Have you ever experienced “flow”, a state of optimal engagement where you are entirely focused and immersed in what you are doing? Psychologists say that flow can happen in any activity that matches your skills and interests, such as sports, music, art, or work. For me, writing and gaming are two sources of flow. They allow me to express myself creatively and emotionally, challenge myself intellectually and strategically, and escape from reality into different worlds.
One reason why writing gives me flow is because it helps me express myself creatively and emotionally. Writing allows me to explore different genres, styles, and formats of expression, such as poetry, fiction, essays, or blogs. I can experiment with language, imagery, tone, and voice to create unique and original pieces of work. Writing also helps me cope with my feelings and emotions in a healthy and productive way. I can write about my experiences, challenges, and goals in a journal or diary or create fictional characters and stories that reflect my inner world. In essence, I can exorcise my demons unto the page. Similarly, gaming is another source of flow for me because it stimulates my mind and skills.
Gaming is another source of flow for me because it challenges me intellectually and strategically. Gaming involves solving puzzles, making decisions, and applying logic to different scenarios. I enjoy games such as Sudoku, Tetris, and chess, which make me think critically, creatively, and analytically. Gaming also involves developing strategies, skills, and tactics to achieve goals and overcome obstacles. I also like games that challenge me to improve my performance, coordination, and reaction time, such as racing games, shooting games, or sports games. But never as much as a good strategy game or a role-playing game ripe with choices and consequences. In addition to challenging me intellectually and strategically, writing and gaming also help me escape from reality into different worlds.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of writing and gaming is that they allow me to escape from reality into different worlds. Writing enables me to create my own worlds with my own rules, characters, and stories. I can invent fantasy worlds with magic and dragons, sci-fi worlds with aliens and spaceships, or historical worlds with kings and queens. Gaming allows me to explore existing worlds created by other people or by myself, though with age, I’ve grown tired of game editors. I can visit virtual worlds that simulate real places or events, such as New York City, World War II, or ancient Egypt. I can also enter fictional worlds that are based on books, movies, or comics, such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, or Marvel.
In conclusion, writing and gaming are two activities that give me flow because they help me express myself creatively and emotionally, challenge me intellectually and strategically, and allow me to escape from reality into different worlds. Flow is a state of mind that makes me feel happy, fulfilled, and engaged in what I do. Writing and gaming are not just hobbies for me; they are passions that enrich my life.
Are you a gamer? Have you ever played a game that blew you away with its graphics, gameplay, and story? These days, chances are it was either a remake or a remaster of an older game. But what’s the difference between these two terms? And how do you know which one is worth buying? Whether you’re an avid enthusiast or just a casual player, it’s important to be informed when deciding which games are worth your hard-earned money and time. So, join us as we explore the differences between game remakes and remasters – what they involve and why they differ from each other – with this guide to all things gaming related!
What Are Game Remakes and Remasters? A Simple Definition
In the gaming industry, remakes and remasters are two terms you’ve probably heard bandied about quite a bit – but what do they really mean? Well, let us fill you in!
A game remake is:
A fresh re-working of an existing game
A complete overhaul that incorporates new content and updated graphics
A modern version of a classic game rebuilt from scratch
A game remaster is:
An improved port of an existing classic title
A digital facelift that enhances visuals, sound, and performance
A faithful adaptation that preserves the core gameplay and story
Both remakes and remasters offer gamers the opportunity to continue playing their favorite games in modern times by breathing new life into old classics. Graphics aside, though, these versions of older games also often have additional levels or characters that weren’t available in previous releases, providing gamers with the added bonus of enhanced creativity! Although purchasing either one can be pricey at first, gaming aficionados will agree that these titles are wonderful investments for both moral and monetary gain in the future. Put simply: if you’re looking for an immersive experience that easily rivals modern gaming… you can always count on good ol’ remakes or remasters to give you hours upon hours of joyful entertainment!
A History of Game Remakes and Remasters – Exploring Their Origins and Evolution
The games industry has seen a resurgence in recent years of titles from the past being re-released as remakes or remasters. This process of revisiting classic titles began in the 1990s and early 2000s, with titles such as Final Fantasy VII (1997), which was reworked for PC, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android, and Windows; Resident Evil (1996), which was remade for GameCube, Wii, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows; and Metal Gear Solid (1998), which was remastered as Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes for GameCube. However, it was not until the late 2000s and early 2010s that game remakes and remasters became more popular and widespread.
Several factors contributed to this trend. First, the advent of downloadable game services like Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network allowed companies to sell their games at a lower price, making them more accessible and appealing to a broader audience. Second, the advancement of technology enabled developers to create more realistic graphics, sound effects, and gameplay mechanics, enhancing the immersion and enjoyment of gamers. Third, nostalgia played a significant role in attracting both old fans who wanted to relive their childhood memories and new fans who wanted to experience classic games for the first time.
