Archive | November, 2015

#983 – So many new releases during the holidays

7 Nov

Being a gamer is awesome for many reasons (1000 to be exact, if you consider my blog to be the end all and be all of video game awesomeness) because we get new video game releases all the time, much like the movie and music industry. But there are dry spells and they unfortunately tend to be the majority of the year. It’s not always a bad thing because sometimes your backlog is huge and you need some time to catch up on it (I’m definitely the biggest culprit of that). Yet, when September rolls around all the way until Christmas, we are hit with blockbuster after blockbuster after blockbuster, in what is known as the ‘holiday release schedule’.

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The holiday schedule sees some of the greatest AAA titles being released as well as smaller titles that also deserve a play-through. Just take a look at some of the amazing releases that have passed and are coming up right now in Holidays 2015; Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Halo 5, Need For Speed, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Just Cause 3, Fallout 4, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, Star Wars: Battlefront, Rise of the Tomb Raider… I can go on and on, but you get the idea. It’s as though game developers forget that there are 8 other months in the year!

This time of year can be overwhelming with all the shopping, cooking, decorating, etc. that is custom for this time of year. But who cares when you have so much to choose and play from in the video game universe. Just make sure to ask Santa for those new releases or at least some money because when January comes around you might be penniless. But deep inside, you’ll be richer than all the richest kings put together (figuratively, of course).

AWESOME!

#984 – Getting away from the cops in Need For Speed

6 Nov

You are driving down the street, probably much quicker than you should when you hear a siren directly behind you. You go stiff and pray that you get let off the hook with merely a warning. The cop approaches your car door and you lower the window… let us stop there. No matter what the outcome is, how sweet would it be to drive off as fast as you can to avoid this confrontation. Pretty sweet if you ask me, especially if the only consequence was a virtual non-real fine and then you are back on your merry way. Well, in the wonderful world of Need For Speed, you can do just that. And boy is it more fun than stopping and getting a ticket.

Let me make this clear, I by no means condone running away from the cops in real life. But in Need For Speed, please go wild and break every road law in the book. That’s one of the amazing details that makes the video game world so fun, the chance to do something you only wish you could do in real life. I’m such a bad boy in this universe, aren’t I?

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NFS makes these virtual chases exciting every single time. In some games in the series, you can fight back with pre-determined areas that blow up a bunch of cop cars at once (a la pursuit breakers in NFS: Most Wanted). Or what about attacking the police by equipping weapons on your vehicle (a la NFS: Hot Pursuit). Or just the good old-fashioned way of driving as fast as you can to lose those suckers.

Whichever way you choose to defeat the law enforcement, that moment where you are in the clear is a proud achievement. Take a breath of fresh air, you are now a free man or woman… at least for another 5 minutes.

AWESOME!

#985 – Creating a Super Mario Maker level that is actually fun to play

5 Nov

Super Mario Maker is a dream come true for those of us (basically everybody) who have ever wanted to partake in the creation of Nintendo’s magic. Think about it in another way; imagine if you had the opportunity to help create the latest Disney or Pixar movie, the films those studios create are literally what happiness is made out of. The only thing is without a background in film or connections in the industry, that will probably never happen (and if it does just remember who came up with the idea first!). SMM at least makes game creation a reality, but creating something worthwhile is a hefty task.

  
After playing and watching hundreds if not thousands of levels online, you realize that most of your own levels suck. I thought it was cool at the time to put 30 goombas on top of each other only to find out… that it’s not. It gives you a greater respect for those people who created the legendary Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, they not only made wonderful levels but also had to program it all, it wasn’t as easy as these tools make it out to be. So after frustrating creation after frustrating creation, I came up with something actually… decent. Notifications start popping up that people are playing my level and are actually commenting with positive criticism. I know I’m far away from Shigeru Miyamoto status, but this made me feel all awesome inside.

No doubt that creating something is fun, but creating something that is actually fun is even better. Give someone the proper tools and they can create a masterpiece. Don’t give up just because your first 723 attempts failed, you may finally hit the fun jackpot with number 724.

AWESOME!

#986 – Getting a new video game for your birthday

4 Nov

Reality check. Every year we get older if you like it or not. It is what we as humans refer to as a birthday. Now before you start crying about how old you are, just remember that it also means that once every year is a chance to receive presents in honour of another year on our lovely planet. And what are the best presents to receive on these wonderful occasions? Clothes? No. Toys? No. Money? No. Video games? Of course! (did you expect otherwise from a gaming blog?) Don’t get me wrong, those other gifts rock as well, but the joy of getting a brand new video game is, for lack of a better word, awesome!

