When To Go Next-Gen?

2 11 2016

My PS3 (and GameCube)

I have been thinking a lot recently: I have been thinking about a lot of things; things such as work, writing, hobbies, music, the new Godzilla film, but as to what I have been thinking about as to the reason for this post, is when should I go Next-Gen, and by that I mean, when I should take my current Video Gaming experience to the next generation……….of consoles?

magnavox-odyssey

In the world of Video Games, whenever a new set of Video Game Consoles begin to make an appearance or debut, they are considered as the Next Generation of Consoles. Video Game consoles do not last, once a new one has been released, work has already started on its successor (and machinery is prone to failure and will always eventually die). Now this work comes more in the form of design and development and it will actually be a few years until official news has been released regarding the next console. There is already speculation in the air though before that as to what it will be called, look like and feature, and most of the time when you look online to look these things up, all you will really find are tiny snippets of speculation plus a suggestive idea of what said console may look like, but most of the time such deigns are never implicated. Eventually though they would be released and the debate would rise again as to which console is best and which one should be bought.

Wii U

The Current generation of consoles started to make their appearance in 2012 with the release of the Nintendo Wii U, however it really kicked off a year later with the release of both the (MicrosoftXbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4 at the same time. Current sales figures suggest that in terms of home console sales, the PS4 is currently winning with over 40 Million sales, while the Wii U has totaled over 12 million sales and the Xbox One has over 21 Million sales. The debate though as to which console is the overall best is probably still raging with no clear winner in sight. When a new console is released, excitement fills the air as gaming fanatics and industry veterans look on to see what the consoles are like, but more importantly what the games are like; after all that is the sole purpose of Video game Consoles, to play games. While they can browse the web and be used for other entertainment purposes, without Games to play on them, they are simply not Video Game consoles. In the past I too have been excited to see what the consoles are going to be like, and have shown great interest especially with the release of both the GameCube in 2002 and the Wii in 2006. Come 2012 and 2013 however, due to a change of vision and regular hobbies, I only took a partial look towards the new consoles released at the time and so far have not really taken much of a look or interest, and have really just enjoyed playing on the consoles I have and the cheap games I can play on them.

far-cry-primal

But recently I have been thinking. While replaying some games on my PS3, namely Killzone 3 and Beyond: Two Souls, I began to wonder if it was time to get a new console, or if not now, when? You see, while I am enjoying my new lease on video gaming life, trying out the games I did not get a chance to at one point; I realized that eventually, I would run out of things to play as all the new games would be on newer consoles. There are games on the next generation of consoles I do want to play like the recently released Far Cry Primal, but I don’t really see a point at getting a new machine when currently there is only one game I really ‘want’ to play. I feel that I should wait until there are more games, more options, games to keep me going for now, while also buying cheaper pre-owned games to fill in other times. While this may be the case so far with the new lot, I still ‘want’ more of a reason to buy a new machine. More want games rather than like to games. Money and purchases become more valuable as you grow up as I have begun to realize, that now unless I really want something, I probably will not purchase it. Most of the pre-owned games I am playing at the moment are ones I would like to try, but due to their cheapness, a few quid is nothing, compared to ten’s if not hundreds of pounds. When spending so much more cash, even if the amount is still relatively small, you really need to be sure that you really want to give it a go, which at least when you purchase it will give you a good feeling, not a nervous one, because when that happens, it’s easy to instantly regret spending so much. You need to be sure. So while there is at least one game I ‘want’ to play, there is still not enough to make it worth it.

horizon-zero-dawn

While I may not be certain as to when given the value of purchases I have begun to live by, I am more certain though of which console I want to purchase. I have looked into it, and the other two do not really provide me with much interest as to have a desire to purchase them enough compared to this one, and also, I know that while some games may be off, this console will be able to play the games I want to play. While most games can be played on most if not all consoles, some game consoles have exclusives of which only their console will be able to play, and knowing what games I like I know that in terms of exclusives, only the PlayStation 4 rocks my boat. But there is still not enough to want to make me buy anything. But that could be about to change.

