Update blog #2: I’m busy. So freaking busy.

versatile-blogger-award-imageHello Neko’s. NekoJonez here. Yeah, it has been quite some time since I have written a full blog now. It has been nearly 10 days. But don’t worry, I have an excuse. Well, not really an excuse, but something to announce. I’m so busy for a change. I get too tired to write decent enough articles. But I’ll try to keep this short m’kay?

Busy?

Okay, I haven’t had time for writing this article because college asks a lot of attention from me now. I have to prepare myself on exams in two months and I have a lot of assignments to write. In addition to that, I have few courses to prepare to teach in my class.

And above that, I have been relaxing a lot. Possibly I have taken a small break from blogging. I’ll return soon. Don’t you guys worry. But that will probably be in December – January. Since then work gets more spread so I can find a bit more time.

Lucky me, I have a few projects to talk about! But follow me on my Twitter if you want to keep up to date with me.

Future

So, I asked my friends from Arpegi to create a new banner and such for my blog. I’m truly excited with what comes out of it. Something amazing for sure!

Also, I have a few articles in preparation. From a few first impressions to some reviews. Also, I’m preparing a bunch of articles outside of reviews.

And I’m on a Minecraft server now with YouTubers. I’m truly blessed of being on that server. I’m enjoying myself a lot. I feel right at home. So yeah. I’m in several live streams of that server. Go ahead and watch them at my previous blog.

Also, I have been updating my forum here and there. Fixing bugs and adding new features. I have a major update planned with some big bugs fixes and some new fun features.

Anyways, in short, I’m working behind the scenes a lot and I’m extremely busy with real life. I hope you can understand that I slow down the articles to maintain the quality I have. Thanks for understanding and until the next time!

Let’s look at: The Stanley’s Parable

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Official website

This is a story about a Neko. This Neko’s name is Jonez. He works at a website and all he did was writing articles, by pushing buttons. He was employee number 427. In his office he had a screen where a game was displayed so he could push buttons to write an article. The screen also gave hints in how long he had to press the buttons and how many times. But one day, no order came on the screen for more then a hour. He was confused, asking for comments to what people thought of this game or this article, but because he found nobody, he had to wait for comments…

Un-reviewable

stanley parable 1Did the introduction interest you? Confuse you? Good. Since this game isn’t one I can review. Since this game is an experiment. And a great one. It’s one of those experiences you have to have. And if you play the different versions, you’ll get a different experience every time. The original source mod and the HD remake differ a lot.

This game started as a “simple” mod. Yet, since PewDiePie played this game, it’s popularity sky-rocketed of course. And it’s worth it. This game has a great story. A special one, one I really like. One where your chooses make you have a different ending. Virtue’s Last Reward and various other games come to mind then.

Yet, the demo of this game doesn’t even give the correct impression. While it indeed gives the right impression for the newly updated graphics and the style of the game, it’s nothing really like the full game.

Difficult to review

imagesWhen I release this article, a friend of mine over at ButtonSmashersBlog has his birthday. And his nickname surely explains what this game is. TheThinker (linking to his Twitter), I wish thou a happy birthday man. And if you really want a game that challenges your thinking abilities, play this one.

So, why is this difficult to review? Truth being told, this game can be beaten in under 5 minutes. Yet, there are different endings. To achieve all endings, you have to think outside of the box.

But the game is an experience. It’s different for everybody. And with the lack of many music tracks and only good graphics, great controls and an amazing story, you can’t really write a review without spoiling it too much. The only controls are moving and clicking on buttons. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

I do wish that this game got a more lengthy sequel. The game is short. The achievements on Steam do help it having some replay value but you’ll be done with it after a week or so. Yet, don’t worry, it’s a game you will never forget.

Mod to HD.

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This game actually started out as a mod for Source. Then this game got a HD remix. With there first of all a demo and secondly the full game. I have beaten all three multiple times. And I enjoyed them a lot.

While the mod and the HD remake are very similar, there are things you can only find in the Source mod and things you can only find in the HD remake. If you ask me which one is the best, I prefer the HD remake better. Since it’s a bit more funny and it has more references to itself. In addition, the menu is amazingly designed.

