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Gamer’s Thoughts/Rant: “So, you play game X?”

 

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“Oh, you still play games? Grow up, man! Games are for young children or for people who have no life.” Have you ever said something like this or have you ever been on the receiving end of a question like this? There are a lot of statements that I get annoyed by in the gaming community and today I want to talk about some. Please, keep in mind that these are my opinions and that I’m not you. So, I invite you to tell me your opinions in the comments and/or give me suggestions for other questions to do another article like this. 

Before I begin

Now, in some cases, I’m going to talk in very general terms. And let me be clear on one thing. I’m not going to deny that there are edge cases for everything. Things like game addiction and compulsion do exist and are very real problems.

If games stop being a leisure activity and everything else needs to make way or room for a game, please seek help right away.

In addition to that, parents and friends, if you find any negative change in the behaviour of your child, friend or loved one; please help him or her.

Also, in most of my arguments, I talk about the people who can still separate fact from fiction and/or aren’t struggling with game addiction.

“Games are just for little children or are for losers.”

I love turning the tables on arguments like this. I love to ask them if they enjoy watching sports. Technically, a sport is also a game. If you follow the definition of what a game is, like the one by Kevin J. Maroney, where games are a form of play with goals and a structure. Well, then you can fit all sports in that definition.

So, if games are for kids, then explain to me why board games have age stamps like “for ages 3 AND UP”. And in addition to that, if games are for little children, why are games like Civilization and other strategy games so popular?

The “games are just for little kids” argument is so easily debunked if you simply watch to our community and how many money it brings in. So, please, if you are still convinced that games are for little kids, please explain to me why games aren’t for older people.

“But older gamers are people who don’t grow up or can’t let go of the past.”. Oh, please! If you give that argument, you have already lost the debate. I can give many arguments to point out the flaw in that statement. For example, there are a lot of extremely complex games on the market like Civilisation and Europa Universalis 4 who tend to be pretty complex to younger children. And if games would be created for younger children, why would they put effort into developing a game like that?

In addition to that, “can’t let go of the past.” Man, I hate that argument with a passion. So what, that I’m nostalgic? Why is that even an issue? I have grown up with playing video games and I love playing games since it brings me back to my childhood or gives me new and interesting experiences.

Making the statement that games or for certain demographic of people. Please, don’t be so close-minded. It’s like saying that football (soccer) is only for men and ballet only for women. If you find enjoyment out of a certain hobby or profession, why would it matter which gender, age, nationality…. you are?

Making the statement: “Games are just for little children or are for losers.” just proves that you are ignorant and that you are pretty close-minded. So please, be a decent human being and don’t say things like this when you mean it.

People who play games sit all day in their room and do nothing else than stare at a screen.

And to be honest, so what? Is it a problem that we sometimes do nothing else than stare at a screen all day and play games all day? I’m sorry that I engage in an activity I enjoy in my free time.

But did you notice the keyword in the previous paragraph? “Sometimes.” While I’m not going to deny that there are people who devote their whole life to video games and do nothing else, the same can be said about people addicted to something else, like movies and books.

Take me for example. I see myself as a pretty big gamer. I play a lot of games in a week. But besides that, I fix people their computer, I work full time in the education sector, I’m part of a folk theater group… I can go on for quite a while, but I think you get the point.

To counteract this statement, I love to bring up the argument of mobile phone games. There is an extremely huge player base for those games and those are also being played by people who don’t really play games but have some time to kill on the bus, train or while waiting on the doctor.

But the best debunk for this is the issue of generalization. It’s like saying that every metal lover is an aggressive person and similar things like that. Nothing everybody is the same, and thankfully so.

Aggressive/the violence in games make your youth more aggressive and/or train them to be killers.

I’m going to keep this brief since this statement really boils my blood. But, I wanted to talk about this one for sure.

First, violent movies, violent books and such… why are they left out of the argument? Because they aren’t interactive? Or is it because games are the new kid on the block and haven’t got the respect that movies and book have?

Two, if a game is very violent or aggressive; shouldn’t you be the responsible parent and talk to your kids why they aren’t okay to play at their current age? Or at the “M for mature” or “18+” label just part of the artwork on the front cover? Why would Steam age gate these games?

Three, while I’m not going to deny that there are people who are sensitive to violence and get introduced to these things by games, the same can be said for movies and other violence in media too. Thankfully, not everybody is like that and those people are a minority.

