I know you all love when I come up with crazy games to play for my blog. For the most part, I think I am pretty predictable, especially if you pay attention to new releases each week, my gaming patterns and habits, and big news in the industry. Heck, for the most part, the "My Week Of..." series can guessed with enough logic and deductive reasoning if one was so inclined to try and stay a step ahead of me.
And then I go and throw out a curveball like Zombies Ate My Friends, a free to play game on mobile devices, that I actually played on a Kindle Fire. Because I have to keep you guessing as much as possible, don't I?
So my younger boy came over to spend the night at my place, and with him, he brought his Kindle Fire. Sure, he had every intention on geeking out on my gaming collection while he was over here, and did so quite a bit on Disney Infinity, of course. But while he was here, he wanted to show me and let me play with him this game, which he had gotten a few days prior to coming over, that he was super excited about. I don't know how he found out about this game, where he had heard of it or what made him want to download it (as he doesn't seem to download everything that's free, just ones he already knows something about). But he was thrilled to play it, and even more happy to see that I was genuinely interested in what he was playing.
My first thought was: "Of course, it's free-to-play, because it sounds like a cheap knock off of Zombies Ate My Neighbors. How good could this actually be?" Well, after playing it with him for a while, I realized that not only was it not trying to be a clone of anything (although I'm sure the name was purely a marketing ploy), but it was actually a fun game, for what it was. For the most part, I am weary of this kind of business model for a game, as I still think it tries to take advantage of those not paying attention to the micro-transactions, due to either ignorance of adults or the naive nature of children. But once again, I was surprised by quality of this game, even if the business structure is present in many aspects of the game.
The game is a cross between turn-based battles, point and click adventure and a sprinkle of RPG elements, all of which are highlighted by fantastic artwork and animation styles, great dialogue and genuine fun when it comes to collecting and upgrading weapons and engaging in turn-based battles with various kinds of zombies. I did notice how finicky the touch-based controls can be at times, with items not responding when being clicked on or overall lack of responsiveness of the game. For the most part, the controls worked fine and suitable for the game, but I just wish I didn't have random moments of the game not registering my touch, which continues to be my number one complaint for mobile gaming. Buttons work as they should, but touch buttons are sketchy more often than not.
Like I said, I thought the game was fun. Would I play it again? Probably not without one of my kids playing it first and asking me to be apart of it. But I am always happy to jump into games with them when they ask. Also, I'm happy that there are free-to-play games that are good quality and don't force you into pay walls that you can't get past without forking over some cold, hard cash. Makes me hopeful, once again, for the future of this genre.
The Apple App Store is celebrating it's five year anniversary, which is crazy to think about. On one hand, it seems like only yesterday that we stepped into this new, digital age. But on the other hand, doesn't it seem like smartphones - more specifically the iPhone - has been around much, much longer than five measly years?
Anyway, in celebration of the five year anniversary, Apple selected five games to give away for free (five apps, as well), to showcase the growth of the store, as well as the variety of games that they offer, and have for years. They didn't necessarily pick out the most popular or best selling games (sorry, Angry Birds fans), but they did pull out five games that are unique, creative and superbly showcase what mobile gaming is, and can be, all about.
One of those five games is Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP. To be completely honest, I had never heard of this game before ever, so when I downloaded it (free games aren't anything to shrug at kids, especially when you're writing a blog like I am), I went in to it completely blind and unknowing as to what I was about to experience.
When I booted it up, I was prompted to pug in headphones. Right off the bat, I knew this would be more than your average game. It is an adventure game, designed in gorgeous pixel art and utilizing amazing ambient noise and a superb soundtrack. You control your adventurer pointing on the screen where you want him to walk, you double-tap to interact with objects, people or prompts, and you pinch to zoom in and out. Basically, it's your standard mobile game, designed to play without the use of buttons. For console gamers, this is hard barrier to break through, but with practice, it becomes second nature just like any other controller scheme.
The combat in the game is initiated by turning your device, bringing you into a 1-on-1 battle, where two on-screen buttons for attack and defend are used to attempt to conquer your foe. It would have been simple to just add on-screen buttons to the normal game without any flipping, but it's those kinds of small details that usually make certain mobile games stand out in the crowd of junk.
Noises - and to a lesser degree, music - play an important role to the gaming experience, especially when wearing headphones. The noise and music is ambient, subtly immersing you into the universe that you are traveling in. Without jaw-dropping graphics to rely on, the sound becomes that much more important, much like numerous successful NES games figured out back in the day. Sure, you could play this game without paying much attention to the sound, but that would be like eating gourmet cooking with a severe cold - just won't taste the same.
