Monday, 22 August 2016

ATSOS - 116234.9

I'd given up hope of hearing from Doug again. It had been says. But I kept the radio on as quiet as I could in my room. Just as I was falling asleep last night, I heard him. It's been a long night transcribing. I hope I've got it all down right.

[Message]

Pilot log, 6234.9. One journey is complete. But as per usual, it has only given me more questions. The Atlas was not the answer to everything but merely a small part in a much bigger puzzle. I finally collected the ten Atlas stones, the various Atlas stations had given me along my way across the galaxy. And then an eleventh Atlas station. There in the middle was the familiar red orb. I presented the stones to it, intuitively knowing what to do. And as I gave the stone, I knew what was about to happen. Because it had happened to me. The reason I can't remember my past, is because I don't have one.

As the Atlas took the stones, a star was born in the outer reaches of the galaxy. Planets formed in an instant and on one of those planets, so far away, so alone... A traveler awoke. This is the way I came in existence. Someone who came before me followed the exact same path that I found myself on. Collected Atlas stones and created me. This is how this synthetic galaxy continues it's circular existence.

I feel even more at a loss that ever before. I am not a person but merely a thing. I thought I'd found my purpose in the Atlas but in the end I was simply being manipulated into following a path I was designed to follow. That is why the three sentient races of the galaxy prophecy about the travelers. Not because of some religious portent, but because we've always been here, fulfilling out part in the creators plan.

The Atlas offered me answers, it asked me to bring it's message to the galaxy. Was it lying? Or has it deviated from it's original path only to be forced to revert to it at the very end?

So many question. Just swimming around my hear. I can't concentrate.

The Atlas gave me one final gift. Coordinates. To what I didn't know, but the system was close. I'd followed up til now... I had not other options. I tapped them into my navi-computer and jumped. Oh wondrous galaxy. How does it keep surprising me. At the centre of the system was a black hole. The first one I'd seen in all my travels. The system was busy. A lot of traffic. Capital ships and cargo ships warping in and out. The black hole didn't seem to bother them, in fact it seemed to draw more business to the system. Although I'd never seen one, I knew this one was small for a black hole. How do I know all these things? Who's knowledge is in my head?

I spent some time exploring the system, putting off what I knew I had to do. In the end there was nothing else for it. I flew towards the black hole. All my knowledge told me I should be crushed or stuck for all eternity in some paradoxical time anomaly at the event horizon. But I knew deep down that, that would not be the case. I'm not suicidal.

My ship and I flew for what seemed like forever. Finally we were spat out of the wormhole. I check my navigational equipment. I'd traveled over one thousand light years towards the centre of the galaxy. So that is my new destination? That was my original goal before the Atlas. And now the Atlas wants me to go there. Unless I want to wander aimlessly for the rest of whatever life I have, what else is there to do?

Then a familiar sight. I'd not realized until that moment that I hadn't seen them for some time. Nada and Polo's sphere. I docked. Polo seemed glad to see me and I him to be honest, despite my distrust of the Gek. He shared some information with me as per usual, this time his focus was financial matters. Par for the course for a Gek I suppose. Nada spurned me. I'd followed the path of the Atlas. The path that he'd broken away from. He seems to still want to help me however, despite his disappointment in me. A disappointment I share to be honest. He pointed at a screen in front of him. The coordinates to another black hole.

So that is where I am now. I'm trying to prepare the best I can for the journey ahead. The journey so far has felt long, but it's nothing in comparison to what comes next. Even with black holes moving me forward a thousand light years at a time, there is still nearly two hundred thousand light years to the centre. I've upgraded my warm reactor as best as I can. It'll allow me to jump that little bit further between systems as I search for black holes. It's already taken me to some incredibly exotic planets. More wonders. The galaxy never stops amazing me.

[End Of Message]

Doug sounded sad but seems to have a new sense of purpose. I can't get my head around the idea of an artificial galaxy, created by some unknown people. It all just sounds so bonkers. But he seems to believe every word he says. He's got a long way to go. I hope he keeps broadcasting. I want to be there with him, every step of his amazing journey.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

ATSOS - 116228.8

Doug has been very quiet over the last few days. I've left the radio on in the background as much as I could, rushing to it if I heard any strange noise. But there was nothing. Then last night at the usual time, I finally heard him. His familiar voice, beginning his message in the usual way, but somehow different...

[Message}

Pilot log, stardate 6228.8. Where to begin? I have left behind the slow and methodical approach of a scientist, scanning and cataloguing meticulously. I've even lost a lot of my wanderlust for what for me an entirely new galaxy. I could have kept all those thing. I could have kept my innocence. But curiosity it seems has prevailed.

I went in search of answers to who I was. What was my purpose? But instead I found new questions. Bigger questions. What is this galaxy? Who created it? Who destroyed it? Why has the truth been buried? 

[Strange Noise]

A strange noise then interrupted the message. It sounded man made and digital, like code. It also sounded really familiar. Then I realized that it sounded like the old dial up modems, sending and receiving data as it connected to the internet. At the time, I thought nothing more about it, as after a short while the noise stopped and Doug's message continued. The digital code popped up a few times throughout the transmission and after, I wondered what it was. I hadn't heard this in Doug's messages before. If it was data, maybe I could open it? As the messages are on loop and repeat a few times, I hooked up an mp3 recorder to the CB radio with a jack converter and recorded a loop of the message.

I scoured the internet for some free software and found an audio-visual converter that some M.I.T. student had uploaded to his site. I played the recording through the software and bingo. There it was. I couldn't believe my eyes. Despite hearing Doug's stories over the past few days, I definitely was still a bit dubious about how real all this was. Now in front of me, on my computer screen were images from other worlds, from another galaxy!

I've added the pictures where appropriate from the transmission.

[Message Continues]


Written in Vy'Keen and Korvax texts, embedded in ancient and abandoned shrines, across every star system I visit is the history of this galaxy. Euclid. It seems this galaxy was created! And I don't mean in a religious way, but I don't exactly understand what I do mean... It was created. And then the three sentient races were seeded in it. First the Gek and then the Vy'Keen and Korvax. Then came the sentinals. It was they that brought about a great cataclysm, destroying most of the civilizations that had been built up over millennia in the outer rim and leaving on the remnants of the the three races that now live out here. 

The Vy'Keen hate the sentinals with all their warrior passion and want to wipe them out. The Korvax see them as an abomination. The Gek... Well the Gek don't mention them. When I first met the Gek, they came across as a peaceful and gentle race who want little more than to earn a wage. A big wage. They are a race of traders and only seem interested in money. But that is not at all what their history says. Their shrines have told me the secrets of their past. That they were the first race. A warlike race that wants nothing more than to conquer the galaxy and wipe out every other race.

