Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year! Reasons to Be Excited

God damn well I've seemed to have taken a long absence haven't I?  Well while maybe a part of it is due to a little bit of laziness there has been a winter school at my work that makes me come home wanting to die and a family trip from my family that ate all my blogging and streaming time but those things are pretty much over and now I can get right back into the swing of things again.

2016 was a bit of a shit year for gaming I feel.  At the time of writing the only game that got released this year that I can actually remember being any good was Persona 5 and the same can't be said if you live in the west because you aren't getting that shit until April.  I'm sure there was some other good shit but I either didn't play it or don't remember it right now so whatever.  But instead of looking back let us look forward so I would like share with you a few of the games that I am most excited for in 2017

After playing the demo on the PS4 and being stumped by the wooden finger thing for a few hours Resident Evil 7 seems to be a bit of return to form for the series.  Assuming the the demo is it's own sort of stand alone thing and the game isn't just going to be some shitty walking simulator with no combat and simplistic puzzles then I think we are in for a bit of a treat with the new entry.  Hopefully gone will be the awful action game experiences that 5 and 6 gave us and maybe we can get some proper next gen survival horror for once.

If you have not played the first Nier game then you owe it to yourself to go give it a spin before the new one comes out.  Fantastic setting, plot and soundtrack and while the game play was a little.....lacking, the overall experience was phenomenal.  Now we have a sequel that's developed by Platinum games so hopefully we will get the fantastic setting, plot and soundtrack but with equally fantastic game play this time too.  I've been ignoring a lot of the news because I want to go in as blind as possible for my first playthrough but trust me, it's going to be good.  If it's not I'll eat my own shoes.

 A game that originally began development in 2004 and after a lot of shit happening with it is finally getting released now, Nioh is essentially your next Souls game but just not produced by From Software and even Team Ninja have no problem admitting their inspiration from those guys.  That said, it's looking pretty fucking fantastic and while I personally missed the demo I have it on good word from one of the few people who's opinion I trust that the game is pretty fucking good.  Then again if you don't know already just how great Nioh is gearing up to be then you've probably been living under a rock.

Finally one more game that I didn't know about until I wrote this post and decided to quickly google some other upcoming games that I didn't know about and this one caught my interest pretty hard.  What looks to be some kind of RPG where you play as a vampire doing vampire things but your character is also a doctor so you have to keep your cover.  Sort of like Vampire: The Masquerade but without thousands of books of lore you have to understand before you can play.  Looks interesting, I'll absolutely be checking it out as soon as I can.

So 2017 is already gearing up to be a pretty good year and this is just the shit that's being widely reported on.  Who knows what kind of Japan only niche shit will come out for things like the Vita or doujin games you can only get in nerd stores?!  Only time will tell, let's hope its a good one

Happy New Year and as usual, thanks to all for the continued support and donations, hopefully we can raise even more money for Alzheimer's this year than we have ever done before!

Sunday, 18 December 2016

2017 Speed Schedule

The new year is nearly upon us which means it's nearly time for another AGDQ so my excitement levels are pretty high!  

As you may know, I also do a few speed runs and while I'm not what you'd call "good" I do find it highly enjoyable so this post is just to let you know what games I'm planning to run through 2017.  

This doesn't mean I'll be running only 1 game per month but it is the one I'll be focusing on with the plan of doing 1-3 runs or a couple of hours of practice a day, but I won't be neglecting other games too.  

January: Silent Hill (Bad+) 
February: Hotline Miami 
March: Megaman 4 
April: Silent Hill 2 
May: Ys1
June: Super Mario World (11 Exits) 
July: Super Castlevania 4 
August: <New Game> 
September: Megaman 2 
October: They Bleed Pixels 
November: <New Game> 
December: Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers

Like I said, I'll be trying to keep up with all my runs and I'll be of course willing to take a request for a run if it came with a small donation.  On top of that there will be the usual Final Fantasy and Resident Evil stuff too so expect the stream to be pretty active in 2017! 

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Parasite Eve: Bigger Than You Thought

Parasite Eve is one of those games that isn't so widely known I feel.  The first game was a sort of action RPG affair and the second game played a bit more like a survival horror title with RPG elements. They were both pretty good and while the 3rd game on PSP was a little bit shit its absolutely a series worth checking out.

However what some fans might not know is that Parasite Eve is a bigger series than they might think.  This is especially true if you lived in the UK because we never got a PS1 release of the first game which is really weird.  Allow me to fill you in on a bit of extra series background that you may have not known about.

The first game was released in 1998 in both Japan and America for the PS1 and that's where you think the series started but you would be quite wrong.  Allow me to introduce you to a dude called Hideaki Sena

This guy isn't a game developer of any kind but a pharmacologist.  In fact, right now Dr Sena currently gives lectures on microbiology in Sendai, Japan but the other thing he likes to do is write books and the most famous book he wrote was titled Parasite Eve.

I can't give you a plot synopsis because I've not read it but if you head to the wikipedia page for the book there is one there.  This book kicked off the series back in 1995 and after the books success Square teamed up with the books publisher and created the first game which is actually a direct sequel to the book.  From there we got all the entries that we already know about which are the two PS1 games and the 3rd Birthday for PSP.  However, there are two more pieces of Parasite Eve media that you possibly didn't know about

There's a collection of Parasite Eve manga books, the first of which (pictured above) is based on the novel while the ones that followed were based on the games.  These were published in 1998 and as far as I know, have never seen an English release.  At this point I'm sure you might want to go online to see if there's a fan translation but at time of writing I've not been able to find one.  Even the google image search shows a total of 0 images with replaced English text so if you want to read it, it'll have to be in Japanese.

