Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Drunk Like: A Reminder and Rules

There isn't a great deal of time before the live event known as Drunk Like will be happening!  I've been a bit strapped for time to produce content due to a family visit to Japan but I thought I'd outline the event one more time and describe the general rules so you guys know what to expect.

The event will take place on June 6th and will involve me and a group of friends playing roguelike games for 9 solid hours and drinking while doing it.  Here are the general rules for the event.

1)  Each player does 1 run of the currently played game, when the game is over they switch with the next player.  Turn order decided at start of the event.

2)  If a player dies, they must take a drink.  If a player clears the game then everyone else in the room takes a drink.

3)  If a donation is received during the event, everybody in the room must take a drink.

4) If participants start to feel sick they are allowed to bow out.  I don't need people endangering their health for this stuff.  DRINK RESPONSIBLY!

That's it, it's easy right?  Each game at the event will be played for 2 hours and a vote will be cast for which game will be replayed for the final hour.  Each game will also feature specific rules and donation incentives which will be announced at the start of play so make sure to tune in and see if a little bit of charity can turn us all into drunk wrecks.

I'm also considering making a prize avaliable for donators so keep an eye out on the Identity Gaming facebook page to see if any get announced

So, follow at and get excited.  It's going to be a long and very very stupid evening.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Emulation Vs Carts

Anyone who has any kind of interest in older games knows about emulation and where to get their favourite roms.  There are a number of purists who will tell you that carts are the only way to go but how do emulated games stack up to the actual thing?  I'm not here to talk about the legal side of things, that's another topic for another time, I'm just talking about how it feels to play the game on an emulator vs playing on actual hardware.

I for one am all for a little bit of emulation mainly because it's fucking convenient.  I have tons and tons of SNES and NES carts lying around my house but I don't have the space to have those consoles hooked up all the time, which is unfortunate.  Emulation is a good way for me to be able to play all the games from my retro collection without having to go through the effort of digging out the system and hooking that bastard up in order to play it.  Maybe I just want a go on something for 30 minutes or whatever, I don't want to have to go through a bunch of effort for a quick go on something.

However, I do feel like some of the experience is lost when playing on an emulator.  The first thing, at least for me, is comfort.  When I play on my original hardware I can lay back on my couch and just chill but when emulating I have to play at my computer which is significantly less comfortable.  Technical issues will also rear their ugly head when emulating which has led to many a stressful evening.  Sometimes a certain ROM or ISO just doesn't want to function on your emulator of choice and having to work shit out to get certain games to run is a massive pain in the hole.  It sometimes gets to the point where it would have just been faster to hook up my system rather than spend time googling around for configuration setups for specific games.

So while I feel that carts are infinitely better, emulation has a few perks that just makes life a hell of a lot easier.  For me as someone who speed runs, emulation makes streaming a fuckton easier and it makes practicing certain segments of certain games a lot faster and less annoying too.  That said, I'd much rather be chilling on my couch playing my retro games than destroying my ass on my shitty computer chair, but that's just me.  For people that don't have access to older games or for people that just want to keep their old collections easily accessible, emulation is pretty vital and as much as the big companies hate it, it's here to stay and that's a good thing.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Tau Plays Discworld Part 3

Next part of Discworld!  Sorry for the slow uploads, time has been against me.  Hopefully I can pick up the pace in the coming week.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Ori and the Blind Forest

This is another one of those games that I knew absolutely nothing about upon purchase but I'm very happy that I took a chance and gave this game a shot.  Despite it's quality, there isn't actually all that much to say about it, but here I go.

Ori and the Blind forest starts out with a story about a little white cat thing born from some Elder Tree getting separated from said tree.  He is found and raised by a fat brown thing and together they live a happy and idyllic life together until the forest starts to die and their food supplies run out.  When the fat brown thing dies of hunger and Ori himself comes close to death, he is saved by a spirit and is then tasked with recovering the forest.

From here, Ori and the Blind forest opens itself up and you find yourself in a "metroidvania" type of game.  I hate using that term but it's the best word to use for games like this because then everyone knows what you mean.  In case there are people who live under a rock and don't know what I mean by "metroidvania" then it's the kind of game where you have a big 2D map and you have to explore and find power ups in order to progress.  These kind of games are filled with lots of pickups that are often unattainable at the start but as you collect more skills then you can backtrack in order to pick up all the goodies you missed with your new found skills.

