Saturday, 31 August 2013

The House of the Dead Memories

Today is a slow day, so let me tell you a story about one of the reasons why I love arcade games so much.

A long long time ago, back when I was just a kid and stuff like the Mega Drive and Super Nintendo were the best things I could get my hands on, going to the arcade was a big deal for me.  We're talking about a time when everything I used to play was 16 bit RPGs or platform games, so going into an arcade and playing something that was 3D and didn't use a standard control pad blew my goddamn mind.

So one day, I'm in London with my family since my dad had to do some work down there or something so to kill the time my mother agreed to take me to Sega World.  Now I've blogged about that place before, but holy shit it was amazing.  For a British child who loved video games, Sega World was gaming Mecca to me.

Anyway, one genre of game I really enjoyed playing back then was the rail shooters.  I really enjoyed using the light guns and there wasn't really a lot for my stupid child brain to figure out, I just had to point at the baddies and fire the gun.  House of the Dead was one of my favourites at the time, I loved the levels and when you died you got that cool little map that showed you how far you got.

Anyway, I'd had my session on House of the Dead and I went to some of the different floors to play other stuff like Fighting Vipers and Metal Slug and after the day wore on a bit I returned to the shooting floor to see if there was any other rail gun games that I hadn't played yet.  Then I saw this guy playing House of the Dead, way WAY older than I was and obviously a lot better than I was.  He was really far, to a point in the game that I had never even seen before, I couldn't help but just stand there and watch.

Once he beat the 3rd chapter he turned to me during the results screen and asked if I wanted to hop on with him.  My mother gave me a pound coin and I slammed that shit in and started shooting.  Now in hindsight I was probably fucking this guys game up, it becomes harder with 2 players and I probably wasn't pulling my weight, especially in the boss gauntlet.  We pushed on and made it through to the final level and then fucking Magician appeared.

When this motherfucker pops up he has NO weak point (apart from the blatantly exposed cables on his arms and legs, but I was young, whatever) and I lost my shit.  I had no idea what to do, my heart was going a mile a minute and my hands were shaking pretty bad.  We endured his attacks and shot wildly at him and eventually the last sliver of health dropped off and we beat the game.

We didn't really say much after that, I just thanked him put the gun back in its holster and then we went our separate ways.  That said, his kindness in letting me join him for the final stage to share that excitement as we fought the final boss is something that has stuck with me to this day, and it's a reason I enjoy going to arcades so much.

I've only really been to a proper arcade in Japan recently, but even to this day they still have that great environment and the people are quite friendly.  The games are also quite cheap and a lot of places do deals like 2 credits for certain games on certain days.  I'm glad there is one part of the world where coin-op is still a thing, I think gaming would be a lot worse off without it.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Thursday, 29 August 2013

They Bleed Pixels Part 5

I've been doing a lot of writing, time to chillax with a They Bleed Pixels double bill! Starting today with part 5 and ending tomorrow with the grand finale!  Enjoy

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

KindaAwesome: Silent Hill Post

Right, you know the drill by now.  I've done another post for my good friends over at KindaAwesome so head over there, read my shit and then check out all their updates.  Links below!

My article

The Site

Get on it, show some love

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Cookie Clicker

There comes a point every so often where I look at some of the things I do in my free time and just think "why?"

Cookie Clicker is a free web browser "game" that I discovered through a forum.  In Cookie Clicker you click a big cookie on the left hand side of the screen in order to earn cookies.  Once you have earned enough cookies, you can buy upgrades that will earn cookies for you even when you are not clicking.  After some more clicking you can buy upgrades for those upgrades so the rate at which you gain cookies goes even faster.  There is no goal, there is no end, just click the fucking cookies until your cookies per second is sky high.

When I first heard about this game I thought "that's fucking stupid", but after actually trying it out, I'm sad to say that I'm hooked.  I kind of have to question what's wrong with myself because when you really think about it I'm not actually doing anything except clicking an upgrade on the side bar every so often yet I get a great sense of satisfaction when I buy a new thing or get that upgrade I've been waiting for.

I'm now at the point where I'm generating so many cookies per second that I'll just leave it building in the background while I play other games and when I'm done I buy a few upgrades.  I don't know why I do this or why I enjoy it so much, but I do.  What's worse is that everyone that I have linked it to has become strangely hooked to it, I guess we are all just easily entertained by increasing numbers.

So if you need something to stare at while you have downtime at work or you just want to veg out and mindlessly click things for a while, Cookie Clicker is the place to go.

Check it out here

Monday, 26 August 2013

Nearing the First Goal!

Well last nights Counter Strike: Global Offensive Marathon was a great success!  Thanks to everyone who watched and donated and even bigger thanks to all the buddies on mumble to played with me to make that whole thing possible.  £140 was raised for the Alzheimers Society, so good job!

Speaking of donations,  over £700 has been raised so I'd just like to take another moment to give a great big thank you to anyone who had donated so far, so keep it up! The first £1000 has nearly been met so if you do have bit of spare money floating about, do consider a donation since it would mean a lot.