Four, isn’t it possible that the youth has another stress reliever? That they can vent all their frustration from their daily lives without harming a fly.

And my final point, there has been done quite a lot of research in this subject. And the results are quite divided. An interesting overview can be found in this amazing piece by TechAddiction: http://www.techaddiction.ca/effects_of_violent_video_games.html

“Nintendo games are for kids” / “PC is the master race and should be the only way to play” / …

If you say things like that to me, you will hear a heavy sigh. Let me first start with “Nintendo games are for kids.”.

First of all, family friendly doesn’t mean “for kids”. A lot of Nintendo IP’s are family friendly and they might have a childish outlook, but they are far from that.

Secondly, if Nintendo games are childish, why do so many adults play games like Pokémon GO? They grew up on it and makes them nostalgic. Okay, sure. But, aren’t you generalizing here too much?

Thirdly, just this Reddit thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/nintendo/comments/1kge42/why_do_people_think_nintendo_games_are_childish/

On that page, there are so many arguments why Nintendo games might seem childish but actually aren’t.

The other argument of “PC is the master race and should be the only way to play.” is such an easy one to debunk. Dear console gamers, do you actually realize what the definition is of a computer?

computer is a device that can be instructed to carry out arbitrary sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. The ability of computers to follow generalized sets of operations, called programs, enables them to perform an extremely wide range of tasks.

Thank you, Wikipedia for that definition. The difference between your console and computer is the input device. That’s all. So, you are basically playing on a computer with a different shell and operating system. So, technically, computer gaming is the only thing that exists.

Oh oh, wait, I hear the PC elitist gamers already: “You can replace hardware in a console!” Oh yeah? You are sure about that? So, the manufacturer isn’t able to replace any broken parts when something breaks? Or the guides on iFixIt like this one: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/PlayStation+4+Optical+Drive+Replacement/24720. That is just a hoax?

Oh, and the other argument: “You can’t upgrade a console, so you are restricting the costumer!” So. What. Some people don’t have the technical knowledge to do so anyway. Why stop them from buying a pre-built computer that can play games without having to maintain a lot of parts?

“You can build a very strong gaming computer for real cheap if you do the research.” If you do the research. You can also learn a new language if you do the research. You can do everything if you do a little research. If you are actually able to do it, depends on your skills. I almost have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science – Networking. And let me tell you, there are people who don’t have the time to do the research nor the technical skills to actually put the research to use. For example, I’m not that good at writing code, I tried various times to educate myself on it but alas. If you don’t get the right guidance, this research can be a big issue.

“But there is much more games for the PC than for console.” And that’s a problem about PC gaming as well. Yes, I call it a positive and a problem. There are too many games and barely any quality control. It’s also a problem for game developers. Just try to get noticed in the vast sea of computer games.

“There are much more options and features like mods for the computer.” Okay, I give you that. But, it’s a problem as well. For example, as a developer, try to optimize a game for literally millions of different combinations of hardware. It’s an extremely difficult task.

Conclusion here: don’t be elitist about a certain gaming platform. I love playing games on as many different platforms. I also love portable consoles like the 3DS and the Nintendo Switch since they have something over computers. I’m on the go a lot and gaming laptops are either extremely expensive or too bulky to play on the train and such.

There is nothing wrong with saying that PC or console is better, but I do have a problem when people belittle others because their preferred platform of games is “better”. Just no. Let people play games the way they like. If it sells, people want it. If there is a better alternative, the market and consumer will find out.

Oh, and a shoutout to BulletBarry. While I don’t always agree with him, his Console Peasant Quote videos are just really well made.

In conclusion

I can ramble about things like this for hours. While sometimes, I wasn’t telling anything new, I do think that it’s important to educate yourself and have respect for everybody. Don’t belittle because somebody has a certain hobby! Also, don’t believe everything verbatim what the news tells you. Read up about it.

If you think all gamers are male, please talk with them. You will be pleasantly surprised that there are female gamers out there. If you think all metalheads have a beard and/are bald, please talk to metalheads. Don’t be close-minded either. Not everybody is the same, you know.

While you could say I’m biased towards games since I’m a pretty big gamer. I honestly think that isn’t a problem in this case. I think it’s good for us gamers that we can give our opinion on the subject you know?

In any case, I’m quite interested in the comments for this article. Remember, I’m the kind of person who is open to civil discussion and I’m always very understanding that not everybody thinks the same way. So, please, if you have something to say or ask, the comments are here.

Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog but until that time, take care and have a great rest of your day.

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Gamer’s Thoughts: Giving out Blogging Advice

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So, a few days ago, I got asked on Twitter how I was able to write an article each and every week. In that same tweet, I got asked how I found the time and energy to even write two articles a day for two weeks. That kept me thinking, maybe I should write an article where I talk about some blogging advice I would give to people who want to start blogging and want some pointers or some stories from experienced bloggers. If you look in previous articles of my “gamer’s thoughts” series, you will find various other articles where I talk about the life of a game blogger. I even talked about my whole process how I work an idea for an article. Yet, here are some more pieces of advice I can give you as somebody who has been blogging for 7, 5 years about games and isn’t sick of it in the slightest. Also, don’t take this advice as gospel. These are the things I would say to new bloggers, but take these more as things that could help you blogging instead of things you have to do to have a good or great blog. In addition to that, any questions or other suggestions, that’s where the comments are for!

Side note: Since I have been a gaming blogger all my life, I will mostly talk as a game blogger.

Work out a theme

A great thing to start with is a theme for your articles. The theme of my blog is my journey as a gamer through life. I write articles about the games I played or subjects I want to talk about. In addition to that, I’m a retro game collector and I enjoy playing games that not too many other gamers play. If you are worried that your personality might not be interesting enough for people to start reading your blog, don’t worry. Think first about what you want to write about and then start blogging.

Also, make the theme on your blog clear enough. Blogs without a general theme don’t have any selling points for other people to start reading your blog. For example, I enjoy it when people say to me that they discovered a new game because I talked about it.

A great example of a theme is blog run by the Well Red Mage. He has a whole blog setup where everything is themed where each writer is a mage in a sort of fantasy RPG called the life of a gamer. It’s really enjoyable to read in the right mindset and I think it’s a great example for a theme.

 

If you are thinking of a theme, and this will sound quite logical, but take a theme that fits you and isn’t something you will regret about later. I enjoy talking about the games I add to my collection and I can still do some little tweaks here and there to my theme, but I feel comfortable with the theme I have on my blog.

While I’m talking about a theme, branding is everything. Look for a name and something that can stick. Make a logo and banner for your blog and social media where people can easily recognize you and what you are about. For real, branding and a right theme can help you quite a lot to write.

Do NOT overdo social media

So, do you need a Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Reddit, DevaintArt, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat…. for your blog? Well, while it can be quite useful to have some presence in the social space; it can also hurt your blog in the long run. If you have too many dead social media accounts or accounts only used to spread your articles, people won’t be interested in it. There is a reason why I only have a Twitter & Tumblr for my blog.

I use Twitter to quickly post updates on my blog for when I’m unable to write an article or when I want to share a quick thought. I use Tumblr to share things that are too long to put into a tweet, like when I want to share a list of games I’m thinking about reviewing or some blog updates I did. But, every post I do on Tumblr is shared on Twitter. So, there is one account people have to follow and can get all their information from. Otherwise you might create the illusion that information can be spread over various accounts that are mostly inactive.

So setup only the social media accounts you are planning to manage. Don’t set up social media accounts just to spread your articles or your online presence. You will divide your audience even more and it has the potential to cause an even bigger headache.

Something that is extremely handy for a blog is a contact page. Make your contact page inviting but also state rules of contact. For example, take a look at mine, I clearly state that if game studios want me to review their game, I have to be interested in it. I don’t promote things that I don’t feel comfortable with. Why should I promote things I don’t even believe in myself?

Worrying about numbers

In my honest opinion, I don’t worry about the numbers of my articles too much. The main reason why I blog is to have fun and have the ability to write about my thoughts and opinions. I think that you only should worry about the numbers if you are making money from your blog. If you are doing it as a hobby and you don’t want to make it a job, do not worry too much about the numbers.

Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pay any attention to the numbers of your blog. I find it very flattering when people enjoy my content and write comments, like and share my articles. Personally, I aim to have at least one like on my article. Even when I don’t get any likes on my article on WordPress, if somebody favorited the tweet of the article, I’m happy. That way I know that the article was good enough to be enjoyed by somebody. And that is my main goal, entertaining people.

