First off, my Internet is STILL down. Thankfully I was able to record a podcast last night before the tech gremlins decided to wreck-shop on my Internet connection. Good news is my cousin was smart enough to realize that a DSL connection wasn't going to be suitable for us living together, so he went ahead and signed up for cable Internet already - we're just waiting for the hardware at this point.
So with that being said, I apologize for another blog post from my phone. But I still stand by the fact that this is better than nothing.
Anyway, I played Terraria. It's been a game that I've had on my radar for a while now, especially since it came out on the PSN and was announced for the Vita. One of my twitter-buddies, Travis, brought it up to me, because for one, he thought it would be a fun game for me to play for this blog project of mine, but also because he wanted to get it and was looking for people to play with. Well, I didn't pull the trigger on the PSN version, and since the Vita version isn't out yet, that can only mean one thing.
Yes, I got another game on Steam. It was on sale, so honestly that was the driving force behind my decision. As if I need to justify my compulsive buying to you guys. Ha!
So I played it. It's basically Minecraft on a 2-D plane, instead of in a 3-D world. I've watched my boys play Minecraft and watch enough YouTube videos about Minecraft to know the basics. I figured I could stumble my way through it. Apparently, I was wrong.
I sucked. Sure, I managed to defeat a bunch of baddies and collect a healthy amount of raw materials, but once I got the crafting menu opened, I was LOST. And if there is one thing I hate about games, it is when they make me feel like a moron. There are reasons that games have great tutorials, as much as we as gamers like to complain about them.
Apparently, the NPC that started next to me when the map loaded was supposed to walk me through the basics. Well, he did not. Maybe I was supposed to push something to make him talk, I don't know. All I do know is that he was a mute to me.
It's a game that I will WANT to learn how to play, but until I do some research and homework, or get my Internet up and running and play multiplayer, I'm going to be in the dark on this game.
Dark like the hole I dug that went down to an underground well where I promptly drowned. Yup. That's just how my day has gone.
Always digging my way out holes.
Tonight's posting is just about the game that I played, but more about just how cool this industry is sometimes, especially the independent side of it all. Playing on just consoles for my most of my gaming life, I've come to realize there are plenty of cool little success stories for the smaller developers out there, especially thanks to the PSN and XBLA, where the marketplace is wide open and ripe for the picking, especially in comparison to the store shelves next to the blockbuster, triple-A titles.
Now that I am officially a PC gamer, however, I'm realizing that making games and being somewhat successful at it is one thing, but when you can make those games be important to the bigger scope of of today's society, that is the true, more pure meaning of success.
Allow me to introduce to you, the Humble Bundle. Well, in this case, the Humble Double Fine Bundle.
This cool little program matches up games and/or certain indie developers, puts a package together and gives the buyer the opportunity to set their own price. Also, the buyer has the chance to decide where all the money goes to, and how much to allocate to the Humble Bundle site, the developer of the games (Double Fine in this case), or charity. Whatever amount you choose, you decide where every cent of your money is distributed.
The three games you get no matter how much you pay for this particular bundle are Stacking, Psychonauts and Costume Quest. There are incentives for paying more money as well, like if you meet the average of what people are giving, you get Brutal Legend, and if you give at least $35, you will get the yet to be released game Broken Age, when it is released of course. Oh, and $70+ will net you a cool t-shirt, if you are in to that sort of thing.
Because of how cool of an idea this is, and because I need to stock up on games to play now that the spring season is beginning to wind down, I went ahead and threw some money the charity's way. So tonight, I played Costume Quest.
This was always a game I heard a lot about, but never looked into it much. Turns out, it's a fun little game, where you are a kid trick-or-treating around your neighborhood until your sibling gets kidnapped, and you have to run around collecting candy and pieces of costumes in order to have some epic Voltron/Power Rangers-eque type battles. It's a wonderful looking game, and is surprisingly fun, but I don't thing it is controller compatible, which is frustrating because there are a lot of keys to press - and we all know how good I am at that.
Like I said, fun little game. But I am more happy that I helped out a charity tonight than I am to own another game. Just worked out this time that I was able to have my cake and eat it to.
Whoever said this PC gaming road wasn't a slippery slope into obsession was out of their minds. Actually, I don't remember anyone saying that, ever, because I'm pretty sure everyone that plays games on their PC knows how crazy of a rabbit hole this is.
