Pokémon and Dire Straits: A Brilliant Combination

22 10 2014

Pokemon

For nearly two years now I have been playing Pokémon on Thursday nights at Juicafe in Lancaster. I used to collect and play Pokémon when it first came out in the UK in about 2000, but without much of somewhere to actually play it; I ended up just playing it mostly with family and some friends. Eventually, while I still wanted to continue it, my interest waned. Then in 2013, Juicafe started a Pokémon Trading Card Game League and so at long last I was able to play again, and this time with other enthusiasts.

Juicafe

Playing Pokémon again was brilliant, and I enjoy it so much more than when I first started and is a definite improvement and better option to playing Magic: The Gathering competitively, for which I have now retired from. In the past year though, I began to notice people naming their decks, something I didn’t quite understand. From what I was able to gather, It was more for the experimentation of deck building to see how a certain deck works out. Being somewhat of a standard player, I did not consider naming my decks at all (I still prefer to play the cards with no sleeves as it feels more authentic despite the card scuffing, as well as the fact that I do actually have sleeves for them).

Pangoro Boxes

Well eventually I did decide to name my deck, but me being me, I decided to name my deck which was made up of Grass and Psychic Pokémon as Strong Arm Of The Law. I chose that name for one very good reason, it’s a song by British Heavy Metal Legends; SAXON. Strong Arm Of The Law is a very good song with a cool intro and riff, and a pretty good chorus section that is also kind of catchy. So pretty much there and then I decided to name my decks after Saxon songs. I planned to call a possible Fairy/Steel deck Princess Of The Night, while if I was to make a mainly Grass deck, that would be called And The Bands Played On. A Flying deck would receive the name 747 (Strangers in the Night) and a Fire deck (with possibly some Grass) would be Unleash The Beast. So I had it all planned out really.

That was until very recently. I decided that come the new season in September/October time I would start the construction of a new deck. I had been using Strong Arm Of The Law since about March/April 2013 and so in order for me to try something new plus some possible variety, I decided it would be best to get a new deck going. Strong Arm Of The Law was originally built by a friend at Pokémon by combining two Intro/Theme Decks, so I bought two decks at a brilliant Board Game shop in Horsham (BattleQuest Games). While I did do my research into Intro Decks and there were some with more powerful Pokémon, I went for a Dark and Fighting intro pack with a Panda like Pokémon on the front card called Pangoro. While I still need to build the deck, (I have yet to open the boxes) I have already chosen a name for my new Deck, and being a fan of Saxon, and deciding to name my future decks after Saxon Songs, my new deck’s name is,The Sultans of Swing, which many people know is the name of a song by Dire Straits.

Mark Knopfler

So why did I choose that? Well, during the summer, mostly thanks to listening to Money for Nothing about this time of year last year, as well as constant exposure to Romeo and Juliet on my Writing Adaptations module at University, I became a fan of Dire Straits. So pretty much the only music I have really listened to for the last 2/3 months is music by Dire Straits. One song in particular; The Sultans of Swing, I have listened to more than others. When I first heard it I wasn’t too impressed, I thought the song was a bit plain, but then when you listen to a live recording version and give it some time, it becomes one of their best songs. The lyrics the tune, everything. I once listened to it about 20 times in one week, I like it that much. So why did I decide to choose Sultans of Swing as the name of my new deck? Well, because:

  • A) I think it works, and…..
  • B) because I couldn’t think of anything else.

But the name does work, because in essence, I am calling the Pokémon in the deck, The Sultans of Swing. It is more of a personal name for them and gives the Pokémon cards both Character and Personality, and on top of that it brings two awesome things together into one brilliant combination; an Awesome Card Game and an Awesome Rock Band. Pokémon and Dire Straits is quite literally a Brilliant Combination (unless the deck turns out to be rubbish, in which case it may be the last time I use a Dire Straits song as the name for a Pokémon deck).

GENEPOOL (I could call a future deck Telegraph Road, but the deck would need to be so evenly mixed enough for the full 14 minutes of the song to take effect).





Top 5 Steam Early Access Games That I Want To Play

15 10 2014

Steam (Valve Corporation, 2003 - Present)

For a couple of years now, Steam has supported its early access option. Early Access is an option and opportunity for gamers to play games on Steam that are still being developed. The idea being that you can buy the game, play it and let the developer know of problems you spot when playing the game. It gives the developers the option of having the game tested for bugs and fixes while the gamers get to play the game sooner, providing that they know that the game is not finished. While a nice little idea it may be, I am not all that for it as I don’t really fancy playing a buggy game or have consistent issues while playing it as well as possible performance problems for my PC. Despite this though, my Top 5 Games on my Steam wish list are Early Access games and while there are many more other Early Access games I want to play like Kerbal Space Program, these for me stand out as the ones I really want to play.

