A Child’s Worst Nightmare

25 05 2012

Well, we all know that parenting is a difficult task, to say the least. However, when you’re sitting on the child side of the relationship, the whole ordeal feels like a long, boring struggle for freedom. Our 10 year-old selves, feeling like the unjustly punished victim as we sit in the lonely prison that is the infamous naughty step, when all we did was set the living room on fire. Life is so unfair.

Take a look at the world of video games however, and we start to see how much worse life could have been. With parents abandoning, murdering or simply just not caring about their little bundles of joy.  Oh, and by the way, there will be some minor spoilers ahead, you have been warned. Now, without further ado, I give you, ‘The Worst 5 Parents in Gaming’.

The Worst 5 Parents in Gaming

5. James (Your Dad) – Fallout 3

One of the best (and only) pieces of advice he ever gives you

Now, Liam Neeson has portrayed himself as a great father plenty of times, so it was about time for him to be a prime example of a bad parent, and he does just this in Fallout 3. Near the beginning of Fallout 3, you wake up one day, with Vault 101 in panic and disarray, (In my first playthrough, I thought we were being invaded by monsters, who were tearing our bodies to shreds…) it turns out, your dad has just upped and left you, without a single warning from him, he just leaves you.

Now, this is not the part that makes him one of he worst parents ever.(even though it’s still a bloody crappy thing to do) It’s more the fact that the whole Vault is ran by an overseer that has more than a couple of screws loose, and he drives you out of the vault, into the cruel harsh Capitol Wasteland. This Wasteland is not just the victim of a nuclear war, but it also holds some of the nastiest creatures around, including super mutant behemoths, not to mention all the psychopaths wandering about. (the only thing that could make it a worse place is giant, rabid, mutant chickens) Oh well, at least he taught you how to fire a BB gun.

4. Ethan Mars – Heavy Rain

His own child won’t even sit next to him

Now, I admit, this guy is not that bad a father for the most part, and is a rather unlucky guy. However, his main flaw is his ability to lose all his concentration, leaving his children as victims to the cruelty of the real world, and this really screws him over throughout the game. Firstly, he manages to lose one of his two children in a shopping mall. Yeah, sure, plenty of people have done this before, but most people don’t then find the child wrapped around the bumper of a car on the street. That’s right, by the time he finds his child again, it is too late to stop his untimely death.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, a bit later on in the game, he then starts daydreaming whilst in the park with his only remaining child, only to find that he has been kidnapped from right under his nose. Now, yes, he does spend the rest of the game jumping through flaming hoops to try and get the child back, but you can’t really argue with the record of one child dead and the other kidnapped…

 

3. You – The Sims

Go ahead, go and make more babies to ignore.

Now, when we sit down and really judge ourselves, I think most of us will see that when it comes to gaming, most of us are awful parents. For every game that gives us the chance to make little devil spawn, there are thousands of people taking their sweet time to find new ways of making their lives a living nightmare. Personally though, I feel like The Sims gives us the biggest selection of ways to show the world what awesome parents we are.

Some people like to find masochistic ways to torture their children, like setting a room on fire, and removing the door. Others however are just so busy jumping into bed with every Sim we happen to come across to care about their children, leading to a vicious cycle of producing children, just to leave them to die, in order to make even more children.

2. Your Parents – Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald

 

Here, take these and please run away from home.

We all know that the mum in Pokemon games always gets a bad reputation for her amazing children skills. but I feel like your mum and dad in the 3rd generation of pokemon games just take the cake. Firstly your dad, he just seems to care way more about his pokemon than he does you, spending all his time ruling over all the puny trainers in his gym. In fact, the only real things he ever says to you are just telling you to become a better trainer, because “you’re doing great son”, is clearly not enough motivation in the world of pokemon.

Then we have your mum, she very clearly encourages you, at the age of 10 to leave home and go take on an ‘adventure’ (which involves battling adults twice the size of him, and taking on an evil corporation whose target is to basically destroy the world). Not only this, but she even gives you some handy running shoes, which, I always just saw as a subliminal message, that walking away from home clearly wasn’t quick enough for her.

 

1. Your Mum – The Binding of Isaac

Child crying on the floor – clearly a sign of great parenting

Now, most of the parents in this list are just stupid, clumsy, or plain lazy. In the Binding of Isaac though, your mum is actually trying to kill you. That’s right, Isaac’s mum hears a mysterious voice (who she believes is god) who tells her to go and kill her only son, you. So, Isaac does what any scared child would do in this situation and hides. Unfortunately, Isaac decides to hide in the basement, which is oddly littered with demons, traps and lots more that also want to see him dead, heck, even the devil himself is in there for some reason.For Christ sake, this clearly disturbed child even fights using his own tears, that should say enough in itself.

As you battle your way through rooms and rooms of horrifying nightmares, you slowly gain strength, only to eventually face off with your very own mother. Yes, your very own mother is the end game boss, now, if that isn’t a bad example of parenting right there, I really don’t know what is.





