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!

Gamer’s Thoughts: Gaming Expos and Conventions

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

Sidenote: this isn’t a paid article.

What conventions did I go to?

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

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

Storytime with Jonez

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

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

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

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

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

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

Going to a convention or expo?

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

Don’t…

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

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

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

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

Do…

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

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

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

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

What items should you bring along with you?

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

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

What should you wear?

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

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

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

What are your favorite activities and exhibits?

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

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

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

Wrapping up

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

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

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

First Impression: The Legend Of Zelda – Breath Of The Wild (Wii U) ~ Hyping Hype

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Hype, hype and even more hype. That was the internet right before this game dropped onto store shelves. While many reviewers already finished the game, I’m only 10 hours into the game. But, I have played enough to talk about this game. While this game was in development, I tried to read as little press material as I can. To avoid spoiling myself. But I couldn’t avoid it, every social media I went to was full of the latest rumors and articles about this game. In any case, I picked up this game right after the launch weekend. During the launch weekend, I was out of town. For those who missed it, why I’m not playing this on the Nintendo Switch. Well, that’s because budget reasons and I’m waiting to buy the Switch until more games have been released on it. At the moment of writing this article, there are too few games being released on the Switch that I actually want to play. And because I already own a Wii U and the game has been released on the Wii U, why not.  Also, this article will be spoiler-free. Since, honestly, I haven’t finished the game myself. So, yeah. No worries about that. So, enough rambling… two weeks after the release of the game, it’s time to talk about my first impressions of this game. And as usual, feel free to leave your opinion on the game and/or the article in the comment section down below.

Stop that hype train?

 

When this game was announced, the hype train was real. Everybody and their dog were hyped for this game. An open world Zelda game that took inspiration from games like FallOut and Skyrim, what’s not to love. Well, To be really honest, I wasn’t hyped. I honestly was disappointed.  At first, I was afraid that Nintendo was making a Skyrim-clone in a Zelda coat of paint.

Maybe I’m unable to let go of the past, the at first, this game didn’t feel like a true Zelda game. In my eyes, a typical Zelda game was like the old-school Tomb Raider games. A linear adventure game with a big central world that you could explore. But after a few hours of playing this game, something started to click in me.

If you are skeptical of this game and you are afraid it changes way too much from the Zelda-formula; don’t worry too much. Since this game changes a lot of things but some changes are for the better. Something I truly love from this game is how you can do dungeons and quests out of order.

But, something that was truly lacking, a more alive overworld. Everything has been made more interesting in this game. But, I’ll talk more about that later in the article. Let’s take a quick look at the story first.

I was pleasantly surprised how this game is able to tell an interesting Zelda story. Especially since you can explore wherever and however you want. The story of this game has all your typical Zelda lore. The narrative is present wherever you go. You decide the pace of the story. When you want more story, you do the main quests. When you want to take a break from the story, you do side quests or explore.

Something I was both hyped and let down by is the voice acting. While the voice acting is very well done, I’m let down that it’s underused. It feels like every voice actor only had one or two sheets of papers with lines, and that was it. And so far I have seen, it’s all a monolog talking to Link. What a missed opportunity there. But, maybe I haven’t advanced far enough into the main story yet, but so far, I find that the voice acting is underused. But when it’s used, it’s amazing.

Run around

In the past, I stopped playing games like Skyrim because I was too overwhelmed by the skill and tech trees. Where was way too much to do in that game. But, in this game, you get a sort of tutorial in the first area. You get your first taste of the shrines, the world, the story, the gameplay and the controls. Right after you have beaten the first four shrines, you get the paraglider. And then, you can go out into the world and explore your heart’s content.

So, in this game, you play as Link. And in this title, he is equipped with a lot more abilities than before. You don’t have to wait to unlock the spin attack or something amongst those lines, Link can do them all from the word GO.

Honestly, I was able to learn the controls quite quickly in this game. The more advanced tricks were learned naturally or with a quick tutorial. The controls of this game are quite responsive and I rarely have trouble with them. Apart from some gyroscope puzzles in some shrines, I don’t have any issues with them. The only thing I always confuse are the buttons for your inventory and your map. I can’t count on one hand anymore how many times I have opened my map in the middle of a battle when I only wanted to change my weapon.

That reminds me, the combat in this game is almost perfect in my eyes. Apart from some weapons doing way too much damage, it’s quite alright. Something that frustrates be beyond believe as well is that some weapons do so much damage and when you pick them up, they are weaker then your current weapon. Annoying spears, ugh.

Time for nitpicking

 In general, I think this game is pretty great. While it’s not 100% Zelda in my eyes, it’s growing more and more in my heart every hour I spend on it. I start to notice the attention to detail the developers put into this game. To create a living and breathing world that every Zelda fan would feel home in.

