Sunset {Review}

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“Despite significant technical shortcomings, Sunset is a wholly unique and intriguing game that draws you in thanks to its captivating premise and setting, solid storytelling and exquisite sense of style and atmosphere.”

  • Developer: Tale of Tales
  • Publisher: Self-published
  • Genre: Avant-garde
  • Release date: May 21, 2015
  • Played on: PC
  • Play time: 8 hours
  • Price listed / paid: 19,99€ / Copy provided by developer

“Five years to get a piece of paper that says I’m an engineer. All so I can clean this man’s house,” Angela muses as she steps into the penthouse apartment for the first time. It’s spacious and empty. Gabriel Ortega, her employer, has tasked Angela to clean the floors, move some boxes and open the blinds which leads to a huge balcony overlooking the city. The view is spectacular, but there’s trouble on the horizon. It’s 1972, Angela Burnes is a black American woman trapped in a small fictional Latin American country called Anchuria which has just been shaken by a military coup. Nobody gets in or out and Angela has been forced to take up a housekeeping job in order to get by. This is the premise of Sunset, a first-person exploration and narrative game by Belgian developer Tale of Tales responsible for more experimental games such as The Path, Bientôt l’été and Luxuria Superbia.

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DBoy’s Den – Episode 8 – Witchers, Kings and Axl Rose

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In this episode, I give my impressions on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, on Game of Thrones, and on music in general. I also sprinkle in some questions! Oh, and yeah, there might be some wrestling talk in there too. Sorry.

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More Splatoon Global Testfire Footage (w/ Commentary) – Progress Bar Radio

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These Splatoon Global Testfire videos are about gameplay and analysis. Check it out! And getting splattered, of course.

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Apotheon {Review}

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“Apotheon is a genuinely great game with a lot of variety. It looks amazing, the game world is a joy to explore and it remains thoroughly interesting throughout.”

  • Developer: Alientrap
  • Publisher: Self-published
  • Genre: Action adventure
  • Released: February 2015
  • Played on: PC
  • Play time: 17 hours
  • Price listed / paid: 14,99€ / 7,49€

Zeus really is kind of a douchebag. Now we can add yet another incident to his already long list of misdeeds. By his decree, the gods have turned their back on humanity essentially condemning it to oblivion. Someone ought to pull that lightning bolt out of his ass one of these days. But humanity has a wildcard in the form on Nikandreos who, with a little assistance from Hera, ascends to Mount Olympus to confront the gods and Zeus himself face to face. Not all gods agree with their King and will be more than happy to help you out, but you’ll also face some of them in direct combat.

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Bloodborne Discussion With Entertainium.org Team

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I have a mellow discussion with a couple of folk from Entertainium.org about Bloodborne, the video game industry and how quiet @crakestraw is in real life. It was a good time had by all.

Background music by Lifeform
Album Fast Fall

You can buy it for $3.99 here.

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DBoy’s Den – Episode 5 – A Little Bit Of Irish

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The best tag team in podcast history is here, and it’s taking over DBoy’s Den! Join me and my special guest Darren Moore as we talk video games, movies, TV shows and other ramblings on. Beannacht!

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DBoy’s Den – Episode 4 – This Podcast Is BrinkingYellows!

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DBoy’s Den – Episode 4 – This Podcast Is BrinkingYellows!

In this episode of DBoy’s Den, I am joined by special guest Tony Smith, as we discuss getting older, video games past, present and future, and the origin story of BrinkingYellows.

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Flower Music Video w/ Yann Tiersen

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  • Music track: Yann Tiersen – “La Valse d’Amélie (Version Orchestre)”
  • Game: Flower
  • Created: March 2009

The track is from the soundtrack of a French film called Amélie which is one of my favorite films of all time. It’s the orchestral variation of the main theme. I don’t remember all that much about the thought process or even the creation process of this project. The concept itself is simple and it was rather simple and fast to make. The slow beginning section of the track accompanies the slow movement of individual petals, the mid string section showcases the beautiful environments whereas the last, fast section sees the faster gameplay. Despite its simplicity, this is one of my personal favorites as it just evokes a warm fuzzy feeling with just a pinch of melancholy.

As always, comments are immensely appreciated.

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Not A Hero {Review}

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“Not a Hero is a very enjoyable game thanks to its tight mechanics, exhilarating gameplay and humorous story.”

