issues with the first build I got from him. I emailed him back telling him about it and after a few days, he emailed me back with a new and improved build. Seriously, I love when developers do that. Really listen to the feedback of the people who play their game.

The game is being developed in the Unreal 4 Engine. In this simple 2D game, time moves when you move. A trailer for this game can be found on YouTube. The story in this game is charmingly simple. It has to be since it’s a platformer.

The year is 2092, and the tree called Ungrodo is the last tree on earth, and everybody’s chasing him. He has very special skill – TIME SLOWS DOWN WHEN HE MOVES.

The story is being told by little floating notes. The game doesn’t force you to read the notes. But in most of the notes, the text is so short, you don’t have to stop in your tracks to read everything. I would recommend the developer to shorten some notes, since they stop players dead in their tracks if they want to read everything. I can image this would cause some players to not bother with the notes and skip them. The writing for this game is decent and it would be a shame if players skipped this aspect of the game. Also, I think it would benefit the atmosphere if you added some animations in the background to aid the story telling.

The screen is on fire!

the last tree2.png

Visually, this game looks pretty nice. But there are some things I would like to see improved in the final build of the game.

First of all, the game uses amazing fire effects, but they look disconnected for the visual presentation of the rest of the game. I think it would be nicer if you give the fire a more drawn look like the rest of your game.

Secondly, and this is only a minor thing, remove the lines in the menus. The reason why is: when you have a “R” in there, the line makes it look like an “A”.

Thirdly, there is a great checkpoint system in place in the game. But I would recommend a bit more visual animation when passing through the checkpoints. Sometimes, I hardly noticed I passed a checkpoint.

And finally, while the mechanic of time slowing down is great and becomes very interesting in the game, I would try and avoid the wobble effect you get when you stop moving with the character.

The controls of this game are pretty well done. The game doesn’t provide a tutorial on the controls and it doesn’t need to that, since the controls are so intuitive that they explain themselves. The only thing I would recommend is an option menu to let people to rebind their keys. Since I don’t think everybody wants to use the arrow keys to move in their games.

This game autosaves with each checkpoint. And that’s a great plus in my book. Since I’m somebody who would forget to save and shutdown the game. So, thanks for that. But speaking about saving, I have two issues with this.

One, why is there a restart game option in the pause menu? I would rather have an option to return to the main menu and restart from there.

And two, why isn’t there a prompt saying “are you sure you want to restart your game, since your save data is going to be lost” when you select, restart the game?

Run to the … left?

the last tree3.png

So, the gameplay of this game is really simple. Go from right to… left? Yes, a reverse 2D-platform. Neat.

You will have to jump over enemies and obstacles. You can’t fight the enemies since, well, you play as a walking tree.

I love when you died and you return quickly enough, you still see parts of the animation from when you died. This is an amazing touch.

Also, I love that the danger isn’t gone when you jump over an enemy. Since they turn around when you jump over them. Adding to the immersion of the game. Since the character in this story is hunted upon.

Speaking about enemies, I think it would be a bit more fair if you don’t combine too much enemies with the blade traps. Since it’s pretty difficult to make a jump over an enemy and a blade. A good fix for this would be a sort of life-system. Where you are able to take a few hits before you die. And staying in the theme of the story, the main character could lose parts of his(/hers?) body when hit. Like the enemy or the blade was successful in cutting off a piece of him(/her?)

The soundtrack of this game really suits the atmosphere the visuals are building. I think it would improve the game if the sound effects would be changed to fit the character a bit more. Like jumping up is a branch that is being picked up out of leaves or something along those lines.

In any case, I said everything I wanted to say about this game, so it’s time to wrap this article up.

Conclusion

I think that this game has a lot of great ideas as a base, but needs a lot of polishing up. The menu system needs to be more expanded upon. The game idea is excellent. It’s a platformer that can stand out if they polished up a bit more.

The basic game is already there. It just needs some more work to expand the game and improve it.

If you enjoy unique platformers, I would highly recommend to take a look at this one and take a look for yourselves.

