My New Video Games Console

1 03 2017

My PS3 (and GameCube)

From a very young age, I have enjoyed playing Video Games; it’s something I consider a strong hobby of mine and is something I like to do to enjoy and in more recent memory, to allow myself to mellow out after a hard time. I enjoy playing games by myself and with friends and family and over my lifetime I have played on a number of games consoles from the Sega Mega Drive, to the PlayStation 3; and have fond memories of playing games like RollerCoaster Tycoon and more recently Dishonored. I like video games but recently however, playing video games has been something of a struggle for me. The reason for this is that though while I still continue to enjoy them; currently I cannot really play anything that comes out as new as I am not really able to play them:

  • My Laptop is relatively under powered and can only play games with simple graphics.
  • I do have a more powerful PC, but it’s out of wireless signal range and I am unable to install anything onto it.
  • The GameCube is still working well, but nothing gets made for it anymore.
  • The Wii is ok, but right now is only worthwhile for playing with other people; not by myself.
  • The 3DS is fun, but there’s not really much out that I genuinely want to play on it.
  • The PS3 is able to play a lot of games, but as the console is now out of date, I cannot play anything new on it.

My gaming experience at the moment is still somewhat fun, but as new stuff comes out; without a valid platform to play on, I am getting ever more behind with releases and it is just getting me down.

dishonored-2

Fortunately though, I have been thinking a lot about this issue however. I have looked into a new PC, but realize that in terms of getting one it may be best to leave it. It will be a hard struggle, but it does allow me the opportunity to consider when one day I have the money to spend on a new machine, plus my own place to sort out how/where I would like one placing, I can then have a good go at building/buying a dream machine. In the meantime however, I have decided to buy a new home video games console. Something that I could own in which when new games are released that I want to play, I can just simply buy them and play them. Buying a new console is actually a rather fun experience, as the prospect of doing so simply gets me excited even when there are still a few days away before I actually get my hands on it. It’s like when someone on Gold Rush gets a new wash plant; these great big machines that get the gold out of the dirt, it’s a big moment, and right now, getting my new console, setting it up and playing on it; it’s like I am buying my own wash plant. But which Wash Plant should I buy though, that’s the real question?

There are several major home consoles on the market currently such as the Xbox One and the PS4. Choosing which one to buy is a hard process, as machines do cost quite a bit of money and as I don’t earn all that much at the moment, I need to be sure and positive that what I buy is definitely what I want right now. There is no reason why I could not have more than one, but like I said it costs money, and so right here and right now is what is more important, as if it comes to a time where I would like another to play on one, that bridge can be crossed when we come to it.

horizon-zero-dawn

Choosing which one was always going to be tricky, but I instantly knew that I did not want an Xbox. I have never really been a fan of it, I once thought about getting a Xbox 360, but as the PS3 had games on it that I wanted to play more than there were on the 360; I went with the PS3. The Xbox machine to me as always looked more like a glorified set-top box than a games console. I am buying the machine to play games on it, not to have access to other features which should not be the main feature of a video games console. This way of thinking though should not necessarily be the only reason to base your decision on. As a video games console is designed to play video games primarily (much like a wash plant is designed to retrieve gold, not necessarily to watch TV on it), you should make sure that the console is capable of playing the video games that you want to play. So choosing the PS4 over the Xbox One was a done deal as the PS4 has a list of games on it that include Horizon Zero Dawn and (eventually) Detroit: Become Human as well as other games I really want to play too like Dishonored 2. The Xbox One does not really carry anything that really jumps to my mind. So from reading that you must think I will soon be purchasing a brand new PS4 right? Wrong!

