I make YouTube lets play videos. They don’t get many views but I enjoy doing it. If anything, I have fun making them and playing the games I show. However, I would like this to perhaps turn into something more and as such, I monetize my videos. I haven’t seen any money from this yet, but perhaps someday, right? WRONG! At least for some videos. For awhile now, I’ve been getting hit with copyright claims from game companies, claiming ad revenue from my videos (which again amounts to zero). I’ve gotten a few for my Batman Arkham Asylum videos and my Deadpool videos, a few random ones here and there.
However, the worst culprit has been Nintendo, who has flagged almost all of my Nintendo videos, including my Yoshi’s Island playthrough, the beginning of my Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time playthrough and various other one off videos. It’s become a real problem and it’s now become worst because out of the blue, Sega has been flagging my Sonic videos. I did a playthrough of Sonic’s story in Sonic Adventure DX and all of Sonic Adventure 2, as well as an impressions and critique video on Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. All have been flagged, aside from a few episodes from my playthrough, but I’m literally getting more copyright emails as I type this.
I’m lucky right now as none of these claims have been severe enough to give me a strike on my YouTube account. However, these claims are getting ridiculous. I get the feeling that these companies just do a general wipe through YouTube and claim videos through some kind of bot, not even realizing who or what they’re flagging. In YouTube’s defense, I’ve been able to successfully appeal a few of these claims, but ultimately it’s their fault for having such an exploitable system and doing nothing about it. Most of the copyright claims are often based on the music in the game so this just supports my theory.
I know that I’m not alone in having this trouble. So I want to hear from anyone out there who has had this problem. Does anyone have any advice on what to do? How did you deal with your claims? Let me know in the comments. In the meantime, I’m not going to be signing up for Nintendo’s stupid YouTube content creator deal or whatever it’s called so I’m just not going to be covering Nintendo games anymore. Even though it pains me so, I won’t be doing any Sega or Sonic games either. It’s ultimately okay. It’s not like there aren’t other games to play.
Life is Strange is a game that wonderfully encapsulates the feeling of isolation one in their formative teenage years can experience. The actual mechanics of the game almost feel like a secondary peripheral to the primary story and characters. As such, those who are staunchly in favor of gameplay significantly overshadowing everything else in the game will find nothing to love in Life is Strange. However, if you can get over that you are playing this game for story, not gameplay, you’ll find a story that has been lovingly crafted in its first episode as well as a mechanic that keeps you interested enough to what to progress with the story.
It’s hard to talk about the plot of Life is Strange without spoiling it but I’ll just talk about what the trailers for the game have already revealed. You play as Max Caulfield, a private high school student majoring in photography. One day, she discovers a strange ability to reverse time during witnessing a fatal crime. Add in reuniting with an old childhood friend and the disappearance of a local girl her age and there’s a lot of emotional drama happening in Arcadia Bay, Oregon.
The first episode does a lot of setup for what is sure to be the overarching plot and instead focuses on engrossing you in the setting and the characters and it does this extremely effectively. You feel for Max and her inner insecurities and struggles to understand herself and her place in this world. However, you also as a player can appreciate and savor the simplicity of everything around her. Everything in Max’s life feels like it moves at a relatively slow pace and that can be intoxicating. It’s the feeling of being young and having the rest of your life in front of you, no matter how daunting it may be. The first episode does a great job of setting the stage and conveying the tone the rest of the story will most likely have. It’s like playing an indie movie.
The game itself is an adventure title in the vein of The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead. You’ll walking around, searching for objects and people to interact with in order to further the details of the story. You’ll also have to make decisions that will affect the story later on in future episodes. However, a big difference from those titles comes from the time manipulation mechanic. At any time, you will be able to reverse time and redo actions you’ve done while maintaining any information or items you’ve acquired. It’s necessary to use this mechanic to solve some of the easy, minor puzzles in the first episode. However, a double edged sword of this mechanic is it takes away the urgency in making decisions as you can just reverse time to redo it. The game doesn’t let you reverse from later on in the game but it still dampens the gameplay experience.
Graphically, the art design is simply beautiful. The soft colors and pencil sketches captures the simple and indie feel of the story. However, from a technical standpoint, there’s some stiff animations and, quite frankly, awful lip synching. It’s the one technical issue I ran into that would pull me out of the experience. Despite that, the presentation is still spot on. The voice acting is incredible, the soundtrack is wonderful (if you’re into indie folk) and the art design trumps any technical graphical issues. One last issue is the way you interact with stuff with the mouse and keyboard controls is a bit confusing. Using a controller is much easier.
I’m sure some will look at a game like Life is Strange and see it as pretentious. With its indie flick vibe, high school setting and slow pace, it’s easy to assume that it’s probably saying less than it actually thinks it is. While the future episodes will tell whether that’s true or not, episode 1 does make a great first impression. This definitely is a game that has a story that’s not commercially appealing but it doesn’t need to be. The best trait of Life is Strange is the characters. I feel for Max, I want to understand Max. I may not feel like I am Max but I want to know what happens to her. If you’re someone who loves characters in a story and how they think and react in obtuse situations, Life is Strange – Episode 1: Chrysalis is currently the best representation of that in video games.