Back when Diablo 3 was released, and seemingly everyone that I knew that was even remotely interested in games picked it up on launch night, that was the first time I can remember being curious about PC gaming. That game looked so awesome, so fun and so easy to play (mostly mouse clicks, not a bunch of keystrokes to remember). There was something intriguing about the grind of the game, the random dungeons, and the loot- oh, the loot! But despite how fascinated I was, I couldn't justify getting into PC gaming just for that game. I wanted to, but I couldn't. I just couldn't.
Then, during the big Sony press conference where they announced the PS4, they also dropped the bombshell that Diablo 3 was finally coming to the PS3 and unreleased PS4. You can't imagine how excited I was. At last, I was going to get to play the game that almost drew me into PC in the first place.
Well, now I am a PC gamer, and I don't need to wait for the console port of that game. I just need to buy the game, install it and get going on it. In the meantime, however, I noticed that Torchlight II was on sale on Steam yesterday, for a mere $6, as opposed to the normal $20 price tag. From all accounts, Torchlight II is an excellent first step in the dungeon-crawler type of PC game, and in some people's opinions, is better than Diablo 3. Well, since I have nothing to compare it to, I won't be able to say which one is better, but I can tell you whether or not I liked the game and if I think this genre is for me.
Yes. Yes, I did like it. I really liked it. Liked it enough know that I plan on playing a bunch more of it, and am definitely a fan of this style of games. Diablo 3, watch out. I'm coming for you next!
But in the mean time, Torchlight II. For me, the first thing I noticed was how well it ran on my laptop, which makes me happy in knowing that I picked out a good enough computer to run games at higher qualities. Second thing I noticed was how much I enjoyed just having to use the mouse. Sure, you have to push a couple of keys for random commands, but that's nothing in comparison to what I've seen some games play like. The constant "click click click" is funny, because I also made fun of it, but now, it's like white noyse to me. Crazy how things turnaround for you sometimes, isn't it?
Anyway, I didn't get much into the storyline, because I really didn't care all that much. I just wanted to crawl through dungeons, level up and basically Hulk-smash anything that got in my way. And honestly, that was perfect enough for me. I'm mentally invested into enough storylines in games right now anyway, so a few games that aren't story-heavy (or that are easily skipped over) are right up my alley.
Overall, yes, I really liked this game. And frankly, I am loving PC gaming. If only I had pulled the trigger on it way back when, when I first thought about it.
Let's see a show of hands here: who remembers the Dreamcast? And I'm not talking about just knowing about it and remembering that it was a thing, but who actually remembers the most before-its-time gaming console ever?
Aside from not being able to actually see who is raising their hand, I'm going to assume that there isn't many people who owned one originally, or played it extensively. Maybe I am totally wrong, but it seems like people's memories of it usually consist of just remembering it came out, or a few specific games, not actually investing tons of time (or money for that matter) into the console itself.
Well, I never owned one before, back in the day, but one of my good friends got one when it first came out, and I spent a LOT of time over there playing all the coolest games that no one else had, like the NBA and NFL 2K games, Crazy Taxi and of course, Jet Set Radio (or Jet Grind Radio as it was known back then upon it's initial release).
Tonight, I played Jet Set Radio. But I didn't play it on Dreamcast, unfortunately. While I have the system now (thanks to my good buddy James, @SirJamezTown), I don't own the game for it. I have it on my Vita, however, thanks to PS+, but tonight, I played it on Steam. I got it through Steam thanks to an awesome dude and a huge reason that I am where I am today in this crazy internet universe, Eric (AZrockslide) from Everyday Gamers. He was awesome and gifted me the game for no reason whatsoever, other than he thought I would like it.
Well, Eric, you were right. I love this game, and I love that I now have it on PC as well.
The game play itself is fun, rolling around the streets on your sweet roller-blades. I love skating around, tagging things as I go, as it makes me feel so rebellious. Actually, I have always enjoyed and appreciated the art of graffiti. If it wasn't done illegally, I think it would be more widely accepted.
Better than all of that, however, is the soundtrack. What an amazing mix of music. I just ride around the game, not even worrying about missions, just to hear the soundtrack. By far, it is the highlight of the gaming experience.
So go dust of your old Dreamcasts if you got them, and fire up some Jet Grind Radio. Or buy it on PSN, XBLA or Steam, if you wish to be more "modern." Thanks again, Eric. Keep up being awesome.