Unfortunately, while there are many aspects to this game I enjoy, I just don't know how much time I can consciously sink in to it. I have it downloaded to my iPad, so I assume I can get back to it while traveling or when other forms of gaming isn't readily available, but I can't justify spending my precious free time with this game, or any other mobile game, when I have other choices.
I just don't see that changing for mobile gaming for me in the near future at all. No matter how cool and awesome the game is.
Unless it's Angry Birds, of course.
I hate getting derailed throughout my day. I like to plan my day out as much as possible (not taking in to consideration the stuff that pops up for work, however), and I like to stick to my daily plans as much as possible. With this blog and the project that I decided to take on, I have really tried to coordinate my game playing time. Not necessarily what game to play (although I do put some thought into it), but when to fit my gaming in.
Today, like many other days this year, was one of those days.
I stumbled upon a new iOS game out that is set to take America by storm. Now, it might be out for Android too, but I don't know for sure and frankly, don't care. This game shouldn't exist in the first place, if only because it is bound to derail me many more times in the future, along with anyone else unlucky enough to download this new, free hotness of the mobile gaming universe.
Dots is as straight forward as it gets. There is a screen full of different colored dots, there is a timer set and your only goal is to connect two or more dots of the same color by tracing a line with your finger. You want to connect as many dots as possible in the given time limit. Once your time is up, it gives you your score and you compare it with your previous high scores and other friends' scores that might be playing it as well.
Then, you do it again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And ... you get the point.
I have tried to stay away from mobile gaming. I have so many great, amazing games on consoles sitting there on my shelf, waiting for me to play and enjoy them. But no, I keep getting sucked in by these stupid, annoyingly addicting mobile games that are keeping me from the actual game playing I want to do.
Today was one of those days. Stupid Dots. I hope you all go out and download it and get sucked in as well. Maybe then I won't feel as bad. Just don't try to beat my high score, because I don't have any more time to spend with this game. I have real games to play. Hopefully.
Well, after a week long adventure through the Zelda universe, exploring every nook and cranny of the franchise and and the amazing games that it's made up of, I can honestly say that I had no idea where to go from there as far playing a game today. I've said it before many times, and I will keep saying it all year most likely, that I don't usually plan too far ahead, but I have a general idea for the most part.
And then something like Candy Crush Saga comes along and shakes the whole foundation of any resemblance of a plan I may have had.
Candy Crush Saga. Where do I even begin?
Well, let me start off by saying that I usually don't get caught up in internet-hyped mobile games. Well, except for Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, Angry Birds Rio, Angry Birds Space, Angry Birds Star Wars, Cut The Rope, Tiny Wings, Plague Inc, and of course Ridiculous Fishing. Aside from those (and probably a lot of others that I can't think of off the top of my head), I hate mobile gaming. And I hate when the internet hypes up mobile games.
But then, I browse the store, see a game like Candy Crush Saga is free, remember that people all over the internet and podcasts insist it's the most addicting thing ever - and well, we set off on a journey. Destination: The Noyse Blog.
This game is stupid addictive. It's a matching game, a lot like Bejeweled, with individual levels with certain goals and different game play mechanics in each. There is a storyline too, I think, but honestly I didn't even pay attention to it. I just wanted more and more puzzles. Oh, and it has my number one weakness in games - three star goals. If there is a game that ranks your performance of each level with a star-system, consider me all in.
So I flew through the entire first area of levels, nabbing three stars in each along the way. The couple of levels that I didn't three star the first time, I forced myself to replay them until I got them. I hate advancing to the next level knowing I left the previous one "unfinished." The perfectionist, OCD gamer in me refuses to accept mediocrity. On twitter, I had to brag about it a little bit, but was quickly put in my place when I was told that once the levels start getting hard, that I would slow down.
Well, know one told me why I would slow down. Sure the levels got much harder, but I kept plugging away. Then I realized why I would have to slow down. After you fail enough times, apparently there are "lives" that you use to keep playing. Once you run out of lives, you have to stop playing and let the lives "recharge." That, or you can buy more lives, for those who can't bother to wait.
And that my friends is why this game is free. It solely revolves around being funded and supported through micro-transactions. Don't get me wrong, I have no problems with that business model, as long as the developers don't try to deceive the player or make is necessary to play what was otherwise thought to be a free game. With Candy Crush, you can play as much as you want for free, no payment needed at all, ever. But if you suck at it, you better either learn to wait, get better at it - or pull out your wallet.
I waited. I played again, plowed through a bunch more levels, failed a lot at one particular level - and now I wait again. Just waiting. Like a crackhead waiting for his next hit. I've tried to keep myself occupied with other things, but I end up checking back with game to see if I can play again.
Oh Candy Crush Saga. You got me. You got me good.
But you aren't getting a dime from me.
