If You Could Live in a Video Game

I was asked a question in a job interview, ‘If you could live in a video game, what would it be and why?’ This really made me think for a long time, theres so much choice and so many games that anyone would love to live in. Here’s an insight to some of my thought process.

My original thoughts turned straight to the obvious, Call of Duty, Halo, GTA, the big shooters that are generally the most popular. However, when you think further into the question, it says live in, not live the life of the main character, so in Halo you would be getting attacked by the Covenant and the flood and live in a constant state of fear. Even if you were a marine your chances of survival are pretty slim! As Halo proves, Marines are killed more than they live.

So what would be the better options for a video game to live in? My better thinking turned me towards simulator games and racing games. I thought about Roller Coaster Tycoon, running around a theme park that I designed myself would be great… most of the time, but we’ve all gotten bored playing Roller Coaster Tycoon and decided the best course of action is to make a ridiculous roller coaster that will likely end in deaths, not good! Most simulator games end up being like a hard job, I.E. Farm Simulator, or have such little change that life would become boring, like Surgeon Simulator.

The game I did settle on is quite a good one, in my opinion. I looked back to some of the older games, back from the N64. I chose Super Mario 64, the reason? Because there’s the Home land of the castle, that’s a nice place to be around. After that though, there’s a bunch of other worlds you can jump through some of them are a bit… full of lava, others are wonderful water worlds to explore with pirate ships and nice music. No day would be the same, its not somewhere you could die at any moment and there’s lots of different things to do.

What would you choose as a game to live in? Would you like to experience warfare? Or would you rather go into a game that’s a bit nicer with less chance of death?

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Previous Blog: Call of Duty Black Ops 3

Call Of Duty Black Ops 3

The reveal trailer for Call of Duty Black Ops 3 went up today… I’m skeptical at best, the odds of me buying this installment of COD went down from questionable to doubtful quite quickly as the trailer went on.

I played Advanced Warfare and hated it, the singleplayer was pretty good and was definitely the better aspect of the game in my opinion, the bad part of the game? Those god damn stupid exo suits that created weird combat that just got annoying rather than made it more fun. I know the majority of my friends felt the same way about COD: AW, and even the ones who like it know that COD AW is possibly the worst of the series.

From what I can tell, the COD Black Ops 3 reveal shows that Call of Duty is not listening to fans, or they believe that double jump booster packs are the way to go. I feel that COD needs to go back to its roots, simple perks, simple gun attachments and simple kill streaks. Simplicity makes multiplayer fun, play Counter Strike if you want a simple, straight out shooter game to play!

The problem that I feel COD has come against is that they have saturated their own market, releasing a game year after year is great for sales, but the games get really stale, the only reason they seem to be popular is because of the name “Call of Duty”, take that away and the last few games have been pretty average at best. Black Ops 3 also looks very Titanfall esque, double jumps and wall running! We all know how that game went

The direction Call of Duty needs to take for people who are getting bored of the series is to switch to a bi-annual release giving each developer SIX whole years to develop a game. That way the games would be fully polished and wonderfully created. However, I fear that the dollar signs may be too much for the series to give up on.

 

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Previous Blog: The Boo Tube Update

The Boo Tube Update

Hi all,

 

The Boo Tube has been working on expanding the past few weeks, going from purely written to both written and video content via Youtube and Twitch streams.

Some videos for Youtube have been recorded, I just need to edit them, I am learning to edit on the fly so it will be a work in progress as the videos go along.

Twitch streams will start being more consistent, currently I am trying multiple test streams to try and find the optimal quality for my PC (its old and needs upgrading soon).

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The plan is to get our first video out on Youtube by Friday, we hope you enjoy it!

If it would be possible, you can help us out. Use this Amazon Link to buy products off Amazon, it costs you nothing and helps us out a lot!

There is also a tip site you could use here

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Previous Blog: Easter Eggs

Top Easter Eggs in Games

Video games are sometimes made famous by having brilliant secrets hidden throughout their worlds, however secrets seem to becoming few and far between.

Firstly the two BEST complete games for Easter eggs throughout

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

I could put Halo 1, 2, 3 and 4 in separetly but as I can roll them all into one, then why not! Halo’s easter eggs range from simple to find, to near impossible, ranging from the obvious writing on the wall like Meg and Rex to symbols on shells. Even the Skulls are techinically easter eggs, and that has become a staple of Halo since the second game! Halo has come such a long way that it even puts some of the easter eggs as achievements/trophies. Yes, easter egg hunting becomes rewarding! WIN WIN!