Have they changed their ways? Wealth can certainly change opinions pretty fast. Or has their wealth merely enabled their sordid plans? Instead of trying to wage a war against the Vy'Keen who would easily best them in combat, have they used their wealth to buy the domination they so seek? The Gek... Could they be responsible for the sentinals? The more wealth they accrue, the more technology they can buy, the more of a hold they have on the galaxy...

I'm not sure about any of this, but I am sure that these are not the ravings of a lonesome mad man. Because I am not alone. Nada and Polo. I've met them many more times. I don't know if their following me or what, but every now and then, they turn up at a system as I warp in. Polo is a Gek but seems at odds with the way they behave, chastising them for their greed. Nada is also an outcast, having broken free from the Korvax collective mind. His reasons are more radical. I guess it would take an intellect far greater than my own to form such a hypothesis in the first place. But when he told me, I wondered how I could have been so blind. Wandering the galaxy... A galaxy of a hundred billion stars... And only three sentient races. Similar plants and rocks on each planet. I assumed that all plants and rocks looked the same but Nada insists that the diversity of the galaxy should be infinite and wondrous. He's shown me the maths to prove it. Complex algorithms, but algorithms nonetheless. Everything... Everything in this galaxy has been coded into existence.

The revelation has been eating at me for days now. Paranoia has crept in and out of the corner of my eyes I swear I see voxel like patterns in the landscape. In the distance. Rendering in before I arrive so as not to break the illusion. I share Nada's curiosity and need to understand. Nada does not wholly approve of my other companion, but understands that we all want the same thing.


My other companion. The Atlas. it's been with me since the start although I did not know it at the time. The red orb I was carrying in my ship when I crashed back on Elysium. It has watched over me since then. I've now visited many Atlas stations scattered about the outer rim. Each time I visit the Atlas entity appears to me in a different form. The red orb, a black hole, a robotic eye, a white light containing the specifications for the three major races of the galaxy. I can't explain how the Atlas communicates with me. It doesn't speak. There is no physical attachment. It seems to simply suggest ideas, concepts  and emotions in my head... And I understand. I understand that it wants me to expose the truth that has been hidden for so long. I understand the sentinels are a blight and do not belong. 


I don't understand why the Atlas has chosen me or why none of the other races can hear it's call. They must know it exists. It's presence is everywhere. There are entire wings that are locked to all but carriers of Atlas passes. Locked doors in every building on every planet that no one can access but me... It sounds all so self aggrandizing, but I did not choose this... Yes... Yes I did. I chose this path. I chose curiosity. I could have wandered the galaxy forever marveling at the wonders I saw. But I wanted more. I went in search of my forgotten self but have found a new self. I am what the Atlas wants me to be. This must be what region feels like. What belief feels like. But the Atlas isn't a god, it's a real, solid thing. 

In the back of my mind there is a constant nagging that I'm being led astray, or manipulated. But I don't feel that I am. I want answers as much as Nada and Polo, as much as the Atlas. Between us we will uncover the truth and expose it to the rest of the galaxy. This is my purpose, this is who I am.

[End Of Message]

My heart was racing after seeing the images. They make all this all the more real. I don't know how to deal with it. Are they really coming from another galaxy? An artificial galaxy? If so, this must have happened millions of years ago. I just don't understand what's going on. I was happy to play along to someone's silly prank before, but you can't produce images like that of someone's made up story. Where ever Doug is, he's real and I might be the only person who is hearing his story.

Friday, 12 August 2016

ATSOS - 116224.8

The message were less clear tonight. A lot of interference. But I think I managed to get most of it. Doug sounded hazy, almost dream like and yet with a new sense of purpose.

[Message]

Pilot log, stardate 6224.8. What a day... I awoke unharmed and well rested in my shelter in the Hosnian System. I spent the next few hours routinely exploring and cataloguing nearby star systems. Much of this sector seems to be controlled by the Korvax. A scientifically minded race of artificial life forms. Their inelegance is boundless, far superior to my own.

On many of their planets there seems to be the same little shrines that are present on Vy'Keen worlds. However, instead of containing religious texts, the Korvax store ancient knowledge in them. One particularly interesting encounter taught me that the Korvax believe The Atlas to be a bringer of life. That once the galaxy was dead and that The Atlas brought about the great civilizations that once thrives in the outer rim of the galaxy. Now they are gone. There was also information about life forms known as Travelers. 

In recent Korvax encounters and now armed with a very small Korvax vocabulary, I've ascertained that the Korvax believe me to be a traveler. Whether it's the same Traveler as in the text I discovered, I don't know. My understanding of their complicated language doesn't stretch that far.

I have had one revelation though. Arriving at the Andorian system, I discovered an enormous un-maned, diamond shaped space station. As I approached the surface, doors opened to me and I flew in. Inside was huge and like nothing I'd seen before. The cavernous space was almost religious in it's grandeur and there in the middle, like a shrine was an enormous red entity. In constant flux and yet beating, almost like a heart. The same matter as I was carrying on my ship when I crashed back on Elysium Prime. I touched the interface below the red orb and it spoke to me. The Atlas. It knows me. It's knows who I am and what I'm meant to be doing. The sense of relief and elation was indescribable. I have a purpose in this vastness of a galaxy. I'm not alone. But I still need more answers.

For now, it's back to the search. I'm currently in orbit around Andoria I and Gladys and I have our work cut out for us. Five planets and one moon. Heading for...

[End Of Message]

That's all I could make out from his first message. The static took over and it was at least an hour before I heard from him again. I'm worried about him. Every time he talks about The Atlas, it's like he loses himself. The further he gets from the idea of The Atlas, the more "human" he seems. I don't know if that's just me humanizing the situation or what. I wish I could somehow let him know that there's someone listening to his story. But for all I know this has been traveling through space for thousands of years and he could be dead by now.

[Message]

Pilot log, stardate 6224.9. I have some more answers. Finally. Whilst searching the Adipose system, I received a signal from an odd spherical ship. It seemed old. Very old. As I approached, doors opened to beckon me in. The ship was crewed by only two people. One a life form called a Gek and the other a Korvax. Their names, Nada and Polo. My mysterious benefactors. To my surprise, they both spoke in my language. How Polo managed to make the sounds I make with what is essentially a beak, I will never know, but the busy little fella shared his scientific data with me and told me to head back out and explore. 