While remakes differ from remasters in many regards, their overall purpose is the same – to bring classic gaming experiences to modern consoles with enhancements that take advantage of more powerful technology. By adding new features and improved graphics, it’s not just nostalgia that brings gamers back to these titles – many also enjoy experiencing them with a more up-to-date graphical style. Since the advent of remakes and remasters, countless franchises have given second (or third) lives on new platforms, bringing unforgettable experiences and beloved characters back to life. In this the case of games like Final Fantasy VII Remake, the experience and story diverts so much from the original that the work put into making this new opus in a well-known franchise is well worth the price.
Visual Enhancements – How Remakes and Remasters Update Game Graphics
In games, visuals play a huge role in how enjoyable or immersive the experience can be. Depending on which console you prefer, a remake and a remaster can offer unique visual enhancements that can make even an old game look amazing. A remake might focus more on changing up the feel of the game with new textures, models and lighting, while a remaster could opt for sharper resolution and improved framerate for near instantaneous feedback. Ultimately, both are designed to tantalize your eyes with eye-catching visuals. Whether it’s an HD remaster or a complete facelift done by a remake, these updates can do wonders in making an aged game experience something brand new again. Some of the most notable examples of game remakes and remasters that have enhanced game graphics include Shadow of the Colossus (2018), which was rebuilt from scratch with stunning visuals; The Last of Us Remastered (2014), which increased the resolution to 1080p and boosted the framerate to 60fps; and Halo: The Master Chief Collection (2014), which updated all four Halo games with improved textures, lighting, models, and effects. And, of course, as you all well know, Final Fantasy VII Remake presents the game as we imagined it in our heads back in the day. The stark difference between the original and the remake is astounding. But how exactly do remakes and remasters improve game graphics? And what are the benefits and drawbacks of each approach?
To be more precise, remakes usually involve recreating the game from scratch using a new engine or platform, which allows for more freedom and creativity in changing the game’s appearance. They can add new features such as ray tracing, dynamic lighting, or realistic physics that can make the game look more lifelike. However, remakes also require more time, money, and resources than remasters, and they may lose some of the original charm or style of the game. Remasters typically involve enhancing the existing game by increasing its resolution, framerate, texture quality, or color depth. Remasters can make the game look sharper, smoother, or more vibrant without altering its core gameplay or design. However, remasters may not be able to fix some of the underlying issues or limitations of the original game, such as bugs, glitches, or outdated mechanics. You often end up with the same issues you may have had in past game iterations. One more recent example is Like a Dragon: Ishin!, remade in Unreal Engine 4. While the graphics certainly improved and a lot of other aspects also, any issues a player may have had with the gameplay, such as the combat system initially created in 2014, will still have them because these aspects have not changed. It is very much the same game with a fresh coat of paint.
Audio Improvements – How Remakes and Remasters Make Old Games Sound New
When it comes to remakes and remasters of popular video games, one of the most exciting advancements is the audio improvements made to enhance the quality of in-game music and sounds. The sound effects and background music are very important in creating a particular atmosphere during gameplay, so using new technology in remakes and remasters allows game developers to make these enhancements in ways that weren’t possible before. Remastering can also allow gamers to experience the original game with enhanced audio quality – for example, making older games compatible with modern sound systems or Dolby Atmos surround sound technology. It’s incredible how dramatic a difference freshly updated music, and sound effects can have on an old favorite. Some of the most notable examples include Final Fantasy VII Remake (2020), which features a dynamic soundtrack that adapts to the gameplay and environment; Resident Evil 2 (2019), which uses binaural audio to create a more immersive and terrifying atmosphere; and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (2019), which updates the original Game Boy music with orchestral arrangements. But how exactly do remakes and remasters improve game audio? And what are the benefits and drawbacks of each approach?
Remakes usually involve re-recording or re-composing the game’s music and sound effects using new technology or instruments, which allows for more variety and quality in the game’s audio. Remakes can add new features such as voice acting, surround sound, or adaptive music, making the game sound more realistic or expressive. However, remakes also require more time, money, and resources than remasters, and they may lose some of the original charm or style of the game. Remasters enhance the existing game’s audio by increasing its bitrate, volume, clarity, or balance. They can make the game sound sharper, louder, clearer, or more balanced without altering its core gameplay or design. However, remasters may be unable to fix some of the underlying issues or limitations of the original game, such as poor voice acting, repetitive music, or low-quality sound effects.
