Gamer’s Thoughts: “Games are a waste of time”

gamedealsHappy Mothers day 2017! A phrase I hear my mom saying from time to time is: “I don’t understand why people enjoy games.”. That question actually made me think. Why do we gamers enjoy games? Why do people who don’t play games see them sometimes as annoying or time wasters? Well, in this article I’m going to give my two cents in the discussion. As usual, feel free to leave a comment about your opinion and/or my opinion in the comment section down below. 

Why do I play games?

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First of all, let me explain why I play games. In an article last year, I tried to explain why I play games. But in most of the article, I talked about why I collect games.

So, why do I play games? Well, I think it’s because of several reasons. The first reason would be because I grew up in a time where playing the Gameboy was the hip thing to do on the school playground. Pokémon was extremely popular when I was in elementary and I was hooked. Then my family took me to various garage sales and flea markets. I bought more and more games on the Gameboy and I got hooked.

The second reason is because it was a very easy conversation topic. When I was on a trip, I was able to talk to other kids easily thanks to games. Phrases like: “What are you playing?”, “Have you played game X” or “How far are you into the game?” are phrases that often crossed my lips as a child. I made so many friends thanks to games.

A 3rd reason would be that I was so interested in reading and telling stories. But why am I less addicted to movies or books then? Well, the interactivity is the biggest reason. The fact I can make a difference in the world the game is so important to me. That’s why I love games that have a great story.

So, in conclusion, I think due to nostalgia and the interactive nature of gaming, I got hooked on gaming and never let go. Nowadays, I even have a 4th and 5th reason. My 4th reason is that I’m interested in how people get entertained by games. If I had the right skills, I would have studied game design.

And my 5th reason is this blog, honestly. I love to share stories of games I played. And writing a blog about them is one of the best ways to share them. The best way is YouTube, but I burned out on making videos…

Why do people play games?

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I’m quite sure that gaming is here to stay. While some hardcore gamers won’t like the next sentence, but due to the casual mobile gaming market, there are much more people play games than ever before.

The fact that gaming is a national sport in South Korea and that people earn their living with playing games are more proof that gaming is here to stay.

I think that the reason why people play games is similar to why people watch Netflix all day or read books in their free time. It’s their way of entertaining themselves. To relax after a (stressful) day at school or work.

People will always look for a way to entertain themselves. Another reason is that the current generation is growing up with a culture where video games are everywhere. Speaking about that, games are becoming more and more accessible to young children. And look at me, when you do something since childhood, it isn’t easy to let go.

Why games can be annoying/uninteresting

5562ecfd-2740-4c50-b148-64b882408fa0 When I ask people who don’t play games, I sometimes get a reply like: “I don’t have the time for them” or “I’m not interested in them.” Which are both very valid arguments, in my opinion. But they aren’t good answers to why people can find games annoying or a waste of time.

Well, I have a few theories for why people think that games can be annoying. Keep in mind, this is just a theory. Why I think people find games annoying. Also, let me make on thing clear, I’m talking in very general terms in the following theories. I know that we as humans are a more complex race.

My first theory is that people don’t like the interactivity of the games. They enjoy TV-shows where they can sit down and just take in the content. Or you could replace TV-shows with movies, books, plays, concerts…

A 2nd theory is one I think makes a lot of sense of the older generation. The fact that they didn’t grow up with games but saw children and teenagers grow up with them. In their eyes, games would be a toy for children and for teenagers, so their interest fades away. “Why would something that’s meant for children is any use to me?” is a thought that summarizes this theory. A generation gap if you will.

A 3rd theory is because they don’t see the appeal to games. They don’t understand what can be so engaging in playing games. Also, they don’t understand what additional value games can bring to people since most games are entertainment games. There aren’t a lot of gamers who play educational games just for fun. And I mean, that their favorite genre is educational games.

A 4th theory is the loud toxic minority that gives us gamers a bit reputation. People who do violent things and then blame it on violent video games. I think that media outlets especially can be a problem in this case. Since they give non-gamers the impression that every game is so violent and that it taints people their brain. Maybe we just need to get past the phase that certain styles of music and movies went through.

But, I’m getting off track. What I mean with the loud toxic minority are the people who actually go out their way to make the gaming community look like a bunch of unwelcome jerks. People who won’t help others to play games. Thankfully, there are a lot of forums, websites, and networks that are meant to welcome new gamers with open arms. But sadly enough, it’s the loud toxic minority that sometimes gives communities a bad reputation. And people tend to generalize… So yeah, I think I made my point clear here.

So, that are a few theories I have. I wonder how you guys think about them. Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on my theories. But please, keep it civil. I’m open to discussion, but I’m not open to flame wars.

Wrapping up

So, should we force people to play games? Well, no. We should ask them why they don’t like games and invite them to give games a chance. I accepted that members of my family don’t enjoy playing games. I don’t enjoy reading that much while my mom loves to read a lot of books.

Before I forget, this whole article has been inspired by the quote of my mother I used in the introduction of my article. So, thank you, mom, for this great idea! I hope you had a great mothers day today!

Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this 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: Ama’s Lullaby (PC) ~ Explore and Hack

AmasLullaby_Art_6.jpgKickstarter Page

Today I want to talk about a game that has still a Kickstarter running. The name of the game is Ama’s Lullaby and I have to thank the developer for notifying me about it since this game shows some great promise. This game is an adventure and puzzle game. But, enough stalling, let’s take a look at the currently released material. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article. 

