Thursday, 29 May 2014
Starting from Saturday 31st, I'll be streaming every day for a MINIMUM of 2 hours each day, depending on my schedule I'll try to do more. I'll be doing a few speed runs here and there but the real reason I decided to dedicate a week to streaming is so I can finally crack on with those goddamn Final Fantasy playthroughs I started a long time ago. I've bee stuck on Final Fantasy 5 for far FAR too long so it's time to polish that off and start getting into the really good ones.
Finally, depending on how many charity donations are given throughout the week, I might make a prize available. No promises but keep that in mind when you're watching!
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
The thing that most typing tutors have in common is that they are really boring. They feel like your are taking some kind of fucking course and generally speaking it doesn't make you feel motivated and therefore you don't give a shit about your typing skills. But then came along this game and changed EVERYTHING you thought you knew about typing tutor software.
In case anyone doesn't know what The House of the Dead is, allow me to take a moment to explain.
The Typing of the Dead is exactly the same game as House of the Dead 2, but instead of a light gun you use your keyboard to murder zombies. Zombies pop up on the screen with a word on their chest and you have to type it before they gnaw your face off. Typing quickly is key to getting high scores and typing accurately is key to staying alive and trust me, this game doesn't fuck around.
The first couple of stages are extremely easy but after that they throw all sorts of crap at you like stupidly long sentences or words that you may be unfamiliar with the spelling of and shit like that. However it's the games bosses where it really starts to shine. Each boss has it's own gimmick so not only do you have to type quickly and accurately, but you have to overcome a challenge while you do it.
For example, the boss on stage 2 opens and closes it's chest and while it's chest is closed the word is greyed out and you can't type. If you fail to complete the sentence in 3 short bursts then he shoves his spear right into your slow face. Stage 3 makes this really difficult by making you answer a quiz while the words fly crazily about the screen. The boss is a hydra looking thing and each head represents one question answer, so with this guy you can type the word perfectly but getting the question wrong will still result in taking a hit.
If you're bad at typing and you don't think you can handle this high octane typing action then fear not because there is a drill mode that will teach you the correct typing method and has many drills for you to practice so that one day you make tackle the horde of zombies in the story mode.
The Typing of the Dead is kind of old and kind of hard to find and it has a few things that are annoying about it. For example you can't quit the fucking game, I have to alt tab and close it via the task manager every goddamn time. But if you don't want to deal with all that archaic bullshit then just pop over to steam and get The Typing of the Dead: Overkill off the store.
That's right, this typing tutor is so fucking good it got a goddamn SEQUEL. Get on that shit.
Monday, 26 May 2014
I was having some trouble with the opening cut scene but I think the story so far is a little weak. From what I can tell you're just some guy who goes to some place for some reason and you have to go visit some king or something. I'm sure as I get into the meat of the plot it'll end up being a lot better than that but I feel like I lack a sense of direction right now. Still, with a big open ended adventure like this that kind of works in the games favor.
The game play basically remains unchained from Dark Souls but they added a few mechanics from Demon's Souls back in the mixer which made me really happy. For example, dying makes you lose a little part of your maximum HP so now death feels like it has some kind of consequence while in the Dark Souls it was a mere annoyance for making a mistake.
I remember being getting quite worried when a developer or something said that they were going to make it more accessible, and I can see what they mean by that but it doesn't ruin the game or anything. They've opened the gates a bit wider for the new players without pissing off the core fans which is something I have to applaud them for.
Also I seem to recall everyone having a big old moan about the graphics but I don't really see why. Maybe I'm just not all that fussy about things like floor textures but to me the game looks rather good. The environments are interesting, the monsters are cool and it has that same Souls atmosphere that I've come to know and love.
It's not every day that I'm THIS happy with a big popular title like this, so if anyone was on the fence about Dark Souls 2 I suggest they get off it and join the fun.