First off, let me start out by congratulating the guys from EverydayGamers.com for reaching the huge milestone of their 200th podcast. I was first introduced to them a few months ago, and was lucky enough to be invited on to episode 193 of their podcast. Since then, I've been riding a wave of momentum, have connected and met a LOT of awesome people and overall fell in love with the independent gaming journalist community.
I owe them big time for all of this, and that's the truth.
So on their 200th episode, they were recounting memories and moments over the years, some they had and others that all the listeners. Imagine my surprise when I heard my name mentioned as a favorite moment, when I joined them for the episode. The guys had nothing but amazing things to say about me and my little old project here, and honestly, I couldn't be more proud to call them all my friends.
But back to their listeners. One of them, Timothy, or @WiiR4Him as he is known on twitter as, did something for me completely out of the blue a couple of weeks ago. You see, when I got my new laptop and created my Steam account and invited everyone to friend me, he was one of the first to do so. On top of that, he sent me a Steam code for a game he so generously gifted me as a way to welcome me to the wonderful world of PC gaming.
That game, is the game I played tonight: Dynamite Jack.
First impressions of the game is that it's Bomberman, in a slightly more realistic setting, with a lot darker of tones than the upbeat cartoonish style of Bomberman. Also, it's darker in the fact that you are in caves and need a flashlight to navigate. But don't let the bad guys you are sneaking around and away from see your flashlight, or you will get riddled with bullets. This was a lesson I had to learn the hard way, about eight times in a row.
Another thing I noticed, thanks to the lack of support for my Xbox controller, is that I suck horribly at controlling a character with the up-down-left-right keys. Or any keyboard keys, for that matter. This is the exact reason why I insisted on playing PC games with a controller, because I am far from being adequetly trained or accustomed to controlling a game with kep
Over the last month or so, in the midst of all my personal issues, I have learned to rediscover and rely on Netflix to keep me entertained in the wee hours of the night. My insomnia has reared its ugly head back into my sleep habits, and while playing games is extremely difficult when you're tired and still unable to sleep. In lieu of late night gaming sessions, I have instead turned to Netflix to keep my mind from wandering and attempt to keep myself somewhat sane.
One specific category I have gravitated to is the Documentary section, as I have found several interesting documentaries to watch that are far and beyond more interesting and entertaining than half of the garbage movies found on Netflix. One of these hidden gems I stumbled upon was a film called Indie Game: The Movie. It is a documentary that focused on the development team of Super Meat Boy as they were finishing up the game, as well as Phil Fish, the developer of FEZ, on his struggling journey of developing the long-awaited and highly-anticipated game.
The movie doesn't cast a warm and fuzzy light on the indie game industry by any stretch of the imagination. The developers that they follow are sad, depressed and desperate to finish their games. Fish, who is shown in the middle of a viscous legal battle for the rights to continue developing and showing off the game with a vindictive ex-business partner.
FEZ, the game he is shown working on, had one problem after another. It was first shown off one year, and went several years after that before any new information, screens, videos or demos ever came out again. He ran into one problem after another in the development in the cycle, and people started to question whether it would ever come out. Well, it did, last year on the Xbox 360, and I gladly bought it then. I played it, beat it and loved it immensely. The long wait and hard work paid off for Phil Fish, as the game was an instant success and one of the true masterpieces of the XBLA.
Well, FEZ was re-released for the PC this week, and because Steam is a vicious, unforgiving money-grabbing rabbit hole, I bought it - again. Tonight, I plugged in my Xbox controller, fired up my laptop, opened up Steam, and jumped back in to the beautiful, imaginative world that Gomez (the character) is discovering for the first time.
Playing this game tonight made me think of something profound, and literally by sheer coincidence. You see, last night, as I was playing Thomas Was Alone, I was also helping my cousin write a paper for his English class in college about whether or not the college education experience is meant to simply guide you along a career path and tell you what to think, or to open your mind and teach you how to think. There was one analogy in the book he was reading that struck me as powerful, and was the core concept of the paper being written. It was a story about a group of fish, where the older fish looks at the couple of younger fish as they are swimming along and asks them, "How's the water today?" The younger fish look at each other confused, turn back to the older fish and ask, "What's water?"
The principle idea is that people are so focused in today's society, especially in college, in figuring out their path through life that they don't ever really see or notice the world around them. And that, folks, is EXACTLY what the game FEZ is about. Living in a world where you think what you see is the only thing that is reality, until someone opens your eyes and you see the real world around you for the first time.