What’s up, gamers and players!? Colorwind here with another Gaming Landscape. Since my last Gaming Landscape, I’ve put BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend and Mario Kart 8 back on the shelf, and I’ve finished Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. I’m going to give that game a full review because I have a lot to say about it but I’ve played plenty of games since then. A quick note: I haven’t stopped playing Legend of Dragoon since the last Gaming Landscape. I just haven’t played much of it since the last one and don’t have anything to say about it. Without further delay, lets talk some games!
Resident Evil HD Remaster
I want it to be known to you, the reader, that I really tried. I tried so hard, more than I have ever before and in one way, I was successful. However, I ultimately failed. I accept this. I accept failure because it’s what I want. I tried to play Resident Evil HD Remaster. I got it on PC because I heard about the better movement controls. I’ve always hated the tank controls and this solved that. Also, I am scared of horror games but I wanted to conquer my fear and this was a very obvious choice. My fear of horror games started with the first horror game I played, Resident Evil. I never got beyond the zombie dogs crashing through the window. This time, that was going to change.
And I did. I got to the East Stairs save room and got almost everything up to that point as Jill. However, I got SO FUCKING LOST. I have no idea how anyone figured out how to do anything in this game. I even used a walkthrough when I got too frustrated and I still couldn’t proceed! None of these puzzles have anything to do with anything! I thought I was just trying to find my missing partner. Why are there Sword keys and how would I figure out to burn zombies and why can I only carry eight items and why can’t I run and shoot and WHY DOESN’T BARRY HELP ME IN THE ROOM WITH THE CEILING TRAP LIKE THE WALKTHROUGH SAYS!?
None of the gameplay mechanics make sense in regards to its story and none of the gameplay mechanics are ever explained to you. I did a stream for 30 minutes blindly trying to figure out how to do anything. I spent another two hours on my own fumbling with the controls, accidentally going back and forth between screens, randomly hitting the action button in search of items, and woefully trying to figure out what my purpose in this world is. EXPLORING A WORLD WITHOUT GIVING THE PLAYER A REASON WHY THEY WOULD WANT TO IS BAD GAMEPLAY CONVEYANCE AND IT’S JUST PLAIN BAD FUCKING GAME DESIGN!
In conclusion, I didn’t like this game. However, I’m glad I gave it another shot. I’m not afraid of it anymore. I was too frustrated to be afraid. Now I can say that I don’t play Resident Evil, not because of bad controls, not because of being afraid, but because the game sucks.
Double Dragon Trilogy
The first new release of this year that I was excited for. I’m a fan of the original Double Dragon games and a collection of the first three arcade games was a no brainer. For the most part, it’s a good port. The games look good in HD resolutions and there’s no major port issues as far as I can tell. However, it’s fairly bare bones. The game in widescreen resolutions is either with black bars on each side or with a stretched image. There’s no lives or coins option, meaning you’re stuck with the three lives and continues default and you have to beat the games in that amount of tries. This can be punishing, especially for Double Dragon II and 3. The online multiplayer works fine when you can find a connection but not many are playing it so matches are sparse. Finally, the new hub is fine but I would’ve preferred an option to use the originals. It’s not a bad purchase for $10 and I don’t think there’s a better legal way of playing these versions of these games but MAME is still a better option. If you’re still curious, I did a quick gameplay video of it on my YouTube channel.
Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds
I heard about this game through TotalBiscuit. He did a video on this game and it looked interesting to me so I got it and tried it out. So far, this is my game of the year. This is actually a port of a Xbox Live Arcade game that came out a couple of years ago before coming out on PC this year. This game is so much fun in a cardinal way. The combat system is more in depth than most beat-em-ups, as there’s three normal attack buttons, one special attack buttons, two magic attack buttons, and a powered-up mode. There’s also four standard characters and at least four unlockable characters. There’s not a whole lot of different content but there is enough different to keep you playing, especially when you can level up all the characters to 50. I think you can level them up beyond that but I’m not sure. I’ve already done a quick gameplay video of me figuring the game out and then a stream of me starting a new playthrough with another character. So check them out.
Metroid Prime Trilogy: Metroid Prime 1
I just got this game yesterday and I’ve only played the intro but I’m already liking it more than I did the GameCube original. The reason is that I like the motion controls more than the original pad controls. I’m in the camp that thinks that Prime should have had shooter controls. Not just for the combat situations but for the platforming. Because of that, I could never get into the controls despite me digging the atmosphere and premise of the original game. I didn’t bother with the second game as a result and just never got around to the third game or the trilogy’s original release. I know that the Trilogy is an uncommon game now and runs for $50+ so when this was announced, I knew it would be worth picking up on the Wii U, just like Earthbound is. I played the intro and although the motion controls are a bit janky, it’s still better than the the pad controls and good enough to give this game a fair shot. I will say that I was stuck trying to figure out how to switch visors for five minutes and that probably could’ve been done better. That said, I’m excited to see what the big deal is about.
It’s a new year and Nintendo had its first Nintendo Direct presentation of the year! There were a lot of news announced but I’m not going to waste time with the Hyrule Warriors DLC or the next wave of Amiibos or the other stuff I just don’t care about. For me, there were three pieces of news that stood out: The new Fire Emblem game, the release of Wii games on the eShop, and the New Nintendo 3DS XL.