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

Game Music: My Favorites – Numbero 14: My week off!

eJa4GArMore articles about gaming music

So, I got a week off last week. I was planning to relax, but I did a lot of other things. From family stuff to studying and working for my evening classes. I also got sick in the last few days. Which is a major bummer since I could have done a bit more if I was less sick. In any case, I think it’s time to write another article about gaming music. Also, thank you Kitami for providing me with this art. I was planning to use it a while ago for a new series I had in mind, but I kind of put it on hold. In any case… If you are new to this series of mine, I listen a lot to game music. It keeps me focused at work and it can cheer me up when I’m down. I try to avoid duplicates on this list. Also, one track per franchise per article. For example, no two Zelda tracks in one article… But in two, just fine. Also, no remixes except when I tell otherwise in the introduction. So, are you ready for a few tracks that are lately playing quite a lot for me…? And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the music and or the games. 

Giana Sisters – Twisted Dreams (PC) ~ Dark Giana Track 2

Giana-Sisters-reviewFirst Impression

I wasn’t lying in my first impression article. The music in this game is truly amazing. It wasn’t an easy one to pick just one track from this game’s soundtrack.

After some time deciding, I chose this one. Just the mix of chiptune and rock vibe is mind blowing. If only I could play guitar and play this track. But that won’t be for any time soon, since I couldn’t even play the flute back in high school.

Why did I choose this track? Well, because it reminded me a lot of the original game. It might be a re-imaging but damn, the remake of this track is truly well done. Also, I’m still surprised how they were able to mix elements of chiptune and rock so well together.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations (DS) ~  Objection! 2004

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I’m disappointed at Capcom for cancelling the Ace Attorney spin off. Well, not exactly cancelling. The Great Ace Attorney. Oh well, I hope I can find a playthrough with English subtitles somewhere on the internet. Thankfully, they are bringing Ace Attorney 6 to the west.

I once tried to write a rant about Japanese games never getting a western release, but it didn’t turn out that well. Because I was listing to this nicely made track from the Ace Attorney series.

That reminds me, I should write an article about the Ace Attorney games I didn’t take a look at yet. I’ll put that on my ever growing list of games I want to review or write about.

In any case, I don’t think I need to explain why this is one of my favorite game series. Go dig around on my blog, you will find a couple of articles why I think this is one of the best series ever.

Virtue’s Last Reward (3DS) ~ Blue Bird Lamentation

Virtues_Last_RewardReview

This. Song. It gets me every time. Just like the “Don’t Say Goodbye” songs at the end of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon… The writing, the atmosphere and the presentation make this a hard to swallow track. Then, they add a track like this. It will play with your feelings. And it will give it a hard slap. Not once, but at least twice.

Just play this game and when you get to this point, when the song plays… You will understand why I’m saying this. I wrote this part of the article at least three times since each and every time, I just wrote the same thing twice. The emotions that this music triggers is just that strong to me.

It’s a damn shame I forgot about this amazing track in all my other game music articles. But I have another “excuse” to talk about this track. They finally, FINALLY announced the sequel and it’s coming to the west! Heaven YES!

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (DS) ~ Boss Theme One

Golden_Sun_Dark_Dawn

Now, here is a game I really should play again one day. It’s a game I nearly finished before somehow I lost my save file. If I remember correctly, I stupidly saved while I was in a new game. Yeah, that mistake. All those hours in a RPG, lost.

Well, back in 2012, there was an article floating around that there might be a new Golden Sun in the making if the fans asked for it. I’m really curious if the developers are making a new Golden Sun title. It would give me a reason to play the games. This is one of the games I always want to play but another game comes and distracts me. But I’m sure, one day I will actually play this game again. I’m sure of it!

Oh yeah… The music. I nearly forgot. The music of the first boss was the most memorable to me. Recently, I got the tune back in my head for some reason… It might be a sign. A sign that I need to play this game.

Age of Empires 2 (PC) ~ Music 10

1362731523First Impression

Well, recently I replayed Age Of Empires II HD Edition with my friends. Various memories came back to me. Memories from playing sessions when I played a lot of this game and memories from when I played this game with my sister.

This game was a big part of my childhood. I always played some singleplayer maps where I tried to conquer my enemies with various tactics. The “funny” thing is that I’m really bad in choosing what units are effective. So, yes, I’m not that good at the game. But I still had and I’m still having a lot of fun with this game. Now, I only wish that they make a remake of the original Age Of Empires game for Steam. That would be a real blessing. Now, I have to use my retro game PC to play the original.

