Bite Size Reviews – Mom Hid My Game

If were growing up like me, you might have experienced Mom Hid My Game’s base scenario. Your Mom has stolen your game console, as the name of the game would imply, and you have to navigate an ever more elaborate way to get your game boy back to in order to play.

The puzzles were often intuitive. Checking the game boy behind a bookcase, or distracting your mom on the couch so you can get the game boy back. But often they were equally bewildering; cultural signals such as looking under a cushion that would be used to sit on were for someone who could be dealing with someone who wouldn’t be so in tune with other cultures.

One aspect that was credit to Mom Stole my Game was the fact that all the levels are short in nature. For each puzzle the rooms are the same (by in large) so you get a sense of where things are easily placed. Every time the game makes it clear what the threat to your success is, and it has very straightforward clues to your success.

Failure states are always quick and if you don’t find the right answer the first time around, it’s easy to leap back into action.

The only downpoint I can say about it is for accessibility. 

This can become one of the biggest frustrations of the game, as these have been hard to time, even for someone who is ablebodied. And there was no way to make it any easier! Ruling out some of the final act of Mom Stole My Game

Not to get spoilers-as it ‘s not worth spoiling this ending. I would encourage players to see Mom Stole My Game ‘s journey through to its end, however. In the final act, there is a marvelous piece of game design and narrative direction that brings the players through a journey of connection to technology and how it affects your relationship with those near you.

Game Accessibility Standard

Commitment from Gaming Journalism Outlets to cover Accessibility in Games.

As we move towards a world that becomes more increasingly aware of the trials and tribulations of people with accessibility needs. Publications need to move forward in terms of their review criteria for gamers with different needs and requirements. The normalization of accessibility discussion is the key indicator to promote and encouraging change within our industry. It’s through the voices of other people’s experiences that we’ll hear of stories that would otherwise go adrift. 

I’ve heard stories of people with accessibility needs who do not know if a game will work for them on launch day because the reviewers from major outlets do not provide a review of any sort as to the ability to remap keys or increase the text size. 

We all have a passion for this industry, and could you imagine if your favorite franchise came out with a new entry into the series and they left you until months down the line for any coverage whether spend your hard-earned cash on something you don’t know if you’d even be able to play?

This is why it is imperative for major publications who are doing a public service by reviewing and critiquing games to incorporate the needs of other players into their review criteria.

https://www.change.org/p/commitment-from-gaming-journalism-outlets-to-cover-accessibility-in-games

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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX – Review

Having pumped double digits of hours into the new Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX, I can safely say beyond doubt that this is the most loving entry into the history of the franchise. It will charm old and new players alike. However, much like its first incarnation, there were several opportunities where developer Spike Chunsoft could have made moves to better plan a better player experience where it matters the most and that is within its dungeons.

Choosing your character  A selection of Pokémon appear before the character ranging from Bulbasaurs to Machops
Choosing your character.

It all begins with a Question

I remember when I picked up Mystery Dungeon for the first time. I was sitting in Eddie Rockets (Johnny Rockets to my friends in the USA) and when the game asked you to place your finger on the touchpad and begin your quest by answering a series of personality questions. I was hooked, hooked the same way I can remember being hooked playing Pokémon Crystal when the first female playable female protagonist was introduced. The same way I remember being hooked when I first started playing Pokémon Red. I knew that this would be a love affair that would last me my entire life.

Little did I know how right I would be, leaning into all entries regardless of version. A love that would lead me to buy multiple copies and keep old systems around just to go back to that world, that place. A deeper love than maybe the original Pokémon series had on me as the series was more formulaic in its iterations.

Mystery Dungeon was something special to me. Something unique. This wasn’t just a protagonist who I was aiming to be, shoes I was yet to fill. This was my own journey, with my answers, my solutions, with my friends.

So when I heard of the remake it thrilled me to bits to go back into this place, and I’m delighted to say that Spike Chunsoft (the makers of hit visual novel series Danganronpa) made a faithful recreation of the Mystery Dungeon world; with some beautiful ascetic changes.

