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Darren Nakamura

The hardcore Destiny community forgets why we play

Feb 06 // Darren Nakamura
There are a lot of possible answers to that question, but the most common among the hardcore players is because they are not at the maximum light level, or don't have every piece of exotic gear. Basically, they're in it for the stuff. This isn't some mindblowing revelation. Bungie has employed specific knowledge of human psychology in order to hook people into the loop. It's a classic Skinner box through and through, and Bungie wants players to keep hitting that lever for the chance at getting a food pellet. This is even more apparent now that Bungie has shifted to its limited-time events. I read a sentiment about the Sparrow Racing League from late last year that paraphrases to "I play SRL because the loot drops are high and frequent." More recently, Iron Banner Rift has seen players manipulating the Mercy Rule to intentionally throw matches and get to the end-of-game rewards more quickly. The problem with this mindset is that it treats the game like work. As players, we should be saying "I want to engage with this content because it is entertaining," not "I want to get to the end of this content as quickly as possible because my number might go up." I played a decent bit of SRL when it was around because the racing was a nice change of pace to the usual shooting. I played the most recent Iron Banner because Rift is my strongest game type and I knew I'd enjoy the process. I run King's Fall because it's a great feeling coordinating six Guardians into a well-oiled machine. Heck, I will still run the old raids, Vault of Glass and Crota's End, despite that they drop useless rewards. I play Destiny for the intrinsic value. I play Destiny because it is entertaining. When you treat a game like it's a job, then the saltiness comes out. Farming materials for the exotic sword quest is a good example. If you view it as an item on a checklist and try to power through it as quickly as possible, you're in for a bad time. Sure, you can mainline material routes for four hours straight to get it, but it'll be a boring four hours. Instead, I would go on Patrol, grab a few materials, participate in public events, kill some Taken champions, and head back to orbit when I felt like doing something else. It probably took me twice as long over multiple days to finish farming, but that was eight hours of enjoying myself instead of four hours of hating the world. The economics here are clear: if you play only for the reward at the end, you rob yourself of the enjoyment throughout. I implore players: divorce yourself from the reptilian part of your brain that is so susceptible to Destiny's operant conditioning. If you ever find yourself playing because you feel you have to rather than because you want to, ask yourself, "Am I enjoying this?" If you find yourself more interested in the reward at the end than the content in which you use the reward, ask yourself, "Is this worth it?" If your answers to those questions are no, there's no shame in finding something else to do, inside the world of Destiny or outside of it. Never forget the reason we play in the first place: to have fun.
Destiny opinion photo
Forget chasing loot for once
I've been playing a lot of Destiny lately -- late to the party, I know -- and going deep into the rabbit hole almost requires players to frequent r/DestinyTheGame or some other similar community site. Without it, I'd never kn...

Destructoid Rocket League photo
SW33T!
Mr. Destructoid has been around for almost 10 years now (!!), and in that time his cold steel frame has graced a few video games. First there was Bomberman Live, then came Raskulls and BurgerTime World Tour. Heck, the green m...

Tsuro iOS photo
Tsuro iOS

Casual dragon board game Tsuro out on iOS now


I'm tsure of it
Feb 04
// Darren Nakamura
Tsuro is the type of game that hits the table during parties at the ol' Casa de Nakamura. It caters to people who aren't especially experienced with modern board games, it doesn't take up a lot of table space, and it seats up...
Hidden Folks photo
Hidden Folks

Modern Where's Waldo-like Hidden Folks is mesmerizing


This could be a screensaver
Feb 04
// Darren Nakamura
Certainly, the drawings shown here are works of art on their own, but Hidden Folks really comes alive in motion. It's a far cry from the last Where's Waldo game I remember playing, which featured a series of low-res pixel art...

Knights and Bikes photo
Knights and Bikes

Former Tearaway, Ratchet and Clank devs team up for action RPG Knights and Bikes


EarthBound sensibilities
Feb 02
// Darren Nakamura
I could write up a basic synopsis of Knights and Bikes right here, but honestly, readers will benefit most from just watching the video below. If you want to skip the obligatory "two dudes sitting in front of a camera talking...
Crashlands impressions photo
Crashlands impressions

Crashlands is much longer than it needs to be


I get it, let's move on
Feb 01
// Darren Nakamura
It's easy to settle into playing Crashlands. To start, it takes on the fairly well-trodden survival genre, where players start with nothing, punch some trees, harvest resources, and eventually build fantastic items. It most c...
Superhot release date photo
Superhot release date

Superhot releasing on PC February 25, Xbox One in March


Trailer gets me superhot and bothered
Feb 01
// Darren Nakamura
Superhot has been looking supercool for a while now; those immediately sold on the initial concept have had to wait for a superlong time. The wait is set to be over supersoon; Superhot will release on Linux, Mac, and Win...
Stardew Valley photo
Stardew Valley

Harvest Moon-like Stardew Valley is out on February 26


Let's go live there
Jan 29
// Darren Nakamura
It seems like it's been forever since we last checked in on Stardew Valley, a pixel art farming life simulator/role-playing game that evokes memories of Harvest Moon in those fortunate enough to have played it in its prime (o...
Ode to Wetrix photo
Ode to Wetrix