Something that also helps are the gorgeous visuals and the amazing soundtrack. Seriously, the presentation of this game is perfect. But, it does come with a price. The frame rate isn’t always stable. In some cases, the game drops under 30fps. And one time, I almost had a game crash. While the game always quickly recovers itself, it’s a letdown. Maybe with patches in the future, this improves.

Oh, that reminds me. Something I wish is also improved in a patch is the loading times when you enter and exit a shrine. The loading time isn’t that long, but it breaks the immersion. If those loading times could be improved, I would be so thankful. Something like an unskippable animation like in the older 3D Zelda games would do just fine.

Speaking about loading times, I wish you had an option to have to press a button when you want to re-enter the game. I had more than once, that I was reading the tips and the game loaded and I was thrown right into the game. I wasn’t done reading those tips just yet.

While I have a lot more to say about this game, I think I’ll leave those things for the review when I have finished the game. But in conclusion, give this game a chance. Sure, this game has flaws and changes a lot of the traditional Zelda formula, but it presents the original Zelda formula with a lot of improvements. Veteran Zelda players will feel right at home and enjoy themselves with the setting and the story. Everything feels so alive and much more realistic. I recommend this game already, but I’m curious if the game holds up when I have beaten it. Like I told earlier, at first, I wasn’t a big fan of the concept of this game. But, it’s winning me over. The charm of this game, it’s something I didn’t know I was missing from my Zelda gaming life.

So, thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing this. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

The Blogger Recognition Award

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Three years ago, I got an award from Allaweh. In 2014, I got an award as well. Last year, I was put onto a list of the top 100 bloggers according to FeedSpot. And now I have been selected for a new award! I have been selected by GamersUnitedGG for the Blogger Recognition Award. So, thank you! Go check GamersUnitedGG out. So, give them some love! 

A word of thanks

It might sound like a cliché, something that every blogger or content creator will say. Thank you for the recognition. Thank you for all of this. I seriously mean it. Remember, I write this blog as a hobby of mine. I spend a lot of time researching and playing games so I can write about them on my blog.

You get a special kind of amazing feeling when you get selected for an award from a fellow content creator. Since, in my opinion, those are one of the pickiest audiences out there. They always have things you could improve amongst other things.

But that’s beside the point, now it’s my time to shine a bit. So, yeah.

Here are the award rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

How did my blog start?

I’m quite sure I explained this story several times before. But hey, it doesn’t hurt to tell it again.

As a kid, I always dreamt of making something to entertain people. Around summer 2010, I was surfing on the internet. That evening, I had a party to attend to. There were a lot of people, I hadn’t seen in years. And I had to tell the same story over and over again. When I got home, I got so tired of it and I decided to create a blog so I can share stories from my life without having to write essays on Facebook.

But, blogging got it hooks placed its hooks into me pretty fast. It didn’t take long before I decided to write game reviews amongst other things about games. I even got into an argument of some sorts with a TV-station. But that story, I have already told in an interview I did some time ago.  I have already told in an interview I did some time ago.

Due to some personal things, I had to remove my blog. According to my archives, I started that blog in July 2010 and I deleted May 2012. But I was never really able to let it go. So, after a break of a year, where I mostly created YouTube videos (that got deleted as well because they were too bad), I restarted writing. All thanks to the reboot of the Tomb Raider series!

My advice to (new) bloggers

Because I felt like it, I will give a bit more advice to new bloggers. This is what I think could help new bloggers out!

  1. Stay true to yourself. Seriously. Don’t force yourself to write or to create content. People will start to notice when the soul of your content leaves your content. Also, don’t always write about something because it’s a hot topic and other people are talking about it. Unless you want to do it professionally. Because you only get some temporary attention. For example, I’m a big Legend Of Zelda fan. It would be very easy for me to write about every new detail about the upcoming Zelda game. But, I would pull in a lot of Zelda fans that are only interested in the Zelda content… And I would betray myself since I avoid news about the content of upcoming games as much as I can since, spoilers man! And yes, when you don’t make it fun for yourself, I can guarantee you that you will burn out on blogging.
  2. Buy a notebook or a tablet. I have explained this before, but take notes and organize them well. I honestly choose a tablet since I can write notes on it pretty easily and I can take quick reference screenshots or make small reference videos. Those are synced to my Dropbox so I can use them for research or for writing the article.
  3. Develop a writing ritual. I always write an article in one go if I can. I always listen to the game soundtrack while reviewing or writing about a certain game. It helps me to stay in the atmosphere of the subject I want to write about. But, if you want to know more about my process for writing reviews and first impressions, you can read more here.
  4. Lay-out is so important! Seriously, I have given up on reading so many articles when it looks like one wall of text. Use images, a nice to read font and test if everything is enjoyable to read before you publish it.

Who deserves this award as well?