Keep reading, keep sharing and keep donating! I just hope that people are enjoying the content as much as I enjoy writing it.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

24 Hour Counterstrike: Global Offensive Stream TOMORROW!

Right, this is the heads up.  Tomorrow, around 8am CEST the 24 hour Counter Strike: Global Offensive will start.

We've cooked up donation incentives and they include

2 players shoutcasting their own match
Different game modes
Donate to choose the one and only weapon we can use for 1 match

and on top of that, I'm willing to make any of my drops available in return for donations, so keep an eye on the stream for that fancy skin you might be looking for.

All this information will be provided on the twitch page tomorrow, check us out!

Shadowrun Returns

Right, I literally just beat this thing, so let's talk about it!

Shadowrun is originally and it's essentially the same sort of thing as Dungeons and Dragons.  The difference between this and Dungeons and Dragons is that it's not all high fantasy swords and sorcery stuff, it's set in the future where people have guns, explosives and cybernetic implants.  However the swords and sorcery stuff is still there, so you end up with this really cool mix of DnD fantasy stuff being played out in slums filled with drug addicts shooting at you.

Anyway, Shadowrun Returns is an RPG avaliable on multiple formats that attempts to provide you the Shadowrun experience but without all the pens, paper and need for 5 or 6 people to get a session going.  Obviously, there isn't going to be as much freedom because if the developers tried to mimic the table top game completely then this shit would never get released. 

The story follows your character who is some kind of down and out in a slum somewhere in Seattle.  One day your dude gets a call from a dead friend saying "hey, go kill the guy who killed me for big bucks", and being poor you decide that this is about the best chance you have to earn some money and so your adventure begins.  The story in Shadowrun Returns is actually really good and the writing is really good and helps generate a good atmosphere of being on an epic quest in a run down shit heap part of Seattle.  Everything moves along at a good pace and keeps you interested and by the time you finish one chapter, you won't wait to wait to play the next one.  The game also looks pretty nice too with well designed areas with lots of detail even if they are a bit small sometimes.

Game play wise, Shadowrun Returns is basic yet functional.  You basically do everything with the mouse and with turned based combat you need to worry more good strategy than having to micro manage 4 players at a time.  There is also some degree of character creation as you get a bunch of classes to pick at the start and over the course of the game you gain karma so that you can upgrade your various stats.

But it's not all sunshine and daisies with this game.  I have a problem with Shadowrun Returns and it's a pretty big fucking problem.

Now I wasn't following this game when it was development at all, but if you ask me this fucking thing just wrecked a lot of its potential.  The game was released for iPad and Android systems and my problem with Shadowrun Returns is that it feels like it was designed specifically for these platforms rather than PC.  The game is really linear giving you a straight path from A to B with very little to explore.  Side quests are barely existent and really have no impact on anything and neither do the dialogue trees.  Also the lack of a save system is really annoying because I can't go back and play my favourite sections of the game now, I have to replay the whole damn thing if I want to get to that area.

Anyway, despite my gripes with this glorified tablet game, it's actually quite fun.  I really enjoyed playing it through and the plot kept me interested enough to see it through to the end.  Also the pen and paper esque part of the experience has been preserved in the form on a campaign editor where you can make your own adventure and then make it available for download so everyone else can play your quest, so if you're into user generated content then there is a lot of game here for you.  As long as you don't have soaring expectations of a true pen and paper experience, Shadowrun Returns is a good RPG that's worth at least one play through.

Friday, 23 August 2013

DLC Wars: Tekken Tag 2 Vs Skullgirls

Before we start, let me direct your attention to an old post of mine

If you don't want to read it then it's basically a rant I made about how stupid the Skullgirls palette swap DLC is.  Basically, you have to may money for the artist to use the fucking fill tool in paint, it's stupid.

Anyway, today I was talking to my friend and he brought up an instance of DLC in a fighting game that didn't make me want to kick someone in the head.  If you own a copy of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 then there is a bunch of DLC you can get for that game completely free, including new characters of all fucking things!

I don't own a copy of Tekken Tag 2 (I will do soon though) so I had to go do some googling to find out what the deal is.  Turns out that the producer, Katsuhiro Harada thinks that modern day DLC is a load of horse shit so he's trying to right the ills of the world by providing a load of awesome shit for free.

THIS, people, is a good developer right here.  He's no small fry in Namco Bandai, he's a guy who works as the producer for the fucking Tekken franchise, I'm pretty sure he's under quite a bit of pressure for his games to make some fucking money, probably more so than any indie developer is.  Yet despite this, he's providing all this shit for free, absolutely NO MONEY.  Costumes, characters, multi account usage, stages and god knows what else for £0, $0, ¥0!

