‹ Back to Blog

Blog Group: Gaming (8 posts)


| 24th October 2018 | Gaming
With Halloween around the corner, my son is asking me for “spooky” games we can play. Seeing as Resident Evil might be a bit soon for a five-year-old, the gem that is Luigi’s Mansion makes a return to my life once more. Not in the recent release of the 3DS version, but by digging out my dusty Gamecube copy. The game was one of the choices you got when buying a Gamecube bundle during the console’s release. Console release games don’t tend to stay with me very long (Smash Bros Melee was my ultimate motivation for acquiring a Gamecube, but you learn to be grateful as a twelve-year-old) but 16 years later, I’m truly appreciating this game for what it is. The game’s premise opens up to Luigi locating a Mansion he’s won in a recent competition- But to his dismay, he finds the entire building to be haunted by ghosts. Classic. Luckily, your new neighbour Professor E.Gadd fills you in on the mansions’ situation and is even kind enough to give you the Poltergeist 3000- a vacuum that hoovers up ghosts that you can then restore into paintings, of course. Then, like the kindly neighbour he is, trains you on how to use it via a quick tutorial in a convenient training simulation in his lab, then sends off a very reluctant Luigi to fend for himself in his newly acquired mansion. If you take a step back from Luigi's Mansion you’ll notice it’s actually a very simple game- locate and vacuum up all the ghosts in the room until the room’s candles light up with a satisfying sound of positive gamification, followed by moving on to the next room. As well as enjoying its calming simplicity in a time when hectic Battle Royale games are peaking, it’s also the classic Nintendo charm that keeps me coming back. Hitting A when near an object will make Luigi give it a whack or shake, usually for drawing out Boo’s or for money- that you cruelly are never able to spend until the very end of the game when your house essentially gets valued. But whilst aimlessly walking...

Jon | 05th June 2018 | Gaming
A blog series following my progress on getting good at fighting games with a shitty long-term hand injury   Load up Street Fighter II for the first time and it won't take you long to realise it is a hard game. Play it as a regular to Fighting Games and you'll find a challenge.  Play it as a newbie to Fighting Games and it's brutally humiliating- and that's before you realise you were already playing on 'Very Easy' difficulty. Fighting games have a decieving simplicity to them on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you'll find a goldmine of techniques and skills that professional players use to get as good as they are. To truly understand this, watch some pro players online or play SFII for a week and then play Streets of Rage to get an idea on the difference and depth in skill needed. Hell, I didn't even know you could cancel moves until recently. But I have had my fair share of fighting games growing up- Tekken, King of Fighters, Soul Calibur and of course, Street Fighter. All hazy memories now but I don't remember any of them being as difficult as SFII. I recently re-bought Hyper Street Fighter II Turbo for the PS2, mainly for the animated movie that came on the disc which, despite the cringy English dubs, is a very good movie. At least check out the Vega vs Chun Li fightscene! But having a go on the arcade mode of the game itself sent me packing very quickly. Given my usual too-old-for-this-shit attitude about games these days, I was surprised to find myself trying again and again to at least get half way through Arcade Mode. The snag is, I have a sparring injury back when I did Kempo Karate nearly 10 years ago now. Throwing a sloppy left hook left me with a fractured thumb. The x-ray displaying the crack rippling almost all the way down my thumb from the tip of my thumb to the palm of my hand. It's mostly healed now, but I still can't make the "proper" fist that you're meant to in Martial arts where the thumb is neatly barring across the rest...

| 13th April 2018 | Gaming
  Or 'Why Can't I Write This Good?   For many, the Life is Strange series has come to an end. the original game by Dontnod had 5 episodes and it's sequel set before the first game by DeckNine had only 3, just as fantastic episodes. As a die-hard fan of the series, like many, I paid for the Special Edition of Before the storm. Nothing crazy came with it, mostly novelty stuff like outfits for Chloe, a Mixtape mode for those who can't get enough of the soundtrack and a Bonus Episode, which was said to release after the main 3 episodes. I didn't hold up much hope for the Bonus episode. I was pretty excited to play as Max Caufield again but the fact that this was a 'Bonus' episode gave me the impression it wasn't going to be anything groundbreaking. Maybe something purely sentimental at most, playing as the younger, more pirate-loving versions of the games two main characters before the chaos of the main story. Whether the intention of DECKNINE was to mislead fans into thinking they were playing an episode of any less quality than their other ones, or the company simply cannot make an episode that doesn't have me bawling my eyes out, I don't know. But I was pleasantly surprised by this episode. Despite knowing that it's extremely unlikely that anything too stressful is going to happen in this episode -If you've played the other two games, you're well aware that the most stressful parts are way behind you (or in front of you) at this point in the story.- I still felt a slight sense of dread exploring Chloe's attic. Praying I didn't find a body in the ice cream cooler or a secret photography dark room. As you procrastinate from tidying Chloe's bedroom by going on one last pirate adventure, it's easy not to even wonder about what day in Chloe's crazy, trauma-filled life this could be. Chloe's mum returns home to the sound of Ben Howard, an artist I've grown to become sick of hearing yet I can't imagine a better song choice for the scene. I'm suddenly aware tha...