So, here we go, these bloggers deserve this award as well.

  1. Shinju Forest – I got to know you on Twitter, and I read your blog several times. Great stuff! Keep it up!
  2. the Well Red Mage – After I got interviewed by them, I kept coming back to their blog.
  3. PewPewCat – Okay, a gamer who loves cats as well? I’m sold! She started blogging on her own last year, so show her some support!
  4. LaterLevels – Just check them out, I think they are awesome!
  5. United We Game – There is a lot of great stuff on their blog! Check ’em out.
  6. Drakulus – I enjoy interacting with him. We both read each other’s articles and I think that’s amazing.
  7. The Otaku Judge – Thank you for reading my blog mate! Your blog is a nice read as well!
  8. Hundstrasse – An interesting blog that takes a look at new and retro games.
  9. Killer Robotics – As a student in applied computer science, I get very interested in people building robots. I’m quite jealous since I wish I could build them, but I’m too clumsy to make one. But, I love his tech and game content the most.
  10. I love Old Games! – I do love reading about oldschool retro games! So, this blog is awesome in my book.
  11. Takuto’s Anime Cafe – As you guys know, to relax, I watch anime. And this blog is one of the best anime blogs out there. I love the layout of his articles.
  12. ButtonSmashers – Hi mates! How are you guys doing?

While I know that the rules say that I need to nominate 15 bloggers, but at the moment of writing, I’m not following many other blogs. In any case, I’ll notify everybody of their award. Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to welcome you in another article on my blog, but until then… have a great rest of your day and take care!

NekoJonez is interviewed.

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So, hello there. Thank you for dropping by this week on my blog. Usually, I try to write an article each week, but this week I have something special for you guys and girls.

The Red Mage has interviewed me in his Blogger Interview series. So, I’m writing this small post to link you guys and girls to the article. Also, because I want to promote him, I’m not going to reblog and/or post the article on my blog. So, if you want to read it, you will have to click on this link:

Link to the interview

In any case, next week will be the first article in a two-parter! But I’m going off topic. Go to the Red Mage blog and read the interview and let us know what you think about it! Also, show the Red Mage some support since I would love it that his blog grows!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this 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!

Gaming Nostalgia: Thank you WiFi!

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Luma website

A while ago, I learned about Luma and how this system can help boost your wifi. Oh, to avoid confusion, this isn’t a sponsered post! Not one bit! So today, I’m going to talk about some games that got enhanced thanks to WiFi. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this article in the comment section down below.

What is Luma WiFi?

So, why should you bother to buy Luma WiFi? And what is it in the first place? Well, it’s a router that provides WiFi. And it’s a device that creates a mesh WiFi network for your home.But thanks to the mobile app, you get a lot more control. I love these features:

  • You can prioritize devices. So, you can give more bandwidth to certain devices than others.
  • There is a mobile app that has an easy to understand interface.
  • You can customize internet access for devices. For example, you can block R-rated sites for devices that children use.
  • It has built-in malware and adware filtering!

So, why should you bother to buy Luma WiFi? And what is it in the first place? Well, it’s a it is a device that creates a mesh WiFi network for your home.

Thank you, WiFi

Dear WiFi,

I want to thank you for my times on Minecraft!

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I have reviewed this game in the past. So, I won’t go too in-depth on this game. But dear WiFi, do you remember all the times I opened a port on the router so my friends were able to connect with my server? All the adventure maps I played and all the vanilla maps I played on.

I have a lot of great memories of building cities with my friends, pranking each other and having great adventures. I wish I still had the screenshots of all those builds, but now they are memories. Some are in video form, buried in my YouTube archive.

but WiFi, buddy…

I want to thank you for my times on Age Of Mythology!

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What do you say? Why do I want to thank you for a single player game? Oh, silly WiFi! For the multiplayer features of course! The times I went online and played different gamemodes than your standard RTS-match were amazing.

I was surprised when I saw other people their creativity with the engine. But hey, I remember my intense matches I had online. I rarely won since I’m not that good in micro-manging my army. And that’s a big weakness to have while playing RTS games.

but WiFi, good old friend…

I want to thank you for my times on Super Mario Maker!

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As a child, I always wanted to make my own games and/or levels for games. I made some attempts to make my own casual games, but I never got far.

But then, Super Mario Maker got announced. I was really hyped. Since I know that when you give a toolbox to us gamers, we always find ways to use the toybox in creative ways that the developers didn’t expect to create to create something unique.

I played a lot of levels on Super Mario Maker! I also uploaded my own levels. Sadly enough, they aren’t online anymore. Otherwise, I would have linked them in this article for sure!