You see, those two are not the only major home consoles available for purchase right now. Back in October, another video game console was revealed to the public after over a year of speculation as to what it would be: the console formerly known as the NX was revealed by its creators Nintendo to be called the Switch. From the moment I first watched the trailer, I was really interested in the new console. I have been a fan of Nintendo for years, and have owned a few of their consoles, so a first reveal of a new console was always going to be exciting, but looking at some of the features of the Switch made it more of a contender than simply who was making it. One thing that I have grown tired of with other video games consoles is that of online multiplayer. My experience of online multiplayer has been harsh with very few fun memories. Some happy gaming memories do include Mario Kart Wii, Bomberman Blast, ModNation Racers and of course MAG, but overall my enjoyment of online console gaming has been mostly negative, even when playing games like Modern Warfare 2. What I do enjoy though is playing with family and friends, something which I have been able to do online on Steam with my brother, but also round a TV screen too having played games on the Wii. With a new home console; I would much rather prefer to play with family and friends round a TV screen, rather than play with anyone (not including family and friends), which has the potential to lead to a bad experience; although on the other hand could also lead to a positive experience. Given though that I knew what I wanted first and foremost, I went with that. The Switch spoke to me with its use of having one controller being split between two people, meaning that as soon as I get it, I don’t need to buy another controller, as I will already have one. Playing round a TV and not necessarily online can also lead to fond memories and experiences. I remember fondly playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl with a group of friends in Middlesbrough one December and really enjoying the player interaction as well as the fun of them being in the room, providing a core social interaction. Playing games online with just me in the room does not provide the same experience.

MAG Title

When it came to making the actual decision though, it really came down to games. I have pretty much been hanging around with this decision for a while with not being able to make a sound decision, until I realized that the Switch has more games on it that I want to play either soon or right now than on the PS3. While Horizon Zero Dawn was just about to be released, there was very much of anything else on the PS4 that I was actually desperate to play; the only one in question being Dishonored 2; while the Switch looks set to have a good range of games available soon, including some good-looking multiplayer in the form of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe at the end of April. Upon this realization, I made my choice, and within a couple of days I pre-ordered myself a Switch.

It’s a bit nerve-wracking ordering a new console when it has not been released yet, but also exciting too. I am really looking forward to getting my new Switch and trying it out. I don’t know what it’s going to be like or is going to do, but I am genuinely excited about getting a new games console. This does not necessarily prohibit me from getting a new PC or PS4 in the future; but it does mean that for now when something does gets released for the Switch I can at least play it and won’t have to worry about whether or not I will be able to play it or not. So like how a new Wash Plant works better at retrieving Gold, my new Switch I am sure will work well at providing me with lots of new and lasting enjoyment.

nintendo-switch

GENEPOOL (I may have gone overboard with the wash plant references).





Top 5 Weapons I Would Choose In The Hunger Games

18 05 2016

Katniss Everdeen

I love The Hunger Games, by that I of course mean the combination of the Film and the Book, not necessarily the setting of jumping into an arena and having to kill people. A few years ago, after the release of the first one, I remember an interview that was conducted on some of the cast members who were asked how they would act inside the arena. Now for me, I would more than likely just hide in the corner, and cry my eyes out until I was either dead, or just go mad and become some kind of psychopath. In my head though, it’s a completely different story as I would see myself being like Blade and just be invincible going round killing everyone, but that is very unlikely. Anyway I thought I would do a post on what my ideal weapon choices would be in the arena.

M110A2 Self-Propelled Howitzer

Now I decided to sort of be semi-realistic in my choices. For one, I know I cannot bring anything in to the ring, so it prevents my 3 main options: Godzilla, a M110A2 Self-Propelled Howitzer and Lisbeth Salander; although fair point, Lisbeth Salander would receive double points for having access to a cool leather jacket.

Lisbeth Salander

It’s certainly better than wearing those swimming outfits in Catching fire. I mean, what would you prefer; the swimming costumes from Catching Fire, or a Cool Leather Jacket?

Anyway, under the point that I can’t necessarily take anything in, this list is made up of choices I would choose if they became available in the arena themselves. Now, I do realise that this list may seem a little bit rushed. I have had these dreams for a while of what I would choose, but have only just decided to do this as a post, and in the end, I don’t think I have used my imagination all that much, and this list is made up of more practical stuff mixed with things from Movies, and so I may eventually regret my choices (apart from the leather jacket), and do another one of these in the future with either some additional thought, a selection of weapons from the films/books, things I just made up. Anyway, here are my choices of what I was able to simple cobble together.