Then you turn your head the other way and see Skullgirls charging for the use of the fucking fill tool, it's disgusting.  If you're going to charge people for something, fucking put some goddamn effort into it.  Hell, as long as it wasn't on disc, I'd be willing to pay for a new character or a new stage, some guy somewhere drew that shit, rendered it in 3D, made it work and all that jazz, some credit for the effort is deserved and yet Tekken just GIVES that shit away.  In this day and age of almost every company using DLC to just wring money out of you, this is a breath of fresh air.

Skullgirls looks like a good game, I'm willing to support it, but they can take their palette swap DLC and go shove it up their arse.  Finally, Katsuhiro Harada is a fucking beast and it's a shame that more developers don't follow in his footsteps.  Capcom could learn a thing or two here.....

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Bring Back Point n' Click

What happened to this genre?  Back when I was a child shit like Sanitarium, Monkey Island and Grim Fandango were popular games but now this entire genre of puzzler has just dropped off the face of the earth.

If for some reason you don't know what I mean by "Point n' Click" it was a genre of puzzle game that involved a main character on some kind of adventure and the game play focused on solving clever puzzles using items you find in the world and exploration.  There was no combat in these games, just talking and puzzle solving all backed up by really good storylines.  Sure, there were shit point n' click games but the good ones were really good, memorable games that still hold up today if you ask me.

But then the genre just died and we barely see these games anymore.  Sure, we've had a couple attempt to do the whole point n' click thing but they are different and quite frankly, not as good.  To be honest I think it's a sad indication of games getting stupider.  In the age of checkpoints, set pieces and hand holding gameplay, the idea of a genre where the player is left to their own devices to explore and solve puzzles doesn't seem like it would sell many copies, which is a shame really.

The reason I make this post is because of my disappointment with a game called Gone Home, a title I haven't even played yet.

Now I'm not passing judgement on this game entirely because like I said a second ago, I've not actually had a chance to give it a go.  That said, upon first seeing it in the Steam store I got excited because I thought it looked like a point n' click game, something I would have been excited to try.  But then while browsing certain forums I came across a gif of the entire game being beaten in less than a minute.

Now I'm sure there is more to it than that, but the fact that this can be done means that it's probably not very good.  I've heard some things about the story and how it's really focused on that, but it isn't much of an excuse considering that Monkey Island had a proper story but still managed to be a suitable length and challenge.

Still, once it goes cheap on sale I'll still give Gone Home a try so I can pass some proper judgement, but it's a shame that it wasn't the point n' click game I hoped for.  It's not all doom and gloom though, if you do want to give this genre a try then there is a ton of abandonware that will run in Dosbox and Good Old Games is providing Beneath a Steel Sky, a really good Point n' Click for free, so go check that shit out and see what all the hubub is about.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Speed Running: The Greatest and Most Depressing Hobby

Right, I'm quite busy today so instead of talking about a specific title or ranting on industry bullshit I'm going to say something quick about my new love with speed running.

Recently I've been trying to get into this whole thing and the game I chose to break myself in was They Bleed Pixels on Steam, if you have been watching the play through you've probably heard me mention it a few times.

The thing is though, Speed Running is both a greatly satisfying and greatly depressing little past time and I'll explain why.  What's great about getting into speed running is that you get a lot of replayability out of your game.  Ironically, do to the game really fast you have to play it over and over for hours and hours so you can get quite a lot of length out of quite a short game if you start trying to speed run it.  Also the feeling of setting a new personal best time is amazing, when you come to the end of a run and you see that you were faster than you were a few days ago, it's a great feeling.

On the flip side though, for They Bleed Pixels at least, most runs can end up dead before you even hit the halfway point in the game.  A small mistake can cost you a lot of time and if you're losing lots of time then you may as well just start over.  What's even worse is if you get quite far and you're having a good time then suddenly you screw up and all your effort goes right down the drain.  It's one of those things that just makes you want punch a hole through your computer monitor and rip your controller in half.

Luckily there have been no hardware casualties yet during my efforts but I'm going to assume as I take up a couple more games, something will get broken at some point whether through constant use or extreme frustration.  Still, if you find that the games you're dropping your hard earned cash on are a bit on the short side and leaving you disappointed, take up speed running, it's a great way to extend the life of a title and you may even make a few friends with the friendly communities that are out there.

Once I finish the playthrough I'll upload a They Bleed Pixels speed run attempt of my own, so keep an eye out.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Dying Light

There are so many zombie games now that the whole concept has become sort of meaningless but somehow the guys over at Techland have managed to get me excited for their upcoming zombie game Dying Light.

At first I sort of rolled my eyes and thought "oh great, another zombie game" and the fact that it was made by the same guys who gave us Dead Island didn't really make me any more excited but then I found a 12 minute game play video.

Granted it's still a work in progress but right now it's actually looking pretty promising.  No silly levelling systems or some other feature to make zombie killing easier.  Right now it just looks like the player is given a bunch of objectives and they have to survive while they fulfil those objectives, simple and fun.  There seems to be some extra side missions to which will have some kind of effect on the story but it doesn't look like you'll be running around doing "quests" for people.  Also the free running mechanic looks like it'll make traversing the areas of the game quite fun and give you quite a few options on how to deal with an upcoming horde.