Watercolour Masterpiece. Pikachu and Bulbasaur by a forest lush with watercolours straight from a childs book.
Watercolour Masterpiece

Watercolour Masterpiece

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX is stunningly beautiful in its depiction of the world. It’s the closest thing I’ve come to going “this is exactly what I had in my brain when I was young”. The watercolor imagery captures all that is whimsical, bright and alive in this world. It is bright without being overbearing, a brightness you could stare out at for hours without needing to avert your gaze. Thankfully there are instances in the games where you can pause for a moment to take in your surroundings. Even going so far as to have a dedicated art mode viewer on the main menus.

I’m grateful for that tiniest of little touches to take your time and appreciate the world that you’re in. It encourages a place to go and gather yourself, place your feet firmly on the ground and take your time to get to grips with everything that the game has to offer. It is deceptive in its ability to surprise you. Especially as the game starts to get into the deeper aspects of the story.

Many to one. Your team vs a load of enemies
Many to one

Not so Mysterious Dungeon

Formulaic is the kindest word that I can find to describe the gameplay, although a more accurate word would be boring. The dungeon part of Mystery Dungeon is easily the weakest part of the game. Which is unfortunate – as it is the most predominant part of the game. The premise of the mystery dungeon title is that every time you enter a new dungeon it is different from the last one you enter. This means you can only go so far to prepare for what lies ahead of you.

This has its pros and cons, naturally. Pro’s being it does keep the gameplay from being completely dragged down by the sameness of having to go through the same layouts on repeat and you will encounter different sorts of Pokemon on each run you do. Giving you more opportunities depending on rare qualities a likelihood to recruit them onto your squad for more adventures.

Cons, unfortunately, outweigh the pros. You invariably are trying to do quest markers more often than you are doing a quest to boost your rescue teams’ rank because you just can’t bear the thought of having to do any more dungeons. I was doing so many dungeons at one stage I had to take a break because I was getting headaches. That’s not the best sign in the world that your gameplay is engaging or keeps you in a rewarding loop. The items you get from dungeons are, most times, are either completely useless to your objectives or essential items that you need for dungeons; like apples.

The Kecleon Shop that you have access to in the Pokemon main square or occasionally popping up mid dungeon has an uninspired array of items. Apples are essential for longer dungeon runs, as getting hungry will invariably lead to your party fainting if you can’t get some sustenance. The shop only selling one of these a go at any one time just isn’t useful. You have to bank on the ability to either find them in dungeons as they spawn or that the shop in dungeon spawns more than just a single-use item.

What is the biggest gamble of these mystery dungeons is starting them in the first place. There are no hard and fast rules for level requirements and you will find out super quick if you are under the level required for it and with that loss comes the loss of all of your money as well as your items. So if you have had a set of equipment and are fully prepared for your dungeon you could get wiped out in one go by just having an unlucky encounter or worse, a monster house.

Silver linings in unlikely places

Auto Mode allows the player with one click to move around the dungeon
Auto mode

There are some incredible accessibility modes that more developers could do with taking on board. Some of these are unique features and others are just sheer thoughtful input created from a thoughtful development process. There is quite literally an overabundance of them. Some of which there has been no fan fair or notice through other outlets, but I can’t tell you how much these things matter for players with disabilities.

Auto Mode

Auto mode is a mode where, as the name would imply, allows your character to explore the dungeons without you needing to toggle or hold down buttons in order to explore. The auto mode only ceases when there is an enemy in sight, allowing the players to make a decision on what to do from that point on.

Move Sets

For players with Cognitive difficulties or simply new players who wouldn’t know what the best moves are. They can simply press the A button and the game will make the best decision as to what move to use in order to get the upper hands on your opponents.

Highlighted Text

One of the best things that I have seen in accessibility tools is the ability to look into highlight words by simply hovering over the words. Each is colour coded into their specific categories so they are distinct from each other at all times. This gives the player the ability to review at any time what is going on or what item will have an effect etc.

Audio Captions

Something that goes so understated in video games is the ability to read captions. Thankfully, Spike Chunsoft has been experts in their field when it comes to visual novels. All that experience comes into play with the way that they have used text in this game. Not just in the way that they have used highlight text, as per the example above. But their ability to capture sound in text to tell a story. This level of storytelling should be standard across all titles, as this is a level of care that you take to include people from all backgrounds, levels, and experiences in being able to enjoy your game fully. I can think of no higher praise than this. It is a sheer masterclass of accessibility and something that developers from all around the world can learn from.