Since a couple of weeks ago, I have begun to look into purchasing the console. Now there are a few niggling little details such as:

  • Though while pre-owned consoles are cheaper, does that mean pre-owned ones have less abilities or features?
  • Does the PS4 have the same Blu-ray system as my PS3, especially the bit where my PS3 is letting me watch multi regional Blu-rays?
  • Can PS3 games be played on it or should I keep my PS3 too?

But in terms of the games I ‘want’ to play debacle, things are beginning to look up as on the horizon there are at least three games due for release (one later this year, another next year, and one in active development) that I really want to play. Later this year Dishonored 2 is due for release; this year I have played the first Dishonored and absolutely enjoyed it and really want to play the second one. Next year; Horizon Zero Dawn is due for release. I don’t know much about it other than its core concept, and that it’s by Killzone developers Guerrilla Games. Then, while no release date has been specified yet, I really like the look of Detroit: Become Human by Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream.

dishonored-2

While these games have still yet to be released, it gives me more options and reasons to buy a new console in the future. When that will be I don’t know. I could buy one to play Dishonored 2 as soon as it gets released, or I may just wait until the release of the others. Either way, these new games give me plenty to think on and I am more certain now that one day I will probably purchase a new console; but in the meantime I have a near antique treasure trove of other games to enjoy.

My PS3 Games (at the moment)

GENEPOOL

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ME3

13 07 2016

E3 Logo

“On my business card, I’m a Corporate President. In my mind, I’m a Game Developer. But in my heart, I am a Gamer”

Satoru Iwata.

It’s one of the biggest events of the year on the video gaming calendar. Many people travel many hundreds if not thousands of miles to be a part of it, and witness the colossal event that is simply known as E3. Every year the Los Angeles Convention Center becomes a hot bed for video game companies, developers, websites, magazines, fans and corporate personal all traveling in from all corners of the earth to discover and show off what they see and believe to be the next step and future of Video Gaming. Since the first Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 1995, E3 has grown to become the major event that it is today, and is synonymous with all the above. Say the name E3 to any video game fan, and they will instantly know what you are talking about. It has become the location and event where some of the biggest moments and announcements in the history of Video Games have come to pass, from the reveals of new consoles, to the launch sites of new games and content. If you want to know what the next big thing in gaming is, there is a good shot that the ideal time and place of where to at least find a hint, is none other than E3.

E3 Expo

Over 10 years ago, I got my first taster and understanding of E3 from the magazines I read at the time. The main magazine I had access to was CUBE Magazine. CUBE, was entirely dedicated to Nintendo Games, and every year like all other major video game magazines, they would include a spread on what happened at E3. As the years went by and as magazines such as CUBE disappeared, my knowledge and desire to keep up to date with the events of E3 continued, and eventually I would look into topics and details on my own. Being a kid with little pocket money it was never really going to be the case that I would get to go to E3 but the dream was there, that must count for something. I was a dedicated follower of E3, and loved to watch the Press Conferences, in fact, that became a staple viewing of mine every May-July (whenever it was on). But slowly over time, I just sort of stopped looking into E3. I had no more magazines to look at, and as my interest in most current video gaming sort of side-lined, I just completely forgot about E3. Recently of course E3 returned, and all the news pouring in brought it all running back to me. I did not watch any of the press conferences, but I did feel a run of nostalgia, and thought I would write a post on me and E3 (or rather corny: ME3).

GameCube

Back at the dawn of the Millennium, I did not really have much in the way as a gamer other than a Game Boy Pocket (which was actually a replacement as the much bigger Yellow Game Boy was stolen). A few months later though that changed with my first real home games console (rather than a hand-held), that in the form of a Nintendo 64. I had a lot of fun playing on that machine, playing on games like Goldeneye 007, F-Zero X and Pokémon Stadium. A few years later I received a Nintendo GameCube for Christmas, and I still have it. It still works brilliantly and I still have many of the games I used to play on it originally such as Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, James Bond 007: Nightfire, and my all time (GC) favourite; F-Zero GX. It was at this time I started getting CUBE magazine and first heard about E3. Originally I thought nothing of it; that was until about 2005. CUBE used to supply little GC sized discs with their magazines. These had two format’s, one they could be used for game cheat codes for the Game Cube, while the other disc was a DVD’s showing off trailers for upcoming games as well as sales ads for Action Replay. Anyway, in 2005 on of the DVD’s I got included video footage of Nintendo’s E3 conference for that year. It was not the best quality I have to admit, but it certainly was entertaining. It was my first real taste of E3, and would develop into me wanting more. I can remember it quite fondly, it had appearances from future regular Reggie Fils-Aime, it talked about games such as Nintendogs and Electroplankton, it revealed details of the Game Boy Micro and even featured appearances from both Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata. Mr Iwata’s appearance though gave me one of the most memorable moments of E3 to date. Mr. Iwata stood up on stage and took out of his pocket a small black box; a small black box that would become a main feature of a great many homes worldwide in just a few years.

