The Joy Of Cheap Games

26 08 2015

Geometry Wars Galaxies (Bizarre Creations - 2007)

I am a gamer, of that there is no doubt. I love playing video games; I almost play them every day at the moment. I like playing all sorts of games from different mechanics, to settings, to genres; I like all sorts of games. Games however have one major flaw. I cannot blame them for this, they are expensive to make and deserve to make their money back, however it is still rather hard to buy games when they are first released as they are rather expensive. Such the expense they are, I have not bought a single video game on its day of release since Beyond: Two Souls (I think).

Beyond: Two Souls (Quantic Dream - 2013)

Most games retail for the price of £40 in the UK when they are first released, and this is quite a lot of money, especially for those of us who are unemployed and looking for work. Even before that when I was on Student Loans and having a set amount of pocket money a month, about £40, that meant I could only buy a video game once a month and that was about it, and more recently I have been taken up by other hobbies and interests which sort of cut into this. As such I have not bought a game first day release since Beyond: Two Souls. It’s not like there are other games I want to buy first day of release either. I still want to play Far Cry 4, I like the look of the recent Godzilla game release for the PS3, and the number of 3DS games I would like to get for my Nintendo 3DS.

Godzilla (Natsume - 2014)

I have plenty of platforms that I play on, but due to the expensive costs games can be, I find that it’s much easier now to wait a while (roughly a year or two) until they become cheaper. Most of the games I have bought through Steam, or even GOG.com are when there is a sale on, because when it goes down in price remarkably, I can just get up and buy them. As for other consoles, I usually end up now buying them when they have dropped by a rather lot. Another 5 or 10 pounds I will be able to better afford Far Cry 4. While it could be a year away, I would rather buy Godzilla on the PS3 for a much cheaper price as money is valuable, and if you can get something for a cheaper price, why not? It’s a system I have used in the past and bought Spec Ops: The Line nearly a year after it was first released. In recent weeks I have played a lot of games, and bought quite a few. Some of these I have bought for rather cheap prices from GAME (and one from Barnardo’s) Now whether or not the quality of these games are any good is another question, but some of the games I have bought recently are games I never thought I would ever play. Games like Geometry Wars: Galaxies and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas, whereas games like Modern Warfare 3 and Lost Planet 2 are ones I have fancied playing in the past. The last 3 I actually got as part of a deal and only paid about £6 overall for all three of them. Most of these games though I have yet to play (at time of writing) as due to a recent busy schedule. I have been able to play Geometry Wars: Galaxies though and have found it to be rather fun.

Rainbow Six Vegas (Ubisoft - 2006)

Another game I have played recently is Harvest Moon DS. I have wanted to get a Harvest Moon game on my 3DS for a while now. I like these sort of games because while the idea of a farming game does not sound all that exciting, it is actually quite fun trying to run a farm, and do all the activities needed in running one. While I have sighted lots of Harvest Moon games in places like GAME, maybe CEX too, but when Harvest Moon DS turned up inside Barnardo’s, I just had to grab it. Why? Because it was going for about 99p. Doesn’t really show confidence in price from the shop selling it, but Barnardo’s isn’t exactly a video game shop. The other reason I just had to grab it is because of an issue with the cheap games thing. While most games reduce in price in rapid succession meaning that within a year a game could be nearly less than half its normal price, DS games don’t.

Nintendo 3DS

DS games cost the same as new games upon release. For some unknown reason (or that I just don’t know) however they don’t depreciate as quickly as other games. It could be that on one side because they are not a disc based format, are harder to make, but the lack of depreciation doesn’t make sense when you realise that the Nintendo DS is the Second Best Selling Video Game Console in history behind the PlayStation 2. So why it doesn’t depreciate is still something of a mystery. Because of the lack of depreciation though, it means that most pre-owned titles still cost rather a large amount of money, even if the game came out 2 or 3 years ago. Getting a copy of Geometry Wars: Galaxies and Harvest Moon DS then were good spells of luck as I got Harvest moon in the end for 49p, and Geometry Wars was £2.99. In the past when I wanted to buy games for my 3DS I have had to trade in games for value to buy them; such as when I bought Pokémon White. The expense bracket for 3DS game in particular means that while I do own a few games for the console (and borrow quite a few from my brother), I only have 1 3DS game (Super Pokémon Rumble) and consider it lucky that the 3DS plays all previous DS games too. Which does become rather sad when there are games I want to play on it, I will have to wait even longer to buy them.