In any case, I think that this song is one of my favorites. Oh, if you wonder about the name… I wasn’t able to find the names of each track. Somehow I wasn’t able to find the original names of this track. If you know, feel free to leave me a comment and I will fix it in my article.

Oh, and the new upcoming content for this series makes me almost forget that we, most likely, will never see Age Of Empires 4.

Wrapping up

I used this article to also talk a bit about announcements of games that are coming to us. Games that I’m truly excited about. Just today, I learned about Age Of Mythology’s new expansion pack. I linked an article from the official website. Also, are they creating a new expansion pack for Age Of Empires II HD?

In any case, I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. Hopefully, you guys and girls discovered some new and nice music to listen too. In any case, I hope to welcome you in another article but until then, game on~.

First Impression: Tomb Raider IV – The Last Revelation

600px-Tomb_Raider_4_coverTomb Raiders.net entry

The year is 1999 – 2000. Young NekoJonez was 8 years old. I only had a gameboy and quite an old pc. It could run old dos games and such just fine but as soon as I started to play games that were released after 2001, my computer freaked out. So, I grew up with handhelds. Although, there is one game I played as a child while not being 100% allowed. I played Tomb Raider 5. A game I picked up at a local toy store for a few bucks. I heard quite a lot of rumors of an Indiana Jones style game on the PlayStation, and that they were able to take a peek when the big brother or parent played the game. So, curious Jonez is curious and when I played TR 5, I was kinda disappointed. The controls really threw me off. Years later, I get myself the Tomb Raider bundle after having so fond memories of Legend, Anniversary, Underworld and it’s latest reboot. So, the last few weeks I gave TR 4 a try… Did it change my opinion when I was a child? Let’s take a look at the game. As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the content of this article and/or the game.

Editoral note: The reason I linked to Tomb Raiders.net their informative entry of this game instead of my usual habit to link to WikiPedia or the official site is because I used their images for this article. They deserve the credit. 

Tutorial

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I choose this game since it’s one that I wasn’t able to play as a kid. When I bought two TR games, they actually messed up and put TR III on the disc where IV should be. And they put TR IV on the one which needed TR III. I still own that copy, so I might show it in a video.

TR III and TR V worked just fine. Until I tried to run TR IV. The game crashed as soon as it wanted to boot. And because I didn’t knew a lot about computers back then, I wasn’t able to fix it. Then Steam came around and offered me this bundle of all the Tomb Raider games. So, I bought it. I was surprised when I saw that my 64-bit beast of a gaming machine was able to run the game just fine.

The game opens like how I remember the other old school Tomb Raider games open. With an introduction screen with ‘new’, ‘load’,’options’ and ‘exit’. In the background you have an animation of a few levels you will encounter in the game. I adore these title screens since they give the game that much more charm.

Yet, I wasn’t pleased with the first level. Not at all. With little to no backstory, you are dropped into the tomb and you have a guide with you that explained all mechanics of the game to you. The voice acting is a bit off. There are sometimes small moments of silence between lines and the young Lara has barely any emotion put into it. (At least, that’s my opinion).

I wanted to explore the level, yet, out of the dialogue of the tutorial I felt that it wasn’t really allowed. What really made me annoyed is the fact that you don’t have a weapon in this level while there are enemies.

Tank Larabaddies1

Truth to be told, it actually let me get used to the controls. The controls that threw me off and stopped me from playing the Tomb Raider games in the past. So, this brings me to one annoying thing in this game. The menu to configure your controls. While it works fine, it doesn’t recognize azerty keyboard lay-outs. It isn’t the biggest issue though, it’s that you can barely “read” the menu. It’s quite hard to actually make out what key does what unless you take out a ruler and put it on the screen. It’s a nitpick I know, but it’s rather annoying. … Oh, I actually lied. There is an even bigger issue. You can bind one key to more then one action.

The controls are responsive yet they are outdated. Playing old games like this really proves to me how hard wired my mind is in using the controls in a game now-a-days. Yet, after you get used to it, you will be able to pull off some nice moves. Yet, there are two major issues I have with the controls… and that is how picky the game can be of your location to be able to pick up an item or pull a lever. The second issue I have is how awkward the controls are for swinging on a rope. At least to me. Maybe I’m too used to the control scheme Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine used.