Now I could go on and on about what the game is about, how it plays, how fantastically gorgeous it is - but that is exactly what you want me to do. Instead, I challenge you to go play the game - whether it be on XBLA or Steam - and discover what it's like to learn how to think. Go, be the young fish and discover what water is.
Besides, these indie developers need your help. They are a depressed group of talented people, and every dollar you give them will help bring them a little bit closer to happiness.
Oh, Steam. You will be the death of me, I already know it.
Now, I realize that Poker Night 2 was released for both the PSN and the XBLA as well as Steam, but honestly, I didn't think twice about picking up for new, sweet laptop. Mainly because I have way to many games to play on my PS3 currently, and on my Xbox ... well, that wasn't even an option. On my laptop, though, I have already become a Steam-addict. So when I was browsing the Steam store, that I seem to do daily now, I knew I had to have Poker Night 2 on the new hotness.
I've never really been a huge fan of card game simulation games, even poker games. Don't get me wrong though, I really enjoy having the guys over for the occasional poker night, but that is more for the social aspect of it all than it is the game itself, or the stakes involved. When I go to Vegas, I'll sit down at a game table occasionally, especially if someone else with me wants to, but playing against a dealer for the sheer aspect of trying to win money isn't as appealing to me as it might be for others,
In Poker Night 2, the game is more than just about winning or losing. The social aspect is alive and well, despite the fact it's not a multiplayer or online game. You see, the cast of characters that join you for each tournament you participate in make you feel like you're just hanging out with your buddies, talking, shooting the breeze, etc. Oh, and the occasional jokes and put-downs, like any good gathering of friends should be.
You assume the position as The Player, and you are joined at the table by Ash Williams (The Evil Dead), Brock Samson (The Venture Bros.), Sam (Sam & Max) and of course Claptrap (Borderlands). The dealer is none other than GLaDOS from the portal series, which aside from the banter going on from the characters at the table, is the most charming aspect of the gaming experience. She isn't just the dealer, but is also the special color commentator, adding her thoughts, opinions and quips to each hand that is dealt.
The game itself is pretty straight forward. You choose from Texas hold'em or Omaha hold'em (if you want to be different, I suppose), and you start out with the same amount of money each time. The goal? To eliminate all your competitors and win the tournament. Simple and straight forward. There are challenges to accomplish as you play, and unlockables to obtain (cards, chips and tables) that open up different conversation possibilities.
Overall, it's a fun poker game, if only because of the experience, not necessarily the game. Too bad it didn't feel this good to lose money like this while gambling in Vegas.
Well, I have officially jumped down the rabbit hole. Yesterday, I just sampled the goods, by buying a new laptop, signing up for Steam and just looking into the possibility of starting my PC gaming career. Today, however, was a completely different story.
First, I went out and bought a mouse, because seriously, track pads are the worst thing ever. I also bought a wired Xbox controller, so I can just plug it into the laptop and play games, Without a controller, there is no way I could play PC games. I tried the demo for Bastion last night just to see what gaming with a keyboard was like, and well, I hated it. I didn't, however, hate how beautiful Bastion is, and I fully intend on buying that again through Steam.
Speaking of buying games I already own...
Did you know that Portal and Portal 2 were on sale this weekend on Steam? You probably did if you went on to Steam at all this weekend, seeing as how it's plastered all over the home page. Yeah, well, guess what I grabbed on impulse, just because the deal was so good? This guy...
Anyway, the Portal bundle wasn't the first games I actually bought, however. The first game that officially started the madness that is buying Steam games was a little game I heard talked about on a Podcast last week, so when I saw it while scrolling through the seemingly endless list of games, I had to grab it. The game is DLC Quest, and the price tag of $2.99 didn't hurt either.
If I enjoy playing all PC games as much as I did DLC Quest tonight, then I might have a problem developing very quickly. I feel my insomnia yelling at me already.
This game was amazingly fun, simple and more importantly, creative, funny, witty and smart. It is a simple platformer with very basic graphics, but the premise behind the game is selling point. It is a game that is essentially mocking the DLC phenomena running rampant in the video game industry. You start out controlling your character, but you can only run backwards and forwards - no jumping, no animation, no movements at all, and even no sound. You just run and collect coins, until you meet a shop keep who offers to sell you DLC packs, like the Movement DLC pack that allows you to jump, or the Audio DLC pack that actually brings sound to the game. It's a game that makes you think about how much game developers are leaving out, taking out or locking out of video games that they sell at full price, then charge you more for additional content to enhance your gaming experience.
