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Wednesday Whimsy

Wednesday Whimsy

By: Caelrona

Hiya all! The week is over already and I’m just sitting here wondering where it went. But anyway, Happy St. Patty’s Day to any of our readers who celebrate it. Aside from it being a small holiday; Sunday also brought us new episodes of The Walking Dead and Vikings; both of which I am loving so much. But today’s blog isn’t about television, no matter how much we all love it. Today I thought I’d talk about video games a bit. Lots of stuff happening on that front that I’m excited about; Minecraft just brought the 1.5 update which is murdering me with lag. That’s ok, Mojang, it isn’t like I was excited to play with the daylight sensors or anything. The newest Simcity was also released, but talk online says there are problems with it. Last but not least, Hidden Path Entertainment has finally stepped up to bring our beloved Age of Empires 2 into the modern age with an HD remake. So, let’s get started shall we?

03-20-13WW1

Mojang finally released the much anticipated Redstone Update; otherwise known as Minecraft update 1.5. I’ve been waiting for this for a while with a lot of anticipation, because the daylight detector is a much needed circuit component and I loved playing with random redstone circuits. Unfortunately, the update did more than just bring new items. It brought lag; horrible, terrible, game stuttering lag. I mean, my laptop probably isn’t the best machine to run Minecraft on anyway; but this is just ridiculous. I get lag standing still. Aside from that they also changed the way texture packs have to be laid out, which means a lot of work for me converting mine to the new layout. In the long run, I’m sure I’ll eventually love the Redstone update, probably after a 1.5.1 hotfix to address the lag issue, but for now; screw you too, Mojang. =(

03-20-13WW2

EA finally brought fans what they’ve been begging for with a brand new Simcity that has apparently crashed and burned since its launch. From what I’ve been reading, I’m really glad that I haven’t bought it yet. Apparently they are attempting to sell Simcity as an MMO, which is kind of silly. Take it from a Sim nerd; we don’t play Sim games to deal with other people. We play Sim games to control everything. An option to play with certain people would have been loved by pretty much all fans. Forcing us to play with random people, on the other hand, is not really welcome at all. We could just do PUG’s in World of Warcraft if we wanted to play with random players of questionable skill. Speaking of questionable skill; the AI built into the Sims is laughable. I don’t really think it can even be called AI, since there is no intelligence to it at all. They don’t actually have individual lives, as was promised. Instead they work at whatever the closest workplace is and live wherever the closest house is. But amid all the bad, there is some good news; apparently someone modded Simcity to work completely offline, proving the EA’s statements about online server play being integral to the game was a load of bunk. So hopefully the amazing modders out there can give us a functional Simcity that Sim-fans can love.

03-20-13WW3

Hidden Path Entertainment is making many oldschool gamers very happy with an Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings HD release this coming April via Steam. I was so excited when I heard the news. I spent plenty of time playing Age of Empires, and having my friends slaughter me in online play. I still play it occasionally, although the hoops I jump through in order to run it on my Windows 7 machine without glitching are ridiculous. All of which is precisely why I am so excited; the HD release will feature updated graphics and had been designed to run on newer machines and operating systems. No more crappy graphics caused by Aero. As a bonus, they aren’t simply updating Age of Kings; they are also including The Conquerors expansion all in one glorious HD bundle, which is nice because that means we won’t have to turn around and pay again just to get those 5 civilizations. The best thing? They are charging a measly little $19.99 USD for this (a perfectly reasonable price, in my opinion) instead of some ridiculous amount that gamers would still begrudgingly pay for their much loved game. All in all, Hidden Path Entertainment is full of win!

Of course there are tons of other games being released, or have just been released recently that I’m also excited about. I mean, we did just get a Walking Dead game, and they announced Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag for then end of this year. All of which is super exciting, and I’m totally looking forward to them all. But since I didn’t want to bore you with tons of game announcements, I stuck to what pretty much sums up as my Top 3. I don’t know about you; but I’ve got some gaming to do!