Throughout 2016, I have played so many different levels. From automatic scrolls to even small puzzle games made in Super Mario Maker. I’m quite curious what people are going to create when it comes to the 3DS in the near future.

but WiFi, let’s not forget about…

I want to thank you for all the Android games I discovered

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I could make a whole list of Android games I discovered since my phone and tablet are able to connect with WiFi. But, I’m just going to say this.

Lately, my opinion on tablets has changed. In the past, I was convinced that tablets were useless. Since you are able to do so much more with a laptop. But, now I know that it’s a handy tool to do some research for my blog while playing games or to watch some videos while I’m on the train. It’s also a handy planner. Yeah, I’m totally convinced about the usefulness of tablets now.

but WiFi, I almost forgot to…

I want to thank you for giving me access to Nintendo eShop

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So, WiFi, remember? I have written an article about why I thought that digital downloads can be harmful for our gaming market. Reading through my old article, I feel like I need to give it a follow-up where I go more indepth about my opinion and stance on digital downloads.

But, that’s for another time. So, WiFi, thanks for giving me access to the Nintendo eShop. Since it’s such a big hassle to connect my Wii (U) to my router with a cable, so I connect everything with WiFi.

I have downloaded so many great titles on my 3DS and Wii (U), I can’t count them all anymore. Games like Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, SteamWorld Dig, Mighty Switch Force, Ace Attorney 5 & 6 amongst many others.

And let’s not forget about the Virtual Console. I didn’t have any console while I was growing up. I only had my Nintendo Gameboy and a PC to play games on. So, I missed out on a lot of classics. Thankfully, with a lot of those classics being released on the Virtual Console, I can play them all. Some games I even own physically and on the Nintendo eShop. Games like Zelda – Oracle games, Lufia, Metroid, BallonFight, Super Mario RPG, Paper Mario and many other games.

So, thank you WiFi. For all the memories you helped me create. Let’s toast on our friendship and let’s continue our great friendship.

Final thoughts

So, I have to admit something here. While I know that working with a wired connection is in some cases the best route for online gaming, I have always played my games with a WiFi connection. I honestly find it very stable and I don’t want it any other way.

There are already too many cables to manage from my (retro) gaming consoles and my desktop so, I don’t want the additional wires for connecting my device to the world wide web.

So, I have to thank a lot to WiFi. But for this article, I tried to talk about things that you can most easily do or only do if you connect to a WiFi network. WiFi is so important nowadays, you can’t think it out of our daily lives. So, thank you, Luma for giving me this opportunity to write this article and when I need a new router, I’ll sure keep you guys in mind.

Thank you for reading and I hope you had as much fun reading this article as I had fun writing this one. 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!

Review: Kirby Epic Yarn (Wii) ~ Hiyaaah

Kirby Epic Yarn coverOfficial site

I have promised to review this game, so here I am. I really thought I had reviewed this game last year. But it turns out I was mistaken. In any case, let’s talk about Kirby Epic Yarn. The first game in the “Epic Yarn” series. I have beaten this game quite a while ago, so I have replayed a few levels to remind myself how the game played. So, I hope you are ready to dive into the wooly world of this game. I have played this game on the Wii and almost 100%’ed it. For those who are curious, why I called this game a part in a series is because two years ago, Nintendo released a spiritual successor to this game called Yoshi Wooly World. I haven’t played enough of that game in order to write about it. But hey, I’m getting off topic. Back to reviewing this Kirby game. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article.

Wool, wool and wool everywhere!

Kirby epic yarn 01In this game, Kirby is having a peaceful day in Dreamland, when suddenly; the fire nation attacks. Oh, sorry. Wrong game. I meant, an evil wool named Yin-Yarn wizard attacked.

After Kirby has eaten a tomato that was possessed by that Yin-Yarn, the evil wizard uses his interdimensional sock to transport Kirby to Patch Land where his adventure starts.

But Yin-Yarn wants to take over the world (of course!) and possesses Meta Knight and King Dedede. This way, Yin-Yarn tries to take over DreamLand, Kirby’s homeland. Surprisingly, there is a narrator in this game. Usually, in Kirby games, everything is told through text boxes. There is only one voice though. That’s the one of the narrator.

As is tradition in these kind of platformers, the story tacks a backseat during gameplay.  Apart from some cutscenes between sections, the story isn’t that present. While I prefer deep an interesting stories in my games, this was a welcome change of pace. It was relaxing to play a game with a light story and more focus on gameplay.

While this game supports a two player option, I haven’t played it much. So, I can’t review that mode. So, in this review I’ll only focus on the single player mode.

If you are looking for a traditional Kirby game, this game isn’t it. In this game, you can’t use Kirby’s copy ability. This game is centered on the wool mechanic. In some levels, Kirby can transform in various vehicles. But how that works, I’ll leave as a surprise if you still want to play the game.