| 03rd April 2018 | Gaming
There's nothing worse than digging out your old Pokemon games and finding that one save file- the one you invested hours of 8-bit-blood, sweat and tears into- to find that it has vanished into the digital ether. The save file in these games runs off an old CR032 watch battery. They can last up to a good 20 years but once the battery dies, that's it. The game won't recall your save every time you reboot the game. Sadly, there's no way of retrieving your old saved games, but there is a way of getting the save function to work again! And the best bit about it all is there is no soldering required, unlike a lot of other retro console and game fixes. The tools you need are all widely available and super cheap on Amazon and eBay. So, here's what you'll need: Electric Tape Flat-head screwdriver (or some form of small plastic palette you get with cheap phone cleaning sets) 3.8mm/4.5mm hex tool bit (usually come as a set) CR2025 battery- Check the number on the battery when you open up the cartridge. Most likely it will be CR2025, but I've heard CR2032 works fine too and apparently can last longer. And that's it! Please note: Please do this exercise at your own risk! I am not responsible for your game if it gets wrecked during the process. I have however done this process a lot and have never ran into any issues. As long as you're patient, it's very easy. The example I'm using is for Pokemon Silver on the Gameboy. Later games like Ruby and Saphire for Gameboy Advance run off a different, smaller battery for the example I'm doing here. Below, I've made a timelapse of my own process which should help understand the instructions that follow. So first off, unscrew the screw in the back of the Gameboy game cartridge. Put the screw to the side and gently open up the cartridge. The battery is the small round disc in the top right of the board. This part is easy but you need to take your time and be patient with it. Slowly, begin prying apart the metal arm that...

TGD | 23rd March 2018 | Gaming
  Like a lot of people, I suffer from heavy bouts of stress and anxiety. Whilst some of it I have to take as it comes, there's also a fair bit I can take responsibility for and do something about: Drink less coffee, sleep more and play less stress-induced-haemorrhage causing things like Halo 2 on Legendary. The first two are invalid options because they are apart of being a parent. So after finishing the Halo 2 Campaign, I was very grateful to stumble across this gem that I somehow missed. AER is a game by Forgotten Key, A studio in Sweden that specialises in atmospheric experiences. Kotaku described AER as Wind Waker but flying instead of sailing, and they're not wrong. You play as Auk, a young girl set out on a pilgrimage to restore the broken world after it's great divide. Gods are slowly being forgotten and therefore losing their power. Auk must journey to the Land of the Gods and stop the darkness that threatens this beautiful, fragmented world. As one of the last shapeshifters, performing a simple double jump sends Auk soring into the air as a bird, where you can visit the temples to retrieve the lost shards, or simply cruise around the open world at your leisure. The controls are super-intuitive as theirs a simplicity to what you can do: Fly, interact, move and jump. The only slight difficulty is I got a bit too carried away with 'flapping' to pick up speed during flight. You don't realise how fast you're going until you're a few meters away from an island and can end up shooting straight past it without having time to think about landing. The game has soft glowing colours in low-poly/cell-shaded style graphics, accompanied by the beautiful ambient music and sounds of Cajsa Larsson. It's the cheapest form of therapy I've come across so far.   Describing this game as a type of Legend of Zelda but without the fighting would be an awful sell, but here for me lies the beauty of AER for what I need to relax. The puzzles in the temples are not so easy t...