A New Fire Emblem Emerges
I’m still green when it comes to the Fire Emblem series. I’ve only briefly played Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Awakening. However, I do like the series in concept. I really liked Final Fantasy Tactics and I’m a big fan of the Shining Force series. I really liked Skulls of the Shogun as well and these are all games in the vein of Fire Emblem. So I’m happy to see a new game being developed. If anything, they need to justify all the Fire Emblem characters in the latest Smash Bros. I literally only knew who Marth was. Fire Emblem is the kind of series I think Nintendo needs right now. With all the bright and happy games they release like Super Mario 3D World and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, it’s good to show that they can still develop and release a diverse range of titles. I do own Awakening so I should get on that soon.
Wii Games Go Digital
Nintendo announced that they will now start re-releasing Wii titles on the Wii U eShop. The first three titles announced are Super Mario Galaxy 2, Punch Out!!, and the Metroid Prime Trilogy. Mario Galaxy 2 is out now, Punch Out!! is coming next week, and Metroid will be released at the end of the year. I think this is cool, it’s another way to purchase these games and the Metroid Prime Trilogy is particularly cool since that’s a bit difficult to get. However, I’ve been waiting for Nintendo to release all the other consoles they had on the Wii Virtual Console. At least release their own stuff on the VC, like N64, Game Boy, and Game Boy Color titles. All of these are already available so I don’t understand what the problem is. Finally, I was expecting Nintendo to start releasing GameCube games onto the VC. The Wii games announcement is cool but it just reminds me how much catching up Nintendo has to do.
New Nintendo 3DS XL
After already being released in Japan, Australia and New Zealand last year, we got a release date for the latest version of the Nintendo 3DS for Europe and North America. The latest model, called the New Nintendo 3DS XL, will be released on February 13, 2015 for both territories. It has a bunch of new features, including extra shoulder buttons, a second analog stick nub thing, a stronger CPU, Amiibo support, and improved 3D functionality. This is all well and good, but goddamn it, can’t Nintendo come up with a better name? Now we have Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, Nintendo 2DS, and New Nintendo 3DS XL. Technically, there’s another model of the latest 3DS version that’s not coming to America that would just make things more complicated. Can’t they just be 3DS, 3DS XL, 3DS Jr., and 3DS XL+? Some kind of obvious label so people won’t get confused? Part of me wants to get this new one for Xenoblade Chronicles but I barely use my current 3DS XL because it’s uncomfortable and my hand cramps up if I play for too long.
Those are my thoughts on the latest Nintendo Direct and now I want to hear yours! What announcements were you excited to hear about? Which announcements annoyed you? Leave a comment and let me know. Peace and love, gamers and players! Colorwind out.
When you talk about underappreciated video games, Earthbound is sure to be in the conversation. Earthbound is actually called Mother 2 in Japan, as it’s the second game in the Mother series, and is the only title from the series to see an official releases in the US. Initially, Earthbound was a commercial and critical failure in America, but over time has gained a loyal following. This fan base has created art, music, translations of Mother 1 and 3, petitions to get the games official re-releases in America, and more. They have lifted the game from failure to one of the biggest cult classics in video game history. It’s an infamous game, one that even today feels a little off-kilter when compared to other titles in its genre. However, Earthbound is not an game that should be missed, especially if you’re looking for something different and ahead of its time.
You are Ness, a young boy living in the fictional rural town of Onett. After a meteor crashes nearby your home, you are thrown into an adventure to save the world from Giygas, a being of incredible evil that is encapsulating the world in hatred. Along the way, you will be joined by three other adventurers, travel across various cities and locations, and visit eight sanctuaries to collect melodies that can stop Giygas’ influence. At first, Earthbound doesn’t sound too different from other RPGs. You need to save the world from an unknown evil force and you must visit faraway lands in order to do so. However, Earthbound takes the typical framework of an RPG game and molds it into an obtuse form by incorporating postmodernist concepts into its design. The story will place you to both rational and bizarre situations. It’s modern setting but surreal mentality takes cues from pop and underground culture before and at the time it was created and makes the game a compendium of amalgamated ideas of modern western culture. It truly makes the game feel not just like an adventure but an experience you want to go on. Sure, it starts off innocently enough, but eventually you’ll want to see where this adventure will take you, and what this world has to offer.
And what a world Earthbound has! In line with the game’s Americana setting, you’ll traverse a lot of realistic areas such as rural towns, big metropolises, and more. However, in complete contrast to that, you’ll come across foreign areas like a prehistoric land complete with dinosaurs or an alternate dimension where everything is backwards. The world switches between these two concepts in order to makes you think how charming and strange yet alluring this world, and conversely our own world, is. As a result, you’ll become engrossed in the world. Enemies range from wild animals and belligerent people to piles of barf and aliens. One moment you’ll be helping get rid of a local gang and the next you’ll be saving your companion from a cult. It makes for a unique setting that has never been replicated by other games.
