Gamer’s Thoughts: Gaming Expos and Conventions

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

Sidenote: this isn’t a paid article.

What conventions did I go to?

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

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

Storytime with Jonez

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

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

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

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

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

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

Going to a convention or expo?

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

Don’t…

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

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

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

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

Do…

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

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

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

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

What items should you bring along with you?

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

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

What should you wear?

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

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

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

What are your favorite activities and exhibits?

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

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

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

Wrapping up

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

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

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

Game Quicky: SteamWorld Dig (3DS – eShop) ~ Diggy Diggy Dig

steamworld-dig-3ds.jpg

Official website

So, last week I finished the eShop title SteamWorld Dig – A Fistful Of Dirt. At first, I was planning to write a full-length review, but after I found out that I was able to beat it in 5-6 hours, I honestly think that a Game Quicky is a better fit for it. I bought this game with some spare money I had after I bought a bigger game. So, how is this game? What is it about? I’ll get right ahead and review this game. 

The bad

526601_447804061976814_797694473_n.pngIn this game, you have to explore a cave where a family member has gone missing. You arrive in a small town with only 3 inhabitants.

So, one negative is that this game is way too short. It has so much potential.

The second negative in this game is that the map system isn’t perfect. I wish I was able to scroll through the map that’s on the bottom screen.

The third negative is that the final boss is very difficult if you aren’t prepared. I seriously advise you to upgrade your character as much as possible before you go and fight the final boss.

And the final negative is that you can’t carry enough ladders in my opinion. You can’t mine sideways, but a solution for that is you place ladders. Speaking about ladders, it would be extremely handy if you were able to remove them after you placed them. Since I wasn’t able to to that.

The good

SteamWorldDig_0006.jpg

About two years ago, I reviewed an Android game called “Mine To Escape“, and the gameplay in this game is similar to that one. And really, this game is truly addicting in my opinion.

I loved exploring the caves to mine ores and minerals in order to buy new equipment and upgrades.

The writing in this game is also superb. I played through this game twice since I was too drawn into to the story. The writing and characters are very well written.

This game is can be easy but can be difficult as well. If you are not paying attention where you dig, you can bring yourself in trouble quite quickly. I love that there aren’t any health packs in the game so, you have to either be lucky that an enemy drops a health pack OR go buy it from one of the shopkeepers on the surface.

Visually, this game looks very nice. Together with an easy to understand interface and responsive controls, I loved exploring the depths of the caves.

The music & sound design is one of the game strong points as well. It’s really relaxing and atmospheric. I found that I enjoyed the game less when I wasn’t able to hear the sound & music.

In conclusion

So, I said everything I wanted to say about this game. If this game was longer, didn’t had problems with the ladders and map system, I would have given this game near perfect marks.

I said it before, the reason why I do this in a style of a game quicky is because the game is too short to have a full review.

This game is a real gem on the 3DS. But this game is multi-platform. So, you don’t have an excuse to not give this game a shot. If you like what you have read and seen, I urge you to give it a try.

The game is really well put together. But like I said in the negatives, there are some issues. They didn’t bother me too much but they were quite irritating.

In any case, I want to thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article. I hope to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day!

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

 

RCT 1 (2)

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!

First Impression: Europa Universalis IV (PC ~ Steam) – Thank you Mizari.

EuropaUniversalisIV_Packshot_editedLink to the official website

For the people who read my blog often, they might know that one of my best friends is Mizari. I often call him MiseryLC or anything among those lines. One of his favorite games is Europe Universalis IV. Recently I decided to give it a try with him myself. The gameplay and the genre looked interesting to me, so I bought it while it was on sale. After playing almost 40 hours in about a week or so, I think it’s safe to say that I’m having quite a lot of fun! So, shall we take a look at this game and what first impressions it left on me? The issue is, in order to write a review for a game, I have to beat it. While you can “beat” this game, you can restart it with and play it in another way. So, I think I’ll write a review after I played around 150+ hours of this game. So, that said, it’s time to start talking about this game, and as usual, feel free to leave a comment on the game and or the content of this article. 