Ok, folks, tonight is going to be quick and to the point. Tonight I played Temple Run 2 on my seven year old's Kindle Fire while I was eating dinner. That was literally the only time I've had all day and night to play any games, thanks to this massive Super Bowl cake I am making. Cake needs to be delivered tomorrow morning, and the clock is ticking.
So while I was grubbing on some shrimp and broccoli, pork chow mein and fried rice, I was giving the newly released Temple Run 2 a try. Like the first game, this was also free, which I appreciate when it comes to kids wanting every game they see under the sun.
It controls much like the first game, with the biggest, most noticeable difference in the two in the level designs. The mountain landscape in 2 feels much more polished and cleaner. The game itself is still as frustrating as ever at some points, but in an addictive sort of way. Once you die, all you want to do is go back and try to get farther the next time. Thanks to the random path generator of the game, it's quite difficult to repeat your previous without a little bit of luck.
I'm not going to lie, either. I suck at it. Maybe I was just rushing myself, knowing how much was on my plate tonight, but my son's scores blew mine out of the water tenfold. Oh well, I can't be a master at everything I suppose.
Sorry again for the short post, friends. I have a clear schedule tomorrow night and plan to do some serious gaming, if all goes well. Or maybe I will just sleep. I guess we will just have to wait and find out.
I know this blog is about to be about my quest to play a game a day, every day, for an entire year. And while this entry still satisfies my project requirements, I intend to use it for a little more meaning tonight - a slightly politically-fueled rant. I apologize in advance if you came here just to read about my latest gaming adventure, but I feel fairly strongly about this topic.
I didn't think I would ever have to highjack my own blog, but some things just need to happen.
Today I played NRA Practice Range, a game that was just released for the iTunes App store last night, for free. It's not that I really wanted to play the game, but I felt necessary to do so in order to cement my point of view.
You see, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings one month ago, when the Nation was in an uproar over gun control, the NRA (National Rifle Association) was surprisingly tight-lipped. That was, of course, until they came out and publicly blamed violent video games and movies for fueling our society full of violence, ultimately leading to tragedies such as the elementary school shooting. While no evidence even suggested that video games or movies had anything to do with motivating the sick fuck to walk into a school and shoot dozens of kids, or any of the other recent random shootings, the NRA attempted to deflect negativity towards guns back onto easy targets like the video game industry.
This fueled towns to threaten "game burnings," asking town members to turn in violent video games for a good old fashion bonfire of violent media. They cancelled the burning a week after suggesting it, stating they made their point by grabbing headlines and bringing focus to the issue of violent video games. The NRA was smiling all the way. Their plan had worked.
And then, out of no where, they grabbed their own foot, turned it sideways and promptly shoved it in their own mouth. Last night, like I said before, they released a free first-person shooter game for the iTunes App store, where gamers can use a variety of weapons to practice their shooting, both inside indoor ranges, outside target shooting and skeet shooting. Players can also purchase new weapons, such as AK-47, if they feel so inclined to upgrade their weapon. The best part about it all? They rated the game for people ages 4 and up.
Sure, you aren't shooting people, but rather targets, but the message is still the same. You get cool guns to shoot things. Isn't that what all the "violent" video games do, in one sense or another? The game isn't meant to be an instructional app for gun safety and has no significant "guns are bad" message like they want the rest of the video game industry to do. And to rate it 4+ after telling the nation that guns in video games are harming our kids, on the heels of a school shooting, is flat out a slap in the face to everyone who took them seriously.
For the video game industry to be forced to defend themselves over and over again, and then get brutally thrown under the bus by this hypocritical organization is a damn shame. The NRA is a joke, and this just proves they shouldn't ever be allowed to make public statements regarding serious issues ever again.
I'm pissed that I even downloaded this piece of shit game, giving them another download to boost their numbers. Thank god it was free, or I would be demanding any money spent on this pile of garbage. The game itself sucks, is horribly built and feel like more of a joke than anything. And it is a joke ... a joke to even call it a game. It's a slap in the face to every single person who makes a living in the video game industry.
And for Apple to support this bullshit is even worse. They should make a statement and remove it from their store. The positives far outweigh negatives for making such a drastic, bold statement. But we all know Apple won't do a damn thing about it. They will sit back and collect whatever pennies are generated from this abomination of a "game."
Fuck you NRA. How dare you try to rip down the culture I and millions of others love, just to deflect any blame and hard questions that come your way in the face of tragedy. How dare you turn around and do the most hypocritically heinous act you could think of. How dare you even attempt to slide your way in to the realm of video games, where bullheaded bureaucracy has no place being.
If you excuse me, I'm going to go play a shitload of Far Cry 3 and shoot every god damn gun I can find nonstop, just because. Or I'll go play New Super Mario Bros. Wii U. Either way, I need to clear my head and regroup.
Hopefully I'm not the only one who feels this way...
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Games played for project : 365