Mortis

5. Mortis – What could be better than if one of the choices was the robot Mortis from Robot Wars? What could be better than Mortis, the best robot in all of Robot Wars? Now he would be ranked higher if it wasn’t for the case of a remote-controlled robot being relatively impractical as you would spend most of your time behind the robot directing it rather than looking out for the girl from district 6 creeping up on you. But forgetting that bit, its axe would be so deadly an attack, you don’t necessarily need to kill anybody, just puncture them and let them bleed out. It’s a grim idea, but it might be easier on your conscience.

M4A1

4. M4A1 Assault Rifle – Ok, this one is mostly based on what fun I could get out of MW2 Multiplayer, but yeah. Why not choose a Gun? It makes complete and total sense; you can get it over with good and quick as long as your aim is good and true. Why not add the attachable grenade launcher, then that way you can set fire to any forestry around you and force people out before shooting them. Ok, it relies on you not wasting ammo; but why on earth would the Capitol only give you one clip?

Crossbow

3. CrossbowKatniss Everdeen had her bow and arrows; I would have my Crossbow (even though I should point out this is all hypothetical and I don’t actually own one). It’s similar to the above mentioned Gun, but this time it’s a bit more quiet and lethal. Yes, I can see a Crossbow coming quite handy in the Hunger Games, and I don’t mean just some old relic of a device, no! I mean a proper modern beast of a weapon, similar to the one used in Brainiac: Science Abuse for testing armour in a modern civil war, or like at the end of Reign of Fire when Christian Bale’s character kills the Big Dragon.

Quarriors

2. Quarriors Dice – If you have no idea what those 2 words mixed together mean, it’s obvious you have not played my Favourite Board Game. In Quarriors (using a similar sort of game play to Dominion, if you know what that is), you roll and collect dice to attack other people. Dice can be used to summon spells, and summon monsters. Just imagine it, you roll the dice, and in a similar vein to Yu-Gi-Oh, Monsters and Spells come out of the dice to attack your enemies.

Heimdall

1. Equipment from Thor – When I think about me being in The Hunger Games, one thing that always comes to mind is the film Thor, quite possibly because the night on the day that I first saw The Hunger Games, I went home and watched some scenes from Thor. Anyway, I have decided to call this bit Equipment of Thor (I know it does not sound all that exciting), because there are 3 things I can think of that would be quite useful to have in The Hunger Games. As to how you would get them is relatively obvious, basically you will be covered in lightning like Thor and receive the equipment as it is bonded to your body. Anyway, the items in question; Heimdall’s Armour, Heimdall’s Sword, and Thor’s Hammer. It’s all you really need isn’t it, just the basics, and the hammer could prove to be a useful escape route as you could just plough through a wall or the roof, or better yet, send the hammer flying and destroy the Capitol, end of The Hunger Games, everyone is free, let’s go home. Basically, all this time, I just see myself becoming Thor while also receiving some equipment from the mighty Heimdall too.

GENEPOOL





The Lost Reviews – Timberman

17 05 2016

Timberman 2

A wise man once said “I’m a lumberjack, and I’m okay.” Well after playing this game I can say that I am a lumberjack, but after playing on Multiplayer mode, I don’t know if I’ll be able to say I am okay. Timberman (Digital Melody - 2015)

Timberman is an arcade style, casual flash game for the PC where you play the role of a Lumberjack chopping down trees as quickly as possible without dying. The game has a simple interface and control scheme. You are represented by a lumberjack avatar, and you have an axe. When the game starts, all you need to do is click away furiously to chop down as much tree as possible. You will need to alter which side of the tree you chop down to avoid the large number of killer branches. As the tree falls with each click, branches come down with it, and if a branch falls on you, you die. Controlling which side you chop on is very easy, all you do is change which mouse clicker you are clicking with. You will also need to be aware of a timer above your head counting down the amount of time you have left until your imminent death.