The thing I quite like about the game play trailer is that during the day it's sort of a bog standard first person zombie game, but things get interesting once night falls because the zombies stop being zombies and they become strange creatures that can perform all sorts of acrobatic feats to come and chew your brains out.

Still, with it being a zombie game I'm not jumping out of my seat in excitement but I'm most definitely looking forward to more news to see how this one turns out.  I'm down for some free running, zombie killing action so sign me up and give me a pair of running shoes and a shotgun.

Monday, 19 August 2013

3D Dot Game Heroes

Right, less doom, gloom and controversy, let's talk about some fucking video games.

3D Dot Game Heroes was a 2009 PS3 game released in 2009 and developed by a bunch of people over at Silicon Studio.  The game is basically a Zelda clone through and through but it's one of those self aware comedy titles that has tons of personality and is an absolute blast to play.

The story follows the adventure of the hero of Dotnia as he must venture through the lands and collect 6 magic orbs to stop a bad guy from destroying the world.  The story is about as bare bones as it gets but it serves its purpose of pushing the player from one location to the next.  The game is full of funny bits of dialogue that won't have you laughing out loud but you'll find that you'll have a big stupid grin on your face the whole time.

From a gameplay standpoint it plays pretty much exactly like old school Zelda games.  If you have ever played Zelda or A Link to the Past then you pretty much know how this game works.  Sometimes I found the controls could be a little floaty and this would cause me to accidental fall down a pit and lose half a life point, but nothing game breaking or rage inducing. 

For a game about a world made of pixels it's actually really nice to look at.  There are nice water and particle effects as you explore and kill stuff, enemies will explode into piles of dots when you kill them and there are some really nice lighting effects as well.

The absolute best thing about this game though is the sheer amount of content you get, this game is massive and if you want to do the game 100% then you're looking at quite a lengthy play through.  Aside from the main quest there are tons of side quests, mini games and collectibles that will sap away the hours of your free time.  The game itself is quite challenging and if you plan to do all the extra stuff then don't think you'll have an easy time with the mini games just because they are a side objective.

On top of actual in game stuff, there is a character creator where you can build your own hero pixel and pixel and play with something truly unique.  If you're not into that or can't be bothered then there are pages of pre made characters for you to play with that can be changed at any time when you load a game.

So, if you have a PS3 and you have not played 3D Dot Game Heroes, go get it.  It's a fun, light hearted adventure with enough content to last you long enough to not buy anything for at least 4 or 5 days.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Another 24 Hour Stream Incoming! Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Right, do you remember that 24 hour Final Fantasy stream?  Well I'm doing another one but this time it's with some other buddies and it's with Counter Strike Global Offensive.

That's right folks, 24 solid (almost) hours of Counter Strike Global Offensive being streamed directly to you.  It will be taking place from 8am CEST on the 25h (Sunday) to 8am CEST on the 26th (Monday) so come down and watch me and my buddies click some heads.

I'll try and think up some donation incentives before the day so that we can get our charity on some more, so keep an eye out on the twitch channel. 

Assuming you want to go and get hype, tune in on the 22nd where I'll be streaming some more Final Fantasy games from 9pm CEST at

Developers and Death Threats

So the recent news has been saying that Bioware writer Jennifer Hepler (Dragon Age) has left the company due to deaths threats from fans.  That said, the story has changed a bit and it's now being said she left for personal reasons or because she wants to pursue some other thing or whatever but at the end of the day she still received a bunch of fan harassment.

Now let me get something straight right here, I don't like Jennifer Hepler.  I think she's a terrible writer who quite frankly is working in the wrong industry.  In an interview 6 years ago she said that her least favourite part of video games is the actual game part and from what I can understand regarding her involvement in the Dragon Age 2 writing process, she was more focused on LGBT side quests rather than actually contributing to the mythos.

But my personal opinion about Jennifer Helper being negative or not doesn't matter.  The point is that on twitter and via email or whatever, this woman received all sorts of harassment after Dragon Age 2 and that interview in particular.  This is not cool and anyone who took part in the harassment should be fucking ashamed of themselves.

Sure, there was a lot of dislike about Jennifer's attitude towards video games and her writing but constant harassment is not the way to deal with it.  If the fans had calmly pointed out how toxic she was to game writing in a calm and constructive manner then I'm sure there would have been more people willing to listen.

Even if they weren't willing to listen, flinging shit on the internet just makes them and everyone who enjoys games look like complete fucking morons.  No matter how passionate you are about something, threatening people isn't going to make things go your way 99% of the time.  It's the same shit with another developer on Black Ops 2 getting death threats after a patch for gun balances. 

If you're not happy with the patch, email them and tell them why that patch is a bad idea and why the guns should be changed back.  Threatening the guy isn't going to reverse the patch and that guy doesn't deserve any of it.  Calm, constructive criticism will get things changed if enough people speak up, death threats will just make us all look like idiots and give the media more ammunition when they want to point the finger at games for something.