Online Connectivity – How Remasters Enhance Networked Play
Online connectivity has revolutionized gaming in recent years. Through online networks and platforms, players can compete or cooperate with each other in various games. But how does online connectivity affect remakes and remasters? Networked play has undoubtedly had a positive impact on the way these titles are experienced. Remasters typically include upgrades that allow for an expanded online gameplay experience. This can range from more difficult mission-based scenarios to additional maps and features like cross-play between multiple platforms. For example, the recent remake of The Last of Us allowed fans to interact with the game’s large following via its detailed Multiplayer mode. On the other hand, it’s unlikely that games made purely in the spirit of being remade (such as Crash Squad N-Sane Trilogy) will include any significant changes when it comes to online connectivity – as they usually aim to remain faithful to the original’s concept and mechanics. While remakes usually don’t change much regarding online features, remasters often include upgrades that improve the online gameplay experience.
Some of the most notable examples of remasters that have enhanced online features include Halo: The Master Chief Collection (2014), which combines six Halo games into one package with cross-play and cross-progression support; Dark Souls Remastered (2018), which increases the multiplayer limit from four to six players and adds dedicated servers; and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 (2020), which adds online multiplayer modes such as Trick Attack, Graffiti, Horse, and Combo Mambo.
Expanded Content – How Remakes and Remasters Add More Fun and Variety to Games
Gamers always seek something new; a remake or remaster can offer that. Whether it’s brand new characters, levels, weapons and game modes or existing content enhanced to incorporate more detailed graphics and smoother gameplay, there is always something interesting to explore in a remake or remaster. From ultra-realistic first person shooter campaigns with multiple endings to expansive open-world role-playing games that keep the player engaged for dozens of hours, the opportunities for discovery are seemingly limitless. When you decide to invest in a remake or remaster, the possibilities are truly at your fingertips. Some of the most notable examples of remakes and remasters that have expanded content include Resident Evil 2 (2019), which adds new scenarios, modes, weapons, and costumes for the main characters; Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (2017), which introduces a new job system, a fast-forward feature, a trial mode, and improved graphics; and Super Mario 3D All-Stars (2020), which collects three classic Mario games with higher resolutions, smoother frame rates, and updated controls. But why do remakes and remasters add more content to games? And what are the benefits and drawbacks of doing so?
Remakes and remasters add more content to games for various reasons. Some may want to appeal to new audiences by adding popular or expected features in modern games. Some may want to reward loyal fans by adding cut or missing content from the original game. Some may want to extend the game’s lifespan by adding content encouraging replayability or exploration. However, adding more content to games also has some challenges. Some may face technical difficulties or compatibility issues when adding new content to old games. Some may face criticism or backlash from fans who prefer the original game’s vision or design. Some may face legal or licensing issues when adding new content that involves third-party properties or rights.
From classic platformers to first-person shooters, game remakes and remasters have been a part of every genre. By revisiting our favorite releases from days gone by, we can experience them in ways we weren’t before. With visual and audio enhancements, online connectivity options, and expanded content, these versions of classics can keep us hooked for hours. They also bring back our old favorites with renewed life. What are some of your favorite game remakes and remasters? Let us know in the comments below. And if you’re looking for more gaming content, don’t forget to subscribe to our blog and follow us on social media.
If there has been one genre that has captivated gaming audiences more than any other in the last decade, it is the RPG genre. We have seen some of the most genuinely staggering adventures delivered to our screens by very talented western developers. Each presents unique quirks, art styles, mechanics and narratives that make them stand out within a very saturated field. That’s right, there are hundreds of AA and AAA RPG titles made every year, but only a handful get their time in the spotlight.
Not every game can be a Breath of the Wild, an Elder Scrolls or The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. However, there is a particular formula that makes a successful RPG game. While that may not be too clear from the outside looking in, we aim to delve deep into the phenomenon and find out what makes these games so popular. So, without further delay, here is our guide as to what makes an excellent western RPG.
#1 – An Expansive, Detailed World
First and foremost, you need a setting that is conducive to the RPG title. This means you need a unique environment rich in lore, visually appealing, full of exciting characters, fauna, wildlife, different cultures, biomes, and groups that underline the world’s population’s most essential morals and beliefs. It’s about making the world feel like a complete escape from our own yet giving it enough similarities that we can still find relativity with our real-world ideas and opinions.
Take Fallout New Vegas as an example, a post-Apocalyptic world full of mutants and ghouls. Yet, at its core, this is a world that has left and right-wing political parties fighting for control of the state of Nevada, much like modern-day America. So, in short, make the fantasy detailed, unique, and relatable.
