E3 2013: I Met Some of the OnLive Staff


It’s been a month since my incredible experience at E3. I had planned to write a lot more about walking the show floor itself, and I might still. The excitement has definitely calmed down, but the memories are thankfully still in my brain. I was worried about that. I have a really bad memory for most things. But E3? Ha! I’d not only be surprised if I ever forgot that experience, I’d be mad if I did!

They Made Me Feel Like A Rock Star

I can’t tell you how excited I was to meet OnLiveNate. I was a little nervous, and I am shy, but it was okay because I was totally in my element. When I first went up to OnLives meeting room I wasn’t even sure I was allowed to go up there. But I wanted to make sure Nate knew I made it there okay. And of course I wanted to say a quick, “Hello”.

Nate was standing just inside the door as I walked up to it, so that was easy. As we shook hands Nate said, “It’s so nice to finally meet you”. I didn’t know how to react, but I’m pretty sure I said words. I might as well have been backstage with Guns n Roses, being treated like Axl Rose! These are the people that invited me to E3 in the first place. I was flabbergasted.

Me and OnLive Nate

Me and OnLiveNate

I wasn’t expecting to meet anybody else. After shaking Nate’s hand and saying “Hello”, I glanced around the room. Barely five feet away was Charlie Jablonski! CEO of OnLive! I squealed, “It’s Charlie!”, unintentionally interrupting Nate. I wanted to shout, but I knew there were other staff members in the office and I had no idea what kind of business they were up to. I did my best to stay as quiet as I could. Nate invited Charlie over to meet me, introducing me as “Germaximus” which I loved. Charlie perked up a little when he recognized my name and said, “It’s so nice to finally meet you”. I was thinking what the f*** is going on? Why are these people telling me this? I just wanted to scream and jump and ask them for their autographs. It was nice to meet me?

I was completely star-struck and had no idea what I was even supposed to do or say there, and it was just amazing. I wanted to give Charlie a hug, but he seemed shy, and I’m shy, so I just let it be. So I was quiet, and Charlie was quiet. I think that’s when Nate started talking about meeting up for lunch. It was a tiny bit awkward; I didn’t want to just talk with Nate while Charlie was standing there and it seemed like he didn’t know what to do either. I laughed a little inside. Charlie started to casually walk back to his chair and I quickly said, “Thank you, Charlie”. I wanted to tell him what an absolute pleasure it was to meet him but I was kind of frozen in I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening mode.

Throughout the day, I had made a few trips back to the meeting room. I met a couple of the cool guys I’ve spoken with before in customer support tickets, and a couple of really nice ladies that I had never spoken with before. They all knew me by “Germaximus” which I thought was awesome. They were all so nice. I wasn’t surprised though, as every single one of my encounters with the staff through support tickets has always been wonderful. Every single one of them said it was so nice to finally meet me. I could not believe it. Every single time. I didn’t know how to react to that. I still don’t know how I was supposed to react to that. I loved it, and I loved meeting them. And I still wish I had gotten autographs!

Finally, I met Gary Lauder. As if meeting Nate, the other awesome staff, and the CEO wasn’t enough, I got to meet the mother-effin’ Chairman. And what does he say? “It’s so nice to finally meet you.” WHAT?!?!?!?!?!? Can you believe that? I sure as heck couldn’t. And again, I’m pretty sure I said words. I got my picture taken with Nate and Gary. That was awesome. The only thing that could have made it any better would have been to meet Mr. Steve Perlman. That wasn’t going to happen though. Oh, well!

I had 2 photo's of us 3 that came out insanely blurry. My sister worked her magic on photoshop and believe me, she did an amazing job getting us visible. =)

I had 2 photo’s of us 3 that came out insanely blurry. My sister worked her magic on photoshop and believe me, she did an amazing job getting us visible. =)

It was such an amazing experience. Just being at E3 blew my mind. And I really, really, really loved the show floor. But the stars of the show for me were the OnLive Staff. I didn’t think this would happen again a month after the experience, but my eyes are wet with joy. I will never, ever be able to thank them enough.

Thanks so much for joining me in my experience. In case you haven’t followed the rest of my E3 experiences, I gave a couple links throughout this post to start ya off with. Please have a read if you want to know more about the incredible OnLive cloud-gaming platform.

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Weekly Game Experience #2


Note: My sister thinks I should do daily blogs instead. I don’t think I’d have enough to write though. We’ll see. What do you think? Please let me know your opinions on this as I am totally new to blogging. Is this blog too long? Is there too much info? What stood out to you as something you liked or didn’t like? Thanks!

This week, I talk about five different games, Indigo Prophecy, Lost Planet, Moto GP 13, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, and Portal 2.

candles

Indigo Prophecy

Once I started getting into the game I couldn’t help but think it could have been named “Heavy Snow”, being the predecessor of Heavy Rain and it’s always snowing. I expected a decent game from what I had read about it and had seen, but I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it is. It’s an older game and it shows. While the graphics are noticeably dated, it’s also just easy to ignore because of the cinematic camera work, the story, and the music. I really think it still holds up very well with its beautiful aesthetics. I’m enjoying it just as much as I enjoyed Heavy Rain. It’s really impressive and I’ve been totally immersed.

cinematic grave

You play as three different characters, two cops and a citizen. So far I really care about two of the characters, not so much for the black guy. Sadly he is totally a stereo-type and kind of boring because of it. I say kind of, because he is a cool dude, it’s just sad what they did to him. Even when you play as him the music goes from a dark, moody yet beautiful sound, to 80’s hip-hop/porn music. It doesn’t necessarily ruin the character, but it did ruin the mood for me. Fortunately it doesn’t happen every time you play as him. It was just very noticeable the first time it happened. The more I play, the more I enjoy each of them. But my favorite right now is the female cop.

opening credits

The game sucked me in right from the start. The opening credits were beautiful aesthetically. The music is wonderful. The story pretty much thrusts you right into a dramatic event. I always like that. I used to love stories that dragged out, but not anymore. This one’s pacing is really nice. Of course there are also slow parts. I was just glad it started fast. It’s deeply story-driven.

