Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

There was a LOT to see at PAX. If you don’t believe me, just go look at their schedule. Go ahead. I’ll wait here. Here are a few games that I spent time with or that stuck with me after the show.

Dragon Fin SoupDragon Fin Soup-This one is a rogue-like, plain and simple. But not so plain. Very beautiful art and a real sense of a world gives this game some surprising depth of character. Already ran a very successful Kickstarter, this will be one to watch for the dungeon-crawl fan.

Orcs Must Die

Orcs Must Die: Unchained-The sequel to Orcs Must Die 1 and 2, this one is a big shift for the series. This time, things are focusing on 5 on 5 PvP in a very MOBA-esque format, but with the distinct traps and tools of OMD. I’ve had very limited time with the beta and it is, to put it mildly, chaotic. Definitely will be spending more time with it. If you liked the first two or other MOBA games, worth a look for sure.

Borderlands PS

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!-Its more Borderlands. After two games, you know what to expect. Crazy FPS with RPG elements but this time in a low gravity environment. Looks like a lot of fun, as always!

Tales from Borderlands

Tales From the Borderlands-Another Borderlands game? Yes and no. This one, as you might have noticed in the logo, is made by Telltale who is famous for The Walking Dead adventure games among other point and click masterpieces. This looks to be another in a long line of great, story driven adventure games.

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Pokemon: TCG Online-Its the Pokemon TCG and you play it online. Having played the actual TCG, I can highly recommend it! I’m looking forward to some down time spent playing it.

Evil Within

The Evil Within-And now for something completely different! The latest horror game by Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame. Didn’t see much, but you couldn’t go anywhere at PAX without seeing it mentioned.

Chromancer

Chromancer-As it says, browser based card game. Also uses field positioning and tactical combat. Got to sit and play the tutorial and it is on its way to being one heck of a game!

Super Comboman

Super ComboMan-Retro action game with modern graphics. Combat depth would give Devil May Cry a run for its money despite this being a sidescroller. Very beautifully done hi-def 2D graphics.

Swords and Soldiers 2

Swords & Soldiers 2-Side scrolling RTS. This is a rare breed. You don’t see many games in this genre and this one played fast and furious. Great art direction and animation with mechanics that work surprisingly well on the WiiU control pad.

Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon-Despite seeing this at two PAX-es running, I still have no hands on time with this. It is, from what I can gather, a side-scrolling rogue-like dungeon crawl. The art is striking and definitely grabs you when you see it. I’m just going to have to break down and buy it.

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Never Alone-An absolutely stunning side-scrolling adventure game. Very reminiscent of Limbo, Braid, Trine or even Lost Vikings. Based on stories of the Alaskan Inuit, the game project was actually started by a tribal group looking to preserve their stories interactively. Definitely one to keep an eye out for.

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Shadowgate-Remake of a classic point and click adventure game. The new graphics are just beautiful. If you like these classic point and click games, you owe it to yourself to get this one! Absolute stunner.

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JoJo’s Bizarre Technical Issues

Posted: August 28, 2014 by Kane Blaireau in Nostalgia, Technology, Video Games

Let me just start by saying, unabashedly, the Dreamcast is one of my top consoles of all time. So many under appreciated games. Not the least of which were the Capcom fighting games that ran better there than any console before it, giving us a full, arcade quality experience. Not to mention Phantasy Star Online, Jet Grind Radio, the original Soul Calibur etc.

Of course, hooking up such an old console to a modern, hi-def LCD is…eye burningly difficult. Its not that the games themselves look bad. They have actually aged well. But, the console came with a composite video cable, only one step above the coaxial connections of the ancient consoles. Luckily, this new tv has a new-fangled VGA input! Unfortunately, Sega stopped supporting the Dreamcast over a decade ago. TO THE INTERWEB!

Finding a Dreamcast compatible VGA cable was quite simple. Was only about $15 to boot. Showed up in a few days from Amazon. Plug everything in and, like magic, 480p video output! I must say, even though that is “low-rez”, the graphics still look quite nice. Everything is sharp and colorful if slightly pixely around the edges. HUGE improvement over the composite cable.