Until next time,

Caelrona – signing off! ❤

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Movie of the Month: Febuary 2013

By Hmsbeefnuts and Geeky Gem

Wreck-it-ralph_img

Hello and welcome to my choice of February’s Movie of the Month. This month it is the quite simply fantastic looking Wreck It Ralph. A host of Video Game cameos, and what looks like a whole lot of fun. Hopefully I am proved right, I have been looking forward to this film for some time. Check out the trailer below…

Well I have to admit that does look good doesn’t which made my pick even harder. There are some good movies out this month and I have to say I am finding this a hard pick. So I think I going to go with this Zombie movie starring Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer and John Malkovich. I am of course talking about Warm Bodies.

wb

This a movie about a zombie who becomes involved with the girlfriend of one of his victims. It is with this that their romance sets in motion a sequence of events that might transform the entire lifeless world. I have to admit I knew very little about this movie before seeing the trailer bu the second I did I thought I wouldn’t mind watching that so my pick for this month is in fact Warm Bodies. As always here is the trailer for you all to enjoy.

Geeky Gem

Wednesday Whimsy

Wednesday Whimsy

By: Caelrona

 01-16-13WW1

Hiya all! Caelrona here, and I’ve got another Wednesday full of whimsy for you all. I’ve written a bit about video games before, but nothing too big. I did a post about one of my biggest guilty gaming pleasures; Harvest Moon, and I’ve also written a bit about my pretty serious addiction to Minecraft. So today I thought I’d write about my second biggest guilty gaming pleasure; Conker’s Bad Fur Day. This video game is so incredibly vulgar and disgusting, and I love it so much. The first time I played it, I was borrowing it from a friend’s brother who, for some reason unknown, had decided I should play it. I gotta say, I’m pretty dang grateful for that disturbing insight on his part, because I absolutely love this game. Something about a vulgar red squirrel, paired with the horribly designed N64 controller just gets me. While I no longer have the N64 cartridge (because it was borrowed, and they now cost upwards of $60 USD) I still play Conker on emulator on my computer, and I still enjoy it.

01-16-13WW2

Conker’s Bad Fur Day is an action platform game developed by Rare for the N64. It is Rare’s last game for that console, and one of the few N64 games requiring a 64MB cartridge. It is also one of the very few Nintendo games to carry an ESRB rating of ‘M’ for Mature. Conker’s development started like a lot of other Rare titles, however due to critical mockery for making yet another ‘Cutesy platformer’; Conker was retooled into a controversial game with pretty vulgar humor. It features a lot of technical effects that were uncommon at the time, especially for an N64 game, such as dynamic shadowing, lip syncing, colored lighting, no distance fog, large areas with a long draw distance, detailed facial animations, and individually rendered fingers on some characters. Unlike other N64 games, Conker relies heavily on cut scenes, and features a rich soundtrack. Rare also went in a new direction by getting rid of item collecting, which was a prominent feature in other Rare games like Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64; instead utilizing context sensitive buttons to simplify things.

01-16-13WW3

The story follows Conker, an alcoholic red squirrel, who is attempting to return home to his girlfriend Berri after a night of binge drinking at the local tavern with his friends. Meanwhile, the Panther King finds that his throne’s side table is missing a leg and keeps spilling his milk. Unfortunately for Conker, the solution offered by the slightly unstable Professor Von Kriplespac is the use of a red squirrel as the fourth leg. Thus as Conker searches for his way home he finds himself embroiled in a series of increasingly absurd, gross and often dangerous situations, including (but not limited to) fighting a giant opera-singing pile of poo, knocking some big brass balls off a boiler, and helping a King Bee ‘pollinate’ a female sunflower large ‘stamens’; all while avoiding the King’s henchmen. Your life bar consists of 6 squares of anti-gravity chocolate, which can be found all over the world; and if you happen to die then don’t despair. Gregg, the Grim Reaper, will explain how squirrels, like cats, are one of those ‘special cases’ and Conker will get another chance.