GTA V

GTA V has so many Easter eggs it’s a little bit mental. There are countless movie references ontop of multiple unique Easter eggs. GTA V has a large amount of alien Easter eggs starting right from the beginning under some ice, in the movie studios and multiple clues pointing toward a larger easter egg yet to be uncovered. Flying saucers can even be seen in single player after getting 100% completion along with a certain creature known as Bigfoot. You will easily stumble across easter eggs in GTA, just play the game.

Now for some of my favourites:

Saints Row 2: Giant Bunny

A rather fascinating and very eastery easter egg. swim out to a hidden island and swim around for a bit and suddenly a giant bunny will appear from the water! A rather random but cool experience! The bunny that comes up can be seen throughout the game in shops and is even see-able in full giant form in saints row 3 – see the ship in the restricted zone.

GTA IV: Statue of Happiness’ Heart.

GTA IV’s version of the statue of liberty is the statue of happiness on happiness island. The entrance to the inside of the statue is marked by a sign that says “no hidden content this way”. Go in through that doorway, climb the ladder and Bob’s your uncle theres a rather large heart infront on you. Note: you can’t kill it

Gears Of War 3 Golden Chicken

In Act 1-1, when you get to the deck area with the first COG Tag, there are four large cylindrical pipes on the sides of the area (two on either side). You can approach these and hit X to shout into them. Shout into all four to make a giant, fire-breathing golden chicken appear. Really.

Defeating the Golden Chicken on 4 Player Insane will also unlock a Cluckshot on this level.

Gears of war developers really like chickens I think!

GTA Vice City

Speaks for itself!

 

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Previous Blog: Children and Mature Video Games

Children and Mature Video Games

Children and video games, This has been quite a heavy topic the past few days, UK headteachers are now reporting children who play mature rated (15, 18 rated) games to the police. Parents could be found guilty of neglect for something that is, for the majority, a none issue in my eyes.

The letter from Nantwich Education Partnership  said;

“Several children have reported playing or watching adults play games which are inappropriate for their age and they have described the levels of violence and sexual content they have witnessed: Call Of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Dogs Of War and other similar games are all inappropriate for children and they should not have access to them.”

“If your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game or associated product that is designated 18-plus we are advised to contact the police and children’s social care as it is neglectful.”

Video games can be violent, GTA V has some very violent missions such as torture. However don’t be mistaken, Rockstar in no way have wanted to promote violence through GTA V. There are very few people in the world who would play through the torture scene of GTA V and think, “that’s what I need to be doing with my life”. Unfortunately for the majority of gamers, these people do exist, however, I’d like to think of them as violent people that happen to play video games. You see, I am a person who has played GTA since I can remember, I even remember playing GTA 1 and 2! (I’m only 22) I am yet to get violent with someone, I have never struck someone or thankfully I have not been struck either, because I knew that video games were fake and real life has consequences, a very simple thing to learn in life that a surprising amount of people do not know.

On the front of sexual content, video games, for the most part carry very little sexual content compared to many other mediums. The Sun sort of got rid of page 3, but not quite. Gossip magazines have sections dedicated to the bedroom seemingly every week. Some TV shows very sexualised content, as do movies, and we all know how easy it is to find the bad things on the internet. Violence is films and TV has been accepted for as long as I can remember, why is no one complaining about violent films?

So why do video games get treated different?

Because the people that don’t play video games assume we get captured in a game so much that we become what the main character is. So playing GTA V means that there are 45 million people who are preparing bank hiests right now! I think the police should be more worried about that than children right now!

Here is a quick fact, I know of at least 50 people who I know played 18/mature rated games as children and I know none of them were violent when growing up.

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Previous Blog: Virtual Reality Headsets

Virtual Reality Headsets

2015 seems to be the year of virtual reality headsets being announced and released, the talks of the future of gaming being through virtual reality headsets seems very real, however, your standard setup should never have to worry!

Virtual headsets are cool, I have used an Oculus Rift at the Gadget Show Live with a development game that was basically just an exploration game of a small village. I started on the top floor of a house and when I walked down the stairs, my stomach dropped, its that immersive.  If you haven’t played a game using a virtual reality headset of any form then you can’t judge it. The Oculus Rift is a fantastic piece of kit, and the version I used was only a development kit. The room for improvement is high, with better screens and more accurate motion trackers being high on the list of necessary improvements, but the concept works great

Its strange that something that is, in theory, so simple; a headset with a screen for each eye with motion control. its taken till 2014/2015 for it to become something that is wanted by a lot of gamers. And to back up the demand, there are alot of new virtual reality headsets in development.

For Virtual Reality to work, games need to support the software. Just like games supporting 3d, Virtual Reality will need the same support. Happily, it seems like Virtual Reality has a lot of backing, considering Oculus Rift was a Kickstarter project. There are plenty of Youtubers who use Oculus Rift developer versions and give the company helpful feedback on the games that have support. Even better, the modding community has come in with some games and created mods that allow some games to support a virtual reality headset, which is really quite cool!

I look forward to having the possibility to own one too, but currently my PC will not work to well with it, I am in need of upgrading my PC before i consider getting into the Virtual Reality scene, but when I do, I know it will be something completely fresh and feel like a new wave of gaming.

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Previous Blog: The Power of Youtube

The Power of Youtube

I originally wrote this for Blockworks, but it needs to be shared more, mainly towards Nintendo!

The games industry has come a long way. The times of playing games on your own are way in the past and now just about everyone has access to online gaming. The uprising of online gaming has catapulted gaming from a ‘nerdy’ hobby, into the realms of the entertainment world, with biggest game development budgets rivalling those of the top Hollywood film budgets. gone are the days where you had to ask a friend about their in game progress, instead having the option to view their achievements, or even hop online to join them in a coop game

As the technical side of games has changed, so has the way in which we find out about new games. 2012 Google analysis shows that 95% of gamers turn to online video for entertainment and information. Developers and publishers of all sizes now use YouTube to reach out to fans. Rockstar games rocked the world with their first trailer for GTA V on youtube days after it was officially announced. That trailer currently has almost 38 million views, the hype surrounding new content reveals tagged with a highly respected game contributed to their record setting opening three days of sales over £1 Billion.

Developers have another brilliant source of marketing through the means of top gaming youtubers. In the most subscribed channel rankings 27 of the top 200 are gaming channels and 4 of these are media. Gaming on youtube is so large that the current number one subscribed channel is a gamer named PewDiePie with a modest 34 million subscribers, beating out Eminem, Rihanna and even One Direction.

Companies like Activision recognise the potential in these channels as a valuable form of free promotion. These companies work in tandem with gamers, offering them early access to the games and press events in order for them to show off the product to their online audience, generating increased views and advertising revenue for the YouTuber, and free promotion for the publisher. The rate at which we consume this content has boosted some YouTubers to celebrity status, with youtuber Ali-A securing himself a sponsorship deal with Monster Energy Drink, along with a hosting spot on Virgin Media’s new channel ‘The Snap’.

Youtube has completely changed the way we find out about gaming. Most people will now have a quick youtube of a game to get a feel for it before purchasing now. TV viewings are dropping, and youtube is a large reason for this. The demise of youtube looks to be now here in sight as it goes from strength to strength, more companies are investing into it and so it will continue to grow.

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Previous Blog: 5 Great Things on Dying Light

 

5 Great things on Dying Light

Dying Light Hard copies have been distributed around Europe a month after the release in North America and digitally. I have played it pretty much non stop since release, here are some of my favourite and least favourite aspects.

1: Free Running is King

Dying Light developers, Techland, could probably release a free running game that would compete with Mirrors Edge with the mechanics they have in place. Free running is possibly one of the most rewarding feelings in the game, when you get a really good building to building flow, nothing is better (and when you are being chased at night nothing is more necessary).

2: Night Time is Genuinely Terrifying

If you plan on being outside during the night in Dying Light then you best be prepared to run, everything is powered up and night and those pesky volatiles don’t help when they are patrolling the streets. If you get seen and a chase begins the best thing to do is run and make sure you have your UV light available.

3: The Weapon System Makes You Think

Unlike Dead Island, Dying Light has a more permanent weapon degradation system. In Dead Island you could fix any weapon as many times as you would like, Dying Light gives you a set number of repairs, and they can be used up surprisingly quick, so be careful with the better, more expensive weapons you have. (try to get the lucky repair skill in the survival tree, it will help you massively)

4: Co-op Rules Over Playing Alone

Playing Dying Light alone is all well and good, but playing with at least one other friend makes the experience fun. Yes it is a little disappointing that all the characters are the same and you have to change to make each other distinguishable, but its more fun running around causing havoc with others.

