Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Tau and Friends Play Silent Bomber Part 5

This time I take up the controller and protect stuff.  That's why the episode is 8 minutes long and contains no deaths...ENJOY!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Problem With Metroidvania

Today I polished off a replay of Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia and really there is this huge glaring problem with the whole "metroidvania" thing that I feel the need to express my opinion on because I'm a bit of a self absorbed twat.

Anyway, the first thing to mention is that I fucking love these games.  Aria of Sorrow being my personal favourite, but really I love new school "metriodvania" as much as I love old school side scrolling Castlevania.

So if I love these games so much, what could the problem possibly be?  Well let's think about Metroid for a moment since they are quite similar in game play.  In Metroid you explore a large 2D world, collecting powerups and special abilities in order to move forward, basically the same as new school Castlevania right?  Well the difference between the two games is that every single power up in Metroid feels useful in some way.  A life boost or a missile boost is always welcome, while in Castlevania not everything you get is very good.

In fact, while I was playing Order of Ecclesia I was collecting all the different glyphs that can be used as weaponry, but pretty much through the whole game I stuck to the same 3 and didn't really have much trouble at all.  I would constantly find new weapons, Armour and accessories throughout the game but I would end up ignoring most of them just because what I was currently using was a better anyway.

This problem really affects the game play sometimes because exploring starts to feel like a bit of a chore after a while.  I don't care about searching 100% of a map for that extra item or chest because I know that I'll end up not using it anyway.  I did explore 100% of every map because I'm a bit OCD like that, but your normal player might just get sick of being given sub-par "power ups" and just sack the whole exploring thing and just make a dash for the boss room.

Still, there is plenty of verity in the Castlevania equipment lists so you can always play pretty much exactly how you want, which is a plus.  To me these problems aren't game breaking, just a minor annoyance but I can imagine for some it really turns them off these kind of games.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Tau and Friends Play Silent Bomber Part 4

My good buddy Paul takes up the controller in this episode to fight a bunch of mechs, enjoy!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

A Change Of Charity

I am fucking mad right now, like you don't even know, holy shit.

I made a post on a forum a couple of days ago looking for fund raising ideas, and the feedback I got was mostly negative.  Apparently I'm a huge arsehole looking for tax breaks and my idea to raise money through producing entertaining, game related content is a load of shit.

Well I'm not paying attention to them since the donations have reached well over £700 and if people are willing to donate to charity because they enjoy my content, I'm not stopping.  I'll keep writing, keep making videos and keep streaming in the hopes that you'll throw a couple of pennies to a good cause.

ANYWAY! One post in the forum topic I made slagged off the JustGiving tracker saying that charity donation page middle men are a bunch of greedy cockbags.  Well when I first set up Identity Gaming this never occurred to me, JustGiving is pretty much the most recognised donation service and I just went with what I know.

Anyway it turns out that JustGiving is a load of shit and they skim 5% off the donations made to the charity!  Luckily, 5% of the values that people have been giving isn't much but it fucking adds up and it's an absolutely disgusting practice that they are charging a subscription fee AND taking money from the donations.

So, for that reason, I have changed the donation service to something called BTMyDonate.  After doing some searching around I found out that BTMyDonate don't charge any fees and don't take any commission off the donations, which is great.  As far as I understand their service, they are just a straight up tracker that gives you, the donater, a visual indication of how much has been raised via Identity Gaming, which is really just what I wanted in the first place. 

Please direct all future donations towards the new links on the right hand side bar.  I'll put the link here too just in case

Everything still goes to the Alzheimer's Society, so hit that donate button and lets see some money go to a good cause!

The Return of Nintendo Hard....Maybe...

It's funny that I should discover this news today, just a few days ago I was talking about how hard old school Mario is and then this pops up.

So, first of all, let me link to to what the fuck I'm talking about

If you can't be arsed to read the link, the story is that Eiji Aonuma of Nintendo said that he recognises that Nintendo games of recent years have been on a little on the easy side but there are plans to change that.  He basically says that some people at Nintendo thought that making games easier so that people could progress was better but him and Miyamoto think that having some degree of difficulty and "getting lost" in a game is way more important.

This is great news, I've always complained that modern gaming is way to hand holdy and way too easy.  Even the games that are touted about as hard games, such as Dark Souls, aren't actually all that hard once you re-adapt to not having your hand held through a video game.

Old school Nintendo used to produce some really REALLY difficult games back in the day, like the above pictured Japanese Mario 2 and the idea of them going back to that makes me extremely excited.  I want to experience an actual challenge and feel like the act of beating a game actually took some skill and effort on my part. 