#2 – Emergent Gameplay
The second point relates to emergent gameplay, which for those unaware, means gameplay that will differ from player to player. If you are playing a role-playing game, you crave those moments that you can clip and share with your friends. An odd glitch, a moment that defies physics, an NPC mishap. Anything that makes the experience different from other players. Arguably, western RPGs do this better than any other genre. Their enormous scope allows for many different approaches, enables players to make different decisions and ultimately, has them live with the consequences of their decision. Without this, it’s a rather hollow experience, so a good western RPG needs alternative choices and consequences.
#3 – The Freedom to Role Play
Another aspect of a good western RPG is the ability to play your own way. You can play the main story, prioritize side quests, simply wander aimlessly, or you could sack off the whole potentially world-ending plot and become a chicken farmer. No matter what the player’s desire is, the game must allow for this eventuality.
Compare Fallout 4 and Red Dead Redemption II, for example. While it is hailed as one of the best RPGS of its time, this is a shortcoming. Almost every quest has one set method for completion and in terms of the time in-between. Aside from building your settlement, there are few grounds for role-playing. Whereas in RDR2, you can approach the quests in some ways, you get graded on your approach and in the lulls in between, you can hunt, fish, upgrade your camp, rob, steal and generally cause chaos. In short, RPGs need to allow for roleplay, plain and simple.
#4 – A Strong Progression System
One of the critical components to a western RPG that keeps players engaged long-term is a cohesive leveling and progression system. This system needs to help you build the character you want, give you new skills that allow you to manipulate the in-game world with ease, open up new areas and mechanical possibilities to the player. Plus, all this info needs to weave together seamlessly and inform the player very clearly. So, the UI needs to be on point.
One of the best examples of excellent progression systems would be Disco Elysium. It allows you to gradually build your character’s personality and uncover a mystery as you progress. Or on the flip side, games like Horizon Zero Dawn and the Middle Earth series do a great job of offering more mechanical options to the player, giving them a heightened sense of power.
#5 – Varied Gameplay Mechanics
Then to ride on the coattails of the last point, the mechanics and gameplay within these titles need to be varied, ever progressing and most importantly, fun. This means that players should be constantly given new quests, game modes, combat skills, weapons, loot, vehicles, be continuously challenged with new enemies and bosses. Plus, the game should be balanced so that one play style isn’t inherently better than another. We are looking at you, Skyrim, with your indulgence for stealth archers.
One of the best examples of constantly progressing game mechanics that keep the game feeling fresh is Stardew Valley. This relaxing and straightforward RPG (though neither a western RPG nor a JRPG) utilizes simple farming game mechanics. However, as the game progresses, even up to three or four years into your campaign, new mechanics and content are hurled your way. Showcasing that even with limited scope, you can still provide gameplay that evolves as you play.
So that is our breakdown of what makes a western RPG successful. What do you make of our list? Do you think that we left out any key components? What is your favorite western RPG of all time? Let us know in the comments section below and as always, thank you for reading.
Nostalgia is one of the biggest trends in the modern video gaming world. You only need to look as far as a release schedule to see sequels of games that have been running for years on end, and even games that have been re-imagined and reintroduced into the realms of gaming.
Nintendo is a company that beats the nostalgia drum quite heavily and with repeated fashion. Look at their top games line-up and you’ll see the likes of Mario and Zelda rearing their heads to cast their gaze over you and your wallet.
Nintendo has gotten it right for the most part. While a large portion of their games may come from the same universe, not many of them are absolute carbon copy or re-imaginations of older titles. Quite a few of them can stand on their own as solid examples of video games.
The Psychology of Nostalgia
Behind the nostalgia that you may feel while gaming is a rather sound psychological principle. It’s a mix of both positive and negative emotions that arise when thinking back to meaningful events. Media content is a trigger for nostalgia that can help people feel better about themselves and get rid of that solitary feeling.
Nostalgia can promote mental health and well-being. This especially true when teaming up with the same characters from before. These relationships, while social and complex, allow players to see these characters as extensions of themselves or members of their social circle.
Defining Nostalgia in Gaming
It’s a difficult task to look at nostalgic gaming because there’s no real answer as to how the games make people feel or indeed, what guides them towards these games. But you don’t need to look into too much depth to see why the games are defined as such.
The Final Fantasy series is one of the biggest inclusions, despite the games having advanced in terms of both graphics and gameplay. The newer games don’t feel much like the older ones at all. The stories have very little to do with each other (save for the remakes), but there is usually a common thread that lies within the games. The developers throw continuity out of the window in favor of the title to generate the feelings of nostalgia and sell games.
So, while you have to sort through the feelings that are generated by such titles, there are some new games that came out recently that spark the feelings of nostalgia, but still, in their own rights, are amazing games. Titles such as Cuphead and Undertale are two that strike an immediate spark. Both of the games have been designed to, either purposefully or accidentally, spark the feeling.