Getting started was a bit of a pain. The game won’t recognize the right analog stick of my controller so I broke down and modified a few keybinds for the keyboard and I was good to go. It’s working out pretty well. There have been a couple of quick-time-events that got me a little bit stuck but once I learned how exactly they worked, it became easy. The mechanics of the QTE’s are pretty neat and very similar to Heavy Rain. Since I’m playing on the keyboard they are a little bit tricky but easy to get used to. Taking the place of the left analog stick on a controller, I have w, a, s, d as my movements. The camera is moved while holding the right mouse button in most scenes, some scenes don’t allow you free reign on the camera. You can also go into first-person mode for a look around.

guitar

During the QTE’s I have the arrow keys taking the place of the right analog stick of a controller. It probably sounds awkward, and it is a little, but it works out okay because during the QTE’s you don’t need the mouse or regular buttons. You have these Simon Says style colored button prompts to follow. Two different circles appear on the screen with four colors. Each circle represents each analog stick. Sounds weird doesn’t it? See the screenshot above to get a better idea. It’s actually pretty fun. And the QTE’s aren’t the typical ones you’re used to in most games. These are a mix of sequences and timed cinematic events, very cool.

For the dialogue scenes you hold the left mouse button and drag the mouse left, right, up, and down for your different choices. For some of the action sequences you drag left, then up, or right, then up, and so on. It’s frustrating at first, but it’s really not that bad once you get used to it.

cinematic xp 2

If you’ve played and enjoyed Heavy Rain but, like me, you never experienced Indigo Prophecy, pick it up. You won’t regret it. If you have not experienced Heavy Rain, go out of your way to do so. Play it at a friends. And understand that these are interactive movies. They aren’t shooters, they aren’t hack-and-slash. They allow you to experience the story by interacting with the characters. Similar to The Walking Dead game but a hundred times more interactive. This isn’t the kind of game you will jump into and just play. It’s for when you’re in the mood to experience a great story. So you’ll want to be patient and ready to sit back and enjoy.

Since it’s old, you may not want to pay $20 for it. I think it’s definitely worth it. But I’m also a super cheap gamer. The game goes on sale maybe twice a year for $5. So when you see it on sale, just pick it up for the next time you’re in a mood to enjoy a kickass interactive story.

Lost Planet

It took me awhile to finally pick this up. I read plenty of reviews that practically sold me on the game, but then I’d look at it and I would think it does look cool, but it also looks like just another shooter. It is just another shooter, but it’s just another good one! I’m only a couple of hours into it but the story seems pretty decent. It has me interested. The aliens are crazy freakin awesome looking. And they’re huge! Of course, the aliens come in assorted sizes. Some are bigger that a skyscraper, others are bigger than a house, and then some are human size or smaller. Most of the ones I’ve encountered so far are pretty big. I’m loving it!

alien

The game mechanic for health is interesting. I’m still not sure how it fully works. It’s been explained in the game already but I have a terrible memory and I just don’t care about the abilities names and such. I’m sure I’ll start to remember it as I continue playing. You have a shield that’s a part of some energy power you have. It slowly drains itself no matter what you do in the game. It’s also depleted quicker by the damage you take from enemies. You replenish it by picking up energy from the enemies you kill. You can actually collect a whole crap-ton of this stuff and get a really large shield built up as long as you keep killing enemies.

Being able to get inside of a mech is also really cool. Besides the cool mech aspect, you have a Bionic Commando style grapple-hook. I haven’t had to use it too much in my first few steps in the game, but I think it’s pretty neat so far.

I just realized something I think is funny. This is another game with a lot of snow. While you can tell the graphics are dated, some of the in-game scenes I’ve seen early on are pretty dang amazing.

lost planet

Moto GP 13

I haven’t played a motorcycle racing sim since I was in my early teens. I can’t even remember the names of the ones I had played back then. This was an unexpected nice return to the genre. Of course, I wouldn’t have played it if it wasn’t added to OnLive cloud-gaming platforms PlayPack. This is their optional monthly subscription plan. If you want to know more about OnLive, feel free to read my article on it.

This isn’t a game I would normally buy nowadays. Not because I don’t have interest in it, but because I don’t have as much interest in this type of game as I used to. I have enough racing games to play already and if I’m gonna buy a new one, I’d prefer one with more impressive graphics. Not that this game doesn’t have nice graphics. I just wouldn’t call them impressive.

Moto GP 13

With all of OnLive’s new releases, I just throw myself into it and see what the newest game on the platform is like. I was surprised at how much fun I had in this one. It’s a very serious technical racer. The fact that you need to use two different brakes threw me off quite a bit. But it also intrigued me. That was new to me, and I liked it. I still don’t really understand how the brakes are supposed to work, but I have come to experience that using the front broke over the rear brake gives better control. That might depend on your riding style though, I’m not sure. I’ve only tried one riding style so far. There are several to choose from. I cannot explain them. I have no idea what they even mean. I just read the descriptions of each and picked the one I thought sounded neat.