  • Developer: Roll7
  • Publisher: Devolver Digital
  • Genre: Action
  • Released: May 14, 2015
  • Played on: PC
  • Play time: 6 hours
  • Price listed / paid: 12,99€ / Copy provided by developer

Would a purple homicidal anthropomorphic rabbit from the future be a better ruler than the real ones we have today? Sadly, the answer is: quite possibly. And that’s exactly the premise of Not a Hero from London-based developer Roll7 that already made a name for itself with the acclaimed side-scrolling skateboarding game OlliOlli. The idea presented by BunnyLord is that, for some reason, the world will end unless he gets elected mayor. The polls aren’t in BunnyLord’s favor and apparently the best way to turn voter opinion around is to assemble a crew of misfits who will brutally and mercilessly poke crime in its ugly face. Well, we’ve certainly seen worse election campaigns.

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DBoy’s Den – Episode 7 – This Podcast Calls For GigastormZ!

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Another special guest on this episode of DBoy’s Den, as Derek Carston joins me! We talk about Mad Max: Fury Road, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Fables, amongst other things! Oh what a lovely day!

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Spotlight on Excrement Vol. 4 – [Shaq is Back]

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The 1990’s were a turbulent time.

Nostalgia for the 1970’s, including an affinity for the fashion and music, had made a comeback like some previously eradicated communicable disease. We endured the horniest president in U.S. history while Home Alone became one of the highest grossing films of all time. It was an era when Pauly Shore could be a marquee star and the film Armageddon showed us that a three-hour Aerosmith music video was possible.

My movies suuu-uuuck.  

From the ashes of civilization heroes would rise and forged from this era was a true renaissance man: Shaquille O’Neal. Not content to excel merely at basketball, Shaq would branch out into other, more artistic venues, including a much-appreciated stint as an “actor” in such poignant works as Steel.

He also gave us ShaqFu.

s5

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Spotlight on Excrement Vol. 3: Batman Dark Tomorrow

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For all the deserved flack Superman 64 receives for being both a squandered opportunity and a horrifically atrocious game, few seem to be aware of Kemco’s tribute to utter failure, Batman: Dark Tomorrow, a game that is, on every level, as poorly conceived and executed as the Man of Steel’s colossal gaming trainwreck.

Released six years prior to Rocksteady’s masterpiece Arkham Asylum – proof positive that a Batman game could be brilliant – Batman: Dark tomorrow’s most distinguishing and notable feature is that it quite literally exists as the antithesis of the Arkham games, essentially doing everything wrong that those games did correctly.

DT COVER

Released in 2003 and developed by HotGen, a small developer known mostly for mediocre handheld titles, the early buzz on Dark Tomorrow suggested it was a title to keep an eye on. Based on the comics and developed in tandem with Warner and DC Comics, the developers had promised an authentic Dark Knight experience that would draw from the rich mythos of the comics while integrating mechanics that would resonate with authenticity and deliver variety.  

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DBoy’s Den – Episode 6 – Straight From The Heart

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Love. Does it stink, or is it a beautiful thing? I don’t think I have the correct answer to that, but I have known what both sides of the coin are like, and I share one of my experiences with you. Also, I saw The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and I give you my impressions on it. Plus, Game of Thrones, Pillars of Eternity, and much, much more!

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Pillars of Eternity {Review}

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“There’s a lot to love about Pillars of Eternity. The way it liberates players by letting them play their own way at their own pace through the story, by letting them decide on both their motivations and actions, the interesting game world and lore, memorable characters and a very tactical combat system.”
  • Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
  • Publisher: Paradox Interactive
  • Genre: Role-playing
  • Released: March 2015
  • Played on: PC
  • Play time: 75 hours
  • Price listed / paid: 41,99€ / Received as a gift

“She’s a goddess, as fickle as they come… and with all the failings you’d expect of an empress and a whore”, Durance says to me in his growly voice. He is a priest talking about his own goddess Magran in whose name he helped kill Waidwen (who claimed to be the living vessel of the god Eothas) during the Saint’s War. Such is the relationship between gods and people in Pillars of Eternity. Gods are not abstract terms used only in blind faith, they are among us every step of the way providing blessing and punishment as they see fit.

They are deeply woven within the very fabric of society, with everyone opting for a god to serve and follow. As you start your journey, you learn of Waidwen’s Legacy, a horrible plague beset upon the people of Dyrwood which sees their newborn come into the world soulless. It is definitely true that faith and religion are overarching themes in Pillars of Eternity, but it’s the liberty to create a personal touch provided by Obsidian that makes it so compelling.

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Is Losing Games Acceptable?

