Friday, 28 October 2016

Tau and Friends Play Gauntlet (2014) Part 2

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

A Change of Plan (Resident Evil Marathon)

Last Saturday I did my Resident Evil "marathon" and quite frankly the whole thing was a disgusting failure.  I tried my best but I didn't even get to the end of Resident Evil 2 before sadly logging off and going to drown my sorrows in alcoholic beverages at a bar near my house.

There's no real excuse for it other than the fact that I have become complete shit at these games.  I grossly over estimated my own skill and memory while grossly under estimating the overall difficulty of these titles.  From a donation stand point I'd say the thing was a success though, there were a number of donators who gave generously despite my failures and a decent amount of money was raised at the end of the day.  I still have cash donations to calculate and transfer so I'll save the end amount for a tweet.

However, I'm down but certainly not out.  As a way to make it up for all the people who donated for this thing to happen, the "marathon" will continue but instead of being done all at once it will be spread over multiple normal streams.  The twitch channel will now be showing nothing but Resident Evil games all the way up to RE0.  That means you'll get to see Resi 6 and 0 for free.  I might try and juggle it with some Final Fantasy 9 as well but the core focus will be on Resident Evil games for the foreseeable future.

Once again thanks for the donation and hopefully the next marathon won't fail as hard.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Thoughts on Nintendo Switch

For a long while there have been rumblings of the Nintendo NX but very little details were available on the upcoming system UNTIL LAST NIGHT!  Finally we can stop calling it the NX as it now has a real name, the Nintendo Switch.  While there still isn't a huge amount of information on the thing, there's enough for me to write a little bit about my thoughts on what they've done.

It seems to be a sort of home/portable hybrid where you slot a screen into a stand to play it on your TV like a normal system or you can take the screen out and play it like a portable system.  This is a cool feature that a lot of people seem to be creaming their pants over and while I agree that it is pretty awesome, let's not forget that the PSP was doing that back in 2007.  Also the main screen portable body thing just looks like a WiiU controller and the idea of walking around with that fucking thing and whipping it out on the train even makes me cringe a little bit.

Another cool thing we can take from the announcement is the two little slide in controller thingies can be taken out and shared with another player.  In theory this means that a second controller for a second player will be built into the standard system which is an absolute godsend.  Controllers aren't cheap so the idea that I can just buy the system and immediately start playing with another person seems really cool.  Other features include the thing having a Tegra processor and the games coming on cards like the DS which is cool I guess, it means the games will look pretty good and not take up too much space in my house.

The one thing that really piqued my interested are the number of studios that have pledged involvement with the thing

ATLUS, Spike Chunsoft and Grasshopper ALONE are enough to get me interested in the thing.  It's cool to see the amount of 3rd party support for the thing so hopefully the Switch will have a really cool library of games.  Right now the games we know about are a bit meh with things like Skyrim and some Basketball shit alongside obvious stuff like Zelda and Mario.  I am getting the general impression that Nintendo are trying to market this thing for a more core gaming audience rather than trying to make it all family friendly.  Obviously the family friendly stuff is there but I'm getting the feeling they want that core crowd back in a big way.

This is is set to launch in March 2017 so only time will tell if it's any god or not.  I'm not going to get my hopes too high just because I'm a bit jaded but it is looking to be something worth picking up as of right now.  It would be really nice if it was region free....

Saturday, 15 October 2016

2P1C Mini Marathon

It's been a busy week, I've not streamed much and I've also not posted much BUT that doesn't mean things haven't been happening.

A little while ago a donation incentive for a little mini marathon was met which will involve me and a buddy playing through 3 games on stream back to back.  While that alone doesn't sound to exciting, the gimmick here is that we'll be using 1 controller between the two of us so that's going to up the difficulty pretty significantly. 

The 3 games we plan to play are Metal Slug 3, Streets of Rage 2 and Megaman 4.  Metal Slug will be piss easy because death doesn't really mean much on that game but Megaman 4 is going to be a real killer and I'm expecting many a game over.  If you want to see a 4th game you can start donating NOW for Super Mario World 11 Exits which is a route we have both started speed running so it'll be interesting to see what kind of time we can get when we are sharing a controller.

While an exact date hasn't been set right now, this will take place in November and more than likely happen on a Monday.  Watch this space for more details!

Friday, 7 October 2016

Arcades: How Far They Have Come

So recently I received an email that was asking me about some of my favorite classic games and the changes in the technology I've been using within gaming over the years.  There's plenty I could talk about since gaming in general has come a long long way since the old 8 and 16 bit era but the area where the advancements in tech feel the most noticeable is in the arcade.