It’s definitely not a racing game I’ve been used to, since I haven’t played a real sim in so long. Going from full speed to almost a full halt is weird. But I definitely like it. I still prefer my arcade racers and crazy play-style in games like Pure and MX vs ATV but I’m really liking this one so far. I’d appreciate any tips. I use the front brake as my hard brake and it usually works out well, but if I use it too late I tend to have the rear of my bike come off the ground and end up in a crash. It’s pretty funny but I’d like to play better. I do alternate between the two and use both at the same time, but I still don’t really understand how it works. When I use both brakes I, slide out of control often.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

I made a brief return to the game. I’d completed it not long after the game was released. It’s a wonderful game. If you haven’t read my review on it, have a look.  I was just in the mood to do some shooting, and I wanted to do it in style. I love cartoon/comic-book style graphics in my games. I’m an artist so that style is special to me. I also hadn’t started a New Game Plus yet since I completed it the first time.

I played about half an hour of New Game Plus on the True West difficulty. It’s pretty neat, and definitely hard. I had a laugh at myself when I ran out of ammo and had no idea. Then I couldn’t even get a new weapon so I had to start the mission all over again. I hadn’t played in so long that I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t pick up two guns. Apparently I was trying to hold two different guns of the same type, and the game doesn’t let you do that. For example you can only hold one type of pistol, shotgun, or rifle. But for some reason the dual-wield hand-held shotguns count as pistols and I didn’t realize that. It had been awhile since I played though so I forgot some things. Or, maybe it was just bugged? I dunno.

coj

One of my first steps back into the game had me killing three dudes at once with one shot from each of my duel-wielded shotguns. That was awesome. This game is a real blast!

Portal 2

Seven and a half hours slipped by without my knowing. I hadn’t played the game in a month or two and I wasn’t in any particular mood, I just wanted to play a game. So I figured why not play some Portal 2? I still haven’t completed the first game. I got very far but then I just stopped. The reason I decided to move on to Portal 2 was just because the Steam Trading Card system offers cards for it. I will eventually return to 1 and finish it.

Portal 2

I always forget how awesome these games are. I’m not a big puzzle game fan. I don’t mind puzzles or anything, but they’re definitely not my favorite type of games. I really liked Portal, but 2 is ridiculously better. I cared about the robots in the first game, but now in the second game the creators have made me care even more. I even care for the super evil master robot. She makes me laugh every time she talks. They all do though. It’s some great entertaining stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much as I have during this game as I have playing any other game. It’s a pretty clever game. There’s a nice mesh of puzzles that actually make sense, and puzzles that make absolutely zero sense at all, forcing you to think “outside of the box”.

E3 2013: How I Got Invited


This is a very personal article, it has nothing to do with the games at the actual E3 event.  This is the story of why I was invited. =)

OnLive

I’ve been addicted to “cloud gaming” for a couple of years now. Ever since I turned on and used the OnLive service I’ve done everything I can to be able to share my experience of it with other gamers. I just love it so much. I found a fan forum for it, which was basically the only place that accepted the platform. Everywhere else was just a bunch of gamers telling me it couldn’t work. I knew better.

I’ve been using the service long enough to have talked to a few staff members from time to time, on the service, and rarely on other social media. Usually if I ever see a staff member online on the service I wish them a wonderful, fun day. I care about these people that contribute to giving me this awesome cloud gaming experience. Also, every time I’ve ever dealt with customer service they have been super friendly and eagerly helpful.

One staff member in particular, Nate Barsetti, also known as “OnLiveNate” is the one who usually handles OnLive’s social media via Facebook and Twitter. He also handles all aspects of Customer Relations including Account Management, Customer Service and Community Management! He is a super cool dude. I’ve always thought of him to be a nice, friendly person, and pretty dang funny too. I could see it in the responses he gives to users. I think it’s pretty amazing how he is able to consistently react professionally and kindly, when there are so many people being hateful.

Several months back OnLive did a neat event that offered up a rare profile avatar on their service if you participated in it. Currently, if you change your profile on the service, you need a staff member to re-upload your special avatar because it’s not available from the regular avatar selection. A week-and-a-half or so before E3 was going live, I casually sent Nate a message asking if I could get an avatar fix for my OnLive profile. He responded that it would be no problem. I’ve bugged him about it a few times. I’m still always surprised and happy when I get a response from a staff member, you know?

Did He Just Say That?

Then he asked me if I would like to get a pass to E3 for a day! Yeah, I don’t know how many times I re-read that message to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding. It was clear as day but I still couldn’t believe it. I’m not gonna lie, I cried. I can’t remember ever crying happy tears in my life before. I’ve been on the verge of it, but never actually had it happen. This time the tears wouldn’t stop, and of course the laughter. And of course, the more details I got, the more we talked about it, I couldn’t stop crying. This went on for a few days. It was insane! I feel weird just talking about it, but I’ll never forget it.

I’ve been gaming almost every single day for thirty years. This is my life. I love it. So, E3 was like one of those things I basically knew I’d never get to see in my life but would go nuts if I could. Imagine how you would feel, then multiply that by a billion, seriously! This was a dream come true.

Thinking about it all now still brings tears of joy to my eyes as I write this. After I had allowed myself to let it sink in, I was smiling every single day, all day long, up until the event, through the event, and even on my way home. This is definitely one of the most amazing things to happen to me in my life, other than getting to know, and speak with God. I know that’s saying a lot, but that’s how much this meant to me. Of course I was also praising and thanking God for it too.

Dealing With The Haters

I’ll explain a little bit about the resistance I met with fans and non-fans alike, in order to share what led up to this. Since the second I tried the service, I went around everywhere I could to share my love for the OnLive platform. I was so excited about how the service worked. I visited and posted on many different gaming forums to discuss it. I don’t remember how exactly, but I found a fan site called OnLive Fans and joined up. That site is now gone, but a new one has taken its place. (Thank you admins.)