Final point, I don't want anyone to think that with this post I am condemning what happened to Phil Fish.  Hepler was just a person doing her job that happened to suck really bad at it, Fish is a horrible little urchin who needed a taste of his own medicine.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Terrible Journalism Strikes Again

How long has this been a thing!? I only found out about it a few days ago and you know after that big gushy post I made about Hotline Miami I'm hyped as hell for this.

So, what does my hype for Hotline Miami 2 have to do with terrible video games journalism?  Well have a read of this article on PC gamer.

The title reads "Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number hands-on" so you would expect this author, one Cara Ellison, to talk about the game right?  Well wrong, she spends very little time talking about the game and the majority of her post talking about her fucking feelings.

Her issue with the game is that the end of the tutorial features some kind of implied rape scene where the player character has his wicked way with a women and how she feels "betrayed" by its inclusion.  You may be thinking at this point that I'm going to go on another "games being sexist" rant, but I'm not, but before I get into the main point I have let me just point something out about Hotline Miami.

This was a screen shot I took last night while I was going through the levels getting puzzle pieces and A+ ranks.  If you look just in front of the open door, there is a dead male who has had his genitals blown off.  This, if you ask me is just as "bad" as that implied rape scene because you can infer from this situation that he was tortured by having his genitals mutilated before eventually being put out of his misery and shot in the head.  Sounds awful right?

Well on the other hand you could just realise that you are playing a game that is making you perform horrible acts against other human beings for points while showing you other horrible acts to bolster the games atmosphere and maybe even make some kind of statement into video game violence if you're the kind of person willing to read into it that far.

But anyway I'm getting far too into something that isn't my point.  My point is, that these so called "journalists" like Cara Ellison and many others are in the wrong job.  That article should have been about Hotline Miami 2, but instead it turned into another rant on feelings and political correctness.

I know exactly nothing more about Hotline Miami 2 after reading that article than before I came across it.  All I learnt is that the game is violent and that someones feelings were hurt, but I don't care about the writers feelings and I already knew it was violent so basically the whole thing is a big block of text about nothing at all.

These "journalists" with agendas need to be booted out of this industry, they are completely toxic for it and contribute nothing.  They aren't here to talk about games, they are here to talk about false controversy for nothing more than page views and it's getting a bit stupid now.  There are lots of sites such as Kotaku who care more about printing bullshit rather than actually talking about games.

I don't want to talk about this shit either, I just want to enjoy games.  Really I had planned to write a little mini review for 3D Dot Game Heroes since I just replayed it recently but if the people with common sense don't make it clear that this kind of "journalism" will not fly, then within the next 5 years there will be so many social justice "gaming" websites that finding actual gaming news will be next to fucking impossible.

If you want to talk about social justice shit, make a fucking blog or something and stop clogging up sites like with this shit.  Those sites are for games and game discussion/news and I don't want to read about your fucking feelings on it.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Update Regarding the Stream

The stream is going well!  I'm getting near the end of Final Fantasy 3 and the donations so far have been really good.

Unfortunately, I have to prepare to attempt to move to Japan all over again, which means for the next week I might be a little busy in the evenings.  Therefore, until the 22nd August the stream will be down.

However, after the 22nd August, all I really have to do is wait for various things to arrive and process so from the 22nd until the day I move out you can expect longer streams to balance out all the downtime.

Also I'll try to come up with some new donation incentives so you can all get something for your charity money! 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

They Bleed Pixels Part 4

Right, I said the proper posts were coming, so let's kick it off with a new play through episode!

I'll be polishing off the last few levels real soon, stay tuned!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Where have all the updates gone?! Probably going back to Japan

I'm not sure if I mentioned it on the blog or not, but I was planning to go and live in the UK for a little while.  Anyway, after much discussion and thought, it seems like it would be a better idea if I just went back to Japan.

What does this have to do with the blog?

Well, nothing really, but over the last few days there haven't been many updates because I've been neck deep in documents trying to sort everything out, it's a shame that moving to another country isn't as easy as just packing a bag and hopping on a plane.

Anyway if updates are slow, I've not abandoned this charity effort, I'm just extremely busy, thanks for the cooperation and a charity donation or two would definitely cheer me up!

There should be more proper posts tomorrow as I can just settle down and wait for shit to process now.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Opt out of the Steam Beta!

Story time!

A long long time ago I opted into the Steam beta through my options menu.  I don't know what this changes exactly or why I even did it, because after opting out and reverting back a version everything still seems exactly the same.

Anyway, today I'm coming to you with a warning.  Do NOT opt in to this beta unless you don't mind the possibility of your games going funny.  Obviously I don't want 100% of people to opt out, because if it wasn't for people reporting these errors then they would never get fixed, but for your every day person that can't be arsed with shit not working, just opt out.