Arcades are not too much of a thing in the west, especially not in the UK.  As a young lad growing up in Manchester the best I could hope for in the ways of coin op was a few barely functional machines in a local bowling alley on cinema lobby.  For quite a while though the only things I played in arcades were fighting games and side scrolling beat 'em ups so for a while my impression of an arcade machine was nothing more than a screen, a stick and a few buttons.  This all changed when my mother took me to a place called Sega World that was in London

Sega World was the my first real experience with a proper arcade.  It was located in London and was 5 floors of arcade joy that has now been shut down.  Last I checked it was replaced with something called Fun Land but if I'm not mistaken that's been shut down too, but I've not been back to England, let alone London, for about 5 years so I might be wrong about that.

Anyway, my young mind could barely handle all the awesome that was in this place and this is where I first discovered the rail shooter.  Big machines that didn't have a stick or little buttons to push but huge screens and big guns attached to them which you had to use to shoot enemies.  The one that grabbed my attention in particular was The House of The Dead because shooting zombies was way more interesting to me than blasting people in titles like Virtua Cop.  I even got my first taste of arcade multiplayer experience on that same day.

Near the end of my time in Sega World that day me and my mother returned to the floor where all the light gun games were located.  I was hoping to get one last go on The House of the Dead before we set out but there was someone playing already.  Instead of just giving up and walking away like I would do nowadays I just stood there and watched this guy play and I was fascinated by it because he was getting to parts of the game that my young self could have never of dreamed of getting to while on my mothers budget of £1 coins.  In that game there are 4 stages, and when he reached stage 3 he notices me and my mother watching, probably assumes we are waiting for a go and then offers the 2nd players gun to me.  I excitedly grab a few coins from my mother and start playing with this complete stranger and it all culminated in us finishing the game.

The rush of excitement as the games final boss, Magician, went down was intense and once the credits had finished rolling we shook hands and split ways.  I don't remember anything about that guy aside from the gaming experience but he really made my day.


Fast forward to 2016 and now I'm living in Japan where arcades are pretty common.  I have about 4 all within 15 minutes of my apartment building and comparing coin op now to what it was back then it's incredible to think just how far these machines have come.

One thing I was always a fan of was rhythm game and things like touch screens have done a lot for that genre.  A few years ago I thought stomping all over a big metal pad was cool but now I'm using touch sensitive keyboards with hand sensors above them in games like Chunithm or just playing with the game screen itself in titles like Syncronica

If rhythm games aren't your thing then fighting games have huge followings and a lot of them can be played online from the arcade itself.  Generally speaking internet connectivity has really changed the game centre for the better with people now being able to compare stats or track progress against other players.  This also extends to have accounts that are stored on IC cards which means that as you play you can unlock more content for your games. There are new WiFi systems out there like Luma, a startup I was just introduced to. They have a surround home wifi system that was built for advanced connectivity among the multiple devices online, with added security that allows any obstacles that might block your signal and keep you from playing to be removed.

My Cards have seen a lot of use
My favorite use of these cards is for a game known as Code of Joker which sort of plays like Magic the Gathering.  An online trading card game exclusive to the arcade, the IC card stores your profile with not only things like your wins and losses but your entire card collection and decks.  Stick to cards for a moment, for those who prefer their trading card games in a more physical form there's Kantai Collection and Sengoku Taisen.

These games involve either collecting the cards to be scanned by the machine in Kantai or placing them on a table and moving them around in a more RTS style of game play in Sengoku Taisen.  If I could go back in time and tell my young self that trading card games would be available in arcades I think my head would have actually exploded.

Just to finish up this post and bring it back to the old House of the Dead comparison, one of my favorite light gun games in modern times is Gunslinger Stratos

While it may look like a sort of space age version of the old rail shooter this game is actually a 3on3 online 3rd person shooter that plays sort of like Unreal Tournament or something.  Movement is controlled with the sticks on the backs of the guns and you can change weapons by holding them together and slotting these sort of magnets into each other, it's crazy.

I could talk for HOURS about all the fancy new stuff in the Japanese arcades but then this post would go on for way way too long.  It's mental to think just how far the coin op experience has come in such a short amount of time and quite frankly, I'm super glad that I'm living in Japan and am able to experience all these things as they are released.

Bitching About Horror Again

One thing I tend to bitch about pretty often on this blog is the state of the horror genre.  I'm pretty much convinced at this point that horror games in general are sort of dead and no one knows how to make good ones any more.  That isn't to say that there have been zero decent horror games in the last few years but the good titles get buried under so much shit and then that shit gets so much attention from idiots that it's easy to forget that good horror games even exist.

I did some searching around for upcoming horror games and a few titles keep cropping up so I thought I'd bitch about some individual games rather than just the genre as a whole so here we go.

1. Allison Road

I'd be lying to you if I said that I wasn't at least a little bit interested in Allison Road, the game does actually look sort of scary.  If you haven't seen it there's plenty of footage on YouTube but it's sort of like the PT that we never really got.  The difference between this and PT is that I'm not mad at this game because it isn't pretending to be a Silent Hill title and instead does its own thing.