Nocturnal

1 02 2012

Well, it’s gone 6am, so naturally, I’m wide awake, when I should be sleeping. :/ In these late hours of the night, I have been searching the internet for my usual gaming fix, naturally, I came across more articles about the recent piracy issues, however I came across two that sparked my intrigue more than usual (http://digitalbattle.com/2012/01/21/the-hypocrisy-of-pc-gamers/ and http://digitalbattle.com/2012/01/31/letter-from-an-indie-pc-developer-regarding-piracy/) and quite frankly, I am disgusted with what these articles are claiming.

Personally, I am against the whole SOPA and PIPA nonsense, however these kind of articles do make me think sometimes that we could very well do with an act like SOPA or PIPA, but just a toned down version, which wont shut down the internet as we know it. So with all that in mind, I have decided to write about what we could do to stop this stupidity.

How to save the modern world.

Firstly, I am going to level with you all, and tell you that I did at one point actually support piracy. This was several years ago, when I was young and never really thought of the consequences it actually has, to me, it was just free stuff. However, I now write to you as a much more mature man, with an (albeit slight) understanding of the workings of the world. I have gone from never buying a thing (that includes music, films, TV and games), to occasionally pirating difficult to acquire items, to being against piracy in full. Just as a side note, I am also, for the same reason against buying used, however, I consider this a necessary evil, as otherwise, trying to buy anything more than a couple of years old would become near impossible/insanely priced.

Now although I realise that all this piracy malarkey has an effect on many industries, I am, as usual, going to take this down the route of gaming, as this is what I know best, and what is most relevant to me. Originally, (as I’ve been planning to write on this for a while) this was going to be an article about how piracy should still be allowed, and that publishers and developers should be finding better ways of distributing and marketing their games, however, after reviewing many articles lately, my mind has become much more opposed to piracy than it used to be. However, that said, they could still try.

The future is steamy

Now really, this is what started my switch from pirate to …ninja? well, I’m not really sure what I am now, apart from not being a pirate. Steam is a superb way for us to buy games, and for developers to sell them. With cloud based saves, a profile linked to all our game purchases (so no hassles when changing to a new PC) and insanely good sales, it’s more than fair to say that Steam is a great example of how to distribute games.

The logo of the future

You may also want to read this http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/114391-Valves-Gabe-Newell-Says-Piracy-Is-a-Service-Problem. So, me saying that distribution is a way to solve the issue means nothing, but it certainly holds a bit more weight when we have massive gaming icons like Gabe telling us. Yes, I would be stupid to think that just putting every game ever on steam would solve piracy, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. I mean, Steam is by no means perfect, but it is still a work in-progress and continues to receive constant updates from valve, keeping it the best way we have to get out games.

Whilst I do not believe that games should ever go fully digital, I do think that the next-gen of consoles could also do with taking a page out of valve’s book and greatly improve their digital distribution services. Whilst Xbox Live and PSN to an acceptable job at bringing us add-ons and ‘arcade’ games, there is a huge lack of retail games for sale on them, they continue to be overpriced, with very few sales. They are also very cumbersome, proving only useful at getting us to places we know we want to be, discovery clearly isn’t a word in their vocabulary. In short, they need to get more developers behind the services they are offering, so that we can get a much greater mix of indie and blockbuster games, at better prices, from the comfort of our couches. I’d love to see what the three next consoles have to offer us in the future, and it is clear they at least need to match up to steam’s mighty standards if they want to lay the foundation for the next 5-10 years worth of their online services.

Basically, my theory is that, if we get given the tools to easily find, buy and play our games, no matter the platform, for a good price, then there will be much less piracy in gaming. Sure, the developers will be getting less money per game, but some money is better than none, right? One big thing on my wish list would be a cross-platform service, where we could buy games for play across several consoles, like portal 2 (buying the ps3 version got you a steam key, and saves were shared across the cloud). However, this will likely never happen, as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will probably never reach a point in which they could work together to make this happen, as they all want their product to be better on an individual basis.

Show some respect

As a potential future games developer, it strikes fear into my heart that the PC has a 90% games piracy rate. I mean, it is difficult enough for a developer to make profit on their console games, let alone on a platform which shows a 9x higher piracy rate. Games will need to be selling millions more copies on PC for the studio to see a blockbuster worthy return on their games compared to console games, no wonder the developers more commonly choose consoles as their main platform.

What could have been 😥

Really, us gamers need to buckle up, we need to start showing some support for these guys, I mean, if we truly love their work, and want it to continue, we need to ensure they have a job. We can do this very easily, start buying our games (they also have to be new, not used). I mean, really, I can honestly say that I have paid more on going shopping for sweets than some of my games have cost me (especially when looking at my steam library). If we start being more open to spending a few more pounds here and there on games (and DLC etc.), then the industry will start looking much better for it. It might just mean fewer trips to the sweet shop for some of us. Of course, this is under the assumption that we get met half way, and getting access to these become easier, because most of the time, the reason I buy a game used is because I can’t find anywhere to buy it new (at an anywhere near reasonable price anyway). We scratch their backs, they scratch ours…simple

We don’t want a treasure hunt

Simply put, marketing needs to become bigger, better and smarter. I mean, I realise this doesn’t have too much to do with piracy, but it will help. In the past few years, countless people have lost their jobs due to games just not selling, and yes, although sometimes this is due to realising a poor product, but probably just as many times, it is just due to nobody knowing about the game. Many people claim that if a game is good enough, then it will sell no matter how bad the marketing is and whilst this can be true (look at minecraft for example, a game sold almost entirely from word of mouth), you also have to get lucky, there are clearly more games that this theory didn’t prove true with than those that did, making this tactic a little bit more than foolish to rely upon.

