Retro Game Friday: Gex Enter the Gecko

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with the sequel to Gex. It’s Gex Enter the Gecko!

Plot: The plot is just as nonsensical as the first one, with Gex being tasked once more to save the world. It’s not an amazing story, but it was fun as a kid and it’s not the worst plot in a platformer I’ve ever played.

Gameplay: This was the first entry in the Gex series that was in 3D and it did pretty well in making the transition. It kept the feel of the original game fairly well, but was different enough to draw in newcomers. That being said both the GameBoy Color and Nintendo 64 versions were much worse versions, so play the PC or PlayStation versions if you’ve never played this before. The constant pop culture references were great and pretty funny.

Art: Sadly this portion of the game has aged incredibly poorly, but back in the day it was pretty awesome.

Music: The music was okay from what I can remember, but I don’t remember much of it.

Overall: Give this a spin if you love Platformers, as it was a fun game for the younger crowd.

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Video Game Tuesday: Setting Expectations

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about the importance of a very key factor when discussing future games or plans for content. It’s all about Setting Expectations!

Expectations?: So recently we’ve had two really good examples of how NOT to set fan expectations both prior to announcing something and afterwards. The Diablo Immortal Issue, and Final Fantasy XV’s cancellation of almost every future DLC and PC support.

Diablo Immortal: Let’s get this one out of the way first. Blizzard royally screwed up with the announcement of Diablo Immortal at the recent Blizzcon. I don’t think I remember them screwing up so bad, ever. There was the Real ID fiasco that occurred years ago, but that wasn’t as bad I think. They could and had plans to announce not only Diablo Immortal, but also Diablo 4 as well at the end of that announcement. Instead they just announced Immortal, which was a huge freaking mistake. First hardcore gamers in general, and PC gamers in particular, all hate the idea of Mobile games, add in the fact that Blizzard was teaming up with NetEase to make Diablo Immortal and the whole situation looked like a huge betrayal of the Diablo fanbase. One of the developers incredibly poor response during a particularly pointed question during a Q&A session later only exacerbated the issue. They should have gone with their first plan, as it was would have been much better. People would’ve been upset, and arguably rightly so in some views. Having multiple teams working on separate projects for Diablo could be seen as overly ambitious, and division of potential labor towards the quicker goal of completing Diablo 4, as well as the blatant cash grab that was the initial response to Diablo Immortal. I don’t agree with the direction of making a Diablo game for mobile, first it seems like it could easily be a poor clone, and while the demo available was apparently okay, that was a controlled demo that was made to showcase the best of the game. The rest of the game could easily be a huge disappointment, and the response from the people who played the demo doesn’t rule out that possibility. The Blizzard seal of quality has meaning, and if they handle this poorly they could end up repeating Bungie’s mistakes that cost them pretty much every shred of credibility with the gaming community.

Final Fantasy XV: The loss of Director Hajime Tabata seems to be the root issue of this issue, and frankly it’s a huge disappointment. I was really looking forward to playing the second wave of DLC, and because it was announced I hadn’t touched the first wave of DLC. Now I’m not sure I will for a good while. I’ll probably have fun with the Final Fantasy XIV crossover stuff, but I’m highly saddened that Square Enix is cutting back on the entire DLC plan they had for 2019 and beyond. Unlike many, I was looking forward to seeing a different ending that would’ve been included in the Noctis DLC, as while I really enjoyed most of the game and the story, the later portions of the story were incredibly depressing. Knowing that we lost this DLC is highly discouraging and a huge black mark on Square Enix’s record of making Final Fantasy games for me.

How can Developers handle expectation better?: Honestly, knowing their consumers better would prevent many of these issues in my opinion. Nintendo lost many hardcore gamers with their decision to cater to the casual market with the Wii, and they are still feeling the repercussions of that decision still. Granted that the Switch is a huge success, but they lost a lot of trust with the decision to pursue gimmicky controls with the DS and Wii. Others should take note of their mistakes and keep them in mind when they are planning announcements.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Retro game Friday: R-Type

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with another classic. It’s R-Type!

Gameplay: This is one of those games that is infamous for it’s incredible difficulty, but it’s also one of the first side scrolling Shoot Em Up bullet-hells that was wildly successful. The gameplay was simple at first look, but had some depth with the ability to change the “Force” item from being attached to your ship for added firepower to being detached and floating to fire secondary weapons and act as a shield. In addition you could charge shots, something that was pretty innovative for the day, and the fact that you had to learn by failing repeatedly is something that is pretty foreign by today’s game design standards.

Art: The art is okay, not super amazing, but given that it’s over 30 years old that shouldn’t be a surprise. Thankfully being pretty much fully 2D it has aged really well.

Overall: A fun game, if highly difficult. If you enjoy hard games and have never played R-Type, you ought to give a try.

For those who like: Shoot Em Ups, Bullet Hells, Sci-Fi, Difficult Gameplay.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Video Game Tuesday: Why I don’t Stream

Hey all I’m back with an answer to a question I’ve been asked a couple times for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. It’s all about Why I Don’t Stream!

So Why Don’t You?: There’s a few reasons, foremost of which is that I hate the sound of my own voice. It just isn’t the right voice for narration or commentary in my own opinion. The few podcasts I’ve taken part in with my GiN co-workers were not pretty for me in my own judgement and I think I made a miserable showing of myself.

Secondly I’m busy as hell. I have to read thousands of pages worth of content every week to keep a steady stream of content for posts, and even with my admittedly incredibly fast reading speed it takes most of my waking time reading to give myself stuff to cover.