 Gameplay

scenery1I think it would be unfair to judge the game on graphics and animation, in a way. They are quite outdated and on modern systems they then to glitch out a bit. Yet, I don’t think it’s an issue. The presentation brings an amazing atmosphere. It really feels you are exploring a tomb.

After the tutorial level, there is little to no explanation on what to do. Thankfully, after you solved a puzzle, a small cutscene plays showing you the general direction you need to go in.

It actually blows my mind how well designed this game is. You can explore around and find hidden areas and I rarely got the feeling of being lost. While I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about in this article, I wanted to mention the lack of an ingame map… Actually, it isn’t an issue. Since it helps to build the feeling that you are exploring a location nobody has visited for quite some time.

So, let’s talk about the music. This is actually difficult for me since I feel that the soundtrack of later games are better then the old soundtracks. Before you write angry comments trying to explain to me what is wrong with my opinion here, let me explain. What I mean is that the more action packed soundtrack fits the atmosphere more then the more calm, bit creepy soundtrack of the old school games.

Actually, I like the soundtrack of this game. From what I have heard, it adds to the creepy atmosphere you would get when you are really exploring tombs. It fits more to the style of the old school Tomb Raider games.

In any case, I think I’m going to wrap up this article for now. I know that I talked a bit too much about the controls in this game. If you didn’t get the clue, I’m quite enjoying this game. If I finish it, I’ll surely write a review article about it. I wanted to focus in this article more on the issues I have now-a-days with the controls and why they actually made me stop playing Tomb Raider as a kid. I think I should return on that topic.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this article. I wish you an amazing day and I hope to meet you another time. Take care, NekoJonez.

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.

Game Music Favorites #2: Bigger Sequel.

imagesAs I’m The Legend Of Zelda, Link Between Worlds and the Special Case of Ace Attorney – Dual Destenies along with Age Of Empires II HD on Steam and Corpse Party – Book Of Shadows on PSP, I don’t have a lot of games to review or make a first impression about. Surely I can write two about Age Of Empires and Zelda, but I need to play a bit more of them first. But before that, I liked my previous article enough to already make a new, possibly more lengthy, article. Let’s dive into a load of amazing music that I found during my adventures in game. Feel free to leave yours in the comment section down below. Or your opinions on my selections. I love hearing feedback. Anyways, orchestra is ready to go, so yeah.

#1: Alan Wake (DLC) –  Old Gods Of Asgard – Children of the Elder God

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Alan Wake is an amazing game. And various others told me that the soundtrack is amazing. And I totally agree. The music makes the game more tense.

At the end of each chapter, they have placed an amazing song. This is one of my  favorite tracks in game. The atmosphere is tense and I enjoyed it an awful lot. The other songs aren’t really my cup of tea. Honestly I don’t like game music where there is lyrics. Expect when it’s on important moments.

But the DLC has the best music! The fighting scenes are tense. And the music makes you sit at the edge of your seat. Totally wonderful.

I wish I could find time to finish the DLC’s. I started to write this article ten days ago and I finally finished this part of it. Yup, like I said in my previous article, I’m that busy.

Anyways, on the the next track!

#2: Corpse Party: Blood Covered OST  – Chapter 5’s Main Building Theme 2 (PSP Version)

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I have talked a lot about Corpse Party. I love the game to death. It’s near perfection in my eyes in the visual novel horror genre. I applaud the creators of the game like a mad man.

I’ll probably choose a lot of tracks in this series with my favorite game music in it, so stay tuned. I talked about the music in my review. And since I haven’t finished Corpse Party – Book Of Shadows, I think it would be silly to put a track on here of that game.

But the last chapter’s music is just amazing. I even had it as my ringtone for quite some time. It’s upbeat and it makes you want to finish the story. It motivates you to fight on and solve the final riddles that the game presents to you.

While it’s upbeat and very melodic, the creepyness of the game doesn’t go lost. The track makes you feel tense while ready to dive head on in the action. This track is proof how music in a horror game doesn’t always need to be scary.

#3: Rise & Fall: Civilizations At War – Main Theme

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Let’s fight aside famous hero’s of Rome, Greece or Egyptian wars. Much to my disliking, the in game music is extremely short. With each track being just a minute long, the music just loops too much.