Timberman 3

Personally I prefer to avoid games that are made specifically to look like pixellated arcade games from the pre mid 1980’s; Timberman’s graphics however are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. They are not blurry nor cause any worry for potential photosensitive seizures. They are in fact very nice to look at, plus it makes the game easier to run, which is especially useful on computers not designed for playing heavy games, and easy access multiplayer battles. A neat little feature the game is that when one game is finished, and you decide to play another, the time of day changes. So from a nice autumn day, to a dark night, to a nice summer’s day. Timberman also comes packed with dozens of Timberman characters too. Some of these are beneficial to unlocking others, which is very useful if you are not the most hardcore of lumberjacks. These can range from simple characters like the basic Timberman with a different coloured shirt, to ridiculous characters like Father Christmas, a Bear, a Snowman, Jason Voorhees and Barack Obama.

Timberman 5

At best; single player mode is just a way to hone your tree cutting skills and unlock new characters. It’s Multiplayer mode where this game really comes out to shine. Now if you’re anything like me and play mostly on your laptop, it can be hard to play multiplayer games especially those of big graphically powered games. The number of times I have decided to play Left 4 Dead on Multiplayer, and found my computer and connection so slow that I have had to reposition myself in the hope of getting a stronger signal. Due to Timberman’s increased accessibility though it is so easy to connect and play without any interruptions. Multiplayer takes the form of a battle/race to chop down as much tree as possible without dying. It follows the same gameplay methods as single player, but this time you find yourself lined up with up to 3 other lumberjacks. These battles play over several rounds with scores being taken from each round. Whoever has the highest score after 5 rounds, wins. With winning such battles comes the opportunity to have your skill level and rank increased, so you can show off to the entire world (or at least those who play this game) how good you are at chopping down trees.

Timberman 4

Despite some of its good points however, the game does have a few shortcomings. Single player does not have much longevity to it other than to unlock new skins. This though is relatively minor to a bigger gripe I have. Timberman does not have a Tutorial mode; neither shows any information on how you play it. The first time you play you are at a complete loss to understand how on earth you are supposed to play it. It sort of expects you to know, thinking that the relative simple understanding will be enough. It reminds me of the seaside side-show game Whack-a-Mole. All you get is a mallet and have to hit moles with it. Timberman as a concept runs along similar lines to this, however as you are not actually holding the axe in your real hands, there is no way of knowing how you actually swing it. Then the issue of dying from branches comes up where you learn that the hard way after several games of not looking, thinking you just keep on clicking. The Red bar above your head is self-explanatory, but in your first game you could very easily die without knowing how you do anything. The Soundtrack is pretty cool. It has an early arcade game sound to it which when mixed with the pixellated graphics is a nice added touch. But it’s just endless and can get pretty boring after a while. It’s just a shame there is not any variety in the music compared to the changing of the time of day.

Timberman 1

Timber man is a rather fun game. It’s a nice cool, fun concept. It is an easy game to play (once you know how), the graphics are rather neat and the inclusion of customizable lumberjacks and the ever-changing day and season calendar is a nice little add-on. While it does include some issues such as the repetitive music, lack of a more diverse single player mode and the irritating non-existence of a tutorial mode; Timberman is worth going through some of these issues just to play in multiplayer clashes.

Timberman 6

GENEPOOL (another thing that is missing is the quaint stroll through the wood like there was in Rashomon).





The Great Game Sacrifice

6 04 2016

My PS3 (and GameCube)

Since about 2009, I have owned a PlayStation 3. For many years I kept it in the front room of my house which enabled me to play it downstairs, as well as have a good internet access to enable the system to complete any number of the millions of system and game updates the machine requires on a too regular basis. Anyway, for some time my enthusiasm to play on the machine on a regular basis had begun to dwindle, and it had been a long while since I had bought any new games for it. I think the last time I bought a brand new game for it was when I bought Beyond: Two Souls back in 2013 (which then led to a reflective post on video games as a hobby). Well, roughly about this time last year, I decided to move the machine to my room, where I originally used to play on it when I first bought it. Putting the machine up there allowed me to give more of a part in the playing of games on the console, especially as I was no longer standing up. However, very quickly, my interest waned again and it was back to being a console in my room, just gathering dust, with a lack of enthusiasm with me to playing on it.