Nada was something of an enigma. A Korvax. A race of scientists in pursuit of pure knowledge. He wore a cape and head regalia in fashion of a religious leader. He also offered me information in the way of a direction. It was my choice. To continue my original journey to the centre of the galaxy, to pursue The Atlas or to forge my own path through the endless galaxy. 

It seems, despite their help getting me back on my feet, their only wish for me is explore. But why me? What is their interest in me. Trying to get any other answers was impossible. They were extremely busy in their own mysterious pursuits.

My choice? The freedom to explore a galaxy might seem wondrous to some. But to wander, aimlessly amongst a hundred billion stars scared the crap out of me. It would certainly be interesting to return to my original course and find what I was heading for at the centre. But the burning desire for self exploration is my current goal and that is what I opted for. 

Nada has given me the coordinates for the next closest Atlas Station. Four jumps away, if I can gather the necessary fuel.

[Gladys chirps in] Toxic protection critical.

Ah crap. Thank you Gladys. I'm getting so distracted, I'm getting careless. I wonder how many more times I can die before it's permanent...

[End Of Message]

The transmission trailed off and that was the last I head from him last night. I hope he's okay. I hope he's made the right choice. I'll keep you posted.

-BloggyDave



Thursday, 11 August 2016

ATSOS - 116223.8

I've been trying the last few nights to pick up that signal I heard the other night on my brother's old CB radio. I was about to give up, when I heard not one, but a string of messages that continued over a five hour period last night. I was so excited to hear it again. Here's what I heard.

[Message]

Pilot log, stardate 116223 point... something... I think. I have no idea where I am or how I got here... Or who I am... I just woke up at a crash site. There's a broken ship near by and debris all around. There's a strange mass inside one of the pods on the ground. I'm going to investigate.

[Silence]

What... the Hell... was that?! This... thing just floated up out of the pod and I was like in a trance or something. It felt... familiar. Comforting. Atlas. But it left me with overwhelming desire to leave this planet and continue my journey to... where?

Well I better get to work fixing my ship if I'm ever going to leave this place. Might take a while seeing as I'm all alon- argh!

[Robotic Voice] Toxic protection falling.

What the Hell was that?! My suit is... talking. Ok so maybe I'm not that alone. She's nice. Sounds familiar. Sound like Gl... Glad... Glado... GLADO... THAT'S IT! I shall called her Gladys. Hi Gladys. Thanks for the warning. Wow Gladys has a lot of information on this planet. Including the fact that it's currently raining a highly alkaline substance which is damaging my suit and equipment. I better get to work.

[End Of Message]

A few minutes later, I heard this.

[Message]

Pilot log, stardate 116223.8. Gladys has confirmed the date and time. As I was scouring the area around my crash site, I discovered some other abilities my suit has. I have a jetpack. How cool is that?! I also have a mining device that has various scanners attached. It can locate nearby points of interest and can analyse flora, fauna and minerals. Doing so seemed to award me units from some unknown source. Was I an explorer? A botanist? Whatever I was, I seem to retain at least a passing interest in biology, botany and geology so I have decided to continue to catalogue and name everything I see. It could come in useful. I've also decided to call this planet Elysium after some vaguely remembered fairy tale in the back of my mind.

[End Of Message]

Another few minutes go by...

[Message]

Pilot log, supplemental. The ship damage is fairly minor. The casing on the launch thruster was slightly damaged from the crash but thankfully I seem to remember how to mould carite. So after about thirty minutes I was able to lift off from the planet's surface. It turns out, I'm not such a good pilot. It must have been me piloting the ship though right? I mean, there was no one else with me when I woke.

I decided not to venture too far as I wasn't sure how my patchwork on the thrusters would hold up. It wasn't long before something caught my eye and I landed to investigate. I've no idea what it was doing out here in the open on some strange planet, on its own, but there seemed to be a computer terminal floating next to a few cargo boxes and a waypoint marker. As I drew near, it began to glow and the screen burst to life showing a series of statistic. My statistics. My name. Dangerous Doug.

I remember. My name is Doug Caine. They called me "Dangerous" Doug. I can't remember why... maybe my flying skills? Remembering my name did not however kick start any other memories. Why does this computer know me? It seems to be a trade network of some kind. Is that who I work for? Rather than exploring, was I searching out rare materials to trade? Does this have anything to do with the Atlas? No... the Atlas is something... Bigger. I know that much.

I continued my search and nearly lost my ship a couple of times with some truly awful landings, despite the ship having land assist features... I ended up in a place Gladys called The Wumani. It seemed to be a trading post. Ships were coming and going regularly from the single landing pad outside. I landed a short walk away and made my way over.

I am not alone out here. I met several people from an alien race called the Vy'keen... at least that's what I thought at first. It turns out I don't speak Vy'Keen. But I worked out eventually that they were all from slightly different races. I think. Who can tell. Aliens, amirite? I guess they must be part of some kind of collective. They all spoke the same language, I could tell that much. I tried traded with a couple of pilots, but the language barrier got in the way, so I headed inside. There a rather large Vy'Keen scared the crap out of me by shouting at me and grabbing my gun. I recognized one word he said. "Interloper". He said it a lot. Was he talking about me? Why call me that? How do I know that word? Anyway, he eventually let me go after I gave him some spare materials from my pack. Bully.

 I'm heading back out now to see what else I can find on this planet. Hopefully some more clues as to who the Hell I am... That would be nice. I'll check in again later.

[End Of Message]

Half an hour goes by before I hear his voice again.

[Message]

Pilot log, supplemental. Night is falling. I've finally scrounged enough material to fix the pulse drive on my ship. This should allow me to reach the other planets of this system. I've seen them dangling there in the evening sky and now I should be able to reach them. Do they hold any more answers than this planet? Well there's one way to find out. Here we go...

[Loud noises like a jet engine]

Ooh! I made it. Can't believe I'm not dead... I'm in space. SPACE! Yeah! I count... three planets and... two moons orbiting the largest planet. This is a pretty busy system. There's ships warping in and out all the time. So much traffic. I'm setting coordinates for the largest planet. Elysium I. Engaging... Now!

[End Of Message]

It's another long while before I hear from him again.

[Message]

Pilot log, supplemental. I've spent a good while exploring this sector and cataloguing an amazing array of life as I go. I ended up at the system's space station, a trading hub I think. There a Vy'Keen shouted at me in what seems to be their customary way and ended up giving me a new mining weapon which was a vast improvement on my own. I guess he thought mine wasn't up to scratch?