At the time it was called the Nintendo Revolution; but in just a year’s time at the next E3, it would become known as the Nintendo Wii. The reaction from the audience, plus the way it was revealed remains for me one of the truly great moments in E3’s history. It would not be until E3 2006 that things would really take off. For the most part, E3 and I was all Nintendo. I had a Nintendo console and read the appropriate magazines. For me and gaming at the time, it was either Nintendo or PC. So for the first few years, me and E3 was all about Nintendo. As I was not able to physically attend, most of the news and E3 experience I got came down to watching the press conferences, but I didn’t mind, the Press conferences for me then and since have always been the highlight, and even when I would look at other companies Press conferences, for me Nintendo’s was always the highlight. My E3 experience took off a little more in 2006 at, well; Guess Who’s Press conference. I received a sort of cut and trimmed DVD presentation copy off Official Nintendo Magazine (no more CUBE, they just stopped producing, no farewell, no nothing). The show was no more than about 10 minutes long but still opened with Reggie, and featured appearances from Miyamoto and Iwata as well as a few others. It would not be until the personal discovery of YouTube and still a few years before I would get a good watch of it. For me, the 2006 conference remains (possibly) my favourite. It’s been a while since I watched it fully, but the things I do remember I do fondly. The stage, the opening doors, choices of music, the reveals of games and hardware as well as the important discussion notes regarding the main star: The Wii. For me though, the major thing I remember most is the opening. Miyamoto dressed like a conductor, brandishing a Wii controller and directing a digital orchestra. This was followed by some more music and on stage demos by a couple of guys (probably display models from The Price is Right), presenting live play footage of two of the consoles early and premium titles: Red Steel and Excite Truck; such an awesome sight.

As you can probably tell, by now I was a committed fan of E3 for several years, especially for Nintendo. The following year in 2007, I was able to watch the conference properly on a laptop, not a live stream of Nintendo’s conference, but a pre-recorded one. It was still a big one, with the main topic being the Wii’s success and the show talked in detail about new exciting games such as Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit. From 2007 onwards, I became a fan of a TV show on the now deceased UK channel Bravo called Gamer.TV. Gamer.TV, or simply Gamer TV to me, gave me a route into the rest of E3.

Reggie Fils-Aimé

In 2008, what should have been yet another great year for Nintendo at E3 was sort of ruined. It was not a good presentation, it was very low-key and was blotted by a new presenter, that of Cammie Dunaway. Reggie had always been the main presenter for Nintendo at E3, but in 2008 for some reason he was sort of replaced by Dunaway. Now no offence intended to somebody who is supposedly a corporate whizz, but in Gaming terms, and especially E3 terms, Dunaway was not a good presenter. She presented herself as something of a Mum like character, spent a lot of time bending over backwards and her suit was just flying all over the place. She was very distracting. There are many people on a corporate level who have presented at E3 in the past, many of whom could be considered not just good but naturally gifted presenters. Some on a corporate professional level such as Reggie, Iwata, Jack Tretton, Peter Moore, Phil Harrison and Kazuo Hirai are able to present in a very methodical, understandable yet also very entertaining way. After that you also have characters like Kevin Butler and Tim Schafer, maybe not a corporate presenter, but generally as good as the above if not better. In comparison Dunaway was just annoying. If it was not in a video game context I bet she is pretty good as a presenter, but in this instance, she was just really bad. It put a sour note on the year. Thanks to Gamer TV though, I got my first proper taste of the Competitions presentations. Don’t remember much about Microsoft at E3 in 2008, but, Sony put on an incredible show and revealed exciting new games presenting them in trailers. Games of memorable note include both God of War 3 and of course, MAG.