Age of Empires?

2015-03-09_00001

When it comes to games where you need to build your own empire(s), I prefer the gameplay of Age of Empires and Age of Mythology. So, when I first started to play this game, I was quite confused. I might have looked over the tutorial but I haven’t seen one. Thankfully, Mizari is showing me the ropes. It’s quite handy to have a friend to play this game with.

When you start to get the hang of the game, it gets quite interesting. There isn’t any story in the game as far as I have noticed, since it’s one that you can make yourself. In our multiplayer sessions I play as Russia and he plays as the Ottomans. I don’t think that the Russians and the Ottomans ever formed a friendship.

 Numbers game.

2015-03-08_00001At first, I thought that most of this game would be a number game where higher stats would mean a better country. Let me tell you that it isn’t the case. Your goal is not only to manage a country but also you need to manage the relationships with other countries and such. When you don’t improve it at frequent intervals, you could get into trouble.

In my early multiplayer sessions, I regularly got attacked by other countries. I wasn’t that careful in managing my military points so I got attacked. But when countries that were afraid of MiseryLC’s empire also started attacking me, all I had to do was improve the relationship with his country and the attacks stopped. This makes it more then just a numbers game. It gives a realistic vibe to the game where time is just indicated by numbers.

The big issue is, that when you are just a beginning player there is way too much to play with. I found the tutorial when I wrote this part of the article, and only seeing three lessons, made me facepalm. The depth of this game, you can’t really explain that in three sessions. Well, you could but you might risk that you overflow the new player with too much information at once.

If you want to start playing this game, I highly recommend that you first play the game with a sort of guide. Don’t play in IronMan mode, since you can’t “roll back” choices. Speaking about that, there is one thing that is disappointing to me. You can only unlock achievements in IronMan mode. I think it would be better otherwise. I might be looking over a logical reason for why it’s ‘Ironman only’… but I hope that isn’t the case.

Nitpicking

2015-03-08_00002

This game updates a lot, which can be annoying sometimes. During my play sessions I had a few nitpicks. Recently, MiseryLC and I started a new game where we would play content from the quite recently released DLC “El Diablo”. It’s kind of neat that somebody who doesn’t own the DLC is able to play the game and it’s content then as well. But you play with a very unstable game then. My game crashed 3-4 times in 20-ish minutes.

I was able to fix it by buying the DLC myself and then play with him. While there is a lot of DLC for this game, various ones are simply cosmetic. Now that I think of it, a handful are just music packs.

Talking about that, the music for this game is outstanding. In my previous (music) article I actually talked about a track that I really liked. But often, I had moments where my country was in war and relaxing music was playing. This actually took me out of the experience. But a neat kind of hidden feature is that when you hover over the date, the title of the song actually is shown.

So, this game is amazingly polished and I already lost various hours to it. I plan to play it for even more and probably write a more in-depth review of game. But there is so much to cover, the length of my usual “first impression” articles don’t quite cut it.

Apart from some irritating bugs, that sometimes get patched a few hours after they have been found, and some odd things here and there… The game is quite fun. Also, the search option to look for provinces is such a god send. Without it, I would had more rebels in my country then there are M&M’s in a M&M bag.

Anyways, I think I have said most of the things I wanted to talk about this game. I hope you enjoyed my first look at this game and if you are interested in the game, I advise you to not buy it with the DLC included. Since those can add some new gameplay layers that might make the already quite overwhelming game even more overwhelming. But once you get used to how the game plays, the hours can fly by really quickly. Just giving you that warning.

Gamer’s Thoughts: The curse of being a critic?

stanley parable 1I’m NekoJonez, 21 years old. I live in Belgium and I have been writing gaming related articles for over 5 years now. It has been quite a ride to be honest. But nothing prepared me for the curse that you get even without you wanting it. Yes, there are downsides in being a gaming critic. And not only the obvious ones. Believe me. In this article I will introduce my new series. In Gamer’s thoughts I will talk about a subject in detail that isn’t exactly 1 game. Look at it as expanded game quickies as well. So, that is a sub-series of this series of articles. Anyways, that blog update aside, let’s dive right into my thoughts on the matter of being a critic. Feel free to leave a comment on this article about the subject or what I have written. Thanks in advance.

