Saturday, 28 February 2015

Finally Tried The Oculus

So today I was walking around town doing some retro game shopping (video incoming) when I discovered a building that was running some Oculus Rift demos for people to just line up and try out.  At the time me and my group were fucking starving but of course we put that aside to test out some VR goodness.

For those that don't know, the Oculus Rift is a VR headset type thing and it's being used to do all sorts of cool gaming shit with.  Think the Virtual Boy but with some really good displays instead of just some red and black faux 3D bullshit going on.  It also doesn't give you nasty headaches after a short time of use or at least not to my knowledge.

The demo that I was able to try today wasn't a game as such more like a little first person movie of a roller coaster.  The roller coaster wasn't just any kind of roller coaster though, it was impossibly high and did all sorts of weird twists and turns that would kill you if put into a real coaster. 

Before I continue I would just like to say that I have a fear of heights and therefore I dislike roller coasters greatly.  When I was lining up to try the thing I could feel myself getting nervous despite that fact that I knew it was just a wooden chair in a dark room.  Just to give you a good idea of how bad I am, last time I went to Universal Studios Japan I freaked my shit on the Snoopy themed roller coaster designed for children, it's not good.

Anyway, I put the Rift on feeling only slightly apprehensive and I was met with a view of the coaster making it's climb.  I could turn my head and view the surroundings which was really cool and as it got to the top I got that same feeling in my chest that I get when I ride the real thing.  I found myself grabbing the chair pretty tightly despite the fact that I knew it wasn't real.  Once it started to fall the feeling subsided and it was a good bit of fun but I thought the fact that it was able to get that kind of response out of me pretty amazing.  At the end of the ride the coaster flies off a slope where the guy showcasing the demo then runs behind you and rocks your chair back to simulate the feeling.  I freaked out a little there more because I felt like I was going to fall off rather than the feeling caused by the rift.

Still though, if this is VR in it's early stages then things are going to get really good when the thing is released to the public.  Playing a horror game or a First Person Shooter in this thing will be mind blowingly fun and I can't wait to try.  If VR really is the future then sign me up!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

New Final Fantasy Incentives!

OK! I've been making some good progress on FF6 so it's about time to add some new Final Fantasy themed donation incentives to the blog!

The first isn't entirely new but it's pretty recent and that's a 24 hour session of Final Fantasy 7.  This will be available until a week after I finish Final Fantasy 6 so if you want to see that get your donations in ASAP.  I promise that this time I won't be doing any drinking (unless it's an energy drink) during the Stream so we don't have to worry about me getting drunk and falling asleep again like I did with Euro Truck.

The second is for me to go one entire disc of Final Fantasy 8 and only being allowed to say nice things about it.  I'm sorry FF8 fans, but I fucking hate that game and I could spend a long LOOONG time ragging on it.  However, someone suggested to me that I should offer this as an incentive because 1.  Actual fans of the game might get a kick out of hearing me sing it's praises and 2. It would hurt my soul.  The people who suggest incentives to me are rather sadistic.

The third incentive is a bit hefty at a total of £500 raised to get it but I think it's easily worth that price after doing some research.  I'm referring to a no junction run of Final Fantasy 8 which is a particularly difficult type of challenge for that game.  In case you don't know what I mean, in FF8 you can increase your stats by junctioning spells to them.  Considering the game has monsters that scale in level with you Junctioning is pretty important.  No Junction is exactly what it says on the tin, I'm not allowed to do that at all.  After reading a quick guide on gamefaqs to see if it was even possible, it seems that the game is stupidly hard and the final boss is ALMOST impossible.  If you ever needed an excuse to prolong my suffering, then donate for that.

The final incentive moves away from FF8 and goes into FF10 territory with No Yojimbo.  I promised when this started that I would go after secret bosses and such when playing these games.  In FF10 this includes a number of very challenging fights known as the Dark Aeons and when you kill them you have to content with the games toughest enemy, Penance.  Yojimbo is one of the summon creatures in FF10 but has a weird gimmick where the attack he uses is based on how much you pay him.  One of his attacks, called Zanmato, instantly kills any enemy in the game including Dark Aeons and Penance.  A cheap incentive of £100 in order to disallow me from being a cheap bitch.