OnLive has always been slow with its game releases. Long-time fans grew very bitter. I never blamed them for being mad about slow releases and lack of communication from the service. I do hold it against them for treating OnLive and its staff like they are enemies for it, though. I kept trying to point out, “Look, this is the only awesome service we can even do this on. On top of that, everybody else is trying to copy them!” But that was never good enough for them. I never denied the problems, I’ve just always seen the good outweigh the bad. Then, there are the people who insist it “won’t work” even though they admit they’ve never even tried it. Yeah, makes me laugh too.

It was pretty frustrating constantly arguing (over a period of two years) with non-fans and so-called fans that only wanted to focus on the negative things of the only true cloud gaming service available to us. A lot of people that can’t access OnLive where they live talk it down like it’s trash. I understand that they can’t use it, but that doesn’t mean the service sucks, it just sucks that they can’t use it right now.

I felt like an outcast for a very long time, because the most vocal people other than myself were people I considered “trolls”. It never changed how I saw the service though; it couldn’t. The video quality is perfect, coming from OnLive, and the quality only fluctuates depending on my internet connection. I still can’t get over it, it’s flipping amazing.

Fine, I’ll Just Tell The World

I was past the point where I felt like I couldn’t share my love for the service on different gaming forums anymore. Being tired of fighting off “trolls” and I guess “troll fans,” I had decided to write every single thing I loved about the service and share my feelings about it that way. So even though I couldn’t discuss my passion for it with fellow gamers who also loved it, I could at least tell people everything I loved about it and how it works. One hope I had was that it might clear some things up for people who haven’t used it.

There is a lot of confusion regarding the service. Every new article about it is always a little bit misinformed. Every article about the service would say there was a subscription requirement to use it, which currently isn’t true. Most articles about the service were based on any recent news; for example, a newly added game or feature. So they would try to throw in little tidbits of information that just weren’t correct. No big deal, but I did want to clear things up.

My article explains in detail exactly how the service works, and I’m pretty sure you can see my passion for the service in it. I definitely put all of my love into it. I couldn’t change it now if I wanted to. I have nothing to add. I wrote it after using the platform for two years so it’s pretty in-depth. My incredible sister formatted the article for me so that it would look good.

Why Me?

While going over some of the details of my trip to E3 I asked, “why me”? I knew I was always supportive and I do consider myself OnLive’s #1 fan but I wanted to know. Nate said that part of the reason I got invited to E3 was because I was “by far the most consistently positive voice in the community”. It was noticed! I was hoping that OnLive staff had seen my passion for the service because I expressed it daily for so long. I just never got any actual feedback from it, other than from other “fans” that repeatedly called me a “fanboy” for it. It was an incredible feeling to know that it was recognized. My article was what “sealed the deal”.

I had shared my article on several different gaming sites and blogs. I wanted to share it with as many people as I could. This is where the awesome comes in. My article made its way around OnLive’s office and their PR  department was impressed! It was also the first article I’d ever written about any of my gaming experiences. (Don’t tell OnLive’s PR department!)  I can’t even express how being told that my article impressed the PR department of my most favorite gaming service made me feel. On top of that, so much that I would get invited to E3? I have tears in my eyes again.

It Gets Better

I was already beyond excited; I had already lost my mind just from being invited to E3. So… I was going over the details with Nate and I mentioned that I don’t drive, but I would catch a bus if I had to, and I sure would have. I would have walked, I kid you not. I explained to him that I could probably get a friend to get me there. He asked me what I thought of a Town Car picking me up.

At this point I start shouting out loud “what the f*** is going on”, “oh my gawd”, and so on, repeatedly. My sister wished she had gotten it on camera. It was the first time in my life that I ever squealed with glee. It was strange, and totally awesome. I was being treated like a king, I don’t know how else to describe it, that’s exactly how I felt and I was just going bonkers. I’m a poor guy, ya know? I don’t own a car because I can’t afford to. I buy games cheap and on sale. So here I am, a poor, passionate gamer going to E3 and in a Town Car? I went straight back to believing “this can’t be real, this isn’t happening”. It was impossible, and I still can’t help but think of it as a miracle.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you were entertained and could get a feeling of the experience I had, because I really wanted to share that with you. I will never have enough words to express my gratitude for being able to experience this.

Video Games: Why Graphics Matter To Me


AMRH

I’m An Artist

I am a “graphics whore.” I think that may be partly due to the fact that I spent many years as an artist. I loved to draw, rarely still do, but for years now I spend more time playing video games than I do drawing. And when I did draw, I would copy stuff, not trace, but copy. So I don’t have enough motivation to draw my own stuff because my own stuff is quite horrible. I notice the finer details, I love them, I appreciate them, and I want more finer details. It’s like the first time I ever finally learned how to add shadows to my drawings, that small extra detail made such a vast improvement.

A problem I run into because of my love for the finer details is that I simply cannot afford a PC to get the best out of it, dangit! But I will push my PC to get everything I can out of it even if I have to run at lower frame-rates, which is actually pretty normal for me. =p

If you’re curious about why I’m talking about PC and not consoles, it’s simply due to playing more often on my PC lately than my consoles, that is all. A huge reason for that is the price of games. If you want, you can read more on what I think about the price of games and my buying habits. Graphics still matter to me even on consoles. =p

Why I’m A Graphics Whore

The main reason to being a graphics whore, I believe, is just simply due to the evolution of video games. I started with Atari, moved to nintendo, genesis, super nintendo, sega cd, skipped over a few consoles that my mom couldn’t afford to keep up with. I did play every single system, if I didn’t have it, my friends did, and being the little greedy gamer that I am, I played everything I could get my hands on. I had played the Turbo GFX16? I think that’s what the name was. Out of all my friends and all the people I ever heard about, one single kid had the Neo Geo. lol Man that thing was expensive. Who remembers the CD-I? I wanted that just for the Zelda game! Never did play it tho. I think that was probably the one system I never actually touched.