The road to success?

1gXjAWhat exactly do you need to do as a critic to be a successful one? Review the latest of the latest? Then you might have just finished an article about Watch_Dogs. Or should you go looking all over the internet for that one flash game that is so bad, it’s good and everybody should play it?

It’s a tough balancing act. This is a part of the curse of a critic. What style are you going to choose to write your articles, make your video’s … From experience, I have one thing to say on this matter. You have one of two different possibilities here.

One, you stick with one specific area in the gaming world. For example: Nintendo, EA, puzzle games… etc. You follow that company like it’s your life savings. Each new pixel revealed of their next game is like a bit out of your favorite food. These guys are sometimes, if not all of the time, the hypers. They create the hype for the next big triple A game.

And the other possibility is like myself. I honestly don’t care about staying true to one style of games. I play (too) much games.  While I admit that I enjoy Nintendo games the most, I think I have proven on my blog that I can enjoy a PC game or a PSP game as well.

IBrSvR8HCYAEMx-D have proof as well. This picture here are my latest catch at the garage sale I went to before writing this article. While there is a ton of Gameboy games and Pokémon merchandise. I also got a few big boxed PC games and some Playstation games.

So, it’s always a challenge. What do you do on your channel, blog or site? The video’s of big names on YouTube always say: “Do what you want to do.” or “Do something you want to do.” While that’s important, there are people easily getting views of playing those games that are extremely hyped.

Ever noticed that the Let’s Plays of those series have a weird drop in their views? The first view episodes have a big number of views. The following episodes have a drop in viewers. Why is this? Well, that’s because some people look up footage before they buy. Be sure of that.

Social media pains

ArpegibeA real struggle for me is how time consuming the social media is. You need to update your Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr… It piles up to a huge amount. Honestly, I can’t keep up with it.

In the past, I followed back all my followers. Now, one hot tip for the starting entertainers out there. Don’t do that. It’s just insanity waiting for you.

When I started unfollowing people on Twitter that either flood my feed with tweets, where in a language I didn’t understand or where inactive for years, I saw my follower number drop.

Now, you can argue that you should support your other small entertainers. But, is this really what you should do? Don’t get me wrong here, but we aren’t a publishing house. We are content creators. I write a gaming blog where I talk about the games I play or the gaming industry.

Only follow the people you find interesting. Don’t go following the big names to try and get attention. It won’t work in the long run. I wonder how many “dead subscribers” the big channels, sites and such have.

Do I care about the number of followers I have. Yes, in a way I do. But the most important to me is that I can interact with my followers. I hate people that just follow you to promote themselves. I don’t follow them anymore to avoid a messy Twitter feed. Now, I have a cleaner Twitter feed and I can keep myself up-to-date with the news I want. And this way I can be more efficient for my blog.

So you want to start blogging?

ss (2012-10-24 at 11.45.23)I haven’t fully finished talking about this subject yet. So, be sure that I continue this article with a follow-up. But before I sign off, I want to share some tips that I think are important when you want to start blogging. Since I have been blogging for 5 years. Maybe some of these things can help.

1) Don’t care about the numbers too much. Every start is rough. You will see highs and lows in the numbers. But don’t let it influence your writing. If one article didn’t do as well in numbers, it doesn’t mean it was a bad article.

2) Invite people to comment and don’t force it. Out of experience I have seen that the articles where I invite my readers to comment on my article, I see comments appearing. But don’t expect a comment on each article. Since the comment section should mean more to you, as the writer, then a place where people can “dump” their praise for the article. The comment section is meant to talk back and forth with the people who read your article. Try to use the comment section in that way instead of asking how they liked the article. You get better feedback this way.