From 2009 onwards it was a big change for E3 and me. From this point forward, I decided to watch the other press conferences too not just Nintendo. Well, what I actually mean is that I also watched Sony ad Microsoft as well as Nintendo, as for anyone else I just gave those a miss. 2009 saw some improvements from Nintendo, yes Dunaway was till presenting, but her presentation style was updated and improved. The stage was very small and surrounded by Televisions, but it was still a major improvement. The first one I watched though was Microsoft. Big announcements and some games but overall (and setting the mood quite well for themselves for the next several years) it was like some kind of ‘coffee klatch’ presentation with a 5 minute break in between each section. It did however present a memorable moment when a producer from Harmonix danced away on Dance Central. I think Sony’s was generally alright, I just don’t remember all that much about it.

Then the years went on from there really. Nintendo improved gradually from their 2008 shambles; revealing details about new big games, and of course details and presentations of the Nintendo 3DS, Microsoft did not improve at all, except to allow Tim Schafer to have a spot for one of his games; and continue to prove my theory that the X-Box is nothing more than a glorified set-top box, While Sony began to show off how much of a powerhouse they truly were. Sony really began to shine for me, and their presentation style really began to glow, especially in 2010, with a much longer press conference than the other 2 and the introduction and constant inclusion of Kevin Butler, as well as an awesome trailer for Twisted Metal. And from there, E3 for me just kept on keeping on. I did take an occasional look at other press conferences, Ubisoft once stood out for me with their reveal of Far Cry 3.

So what happened, how did an annual event that was just as important to me as it was for others suddenly not have a place in me anymore? I don’t actually know is the short answer, but I bet I got a pretty good clue. The year was 2012, and after waiting a considerable length of time, the 2 games I bought in 2012 that were actually brand new were finally released, Twisted Metal and Far Cry 3. In 2013, I bought another game I had been looking forward too, a bit too long for actually; Beyond: Two Souls, which was released at the very end of the year. I don’t think I actually watched anything of the 2013 press conferences, I think the last time I took any attention to E3 was with the announcement of the Wii U. What happened? I just lost a little interest in games, as the times were moving on, and some of the stuff at the time did not apply to me. In 2012 I got back into books and started playing Board Games more frequently. I guess it was just the case that as my long time love of Video Games waned and began to be replaced by other things more strongly, I just forgot about E3. To be honest, since 2012, I don’t think I have really thought about E3 other than when announcements are made on the trending part of Facebook. It’s kind of sad when I think about it really; I used to have so much excitement, and used to experience so much fun just watching a few press conferences, now for it to be almost nothing but a memory for me. Will I ever get back into it, I don’t know. I could try to watch this year’s conferences on YouTube sometime if I get round to it, or I could try double hard for next year, but I really don’t know. Sorry if it seems so anti-climactic but I don’t really have an answer of why or even why not?

Wii U

The thing is though, that even if I do get back into it, there is something vitally important missing from the conferences now. About this time last year, the industry lost one of its truly great and unique people; a man who was certainly still in his prime and still had many more years to give to the industry. He was a corporate president, and the CEO of the world’s largest video game company. He passed away just as the company was beginning to take its next step into a bright new future. For me, this man has been the main highlight for not just E3 but many other conferences I have been fortunate enough to see him present at. At E3 he made the press conferences fun and enjoyable no matter how terrible or mediocre the outcome. Someone whose presentation style was a wonder to behold and who spoke with a personal passion on the things he adored; whether it be games, technology or even chopping onions; he gave me some of the most interesting, intriguing and informative moments of my Video Game life and made E3 a magical moment. Sadly he is gone now, but his name; like E3 will remain synonymous with not just gamers, but with the entire video game industry, and the memories he has produced over the years will remain with us forever. I never met him, never saw him live, but I wish I had. He was a great inspiration to me, he was someone whose presentation style but also career was something to aspire too when I wanted to be a video games designer many years ago. He influenced me greatly when I was studying in that field, and even when I stopped viewing E3 regularly, every now and then I would go online and look up one of his press conferences, just for my own entertainment. More than anyone else, for me; E3 was a moment not just to hear about games and consoles, but a moment to hear from the great man that was: Satoru Iwata (miss you).