The reason I say this is because a steam beta update basically fucked my copy of They Bleed Pixels to the point where it wouldn't even run.  I ended up trying all sorts of various shit and it all culminated in me deleting my save game by accident before a friend of mine told me what to do.

So if you're the kind of person who doesn't mind bugs, opt in for that shit and help out the community (duh) but if you're like me and you just want to play some damn games opt out.  The beta updates aren't as new and shiny as you might think.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Late to the Murder Party! Hotline Miami

If there is one thing I seriously regret, it's that I didn't pick this game up when it was first released, oh my god is it good.

Hotline Miami is a cool little Indie game that was released on Steam some time last year.  The story follows an unnamed protagonist as he gets messages on his answer machine to go murder a load of dudes.  There is more plot about this group of strange people in masks talking to you in riddles and some other stuff, but generally speaking the plot takes a back seat to the game play.

While the plot is sort of bare bones, the game play on the other hand is one of the most fun things I've had the joy of playing.  It's extremely basic yet there is a lot of strategy involved that'll keep you coming back to the same stages again and again.  You control your guy from a top down view, you use the right mouse to pick weapons up and left mouse to use them.  You then have to wander through each stage murdering all the guys in a given area before progressing to the next one.

It sounds easy but your character is just as fragile as the enemies so one bullet or one baseball bat to the head will have you restarting the level, but the levels are short and sweet so it's not too rage inducing.  The strategy comes from planning your route and executing it without anything going wrong, which isn't likely.  There is also a pretty in depth scoring system so if you're the kind of person who enjoys replaying stages for rank (like me) then you'll find that there is plenty of replay value to be had as you try lots of different thing to get that A+.

The other cool thing about this game is the masks that your character wears.  At the start your mask does nothing, but very quickly you get masks that have all sorts of strange effects like deadly door openings or longer combo windows.  It all adds to the overall strategy, so if you find yourself stuck, just wear a different mask and try something new.

Basically, Hotline Miami is a great game and if you've not played it already then you are missing out, hard.  Go on steam, pick it up and whittle away the hours killing lots of guys in white suits, assassination has never been so much fun.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Stop Pandering to Idiots

If you've been reading this blog you've seen me rage from time to time about this whole feminism issue.  Well I'm not going to go on another rant about that right now, but I do want to talk about how there are certain people within the industry that need to stop pandering to these idiots.

The above picture is taken from the Polygon review of Dragons Crown, and ignoring the big 6.5 at the bottom I just want to point out the line "over-exaggerated art style alienating and gross in it's depiction of women"

This, my friends, isn't good game reviewing, it's a moron pandering to idiots on the Internet.  Sure, the depictions of women in Dragons Crown is pretty over exaggerated, but so is it's depictions of fucking EVERYBODY.

I mean look at this fucking guy. Hyper masculine, hyper macho dwarf dude with a hammer who's about to go out and bust some heads.  The over exaggerations of characters aren't limited to ass and titties, it's the whole fucking cast that's like this.  But of course, morons on the Internet like to ignore the general art style, point at the amazon's huge ass and titties and cry "sexist"

It's not just Polygon that does it and it's not just aimed at Dragons Crown either.  If you spend any amount of time reading game related stuff it'll pop up somewhere.  This needs to stop, this wave of stupid ass hole feminists is an extremely recent thing and there is no need to write reviews to please them.  There is also no need to pay any attention to them (this includes insulting them) because really they aren't after equality, they are just out to stifle artistic direction.

This whole thing is double important if you're the kind of person who thinks that games are an art form because limiting art just because it might offend someone is stupid and sort of defeats the point of art itself.

Dragons Crown isn't sexist, it's stylistic.  Games aren't sexist, they are being created for a demographic.  These people need to shut up and go away, and these "journalists" need to stop making an issue out of art styles just to drum up controversy and page views.

I seriously can't wait for the day when I can stop talking about this shit.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Tau Plays They Bleed Pixels Part 3!

Well I've been sick with a cold for the last week or so and that's why there has been no YouTube stuff for the last few days.  But now I'm recovered and I got some more stuff out, so go check it out!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The International and the Interactive Compendium

Right, today is the day The International 2013 starts, so let's get hype!

Really thought I just want to spend some time talking about how awesome this tournament actually is.  For those that don't know, The International is a yearly tournament that takes place where 16 of the best teams from around the world come together and kick the shit out of each other until only one remains and takes a massive cash prize.

The cool thing about the cash prize, is that Valve released something called "The Interactive Compendium" which is this virtual book that that gives you all sorts of tournament information, allows you to make predictions and even manage a fantasy DotA team.  The coolest thing about this though, is that Valve had said that a small amount of money spent on compendiums goes towards the prize pool for The International, so after all the sales this thing has had the prize pool is at something absolutely crazy like $2.8 million.

The Compendium even gives back to you, the player because as stretch goals are made you get nice little bonuses.  For example, I bought the compendium with steam credit but after a stretch goal was met I was given an item that I then sold on the marketplace for MORE than the compendiums value.  On top of that I've been given all sorts of other free shit, and the chance to earn even more free shit by simply watching games, although the chance of actually getting something from that is stupid low.