 

What is this game?

AmasLullaby_Art_2.jpgAma’s Lullaby is a point-and-click adventure game taking place in a cyberpunk environment. In the shoes of Ama, a high potential teenager, you will explore an off-world colony created by machines. By using her laptop’s command-line based system you will be able to hack any network of the city. But every action will have consequences, and Ama will become an easy prey once her identity is unveiled.

That’s the 50-word description the developer gives. As a student in network engineering and a big fan of adventure games, this premise interests me a whole lot. I’m going to be honest, right away. I wish there was a demo of this game already. I want this game in my life, like right now.

From what I have seen in the trailer footage, this game has quite interesting gameplay. But I’m going more in-depth in the next section of my article.

My thoughts

7e97c0d6c91d53a54faee47ddaea309c_original.jpgThe game features very pretty pre-rendered environments. That was something that caught me off guard when I saw the teasers. If this is the alpha stage of the game, consider me hyped. This game is going to look amazing if it has the quality from the teasers throughout the game.

What amazes me more, is that this game is a one-man project. I have a lot of respect for people who create their own games and use mostly or all original assets and content. Speaking from own experience, it’s not easy to create a game from scratch. It requires a lot of work and a lot of dedication.

I admire the honesty of the creator on the Kickstarter. He tells the whole story of the development of the game. He admits trying to get this game from the ground once in the past, but he didn’t succeed. Admitting failure isn’t always easy to do, but the professional way he does it is worth its weight in gold.

In any case, let’s talk about the game again. Something that looks really interesting is the hacking mechanic. In this game, you can also get hacked. And that’s something that made me smile. That mechanic is going to make the game for me. Since it adds that dash of realism to the game that I miss in the hacking mini-games I played in the past.

This game is going to have dialogue trees. This is something I expect more in a RPG-game. But, it might give some interesting puzzles in this game. There are also going to be fight scenes. Here is me hoping that the game doesn’t rely on QTE (quick time events) for the battles.

The game draws its inspiration from Bladerunner in a way. Fun fact, the game is going to be released in 2019. That’s the year the movie was set in too, in a similar ship. Also, taking inspiration from any movie with my favorite actor Harrison Ford is a plus in my book.

Kickstarter

So, at the moment of writing, the game’s Kickstarter is still running. In 12 days, the Kickstarter will be closed. So, if you are interested in seeing this game before everybody else OR supporting this game, go to the Kickstarter page right now!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1005143815/amas-lullaby-a-point-and-click-game-in-a-cyberpunk

 There are also a lot of updates written by the developer and more video’s to see the progress of the game. So, go and have a look to that! I’m keeping an eye on the game as well. Since this game looks really interesting. I can’t wait to see where this game goes. If there is interesting news, I’ll tweet it out! Here are the links to their social media:

Facebook & Twitter

If you still have any questions about the game, go to their social media and ask a question. The developer will reply to your question.

To wrap this article up, I think I have to say in conclusion that this game has a lot of potential. Since it’s a point-&-click adventure game. And those aren’t made often. I can’t wait to see more of this game. Since what I have seen so far, is really good. All the concept art and trailers are getting me hyped!

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing this article. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article, but until then; take care and have a great rest of your day!

NekoJonez’s February 2017 update

2012-06-08-11-25-36So, this week I have some updates to share. At the time of writing, I have a serious cold. So, that means that this update article will be a bit shorter as usual. In any case, I have a few updates and thoughts to share with you guys. Oh, and I want to thank Sparta for being such a great companion during me being sick. Ah, the joy of pets. But, I’m rambling. So, let’s talk about the updates for this first update article of 2017. Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion in the comment section down below!

Out-Of-Town

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So, if you follow me on Twitter… you might know I have a schedule planned for this blog until April – May. So far, I haven’t changed a thing. Until this week, because some things will change my whole schedule.

This is because I have been sick the past few days and I want to talk about a game that wasn’t on my schedule.

I have said this on my Twitter, I will be out-of-town next weekend. So, I might not be able to write an article next weekend. But I’m considering two things. First thing is that I try to finish an article in the week before I go out-of-town or I write an article on my day off, the 6th of March. Oh, and if I write an article on the 6th… Don’t worry, I’ll still write an article on the 11th or 12th of March. For those who wonder, I’ll be on a trip with my acting group. I’m actually looking forward to it!

Also, in March, I’ll write another preview article about a game that hasn’t come out yet. I took a look at the trailer and the press kit and I’m really happy that the developer contacted me! But, you will have to wait until March to find out what it’s about.

The Nintendo Switch

switch.jpgI might be a pretty big Nintendo-fan, but I haven’t pre-ordered the Nintendo Switch. And that’s because one reason. That’s the price. Honestly, I can’t fit it in my budget currently.

And a second reason is that no game I’m interested in is currently coming out exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

Does this mean that I will never buy a Nintendo Switch, heck no! I’m really interested in the console. I think I’m mostly waiting until they release something interesting or how the release goes. I just hope for Nintendo that this release goes well. Since the project has so much potential in my eyes.

What will 2017 bring?

So, what will 2017 also bring? Well, I promised that I’ll write an article about various games I want to talk about but I haven’t talked about yet for some reason. So, here is a list of games that are in my mind and I think about writing about in 2017.