Ori and the Blind forest doesn't really boast anything unique apart from it's check pointing system where you spend mana to create a save spot.  That said, it does boast a hell of a lot of polish and the team that put it together obviously know what's up when it comes to making games like this.  The game play is smooth, the platforming is fun and the puzzles while a little on the simple side aren't completely brain dead.  There's also a decent amount of stuff to find in the dying forest but the game allows you to upgrade Ori to sense them out so you aren't left completely in the dark about where certain secrets lay.  That said, getting 100% in Ori is no easy task with certain items being missable and the sensing skills being locked way up your skill tree so you're still going to need to keep your wits about you if you want all the goodies the game has to offer.

The one thing that struck me the most about this game is the graphics and music.  There's a really nice atmosphere to this game that helps you immerse yourself in the game pretty easy which is something I've not been able to do with any title for a long time.  Also the music is really well done with nice ambient themes as you explore and stuff that really gets the player going when shit is hitting the fan.

I feel that Ori and the Blind Forest is one of those great games that people will remember for a good while.  It's nothing new or original but it knows what it wants to be and does it really well.  It's fun, immersive and looks great, y'all should give it a shot.

Monday, 18 May 2015


I know this isn't strictly games and I know that all my beer loving pals are laughing at me for being so late to the party but god damn I've just got into this thing and I fucking love it.

So I love drinking, I know that makes me sound like an alcoholic but I do love a good drink.  When I come home from work or with a nice meal, a nice glass of beer or some other kind of beverage hits the goddamn spot.  Before any fucking puritan nutters want to get on my case, I'm not drinking to get smashed every day, just a little wind down and it just happens to taste pretty good too.

Untappd is an app for phones and I think they have a website where you can track your beer drinking.  The reason I'm posting it as part of this blog is that it effectively gamifies your beer drinking habits.  The app tracks how many "check-ins" of beer that you make as well as how many distinct beers.  This turns the act of drinking a beer into a sort of "gotta drink 'em all" game that you play with yourself.  Now when I go to my shop to buy a can or two, instead of just getting the same old shit I always buy, I'm trying new things all the time just to make this little counter go up.

On top of that, the thing has fucking achievements.  Usually I hate achievements but whenever this app tells me that I've earned a "badge" then I do get a bit happy.  These are for things like numbers of distinct beers, drinking at certain times, drinking certain types of beer so on and so on.  The app also comes with a kind of beer detection feature where you can see what beers are being sold near you so you could even use this thing to discover new little bars that you might have not tried before.

If you're into beer you should give Untappd a go.  The original purpose was probably for beer snobs to document their exploits but it's so game-like that even twats like me can have fun with it.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Biohazard: The Escape

So during my Golden week I went down to Universal Studios Japan and took part in Biohazard: The Escape.  I was supposed to blog about this ages ago but because I'm stupid I forgot to do it.  Just for the record, the people who run the event are very adamant about people not posting spoilers so I'll only be describing what the event IS rather than any of the intricate details.

So one thing that seems to be quite popular in Japan are "Escape Games".  These are games where you are given a bunch of puzzles to solve in a certain time limit and you must solve them all in order to win.  Each game comes with its own plot line to add a little bit more immersion to the whole experience and while they are very challenging (and a little expensive) they are very enjoyable.  The company who run these games do have their own original stuff but sometimes they theme their games on popular anime/movies or whatever.  The last game I did prior to Biohazard was based on a show called Assassination Classroom

I've never seen the show or read it's Manga but that didn't take away much from the overall experience, these things are rather well crafted.

So what about Biohazard?  Well of course, this thing being part of USJ means that it was WAYYYYY above anything that I've done before this point.  At the start all the players are herded into a big room and are given a map, a padlocked box and an iPad.  The basic premise for the game is that you came to a recording studio to see a presentation of a new energy patch put out by Umbrella but during the show the place gets overrun by T-Virus and Zombies.  From there you are told you have 60 minutes to cure yourself and escape the building or, like all classic Resi games, you get bombed to death.

Then the game starts and you are let into a 4 story building in order to solve a punch of puzzles that are delivered to you via the iPad you were given at the start.  If I mention any more specifics from that point onwards I'd be spoiling puzzles so this is where my description ends.  At the end though, all the losers, which comprised 85% of the players were put into a room, told the answers to the puzzles so we could have a collective "are you kidding me!?" moment and then we were bombed to death (room filled with smoke) while I Tyrant ran around the room scaring people.

During the event, there were a number of actors dressed up as Zombies who were lurking around the venue in order to scare the pants off you.  They absolutely weren't allowed to touch you but they did an effective job.  They would move around, hide, act erratically, my hat goes off to the people they brought in to do that, great job.  Overall the whole thing was awesome and it was a truly memorable experience.

I'm already excited for my next escape game, I'm just surprised one hasn't been Layton themed yet.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Introducing DrunkLike!