Yet, the HD remake has a major issue. When you alt+tab out of the game, going back into the game is a major issue. It crashed on me then several times. Also, I’m disappointed that the game doesn’t have an overview of all endings you already got. Like the ending room at one ending, I would have loved to have seen it in all the endings.

The demo is a different beast all together. It’s a special thing. It’s self-aware and it makes fun of itself. The game is extremely funny and worth playing through. If you want to have the real experience, I truly advice that you watch the trailers as well. Those make fun of Let’s Players and the usual angry “YOUR GAME SUCKS” letters.

Yet, the mod version of this game has it’s charm playing for it. It’s free and you really get the great taste of the Stanley Parable. The artwork isn’t made for the game though, so it’s more with the assests of the engine. But hey, it’s used extremely well. No complaints there. And even a reference to the engine itself was extremely clever.

Final thoughts

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I have done my utter best in this article to not spoil things to much. Yet, I have told hopefully enough to raise your awareness to give this game a shot. Really, try spending your pocket money on this game instead of the latest Pokémon or Call of Duty we are all waiting for so much.

You won’t regret it, go in it with a fresh mind. And let the game guide you pushing buttons. Don’t go all “WTF AM I PLAYING?!”, yet let it sink in. Relax and enjoy the ride. And honestly, the first time I played the full game, I played on for more then a hour. But keep in mind that the game was able to be beaten in 5 minutes. Yup, that happened.

To conclude this article, I can’t write a full review of this game. While the inner workings like the alt+tabbing needs some improvement in the game, it gets from me the full 100/100. Agreed, it’s not a perfect game at all, considering it’s length. Yet, this is a game you must play. One you must experience to truly understand that this game is a gem. One of a kind, something you won’t see in a while. Play all three of the games. The demo, full game and the mod. Two of them are even free so you don’t have an excuse there! And the full game is 10 euro’s here in Europe, so if you come to truly dislike it, you haven’t lost so much money. But thanks for reading, a happy birthday to theThinker, and I hope to see you another time here!

Views on the future: an update blog.

Hello there Neko’s. Today, I’ll do something different. Normally I make Neko Vlogs for this, but hey, I like to change things around once in a while. So, that’s why I’ll write the updates here in this post. What am I going to do in the future? You will read it all here. Keep in mind that I’m going to be extremely busy. This weekend I have to go acting for a theater tour here in my home town. And next week my college for elementary teacher restarts. But hey, I’ll try to do some stuff in my free time for everything. 

Personal life.

Before I actually talk about my idea’s for the future, what I’m busy with and what will be going on that might keep me from creating content. Like I said in the introduction, I’m going to have a busy weekend. Next week, I’ll be out on Monday for college, on Tuesday I have some preparation work to do and from Wednesday my college restarts.

Since I have to focus on this new challenge, my releasing of content will slow down. I’m extremely excited to meet new people and face all the new challenges that this will bring me. I’m also planning to play a part in next year’s play of my theater group.  If any of you guys read this article, know that I love you guys extremely much.

Also, I have a lot of things to do in my personal life. Like cleaning things up, organizing things and such. Some parts of my library’s and stock effects (for example) are all a big mess. So, I have to clean that up. In addition to that, I have to make sure that everything runs as smooth as it can get.

But some sad news needs to be told as well. Because I do a lot of repetitive movements due to play a lot of games and writing a lot, my right shoulder hurts from time to time. With resting and such it goes away but it sometimes stops me from working on content. So, that’s a reason why sometimes content doesn’t come daily.

I’m glad that I linked Twitter with everything. For my latest updates go to my Twitter. I announce on there when I’m sick, too tired to work on things, too busy or any other things like that.

The final thing before we move on is that I want to mention that I won’t try to put out things every day anymore. I don’t think it will be possible for me anymore. Also, I think I won’t enjoy my “work” (/hobby) as much then anymore. I’ll try to put something on my blog or YouTube channel at least once a week but daily is no goal anymore of mine.

Personal thanks

Before I continue, I want to thank you all for the support I’m getting lately. 12,500+ views and nearly 110 subscribers is really amazing for me. And that’s for my YouTube.