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This is what awesomely weird looks like.

Fast forward to day three. I was having technical issues with a PS2 game on the gen1 PS3 (long story for another article) and decided we would pull out the weirdest fighting game on the Dreamcast: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure! Still have my original copy from way back when. I mount the disk and power up…why is the load screen yellow? WHY IS THEIR AN ERROR MESSAGE?! OH GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY DREAMCAST?! Giving in to sleep, I told myself I would solve it the next day.

DC Yellow

Not even my TV! Apparently this is fairly common…

I woke up on Saturday (sleeping in despite my troubles) and decided to try it on my computer monitor. The TV had an HDMI port go bad (which fried the HDMI on the PS3…yet another story for another time) so I figured, maybe, just maybe, it caused an issue with the VGA port as well. Plug into computer monitor and…yellow. WHAT?! OK. Calming myself, I started wiggling the cord. It would turn white, then yellow. Jiggling the cord, it stayed white! OK! Progress. Pulled the cord out EVER so slightly and it continued to stay white with no hint of yellow. Turns out the aftermarket cable had a plug just slightly too long that was causing a bad connection. Problem: SOLVED! Alright back to the TV.

White load screen! Error message. WHAT?! Try other games. No error message. Whats going on here? Did an internet search and it turns out some Capcom fighting games only output video at 240 lines of resolution. The VGA cable only does 480. Crap. OK, is their a fix? YES! Using a DC-X (which is primarily for playing imports without modding your system), you can trick the system into outputting a 480 signal. BINGO! Alright. It worked! Sort of! All 240 lines are at the TOP of the screen. See, they were meant to have scan-lines in between each line to make it fill the whole screen. Later Capcom games, it turns out, took this into account and included the option to put the scan-lines back in. JoJo’s, sadly does not. Only way to play is going to be the (shiver) composite cable or get an S-Video cable. On the bright side, all my other Dreamcast games look spectacular. Sorry JoJo.

 

Going over the PAX Prime schedule. Looks like a good show this year. Honestly see more of interest to me than last year. Here is a rundown of what I’m looking forward to

 

Friday

10:30 Storytime With Mikey Neumann-The PAX keynote brought to you by one of the guys behind Borderlands. Should be fun. Studio heads are always entertaining in their own neurotic way.

11:30 Building Inclusive Communities in Analog Gaming Spaces-Whats better than gaming with a few people? Gaming with a LOT of people. Panel discussing how to make sure everyone is welcome at the table.

12 Molding and Casting for Beginners-I’ve done a tiny amount of molding. I get the basics, but a better understanding is never a bad thing. Does overlap the previous panel, so may have to rely on Noccie for notes on that one.

4:30 Queer Visibility in Tabletop RPGs-All about that inclusivity thing again. How much should you notice and how much should it matter? Should be an enlightening panel.

5:30 Developing the Thornwatch-Been looking forward to this game since Mike announced it. The mechanics sound very intriguing. I’m a big fan of new gaming ideas.

8:30 Concerts-The Doubleclicks should be more reason than anyone needs to get in the door. The rest is just gravy!

 

Saturday

1:30 Orcs Must Die!-One of my favorite game series is getting a sequel. Can’t wait to see where its going.

3:30 Art of the DM-Seems like a semi-yearly panel. Always good to have more tricks in the DMing arsenal.

9 Retrogame Roadshow-I love old games. Seeing some of them go for absurd amounts of money should be fun!

 

Sunday

10 Game Industry Rumble-A bunch of game industry folks beat the heck out of each other in the classic N64 Wrestlemania 2000. Whats not to love?

12 Digitizing the Tabletop-All about playing tabletop games online. Been wanting to try my hand so this should be a welcome leg up.

3 Tetris-The creator of Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov, talks about the game that defined a generation of handhelds.

6 A New Tabletop Gaming Canon-Tabletop gaming has been through drastic changes over the last decade. This panel looks at what games everyone should know going forward.

9 Collecting Games-Look at collecting games without getting ripped off. Definitely something on my radar.

 

Monday

10:30 The Art of the Table-More about GMing. Since that is my primary role most of the time, can’t have too many tricks up my sleeve.