If you wish to donate for these or any of the other incentives found on the right hand side of the page, please go do it at this link

Just so you know, none of the money donated comes anywhere near me and it goes directly to the charity.  BT also don't take any commission on donations so if you donate £10 then £10 will go to the Alzheimer's Society.

Thanks to everyone who have donated so far for supporting me, this website and the Alzheimer's Society, let's keep going!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Why Did Horror Get So Loud?

The Evil Within
Any Resident Evil after 4
Silent Hill Downpour
Alone in the Dark (new one)
Dying Light (maybe)

What do these games and many others have in common?  Well of course, they are all horror games but they are also all very loud, frenetic and not very scary.  The game that inspired this post in particular was The Evil Within and my experience with Dying Light is a little limited but the point still stands.

So think way back to the days of Resident Evil and Silent Hill.  These were the big motherfuckers that made survival horror popular.  There were similar games such as Clock Tower and Alone in the Dark that did the whole horror thing too but I didn't know too many people who were even aware of those games back in the day.

What all these games had in common was that in order to put their horror forward they would try to build atmosphere.  A lot of this was achieved in the audio design, especially for Silent Hill and it was effective.  There are a lot of moments in a game like Resident Evil where the soundtrack is completely cut and all you have is a quiet room, some distant shuffling and an occasional moan.  That shit was effective for building tension as to what was round the next corner.  When shit got real the music would pick up and help generate that sense of panicked fear rather than the more subtle tense fear to be found in other parts of the game.

But it seems that the genre has lost that sense of subtlety and it suffers as a result.  I'm not saying that something like Resident Evil 4 is bad but it's not scary anymore.  When I play games like Silent Hill, old Resident Evil and Project Zero, there is still a little bit of uneasiness that creeps in and that adds to the enjoyment.

Silent Hill Downpour is probably one of the best examples of this.  Old Silent Hill builds up a shit ton of creepy atmosphere then hits you with the panicky stuff in the world shift.  However even when in the nightmare you'll find a room or a section where the panic lets up for a while but the horror still lasts because you know what's behind that door that you need to go through for your next key item.  Silent Hill 2 was an exception to this because the whole game is just drenched in that heavy, oppressive atmosphere that actually makes it quite uncomfortable to play.  It speaks volumes about the developers talent that they can make a game like that but still have it be enjoyable to the point where people want to keep on going.

Silent Hill Downpour on the other hand is all in your face all the time.  It tries to build the atmosphere with it's big empty streets but for the most part, that is just what they are and are therefore uninteresting or scary.  When the world shifts into the nightmare, the whole thing is over designed, too well lit and in certain sections looks more like something out of Alice: Madness Returns than a Silent Hill game.  It's the same for The Evil Within.  The game never lets up and after a while it becomes tiresome.

Imagine if you came home one day and one of your friends jumps out from around the corner in a dark room in a big scary mask and screams at you.  Of course you're going to jump and be a little frightened right?  But then imagine that instead of stopping he just keeps screaming and rolling around on the floor after you have turned on the lights, it would just be ridiculous.

That about sums up new horror games for me.  A cheap prank that goes on way too long and gets very old very fast

Monday, 23 February 2015

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Persona 4 Golden

Persona 4 Golden is easily one of the best games on the Vita and everyone should play it.

I don't really have many complaints about this game so this post is going to be mostly gush.  I have a couple of bad things to say but I fucking love this game and nearly everything about it.

Persona 4 Golden follows the adventures of a player named high school student as he moves to the small rural town of Inaba.  Upon his arrival, a strange string of murders starts to occur where bodies end up in telephone poles on foggy days.  From there, rumours of the "midnight channel" start to spread which is a TV show that you can only see at midnight on a rainy night when you stare into a switched off TV.  The characters have to unravel the mystery of the midnight channel and the world on the other side of the TV that they can enter thanks to the power of their "persona".  It is up to you and your team of buddies to stop the murders and catch the mastermind before it's too late.