Hop to it Nintendo, I want the hardest games you can possibly imagine, let's see what you got!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Stanley Parable and Racism

This is kind of a hard issue to talk about because I've not actually played the game in question yet, it was one of those things I was going to get round to when I move into my new place, but now I don't know if I even want to play it at all.

So the story is a remake of an old mod called The Stanley Parable gets released on Steam and people are happy.  Then people start playing and enjoying the Stanley Parable and it seems they are having fun with their interactive storytelling experience.  Then some moron on twitter says that a certain scene in the game is racist and this prompts the developer to back peddle on himself and change his work.

Right, first of all let's talk about the scene.  Apparently it's a scene about choice or something and there is an image of a man lighting a cigarette for a little boy, or pouring him in petrol and lighting him on fire.  From what I've been told regarding the scene the gag is satire of old values from like the 50s and may or or may not have something to do with how first world meddling in third world affairs isn't actually doing all that much good.

Anyway, the point is that race actually had nothing to do with the scene, but morons on twitter got all upset about it because it features a white man in a suit and a small black child being set on fire.  Race doesn't factor into this part of the game AT ALL, yet people are whining about it offending them.  These are people looking for issues where there are none and desperately grasping at straws to try and kick up a fuss.  I bet that if the kid in the above picture was white, there would be no issue here, which kind of brings up the idea that the people who complained are actually the racists because they aren't complaining about a black kid being set on fire, they are complaining about a black kid being featured in the game.....think about that.

So anyway, the developer of The Stanley Parable said he isn't particularly "married to the gag" and is willing to change it.  THIS, is a fucking problem, right here.  People have been saying that it's sort of commendable of the developer because he's changing it after people have complained about it and this shows flexibility and receptiveness or whatever, but no, that's a load of bollocks and anyone with half a brain knows it.

The Stanley Parable is one of those games that's being thrown around as an art game.  Go fire up your steam client and read some of the review quotes on the store page, it may cause you to roll your eyes a little bit.  But here is the thing, art is one of those things that is supposed to inspire debate and not all art is supposed to make you happy.  If something is truly art, then sometimes it's going to make you feel uncomfortable or maybe even offended, but that's what makes it a good piece of art.  The fact that it drew those emotions out of you and made you talk about it is good, that's what art is supposed to fucking do.

But no, the developer of this game proved right here that The Stanley Parable is not art in the slightest.  It doesn't matter how fond of the gag or not he is, the fact is that he made that scene for a reason and he made it that way for a reason and now he's changing it because people are offended by it.  He doesn't care about his own artistic vision, he just wants to sell as many copies as possible.  So if The Stanley Parable is supposed to be one of those games you could consider art, but the integrity of the art is shattered because of this, then why the fuck would I buy it?

It's BARELY a game and now after this it doesn't even qualify as a piece of art.  So my only remaining impression of The Stanley Parable now is that it's sort of like Portal but with absolutely 0 game play.

I think The Stanley Parable will be getting moved to quite a low position on my wish list, and it'll take a pretty big sale to get me to buy it.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

A Big Donation Push

Begging for donations is not something I like to do.  This blog is about video games mainly and sometimes it's about stuff I do in Japan.  Between all the fun time gaming goodness and ranting about industry bullshit, it's very easy to forget what the goal of this blog was in the first place even if it is written on the side bar.

That's right, just over a year ago I think I started this blog with the goal of raising money for the Alzheimer's Society, donated by people who enjoy the content and want to raise money for a good cause. 

Right now, through the posts, YouTube content and Stream effort, the donations have reached a pretty staggering £726 ($1175) but a quick look at the donation page says that the goal is £1000.  We're so close to that first (yes, first) £1000 goal that I can smell the Alzheimer's being cured from all the way in my apartment in Japan.

So yeah, right now, I'm begging for donations.   On my knees begging you to donate even a little something to the Alzheimer's Society and hopefully we can meet that goal before the end of December!

Even though I'm begging I'm not expect to get donations for nothing.  If you look a little to the right hand side of the blog, then you may see a new text box that reads "Donation Incentives".  Most of these pertain to the stream so if you want to know when I'm streaming I suggest following me on Twitter @Taurinensis

However, all charity money is good charity money, so if you would like to see something streamed or something done for the YouTube channel or even just something you want me to write about feel free to request it!  Just type out your request with your donation, or send me an email with the name you used to donate with with your request.  Generally speaking, a donation of £10 will get me to play or stream most things as long as they aren't god awful sacks of crap.  If I feel your donation is too small for something then it won't be ignored, it'll become a donation incentive and then you can convince all your friends to make up the extra! 