So if you're a fan of DotA, support this thing, it's nice that we have events like this and we should show them some love so they don't just die out.  If you're not a fan of DotA, you could always give it a watch anyway because maybe you'll find that you'd like to give the game a go, it's not like you have anything to lose.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Ys 1 and 2 Chronicles

This was a game I finished months ago, while I was still in Japan, and I can't believe it's taken me this long to get round to talking about it.

Ys 1 and 2 Chronicles is a remake of an old Japanese PC-88 game that was released for PSP and PC on Steam.  The game follows a dude called Adol as he goes on adventures to save the lands of Ys from various nasties.  It's a huge series spanning over tons of games, so if you're looking for a place to start Ys 1 and 2 Chronicles is a good place.

Before I go into talking about the actual game, let me spend a moment talking about the name.  One thing that really REALLY pisses me off, and I don't know why, is the way some people pronounce the name.  In Japan, the title is written イース which is pronounce "ee su", so that's obviously the most logical way to pronounce it in English.  Yet despite this, there are still TONS of people who prounounce it like "whyz" or "Y.S.".  This wouldn't bug me so much if the series was new, but it's been going since 1987, you think fans would have figured it out by now.

Anyway, stupid pet peeves out of the way, Ys 1 and 2 are actually really good games.  It would be wrong to call them RPGs despite all the levelling and stats that are involved.  It's more like an adventure game where you're looking for the right item to rub on the right thing but instead of just pointing and clicking on things you have to fight bosses at the end of a set of puzzles.

Being an old game, it does suffer a little from the "what the fuck do I do" syndrome, but everything you need is given to you in the game, you don't NEED to resort to Gamefaqs to beat the game.  Speaking of it being an old game, the remakes come with remixed music but you also have the option to use the original PC-88 versions of all the tunes and the game actually has a really good soundtrack both remastered and in its original bits and boops.

The combat in Ys 1 and 2 is the strangest thing about the game.  You don't fight things by swinging a sword and hitting things, you fight by simply running into enemies like a big red haired Beyblade.  What's important in this game when it comes to combat is the angle in which you hit an enemy, so attacking from the side or behind means that you take no damage, but smashing something head on means you might take a nasty hit.  It's actually quite a cool way to do combat and it means that if you are backtracking through an area, you don't have to stop to fight anything since you can just barrel through them.

The games are also quite long as well, so you get quite a lot of value for a pretty cheap price.  Ys 1 is a little on the short side, but the idea is that Ys 2 is like part 2 of the first story, they just carry on, so really Ys 1 and 2 are just one game.  I read somewhere that the reason for this is that the games had to be split due to the limitations of the PC-88 back when it was first released, so when they are released now they are packaged as one thing because that's what was originally intended.

Anyway, if you're looking for a little RPG/Adventure thing to sink your teeth into, give Ys a go.  If you do end up enjoying it there are a ton more games as well, so you won't be struggling for a Ys fix anytime soon if you are new to the series.  Steam has 3 Ys games for quite cheap, including this one, so I suggest you fire it up and drop on this classic adventure series.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Game Devs Should Stop Making Movies

This was a post I was supposed to make ages ago, but I guess I got distracted by various other bullshit.  Anyway, before we begin, watch this video.

This video basically sums up everything wrong with big name game development.  All your stuff like this, Uncharted, The Last of Us and many others, while not being bad games by any stretch (although Ryse looks shite) are spending far too much time trying to be movies and not enough time trying to be games.

There's a bit in that video where the guys talking about how the development team are trying to increase the story and characterisation compared to movies.  This, my friends, is fucking WRONG.  Games are not movies and trying to better stories by making them more movie-esque does not solve the problem.

You see, game story is at it's absolute best when the game play compliments the story, and I'll give you two examples.

Silent Hill 2 is the sort of game that puts the story before it's gameplay, but it still succeeds as a game because the game play of Silent Hill 2 compliments that story.  The controls, the combat, the fog along with everything else compliment the story of James Sunderland looking for his dead wife.  Those emotions of fear that you feel as you wander through the town aren't felt because the game is forcing it down you with huge set pieces, it's because you are immersed in the game itself and the overall game feel is impacting how you feel.  What I mean by this is that you're not scared of Pyramid Head because James is like "OH MY GOD LOOK AT THE BIG SCARY MONSTER!!", you're scared by it because it's this big lumbering strangely shaped thing carrying a big knife that is A) Visually intimidating and B) Comes with the prospect of you having to reload a save.

Compare that with Silent Hill downpours mine cart sequence where it's a load of big flasy lights and effects on rails basically screaming at you "BE SCARED NOW! GO ON! DO IT!"