The truest form of nostalgia in every sense of the word is bringing back the games of old. Looking back through consoles like the SNES and even the Sega Mega Drive, we saw a bunch of games that defined the industry as a whole. Where would games be without the influences of characters like Sonic and Link? How would games be different today if it weren’t for the button mashing of the first fighting games, or chopping down multiple enemies in Golden Axe?
Looking back to the late 1970s, Oregon Trail is a game that few played, but many know about because of its meme power. The game was supposed to be a form of edutainment, teaching people about the settlers across the old west. It was able to teach you that every decision you make is probably the wrong one and will kill you without any fear of hurting your feelings. You’ll die of dysentery multiple times, and it’s as simple as that.
Going back to play the game now is a waste of time for most gamers. The game looks terrible is awkward to play. Its soundtrack is pretty shocking, to say the least and it has almost no replay-ability for the sake of being boring and repetitive.
Something like Ultima 7 was a game of true nostalgia. Had you sunk many hours into it when it was first launched, you’d understand everything about Britannia. The music as you entered Lord British’s castle, the way you and your companion Iolo had discussions over ale in the tavern, and even feeling sad for Spark, after seeing his father’s gruesome death. The game conjured up emotions, told weaved tales, had amazing music and was a genre-defining game that pushed the limits of technology at the time.
Opening the game now is a little different. It may be that technology plays a big part in why games cannot be felt the same way anymore. Games seem dated, clunky and obtuse. With gamers playing on huge monitors, and the type of gameplay and graphics we’re now accustomed too, those games of old can only do what they can to conjure up images of fun and joy from your youth.
Nostalgia isn’t always a saving grace though, as Duke Nukem Forever proved. Trying to relive the glory days in the world of first-person shooting, Duke Nukem Forever failed in every single avenue possible and was a mere shadow of the success of what Duke Nukem 3D was… Or was it?
Do we remember those games so fondly because they were that good or just because there were so few to choose from? Looking back at some of the more popular games that were available, they did seem to be rather difficult by comparison. Games wouldn’t last a mere 4-6 hours of gameplay. People would put months into games from the Mega Man series, constantly trying to best their enemies. Even games as new as Baldur’s Gate would boast upwards of 40 hours of gameplay.
The nostalgia of the gaming industry may be less about how good were the games we played, but more about the time spent in a world of fiction, enjoying the experience that lay out before us.
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It’s not so much about the story but the presentation of it. Similarly, the level of involvement makes for a more immersive experience. Naturally, a player *can* choose a more casual play approach, but, I do not recommend it.
Apart from Omikron: The Nomad Soul (which encompassed many different sub-genres), Quantic Dreams affairs much like the point and clicks of yore, are often backed by story and a certain cinematic pizazz to it all. A common moniker for such experiences: “interactive movie”. More recently, Telltale had had great success with their Walking Dead series, especially given that they had been multiplatform. As of late, Quantic Dream has focused more on console exclusivity for their IP. Very few of their games came out on PC and even so only in the very recent year with some announced upcoming on the Epic Games Store. One of the very first games I played from this developer was, of course, Omikron, but the one I liked the most and actually finished back then was Fahrenheit, more than a decade ago. Americans will know it as “Indigo Prophecy”, a name which I didn’t quite like but that is just one opinion…
Nevertheless, watching a movie is one thing, participating is another. There is a level of emotional engagement involved in choosing words, actions, reactions of a character and changing the story. Netflix tried to incorporate this in their movie “Bandersnatch”. Although it made less noise than I expected, I believe it was a first success nonetheless. There is an amazing amount of work gone into such stories. How often have you watched a movie and groaned at a specific character’s choice and wished you could just tell the idiot to “look out!” or do something else? Netflix has created a precedent in the movie industry. Even in gaming, not many apart from and David Cage’s Quantic Dream dare tackle this beast.
Imagine: for a specific scene you need to shoot as perfectly as possible a specific course of actions and consequences, action and reaction from multiple characters. Then, you have to go back and *reshoot* for alternatives. The handy flowchart in Detroit easily illustrates what his entails for one episode. Every node has to be mapped out, breaching out to different outcomes and each means extra work for the actors, the film crew, the writers, the graphic artists etc. When you sit and think about it, it is grueling and difficult work. It gives a whole different perspective on the 40 and so dollars I paid for it. Quantic Dream did not twiddle their thumbs and just “land” the game on our laps.