Yes, I appreciate that indie developers may not have the resources to pull out a call of duty style marketing campaign, but why not think outside the box, and design an innovative way to catch the interest of the gaming community. For example, Dead Rising 2 marketed itself with an odd cross-over between game and demo. Dead Rising 2: Case Zero provided a few short hours of Dead rising 2 gameplay, but with a unique prologue story, set in a location outside the main game. This was all offered a couple of weeks in advance to the full game, and for a fraction of the price, meaning any gamers wanting to get their hands on the game, and anybody unsure about whether to purchase the full game or not, could pick up this and get their hands dirty. This went down great with the community, and quickly became one of the fastest selling arcade games on Xbox Live, and (probably) boosted the awareness, and therefore sales, of the final product.

Admit it, you loved the dress.

Whilst this is only one example, it is probably one of the best, with the developers giving us a much better idea of how the game plays than our typical, stupidly short demos, and gaining some money for their efforts in the process, everybody won. Other, smaller ideas are things like a new promotion for Soul Calibur V (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_TLUJlhxrs) in which they painted a promotion for their new game right across a London wall. Whilst it is not quite as big a step as with DR2, it still raises awareness of the title, in a way that isn’t just a banner lurking in the corner of our monitor screens, it still does more than nothing though, and (at the time of writing) over 30,000 people have watched it on youtube, which is still a possible 30,000 extra customers for the game, every little helps, right?  

Shut down the pirates

Yes, I said it, we need to sink all those pirate ships before all this stops. Whilst the developers and publishers need to improve, I would have to think that, for us gamers to really show a big improvement, we need to stop the pirates. Sure, we can tempt them away with sales and easy access, but many people will still always go for the free option, so long as it is still an option. Whilst I still clearly disagree with the acts of SOPA and PIPA, it is not the fact they are killing piracy for me, more the fact that they would destroy the internet entirely, shutting down anything they want, whilst backhandedly claiming some sort of stupid (and possibly made up) breach of copyright, and we would be able to do nothing about it.

The good type of piracy.

So, we need to find a way to shut down the pirate sites, or at very least, all of the big ones, as searching the entire internet for every pirate copy would become a bit more difficult. If we make it almost impossible for people to pirate, they will have no other option but to start playing the honest game. Sure, many people will just not play the games, but I know that I’d much rather have a game with 2 million players, that all bought the game honestly, than a game with 4 million players, but only 20% actually buying the game. Makes pretty simple sense doesn’t it? 😛

Rounding it up

I believe that to solve this crisis, and ‘save the modern world’ we will need an effort from all parties. I think publishers and developers should make an effort to find a simpler and cheaper way of getting the games to us gamers, as well as stretching their imaginations as far as the marketing process. At the same time I expect the option of piracy to be shut down, or at least reduced to a point of becoming obsolete. Finally, us gamers need to step up and take responsibility, buying our games (new), and embracing the digital services and what they offer us.





Getting old

20 01 2012

Hey guys, I’m writing to you today on the last ever day of me being a teenager, and it’s starting to make me feel old. However, today, as a nice introduction into true adulthood, I had to shovel out a bunch of money on a train, just to get home and visit family. This made me feel rather poor, and started to make me think about how I ever manage to keep up my oh so expensive hobby that is gaming. So I thought I’d bring you a 3 part guide to gaming on a budget. Firstly, today I have written you guys the methods I use to save money on gaming and get all those wonderful games to play. Then, over the next two days I shall post up A) a list of the best games of 2011 you may not have played/heard of   and B) a list of great games to get for under £10.

A Student’s Guide: Gaming on a Budget

Well, being a student in this day and age means one thing for sure, a severe lack of money to go around, so I have had to learn how to game on a very small budget. Today, being the lovely person I am, I’m going to share these tips on how I manage it with you guys. Hope you enjoy, and as always, feel free to leave comments and tell me how you guys save those pennies when gaming.

Time is your greatest ally

Well, I mean really, this one kinda goes without saying, but don’t go out buying all those games on release day. Games that may cost £40 on release will quickly drop in price to £20-30 within the space of about of a month, and although this may not sound like much at the time, if you make up to £20 saving every time you buy a game, it will certainly add up, and let you buy twice as many games. However, if there is a game that you really want to get on release, and you can’t bear to wait any longer, then I would actually recommend going out on a limb and pre-ordering it, as often you get little bonus content for showing your loyalty to the game. Another good tactic is to try and go to the midnight launch for the title, as often, specialist game retailers will also give out little incentives with the game to promote their midnight launches (for example, I got given 800 MS points free at the launch of Gears of War 3 at GAME).