Super Pokémon Rumble (Ambrella - 2011)

Waiting for games to get cheaper can get a bit tiresome when you want to just play them, but usually in the end it’s a lot more worth it, because even if the game turns out to be more mediocre, or just generally bad than what you were hoping for, at least you didn’t nearly break the bank buying it on day one of release. Also it means that you can play other things and try new things you didn’t first think about. It makes games less of a chore and plan as to which to buy next and the need to play the same as everyone else; something which it can easily become and more like the hobby you want it to be. You may also find a treasure or two too. For the time being I am just going to play the cheap stuff, (things pre-owned or mega cheap from GAME, CEX or That’s Entertainment), or things in the GOG.com and Steam sale seasons, but right now I have 3 PS3 games that I need to play, plus finish Beyond: Two Souls (I restarted playing it as I was too far behind).

Steam (Valve Corporation, 2003 - Present)

GENEPOOL





I Miss MAG

29 07 2015

MAG (Zipper Interactive - 2010)

MAG is a game I have mentioned on this blog on numerous occasions. It was a game produced by Zipper Interactive for the PS3 that was entirely multiplayer, meaning that there was no real single player mode……….apart from a little tutorial. The idea behind MAG (Massive Action Game) was to have one giant multiplayer battleground where up to 256 players, split into two teams and fight each other. At the time of release it was both revolutionary, but also risky as no-one could see a game with so many players working. Well, when it did work, it was a really enjoyable game.

MAG1

Out of all the games I have had on my PS3, I think it was the one I was most committed towards. From the first day I got it, to almost every day since then, I was playing on it. I was fighting in giant battles with players in my chosen faction against another faction. I was shooting enemy players, healing my teammates and securing objectives. While I wasn’t the best player in the game, I was doing well at it enough to enjoy it. If my PS3 had a time calculation thing on it (like games on Steam where it shows how many hours you have played games for), MAG, even to this day might still be my most played game on the console.

MAG Factions

The Faction I originally chose was Raven. I liked the futuristic, technological look of them, and I played the game right through to I think level 60, where players could then change the faction as Veteran, to which I did to become a fighter for Valor. As the game progressed I levelled up through several varying ranks and even got promoted to Team Commander, where I could lead a squad of 8 men including myself. As the game went on I also upgraded my character and received new weapons and skills. It was a game I liked as it gave me reason to continue, plus I enjoyed it so much, despite the fact that I probably died more times than killed people, but I don’t think I was too bad. The levels were good too, while most of the time it was restricted to just a few maps and objectives, some of these were large and varied enough to keep me interested. When new expansions came out I purchased them too, even if the demand for those levels eventually just dried up. On top of that, it had vehicles, paratroopers, guns galore, and a terrific soundtrack, plus an opening video. It’s E3 trailer from 2008 was pretty sweet too, and was the reason why I wanted to play it.

But eventually, it just began to die out. Levels began to get harder to get into, it was hard to fight on missions you wanted to as it relied on other people wanting to play them too. Then eventually, it’s time came, as the servers were announced to be shut down. I quickly traded in my copy somewhere, just so I didn’t have a dead useless weight in my collection that couldn’t be played again.

MAG4

It’s true; I really do miss this game. I could only play it downstairs as that was where the best internet connection was to play it. I enjoyed it more than multiplayer on Call of Duty:Modern Warfare 2, as MAG had things to strive for, while CODMW2 just didn’t for me. It has left me with some terrific memories, but sadly is not the same as playing it. I will just have to find something else to play instead, and wait until another game like it, maybe, one day (hopefully) comes along.

MAG

GENEPOOL (maybe if a new Frontlines game is made, it could be the multiplayer for that?)





Wasting Away On Creeper 3

15 07 2015

CW3 Logo

For the past few weeks, I have been doing little projects here and there; from writing a series of film reviews (3 down, 4 to go), writing short stories to try and cure writers block (see previous post) as well as for entry into the Preston Short Story Slam, while also trying to develop ideas for bigger stories. All the while doing this I am trying to find work, decide on a direction of career, volunteering and awaiting the dark cloud of Graduation to arrive (tomorrow). One thing though that I have found in my way is something I do for light fun but also to help distract me when I need distracting. I play small little games on Steam every now and ten and have recently been playing such games as Mini Metro among others. One though I have come to realise, while is a useful distraction, is also wasting my time, and it’s becoming a real problem; Creeper World 3.

CW31

Creeper World 3 is the third game in the Creeper World series by KnuckleCracker.com. Over the years I have played Demos and versions of its previous incarnations on Kongregate; Creeper 3 though is the first time I have been able to play one of the actual games to the full. Basically, Creeper is a game where you have to defend/runaway/destroy a moving entity called the Creeper, which aims to destroy all the worlds of humanity. It is a real-time strategy game where you need to build defences to kill the Creeper while also either trying to destroy it completely, or survive long enough to kill it. I have found previous versions of the game really fun and very easy to get into. Creeper 3 itself plays a lot like the first one where you are on a map looking down over it, whereas Creeper World 2 was more a side scrolling view of the level.