A Storys End

Camp Corner with Wigglytuff and our protagonists
Camp Corner

There is an awful lot to like about Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX. You can feel the love of the source material from the Spike Chunsoft team and the care that went into developing this game. Using their length and breadth of experiences to breathe new life into a franchise that was feared to be left in obscurity. However, even with the quality of life improvements as well as some stellar accessibility features – it doesn’t stop the game from having some fundamental flaws where it matters the most and that is in its gameplay.

It leads to a larger conversation around remakes, how close should you stay to the sources material in order to maintain its truest self? With other remakes of significance lurking around the corner like Final Fantasy VII, I’m sure this will only be the start of the debate to come. All I know is that I’d appreciate the intention but am sad for the opportunity missed to tweak some mechanics or to expand on what made the series iconic, to begin with.

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Should You Care? Women – Critical Lit Games

CriticialLitGames is the brainchild of writer turned coder Susan Gray, her focus with CriticalLitGames is to blend her two loves of literature and gaming using Augmented Reality (AR).

Coming from an arts background, Susan has been writing fiction from a young age starting off with short fiction and novellas moving on later to writing and publishing plays and poems. Her love of writing didn’t end there but seeped into her gaming life. She told me during her chat that when she was younger, she used to write to gaming companies with her ideas for games that she wanted to see. From this love of gaming leant her to coding where she had picked up Q and Visual Basic realising she may not need the major gaming companies to achieve her dreams. She could make the games herself.

Upon completing her PhD in Creative Writing, she decided to try her hand at Unity. Her first foray

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into Unity was in the VR space, but during her testing, she stumbled upon AR. She was fascinated about what she describes as the “breach into physical reality” rather than the separatist nature of VR. She realised that anything could be a host for an extra layer of information over the items we see as commonplace in our daily lives. Her mindthen strayed back to her first love of books. How could she add this layer over a timeless medium without distracting the reader’s attention?

She then drew on the experiences she had as a child and tieing that in with her love of video gaming realised she could create the modern gamebook. Thanks to the technological advancements that have to lead to AR she felt this could add a level of novelty to the everyday.

You can find a demo of her previous work here, and you can follow her progress on Twitter at @CritLitGames, on Instagram @criticallitgames, her blog https://criticallitgames.co.uk, and her Patreon if you want to support what she is up to.

Secret of Mana – Why I’m excited about the remake.

In August 1993, the game was released initially as Seiken Densetsu 2 in Japan on the Super Famicom (SNES) but sold outside Japan as Secret of Mana. Now, as of 2017 Square Enix is has decided to remake the beloved series which will be released in North America on February 15, 2018.

Earlier this summer, a Mana collection containing three pillars of the Mana theme; Final Fantasy Adventure, Secret of Mana, and Seiken Densetsu 3.  This was Japanese exclusive for the Nintendo Switch. Now the second game in the series is headed to the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita as well as Steam.

According to Famitsu, this is a full remake with full voice-overs, a new musical arrangement, other new elements like upgraded gameplay and graphics. It will also have local multiplayer on all platforms. All sounds so far so good, right?

Well, with the launch of the SNES Classic launched at the end of this year I’m not too sure. If you were one of the lucky ones, who got these hands of one of these elusive mini consoles you will already have access to the legendary RPG. One of the charming things about the SNES Classic will find that, among other things, the most exciting inclusions was the inclusion of the range of JRPGS. One of the things about the SNES Classic that I love is that its entire library of games has lasted the test of time, so they’re still great today. There are very few games on the consoles roster that I wouldn’t play, which for me was a more enticing prospect than the original NES mini.

So, I’m reminded of how good Secret of Mana is with the SNES mini, but I was struck by how much it could benefit from an update. I’m, personally, not concerned about the new art direction that it’s taking. Chibi style is something that I’ve always had a soft spot for that style, and while there seem to be some odd texture choices, it’s not enough for me to be super concerned.

This is primarily because I’m so excited that there will be a new generation of players who will be able to experience this incredible game with no significant changes to its narrative other than its visual aesthetics. I have a similar feeling of optimism surrounding the remake of final fantasy 7 (although, I’m less pleased with it being episodic, but I digress). So, for now, I’m going to trust that we’re going to get the remake it so richly deserves.