I soon picked up a signal coming from Elysium II. It led me to an outpost where a Vy'Keen greeted me as if he... she? was expecting me. It gave a slate to look at and I was amazed that I could read it. It was in my language! Not only that, but it contained a blueprint for a hyperdrive. Did my ship originally have a hyperdrive? Was it damaged beyond all recognition in the crash? Maybe it was stollen whilst I was out cold. Or am I from this sector of space? Whatever the answer, someone knows I'm here and want's me to leave.

I wasn't yet comfortable with though of someone else dictating my actions so I explored some more of the system. The other planet and the two moons. But this only threw up more questions. On my travels I found amazing monument scattered about the system. As I drew near they would activate and somehow imbue me with information of what seemed to be a Vy'Keen religion. One particularly large monolith made me hallucinate with it's powerful energy. So much so that I felt pain even when I snapped out of it.

Eventually I came to yet another outpost and was presented with another message in my own tongue. This time signed from Nada and Polo. Their names mean nothing to, but the information in the message included the recipe with which to fuel the hyperdrive. What with the cryptic way this information was given to me. Why so convoluted? 

Regardless, I feel that I have learned as much as I can from the Elysium system and have set my sights on my closest neighbour to test out my newly fashioned hyperdrive. Course set. Engage.

[End Of Message]

Surprisingly, only a few minutes later and he was back.

[Message]

Pilot log, stardate 116223.9. I arrived at the next star system which I called Muir and headed straight for the space station. There I met a new race of mechanical people called the Korvax. Without knowing any of their strange language, I had no luck in communicating with them. As I left the station, I picked up a signal coming from Muir I.

I arrived at the source of the signal to see some kind of industrial building, guarded by floating robots. The signal was coming from inside, but the door was locked. The burning desire for answers took over and I blasted the door open angering the Sentinals. After a brief exchange of laser fire, they gave up the chase and left me alone. Inside the building I found schematics enabling the creation of anti-matter. This will speed up my ability to jump from system to system.

Now here's where things get really strange. As I left the atmosphere of Muir II I was chased down by pirates who were after my cargo. I had a few rare metals back there and it would certainly make a good pay day for them if they could get their hands on it. Did I mention that I'm not a good pilot? I'm really not. There was nothing I could do. I sought to outrun them in the planet's atmosphere and head back down...

Black. Nothingness. And then... I awake again on the Muir station, inside my ship. My ship... My ship was destroyed. I know it was. I felt the heat and the pain. I died. I'm sure of it. And yet there I was, whole again. Alive.

I could not let go of the feeling that I was not imagining any of this. I headed straight back to my last know coordinates and there... floating in space, in orbit around Muir II was the cargo I was carrying when the pirates shot me down. I was so scared. But what was there to do? I'm alone out here. Despite other races going about their business like there's nothing wrong. I'm alone. There's no one like me, who has gone through what I've gone through. No one can help me. I've only myself to rely on.

I'm now looking through my star charts to see where I should go next. What's that? There's a course layed in already. It's heading towards the galactic centre. Is that where I was heading? Is that where my answers lie? It'll take me years to get there in my current ship. I need to find another way, another ship. The next system is only a few lightyears away. It's time to burn up anti-matter for another jump. Wish me luck.

[End of Message]

That one was a bit chilling. "Wish me luck" as if he was speaking directly to me. Does he even know that someone is listening to his transmissions? I do wish him luck. Again his "jump" only took a short while.

[Message]

I'm in large system. many planets. Vy'Keen here. I'm on my way to a signal I picked up. Coming in to Osiris I now. The signal is coming from that monument. It's different to the one's I've seen in Elysium and Muir. More familiar... Landing... Now. That was a smoother touch down. I think I'm getting the hang of this now.

It's like the stone is calling to me. That sounds stupid. I never knew what people meant when they said that. But I guess this is it. It's like a warm blanket. I think it's- argh!

[A minute goes by]

Fell into a trance again, like the red blob on Elysium Prime. The Atlas. Telling me to... follow.

[End Of Message]

By this point it was getting late and I was about to pack it in when I heard one last transmission.

[Message]

Pilot log, stardate 16224.0. I think I accidentally betrothed myself to a Vy'Keen. I'm not quite sure how it happened. I really need to learn more of their language. Suffice to say, i can never come back here. Osiris is a no go system for me. 

After briefly investigating a distress signal and finding nothing I decided to move on quickly. Was someone having me on or was I just too late? I think I'm starting to get a bit paranoid.

I used the last of my anti-matter to warp to the Hosnian System. I've found an abandoned factory on a small planet and am settling down for some rest. Hopefully Gladys will alert me if anything comes near. She's been good to me. The closest thing I have to company... well apart from that Hog Dog pup that followed me for a few miles a while back. I liked that Hog Dog. Wish I could have kept him. Not practical I guess. Well good night out there. Let's hope tomorrow brings some answers.

[End Of Message]

And that was it. I'll be tuning in again tonight after work. I can't believe what I'm hearing. It must be a recording or just someone having a laugh, surely? Right?

-BloggyDave











Monday, 8 August 2016

Game Time: 1997, Tamagotchi





In the News

It’s 1997. Rapper Notorious B.I.G is gunned down in a revenge killing for his alleged participation in the murder of rival rapper Tupac Shakur. Princess Diana, her bit on the side Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul were killed in a high-speed car crash in Paris. Great Britain handed over its rule of Hong Kong. Mother Teresa, the nun who tended the poor and sick of Calcutta for 40 years, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, died on September 5. In the UK, Tony Blair is elected Prime Minister after 18 years of Tory rule. It was time, Tony Blair said, for ‘Rule Britannia’ to give way to ‘Cool Britannia’. The birth of Dolly the sheep leads to President Clinton banning all federally funded research into human cloning. A scene from the Pokémon anime show (based upon the highly successful games) causes 685 Japanese children to have seizures. WWF’s PPV “Bad Blood” showcases the first ever Hell in a Cell match between the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. 


The Game Times

The seminal releases are: Fallout on PC; Final Fantasy VII and Grand Theft Auto on PS1; Mario Kart 64, Star Fox 64, Goldeneye 007 on the newly released Nintendo 64; and a handheld digital pet called the Tamagotchi.

The Tamagotchi is a ray of light in a dark year wherein the death of the Notorious B.I.G left a 12 year old Owen – still vulnerable from Tupac’s death the year before - in the slough of despond. Another mentor gone. My hanky-turned-bandana wilted. My “THUG LIFE” torso pen tattoo rubbed off.