I Agree, Graphics Do Not “Make A Game”

So, back to the whole “graphics whore” thing. Since I’ve played all these old games and been through all the advancements of video games through the years, I care about graphics. Do I think graphics “make a game?” Of course not, but that’s far from the same thing as if they matter or not. They do matter. They might not matter to someone who’s just started gaming and doesn’t actually see the difference because they haven’t spent the time going through all the stages of video games evolution. But to someone like me, they very well matter.

I enjoy games like Hotline Miami and They Bleed Pixels and those graphics look old to me, I do consider them “bad” compared to today’s standards of course, I think it’s silly not to. It’s like going back to the Nintendo. Some people are into that, I am not, I’ve already been there. If I’m in the mood to “go retro” and play some of my favorite classic games, then I’m going to play my favorite classic games. I’m not going to look at a game made in the 2000’s that looks like something I played twenty-plus years ago and be like “oh wow!” That does not mean I don’t enjoy them. However, they certainly won’t be at the top of my play list. This does not mean I think it’s a bad game, I cannot re-iterate that enough.

I’ll use Renegade Ops as an example. This is a top down view where you drive a car and blow stuff up. Real simple, this is a classic style game, this is stuff we played on our Nintendo’s and Genesis’s. The graphics are today’s though, they are absolutely gorgeous. If I’m going to have a choice between a beautiful game of today and a game that looks like something I played twenty years ago, there’s simply no competition. I’ll likely ignore the game with graphics like that. Not because it’s bad, but simply because I have hundreds of better looking games I’ll enjoy just as much and probably more-so.

“Graphics Don’t Matter”

When gamers say “graphics don’t matter,” not only can I not help and think to myself “a real gamer would not say that” (while I know some people think the opposite) but it’s also an insult to the game designers and artists. These people are artists, they whip up these incredible gorgeous looking games and then you want to say “graphics don’t matter?” lol I’ll be honest here, every single time I see anybody with an opinion of that, they’re opinion is meaningless to me and I simply don’t care what else they have to say.

I don’t mean to be rude tho. It’s along the same lines if someone doesn’t like a game that I really, truly enjoy, then their opinion means nothing to me. Am I going to listen to someone’s recommendation of a game right after they just completely trashed a game I love and called me an idiot for loving it? lol No. But that’s where I seem to be different from so many gamers. I just love almost every game I play. So that seems to be a problem when I’m dealing with the gaming community. If you’re interested, here’s a more detailed post about my general passion for video games.

Impressive Indie Games

Here’s a list of Indie games that show me these designers and developers really put their heart and soul into the games and obviously far more time and effort than someone that put together a game that looks like it belongs on the Atari. Or they simply have more experience and it shows. Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say that games with “bad” graphics are made by people that don’t care. To me, those are people that are testing themselves and getting into the line of work. Keep it up guys, you freakin rock! This is my opinion, I’m not offering it up as fact.

In alphabetical order, these all stand out to me:

Afterfall
Alan Wake
Anomaly 1 & 2
Bastion
Deadlight
Dear Esther
Dreadout
Dreamkiller
Forge
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior’s Rise
Mark of the Ninja
Orcs Must Die 1 & 2
Sanctum 1 & 2
Shad’O
Shank 1 & 2
Sine Mora
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing
The Showdown Effect
The Swapper
Whispered World (not my kind of game but beautiful graphics and art)
Zeno Clash

That’s not counting the one’s I probably forgot (these are off the top of my head) or haven’t discovered, and also ignoring Free2Play games.

Graphic’s Options?

I don’t know any technical specifics. When I talk about graphics for video games I’m not talking about SA, AA, PhysX or whatever that stuff is… I don’t even know what any of that means. I just hope my computer will pull it off. I am interested in learning the technical stuff but then when I try to it’s just so boring!

Basically good graphics to me is this, “ooh shiny!” But I definitely notice the details, the small intricate details that show off the beauty of these illusions and dreams, these creations. The way sunlight beams down through tree’s, glimmering deep colors that splash… I see it all. I often talk to other gamers that continue to insist that they don’t need those extra details and this is why “graphics don’t matter.” Not for me. They do matter and I truly appreciate the work that the designers and artists put into these games.

Immersion

As I’ve said, I don’t know the technical stuff. I don’t study the science of games, I just love playing them. Another argument for “graphics matter” is one I do come across from other gamers. They seem to be in the vocal minority, makes me laugh. The argument is immersion. You are dang right, my friends. Of course, you don’t need high end graphics to be immersed into a game. You certainly won’t be immersed into a game on graphics alone. Story is a huge deal, but not only that, music and sound effects.

Battlefield 3: I’m not a huge fan of shooting games, I love them just like I love others but they’re not on the top of my list of favorites as far as genres go. Some of them stand out, and this is one of them. The graphics and music of Battlefield 3 had me fully immersed, and I give a lot of credit to that musical score. It was beautiful, soft yet hard, and put me in the freakin mood! And the graphics are gorgeous! The story wasn’t super great, but I did like it enough.