Detroit: Become Human is not entirely grounding breaking in its narrative. It takes concepts, which were the core of “I, Robot” by Asimov and puts a certain modern or “realist” spin on it. XXX, the undertones of slavery and the parallels to the segregation of the black population/ the apartheid are vibrantly evident. To go farther into this, I would recommend actually playing through in a less casual way. At the same time, there is the surprising fact that in many cases, which I shall not disclose, playing a character to the best of their persona will not be what you, as a player, desire. Needs and goals can clash. Going fully into “X” person’s character and M.O. may be detrimental to another. I should have expected this but I did not. It felt so much like playing a movie that I forgot characters you play can die if your choices, with them or with others, lead there. At the same time, I found out though that not all NPC deaths are immutable. It is not impossible to find ways to “save” them or keep them alive for as long as can be. Hint: always check the flowchart to guess what could be feasible.
All in all, Detroit: Become Human is an enjoyable experience for lovers of story-heavy games and choose-your-own-adventure books. Much of the important moments of the narrative are based upon the given characters own agency. Nevertheless, you as the player shape that agency to some extent, as well as other characters’ opinion of them. This simple fact makes the story last longer in my own mind. This is especially true given the parallels I can draw to the android plight as a person of color whose race has gone through what they are going.
Note: There is a Quantic Dream Collection out since the release of Detroit which includes also Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. It is a good deal for those who have never played any of those games before. Quantic Dream Collection – PlayStation 4
The release of Resident Evil 2 back in the day was a landmark moment for many gamers of my generation. Back then, lines weren’t quite so drawn between who gamed X or Y platform. We each had diverse consoles, Sega was still in the race with the greatly underrated Dreamcast released the same year. It was all a big melting pot of sharing games and consoles. Like many of my peers at the time, I only owned one console but bought many games for all the home devices on the market. We’d share around both our games and devices, to the enjoyment of all. Even playing single player games like Resident Evil 1 was a community effort where we all sat down and played. It was a great support system especially after experiences the jump scares, alone, at night. You just wish you had your buds next to you for support.
Incidentally, I remember my troubles during the PS1 era. I was adequately a big N follower (I still am but as maniacally). I did not have a Sony console and would not have one until the end of the PS2’s life cycle, during the peak of the PS3. Playing games such as RE mean leaving the borrowed console powered on and restarting entire levels after death because I did not have a memory card. This was resolved soon enough and I made it a point thereafter to always obtain every means of saving games possible for whatever console came out. I did not have the devices but you can bet I had their cards somehow. All of which was defeated once consoles started shipping with internal hard drives.
RE2 was difficult back then, like many games of the time. It was more than a question of the clunky controls (yes, we all remember the characters were actually two-legged panzers…), but the sheer level of unforgivingly slim margin for error. Furthermore, it was quite scary in a way we did not expect. It wasn’t the first “horror” game I played. But it was the first one on consoles for me, and it went to lengths I did not expect for a home medium which is usually rather colorful. I would expect this on most of my PC games but not here. Side note: I was for a very long time 80% PC gamer with 20% left for exclusives on consoles that may interest me.
Resident Evil 2 in 2019 is all of that…..times 10.
I am glad to see that most reviews also agree with this and it is not unexpected. Technology in the past gave us the best version of RE2 that it could. Technology in 2019 just gave us the means to play the RE2 that we, gamers, deserve. It’s a great start for those who never played the classic version. But, in my opinion, those who grew up with RE, like me, will enjoy this the most. This is not a review, it is an opinion and a bit of advice to go play it.
Now, excuse me while I go pray to the universe that someone does Silent Hill 2 at least half as good a service by remaking it to THIS stellar quality.
About now some of you interested in gaming have heard about “Starlink: Battle for Atlas”. Given the price point of entry, a lot of regular gamers will want to try it out in digital or physical versions just for the sake its genre mash-up. As put by a few YouTubers, quite rapidly after release, this game should have been called Starfox’s No Man’s Skylanders. Obviously from the name, one can easily deduce what trifecta? it seems to heavily inspire on.
Ubisoft may have stricken gold with this in all forms. There is most prominently the physicality of the regular (non-digital) versions of the game. All console base versions come with a physical ship and a pilot, except for the Nintendo Switch version which comes with Starfox as a pilot along with his trusted Airwing ship and another pilot from the game’s story. This is all well known at this time and been covered by games media. Consequently, for those who rather dislike digital versions of games, they will necessarily try out the toys even if they never were quite fans of such things. Heck, some people may discover they like actually having a physical ship on their controller to maneuver the ship on screen. And let’s not forget the compulsive collectors… As a result, a percentage of buyers will end up purchasing an upgraded weapon or extra ship/pilot pack and what will this add up to? Bundles of cash for Ubisoft!