1:30 Guilty Pleasures-Some games are terrible but you can’t help liking them. Should be fun hearing about what terrible games others play in the dark. I know I’ve got my own!

 

No guarantees I’ll make it to all of these, but I’ll be sure and write about the ones I do see. Hope to see you there!

 

Video Games Keep Me Up At Night

Posted: August 20, 2014 by Noccie in Noccie, Video Games
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A good video game is just like  good book. You pressure your self to keep moving forward but try to hold back to enjoy the magnificent view. As the plot moves forward, you find value in returning to a familiar setting over and over but also excitement over new views. Even when you think it’s over, you see there are still chapters to finish and you hope it will magically keep going. The characters become yours and your friends or enemies. Looking at the clock finally, you realize you need to go to bed but instead you try to finish just a little more. Feeling tired in the morning doesn’t matter because when you get home, you’ll find yourself playing it till the morning once again.

Fallout3

There are games that grab you and shake you. WAKE UP! WAKE UP YOU FOOL!

FallOut 3 is one of those special games. When I play FallOut 3, I have to have at least a four hour block of time. I know that I won’t feel accomplished unless I’ve played at least that much. On work nights, I have to really watch myself otherwise it’s 1 am and I need to go to bed. The othernight I had Kane promise that he would help me. Then he went to bed and didn’t realize I played for a half an hour more. The next day he asked me how late I wound up being up. It was amazing it was only a half an hour more, so I considered it a promise kept.

Pokemon is another game I can play, lose track of time. If I don’t watch myself I wander the routes looking for stray Pokemon to capture. The sun will rise and set before I realize what I’ve been doing.

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Why are these games so addictive though?

FallOut has a compelling story, interesting quests and an open world. I am definately an explorer. Pokemon has similar elements.

I think these games keep me up at night though because I get so involved that time doesn’t seem to matter. I want to keep working, exploring and building on the story as it unfolds in my version of the world. Sometimes I plow through them really quick and then play through a second time, slowly, taking my time to enjoy and savore the flavor.

These games are both part of successful series. Both have good writing, interesting characters and plenty of things to discover. I guess that’s what it takes to get me to stay up at night.

What games drive you to insomnia?

Hey folks! Now that the holidays are over, more cool Kickstarters are starting to pop up again. Here are a few to keep an eye on.

Customizable 3D Printed Tabletop Miniatures! Made-to-order miniatures. This one has already blown by its funding goal and through a couple of stretch goals adding sci-fi  and mounts to the core of fantasy minis. They are a bit pricey, but for something that is basically print on demand, its hard to beat. Their really are no other options short of hiring a sculptor!

Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians! A tactical strategy game directed by the man behind Final Fantasy Tactics. Sounds promising, but not showing us much just yet. Definitely worth keeping an eye on if you like that sort of game, though.

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen! Fantasy MMO brought to you by a bunch of guys who broke away from SOE and were behind EQ, EQ2, SWG and on and on. Worth keeping an eye on if you liked any of those.

Project Nimbus! Open world mech shooter. Looks to have elements of the greats such as Zone of Enders and Virtual On. Only a few days left so go take a look!

Red Box Games Norse Warrior Miniatures! Tre Manor is one of the best miniature sculptors in the business today. Get some of his amazing work early by backing this one!

Earthdawn 4th Edition! I am a fan of Earthdawn and am VERY glad to see it coming back again. I’m not sure who is behind the new FASA, but looks like they have plenty of people convinced that they know what they are doing. Epic heroic fantasy with its own take on the genre.

The Mini Box – Simple Storage Solution! Affordable miniature storage. Glad to see an American company doing that as we don’t have many choices this side of the pond.

Last, but not least KUNG FURY! Just go watch the trailer on the Kickstarter. If that doesn’t convince you…I don’t have anything to say to you.

As always, if YOU know of a Kickstarter that everyone needs to hear about, let me know in the comments!