Mini Metro (Android), Fairune 1 & 2 (3DS – eShop), The Legend Of Zelda – A Link To The Past (SNES), Bioshock 2 (PC), Ace Attorney (DS – The ones I haven’t reviewed), Lufia (SNES), God Of Thunder (PC), Lego City Undercover (Wii U), Tomb Raider II (PC) and various others I won’t reveal yet.

I have also a few “gamer’s thoughts” articles in the works that are done with the research phase. I’m not going to reveal the subjects, but I have toyed with them in my mind for some time now.

Misc. updates

So, what is keeping me busy outside my full-time job and my blog? Well, let me tell you. First of all, I still have to do 5 classes before I have my degree in computer science. If all goes well, I’ll finish 2 of them this semester!

In late April, I’ll be on stage again. It’s quite possible that I take a break in the 2nd half of April. But, I’ll update you guys and girls on Twitter if I won’t be able to write an article. Otherwise, I’ll write an article in those weeks.

I’ll be playing one of the lead roles in a play. I’m quite excited for that. It’s my 4th time in a play and I can’t wait honestly. The rehearsals are so much fun.

So, I said this on Twitter… but I want to say it here as well. Because various articles of mine get shared so often, I think it’s only fair that I share more often what I read. So, when I come across an interesting article, you’ll see it on my Twitter feed! Another reason to follow me on Twitter.

In any case, that’s everything I wanted to say this week. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this. I’m sorry if this is at the short side. I’m still a bit sick, so I can’t focus long enough to write a full length article. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!

First Impression: Tomb Raider 5 – Chronicles (PC) ~ Is Lara dead?

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Wikipedia entry

If my nickname doesn’t give it away, I’m quite a big fan of Indiana Jones. When I played Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, I wanted to play more games where I raid tombs and have large adventures. It didn’t take long for me to find a cheap copy of Tomb Raider 5 and install it. And, I wasn’t good at playing this game as a kid. I barely survived the first level. Yes, shame on me. But several years later, I decided to put the game in my Windows98 machine again. And I have to say, my feelings towards the game changed. But I’ll go more in-depth about that in my article. Nowadays, I’m a big Tomb Raider fan and I keep up-to-date with the latest releases. So, is this game any fun and good to play. Let’s take a look at it! And as usual, feel free to write a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the article in the comment section down below.

Let’s tell stories

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Usually, each Tomb Raider game has an overarching story. You go searching for a treasure and visit a ton of interesting locations. But in this game opens right after, what appears to be, the funeral of Lara Croft. Winston, her butler, and two of his friends recollect and tell stories of her adventures. Now, you might have guessed this, but the stories are the levels you play.

This is a very interesting way of telling the plot of this game. Since you go on little side adventures that might never get a full game. It almost feels like the developers had so many ideas for this game, they threw it all together in one nice flowing narrative.

The voice acting in this game is really excellent. As a kid, I was convinced that the characters were real. The voice acting is that good in my opinion.

While I know that the technology and animation were very limited back then, but the mouth animations weren’t that good in this game. Games like Half-Life and Deus Ex had better mouth animations. This might look like a detail that I’m talking about, yet there were moments that it distracted me from the game.

Less ropes!

tomb-raider-5-screen-2 Something I truly didn’t like in Tomb Raider 4 was the parts with the ropes. Thank god, this is way less present in this game. But, let’s focus on the gameplay of this game. In this game, you explore 13 levels filled to the brim with puzzles of the solving and jumping variety.

All levels are quite lengthy, apart from one…. and that one was quite difficult to finish in my eyes. Something I truly liked in this game is all the differences between the levels. You play through 4 different adventures and each adventure has its own gimmick. Like the levels I’m currently at, you play as a young Lara. So, she doesn’t have any guns.

Visually, this game looks dated. But, it looked dated in some places back then. But, if I compare games from that time period to this game, the reason why this game looks so dated are the character models. If there is anything that could have been improved back then were the character models.

But hey, the setting of the game and animation look all quite nice, apart from the mouth animation that is. Also, if you think that this game looks ugly, well… if it would be released today, it would. But, it doesn’t look ugly in my opinion. Even nowadays.

This game can be quite challenging. I have to admit, I have used a guide in some places to finish the level. If you play this game, I highly recommend that you save often. You will thank me for that.

If you look at a let’s play of this game, you might think that this game is quite difficult with all the jumping. But take it from me, an amateur when it comes to jumping puzzles, it’s possible and it’s so rewarding when you get a jump from the first try!

Pew pew pew

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As a kid, I always dreaded the rope sections in this game. Walking on the tightrope is a new ability of Lara Croft in this game. But, somehow my kid brain wasn’t able to beat the rope. I was so happy when I crossed it successfully. But when I played through this game as an adult, I have no problem with it.

The controls are almost always very responsive. I had a few times that Lara didn’t grab a ledge or didn’t jump in time. Perhaps, I didn’t press the right buttons in time.

Something that made me replay the levels I had finished are the secrets in this game. In this title, various golden roses are hidden throughout the levels. The sound that plays when you find a secret is as addictive as the sound of Link finding a new item.

Speaking of sounds, the sound design and the soundtrack of this game is excellent. I felt rewarded when I got a music cue or some music. Actually, that’s something this game lacked as well. There wasn’t enough music in this title. I can understand that this is done to build the atmosphere of the game, but I personally would be happy with a bit more music. The whole soundtrack is about 25 minutes long. And that’s quite short for an adventure game like this.