Yet, it isn’t bad music. It’s tough to find it online though. Maybe Midway hunts down uploaders and stops them from uploading the music. Yet, the main theme is uploaded several times.

Truth to be told, I haven’t come near completing this game. I just like the mechanic of having a RTS game and where you can see the battles in 3D. And control the movement of your hero. But I was a bit too young when trying to take on the campaign.

This music is so lovely, the creators even made it that you can’t tell when you loop it where it ends and where it starts. I wish this style of music was in every adventure game. This track, I see it used in more then only this style of game.

#4: Lux Pain – Pumpkin Pon

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Pumpkin Pon, is such a bright and relaxing place in Lux-Pain. In this visual novel, some darkness has taken over a town. You can see the darkness and how it eats away at people.

While trying to hide your special powers, you go undercover. This game is long, dark, gloomy and sometimes hard. But when this track starts playing, it always puts a smile to my face. Upbeat and melodic. Fun and inviting. Just like the bar it’s named after.

The game is underrated, but it isn’t for everybody. When I ever have time to replay it, I’ll surely review it.

#5: Time Hollow – Opening

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Oh. My. Lords. This theme song. It’s the definition of amazing openings. If you can, go find a version of the intro and watch it. And then tell me, you aren’t curious to play this game.

While the Japanese version is totally different, I prefer the English version of this one. I sing along with it every time I hear it. And yes, it even puts a tear to my eye thinking how well written this game is and what impact it has on me.

This game is way to short and I wish Konami made a sequel on this one. Where the game is longer. Since there are so many unexplained things left. And Konami, if you are reading, please make the sequel just a bit longer? Okay? Please?

#6: Monster Tale – Pressure’s On.

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There is a lot of good music in this MetroidVania game. But this is one of my favorite tracks in-game. The music that plays with this boss battle is just so tense, that I was easily distracted by the music.

And when I finally could concentrate on the battle, the music helped me through the battle. I admit that I download music of games for tracks like this. Electronic rock. Sadly enough that this video cuts of the music midway. That, or YouTube must be glitching on me. Oh well.

This game is one I want to review. Yet, I has been some time since I played this game so I can’t give it a fair judgement. So, keep your eye out on a review of this pearl.

#7: The Last Remnant – Press to Victory

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Only recently I started playing The Last Remnant. I bought Broken Sword 5 – The Serpents Curse and I saw that this game was on sale. To make a nice round amount to pay at the check out, I bought it. I thought I earned some great games after doing some hard work in college.

And I heard some amazing music in this game. It blew me off my socks and I will surely play this game a lot more. It’s interesting and it got a story I can relate to. Well, relate as in, I saw it in different games as well and I wanted more of that style of story!

This music truly sets the right tone on the battlefield and I’m curious when it will be used again in the game. I have only played it for like a hour and I am attached to it. So, probably for Christmas I’m going to ask Santa to give me a bit more hours in a day since I want to play so many games besides studying and this is surely one of them.

I advice to get this game. It’s a cheap one and it’s made by Square Enix. Yeah, good stuff!

#8: Phoenix Wright – Ace Attorney 5: Dual Desteny – Pursuit: Ambushed

The Japanese box-art because we only got an eShop release.
The Japanese box-art because we only got an eShop release.

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Objection! This music is totally awesome. It’s the best pursuit music I have heard in years. In all the series, this music is my favorite track in the game. It’s the moment you finally crack the case and place the suspect under high stress.

Ace Attorney looses a lot of it’s charm if you play it without the music. I mean, a big orchestra even played the music of this game. Think about it, people who care so much about a simple text based game on the Nintendo DS. It even started on the Gameboy Advance in Japan!

All the songs, and all the remixes of this series are worth listing to. Yet, this is my number one track in the whole series. Thanks for uploading the extended version!

Closure

So, I think I’ll leave this article here. I’m finishing up DLC of Ace Attorney 5 and Alan Wake. While I’m beating also games I have nearly completed. So, expect new articles in the future. While I try to fight through college as well.

