Category Archives: Gaming

No Man’s Sky: My Thoughts


Holy Crap, this game has divided people. What was, for a few years, the darling of the video game world, and one of the most anticipated games of…well, forever, has been attacked, lauded, and become the subject of unprecedented return policy updates by companies that rarely give refunds.

Why?

For starters, for a 2016 game, it is very much a 1991 game. Slow. Methodical. Boring. Everything us old guys love.

In fact, one might say it is the spiritual successor to Star Flight, a game released in 1991 that had no set story, let you explore a galaxy, mine planets, trade with other alien species, and even engage in combat. Sound familiar?

I loved it. LOVED IT. It was a ZEN game. A game you could play and relax at the same time. No place you had to go, no time table. You could play it and just get lost in it. I spent a lot of time “in” that game.

This is, of course, in STARK contrast to today’s game, and the modern gamer. The modern gamer craves non-stop action and, more importantly, multi-player. They want to interact with other players, whether it is in a cooperative setting or player vs. player. No Man’s Sky harkens back to a day when most gamers didn’t even have a modem. The game experience was all there was, and creating fantastic worlds for the player to get immersed in was the goal of very developer.

No Man’s Sky is huge. To the point that it can be very overwhelming. And while it has a goal (get to the galaxy core), the game does not care how you get there, or even IF you get there. There is no built in schedule. You can play at your own pace. Now that I am 43 with a job and three kids, that is AWESOME.

The Sad Tale of the PSVita


WHAT AM I?!?!

I just read a great article on the PS Vita.  It made me realize that I am not alone.

I hate the PS Vita because I don’t know what the hell it is.  And apparently, neither does Sony.

It really is a neat little thing.  Next Gen graphics on a nice hi rez screen. Some great games.  Wifi and Cellular data access. Email, web browser. Chat. Touch screen. It’s an MP3 and movie player as well.

Why yes, I did just describe most every hand held device.  Including the mega popular iOS devices from Apple.

So Sony really needed to knock this out of the park, and they haven’t.  So far, the only “cool” feature is being able to remote into my PS4 and play PS4 games on the screen.  Of course, this is only good up to about 40 feet, then the connection lags to the point of being unplayable.

And there are some Vita exclusive games that are worth it.  Uncharted: The Golden Abyss and Assassin’s Creed: Liberation are fantastic.  In fact, if you are a PlayStation Plus subscriber you can get Uncharted for free right now.

So the one thing that sets the Vita apart from every smart phone and tablet are the games. The problem is that no developer will touch the damn thing because it is not selling.  However you can download every Vita game via the PlayStation Store, and also a large selection of PSP and PSOne games.  That is awesome.

But it also shows another weakness of the Vita.  Storage.

The Vita uses proprietary Sony SD cards.  It ships with a 4GB card.  Every app you download ( yes there are Twitter and Facebook apps for Vita!) takes up space. The average PSOne game is around 500MBS.  The average Vita game is 3GBS.  You do the math.  And the prices for these SONY ONLY cards are ridiculous. The retail price for a 32GB card is $79.99.  You can get a 32GB USB drive for around $20.00

Then there is the game pricing.  Every Vita game costs the same as the retail counterpart.  Plus, you have to have space to download it.  So what is the advantage to downloading a Vita game? There is none.  If I am being asked to pay the full retail prince of $39.99 for a Vita game, I am better off to buy the thing and not have to give up precious storage.

And that brings me back to the PlayStation Plus membership.  Sony does give members tremendous discounts and even free games, but then you have to have space. It’s a benefit that is hard to enjoy on the Vita.

I doubt I will see any more MUST HAVE games for the Vita.  It is going to die, like the PSP before it.  It’s a shame, because having a portable Playstation is a cool idea.

I wish I had one.

Game a Day: Space Harrier


What can you say about the original Space Harrier? Brilliant..innovative…fun. Essentially the game took Space Invaders, put it in first person perspective, and threw everything at you. With a little Centipede thrown in for good measure. Oh, and did I mention you have a jet pack strapped to your back, so that you are constantly moving forward?

Originally released to the arcade in 1985 by Sega, the game was the creation of Yu Suzuki, who is responsible for many popular Sega games, like Daytona USA and Virtua Fighter.

The arcade cabinet was one of the first to incorporate mechanical feedback to mirror the action in the game.  You would sit and actually move with the analog controller. Another first in arcades. Perhaps the first.

I have a very fond memory of the first time I played in an arcade. It was at King’s Island, an amusement park close to where I lived. I begged my dad to let me play, and I from the moment I sat down, I was in hooked. As soon as your put in your tokens and pressed start, a digitized voice said “Welcome to the Fantasy Zone….Get Ready” and BAM…you were flying.