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D23 2017 – July 15th

D23 2017 kicks off in a huge way giving more detailed information of games to come in the next few years.

It kicks off with the announcement that it will be a bridge to Rouge One. It will also have a female protagonist by the name of Iden and how she deals with the fall of the empire. She’s spend her whole life building up to be a warrior for the dark side.

There was an announcement of an AR headset developed with Lenovo! You can find out more on the Lenovo Youtube Page.

Insomniac Games discuss the challenges of making a SpiderMan Game, taking inspiration from the Spiderman comics. We get a brand new trailer with new story elements, with reassurance that the web slinging that they have the motion down for it. Enduring that the flow of movement is smooth and consistent. That there is no obstacle too big for Spiderman to overcome.

We have a new armer from Spiderman Homecoming.

Marvel Power United VR

So it’ll be a VR experience for the Oculus Rift. There will be a full roster of charters and there will be a  demo available and you can see a trailer here. Markiplier played it, and I’m so jealous!

We start off with the older trailer for Kingdom Hearts that was shown at E3 this year. Raging most of us, as we all know Namura likes to mess with us. But, we do get a new world to see this time around at this D23. Realising a new Toy Story world, it is easily one of the prettiest things I’ve ever seen.

With the best thing of all.

Kingdom Hearts, will be released 2018.

Excuse me while I blow up Twitter till I get the Disk in my hand.

 

Xbox One X Revealed : E3 2017 [Noobist.com]

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Originally Posted on Noobist.com

What we learned from Microsofts E3 2017 presentation was the unveiling of the Xbox One X. Formerly known as Project Scorpio. Needless to say, Microsoft’s offering has them coming out of the gate swinging!

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The specs on this hardware are nothing short of impressive:

  •  8-core Custom AMD CPU  it is clocked at 2.3GHz
  • 12GB GDDR5
  • 6 Teraflop GPU enabled 4k
  • 326 GB/sec memory bandwidth

Video Capabilities

4K

  • UHD Blu-ray
  • Optical Disc Drive

HDMI

  • 2.0b (out),
  • 2160p @ 60Hz,
  • AMD FreeSync

HDR10

Support

Audio Components

DTS

5.1

DOLBY

  • Digital 5.1,
  • TrueHD with Atmos

PCM

2.0, 5.1, 7.1

Wireless capability

  • Bluetooth Enabled
  • Activation button on front

WiFi

  • Dual band wireless with Wi-Fi
  • Direct for home networks

IR

  • IR Blaster
  • Send and receive signals

Connectivity

  • Power Port
  • 2 HDMI Ports (1 HDMI 1.4b in, 1 HDMI 2.0b out)
  • 3 USB 3.0 Ports
  • IR Out
  • S/PDIF
  • Ethernet Port

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What you need to keep in mind about this hardware is that it is presently stronger than Sony’s offering the PS4 Pro. Microsoft claims it to be 40% more powerful than its competitor’s models, but it does beg the question that struck me when I first saw the specs. “Isn’t this super close to being a decently specced PC?”

 

Given that the exclusives for this console aren’t really unique (Given the fact that you can play the majority of these on Windows anyway) it begs the question as to why you would bother to the price point of $499?

 

The answer to that is relatively simple – you will not be able to get that true 4k resolution if it wasn’t priced that way. Given the graphical fidelity of it, it’s unsurprising to me that it is priced the way it is. However, I fear that the console may be a little bit before its time. HD TV’s have only become standardised in the last few years. 4k TVs are still very expensive, and I fear that most people may avoid getting it for this reason. Or even worse – that they don’t realise they will need a supporting monitor to get true 4k.

It’s down to the individual person as to if they’d notice a difference between Full HD or ULTRA HD and if making that leap to 4k would justify the price point for it.

E3 2017 – EA Press Conference [Noobist.com]

thenoobist-profile_image-d66caa38f8087982-300x300

Original Article to be found at Noobist.com

E3 2017

Ah, E3 2017. Gaming’s version of Christmas. Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 for short) is an annual conference where all walks of life from the video games come together to discuss what’s coming up in the industry this year. Everyone attends: from software developers to retailers and everyone in between. A lot of hype happens around this conference as the big names in industry showcase what they have to offer for 2017.