Folk Tale

5. Folk Tale – Back in 2007 when I first got my PC I played a relatively new game at the time called The Settlers: Rise of an Empire. I liked the look of it as it had a daft looking cartoon element and I also liked the idea of how the game works with each little person doing a job and having to collect things to make things. Folk Tale looks a lot like The Settlers in how the player builds a town and helps it expand while the little AI people go about their daily lives, doing jobs to help other people do jobs and so on. On top of that, the game has a cartoon based look retaining a certain level of novelty and daftness without getting too serious. The fantasy based setting also means the game is not being held down by factual based historical facts which can slow games like this down and lose a bit of their imagination. From the looks of the trailer, it looks a lot like a combination of Age of Empires and Battle for Middle Earth with a taste of Settlers. While I don’t know much about this game as much as I do others, I really like the look of it and look forward to playing it at some point.

Godus

4. Godus – Inspired by games like Populous and Dungeon Keeper and designed by the same designer as those Games (Peter Molyneux), Project Godus is a brand new God Game where the player helps a little settlement build up into a village, then a town and possibly even a nation. The player shapes the land while the AI people build their own settlement. Godus to me looks brilliant. It looks like the kind of game where instead of building the settlement, you provide the tools to construct it and let someone else do the rest. To me it looks like the game REUS where you control the creation of resources and let those live in the world shape it with what you give them. Even though I still know very little about it, I think it looks rather funky and fun and the in-game systems that the game provides I really do like the look of including watching the little people build their town.

War For The Overworld

3. War For The Overworld – Back in the late 90’s when Dungeon Keeper 2 came out, I remember the in-game trailer for Dungeon Keeper 3, and it looked absolutely Amazing. Many years passed and it didn’t happen, I hoped and dreamed for over 10 years that one day Dungeon Keeper 3 would happen. But it still didn’t. Then a couple of years ago, I saw War For The Overworld (WFTO) being advertised on Kickstarter (in an e-mail from another Kickstarter game on this list). I took a quick glimpse at it, and fell in love with it. It’s not just a case of the game ‘looking like Dungeon Keeper’, in all respects it is Dungeon Keeper. The way there is a Dungeon Heart, the way creatures dig out rooms, the way rooms and walls look and the diversity of creatures on show. At long last Dungeon Keeper was coming back. I was hooked and since then have been getting regular emails on the project. While it is not completely Dungeon Keeper, I am really excited to the release of this game, which has been announced as sometime in early to mid-2015; so not long to wait until I can actually play it, and not only that, but the original voice for DK and DK2, Richard Ridings is returning to voice this game too. I just hope the satire that Dungeon Keeper had remains in this game.

Prison Architect

2. Prison Architect – From the creators of the incredible DEFCON, Prison Architect looks incredible. While inspired by games like Theme Hospital and Dungeon Keeper, to me it has the look of Rollercoaster Tycoon. I like games that look daft and cartoony; to me that makes them look more accessible and allows retention of creativity and imagination. The cartoon look of Prison Architect is brilliant. But it’s not just the look of this game that I like. I like the idea too. The idea of running a prison and the systems that are needed to be put in place to run it, and not just in construction, but in management too, making this game a lot like both RCT and Evil Genius too. While it may be still in production and thus several years away from actual non early access release, this is a game that I almost did buy as I want to play it so much, and on top of that, the current bugs in the game make it look funny to play too. With both a great design and look combined with a great niche idea, Prison Architect is easily one of the games well worth looking out for.

MAIA

1. M.A.I.A. – Out of all the games on this list though M.A.I.A. (Maia) is the most mysterious. It’s my interest in this game which led to me discovering WFTO, but this game looks puzzling. It’s design and look make it clear to be an RTS/Management game in a similar style to games like Theme Hospital, Startopia and Evil Genius with players building their own space base (I’m assuming) while also placing objects and systems in order to run it. Sounds simple, but I bet it isn’t. The thing is, most of my knowledge stems from some video footage, some in-game images and some text information. But apart from that I am still unsure of what his game is going to be like. But from what I know and see, it is a game I want to play as it combines all the things I like about games like this while also being put in a setting that has not really been done before. Combining that with an element of Sci-fi/Survival Horror that is somewhat visible in the games look and effects, and this game should be amazing, possibly even Legendary. I’ll just need to wait until it is ready to be played to find out, but I’m ready and looking forward to it.