I completed this game around at least four months ago if not longer and I can still picture my first time on the aircraft carrier in the game. I didn’t realize I was on one cuz I think I was distracted by something else in real life at that point in the game. Walking along talking to my superior or whoever, getting my orders, getting to the door and it opening into the top deck of the carrier. The sunlight, the surrounding battleships, jets taking off and flying by. The wind, the epic music along with that wind. Climbing into my jet, checking my flaps, taking off. I was freakin nervous man. I seriously got nervous. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget that experience, it was incredible.

Would I have been immersed just as much in an older looking game? Maybe, as long as the music and sound effects were just as good and the way the game took me through all these actions still happened, but the graphics sure do help make it an even more incredible experience.

And as I’ve said before, if I have a choice between a game that has worse graphics or better graphics but offers the same experience, there’s no competition, graphics win. I’ll still play them both tho. =)

If Graphics Didn’t Matter…

Even the developers wouldn’t bother improving them. I mean come on now. Over all these years of playing video games if graphics didn’t matter they wouldn’t have gone through this amazing evolution over time. This is art, and its beautiful. I wish you would appreciate it more.

Game on! =)

Being A Cheap Gamer: New Game Sales, Not Used


I love video games! So much so that I want them all, seriously. I’ve been that way since I was five years old and played my first video game ever. I was hooked the second I saw a friend of my mom’s playing one. They let me play and I didn’t ever want to stop and i pretty much haven’t since.

The Price Of Games

Video games are expensive tho, especially now. $40 was expensive, $60 is just insane, then you top that off with DLC and the normal push of Season Passes now that brings a game to a bare minimum of $90. Don’t buy three to five games and you can buy a whole new console, that’s pretty ridiculous and that’s of course if you can even afford that $90 per game.

This brings up used games. I don’t trust used games anymore, times are of course different and systems can read scratched up discs better than they could twenty years ago but I still don’t trust buying them. That aside, even used game prices aren’t that great. $35-$40 for a used game? You could wait a month for that same price of a new one on sale. Of course that’s hard to do when you want to jump right into the game when the multiplayer is most popular. I tend to wait a year for games to drop in price to $20 and that really sucks if I want to play a multiplayer game. Some big name titles like CoD and Battlefield’s multiplayer are still quite lively after a year but smaller titles don’t last much longer than its first month which is very sad.
I know that not all used games sell for $35-$40, let’s not pretend that isn’t the normal used price for newer games tho.

Sales

Move to PC gaming. New games tend to be about the same price as console games for PC but the sales are incredibly better, there’s a huge noticeable difference. For several months now you can buy a game like Batman Arkham City for $7.50 on PC, not only that but you get the GOTY version which includes all DLC. This is something I didn’t even know about until about two years ago. Mostly because I spent several years playing MMORPG’s and not bothering with single player games as a result of having to choose one game but also because I loved playing them and love playing online.

The average price drop for console games is $20 which is fine, it’s not bad or anything. It’s rare for a console game to be spotted anywhere from $10-$15 so if you see a game you wanted that cheap you should probably pick it up.

PC game sales are all “new” games. Of course it isn’t exactly the same, you can’t get scratched discs or anything and there’s no packaging required. Buying games anywhere from $2.50-$15 is amazing for sure, those prices are hard to pass up for any game.

Cheap Games Worth It?

A problem I have seen is that some gamers seem to think the low price of the game reflects the quality. For example the new Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. I’ve seen tons of posts by people asking why it’s so cheap, insinuating that it’s not worth it which blows my mind and I want to slap them. People are judging the “worth” of a game by its price? No wonder publishers have such an easy time pushing them around.
If you are this type of gamer you have no idea what you’re missing out on. You should be watching gameplay videos and judging it off that, or even play demo’s. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to judge a game based on its price.

That said, I do seem to be different than most gamers, I love all games for different reasons, I just can’t help it. I end up in arguments with people over almost every video game because I enjoy them all.

Empty Wallet

I don’t want to be cheap, I have to be. I want every game tho so that makes it much harder to even be able to look at games on release day. I want to give these developers as much money as they deserve, I do, I just simply cant. So every time I see a game I want on some super cheap sale I snag it up and then I go send a message to them (hoping they’ll even have a chance to see it) thanking them for allowing me to experience their incredible product for such a cheap price. And I do apologize that I couldn’t spend more on it. Sometimes I get a response and it’s nice, most times I don’t which is fine.

Again, I’m not cheap because I want to be, I really am grateful every single time I see a $60 game go on sale for $5-$15 months later. Even tho these price drops are regular and expected I still appreciate them.

Game Choice

Could I choose to be more picky with my video games? It’s possible but I am so incredibly passionate about the genre that it’s not something I want to do. Could I buy used games? Yes. But since I follow sales relentlessly I usually don’t see the point of buying used when I can just buy new for the same price, and usually cheaper.

There have been a few times where I played a single game for three to six years, Diablo 1 and 2, Everquest, and of course World of Warcraft. It is possible to play a single game for so long but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to play others also.
Thinking about it that way it suddenly became hard for me to make this argument. lol Yeah, I can pick one game and stick to it, but do I want to? Of course not.
Also if I were to pick one game and stick to it that would just mean even at super cheap prices the devs wouldn’t be getting my money for those other games. Do I think that’s a valid argument? No, but I do think it’s a valid point.

I’m Just Broke Man! Thank You For Sales

When I look at it from the point of view of the poor person that I am, sticking to one game makes sense and I have been happily forced through it. It’s not like I hated playing Diablo 2 for five years or World of Warcraft for six years, I loved them. It’s just that when I finally saw that I could get games at a much more affordable price it plopped me right back into the wider world of which I love, the world of gaming.