There's more to it than that obviously but I'm trying to sum it up in one short paragraph and that's kind of hard to do.

Anyway, the story actually isn't all that great but it's told in an engaging way that keeps you interested anyway.  The game is also filled with a bunch of side stories known as "Social Links" where the struggles of the games varied cast are played out and you get to play your part in helping them overcome their problems.

It's the game play in Persona 4 where things really start to get good.  By day, you are a high school student who must study, make friends, do part time work and other things.  By night, you are the hero of Inaba, braving the TV world with your friends in order to prevent horrific murders.  The TV world is made up of a number of randomly generated dungeons that you must work your way to the end of by a certain date or get a game over. 

The battle system revolves around your characters Persona's.  Each character has 1 persona that grows slowly over the course of the game with the exception of the main character who can store up to 12 persona's for use in battle.  You get these persona's by winning fights and collecting them from cards that appear randomly at the end of fights.  You can also fuse persona's together to make new, stronger ones which inherit skills of the two base monsters so you can make some really powerful stuff if you know what you are doing.

I have a few complaints about the game but none of what I'm about to say really tarnishes the experience at all.  First, the pace of the game is a little bit all over the place.  When the story gets going and when you have a dungeon to explore things are really good but the action gets a bit low when the case goes dead for a while.  Between dungeons there is a lot to do but it's all a bit samey and becomes rather dull rather fast.  That said you do get to explore the social links during these times so it doesn't feel too drawn out but these quiet segments do last a bit too long.

The combat is a little stranger in Persona 4 where if your main character dies then it's game over even if you have remaining party members.  I didn't game over much but when I did it was because an enemy or boss got a lucky hit on my main guy.  This was annoying because I had characters with revival magic but the game decided that didn't matter and I had to start over.

My final complaint is regarding the dungeon exclusive to the Vita version, the Hollow Forest.  While it's a cool addition to the game, the challenge presented is complete bullshit.  All the enemies are easy as shit but the game drains a huge chunk of your mana after every fight.  If you're not a dribbling idiot it's still an easy dungeon to overcome but the challenge comes more from having one hand tied behind your back rather than actually tough enemies, which is a disappointment.

Anyway, Persona 4 is an amazing game and it's easily my favorite game on Vita thus far.  That's saying a lot considering that the Vita has 2 Hatsune Miku games as well, so think about that for a while.  Give it a go.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Fuck You Evolve

So Evolve came out a few days ago.  I have seen a few people getting really excited for it but after it came out the Steam reviews have been "mixed".  I've not played it and I don't really have any interest to.  Then again, this post isn't about the quality of the game, it's about THIS bullshit.

Holy shit on a stick look at all that fucking DLC.  This isn't a game that has been out for very long either, this shit is DAY ONE!  Hell, in Japan this game isn't even out yet so as far as I'm technically concerned, this is all shit I have to per-purchase or whatever.

So let's address what we are looking at here.  The first two options are essentially fucking useless.  Look at what you get in that Monster Race pack.  A fifth playable monster and two additional hunters.  What Evolve is basically saying is that if you don't drop the extra £20 or whatever (I suck at maths) then the game is just going to lock you out of a bunch of content.  I don't give a flying fuck if you can unlock it later, that's not the point.  The point is that there are putting a fucking pay wall on some of the games features and that's complete bullshit.

According to the internet, the game with all it's DLC costs $130!  I don't know if Steam price it the same way, I'm not arsed to figure it out, but if you do the conversion that's £85!  EIGHTY FUCKING FIVE.  I thought £35 for a new game was a little steep but £80+?!  Fuck that shit

Now here's where I imagine some tosspot will chime in and say something like "well yeah but it's only cosmetic skins that don't change the game" to which I tell you to go fuck yourself.  Back in MY day we didn't have  to pay for alternate costumes and shit, they were all in the game and you unlocked them by doing certain things within the game.  Why the fuck should I have to pay for fucking cosmetics?  Why the fuck should anyone have  to pay for ANYTHING after the initial purchase?!