But I'm a nice guy for the most part, I took on a Daikatana run for £10, so yeah.

So please, share this link with any gaming friends you have, or even anyone who just wants to help get rid of Alzheimer's Disease.  Let's hit that goal and move on to bigger, badder and better goals!

Tau and Friends Play Silent Bomber Part 3!

Right, more of the delicious Silent Bomber playthrough, this time it was me on the controller so you won't be seeing any deaths in this episode!  ENJOY!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

TotalBiscuit Vs Wild Games Studio's: A Story of Censorship

Well today there was supposed to be more funtime YouTube content with some Silent Bomber uploads, but then this went and happened so now you're just gonna have to wait until tomorrow.

Anyway, the story is that there is this game company called Wild Games Studio who made this game called Day One Garry's Incident then there's is this internet reviewer dude called TotalBiscuit who put a review up of the game and let's just say he didn't really like it.  So, Wild Games Studio, using the YouTube copyright claim system thing, get his video taken down and a strike put on his account.

Now, I've not played Day One Garry's Incident yet, but it looks like a fucking mess of a game.  I also don't really have much fondness for TotalBiscuit either, he's not terrible but I unfollowed him on Twitter after a few of the things he said following the GTA5 release made my moron alarm go off.  He's not a total moron though, he does put out some pretty good content, he's just enough of a moron for me not to care about him much.

Anyway, the point is that these goings on, no matter how much you love or hate TB or that game are complete bullshit.  What basically happened is that Wild Games Studio decided that they didn't like their game (that I repeat, looks REALLY fucking bad) being slammed by one of the most viewed critics on YouTube and then decided to have that critique of their game taken down because it might affect sales or something probably.

This is fucking unforgivable, if you make a shitty fucking game, then people have the right to know it's a shitty fucking game.  It doesn't make any difference to me because I'll just play fucking everything no matter how shitty or stupid, but there are lots of people who are going to be mad after spending money on something that flat out sucks ass.

The way these people find out if a game sucks or not is by doing some research, going on the various review sites and maybe watching some gameplay on YouTube and it's how people make informed purchases.  This is true for basically everything, not just games.  Except Wild Games Studio can't take the fact that they made a shitty game (probably) and went after the guy slamming the game for what appeared to be good reason.

You can't just go around silencing critique to make money because you know that people finding out just how bad your game is will prevent sales.  It's not TotalBiscuit and his review that will prevent sales of that game, it's the fact that you made a shitty fucking game!  If you just go around silencing bad reviews of the game then you're essentially cheating people out of money and that's just flat out not cool.

You pulled this kind of crap in any other industry all sorts of shit would go down but it seems to be pretty common practise in the games industry for developers and shitty journalists to knock heads and find out how to lie to consumers to wring more money out of them, or find ways to just flat out fuck them over.

Wild Games Studio, I'm only ever going to play your game if I get it for free as a Steam gift or something, I'm not ever supporting your stupid bullshit and I really, deeply hope that you go bankrupt and are forced out of the industry.  There is no place for stupid arseholes that can't take criticism, get out and take your two bit survival game with you, pricks.

Monday, 21 October 2013

YouTube Content Extravaganza

You may have noticed that nothing new has been added to the YouTube channel in quite a long time, well that's all about to change! Here are 5 new videos! Yes! 5! Count 'em!

First of all lets start with some cultural stuff.  A couple of days ago I went to the Nagoya Festival where there was lots of stalls and food on sticks.  Most importantly though, there was a huge parade through town, which I took a couple of videos of.  Due to having a shit battery in my camera I couldn't take the whole thing, but I got a few highlights.  You can also follow me on twitter if you want pictures of it @Taurinensis.

But wait, I hear you exclaim!  What the fuck does the Nagoya Festival have to do with Silent Bomber for Playstation 1?  Well fucking nothing, obviously, but the reason that picture is there is because SURPRISE! NEW UNPLANNED PLAYTHROUGH!  Me and my good buddy take up our futuristic bombing rigs and go crazy in sci-fi action game Silent Bomber! Enjoy!

There you go, 5 new videos, if that doesn't make you happy nothing will.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Micro Payments Are Cruel

Since I'm still preparing to move into my new apartment, I've not really had the chance to sink my teeth into anything proper and since I've been going out a bit doing all sorts of fun Japan stuff, a surprising amount of my time has been soaked up by my iPhone.