Cloud Gaming: OnLive And What’s So Awesome About It


OnLive: Instant Gaming

I love almost every video game I play in all genres. As a kid, I played arcade games, and at one point in my life, I thought that Atari was God. Then the consoles became more and more sophisticated, until finally, gaming became an interactive experience with online services like Xbox Live and MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. OnLive is the next generation of gaming — streaming games on the “cloud” that I can play with other people, or just sit back and watch, if I want to. Other gamers can check out what I’m doing, and I can go see what they’re up to. I’m still in love with how OnLive performs even after two years of using it.

You only need a tiny client that’s not even 7mb in size to access hundreds of AAA and Indie Video Games streaming through the internet to you, just like Youtube or Netflix videos do. So you’re not spending hours downloading and installing these 5g to 20g games onto your PC, it’s instant gaming! Not only that but you have the same exact access to those same game saves and games on your android phone and tablet — not all games have touch controls, though. (Sadly, its apparent that Apple are little b****es or OnLive would have been accessible on the iOS already. Sorry Apple users! You can get Androids pretty cheap though, if you want. /wink)

Subscriptions

Standard Purchases

Just like Amazon or Steam or any other similar digital purchases, you buy games from the service. The normal prices do tend to be expensive (normal retail price) but they have their sales too and even giveaway events if you follow them on Facebook or Twitter. These are only playable on the service, you do not get a downloadable version. You are required to be connected to the internet since these games are streaming to you. The Witcher 2 is an exception and if you buy it you also get a copy from GoG.com. They may have similar options in the future but at this point it’s not normal.

PlayPack

This is the subscription option they have — it has over 250 games now. Most of the games are older, but you’re likely to enjoy at least half of them. Even if you don’t play them all the time, you’ll be like, “Oh wow, I love these games!” I would name the ones I enjoy on there but I dont feel like looking up the 100+ game titles right now. I’ll name a few hits, though: Bioshock, Borderlands, Tomb Raider(s), Hitman(s) — there are a bunch of great Indie games too. My favorite in the PlayPack is Advent Rising. The PlayPack costs an optional $10 a month. A major bonus to this subscription is you also get a 30% discount on everything in the Marketplace including accessories such as the Micro-console or controllers as long as you are subscribed!

Unique Features

Arena

A feature known as “Spectating” that allows you to view a large number of players currently live playing on the service. It’s basically watching someone stream a game but you can switch around to a multitude of streams and pick which game you want to view (that’s available on the service, of course). A select few games do not have the feature enabled but most do.

The default option of this feature is to allow access to any user to view you while you play a game. You do have the option to disable it. Another feature of the Arena is the option to “cheer” or “jeer” someone as they play. This is a reason why some people disable spectating, to stop a spam of “jeers” on their screens. However you can also simply disable the notifications from showing up on your screen while still allowing people to spectate you. The choice is yours. There is also voice chat which is probably another reason people may disable spectating but so far I have never experienced an issue with anybody coming into my game and screaming into my headset. I also just don’t wear my headset unless I know I’m going to be talking with someone. So I haven’t been bothered by that.

Brag Clips

I don’t know how else to describe it other than super bad-ass awesomeness, but here are some words on it. This feature allows you to record the last ten seconds of your game-play. So if you just did something you thought was cool a few seconds ago you, just hit your key-bind Alt+B (if you’re playing on the PC client, or there’s a single button on the controller to hit (which I feel isn’t in a very easy place to quickly reach and tap but you do get used to it)) and it creates a video clip of your gameplay that displays on your user profile.

They implemented a Facebook connect awhile back that allows all of your in game Brag Clips and Achievements (again your choice as to which you display) to post directly to Facebook. There currently is no Youtube or Twitch connection, but that’s of course possible in the future. You are able to use RealPlayer to get your Brag Clips from Facebook onto Youtube if you want. Currently you can save up to fifty Brag Clips. (It used to be only ten — oh my gosh!)

Multi-View (beta)

Check this out: Multi-View shown off at E3 2012. It’s currently only use-able by beta testers. Pretty incredible right?

Other Features

Free Trials

Almost every game on the service allows you to trial it for free for fifteen to thirty minutes and that trial is re-playable as many times as you want. It will always be the first fifteen to thirty minutes of the game, though. This will allow you to see if the service will be playable for you. You can even trial the games in your browser at their main website.

A Growing Library

The game library isn’t currently near as big as any gamer would want it to be, but it does have a lot of really great games including The Darkness II, Assassins Creed 2 – Revelations, Sleeping Dogs (my current fav game!), and Darksiders 2. It doesn’t have every popular AAA but it certainly has a worthy amount of them. The library has always grown, but at a slow pace.

The Dark Side

Any service like this, no matter how awesome, is going to have a down side. With OnLive, your internet connection needs to be good. Even if you “have good internet”, you still need to be able to maintain a steady connection to OnLive, in order to play the games. Thankfully, you can try the service completely free. You can either go to OnLive.com and try their games in your browser, or you can sign up for a free account and download the tiny client to see how the full client works. If the service doesn’t currently work great for you now, but you think it’s a cool idea, be sure to keep checking back with them. When I first tried the service I couldn’t connect properly for two months. Of course, I wasn’t trying every single day — LOL — it took me that long to finally see that I could connect and use it. I feel fortunate that it didn’t take longer. =p

…and finally…

I love everything about the service. I’ts been two years since I started using it, and it never fails to impress me. I love just booting it up. The service does encounter errors, but it’s far less irritating when it’s not taxing my own PC. When it happens on OnLive, I’m just like, “Damnit! You bastards!”, and I reboot the game. Unlike my PC, OnLive doesn’t usually take ten minutes to reboot a game, or force me to reboot my computer, or urge me to smash my PC into itty bitty tiny pieces. Anyways, the service does run into issues just like any service would, but it’s still awesome.