So, the sound design of this game is pretty well done. Like I said earlier, the voice acting is very well done. Also, there isn’t one sound effect I would have changed or that would improve the game. I played this game using a headset and thanks to the sound design, I was really pulled into the game.

If I was allowed to change one thing, that is the loading of save points right after death. It’s so annoying that the main menu first has to load and right after that, the default option is “new game”. I can’t count on one hand how many times I have started a new game when I wanted to load a game. Yet, I wish I was able to change two things. The second thing would be the autorun feature. It’s broken. It autoruns the game yet you are unable to save your game. That’s an annoying bug!

Also, I have to praise the game for something. The optional tutorial section is such a great idea. At the start of the first level, you can go straight ahead or to the left in a building. If you go to the left, the basic controls are explained in a quite safe area. If you go straight ahead, you continue on with the level. If my mind severs me correctly, there are no secrets hidden in the tutorial area. Yet, there are various useful items hidden there. So, I advice you all to go and explore there.

That is everything I wanted to say about this game for now. I have some other things I want to talk about with this game but I’m leaving those for the review. So, it’s time to wrap this article up. Thank you for reading this article. 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 then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

My TOP 10 games of 2016 – Part 1: 10 – 6

2016.jpgJust wow, 2016 flew by so fast. I barely noticed that December started. So, it’s time to look back on a great year in my life. 2016 was something else. Both on my blog and in my personal life, a lot of things happened that will make 2016 extremely special to me. In my opinion, it’s one of the best years I had so far. So, this week I want to take a look at the bottom 5 games of my top 10 games  I played this year. Oh, one major footnote here. These games are games I started this year. If I started or played a game in another year, it’s not on my list. Also, since I play a lot of retro games, the games on this list didn’t have to be released in 2016! In any case, enough stalling with this intro. It’s time to take a look at a difficult to make top 10!

 #10: Ratchet And Clank (PS2)

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First impression article

Past summer, I took two weeks off from work and I was home alone. In those two weeks; I chilled, updated my blog, worked on some personal things, watched some anime, spent some time with friends and family and above all… I played a lot of games.

My goal was mostly to play the games I had bought in the last years at garage sales but never really gave a chance. One of the best titles I played in that summer was Ratchet and Clank.

This game is a platformer, but honestly, I don’t really like platformers all that much. So, it’s double surprising to me I enjoyed it that much. I haven’t finished the game just yet, but I’m planning to do that in the near future! Also, I heard a lot of good things about the sequels of this game, so I’m looking forward to playing those. Now, I have to look for a copy of the second game in the original trilogy since I don’t own that one. So, I can’t wait to continue to play this enjoyable and charming game.

 #9: Lego City Undercover (Wii U)

lego_city_undercover10Article on the 3DS sequel

Back in 2013, I watched a let’s play of this game. I watched it from the first episode to the last episode. I enjoyed it that much that I decided to go and buy the game… Three years later. The main reason that I delayed my purchase was because I knew all the plot details and I thought that I wouldn’t have as much fun with the game when I bought it. So, three years later, I see the game at my local game shop for 10€ and I thought to myself, why not.

So, when I returned home, I started playing this game and honestly, I enjoyed myself a whole lot. Thanks to the open nature of this game, I can explore and play the game how I want. And I discover new things and have a unique experience.

I’m halfway through the game and I dare to say that this is one of my most favorite Lego games I have ever played. The humor and charm of this game are just so well made, I have a tough time putting this game down. Here and there I play for a few minutes and those quickly turn into a play session of two or three hours. So, yeah. Oh, and during the play sessions of this game, various memories come back of me watching the playthrough. This game is so worth it to play it!

 #8: Rise Of The Tomb Raider (PC)

2000900263Link to my review of this game

So, this year a sequel came out of the reboot of the Tomb Raider games. The Tomb Raider franchise is one of my favorite franchises ever made. Since they are an amazing adventure and exploration games. I love exploring caves and having a big kick-ass adventure. It’s one of the reasons why I’m thinking about upgrading my video card.

But this game has personal meaning for me too. I reviewed this game to celebrate my 3rd year of blogging on this blog and my 6th year of blogging.

If you want to know my thoughts about this game, I recommend that you read my review of it. Since I go more in depth on this game in that article.

But this game is one kickass ride and I can’t wait until my desktop is fixed later this month so I can start playing the DLC and finish up this game. But seriously, this game is one of the most kickass games I have played all year. It’s only surpassed by one…

 #7: Mirror’s Edge – Catalyst (PC)

mirrors-edge-catalyst-pc-pc-boxTalking about the original

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is one of the first games that nearly flew under my radar. If I didn’t check the pre-order list in one of my local game stores, I might have missed the release of this game completely.

Now, if you know me, I’m very bad at parkour. So, now you might wonder why I play Mirror’s Edge and it’s sequel. Well, that’s quite simple actually, the gameplay is just amazing.

I have gotten quite far into this game, but then the problems with my desktop started happening. Sadly enough, when your PC shuts down and you haven’t saved in this game, your save file corrupts and you have to start over from the beginning. So, yeah. When I get my fixed desktop back, I’ll surely start playing this game again.

Playing this game gave me a liberating feeling. I started improving my parkour skills and I started to miss fewer jumps. Even outside this game, I started improving in the parkour sections. After I played this game for over 10 hours, I was convinced. This kick-ass game had to get a spot in my top 10 games I played in 2016! So, that’s why it’s here. It’s just a very enjoyable game in my opinion and it gets a recommendation from me!