Thursday, 22 May 2014
Just in case younger people stumble on this page and have no idea what the fuck that thing is in the picture, let me explain. Demo discs were these things that would come for free on the front of a magazine. In the case of a lot of people I knew, they would buy the magazine FOR the demo disc. We didn't really give two fucks what some prick in "Official Playstation Magazine" had to say about Metal Gear Solid or whatever, we just wanted to try the damn game.
I remember every month I'd get a copy of some kind of gaming magazine from Tesco or whatever, run home, throw the magazine aside and pop in that disc. On these discs there would usually be a few playable demos for big games on the horizon and video trailers for other ones.
But the best demo disks were for PS1 and the Sega Saturn. The PS1 discs were fairly standard demo-wise, but they came with this thing called Net Yaroze, which is something I have talked about previously on this blog. There's even a playlist of a few Net Yaroze games that I've showcased.
I have been meaning to do more, just no time and stuff
Net Yaroze games were FULL FUCKING GAMES that came on these disks and I would spend hours and hours playing these things. Some of them were pretty good and most of them were kind of shitty but at the time getting free games was a big deal and I'd play it anyway.
Saturn Demo Discs were also really good because I seem to remember them having an absolutely crazy amount of content on them for a demo. I remember playing Saturn demos for hours just because they seemed to go on for so damn long. The best demo disc I ever encountered was for the Saturn and it had only one game on it.
Now demos are all digital and I can't be fucked with them and most of the demos that I have been arsed enough to try out just suck ass. Bring back the demo disc and maybe some half decent gaming journalism with it.
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
You know what I mean, you're just spacing out one day and then you remember some awesome game that you played years ago. You remember the general premise, art style, music or something like that and those memories make you really want to play it again BUT you can't remember the games fucking title.
You scour the net for hours and hours trying to find out what the hell the game was, asking on forums only to be met with tons of people giving suggestions that end up being way off. At this point most people just give up but for the people who do find that game it can go one of two ways.
The first is that they fire up the game and it's exactly how they remembered it. You play it for a while and come away with a deep sense of satisfaction from the little nostalgia trip you just took. The other way, which is way more common, is that you play the game and it turns out to be a total piece of fucking shit and you have no idea why you wasted so much time wracking your brains about it in the first place.
This is what happened for me with Mohawk and Headphone Jack, a piece of shit platformer for the SNES that I bought when I was quite young. I remember the night I got it quite vividly too. I went to to game store and got a pre owned version of Donkey Kong Country but when I took it home and popped it in, the fucking thing didn't work. So I took it back and got it exchanged for Mohawk and Headphone Jack and at the time I thought it was fun. Years late I played it again and I had no idea why I enjoyed it so damn much as a kid. Maybe I was just happy to have a new game, but playing it now it's just a frustrating load of crap.
No doubt it'll happen again sometime but let's hope that when it does, it's a good fucking game.
Monday, 19 May 2014
Word on the grapevine right now is that Google are looking to buy Twitch for something like a billion dollars. Now I'm sure there's lots of discussion about how this could be a good thing or a bad thing or whatever, but none of that matters really because I doubt there are many people that actually want this deal to happen.
Ever since Google took over YouTube and has forced all it's fucking stupid Google+ shit down our throats that literally NOBODY fucking wants it's become a massive pain in the ass to use. Nothing is ever simple now and every "update" just makes things fucking worse. Twitch on the other hand is very simple. You click a game, you click a channel and BOOM you're watching a stream. My fear is that if Google get it's grubby little mitts on a service like Twitch then it's going to turn into a stressful mess of a shitty website.
Let's not mention how much of a pain in the butt YouTube is being with the whole copyright shit since Google decided to implement this automated flagging thing or whatever the fuck. It's not so pertinent to me because I don't make money off my stream but I imagine there are going to be quite a few streamers getting fucked in the ass if this all turns out to be true.
From a user point of view, nothing good could come from this and I really hope it's all a great big hoax or misunderstanding or whatever. Only time will tell.
