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: Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl (3DS) ~ Dungeon Crawler with own maps

SoulFinalOfficial website

Back when the 3DS wasn’t released, I played an overload of DS games. More then I care to admit. There was one series I wanted to get into but actually never gave a fair chance. That was Etrian Odyssey. So, two weeks ago, I decided to pick up one of the 3DS games. Since the core game mechanic interested me. Now, I haven’t played many other games besides this the last two weeks. But why is it so good to me? I will explain in this first impression. I hope you are ready, since we are going to the labyrinth. Wait, no… This is real life, not the game world. So, I have to say my usual sentence. Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and or the content of this article. 

Going old school

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Alright, first of all. I’m blown away by the story. Most of all, I think this is one of the best writing I have seen since I played Corpse Party. Sometimes the writing is as if you are reading a book. While nothing that much happens on screen, the short yet extremely powerful descriptions you are given are enough to immerse yourself in the world and give you the feeling to be there in the world.

The characters are also memorable. The story goes about a girl that lost her memory. But, strangely, the story wasn’t the main focus of the story until the point I played. It was something different. There are other side stories that are all leading up to one interesting setup. It’s almost like a real life as an explorer. There are so many things going on and you try to make the best of it.

The characters are what makes the story even more interesting. They might be your typical hotheaded mage, wise healer, strong (female!) tank and silent main character. Yet, they have been written in such a way that it doesn’t bother the story. The characters even get fleshed out and thrown in day to day situations.

But enough about the story. I can’t praise it enough. What I love the most about this game is the fact you have to draw your own map on the touch screen. This takes me back so many years, when I was first playing The Legend Of Zelda on my cousin’s NES. We both started to draw maps together and tried to find and share secrets that way. The wonder I get when I find an unexplored part on a floor I thought I completed is just amazing.

Music to enjoy.

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So, this game has a very nice map creating tool. It doesn’t punish you by not allowing you to the next floor until every square has been discovered, it rewards you to try and get to hard to reach area’s with amazing treasure.

I’ll talk a bit about the gameplay later. First, I want to talk about something else. The music of this game is really well done. In fact, I even replaced my main ringtone with one of my favorite tracks from the game.

Another thing that also shines in the sound department is the voice acting. The voices are really well done and add a lot of character … to the characters. They also are really helpful. The shout what they think is the enemies weakness in battle. This is where I have some minor nitpicks. The battle system is where some polish of this game … well, I has some minor mistakes.

The “auto” feature doesn’t always chooses the best option to attack and looking up a monster while fighting can’t be done in sub menu’s. That are just two examples of issues I have with the battle system. The randomizing of the characters don’t bother me that much, since that brings some element of luck to the game… Which I really like.

The presentation of this game is what I really think doesn’t need an upgrade. I have barely anything negative to say. Apart from some lazy recoloring of some enemy models, I think they made some eye candy to enjoy while playing this game. If only the added some more ambient sound effects into the game to make it a bit more alive then it already is.

Enjoying this game like mad

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To say that this game is perfect would be a lie. There are some minor annoyances, like the deleting of icons is kinda tricky to do… But most of the things I find are mostly minor. Even the controls, I can’t seem to find any major issues. They are responsive and work pretty well.

I could argue that there isn’t anywhere to heal your party for free, but that just adds the strategy element of this game. You need to keep exploring and find enough items and treasure to sell so you can keep healing.

That price always goes up, from what I understand… along with the levels of your party members.

Is this game for everybody? Well, that seriously depends on what mode you play. I’m playing classic mode. That means I get the full story yet the game is a bit more challenging. I wanted to play a game that could kick my ass if I wasn’t ready for a battle or if I wasn’t paying enough attention. It delivers on that front. With some well placed traps and the introduction of really strong enemies really early, I’m always on my guard.

From what I read, the story mode is much more forgiving. But I wanted a challenge and I’m getting it for sure. And I’m enjoying it. That much, that I had trouble with writing a really coherent article. So, I tried to talk like an excited friend that tries to sell you on this game. I hope I succeeded in that. Even when you aren’t interested in this game, I highly recommend you watch a let’s play episode or something since the game is so well put together, I think it’s a shame if you would to miss out on this. So, I’m going to wrap up this article right here. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And hopefully, I would like to welcome you at another article. Until then, take care.~

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.