On my blog, I also get likes and comments on nearly every article. And it puts a smile to me face. I’m so glad that people enjoy my content and start following me. While this is actually a hobby and stress reliever of mine, I actually feel rewarded in the process. And that feeling is something unique.

For people who play sports as a hobby it feels like winning a match while the audience is cheering you on. It feels so good. I have to thank everybody from Arpegi and ButtonSmashers for the amazing feedback I get. BloodCat for example is such an amazing guy and really points out the things that didn’t go well.

Thanks to this small success, I actually got in touch with some better YouTubers and such then me. And I have ways to grow even more. Yet, this is extremely overwhelming to me. Seeing that I got some trophies from WordPress for my work and that another blog selected ButtonSmashers (and that means Arpegi also, a bit at least) for a family award… Well, I’m going to be extremely honest here. My goal is to entertain the family and make it grow. And getting a WordPress Family Award for it, it gave me teary eyes.

Like this article guys: http://afterdarkgaming.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/wordpress-family-award/ It’s really something I’m going to print out and stick on my magnet board near my desk.

I can’t wait what the future is going to bring for me. Maybe new people want me to write for them. New collaborations or solo projects. Who knows?

Future content.

Blog

I’ll be working on a lot for my blog. First of all, I’m thinking of starting a new page for Steam accounts and such. Or I might add it on the Arpegi network page.

Also, I’ll link to the ButtonSmashers networks by a new partner page I’m creating. I’m talking to the guys of ButtonSmashers to ask who wants to be on that page.

Plus, I now finishing up a lot of games at the same time. That’s why there hasn’t been so many articles lately. I’m working on finishing games to get review ready and in stock to avoid “death moments” on my blog.

And a new creepypasta is being read. This one will be exclusive for an Arpegian’s CreepyPasta Tumblr. Maybe after some time I might link it on my DevaintArt or my own blog/Tumblr.

I have some rants in preparation too. Since it has been such a long time that I wrote one. Game Diary’s will also continue. So, keep an eye on my blog for updates.

Before I forget, soon I’ll be on the “About Us” page on ButtonSmashers. I’m truly excited for that. I don’t want to push the guys there but they said it will happen soon.

Something I should have done a long time ago is the favicon of my blog. If you bookmark my blog, it will show the default WordPress logo. I have to change that! I might put my normal avatar as a temp replacement until somebody of ButtonSmashers or Arpegi makes me something. But yeah, until then I might change it to something temp.

There might change something on my blog. I might not review all games I did a first impression on. Simply because of time limits. Yeah, I don’t have loads and loads of time. And I start new games all the time. Either I have to change that habit or just make the full review a later day.

YouTube

After some stalling, today I finally started working on the final episode of Project Central. I’m 25% done with it. After that, I’ll start playing Dream Chronicles again to record a new episode of that.

As you neko’s probably have seen already, I uploaded the other episodes of Herobrine’s Return. Simply to get that series over with. I was so unhappy that my microphone bugged out and you could barely hear me. Thankfully I have a better headset now so that’s fixed.

The Corpse Party series is in a delay. Because of Hetty not having a proper mic. Yet, we are going to try to record a new episode with the internal mic of her laptop but I can’t give any promises. I might ask other Arpegians to work on new episodes with me.

I have been playing a lot of Minecraft with the Arpegians. New people joined in the crew too. Maybe they might appear in video’s. So, I played a lot on a 1.7 snapshot server and I’m talking to MiseryLC for maybe a new survival series. But we aren’t going to reset our map so, the boring grindy stuff is already done. Sadly enough, we have so ugly chuncks. Some might like it, but I’m still not sure what to do with them. I might just delete the bad things with MCEdit or something or just deal with it.

I also need to upgrade my editing software soon. Version 12 of PowerDirector was released. And I’m still rocking with version 11. The new features really caught my eye. Like an improved rendering and zoom really put a smile on my face.

The other updates are slowly getting done. Like the updating of all playlists is done. Now the description of everything and I finally did all the behind the scenes work on my channel.

Other projects

I’m saving up for a lot of new things. Like a better mouse, better speakers. And maybe even a great microphone.

But I’m mainly working on the Arpegi forums as well. I have a lot of things to fix and improve on the forums. I made an update to the YouTube support of the forum the other day actually. But it needs some tweaking.