Anyways, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed reading this first bit of my thoughts on things. This article replaces a creepypasta I was planning. It didn’t quite work out, so I had to scrap it. But don’t worry, one of these days you will see a new one from me. Like I said before, I will most likely come back on this subject. But for now, this is all. See you in another article.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

TSP-beginagainI tried a lot of different things for this article. And that’s why it’s delayed so much. I honestly even tried to make a “thank you” video but I never came on the right words and when I started editing it, I didn’t finish it. Since I thought it wasn’t good enough to thank you guys and girls for all the support you have given me. It’s just blows me away how much things happened over the course of my lifetime. But anyways, I think I better start writing my 100th blog post here. Since this is an exclusive post on my personal blog! Yes, one thing I decided is that this post isn’t going to be reblogged on ButtonSmashers. Since I think too much personal stuff will be said in this article. Not that I don’t think it won’t fit there, but I would take a bit of the “magic” away if I repost it there. Anyways, let’s get right into it. The article that has been delayed the most. 

Thankful Jonez.

Writing isn't an art. It's a conjugation of a verb.
Writing to entertain, that's an art!
- NekoJonez 2014

I can’t stress this enough. Seeing all the support people give me over nearly a half year just blows my mind. I started with recording video’s of me playing games on the gameboy and DS. With some DVD cases on my belly to make sure that the camera was on the correct height. I didn’t knew how to record emulators and how to commentate over them.

But back then as a little child I never realized that I had a talent that attracted people to come and read my content. I had some major hick-ups. I deleted old projects. Thankfully I have them backed up on an external hard drive. But it shall collect dust for all eternity.

If writing would be my future job, please sign me up. Living like a small celebrity. I wouldn’t say no to that. I mean here that people give me free codes for e.g. Skype premium or give me free games. Honestly, I made me having teary eyes just seeing that I get things from people that I only know over the internet.

I’m glad that the free rewards isn’t the main reason why I write this. I just enjoy writing an awful lot to be honest. Since childhood I have been always that child who tried to entertain others instead of having fun myself. And for a weird reason, I get more enjoyment out of making a fun time for people then enjoying myself. I get bored when I watch a video for too long. I always want to play a bit more to make sure I can write a new article or talk about it in a stream.

Nothing has been more important to me then my creativity and my community. And with that I mean, my friends and family. While it started with using my creativity to entertain my community, one day I made the leap to entertain on the internet. And I was pleasantly surprised.

People sometimes think that writing is an art. They are wrong. Writing is just a conjugation of a verb. Writing to entertain. That’s an art. An art I seem to be good at since a lot of you people decided to follow me.

Blown away

The internet is a harsh place. But never too harsh to leave it.
- NekoJonez 2014

I finally decided on the way how I’m going to write this article. At the start of each paragraph, I’ll leave one of my quotes. Things that I live by. And things that kind of summarize the part of the article.

I have seen cruel things on the internet. And I admit that I was a victim of cyber bullying in the past. The internet is a rough harsh place. But it’s never too harsh to leave it. What I mean with that, there are always new places to go. New people to meet and people to back you up.

The thing is that sometimes communities fall apart and new are created. Arpegi is a community that has risen from the ashes of another community. Basically we separated from another forum since there were some clashes with the admins of that place. And looking back on my decision, it was such a smart decision.

Today I’m the “admin” of Arpegi. And those quotes are with intention. I don’t feel that I’m the overall leader. I might be the owner and creator of the group, but I’m not the guy who tells the community to do this and that. And I would be ashamed if they talked about “Jonez’s community”. Arpegi is our community. The readers and supporters of my blog are part of them, the members of my forum, my twitter friends, my buddies on FyreCraft. I consider them all a part of the Arpegi community.

And whatever happens on the internet, how harsh it is. Arpegi never fails to back me up. Thank you everybody for everything. I’m so grateful for all the support I got to make my blog grow and all the presents I get to relax and maybe write a new article about.

A gamertag with a story.