GENEPOOL





I Have Finally Gotten Round To Playing Demigod, And I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

24 09 2014

Demigod2

Back in 2007 when I first got my Computer, it was not long until I had bought Supreme Commander for it, a game which quickly became my Favourite Game and today is still one of my all-time favourites, mostly because I don’t know what my favourite game is at the moment. A few months later when I found out that Gas Powered Games, Supreme Commander’s developer was producing a sequel I kept up to date with the company, and still do.

Supreme Commander1

Before they released Supreme Commander 2 though, they released another game called Demigod which I had a look into. From first glance I liked the look of it, the monsters, the giant creatures, the armies. It looked to me like an army orientated Real Time Strategy (RTS) Game, the kind of games I like. So, I kept a look out for it, but I did not buy it when it first came out in 2009. I don’t know why, I just didn’t. A year later Supreme Commander 2 was released at that was that but still I had not bought Demigod. In fact, it has only been very recently when it was on Sale on Steam that I finally bought it, over 5 years later. So with it finally bought, and then with some time spare after completing Borderlands 2 I decided to download it and give it a go. When I played it for the first time though, I discovered a problem.

Demigod1

I went into a little skirmish game, just to have a quick go and try it out, and I was surprised to see that there wasn’t a tutorial mode, I discovered this the moment the battle begun and I had a character and task bar but had no idea of what to do with them. There are options, but as to what to do with them as well as how I am supposed to play this game at all was a sheer mystery.

Demigod3

The idea behind this game is that there are two main gameplay mechanics:

“There are two distinct types of Demigod: Assassins and Generals. Assassins rely on their varied combat abilities in a direct fight to kill other Demigods. Generals are a hybrid Demigod that create and support their own minions and other Demigods.”

Wikipedia Demigod Article

So in theory, Assassins can fight who legions on their own, while Generals use armies to fight for them. I played as a General the first time but had no idea how to build or create an army and for the most part seemed to just appear of their own fruition. I then played as an Assassin, but just kept on dying the whole time.

Demigod4

It may be the case that there is a Tutorial in the game somewhere, maybe in the tournament mode, but I thought that would have been in the main menu if there was one. I might have another go at the game and see if I get anywhere, and if I don’t I could just go back to playing Supreme Commander 2, but seeing as 2 is not as good as 1, I might just play that one instead and wait and see if Gas Powered Games makes another Supreme Commander one day, who knows.

Demigod5

GENEPOOL





REUS

13 08 2014

REUS Logo

Have you played Godus yet? I haven’t. Why? Because it’s still in early access and I don’t quite fancy playing a buggy game until it is supposedly finished to a point that it isn’t so buggy. It’s also why I have not played Folk Tale, MAIA, Prison Architect and War for the Overworld. All these are games I am eagerly anticipating to play, just not yet. But why am I talking about said games if the title suggests a 2D game with Giant Monsters in it. Well it sort of looks like games like Godus and Populous.

REUS World

REUS is a game about a world, a world that currently nothing exists, except for a group of Elemental Giants who each have the power over a certain type of land and abilities. One makes mountains and can create deserts and mines to mine (obviously) minerals. One can create oceans and sea life while another can create grass lands and fruit. Then finally there is a swamp giant who can create swamps and technology and sciences. What is basically a God Game where the giants are such entities and can create life and resources for the humans down below and provided the humans stay loyal to them, and not get to greedy, the giants and humans will stay in happiness together and some humans may join the giants unlocking new abilities for them. Although, the player has no direct control of the humans (a lot like Evil Genius) and if the humans get too greedy, they may declare war on each other, or even on the giants themselves which are not invincible. But if a race of man gets too powerful you can just destroy them, provided that you still have a giant that can?

REUS End

REUS is nicely designed and has a nice cartoony look about it and is also very colourful which is always a bonus. So even if the humans decide to go to war with each other, or sometimes you, at least it’s not all gloomy and horrible. The games mechanics are in the ability to give the peaceful/war like humans the things they need in order to survive/kill. So each giant while having maybe some similar abilities, each one does something different, and on top of that different types of region and the people that live on them require different kinds of resources. Grasslands initially require food, desert initially requires wealth and swamp initially requires Technology/Science. What do they require these resources for? Projects. As soon as a town is settled they begin building something which usually starts off quite basic and if accomplished thanks to the help of your giants, they grow in prestige (I think, it’s been a while since I last played it) and then may decide to upgrade that building into something better. By that point though, they require more resources and of different types. It is through this that they can get greedy and if you give them too much, equally so. But in order to achieve even these potential accomplishments the game introduces a system of multipliers. These are basically points in the resource system where combining certain things together will cause more abundance in those resources, and seemingly the strongest way of doing this is through the buildings themselves as they cause larger multipliers than the actions of the giants.