Saturday, 17 May 2014
Motte Island is a strange little game available on Steam for a mere £4 that was developed by Gamebell studio. It's a game I knew absolutely nothing about but for that cheap price tag I felt it was a least worth a try.
Motte Island is a top-down horror adventure game about a guy called Maxi trying to save his sister from a group of strange people who want her dead for some reason. However, your rescue attempt goes wrong and the inhabitants of the island are transformed into these strange insect-like creatures and it is then up to you to find a way to save your sister and get the hell off the island.
Gameplay comes from a top down perspective so if you image Hotline Miami and Silent Hill had a baby then you'd have a good idea of how this game plays. It's extremely simple controls means that there isn't much to talk about. Everything functions as it should and you spend the whole game roaming the island looking for clues and fighting monsters.
The game felt a little weak in the sound design and with a style like this it really had to do well here to be successful as a horror game. That's not to say it's completely terrible, they did a fairly competent job but it fails to create any of kind scary atmosphere and as a result the whole "horror" part of this "horror adventure" falls a bit flat.
My biggest problem with this game though is that it looks and plays like a fucking flash game lifted straight from Newgrounds back in the early 2000s or whenever it was. That's not to say the game is bad, because it's not, but after dropping money on a title I want something with a little more production value than a flash game.
It's also quite clear to see that the game was designed by non English speakers and whoever it was who wrote the script needs to work on his/her English a little bit. It doesn't ruin anything and it's not hilariously bad or anything like that but in certain places it's quite noticeable.
Overall though, I liked Motte Island, it's a short and satisfying little adventure that is fun to play despite it's flash-esque feel. It also has some pretty cool monster design and sneaking up on a nightmare creature so you can replace it's brains with your axe blade is pretty fun. I'm glad I spent £4 on it because I feel these guys have their heart in the right place and with some continued support they could probably move on to make something pretty good. However, it would be understandable if that seems a bit much for this kind of game so if you're on that side of the fence, wait for a Steam sale and grab it for 1 or 2 pounds.
Thursday, 15 May 2014
Back in my day, a "gamer" was just another way of saying an enthusiast. It was a term used to describe a person who was pretty good at games and was knowledgeable about them to boot and that's all it meant. As long as you took some kind of pride in this thing that you called a hobby, enjoyed it, learned about it and got good, you were a gamer.
But that has all changed now and hearing the word "gamer" makes me imagine the post pathetic pieces of shit that make it embarrassing to play games.
You know the kind of people I mean, like the ones pictured above. They don't necessarily have to be fat and unshaven, they can look like perfectly normal people, it's the attitude that pisses me off. These are the kind of people who play usually one or two titles, usually Call of Duty or League of Legends mainly, and constantly go on about "gamer cred" or the importance of fucking achievement points or whatever stupid bullshit.
The kind of person that you know people like Geoff Keighley (The Doritopope) are pandering too when you see that kind of thing. The kind of people that lap up all this overpriced DLC and accept bad business practices because "you aren't a gamer if you don't", right? The kind of person you can imagine sitting in a big fat couch with an Xbox headset on screaming at his team mates about how shit they are in any given FPS game du jour.
So yeah, fuck the word gamer. Just because you play Call of Duty and farm easy games for achievement points doesn't make you one. Imagine if just because I could throw a piece of chicken into the oven and let it bake for 40 minutes, that qualifies me to be a chef. That would be ridiculous and so are these people.
Tuesday, 13 May 2014
I don't care if you love or hate DotA2 or the genre in general, The International is one of the best events in the whole competitive gaming scene just because of all the work that goes into the experience for both players and the spectators.
The Compendium is this cheap digital book that you can buy that outlines all the details of the upcoming tournament and the teams that are playing. However it does so much more for the consumer that it's hard to believe that this is a thing being pushed in an industry full of companies trying to do nothing but nickle and dime you at every turn.
The book itself has a bunch of interactive features such as choosing your favourite teams or making predictions for the outcomes of the tournament and upon making those predictions you are given a multitude of rewards.