I get what DLC was supposed to be.  It was SUPPOSED to be extra modes/levels/characters etc that you downloaded some period of time after the game was released.  While there are some games that may do that, the majority of DLC I see is fucking bullshit that would have been core content 10 years ago.

Fuck DLC
Fuck Evolve and its shitty pricing
Fuck anyone who buys this crap

Friday, 13 February 2015

Law and Order, Games Media and Women in the Idustry

In the last couple of days there was a episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit aired on TV where the story was based on the #GamerGate controversy.  It was laughably bad, overblown, poorly written and poorly acted.

The story of the episode revolves around a bunch of gamers who aren't happy with some woman making a game.  The reason they are unhappy is not because her game is bad or anything like that but just because she is a woman.  Things escalate when she goes to give a presentation about her game and she gets kidnapped, beaten and raped by a bunch of weirdos in ski masks from a site called Redchanit.  The episode ends with the cops catching/killing the gamers and saving the woman but she decides to retire from gaming because clearly she is not wanted or some such stupid bullshit.

The whole episode is cringetastic with Ice-T saying lots of stupid bullshit about video games.  The worst part is right at the end during a rooftop shootout where they decide to go first fucking person.  It's like that one bit from that shitty Doom movie but with the shitness dial turned all the way up to fucking 15.

What's sort of hilarious though is the reaction to the episode from various groups on either side of the controversy.  From what I can gather off twitter, the social justice types such as Sarkeesian are not happy with the episode.  There are a number of people on that side of the coin though who are playing it up saying that the events that happened in the episode have actually happened despite the fact that no kidnappings or rapes have occurred because of GamerGate. 

What's funny is that these people have absolutely no right to be dissatisfied with the episode because they basically wrote the damn script.  These are the people who view a disagreement as "misogyny" or "sexism" and a request of proof for their claims as "harassment".  It's even been proven that certain members  such as Brianna Wu have faked harassment in order to receive more coverage/gain ammunition to use against certain people.

Wu "harassing" herself on Steam but forgetting to log out of her Developer account thingy.  This thread was deleted.
These are the people who cherry pick all their information and use great amounts of hyperbole in order to push this quite frankly preposterous idea that women are somehow oppressed and unwanted in gaming.  I mean look at this shit.

This is just a small collection of some of the women who are celebrated within the medium.  There are tons more than this both recent and from ages past and as long as more women are willing to bring their skills to the table many more will be accepted and appreciated for their works.

The reason why gamers don't like people like Wu and Sarkesian is because they are fucking idiots.  Everything Anita says in her Tropes Vs Women series is quite frankly wrong and her examples are cherry picked so fucking hard that I'm surprised the cherry tree isn't completely bare.  It's so transparently wrong as well, with anyone having played the games she talks about being able to shoot down her "arguments" instantly but of course this is labelled as "harassment".  People don't like Wu because she's constantly prodding GamerGate for a rise so she can play it up and ask for money.  "Help! I'm being harassed! <Insert Patreon link>"  or saying flat out stupid things such as "I'm risking my life fighting GamerGate" as if we are some kind of heavily armed, anti-woman army.

But what the games media is doing isn't exactly new.  It's new for them but in terms of their methods this has been going on for years.  Way WAYYY back people who enjoyed table top games such as Dungeons and Dragons were branded as satanists.  Back in my youth people would claim that anyone who played games would become a violent murderer.  Now the new buzzword du jour is "misogyny" with every gamer being a woman hating basement dwelling nerd or some kind of closet rapist. 

The only thing that's different this time round is that the image isn't being perpetuated by news outlets with reports being written by people who no nothing of games.  This time it's games media ITSELF putting forward the image that all it's readers and fans are rapists and harassers.  At the end of the day though, it's only a case of same shit, different buzzword.

But who in this whole controversy is REALLY being the most damaging to women in gaming?  Is it gamers?  Well no because I've never met a SINGLE person within this hobby say that the don't want women in gaming and if anything it's the exact opposite of that.  Is it companies not hiring women based on gender?  Not that either because everything I've heard about the hiring process for these companies is based on skills, not gender.  If you are good at coding, drawing, making music, writing or whatever then you have just as much of a chance at a position as anyone else.  Hell, in the US it's fucking ILLEGAL to discriminate based on gender and I don't think companies are going to risk their business just to spite someone.