| 09th March 2018 | Gaming
OR YOU WEREN'T THERE MAN, YOU WEREN'T THERE! As someone who's favourite game will always be Final Fantasy VII, writing an unbiased article about it has been pretty difficult. Here's the thing: An awful lot of people- including myself- claim Final Fantasy VII to be the best games of all time. Here's the other thing: The vast majority of those people played the game not too long after it's release. Ask anyone- even Google, why Final Fantasy VII is one of the best games ever and you're likely to find a lot of people giving you their list of reasons. My first memory of playing the best game ever was back when Playstation magazine included free demo discs that held a list of short demos of upcoming releases along with a (usually) pretty awful indie game. I was roughly 7 years old when the FFVII demo came to one of those discs. Me and my friends played it right up until it ends where Cloud outruns a group of Shinra soldiers by jumping onto the roof of an incoming train passing under the bridge directly beneath him, 90's action movie style. I loved it so much that I irritatingly tried to force anyone who had a ps1 to play it. I still preached about it in my teens to my classmates--who at this point in time were enjoying the GTA era on the ps2, So the idea of playing a pretty old looking game with pretty boys and turned based action usually resulted with a pass. I could bore you with how deeply this game is integrated into my life at some point in some way, but instead, I'm going to tell you a few pretty understandable reasons why someone may not like the best your favourite game ever.   THE GRAPHICS Yeah, okay so it was 1997 this game came out. 3D was still an early learning point for a lot of game companies including Squaresoft (now Square Enix) but let's face it. Unless you were there at the time, no one is going to be drooling over playable lego characters and cutscenes that look like a weird Playmobile role play video from 'that side' of Youtube.   THE BAD ...

| 05th March 2018 | Gaming
OR I found a game that doesn't make me want to rage-quit   via GIPHY   That probably sounds odd. Most people want to get better at games because it's rewarding and so they can beat them. But I'm old. Not like in numbers, but in parenting induced fatigue. Which basically means there's a lot of shit I feel too old for but this hasn't stopped me putting time into gaming, which I enjoy a lot. It Just means I don't pull all-nighters trying to max out all my characters levels anymore and I tend to avoid games that make me rage-quit quicker. I tend to go for games with an easier pace. A colleague at work pointed me in the direction of Hyper Light Drifter a few weeks ago. I was dazzled by the bright colours, pixel art and intriguing story the trailer gave off with the beautiful music by Disaster Piece in the background. Still, my adult, reasoning brain reassured me I didn't need to buy a new game yet (I have a long list of games I own I haven't touched).  Then I bought a copy of Edge magazine and read an interview with the game's creator, Alex Preston. I was super intrigued by how the guy embedded a lot of references to his struggles with his own health condition in the game. 15 quid's not a lot, I thought to myself. and it's like...I don't know. It's like a real game. Everyone talks in pictures or weird robot noises which surprisingly, works as a brilliant method of storytelling in the game. You interpret it differently compared to how you would if it were text or voice. and I don't know how the hell they did it, but when I get defeated in the game, it doesn't make me want to rage quit and mumble "I'm too old for this shit". It makes me want to try again. And again. Until I beat it. And as much as I love RPG's and levelling up systems, there's no grinding involved. Your skill is based on pure practice from the time you put into it and I can't believe I'm saying this but I love that.  Even when you buy a skill from the shop, it's certainly no shortcut. Great,...

| 26th February 2018 | Gaming
Or writing about one of your favourite games to avoid the horrifying realisation that it's ending soon With the 2nd episode of Before the Storm that came out this month, you may be familiar or at least have heard of Life is Strange. For the not-so-familiar, LiS is a non-linear choice based game from the minds of DONTNOD (Remember me). Despite being a story focused indie game, it did amazingly well. Won a bunch of awards for it a few years back and the fan base is obsessive and loyal. Things got busier at DONTNOD since the game's success, so they handed the production of the prequel over to DECK NINE. I recently finished the 2nd episode of the prequel: Before the Storm and I am not in the slightest bit disappointed like the internet seemed compelled on telling me I would be. DECK NINE are doing an amazing job of making an amazing game- even without the time travel. And as for all the moaning about the change in Chloe’s voice actor… I honestly don’t think I would have noticed if someone hadn’t told me prior. It made sense anyway, as the Chloe in BTS is younger. Regardless, both voice actors are amazing. The Life is Strange games are not for everyone. This game can be played in a pretty laid back manner, so if you prefer playing games where it feels like there’s a hand curling its fingers around your heart ready to rip it out when you run out of HP (Hi Dark Souls) then this game might not be for you. But for someone who doesn’t get much gaming time these days outside of work and parenting (you can’t “just pause” A Halo 3 campaign on Legendary, crying baby or no), this game was perfect. what it lacks in button mashing action, makes up for in a brilliant story, relatable characters and multiple outcomes from the choices you make with heavy impact. I was a little late to the game with Life is Strange, so thankfully all the episodes were already out and night by night me and my wife devoured them. We also got to watch and judge each other on the d...