Satoru Iwata

GENEPOOL





Play it Again Philip

22 06 2016

Philips DVD Player

This past Saturday, I bought a brand new DVD player. Not much in the extraordinary I understand: people buy DVD’s and DVD Players all the time; so why is mine so special? Well, I say this, because, the previous DVD Player I had I received all the way back in November 2005. Yes, I have had the same DVD Player for nearly exactly 11 years. Yet again, maybe not the most extraordinary thing out there to talk about, but given the time I had it for and had become acclimatised too, plus the panic and nerves I created in buying a new one, I thought it could be an interesting blog post (if anyone is interested in history of personal items belonging to other people, sort of like those posts I wrote last year about my Bed).

New Bed with Bedding

Back in 2004, I got into watching Pro Wrestling. Every Saturday morning for a time I would watch WWE Smackdown on Sky One. As time passed by, I bought some WWE DVD’s to watch, however the only DVD player in the house was down stairs, and it was hard to watch any WWE event on DVD on the DVD Player as other people were not necessarily a big as a fan of WWE as I was. After several months, I decided to buy my own DVD Player, and put it in my room with my TV. So, the day after my birthday, I bought one from Currys, took it home, hooked it up to my TV and was able to watch programming. I cannot remember much about that player, except the title screen showed bubbles, the manufacturer started with an S and it had this blue streak across the front of the machine. That machine was pretty problematic as it would not play some DVD’s, would majorly struggle with others, and by October (less than 5 months after buying it), the machine packed in and had swallowed one of my DVD’s (WWE Armageddon 2004). My Mam took me to Currys, but they could not fix it, and the following Monday when I returned, they were able to take out the disc, but the machine had already totalled. As I still had the receipt, I was able to swap it though, and under the advice of a store clerk, I bought the Philips Machine, which worked brilliantly for over a decade.

Philips DVD Player 2

The machine was a nice silvery colour, and the controller was short and fat, but easy to control. It was a wonderful machine. I remember the week I picked it up, going to Currys with the old one after College, swapping it over, watching some DVD’s on it, then breaking my Knee Cap the following Saturday. It’s not the DVD Players fault, it just happened within a few days of each other. Anyway, it was good and I liked it. Back then I had an old TV which my family had previously rented before buying which I then utilised for my room. It was perched on a table which I still have, and the DVD Player was next to it. The early history of the machine was tumultuous as there were some scart issues. The old TV had only one Scart Plug, so over the years when I got more items requiring a socket, I would have to switch from one to the other, which weakened the connection, so it was hard for it to sit in the socket properly, which was even harder when the TV would get shoved aside, which would cause colour issues. At one point I bought a multi scart from Comet which I was assured by a store clerk would work well, but did not, and it was covered by those ridiculous small prints that once the package was opened could not be returned; I wasted some good money on that thing. Eventually however, I received the old downstairs TV (a JVC), which was bigger and had multiple scart sockets, so problem solved in the long-term.

The TV

What followed was many more entertaining and wonderful years of watching DVD’s, until just a few weeks ago. I had begun to re-watch the first season of Arrow on DVD. After playing the episodes, the DVD Player would struggle to reload the menu screen. I just thought that may be due to the disc being a previously used copy, but it just got worse. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to watch Hellboy, but the machine really struggled to load the DVD, it took forever. I cleaned the disc best I could, but once again struggled. I was able to watch it in the end, but I decided to run a test, if it was the DVD, or the player. I took out my DVD copy of Pacific Rim, something I had only run in the machine twice, meaning the disc was still relatively new. I put into the machine, and it did not load. The player was really good for loading a disc in less than about 12 seconds, after 30+, it did not load. I tried to empty the machine, but it even struggled with opening the tray. Luckily I was able to get it out. I then took the DVD downstairs and put it into one of the Players down stairs, and the disc loaded in seconds without a hitch (once I put it in the right way). I tried one more time a week or so later, and it was the same result for the Philips. I did not bother trying it down stairs; it was obvious the machine was dying.