No, the most damaging thing to women in gaming right now is the people claiming to be on their side.  Every day the spin this narrative of fear.  They lie constantly or spin convenient half truths that push their controversial stories for ad revenue.  These claims that women aren't welcome or that they will be harassed out just for being women will only serve to scare them away and we risk losing a lot of talented people as a result.  If it was true then I promise you that the gaming community would be right there trying to make gaming a space for everyone to enjoy, like they have been doing since THE DAWN OF FUCKING GAMES.  These people are pushing this story for their own selfish means and it's absolutely pathetic.

Gaming and games media would be a much better place without these people shitting it up.  No one wants to keep anyone out, we just want  to play some fucking video games.  We also don't want to be lied to and misrepresented by the people who deliver information about the industry to us, that's all.

Let's just get along and play some goddamn games.....fuck...   

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Future of Retro Gaming?

Gaming isn't as simple as it used to be.  Back in the days of my youth we didn't have to deal with online connections and constant game updates, you just plugged that shit in and went.  Some PC games required patches to be downloaded or expansion packs to be bought but that was about as complex as it got and for your average youth, we were rockin' the consoles anyway.

Today is vastly different, you cant even start a game up anymore without the system prompting you to update something or sign up/log into some other 3rd party service.  Hell, this is an age where some games, even single player ones, require an internet connection to be played at all.  So while I was shopping for old games today I started thinking about something.

I wonder what retro gaming will be like in the far future?  When I'm long dead and the Playstation is up to its 8 or 9th iteration and the idea of 16 bit being "cutting edge" is laughable.  Kind of like how we view shit like that Atari now.

Right now, retro gaming is easy since it was a much simpler time.  If you can get your hands on a system and a few cartridges/discs then all you have to do is hook that shit up, flick the switch and BOOM you're playing your old favorites.  But will things be that simple in the future? Will retro gaming even exist in the same way that we know it today?

Think about it, plenty of games have mandatory updates that require internet connections or servers that they need to check with before you can start playing.  What happens in the future when these servers don't exist and there is no update server for your game to connect to?  Will some punter in a used game shop be able to buy used games and just pop them in and have a grand old time?  I don't think so.  Things right now are OK I guess, I can totally see PS3 or 4 games still working in the far flung future but with internet connections and digital distribution maybe the joy of picking up a dusty old game in a used book store will be long gone.

What I fear is that in the future the idea of buying retro games will be dead and companies will charge stupid amounts of money for the back catalogs of games.  Half the reason I don't use things like the Wii virtual console or the classics collection on PSN is because I can go round the corner and pick up the original disc versions of the games for about half the money.  When you think about that, in a way it's already happening.

Still, I'm just rambling and I'll be long dead before anything like this happens so it's whatever

Monday, 9 February 2015

Code of Joker: F2P Done Right

I've been playing a metric fuckton of Code of Joker recently and if ever there was a standard for what a F2P game should be then THIS is it.

I'm going to assume most people won't know what CoJ is but a long time ago I did a blog post about it so have a read here to clue yourself in.

As a quick summary, it's an arcade trading card game that plays a little like Pokemon, Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh all slammed together into one really fun card battling experience.

Back when it was first released you'd pay a certain number of credits to charge an energy value.  You would spend those points to play games and any points left over at the end would be converted into currency for you to buy new cards with when you came back at a later date.

However this all changed and the game went free to play.  Code of Joker now works on a system similar to every iPhone game under the sun.  You have an energy meter that has 100 points and playing a game costs a minimum of 40.  These points recharge over time and 100 points is enough to play 2 games for exactly no money.

The complaint that I hear with a lot of free to play games is that there's a significant amount of stuff locked behind a pay wall.  If not that then it's a case of a lot of over powered, game breaking stuff being locked away from people who don't want to spend money. 