Creative ripping

Kibry Epic Yarn 03This game is a platformer. Yet, in some areas you need to think outside the box. Since Kirby doesn’t really have his float ability in this game, you need to jump over all gaps. And some gaps are very wide. So, you need to find a way to get into the background to move over the gap or use your new wool abilities to pull the other side closer to you. It’s hard to explain in just text, but when you look at some screenshots, it will explain itself.

In this game, you can’t die. The challenge in this game is in the collection of gems in each level. At the end of each level you get evaluated by the amount of gems collected. You can earn a bronze, silver or gold medals. But completionists, beware! This game hasn’t a completion bonus. But, it can keep you busy for a while since trying to earn a gold medal in each level can be difficult and finding each collectable isn’t an easy task either. The collectables are extras like movies and the soundtrack.

The wool mechanic is used in very creative ways. Like I said before, it’s used to “rip” the world. And not only that, the game is presented beautifully. The wool theme is present throughout the whole game and it looks amazing. It’s colorful and relaxing.

When I was playing this game, I felt in a relaxed state. This was a game to wind down. Overall, this game isn’t very hard for a more veteran player. If you aren’t a stranger to this game, you won’t have a lot of trouble with this game. There is one minor issue with this. I wasn’t able to play this game in long sessions. After an hour or two, I usually stopped playing this game. I got bored. This might be a personal issue… Since I had a great time with this game.

The music in this game is amazing. It’s amusing to see that Nintendo labeled the soundtrack CD of this game as the “Epic Soundtrack” like the title “Epic Yarn”. When I was playing this game I saw the soundtrack to this game as my most favorite Kirby soundtrack ever made. Now-a-days that title has been taken by the more recent 3DS games. But that doesn’t take away the fact that the soundtrack is amazing.

The sound design of this game helps a lot with the atmosphere. It adds to the design of the game and I have no complaints. Sometimes I even felt that the game almost came alive.

Hiyaaah!

Kibry Epic Yarn 02Now, let’s talk about the menus and the UI. And honestly, I didn’t have any problems with it. This game works perfectly on the Wii. I have no issues about the UI. One thing I would have changed was that the menu and the area select menu were integrated into one menu, but that putting it into two different menus works just fine.

The controls of this game are perfect. I have played this game with the WiiMotion Plus and I barely had any problems. Again, I have no complaints about it.

The mini-games are a lot of fun when you have some time to mess around. They don’t add a lot to the main game.

This game has a rather decent length. This game has 8 worlds with a variable amount of levels. So, no complaints here.

Well, so far you would think that this game doesn’t have any flaws. But, there are some things I didn’t like about this game.

It’s nitpicking but… I found that some moments of the narrator weren’t that good. They felt forced or too much focused on a very young audience.

There is one thing that got underused. And that’s the decoration of your own apartment. I wish you could do more decorating.

And honestly, that’s about all that I can say bad about this game. When you like to play charming platformers, you can’t go wrong with this one!

So, the pink thread ends here. Because I have said everything I wanted to say about this game. So, it’s time to make the summary of this article, for those who are just looking for a quick review of this game.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Very relaxing game.

+ Amazing soundtrack

+ Light story

+ Amazing visuals

+ …

The bad:

  • Sometimes mixed performance of the narrator.
  • The apartment is very underused.

Final thoughts:

This game is one of the best games I have played on the Wii. This game deserves its spot on various top 10 Wii games list. It got 8th place on my list.

While the visuals might turn some people down, for those who give it a try are in for a very relaxing and enjoyable game.

This game has a lot of polish by the developers and a lot of love was put into it. And it shows.

I loved to play this game and I hope that this review might win over some people who haven’t tried it.

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

Score: 100/100

Review: Kirby – Return To Dreamland (Wii)

Kirbys_return_to_dreamland_boxart.jpgWikipedia entry

It has been quite some time since I looked at a console game. Well, honestly, I do play console games here and there… But mostly, I play games on my handhelds and my PC. In any case, a few days ago, I have finally beaten a Kirby game I have been playing on and off for the past few years. It’s called Kirby’s Return To Dream Land on the Nintendo Wii. Before I begin the review, I first want to address something about the name of this game. In Europe, this game has a different name. It’s called Kirby’s Adventure Wii. This is really annoying to me since the first Kirby game on the Gameboy is called Kirby’s Adventure. Why didn’t we Europeans got the same name as the Americans? Such a shame. In any case, enough stalling. Time to get into the review. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article in the comment section down below. Thanks in advance for that. 

The story of Kirby

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In this game, Kirby’s adventure has two big parts. In the first part of the game, Kirby helps a stranded alien to repair his ship. In the second act, Kirby helps to defeat the evil overlord in on the alien’s home planet.