Madden 18 Longshot

madden-long-shot

This year’s E3 lineup starts out strong with a gripping introduction to the campaign mode of Madden 18 Longshot. If you’ve been following any of my work for long, you’ll know I’m not into sports games. They just don’t do it for me. However, I have to say, that the story mode of going through the drama of what it would be life to be an American Football Star had me engrossed. House of Cards engrossed. Hook. Line. And Sinker. Well done, Madden, well done. You can check out the trailer yourself and let me know what you think about it in the comments below.

Star Wars Battlefront 2

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Moving onto Star Wars Battlefront 2, you have to give credit where credit is due. CEO, Andrew Wilson admits from the get-go that they had a lot to learn from Star Wars Battlefront.

Two years ago we launched Star Wars Battlefront and we got a lot of feedback. A lot of it positive and a bunch of it constructive. That’s a uphamism for not as positive.

You know what? I respect that. I appreciate the fact that he can admit that there were a lot of frustrated fans and players from the rather hollow experience that Star Wars Battlefront was. Time will tell as to whether or not they have indeed learned their lessons from the first Battlefront and what will change in this iteration of the franchise.

While microtransactions are still a thing, there is a lot to be said for the studio electing to not have any paid DLC with Battlefront 2. They’re aware the goodwill they built up vanished when they charged what they did for what was essentially four maps. Let them try and earn it back I’d say. They’re aware the game will sell, but they will be under more pressure now to not take the mickey with it.

Battlefield 1

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It’s always reassuring to know that Battlefield 1 will not be left out of the E3 love this year. As Andrew Gulotta, Producer of Battlefield 1 talks through the success of the franchise so far. Though, it did give way to some of the most awkward montages of games live streaming/YouTube experiences of playing BattleField 1 that I’ve ever seen.

It illustrates the power and where the influence for games are going these days (to the players and influencers). It hit home to me at that moment two equally powerful things. 1): They’re paying attention to the movement of gaming and where the hubs are. This is good. 2): They’re taking streamers and YouTubers content to present at E3. Yikes.

The reason why I say Yikes is because it makes me very self-conscious about how young the industry is, and yes, these moments are crucial to a gamers life. I don’t know why, but it showcased this way felt invasive in a way I can’t describe. Communities are built around these things, and generally, it’s not for the benefit of the publication of these communities.

Not that I feel that showing these communities to a wider audience isn’t useful or beneficial – but my fear is for the larger audiences of these conferences that it may just perpetuate the stereotypes of what we face already as gamers. I think that’s what I’m the most uncomfortable with. That and the lack of diversity in that clip. Those who were talking about the engagement in their communities were predominantly white men. I only saw one female, and I know a lot of women who play Battlefield, so this made me feel uneasy.

In the name of Tsar is the latest expansion coming to Battlefield one and it will contain eight new maps all based around the Russian Army around World War 1. There will also be a new competitive battlefield experience, based on the feedback that they’ve received from fans. Patrick Söderlund talks through what to expect in this update.

Later this year we are going to give you a new competitive Battelfield experience. We’ve heard you. You want a smaller, tighter experience focused on teamplay.

We can look forward to hearing more about it at Gamescom later on this year.

FIFA 18

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FIFA is FIFA is FIFA. I know next to nothing about it, except that Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (no not that one) is on the cover of it and contributed his data to the game to help it be more realistic. For those in the eSports world of FIFA,  you’ll be pleased to know that EA is heavily investing in the scene and that more championships and leagues will be coming to your monitors soon.

Need for Speed: Payback

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A bit of Burnout mixed in with some Horizon style open world with the regular additions of the Need for Speed franchise. So, what’s not to like? We’ll find out more about it soon in due time.

A Way Out

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A Way Out is probably EA’s most exciting new title for this year’s E3. From the Studio that did Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. This Prison breakout game is one that should interest the wider community, giving some Last of Us/Uncharted vibes. Lots to be excited about given how stellar Brothers was. I’d be cautiously optimistic about what comes next for this studio!

There is a lot to digest from this E3 2017 presentation from EA. It shows a different side of the company, one that is painfully aware of itself and the market. Yet, hasn’t really hit the nail on the head regarding tone and approach. That being said, there is a lot to be looking forward to in the next year with an impressive lineup of old and new titles.