By now, from reviews and videos, a lot has been said concerning the gameplay etc. As a reminder, whatever version of the software you opt to buy, this is and remains the most Starfox game ever, even for those who do not have the Switch version ; it is also the No Man’s Sky we were promised on day one as well as a great Skylanders type of game (toys to life). Which explains the long moniker used to create the new title lol. Controls are satisfying for me, although it can take a while to remember Starfox strategies from my old days, they are important in order to easily survive.
I have to point out, if it weren’t obvious to some, how Ubisoft is doing an amazing support of the Big N of late. They even have the very latest Assassin’s Creed on the Switch, albeit in streaming version only. Sure, it’s only in Japan for now, but even if it never makes it to the West, the fact that it was *done* anywhere at all is amazing. We already saw during the 1st year of the Switch how surprisingly good Kingdom Battle was. It was a true Rabbids game (those guys are nuts!) and a true Nintendo game with an Xcom framework. One does begin to see the mash-up trend does one not?
Ubisoft showed well how certain games can translate “well” to the platform and how AAA Third Party games don’t need to be just ports of past iterations. And now, with this new IP, they have made a multiplatform game where the best version in terms of content(both digital AND physical) happens to be on the Nintendo Switch.
The other versions are great in terms of technical performance since they are on much stronger platforms. Nevertheless, having both a PS4 and a Switch, it was a no-brainer for me as to which version of Starlink would be worth my money. Starfox means something to me. It was the very first game I possessed on the N64 and one of those out of which I got the most enjoyment with my friends (split-screen battles!). With all the extra dedicated story content, seeing the characters in a space exploration action-adventure is awesome. Without them, without the related exclusive content, Starlink still feels like an open-galaxy (see the wordplay there?) Starfox without humanoid animals.
Ubisoft is on a roll with the Switch. I actually feel like trying the newest Assassin’s Creed although I had sworn them off after AC: Unity. There is hope that the company has taken a form I can like again. Needless to say, Starlink BfA is one game I highly recommend to at least try. I have completed so far the entire main story as well as the Starfox content. There is still much to do such as completely scanning the fauna and flora, getting rid of Outlaw bases (I annihilated the dreadnoughts as soon as I could though). It’s just too bad there doesn’t seem to be a demo available. It would be so much more beneficial to the publisher in my opinion. At least half those who would’ve experienced the demo would surely buy it( by the way, it’s almost half off the price at the moment at most retailers).
Books 17 and 19 of Boss Fight Books series happen to be from two different seasons. Book 17: Katamari Damacy is the final book of season 3 while Book 19: Shovel Knight is the second book of Season 4. Having read all the books released thus far, it’s quite striking to notice the difference in feel among them. Season 4 of BFB is dubbed “Creator Access Edition”. As the name suggests it focuses most on the different studios and people involved in the creation of the chosen focus of the books. In contrast, many of the past books in this series were so much more about describing the games themselves in their intimate entirety in regards to narrative, but also the relationship of the author to said games. I should point out then that one of the books which most related to the author was Spelunky, Book 11, written by Derek Yu….the games creator!
As a backer of the season 4 of Boss Fight Books on Kickstarter, I am entitled to the entirety of the series up to the current season. Nevertheless, I received advance copies of both books for the purpose of this review. A big thanks to BFB and Gabe Durham for this opportunity! On with the books…
Katamari Damacy is one those strange quirky games that your best friends may frown upon when they see you playing it, but secretly itching to get their hands on the controller. In my mind, I have difficulty dissociating it from Patapon which elicited similar reactions from my peers whenever I was found enjoying it. As the author points out in this books, this is a work leaning most on great gameplay, novelty and fun. It is a work of art in that it can be interpreted in depth despite its simplicity, it presents not the shallowness often coupled to the superficial fluff of improved graphics at the time. To this day I do not really always care about how pretty a game can be; a lot of people are rediscovering this fact in themselves, the critical acclaim and the sales of Octopath Traveler attest to that.
As the final book of Season 3, Katamari Damacy takes an approach more similar to the books of Season 4. It focused a lot on the creator’s journey up to and beyond the release of the game. I felt a great parallel between it and Shovel Knight which releases with it in a few days. The author did a solid overview of certain culture particularities related to the Japanese which quite frankly would have gone way over our western heads had he not written about them. Those part are some of the most interesting, more creators should, with their cultures, be this unapologetic about their unique aspects.