As great as the world is, it’s the tone of Earthbound that holds it all together. Considering that you are a group of kids traversing this world by themselves and running into cults and aliens, you would think that the game is pretty dark in tone. However, there’s a very whimsical feel to the whole game. The script is very lighthearted and does not take itself seriously. The soundtrack has a simple and happy feel to it, including the songs that are nods to popular hits. The graphics, though not technically impressive even for its time, have a lot of bright colors and details that purposely looks like something a kid would make. And that’s the key. Despite its surreal themes and realistic setting, the tone is based on a kid’s perspective. There’s an innocence to how this world is presented to you. Even the few times the game does get dark, it makes you appreciate the jovial tone of the game overall and makes the juxtaposition all the more impactful. It’s all very endearing and Earthbound captures the feeling of being a kid wonderfully.
Gameplay wise, Earthbound’s world and tone influence can be felt in this aspect as well. You don’t collect money from defeating enemies; you use your ATM card to withdraw money from your bank account, which your father deposits money into. Your weapons are typical kid toys and household objects you can buy from stores, such as Baseball bats, bottle rockets and frying pans. Even the status ailments you can get include catching a cold and homesickness, which you relieve by taking cold medicine and calling your mom. That being said, the process of playing the game is still typical RPG fair. You’ll go from town to town, buy new weapons and gear, replenish your items and walk around town talking to NPCs to figure out your next move is.
The battle system in Earthbound is similarly typical. Much like Chrono Trigger, enemies appear on screen and battles are initiated once you touch them, meaning you can avoid random battles if you want. You are then transitioned to the battle screen where you choose your action against your opponent. You take turns with the opponent attacking each other until someone falls. You also have the typical options to use magic (called PSI here), to use items, to run from battle or defend. The battle system seems very simplistic and, truth be told, it is. However, there are a few frills that help make it more involving. For one, when you first run into enemies in the world, if you or the enemy catch the other from behind, they’ll get to perform a preemptive strike. If you run into an enemy that is vastly weaker than you, you’ll automatically win the fight without having to go through the battle. Enemies weaker than you will actually run away from you as a result. While in battle, when hit, your hit points will roll down rather than deplete immediately, allowing you to heal yourself before you fall should you suffer a fatal blow. Finally, you tend to level up fairly often and it gives you a good sense of progression. These touches make playing the game more convenient and less of a grind than its RPG counterparts.
That said, there are noticeable problems with combat. The presentation of the battles are overall pretty bland. There’s not a lot of impressive animations or landscapes to the battles and is pretty minimalistic. This is made all the more apparent by the fact that although the frills to the combat prevents it from being boring, the combat system is still too simplistic to be compelling. For example, your choices for PSI skills are pretty limited. Most characters only have seven to nine PSI skills with various levels and one of your party members can’t use PSI at all. What really hurts the combat system though is the random battles themselves. Random battles never stop being a threat, unless you are so powerful you auto win the fight. As a result, you can unfortunately just have bad luck and run into a random enemy that’ll completely wreck you. To this effect, Earthbound is also prone to difficulty spikes. The beginning of the game can be particularly difficult since you are not versed in the combat system yet but easily the worst spike is near the middle of the game. I personally was stuck in this section for so long that I had to use a guide for tips on what to do and grind random battles to over level myself just so I could run past the random encounters to the boss.
You can definitely find enjoyment in the combat system, manipulating the HP roll counter, utilizing enemy weaknesses, and strategically approach enemies before battles. But at other times the combat system is frustrating, ho-hum, and just a means to get to the next interesting thing in the game. It’s not a bad system, and I came to enjoy it as I progressed, but the combat system is the most assuredly the weakest point of Earthbound. So if you need a compelling combat system in your RPGs, you won’t really find it here.
One last issue with Earthbound I would like to mention is the pacing. For the most part, the game’s pacing is not too bad but there are definitely sections that overstayed their welcome. Sometimes this was due to a dungeon that was going too long or a city I felt I had spent too much time in. Other times, this was due to the game’s conveyance of what your next objective is being too vague and as a result, I would get stuck. There is a man in the major cities that’ll give you hints for a small fee but sometimes his clues aren’t enough and a guide might be in order. The final reason is the difficulty spikes I mentioned before, as it keeps you in certain areas longer and shorter than you should be. Since I was stuck in that section in the middle of the game for so long, I breezed through the next area with ease, even defeating a boss I should have come back to later. I wound up being overpowered for the next fourth of the game or so, which made it easier but also a bit duller.
In reality, the sometimes vague goals, pacing issues, difficulty spikes, and less than stellar battle system shouldn’t prevent you from playing this game. Earthbound is an amazing game with a lot of wit, charm and personality that is rare to see even in games today. You could make the argument that Earthbound is a game you experience more so than one you play, seeing as the gameplay is ultimately the least interesting thing about it, but that should not be taken to me that it isn’t good. The gameplay is good. It’s fun, it’s enjoyable, it might even be great. However, everything around it is so much more sublime, so much more interesting, it ultimately outshines the gameplay. If you are a gamer who puts gameplay above any other aspect of gaming, you may not like Earthbound. However, as someone who has that preference, I was still able to thoroughly enjoy the game. It might take a bit to warm up to due to the unfamiliar tone and brief difficulty spike in the beginning but it’s well worth the effort, as Earthbound deserves the cult classic moniker it has earned.