The other thing is a movie, of course based on the book, which I have also not seen but it has a 5.9/10 on IMDB so it can't be THAT bad.  It's actually not that hard to get hold of so give it a watch if you get the chance.

The last time we saw some Parasite Eve content was in 2010 with the painfully average 3rd Birthday and since then it's been a little bit forgotten.  It would be nice to see some new content for the series but maybe better to let it rest while the majority of the stuff produced for it is still good.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Gaming Bringing People Together

While this is something that has died out in recent years I still see it flying around the Internet in certain places.  What I'm of course referring to is that horrible stereotype of an overweight, neckbearded layabout with no friends and no future sitting around and playing video games all day.  

I think it's safe to say that most people reading this blog know that isn't the case and I also think that most people are aware it has never been the case.  I think part of the reason that the stereotype has almost died off over the years is because of gaming systems utilizing online play or, with companies like Nintendo, emphasizing the social experience.  

However even before the tech and the rise in popularity of the medium gaming was NEVER like the aforementioned stereotype.  I think almost everyone who has been gaming for a long time has some kind of memory that involves huddling around a split screen for hours and hours with friends or staying up stupid late to play a new release they were excited about.  

In my teenage years I was extremely anti social for a number of reasons but gaming didn't keep me locked in the house and away from people, it did the exact opposite.  While I hated almost everyone with a pulse at my school it was the small group of gamers that I ended up hanging around with and to top it all off I'm still in contact with them today, which cannot be said for people I met through other means.  

Despite all this though, the image of the basement dwelling nerd persists even today.  Usually these comments are made by idiots who don't game or gaming journalists who are being disagreed with on sites like Twitter.

Gaming is probably one of the MOST social past times you can engage in, not the least and it's always been that way.  So if you do see anyone on social media making comments like that, please know that you would have good reason to laugh at them and shun them.

Nostalgia Tripping at the Old Arcade

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Mobile Gaming is Shit

I have a Japanese exam coming up soon and the chances of me passing it are pretty fucking slim.  This is one of the reasons that content has been so thin on the ground and it's partly because when I'm not eating, sleeping or wanking I've replaced a lot of my gaming time with studying.  This means that the only gaming I've been doing for the last few weeks has been little bouts of mobile games during my commute to work or lunch break or streams of Resident Evil 4.

So mobile gaming is shit but not for the reason you might think.  A lot of people rag on mobile gaming but actually in recent years it's been getting a lot better.  You still have your cheaply made puzzle games and various shit quality rip offs of whatever the mobile hit du jour is but it's a lot easier to find something of at least some quality now than it used to be.

For example I've clogged up my phone with a whole bunch of games such as the Shadowverse, a card game which makes Hearthstone look like a soggy pile of shit, Idolmaster, a rhythm game with a staggering number of songs for a free to play, Gyrosphere, a slow version of Monkey Ball and Perchang a fun little puzzler that I play while taking a shit.  Not to mention all the ports of actual games that exist on the app store now, mobile, at least from a selection stand point, isn't as painfully awful as you might think.

However I still fucking hate it because phones were just not designed for gaming and playing games on these things is a highly frustrating experience and a lot of the time I'd rather do my own wisdom teeth surgery than deal with the shit that these games are causing me. 

For example, phones do EVERYTHING nowadays but they also have limited space.  So it's all well and good having a decent selection of games but eventually you'll probably have to delete them for apps that are actually useful or so you can take a picture of that stupid cat you saw on the street yesterday.  But let's say that's not an issue for you because you're one of those weirdos that bought the million gig version of your phone, the controls are still shit.  Touch screen controls are wank outside of tapping or sliding, as soon as you have to start making precise movements or, god help you, playing with one of those stupid on screen D-Pads (Like in Sonic CD) playing the game becomes insanely annoying.  But OK, maybe you're a fucking twat who bought one of those controller add ons instead of just buying a portable system, the biggest problem with mobile gaming is the battery.

Games eat battery life faster than your mum eats sweet and sour pork at the all you can eat Chinese buffet.  Pokemon Go was the best example of this where playing the game for about an hour would drain you from 100 to about 60.  Any game beyond a shitty angry birds clone tends to destroy your battery and this problem is made worse if your phone has a little bit of age on it so the battery life isn't quite what it used to be either.  I started my lunch break yesterday at 80%, played 2 games of Shadowverse and was knocked down to about 20.  On the other hand I can grab my PSP and finish Ys1 Chronicles about 8 times before the battery light even starts blinking.  Yes, I know portable chargers exist but that's just another fucking thing I have to buy with my hard earned cash to play games that just quite frankly aren't as good as proper portable games.

It's nice to see the quality of mobile gaming go up but the hardware just isn't appropriate for any kind of meaningful gaming experience without being tethered to a wall socket or spending a decent amount of cash on extra bits.  Hopefully in a few years I'll be able to make a post talking about mobile gaming being the bees knees and praising how far it's come but by that time I'll probably be dead.