Now when you think about mobile or social games with micro transactions you generally imagine a shitty game with very little depth where you can basically pay money to win the game.  For this reason, they are generally not very well liked by people who play real games since paying to win requires no skill and it's a greedy way for a developer to squeeze cash out of people.

Well you're right, to some extent, but just take a moment and think about what's really going on.  These people aren't paying to win because they are lazy, you go and look at the insane numbers of hours that gets wasted on all sorts of facebook and iPhone games it's easy to tell that people aren't paying to win because of a lack of effort.

Just think about who the majority of these games are made for.  They aren't made for you and me, they are made for people who don't game at all and just want a quick fix of entertainment while they have time to kill, or something to play in the background while they upload pictures of the sandwich they had for lunch or whatever bullshit so called "normal" people like to do.

So when these people drop money on these crappy games, they aren't paying to win because they are lazy and just want an advantage, they are paying because they suck and they wouldn't be able to get to that point in the game any other way. 

When you think about it that way it's sort of cruel, that these people who don't really like video games anyway feel the need to drop money on shitty shallow experiences because they somehow became somewhat addicted to clicking farmyard animals......and they suck at even that.  These guys are making carrot on stick games that are JUST hard enough for non gamers to suck at them but not hard enough to make them quit, so instead they just pay a couple of pounds for that thing they can't get.

It's both cruel and genius at the same time, makes me think I should try and develop an iPhone game....

Friday, 18 October 2013

Where Did The Difficulty Go, Mario?

Look at this old motherfucker right here.  Whenever someone mentions video games, Mario is that one character that absolutely 100% of people will be able to recognise.  It doesn't matter if you're the hardest of core, super turbo nerd game enthusiast or the kind of person who doesn't know which way on a controller is up, you know this fucking  guy.

So yesterday, in a fit of absolute boredom I decided to fire up a bit of Super Mario Bros and play it through without using any of the warp zones, because I always use the damn things and I've forgotten what most of the game looks like.

Now I've not played any old school Mario game for a long long time.  Hell, the last Mario game I played a great deal of was Galaxy 2, but my memory of recent Mario games has been that they are all fun, but not exactly challenging.  Basically everything after Sunshine has had the challenge stripped from it in order to appeal to a wider audience, which is fine for a series like this with broad appeal, but Jesus Christ the old ones especially don't fuck around.

The first few stages are an absolute cakewalk, but once you hit world 3 or 4, the stages actually get pretty tricky with precise jumps, fiendish enemy placement and game overs that mean that you have to start over from 1-1 meaning that beating Mario Bros is no easy feat.

Let's not forget Super Mario Bros 2 as well, and no, not fucking Doki Doki Panic, real Mario 2.  Real Mario 2 was so fucking hard that they didn't even bother to release that shit overseas, they just re skinned an easier game and gave that to the west.  There are parts in Mario 3 and World that would make even veteran players groan at it's difficulty and I'm sure there is plenty of other shit in the older games that would make me lose a few continues even now.

The new Mario games are all good and fun and whatnot, but like I said before, the series hasn't seen a real challenge since Sunshine.  I don't blame Nintendo for wanting to get Mario in the hands of as many people as possible, but they should make a game sometime with that old school level of challenge.  I'm not just talking about bits that might have one tricky jump or something, I mean proper, full on, challenge out the arse Lost Levels type of difficulty.

Make it happen Nintendo, gimme some New Super Mario Bros EX Masters Edition or something, I'll even fund it for you.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Phoenix Wright Movie

So last night I was sat around watching TV with the family and we end up being engrossed in this Japanese court room drama called Legal High.  Legal High is an extremely light hearted and somewhat ridiculous drama about lawyers and if you could compare it to anything else it would be Phoenix Wright.  That's when it struck me that last year (I think) Phoenix Wright got it's own movie adaptation so I hunted it down an gave it a watch.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (or Gyakuten Saiban 逆転裁判 as it's known in Japan) is a series of mystery solving video games that are half visual novel and half point and click adventure.  You play as Phoenix Wright, an up and coming defence lawyer who takes on various cases for people who have been wrongly accused of something that's usually murder.  You spend half the game trotting around various locations talking to people and collecting evidence and the other half of the game in the courtroom having a sort of evidence war with the prosecutor.

Now 9 times out of 10, video game movie adaptations are a pile of complete wank, but Phoenix Wright is actually pretty good.  If there is one thing that I can say about this movie, it's that for the most part, it stays faithful to the games.  The story follows the I think the second and final cases from the first game but they do a good job of setting everything up so if you haven't played the games you'll still be able to follow the murder mystery.