I also need to update my other social networks to link to all the places I publish my content on. Sadly enough, I can’t link my Tumblr to my YouTube… But one day I’ll make it happen.

I’m also thinking about expanding my social networks to Facebook. But I’m not so sure about that. It might be just too much for me to keep up to date.

Final words

Anyways, thanks for reading. Now I told you all my latest updates which would be normally in a vlog. Thanks again for all the support and I’ll do my best to continue publishing my content. Thanks to all the feedback I feel that I’m improving and creating even better content for you neko’s.

Sadly enough, real life is going to eat a lot of my time soon. I’ll focus primarily on that so that I don’t get myself into trouble with that. That makes a less stressy Jonez and that results in a more creative me. And a more creative me… Yeah, I think you get the idea.

Feel free to drop me a comment. But for now, NekoJonez out!

First Impression: Nicktoons – Spongebob and Friends – Battle For Volcano Island (PS2) ~ Thou Are Summoned

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(Little blog news: Sorry for not writing a lot. I’m extremely busy. Follow me on my Twitter for updates.)

Wikipedia entry

Back when the gameboy advance SP was the latest of the latest gameboy’s from Nintendo, I could rent out games from a local game store. The same one I buy most of my games at today. I love those guys. They are extremely friendly, talk with you about games, have an amazing helpdesk… Lot of advantages. For those who are interested in some Belgium culture while learning about my opinion of the games I play, here is the site of my game store. But be warned, it’s in Dutch. Game Mania is just awesome. I rented the latest Zelda game, which was the Minish Cap, and a few other games. The GBA version of this game was among them. Bummed out that I had to return the GBA version because it was so awesome I looked all over for this game. Sadly enough, I wasn’t able to find a copy for myself. Until one day I passed by and saw this in the 2nd hand PS2 games shelf. I was thrilled. Finally a copy of this game for myself. Not the one I wanted but hey, it’s a start. My expectations where high. I tried to set them really low to avoid a major disappointment but I was happily surprised. This game is pretty great. Why, I’ll explain in this article. But don’t let you get fooled by the fact it’s a kid’s game. Don’t judge a book on it’s cover, or a game on it’s box-art. Who knows, there might be a great gem inside. Anyways, let me know in the comments how I did in this article and your views on this game. Even when you didn’t play it. So, here we go. 

Open yet closed?

blaup2006Expect it, I’ll make a lot of references and comparisions to the GBA version of this game. Something I really liked in the GBA version is the fact you could walk around and pick the order of the levels yourself. Of course, parts where locked away until you reached a certain point of the game, but you didn’t had to finish all the levels in one section before you could advance to the next section.

If this game works with the same idea, I can’t tell just yet. From what I see now, it’s a tad bit more linear. But there is a central hub. And here is the neat thing, you are free to explore the whole thing. The restrictions from the GBA version aren’t there.

But what I really like in this version of the game is how the story is presented to you. It’s a big improvement above the GBA version where the story was somewhat absent. Your goal in this game was a bit unclear, since it was only explained at the start and the end of the game. The cut-scenes in this game really aids to bring character to the story and really makes the game more fun.

Damage?

hqdefaultThis game got a lot of marks from me. But one thing makes me doubt if this game is actually worth all my praise. The absence of a proper health display is worrying. You have to guess how many hits you can still take before you die. And the only thing that happens after a lot of hits is that your green behind the still image of the character changes into orange and then into red. In the GBA version you had a limit amount of hearts. And that provided a bit more challenge. With the actual amount of health you have in this game, it gets a whole lot easier.

Another thing where this game loses points is that the music is forgettable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s does it’s job but it’s actually not good enough to want to download the OST or get it stuck in your head. On the other hand, the voice work get a big thumbs up. I really like the sound effects and I think they add more then the music to the game. The voices really makes the funny story come to live. I also like the nods to previous games and to the series of the characters who are in the game.

Graphically this game is colorful and pretty. This helps a lot when you want to explore the world since it’s a blast to do. And here is where it gets even more interesting. Thanks to a whole ton of collect-ables and unlock-ables, this game’s replay value skyrockets. And then the possibility to take multiple paths helps a lot too. Exploring this colorful world is really fun to do. And this is backed up by a lovely short loading screen where great animations are displayed.