Drobot and Flashwing

Posted: January 18, 2014 by Noccie in Noccie, Video Games
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Skylanders has some great characters. I’ve fallen in love with a few of them. They have these little dragons that I really enjoy playing. Most of the elements have them but so far the best are Drobot and Flashwing. Most of the dragonlets are really useful characters with great models… except Zapp. He is the dragonlet for the water element and has really annoying voice acting and weak powers. That’s a subject for another blog.

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Drobot is part of the Tech element. His model stands on a pile of silver gears, wings lifted. When his wings lift and tail curls they turn into the middle. He has lasers that shoot out of his eyes, he can fly and shoot gears out behind him. He’s a great character for flight and fight. Strategically, once he has flight he is one of the best characters for dealing with mobs.

His background says he felt odd and went off to an island where he found mysterious technology. Using the technology he found he built a suit, which he uses to fly and defend himself.

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Flashwing is from the Element of Earth. Her story starts with the character Bash wishing he could fly. A star streaked across the sky and crashed. When Bash ran over to the crater he found a cracked stone and Flashwing exploded out of it. She then proceeded to fire a laser than blasted him off a cliff.

Crystals are the main source of Flashwing’s powers. She is infact a crystal dragon after all. She shoots crystals out of her wings in two different manners. Her attacks are SUPER fast. She has a high damage per second. When I am playing an area with lots of small enemies, I prefer to play this Skylander. She’s fast and cleans the area’s out quickly.

Pokemon X on the bus

Posted: January 17, 2014 by Noccie in Noccie, Pokemon, Video Games
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I’m actually a pretty busy person with my job, band, blog and socializing. A lot of the time I play Pokemon on the bus. This has led to some akward encounters. First, people look at you weird when you are a 35 year old woman playing Pokemon X on the bus. If only they knew the truth about the PokeDex of life. Secondly, people need to respect that I am holding something when I am sitting. Yes, I go between my 3DS and my phone. I’m a busy on the go woman. I have needs and I need to text people while leveling up my Pokemon. Recently something happened though I found amusing. I was on a sparsly filled bus and someone sent me a “Hi!”

I stopped and looked around the bus. No one appeared to be playing on a DS. The person tried to connect for trading a few times and a match by my DS connection kept failing. We never wound up connecting but I am left wondering who this person is on my aquaintance list. How far does the Wi Fi connect stretch? Could it been one of the houses we were passing by?

Seriously, I looked around the bus like a weirdo waiting for someone to smile or wave. Nope, everyone just had a look of tired workers on their way home.

If you know, please comment. I am really curious how the 3DS WiFi works.

My Little InfernoTitle

My Little Inferno is brought to you by the people that designed World of Goo. So you know you are in for a few things, aazing music; interesting game mechanics and lots of unlockables. I played the whole game in about 6 hours. Once I started playing, I just couldn’t stop. What is My Little Inferno?

FamilyTime

Tomorrow Coporation has unveiled it’s new toy, the My Little Inferno fire place. You buy stuff from their cataloges and burn it in the fire. Different items change the fire. Some things make it colorful, some have special effects. Either way you find yourself transfixed.

The game is a bit tongue in cheek.  You throw everything in the fire from bugs, credit cards, buses full of kids, robots, planets and anything you can imagine. As you play through the game you unlock the various catalogues of iteams. By combining different items you unlock combinations. Inbetween unlocking things you get letters. Some of the letters come from your neighbor, Sugar Plumps and others come from the head of Tomorrow Corporation, Miss Nancy. This is how the game takes on a narritive. You also receive weather forcasts from the weather man in the weather balloon. They use the Weatherman as a way of giving you information about the world above the smoke stack.

The game is a clever way to discuss people that get lost in their games. They loose site of what really matters, people and enjoying life. Instead you sit transfixed burning money. Why? Sugar Plumps does this and eventually her house catches fire. Did that teach you not to blow up the sun? NO! I, spend a good 6 hours playing this game in one day. I did the very thing the character in the game was doing. I spent a day burning things.

Someone Elses Family

Anyone who knows better, wants you to leave your house and see the sun. The Weather Man, Sugar Plumps and even Miss Nancy are all planning on going to the beach. What were they really trying to say about the people that bought the game?