Android Games you should try #3 – New phone

gooleplaySo, it has been quite some time since I wrote an entry on my blog about Android games but since I got this new phone, Samsung Galaxy Ace 3, I started play a ton of Android games again. Now, it’s time to write a new entry in this series. Time to revive it from the dead. So, because it has been quite some time, I think I have some explaining to do. In these articles I talk about several Android games that got me hooked or were fun to play. But these games are casual games that don’t have enough content to make a fully fledged review. So, I short each game extremely shortly, give you a rating and a download link. And as a cherry on the pie, all the apps are free and I try to have as less ads as possible. So, yeah. Anyways, when you have suggestions for games I should try out, feel free to say it in the comments. But for the rest, I invite you to leave a comment about this article and or your thoughts of the games or one of them. 

New things in the series

Alright, before we start the actual listing of the games, I have a few new “rules” for this series. First, I will list these under “Game Quickies” and “Game Review”. Since it’s kinda both, it’s a quick review of a game. But it’s not really a full “game quicky” since I talk about more games then 1.

Another change I do is that I’m way stricter towards the quality of the games. What I mean here, is that the game needs to be addicting and fun. In other words, I’m going to try to avoid the clones of Bejeweled and games like that.

Also, games that require constant internet connection or accounts, have a smaller chance. Unless there is a benefit to having an account.

And the games need to be free! It’s possible that I list a demo on here but the demo needs to have enough content to be enjoyable. Games that allow you to play only a few levels for free and promise an overload of levels if you pay won’t appear on this list!

Oh, and games that require Facebook or any other social media… Oh heck no! I hate them so much. I don’t want to recommend you games where you possibly have to spam your friends for lives or spam your wall. Forget it.

So yeah, that’s a heads up before we start. I think I might have been a bit too strict on the games for this article, but hey, sometimes some quality control is good.

#1: Mine To Escape

unnamedThis game is quite fun, yet very flawed. I finished this game in the course of a day or three. I’m quite sure that you’re able to finish this game in one very long sitting.

First, the negative things. The fact that you need to do things one by one makes you swipe your phone like crazy when you want to sell eg 10+ iron ore. Also, this game has only one planet. So, it’s quite short. Once the addiction kicks in, you are nearly finished with this game.

The good is that this game is challenging. You truly need to keep an eye on that oxygen. Also, sometimes ores are hard to find.

And it’s fun. You literally tap your time away. It a game like Minecraft, were you just tap one more block before you stop. While some people would find the one and only song quite annoying, I didn’t find it that. I rather enjoyed the music. But truth to be told, this game could use various tracks.

Score: 3.5/5

#2: Choice of the Dragon

ss (2014-04-20 at 10.09.09)Besides cats, I’m a big fan of dragons. Besides that, I’m quite a big fan of visual novel and adventure games.

This game tries to revive a genre thought dead. The adventure “choose your own path” genre. Basically a RPG but with lots and lots of text.

But here is the twist though, you are a dragon AND there are extremely different playstyles. Sweet no?

Don’t I have your interest just yet? Oh, you can play this game with your own music at the background. What do you want more? What, text? Deep story? Yes, this game has this!

The writing is amazing. It’s almost you are reading a book where there is somebody talking to you when the main character, in this case you the Dragon, decides the actions.

I have two complaints. The fact you can’t choose your own name and the words used might confuse non native English speakers.

Score: 4.5/5

#3: 1001 Attempts 

1001Attempts

This game, yes please! If my memory serves me correctly, this game is ad-free! And it’s big fun! This game is simple, stay alive as long as you can.

This game is easily to learn but hard to master. Each time you pick up a jewel, the game gets more difficult. It throws more and more projectiles to you and it’s not so easily to follow all the action going on.

This game doesn’t waste time with unneeded things. You can easily jump straight into the game and play as long as you want. This game is highly addicting. Since you have that “one more try” feeling.

I have no complaints about this game. So, worthy of a download!

Score: 5/5

#4: Hoplite

hopDo you want to play a simple 2D rouge-like adventure game? Well, you are in luck! This game is just for you then! This is also a puzzle game.

One word of warning though, this game isn’t easy. If you aren’t careful, you can die quicker then you can say your curse words.

But it feels so rewarding when you are able to beat a floor and move on to the next!

What I like so much about this game is how simple yet deep this game is. There is a lot of strategy involved to it.

Maybe with a bit of shame, I have to admit that I haven’t gotten further then the 5th floor. Tell me in the comments how far you got.

I haven’t found anything negative about this game. So, it gets the full 5 stars!

Score: 5/5

Closing words

This article has seen multiple versions. Now that I finally have my finished version, I’m glad that it’s done. I have added and removed a lot of games. I think that I tried at least 50 games for this article. Don’t worry, there will be new games I recommend in the future.

Leave me a comment which is your favorite game I recommended here. Or have you played one of these games before? Or which game looks interesting? Anyways, grab your phone and start playing. Oh, and if you have suggestions, please drop them in the comments as well. Maybe I’ll add them to one of the future articles in this series.