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In the past one hundred years, mankind has made an interactive entertainment medium for new experiences. Through the decades, there have been successive video game platforms with which advancements in video gaming can be focused on. My experiences have been mostly with the third generation of video game consoles to the present generation. Legendary games have been important to both the culture of the video game community and its economy and the same is true for games that were not as much of a success. Super Mario Bros. is a testament to the impact a single game can have. It is the reason why some people call all consoles “a Nintendo.”

That said, other lesser known titles are worthwhile as well for various reasons such as the fact that a consumer may find a game that she very much enjoys, but it was not as well known when it was available at major retailers. The Entertainment Software Association recently sent a message that they do not want people to preserve older games because doing so is the same as hacking and hacking is piracy. The logic of this argument is invalid because white hats, a kind of hacker, do legal work in the modern world, so I would like to give special attention to a few games that have meant a lot to me. They gave me a sense of independent daring. My intention is to show the ESA that there is more to software preservation than criminality.

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Wolfenstein: The Old Blood {Review}

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“This game retains its epic story that was set by The New Order and its predecessors,”

  • Rating: Mature
  • Developer: MachineGames
  • Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
  • Genre: Action
  • Played on: Playstation 4
  • Play time: ~6 hours
  • Players: One

Before invading the compound of Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strasse, there is the Old Blood which William “B.J.” Blazkowicz must bring an end to for the sake of peace-seeking societies throughout the world. In Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, the player does exactly that. The expansion to my 2014 Game of the Year, Wolfenstein: The New Order, The Old Blood offers players a challenging experience not only because of the Nazi forces, but because of what else awaits underneath the tombs of those who passed away. This game is a somewhat different than its predecessor, The New Order, so this writer shall be discussing what is in it.

For The Old Blood, some new weapons are expected and it does not disappoint. The major new weapon and, at the same time, tool is the pipe which can be separated into two parts and utilized as a set of climbing tools, or for reaching and prying. It works the same as a knife when performing takedowns with original animations. Those, along with every other animation in this game are well-designed. I say that because there are no glitches in this game which this writer noticed through the entire playthrough. Moving on, there is also a new sawed-off shotgun and miniature grenade launcher called the Kampfpistole, bolt action rifle, and a 46 shotgun which can be dual-wielded (awesome firepower).

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Konami Versus Gaming: The Nightmare End Of A Legendary Game Company

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A new kickstarter began to support Koji Igarashi’s Castlevania like 2D adventure because he is not allowed to make anymore Castlevania games. Yesterday Konami is attempting to remove a YouTube video of supposed sources from within Kojima Productions detailing the nightmare they are in. This is where we are at right now with Konami, their past is being erased, their present is being tortured and their future is in gambling, not gaming. Konami seems to be exiting the gaming world in the most horrific way possible, robbing us of our childhood games and firing some of the most talented game developers in Japan. What once was a pillar of the entire game industry is crashing down and it saddens me so much.

I understand that Konami has been a mere shadow of their former selves for years now. But Konami’s place in gaming is unquestionable, at one point they were a key pillar of the entire industry. Their franchises are legendary. During the 8-bit era they were one of the big three, Nintendo, Capcom and Konami. They helped shape the video game landscape for generations to come, they helped turn a bunch of 80s kids into life long gamers. Games like Contra, life force, Castlevania, Gradius, Metal Gear, and their incredibly popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games. They were legends at the arcade as well creating some of the most loved beat em ups. Their games were so popular that the Konami code became part of pop culture. As the years went on they added new hits like Silent Hill and Dance Dance Revolution. Metal Gear Solid became a monumental event, an absolute masterpiece for all time. Castlevania had a similar all time classic hit with Symphony of the Night. For a while it could be argued that Konami was making the best games.

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Axiom Verge {Review}

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“I love when the combining of abilities is needed, it creates an A-HA moment when you figure you can reach that area with some clever use of your powers.”
  • Developer: Tom Happ
  • Publisher: Tom Happ
  • Genre: Action Adventure
  • Released: March 2015
  • Played on: PS4
  • Play time: 13 hours

It seems like indie 2D Metroid like games are a dime a dozen now. Axiom Verge has managed to stick out from the crowd for its unique glitch based gameplay and the passion shown from game creator Tom Happ who made the entire game on his own. Clearly a love letter to the 8-bit games of old, Axiom Verge has elements from many classics, introduces some interesting new mechanics but never reaches the great design of the masterpieces of old.

Metroid is the main inspiration as the game world and even look resembles the Nintendo classic. The main character, Trace, explores an alien looking world that is all interconnected. Many barriers restrict progress until a new ability is learned which allows access to new areas and secrets. As Trace explores the maze like world, large screen filling bosses block your progress at key points, it is all very much by the book. What sets Axiom Verge apart is the use of glitches as part of the gameplay.