Be Independent

By this of course, I mean that you should start playing more indie games. With many of the bigger indie titles offering as good a gaming experience as retail games (titles like Minecraft, bastion and super meat boy spring to mind), but only costing a fraction of the price, many of them can be a steal. With Xbox Live, PSN and WiiWare getting in on the indie action, it has never been easier to get your hands on these great titles, and plus, many of these developers may grow to make your next favourite blockbuster game, we just need to support them now as well, whilst they are still growing.

Timing is everything

Now, although you may only need to wait several weeks for retail games to drop in price, downloadable titles are a bit more stubborn when it comes to their price point. However, there is a way to get around this, and that my friends, is sales. With the holidays having just passed, many of you may have noticed huge price drops in some amazing, downloadable titles, and this gives you the perfect opportunity to grab those games you’ve been meaning to get, but haven’t wanted to fork out the cash for. For example, the holiday steam sale was magnificent, with many titles dropping in price by more than 50% for almost a whole month, and then the daily deals crunching those even further, to the point where some games were 80+% off their normal prices, you’d have to be crazy to not take advantage. The trick with these sales is to wait until the last day to buy anything you want, because at any point it could turn out to be part of the daily deals (which is when you really want to buy them). It’s not just the holidays to watch out for though, sales can happen at any point throughout the year, and with most services offering special deals every week/weekend, you have to stay vigilant, otherwise you may miss out on some fantastic deals.

Saving you a bundle of moneys

Buying in bulk

With all of these fantastic services offering us our games at great prices, many developers need ways to make their games stand out. It seems that right now, bundles is the next big thing. With things like the ‘humble indie bundle’ offering you a great selection of games, at a price point of your choosing (although you get more games if you pay more than the average price paid, which is usually around $6/7, which is a steal for 7/8 great titles), you can’t really go wrong, even if you only like 1 or 2 of the titles, you’re still paying way below the odds (often the value of these bundles is around $100), and as a nice little touch, they let you choose how much of your payment goes to the developer, with the rest going to charity. It’s not just indie developers that are doing this either. When on steam, you may notice that many developers are offering all of their games in one huge bundle, at a slightly discounted price. Wait until the sales however, and you can grab some bundles worth £300+ for less than £100, and you don’t need me to tell you, that’s a bargain.

Start subscribing

With services like Lovefilm becoming more and more common, renting games has never been easier. Pay a subscription fee (packages range from roughly £5 to £20 a month) and you can start renting all of those titles you’ve been meaning to play, without having to buy any of them. I will say this much however, although this may be good for you wallet, I will still plead you on a moral basis to not use this method, as it leaves the developer severely out of pocket, meaning that in the future they may not be able to make any more of their amazing games for you. However, in an attempt to try and be as informative and useful as possible, I am obliged to tell you this, as it is genuinely a great way to save some cash.

pay for one game, get two... o.O

One man’s trash is another’s treasure

Like my last point, I will urge you to stay away from this tactic as often as possible, because those lovely developers gain nothing from this method either. However, used games is truly a great way to save huge amounts of your precious money With most game retailers offering other peoples unwanted games at discounted prices, this can be another method of picking up newly released titles at a fraction of the price, with games pricing at about £5-10 cheaper than their freshly packaged siblings. Buying used games is also often your only option if you are hunting down some old classics that you missed out on…speaking of which…

Respect your elders

Tracking down older games can be a great way to use up your time while you are waiting for those new games you’ve got your eyes on to drop in price. Searching round the internet for some good games you may have let pass you buy over years gone by can be one of your greatest options. The only problem can be buying them, as many retailers may have stopped selling these games by the time you try to acquire them, leaving you with no other option than to try and see if one just happens to be sitting in the pre-owned section of your local stores, or leaving you to try and win a tense bidding war for some lucky seller’s version of the game.

How could you possibly resist?

 

They’re called ’hidden gems’ for a reason

Chances are, that at some point down the line, there have been a few stellar titles that you will have never even heard of. With many of these great games dropping to ridiculously low prices really quickly due to lack of sales, going for un-noticed games is truly one of your best, and most satisfying bets. With many of these games dropping to as low as £10 within 4-6 weeks of release, you can find yourself buying 3 or 4 fantastic titles for the price of one, and all of them can be sparkling new in the process. The only catch however is that you’ll have to hunt them down. Scrounge around the internet and do you homework (a good place to start is looking for peoples ‘best games you may not have played’ lists etc.). However, if you keep seeing games crop up on a number of these lists, it’s probably a good sign that you should be trying them out, maybe try seeing if any of them have demos to try them out, make sure if they are the right game for you.