Best Cases for the Nintendo Switch!

With the new release of the Nintendo Switch on Friday the 3rd of March 2017. New owners revel in their new purchase! (Myself included) However, in the excitement, it is always likely to overlook one of the biggest features of the Switch. That is, its portability. If you have just spent €312 on a console that you intend on carrying with you on communities, you should really have a case to carry the thing in! So lets have a run down of the top Nintendo Cases that are available to purchase right now!

SF/Waterfield Design – Switch Case

SF/Waterfield Design are known for protecting they’re gaming kilt. Already having bags for mobile devices such as the 3DS and the Vita, it is no surprise that they’ve created a case for the Switch. Made from Leather, this bag has a stunning appeal in terms of its appearance. You would not mind carrying this pouch around with you in public. It just oozes of class. With room enough for cables, game cards, and headphones this pouch should definitely be a must see for those who are willing to spend a little bit more to get something exceptionally classy.

SF Nintendo Switch Bag
SF Nintendo Switch Bag

Pre-Order: $79

For those who are looking to move more than just their Switch and Joy-Con around. There is an option for a Multiplayer Pro Case. This can Carry everything from the dock to the Joy-Con Grips all in the typical classy design that you would expect!

Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Pro Case
Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Pro Case

Pre-Order: $149

Gamestop – Official Nintendo Switch Case

For those who are looking for the more official route. Gamestop Ireland are stocking the Official Nintendo Switch Accessory pack. This pack has the case itself, with the Nintendo Switch logo on the front and comes with a screen protector  and kickstand/stand for the Switch included in the bundle. At €20 if you’re looking for the Nintendo solution to your carrying problem, this is a good case to look at!

Official Nintendo Carry Case
Official Nintendo Switch Carry Case

HORI Switch Tough Case (Nintendo Switch)

For those who are looking for something a little bit more robust in terms of protection, but still are looking for something sleek. The Hori Switch Tough case will be a difficult one to beat. It’s hard shell, and focus on protection of the touchscreen built into the case itself makes this case a great alternative for those who don’t like the hassle of having to worry about screen protectors. (But please, put on screen protectors)

£29.99 at Amazon.co.uk

HORI Switch Tough Case (Nintendo Switch)
HORI Switch Tough Case (Nintendo Switch)

So what do you think? Are there any more cases I missed that you think should be on this list? What cases did you get for your Switch? Let me know in the comments below.

Remember to give this blog a share on your favourite social media, and don’t forget we have a Nintendo Switch Unboxing over at Should You Care? YouTube.

An Unexpected Hiatus

I’ve nothing to say for myself and for the neglect of the blog other than life just got in the way. It’s a pretty poor excuse for not being around. Or giving this blog the time it deserves, but I think that with everything that has happened, losing my dad and then subsequently losing my home, I don’t believe there was ever a right time to let you all know whats going on with me.

I know that has its pro’s and con’s, but I’m finding myself trying to distance myself. I’m aware of the distance and the space that I’m working to create for myself, Lord knows my friends haven’t seen or heard much from me since Dad died. Part of me thinks that while it’s apart of the course of grieving but there is another that’s just realised I’m not the same person after the experience.

I desperately want to leave Ireland now. I don’t feel like there is much of life that I can create for myself, I feel out of place and unsettled. I also want to prove to myself that I want to start living because I’m afraid to now that Dad is gone. This is because I knew that it didn’t matter how badly I fucked up, Dad was always there to get me out of whatever trouble I got myself into. Doesn’t mean that I was reckless, but I had that safety net. I no longer have that safety net, and I’m caught between paralysing fear as to my life vs. the sense of I need to prove to myself that I can keep going. I guess it also comes from a greater sense of feeling like if I don’t go now, I never will. Which is a kind of weird statement to make being 25 but I just have a feeling that I can’t shake off “I need to go.”

A lot of people get my inclination to leave, moving back home, having my grandad get sick, Splintor’s grandmother passing is all a lot to happen in a short space of time, and things keep changing. My contract with work shall be ending soon so I will need to eventually find a new job soon. But work is a whole other kettle of fish, something that may be left for another blog post when I’m long since gone!

So I have a lot to consider, and I have a lot of balls in the air presently regarding jobs and PhD as its something I still want to chase.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need them over the next while!

