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12:06 PM on 06.06.2013

Games to get excited about!

So with all of the recent high profile games coming out and a few about to, I thought it'd be nice to talk about some games I'm looking forward to.

Project X Zone: In short, it's Capcom vs Bandai. This game's coming out for the 3DS on June 25th.



Destiny: You know, the new Bungie game that we don't really know anything about. Why am I looking forward to this? Well, Bungie makes good games. The first Halo was a great game on top of being revolutionary. I'm more looking forward to seeing more of this game to be honest. Then I'll decide if I'm still looking forward to it.



BEYOND: Two Souls: That game staring Willem Dafoe and featuring Ellen Page. I'm not sure why I'm looking forward to this. It just kinda looks cool. Granted, it could be complete crap but we'll just have to wait and see.



Pokemon X and Y: You get to customize yourself! You can buy cloths and shit too! You can ride a fucking GOAT!!! best POKEMON GAME [u]EVER[/u]. I know I'm going for X since I want the forest god from Princess Mononoke as my legendary.



Massive Chalice: The new Double Fine game. Nuff said.

Legend of Zelda Link to the Past 2: Again, Nuff said.

What games are you looking forward to?   read


11:10 AM on 06.04.2013

'Games' I take issue with: Candy Crush Saga

There are very few things I have as much of an issue with as I do with Candy Crush Saga. I'll admit, my friends, the TV commercials and the constant barrage of Facebook notes about it got me to actually play it. This 'game' has become the new FarmVille really and for a few weeks I was super into it too. I love playing games like Bejeweled on casual or infinite modes and Candy Crush is essentially Bejewled but it's the subtle yet major differences which cause my discontent for the game.



Let's look at the basic lay out of the 'game'. You are trying to get the candy in lines of 3-5 to clear the stage. Simple but Candy Crush wants you to reach a specific score or, in the case of some stages, complete a specific task in order to move on. This is where the problem starts. Each stage has a limit on how many moves you have to reach this score or complete this task. So you have X moves to rack up Y points in a game with randomly generating candy. Many times I would play a stage and, luck of the draw, it was impossible to complete the goal or get the points in the allotted turns. Well then you just keep playing the game, right? Wrong. You have a specific amount of lives that you can get back 3 ways. Wait, beg your friends on Facebook to give you more lives or buy lives. This part is what I have an issue with.

King is banking on the impatience of it's players to either give them money or give them publicity. Sure, making money is the point in making a game but they have taken a mechanic that doesn't work with constraints, put constants on it and asks you for a credit card to unlock them. It's like a rigged carnival game, there is really no way to win.

It's common knowledge around my friends that I despise the idea of making someone buy for a game and then keep paying to be able to play it. It's why I feel the practices of games like WoW are scummy (DISCLAIMER: I'm not saying WoW is a bad game) and I can't understand the idea of xBox Live. I was miffed with FarmVille's "pay to win" business model but Candy Crush advertises that it's a "free game". Most people would say that their business model is the same as FarmVille's, "pay to win". I disagree. Candy Crush Saga is a "free" game that's business model is "pay to play" and even beg to play. It's one thing to sell extra stuff to get through the game faster and make some money off their free game, it's another to make the game almost impossible to progress in unless the player pays. Not only do I feel it's scummy and dishonest, it's degrading to the player and, frankly, a flat out scam.   read


8:49 PM on 06.02.2013

Element4l: The cutest/coolest game I've played in years

I was messing around on Steam a few days ago when I saw an ad for a game called Element4l. I thought the banner was cool so I went to the page and checked it out. Impressed by the trailer, I bought the game for a small price since it was on sale. I've been playing it for the last few days and oh my GOD. THIS GAME IS ADORABLE.

[b]
[/b]

So as you just saw in the trailer above, you play as the four elements. Air is a bubble, water is an ice cube (which can melt), earth is a rock and fire is...well a ball of fire. The game play is like nothing else before. You only use the 4 arrow keys on the keyboard. That's it! Each arrow has it's corresponding element ^ air < water V earth > fire. This game is crazy hard. So far I'm on the 3rd stage and, I must admit, I'm pretty terrible at this game. There are no enemies, just you and the environment and it makes for such a challenging yet rewarding experience. It's $9.99 on Steam right now. Check it out and tell me what you think.   read


12:16 PM on 05.29.2013

A growing problem that needs a solution.

It's hard to follow your dreams, especially when you get little or no support. With most universities offering degrees in game related fields, more kids are embracing the idea of wanting to make video games when they grow up. I think this is excellent and should be celebrated but there are many parents that don't feel the same way.

I'm a firm believer of classifying games as art. Like anyone pursuing education in any art form, the road to that dream can be long and rough. Sure, there are plenty of parents that support their children's dreams but there are plenty more who don't.