Ode to Wetrix


Sonnet #2
Jan 29
// Darren Nakamura
To start the land is purely plain and flatBut earthy blocks then fall down from the skyTake care in where they are placed on the matMake sure you never build it up too high Construct containers for the coming stormBut to...
Sunless Sea photo
Sunless Sea

Sunless Sea celebrates submarines with a free Steam weekend


Sorry, zubmarines
Jan 28
// Darren Nakamura
Sunless Sea is one of those games I wanted to check out last year but never got around to. I guess I should have, because it showed up on a couple of our personal game of the year lists. This weekend, I have even less of an e...
PlayStation Plus photo
PlayStation Plus

Helldivers and Nom Nom Galaxy free on PS Plus next month


On PS4
Jan 27
// Darren Nakamura
Another month, another set of free games. Honestly, I can't keep up. That's just going to get better/worse (depending on how you look at it) because both of the headliners for PlayStation Plus in February are games I've been ...
NPR photo
NPR

NPR's Morning Edition had an Easter egg for us today


What do you think when you hear hedgehog
Jan 26
// Darren Nakamura
Growing up, NPR had an image of being mostly for stuffy old white people. Imagine my chagrin when I found myself listening to it regularly. I had become stuffy and old! Except, every now and then I catch hints of somebody beh...
Pathfinder Adventures photo
Pathfinder Adventures

Obsidian's Pathfinder Adventures out on March 29


Free to start
Jan 25
// Darren Nakamura
Whenever I describe Pathfinder Adventure Card Game to somebody (usually when I am trying to get them to play it), I start with a caveat. "On its surface, all you really do is flip a card and roll some dice. But for some reaso...
Lost in Harmony photo
Lost in Harmony

Here's a snippet of that Wyclef Jean song from Lost in Harmony


Out on iOS today
Jan 22
// Darren Nakamura
Yoan Fanise (Valiant Hearts: The Great War) broke from Ubisoft last year to form Digixart Entertainment, and the studio's first game is out on iOS devices today. Lost in Harmony looks like a decent rhythm game/Battletoads bik...
Destiny Valentine's photo
Destiny Valentine's

Love is in the air for Destiny's Crimson Days


Valentine's Day-themed event
Jan 21
// Darren Nakamura
After a long holiday, Bungie is back to work this week. For the first update of the new year, Destiny will be adding an event not unlike the Festival of the Lost from Halloween. Except since this one is coming in February, it...
Lovers photo
Lovers

Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime hitting PS4 on February 9


Spreading the love
Jan 21
// Darren Nakamura
Released on Steam and Xbox One in September last year, I had already assumed Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime was on PlayStation 4 as well. It turns out it wasn't, but it will be soon. Announced today via the snazzy YouTube vi...
The Order: 1886 photo
The Order: 1886

Want to watch The Order: 1886's story without having to play it?


You can do that
Jan 20
// Darren Nakamura
The Order: 1886 was well known for two things: being a PlayStation 4 exclusive in a time before Bloodborne was available and being pretty. Note the things not on that list: gameplay and story. Still, if you want to experience...
Prison Architect console photo
Prison Architect console

Prison Architect heading to PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One


Time to jailbreak your console
Jan 20
// Darren Nakamura
After a long stint in Early Access, Prison Architect finally saw its full PC release late last year. Wasting little time, developer Double Eleven is now porting it to consoles. It should release in spring on PlayStation 4, Xb...
Rocket League crowns photo
Rocket League crowns

Rocket League competitive season ending, ranked players will get crowns


Also adding RNG loot
Jan 15
// Darren Nakamura
The next update for my #2 game of 2015 Rocket League is due out next month. With it comes the end of the first season of competitive play, and the better players will net some snazzy bling to show off during season two and be...
Pokken Tournament release photo
When your hunger is Pokken at you
Just last night we heard about Chandelure joining the cast of fighters in Pokkén Tournament, which immediately increases my interest in the title. Sure, it makes sense for Lucario and Machamp to be fighters in the game...

OmniBus photo
OmniBus

OmniBus is the unstoppable force of public transit


Goodbye immovable objects
Jan 14
// Darren Nakamura
According to the trailer below, the long-awaited OmniBus is finally on its way, after a two-decade toil in development hell. Also according to the trailer below, it has made the cover of Time, Forbes, and Rolling Stone. Somet...
One Dog Story photo
One Dog Story

Serious Cave Story vibes come off One Dog Story


Woof
Jan 14
// Darren Nakamura
Cave Story is so revered among indie game enthusiasts, it's little surprise it would be cited as an influence for others making a game. One Dog Story lists it up there with others like Battletoads and Shovel Knight. One Dog S...
Steven Universe photo
Steven Universe

Screenshots from the Steven Universe game that will never be


We are the pixel gems
Jan 13
// Darren Nakamura
Steven Universe: Attack the Light! is a pretty dang good mobile role-playing game. But just because that exists doesn't mean we can't lament what will never be. Developer and artist Christina Antoinette Neofotistou tweeted ou...
Mother 3 photo
Mother 3