This book takes a very investigative approach to its subject. It is very more in line with my thoughts on what creator access should be, and very special in that it is as much the story of WayForward (WF) as a company as it is about the IP itself. Many publishers have had their story told and retold in a way that we could actually recite them verbatim. Examples of this are Id Software, Nintendo, Square-Enix. The story of WF relates as they represent in a way the dreams of many of us gamers who dreamt of being creators, and at the same time, they have lived through some of the hard times that we can easily imagine happens when one takes the route of independent development. It is not difficult to understand that many such teams of developers never survived beyond a game or two. Following their journey towards themselves as a group of friends and colleagues become something bigger, then towards their dream which culminated in one awesome modern NES game, was a blast. Theirs was a true journey, with many downs but their ups reached some interesting peaks to balance everything out. I would not mean to spoil anything from the narrative, nevertheless, I must that it was amazingly serendipitous that so many of their favourite creators from the golden era of the NES/SNES could meet with them, even collaborate in Shovel Knight!
Both of these books achieve their goal and the research/interviews were well done for me. Naturally, I do find myself partial to any story of an indie studio, whether of success or failure. If Katamari Damacy had focused more on the big publisher (Namco) instead of the true creator hidden behind this corporate juggernaut, I would not have like it as much. I enjoyed both books, and I recommend both, especially Shovel Knight simply for the fascinating tale of Wayforward Studios. Both Boss Fight Books come out in a couple of days. They can be easily found on Amazon: Katamari Damacy (Boss Fight Books Book 17) and Shovel Knight (Boss Fight Books) or at Boss Fight Books.
“I’ve played Xmen legends during the past two months. Eventually, I finished it. Last week I started on Xmen legends II. Today I’ve already gotten to the final act, did the game get easier from the first to the second opus? Or am I just playing far too much? Or both?
And here is a subject all on its own: med student, last year, how will I play once I start internship? Who will be crazy enough to take the chance and start a family with a madman of gaming such as I? And the questions could go on and on. Oh well, I’ll never change and mostly because I don’t want to. End of discussion. I do hope to have heirs to carry my love of games. Maktoub”
Today’s one-word prompt gave me the idea to find some of my old writings, share them for those who’ve never seen them and Elaborate some ideas within, answer some questions I had left hanging.
X-men Legends was a good game, in my opinion. Fortunately I had written this little bit about it, otherwise, I would certainly not have even remembered it existed on my own. We have all seen many movies, read quite a few books and maybe even played hundreds of games (video, board, card, etc.). But those that really mark us we cannot really forget, for whatever reason that may be. If I would name one of each that marked me:
Book: Summer of Night, it’s an oldish one, I read it very young, my first of the Horror genre and it scared me immensely. I read it again about a year ago, I still like the book and I can absolutely see how it could have impacted me the way it did. I was in a school with a building as old as time, reminding me too much of the school the kids go to in the novel
Board game: Monopoly Classic Game. A silly but simple reason why. I was young, shopping for something new on Christmas, and the store owner’s daughter was or seemed rather “hot”. In retrospect, I cannot remember what feature qualified her as such to my young eyes, nevertheless, whenever I think of Christmas, I remember Monopoly and I remember her (Isabelle, gleaned from eavesdropping while looking around the shop).
Card game: Magic The Gathering. This was the first one I ever saw, tried and played. Back then, I felt that simply getting a hang of the rules was Magic in itself!
Video game: Final Fantasy VI. The original North American version, erroneously dubbed Final Fantasy 3 (while in truth it was the 6th game in the series), is the one that I borrowed from a friend one day on the schoolyard. I had little idea of what was in store, but I liked the name. It reminded me that ultra hard NES game I had once tried at another friend’s house. It became my favorite game for a very long time. As many can remember, the story was epic in its main path, but the side activities and the hidden quests related to each character truly open up the story. Both the lore and character development shine with personality, uniqueness. To this day, I still load up at least once a week some track from the Distant Worlds orchestral interpretations. My favorite music from FF6 is the Opera di Maria that the game’s character Celes Chere played in (as Maria) 🙂
Movie: if there is one movie that I could name despite having seen it so long ago, it’s Goonies! I rewatched just once about a decade or so ago and I was blown by how well I remembered e-ve-ry single scene as if I’d seen it just the day before. Yes, it’s rather old for some of you, it remains a timeless classic for me which can almost be said for the majority of Spielberg movies…
As for the last question….well, I’ve learned to tone down the intensity of the gaming somewhat. Or rather, I watered it down. By inserting short bursts of play in down times, whenever the significant other is busy, kid sleeping or busy, lunch breaks etc. I managed to still game (I’ve logged almost 200 hrs into Xenoblade Chronicles 2 this year!) while seeming not to. If everyone gets their quality time, who can complain really? As a consequence, it’s been almost 2 months since I last turned the PS4 on. My time has been mostly spent on portable gaming (3DS and the epically awesome Switch, my Vita disappeared more than a year ago….stolen? Unknown). There’s always a way to balance everything to some measure. It can just take patience to find it…