Either way, I enjoyed the game and the story. I wanted to find out what happened at the end. They have 99 known combos and a few others. The combos range from obvious to making no sense. The one I thought was dumbest was the Yellow Brick Road combo. I would play it again and I would buy other games from this company. I loved World of Goo afterall.

Right now, the game is on sale with Steam. Take my MONEY! Oh wait, you did. Now all I can see is my house burning down around me as I sit infront of the false glow of an inferno of my own making! Maybe the game was a statement about the season Steam sales?

TomorrowCopr

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Skylanders was made by adults for players 6 years of age and up. Then they throw in jokes that children born since 1990 probably wouldn’t get. Here is TerraFin. He’s a part of the earth faction in the game. They can control rocks, dirt and earthy things. That makes TerraFin a “land shark.”

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A land shark is a reference to a 1970’s Saturday Night Live skit. According to Wikipedia it’s also a term that used to be used for real-estate speculators, German Shepherds and a beer by Busch called “Land Shark Lager.” The Land Shark skit from SNL used to be pretty much the same each time but it was funny regardless.

The set up was a knock on the door. The land shark would try to gain entry by claiming to be a delivery person of some type, like a singing telegram. Here is a video link to one of the skits with Gilda.

I do like that some of the characters in the game, you wouldn’t normally associate with their element. They usually turn out to be some kind of in joke or pun though.

On the other side of the coin, Terrafin is a great character to play. He has two attacks. One is punching and the other he dives under the ground, swimming like a shark. When he pops back up he can slam the earth causing collateral damage to multiple targets around him. There was one part of his character I don’t like. He makes this one random comment “Where’s my five dollars?” He only makes it when he’s collecting money as treasure but it struck both me and Kane as a little offensive sounding. You have to hear it to know what we are talking about. I can see that some people are talking about this on the internet. Maybe I’m just being overly sensitive but until I heard that quip, I thought he was one of the best characters in the game. It just offended me the way that line comes off. It presents itself as racist. There really aren’t races in this game but outside of the context in the real world you brain picks up on the racist nature of this one voice acted comment. He is part of the brown, earth faction and he is hitting you up for money. The accent is a stereotyped black accent. It’s very upsetting.

According to Youtube he’s actually a very popular character. Maybe I am making to much of this one comment. If anything, they just weren’t thinking about it when they recorded it… I hope.

The original, first version of him comes with Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure in a package with the Pirate Ship, a treasure chest and pirate swords. The pack gives you a new level to explore, a huge magical attack, a weapon and a hidden treasure.  The package is $24.99 at most places. Right now Toys R Us has a buy, get 40% off deal going. The price is worth it for the added content.

They do have another version of him that comes with GIANT METAL KNUCKLES. So, we will see what happens with the game and if we keep playing past Giants.

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Is it strange that I get upset when the NPC’s move to another town in Animal Crossing: New Leaf?

I find the NPC’s or villagers in New Leaf more enjoyable to deal with than past townies. In the games previously there were some NPC’s I really hated. When they left town I could careless. They were usually rude, angry, annoying or generally unpleasant to deal with in the original on the Game Cube. As it progressed they grew more tolerable but in the latest game. I’ve grown fond of several of the characters.

On Christmas Eve I found out that Klaus is leaving. We got to say good bye but I wish I had more time to visit with him.

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Klaus was always nice to talk to. He was a little strange from time to time but always great to interact with. I took a month off from playing Mayor of Nowhere. That’s what I named my town, Nowhere. There are a lot of strange things that happen in Nowhere.

I even met a raindeer named Jingle that game me a bag of presents to pass out. I was dressed as Santa Klaus. Everyone really thought I was him, spreading merry tidings of cheer. He gave me a present to give to Klaus, the T-Shirt he was wearing in the photo above. I may have jumbled a bunch of the gifts for the town but he said this was what he asked for this Christmas.

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Here is Skye getting a present of a candy umbrella… which Skye didn’t appreciate fully. At least Klaus was happy on his last night in town and he thinks I am the best Mayor of Nowhere ever.