Use the analytics to draw conclusions. Look at the articles that pull in a lot of views and analyses them why they work. What did people like about it? For example, I wrote an article in the past about one of my favorite Dutch edutainment games, but it didn’t pull in too many views. This means that if I want to talk about other games like that, I could write about those games when I have some other big articles in the works people are excited for. As a “filler article” you know?

In my experience, I find that thinking about if an article will bring enough readers limits my creative freedom. Since I love talking about games that I play and in most cases, they aren’t the mainstream games.

All I’m saying here is, as long as your blog is a hobby, don’t lose sleep over the fact that sometimes your numbers will be low.

Write how you want

There are literally millions of tutorials out there on how you can start creative writing. While they are interesting to read, I highly advise you to not follow them to the T. Just like drawing, writing is an art form you learn by practicing. While I realize that some people have the natural talent to write stories and articles like it’s nothing. Take it from me, a guy who has written stories all his life since childhood, natural talent can take you only so far as you allow it to go.

I taught a lot of my writing skills by analyzing other writers their work and not only written works. I looked at the story in games, movies, comics amongst other things. Why did they first reveal this before they revealed the other thing? Learn from other creators and use this as a base for the way how you want to write. It took me quite a few attempts to find out how I want to write. I usually first lay out how I want the article to be, then I look for good screenshots and then I start to write the actual article. I always listen to music while I’m writing.

Something I can’t stand while writing is a podcast or watching a video. For some reason, that distracts me too much from what I’m writing and I tend to write about what I’m hearing instead of what I wanted to write about. Also, I tend to try out different programs to write in. Some articles are written directly in the editor of WordPress, some articles are written in WordPad on one of my retro gaming computers and others are written in Notepad++. I enjoy changing things up once in a while, to have a different mindset while writing.

Personally, something I find dangerous to look at is the word count. I know so many articles that could have been so much better if I didn’t limit myself to my usual 1000-1500 words limit. Sometimes you need more or fewer words to get your point across. If you want to write walls upon walls of text, go ahead. But beware, the longer you make an article, the smaller the chance is that it will be fully read.

Also, whenever you are writing and you feel that something doesn’t work, rewrite it until you feel happy with it. Know that the first version of most articles will most likely be the worst version of it. Even I had to always make edits after I finished the first version to make the article flow a bit better.

Avoid burning out

Don’t ever force yourself into writing an article. It’s a golden rule that you can take from me. When you don’t feel like writing, just don’t write. I can personally read an article when I forced myself to write about something. Rarely do they come out good and I rather delete it then continue to write it. There are so many articles that I started to write but halfway deleted.

But how am I able to write an article each week and sometimes even two articles a day? Well, ever heard about writing articles in advance and storing them for later? Or, in one of the past weekends, I had a writing session where I wrote around 10 articles in two days. Know that the actual writing process takes around an hour and a half for me. Yeah, I had a writing marathon. I enjoy writing so much that I write to relax.

If you want to start a gaming blog like myself, start writing the article in your head while you are still playing the game or doing research. Have a notebook or a tablet nearby where you can put quick thoughts and notes in. Even start writing paragraphs in it.

Also, look to your day and how much time you lose by doing literally nothing. If you have the downtime, use it to think about your writing. Not all the time of course, since that will possibly cause a burnout. If there is anything you should avoid that is burning out in writing. Like I said earlier if you have to force yourself into writing, don’t write. I have been there. It’s better to take a break from writing and try again later.

Conclusion

So, that is all the advice I have to give for now. My biggest advice is, write how you want and about what you want. If you keep enjoying writing, you will put soul into your work and you will automatically attract readers. Together with a theme and an active social media presence, you will get far. Also, remember that is an extremely fun but time-consuming hobby. While most of this advice is catered towards the people who wanted to start blogging for fun, I think this article has also some advice for more professional people.

If I explained anything unclear or you have some questions for me or other bloggers, go down to the comments and start a conversation. I’ll do my best to helping you where I can.

In any case, I thank you so much for reading this article and I hope you had as much fun as I had 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.

Gamer’s Thoughts: Questions of a gaming blogger

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

Should I review the game on the best specs?

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

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

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

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

Can a blogger review a game twice?

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

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

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

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

 Does a blogger need to stick to a certain generation?