Today I would like to announce a new event that's coming to the stream.  Currently planned for the 6th June and titled DrunkLike, me and a few friends will be getting together, playing Roguelikes and getting rather drunk all for your entertainment.

Just in case there are people reading this post who don't know what a Roguelike is, let me just explain real quick.  A Roguelike is a genre of game that involves exploring randomly generated dungeons and finding randomly placed items.  Aside from the randomness, the other big thing behind the genre is perma-death.  If you are killed in a Roguelike game then usually you must go back to the very start.  This usually means that games in the genre are kind of short but make up for their length with extremely challenging game play and an ever changing experience.

The basic rules are as follows: each player takes a turn at one of the games and if they die they have to take a drink.  If they succeed in clearing the game then all the other players take a drink.  Of course, this event is being done for charity so if we receive a donation during the event the we ALL take a drink.

The games that I have currently picked for the event are
 -The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
- FTL: Faster Than Light
-Crypt of the Necrodancer

Additions may be made or the list of core games may be changed.  If there is a game you'd like to see then please leave a comment or let us know on stream during the event.  Each game will also have game specific rules that will be announced during the stream and can be donated for over the course of the evening.

Please keep an eye on the Facebook group and my twitter for more updates regarding the event.

Twitter: @Taurinensis

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Deep Freeze: Load of Crap or Exactly What We Needed?

The GamerGate controversy rages on after a number of months that I've lost track of.  While I've not been keeping too close an eye on it due to most discussions devolving into gender politics and claims of harassment or whatever, something has popped out of the whole thing that has piqued my interest.

For a long time I've not been a fan of gaming media websites and press and I think there are quite a large number of people who feel the same way.  There's too much blatant bullshit going on behind the scenes and I hate how I can guess a games final score before I've even opened the web page.  In recent years it has been so bad that certain members of the gaming press have taken to just flat out insulting people who disagree with them.  The biggest example I can think of this was the whole "gamers are entitled" thing that came with DmC: Devil May Cry.  Hardcore fans of the first 4 games were upset with the new direction the game had taken, both stylistically and mechanically, but were completely dismissed by games media as "whiny entitled babies"

So very recently Deep Freeze pops up right out of fucking nowhere.  It's a database of people within games media, journalists and other writers and it keeps records with links to evidence of stuff they are doing wrong.  It also seems to host articles regarding GamerGate and the state of gaming media as well as providing links to sites that it deems ethical.

It's a strangely useful resource for two big reasons.  The first is that now that this exists, it's bound to keep a number of writers in check.  If they say something stupid or get caught doing something they shouldn't be, there is now a place on the internet where that shit will be documented and easily available for general viewing.  The second is that if you happen across an article that seems a little bullshitty then you can look up the writer or site and see if they are the kind of person or publication who deals in clickbait or may have some ulterior motives.

There are some arguments to be had about certain entries on the site.  The big argument against Deep Freeze that I've seen so far is that sometimes they are logging a writers opinion as an ethical breech.  For example, a number of writers have a "sensationalist" mark on their profile for docking points from Bayonetta 2 for it's "gross portrayal of women".  Given that misogyny is the big game controversy du jour it does seem, at least to me, that the writer is fishing for clicks from a certain crowed but there is an argument to be had that maybe the writer just genuinely does hold that opinion of the game.  Inserting gender politics into game reviews may be annoying and disrespectful but holding a dumb ass opinion is not unethical.

Still though, what Deep Freeze is NOT doing is telling you to flat out dislike anyone that it has a file on.  It is only presenting you with information so that you can form your own opinion and if you don't like what you see, where to go for your gaming news.

I'm still going to carry on not giving a shit about games media because I don't enjoy reading reviews.  I'll look up a trailer and some gameplay footage and make my own decisions.  But for those who do read reviews they now have a resource to make judgements on where to get their info from before they make a purchase, which seems like a good thing to me.  Depending on how it's handled from here it could mean an improvement for games writing. 

More actual and honest games writing and less bullshit seems like a good idea to me.

Don't listen to me though, check it out and make your own judgements on it

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Tau Plays Discworld Part 2

Wow, I've not put anything out in a while thanks to Golden Week in Japan.  So, let's kick it off with a new Discworld part!  Enjoy!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

R.I.P. FC Dual

A LOOOONG time ago I bought a system called the FC Dual.  It's a Chinese made multi-system that plays NES and SNES games.  At the time I bought it I was quite happy with it, it played the games I wanted it to play and I didn't have to shell out 10k+ yen for both individual systems.  However, I made a mistake because this fucking piece of shit just died on me for no goddamn reason.  After taking a moment to reflect on the system I have concluded that it's a huge piece of shit and I would have been better off just spending extra on the original systems.  Here's why

1)  It looks like shit, feels like shit and the controllers suck

This thing is obviously made stupidly cheap because this thing has worse build quality than some of the children's toys at the school I work at.  It's probably the cheap build quality that caused it to die because one moment it was fine and then one cartridge swap later and BAM, no more video output.