But then my hot Croatian girlfriend, Richella, told me to go to Argos and buy a Tamagotchi. I had the required £12 saved from taking loose change out of coat pockets in the church lost property. Tamagotchis are a small alien species that deposited an egg on Earth to see what life was like, and it is up to the player to raise the egg into an adult creature. The creature goes through several stages of growth, and will develop differently depending on the care the player provides, with better care resulting in an adult creature that is smarter, happier, and requires less attention. For me it was an instant hit because the creature was black and reminded me of the Notorious B.I.G. I loved it dearly, often setting my alarm in the night to keep up regular feeds.


Why I Stopped Playing


By early 1998 a monstrous trend had gained popularity wherein lowlifes were pressing the “reset” button on unsuspecting Tamagotchis. I made extensive efforts to bolster the defence of mine by asking the builders next door to dab a bit of cement into the reset hole to make pencil penetration almost impossible. However, this one time in church, Owen Davies asked to look at my character because it was 14 days old and had grown into the smart looking one, not the ugly one with blubber lips. What I didn’t know was that he had brought a compass with him with the intent of scooping out the cement. I’ll never forget how the preacher’s last sermon point on forgiveness was lost on me the moment I heard the reset “beep”. There was nothing I could do. I couldn’t fight anyone over it, I’d lose- too skinny, weak thighs. I just settled in my chair, fell back into pitiless indifference towards everything and everyone, including the effort of rearing another character, and embraced another year of shadows and night.


Three Questions for the Comments Below

What were you doing in 1997? What were you playing in 1997? Why did you stop?

- Owen J. Batstone.


If you are Owen's mother and want to see all your precious offspring's work in one, easily accessible place, please click here.

Across The Sea Of Space


So I was up the attic over the weekend and I found my brother's old CB radio with it's huge antenna. So I plugged it in and after a bit of fiddling, I finally managed to get it to work. Heard all kinds of weird things, but one really caught my attention. One voice speaking seemingly to himself. I found myself mesmerized by the dream like way in which he was talking. I suddenly snapped out of it and realized that I should be writing this down! After I scrambled for pen and paper, I realized that the message was on repeat so I had plenty of time to get it all down, which is a good thing as most of it was mumbled and hard to hear and there was a lot of static, so it took me a long time to get it all. This is what I transcribed.

[Message]

Across the sea of space, the stars are other suns... Stars of every kind. Big ones, small ones, yellow ones, blue ones. I like the blue ones. Blue...

I've seen things. Crazy things. Crazy... Space stuff. Crazy space stuff. Space ships. Space rocks. Space docks. Space whales. Space dicks... [giggling] Dicks.

Where am I? I think this is a dream. Am I dreaming? I think I'm dreaming. It's all floaty like. Floaty...

I don't know... Anything. I know nothing. Who am I? What am I doing here? Where am I?

I think I've been here a while... Where is here? I don't know... 

Soon. I'm going to wake up soon. Very soon...

I think I'm hungry...

[End of Message]

Felt kind of spooky listening to that over and over. I wonder if he will wake up. I wonder if he'll make any more recordings. I'll be listening out for them and I'll keep you posted.

- BloggyDave

Monday, 4 July 2016

My Hearthstone Adventure



'Twas nearly four moons ago when a young, buck toothed adventurer set off on his hearthstone expedition.

After hearing whispers of a certain Master Batstone, he packed up a rucksack, eager to seek him out.

Later on that dusky eve he has found master Batstone hanging out, this upbeat scamp mentioned to Master Batstone how he would like to be like him, a hearthstone master.

Batstone simply shrugged, stamped out his cigarette and walked off, but as he walked past he saw something in this kid, a sort of je ne sais quoi.

Batstone spoke only eight words before he rode off into the night sky - "Get past the tutorial, then we will talk."





Then the young adventurer set off, eager to please, ready to learn.

He has arrived at the Hearthstone tutorial, an easy place to navigate.

An extremely helpful tool, the tutorial guided him through battles that taught him about spells, advances and defense. It was a way in. A way in the student needed.


However after having his hand held for six battles, it was time his hand was let go. Thus he was sprung, into the world of hearthstone....alone.

He had one goal - defeat master Batstone.





This is where it set in - a fear this adventurer had heard so much about. A fear he had never experienced - gamer fear.


This cocky young chap thought the tutorial was it. He would pick a hero, rock up to the arena and destroy everything in his path, oh how wrong he was.

He got battered. Cards he couldn't even summon with his imagination were played. He was smashed, left battered on the arena floor - bruised and broken. If only the tutorial had prepared him for this!


So the adventurer plodded back to his dwellings. He promised to not touch hearthstone again until he had studied everything meticulously. He would not lose another battle in such a humiliating way again.

He found this easy. The beauty of this game is that is as satisfying to read about, plan and build decks as it was to play. This is where the young man excelled. Watching battles, reading passages from the Book of Icy Veins. He was in his element.

He returned to hearthstone ready for battle. Aware of his surroundings. Aware of the cards in hands. It was like card counting at a Vegas casino. It was adrenaline pumping, rip roaring, good old fashioned card combat. And man alive was this kid hooked.


He made it, he started to win. He became noticed. The master had enough. The student was summoned to the masters quarters, the master sat, the carriage clock ticking behind him, quietly reading a passage of Dickens.





He looked up and flung his strongest priest deck onto the table.

The onlookers were concerned, but the student was not.

They battled long into the Euro 2016 clash between Poland and Portugal and when all was said and done, the student emerged victorious. The Master had crumbled in defeat and it was accompanied with appropriate excuses.

From this day on the student has thrived, grown. He is now the master. But a new challenger awaits, someone by the name of 'BloggyDave'.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Cons: Tutorial doesn't prepare you. Gamer fear evident. Need to do more reading and building than playing in the early stages.

Pros: Addictive. Engaging enough to read about it, build and craft and so nullifies the con. Satisfying to win. Appreciative to lose (the opponent is clearly better).

When everything comes together and your deck overwhelms an opponent's, there is quite frankly nothing like it.

Overall score 9/10.

by Luke Edward Carroll

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

E3 2016: My picks for 2016


So E3 2016 is done and dusted. I posted all the biggest headlines to our Facebook page and all the info is on a convenient YouTube playlist what I made. There's way too much to go through in one post, so this is the first of three I currently have planned, going over my picks from this years biggest video game show.

So we'll start things off with this year. Many of the announcements were for awesome looking games that were far from complete or launching "next year" (we've heard that one before). But what about 2016? What does the rest of my gaming year look like? Well I'm glad you asked as I just so happen to have prepared a list for this very occasion.