The more that you take part in the event and actually play DotA during the event, the more you are rewarded with all sorts of fancy shit. What's even better is that not everything has been implemented yet, so as the event draws closer the features will expand even further for no additional cost, thus giving you more value for money out of your digital e-sports almanac.
The reason I say I don't care if you like DotA2 or not is because this is the kind of thing that ALL companies should do for any game that they want to push as a competitive title. Love or hate Valve, the one thing you can't fault them on right here is fostering a sense of community within DotA2. People are discussing the game and it's players and are going to be making decisions in the compendium based on these discussions and it's that kind of shit that brings people together and just adds to the enjoyment.
Valve is by no means a perfect company, they do a lot of bullshit and depending on where you stand there's a lot about them to dislike, but in the case of the Compendium they really are leading the way into what E-Sports should be.
Monday, 12 May 2014
A long long LOOONG time ago when this blog was still nice and young, I made a post about how all my shit had been stolen by a mailing company during my move from England to Sweden. Ever since then, and since moving to Japan, I've been trying to get my hands on a PS2 so I can start putting my collection back together.
However, finding a PS2 in Nagoya was the hardest shit in the universe.
Near my house, there is a place called Book Off. Book Off is a used manga store but because my branch happens to be slap bang in the middle of a big city, it does basically everything. Books, games, clothes, you name it, Book Off probably has it. What they didn't have in stock for some reason was PS2s. They have plenty of 3s, a few 4s and a bunch of Vita's and PSPs but no PS2s, which was a real pain in the ass because it's usually Book Off that give the best deals.
Now, on the other side of my house there is a street filled with retro stuff. These retro stores are for collectors and the owners go out of their way to make sure everything is in as close to perfect condition as humanly possible. The one store that I usually go to was selling PS2 Slims for about 20,000 yen which is equal to about £116!
For that same goddamn price I can buy a Wii fucking U and THAT'S a current gen system.
But that isn't the only retro store that sells systems on that street, but the other one is run by a total ass clown who ramps up the prices of his shit so high that it's never EVER worth it to buy hardware from this guys store.
He had an absolute crap ton of PS2s but here is what he wanted for them
7000 for the system
1500 for the video cables
1500 for the AC cables
2100 for a controller (x2 because I need to be able to accommodate people)
and 500 for a memory card
That's 12,600 Yen, which is less than the asking price for a slim but considering that this is the price for a big fat old model PS2 it's still a total fucking ripoff. So when it comes to buying systems these specialist stores can suck my ass.
But then I waltz into Book Off yesterday and they are selling SLIMS for 6000. That's still a little higher than the prices that I've heard about in some other stores where a few of my friends live, but for Nagoya it's a fucking bargain.
Moral of the story, if you live in Japan and want a PS2, don't come to Nagoya. Japan may be one of the best places to be for a retro collector (even though PS2 isn't really retro yet) but good lord is it total bullshit sometimes.
Friday, 9 May 2014
You may have noticed that I've not made any posts for the last couple of days. It's not because I've been busy with work or social stuff or because I don't have anything to talk about or anything like that. It's because I got this new computer and it's spent all this time being a complete fucking asshole.
I just wanted to unbox it, plug it in and fucking play same damn games but no, of course it's not that fucking easy. Everything (with the exception of DotA2) ran like total and complete garbage and it only got worse if I tried to stream. This didn't make any sense to me because the damn thing is faster than my last one AND has a better graphics card in it so I was totally stumped.
Then, with a little help from a friend of mine, we managed to figure out what the fuck was going on. This fucking machine has 2 graphics cards in it or something. One is the Intel HD integrated card and the other is my NVidea thing. The idea is that the computer will automatically decide when to use the HD crap and when to use the NVidea card.
This explains why I was able to run DotA2 no problem and have it look all nice and shiny. Except when it came to running Hotline Miami or They Bleed Pixels it was using the fucking integrated shit and not switching over to the NVidea, or at least I think that's what was going on. The result was that the games ran like total shit and streaming would only make the problem worse. However after fucking about with some options I've managed to make everything use the NVidea stuff so now it all runs nice and fast.
.....Or at least I think that is what was going on. I like to think I'm OK with computers but I'm absolutely no expert. Long story short is that I fixed my shit, I'll be able to start writing/recording/streaming a lot more often now and everything should be grand.
Wednesday, 7 May 2014
What I'm basically trying to say in a really long winded way is that I have bought a lot of used games over the years. A lot of those used games in the last couple have been from Japanese stores that sell retro stuff like NES and Super NES games. Since coming here and dealing with the used game market in Japan, it's quite clear that Japanese people (generally speaking) take WAYYYY better care of their shit than they do in the UK.
I bought so much shit in the UK that didn't work that I almost developed a fucking phobia of buying games used from GAME or CEX, the condition of some of those discs was fucking atrocious. I still remember one time during my teenage years I bought a used copy of Shadow of Memories on PS2
Needless to say I cleaned the shit out of that disc but even when I took the jam off it, it still didn't function. What makes this story even worse is that I swear to God I know the guy who traded it in because he is the only guy on earth that has the capacity to smear a game in jam and not give a fuck about it when he goes to trade it in.
There have been other examples of this shit too, like when I bought a copy of Kingdom Hearts new and GAME tried to fob me off with a used copy. When I took it home the game would fucking freeze when leaving the first island so I had to take that shit back and get it traded for an actual new copy like I fucking paid for.
Then there was that one time I bought a old PC game from a Gamestation in Manchester called Pool of Radiance. I got home and opened the box and there was a different fucking game in there called P.O.D
Let's contrast this with Japan
Hell, just take another look at my new retro haul video
On top of that, in my local retro store I have seen the staff taking the old cartridges off the shelf so that they can clean them and put them in new plastic wrapping. When I say clean, I don't just mean they give the underside a blow and then re-wrap them, I mean they properly get the fuck in there and give them a good clean and test before putting them back on the shelf.
I mean Japan isn't perfect, they do tend to overprice on a lot of shit, especially in these specialist retro stores. Like the other day I found Silent Hill for 1500 yen, but a few months prior my friend had found another copy in a different store for 500 yen. You really have to be careful not to get totally ripped off when buying retro games in Japan.
Still though, Japan is way better than England when it comes to dealing with and purchasing used games. Fucking sort your shit out England
Sunday, 4 May 2014
Even if there are people that go on about it being DRM or whatever, there are enough positives about Steam to keep me coming back. But if you are the kind of person who enjoys travelling or if you happen to move country then Steam is going to make your life very hard sometimes.
Let me first remind you about my life situation a little bit. I am a British man, whose family moved to Sweden but is currently living in Japan. However before we get into why that complicated mess of countries is causing problems, let me tell you about an issue I had in 2011.
In 2011 I was forced to live in Paris for 3 months, it was the worst time of my life and it's a period I'd rather forget (mostly). During that time, my Steam store flipped into Euros to suit my location, which made sense except when I would try to buy things with my card it didn't work. I had to put in a ticket and the issue was resolved rather swiftly but me moving to Paris should not have caused the problems it did.
But since 2011 Steam has evolved quite a bit and the thing that is now the bane of my existence is the Steam wallet. I like to buy things with my Steam wallet because it's something I can essentially fill up for free. I enjoy playing DotA2 and I'm not interested in cosmetics, so when I get a rare item I can throw it up on the store and get some spare change for a discount on my next purchase. Great right?
Well no, because let's have a think about what I said before. I'm a British man and my Steam account was first created there, so my Steam wallet funds are in Great British Pounds. However, my family moved to Sweden, so that means my store likes to be in Euros to reflect the country where I reside.