I come from a middle class family with two hard working parents who are well respected members of the community. My father is a doctor of psychology and a teacher at a local state college. My mother is a special education teacher, an ex local politician and the person who encouraged me to play video games as a child. Shee would sit with me for hours and play through old PSX JRPGs. She instilled the drive in me to go for 110% in every game I own. Even still when my parents asked me what I wanted to go to college for and I replied, "I want to do concept art for video games," my mother said to me, "It's okay to have hobbies but you need to pick a career." I was devastated.

Needless to say, I thought of giving up my dream, picking something else to do with my life. I thought law school would impress my parents, I'd be okay with becoming a teacher but on a whim I applied to some art schools in secret. When I got into the university I go to now, my parents were so proud. They asked if I'd applied to the engineering school like my mom had hoped. They were very disappointed when I told them the major I'd gotten into and told me "There's nothing wrong with changing majors". Not long after my parents made some rules. I wasn't allowed to tell people my major. My parents were embarrassed that I'd be going to school to "play games" while other parents sent their kids to get "real degrees". 

Their opinions have changed since, after hearing that people can make a lot of money making games (I still don't think they understand that this isn't something that always happens and that this isn't something I'd get a steady pay check for), but they still treat me poorly over my choice. After my older brother decided he wanted to follow my lead, they stopped saying anything around him but they openly blame me for influencing his choice when he's not around.

Now, this is just my personal experience with the matter and just between my classmates, their parents all hold different opinions on the matter but there are plenty that think we didn't actually do work. This is completely and utterly false. Game design is time consuming, the programs used to make games and the coding languages they use take time to learn and longer to master. To make a good game you have to be smart, talented and well trained (either self taught or school learned). Many people seem to not under stand that and it really bothers me. 

It's hard for anyone to pursue something when they're discouraged by the people who should support them; be it family, friends, even school. As computers and smart phones have become a bigger part of day to day life, it has become more common for students graduating from high school to go into fields like computer science and web design. With the booming popularity of video games, game design has also become a popular choice for graduating seniors when applying for college programs. Hopefully as time goes on and our generation becomes parents, we'll consider the profession of game design a respectable one and be more inclined to encouraging our kids to pursue such career paths.   read


7:44 PM on 05.26.2013

How much have you spent on Steam?


Like so many other people I've fallen victim to the Steam sales; buying tons of games on sale and never actually playing them. Right now I have both Batman Arkham games with the game of the year content but I've played neither of them. The worst part is, despite these games that remain unplayed, we keep buying more.

Now don't get me wrong, I love Steam. Steam has opened so many doors for so many people when it comes to what content can make into a well populated market. It changed the game industry and made PC gaming much more main stream then ever before. When I boot my computer 2 things turn on right away, Skype and Steam. I just find that I'm addicted to Steam like some people are addicted to normal online shopping. If a game I'm even mildly interested in is on sale, I'm totally buying it. Just while writing this I've bought 3  games on sale right now.

I feel like if I had a week with nothing else that needed to be done and a bunch of snack foods I could totally play every single game I've been putting off in my Steam library but until then they just kind of sit there and I feel terrible about it.

What games have you been putting off for too long. Here are some of mine:
The Basement Collection
Bastion
The Batman Arkham games
Don't Starve
Hell Yeah!
Mass Effect (1 and 2)
Portal 2
Recettear
They Bleed Pixels   read


1:49 AM on 05.25.2013

Game Dev Tycoon


After yet another failed attempt to fix my sleep schedule, I found myself sitting on youtube and trying to figure out what I'm doing with my night. So I went on OMFGcata's channel and saw he's been playing Game Dev Tycoon.

Game Dev Tycoon is a indie simulator where are a little dude and your a game developer. It's a little game by Greenheart Games and it's pretty fun.

It pretty much goes like this, you're in your garage making games for PC and "G64". As time goes on you can make games for the next systems that come out such as the "TES", the "DreamVast", the "mBox 360" and beyond. Where I am in the game right now the "mBox Next" just came out, the successor to the "mBox 360". So you make money, you make games, get bigger offices and hire new people. You get to market your games and buy booths for the game convention "G3".

They way you actually make the game is pretty interesting. There's 3 stages of development. Each stage has 3 sections of the game to work on. As shown below, there are sliders for each part which allow you to a lot the amount of time your company will spend on said part. When your company gets bigger and you make bigger titles you can put specific people in charge of different tasks to allow more work to be done.



They games pretty fun over all. It can get pretty difficult if you make a few bad games. I've gone bankrupt at least once in my game so far (I put all my money into a flop) but the game's pretty good about helping you out. You can go into the red up to a point before going bankrupt and, if your company goes under, the game will restart you a few games back.

The game is pretty solid and looks nice. This is Greenheart Games' first game. It's $7.99 for Windows 7 +, Mac (10.7.5+) and Linux. You can buy the game on their site or you can wait for the game to be put up on the Steam store since it was green lit quite recently. One thing I thought was particularly hilarious was that if you try to pirate this game, your company will get to a point in the game where you start losing profits to pirates. This keeps going on until no one's buying your games and everyone is pirating them and your company goes bankrupt.