CW21

I have been playing Creeper 3 since the Steam Summer Sale in June where I got it quite cheap, and to date, have played for over 31 hours (at time of writing). Yet I have discovered one little flaw in constant playing. Creeper 3 is not exactly a quick game, and levels (at least for me) can take close to an hour to complete. By the time I have finished, too much time has gone by for me to do anything in the way of productive, and it’s starting to become a real drag. It’s becoming such a problem I am considering uninstalling it to put on something that is much quicker to play. I actually feel rather bad as I have yet to play Grim Fandango Remastered which my brother got me for my birthday, and I really want to play it too, it’s just I get into Creeper, and then time has gone.

Grim Fandango (LucasArts - 1998)

It’s not the only game trouble I am struggling with at the moment, I am wondering about restarting Pokémon White on my 3DS as my Pokémon Team, is terrible, and I am also trying to have a second go at Beyond: Two Souls on the PS3, but I find it hard to play the game at night. And then there are my reading problems as I am finding it hard to get ‘into’ The Young Elites. It’s a hard time for me at the moment, all these struggles to do stuff and I am finding it hard to actually do them, and I don’t think playing Creeper 3 is really helping, as I would rather only play it as a 30 minute game to take during a break, not to take up an entire afternoon, as I would rather use the afternoon to do something a bit more productive, like write a book, which I really want to do.

The Young Elites (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers - 2014)

I will say however, that Creeper World 3 is a really fun game and one that I do recommend (I have played it for 30+ hours).

CW32

GENEPOOL (Does that title rhyme)?





In An Attempt To Cure Writer’s Block

8 07 2015

Pen and Paper

Since finishing University a few weeks ago (and while waiting for Graduation in just over a week’s time), I have been trying to do a number of things to keep myself productive and busy. I have been looking for work, trying to come up with a career plan, writing weekly blog posts, coming up with ideas for stories and board games, reading when I can, playing games, baking cakes, volunteering at Barnardo’s and at The Dukes play in the park again. One thing though that I have wanted to continue since finishing, I have found rather hard, and that is writing stories. I like writing stories, I like all kinds of writing, and when I am in the zone, I just can’t stop. Starting is an entirely different matter however.

Darkmouth (Harper Collins - 2015)

I have kept up with my blog writing, and right now am writing a series of film reviews to be shown in a few weeks’ time, but writing large pieces of work is proving to be rather difficult. Writing big projects at University (in hindsight) was easier, as I was motivated to get the work done as best as I could, but now I need to find new motivation and am finding it hard. I am constantly coming up with ideas for projects, either it be stories, blog posts or board games, but getting round to actually doing them is what I am struggling with. Writing short stories shouldn’t necessarily be too much of a problem as they are small, quick stories to write, however, starting them is as difficult as any other project. Ideas for them are hard as they need to be concise, small, and not necessarily involve big incidents, or big things happening……….which is kind of what I like. Back in May I even came up with a plan to write at least one short story a month, but in June I (technically) did not write one.

A Cake and some Cake Pops I made recently.

I say technically; basically, last month I entered Preston’s first Short Story Slam. A writing/performing contest where writers write short stories to then read out. Writer’s need to write 3 stories of no more than 200 words that can be read in 4 minutes or less. It’s a head to head sort of thing (as far as I understand it) and I need to write 3 short stories for it. A week ago I wrote one story for it, I still have another 2 to write (at time of writing) but coming up with ideas for such a small word count I am finding tough, and even when I do have an idea, simply sitting down behind my laptop to write it is proving tricky. It was only when I had a voice going through my head telling me to write the first story that I finally did it (The Slam is at the end of July, so I still have some time). Even when it isn’t that though, writing in general (when it is not for my blog) I am finding tough. I can develop ideas quite nicely, (I prefer to do it in my head where I can visualise it, while find that writing it down can usually mean I end up leaving and forgetting about it), but that’s still not writing it.

Rory's Story Cubes: Prehistoria

In an attempt to cure what I think is writer’s block; I have started doing little exercises to get me writing again. While my mind wanders onto other ideas of approaching it, for now, this one is working. I have had Rory’s Story Cubes for over a year now. First I got a small expansion in the form of Rory’s Story Cubes: Prehistoria, but discovered using them rather hard, so I bought a copy of the base set, and was able to get going with them. To begin with I just used them as a little game to play with friends and at the Writer’s Society at University. Basically, the base set is a box of 9 dice, with each side on all the dice being a different image (54 images in total). You roll them, and then use the 9 images to make a story. It has to start with “Once Upon A Time” and can either be done as one continuous story as a group, or several stories. There are other versions of the base set and several expansions, all of which can be mixed and matched to create a diverse range of stories. Recently, I decided to use them to help me write some short stories. I use them in the same way as you normally would play with them; roll them and look at the pictures rolled (sometimes re-rolling if I can’t think of anything). Instead of telling the story to someone though, I would instead write my story in a Word Document.