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Every birthday that I have received a video game I will remember until the day I die. Let me take you down a few of the more memorable birthday gifts I have had the pleasure of receiving. I once received Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat for the Nintendo GameCube with the included bongos; cheerful excitement ensued. Or the year I received the port of Super Mario World for the GBA; to own a copy of one of the greatest games of all-time on a handheld made me over joyous. Or the birthday one of my best friends Arun got me a copy of Comix Zone for the Sega Genesis, I knew nothing about it and then was blown away by it. And who can forget my birthday earlier this year when my loving girlfriend not only surprised me with a pre-order for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain but also a Retron5! I’m a lucky man for sure.

So make sure to embrace the day you entered this world by begging and pleading with all your friends and family to buy you the latest and greatest video game or an old school classic. Whatever you do get is an automatic win!

AWESOME!

#987 – Playing Wii Sports for the first time

2 Nov

A little bit of a history lesson for you all before I get into the meat of this post. The Nintendo Wii was originally called the Revolution. End history lesson, begin post. The Wii is a system that was loved and hated for many different reasons. And though it had a solid first party line-up, arguably the most important game released for the system was Wii Sports. It showcases what the unique technology of the Wii is capable of. When you play it you realize you’ve played nothing like it ever before.


Story time yet again! Let me take you back to 2006 when the Wii was about to be released. I wanted the system really, really, really badly. Unfortunately, the system was so popular that supply couldn’t match demand (basic economics, my school lesson for you all today). One of my friend’s though was lucky enough to get the system at launch and I convinced him to haul over that special white box to see what all the fuss was about. We plugged it in, turned it on and Wii Sports sealed the deal for me. At that point I knew Nintendo had something really special. When I finally got the system many months later I would pour many hours into the title and use it to show people how cool the Wii was.

I will admit that over time the simplicity of Wii Sports has made that initial magic worn off quite a bit. But you can never forget that first time you swing for the fences as though you are a real MLB player. Or when you tossed up a tennis ball and hit a perfect serve. Or when you rolled a bowling bowl for your first strike. I think you get the idea by now, so I’ll stop with the memories. But please never stop forgetting that awesome feeling that went through your body.

AWESOME!

 #988 – Sega Genesis game cases

2 Nov

Since the dawn of the home video game, boxes or cases were how these games were packed and stored. They are just like humans, coming in all shapes and sizes, big and small. Different materials were used as well (unlike humans), mostly paper and plastic. Cases have evolved and changed over time with less emphasis on them as the digital era takes over. Every period in video game history has it’s own wonderful game cases, but the most awesome has to be the ones for the Sega Genesis.

The beauty of a Sega Genesis (known as the Mega Drive in Europe and some other parts of the world) game case is something to behold. A book shaped hard plastic which meant your game was always protected. Seriously these things were tough, like a bomb shelter for your cartridge. Look at any collector’s collection and more likely than not they have their Genesis games in prestige condition thanks to those miraculous cases.

It’s awesomeness doesn’t end there though, with some other great features about them as well. They fit perfectly on a shelf showcasing the game’s title on the spine for easy storage. Plus some games would do some crazy stuff, like be a totally different colour than the usual red of most games. And some were even crazier, being made of paper much like its competitor at the time, the Super Nintendo. All in all, these things did a lot more than just hold a game until it was ready to be played

I will always hold a special place in my heart for the Sega Genesis, as it was the first home console I owned. But nostalgia or not, you have to agree that those cases are super cool and definitely…

AWESOME!

#989 – The abundance of indie games

1 Nov

Take a moment and list all the video games you played in the past year. Yeah I know I’m making you do a little work with this post today but it’s to help prove my point so please won’t you oblige? Pretty please with a cherry on top? Cool, thanks! Now how many of these games are indie games? If you are like the majority of gamers than the answer is sure to be quite a few (if not my experiment right now just backfired).

Once upon a time video games were created by small teams if not just one person. Over time budgets and teams grew and now many AAA titles are made by big corporations like Electronic Arts and Activision. Yet in today’s industry many of the most popular games are going back to their roots, small independent development teams.

Gone Home, Thomas Was Alone, Tiny Wings, Papers Please, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Shovel Knight, Guacamelee, Don’t Starve, Fez, Braid, Super Meat Boy, Journey, VVVVVV, Spelunky, Flower, Hotline Miami… honestly this list can go on forever so I’ll stop here. What do all of these extremely popular and well received (some so well received that they were nominated/won game of the year awards) games have in common? They are all indie games made by small, mostly unknown studios or individuals.

This explosion of indie titles can be credited to the many inexpensive and simple platforms where people can release games these days such as Steam, PlayStation Network, Xbox Store, and App Store just to name a few.  It’s truly amazing that few barriers are present for these awesome individuals to make awesome games, which means everybody wins! It’s a great time to be alive boys and girls.

AWESOME!