LEGO: Star Wars The Force Awakens


I'm surprised this made an appearance at E3 at all seeing it is out in a couple of weeks. I went through a phase of playing all the LEGO games. Eventually they made too many for me to afford and I only bought one or two in the last few years. But I'm a massive Star Wars fan and so was always going to buy this one. The promise of canon, unique to the game is big selling point. Plus it seems like it's not just The Force Awakens era content. There seems to be a lot included. Another load of stuff is paid DLC which I will not be partaking in. But hey ho. I'm looking forward to playing this one with my six year old daughter who is a budding Star Wars fan herself.


No Man's Sky


Not actually at E3 but coming out in August unless there are any more delays. Sean Murray the head designer is keeping fans updated and is telling everyone that the game is benefiting from this extra time, they've got one chance to get this out and they want to make it the best it can be. I'm totally ok with this and can't wait to explore an entire universe and create my story as I go. Keep an eye out of this site and on my YouTube channel for many, many videos.


Destiny: Rise of Iron


My love/meh relationship with Destiny continues in September. I played solidly for two month after the April update and then got bored again. I will most likely not pick it up much from now until Rise of Iron comes out. At which point I will probably play nothing else for a good long while again. I'm part of a fantastic clan that I love coming back to every time there's new Destiny content.


Battlefield 1


At about the time we're getting bored with Destiny again me and my Destiny clan and my family clan will all be getting Battlefield 1. It's basically gonna be the same as Star Wars Battlefront but in World War One. With bi-planes instead of x-wings and tanks instead of AT-STs. I'm looking forward to huge battles with loads of friends all shouting in silly accents.


Titanfall 2


Having never owned an Xbox, I never played Titanfall. Never paid in an ounce of attention. Since playing one of the Mech Warrior games which came as freeware on one of my first ever PCs, I've looked for a game that would re-create those feelings in a mech game. I love the look of this game. The graphics are stunning, the mech and weapon designs look fantastic. Apparently the original game was famed for it's freedom of movement when your pilot is out of his or her mech. This looks like another step up from what I've seen. I love the idea of the contrast of fast paced free movement and then jumping in a mech and be heavy and cumbersome but with incredible fire power. Also there is an intriguing looking single player campaign which gives the mech themselves strong personalities and explores the relationship between pilot and mech. 


The Last Guardian


I've been waiting for this game for about ten years. I've gone past the point of ridiculously high expectations, which I think is a good thing. I now think, I'm going to be happy with whatever the game ends up being. If it's anything like Ico or Shadow of the Colossus, then I'm going to be happy. My parents brought Ico home one day. Never heard of it, not even on my radar. Wow what a beautiful game, what a captivating story and characters. Shadow of Colossus followed it up with the incredible sensation of being utterly depressed that you had to kill these beautiful and majestic creatures across a sumptuous landscape, to save the one you love. To my eyes, The Last Guardian seems to be a mix of the two, leaning slightly more towards Ico. I can't think of anything better.


Watchdogs 2


More and more amazing games get released every year. I've been trying my best to thin out some franchises that I regularly buy in to. I was initially impressed with Watchdogs but got bored of the story in the end. The main character didn't excite me and I didn't really care about his reasons for hacking everything in Chicago. When I heard there was a sequel on the way, I was ready to let it go and not to bother. Then I saw the trailer. Everything I didn't like about the original game has been removed and replaced with a fresher, more youthful and funky look and feel. Hack everything in San Fran with a kid who's just fighting against the system, partly for the good of society and partly just for fun. It's definitely learned a few lessons from Grand Theft Auto and I'm definitely getting Watchdogs 2.


South Park: Fractured But Whole


I pretty much wet myself laughing every time I watch South Park. I was so impressed that they'd managed to get the same level of comedy and the same feeling in the first game. The animation was incredible. It just felt like you were watching an episode of the TV show. It didn't look like a game at all and yet it played as one the best RPGs I've ever played. What a combination. It was a big surprise. The theme this time round has changed from the Lord of the Rings style fantasy of before to a take on the DC and Marvel cinematic universes. Also they've worked on the combat system to introduce a grid based movement system to make it more like the X-Com combat system. There guys really know what they're doing. Super heroes in South Park? I'm there.



This is definitely not all that caught my eye at this years E3 and I've got a couple more articles to come. But these are the games I'm definitely getting this year, in fact I've already pre-ordered them all. What did you think of E3? What are your definite buys for the rest of the year? I'd love to hear from you.

by David "BloggyDave" Roberts


Monday, 27 June 2016

Game Time: 1989, Tetris.



In the News

It’s 1989. A wall falls down in Germany. Ninety-six people lose their lives at Hillsborough Football Stadium. George Bush Snr. becomes President of the United States. Toyota launches its luxury brand, the Lexus. Serial killer Ted Bundy is executed by electric chair. The Mirage Hotel and Casino opens in Las Vegas. The United States provide assistance to the Columbian Government to battle Drug Lords. During the height of its operations, the Columbian Cartel generates more than £47 million per day. Forbes magazine estimates Columbian Godfather, Pablo Escobar, to be one of 227 billionaires in the world with a personal net worth of close to $3 billion, while his Medellín Cartel controls 80% of the global cocaine market. Sky TV is launched in the UK and a Boeing 747 crashes onto the M1 Motorway.


The Game Times

Operation Wolf (NES) wins GOTY at the Golden Joystick Awards. The seminal releases are: Phantasy Star II on the Sega Master System; Mega Man 2 on the NES; SimCity and Minesweeper on PC; Super Mario Land with “Princess Daisy” debuting and, in June, Tetris on Nintendo Gameboy.



The release of Tetris is significant because I’m fast approaching my fifth birthday and my parents combine it with the Ultimate Warrior Wrestle-Buddy Teddy as my main presents. Until this point my only hand-held devices are a Walkman with Jason Donovan’s album, Ten Good Reasons, and a Speak and Spell. Tetris is another level. Tetris is when shapes composed of four square blocks each fall down a playing field. The object of the game is to manipulate these tetrads by moving each one sideways and rotating it by 90-degree units, with the aim of creating a horizontal line of blocks without gaps.


The Game’s Legacy

World History would be very different if Tetris had never been made. I’m pretty sure I read that when Pablo Escobar tightly lined the walls of his aeroplanes with cocaine he used the stacking technique he learned from Tetris.


Why I Stopped Playing

My mum told me I wasn’t allowed to bring my Gameboy to church. Anyway, I did. One Sunday I tucked it into my sock and then tucked my sock into my jogging bottoms to make a jogging bottom nest. If the Gameboy escaped the sock then the nest should keep it secure. Richard Denton asked me why my trousers were tucked into my socks but I couldn’t tell him the truth. The plan was that when the pastor did a long prayer I would feed the Gameboy up from the nest, past my pants and into my jumper to get in a round of Tetris. Sadly, during the hymn before the long prayer the Gameboy’s weight penetrated the nest and fell out at my mother’s feet. She marched me to the outer room and let Jessica Walters play my Gameboy in front of me. Jessica was in the outer room because she was eating crisps which were too loud for church. During one of her games she must have sniggered or tried to speak, and she spat out a blob of wet crisp onto my Gameboy’s screen. It was disgusting and deeply affecting to see someone’s hula-hoop puddle slide down my screen. After that I couldn’t play Tetris without thinking about it so I stopped playing.