Friends do have their uses

If all other options fail you, maybe find a friend that is as big a gamer as you, and strike some sort of deal with them, in which you both borrow games from each other (it’s only fair they get something from you too). Again, this does short change developers, but maybe if you both strategically plan games to buy new, with the plan to lend them to one another, and everyone benefits. Just make sure you check how well they take care of their own games before you start trusting them with your precious possessions. After all, games are for life, not just for Christmas.





Do all good things have to come to an end?

19 01 2012

Hey guys, well, I’m afraid to say I don’t have much news for you today, having only woken up about an hour before writing this, and falling asleep after writing my two previous posts for you lovely readers yesterday, I’m afraid not much has happened. The demo for Resident Evil: Revelations has been put on the 3DS store today, so I shall hopefully be giving you my thoughts on that sometime soon.

Today however, I decided to stick with my emphasis on the games for the many, and move my way onto co-op gaming. Now, I’m going to a games night later on, and although there are options out there to play, for the most part, we are usually left with either having to play a competitive game, or all watch one person play on a game, taking it in turns to give everyone a go. What I really want to know, is what ever happened to co-op gaming and the world of local multiplayer. As always, please leave comments below on what your thoughts are on the state of ‘local’ gaming.

The death of the ‘games night in’?

As much fun as games can be whilst playing them in solitude til 5am in a dark room, there is no denying that when you get the right games, playing them with others can be a much more fun experience. Throughout all of my gaming life, I don’t think I’ve ever had more fun gaming than when me and mates have grabbed some junk food and energy drinks, and prepared for one hell of a games night. However, with the evolution of internet gaming, these experiences seem to be going out of fashion, playing the same games, with the same people, but in the comfort of your own home, without having to make any effort, it’s not difficult to see why people have chosen to go with the times and turn to a headset relationship with their friends.

However, is the future really the way forward? to this day, I have still never quite gotten the same experience from a headset as I have my friends, and I can’t see that changing any time soon. So, why don’t we all just stand up and rebel against this silly tradition? simple, because even the games industry is fighting against us.

With nearly everybody and their grandparents being connected to the internet in this day and age, developers are starting to feel like having online multiplayer in their games is a must. Even games which we didn’t really expect/want multiplayer options for (bioshock 2, dead space 2, mass effect 3…) have started putting it in their games, almost as if they feel they have to include it, or people won’t buy their game. In all of their excitement though, their vision seems to have become blurred, as many multiplayer offerings nowadays are online only, and some of them don’t even let you have a guest account play along with you.

remember this?

It’s rather odd really, the game series that kicked off the online multiplayer craze, Halo, let’s you play campaign, firefight, forge mode and multiplayer all with a friend or two sitting on your sofa next to you. This may make you think that developers would take a page from their book, but clearly not. Very few games out today let you play 4 player split-screen, and many others don’t even let you play with just one other friend locally. It seems everything must be done online in this day and age to ‘stay relevant’.

It’s not all bad though, some of the best multiplayer games of recent memory have still let you and your buddies play together, games like Gears of War 3, Halo: Reach and Left 4 Dead 2 all let you share the fun with at least one other member of the household, heck, even the Call of Duty games have 4 player split-screen, albeit without any AI bots to add to the mix.

How more games should be played

We also still have the option a having LAN parties, however, this still involves playing on multiple different monitors, so kind of takes away from the social experience. Also with these hard financial times going on, can we really expect every person who wants to play a game with their friends to have a copy of the game, a console to play it on and a spare TV or monitor to take to a mates house? not to mention the increased amount of effort involved, leaving even more people to just result to playing over the internet.

All of these problems and I haven’t even talked about the co-op side of things. Now, don’t get me wrong, with an emphasis on multiplayer in gaming right now, and the increased possibilities due to online gaming, there are actually more games embracing the co-op mode in recent years. My issue with them is that many of them feel like tacked-on afterthoughts, just like some of the multiplayer offerings of late. With many games simply re-using parts of the single player and adding a second player, or simply adding in a clone of player 1 into the single player (often ending up in a restricted experience), it’s fair to say that pickings are slim when looking for a fully fledged co-op experience.

Games like portal 2 have shown the world how to do co-op properly, offering us new locations, puzzles and story for us to enjoy along the way, portal 2’s offering is a near perfect co-op experience, making us truly need to work together to progress through, whilst giving us the opportunity to kill each other in imaginative ways every now and then, just for the giggles. Not to mention the other little touches they put in there, like having pointers and countdowns for you to utilize if words are failing you both. Plus, guess what, all of this is available to play split-screen, making this wonderful slice of portal cake even better.

get ready for some hardcore hugging.

Now really, I’m not saying I want any of this online nonsense to disappear, I think it’s a great thing to have. I would just like you developers out there to not forget about us gamers who like to socialize, and I’d like them to realise that a headset is really no substitute for having a few friends over to share the mayhem and laughter in person. There aren’t many bonding sessions that can claim to be quite as fun as a games night in, so what are you waiting for, call up your buddies and tell them to come round for a good old-fashioned gaming marathon.





I’m back!