The characters are well acted and the costume and makeup work is really really good.  It's not completely perfect with Dick Gumshoe being a little bit too thin and competent for what I'm used to and Maya not quite matching her in game personality 100%, but it's not changed enough to the point to be offensive.  The core character is still there and when it's backed up by costume design that would make even the best cosplayers green with envy it's a lot of fun to watch.

They also do a good job with the camera work trying their best to mimic the shots that you would see from the game.  Granted the actors do move around a bit more than they would in the video games but if it was just 3 people behind desks talking and slamming tables it wouldn't really be all that good for a movie.

Really it's the care that was taken to make this movie resemble the games as close as possible is what makes it so good.  If you're a fan then pretty much everything is here and you'll feel really familiar with all the characters right off the bat.  All the key scenes are there too including the infamous cross examination of a fucking parrot so you there aren't any points where you'll feel frustrated because key points from the games are excluded from the movie.

Finally, the movie does take some liberties with the setting a little bit.  The courtroom has this steampunky projector system that they use to present evidence with.  I see why they did it but it just seems out of place within the setting.  Also there are parts of the movie that seem a bit dark and grim where they shouldn't be such as the visiting room in the prison.  In the movie it's a really dark, dank and horrible place but it's never shown in such a way in the games.  Also the shoehorning in of the police mascot was a little silly but it didn't really ruin anything.

So to round off, Phoenix Wright is quite frankly, the best video game movie that exists right now to my knowledge.  If you're a fan go watch it, you'll get a kick out of it as you see all your favourite parts from the first game acted out.  If you're not a fan, go watch it anyway since you'll still be able to follow it and it's a pretty good murder mystery movie if not a little bit on the silly side.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Mobile Gaming is Weird

A couple of posts ago I said that I got an iPhone 5s and wasn't really all that taken with it.  Well since I had to sign up for a Japanese App Store account, I decided to do some delving into what the Japanese mobile gaming market had to offer.  Thanks to a recommendation from my wife's sister, I ended up playing something called 育てて掃除機 (Or Raising Vacuum Cleaner) and now it's time to take a moment to talk about one of the strangest games I've ever played.

The premise is simple, you have a vacuum cleaner, and when it sucks up rubbish a small meter fills up.  When the meter gets to full the vacuum cleaner changes shape, starting out with a small cat resting on top and then over time taking on much more strange forms.

There is also a mini game that involves taking your cat machine for a walk.  This means you go down a motorway at high speed collecting coins and avoiding cars.  With those coins you can purchase balls of rubbish so that you can speed up the process of cat cleaner evolution.

Usually, when you think about mobile games you assume they are designed to be played at a bus stop or something.  Something you use to kill 10 minutes or so by playing a pointless shitty puzzle game or whatever.  This game however doesn't even qualify as that since all that you are required to do is open the app, touch the screen once, and then you are done for like 10 minutes while the rubbish respawns.

It's a truly strange game that's worth playing at least once if you can read Japanese.  If you can't read Japanese then it's just fucking weird and there wouldn't really be much point.  But I found myself strangely addicted to this fucking thing, opening the app whenever I could do clean my room and watch my cat cleaner evolve into something truly strange.

育てて掃除機, despite being one of the most basic things I've ever seen, is way more engrossing than half the shit on the app store in both regions, so give it a go if you can.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Anna: Extended Edition

I can't even remember how I came round to owning this game and I never played the original Anna, but I finally got round to playing the Extended Edition which was released this year.

The premise for Anna, from what I understand about it, is that you play as a university professor who dreams of a abandoned sawmill in the hills of Italy and as he makes his way through the haunted place while he uncovers the secret of some woman he may or may not have known called Anna.

This game is classic point and click adventure stuff, you move around the environment picking up all sorts of items and knick knacks using them on other bits of the environment to solve puzzles and progress.  On top of that you have to find all sorts of documents, books and letters that give hints for the games various puzzles, some of which run on complete moon logic but if you pay close attention to clues you'll still be able to work it out.

Not all the puzzles are created fair though.  There was one point in particular early on where I had to cut myself over a pool of water, but for this action to actually work you have to be standing in a specific part of the room.  The clues for this puzzle don't give any indication of where you have to stand, just that your blood needs to be in that pool of water.  So of course I assume I'm doing it wrong for about 2 hours before giving up and finding out online that I was actually doing it right but the hit box for the solution is fucking stupid.

