Tail Concerto – Part 1

•March 16, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Tail Concerto is really an underrated gem. Come watch me play through one of my favorite PS1 games of all time.

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Seattle Retro Gaming Expo 2016

•August 2, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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Last Saturday, I decided I was going to get up early on a weekend for once and ride my bike seven miles to an event someone who runs a retro gaming blog wouldn’t dare miss: The Seattle Retro Gaming Expo.

Read on…

Nintendo Playstation: A Prototype Exists!?!?!

•July 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Look at this! We’ve all heard the story about how Nintendo and Sony were going to team up to bring us the “Nintendo Playstation”, but did you know there was an actual prototype made? I didn’t! Ben Heck tears it down in this fascinating video for the hardware savvy.

Quick Review: Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (BETA)

•April 24, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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So, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. I played through the beta last night, completing all of the main missions and some side missions.

This is… very different. It’s not a bad different. It’s not a good different. This game is going to appeal to an entirely different audience than the first game, which is… good- no, rather, not bad- but also slightly disappointing to those who really loved what made the first game unique.

Mirror’s Edge was a sort of puzzle game in the vein of Portal. You had to traverse from Point A to Point B, utilizing mechanics the game taught you from the beginning. It was a relaxing and solitary experience. Just you, the city, the soothing electronic music, and running. The entire game felt like breathing cold, winter air into your lungs.

Catalyst is… Assassin’s Creed. Far Cry. “Insert-open-world-heavily-cinematic-game-with-grocery-list-of-mundane-side-tasks-here”. The gameplay from the first one is still there and intact (though with some of the skills locked behind a progression tree, it feels a little clunky in the beginning), but everything is soaked in draaaammmmaaaaa now.

Faith is the edgy protagonist trying to pay off her debt to some dude she used to work for, there’s a subplot involving her family getting killed or something in the riots, a bunch of flat, uninteresting characters she works with now… God, I just could not bring myself to care about anyone or anything I saw in the cutscenes. The overly cinematic story feels forced into a game that doesn’t need it, and everything is so hardcore serious and dramatic 100% of the time. There was a point when I was running, and some guy was blabbing at me over the headset about something he clearly thought was important involving the main bad guy and paying off the debt if you want to keep running and I just thought, “Why are you talking? Why is there so much plot? Why are there markers all over the map? Why do I need XP to level up? Why am I retreading the same paths over and over to complete similar objectives???”

I realized how much I missed the first game’s ambiance. The sounds of running footsteps with soft music in the background, my only concern keeping up the flow. There was a story in the first game, sure. But it was so minimal and hardly intrusive, and felt like as much a breath of fresh, chill air as the rest of the game.

Catalyst is not a bad game. But it is a very different experience from its predecessor.

People will like Catalyst, but not necessarily people who liked the first game. It reminds me a little of the RE series, in a way: Losing sight of what made the formula special in order to capture a new audience.

Bottom line for me: Most of the time I was playing Catalyst, I wished I was playing the first game.

Quick Review – RWBY: Grimm Eclipse

•March 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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I tried out the RWBY game last night. Only complaints really are the movement system leaves something to be desired (lack of good animation transitions and there’s that “ice skating effect” à la Fallout 3/ New Vegas/ Oblivion), and it needs a save system, since quitting the game at any point loses all progress (still Early Access, so understandable). Also still a lack of any real story or goals other than “run through the level and kill everything”. There is dialogue as you go along, and there is some hint of a story, but I haven’t gotten far enough yet to see how fleshed out that is currently. Also, the like two or three songs that play during gameplay are great, but get repetitive.

I played both the regular version and the combat revision beta. The regular was pretty fun, very satisfying combat. The revision was definitely more polished in a few areas, and I liked the counter system they borrowed from Assassin’s Creed. However, the new way skills are handled is really sloppy. You can tell they’re still just experimenting and testing the waters.

All that said, if you’re a RWBY fan, check it out. They say it’s going to get more expensive as they add updates, and the state it’s in right now is pretty fun. The combat revision is different enough from the regular that I can tell they’re putting hard work into improving the game, and it’s only going to get better from here.

Hear It From a Pro: Jason Van Beveren

•February 7, 2016 • Leave a Comment
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Jason Van Beveren, WG Cells

 

Also during my trip to Seattle recently, I was given the chance to visit WG Cells, Wargaming’s mobile division, to get a behind-the-scenes look at their studio in action. It was an invaluable experience, and I’d like to thank everyone at the company who welcomed me and offered great advice and insight into the game industry.

My contact with WG Cells was Jason Van Beveren, Head of Player Experience.

Jason’s journey into the game industry was a little unconventional: Through games journalism! After years of balancing a day job and freelance writing about games, Jason was finally able to break into his dream career with a job in marketing games.
What also sets Jason apart is that he was a little late to the party — He didn’t get his first industry job until he was nearly 30. Having experienced firsthand that perseverance can pay off, Jason’s message to all aspiring game developers is to never give up, because it’s never too late to start doing what you love.

Jason and I recorded a little discussion about his life and advice for game industry hopefuls:

Indiespective: Matt Matte, Melanie Meyer, Will Stahl

•February 2, 2016 • Leave a Comment

While visiting Seattle recently, I got the chance to sit down and chat with three awesome indie developers: Matt Matte and Melanie Meyer of FMJ Games, and Will Stahl of Offworld Industries.

Some facts:

  • Matt and Melanie are the founders of the largest Unreal Engine Meetup in Seattle, with 30-60 people in attendance every month.
  • The Seattle Unreal Engine 4 Meetup has been active for over a year and has since been officially endorsed by Epic Games and Meetup
  • Matt and Melanie are the developers of Monkey Land 3D: Reaper Rush for iOS
  • Will is one of the founding members of Offworld Industries, developer of Squad
  • Squad was released on Steam in December 2015 and sold extremely well, beating out Fallout 4 for a time as the top seller on the platform. It is currently sitting at “Very Positive” in user reviews.

I decided to record our conversation in a podcast format, and it worked out pretty well! I may do more of these in the future.

 
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