19 01 2012

hey guys, now officially able to give you goodies again. 🙂 had a rather hectic day again today. Finished off my assignment today, went for a bit of a shop, got my hair cut far too short, and then died it ‘ultra violet’. So really, a bad day that is starting to get better, but it’s fine, because I have this to take my mind off of things…until I catch my reflection in my laptop and remember how short the hairdresser destroyed my hair to. 😥

Oh well, on to business, first I’m going to give you guys another top 10, and then, after a nice coffee break, I’m gonna get cracking on that skyward sword review I promised you guys. 🙂 Well, I was shopping before and got told by a lovely assistant that, even though I’m the mammoth age of 19, I may be better off looking in the clothes section for children. This then set me in a somewhat nostalgic mood, and to stick with this theme in my head, I have decided that today’s top 10 is going to be “the top 10 games that ‘everybody’ can enjoy”, and I certainly hope that you all enjoy my list too. As usual, feel free to comment and tell me any games that you think I have missed/should check out. 🙂

Top 10 games that ‘everybody’ can enjoy

Right, just a few little things before we start, as usual. Firstly, this list has been compiled with the modern gamer in mind, so with that, I have tried to restrict the list to ‘this gen’ games, just to stop myself listing a bunch of games you may not even have consoles for anymore. The next thing is, I have used the term ‘everybody’, but obviously, I don’t quite mean every single person ever will enjoy these games, but more that these are the kind of games that son, dad and gran could all enjoy together. Lastly, these games all have some sort of multiplayer aspect to them, so that the family can enjoy them together without having to sit on the sofa for a couple of hours before getting a play. Right, let’s do this thing.

10.  Super Mario Galaxy 2

Now, this game is amazing in every sense of the word, however it is only number 10 due to the fact the multiplayer aspect of it is rather poor, only letting the second player control an icon on the screen, which they can use for things like freezing enemies, and shooting star bits. However, don’t let this deter you from playing, as I said before, this is a brilliant game, and is probably a better game than most of the remaining games on the list. The levels are imaginative, fun and at times very challenging. If anybody tells you that mario games have become to easy, just show them this game and it will shut them up. Plus, the star count is huge, with 242 stars to jump, hop and yoshi your way through, this game will last you so long, you’ll be playing it on the WiiU before you even know it.

9.  Plants vs Zombies

You thought nothing could be as fun with shotgunning zombies in the face? well, that’s where you are wrong, Plants vs Zombies combines funny cartoon-style graphics and disco zombies, what more could you want? A co-op mode you say? oh, well it’s funny you should say, because that’s exactly what is has, giving you control over half the amount of plants as normal, you’ll find yourself screaming in excitement (with a hint of rage) at each other as you make a manic attempt to catch all of the sun coming your way, and making sure your other half doesn’t put a plant facing the wrong way. One of the quirkiest and most enjoyable tower defense games I’ve ever played, just hope the other player doesn’t get to put off when they see a Michael Jackson zombie, thriller dance all over their plants.

8. LittleBigPlanet

Whether it’s creating your masterpiece, watching your sackboy burn to death as you try to survive somebody’s re-creation of hell, or just laughing around because you made your sackboy wear some bunny ears and a mustache, LittleBigPlanet is always more fun with an extra sackboy or two occupying your screen with you. LittleBigPlanet’s real genius is that it lets people make anything they can think of, and trust me, some people’s imaginations are messed up, but in some fantastic ways. I’m not even sure I can count the hours I’ve wasted trying to survive shark attacks and death trains, and I regret nothing. 😛

7. Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise

Not only did this cute but addictive sequel add more pinata’s into the mix, across your normal garden, and the new arctic and desert regions. It also added a co-op mode, letting you and your friends all share a garden online and give it the love it deserves. Depending on the friends you choose to share your garden with, the results can be…shocking to say the least. Sometimes you may find that your garden has become a house to a bevy of chewnicorns and a choclodocus. If you trust the wrong people though, well, you don’t get angry, you get even. With numerous ways to get back at your new-found enemy, from smashing his favourite pinata do death with a shovel, to filling their garden with hundreds of weeds and whirlms, getting you revenge can be just as much fun as playing the game ‘properly’, just make sure you are there to see the other person’s reaction.

6. Worms series

Well, okay, technically this is multiple games taking up one spot, but, I don’t really have a favourite, so you can take your pick really. All of the games follow the same premise, use crazy weapons to blow the other teams of worms up. Simple, yet effective. Each game differs in the environments, weapons (although the holy hand grenade and sheep weapons are a must), customization options, and even dimensions (with worms 3 and 4 being 3D versions). However this never changes the sheer giddiness you get from flying a sheep into your friends last worm, firing them into a watery grave. Pick your favourite worms game , stick it here, and you have yourself a number 6 spot my friends.

5. New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Well, the red plumber makes his return to this list, and for very good reason. New Super Mario Bros. brought mario back to a simpler time, when all he had to worry about was if the princess would be in any of these bloody castles. With 2D making a triumphant return to the series, it was only a matter of time before multiplayer was added to the mix. New Super Mario Bros. Wii gave us just that, as well as a side order of new items, levels and a return of the wacky koopalings. 4 player mario turned out to be even more fun, and more mayhem than we ever imagined, with the ability to pick up and jump on your fellow players, loving families can become sibling rivalries, but it’s all in good fun, right?