I'm only going to mention that puzzle because it's an early puzzle that's easy to solve, but let's just say it's not the only one like that.  There are a few examples of stuff with solutions that aren't to difficult to figure out but actually executing the solution is a pain in the hole because the game wants to be a fussy arsehole.

The game also has this horror game vibe going through it with strange hauntings and and strange sounds that are supposed to freak you out.  These are cool at first but when you realise some of the cool shit has an effect on a sanity meter that will kill you if it runs out, they become more annoying than anything else.  There is one example of something that happens throughout the entire game completely at random and will drain your sanity but if I describe it, it might ruin something.  If you take too long solving puzzles then eventually you're going to have your sanity drained and with very few ways to restore it, eventually you're going to get killed.  It's a pain in the fucking arse and it shouldn't have been made so that it's basically impossible for one to restore the sanity meter.

Overall though, I like Anna: Extended Edition, the point and click adventure is a dying breed and it's nice to get one that reminds me of some of the obscure titles that I used to play during my youth.  Also if like me, you never played the original version of Anna, then the Extended Edition has that shit too so you can play both of them and see what's different and what you missed out on the first time round.

So if you liked Anna, then get Extended.  If you haven't played Anna, then go do it and try to beat it without a guide.  If you're wandering around for 3 hours without getting anywhere then by all means use the internet, but a great deal of the fun is from wandering for a bit, musing on a problem and then solving it under your own steam.  Like I said, these games are an endangered species, so savour them.

Monday, 14 October 2013

10 Minutes of Yaroze! Haunted Maze!

I've had a very busy and very drunk weekend, which is why there hasn't been much content recently, so sorry about that.

To make up for it, have a nice shiny new Net Yaroze video.

Now our usual scheduled ranting can resume

Friday, 11 October 2013

The Next Marathon Has Been Decided

Do you know what Daikatana is? Have you seen this fucking game?

If you don't know what it is, Daikatana is a FPS game that had its development led by John Romero (of Doom fame) and is mostly famous for it's stupid "John Romero's About To Make You His Bitch" advert.

The other thing it's famous for is being a fucking terrible game.

So of course, upon seeing it on Steam, a friend of mine donated money to the charity and then gifted me the fucking thing and demanded a stream.  Well if it's for charity I'm not going to say no now, am I?  So there you have it folks, the next stream marathon has been decided.  Daikatana until I win or kill myself, whichever comes first.

I can't set a day for it just yet because I have to move into a new apartment and set up the internet there, but once it's done it'll be the first thing that I do, so keep an eye out on here for updates regarding the date.  I'll also install it and poke through it a bit to see if I can come up with some donation incentives, so keep an eye out on the twitch page for that shit.

The only thing to do now is for you to kick back, wait, and prepare yourself to see some true suffering.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The Vita: Good System, Needs Some Work

I own both a Vita and a 3DS, so what I'm not here to do is have a stupid one man portable console war.  I will say very briefly though, that I do prefer my vita to my 3DS.  It feels better to use and the games on it (Project Diva F and P4G, for example) I feel like playing way more than anything on my 3DS.

Anyway, if you do a bit of googling around for the Playstation Vita, it's not hard to see that really it's not selling all that well.  It's not doing awfully badly in its own right but it keeps trailing behind basically every other system on the market.

Now Sony have made some good steps getting all these indie developers involved.  The inclusion of The Binding of Isaac and Hotline Miami on the Vita is really good, but if Sony want this thing to do well they need to do more.  I think the biggest problem is that while the system is a nice piece of hardware, there really isn't anything good to get people to buy it.

Sony got kind of lucky with me, since I had a great deal of my shit stolen.  The port of P4G and Muramasa made me really excited because I would be able to play updated versions without having to overspend on original PS2 and Wii copies, which was nice.  But one look around the shops in the EU make it very clear that the Vita isn't getting much love in the games department. 

The situation in Japan isn't much better either though.  The selection is far far greater out here than it is in Sweden or the UK, but the problem is that the current game library for the Vita is mimicking the late PSP library.  What I mean by this is that there is nothing that really stands out, everything is just school girl dating sims or generic looking anime RPGs that only the most hardcore otakus would be remotely interested in.

If Sony just buckled down and put out lets say, 3 absolutely stellar games with good amount of content and quality, sales would skyrocket I imagine.  The Vita is a really nice piece of kit, people just need something to fucking play on it.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The iPhone 5S is a piece of shit but....

A couple of days ago I got an iPhone 5S.  Luckily I'm not paying to use it and I didn't pay to get it thanks to a family plan type thingy provided by the phone company, so at least that's something.