This means that I'm locked out of my Steam wallet because steam wallet funds do NOT change to suit your location, they just stay in whatever currency you made the account with or whatever. This is really annoying and stupid because me moving to different countries should NOT make my life this hard. Not to mention that because I live in Japan the store sometimes likes to just randomly change to dollars and that's just as much of a pain.
So if you are the kind of person who enjoys travelling or if you happen to go abroad for whatever reason, expect Steam to give you some hassle. What a load of shit.
Saturday, 3 May 2014
Rayman Origins is a game I bought a long long time ago on my Vita but because of Project Diva F and other games in my backlog, I only got around to playing it recently. However I'm glad I did eventually decide to pop it in because Rayman Origins is one of the best platformers that I've ever played.
The game is extremely thin on story but given the genre and the series that it's part of then it can be forgiven. Basically, Rayman and his buddies are sleeping and their constant snoring pisses off a bunch of twats that live underground. These twats start causing trouble and it's up to you to put them back in their place.
The gameplay in Rayman Origins is fucking amazing. It's fast, fluid, responsive and navigating your way through the stages is just satisfying. If you get killed it doesn't feel like the game was being bullshit, it's because YOU fucked up and the only way to unfuck yourself is to get good. The levels also contains a little bit of exploration as you hunt for Lums (little fairy things) and secret cages.
There is a ton of content in this game too so you can get a hell of a lot of play time out of it. Every level has a bunch of Electoons that need to be rescued, kind of like Rayman 1. On each stage there is 1 set of electoons at the end of the stage and 2 hidden in the level. Upon finishing the stage the game counts the Lums you found and there are 2 more available that way. On top of that, there's an extra electoon for speed running the stage within a time limit. This sounds like it would be bullshit because it means you have to play through every stage twice but it's not because the way you approach a stage normally and the way you approach it to do it fast are totally different.
This isn't true for every level in the game as there are some stages that mix up the formula a bit, but generally speaking that's how it works.
Then on top of all that, there are special stages where you find little red gems from chests. Collecting all 10 of these gems unlocks a hidden world that is pretty fucking challenging and sort of acts like a final exam for all that skill you built up over the course of the game.
But challenge is the major problem I have with Rayman Origins, it's too fuckin' easy. I blasted through all the stages and got all the Electoons first try with very little resistance. The game grows some balls in the final and secret levels but the challenge comes in way too late and there isn't enough of it to satisfy masochists like myself. Still though, the games easiness doesn't really affect it too badly because generally speaking the thing is just outright fun to play.
Finally there is multiplayer, but I didn't do it even once so I can't comment.
So yeah, go play it if you haven't already, it's awesome.
Thursday, 1 May 2014
Ubisoft, in my opinion, are just as bad as someone like EA except because their games aren't as obnoxious and crap they get off a bit easier. For all the shittiness that comes out of these guys at least they have some degree of respect for some of their stuff. Rayman Origins is a great example of how there is still a few gems left inside this pile of shit, but I wouldn't have titled the post the way I did if I was here to give them praise.
So last night I'm watching some YouTube videos when I come across this shit.
I thought the idea of a season pass was so that after the games launch you didn't have to deal with buying and downloading all the DLC, it would just be automatically added to your game as it was released. But no, in the case of Watch Dogs the season pass is "hey, look at all the shit we cut from our final product so we can nickle and dime you a bit more"
But Watch Dogs season pass bullshit isn't the only thing that's come to my attention. Look at this shit.
Let's not forget that Child of Light is apparently forcing people to log into UPlay, and UPlay is a collossal piece of shit that shouldn't be forced on anybody. Oh but of course there is no mention of this on the Steam, you can only get this information if you scroll down and look at some of the negative comments regarding the game of angry consumers who can't access the fucking thing they PAID MONEY FOR because UPlay is fucking playing up.
I want to like Ubisoft, I really do, they are just about the only big name developer/publisher that isn't afraid to put out a new IP like Child of Light but this constant money grubbing just pisses me off. Fucking stop that shit!