Holy shit, Greg Miller quit IGN! I heard this news and it shocked me. The main reason for this was because I never thought he would leave IGN. He was so dedicated to the site that I thought he would eventually be one of the leaders of the site, like Peer Schneider. However, I wish him the best as well as Colin Moriarty, Tim Gettys, and Nick Scarpino. I like the Kinda Funny content and I’m sure it’s just going to get better since it’s now their full time job.
I do want to talk about why this has really affected me. Greg isn’t the first to do this. A few months ago, Jim Sterling left The Escapist to go independent as well. What’s more is I’ve noticed more and more people who work in the video game journalism industry also have side stuff going on. Tim Gettys’ friend and former IGN coworker Alfredo Diaz is pretty big on Twitch, for example. I’m noticing a trend, is what I’m saying. One gig in this business is no longer enough.
As someone who wants to write for a living, this makes me take pause and question my current plan in life. I know I want to write but now I’m wondering if that’s going to be enough. I’m wondering if I need a plan A-2, sort of speak. I’m doing YouTube videos for fun on the side but that’s not something that I’ve taken seriously. I’ll be going back to college next month, working towards my English degree, but I think I should get serious about not just my blog but maybe YouTube as well. Perhaps something else, I’m not sure.
Essentially, what I’m saying is I’ve noticed a trend that traditional online journalism might not be enough and as someone who aspires to join that industry, I might need to think of something to do in addition to that. So what do you all think about the Kinda Funny crew leaving IGN? What are your thoughts on the importance of multitasking when in this business? Leave a comment and let me know. Peace and love, gamers and players! Colorwind Out!
What’s up, gamers and players!? Colorwind here and it is a new year! It’s been a long time since I’ve done a Gaming Landscape and now feels like the right time to bring it back. I mentioned this before but these won’t be on a regular schedule, like monthly or weekly, but will show up when I have enough to say about a decent amount of games. For those who don’t know, this blog is me talking about the games I’ve been playing recently and giving my quick thoughts on them. So this is like a collection of mini impressions. So without further hesitation, here’s my Gaming Landscape as of January 8th, 2015!
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger
I’ve owned the first BlazBlue game for some time now but I never committed to the game. So I changed that this past month and beat Arcade mode with each character and completed 100% each of the character’s stories in Story mode, as well as the final ending section. I didn’t unlock all the stuff in the gallery mode though, nor did I get all the achievements. Also, I didn’t play online because no one plays this game online anymore. I couldn’t get even one match over the course of a month. Regardless, I really enjoyed this game. The action is fast paced and combo heavy and I like the characters and their backstories. I will say that the story itself is pretty ridiculous but it does end in a satisfying way. I really didn’t like what they did with the structure of the story mode though. Essentially, you have to lose every match you have as well as win. You pretty much have to do every match twice to see what would happen if you both won and lost. That’s just busy work. Also, I’d like to say something about Rachel. I am terrible with her and especially when it comes to her fighting Nu, I have no idea what to do. It’s like there’s nothing that can be done to fight her. She doesn’t have the move set to deal with someone like Nu. I might be just terrible with Rachel and I’m sure that’s what is really the case but I was stuck in Arcade mode with Rachel for 45 minutes. It was bullshit. My main in Calamity Trigger is probably Jin but I want my main to be Noel. I just like her fighting style more. I enjoy her speed, her Drive attacks and how they link up, her ability to continue a combo after knocking down an opponent. The only thing that sucks about her are her supers. Anyways, I enjoyed this game but I’ve already moved on from to the next game.
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend
This is actually the game that got me into the BlazBlue series. When it originally came out on the Xbox 360, I reviewed it for the site I used to work for, PixlBit. However, when I was done with the game, I had to return it. Well, as a Christmas gift, I bought the limited edition of BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend for the Xbox 360. It was actually cheaper than the standard edition on Amazon. I don’t have as much to say about this game since I just got it about a week and a half ago and I haven’t been playing it non-stop (due to the other games I’m going to be talking about) but once again, I’m enjoying myself. I remember than in this game, I used to main with Tsubaki but it has been a long time since I’ve played this game (2012) that I think I forgot everything. Nevertheless, I will get good with her again, I’m sure. Right now, I’ve played through arcade mode with Ragna and Jin and have been going through the tutorial mode. Can I say that the announcer for this game sucks? I never noticed before but she’s really terrible. Luckily there are other announcers you can buy and unlock in the gallery so I did that and got what I think is the voice of Jin as the announcer. I’m not sure though.
Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart 8 at this point is just my default game I go to when I want to play video games but don’t know what to play. I just hop online and play several races. With some money I got for Christmas, I bought the first DLC pack and gave the new courses a try. I like them. The recreation of Super Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road, and Hyrule Circuit are probably my favorites, where Ice Ice Outpost doesn’t really stand out to me. Also, the F-Zero track seems like a missed opportunity. I don’t really like the characters though. I mean Link is fine but Tanooki Mario and Cat Peach? These aren’t new characters, they’re skins. They should be different colors for the racers like the different colored Yoshi’s and Shy Guy’s. Same goes for Metal Mario and Pink Gold Peach. Couldn’t we have gotten Diddy Kong or Bowser Jr. or King Boo? Since there’s a Excitebike and F-Zero track, maybe the Excitebike guy or Captain Falcon? Just saying. Still, I don’t feel ripped off because the courses alone are worth the money.