Without Iwata-san what now for Nintendo?

http://m.ie.ign.com/articles/2015/07/13/nintendo-ceo-satoru-iwata-has-passed-away

I’m devastated by the news that Mr Satoru Iwata has passed away at the age of 55 due to a bile duct growth.
Being someone who grew up with the original Gameboy, Nintendo has been a part of my life. Nintendo products have accompanied me through all states of my development – even well into my adulthood. I’ve always been very fond of Mr Iwata as a developer before he became president of Nintendo. I knew deep down that Iwata would have a lasting legacy that would continue well into the mid 2020’s. It’s such a tragedy that his life was cut so short.
Mr Iwata was known for his friendly attitude to fans along with his openness. As one of the first major corporations to peel back the curtain into the inner workings of the gaming industry, he became a much respected and loved figure of modern gaming.
Being such a force of good for Nintendo, bringing around new consoles and the revival of handhelds. Questions now appear as to what’s next for Nintendo at such a precarious time.
Nintendo have recently had a bit of controversy over their new partnership with Japanese mobile developers DNA, sparking debate and concern that the much loved franchises might in someway be diluted for the smartphone market.
It comes at a time where Wii U sales are still low & with the announcement of the NX and a new ecosystem of products that all connect – it’s hard to think of who is going to lead Nintendo through this transition.
I’ve no doubt that Nintendo have had some preparations in place, and some plans for the future. All eyes will be on Nintendo to see what is next. For us fans, it is now time to mourn the loss of a great leader in Video Gaming.
This world would be a much more lonely place without Nintendo, I hope that for a company over 100 years old that they will be able to maintain the course set for being around for another 100 years.

Fallen London

Fallen London

It’s been a very long time since I’ve played any sort of free point and click/narrative game. I’d say its been as long as my Newgrounds & I Am Bored days. It’s a game thats very hard to explain, but I’ll give it a good go. 
 
First thing to know about Fallen London, and the very first thing that happened to me was that I died. Immediately. My gut reaction to this was “F this then.” But a friend of mine kept encouraging to persist with it, and its a game I fall very much in and out of love with. I ended up coming back from the dead and running around a very beautifully created world. 
 
Which is high praise for a soley text driven narrative. The writing in any game can often dictate involvement and engagement within the game. A game like this has to strike a balance between engagement and not being too text heavy. Which is a balance that 90% of the time the game gets right. 
 
Its a game you play the way you want to, in the missions you get, you choose how you want to play it. Watchful, Shadowy, Dangerous, Persuasive; these are the main points that you gain from completing missions certain ways. There is always choice in Fallen London for how you want to play the game, and at the minute I haven’t gotten myself into too much of a box.  
 

 

Traveling around Fallen London is easy with its intuitive fast travel opens, you will get notified where you can or cannot go in a certain story line or if you just want to go off exploring. There are certain places you can’t go at the very start of the game, as there are certain quests you have to complete, or you need to become a person of note to gain access to these levels.
How you interact with the game is a minamilistic screen and the icons for each task and deck has been revamped lately which gives a needed breath of fresh air to the stylistic challenges games like these face.
 
The games mechanics are fairly simple to explain. You have 20 actions that get refreshed every 10 minutes. There are some micro transactions, but they aren’t essential to playing the game and more importantly they’re not pushed in your face. They’re something there as an option to unlock something called Fates. Fates unlock items or specific story quests or options within a specific story line. You do get some at the start (or at least I did when I first started playing) which I’d advise keeping until you feel you really need it. There is also options in game to earn Fate without the expense. In my playing of the game I have only come across these a rare few times but I guess that is by design.
 
Please keep in mind this isn’t something you’re going to be sitting down and spending hours straight playing, the narrative is engaging and interesting enough for you to play in 10 minute stints and be able to walk away from the game without feeling like you’re missing anything. Its a great compromise for gamers on the move who want a fully engaging RPG like adventure but don’t have the time to sit down. The experience on mobile devices (I can only talk about iPad and iPhone 6) translate very well, and with the new edition of the Fallen London app that is due out this year it will make a very welcome addition to my gaming family.
 
I fully recommend this game if someone wants a casual gaming experience while they’re meant to be doing other things!