Speaking of which, the animation in this game is good. I really like the attention to detail in some parts. Patrick’s health display also changes the more hits you receive. I didn’t see it happening with the other characters though. I really like how this game all comes together.

Finish?

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I think I might finish this game in order to review this one. I actually think they deserve it for this game.

The level design is extremely well done. They added in spawners that pop out more enemies for you to fight until you destroy the source. The combat works great for a kids game but isn’t more then mashing the attack button.

The control scheme is alright. To my knowledge, there are two different settings. But I didn’t had any complaints about it while playing this game.

I also found out that this game might be short. After finishing two levels, the save file said I completed 20% of the game. Hopefully this is a mistake since if the game is extremely short, the marks will fall in the review.

Thankfully, the game is multiplayer too. You can play this game with two players. Or that’s what I can gather with the empty not used space and the mention of “player 1”. So, I have to check on that.

Anyways, that’s all for this game. Thanks for reading and I hope to catch you at a next read. But I’m now going to continue playing games to make new articles for you guys. Cheers!

It’s time for a rest.

Nice one Powy.
Nice one Powy.

Alright, it’s time for an update for the NekoJonez Life Inc? Truth to be told, I haven’t made up a name for it yet. In any case, I have a few things to talk about Related to my YouTube channel, my blog and other things like that. So here we go. 

Games, too much of them.

Lately, I have been playing a lot of games to finish them up for a review. But I might have put too much on my shoulders to bear. Yes, I might be just playing over 15 games now just to write a review or do a video on it.

I tried to avoid this but it’s just too much fun. Preparing for articles, writing them, doing research, tweaking the article… It’s the most fun I had in a while. But this method makes for slower writing of articles. Since I try to go more in-depth of the games too.

Lucky me, I’m nearing completion of several of these games and once they are done, I’ll try to not start up a new game before I have finished most on my list now. But there is one issue there. I’m a retro game collector. So, I have many games on my shelf that are begging me to finish or play them. So, I’ll be busy with them after these games.

Ideas, ideas and more ideas.

Did I mention I had ideas? Well, for my YouTube channel, I’m planning a load of new series. Minecraft and non-Minecraft related. It’s a load of work, but it’s fun to do.

Recording sessions with TehDrunkenWarrior and Hetty happened recently. And I really enjoy the recording itself and the editing afterward. Yes, it’s true, I started to edit my video’s more so they are better quality. But this also takes up more time.

Also, I’m getting a lot of ideas for my DeviantArt, where I might just publish poems or short story parts I had in my mind once. And the issue here is that I might not have time in the future for all of this.

For my blog, I have a lot of ideas too. New game diary entries, new reviews, articles, and rants. They are all into the preparation.

What’s holding me back?

First of all, Arpegi is somewhat holding me back. Not in a negative way, but I’m the main coder so I update the site often with new content or new features and bug fixes. The mod I wrote for SMF has some minor issues I patched up. So, SMF, please review my updated mod.

Second, my holiday job is taking big parts of my week. I’m tired when I come home and then I need to do some chores before I can rest and work on my content. So, that’s why there is somewhat a lack of it. I try to publish something on either my blog, channel, Twitter or DeviantArt several times in a week but yeah, busy me.

The third thing is that I’ll be spending more time with friends and family. Like I’ll be out of town this weekend. I’ll return Sunday though. So, that means no new content from me tomorrow and on Saturday. I also planned a few trips to stand up comedy shows and several other fun activities.

4th thing holding me back is the preparations for my studies. Yup, it’s taking some time as well. And studies will always be more important than my blog. Since when I mess up in college, things will get messy and maybe that messy that I can create content for a while. Which is pretty logical.

And the final thing holding me back is the fact that I don’t have a driver’s license. Don’t worry, I’m working on it.

So, that’s all that I wanted to update you guys about. Thanks for reading and feel free to catch up on my new YouTube videos. It would mean a lot to me. And I hope that I can welcome you here shortly.

Rant #004: Lay-outs ~ Let’s get forcing.