The issue really was that despite the games I owned for it, not many of them were games I wanted to instantly pick up and play at that time, and for most of the time I was either playing things that I had played too much, or stuff I did not want to play at that time of day/night. My interest had gone because I was not playing anything all that really interesting to me as a player. I needed new stuff to play really. Luckily, back in July I did pick up a bunch of cheap games I had not played before including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas and Lost Planet 2. I played MW3 and enjoyed the experience, but the other 2, I just found rather boring. Once again, playing on the console got un-regular, and on the evenings where I really wanted to play something, I would usually end-up on an entirely different machine. I t was sort of a never-ending sad story for my PS3.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Infinity Ward - 2011)

Eventually, the penny dropped. One night, I was playing on Brütal Legend, a game I really like, but got to a point that I was not enjoying, and came to the conclusion that I came as far as I could. I tried looking at my other games, and choosing one to play, but came to the stark realization, that for a lot of them, games that I really liked such as Brütal Legend, Killzone 2 and even Far Cry 3 (a game I have considered for a long time as one of my top favourites), it was clear that I did not want to play them again, well not at least for a long time, time for them to get interesting, time for me to forget something about them to keep them fresh, because right now, fresh they weren’t. It was there that I decided to trade them in. I cycled through the games I had, kept ones I was sure of keeping at least for now, like Mortal Kombat 9, Killzone 3 and Fairytale Fights, but got rid of the games I have mentioned above, including those I got back in July, and some others I had got down the line.

Fairytale Fights (Playlogic Entertainment - 2009)

Pretty much the following day, while on break from my time working at Barnardo’s shop, I popped into CEX across the road, chose a few games for possible purchase, and traded in my old ones. It was a hard decision to trade in games I loved, but I thought I could buy them again down the line if I wanted too. So yes, I traded in those games, got an alright price for them, chose a game, took it to the desk where I was told it had gone down in price, so I got an additional one too. I also went into GAME where I got an additional game for just 99p. I was both Happy and Excited, I was about to play games I had not played at all. One was a game I had known about since it was first released back in 2009, while the other 2 I had known about for a while but had not considered buying until near that time. But I was happy and really excited to try out something new. Those games were; Haze, Blur and Dishonored.

Dishonoured

There was still a bit of an issue though. While I may have had cool new games to play, I was still unsure about a game I kept. I decided to keep ModNation Racers, a quirky and very fun racing game that was something of Sony’s attempt at making their own version of Mario Kart, which actually worked; quite brilliantly. I sort of decided to keep it as it could be a good multiplayer game to have, despite the fact that I hardly ever play online multiplayer. I decided to keep it as more a split screen multiplayer game. Anyway, one thing that made the game really work for me was the single player campaign and story, which was very in-depth and thrilling from scene to scene. Since completing that part though, repeating the campaign was just so easy, and out of everything about the game, it was the campaign that really stood out for me. So by deciding to keep it, I decided to make it fun again, by deleting all my data on the console. As a result, the story was fun but challenging again, however, due to the deletion, the game kept getting interrupted by a screen demanding I do an update. It was of course an option rather than a demand to be fair, but when I would click cancel, another would pop up less than 5 minutes later. Having had enough over the years of constant updates on the console and its games; I decided to switch the console’s internet access off. The decision and the action of doing such a thing were actually very easy to come to, and do. At the time I did not regret it, and don’t now. Turning it online hasn’t really been of any advantage for me in the first place other to play on MAG. The only thing that was a bit annoying was that I lost some vehicle bodies in ModNation Racers, but apart from that, have had no issues with games, the console, nor any annoying screens telling me that there is an update required. For the first time in a long time, the console is more or less at a stage with which I am more than happy with it. I can now just play games on it and not have to worry about additional issues.

Since then, I have been happily playing on my games. So far I have been playing the story/campaign mode in ModNation Racers, played a few levels of Haze, and am some distance into Dishonoured, which I am really enjoying. Have yet to play Blur, but am sure will get round to it sooner or later, well more sooner than I was before getting it. I don’t know what will happen after I complete those games, whether I’ll keep them or trade them in, but now, am happier than I was before, and am more up for game trading than I was before, because without doing it, the PS3 in my room would be a lot more dustier now than it was less than a couple of months ago.

My PS3 Games (at the moment)

GENEPOOL (Did you notice the dust claw marks on my PS3?)





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?)








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