That doesn't mean it gets a free pass because while it does look interesting and genuinely creepy it also appears to be nothing more than a walking simulator.  If I wanted a walking simulator horror experience I'd go to a theme park haunted house, I want a horror GAME.  A game implies that there is some kind of challenge, puzzles to solve, a fail state, things that are characteristic of a GAME.  Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs proved that putting a walking simulator in a scary setting a good horror title does not make and I get the feeling that once the novelty of VR wears off then Allison Road will be nothing more than another forgettable horror experience.

I will end this little bit by saying that information on Allison Road is limited and maybe there will be a bit more to the game play than I'm expecting so I'm hoping to god that's the case.

2. Friday The 13th

Like Allison Road, I'm sort of interested by Friday The 13th but while it's an interesting idea it doesn't look like a good HORROR game.  This game involves 1 player controlling Jason and the other 8 controlling camp counselors as they attempt to not get brutally murdered.

What makes this game particularly interesting is the sheer number of ways the Jason player can off the counselors where basically everything ever is a potential death trap.  If I remember correctly, all the animations are being motion captured and the captures for Jason are being performed by the original actor so that's a nice little touch.  If I'm wrong about that fact or if it's changed please let me know!

Anyway the problem is that it's a multiplayer experience and as Left4Dead proves, while these games are highly enjoyable they aren't really what you'd call "horror".  Just basing the title on a famous horror movie doesn't immediately make it a "horror" game.  If this classes as horror then, judging from the footage we should be adding Mortal Kombat and God of War to the list of "horror" titles as well since it seems we're just labeling them based on violence levels.

3. Outlast 2

Oh boy, I have so few hopes for Outlast 2.  There seems to be a pretty large group of people who liked the first game despite it being a complete abomination.  If you want to know what I thought about the first game, here's some posts I did on it ages ago.
and pre-release
and I even did a play through of it on YouTube so you can see how not scary it is in real time!

A part of me is obviously hoping that Outlast 2 actually ends up being an amazing horror experience but I REALLY fucking doubt it.


But before I end this post, how about I end on something positive?  Look back at the top of the page, there's a logo for a game called We Happy Few.  This is a survival game where instead of fighting away shit monsters with tits for eyes or walking around dark rooms being jumped scared you have to survive in an alternate 1960s England against drug addled loons.  The game boasts randomly generated worlds, permadeath (if you want it) and a story line to work through.

I don't know about you but when I lived in Manchester and I was walking home at night in areas with not too many people I'd always fear the idea of drug addled loons coming and trying to mug me or kill me or something.  This game takes that concept and turns it right up to 11 but then adds charming visuals and some ACTUAL FUCKING GAME PLAY (take note Outlast and Allison Road).  A truly interesting idea that you can get your hands on right now if you're the kind of thick twat that thinks early access is a good idea.  Something I'm definitely looking forward to though.

Although if none of these new games tickle your fancy you could just go play Silent Hill 3 or Resident Evil 2 again like every other person...

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls Starlight Stage

I'm not above playing a phone game that has anime girls plastered all over it, quite the opposite.  After having a friend of mine talk my ear off about this game for a good while I finally decided to give it a try and I was actually pleasantly surprised with what I got.

Cinderella Girls is a rhythm game for you phone which boasts a pretty hefty number of tracks.  You hold the phone sideways and tap the 5 buttons at the bottom of the screen in time with the music

Taking a phone screen and hitting a note are pretty much impossible
While all the rhythm game stuff is going on you have a fully 3D dance routine going on in the background and each character in the game has their own 3D model.  This puts it above it's competitor Love Live because last time I played that it only had static backgrounds which made playing songs a little visually unappealing.

Like every phone game and it's dog though Idolmaster has a collection element and it comes in the form of collecting performers for your group.  This is done on the usual "gatcha" system where you pay some form of currency and then get given performers and items at random

From there you can arrange a team of whoever you like and using them in songs will net them fans and affection which you then use to gain special story sequences or "evolve" them to their next idol form.  It is worth noting as well that this game gives out premium currency like it's candy so finding yourself with a team of rare idols doesn't actually take all that long and finding items to level them up with is equally easy so you can see a decent amount of progress in a very short time.  While normal idols just have a mugshot for an image rarer idols have big fancy artwork so if you're the kind of person that likes their anime CG then you'll get a kick out of that.

My one real complaint about this game is that it seems to download content every 10 fucking seconds.  Phones have limited data and I use mine up fairly quickly watching stupid YouTube videos during my train rides so this game may not be a good idea if you're the kind of person who is concerned about their date usage.

Still, it's not a terrible title and for a free to play mobile rhythm game it's pretty fun.  It's not going be better than anything you could play in an arcade but not bad if you need a quick rhythm fix.