That’s all I’m explain about the story. You rarely find deep story lines in a Kirby game. From all the Kirby games I played, the story is just there. Yet, the twist at the end is nice. While I honestly saw it coming, I didn’t mind. The story is fun enough to play through. In my opinion, the story isn’t that memorable. It doesn’t bother me since the game has a lot more to offer than just the story. I found that the journey was more fun than the actual story.

The writing of the story was great. I’m so glad that they used text boxes in this game since I feel that’s how Kirby stories shine the most.

4 players

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A moment of honesty here, I haven’t played this game with 4 players at once. But I have played this game with two players at once.

Together with my cousin, we have played this game a lot. This game is what I call a “sibling game.” The difficulty of this game is just right. It’s challenging for the younger players but it’s not too hard. Yet; it can be challenging to the older sibling if (s)he let’s his or her guard down.

Speaking about the difficulty, the last boss battle is rather brutal in my opinion. Since it’s mostly in a totally different gameplay style which I’m not an expert in. Then this game can become rather difficult.

In any case, the gameplay of this entry in the Kirby series is what you can expect from any other Kirby game. It’s a fun platformer where you can copy (some of) your enemies powers. The powers in this game are fun to use and every single one of them are useful. Apart from one, the sleeping one. Still as unuseful as ever.

In certain points of the game, you can receive a special powerup. This one transforms Kirby into a powerhouse. The way this powerup is used makes for some fun(ny) situations. But, that’s something I’m going to leave up to you guys and girls to discover.

Also, in each level, you can find some wheels. With those wheels, you can unlock power-up rooms. In these rooms, you can easily get any copy ability you want. On the top of those rooms, you have a doll where you can practice them.

With those wheels, you can also unlock challenges. In these challenges, you have to complete a course using one copy ability in a certain time.  These are fun to play since I love that kind of challenges.

Actually collecting the wheels can be rather challenging since some of them are very well hidden. Also, in some levels, you have a sort of bonus stage where you fight a boss at the end to receive two or more wheels. Those are really difficult and some of them, I wasn’t able to beat in few tries.

Since this is a Kirby game, I have to mention the mini-games. And man, they are a real blast to play. I have lost hours playing those with my niece. Mostly the ninja star throwing one is a real blast to play in my opinion. I had a lot of fun with it.

In any case, I think I prove my point that there is a lot of fun gameplay in this game. But I still have to talk about different aspects of this game so let’s do just that.

Kirby and more Kirby

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So, first of all, the length of this game is perfect. This game has 7,5 worlds. Each world contains around 5 levels, with the final level being a boss.

The 8th world is actually a long level with the final boss of the game. It doesn’t have multiple levels. That’s why I count it as a half world.

In Kirby tradition, each world gets a funny name. And yes, most of them have to do with food.

The presentation of this game is one of the strong points of this game. I really love the art style in this game. It’s very bright and colorful, yet sometimes the game uses a way darker pallet to suit the story.

The animation is really top notch. I have no complaint about them. The world design and the animations are really well crafted. Combined with some amazing level design, this game is almost perfect.

The music in this game is really catchy. I wish I was able to buy the soundtrack somewhere since it’s that good in my opinion. But hey, I didn’t expect anything less from Hall Laboratory.

The controls are very responsive and I have nothing to complain about there. If you doubt about the controls, you can see them in the pause menu.

Up until now, it seems that I haven’t anything bad to say about this game. Well, there is one nitpick. That’s that the first player always leads. When the first player dies, the second player dies as well. That’s the only negative I have with this game.

It’s time to wrap this review up. Here comes the conclusion!

Conclusion

The bad:

-The first player dies -> Everybody dies.

The good:

+ Amazing presentation. (Visuals & animation)

+ Very nice controls.

+ You can play with up to 4 players.

+ While this game can be rather easy, some challenges can be challenging to veteran players.

+ Great level design. And it’s fun to play more than once through some levels.

+ …

Final thoughts:

If you are looking for an amazing Kirby game, look no further. This Kirby game is one of the best in the series. The gameplay returns to its roots (like in the first Kirby games) and it’s a blast to play.

I had so much fun playing this game with my family and friends that I would love to recommend it to every Nintendo fan.

When you like what you saw on the screenshots, give this game a shot! I also heard that this game came out on Wii U Virtual Console, so there is no excuse to not pick up this gem of a game. It’s released in the summer of 2015. So, go ahead and pick up this game. It’s totally worth it.

Score: 100/100

Gamer’s Thoughts: How do I write my first impressions and reviews?

Arpegi BackI have written a lot of first impressions and game reviews. In today’s article, I’m going to talk about how I create one of those articles. Consider this article as a sort of “behind the screens” look into my creative process. How I try to get an article ready every week. The focus of this article will be how I analyze a game. How I look at it’s nuts and bolts and how I translate that to words. In any case, feel free to leave a comment with how you prepare for your articles and/your thoughts. So, I hope you are ready since here we go! 