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Let’s rant about something different this time. Something that mostly all gamers have something to do with. Social networks and things like that. But mostly, the lay-outs of them. YouTube is a big one in this area. They change their lay-out so much, it starts to annoy their users. Another nice example is the Facebook Timeline. Are these constant changes good? Or do they do wrong things? I wanted to make a video about this but I rather wanted to write an article about this. I admit that some changes got me mad but I actually started to not really care. I just try to adapt to the change. 

The biggest issue.

The biggest issue with the changes are mostly that you don’t get any information at all when the change is going to happen. Suddenly a new lay-out is there in your face, and you simply got to deal with it. After some hours, a dozen of video’s go online that claim that you are able to revert back to the old lay-out.

Also, you can’t really test the new lay-out. Apparently as YouTube partner, you can. But according to me, that is far from enough. Cosmic Panda was a lay-out you could test at will. That was a good idea.

Don’t worry YouTube, you won’t be the only one receiving some ranting here. Facebook, you have issues with this too. The timeline, it’s a great idea and makes the site pretty unique. Think about it. Basically you write your life story on Facebook by sharing pictures, video, feelings… And you can watch your history in a timeline form.

Each new lay-out has a bunch of nice new features but it also gets rid of a lot of features too. It’s like in a store. They change everything from location so that you explore the place a bit more so that you pass by products in the hope you buy them. This logic can’t be applied to sites like Facebook or YouTube. Because you get frustrated since you can’t change what you want.

Trolls and haters.

It doesn’t take long before almost the whole site starts to hate the new lay-out. They always say that it sucks or that it doesn’t look nice. But after some time, you get used to the new lay-out. But by the time everybody got used to it, there is a new lay-out ready to be launched.

I have a big question for Youtube. You guys have the lay-out for quite a while now. How is it possible that so many big channels still have the old lay-out? And even your partners? The change to your new lay-out has a good idea behind it. To change the lay-out that it’s the same for each platform. That the channel looks the same on the computer and on the mobile devices. But make it them so that you have to change after some months.

It wouldn’t surprise me that a lot of comedians take easy money when the new lay-out comes around. That they make parodies and put the creators of the site to shame. But I don’t think that a lot of the changes are bad. I have a penpal in Finland and by the second he got the new lay-out he went all rant on me. People aren’t used to changing sites. And he doesn’t like the merging of the “stop” and “refresh” button in browsers.

Testing.

Facebook had a beta program to test their new lay-out. My mother and a classmate have gotten the new lay-out. And as far as I know, for months. Until this day, the new lay-out  hasn’t been published.

YouTube has it’s YouTube Labs. But here is the thing, it’s extremely hidden and you barely see it. Plus, I am sure that the feedback they get from it is too little.

I remember that Google Docs and other products had an option for a while to change back to the old lay-out. This was great since I used the old lay-out on one screen and the new one on my second screen. So I could see where everything was located in the new lay-out.

The biggest issue is that these things are buried. You want to test something? Well, after some digging you can. And then you can give feedback more easily.

WordPress has a great system for this. The publish unfinished releases so that people can test them out. They also tell you where you can help and give feedback. In addition to that, they have a change log. And the help feature really helps if you feel lost. The WordPress forums is extremely helpful and they reply fast.

Compare this to the slow Facebook and YouTube helpdesk. They might be big companies but if teams like the WordPress guys can pull it off so fast, I truly can’t understand why the others fail in this. WordPress goes even as far that admins can edit posts on anyone’s WordPress.com hosted blog to fix issues. You don’t see other websites do that.

Conclusion

I would like to shout at developers to release beta versions to the public to test out before you fully launch the new lay-out. Even when the new lay-out is filled with great idea’s, people get alienated and lost in the new lay-out quite easily. The internet can be that dumb.

Also, I want to thank the people who do the effort to make video’s to point out the issues of the new lay-outs. Video’s or articles, it’s the same deal. This way people can voice their opinion and maybe get some things “fixed” or improved.

Also, leave an option to stick with the old lay-out. And when you think the new lay-out is ready to be launched for everyone. Please, make an announcement. So that everybody can get ready for the change. And don’t roll it out like it’s your site’s last thing to save it from death.

But what are your thoughts on this matter? Leave it in the comments down below. Thanks for reading and happy blogging!