Thirdly, and this ties into the second reason as well, I couldn’t keep a regular streaming schedule. If I don’t do it daily, and for more than a few hours every day, I’m not going to be successful streaming. I am often away doing other things like dog sitting for my family and that isn’t tied to a consistent schedule. Sometimes I might go over every week for most of the week, or I might not go for a month. That doesn’t lend itself towards being able to do consistent streaming and it’d be a huge disservice to my viewers.

Finally I don’t have the equipment for doing so, and it’s well out of my budget. Granted that this is a big reason, but really the first three reasons are the more pressing issues for me.

Fun fact: I try to write my posts at least a week in advance to deal with my admittedly irregular schedule. Thankfully WordPress has a handy scheduling function that allows me to write content days and weeks in advance.

That’s it for this week’s Video game Tuesday!

Retro Game Friday: TimeSplitters

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a game that is quite unremembered. It’s TimeSplitters!

Plot: The game really didn’t have any plot, other than “Stop the TimeSplitters!”. Granted that when you get down to pretty much any story it boils down to something along those lines, but still the fact that that was pretty much the entirety of the plot wasn’t great.

Gameplay: Thankfully this was a really fun game, which considering it was made by people from Rare, who made GoldenEye and Perfect Dark, that shouldn’t be a surprise. Multiplayer was the big draw of the game, and since this was made in the heyday of local multiplayer you had to be careful of the other players screen watching you, and trying to do the same to them without them knowing.

Art: The art has aged poorly, but in the day it was pretty impressive, and considering it was a PlayStation 2 launch title you can bet it’s graphics were really hyped up.

Music: I don’t remember it, as I was dealing with trash talking to my friends and them doing the same to me.

Overall: A great game if you played with others for multiplayer, but otherwise a lackluster single player game.

For those who like: Multiplayer, FPS.

Not for those who don’t like: Either of the above.

Video Game Tuesday: Streaming Consoles

Hey all for this week’s Video Game Tuesday I’m going to cover some thoughts on some of the rumors and comments I’ve heard recently. It’s all about Streaming Consoles!

Streaming Consoles: I’ve heard multiple comments and rumors saying that the next generation or the one after will be all about streaming like PS Now. Here’s why I find that concept to be utterly laughable.

Why?: Well okay there are many reasons including but not limited to the reason most people buy a console now a days, other than exclusives like Zelda games, is because it’s a one time buy that will last for years and will consistently play games with little to no maintenance on the user’s behalf. You don’t have to worry about malware mucking up your console to the point of being unusable. You don’t have to search for constant upgrades for the console, like you might with a PC either.

In addition they serve as excellent media centers for homes even when you don’t want to use the console for gaming. I rarely play a game on my PlayStation 3 anymore, but I use it all the time to watch Netflix or other things.

But that’s not a good enough reason!: You are absolutely right, however here’s the biggest and best reason I have that streaming consoles are a long, long way off. Infrastructure. Yes you read that right, Infrastructure is the main reason you won’t be seeing a streaming console any time soon by my estimates. Sure some people with delusions might think that it’s a great concept, but they forget a really simple fact. Most people have rather shitty Internet connections. Playing a game on multiplayer with a poor connection is an exercise in frustration and then you want to stream games exclusively? You want people to play a game with decent quality? You’re going to need to have them getting much better connections to the Internet than they are most likely getting. Unless you live on the coast in the US and are in a big city like Seattle or Los Angeles, you most likely don’t have that great of an internet connection.

Sure it might be okay for Netflix or the like, but that’s because the data being transferred is almost 99% one directional. If it was two directional, like it would have to be to be playing a game, most American’s would have a truly terrible gaming experience. That fact isn’t going to change anytime soon. It’s a simple fact of life that right now ISPs like Comcast or Time Warner don’t want to upgrade their systems to handle better speeds. It’s a huge expenditure that they don’t want to take on and they will fight tooth and nail to avoid giving every American citizen decent Internet. Hell even I don’t get that amazing of Internet, I get maybe 35 mb/s download speed and 10 mb/s a second upload at best where I live. There’s no way in hell that streaming a game is going to be doable with speeds like that.

This isn’t even taking into account countries like China, or European countries. I’m not fully up and up on their ISP situations, but business is business and their Comcast equivalents are going to be just as unwilling to upgrade their systems as their American counterparts. So no I see this concept being utterly stupid and ridiculous and not even profitable for Sony or Microsoft.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Retro Game Friday: Splinter Cell

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a game that really took the Stealth genre and made it popular. It’s Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell!

Plot Synopsis: In April 2004, the President of Georgia is assassinated, allowing Georgian billionaire Kombayn Nikoladze to seize power with a bloodless coup d’état. In August 2004, former U.S. Navy SEAL officer and Gulf War veteran Sam Fisher is recruited by the National Security Agency to work within its newly formed division, “Third Echelon.” Working with his old friend Irving Lambert, Fisher is introduced to technical expert Anna “Grim” Grimsdóttír, and field runner Vernon Wilkes Jr. In October 2004, Fisher is dispatched to Tbilisi, Georgia to investigate the disappearance of two CIA officers.

Plot: The plot is pretty standard Military Thriller which should come as no surprise as this is part of the Tom Clancy franchise.

Gameplay: This game took the stealth genre and made it mainstream paving the way for future games like Assassin’s Creed. The main draw of the gameplay was the use of the light and shadows. You were encouraged to take your time and carefully move from shadow to shadow to get around. You couldn’t really go in with guns blazing and just shoot your way through the game. You had limited ammo, and even than your armaments were usually more non-lethal than anything else.

Artwork: Sadly the art has aged incredibly poorly, but at the time they were pretty damn good.

Music: I don’t remember any of the music sadly.

Overall: A fun game, but with a very aged art and gameplay compared to modern day games, it’s probably best left in the bargain bin.

For those who like: Military-Thrillers, Tom Clancy, Stealth.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.