Code of Joker is not like this, you are not locked out of anything if you don't put any money into the machine with the exception of cosmetics.  The only thing putting money in the machine does for you increases the rate you get cards since you get 1 or 2 cards as a reward per game.  But even if you do decide to put money in, 200 yen ($1.60 or £1.10) gets you a maximum of 7 games.  7 fucking plays, for 200 yen!  That shit is NUTS!  £1 on a UK DDR machine would get you 3 songs, which lasts about 12 minutes while Code of Joker you can play for an hour or two for the same price AND receive a load of free shit while you do it.

This is how Free to Play games SHOULD be.  Locking people out of things or charging in order to win is stupid, pisses people off and turns them away.  If you provide paid options that actually reward the player without pissing off those who don't pay too hard then you have a recipe for success and SEGA have fucking nailed it here.

Friday, 6 February 2015

RIP Monty Oum

A few days ago I stumbled on a sad piece of news and I'd like to take a moment just to say a few words about what happened. 

Monty Oum, an incredibly talented animator who did stuff for Rooster Teeth died on February 1st from an allergic reaction.  He did a bunch of stuff but was most noted for his work on Red Vs Blue and RWBY.

For me personally, I never really watched Red Vs Blue and admittedly I'd never heard of RWBY until very recently.  That said, this news still saddens me because I enjoyed a lot of his earlier works such as Haloid and Dead Fantasy.  Haloid was an awesome 3D animation of Master Chief and Samus having a fight and Dead Fantasy was a similar series that featured a Final Fantasy/Dead or Alive crossover. 

These are quite old, I must have only been in high school when they came out but I remember discovering Haloid on Gametrailers and watching that shit on repeat because I thought it was so damn cool.  I spent many a late night watching those animations and Oum was clearly a very talented guy.

I'd highly suggest giving the name a Google and checking out his stuff.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Only If

Only if is advertised as a surreal adventure puzzle game on Steam that costs exactly £0.  I never heard of it until recently when I saw a friend playing it.  When we spoke about it the idea sounded kind of interesting and since I have nothing to lose I thought I'd give it a go.

The game is about some guy who goes to a party, gets drunk and wakes up in some unknown house.  Shortly after craziness he stumbles into a room with a radio that has a guy on the other side telling him all sorts of weird stuff like he's called the cops or that the protagonist will die soon.  The kicks off the adventure of you trying to work your way out of the house with the evil man on the intercom being a dick the whole time.

The game play is standard first person stuff.  Hell, if it wasn't for the reference to Unity during the ending credits I would have assumed the thing was a Half Life 2 mod.  You look around rooms for keys and or switches and press E at them and hope that things happen.  Despite being advertised as a "surreal adventure puzzle game" there isn't anything here that you haven't already seen a thousand times before YEARS ago.

Graphically the game is also nothing special but some of the levels did look pretty cool.  There is one segment in particular where you have to platform on big pillars that are suspended in mid air.   The area sort of reminded me of something from Alice: Madness Returns but without the budget. 

The game is also piss easy with almost none of the puzzles requiring any real brain power to beat.  On top of that, there is a segment where the game just fucks off the puzzles and decides that it wants to be a platforming game and the platforming controls fucking suck.  Once you figure them out it's not so bad but the game never explains how they work and it's a real pain.  You see, the distance in which you jump depends on how long you hold the space bar for and if you let go you just lose all momentum and plummet downward.  Once you figure out what the fuck is happening it's pretty easy but it's annoying and why did it never tell me that?

I could probably complain a lot more but lets remember one thing and that's that it was free.  It's also inoffensively long clocking in at less than 2 hours for a first time play through.  Despite some of the things I just said though, I actually sort of had fun with it.  It killed a little bit of time on a lazy Sunday afternoon and I came away mildly entertained. 

Give it a go, maybe you'll enjoy it more than I did.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Turning Point

So a few days ago I was emailed by a website called Man Crates asking me to write a post for them.  At first I was a little skeptical because spam emails aren't exactly uncommon to my inbox but after a quick Google search it turned out these guys were on the level.