Story Dice 1

I have been taking the pictures of the images I have rolled, considering possibly putting my stories online at a later date (with a photo of the dice to show what images I have to work with). I actually rather enjoy coming up with stories this way; they can be about anything and there are no restrictions as to the length of the story, nor the genre it is in. It really does help me to get back into writing short stories. While I have not done one for about a week (due to being busy with my current weekly schedule), I look forward to writing another one, and hopefully with time, be able to write some without assistance, possibly even bigger ones. Right now though, I have a Short Story Slam to enter.

Story Dice 2

GENEPOOL





King Boom Boo

1 07 2015

King Boom Boo

Back in 2002 when I first received my GameCube, for the first couple of months I only had one game (Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee). For the first few months to a year of ownership of the console I spent a lot of time in GAME and Gamestation looking at games to possibly purchase. One of the games I kept an eye on was a game I had played before on the Dreamcast which belonged to one of my brothers and was one of the first games he had for it. The game was Sonic Adventure 2 and was originally a game made exclusively for the Dreamcast. Sometime after the Dreamcast had stopped being produced however, Sonic Adventure 2 was re-released onto the GameCube as Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.

Sonic Adventure 2 (Sega - 2001)

When I first got Battle, I instantly began to play it and could easily recognise the levels I sometimes played on the Dreamcast, as well as later levels I remembered seeing my brother play. My progress on the game was slow, but I was a younger gamer at the time, (not as lightning fast like when I play now). While playing the hero side of the story, I knew about an upcoming boss level for Sonic where he goes up against this big Egyptian style statue called the Egg Golem. I remembered seeing my brother play that level, the one thing I did not see, was the boss level directly before it.

Hourglass

After completing one of Knuckles‘s treasure finding levels (one where I had to find keys to unlock a door in Eggman’s base), I expected to go up against the Egg Golem. Instead I was surprised to come to a sudden boss level involving a Giant Ghost. The boss was called King Boom Boo: The King of Ghosts and he was a hard one. The level involved a round room with a pillar in the middle. The ghost himself had big eyes and a large multi-coloured mouth and tongue. Behind him there was a smaller ghost with an egg timer/sand timer/hourglass. Taking on the boss and defeating him was easy in theory. You basically had to attack the little ghost with the hourglass behind King Boom Boo, which would cause a timed door to open. This would then cause King Boom Boo to disappear into the ground, where you dig him up, hit him as many times as you could before the door closes and the sun goes, causing King Boom Boo to grow back to normal size again. Defeating him though was a hard one. It was similar to chasing someone round a room, and when you turn another way, so does he. In fighting King Boom Boo, the first thing you needed to do was to get away from him and his blue hand fire-ball attack (and later his tongue attack), before getting behind him to strike at the smaller ghost, the only thing is though that he quickly turns around to come at you again. For several attempts which I remembered span over several weeks, I was unlucky, but there was a clue as to how to strike at the little ghost.

GameCube

 

When he had enough of chasing you, King Boom Boo would then breathe fire, preventing him from turning round. You could then use this to attack the little ghost and attack King Boom Boo. Getting him out of the ground is then not so hard as sometimes he’s on the floor, and others he’s on the pillar and you just need to climb up there. Getting more than one hit on him is hard though. King Boom Boo after he is dug out of the ground is large, cumbersome and slow, therefore easy to hit. After you hit him once though, he gets smaller and quicker, meaning that if you too were slow, you probably weren’t going to hit him again. I once did try going the other way, but he saw me and turned round (which was rather funny). In the end though it came down to several more attempts getting in 1 hit at a time, luckily though the boss levels have a health bar at the top to show you how much health the opponent has left. So after several weeks and attempts, I finally beat the wretched ghost, and the game saved successfully so I did not need to do it again. Up next though was the Egg Golem (which is another story for another time).

Egg Golem

Despite how long it took and how hard it was; King Boom Boo remains one of my favourite and most memorable boss fights of any video game I have played. I still have the game to this day (and have yet to complete the third story), same copy and everything, but I now look forward to the ghost boss level as I consider it a mid to late milestone for the Hero Story. I look forward to it because I know what I am doing, and it gives me another opportunity to listen to the Fantastic soundtrack, plus; it’s a nicely designed, well thought out boss level and I was surprised by it, for only then to have it followed by yet another hard boss level. Possibly more though, I remember it fondly because it took me so long to complete it, and to this day, look forward to enjoy and remember such an experience like that again in video gaming – and for now, I know just where to get it.

GENEPOOL (I also remember seeing King Boom Boo in an episode of Sonic X).

 








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