Space Harrier also was one of the first games to feature serious level progression. Each level was a different world…with different enemies and bosses. Sure they wee all similar and simple palette swaps, but it was enough to make you keep going. For every one million points you got an extra life.  Or, you kept plugging quarters/tokens in. This game also existed in the era of the High Score. Like many games of the time, it had a leader board and you put your initials in when you achieved a ranking on it. There was no save. If you ran out of lives, you started over. This concept is foreign to many today.

It is a relentless, furious game that offers you no short cuts.  This was a game that tested your reflexes and memory.  Some obstacles could be shot out of your way, others could not.  And if you hit one of those, it was lights out.  Game over, man. The only advantage was that the enemies and obstacles came in patterned waves….so as long as you knew where and what to expect, you could make it. Sorta.

For Christmas 1986, I begged my mom and dad for this.  Only because one of the launch games was Space Harrier.  Since the only arcade around me that had it was at Kings Island, I didnt get enough of it and I wanted more. The only catch was the gift was also for my sister…so I had to share.  That sucked.

Since then, Space Harrier has had not so good sequels, and been released on just about every platform known to man.  But it started in the arcade for me, and it remains one of my favorite games of all time.  And one of the greatest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOd0CEuB-dM

As if I needed another reason…


Here is another reason I want to have sex with Rihanna. 

Things To Do When SWTOR Servers Are Down


1. Go outside again
2. Watch all the Star Wars movies ( on blu-ray )
3. Reintroduce yourself to your family. Odds are they have not seen you in a week.
4. Write Bioware and tell them to do the “Halo Anniversary Thing” to SWKOTOR
5. Play SWKOTOR anyway
6. Draw your toon
7. Make a list of things to do when SWTOR is down
8. Restock your mini fridge ( located next to your PC )
9. Get on the Star Trek Online forums and make fun of the 24 active players
10. Play Skyrim

Tagged ,

Star Wars: The Old Republic Beta -Thoughts


Well, it seems the have called of the NDA and the lawyers for LucasArts and BioWare have been caged back up.  This means I can tell my SW:TOR story.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is the second attempt to cash in on the STAR WARS IP in MMO form.  It has been in development for about 5 years.   The angle this one has is that it is set 5000 years before the current movies. This is a double edged sword, as the developers are not shackled by current cannon, or feel the need to place characters like Luke Skywalker or Han Solo in needlessly.  It allows them to create a new Star Wars storyline by maintaining the legacy of what makes the Star Wars Universe great.  However the downside is that they are not using familiar characters and locations, and this may turn more than a few people off.

First off, let me put this out there: from what I have played ,I LOVE IT.  At it’s simplest, it is the child of World of Warcraft and Mass Effect ( which itself was the spiritual successor to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic). If you are shaking your head asking why is it not more like KOTOR, it TOTALLY IS.  It is set in that Universe, sure, most the gameplay more closely resembles Mass Effect.

The way you interact in the game is all WoW.  The movement, the combat.  The zones.  However, it is the story and how they make you PLAY the game that is all Mass Effect.  Whereas in previous MMOs, your character exists and takes a part in a larger story, in SWTOR, the story is all about you.  Your first 10 levels is all about YOU.  Sure, there are plenty of side quests, but during your first few hours in the game you are creating your role in the bigger story to come. So much so that the opening crawl is tailored to fit your character.  There are instances in the game that exists ONLY for you and they only server to move your plot line along.  Other classes/players can’t even go in.  This makes you feel like you REALLY own your character. The quests are standard MMO fodder.  Take item X to person X. Meet person X at location X.  Kill X number of beasties or bad guys.  But, as opposed to simply leveling your character, you are advancing your own story.  And did I mention the dialog?  EVERYBODY talks!  No chat balloons.  They talk.  And just like Mass Effect, your responses dictate how they respond and how your character develops.  Want to be a dick? BE ONE and eventually join the dark side.  Be the hero, and join the light side. You can even play it in the middle.

That being said, I think a lot of modern MMO players will find this boring.  This is not a kill’em and loot ’em game. The fast pace of WoW is definitely missing and I found that to be a relief.  This game was made for ROLE PLAYING.  Not PVP rewards, not PHAT LOOTZ.  I have noticed a lot of the criticism of the game stems from this.  Some players are already at level 50.  The highest level currently achievable. They are complaining of the lack of end game content. To me I feel like they missed the point.  If you go into the game with the mentality of getting to the highest level as fast as possible, I feel like you are short changing yourself.  This MMO centers on story and is meant to be enjoyed as such.

So far, I really like the game.  A lot.

Steam, you are Awesome


If you have not already experienced the awesomeness that is STEAM, please do so now.  I will wait.

 

Ok….so it’s totally awesome, right?!?  iTunes Store for video games!  And this weekend they are holding the sale to end all sales.  CHECK IT OUT

I have already bought 7 games.  And I have yet to spend as much as a regularly priced game. The best part is they change the sale every 24 hours.

THIS IS A GOOD THING FRIENDS.