#6: Rayman Legends (Wii U)

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Link to the review

Each year, we do a secret Santa in my family. This game was on my wishlist. Honestly, I had hoped that I got one of the other games on my wishlist. Since this game didn’t interest me that much.

But, when I got it as a New Years present, I was happy and thankful that I got it. But, the moment I started playing it with my friends, then… my whole opinion changed.

The game started to grow on me. The charm, the visuals, the gameplay, the excellent use of the gamepad and the soundtrack are just a few things that make this game great. Honestly, I think that this version of the game is one of the best to play with friends. Since you have two playstyles that perfectly complement each other.

The most fun with this game, I had on my trip to Germany this year. The countless soccer matches we had, the adventure through the whole game, the music levels and so much more. The memories with this game are going to stay with me for a while! So, playing this game is truly worth it!

The end of part 1

Oh yes, the top 5 games I played in 2016 is even harder for me to make. But, you will have to wait until next week in order to find out which ones I think were the best games I have played in this year.

I’m so disappointed that 2016 is nearly at an end. Since this year wasn’t only filled with great games and amazing things for my blog, it was also filled with a lot of amazing personal things. Just scroll through my Twitter feed and you will see why.

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

 The rest of the list can be found here

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

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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!

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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?

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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!

NekoJonez’s October 2016 update

SpartaSo, quite a lot is happening lately. And I honestly think it’s time to update you guys and girls. Since there are a few things I want to talk about on my blog but don’t really fit into a gaming article. We are nearing the final moments of 2016 and I have to say, time really flies. While we have two and a half months to go, this year has been quite an adventure. A lot has happened that made my life more exciting. So, be ready for an update with a lot of good and some bad news. And at the end of the article, I’ll reveal what game I’ll be writing about next week! So stay tuned.

My desktop issues

Warning: this part of the article can be a bit PC tech-heavy. I’ll indicate when I stop talking IT. Since, give or take, ten days ago, my desktop started to act up. I was playing Bioshock Infinite again, and suddenly my screen goes black and when I look towards my desktop, I noticed that it had shut down. After a few seconds, it reboots. My desktop can easily handle Bioshock Infinite on very high settings. Since my rig is better than the recommend specs for the game. So, since that crash, my sound jacks refuse to play sound.

I have reinstalled drivers from the official website and the CD that came with my motherboard, and nothing helps. To make things even stranger, when I connect a HDMI cable on my graphics card, the speakers of my monitor are able to play the sound. So, I honestly think that my sound chip on my motherboard hasn’t died since it can pass sound to my graphics card and so to my monitor. But when I try to record the sound of my speakers with using Stereo Mix, Audacity can’t pick up any sound. At all. So, I’m totally confused.

Since the reboot of my PC was caused by my graphics card. So, how can it cause the sound chip to misbehave? Also, I have reinstalled Windows and checked the cables on my motherboard and checked my motherboard for damage; I can’t find the cause. Thankfully, there are very cheap fixes for this issue. There are USB-sticks that can act as a sort of external sound card. I bought one for 20€ and I got the same sound quality as I got from my chip on my motherboard.

But that wasn’t the end of my problems. So, for some reason, games I was able to run flawlessly like Rise Of The Tomb Raider, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and Bioshock Infinite now shuts down my PC after a few minutes (most of the time less than 5 minutes) of gameplay and then reboot it. And to make things even stranger, when I play older games, I have no issue at all. But hey, I’m trying to look for a solution. So, I can play new PC games again, so I can talk about them on my blog. I hope I find a fix soon, without having to buy new parts. End technical talking.

So, the TL;DR, ten days ago: Bioshock Infinite crashed my whole PC. A game I’m supposed to be able to run on ultra settings. After it has rebooted, my sound chip started to act up to the point of me buying a USB external soundcard to have sound and mic stuff again. But, now I have a problem with high demanding games. I was able to play them, but now after less than 5 minutes of gameplay, my PC shuts down and reboots.

The reason why I talk about this is if you read this and you have an idea what could be the cause, feel free to get in touch with me. I would love to hear possible solutions I can try. Thanks in advance!

So, what will the rest of 2016 bring?

So, this last week was a special week for me. I won’t go into details on my blog here but the people who know me personally know what I’m talking about. To make a long story short: besides writing, blogging and gaming, I have another hobby. And that is being a part of a theater group. We wrote a play ourselves, and beyond all expectations of everybody, it was very successful. So, we got the opportunity to play it for schools. This was a very interesting experience. Sadly enough, we performed the play for the last time yesterday. Anyways, enough about that. I want to focus now on what 2016 will still bring for my blog.

Now, my schedule is still pretty filled up with activities and evening classes & work. I honestly hope that I don’t need to cancel too many articles.

While I have to admit that I have been playing games I have already reviewed and talked about in the past couple weeks, I have also played games I’m going to review in the next couple of weeks. In the past few weeks, I have also been playing games I have started and still need to finish.

Also, I have received a few interesting e-mails in my inbox that can possibly turn into articles. I’m really sorry to the people who mailed me in the last two months for the late replies but I had a very busy schedule.

So, what have I planned for 2016? Well, I have been thinking about some console and handheld games I still have to review and talk about on my blog. I have been considering to use the rest of 2016 to write about games I have played in the past but I haven’t reviewed yet. Or to talk about a game from a series I haven’t talked about yet. Like last week’s article. I have talked about so many Zelda games, but one of the most important Zelda games to me, I haven’t talked about yet. But, I fixed that last week with talking about the Phantom Hourglass game.