Starmen.net organizing one final push for Mother 3 localization


Siege Miiverse
Jan 12
// Darren Nakamura
The ultra-dedicated fans at Starmen.net never seem to give up. They have been campaigning for an official Western release of Mother 3 for what seems like a lifetime. According to the fansite, now is the ripest it will ever be...
Homeworld photo
Homeworld

Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak has a cool land-based aircraft carrier


I'm calling it the Kharaktopus
Jan 08
// Darren Nakamura
Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak is set to come out in less than two weeks on January 20. Maybe you want to watch a trailer for the story before you kharak open your wallet. Maybe I only signed up to write this story because I wa...
Unravel photo
Unravel

Unravel's Yarny came from the ideas of love and connectedness


And a camping trip, specifically
Jan 07
// Darren Nakamura
We've been pretty enamored with the feels-like-an-indie-but-is-actually-EA-published puzzle platformer since we first saw it last year. At the time, director Martin Sahlin got up on stage and talked about his inspiration for ...
PS VR photo
PS VR

Kaz Hirai: 'about 100 or more titles' in development for PlayStation VR


'More than 200 developers signed up'
Jan 07
// Darren Nakamura
Sony hasn't made a lot of noise about its virtual reality headset at CES this year (especially considering the hubbub surrounding Oculus Rift's pricing). The BBC asked Sony CEO Kaz Hirai about it, and he shared some news that...
Aurai photo
Aurai

Could Aurai be competition for Oculus Rift?


Significantly less expensive
Jan 06
// Darren Nakamura
Sure, Oculus is making big waves at CES right now, but some lower-profile tech is also on display. Making its debut today is Aurai, another device that fits on your face and reminds me of LeVar Burton's character from Star Tr...

Review: Minecraft: Story Mode: A Block and a Hard Place

Jan 05 // Darren Nakamura
Minecraft: Story Mode: A Block and a Hard Place (iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: December 22, 2015 (Mac, PC)MSRP: $4.99, $24.99 (Season Pass)Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit Where the first two episodes in the season induced apathy, this one causes ambivalence. It's a fine distinction: I was struggling to care about Jesse and his friends at first; now I care enough but find myself disappointed with the final result. For every beat Minecraft: Story Mode hits well, it stumbles once or twice. On the one hand, the more deliberate progression of this episode can be a good thing. It opens up the gameplay to include actual (albeit easy) puzzles along with the standard dialogue trees and quick-time events. Also, without lulls in the action, it could be bombastic to the point of grating. If it's always high energy, then it's all the same. On the other hand, the plodding of the first half of this episode is as dull as can be. There's a horse travel montage near the beginning illustrating just how far it is to get to the Farlands, and protagonist Jesse has the option of the classic whine "Are we there yet?" Even with the cuts of the montage, I felt the same. I get it; it's far. Let's move on. [embed]327542:61558:0[/embed] Once the action finally does pick up at the end, it still treads a questionable path. The full story about The Order of the Stone is revealed, and it plays out as foreshadowed. It's always a little awkward when a story treats something like an earth-shattering reveal when most would see it coming from the hints in previous episodes. Perhaps if I had led the life Jesse did, it would have been more impactful. Then, almost as if checking off all the Telltale boxes, we get another character death. This loss feels more important than the one in the third episode, since it's a likable character. Death in children's entertainment is nothing new (see: Bambi, The Land Before Time, Transformers [1986]), but it generally comes with a purpose. While we'll have to wait for the fifth episode, my sneaking suspicion is the only reason this death was written in was a cynical attempt at eliciting emotion. The really strange part of the whole scene is that in the middle of the mourning (when I have a full pout on my face), Story Mode lets loose a visual gag referencing the source material. Admittedly, it's probably the funniest thing in the whole episode -- so few of the jokes are worth even a chuckle -- but it feels wrong to have it punctuate the rest of the sad scene so bluntly. With the Wither Storm properly defeated, Jesse and the gang are proclaimed to be the new Order of the Stone, and A Block and a Hard Place ends with the vague promise of new adventures coming in the next episode. Unless it's tightly written and self-contained, I'm not interested. More likely, the last episode will open up a can of worms that won't get resolved until Season Two. This episode could very well be considered the finale for the first season. It wraps up the Wither Storm saga, it answers the questions about the Order of the Stone, and it delivers a semi-happy, hopeful ending for the crew. If only it did that without an utterly boring first half and the clumsy insertion of mandatory Telltale story elements, it might have also been a good ending. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Minecraft review photo
Denouement-craft
What a weird episode. After the high energy of The Last Place You Look, this one slows down the action shortly into it, and it doesn't really pick back up until the very end, which feels like the end of a season. But then, th...

Minecraft screenshots photo
Minecraft screenshots

A cartload of Minecraft: Story Mode Episode 4 screenshots


Better late than never
Jan 04
// Darren Nakamura
Vacation travel kept me from being able to get to the latest episode in Telltale's Minecraft: Story Mode right away. I just finished it, and as always, I had my finger on the screenshot button the whole way through. Mayb...

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