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Spotlight on Excrement Vol. 2 (Let’s Do Some Van-Damage)

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On a cool December afternoon in 1994, I emerged, bleary-eyed, from the local cinema and took a long, slow assessment of my surroundings, hoping that I wouldn’t spot anyone I knew. Though I was fortunate that day and made it to my car without running into any acquaintances, I still think my trepidation was warranted.

You see, I had just finished watching Street Fighter: The Movie, and not only did I not want to explain to anyone why I had just voluntarily sat through the cinematic equivalent of a loose bowel movement, I was also, frankly, not fully ready to discuss or meditate on what I had just seen. So many images and emotions swirled through my head at that moment as my mind tried to assemble the movie I had just seen into some semblance of cohesion: Van Damme’s incessant flexing of his biceps; Dhalism with hair in a lab coat; E. Honda retaining his Japanese name but for some inexplicable reason portrayed as a Hawaiian; the mighty Sagat played by a miniscule Native American actor; Bison using a SF arcade machine to launch weapons at Guile’s stealth boat. (Yeah, I’m not making this shit up)  

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Dragon Ball Video Games: A Perspective of a Fan on Their Quality

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Although the video games industry has many series based on established franchises from other forms of media, few are as popular as Dragon Ball. The past four decades have included numerous titles about this franchise, but the quality has varied. About thirty years ago, a mangaka (Japanese comic artist) by the name of Akira Toriyama made a manga about a person name Son-Goku who seeks adventure, cultivation of his abilities, and peace with his friends and family. It later became an anime (Japanese television show) in the same decade (the 80s) and was followed by a sequel by the name of Dragon Ball Z. Dragon Ball Z or DBZ for short, has been a worldwide success as one of the most popular forms of media to have ever been made with eighty video games developed specifically about this franchise. Additionally, Dragon Ball GT is the sequel to DBZ, which was made without story ideas from Toriyama. This is about some of the best and worst games this franchise has to offer and what the developers of this game franchise should do in order for the franchise as a whole to remain popular.

In order to understand what makes a Dragon Ball game high quality, a reader must recognize what is high quality about the Dragon Ball manga and anime series. To explain, it is about adventure magic, humor and love, and an ongoing battle of good vs evil even beyond bodily death which are all factors in the growth of characters. The main character of Dragon Ball is Goku, a boy who begins life programmed with murderous intent, but changed after a hard blow to the head disrupted said programming. In this story, many of the characters change and develop over the course of the series. Beyond the well-known hair changing to gold and eyes turning emerald, characters such as Bulma and Krillin, Yamcha and Tien Shinhan, and Vegeta change from their violently selfish ways to compassionate states of mind and even the reincarnation of a being composed purely of evil intent turns from his origins to lead a life of selflessness.

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Bloodborne {Review}

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“Overall Bloodborne is a fantastic game, easily the best exclusive on the PS4 and for certain one of the best games of this year.”

  • Developer: FROM Software
  • Publisher: Sony
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Released: March 2015
  • Played on: PS4
  • Play time:  60 hours

Another year, another journey for masochists into a new dark hellhole where every thing can and probably will kill you. Bloodborne is a differently titled game but is actually the fourth sequel to the Souls franchise, the second one in as many years. Franchise fatigue is sinking in slightly but there are no other games quite like the Souls games out there so I say keep making them. Bloodborne retains the series brutal yet rewarding combat within a superbly designed macabre world and changes the focus of the action to create a more fast paced battle experience. Along with the changes to the combat comes some trimming of some of the more role playing elements the series is known for, the result is a souls game that controls better than ever but also feels simple in comparison to past games.

Immediately after starting up the game I noticed the change in the movement of my character. My hunter felt faster and more agile than ever before.Tthe dodges were super responsive, my character could dash in and out of a spot with ease. The mechanics felt so good that I almost defeated on my first try the de facto super first enemy that is supposed to kill you unless you are a master at playing the game. As a big fan of the stylish DMC like action games I felt this was a great improvement; in the past two games I also build dexterity builds because I have always been a fan of dodging more than blocking, now there is no choice as blocking is out. Maybe there are those that loved doing their best turtle impersonation and hid behind a shield all the time, well too bad no more shields for you. Get in there and fight; that is Bloodborne’s motto and to further push that point home there is now a grace period after the player gets hit where you can recover some lost damage if you attack back. One major addition is the inclusion of a ranged weapon, mostly guns, which serve as a way to stun or parry an enemy. It works like the shield parry except since there is some range involved now it increases the functionality of the parry, it is a great addition.

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