01-16-13WW4

After the release of Conker’s Bad Fur Day, Rare began development on another Conker game, referred to as Conker’s Other Bad Day. Sadly, this game was ultimately cancelled; although designer Chris Seavor said that it was to be a direct sequel, dealing with “Conker’s somewhat unsuccessful tenure as King. He spends all the treasury money on beer, parties and hookers. Thrown into prison, Conker is faced with the prospect of execution and the game starts with his escape, ball and chain attached, from the Castle’s highest tower.” When Rare was purchased by Microsoft in 2002, Rare instead developed Conker: Live & Reloaded, a pathetic excuse of a remake of Bad Fur Day, which was released on the Xbox console in 2005. Including updated graphics, updated camera control, an auto-targeting system and a brand new multiplayer mode, Conker:L&R also cut a lot of the fun from the game by replacing almost all of the obscene language with bleeps, changing several scenes and small bits of gameplay (such as the Key scene near the beginning) and in some cases replacing whole voice scripts that sound just terrible. I also read somewhere that a few chapters were cut out of the game, but I can’t find where I read that, or any evidence to back that up. All in all, considering that the game went from family friendly Nintendo to the killing field of Xbox, I was shocked at the censorship applied to Conker, especially since initial reports stated that they were going to be decreasing the censorship and adding content.

01-16-13WW5

So, that brings us to the conclusion of my second biggest guilty gaming pleasure; Conker’s Bad Fur Day. It is vulgar? Hell yes! It is disgusting? Even Conker vomits on occasion, so yeah. Is it fun? Most definitely. If Conker sounds like something you think you would enjoy, then I seriously recommend giving it a try. It is a lot of fun to play, and it will definitely take care of any cravings for nostalgic platformer action. Anyway, I’ve left Conker paused, and I would hate to keep my foul-mouthed squirrely friend waiting any longer!

Until next time,

Caelrona – signing off! ❤

Gaming For Girls Part 5

By Kirkiechick

Hello boys and girls, it is I, Hmsbeefnuts with an introduction for one of our regular contributers here at All Geek To Me, Kirkiechick. Here, she valiantly continues her quest through Arkham City, and looks ahead to ventures new. I’ll be back on Wednesday for some Whimsy, but for now, sit back, relax, as we venture into the exciting world of Gaming for Girls…

I have news everyone! I have managed to complete Batman Arkham City 100% in Story Mode. All be it on Easy, but at least I know how the story “ends”! Don’t worry I will try not to reveal too much now! I left you the last time with trying to get into a weapons store as Catwoman for Poison Ivy. I managed to do this. Then I had a decision to make. Catwoman had heard the radio conversations about the progress of Batman. I had to decide whether to save him or not. I’ll let you find out for yourselves the outcome of either decision 😉

Back to Batman’s storyline, I awoke and was able to continue with the story. I found the next stage was to continue to fight goons and pick up clues as to the manipulation of Arkham City. Eventually a showdown had to take place. I shall just say that the showdown and subsequent conclusion to the story is amazing and knocks the socks off Arkham Asylum. I was so pleased with myself that I had eventually finished the storyline of Arkham City. Since then I have been working on the side missions and collecting the Riddler Trophies and solving the riddles for Batman and as Catwoman. So guys if you haven’t played Arkham City yet, I suggest you do as you are in for a treat!

I have found that some of the Trophies are hard to get. This frustrates me as I keep trying and trying. Hopefully I’ll eventually get them! It is fun to switch between playing as Batman and as Catwoman. The side missions are fun and there are still plenty of goons to dispatch! I have upgraded fully for Batman and Catwoman.

I haven’t been playing on LA Noire or Lost at all, as I have been concentrating on Arkham City. Hopefully I will play more of them now. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into a good gaming session with LA Noire. Happy gaming guys!

Code Breaker: How Online Passes and DLC are Making Playing Games A Pain

By @hmsbeefnuts

This article originally appeared on GameNTrain.com

Two Fridays ago, I went to my local games emporium and picked up SSX on the 360. I hadn’t pre-ordered it, but I know a few guys there and I’m always polite to them, and so they slipped me the pre-order bonuses that they were offering for the game. These amounted to a new character and a whole new mountain to race my snow boarder down. Excellent, it always pays to be polite! I made my way home, I had a few hours before I needed to start work, and thought there were few better ways to kill time than relaxing with some off piste action. Unfortunatley, it was not going to prove so easy to enjoy my game.