Reus Water Giant

The game while fun, colourful and perhaps playing in a more arcade style game than the standard RTS is also quite difficult as you need to inspire and provide for the humans, but also need to control them in some respects. But the game is very addictive and on your part you want to see the projects completed and do things to see them completed, but the multipliers aren’t as easy to complete as you think they are and can get quite frustrating as you try to use them to provide, but there is a real sense of accomplishment though when the projects are completed. And it is through such things that make me think of Godus as in that the humans create their own villages and building, and the same goes for this. And even when the humans decide to go to war, it is interesting to watch them do so. The world is beautifully animated, from the giants, to the humans, to even the plants and animals that live in the world and it is great to see so much diversity in the game, particularly from the animals themselves to the projects and if you are able to accomplish bigger ones, they lead onto even bigger ones. And if you are a game who likes accomplishments, there is an in-game accomplishment/trophy like system where in the lifespan of a single game you are able to accomplish a group of tasks you chose at the beginning of the game, that sense of accomplishment returns.

Reus Mountain Giant

REUS is an extraordinarily fun game. Addictive with a lot of replay value in a beautifully crafted, animated, colourful and even sounding world with lots to do and achieve while also trying to survive and do all of that within a predetermined amount of time with lots to unlock too, it is seriously good fun. Give it a try, I highly recommend this game (it’s both available on Steam and GOG.com, I have the GOG.com version).

GENEPOOL





Payday: The Heist

30 07 2014

Payday Logo

Fancy robbing a bank but don’t want to go to prison for a long time? Want to steal gold bullion, jewels and maybe the odd hostage without spending time in the big house? Well now you can do all that from the comfort of your very own home (and by that I don’t mean that ridiculous Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Chess or Secret Agent Laser Obstacle Lunch game from The Big Bang Theory) with Payday: The Heist.  (Turn off inner advert accent) Payday: The Heist is a four player co-op game for PlayStation 3 and Windows (and Steam) by Overkill Software where you the player play as one of a group of armed robbers who have obviously decided to go the way of the Judas Priest song, Breaking The Law by breaking the law in hope of making their millions that way. The four robbers have cool nicknames (aliases) too. They are Dallas, Hoxton, Chains and Wolf and are armed to the teeth with an assortment of weapons. But what looks like an arcade game, is actually a lot cleverer.

Payday 3

The game keeps to its arcade look, but instead of a mass shoot and rob for all, is also a tactical shooter. Going in all guns blazing and nicking as much loot as possible is not so easy when there are lots and lots of police officers out there who want nothing more than to take you in, or in most cases just kill you. So you will need to get into cover to prevent being killed, and much like Left 4 Dead, the game does heavily rely upon co-operation as if you go down, your buddies will need to rescue you, or if you end up getting arrested, your buddies will need to grab a hostage to trade. The game also comes with a levelling up system which means that you can specialise in a special skill to unlock new upgrades, equipment and weapons. But that is not all, not every mission has you robbing a bank. Levels range from diamond heist’s, armed raids, stealing entire safe rooms and setting prisoners free (and raiding a hospital if you so wish). But on top of all this good stuff, the police have specialities too. While there is the occasional group of standard police officers, as your siege gets more and more deep, specialised units will come in to deal with you ranging from Taser people, massive heavily armoured shotgun wielding people called Bulldozers (sadly no real bulldozers), Swat Teams and Snipers.

Payday 2

I really enjoy it, however I do think that the upgrading feature could be done differently. It can take quite a while to upgrade equipment and weapons and so I think it would benefit to have an experience system like that of Borderlands to allow more skills and upgrade such skills and allow weapons and equipment as well as upgrades for them done through a shop based system like Far Cry 2. This would mean that the player could get new weapons and equipment sooner rather than later and upgrade them as they go along using the money they have stolen. So in a co-op game the money would be split between players and to use as they wish. Also, I do think that there should be levels of difficulty where the player can choose to play a game that is too easy and would just pit the player against the normal police officers but would pay less and gain less experience, but it would mean that those who are just beginners could have an easier time of it. From then on, each new level of difficulty would introduce a new specialised law enforcer and pay more and give more experience.

Payday 1

Payday is a lot of fun and is a nice alternative to co-operative games as thanks to its arcade style it means that people who just want to have a quick single player or multiplayer game can and don’t need to get caught up in a massive story driven game and can just get stuck in. The novelty of Payday as well is also really good as it is very contemporary and has been featured in both Films and Television for quite a few decades now. While I do think that the game could be improved by a great detail by what I have said above, I really do enjoy playing this game, both cooperatively and singularly. If you like games like Left 4 Dead, you’ll (probably) like this as well. Give it a try, it is so much fun, and if you do get arrested, just restart.

GENEPOOL








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 484 other followers

%d bloggers like this: