Posts Tagged ‘fun’

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

Day One Patch

Day one patches… a relatively new development in the world of gaming, we certainly never saw any of these of the Nintendo 64, games couldn’t even be patched! The introduction of games having online capabilities and consoles having internet connection may be one of the best and worst things that has happened to the gaming industry. Here’s why.

“Back in the day” games consoles didn’t even feature any form of online capabilities, this only really became standard on the PS3 and Xbox 360, although the Original Xbox did carry some update capabilities, it wasn’t fully utilised as most users did not have the internet to support it well and it wasn’t a necessity at the time.

The introduction of consistent updates and patches really started with the Xbox 360 and the generation of consoles that came with it. Online gaming became the norm, and with more people being online for gaming, the more developers could tweak and patch their games through gamer feedback, very good! It works because all games will carry a bug here and there that can now be ironed out, whereas this was not possible in the past.

For multiplayer games I think updates are required to perfect the balance in the game. Weapons are meant to be created equal, but one weapon always seems to be more equal than the rest, balancing games makes them much more fun! No one likes the “cheap” weapons that always pop up in games. (unless you use them)

Day one updates frustrate me a little, though I realise there use, the idea that a game needs a patch day one always worries me. It screams that the developers discovered an issue between production and release, and what do the people who don’t have internet do?

The reason this blog has come to mind is due to Evolve having around a 3gb update (varies for each platform) on day one, its slightly better that this game is online only so no one can miss it anyway and some of it was added through community feedback from the beta so thats a big thumbs up. But should it be acceptable that a game is releasing with stability issues? They may be instantly fixed, but Halo Master Chief Collection is showing that updates don’t always fix issues. My trust in games has been affected badly by Halo MCC, it’s a great game when it works, but it doesn’t work often, I have played a handful of matchmade games and that is it! Day one patches are okay, as long as the patch FIXES the issue.

I just want developers to release games that work from day one and not rely on patching it up as consumers find errors. But if patching on day one is what is required, if this is the best way to have the best experience, I can deal with it, I’d just like to see it less

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Previous Blog: Broken Games

 

 

Broken Releases

The current gen/ next gen, whatever its called now days, is supposed to be leading innovation with better, faster games, but there has been a number of games that have had calamity releases and made many gamers very frustrated.

Broken games should not happen, and considering its 2015 there is no excuse for not testing your games. Battlefield 4 seemed to start the trend off, even after a beta! The game crashed, lagged, you would struggle to join games, you could never join with friends in a squad it was generally pretty damn screwed up. To make it worse they took multiple updates (small and large) to get the game to state that worked efficiently. The amount of time and man power this took meant that premium members did not get what they signed up for as map packs were delayed due to more of the team fixing the game rather than expanding it. Dice have done themselves no favours with fans and shareholders, getting in trouble for launching the game too early.

Halo Master Chief Collection is the game of which the developers didn’t need to do too much, yet still managed to screw it up pretty well. Four months down the line and the game is still not fixed, matchmaking is inconsistent and joining friends can still be a mild nightmare. This has been pretty frustrating, I have still only played a handful of matchmade games on halo due to the process being full on broken. Its a shame that Halo messed up, its a great series that has been very tarnished due to the poor launch and attempted fixes on a REMAKE of old games.

Most recently is the developers of Dying Light, “TechLand”, having a “manufacturing issue” with the game and therefore only North America have gotten hard copies of the game. Yeah sure the game is available for digital download, but a lot of gamers prefer to collect their games and have a physical copy. Whats more, the hard copy is delayed a whole month, yeah you read that right, a month to produce more discs… I think Techland need to have a serious look at their manufacturing process because that is piss poor. On the lighter note, Techland have issued all of the buyers who have had their copy delayed all the DLC for free which is a nice gesture.

Developers seems to consistently be screwing up in different phases of creating a game, and to make it worse, it seems to hit more triple A developers rather than indie developers. I have thought that big game developers have based their games around money rather than making great games, ubisoft are great at pumping out the same stuff and they still screwed up massively with AC: Unity (a 40gb update didn’t fix it fully). I must stop now, its been too much of a rant.

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Previous Blog: Evolve Beta Thoughts

Evolve Beta Thoughts

The Evolve beta finished last week and after some thought I can happily say it was a really good surprise. The 4v1 game play idea intrigued me but before any game play I thought it would never work. boy I was happily surprised!

My initial fear during my first 4v1 online game was that the monster would be either severely overpowered or massively underpowered. I can happily say that after a bit of a feeling out game to start, games were very balanced and predictably unpredictable, depending on how your monster player… plays. I had a small issue with levelling up a monster, you have to stop and go through a sub menu system select what upgrade you want, then you can start moving. Its fine to those who will always have a set plan on what to do, but for the casual gamer this can take up a lot of time. It lead to my first victory as we trapped the monster when it was stood still upgrading. A simple fix could be an auto upgrade feature or button so you could at least move.

The tactics involved in Evolve is really great, the game is much better with friends as communication is the key to winning. splitting into 2, 2’s is the perfect way to go as you will never catch the monster if you just follow it. The variation between each class is great, it works in a 2 support and 2 attack type of way and its really fun to find the best way to play. Each has their unique weapons and abilities .

Some may say there wasn’t enough load out customisation, I didn’t see this, it was a beta and i thought a lot more was available than given at the time (and even that was enough). You can ruin a game by putting too much in, I felt like the second monster was too annoying. It was the only time that the time limit was reached on a game I played, I rarely played as the monster so I didn’t play it, it either went invisible, or teleported, it was annoying, and quite boring for most of the game, we probablyonly saw the monster 4 times the whole time!

My main point on Evolve will be, play with friends, its so much better when you play as the 4 rather than the 1. The concept of the game works really well, its balanced and enjoyable. I hope that evolve has plenty of varied maps. I think this could be a great game, I’m happy to say this as I really thought it was looking like a big budget flop!

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Previous Blog: Abe’s Oddworld: New n’ Tasty

 

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