TLDR: Game Dev Tycoon's a good game. $8 for Windows, Mac and Linux and don't pirate it. It's 8 bucks going to two guys that made a nice little game.

What do you think of Game Dev Tycoon? Any other indie games you're excited about?   read


8:39 AM on 05.24.2013

Wind Waker: The game I should have already played


Recently I've been having a grand old time going back in time and playing all of my old video games, mainly on my N64. Oh the Nintendo 64, with your 3 handed controller and multiple...where they memory cards? Lets not forget out good friend the rumble pack and GBA adapter that's only purpose (as far as I know) was to "Catch 'em All" with the Pokemon Stadium games. While on the trip down memory lane, my boyfriend (who's a game design major like myself) started talking about games he'd played as a kid. We were about half way done The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time when he mentioned The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. It went a little something like this:

Him: So that's where that mechanic comes from.
Me: ...Why...?
Him: Well there's something similar in Wind Waker.
Me: Oh. Well I wouldn't have know that.
Him: ........you've never played Wind Waker......?

3 hours, 2 fights and 1 almost dropped laptop later I was set up in front of Wind Waker. It's been almost a year now since I started Wind Waker and I'm not very far into it still. Sadly it just hasn't been high on my priority list which is such a shame considering Link's Awakening and Ocarina of Time are two of my favorite games of all time. I have this tendency to get stuck on simple things that, really, I have no excuse to be stuck on.

When Wind Waker first came out, I ran to my local back alley video game trade in store (Trade-A-Tape Videos in Trenton NJ) and bought, not Wind Waker but, the Ocarina of Time Master Quest bonus game that you get if you had pre-ordered Wind Waker. Back then ALL I cared about was Ocarina of Time. I was pretty obsessed. But what put me off about Wind Waker was the art. Now, being older and wiser, I look back on that decision and realize how stupid I was to think Wind Waker was lame just because the art was different. 

Having played finished many of the older Zelda titles and some of the newer ones (such as Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess) I feel confident saying that Wind Waker is a good Zelda game (at least from what I've played so far).

I like it. I want to play more of it but every time I look at my GameCube all I want to do is play Metroid Prime.

Where would you rank Wind Waker out of the other Zelda Titles? 
(best, top 5, top 10, eh it was ok, bottom 10, bottom 5, worst Zelda ever)   read


5:06 AM on 05.24.2013

Do you like Adventure Time? Watch Steven Universe!

I know I should be writing something about video games but right now this show has absorbed my life.

I've been following Adventure Time pretty religiously for the last few years now and it's become a major part of my weekly routine now. I've even gone as far as refusing to take classes during the time slot so I can be home to watch it and the only other show I'm as passionate about is Community. The Adventure Time game is one of the few games I have for the 3DS. Most of my favorite episodes of Adventure Time have been written by Rebecca Sugar or had her song's in them so when I heard she was leaving the show, you can only imagine how sad I was. That was until I heard why she was leaving, to start her own show! After much wait, the pilot for Steven Universe was released this week.



Rebecca Sugar is quite an amazing women. She's known for writing heart wrenching stories and is just as good an artist as she is a story teller. Did I mention she is a song writer too? With Adventure Time favorites like "Why Did You Eat My Fries" and "I Remember You" I can't wait to see what wonderful songs will come from her new show. With Steven Universe, Rebecca Sugar has become the first women to have a show green lit by Cartoon Network. On top of all of this 

Knowing how insane Adventure Time is, I had no idea was awaited me as I hit play on the Steven Universe Pilot and from the moment it started I was completely delighted. Below is the pilot and below that I'll write a synopsis of the show. You can watch the video first or read the synopsis, whichever you prefer. 

NOTE: Cartoon Network's web pages for it's shorts, which includes Steven Universe and Lakewood Plaza Turbo (another wonderful short I recommend watching), haven't been working for the last day or so and I don't know when they'll get around to fixing it. At the same time videos of the pilot are being taken off the internet pretty quickly so I apologize if the video is broken.


How can I describe Steven Universe...
The show is about Steven who is one of "The Crystal Gems", a group of magical girls how fight evil and protect the world. Garnet, the leader of the group is straight out of an 80's sifi movie. She's the strong, silent type and is a refreshing character to see portrayed by a woman in any media. Amethyst, is the sexy one (I guess), dressed like a hipster and not caring about much (as far as we see in the pilot). She's mischievous as far as we've seen and has a soft spot for Steven. Pearl is quite the proper little lady. I've seen her compared to Utena Tenjou from the anime Revolutionary Girl Utena and from her outfit and her weapon I'd say she was probably inspired by Utena when it comes to look. Then there's Steven, a chubby little boy who plays the ukalele and wants to do nothing else but help is fellow Crystal Gems. It's so cute how much he looks up to them and wants to join their ranks. The story follows these 4.

After watching the pilot I was so pumped! I truly can't wait to see more of this. Until then I'll be listening to the song Steven sang on repeat.
  read





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