The other example I've got for you is Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus is the other example of a successful video game with a good story because in this games case, the story IS the game play.  You are basically plonked into a world that tells you that if you wanna revive the girl, go kill a load of giants.  You then experience the story visually as you kill each boss, explore the lands and watch the main character get increasingly beat up as he progresses and not once does it feel like you're playing a movie. All the emotions you feel as part of SotC's storyline are felt because they are happening directly to you.  Fear, victory, sadness, excitement are all felt as part of this game because they are what YOU feel as you confront an enemy and figure out and effective way to get to his weak spot.  The excitement you feel for that final boss and ending is something that YOU feel because you have come to the end of a long and arduous task that YOU have completed, not because a cut scene hypes the fight for you.

Ryse and a lot of AAA games on the other hand just lead you by the nose, the emotions are felt by the characters in the story and not by the player at all.  The player in games like Uncharted aren't being engaged by game play or game feel, they are just there for the ride, just to watch, like a movie!

Nothing inherently wrong about these kind of games but I feel like developers aren't using the medium to its fullest potential and are settling for a lazy way out by just trying to imitate the movie industry rather than pushing the bar and trying to deliver on deeper interactivity that compliments their story lines.

Ryse is doing it completely wrong by not only trying to be a movie, but basically removing game play by filling itself with QTE and massive set pieces that you have no real control of.

Bottom line, make GAMES! not movies.

Friday, 2 August 2013

New Stream Schedule!

Getting sick and having some downtime isn't all doom and gloom as it's now given me some time to get a more concrete streaming schedule!  It will be as follows!

Saturday 9PM CEST
Sunday 9PM CEST
Tuesday 9PM CEST
Thursday 9PM CEST

I think you get the idea.  Also donations for me to stream in womens makeup for 5 hours was met a while back, so the date for that will be Tuesday 6th August, so tune in for that shit.

I'll be hoping to add more donation incentives soon too, so lets keep those donations going!  I'm also planning another 24 hour stream when I hit Final Fantasy 7, but that's a while off yet so there will be more details on that later.

Skullgirls DLC is Disgusting

Skullgirls is a game I've not played, but looks pretty good and I'll be getting it on Steam once it's released.

Quality of the game aside though, while looking at the Steam store page I found something pretty rage inducing that I would like to share my thoughts on.  A long time ago I made a blog post about how Palette swapped enemies and characters in games are a bunch of lazy bullshit, go read that here.

Now unless your Mortal Kombat, where your passing off swaps as new characters, doing this in fighting games isn't so bad.  Like in Street Fighter, being able to change Ryu's clothes or Sakura's school uniform from their standard colours to something that you find more appealing or something funky is cool, it lets you personalise your character a bit.

So those features were kind of cool and you liked it right? Well now, at least in Skullgirls, if you want to personalise your character just a tiny bit you have to fucking pay for that shit now.  Something that was a standard feature in pretty much every fighting game I've ever played is now being passed off as fucking DLC.  Also before anyone wants to tell about how cheap it is, I don't give a fuck, no one should have to pay for fucking palette swaps.

I can't remember if it was Persona or Blazblue or whatever but I remember in one of those guys you could pick like a section of clothes or part of the character, and then choose from like 60 odd colours so that you could really make something that you liked.  Sure it's a small thing, but making that a paid add on is fucking arse.

But you know what, I don't blame the developers, I blame the people who buy it.  You can't fault a bunch of people who want to make money on their game, and sure, if people are willing to pay for stuff that has come standard for years, then why not?!  Their the fucking idiots eating it up and telling them it's OK to pull that shit.  What's worse is that I found a community website with this announcement on it and people were fucking loving it!  I couldn't believe it.

Well whatever, I suppose I'm getting overly annoyed about a small thing, but it shouldn't fucking be this way! Goddamnit!  You are being charged for the dev to use the fill tool, think about that.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

A Free Idea to Nintendo

I had a rant planned for today, but I'm in a stupidly good mood so I'm going to write something that's probably really stupid instead.

Right, if you owned a Gamecube then you may remember that piece of gear in the above picture.  For those that didn't own the system or for anyone who hasn't seen that before, that thing is the Game Boy Player.  It would fit to the bottom of your gamecube system and would allow you to play Game Boy Advance games on your TV, it was pretty cool.

So while I was taking a shower today, I had this stupid idea that I thought might help boost WiiU sales.  I don't know how viable this would be but a DS/3DS player seems like it would be an awesome idea to me.

Think about it, your TV would act as the top screen and the WiiU controller.  Maybe you could put some kind of support to have split screen on your TV and manipulate the touch from the pad if you didn't want to stare at that thing all the time.  Hell, if the game had a focus on the bottom screen (Trauma Centre for example) you could just swap em round too because obviously you want to the most interesting part of the game put on your big TV, staring at stats or timers wouldn't be fun.

The only reason I made this stupid post is because I would love to do a play through of The World Ends With You, but maybe if they could actually pull something like that off it would boost sales, who knows?

Someone send this to Nintendo because if something like this did become a reality I'd be so down for buying a WiiU ASAP