OnLive filed for ABC bankruptcy and transferred ownership to a new company under the same name at the end of August 2012, but they are still alive and kickin’, with zero interruption. However, anything can happen. Be wary of it if you must, but at least check out how awesome cloud gaming can be and is going to be. It still blows my mind.

A lot of OnLive’s features were a part of Sony’s Playstation 4 reveal. =)

The service has games that can be played by a younger audience but it does require you to be 18 to make an account.

My Deep Passion For Video Games


“That Game Sucks”

I often end up in arguments with people over video games. Mostly over whether or not they “suck.” This is something I find myself getting into more often than I’d like. I didn’t realize what was happening, I never understood why I kept finding myself in this predicament, why everyone wanted to argue with me or of course vice versa.

I know I’m a stubborn person, or can be anyways, but I was still very confused. After years and years of this kind of interaction with fellow gamers I think I’ve finally come to a small understanding, I hope so anyways.

Self Discovery?

My problem is I love video games. lol It’s silly but that’s what it is. I don’t just play a game and immediately hate it. And if I do, that is an incredibly rare occasion. Of course there are things I might not like about a game. Maybe the controls are bad, maybe the graphics aren’t as impressive as I think they should be, maybe a level was tedious and boring, maybe the story is bland. There are many things I might not like about a game, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it for the good things it has and loving it for it.

Fanboy

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been accused of being a “fanboy” just for saying how much I enjoy a game, a console, or a service. What makes me laugh every time is that often it’s coming from the same people who know that I say “I love this game” to almost every game they mention. Yet the only time they insist on calling me a “fanboy” is when it’s about something they don’t like in particular.

Yes, I am indeed a fanboy. I’m a fan of everything involving the video game world. Some things I like less than others, that’s usually all it is. Some games I have absolutely no interest in, not because it sucks, I just simply have no interest in it at the time. My preferred game tastes do change from time to time. That doesn’t mean I always refrain from saying “that sucks.” lol It does happen sometimes. Usually if I say “that sucks,” I’ll tend to follow it up with “compared to…”

I enjoy puzzle games and social games but those are the last types of games I will ever play, and I mean dead last. I won’t play those unless I’m incredibly bored, have absolutely no way to access a different type of game or possibly see one that looks a little bit more interesting and I’ll give it a chance. Or maybe on another rare occasion if a good friend I haven’t seen or talked to in a long time wants to play. And possibly an even rarer occasion of actually being in the mood. =p

The Casual Gamer

That said, I do not consider puzzle games and social games “real” games. These are casual pastimes. People seem to get offended when I or other gamers make this kind of reference. I’m not attempting to insult you if casual games are your thing. That is wonderful! That doesn’t make you a “gamer” in my eyes. A gamer isn’t somebody that only plays Farmville or Angry Birds, I’m sorry. Now, if you play games like Uncharted, Tomb Raider, and then Farmville, I will consider you a gamer. =p I do not mean this as an insult. Of course, that is just how I see it.

Already Done Before: So What?

This is something that never bothers me. People are always insisting on “innovation” which is practically impossible. They complain about sequels being “more of the same.” I do not understand this. Of course its more of the same, it’s what we loved about it in the first place. It’s a sequel, do people really expect a hack and slash game to turn into a first-person shooter or something? There’s nothing wrong with hybrids of course.

Every time I see gamers making ridiculous demands, they almost never offer up suggestions and if they do, they’re usually absolutely terrible and the developer might as well make a completely different game. I’m often shocked when I see a public suggestion that’s actually decent.

I don’t mind that sequels are similar to the previous games. That’s why I like them, new story, almost always improved graphics, some new elements, upgraded UI’s and controls, I mean that’s what it’s all about. It’s not the same game. I can’t tell you how mad I get when people say “it’s more of the same.” Gameplay yes, but the story is completely new and usually offers more insight into the characters, a continued story that we wanted anyways because we didn’t want the game to end. I mean it completely confuses me how weird gamers can be. Demanding things that make no sense and crying if they do get exactly what they asked for.

I am not saying I don’t like innovation. I also don’t blame gamers for wanting it. I just think they are often unrealistic in their demands.
Multiple games in the same genre too similar? I can understand that complaint. I just enjoy them for the new characters and different takes on the story and of course different or better graphics style.

It’s Time To Try And Turn My Hobby Into My Dream Life

After finally deciding to follow many of my friends advice over many years, I’ve already started writing what I think about my experiences while having played particular video games. It’s way more fun than I had expected. I’m a “noob” but I can already tell I’ve gotten better. Thanks to some game sites (like GameSkinny) editors and my sister I’ve gotten tons of advice and help on how to write better. I look forward to learning more and getting better. Now that I’ve started I have absolutely no intention of stopping. Video games have been my life, and I can finally try and give a little bit back even if it’s only in the form of more detailed feedback than “this game rocks!” =)

I read an article that made me realize me how bias I am. It’s not on purpose ok? lol I promise when and if I give a score rating I will try to be more impartial to a fair score. That may take me awhile though, and many more practice runs before I finally have a better idea on how to score a game more reasonably. That being said, I like saying how I feel about a game. I don’t care if others won’t give a game a 10 when I will, it’s my 10, not theirs. =p

I hope you enjoy my “reviews” and if you find the time please comment! Please give me feedback!