Mega Man 6
I’ve had Mega Man 6 since I got my NES back in 2011. However, I’ve never been able to beat it because I’m terrible at old school Mega Man games. Now the X series, I’ve got that handled, but the original series has always been harder in my opinion. However, over the course of two days, I managed to finally beat that game. I think it was starting with Blizzard Man that helped because normally I read that you’re supposed to start with Flame Man. However, Flame Man’s stage is so hard when you’re just starting out, it can be overwhelming. Blizzard Man’s stage is a better introduction to the game and mechanics than Flame Man’s and that started me off better. Following the boss order from that starting point ended up giving me a better learning curve and I was able to finish the game as a result. I also had some help from a guide on GameFAQs by one Colin Moriarty! I do want to say one thing though. The boss fight in Mr. X’s first stage is easily the hard boss fight in the game. Colin says it’s the easiest of the Mr. X and Dr. Wily bosses but it’s a lie. A VICIOUS LIE I SAY! That said, I enjoyed the game. I thought it was fun, even if the levels and especially the bosses are less creative than previous games.
The Legend of Dragoon
A good chuck of December for me was playing Earthbound all the way through for the first time. Now I’m not going to talk about that game here because I’ve decided to write a review for it so that’ll be coming soon. However, after finishing that game, I wanted to play another RPG. So I was looking around my PS3 library on my hard drive and I decided on The Legend of Dragoon. I had tried it way back when I was trying out a bunch of RPGs in the early 2000s when my friend Don was introducing me to the genre. I played, I think, the first couple of fights and then just gave up on the game. I don’t remember why. Coming back to it now, I think it might be because I didn’t like it. Legend of Dragoon is a very slow moving game. It takes a long time to get random battles, it takes a long time for the battles to load, there’s a wait period before you attack, the text scrolls at a leisurely pace, you get the point. There is just, so much, goddamn waiting, in Legend of Dragoon! I really didn’t like the game at first because of this. I was bored. Extremely, in fact. However, I kept with it and now that the Dragoons are a thing and I’m getting a better sense of progression in the game, I’m enjoying it more. I still don’t think it’s a great game but it’s alright. I want to talk about the writing in this game now. What’s the deal with how Dart and Shana’s relationship is written? There’s always these abrupt statements about them getting married right away or having a baby or something really personal. Meanwhile, Dart doesn’t know how he feels and Shana is determined to always be by his side and bends over backwards in order to do so. Also, she’s immediately suspicious of Rose when she first meets her like a jealous girlfriend. It’s just really uncomfortable for me. Every time it happens, I get exaperated and just think, “Okay, why are we doing this right now? Can we get back to the matter at hand? Evil empire? Dragons flying around? Remember, people!?” I’m going to stay with it as I’m already about 10 hours in but I still think there’s plenty of time for this game to drop the ball.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
I’ve never beaten Vice City. I’ve had the original PS2 version, the Xbox version, and I own the PC version now but I’ve never finished Vice City. I used to always just get sidetracked causing general mayhem and looking for all the hidden packages and unique jumps. So I decided to finally finish the game. Not complete 100%, just see the ending. After a very difficult time getting the game to work (read my blog about that process here), I got started. Maybe it’s because the game is now over ten years old and I’ve played Grand Theft Auto V and San Andreas since this came out but man, this game lacks polish. The missions often ask you to do stuff that the controls just do not allow you to do easily and the penalties for failing missions and dying are harsh. It’s still a lot of fun driving around and causing general mayhem but a lot of the missions are not very fun. Or rather the missions would be fun if the mechanics of the game didn’t make them so frustrating. I’m currently stuck on a mission from the Bikers where I’m supposed to fill up a chaos meter but causing general mayhem but I can never do it in time. I mean, once I killed a bunch of policemen, blew up five cop cars, two SWAT trucks and even a police helicopter, as well as murdered a bunch of pedestrians but that still wasn’t enough. The meter only filled up a little more than half way! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT FROM ME GAME!? Quite frankly, I’m frustrated with the game and I’m taking a little break from it for now.
There was my first Gaming Landscape of the year! It was a long one but it was for the whole month of December, essentially. I just started an Alice: Madness Returns playthrough on my YouTube channel and I’ll be streaming gameplay now every Friday at 8pm Pacific on Twitch so be sure to check that out to see some of the games in my future Gaming Landscapes. And speaking of Gaming Landscapes, tell me what your Gaming Landscapes have been in the comments below! Peace and love, gamers and players! Colorwind out!
This is mostly me complaining so you’ve been warned.