Game Boys Advance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Closing off

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

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

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

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

HappyLatte’s Case: Can video game violence make the world a safer place?‏

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A few hours ago, I got a press release in my mailbox. This had the title of “Can video game violence make the world a safer place?”. And they asked me to write an article of it. As usual, I will talk about this subject in all honesty and talk about related things and the amazing idea HappyLate has! I want to thank the staff from HappyLatte for giving me this opportunity. While this article was a hard one to write, I finally got a way of writing this article that I’m happy with. Before we continue, I want to warn you guys that I tried my utter best not offend anyone. While this is a controversial subject, my goal is to raise attention that video game violence isn’t the main cause of the violence around the world. Anyhow, I stand behind HappyLatte’s idea. And I’ll explain myself in this article. As usual, feel free to leave a comment about this article and or your opinion about this matter. Thanks in advance. 

Introduction

doom5So, HappyLatte was able to release their article on a big website. Non other then PocketGamer. I advice you Neko’s (that’s how I call my readers.) read it first before you continue to read my article. Here is a handy dandy link that opens in a new tab.

The idea is simply amazing. This is one of our chances to prove that video games can have a good influence on our society. I can’t deny that there are various studies that have proven that games are good for us but HappyLatte is one of the only companies I can name now that does something with these studies.

Some games are too violent. Some horror games have such an extreme violence level, that it’s just stomach turning. I even reviewed such a game a while ago. Corpse Party is quite a violent 2D visual novel adventure game. Am I glad that it’s fake.

Own thoughts

_45949102_pegiratingsAs usual, in these kind of articles, I leave some space to speak up my own mind. What do I think? Can video game violence make the world a safer place? Well, honestly that depends. I personally can’t say 100% yes but there is a truth in the statement.

It actually depends on the violence itself. The violence in Saints Row for example is mostly meant to be taken with a grain of salt. It’s so overdone that you know it’s fake. Like a good action movie.

When the video game violence stays in certain limits, you can be sure that it can make the safer place. And not alone by stopping criminals from doing a criminal deed.

It could be quite possible that lives can be saved from playing (violent) video games. I mean, there are even video games used in schools to educate children or to raise awareness. As a college student to become a teacher, I have seen games to raise awareness of bullying and driving drunk. The latter was a bit more violent but it quite shocked me and I’m sure to never ever drive drunk.

The most important thing is the execution of the violence, like I said multiple times by now. Is it meant to entertain or to shock? It must have a good foundation. HappyLatte’s game Day’s Of Crime has nailed that. They have developed this game with the help of an algorithm called the IAP. When you want to read more, I suggest reading the interview with the inventor.

Wrap-up

daysofcrime_headerimageHonestly, I think I did a good thing writing about this game. While I first was sure of this being legit, I think I made the best decision. Why was I not so sure that this was real? I didn’t find many other sources talking about this. When this isn’t real, I could use the game to help me relieve my frustrations.

But then I researched the company, and then I was convinced. This is legit, even when this sounds too good for words. Since this is a starting company with only 2 other games released, this is an extremely noble cause to get some more attention.

HappyLatte, I salute you! You guys and girls help making the world a safer and better place with the use of video games. Something that needed more positive attention in the first place. And I have to admit, I want to sign up now to see what the game is all about. How this actually works. Maybe I’ll download it and play it when I can get my hands on it. (Possibly the developers send me a copy of the game as a thanks for writing this article.)

So, this was a challenging article to write. I honestly restarted writing this article a couple of times. Now I have finally said everything that should be said be me. I hope you enjoyed reading this interesting article and I will surely keep an eye on the development of this game. This article might possibly get a “tail”. (No cat pun intended.)

Update:

Well, lesson learned. Apparently I was mistaken. When I mailed HappyLatte that I’m done with this article… It seems that I went wrong. I was focusing so hard while trying to write the best article that I forgot parts of it could be a joke. So yeah, this is a quote of Tim Metz, part of the marketing staff.

Appreciate the articles you wrote very much. Unfortunately I didn’t expect you would take everything in the press release and website serious: we do believe that the game has the potential to keep more young people in house and refrain them from criminal activities, but the special technology mentioned in the press release and website was actually a joke and doesn’t really exist.

So yeah, even I get things wrong. Thanks HappyLatte for the correction. I will review this game when it comes out and I’ll surely tell how good it is in achieving it’s goal. Maybe they could use the technology in the plot? I’m looking forward to it.

Before I leave you guys, when you want to be up-to-date with my latest things I do, click on the follow button on my Twitter. It will update you with all the latest things in my live and you can easily see when I posted a new article. And just in case, here is a link to my twitter. So yeah, talk to you later.