Before I close off, I want to reveal the game I’ll write about next week. And that’ll be a first impression article about Paper Mario Color Splash. And I have the game for the week after that also in my mind. So, I’m working on two articles at the moment. So, stay tuned for that!

In any case, I think I said everything I said everything I wanted to say in this update blog. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this. If you know anything that might help me fix my desktop, feel free to leave a comment/tweet me or mail me. I also hope you are interested in next week’s article. Until I may welcome you in another article on my blog but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

Game Review: Mad Max

Some of you may be familiar with Mad Max, but some of you won’t. So what is Mad Max? In one word: glorious.Image result for mad max

I mean that in the truest sense of the word. It feels out of this world. At first glance, one might think it’s they are over-the-top movies, but they’re much, much more than that.

Everything in this world feels painfully real. The suffering, the tragedies, the characters, the wasteland, … The films have a very distinct style that has influenced pop culture more than you might think: it launched Mel Gibson’s career, the raiders in Fallout are heavily inspired by those in Mad Max and it spawned countless rip-offs by Italian and Turkish directors, as well as American ones. I feel like I need to discuss the films briefly before getting to the game. After all, that is what inspired its creators to make the game.

The great thing about the Mad Max films – and the game – is that they all feel different. The first film was very grounded in reality and quite slow-paced, though that is not a bad thing. The second film, The Road Warrior, was generally considered to be the best one. It established the character as he is still known and loved. He’s deeply flawed and haunted by his past, but that makes him feel very real. The third film, Beyond Thunderdome, has its problems; most of them caused by Hollywood mingling. And then there’re last year’s Fury Road, now regarded as the best of all four films. Tom Hardy plays Mad Max, not Mel Gibson, and his performance is excellent.

Now Max is a bit of a difficult character to talk about, because he is both simple and complex at the same time. He’s simple, because most of his actions throughout the films and game are selfish. Even helping people is often because it makes things more convenient for him, but at the same time he won’t harm the innocent. He doesn’t really care about who lives or dies, as this is a harsh world and survival is key, but he won’t just kill anyone for the sake of killing or just for fun. It is a very hard thing to explain. It’s almost instinctive. You just understand him on an emotional level, not an intellectual one. You just know if something is in-character for him to do or not, but you can’t really explain why. I say this, because there’s something I want to discuss at the end of this article after the SPOILERS warning.

Now onto the game! I’m not exactly sure when the game is set in the timeline, but it feels like it takes place right before the events of the fourth film: Fury Road. But, like with the entire Mad Max saga, the exact time has never been important. You start off the game losing the famous Interceptor, the car Max drives, and battling Lord Scrotus. You put a chainsaw through his skull, but he survives and throws you off a fast moving truck. You then set out on a very simple quest: get your car back and kill Lord Scrotus. This is very much in theme with the films, where the story is often quite simple and just a structure for strong characters.

And strong characters is what this game has. The portrayal of Max is pretty much spot-on (except for a little thing that bugs me in the ending). You find a hunchback named Chumbucket who is a car nut and believes you are some sort of Saint sent by the Angel to clear the wasteland. He offers you a car that you can upgrade and change the appearance of during the game. He is a fantastic character, obsessed with cars and fixing cars and thinking you’re some sort of deity. And of course, Max goes along with it, because it helps him. Where in other games having a companion around can be frustrating, Chumbucket is nothing but helpful. He brings you the car when you signal him with a flare gun, fixes the car when it’s damaged and most of his dialogue is really entertaining.

Visually, the game encapsulates the look and feel of the films very well. It’s a gorgeous game with a wonderful art style. The graphics won’t blow you away, but it’s not trying to either. It’s aiming for aesthetics rather the latest and greatest in graphical settings.

The story is very simple, as I mentioned before. There isn’t that much to talk about here, other than that it’s very much in theme with the films. The end goal is to get your car back and kill Lord Scrotus, but it can take you a while to get there. You can choose to just follow the main quests and do the bare minimum to unlock new upgrades for your car, so you can continue with the missions, but that will make the game a lot more difficult. Still, you’ll probably have to put in twelve to fifteen hours to beat this game in a hurry.

As a sort of side story, you can try to loosen the grip that Lord Scrotus has on the different regions by doing certain mini missions. You can clear out camps, destroy their totems and sniping towers, clear minefields, et cetera. Lowering the threat levels in regions unlocks more upgrades for Max and his car. This is where the game really shines in my eyes, as it makes the gameplay more varied. Clearing the camps requires more combat, destroying the totems and sniping towers is mostly done from inside the car and you need a special buggy that can carry the mine-sniffing dog to clear out minefields. Some camps have difficult bosses or certain things you have to destroy. Having done almost everything there is to do in this game, I racked up a very respectable 54 hours in this game. Not bad at all for having paid less than €15 for it in a Steam sale.

There aren’t a whole lot of negative to this game, I feel. The driving controls could’ve been tighter, but most of the time they’re just fine. Two locations in the game are locked off after the mission is over, which means that if you didn’t pick up the collectables or scrap, they’ll be lost forever. This is odd, since none of the other locations become inaccessible. Lastly (and I’ll get into more detail in a bit) there’s one thing that happens right at the end that I feel is out of character for Max, which makes the ending a bit less enjoyable for me.