4. Minecraft

What could possibly be better than building blocky castles? how about building a blocky empire with all of your best friends…that is of course, until you all turn  each other and start finding ways of sabotaging each others masterful creations, that, my good sirs, is war. The great thing about minecraft is that, not only are there almost limitless ways to build structures, there are also near limitless ways to build traps. Surrounding your fortress with lava, setting explosives to pressure plates hidden in the floor, or simply trapping creepers in your entrance to greet any unwanted visitors, there are many ways to surprise your buddies, and if your feeling really cruel, you could steal all their belongings when they die…but that’s just cruel. Speaking of which, I am seeing a trend in these games, it seems that people rather enjoy killing each other, especially when you’re not meant to. 😛

3. Rock Band 3

Well this game is one which you will certainly not be sabotaging each other, in fact quite the opposite, with the right players, this game can turn into a marathon of rescuing one another from the brink of death (or in this case, being booed off stage). The Rock Band and Guitar Hero games have always been great fun for a groups of all ages, but until Rock Band 3, never have we been able to rock out on our beloved (plastic, but in our heads, real) instruments 7 people at a time. The ultimate party game, Rock Band 3 offers a great range of songs for every music taste (include the DLC count of over 2,000 and you’d have be in-human to not like some of the songs on offer). Simply put, if your looking to keep your neighbours up til 5am whilst having a bloody good time in the process, you can’t get much better than this taste of rhythm game heaven.

2. Super Smash Bros. Brawl

We all know that Nintendo are becoming synonymous for their ‘games for everyone’, so it’s only expected that their games make a few outings on this list. The funny thing is, they had a great formula for one before they probably even knew it. I mean really, what could possibly be better than a game featuring all of their best mascots (and a few obscure ones for all the hardcore fans out there). It was enough for most people who this game could settle those age-old arguments like could like beat pikachu in a fight, and of course, with the addition of brawl to the series, one of the oldest disputes in history was settled, mario vs sonic (mario won, obviously).  Clearly this formula was a winning one, three games have been spawned from it, three games that many people still play today. While many people claimed brawl was a step down from melee on a competitive level, there is no denying that it’s still a hell of a lot of fun, regardless of how balanced/unbalanced the characters are. Really, I mean, who could care less that link is a better fighter than jigglypuff when you’re having this much fun.

1. Mario Kart Wii

What could be better than a game with Nintendos best mascots? how about a fun, crazy, unbalanced racing game featuring the biggest mascot in gaming, and all of his bestest buddies (and enemies). Mario Kart is the definition of a game for everyone, and playing it one the Wii is the most manic one of them all, making it a race of 12 players rather than 8, adding in bikes and some simplified ‘twist to turn’ wiimote control scheme, the craziness and audience has been multiplied. Even though the control scheme is a bit too simplistic for the hardcore, and the blue shells keep on frustrating the skillful, this is what makes Mario Kart Wii truly a game for all people. They have different control schemes for different skill levels, and the items a set up so that the kids have a chance against their parents who have been playing the games since the days of the SNES (and still play it secretly whilst their children are at school). Turns out all you need to have fun with the family is a red plumber and 4 plastic steering wheels.





Humble Beginnings

15 01 2012

Hey guys,  welcome to my blog. This will mainly be a way for me to get my opinions on gaming out in the open, and to (hopefully) inform you guys a little in the process. I will also be de-stressing about real life a bit.

It all started just over a year ago, having just recently starting university, I decided to start writing something. I thought I would start with something I had experienced, so, being a 20-year-old who has pretty much spent his entire memorable life in education, guess what I chose? After about half a novel written out about the life of a teenager (I know, very original), my laptop’s  hard drive decided to break on me, meaning I lost the whole thing. Then after another half a year of hating technology for making me lose all my work, I decided to start writing again. Still wanting to write about something that plays a big part of my life, gaming seemed like the next logical thing. For my first attempt, I’m going to look at whether you should buy a 3DS, hope you enjoy. 🙂

The 3DS in 2011

The 3DS came out nearly a year ago now, and, let’s be fair, it’s had a bit of a rollercoaster ride so far. When it was released the internet exploded with complaints. ‘The battery life is too small’, ‘The 3D gives people headaches’, ‘There are no games out’. Then came the announcement of the circle pad pro, an attachment that adds an extra circle pad and two extra shoulder buttons. This made many people question Nintendo and their loyalty to their own design. Ninty then decided to announce a price drop aswell, making people question them even more, and leaving many loyal fans who had already bought the system feel betrayed, despite the free games they may have got as part of Nintendo’s ambassador programme.

Now in spite of all of these issues, the 3DS made a comeback in spectacular fashion, selling more in 8 months than the DS did in its first whole year. Now many people seem surprised by this, however, not me. there are many reasons why you should go out and buy a 3DS, and here are the biggest ones.