I had so much trouble trying to play my copy of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on Steam. I used to play it just fine before but around two years ago, it just stopped working. Recently, I decided I wanted to finally beat Vice City for the first time. I usually just did some of the early missions and got lost causing general chaos. I heard that there was a recent update by Rockstar that fixed some issues so I thought that the problem would have been fixed. Turns out that wasn’t the case as it still wouldn’t load to the main menu. I kept getting an “insert disc” error message. So I checked out the PC gaming wiki and found out that it was because the game was installed on a different hard drive. I have a 3 TB hard drive I install all my games on but one game won’t hurt.
So I install the game on my primary hard drive and the game loads up on the main menu. However, while I’m scrolling through the menus, adjusting video settings, I noticed that my mouse clicks weren’t registering. Pressing Enter was working fine but not my mouse clicks. I ignored it at first but when I got into the game, the camera wasn’t moving when I moved the mouse and I couldn’t punch. It was as if my mouse wasn’t even plugged in. Also, my car wouldn’t go in reverse and I was getting some weird glitches in the graphics and frame rate. Going back to the PC gaming wiki, apparently I have to put on the Frame Limiter option because when the game runs at a frame rate higher than 30, it freaks out.
So I turn on Frame Limiter, and that fixed the glitches, the frame rate and going in reverse. However, the mouse still wasn’t registering. Back to the PC gaming wiki. I found several options: refreshing the desktop, disabling the steam overlay, download a dinput.dll file, etc. None of them worked. At this point, I gave up and uninstalled it until about a week and a half ago. I did some searching online and found some mods that allowed me to use a Xbox 360 controller (fully) and updated the graphics. This finally gave me a game that I can play, which I’ve been doing.
However, what pisses me off is I should not of had to do any of that. I bought Vice City a long time ago and it shouldn’t matter that it’s a 12 year old game when I want to fire it up. I now have a game that I paid money for that doesn’t work unless I use unofficial means. I was contemplating buying the PS2 version on the PlayStation Network via the PS3 but I felt indignant about it. Why should I buy this game that I already own but doesn’t work because some didn’t keep their shit working? I know that older games on the PC don’t work anymore but Rockstar is still selling Vice City and there’s no mention of any problems on the store page on Steam. Not to mention that we’re in an era of video games where games are supported long after their initial release. Case in point: Rockstar just updated San Andreas to REMOVE songs from the game. So it’s not like they can’t update it. I should mention that I have to use a controller to play the game. Mouse still doesn’t work.
Anyways, I wanted to rant about the crap I was dealing with trying to get this game running. I want to hear from you though. Have you had any trouble with playing Vice City on Steam? Did you get it working? Any tips on how to get Vice City working better? Say it all in the comments section. Peace and love, gamers and players. Colorwind out!
2015 is now upon us and the mandatory New Years resolutions must be made. I actually didn’t have any resolutions right before writing this. I wanted to make New Years resolutions, I planned to make New Years resolutions, but I just never did. However, I did have like some ideas of what I want to accomplish in the new year and to do those ideas, I would have to change a few things about what I usually do. Those are my New Years resolutions so lets get to them.
1. Read More Books
I used to read books all the time as a kid but I have rarely read books in the last 15 years. As a writer, it’s a cardinal sin and something I need to rectify. I think what I need to do is branch out what I read. I typically only read fiction so may I should read non-fiction, poetry, self-help books and other things. I do have a Kindle Fire that I rarely use to read so I could start there.
2. Watch More Movies
I don’t watch enough movies. I think I saw maybe one new movie last year. Maybe. Probably not. However, I want to watch new movies because from a creative standpoint, I tend to learn a lot from them. I tend to pay attention to the characters and how they are performed to figure out what the writer’s intentions were when creating their personalities, motivations, backstory, etc. Movies stimulate my mind in ways other forms of media don’t and I want that more. I’ve already seen The Angry Video Game Nerd movie so that’s good.
3. Play Less Video Games
I know this is a weird one but I’ve been playing video games so much for the last four years or so, I’ve neglected my other interest. In addition to movies and books, I don’t play my guitar anymore, I don’t write creatively anymore and I don’t listen to music as much anymore (although that’s partially due to music in general kind of sucking the last two years). I love video games and I always will but that’s not all I’m passionate about; video games are not my entire identity. So I want to just chill out on video games for a bit.
4. Indulge More, Be Less Practical
I have a habit of not buying things if it’s not video games or something that is not practical to get. Wanna get a Bluray of a movie I like? No, I’ll wait for it to show up on Netflix. Want to get a comic book? Nah, I should wait for the hardcover. Want some beef jerky from the convenience store a couple of blocks away? Nah, save the money for some takeout or the grocery store. It’s true that I have a limited budget but I need to use what little extra cash I have to just get things that I enjoy, sensibility be damned.
A lot of my resolutions can be summed up with this resolution. I have a problem with living my life with some kind of end goal in mind. Even though I love video games, I monopolized it for writing. I pushed movies, music, books, and other stuff out so I can focus on games and writing about them for a living. All my extra money went towards video games for that purpose. I enjoy being productive but it’s now to a point that I don’t know what to do with myself when I don’t need to do anything. When I have free time, I don’t know what to do. So I guess this resolution is really relax and learn how to do things not to be productive. Learn how to decompress and enjoy it.