So overall I highly recommend it if you like the Mad Max films, but even as a general gamer, it’s a very fun game. The combat is fun, modding the car gives you lots of options and the characters are very enjoyable. The highest praise I could possibly give it is that if  I were to rank this game alongside the films, the order would be (from best to “worst”): Fury Road – THIS GAME – Road Warrior – Original Mad Max – Beyond Thunderdome. So yeah, very close second 🙂

 

 

–SPOILERS FOR THE END OF THE GAME BELOW–

 

 

This is what happens at the end of the game that bothers me a bit. After the final boss battle, we see the truck that Lord Scrotus is driving close to the edge of a cliff. Max decides to ram it with his car and Chumbucket, still believing the car is the sacred tool, sent by the Angel to be used by you, doesn’t want you to destroy it. While charging at the truck, he climbs on the bonnet of the car, trying to convince you to stop. Max tells him to jump of and Chumbucket says he’s willing to die with the car. Max then proceeds to jump out of the car, right before it hits the truck and both vehicles fall off the cliff. I know Max is a character who will do pretty much anything to achieve his goal, but I feel like killing Chumbucket was very much out of character. Max doesn’t hurt people, unless he feels it’s absolutely necessary and I feel like killing Chumbucket was not. You may disagree with that, but it’s how I feel about it.

First Impressions: RollerCoaster Tycoon (PC) ~ Build Those Parks

RCT 1 (1)Link to Wikipedia entry

So, lately I have been playing Rollercoaster Tycoon on my old Windows 98 machine. This was one of the games I played as a kid over and over again. I couldn’t get enough of it. I remember that I didn’t have the patched version and I didn’t have the expansion packs. So, I didn’t get all the content and I got one nasty bug. I was unable to load save files. And to make matters worse, my sister and I were only allowed a limited time on the computer. We always asked our parents to not shut down our computer so the scenario was able to finish. Meanwhile we were hoping that nothing happened so we wouldn’t lose the scenario. Because everything can happen. While I was playing the game the other day, I was so close in winning a scenario… When just before the deadline, one of the most reliable and oldest rollercoasters crashes and I lose the scenario. Anyways, enough stalling. It’s time to take a look at this game. But for this article, I will take a look at the whole package. So, the two added expansion packs and patches are installed. “Loopy Landscapes” and “Added Attractions Pack”. As per usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this game and/or the content of this article.

Build, build and build some more

RCT 1 (3)So, in this game, there isn’t a story to speak off. Well, some missions provide some minor backstory to the park you are going to play. But it doesn’t go very in depth about it. This game is about building parks. You have to build the attractions, roads, stalls, manage staff and prices and etc.

In the original game, there were 20 missions. But, if you install the expansion packs, you more than double the amount of missions. Surprisingly, both expansion packs add a lot of content. Here in Europe, the first expansion pack is called: “Added Attractions Pack”. In the USA, you will know this game as: “Corkscrew Follies”. Which is a way better name in my opinion, since it doesn’t mislead the player. Since the “Added Attractions Pack” adds more then attractions alone.

In any case, each mission is more difficult than the last. I have currently finished 4 missions and I liked them. The first park is a nice small park to get used to the mechanics and the last park was a tiny beach side park I had to build. So far, each mission brings something unique to the table. I wonder how far they took this, since I fear that this might end up in similar ideas with different skins.

This game was originally released in 2000. Sixteen years later, this game still looks wonderful. It aged pretty well. The attractions looks colorful and bright. The only thing I would have changed is that some guests had a more female look.

When you aren’t happy with the colors of the attractions, you can choose from a pretty wide color pallet. Want to paint the supports white? Well, you can. And the best part is, it changes in real time. And you can change the color of almost everything. When you get the color drop down, you can make it the color at your heart’s content.

The animation in this game is top-notch. It makes the game come truly alive. The walking animation of the guests are really adorable in my opinion. The visual presentation and the animation of the rides and guests of your park give a certain charm to the game.

Learn on your own

RCT 1 (1)While the missions have a set goal to reach like for example, have a rating of X and X amount of guests in your park before the end of month X. And then it’s up to you. This makes the replay value of this game extremely high. I’m quite sure, that no two parks are exactly the same. Every playthrough is different.

Here and there, there is some down time. When you are bored in the game. Mind you, that happened quite rarely with me. You can click the balloons the guests let fly to pop them or click the ducks to make them quack. Lovely attention to detail.

 

The most important thing you will need to play this game is a mouse. Everything is done in the UI. I really like how simple everything is set-up. The UI is so well designed, that I can pick up this game every time and I don’t have to look where everything was. There are a few keyboard shortcuts, but honestly, I rarely use them.

Play how you want

 

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The game is can be unforgiving. When you fail your mission and you haven’t saved often, be ready to restart the whole mission. Some missions can take several hours to complete. A golden tip from me, save every few months. It will be easier when you need to roll back when you made a stupid mistake.

Something I really like is that even when your mission is finished, you are allowed to continue to play in the park.

I could talk for hours and hours about the gameplay of this game. Let’s just say that this game is pretty in-depth and has a lot of variety to offer. When you are bored with managing your staff, you can go build some attractions. Bored of managing the finances of your park, you can go and landscape your park. And so on and so forth.

But this game has a few problems in my opinion. The music is pretty nice to listen too, but I remember that when I played this game in the past without the expansion packs, I couldn’t let the rides play music. So, I ended up listing to my own music instead. The expansion packs added the feature to let any attraction pack a nice selection of music. Yet, some minor bugs stop me from enjoying it. When you let two rides play the same music, they play out of sync. And I had some music cut out on me when I just moved the attraction one pixel off screen.