Cats are not the simple animals you think they are. They stay their true selves yet adapt when needed.
 - NekoJonez 2014

Alright, some of you guys and or girls might have heard this story a million times before but my nickname hasn’t come just like that. Some people have gamertags which describes a bit of themselves or something that just sounds nice. But my gamertag “NekoJonez” or “Jonez” has more to it.

The “Jonez” part mainly comes from me being an addict to Indiana Jones. And besides the movies, my favorite kind of games is adventure games. I want to be taken on an adventure with a great and deep story like Indiana Jones. And my favorite games like Corpse Party, Alan Wake, Zelda games and many others haven’t failed to do just that.  And I changed the “s” at the end to a “z” since I was afraid to be sued. Yeah, children minds are scared quickly.

The “Neko” part has been added since I started Arpegi. Which is now over 2-3 years ago. Thanks to one of the guys on my forum who I consider as a brother, I added “Neko” to my name. Not to copy him, well not only that, but for several reasons. I look to myself as a cat. But cats aren’t the simple animals you think they are. They stay to their true selves yet they adapt when needed. And I never change my personality. Yet, I adapt myself to the situation. When I need to be formal and strict, I will be that. But when I’m with friends, the formal part disappears and the loose Jonez pops up.

The other similarities with cats is that I’m kinda lazy. If I could choose I would sleep, game, eat daily. I’m also more active at night time. In addition to that, I prefer my personal space to do my stuff in. And yes, I’m litterbox trained. In my case, it’s the bathroom. But like cats, I tend to avoid and run away from situations that scare me. That’s a bad habit of mine. I’m working on it though! And I’m somewhat successful at it. I’m less scared of difficult situations then in the future. All thanks to my new studies and my community. The support helps me grow.

Doubtful

Be consistent in your content, they say. BS, I say! Just stay consistent with your style.
 - NekoJonez 2014

I could go on for hours on end with this article but the message is pretty clear. Thank you for everything you guys and girls have given back to me.

I have a lot of idea’s for the future of this blog. New articles and new content. Indeed.

I might start writing tips and tricks how to write as a pro. They sometimes tell you that you need to be consistent. Bullshit I say to that. Just be consistent with your style. It’s for you that they come back. Not for the content. Although if you rarely publish, low chances of getting a great audience.

But I’m going to wrap up this article. Thank you so much for reading and hopefully I got the “THANK YOU” across. I hope to see you guys at the next article and / or post. See you guys then. And keep being awesome.

PS: Comments are welcome.

Review #017: Delver (PC – Steam) ~ Thou Shall Explore!

imagesOfficial website

Notice: While I do realize that this game is also on Android, I review the Steam PC version here. 

Notice about the screenshots: All these screenshots are taken early in the game, since it are screenshots of MY playthrough. It’s a rouge game, so it’s random each time. But feel free to use my screenshots if you need them. 

As a kid I always dreamed of running around in caves and dungeons to explore for loot. I even wrote some stories about it. And my favorite genre of gaming has a lot to do with it. I love myself some great adventure games. But does Delver deliver? How good is it actually? It’s really cheap on Steam and is it worth buying this game while it’s developing? That’s what I’m going to answer today while playing the new October 2013 update. This review might be shorter then my usual reviews since this game has no every element I usually use to review. We shall see how it turns out. Anyways, let me know in the comments your thoughts about this game and/or this review. 

Let’s “delve” into this!

249630_2013-11-01_00001The game starts off on a path right to the dungeon. The cool thing is, as you die, you don’t have to start completely from square one. You can buy things from the stores. Of course, that depends on how much gold you have obtained from your last run. But here is a flaw in the game that surely will be patched in a future update. I don’t see how much gold I have left. So yeah, that’s annoying. 

The game has a small story, if I can remember correctly. At the start, there are two diary entries you can collect. Yet, starting a new game, I noticed that it’s just some hints. So, according to what I know, this game has no real story. And that isn’t a loss since this game benefits from this. Since each floor and dungeon is randomized.