I fucking hate this thing, I hate it so damn much.  I thought the idea behind the iPhone was that it was easy and simple to use and that anyone could do anything on it.  The latter is true, you don't need any kind of technical knowledge to work the thing, but in no way is the iPhone easy and simple.

When I first got the damn thing the shit I had to go through to set it up took WAY longer than it ever should have done.  We now live in an age where it's not enough to set up mail and phone number and just go with it, I have to do all sorts of other stupid bullshit along with it.

One example of this was signing up for fucking Line.  Apparently, everyone on the planet uses Line and if I don't do it then I'm going to lose contact with the world despite having a fucking phone number AND mail address.  So I downloaded Line, which took way longer than it fucking should have done because I had to make an account with the Japanese app store which was a complete pain, but even after I had the app it wasn't just a case of adding friends and chatting...of course not. 

I had to go through this long, stupid process where it sent mails to my number that I had to verify and then it sent MORE mails to my email so that I could verify it again and even once that was done I found the process of adding someone to your line account an arduous and ambiguous process that took way longer than it ever should have done.

So I hate the fucking thing, not for just the above reasons but the list is pretty long so I'll leave it at my application fury for now, but as you can probably tell from the post title it's not all bad.

Mobile gaming for the most part is a complete piece of shit, but recently I've been introduced to a few applications that are actually good games.  Puzzle & Dragons is one example of a mobile game that actually had enough quality to it to get ported to proper systems like the 3DS.  Most mobile games are money grubbing, worthless snore fests but every now and then I come across something worth playing and doesn't require you to pay money to be good at it.

In short, fuck the iPhone but at least the app store has a few good titles to keep me entertained on the train platforms.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Do I just have shit hands?

A long while ago I bought a 3DS off a friend of mine, but until my latest plane journey to Japan I hadn't touched the damn thing.

All I've really played on it is Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia for the DS, but I've had a little experience trying out the whole 3D thing with stuff like Mario and Zelda and to be honest I don't see the fuss.  The system has some good games now, at least, but I think I'll be keeping that 3D slider off as much as I can.

Anyway my biggest complaint with this system is the entire left hand side of the fucking thing.  Maybe it's just me, but I find moving a character around the screen on the 3DS to be really awkward.  The stick just feels strange and I hate using it and the D-Pad is just in this weird position that doesn't feel comfortable to use either. 

Also I can't really fully explain why but the buttons on the right hand side feel a bit crappy too.  In fact that's the best way to sum up the whole thing.  The 3DS just sucks to handle and even when your playing a good game it's just not fun because the hardware is so much shit to use.

Still, maybe the later models don't have this problem, I'm only talking about the original 3DS model here.  Since the things are fucking region locked I'm going to buy myself a shiny new updated 3DS sometime in the future.  Maybe that won't be such a massive piece of shit to handle.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Update Regarding the Stream and Twitter

If you have looked at my Twitch page recently, you may have noticed that the stream has been offline for quite a while.

Really I'm just making this post to assure you, the fans, the Final Fantasy stream isn't dead, it's just on a break.  The reason for this is that the internet in my current apartment isn't good for things like gaming or streaming so it would probably lag to shit.  I might give it a go in the next few days but I can't promise anything until I move into my new apartment which will (hopefully) have sick internet.

Also, if you follow me on twitter you may have noticed that I've been putting up a photo of something in Japan, well that's going to become a daily thing along with the blog post so follow me on Twitter if you want to see something interesting from my Japan travels.


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Ultima 1: The First Age of Darkness

I love Good Old Games, it allows me to pay a small amount of money to play a butt ton of old games hassle free.  One of these old games that I played through quite recently was Ultima 1: The First Age of Darkness.

For those that don't know, Ultima is a really REALLY old series of RPGs that ran from 1981 until 1999 and is technically still going with Ultima Online although the popularity of that once gigantically popular MMORPG has died down quite a bit since its inception.

Anyway, Ultima 1 was where it all started on the Apple II, coded in basic by a dude called Richard Garriott who also likes to go by the name of "Lord British".  The game follows the adventures of a nameless player character who must travel across the lands of Sosaria and figure out a way to kill Mondain, some evil dude causing all sorts of trouble.

The game features a large over world with lots of randomly generated dungeons that contain all sorts of funny looking monsters made up of nothing more than straight lines.  As you go around you'll get quests from the various kings of the lands to locate a landmark or slay a monster or something and when you clear the quest you get stats or a gem.