Preparations

380kvPersonally, picking a subject for the article is one of the hardest parts to me. I have a lot of ideas but often I change my mind at the last minute.

Quite common is that I write an article about the game I have been playing recently. It’s easier since the memories of the game are quite fresh in my mind.

Sometimes, when I don’t have an idea; I look around in my collection for a game to take a look at. And when I don’t feel like writing about a certain game, I try to find an interesting subject to write about. In most cases, I write an article in one of my series like Gaming Nostalgia, Gamer’s Thoughts or Gaming Music.

When I decided which game I’m going to talk about, I start playing it. I always have my tablet or a notebook close to me. Truth to be told, I don’t take many notes. Since I feel that writing an article with the impressions you have gives a stronger article.

So, my notes are mostly things that I don’t want to forget. Like certain moments or certain frustrations.

This way I find that you can give a more general impression of the game. This way I can focus more on the game instead of going too much in depth about one aspect.

The research part

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So, right before I start writing the article, I thinking of a good title and look up some other articles about the game.

I always give my own opinion on my blog. Even while other critics disagree with me. Besides, I’m not that good of a liar anyways.

But, it’s always interesting to see what other people write about the game. It gives me another angle on the game. It can also give me some ideas on how I should write the article.

It also gives me some background information about the game. This is rather helpful for finishing the article. To check if all my facts are correct. Also, I’m extremely interested in the history of gaming and the development. So, yeah…

The analyzing of the game

logo_samaxreviewsmoviesStory

How does one judge a story? Well, that’s very tricky. I used to write a lot of stories in the past. But nowadays, I write a lot about games.

So, I look at a story in a very different way. I look at how it’s written, how it’s structured, how it draws in the player and how it actually works. A good story must make you smile here and there and/or put you on the edge of your seat.

In my early gaming days, I used to never play games without a story. When a game didn’t have a story, I skipped it. With some exceptions like Tetris and Pac-Man of course.

The story is something that is the most important to me in a game. The better the story is, the more fun I have playing the game.

Presentation

The presentation of a game is something I can look past that, to a certain extent. I honestly don’t really care of some enemies are generic. I see it as a positive if they try to do something new with it.

Yet, there are two aspects of the presentation that I pay a lot of attention to. That are the menus and the controls.

A menu in a game should be easy to navigate. Also, a certain task shouldn’t require a “million” clicks before you can perform it.

And about the controls, it’s quite self-explanatory I think. Would you play a game with bad controls? Controls that work against you? Not a lot of people would enjoy themselves!

Difficulty

I love games that are challenging but aren’t too difficult. The more brutal a game is, the less fun I have with it.

Don’t understand me wrong here. There is nothing wrong with difficult games, I just don’t like them.

Truth to be told, reviewing the difficulty of a game is pretty tricky. Something that I find difficult in a game can be easy for somebody else. And it can work in the other way too.

Music and sound

The music of a game is quite important to me. The prove of that is the fact that I write a series about gaming music. Sometimes, some of my favorite songs are actually my ringtone.

At work, I listen to a lot of gaming music as well. Since it helps me concentrate. But in some cases, it can be a distraction since the memories come back from the game.

That’s why I listen to the soundtrack of the game while I’m reviewing or writing the first impression of a game. It helps me remember the game. 🙂

Closing off

So, yeah. I hope you enjoyed reading this article. I tried to give a general idea how I make my articles. If you guys and girls want to know more, feel free to leave me a comment. Maybe could turn in a new article.

While I love writing articles like these, I love writing about games more. This makes it quite hard to pin down exactly what I look at while reviewing or writing a “first impression” article.

In any case, before I ramble too much… I think it’s time to wrap up this article. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it! I hope to welcome you another time on my blog but until then, take care! Have a great rest of your day.

What games do you play?

Arpegi Back

A friend of mine asked me recently when I was showing him my collection: “What games do you play?”. That question was followed by the most annoying question for me as a blogger, “What is your favorite style of games?”. After thinking about it for a bit, it actually gave me the idea for this article. It’s part a rant and part a gamer’s thoughts. So, yeah. Typically me, trying out new things. Just a side note, this article might be a bit longer then my usual stuff, and it also contains links to previous articles if you are interested in my opinion of the game I mentioned. Also, feel free to leave a comment on the subject with your opinion and or the answer to the questions.

Reply – part 1

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So, what games do I play? The easy reply is anything that catches my interest. But hey, let’s not be lazy here. If you scroll through my blog you see clearly that I play a lot of different sort of games. From adventure games like Monkey Island to strategy games like Europe Universalis 4.

In the past I said that I play games that have a deep story and take you on an adventure. On second thought, that isn’t always true. Since I’m not a big fan of the Walking Dead series which would be a game that would fit my fancy easily.

But I also play other games that haven’t anything close to a story. Like Minecraft or the RollerCoaster Tycoon series.