Philips DVD Player Controller

In the end, I decided to buy a new machine. The Philips I had for all that time was a very good machine and had served me well, but even I knew it was time to say goodbye. I did some pre-checking in PC World and Currys, before then deciding that this past Saturday would be the day I would buy a new machine. It was quite handy too as I had been in town before purchasing it to get some books, and watch Princess Mononoke at The Dukes. I went into Currys and had a look. It was nerve-wracking as for one I did not want to spend too much, but two, because the TV was old, it would need some form of old connection as standard in order for me to be able to use it (and three, having previously bought a terrible Matsui from Currys many years ago, was hoping to buy something not so terrible). While I was in Currys I did ponder whether it would be best to get a new TV too, but given my current employment status (desperately looking for work) I knew I would have to raid my savings to buy a new one. So for now it was just the DVD Player. In the end and with some help, it came down to 2 machines, a Sony and a LOGIK. Knowing it would be better to get a more trusted brand, or at least one I had heard of, I went originally for the Sony as it had the Yellow White Red connections in the back, but when someone in the shop said that strangely the box might not contain those cables, I thought in that case I would buy the LOGIK as it had a Scart Connection too (although did not come with the cables, but I could still use the one from the Phillips) plus the coloured connectors and USB (and HDMI I think). After purchasing it plus buying some other bits and bobs quickly, I brought the machine home, and soon after set to work plugging it in.

Philips and LOGIK DVD Player Controller's

It was relatively straight forward in the end, just swap out the Philips, plug-in the LOGIK and then test it. Yeah, pretty simple. When it came to testing it which was simple enough, I knew I needed something good and clear to test it with. The TV is not HD, and frankly I do not care about HD, but I still wanted a clear enough picture. So, I chose the film AKIRA. AKIRA is of course the animated Japanese film from the late eighties, and knowing due to the film’s high sophisticated choice of colouring, knew it would be ideal to test it with. And it worked absolutely fine. It loaded very quickly, and it was a clear picture.

Neo-Tokyo

The controller is a lot thinner than the old one, but still easy to use, and unlike the Philips, does have an open/close button. Once I watched a little Akira, I tried it again a couple of times later, watching an episode of The Detectives, and the video diary of Tim Vine (from one of his DVD’s). Altogether, I like my new DVD player. It’s thin and black and fits nicely where the old one used to be. It’s black so fits in with the Virgin Media box sitting comfortably on top (both are very light, but did not fancy placing the player on top the box, as it’s wider), is quick, and very easy to use. So turns out I did not have to worry so much. So, so far so good. Will it last another 11 years, I don’t know, but as long as it lasts a good comfortably long period, I won’t need to worry about buying another one for some considerable time. So, all in all: good.

LOGIK DVD Player

GENEPOOL (Pop Quiz Hot Shot: What is the above title a line reference too that most people get wrong)?





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?)





Game Dev Tycoon

14 01 2015

Game Dev Tycoon Logo

Several years ago I dreamed and tried to get into the Video Games Industry, unfortunately I was unsuccessful in achieving this due to me being terrible at programming (C++ in particular). While originally down hearted I moved on and decided to pursue a different career altogether. This past week however I stepped into the video games industry, by playing Game Dev Tycoon on Steam.

Steam (Valve Corporation, 2003 - Present)

Game Dev Tycoon (produced by Greenheart Games) allows the player the opportunity to start their own video game company and rise through the ranks in a 35 year period creating video games for a variety of consoles and research new techniques and topics in the hope of becoming the biggest video game company in the world. You start in your garage on a simple PC but as your company gets bigger and better, you obtain new premises. From your work space you can create your own video games. This involves choosing a topic, genre and platform. As you research new topics you can research new things to choose from including making your own custom game engine, target audiences and multiple platforms and genres. As the game progresses further you can unlock more options as to what kind of work you go into including work contracts and publishing deals and as your operation gets larger and larger you will need to hire more people.

GDT1

You don’t need to worry too much about detail though when it comes to making a game as this involves a little mini game where you chooses what you want it to be, give it a name and designation and then move little sliders up and down in certain topics and then attaching certain members of your team to work on certain elements when making a much bigger game. Then when it is complete you need to air out the bugs in the programme, then release it and wait for the reviews of it and see how it sells. Juggling all of these elements is hard work but if you’re capable of it and succeed you can make a lot of cash. But even then that is not an easy thing.