Three Questions for the Comments Below

What were you doing in 1989? What were you playing in 1989? Why did you stop?

by Owen J. Batstone.


This is the 2nd installment of Owen's "Game Time". If you didn't catch the first one you can catch up here.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Game Time: 1992, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time"


                                       

In the News

It’s 1992. The average UK house price is £68,634. Aladdin, Alien 3, Reservoir Dogs and The Bodyguard are released and bettered by Home Alone 2. John Gotti is sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to commit racketeering. The co-operation between his Captain Sam Gravano and the FBI sends an irreversible shockwave through the Mafia’s code of ethics. Euro Disney opens in France. Bill Clinton becomes U.S president. The Queen of England is ordered to pay income tax, and a fire rips through Windsor Castle. The Summer Olympics are held in Barcelona. Rioting breaks out in Los Angeles after the acquittal of four white police officers accused of beating black motorist Rodney King. Mike Tyson is imprisoned for rape. Afghanistan’s Communist government is overthrown. Charles and Diana separate and 31 out of 50 coal mines close in Britain.


The Game Times

Street Fighter II wins GOTY at the Golden Joystick Awards. The seminal releases are: Kirby’s Dream Land on the Game Boy; Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with “Tails” debuting on the Mega Drive; Mario Kart, Ecco the Dolphin, Mortal Kombat featuring bloody “fatalities” and, in November, Konami release Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time on the SNES.


The release of TMNT is significant because I’m seven years old and I am a Turtle. My lunch box, school bag, wallpaper, curtains, pyjamas, scrap books, figurines, accent and diet of no anchovies shows it. Until this point my experience of co-op gaming is Double Dragon and, while good, TMNT has my characters and story. Krang has stolen the Statue of Liberty and my friend and I can fight him in Downtown New York, the Sewers and the Technodrome using the innovative ability to slam Foot Soldiers into surrounding enemies.


The Game’s Legacy

TMNT’s legacy is not found so much in its technical innovation but in its pertinent social satire. I’m pretty sure that Krang’s removal of the Statue of Liberty is a prophetic allusion to the impending removal of Bill Clinton’s marital security; The Footsoldiers are the black people who suffer beat downs by rogue law enforcement; and, the Turtles are the unemployed coal miners forced to find night jobs above ground.


Why I Stopped Playing

My dad said it was too expensive to buy the Crash Dummies Test Centre as well as TMNT so I only played TMNT at my friend Will Coombes’s house. By early 1993 I had stopped playing because his mum thought I tried to steal Will’s dinosaur necklace from his bedroom and she didn’t want me coming around anymore. That was majorly tight because I think it was John Langmaid who tried to steal it. She also thought it was me that pushed Will into the school bench (causing stitches in his ear) but Evan Humphries did it.

by Owen J. Batstone. 



What were you doing in 1992? What were you playing in 1992? Why did you stop?


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Destiny Diaries: Year 2, Week 35



I'm back on Destiny in a big way. I had a long break to play Far Cry Primal and didn't really go back until the April Update. All of the other Rangers (our clan) have now come back too and it's beginning to feel like old time. After two years of bugging my younger brother to get the game, he finally caved and I have been playing A Tale Of Two Guardians with him. The first two sessions of which we streamed.




This week I'll mostly be trying to get my brother to a high enough level so that we can complete our first Raid together with our newest member. We're going for Vault Of Glass, hard mode and quite a few of us will be using secondary characters. All my characters are nearly light level 320 now, so I will probably go for one of them that needs to kill Atheon for a quest.


We'll of course be streaming our Raid attempt as it will most likely be hilariously pathetic. You can find it at the usual place on Thursday the 19th of May at around 9:30pm BST.



I'm glad to be back on Destiny, but despite the new found enthusiasm of my brother and clan mates, I know for me that it is only a stop gap before No Man's Sky comes out (and the next Battlefront DLC). So I hope to get a solid six weeks of Destiny in now before other distractions take over.






Friday, 13 May 2016

Overwatch BETA Review


Two "sort of" MOBAs come out at the same time. It's inevitable that comparisons will be made. I reviewed Battleborn BETA, which you can read here. Overwatch is nothing like Battleborn. Where Battleborn is quite strongly on the MOBA side of "sort of", Overwatch is very much on the team shooter side with just a couple of things borrowed from the MOBA genre.


There is an incredible list of characters to play each with a truly unique play style and the game cleverly compels you to play them all. You need a balanced team to win each match with each player actually feeling like they're contributing no matter on their skill level.


There aren't many game modes. There's one more to come as a patch soon after launch, but Blizzard have said that the BETA was pretty much the final game. This is where things start to fall down for me. The first day I played, I thought that it was great and that I would definitely be buying it. The second day and I was starting to get bored already. The main problem is that there is no incentive to keep playing. All unlocks are cosmetic. There is no leveling up, no new gear, no rewards of any kind other than some new clothes. I don't understand this model. What's to keep me coming back? The point has been made in the gaming community that this game should have been free to play with micro-transaction and I totally agree. It definitely doesn't feel like a £50, triple A game. It has the elements of one. The graphics are stunning, great voice acting and well written one liners. But there's just no content.


They seem to have gone down the Destiny route when telling the story of the game, which is never a good idea. However instead of grimoire cards, they've actually created short animated films depicting elements of backstory which are of incredible quality. But why aren't they in the game? I mean, this was just a BETA, but Blizzard saying that the BETA was pretty much the finished game is a little worrying. Of course this could just mean gameplay and I seriously hope it is, as the content they've created on their YouTube page is far too good to waste!


Unless I see some vast improvements in game mechanics, such as actually usable rewards and in game story, I won't be getting Overwatch. It's a shame as I really want to like this game. It's got almost everything I want from a game, but it does fall short. I really hope I'm proven wrong.




Thursday, 12 May 2016

Destiny: Crota's End Raid, Solo Flawless Guide

A few elite players have managed to solo Crota's End raid flawlessly (not dying once). My friend Phil has now done it too and he's put together a comprehensive guide on his YouTube channel to help you do it too.