Before I get into the post itself let me just tell you a little bit about Man Crates because the idea behind what they do is pretty cool.  Man Crates sells wooden crates of various goods that range from video games to stuff in order to prepare yourself for a zombie outbreak.  However when you order from Man Crates they don't just send you a wooden box with the stuff in it, oh no.  They send you an actual wooden crate and a crowbar so that you can go Gordon Freeman when you break that shit open.  It's a cool concept and I think they would make a really good present for someone.

What Man Crates asked me to write was the gaming experience that hooked me into the hobby and made me a life long enthusiast.  This was easy for me, I've kind of already done it once a long LONG time ago back when Identity Gaming first started.  The game that really grabbed me and turned me into an enthusiast is Panzer Dragoon Saga for the Sega Saturn.

Before I received my Sega Saturn I enjoyed playing video games quite a lot.  However almost every game I played during my early youth was some kind of side scrolling platform game.  I had experimented with other genres such as adventure games but I accidentally picked shitty ones like Super Hydlide and it left a bad taste in my mouth.  I don't remember if Super Hydlide was actually all that shitty but I was too young and stupid at the time to have ANY idea what the hell was going on with that game.

Then my father goes and buys me a Sega Saturn and the thing blew my goddamn mind.  The games being in 3D was pretty cool but the thing that really excited me about the system was the number of arcade ports that were available.  I used to love playing games like Fighting Vipers and The House of the Dead at the arcade and now I had this chance to play those titles as much as I wanted and I didn't have to beg my mother for £1 coins all the damn time, it was great.

Then on one birthday I received Panzer Dragoon Saga and my god this game changed my view on EVERYTHING.  Before this, gaming was always something I did for an hour or two at a time before going to find something else to do but Panzer Dragoon had me locked in front of the TV for god knows how long.  This game not only affected my opinion on gaming but had some pretty drastic effects on my life too.

In terms of how it influenced my gaming, Panzer Dragoon Saga was the point in which I realised that games could be so much more than just a little side attraction for me.  They could have interesting stories and immersive worlds and characters that you become genuinely attached to sometimes.  Hell, I remember my first time playing where the main character gets kidnapped and tortured and I had to leave the room because that scene upset me so damn much.

Not only did it have a good story and interesting characters but it also had really fun game play.  It's an RPG with an active time battle system but it was also very strategic and fast paced.  I wasn't just mashing an attack button in order to win, I actually had to stop and think about my gauges, what kind of attack I was going to use, positioning, my dragon type, location of weak spots and all sorts of stuff.  There was so much depth and I loved it.

Thanks to Panzer Dragoon Saga I started exploring other games and other genres looking for equally challenging titles with the same or similar amounts of depth as that and luckily there was a lot on offer.  I was always looking for something to challenge myself after that point.  While I never lost interest in the more simple games Panzer Dragoon taught me not to give up so quickly on the harder stuff like I did with Hydlide.

But Panzer Dragoon Saga also had massive effects on my real life.  The whole game is voiced entirely in Japanese with English subtitles and at that young age I thought the voice acting was the coolest thing ever.  It sparked my interest in Japan and thanks to that I am where I am today.  At school I was never sure what I wanted to study but thinking back to those times in front of my Saturn made me think I wanted to pursue a degree in Japanese language.  I came to realise that there were so many games that never came to the UK and I really wanted to be able to play them.  Of course, I was interested in other stuff like the language itself and the culture of the country but without that initial inspiration from my favourite video game I might have done something very different.

So there you have it, that was the turning point for me however I'm not quite done there. I was also asked to write about what kind of stuff I'd like in a personalized nostalgia crate from the aforementioned Man Crates.

Well considering that I live in Japan some kind of import game crate would be a pretty good idea I think.  A few Famicom/Super Famicom titles mixed along side pot noodles, microwave curry rice and a few cans of melon soda.  For me that sounds like a pretty good night in and if I got to start that off by opening that stuff up with a goddamn crowbar would be the icing on the cake.   

Let's wrap things up with some links.  Don't forget to check out Man Crates

and the second YouTube play through for YouTube I ever did was of Panzer Dragoon Saga, so if you wanna watch me play the game that changed my life forever, you can see that here.

Final disclaimer, I wasn't paid for this post, they just very kindly reached out with the idea and it sounded like fun!