The game is all about exploring the dungeon. And not about that you should save a princess or something. The goal is to get to the bottom floor and get an orb. With this orb you can escape again. Honestly, I haven’t yet been able to return with the orb.

Great, greater and greatest!

249630_2013-11-01_00002While it adds to the atmosphere of this game, this can become annoying. Like you see in the screenshot, the game is pretty dark. If you are in a well lite room, you might not see many things because of the light. I truly advice to play this game in a somewhat darker room.

The controls are excellent. I never felt that it was the game’s fault of a death. Deaths are permanent! So if you die, you are dead. No respawing, no loot drops. Nothing, only your gold. And this makes for a great challenge. Once you have some great stuff, you don’t want to die. You fight on.

Something I also really like is how the loot works. You don’t get better loot from the stronger enemies. No, you can get a better sword by killing a simple bat. Speaking about bats and flying enemies, there is a problem with them. Their hitbox seems to bit a bit off. This causes some moments where I clearly hit the bat yet, it took no damage.

A great addition to this update is how the game now displays status effects and it’s timer. When you drink a random potion, you now know what it means when the game tells you “you feel warm”. Also, the leveling up system is a great thing. I feel that it’s more fine tuned then before the update. And I really like it. The stats aren’t overly difficult. They are straight forward. For example, a weapon will say that it can do from 5 to 10 damage. So, if you level up your attack stat, you will easily do the most damage possible with that given weapon.

Managing the inventory is a joy. You need to be on a safe spot since the inventory, like Minecraft, doesn’t pause they game. And dear developer, when you pause a game, the music should stop as well. Anyways, the dragging around of items is a blast. And the ability to pick up items while being in the inventory screen and drag it into it. Great!

Not that easy!

249630_2013-11-01_00003

Here is another complaint. The picking up of items from the ground with your action key is a bit frustrating. I had several moments where it didn’t pick up at all. Since there seems to be a set region to be able to pick it up.

The fact that you don’t regenerate health is great. It makes the game more tense. I had several moments where I needed to hide for enemies.

But let’s leave it at that for the gameplay. I haven’t covered it all, but hey, if you’re interested, go check out the game. Okay, let’s look at the length of this review… Wow, I have talked more about it then I expected and I have a few things left to say. Okay, less stalling more reviewing!

The artwork of this game is beautiful! I really like the art style they went with here. Retro graphics and great animations give this game a different look and sets it apart from all the others. This game really sucks me in to it’s great gameplay and the visuals actually convinced me to buy the game.

The length might not be that long, but the replay value is extremely high. Since it’s always randomized. In addition to that, the game is a challenge. A real challenge. You can be in luck and get pretty deep into the dungeon. (If needed, this is a moment to get your mind out of the gutter). Or you can have though luck and die really soon.

An advise that I would give the developer too is that there should be more music tracks. The sound and everything is amazing yet, I think there are a handful music tracks and it would be a lot better if there were more.

So, I’ll leave it at this note. Let’s go to the conclusion!

Conclusion

The good:

+ Unique gameplay.

+ Great artwork.

+ High replay value.

+ No annoying story to bother you.

+ Great challenge.

+ Randomized dungeons.

The bad:

– More music would be great.

– There are a few kinks to work out with the flying enemies.

– Picking up objects is a tad bit frustrating.

Conclusion:

In my reviews I don’t cover every single thing about the game. Like in this review I didn’t talk about the AI, map system, magic and so on and so forth. With the intention that if you are interested, that you try it out for yourself and that there are still things to learn about the game while you play it. Like the traps.

This game really benefits from playing it yourself. I really like it and often in study breaks for college I play a quick round of Delver. Like a floor or 5… I really need to pay attention with it since when it sucks you in, it won’t let you go easily.

With some more work, this game will become a gem that everyone should play. I truly had trouble finding bad things about this game. But the things I found are flaws that can be patched. And the music is great, yet more music would be lovely. Thanks for reading and until the next time!

Score: 90 / 100