I hope you enjoyed reading through this article and you enjoyed the music tracks I picked this time. I’m nearing the 100th article I publish on my personal blog. So, I’m truly excited. Anyways, back to Broken Sword 5. The update downloaded. 🙂

NekoJonez: Gaming Music – My favorites – Numbero 1

mf_symphonies1_630pxSo, I wasn’t planning to write an article today. Since I’m so busy with college and such. I said that on my Twitter. But now that I’m finally done with my work for today, I was listing to some music of my favorite games. And I came to a conclusion, even while I finished the game, I still listen to it’s music. Probably bringing back nice memories. So, in this article I’ll list some of my favorite music tracks in game history. I won’t make a top 5 or 10 out of it, in case I want to write a new article with this subject. Also, I won’t count remixes in this list. As I adore some remixes of the Ace Attorney themes. They are a no-go here. Since those weren’t in the original game. Anyways… Here. We. Go! Time to throw that volume up and enjoy some amazing (nostalgic) music. Feel free to comment your favorite music tracks in the comments. Or your opinions of my chooses as well.

#1: CastleVania (NES) – Bloody Tears

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Extended original version

There are a massive amount of remixes out of this track. The melody and structure of this track is so memorable that to this day, I whistle it when I’m on my bike riding to school. I brings back so many memories of playing this game at my cousin’s house and not able to sleep at night. Hey, I was a kid back then.

People who claim to fans of the series and can’t name the track by name, that’s the biggest shame you can have. This track gave me while writing this article a feeling to stand up and march/dance around in my room.

#2: Virtue’s Last Reward – Consternation

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I adore games with a dark plot. I simply love this series to death. It’s high in my favorite series of all time list.

Every time I hear this track from the amazing collection of tracks in the game, my jaw drops to the floor. Since every tense and amazing twist came with this track.

The timing was always right. While I think that this track has goes weaker near the ending, the start of this track is what I replay time and time again when I listen to the OST of this game. And since my save file corrupted, I’ll be able to enjoy this gem of a game again. Ah, do I wish that there is a new game in the series coming on 3DS.

#3: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon – Time To Say Goodbye

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I rarely cry when reading a game story, even when the game gets extremely sad. But the setting of this game, yes, this kid’s game managed to do it. Each and every game. Even the latest installment on 3DS.

This finale track is such a nice track filled with friendship but also departure. Love and left alone. Together yet not.

When I used this track in the RP’s I took part in, many blamed me for using a “cheap” music track. I disagree. This track just fits big time to the situation and is perfect from start to finish. And the piano versions of this cry… Jeez. They are even harsher to not cry.

#4: Pokemon Black & White – Gym Leader ~ Last Pokemon

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Alright, I’m going to be extremely blunt here for a second, the latest theme in Pokemon X & Y for the gym leaders is terrible. It just feels empty to me. And why? Because of that weird introduction sound which destroys the melody that the middle brings.

Yet, they nailed it perfectly with this gem.The final gym leader Pokemon in Black & White is my favorite track in the whole game. It feels so rewarding when you hear this track and that you know that you are about to earn a new badge.

Since I didn’t had such a great party, I felt that the final part was really happening and that it’s now or never. Man, do I enjoy this track.

#5: Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine – Main Titles / Credits

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This is one of the best Indiana Jones games ever. Period. It actually created my love for 3D adventure games like Tomb Raider as well. Adventure games, highly story based games and visual novels are my favorite style of games.

While this game is heavily inspired by Tomb Raider, I grew up with this game and I prefer it over Tomb Raider. It’s also the game that gave me my nickname. So, it means a lot to me. And honestly, I’m so glad that I have a retro gaming pc where I can play this game on. I even plan to buy me a N64 with the game’s cartrigde off eBay just for the nostalgic reasons.

The game has not that much music but this track is an extremely nice combo of the actual John William’s score and the game’s score. And it blends so well that I even confuse both.

Man, do I miss this game.

Closing words

That’s more then enough nostalgia for me to bare in one night. Well, nostalgia that I didn’t plan at least. I do have a lot of music that I want to list as well of games that didn’t made this list. So, one day I’ll write a “sequel” on this article. I hope, since many bloggers have so many great idea’s they often forget to write a sequel on articles. You have to forgive that to them, they just do what they want to write.

Yet, I’m planning to look around my blog for topics to write about one day. And this’ll be one since now that I scroll through my favorites on Youtube, I see a lot of candidates. So thanks for reading and until next time.

First Impressions: Another Code: R – A Journey into Lost Memories (Wii) ~ A mystery novel

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Nintendo version of the website.