One thing is pretty clear, I play almost every genre of games. There are few genres I actually don’t like. The two biggest of them are racing games and fighting games. The reason for that is that I don’t really enjoy racing that much. Since I’m not interested in cars at all, I feel that a lot of content and such is… Well, not understood by me.

Fighting games, I don’t tend to play them since I have a bad memory when it comes to sequences. I rarely remember button combinations. When there is a certain order to complete a task in a game, I “program” my brain for it. So, my fingers do the job without thinking. Besides that, I have two other “issues” with the genre. I feel that it’s repetitive to me. Yes, to me. If there are fighting games that offer some variety from nearly always having to battle, feel free to tell me. The other issue I have is that my reaction time is more set to RTS and tycoon games. I can react more quickly in those games instead of fighting games.

That doesn’t mean I hate or don’t play those genres. As a kid, I played a lot of Mario Kart and I have fun memories of me playing Mortal Kombat in a store and a crowd of children gathering around me because I was able to beat opponents that they had trouble with.

A genre I don’t like as well are those games that are either meant to be a joke or have these clumsy physics like Octodad or Goat Simulator. I simply can’t stand them. They are just a novelty thing. As soon as the joke starts to fall flat, the game starts to show it’s flaws. So, I avoid those games like the plague.

I got distracted from the subject, didn’t I? The games I play are games that look interesting to me. Games where you get the feeling that they could be a distraction from life. Ugh, this is such a hard question to answer.

Reply – part 2

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What is my favorite style of games? There is also an easy answer to that. I could argue that my favorite changes from time to time depending on the games I’m playing at that moment. But in reality, there is always a genre that will get more love then others.

Surprisingly, I’m actually able to give a proper answer to this question. I have two genres that get a whole boatload of love from me. If you haven’t guessed it yet, let me tell you.

I adore adventure games like Alan Wake, Tomb Raider, Zelda and so many others. I have a soft spot in my heart for them. I grew up with Pokémon and Zelda. I can’t forget the point-and-click adventure games! Broken Sword and Monkey Island being my favorites.

My 2nd genre has to be the visual novel. Corpse Party, Virtue’s Last Reward or Ace Attorney are just some examples. My biggest hobby is writing. It’s quite true that writers actually read a lot as well. I don’t read books, but I read almost all of the text a game presents me. The visual novel genre surprised me countless times with deep stories, memorable characters and an unforgettable experience.

Kinetic novels, no thank you. Those novels are a cross between a comic, anime and a game. I just miss the interaction. To me, it’s just a story with a skin. I’m not saying that these games are bad, don’t misunderstand me here. I’m just saying that kinetic novels aren’t my thing, at all.

 So, why those genres then? I actually replied to it already. Because the games from those genres had the most influence on me in the past and they haven’t let me down ever since. If I’m writing an article about a game that comes from those genres, it has always an advantage.

s35009_wii_9What where my first interactions with my favorite genres. My first adventure game has to be Zelda – Oracle of Ages. I think, I’m not a 100% sure. Depending if you count Pokémon as an adventure game, I think that it was my first adventure game.

My first point-and-click game has to be the Freddi Fish series. Aw yes, I love those games a lot. When I found out that the studio that made them are still in business, I’m hoping that they create a new entry into the series. In the Freddi Fish series or in any series that they developed, since they are masters of child entertainment.

My first visual novel was Ace Attorney. After I read so much references online, I gave it a try. Man, I wasn’t prepared for that. I played all the games without getting distracted by another game once. Yeah, that rarely happens!

 Ranting

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So, the annoying side effect of this question is that people assume you like or play every game in a certain genre. I had people who actually said bad words to me because I wasn’t that good in a RTS.

You shouldn’t be judged on the games you play. I admit that I even play games meant for children. As long as it provides me a fun experience, why shouldn’t I be allowed to play it. I actually have a great excuse myself. My blog and my younger relatives are a great way to not make a fool out of myself.

Honestly, I think that the question “what kind of games you play” is actually a bad question. It should better be: “What kind of games you like to play?” Since then you can explain what you look for in a game. If somebody asks me the question what games do I play, I actually use a trick that I learned while I was still studying to become a teacher. Replying with the correct question. I reply, “What games do I like to play… well…”

And now, I can actually give them a link to this article. To explain that I play all sorts of games. From platformers to puzzle games, from sandbox to RPG’s. From adventure games to visual novels. I even play mobile games. Wait, talking about mobile games…. There is actually something that needs to get off my chest about mobile games.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I think I went over everything I wanted to say about this subject, so now I can focus on something bigger. Something that is starting to annoy me to no end. The mobile market needs some good bashing. Prepare yourselves, because next time on my blog, I’ll actually try to explain why I think that the mobile market is going too far…