Along with that, the mini competitions like “kill the most zombies” and “secure the safe zone” add a little added extra to the game that you won’t get playing alone.

5: Being the Zombie is Hard

I can’t get my head around how to play as the zombie yet, but I know it will get easier as time goes on and I gain more skills. Be a zombie mode it great fun, it definitely makes the game seem harder on both sides but I can’t help but feel that when there are 4 players, it is basically impossible to win (if the players are mildly competent).

Here are just 5 reasons why Dying Light is fun, it is what Dead Island should have been and it is a genuinely good free running game alone, the best question is, if you haven’t played it yet, why not?

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Previous Blog: Final Fantasy IX

 

Final Fantasy IX: A Long Completion

Final Fantasy IX has been a bane in my gaming life since its initial release way back in February 2001 (European release).  Its not a bane in my life due to it being a bad game though, its been a bane in my life due to the fact that I have never ever completed it, despite it being one of my favourite all time games.

What a classic Final Fantasy IX was, a 4 disc monster of a game that carries a good 40 hours of game play if you rush the game, and it offers so much more if you go for 100% completion (you would need a guide to do this though, there is a lot of miss-able stuff). There was so much to do, mini games would take a long time to complete, things like Chocobo Hot and Cold easily become a primary objective for you as its both a challenging grind, yet fun at the same time, and ultimately rewarding.

The characters in Final Fantasy IX are possibly my favourite of any game ever, I always loved Final Fantasy IX more than any other of the Final Fantasy series, thats just my opinion. One of the reasons for this is because of the how the characters felt, the small yet wonderful touch of being able to name them whatever you want does help (I was never a fan of calling the main character Zidane, it was the footballers name and he was my hero at the time). Each character holds their own views, from virtue to sorrow to devotion, this creates a great story of which you grow with the characters.

The game play was classic Final fantasy turn based game, but it had depth due to the variation of attacks available like all Final Fantasy games. You could never just hit attack for all characters, use of magic and abilities become necessary to win battles, yes it does get tedious at times with the random battle starts but the tactics needed was something quite fun to learn and use effectively.

The game landscape was always good, places like Lindblum to Gargan Roo to the Village of Deli gave the game complete variance, You had vast cities, tiny villages and pretty strange cave systems to get around, and sometimes the puzzles that went along, made them frustratingly brilliant and extremely rewarding when completed. What made these places great was the music that went with them, possibly the best part of Final Fantasy IX was the soundtrack, I could tell you where you were or what you were doing just by listening to the music, its amazing, and some of it makes me giddy just hearing it (village of Deli is the best for this)

Something that seemed ahead of its time at the time in Final Fantasy IX was the cinematic cut scenes. The cinematics really brought the game to life showing really high quality cut scenes that gave the story that bit more depth and made the game that little bit better. They really were brilliant for the time!

The massive amounts of game that Final Fantasy IX offers has not been the reason I haven’t completed the game though, I have had my PS1 break AND my PS2 break, memory cards lost, the final disc was scratched on one occasion and now I am tackling the game one more time using the PS Vita. It will take a while to complete as I don’t use my Vita very often, but every time I play Final Fantasy IX, a blast of nostalgia hits me. One of the best stories I have played, I truly feel immersed with the characters, its wonderful.

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Previous Blog: Valentines Day

Valentines Day is to Companion Cube

Valentines day… the day of showing love and playing co-op games. Yes  Co-op games, what better way to show your relationship strength than playing some games together and showing teamwork.

Find a game that you and your partner both like and play it, you never know, you may introduce eachother to a new brilliant game. My girlfriend, Alice Jones and I always play Lego games together, that is our game that we both like, we have completed 2 Lego games so far and we are half way through our third. Lego games are great as they aren’t too serious but do require teamwork and communication.

As it’s valentines day, a post wouldn’t be a post without mentioning the brilliant companion cube. If you happen to be lonely this valentines day, never threat, play some portal and the companion cube will be happy to be with you throughout the game. The companion cube will stay with you, sit on buttons and do whatever you want or need to get through the game. The companion cube loves you, never forget that

Happy Valentines day readers (just a short one this time).

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Previous Blog: Day one Patch

 

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