GDT2

Like other Tycoon games, Game Dev Tycoon isn’t exactly easy. The biggest problem is making enough money to stay afloat. The first few games you produce it is sort of easy, but you lose £8,000 (money denominations don’t really exist in the game and instead money is represented as standard figures with K representing thousand and M million) each week in operation. This increases the bigger your company gets and soon a few thousand won’t cut it. It is easy enough though to make a few hundred thousand but you will need to start making more. Bigger games offer this opportunity, but are expensive to produce, and while you could get a publishing deal (which helps garner more fans to your company and bigger titles less risky), the only problem is, is that if you don’t meet a certain level of requirements in the reviews stage they will fine you and you only get so much money in royalties from the publisher. Then next to that there is the money you may or not spend on marketing and then the cubicle at G3. Money is required to do everything and it is not easy to come by it, particularly if you are behind the competition.

GDT4

Research is very important in this game and research is harder to come by than money, but it needs to be done. In the early stages of your company you will use it to get basic things, like a custom game engine and other topics, but as you get bigger and bigger, it’s important to study more techniques and improve your games in the long haul as 2D and text-based games are not going to cut it on a PlaySystem 2. Oh yeah, that’s another thing, Game Dev Tycoon adds a little humour to the game industry, taking things that exist and then spinning on them. E3 becomes G3, Companies like Sega and Sony become Vega and Vonny and game consoles look like their real version but with a spin on design, colour and name, like Game Sphere (GameCube).

GDT6

Game Dev Tycoon is a lot of fun to play and relatively addictive as it is quite simple. There are several short comings to it though. In the early parts of the game, the only way to know what works in a game is to make it, wait for the reviews then write a game report. In those early stages it is easy to make a rubbish game and easily fluke a good one. Good reviews help with money, but if your game is rubbish, you have little chance of making profit. It was not until my third attempt (first to companies went bankrupt, third was the only time so far that I was able to get to the end of the 35 years and still not be in debt; the company name was Mighty Pigeon) that the research and studies into certain points helped that I got a knack in what I was doing and made good games continuously. But the reviews can still be pretty random and it is hard to get it exactly right. Game Reports do help with this though. The game also throws huge numbers of advice screens at you saying it would be easier to do publishing deals and get fan numbers before working on your own games; however the money isn’t really worth it. Other times the game does this is when it asks if you want to move to another studio and bigger operation. If you decide to wait some time, instead of giving you the option of a button to press when ready, you need to wait until the box comes up again, and if still not ready, it’s back to waiting (and some times the game buttons can stick when you click them).

GDT5

Making games can also get pretty tiresome and samey after a while and it’s only when you research new options that things get a little more interesting. However; in order to make these games with new options and possibilities, you need to put them into a new game engine and only then can they be used. So, you end up spending most of your research points you acquire on new things to make bigger and better game engines. And this can get really annoying, particularly as research is scarcer than money and you need it to train your staff as well. Hiring more people helps with this issue, but hiring is expensive and operating cash gets drier the more people you hire. In the end, you need to make compromises and try to figure out what is more important, and for me and the company it was the engine. Hiring staff though does mean you can put certain people on certain tasks that they are better at than others, but you will need to send them on vacation at some point.

GDT3

Game Dev Tycoon isn’t exactly what you would call easy, it’s easier than some Tycoon games but it is relatively a hard game. But in many a way it’s more a puzzle based game similar to some flash titles online than a tycoon based game. But altogether Game Dev Tycoon is rather fun to play and also can be quite addictive. Even if the game gets samey in spots, you still care about trying to get money (or like I did in my fourth game, tried to make rubbish games to go bankrupt). It can be interesting in places when you produce a game that the reviews say is mediocre but then goes on to become something of a hit, but most of these instances involve a publishing deal. While the game can also be horrible to you as well, sometimes it can give you surprises. While the game does have shortcomings including fewer options when it comes to research and the constant advice boxes and it’s reply value is rather small and only for the pursuit of doing better, and the story of the game is the same every time, I do rather like this game. It may not be to every body’s tastes or as big as games like Borderlands or Call of Duty; Game Dev Tycoon is a nice small game to play when you have some time to play something short, and also gives an insight into the world of Video Games Development also.

GENEPOOL








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