The controllers are also fucking atrocious with a terrible D-Pad and shoulder buttons that hurt your fingers after a while.  Everyone knows that the Xbox 360 had a fucking awful D-Pad but the FC Dual somehow out-sucks even that.  Also the black wire covers were coming off the controller and I have no idea how THAT fucking happened considering I treat my gaming collection with the utmost care.

2)  It treats carts like a dog that doesn't want to let go of a tennis ball

More true for FC games than SFC games but HO-LY shit the FC Dual is the system that just doesn't want to let go.  When you are taking a game out you have to pull really fucking hard, almost to the point where you want to stop out of paranoia that you might break the fucking thing.  I found that you could take them out calmly but rocking them left and right out of the slot but that took about a minute and a half to do which is bullshit considering that the original systems have fucking eject buttons.

3) Compatibility

So a while ago I bought Dig-Dug 2 from a retro shop near my house.  I take it home, pop it in and the fucking thing wont load up.  So I take it back to the shop and ask for a refund where they promptly shove it in a normal Famicom and the thing works absolutely no problem.  I have a couple of other obscure Famicom games that don't work in the FC Dual but will work completely fine in a regular system.  Once I realised what was going on with Dig Dug I started getting paranoid every time I bought something that the fucking thing wasn't going to work.

So there you have it, 3 big reasons why the FC Dual is a massive piece of cock.  I know it seems really cool to be able to play 2 consoles worth of stuff in one system but they are so cheaply made that it's almost not worth it.  Just shell out for a original system and you have something more reliable and you don't have to contend with shitty controllers or comparability issues

Friday, 1 May 2015

The Paid Mods Problem and the Gaming Press

So recently a bit of a shit storm went down over at Valve in the last few days.  While their initial decision was a bit dumb the way they dealt with it was commendable and it shows that the people calling the shots do actually have their head on straight.

So Steam announce that they are going to introduce a paid mods system.  This is where people who make mods for games like Skyrim can charge a little bit of money on the workshop in order to get paid for their efforts.  On paper this seems like a good idea because content creators can make a little bit of dosh for all that hard work and it may even motivate modders into creating better mods because they know that they are going to be charging money.

However, it didn't quite play out that way.  I don't follow the modding scene very much but from what I read and understood both fans and modders themselves weren't too happy with the decision.  Fans were unhappy with the idea of having to pay for something that's been provided for free for YEARS and modders were unhappy with the cut that they got from sales of their work.  There's probably more to it than that but I'll leave it for someone more versed in the modding community to explain that part.

So gamers take to social media, forums and petition sites to rally against Valves decision.  Seeing the outcry from the fans, Valve pull the idea and refund the people who paid for anything.  This also comes with a statement essentially saying that while they feel there's a good idea in there somewhere their approach was wrong and they were sorry.

This is fine, this is consumers and content creators showing their dislike for a direction Valve as taking the Steam workshop and Valve responded accordingly by actually listening to the fans.  I bet Valve customers and Steam Workshop creators and both happy that their opinions are important to the people at Valve and I'm sure business for Valve will improve as a result.

But then come the shitty gaming press

What the fuck is this?   It's an article from Polygon with probably one of the most clickbaity headlines in the history of shitty games writing.  I skimmed through it and the whole thing appears to be quotes from people having a calm and collected discussion rather than abusive behaviour.

Recently there's this weird spin games media likes to put on almost every story where they paint people who play games as abusive, angry and lonely weirdos.  They have completely devalued certain terms because the people who write for these sites have no idea what they mean.

A difference of opinion is not "abuse" or "harassment", it's just a difference of opinion.  The whole problem with the modding scene was discussed and a decision was made, no one was sending serious enough abuse to Valve to make them change the decision with their tail between their legs.

Another example of this is gaming controversy du jour "misogyny".  Misogyny means that you hate women but people in gaming press equate this to being male and enjoying a little bit of fan service.  Now, whenever I hear that word I just roll my eyes and close the article because who ever is writing it obviously doesn't know what misogyny is.

Valve did a good job listening to their community and making appropriate changes.  Games press did a bad job by trying to spin the story but in the end did nothing to prove that the opinions of these so called "writers" belong in the trash can.