I slipped the disc in, the game started, and an update had to download. 20 seconds later, I restarted the game, here we go! Oh. I have to enter a code to download my online pass. OK, here we go, a 25 character code, lets enter that with my pad, that’ll be easy. OK finally ready. Except, I remembered I had the pre-order bonus DLC. Could I be bothered? I decided that if I didn’t do it now I may lose the code sheet. Another two 25 character codes, input with the awkward method of control pad. Finally, after about 10 minutes I was playing the game. I liked it a lot actually. Now I know that 10 minutes isn’t a great deal of time, and that I can hardly complain about getting free stuff, at least it would be churlish in the extreme. However, this DLC and Online pass malarkey has really started to piss me off. Games are supposed to be an enjoyable pass time, to relax and forget the stresses and strains of working and relationships etc. DLC and these codes that gamers are constantly having to input, basically amounts to a few minutes of Data Entry before we can enjoy the game we have spent £40 on. That’s too much like work to be considered fun.

I used to think that DLC was a great idea. It extended the life of many of my favourite games, added new quests, characters or multi-player maps. I was happy to part with the extra cash on the few games that I deemed worth it, and then… DLC went crazy. Every game had DLC, and the DLC seemed to be more and more essential to the game. Almost as if developers were purposefully leaving parts of the full game out, just so they could charge consumers for it, and make extra money. But surely they wouldn’t do that right? Surely they wouldn’t charge you for DLC that was already on the disc. The Disc you bought for £40? Oh. Then we had day one DLC. That means that you bought the game, day one, probably had your free pre-order DLC, and then the developers had released further campaigns or maps etc. on your consoles download store. To get the full experience, you have to pay once, and then pay a little more when you get home. If the DLC is ready day one, it should be on the disc, for free. At least wait an appropriate amount of time before you come begging for more money.

I am quite simply becoming disgusted by this terrible grab for money. Now you might say that Jon, you don’t have to buy any of the DLC, no one is forcing you to buy it. You’d be right, no one is, but that doesn’t make it any more right. DLC done right is still a fine thing. Look at Bethesda games Oblivion and Fallout. Oblivion is an example of the very worst, and very best examples of DLC. Remember the reaction to Horse Armour? £5 for some shitty armour for your horse. However, DLC such as The Shivering Isles and Nights of the Nine expansions, offered a great deal for you 800 odd Microsoft points. Likewise the Fallout games. Each piece of DLC added something solid and worthwhile to the game. Yes it cost you a little more, but I at least thought you got your moneys worth. DLC has to be done correctly. Customers shouldn’t feel like they are getting ripped off. Price is important, but also timing. I can understand giving stores exclusive DLC in order to secure pre-orders, but when these exclusives become too much it all gets a bit ridiculous, see Batman Arkham City. Most stores had different DLC exclusives, it was a tough choice deciding where to pre-order the game.

Online passes are another aspect of gaming that has raised its ugly head recently, but is now firmly ingrained in the culture. I have never understood the reasoning behind the online pass. It goes a little something like this. A consumer buys say, SSX. After a few week, they get bored of it, and trade the game into a store, perhaps in order to afford a new game. Another customer then sees SSX in the store as a used game, picks it up and starts to play. Now companies like EA aren’t happy with this. They use the excuse that networks and servers that enable online play are expensive, and that the extra people who haven’t paid to play on it are driving up costs. The online pass then helps pay for these new players. Buy a new game, play online for free, after entering a code. Buy a game second hand, expect to pay £10 for the privilege of playing online.