So there are my resolutions. I know this is not really a video game blog but that’s on purpose. I want to write about more than just video games and I plan to do that. If you think this is a good idea, let me know in the comments. Also, let me know what your New Years resolutions are. Peace and love, gamers and players! Colorwind out!
2014 was a rough year for video games and I ended up not playing a lot of new games as a result. Therefore, coming up with this list was actually pretty hard. The reason wasn’t necessarily because there weren’t enough good games released in 2014 but there weren’t enough great games. Games like Octodad: Dadliest Catch were fun but not particularly exceptional. Still, 2014 had some titles that surprised me and if I can say anything positive about 2014, it’s that it was a year that surprised me. So without further delay, I give you my personal favorite games of 2014!
5. Bayonetta 2
I did not like the first Bayonetta game. I had trouble with not being able to see the enemies around me and too much showing up on screen for me to handle. However, all the positive buzz around Bayonetta 2 convinced me to take a risk and buy this game new. Easily the best risk I took this year, Bayonetta 2 is a lot like the first game but fixed and better in every way. The combat is fluid and action packed, always demanding your full attention. The camera is improved from the first game and allows you to see all the action clearly with helps both with your technique and the vast spectacle that is this game. Giant enemies with crazy inventive designs, huge set pieces in alternate realms, crazy attack animations, Bayonetta 2 is an adrenaline rush unlike any other this year and it’s definitely one of the main reasons to own a Wii U.
I’ve never been a fan of multiplayer shooters. I’m always the guy getting maybe one kill and dying 20 times in Counter-Strike and Gears of War. I’m just not that good at this style of genre. However, Loadout is different. Loadout doesn’t have one, two hit kills and there’s an emphasis on mobility. It’s just frantic action where the lifebars of the characters is large enough that if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re given enough time to figure it out. There’s several different play modes, such as deathmatch and CTF, and the maps are well designed so that none of the modes feel like a slog. The most addicting aspect of the game, however, has to be the gun customization. As you play matches, you’ll earn points that you’ll use to customize your arsenal and essentially create your own custom class. Best of all, it’s a free to play game with unobtrusive micro-transactions. It has a more accessible play style to other shooters and is my favorite shooter of the year.
3. Mario Kart 8
The Wii U had a great year and in my opinion, the best exclusive the console has is Mario Kart 8. I’m a big Mario Kart fan but the last console release (Mario Kart Wii) was a big letdown for me and the 3DS game Mario Kart 7 was fine but not up to the standards of the best of the series (Double Dash, 64, DS). Mario Kart 8 is the real deal. The course selection is diverse and inventive and most of the changes made to the older courses make them feel like new. The item randomization has been fixed and it makes the game feel less luck based, letting skill shine through. Other little changes, like quicker recovery after falling off the track, help to keep the pace of the races fast and fun. Finally, the online play works sublimely and playing with others around the world keeps the game fun even when you don’t have friends on your couch. It’s admittedly not that much of a change from the Mario Kart formula but it’s a refinement that polishes the tried and true formula to near perfection.
2. Shovel Knight
Shovel Knight was a game I had heard about before its release but not a title I paid much attention to. However, like Bayonetta 2, the buzz over the game after its release compelled me to give it a shot. It’s strange that a game that looks like it was made in 1989 is more polished and entertaining than almost any other game in 2014. I want to emphasis just how good it feels to just play this game. The mechanics are fun just to execute. Bouncing on enemies with your shovel, firing fireballs, traversing over bottomless pits, all of the abilities you gain feel great to do. The controls are more responsive than most modern video games and it makes you truly feel in control of Shovel Knight. Every level you go through has obstacles that are not only challenging but enjoyable to overcome, thanks to the aforementioned as well as the diverse design and creativity in the levels. Add in various upgrades, new abilities, optional levels, awesome boss fights, numerous secrets, and a surprisingly touching story and you have a modern classic and a perfect love letter to its influences.
1. South Park: The Stick of Truth
There are a lot of games released these days that want to be compelling and they do that by testing your reflexes, your morality, your intelligence, your emotions and more. However, there are some games that just want to be fun. My list this year reflects that they best games this year were the ones that aimed to be fun, above anything else. And no other game this year, to me, that was more fun than South Park: The Stick of Truth. Even if you aren’t a fan of the show or just have a casual interest in it like me, this RPG has a great world to explore and fun combat system, as well as a bizarre story that has the show’s trademark humor and commentary well in place. The town of South Park has been lovingly recreated and simply the act of exploring the streets, homes, and outskirts of this mountain town is fun. Searching drawers and talking to the townsfolk is fun. How many RPGs have managed that!? The combat system is essentially the system from Paper Mario and the attack commands are essential to do well in the game. Finally, the story will have you escaping from aliens, working for Al Gore, performing abortions, and a bunch of other ridiculous objectives. You will laugh from just the sheer idiocy of the situations. South Park: The Stick of Truth is so aggressive in it’s fierce determination to make you enjoy yourself and it succeeds in so many ways, including being my game of the year.
There were my favorite games of the year. Remember that this isn’t a list of games that were the most popular or best selling but my personal list. However, now I want to know what your favorite games of the year were. Let me know in the comment section what games were your favorite this year. Peace and love, gamers and players! Colorwind out!