What's funny about Ultima 1 is that despite it being a sword and sorcery game by the end of the game you are geared out with a blaster rifle and power armour like something out of Star Wars.  Also the last major quest of the game involves going into space in a shuttle bought from the town market and shooting down a bunch of tie fighters to become a space ace.

So yeah, Ultima 1 is a little different to your every day fantasy PC RPG, but it's those little strange things about it that make it so interesting.  It's not a long game so you can blast through it in an afternoon but I guarantee that the first time you fire it up you may have a bit of trouble figuring out what the fuck your supposed to do or where anything is.

Still, if you're looking to get a bit of your game history then Ultima 1 is one of the big grandaddies of RPGs that is worth experiencing at least once.  Also if you buy it off Good Old Games then you get Ultima 2 and 3 with it too!  Then if you find you really like this Ultima stuff, you can play U4 for absolutely free off the same website. 

So put down all that HD stuff for an afternoon and give Ultima 1 a go.  Despite its age it's a surprisingly fun game with a lot of charm that will keep you entertained just long enough for you to beat it.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Return to the Game Centre! Code of Joker

Well it's been a long time, but today I finally made a return to one of the many game centres of Japan.  Pretty much as soon as I went through the door, I was greeted with all sorts of new games just waiting to be played, but the one that caught my attention today was digital trading card game Code of Joker.

If you have seen my prior posts about the game Mahjong 5, then you may notice that the machine is basically identical to that, however the game is obviously anything but Mahjong.  Code of Joker is a trading card game but unlike other game centre trading card games, you don't actually have to buy any cards, everything is done in game and stored on an Aime stat card.

Due to the fact I was with a group of friends, I didn't really get to play all that much but I did the tutorial and one normal game against the CPU, so I got a good feel of how it works.  I guess the easiest way to describe the game play would be like a strange hybrid of Magic The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh.

Cards in Code of Joker come in 4 types that include Units, Combination Monsters, Trigger Cards and Intercept cards.  Units are your basic monsters that you can play any time and combination monsters are upgrades for your basic units to make them even more powerful.  Trigger and Intercept cards are things that you play like Yu-Gi-Oh trap cards but the difference being trigger cards are activated when you play monsters or call an attack automatically, while intercept cards can be activated any time you want.

While I haven't tried them yet, there are lots of other modes that include an online mode that will hook you up with another player anywhere in Japan.  In the game centre that I was in there was also a "live" version of the cabinet, which I can only assume streams the game somewhere for people to watch but I'm not sure exactly.

The only disadvantage to this game is that if you were only staying in Japan for a short time then it's basically not worth playing.  Also, with it being a card game, knowledge of Japanese language, especially Kanji, is required in order to enjoy the game, so if you were a tourist hoping to try out Code of Joker then unfortunately your out of luck.

If you do know Japanese then there is a really good trading card game in here, so I would suggest checking it out.  I'll be covering Code of Joker as well as many other arcade games in the near future, so stay tuned!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Tau Plays Dinner Date

Never have I been so mad at getting a present.  This "game" sucks....just watch...

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Best Karaoke Game is Karaoke

So late last night I got to Japan and made my way to the place I'm staying.  Of course, nothing goes the way its supposed to and my suitcase got stuck in Hong Kong airport so here I am, sat in a Japanese apartment with nothing more than my portable systems, my computer and the clothes on my back.

So of course, the most logical thing I could do to kill time while I wait for all my things to arrive was go and kill time in the local karaoke place.  Now there are lots of Karaoke games on the market, stuff like Singstar and whatnot but now that the karaoke machines in Japan have added a game mode type thing, the definitive karaoke game is to just to go to karaoke itself.

So it works exactly like Singstar or Rock Band or any other game that has had a singing thing built into it.  A bar sweeps across the screen and passes little blocks and as you sing the blocks light up if you do it wrong, or they don't light up and another bar appears to tell you how wrong you are.

At the end of the song the machine gives you points out of 100 and gives you a load of stats about how good are you are at things like vibrato and other singing stuff.

On top of all that, it ranks you across everyone else in the country so you can compare your singing skills with everyone else in Japan, which is fun if your the competitive type.

The best part is that there isn't any of this buying of song pack crap.  You just pay for the booth which is cheap as hell in this country and you can sing for ages and probably get free drinks while you do it.  Of course, if you don't want your singing to be graded, you can just turn off the feature and enjoying singing with your crap voice.

So put down all that singstar crap, hop on a plane to Japan and get the best karaoke experience imaginable.