All sounds pretty fair? Well it’s absolute bullshit. Only one person is using the game to play online. Firstly, the person who bought it new, they played online, then they sold it. They aren’t still playing it online are they? The person who has bought it second hand, well, they are still just one person, and if they are playing online, that’s still the same amount of people taking up server space, even though that person has changed. The extra people on the server excuse is absolute shit. The online pass is just an excuse for publishers to make money on used sales, which they can not do any other way. Used sales by the way are the main reason that game shops can survive.

In the UK our major game retailer GAME, has been recently rumoured to be closing, after some financial problems, which has resulted in it not stocking some huge games, Mass Effect 3 in particular. Used game sales help keep game retailers afloat. Yes there are undoubtedly problems with trading in your old games, you certainly won’t get a fair price, but they are an essential part of gaming culture for some consumers. Many people use trade ins in order to buy new games. Companies like EA may not get a piece of the action, but in many cases, people who buy used, would probably not buy new. EA are probably not losing a great deal of money this way. However, their draconian methods of trying to control consumers is far more likely to drive people away than secure sales. Look at Ubisofts DRM. We don’t have time to get into that here, but not being able to play your game unless you are connected to the internet is quite simply criminal.

Companies need to understand that making things harder and more expensive for loyal customers, is not the way to keep customers loyal. Punishing people who have paid you money to buy and play your game is counter productive. Is it any wonder that piracy is on the increase? Make things easy for people, and they will buy new, but most importantly buy. Make things hard, and more and more expensive, and people will look elsewhere for their entertainment, and perhaps pirate it. No one makes money from pirated games. Games should be easy and fun in order to play. Codes, online passes and increased DLC, are not aiding this process. They are making it a pain in the ass.

Gaming for Girls: Part 3

By Kirkie Chick 

                Since I last had the pleasure of talking to you lovely people, I have travelled far (well North Wales for the SFX Weekender) and I went to the Cardiff Comic Con but now I am stuck on Arkham City. I was doing so well without hardly any help from a walkthrough. My downfall an electric charge and a giant hook attempting to smash a door in. It took me several attempts to realise that I had succeeded to smash the door. The angle was deceiving but I also bashed a giant grate to get a Riddler Trophy so my swinging the hook aimlessly a few times was not in vain.

I then encountered another problem. A one armed man with a giant hammer, Mr Hammer and goons to fight off. He was a tricky adversary and it took me about three attempts to defeat him. Then I fell into a trap as Joker pretended to be dying, only for Batman to be bashed over the head. I am now playing as Catwoman. Meowh! I have got stuck with her, trying to find her apartment to take some of her equipment. I got into fighting these goons then I couldn’t see where I was meant to be going after defeating them. I died in the fight in the first attempt. Not so good. My boyfriend played on the game and progressed me past the fight and got the equipment out of the apartment. You then meet up with Poison Ivy for a little chat. Then you revert back to playing as Batman. Who has been infected with the Titan virus. Apparently Mr Freeze has the antidote so I set about trying to find him only to discover he had been kidnapped by the Penguin. I think I am enjoying the story better on Arkham City than I did on Asylum. There seems more twists in different directions of the plot going on in Arkham City. I had to spend ages trying to find the coldest point in the City where Mr Freeze would be; the temperature gauge goes up and down as you move around. Then just as you are on the lookout for the Penguin you have to go smash up the signal blockers that are blocking out the signal for you to find him. I found the first two easy. Then the third one I kept flying around the same area and the distance tracker kept going up and down then I realised I had to go under the Subway where I found it. I have now travelled back to the Museum looking for the Penguin. I got surprised by a Dinosaur!

                To take a break from Arkham City I started to play the game version of Lost:  the television show. The game has started off slow. The plane crashed on the island and I am now wandering around trying to find other survivors. From first impressions the game is a mystery one, along the lines of LA Noire (which I will eventually complete!) When I did find a survivor this prompted a memory flashback. I had to take a picture; it was a bit tricky to get the hang of the controls. I am now following a dog to the crash site. I think it may take some time for this game to grow on me. I will keep you posted.

                That is it for now. Hopefully next time I will have played more Arkham City. I am now 6% complete. Plus I will have played more Lost and more LA Noire. Until next time, happy gaming to all!

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