The Games

Now then, even as a very loyal Nintendo fan, it’s not difficult to say that this year hasn’t been great for the 3DS, aside from the two Mario games (Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3DS Land), the only real games that have grabbed most people’s attention have been the remakes of star fox and Zelda. On the upside for Nintendo, this really showed the selling power of Mario is still well and truly there. However, for us gamers, this was a huge let down.

2012 should however be the year we 3DS owners were hoping for, with a stellar list of already announced games, not to mention all of the (hopefully) amazing games that Nintendo have hidden up their sleeves, we’ll be playing our 3DS all year-long. Resident Evil: Revelations is the first of these to come out, (26th jan for us UK folk) this looks set to make a triumphant return to the good old days of resident evil, providing us with a true survival horror experience, as opposed to the much criticized formula of RE5.

With the likes of Kingdom hearts, Fire Emblem, Metal Gear Solid 3DS, Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney, Harvest Moon and Blazblue all coming out this year, it certainly looks like we have plenty to keep us happy and quiet for a little longer about any of the system’s shortcomings. That’s not even mentioning any of the games that Nintendo have to delight us with. With Luigi’s mansion 2, Kid Icarus: uprising, Animal Crossing, Paper Mario and even the possibility of a new Super Smash Bros. game, anybody would have to be crazy to not be excited about what 2012 has in store for the 3DS.

The Price Point

With many people opting out of buying the 3DS originally due to its hefty price tag, and it’s onslaught of complaints. Nintendo had no real option but to respond with a price drop. Now that you can get it for roughly £150, and considering all the games I just listed, there is not much of a risk anymore to say no. I mean really, comparing it t the DS and the new PSVita, the 3DS is a steal, with the DSi XL coming in at £130, and the PSVita costing £230 (or £280 for the 3G option), the 3DS is now great value, and anybody who isn’t at least tempted by buying one, is at least a little bit crazy.

What’s the catch?

Don’t get me wrong, there is still a risk in buying the 3DS this early on in its life cycle. I mean firstly, there is no way to make sure that the games will keep on coming, I mean, sure, 2012 is looking great, without a doubt, but beyond there we are basically going in blind. With the exception of Super Smash Bros. (which has no announced release date), there are no games announced officially for 2013 and beyond for the still young handheld. Now, you may all be thinking that this is just me being paranoid, however, we have to take into account the WiiU. Nintendo’s new home console is coming out this year, and with the disappointing launch of the 3DS, Nintendo will be making their best effort to have a stellar line-up for the WiiU’s launch. Now, this is great news, but, it could mean that the 3DS gets left in the WiiU’s shadow for 2013 and beyond. This shouldn’t be the case, so don’t worry too much, Nintendo are the gaming veterans, and they know what they are doing (most of the time), and they learn from their mistakes. I think I can safely say that Nintendo will have no troubles with running both consoles at the same time, after all, they have been doing it for over a decade. 🙂

Now, unfortunately that’s not all, with all the issues that have surrounded the system itself. There are already rumours spreading like wildfire around the internet about a 3DS ‘lite’ console. Boasting better battery life and a smaller, lighter design, (just like the DS lite did) it may not be just the time to go ahead and buy a 3DS, especially if you were one of the people who traded their DS for a shiny new DS lite. However, many people were disappointed these rumours didn’t include putting the circle pad pro into the design of the lite, therefore having no need to use the (somewhat bulky) add-on for the 3DS on games that will need it. Now, although these rumours may not be true, bear in mind, that it will almost definitely happen. Nintendo have a track record for revising the design of their handhelds, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Lastly, just as a small point. The PSVita is also coming out this year, providing some real competition for the 3DS. However, the japanese have already started bringing up issues with the (already released, in Japan) console, and there is still a lack of games released for the handheld powerhouse. Now, as you may have just guessed, the PSVita boasts much more power than the 3DS, so those of you who love your shiny graphics will probably be much more attracted to the idea of buying a Vita over a 3DS. Now, I would personally say that the two are aimed at different market, with Sony going for the ‘hardcore’ market, and Nintendo going for a market of ‘everybody in the whole world’, you’re clearly going to get different mileage out of the two, and I personally say (if you can afford to) it’s probably worth getting them both at some point. However, with the 3DS having a lower price point, and a much quicker expanding library of games, I would personally suggest buying the 3DS now, and the Vita later, unless you really, really want to play uncharted on the go ASAP.

My thoughts on the whole mess

Well, since I recently bought a 3DS for christmas, it’s pretty clear where I stand on the whole matter. I say buy it, it’s cheap, there are plenty of games coming out this year, and its main competitor has not even released over here yet. Simply put, I think it’s a no-brainer, I don’t particularly care that there will be a new version of a console out, I bought an original DS, still have it now, and I don’t regret it at all, even though the next iterations were actually better. Also, having read the previews of the circle pad pro, I’m not that miffed about having to use it for the occasional game, especially if it gives me a better gaming experience. So go ahead, buy one now!!! 😀