So, I have this Wii sitting in my room. I got my Wii after I graduated high school. Before that I played a countless amount on my Nintendo DS. On there I played Another Code from the amazing developer Cing. They went bankrupt and they are no more. But when I saw that this game had a sequel for on the Wii, I didn’t doubt for a second, I had to play this game. I started to play it three days ago, and I have trouble putting it down. Yup, that’s my first impression in extremely short for you. But this wouldn’t be a valid blog entry if I didn’t explain myself. Otherwise I will look as a fanboy of this game to you guys, which I kinda am. Visual novels always interested me and I love playing them. They always have a better story then other games and this game is no exception. Let me explain why this game is great and you all should give it a go. But, I’ll also explain some flaws with the system. 

The story.

This game is a sequel to the great Nintendo DS game Another Code, it’s named that way in Europe. The American is Trance Memory. I actually advise you to play the DS game first. The Wii game takes place two years after this game. The story of the DS game is very often referenced.

The familiar characters from the original DS game are exactly the same in this Wii entry. There are also a lot of new characters and you can easily get a reminder in the menu. Which is an awesome option. If you forgot which character was who, a reminder is there in game.

There is no voice acting. Which is a shame in my view. This game would have had big benefits from voice acting. Now it’s only the text displayed on the screen.

From what I saw of the story, it’s an enjoyable tale. It made me think back at the days I played the DS game. The main thing is again about memories. What I truly praise in this game is that on the end of each chapter, you get a small quiz to remind you what happened in the chapter and it really helps when you forgot or didn’t play the game in a while.

01663042-photo-another-code-r-1 But enough about the story, I’ll dive more into that in the full review. The gameplay mimics a lot from it’s DS game. The controls, you’ll need to get used to them, are actually quite unique and the mapping is great. Although it’s a pity that the detection of the Wii Remote seems a bit uneasy to use sometimes.

In this game you can’t really run everywhere you please. It isn’t a step back actually. This mechanic is set up in such a way that you can easily explore certain area’s and view them. Probably this made the developers have time for some great visuals.

As you guys might know, I’m not that difficult to please when it comes to graphics. But this game blew me away. The location of the game is bright and colorful, detailed and well made. It feels great with the realistic story and nothing feels out of place. It’s detailed enough that it draws you into the story easily.

Can’t put this down.

screenshot_wii_another_code_r_a_journey_into_lost_memories005This game is also a puzzle game. And a great one. With some side quests like recycling, there is a lot of variety to the game. You can even choose how your character reacts to a situation. It adds some replay value to the game to see how it plays out if you react in another way.

I don’t know if there are different endings but I don’t assume there are. Otherwise I would be extremely impressed. Because in other games with different endings, this game is good in hiding it then.

One flaw in this game is how you can look back at the previous conversation. This is a very welcome feature but I haven’t seen a game get this right. I have to say, happy scrolling if you want to look for something.

There is no real tutorial. This is extremely welcome. Thanks to this you can explore and learn the game at it’s own pace. You don’t have to “learn” everything at the start of the game and you truly feel more free playing this game.

While exploring the area’s, things you can investigate blink in a yellow color. There is also a great indication on the screen to remind you. And pay attention, places you have explored, can also be of use later in the story. There are even various ways to control the game. Using the on screen buttons or the buttons on your controller, it both is fluent.

This game is easy and difficult. For new players to the genre, this can become quite a challenge in certain area’s. But, for advanced players in this genre or style of game, you can progress without getting really stuck anywhere.

Various story lines.

another-code-r-wii-035This game has various story lines running all at once. Thankfully, it’s never getting too much. When ever it’s too much too follow, a story line ends.

This game has also a very creative use of the buttons on your Wii remote. You’ll have to play the game to understand what I mean.

Before I close of this article, I want to mention the music. The music is pretty lighthearted. And it fits the tone of this game extremely well. You even have a music player in game to listen to the tracks or let them play as background music. And you can’t listen to tracks you haven’t heard in game yet.

That are most of my first impressions of this game. I’m nearly half way in this great game. The length is great from what I played till now. This seems like a game that will take you more then one day to complete. If you really want to enjoy it at it’s full potential. Whenever I finish this game, I’ll surely write a review for you guys. But until the next time, and happy gaming!