And no, there is no actual DLC purchasing in this game, as everything you buy is just upgrades in-game that you use your coins you collect through the game to as currency, Don't have enough coins to buy the necessary DLC pack to allow you to continue the game? Go find some more coins!
The entire game is just one running gag and joke after another. From the signs you run past that tell you not to bother going that way because all the story line specific action is happening in the other direction, to the NPC characters who try to give you fetch quests that you graciously decline because you don't know them at all and they should be completing their own quests - it's all brilliantly done. Because the game plays off of preconceived notions of what and how we think games should play out, they tend to go the complete opposite direction with it all.
Despite the industries best efforts to be as creative and original as possible, most games of specific genres usually follow a very tried and true pattern of design to get the most from the consumer while giving the most to the player. DLC Quest, however, rejects the mold from the get-go and instead turns the camera around on the development and publishing studios, almost challenging them to step outside the box a little more often.
When they name a certain area of the game as a reminder to the level designer to remember to come up with a name for it, you know exactly what kind of game you're getting - one that isn't afraid to not only break through the fourth wall, but essentially just pretend like it doesn't even exist.
Oh, and by buying DLC Quest, I also got the new Live Freemium Or Die adventure game as well. I actually beat both games, as they are pretty short, but worth every penny.
And seeing those achievements pop up as I was playing? Yeah, I'm completely sold on this whole PC gaming thing. Thanks, internet, for finally pushing me hard enough to jump in head first. I am probably going to enjoy this far, far too much, but hey, is it really a bad thing if it means getting to enjoy pure gems like this game tonight? I think not.
Honestly, I didn't think this day would come. I mean, I knew eventually a version of this day would happen, but not to the extent of how it went down today.
I've held pretty firm to the notion of not ever becoming a PC gamer. Look, it's not that I hate PC gaming, it just was never my cup of tea. With currently five gaming systems at my disposal that I play regularly, my desire to even start thinking about getting into the realm of PC gaming has been at a total minimum.
Yes, I know graphics could be amazingly better on PC, and yes, I know there are tons and tons of amazing deals to be had out there on the internet that help make gaming ridiculously affordable. But I resisted. Aside from wanting a sixth option to play games, my lack of having anything close to something able to run any sort of games on it wasn't anywhere close to being in my future.
Then, today happened.
Out of sheer necessity and partially because of my impulse buying gene that I claim to have, I jumped in and bought myself a new laptop that is more than capable of running games on it, and hopefully in fairly good quality as well. So after getting it all set up and what not, the first thing I did was set up - *gasp* - a Steam account. Yes, you heard that right. Josh, from The Noyse, signed up for a Steam account, with the sole intention of giving PC gaming a shot.
Now, I didn't jump all the way in and start buying tons of games quite yet, because I can't really play games on this like I would want to. I don't even have a mouse yet for this beast of a machine, much less a controller to play anything. And yes, I plan on playing anything and everything possible with a controller, because well, I hate using a mouse for gaming. I did, however, download the demo for Bastion, just to give it a whirl to see how it would run, and to reaffirm my thinking about needing a controller of some sort before I go all in on this. And yes, it ran BEAUTIFULLY, and no, I refuse to play any games without a controller. Plain and simple.
So, because I didn't have the opportunity to get lost in Steam, I decided to check out some of the games on Windows 8. I downloaded Cut The Rope, because well, I loved that game on my iPhone. And because my laptop is a touch screen, it was a no-brainer for checking this game out. I played the whole game just by using the touch screen, which was a lot of fun. Kind of makes me really want an iPad now, to be honest.
Anyway, it's Cut The Rope. I'm sure we have all played it before, and it was still fun. I also checked out TapTiles, which was just a matching game, but surprisingly a lot more fun than I guessed it would be. Oh, and the best things about these games? Well, because I was signed in to Xbox Live while playing these, I actually got achievements for my Xbox profile. How do you like them apples?
Today will forever be known as the day that I got into PC gaming. It will be baby steps for now, but I am at least warmed up to the idea of giving it a legitimate chance and filling whatever void in my gaming soul that I had left to fill. Also, with this new, fancy laptop, the door is slowly opening for me to take on more projects aside from just this blog - more writing, videos or even podcasts perhaps? Only time will tell, my friends. Don't ever say never, because I did before in regards to PC gaming, and look at me now!
XBLA = The Noyse
PSN = the_noyse
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3DS F.C. = 3007-8109-2329
STEAM = TheNoyse
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Games played for project : 365