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 MedellĂ­n 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.