Also, sometimes the game doesn’t save my settings or change them without asking me. Out of curiosity, I started up the tutorial and it changed the screen resolution. And I have to set the option: “Use real name of guests” each and every mission.

Oh, and there is not an easy way to go to the options from the main menu. You have to be in a mission before you are able to change any settings.

Something bugs me about the message to raise my entrance fee. When my entrance fee is already 30€, and some guests come only with 60€… Well, he spends more than half of his budget. Then, when I read the thoughts of my guests, I get complaints that rides and such are too expensive.

I also wished that there was a sign to stop my staff from entering an area. You have only a sign to stop from doing that.

Something I truly disliked was that, even when I put a security guard in the area; I still got broken benches.

In conclusion, I think that this is a very nice game is truly worth playing. I enjoy myself a lot while playing this game. It’s very well put together and challenging. There were a few things that could have been polished up a bit more. But the game we got is a real classic. This game is on Steam for 6€. It’s truly a steal for that price!

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about RollerCoaster Tycoon for now. When I ever finish all the missions or come close to it, I will write a review of the game.

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this article. I hope to be able to welcome you in the next article, but until then; have a great rest of your day and take care!

Gaming Nostalgia: Where is the skip button?

5562ecfd-2740-4c50-b148-64b882408fa0.jpgWe all have these moments in games we don’t like to play. Even when you are playing a great game, sometimes it can throw some very irritating or just badly designed areas. In this article, I’m going to talk about a few things that I wish I could skip or use a glitch to skip the section. But sadly, most of the times, I have to do it in order to progress in the game. Do you dislike the same things or do you like them? Feel free to let me know in the comments. You could also comment on the content of the article and/or things that irritate you and I haven’t mentioned. Oh, a while ago, I wrote a rant about 10 things that frustrated me, and don’t worry! In this article, I won’t repeat what I said in there. 

Rope Jumping Puzzles

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I love adventure games. I love exploring caves and finding treasures. That’s why the Tomb Raider and Zelda series are one of my most favorites series ever made.

But there is something that I wish that I could skip. And that are the jumps you need to make when swinging on a rope. In the Legend Of Zelda the Wind Waker, there is a section to get an important item you have to swing on some ropes. To make matters worse, it’s timed and if you fail, you need to restart the whole thing.

I seriously hate this section of the game. Since the ship also moves, so the ropes move too. This way I can’t always correctly judge the distance between the ropes. I was able to finish this section when I was lending this game from a friend after an hour of trying. Now, I’m at the same section in the Wind Waker HD and I’m currently trying for around a half hour.

But hey, the rope jumps in the old Tomb Raider games weren’t much better. I have heard some veteran Tomb Raider players complain about the pixel perfect rope swinging in the first five games. I have to agree from my own experience. Since the next rope isn’t always visible when you are swinging.

In the past, it was even worse. I wasn’t that good in jumping puzzles of any sort. But after I played games like Mirror’s Edge, I have improved quite a bit. But the rope swings still stay a problem. The weird thing is that when I’m playing a game like Indiana Jones and use the whip, I can swing just fine. In Tomb Raider Legend with the grappling hook, no problem. But dangle ropes in front of me and say I need to play Tarzan and swing from rope A to B… And I’ll be busy with that section for a while.

Jumps of faith & death trap.

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Ah, today I was stuck in a level in DooM II because I didn’t notice one jump of fate you had to do in order to progress in the level. It was in the Citadel level. But here is a fun story. I’m talking about the part where you need to get on a high spot in the citadel and jump over the border into the river, so you can go to the other side to a room that opens to a room with 5 teleporters. If you have played DooM II, I think you will know which part I’m talking about.

Well, I was able to glitch myself there. By running at the corner of the barrier and suddenly, I popped passed it and I was able to progress.

Delver is another game that does the same thing. In some cave levels, there is a certain level geometry where you need to do a jump in order to progress. Like DooM II, Delver doesn’t have a jump button, so you don’t think it’s possible in the first place.

But what annoys me the most are jumps of faith above a death trap. I don’t think I need to explain myself here.

I’m not finished talking about the death traps. In Delver, there are traps like a transporter and a poison trap. But you can’t see the difference between both. While this suits the game better, since it’s a roguelike dungeon crawler. But a small hint on the tile would be nice.

But in some games, like in Star Tropics on the NES, there are secrets that lead to instant death. I made me shut off the game twice since I lost a lot of progress. Since the game sets you back at the start of the area you were at.

Going back to DooM II, a nice example was at the same level I was talking about earlier. There is a barrier that goes down and you need to run passed it. But, when you mistime your run, you get stuck underneath it. Without a way to escape. Man, every time it killed me, I got more and more annoyed.

Wrapping up

Well, I think I’m going to wrap up this article right here. I was planning to talk about more annoying things in games, but I decided to keep those for a sequel to this article. It felt better to talk a bit more in-depth on why I get annoyed at those things.

Also, I have already talked about my biggest frustrations with the gaming market in the past. I have linked to that article at the start of this article.

Anyways, thank you for reading this article and I hope you like it as much as I liked writing this article. I’m looking forward to the comments on this article since I find it very interesting to talk about what is frustrating in games so we can suggest improvements for future games.

I hope to welcome you in another article on my blog, but until then… Have a great rest of your day! Game on and take care.