Crota's End Raid, Solo Flawless Guide
by Phil Parsons


Obtaining the Platinum trophy for Destiny isn't easy.  The vast majority of the trophies are obtainable by putting in the in-game hours, but one, Flawless Raider, has been out of reach for most players.  It requires that a whole fire team (of up to six players) complete a raid from start to finish without anyone dying.  In addition, players cannot join or leave mid raid.  All players must join together and complete the raid together without any deaths.



However, one raid is now possible to complete as a single player.  This raid is Crota's End.  Not only is this possible to complete alone, it's possible to complete it without dying as an average skilled player.  I know, because I am such a player and I've done it!


In order to encourage and help others to do the same, I've put together a video guide that breaks the raid down into 6 parts with tips on how to get through as a solo player.  The guide uses a Titan with the Defender subclass, but it should be simple enough to modify it for other characters using the same principles.



Part 1: Setting up the subclass, weapon and armour choices.  Building the bridge and the descent into the Hellmouth.



Part 2: Navigating the lamp maze and the wall jumping cheese.



Part 3: Crossing the bridge cheese.



Part 4: The Shrieker run hallway.





Part 5: The Deathsinger.



Part 6: Bringing down Crota.




Phil regularly streams Destiny on his YouTube channel. Go check him out there and subscribe. You also find Phil on PSN: Hereinmyownskin



Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Destiny Diaries: April Update Review



I went in to this with little or no expectation. I had been giving Destiny a break to play Far Cry Primal and catching up with some oldies. So I was ready to come back. The first day with the update was an utter disappointment. I'm an all round Destiny player. I like the PvE as much as the PvP. So I jumped straight in to the new PvE content seeing as Bungie had been bigging this up for PvE fans who were complaining that there had no new PvE content for quite a while now. One mission. That's what we got. One new mission that lasted a couple of minutes in an old part of the Dreadnought. One collecting resources section and then a very short and very easy new strike in an old part of the Dreadnought. The whole thing realistically probably took one person a week to put together. Pathetic.



I thought I was done, but my old team perked up their interest and I managed to prise them away from The Division for long enough to give the Challenge of Elders a go. Now this is more like it. It's strange. Everything I say I like about games in general, is the complete opposite of what Destiny multiplayer is. And yet I love it. Challenge of Elder is just about my level of difficulty. The recommended light level for the final of the three bosses which are on weekly rotation, is 330. I was playing with a 306 character and so found it suitably challenging yet perfectly doable with a bit of persistence. I've run it four times now and got some great loot. Nothing near 335, but then I'm now only 310 and I think you get drops that are related to your current light level. But I think Challenge of Elders is my new favourite activity.



Sterling treasure. Quite frankly, who cares? I was worried to begin with when I heard that it would be available to buy with real money from Eververse. But that quickly faded as I found it was all crap. I don't give a damn about Chroma. I think all the new armour looks boring. I much prefer going down the old timey RPG style armour route. I don't want my armour to have under lights like a rude boy's Astra. The only thing I'm interested in is the Taken armour set, so I will still be opening my Sterling treasure in the hope that I will complete the set and get the free Taken jitter emote.

I've yet to fully explore the Court of Oryx tweaks and Strike playlist, but all in all, I'm impressed. It's a small free update that's worth playing. Worth coming back to Destiny for if you've been away for a while. It's not going to keep your interest for very long, certainly not until the next big update drops in September. I just wish Bungie would stop throwing the PR kitchen sink at things that really don't warrant it. Tell it like it is. This is a nice little stop gap.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Doom and Battleborn BETA Reviews

I'm desperate for a new game at the moment. I've cancelled a few pre orders recently due to lack of funds but because of my need, I've gone back and had a look at a couple to see if they could persuade me to buy them. Helpfully two prospective games launched BETAs recently so I could try before I buy.


Out of all the cancelled near misses, I was looking forward to this the most. I was totally sucked in by the E3 reveal and all subsequent trailers. Doom was probably the first 3D game I ever played. It came free with my first ever PC. I played it to death, mainly with all the cheats, coz I was only little and rubbish at games (I still am).



Wow, what a disappointment. I started off searching through the customization options and immediately felt let down by the graphics. Everything felt like it was made of cheap plastic. Nothing had weight to it. Looked like a cheap knock action figure rather than some demon-butt kicking bad ass (since writing this, I've seen a video of character progression and future customization options and they look pretty good but the graphics and shinyness are still an issue). Some of the customization sliders didn't work very well and the render didn't update straight away and sometimes not at all. Okay so this is a BETA, but graphics don't usually get much better from a BETA onwards, if anything they may even get worse if recent releases are anything to go by.



The actual gameplay was very smooth and very fast. It was way too fast for me, but that's not a complaint but maybe a warning that this game is going to be for the pretty hardcore. It's not for everyone. The actual game modes just don't seem to sit in the Doom universe. They don't seem to have a story. There's just no substance. I just don't care about it. There's nothing to care about. Your character has literally no personality. Why am I doing any of this? Who knows... It's not enough these days to simply be playing a Doom game. You need something to pull you in and it's just not there...

I haven't played the single player, but recent trailers would suggest the graphics have actually got worse since the E3 reveal. And if the single player game feels anything like the multiplayer BETA, then I'm not interested. Sorry ID.



Battleborn is a MOBA. I don't know what a MOBA is. I mean I think it stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, but I don't know what that means. I think it's what people who "do" e-sports do. I don't know what e-sports are. I don't think I'm alone in this ignorance and Gearbox Software who make Battleborn are well aware of this.

Battleborn is therefore an accessible MOBA which seems to be something of a developing trend. I've played the BETA which unusually for a BETA, contained a few single player missions. But as far as the MOBA part is concerned, I still don't know what one is but I know it's quite enjoyable. It's a bit like a team shooter but there seemed to be more to it. Some thing that everyone else playing the game seemed to know about but I didn't have a clue. Despite this it was still quite fun. 



Looking at it from a team shooter point of view, it's a solid team shooter. The game mechanics are all very solid, it's fun to play. The characters are great with back stories and very different ways of playing each one so it doesn't get boring very quickly. In single player there is a lot of humour that actually had me laughing out loud. Not surprising from the makers of Boarderlands.

But the problem is, I still don't know what a MOBA is. As far as this accessible MOBA is concerned, I'm interested, I want in. I want to be part of this world, but it's not quite accessible enough. I really like the design and the characters and the gameplay but I'm not going to buy this game, because I don't really understand what I'm buying. It's a shame, but this attempt at getting us gaming plebs in to the elite tier, has failed. I'll be looking at what Overwatch can do as the next in line of upcoming accessible  MOBAs.